This could probably be considered a rant, but what the heck. I'll try and make it as constructive as possible. I'll also go ahead and say I still enjoy Guild Wars (I think), and that I'm glad ANet listens, more or less, to their players. I do think, overall, that ANet has done a pretty good job, but I'm starting to wonder if they have a real development plan outline, or if they're just reacting to whoever can cry foul the loudest however.
A couple of things have been bothering me about Guild Wars lately. To the extent that I catch myself pondering them when I should be enjoying the game (such as now), and even looking at other upcoming games. I'll even admit to speaking to a friend about WoW lately. (The fact that I quickly came to my senses is irrelevant. :winking47) Some of these issue I think can be fixed, others, well, perhaps not. One even has nothing to do with the game itself, but rather the community. Naturally ANet can do little about that, but I do believe they can take steps to discourage it, if they wished. Anyhow, on with the ranting.
1) Rushing to the Forge.
Good grief, this has gotten out of hand, hasn't it? Does ANet wish this game to become like diablo 2 where you can get an end game character in less then a day? By not commenting on it, nor doing anything (so far) to discourage it, it certainly seems that way. I'm sure some folks will pop in and say rushing doesn't harm anyone, and that I , nor anyone else, has any right to enforce my play style on another paying customer. Fine. Just stay out of the pre-level 20 arenas, and don't try to join my South Shiverpeak groups while pretending to be a non-rushed character. Unfortunately this is why most folks do it in the first place.
For the few folks that actually mean it when they say just want end-game armor to make the rest of the game easier; that is your opinion, and your choice. More power to you. However, for the seemingly majority that wish to grab the armor, capture a few easy elites, then go off back to the lowbie arena's so they can then go on and on about how they just 'pwned stupid n00bs!" . . . I hope you have a long and fulfilling life. :happy05:
1a) Pretending to be a Non-Rusher to Get Groups.
I'm getting really fed up of making groups in South Shiverpeaks, only to learn later on, usually disastrously, that half the group lied about being rushers. Its always fun to learn your elementalist, or necro, or whatever doesn't have any of the skills past Yak's bend. Its almost as fun as learning the monk you brought along for healing doesn't have any res skill beyond the signet. Of course there are henchmen to do missions with, but there are also a lot of other more engaging single player, and tci/ip co-op multi-player games, too, for that matter. Besides, I've already finished the game using mostly henchmen. With my second character I'd hope to group more folks beyond the group I came into the game with. Apparently this is a mistake on my part.
1b) The Ascalon and Yak's Random 4vs4 Arenas have become Mirrors of the Level 20 Arenas. The only minor difference is people only have 300ish health, compared to 480. Was this intended ANet? I was always under the impression these arenas were created for folks to try out new character ideas without having to worry about having all the elite skills, armor, and weapons. Guess not, eh? I'm assuming so since there's still been no mention of it, nor changes prvent it. Personally, I cannot put to words how much fun it is going from pre-searing to the Ascalon arena and facing folks using Forge armor infused with perfect rune combinations, chaos axes, and stormbows. Honestly, I can't.
1c) "WTB Rush!! I Rush! I Rush Better!" spam.
Sort of self explanatory. All that is missing now is a few trade channel bots (Oh, wait ), and a cow level. I find myself wondering how many Rush-threads the mods of various forums have to delete (or if they even bother now). Seeing as how much the recent "Who's the coolest rusher!" stuff has been popping up everywhere lately, I'm willing to bet a lot.
2) Making the Game Quicker, and Easier.
This is something I really did not notice until I went through the game a second time. As far as I know, ANet has made no mention of such changes. Which seems to go against their "No hidden changes! guideline. I can't set down and argue this point by point, but I can say that I noticed a significant reduction in mission difficulty overall. Ranging from added allies, to missing monster patrols, to even seemingly huge reductions in monster health, damage, and defense. Someone else can probably point out some more specific examples then I, but the one that seemed the most obvious to me was the Riverside Mission.
I did this mission recently with my standard group of friends (all on our second characters). We weren't level 20, we didn't have any elites, nor end-game armor, weapons, or even runes above minors. Regardless, the mission was a breeze. The first time we did this mission (over a month ago) we had to pull, lure, watch patrols, and run if we got more then 4-5 at a time. This time however, we tried to lure and found out that is was, more or less, a waste of time not to rush. Overall most things could barely hurt us, let alone out damage our healing abilities, and seemed to die extremely quickly. It took us around 20+ tries on our first character, this time we obviously finished it in one without much effort.
A more direct example would be near the end of the mission, when we were almost wiped out due to an unexpected bit of lag, that resulted in one player and henchies rushing into the two towers by the rope bridge. With only my Mo/R alive, we recovered easily. All that was required was for me to solo two groups, each consisting of two level 20 justicars, and a level 18 abbot. Using apply poison, and barbed trap, this took about... 5 minutes I believe. This was drastically different from the experience my E/Mo had weeks ago when trying to solo a single justicar.
3) Increased Drops / Easier to Obtain Elites
Despite this supposedly horrid anti-farming stuff, I've noticed a vast increase in drops on my second play through. It seems like every time I drop an ettin or a giant, there is a purple or gold armor/item waiting. Elite skills, as I've posted before, are more or less effortless to obtain. Merely find the boss, kill, use signet, repeat. Some folks wanted it this way, others didn't. I can accept it, but it doesn't mean I have to agree with it, and all of that. These arent too much of a problem I suppose, but I figure it was worth tacking on anyway, due the following.
My reason for pointing these out things out was due to believing that these changes were made to make the Oh so difficult PvE easier for the folks complaining about wanting to just PvP. Which is fine, except the recent mention of an update allowing PvP characters to unlock items through PvP seems to be an infinitely better way of handling this. So... Does this mean that these changes made to make PvE quicker and easier will be reverted, or stopped in the case of rushing, now that there is a much better alternative? I would like to think so. Even so, doubt it'll happen.
I do think stopping rushing would make the PvP option a little more appealing. As when it comes down to it, most people will always pick the easier route. And no matter how easy you make unlocking skills in PvP, it'll never compare to how easy it currently is to be rushed, then go SoC a few bosses, and running through the (now) incredibly easy missions.
4)ANet's Update Outline
While the other problems are things I've actually experienced, this one is a bit more subjective. Nevertheless, I do find myself thinking about it more and more. This isn't a PvE vs PvP issue, or anything of the like, not to myself anyhow. I won't try and speak for everyone though.
Anyhow, I'm under the impression that ANet's main goal right now is Observer mode, seemingly at the cost of other things. Namely balance changes (easy pve), gameplay additions (whatever happen to those two new areas at e3?) skill balance/oversights (HoH is a good place to start looking), and so on have taken a bit of a backseat. After oberserver mode, we'll hopefully get the PvP changes, which I can enjoy despite not being exactly what I was looking for in the game, and then, judging from ANet's comments, I'm guessing yet another elite armor set or some similar time/money sink.
That last one is a bit frustrating in particular, as the last thing I think the PvE game currently needs is more things akin to that. I'm not asking ANet for the moon here, I merely would like to see some effort directed toward some of the current possible problems before adding new, somewhat shallow, additions to the mix. Even as little as a brief mention that they consider random problem X to be, or not be, a problem would suffice. Just some kind of base communication, either acknowledgement, or dismissal, would do.
Maybe I'm wrong on this, and I hope I am, but it does seem awfully similar to my friend's complaints about Blizzard ignoring WoW's supposed problems, so they could focus on Battlegrounds development. Different issues, different games, sure, but it does seem like a similar mind set.
That was more or less the big issues that I've ran across lately. I'm sure I, as well as others, can add even more if pressed. Some folks might not think these are actual problems, while others will think they're even worse then I depict them. Even so, I figure its not fair to complain without mentioning a few suggestions towards solving them. Although, I'm sure these, too, could create issues.
1) Prevent rushing. Seems pretty easy when you think about it like that. Merely plug Lornar's, or at the least make it difficult enough as to where not just any warrior or monk can do it. Heck, maybe make it a quest or something. Just so long as there is an actual challenge involved for such a reward. In my own experience, I had a more difficult time going from Riverside to Fisherman's, then I did going from North Shiverpeaks to Camp Rancor. That seems silly.
For the PvP Arenas, merely adding level reqs to armor, elite skills, weapons, or all three should work. Or even simply flagging any character that traverses beyond the region (Ascalon for the Ascalon Arena, North Shiverpeaks for Yaks) with a variable that prevents them from entering the arena, could do the job. Folks would still mule end-game weapons off to their characters, but since its not easy (comparitively) to meet the reqs for the weapons at these levels, its not completely as unlimited as armor, and non-variable elite skills.
2) Put the challenge back into the game! Not as simple as it sounds I realize, but still possible I think. Maybe something could be done with mission/quest difficulty scaling. For example if you enter into an Ascalon mission with a level 20, then the majority of the enemies would be level 20+. This would both add challenge, as well as a bit of replay ability. If nothing else, at least give the poor Justicars (and other critters) their old health totals back, its... embarrassing to see them die so quickly now.
3) More or less ties itself to the above, I think.
4) A Bit difficult to suggest a fix here, as I mentioned its could all just be subjective on my part. Perhaps going back to the amount of pre-retail communication could help out some. It'd certainly clear up more confusion then a random blurb on the Update page, and the redundant fan site Friday interviews, at any rate. If my paranoia by some chance is correct, then thinking about how to fix current problems could be a bit more productive in the long run compared to adding minor additions here and there.
I'm sure some folks will disagree, shout randomly, threaten me with blunt objects, talk about WWII, politics or even add their own problems in the following pages, should anyone bother to suffer through reading all of this. Regardless, these are just a few things I've noticed when playing lately. I'm not sure if they can actually be debated or not, since I tend to trust my own eyes, but I'm sure everyone has their own views about 'em.