What I’m not playing: GW2

This is the second of what I expect to be three posts about three games that I’m not playing, each for another reason.

Reading blogs at the moment, it seems everybody is preparing for the next big event this year. It feels a bit like being a child at the start of the big summer holidays. Everybody’s packing to leave for vacation. For some reason, I stay at home, though. It turned out that Greenland is all the rage this year, and I don’t like shivering in June, so I’d rather stay here anyway, on my own. Collecting keys for all the houses, so I can water the plants, feed the fish, empty the mailboxes, et cetera, until they’ll all be back and show me long slide shows of glaciers, or whatever there is to see on Greenland.

Getting off on the wrong foot

The first time I heard of Guild Wars was shortly after I started playing WoW in 2005. Some guild mates on Ventrilo talked about this game they enjoyed on the side. When I asked what it was about, they told me it was awesome because it was “all instances” and “totally PvP-focused!”.

I don’t think I ever lost interest in a game faster. “All instances” and “all PvP” thenceforth were burned into my brain as description of Guild Wars, and it was neatly filed under “games you don’t care for and are not interested in”. And let me tell you, once I decided something is not for me, I have an impressive ability to ignore it. I literally never so much as heard from Guild Wars again until a couple of months ago, when I started reading blogs that talked about it, and a successor.

The first thing I was surprised about was that the game still existed. The second thing was that, supposedly, it had become much more PvE-focused. The problem was that still, nothing that I read made me really yearn for the game. I had a lot of other games I enjoyed at that time. And let’s face it, it’s not a UO or EQ: games that feel I need to have tried out just because of their name and influence, regardless of whether I think I’ll like them or not.

Continuing on the wrong foot?

What I read about GW2 so far is the following: It will have Dynamic Events, just like Rift. Wasn’t a big fan of them there, either. Especially if you do them on your own because everybody else is in other areas. And I like somewhat empty areas, so it’s bound to happen to me in dynamic event games.

It will be the same “select monster, hit actions on your bar, loot” model that almost every other game has had in the last years. And don’t tell me about “dynamic dodging” and such, we’ve already had that couple of times, too (TERA and TSW are the ones just from this year that spring to mind). Now, being just like the others is not a fault. (I actually still like the target-and-use-abilities system.) It just means that you don’t set yourself apart in a positive way, either.

Finally, PvP. Yeah… well. I heard it’s mostly WvWvW. And the way I understood it, it will be a large battleground, WoW-style (as in AV 1.0, when battles could take days), capped at a certain number of people per side, to encourage “fair battles”.

I’ll let you in on a secret: I don’t like fair PvP. Actually, I don’t like PvP much at all, but if it happens, I like it with 5:1 odds, preferably more. Why? Simple. I suck at PvP. I don’t win 1vs1. It’s one of the things EVE does right: you rarely fight at even odds. You fight when you think you outnumber or outgun your enemy. And you fight back when you think you have people ready to tilt the odds in your favor. It feels a lot more natural to me. Maybe it’s because I don’t like fighting other people much to start with. I’m more of a cooperative person. Add to that the fact that PvP seems to bring out the worst in people. So if I fight, I don’t fight for fun, but to win and get it over with. And I don’t care whether it’s fair or not.

Compelled to stay on the wrong foot

Also, there’s a certain… attitude to a very, VERY vocal minority among the soon-to-be GW2 players. I’ve seen rabid fanboyism before, but not at this scale: descending on every argument against their game. A game that, in their mind, will open the seventh seal, signal the second coming of Christ Almighty (minus those pesky riders), and deliver us all from the Evil that is every other game. But only for true believers, of course. If you dare question any of the dogmas, all you’ll get is a “shun the non-believer! shuuuuuuuun!“. If you’re lucky. If not, something like this happens. (From there on down, pretty much.)

Oh my. This is just… I’m at a loss for words. And all of this to a person who actually has preordered the game, so decided that it’s worth playing for him. The one thing we can all hope for is that those people will soon start playing their game, then promptly descend on the forums to spew all their hate towards the GW2 developers for developing what is only *gasp* a game! No game could seriously fulfill the inflated expectations by this point.

Will I ever get back on the other foot?

GW2 has one thing going for them: You buy the box, and from then on it’s F2P right out of the door. I will glance over the inevitable avalanche of posts about the game, starting from next week. If I like what I see there, I might pick it up later. That will have another huge advantage: the vast majority of the toxic fanboys that descend like locusts on blogs right now will have stopped playing by then. They’ll realize that, in the end GW2 is a game, not eternal salvation and deliverance from evil. It will probably make for a much better community and chat channels that you don’t have to leave immediately for fear of eye cancer, stomach ulcers, or fits of rage. I really feel for those who will have to wade through this in the coming weeks once the game goes live to enjoy the game they’re looking forward to. I hope all the nice bloggers will find some fun in the game, I really do! After all, it’s probably not a bad game. Just one that didn’t perk my interest when I heard of it, and then spoiled by the attitude of a minority that I think would make it impossible for me to enjoy the game at this point in time.

12 thoughts on “What I’m not playing: GW2

  1. Not going anywhere this year either 🙂 that said, I took a couple of days off for GW2 launch, hehe….

    sounds like you’re a little lost for choices right now. I can see your qualms with GW2, many people cringe at the PvP focus certainly. for myself the main drive really is the world design though – exploring and questing and just generally enjoying what or whom I meet on the way. I logged on with the new PC during stress test last night and oh, it’s beautiful! what will happen longterm I have no idea frankly, but am already grateful there’s something ahead that may last a few months. 😉

  2. I played GW1 at launch. I came to it from EQ. I had little interest in PVP and no intention of doing any and as it turned out there was no PvP in Guild Wars. Well, not unless you went looking for it, which I didn’t.

    What there was was the best PvE game I’d ever (at that time) played. Or so I thought for six weeks. After which I’d had enough and went back to EQ.

    Eight years later, GW1 is still a wonderful PvE game. Despite its e-sport arenas and its highly misleading name it’s been PvE game through-and-through from about a week after launch, when ArenaNet realized that although they thought they’d made and marketed a PvP game, everyone was doing PvE.

    GW2 is, as the devs have as much as said, another spiritual inheritor of Everquest. Since EQ is my favorite MMO ever and the original Guild Wars was one of my best MMO experiences so far, the combination of the two was immediately intriguing. The beta weekends showed me it was exactly what I was hoping it would be – a first-rate hybrid of the two games.

    All the hype about paradigm changes and new generations is just that: hype. It’s “just” a really top-notch, traditional MMO. That’s plenty.

    1. I wonder how much the two (GW1 and GW2) depend on each other story-wise? I have this urge to always go one step back to learn more about the back stories. EQ2 actually did a pretty good job of feeling stand-alone that I didn’t feel the constant urge like I would have to go and play EQ to get the story. And even there I had the feeling from time to time that I would’ve benefited so much from playing the first part. Wonder how GW2 will solve the history baggage problem.

  3. Will I ever get back on the other foot? -> this is exactly why I intend to buy this game in 1-3 years for a discount price!

    1. Well, 1-3 years is maybe throwing out the baby with the bathwater. By that time, I expect them to have released several expansion packs already. Besides, prices will come down much earlier, I bet. Around the time the first extension is released, at the latest.

  4. (note: I’ve been following GW2 for ages, pre-purchased it the day it went on sale, and can’t wait for the weekend)

    ..but you’re right about the crazies.

    The most frothing-at-the-mouth zealots remind of Nineteen Eighty Four: “You must love BIG BROTHER. It is not enough to obey him: you must love him.”

    You must love GW2. It is not enough to purchase it, play it, enjoy it, and even tell people that you like it. You must LOVE it. And of course you must HATE all other games. We have always been at war with SW:TOR.

  5. I also will not be playing GW2. The two most glaring flaws I see are a removal of dedicated healer (rather than introducing new dedicated roles to the ‘trinity’), and the prefabricated ‘world’ pvp. These ‘polishes’ will taint the title, and reduce its immersion factor.
    I too, want my PvP to be unbalanced, unfair, unscheduled. Mostly because I enjoy getting ganked and the rush that comes after a 5% success chance. The other 95% of the time is worth it. I did chuckle, however, after reading your reasons behind wanted unbalanced PvP, as I’ve never heard that angle with such honesty 😉

    1. I haven’t followed GW2 enough to know the details about how their supposed solution for the problem of the holy trinity works. I personally don’t have a problem with the holy trinity. In fact, I’d really like to see CC and support reintroduced as proper and important roles in the minds of players.

      And hey, what can I say, I love hiding in the crowd when it comes to PvP. 🙂

      1. From beta and my first 8 hours in GW2, the reason why *I* play are :
        – exploring the world – filled with a lot of details
        – at my own pace
        – consequences – short term unfortunately – of my actions : in Aion, i hated to only kill 10 of the invader thief – i want to kill them all to help – and never be able to at least for 1 min have the impression i have helped the farmer
        – WvW : because it IS unfair ! As you are, i am bad at playing games (but enjoy it ! ), and love to *think* how to be in the winning side = outnumbering, or outpowering the enemy. The reason why there is a limit on WvW is technical, the developper have specifically said they do not try to have fair fight !
        – I can play differently from other – i hate having exactly the same competencies as other, here i can choose

        But the game is not for everyone, my bid is it is a game for those who do not like others MMORPG and prefers SRPG : Baldur’s Gate, Skyrim, Dark Messiah, Dragon’s age, and who also like Multiplayers FPS : TF2, …
        But maybe I am outstretching my feeling…

        1. It definitely sounds like a wide spread, from RPGs to FPSs. That can’t be the only group of people to like the game, because that people who like both must be a pretty miniscule group. I would be interested, however, which part of the game you think attracts the FPS crowd? Feels so far away from the genre that I associate with GW2.

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