Ideas, Ramblings, Critiques

Yeah, so no one will read this. Whateva! I do what I want! [1]


Guild Wars Strengths

  • Lower grind: This game has less grind than other games of it's kind that I know of. This is good, but also dangerous, as it keeps me playing for now, but maybe only until a lower grind game of this style comes out.
  • Builds. This is why I play. The ability to create your own type of character. I don't mean custom visuals that are how most games "custom element" is. But with the 8 skill slots, and two professions to pull from, one can make any type of character. Want a death knight, make a W/N. Want a paladin, make a W/Mo. Want a witch, make a Me/N.


PvP / PvE

I got the game with an interest in PvP. Their no grind claims and instant max level PvP characters made me purchase the day after I read about the game (which was almost the first day the game went live).

  • Upon making my first character, yes, I was able to make a level 20 character. But I had absolutely no skill selection. It didn't take long before I decided the best strategy would be to unlock everything in PvE, then move to my ultimate PvP goal. The byproduct of the unlocking system was really negative for a player with my philosophy on what is fun (the actual playing, the PvP rush, and build freedom). Fortunately for GW most of the fan base doesn't think like me. Also fortunately, the PvE was enjoyable enough for me to keep playing.
  • As soon as all skills were unlocked, I moved straight to PvP. This was ten fold more enjoyable than PvE had been. It struck me even more so how horrible an idea their unlock system was. PvP is where I really learned how to play the game and some skills I thought were crap turned out to be my favorite skills in the game. To me PvP reached it's climax once everything was balanced in Prophesies, and before Factions.
  • In Factions PvP and PvE were both fun. The stupid move they made that made me think of Factions as a PvE chapter despite popular opinion was competitive missions only being for PvE characters. It took them a long time to fix this, but they finally did. For Factions I was 50% PvE/PvP as I still thought the fastest way to get unlocks was PvE.
  • PvP unlock packs were implemented. In a way "finally", but in reality "how *%$#( cheap". This should be the was the game comes originally. I won't condone their decision to not just include the unlocks by supporting these unlock packs. The existence of these packs almost turned me off of the game completely.
  • Nightfall came out and really changed things. Increased options for skills, strategies, and attributes is generally a good thing. But after playing, it felt like a case of "be careful what you ask for". It was just too much for the PvP environment in my opinion, but it did add nice variety to the PvE world. Also, henchman control (even more than heroes) went miles to make the PvE element more enjoyable.
  • Now I play mostly PvE, with thought that I may go back to PvP, but no real drive either way. Until I have unlocks, I won't be actively seeking PvP. And after, maybe, who knows.
  • Bottom line is, I always have been, and always will be disappointed with the unlock system and original marketing fraud from ANet. I still enjoy the game, and play regularly, but this always eats at me. That's why we have places like this to vent :)


PvP Styles

The Best

  • Random Arenas is great for some quick action. You will run into mostly very unskilled people and be frustrated when they are on your team. You will run into a handful of decent and highly skilled people. You will also run into people who are just messing around or testing new builds. RA is only for you if you can accept these things. RA is borderline my favorite PvP, not because of the play style, but because people don't tend to take it too seriously, you can get playing quickly, and you don't have to commit to more than a few minutes.
  • Guild vs Guild is the most fun play style. But you have to have the right group. Some guilds are too obsessed with winning and with their statistical ranking to play or experiment. It also takes too long to get a team together and can require a long time commitment. Another problem is a tendency towards falling into a roll. I hate playing a limited number of builds, but admit it does work better in GvG. But I'd rather loose than play the same thing all the time. If only the good elements of RA, with the play style of GvG could somehow be combined. I am not suggesting a random GvG, as going in with a team of people you know is a high fun factor.
    • Scrimmage is really just a testing form of GvG, but you know the people on both teams, which makes it more fun. People also take it far less seriously, which makes it hugely fun. You can also do battles of any size you want (up to 8v8). You can use the GvG elements or not. The bad parts are that they can potentially take longer to get going than GvG, and that you may end up playing the same maps too often.

The Medium

  • Team Arenas fun to do unless it's with a pug. You can experiment here, but if you are going in just for fun, sometimes people take it far too seriously. Usually only medium wait time to get a team together.
  • Alliance Battles is nice and quick like RA, but the battle is big enough that you can get lost in it. Positioning can play an exceedingly important roll (in a good way). Time for battles to start can be completely out of hand. It seems as though there can be 12 people from each side waiting to play, and that GW has some back end mechanism that won't allow the battle to start until a certain one has ended (if that's true, bad ANet). I really feel it should let you enter as a team of less than 4 to be randomly paired with others. People randomly pair anyways.
  • Competitive Missions has different objectives that almost make them as fun as GvG. The random element leaves something to be desired, but it would be worse to make this particular map not random (FotM's and one faction dominating). It has a similar wait problem to AB. But turtle siege is very fun to play from both sides, and is only a medium time commitment. You also have too many afk lechers and early leavers. Many players don't know what they're doing, but that's ok.

The Worst

  • Heroes' Ascent rubs me wrong for two reasons. One it's integrated with the favor system which one can philosophically make an argument for supporting racism (though no specific), as it pits regions of countries against other regions. But it's rank, the first title that really sours me on HA. I've played HA plenty and understand the problems of PUGs. But rank emotes tied in with players letting you join rubbed me wrong when I was unranked, and still rubs me wrong today. Rank is an indicator of experience, but it is only an indicator, it is not the truth. Pre-ranked, I played with ranked teams, and was invited back as being a good player. I've also played with plenty of ranked players who either were not at all skilled, or couldn't function in a team. Rank bloating was real bad back in the day with purchasing accounts and grinding FotM builds.
  • Hero Battles I love heroes in PvE, but not so much in PvP. Securing points is kind of a fun element at first, but gets old. The capture point henchman is too powerful, but I can't think of a nerf that wouldn't be too much of a nerf. There is a strong range of friendly players and annoying elitists who play.


Chapters

  • Prophecies was great. The sense of discovery went a long way in making it hard for an additional chapter to top it. Skills were diverse enough to create countless possibilities, but contained enough to keep track of them all. It was small enough to know what skill the skill being used on you did by icon alone.
  • Factions was under rated. People griped about the speed of progress being too fast and the initial up to lv 20 parts being too short. Though this game can be played by people who do or don't own chapter 1, it would have been foolish to dedicate the amount of development they put into pre lv 20 content in prophesies since so many players would be ones who owned prophesies. The material drop rate, and consistent boss spawns were great. The unique items drop rate still far too low, creating grind. The new skill variety breathed new life back into the game. It was a lot to take in, but still felt somewhat manageable. But the worst thing they did with skills was the introduction of duplicates. The philosophy of balance aside, these consumed needless mind share. For people really into build creation, remembering two names and icons just felt a little unnecessary. It would have been much better for them to have used the same icon (for quick effect recognition when a skill is used against you in PvP) and name. They introduced more grind elements titles and town ownership. Overall, I wasn't a big fan of it at first, but now I realize some of the really smart things this game chapter did.
  • Nightfall maybe over rated. I enjoy it, but the Tihark Orchard, while artistically gorgeous, was so boring to me I haven't progressed past it. I will though, but I started a new Prophesies character first. Jokanur Diggings was an extremely cool mission. I haven't played a funner mission. It's appropriately challenging to a Nightfall native, but obviously over simple for a foreigner. It has a very cool Indiana Jones feel to it. I loved everything about this mission. Their tag line, "never fight alone", was a horrible one based on the fact that people really enjoyed solo farming. The changes in AI behaviour have turned many I know off. I'm not much into farming (though enjoy the thrill of solo farming in small doses), but leaves a sour taste to think that since this is an online only game, people who enjoyed playing that way can't install an old version of the game and play that way from home. It's a problem inherit to any online only game and why there will always be an appeal to offline games. The hero system and henchman controls were a nice addition, but I might still recommend Prophesies to a new player. Hero control might be a bit more than a new player really wants to deal with. The number of classes and skills feels like it's gotten a bit out of hand at this point. I no longer attempt to be familiar with all the skills, and veer away from my once favorite play style, PvP.

So which chapter is right for you? Well, if your reading this, you've probably been playing GW for a while all ready. But here we go anyways.

  • Prophecies: if you want a nice storyline and gradual development. This is my recommendation for most players.
  • Factions: if you like a fast paced game with good variety of play styles (more PvP styles and nice high end challenge missions). Also recommended if you can appreciate an fully integrated artistic experience. Between sound, visuals, monotony, and play style, Factions has a strong sense of a dark and gloomy passion to it. I used to complain that the city section was too long, but it kind of instills and wraps you up in that that hopeless feeling.
  • Nightfall: If you like complex PvE play. Unless you a somewhat serious gamer or like extra complexity, the hero system more be more than you want. But if you like complexity, control, and have a strong PvE preference, Nightfall may be the chapter for you.


Critiques

Hypocritical Concepts
  • Grind and unlocking. The original marketing statements on GW website claimed you could just pick up the game and start going in PvP. Claimed it was about skill over hours played. At one point they removed this statement from their site, but I don't know if they have a version of it back up. I'm sorry, but you can not truly compete at the same level as someone with more unlocks than you. You may be able to beat them, but you do so with a handicap.
  • Encouraging or discouraging grind? We get farming messages and take a break messages. But at the same time we get a low drop rate for certain items and grind intensive titles to strive for. Makes me think the people at ANet are a bunch of spoiled geeks that always want things their way.
  • Character customization. Actually, I like the level of character customization. What I don't like is the higher level of detail put into certain NPCs that players don't get (Ruriks cape, Devonas/Cynns/Eves armor, Kasha Blackbloods hair color. This is only hypocritical in a character customization type of game, it should feel like the developers give the best to the players, not the NPCs.
Grind gripe

I hate games with grind. GW is by far the best game of this style for people like me, but it's a long way from ideal for my tastes. Both in general and for PvP.

  • Greens take way to long to drop.
  • Titles seem more and more set up to encourage grind as a way of keeping players active in the game.
  • Character based titles and non changeable primary professions mean you have to do almost all PvE elements multiplied times the number of characters you have.
New Classes

Ok, I like the idea of new classes, as evident from the many classes and chapters I've written fan fiction concepts about. But the six main classes are more than enough for me to handle.

I'd really like to see an ability to change primary professions. Heck, I'd like to basically have my PvE character unlock all PvP elements, but have them to change to. No farming greens. No worries about inventory. Just play and have fun. But just an ability to change your primary prof would let you experience any build in PvE without having to play through the game with now 10 times (and likely more with future chapters). Even if you had to buy armor for every class, it would still be an improvement. Take a hind from Fury, who has taken hints from GW.

Now the true evil side of new classes. New classes by themselves I enjoy. But when a new class requires changes to an old class for balance, you are entering nasty territory. Those balance changes can ruin builds that had nothing to do with the new classes. This is where I wish I could install an older version of the game to play. How I would love if I could play the first 1-2 chapters PvP, and all three chapters PvE (even if that required two installs of the game). Take for example the Paragon. Their shouts gave a strong punch to Rangers as expertise no longer effected shouts, stances, and possibly other things. Watch Yourself was also once a nice skill to but on a warrior secondary who didn't use too much adrenaline, and had only medium to low tactics. I would use this quite frequently as a little boost when I didn't need the skill slot too badly. Now the skill has become completely not worth it for those builds. And that is an example of how I start to despise the new classes.

Expertise / Balances

Certain balances can ruin a PvE character you've worked so hard on. I would buy/cap most off primary class skills with my ranger. They changed expertise, and now a lot of those skills I bought are ineffective on the ranger. I'm all for balance, but they are not doing a very good job at getting things right the first time. Yeah, easier said then done, but maybe that means the new element introduced into the game wasn't such a good idea after all

And what's with touch skills still being effected by expertise? I mean if you think about what expertise is, it makes a lot more sense for it to effect stances than touch skills. Many touch skills are spells or spell like. What is it about the ranger that makes them so good at copping a feel? Maybe there is a stance class coming out that would be too powerful for expertise to work on. But that being the case, maybe GW should re-think their stance class.

I realize the description for expertise has always been more limiting than what it actually did. But it's irresponsible to let people get used to it effecting certain things, then changing it. Fundamentally very upsetting. I do know two specific players who quit playing when this happened.

Titles

I really think these do more harm than good. That being said, there are still certain titles I'm going for. They promote grind (which GW seems to have a confused attitude towards), and make people behave badly. Ranking others is childish (the rank emote being the first title). People choosing weather to give someone a try based on a title is discouraging to newer players or ones who don't title grind.

Favor promoting Racism

Favor of the gods is just wrong. I just tend to avoid Realms of the Gods and statue blessings all together because of it. I don't want to get attached to either, then not be able to have them when I want them. This is a game, and the favor restrictions on this element take away from the fun factor to me. I've proposed elsewhere on this page a good alternate idea for realm access.

The balance of power has changed from American to European. If your in either you've been treated "fair" so to speak. But it's complete crap for those of other districts. America also has favor regularly, but usually very late at night (their time). If they are kids (which a lot of gamers are), have families, or have regular hour jobs, it becomes very difficult for them to use the benefits of favor during this time. I am in the American districts, but have never liked the system. Even when American districts dominated. I see where GW is coming from in the sometimes access. Don't agree with it, but see where they are coming from. But my point is that GW has failed horribly to create a scenario where different regions have reasonable access. They could have certain hours of every day be dedicated to different regions, and the other hours fight able for. But you still have the problem where some peoples popular time isn't the majorities. So maybe combine my other suggestion with with anytime access, but a more expensive entry fee (or worse drops, but drops are poor enough all ready). The point I was trying to get at is yes, the region dominating favor seems to shift, but a shift happening once a year is many times too slow to be acceptable.

But my real problem with favor is a moral one. It seems to promote racism to me. It doesn't make me racist, but I can see how people from the predominant region would look down on others in an annoying "noob i'm better than you way", or people of the sub dominant regions could grow to resent the dominant regions. We are dealing with lots of young people who play the game and may be more impressionable too. I think the favor system, as is, is rather irresponsible of GW/ANet/NCsoft.


Wish list

Storage

Come on. Way to low. Give our PvEs PvP armor creation :) I know it won't happen, but that doesn't mean I can't say it. Actually, just having various armor and weapons collected reside in a drop down from the equipment screen would relieve many storage problem. Or maybe just armor is in the drop down and weapons equipped in the 4 slots are not stored in our bags. Need faster access to them besides reaching into bags in the middle of battle after all.

The materials storage tab was great, but could use one for dies, runes, or weapon upgrades.

Let us move multiple items at once through our inventory.

Hair Stylist

Why not. Let you change a naturally changeable part of your character. Make them the same NPC as the festival mask guy as sort of your costume/make up artist. Seems easy enough at any rate.

Build Templates

Give us a better interface. The preview was a good idea, but I always wanted a usage description box like the pre made PvP characters of old.

Friends list

Let us have more friends. Let us put comments with our friends names to help us keep track of who they are, how we met, what they like to play.

Auction House

Pretty low on my list, but GW is does a number of things to help stabilize the game economy:

  • set item rarity too high
  • make AI and skill changes to hamper farming
  • customized weapons can't be unaccustomed or even shared between users of the same account

An auction house would go miles further in helping to stabilize the GW economy than any of the above attempts. They could make a pretty non complex one to add too later. They used the excuse with build templates that they wanted to do it right the first time. This allowed them to take a long time to implement the templates, but when they did it was actually pretty week. Get's the job done, but definitely didn't necessitate the development time they took to do so, and honestly, it didn't look like they spent much time with usability testing of it either (which should have been the big calendar time consuming part of the upgrade). Long story short, but in a simple auction house and improve on it as time permits. Myself, I think playing the virtual market is boring in any game (just like doing taxes is boring), so I don't really care. Just seems there priorities aren't in the right place.

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