Recently Arenanet began seeking a greater amount of collaboration from the community regarding the future direction of Guild Wars 2. This is a long time coming in my mind. It seems for a while they have been adamant in their own artistic vision for the game, often to the exclusion of all outside communication. They have swayed from this occasionally, and sometimes rather widely but I have seen a distinct adherence to their ideas and metrics.
Now after over a year of operation they are after the players opinions on a range of subjects and there is a post enabled based on each subsection of the game; PvE, SPvP, and WvW. Disregarding for a fact just how inadequate the forums are for such a project compared to other avenues as well as the systems created by other companies, I am glad they have begun this very important step as no matter how smart or prepared you think you are there is nothing like getting a view of what the players want. Many companies are now doing this well before release and in the planning/development stage as they have become aware to the value of this sort of feedback. Welcome on board Anet.
I actually went over the PvE collaboration post as I was really interested in what the players were asking for. As my brain usually does, it cringed at the haphazard and chaotic nature of the forum and so, I categorized it all based on a several key categories and many minor ones.
Now I finished up at the end of page 12 as it is too hard to keep up with a page that keeps getting added too. It is also not a perfect count of the categories either, I know I made many mistakes along the way, missed splitting key categories, missed categories until later on and so on. I also only put in actual posts rather than counting the likes.
Here it is if you’re wondering. Extrapolate your own conclusions or continue on for my own rambling of the results.
I was actually surprised to see that the number one category players had concerns with was class balance. I mean, I would expect that in PvP but I never thought it had enough of an impact on players in PvE for them to really notice. A whole number of concerns was wrapped up into balance were support classes that deal with healing, defence, and buffing. There was issues with the roles players can choose, in particular the superiority with berserker or high damage classes, builds, and gear. There were a lot of players worried with balance between the classes and in particular classes. Rangers and pets were a popular one. Mostly it seemed players are after greater diversity within the system and to not feel so forced into specific optimal playstyles.
The biggest component of this all was the concern with how conditions operate. Condition caps, application, damage, variety were claimed… it seems to be a big issue overall.
Then smaller ones I noticed but worth their own spot were players wanting improvements to the general combat systems; improved mechanics, deep gameplay, greater options of defence, and the defiance boss mechanic. The other was players after an increase in challenging mechanics. Better mob mechanics and ai, the design of encounters, better scaling, and ways to combat the zerg.
Not Loving Lootz
This category is rather hard to distinguish between because a lot of the comments linked the two together and it really is a wide-ranging issue of many mechanics making it a system of rewarding players that doesn’t feel… well, rewarding.
Most of these comments had an issue with the way rewards were in fact rewarded and how they only rewarded repetition and time based constraints on easy content. People want risk vs reward to have a bigger part in play, with more challenging content being the better reward based on a players time. a regular example was champ farming compared to dungeon running. Others complained of it being generic and boring in regards to the gameplay and the rewards given. Then there were people wanting more options for rewarding styles of play.. you know, like it was in the beginning.
RNG was a really big part of this complaint as well and it seems people are sick with the probability of important items dropping and just regular needed materials. It makes play feel less rewarding when you’re not getting the things you need or want over long periods of time. There was also many who proclaim their bad luck with this sort of system and feel it punishes players more than it helps. RNG in the shop was also a big part of this complaint.. seriously, Staaaahhhhp
Now while I gave these two a separate category they are inextricably tied to the above. Diminishing returns exacerbates the RNG issues, and the way RNG is handled makes player think of gameplay as a grind at times.
I place progression issues in here because I think they are more connected here than other areas. A lot of these people were showing confusion about the games direction and wanted more horizontal options of progression. Rewards don’t have to be just gear based and there many other unexplored options they could work towards… just avoid the rng
I’m glad this is a big part that players want to discuss further. I thought this sort of thing was going to be the primary direction of Guild Wars 2 until it walked a different path.
The biggest part…. more customisation and costumes. I believe there were only slightly more players that specifically stated in-game costumes as those who said in the store, the demand though is just more outfits. There has been a distinct lack of new interesting outfits since the game began, even those new to the store have been rather limited. A big complaint were the medium armours, in particular the torrent of trench-coats. Also, fix the Charr outfits… they make people cry.
Now what better thing to discuss now, then improving the way players are able to use and store skins. A wardrobe function was brought up many times, as was just having a skin bank as a way of not losing the things you’ve worked for.
Housing is here… but it is also very connected with the wishes people have for guilds. If the post was more about the housing mechanics I put it here, if it emphasised guild it’s in the other. I love housing in my mmo’s but it is very rarely done well, if it is thoguh it can provide a lot of playability to the content as well as long term goals to the player.
Role Play Options were on par with these as well. More emotes, being able to sit, chat functionalities.. and well, other RP type things that I’m not very familiar with.
All About Updates
A much discussed part of the game in recent times, it is definitely an interesting way to deliver content although, like many I don’t think they have it right just yet. Most people just put Living Story as a general thing without elaborating further, indicating it is hard at times to pin down the concerns with it. Many complaints boiled down to the pace of the updates, slower would be much better for many players. Also, players don’t want things to be removed (like the F/U path in the TA dungeon), they would much rather it being added on.
A big part of when people did elaborate was issues with how the lore is being presented and its lack of connection to the Lore of Tyria. People want to hear more about this, in-game, and they want to see how it progresses. There is a lot of amazing lore to draw from here and I would love to see more as well.
The way in which the updates only seem to contain temporary content has become a sore spot. Players want more permanent content that they can continue to enjoy over the course of the year, that they don’t miss out on if the have an absence, and just to have more change to the world around.
Smaller parts were people wanting more personal story; either new parts entirely or an extension of the previous story. A greater amount of improvements and additions to other zones as well as improving their appeal. And just improving the cohesiveness of the stories and themes presented.
A concern that blew out of proportion at times over the last several months, a conspiracy or just a new direction for the game. Surprisingly this issue actually fell far below the other top 4 in terms of post listing it.
There were many general issues with Ascended Items in and of themselves. People wanting more options, that they have become and increased grind at times, and just people wishing that the game didn’t have them at all.
Other big concerns related to Ascended Items were the inherent alt unfriendliness, the increased amount of time gating mechanics, and wanting improvements to the legendary process.
Concern with Content
I put these things together mainly because the share that common content theme.
Mostly people just want more dungeons and fractal types available. There have been a lack of new dungeons and even updates to both apart from certain minor changes or updates. The recent change to Twilight Arbor is probably the biggest in a long while. They also want the kinds of rewards to be improved, more options and interesting skins.. better rewards the effort put in.
The Events scattered around the world are needing of an update as well it seems. Improvements to how they function in regards to zergs and small groups as well as updating them to be more dynamic in the mechanics. This also includes updates to the world bosses and dragons, an area that has seen recent improvement but appears to need more.
And what do you know there is also a small community that still wants harder content to enjoy and work through; dungeons, events, and even raids.
Something that I really couldn’t place elsewhere that featured prominently through the forum was people wanting things you would generally find in an expansion. New classes and weapons added to the game, more skills for the existing including utility skills and even new weapon skills to swap in with old ones. The creation of a more diverse combat system.
Then there is the usual like new areas, new events, new dragons, mini games, costumes, cosmetics, and lots of other things.
An improvement to everything about Guilds; guild halls, better functioning of the systems, new content to enjoy, and just a greater purpose for them within a game called Guild Wars.
Then, lastly it is more about improved Quality of life issues like being able to save and sap builds quickly and easily during play; menu’s and chat box; and the inventory and mini’s system.
Related issues were improvements to the UI. greater menu and chat functionality, more social options and better ways to connect with others, party/ raid group display and abilities, and the trading post.
Lastly there was Overflow issues, performance of the client, monetisation, economy and crafting, and a small percentage specifically wanting more jumping puzzles.
In the grand scheme of things this is but a small cross-section of the playerbase making these posts on the forums. Most who play would never even venture their, certainly not the casual majority. Then there is the issues with getting information from the players who no longer play any more as surely their insight would be valuable as well. So, is this really a good representation of the players wants and concerns.. I have no idea. There really is just not enough data to draw the right conclusions. They just really need to create the right tools and systems to extrapolate this data if they do eventually want to find out.