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    Beta PvE impressions. The feel of the game is... Very much like a generic MMO.

    Now, nostalgia and red-tinted glasses about the original game notwithstanding, I'm feeling like I've had a day or two to digest my impressions - and most of them aren't entirely rosy.

    For some context, over the BWE, I've had the chance to take a Human Commoner Elementalist through the entirety of Queensdale - I believe I finished the zone at level 13, or thereabouts. I've also taken a ranger, and a warrior to level 8, or so. I'm willing to express the benefit of the doubt that the patterns I observe change as the game progresses - but I have strong doubts on the matter.

    So, for a bit of a breakdown of the experience:

    There are three ways to progress your character through the game - renown hearts, personal story quests, and world events.

    Renown hearts are the new addition to the franchise. They are the Guild Wars counterpart to typical MMO quests.

    Say, there's a bandit camp. A typical MMO would have several quests, which would ask you to, in this order:

    1. Scout out the camp. Come back to town.
    2. Go back to the camp. t Kill some of the weaker mooks in the camp. Another quest might ask you to bring back their ears. Come back to town.
    3. Go back to the camp. Kill some of the stronger mooks in the camp. Maybe set some of their stuff on fire. Come back to town.
    4. Go back to the camp. Kill the boss of the mooks. Come back to town.
    5. You're done.

    Renown hearts abstract this process into:

    1. Go to the bandit camp.
    2. Wreck their stuff. Murder them. Rob them. (The latter may occasionally cause bandits to jump out of the ground to attack you.)
    3. You're done.

    Arguably, it's an improvement. I'm not sure that there's anything of value that was lost in the process of getting rid of the "Go back to town. Go back to the camp," gameplay. Except possibly for more thinly-veiled justifications as to why your character should murder very *specific* kinds of bandits (It is narrowed down to a single thinly-veiled justification as to why your character should harass these poor bandits in the first place.)

    This is, after all, very similar to a typical MMO quest chain, with an improvement. So far, so good, right? Not quite - but I'll get to why a bit later.

    For now, let's talk about the personal story quests, instead. They are quite similar to the original Guild Wars, in that they flesh out a plot, are instanced, and carry voiced dialogue. They require you to perform specific objectives. In the original game, most of them consisted of "Fight your way through a group of mooks to get the boss of the level," with a few gimmicks thrown in here and there. For the most part, the pattern repeats. There is only one difference - they are done solo. There is still a problem lurking here - one that I'll get to in a bit.

    The third is world events. They range from "Bring me wolf tails," to "Kill these wolves," to "Protect me from wolves," to "Kill this really big wolf. Oh, and you better bring some friends." There's nothing wrong with this concept - although the execution of it can be lacking, it's more a problem with individual events, then the gameplay as a whole.

    The problem comes from Renown Hearts, and Personal Story quests - they are, unfortunately, a big step towards GW2 being a generic mummorpuguh - sans monthly fee.

    Consider... Just about every GW area. You'd go in with a party, and you'd be fighting parties of enemies. Some of those parties had interesting sets of skills that worked together (Some of them... Not so much - but I digress.) Either way, your enemies could throw quite a lot of stuff your way. They were *varied*. When you went through a mission, you typically wouldn’t end up fighting 20 groups of White Mantle Justicars, five at a time. You don’t have a twenty-fold repetition of the same bland experience.

    Contrast to GW2 solo content... Where you're fighting 1v1, against a mob that auto-attacks you. Occasionally, it will pop a skill on you. You kill it. You move on to... Another, single mob, almost always of the exact same type. What we’re seeing is the repetition of what is pretty much the same experience. And it keeps repeating, until you clear the renown heart, and move on to the next one.

    If that’s the kind of leveling experience we’re looking for, there are... a good half-dozen MMOs that fit the bill.

    “But MNF, what about the personal story quests?”

    While they are similar to the original GW missions - and do throw in a bit of enemy variety your way, there’s a more pressing problem with them. Specifically, the fact that you can’t fail one. You can wipe as often as you want - you will just revive at the start of the dungeon, and can keep fighting. They carry no notion of failure - only one of a varying repair bill. At worst, all it takes to get through them is... A sufficient amount of grind - which is ironic, considering that repetitive, grindy gameplay is something this community is very happy to attack other MMOs on.

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    Agree whole heartedly on the renown hearts--I've already hashed what I think about them in other threads. I didn't do WvWvW, can't comment. I didn't feel grind too much with the Personal Storylines, and only died once in one of them. I guess failure comes in the form of grind in having your armor weakened? Unless there are repair NPCs in the personal storyline that I missed; otherwise I view going back and trying again and again (grind) as being the consequence for not getting it done the first time. What type of consequence do you have in mind? I know in dungeons, if your armor goes, the dungeon is pretty much finished for you.

    What did you think of Dynamic Events?
    Last edited by Смерть; 03-05-2012 at 19:14.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterNightfall View Post
    For now, let's talk about the personal story quests, instead. They are quite similar to the original Guild Wars, in that they flesh out a plot, are instanced, and carry voiced dialogue. They require you to perform specific objectives. In the original game, most of them consisted of "Fight your way through a group of mooks to get the boss of the level," with a few gimmicks thrown in here and there. For the most part, the pattern repeats. There is only one difference - they are done solo. There is still a problem lurking here - one that I'll get to in a bit.
    Hmm, no. They're not solo, you can do it with a party.

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterNightfall View Post
    Contrast to GW2 solo content... Where you're fighting 1v1, against a mob that auto-attacks you. Occasionally, it will pop a skill on you. You kill it. You move on to... Another, single mob, almost always of the exact same type. What we’re seeing is the repetition of what is pretty much the same experience. And it keeps repeating, until you clear the renown heart, and move on to the next one.
    Also, no. I've encountered plenty of mobs that consisted of multiple foes at once, when I was solo.

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterNightfall View Post
    While they are similar to the original GW missions - and do throw in a bit of enemy variety your way, there’s a more pressing problem with them. Specifically, the fact that you can’t fail one. You can wipe as often as you want - you will just revive at the start of the dungeon, and can keep fighting. They carry no notion of failure - only one of a varying repair bill. At worst, all it takes to get through them is... A sufficient amount of grind - which is ironic, considering that repetitive, grindy gameplay is something this community is very happy to attack other MMOs on.
    You try to keep fighting if your armour is completely gone... I doubt you'll manage. There's a reason why your armour is gone by then and trying to finish a quest without armour you couldn't even finish with... I wonder how you lost your armour then... For me, that gives a sense of failure.

    Compare to the EotN missions. You can wipe as often as you want - you will just revive at the start of the instance, and can keep fighting. Even with a 60% DP.
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    Sums it up nicely.

    Considering the amount of WoW-bashing that could often be found on these boards, I'm somewhat surprised how well received GW going MMO has been. Personally I think some people will be in for a nasty surprise once they actually play a bit beyond the starter content we've seen so far in the beta.

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterNightfall View Post
    Consider... Just about every GW area. You'd go in with a party, and you'd be fighting parties of enemies. Some of those parties had interesting sets of skills that worked together (Some of them... Not so much - but I digress.) Either way, your enemies could throw quite a lot of stuff your way. They were *varied*. When you went through a mission, you typically wouldn’t end up fighting 20 groups of White Mantle Justicars, five at a time. You don’t have a twenty-fold repetition of the same bland experience.
    Good point and something I found GW2 lacking a lot. You may no longer need trinity, you may no longer need to form "real" groups, you don't even really need to make a proper build, however, it also means that the overall gameplay is far more generic. Things have to work out no matter which classes and amount of people are playing it. Scaling issues I've seen mentioned a lot, combat as such not so much. Personally, I found that it's basically watching out for your enemy doing a nasty attack and then hitting the oh-so-innovative evade button. But other than that, mobs seem dumbed down and can in no way compare to the variety GW had as of lately (WiK, WoC mobs). Not liking it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Rhonwyn View Post
    You try to keep fighting if your armour is completely gone... I doubt you'll manage. There's a reason why your armour is gone by then and trying to finish a quest without armour you couldn't even finish with... I wonder how you lost your armour then... For me, that gives a sense of failure.

    Compare to the EotN missions. You can wipe as often as you want - you will just revive at the start of the instance, and can keep fighting. Even with a 60% DP.
    I think his point was that you can basically just "grind" down a personal story quest with endless repeats, as you get revived and not booted. Similar to how in many cases you can still complete a EoTN mission/dungeon at 60% if you just throw yourself at enemies long enough. And if not, well, there is always that armor repair consumable (aka DP remover).

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    Quote Originally Posted by satenia View Post
    Considering the amount of WoW-bashing that could often be found on these boards, I'm somewhat surprised how well received GW going MMO has been. Personally I think some people will be in for a nasty surprise once they actually play a bit beyond the starter content we've seen so far in the beta.
    For me, why I didn't like WoW (and in the end, Aion) is the fact that there are kill-steals. Fighting for resources, fighting for drops. That kills it for me. I don't want to fight my fellow players, I want to fight the foes. And it's something that ANet fixed. Also the fact that you can't (really) go back to the starter areas if you're above the level required for it. Yes, you can go back, but it'll be useless. You can't do anything there except grieving other players.


    Quote Originally Posted by satenia View Post
    But other than that, mobs seem dumbed down and can in no way compare to the variety GW had as of lately (WiK, WoC mobs). Not liking it.
    Can't stand WoC, WiK is a bit better, but still not my favourite area of play. So, tastes differ... I rather liked the mobs I've seen so far in GW2. And while scaling must still be tweaked, I am sure Anet is aware of that and will tweak it before the next beta and continue tweaking it after release.


    Quote Originally Posted by satenia View Post
    I think his point was that you can basically just "grind" down a personal story quest with endless repeats, as you get revived and not booted. Similar to how in many cases you can still complete a EoTN mission/dungeon at 60% if you just throw yourself at enemies long enough. And if not, well, there is always that armor repair consumable (aka DP remover).
    Yes, but he also implied that GW2 was different from GW1.

    While they are similar to the original GW missions - and do throw in a bit of enemy variety your way, there’s a more pressing problem with them. Specifically, the fact that you can’t fail one.
    While the original GW missions (Prophecies, Factions and Nightfall) can be failed due to a party wipe, the missions in EotN can't. You can't fail them. And I must say, I much prefer that setup above the original missions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Rhonwyn View Post
    For me, why I didn't like WoW (and in the end, Aion) is the fact that there are kill-steals. Fighting for resources, fighting for drops. That kills it for me. I don't want to fight my fellow players, I want to fight the foes. And it's something that ANet fixed. Also the fact that you can't (really) go back to the starter areas if you're above the level required for it. Yes, you can go back, but it'll be useless. You can't do anything there except grieving other players.
    Kill-stealing is solved nicely, I agree. There might still be an issue with overcrowded places where you won't get a hit in before a mob dies, but that should even out in time and/or higher level foes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Rhonwyn View Post
    While the original GW missions (Prophecies, Factions and Nightfall) can be failed due to a party wipe, the missions in EotN can't. You can't fail them. And I must say, I much prefer that setup above the original missions.
    Yes and no. I also much prefer the EotN setup in terms that some stupid rambo NPC can't get you failed and kicked out of the mission, I did however find myself taking greater risks and playing more carelessly. All in all, I would rate Nightfall missions best, you can still fail and get kicked, but they seemed fair (as in, no bad NPC placement, hour-long missions, etc.).

    To me, the way personal story quests are done in GW2 again comes down to the game trying to be as generic as possible. You're supposed to be able to bring any class with pretty much any setup, after all you just have one char... well, I guess the revival system is the only way you can cover that. Still don't like it


    Quote Originally Posted by harniq View Post
    No one forces you to grind renown hearts. I found it refreshing that I could just do what I wanted. If I was bored with killing bandits I could feed some cattle. When bored with cattle I could cleanse some fires. When bored of that I could stomp wurms. Or what I rather did: run around the farm and do whatever crossed my path. Wurm > bandit > fire > wurm > cattle > fire > wurm > bandit. It was not so much grinding a single thing but rather "help out at the farm" which wasn't nearly as boring as just grinding bandits until the heart was filled.

    If you don't like fighting, you don't even have to. Almost all hearts have several non-combat elements. To me it doesn't feel grindy at all, since there is no grind. You just do whatever crosses you, which is more logical than go out to do something specific.
    Yes I can see how "wurm > cattle > fire" and then "fire > wurm > cattle" brings so much variety into the quest

    Joke aside, while a renown hearts quest might feel quite original at first, to me it got just as repetitive once you did 2-3 of them. It doesn't really matter if you kill spiders/bandits/centaurs, stomp wurms/nests/whatever, carry booze/water/plants around... it's the same activity, just looking slightly different.
    Last edited by satenia; 03-05-2012 at 10:59.

  7. #7
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    Well eventually your armour will fall of and you won't be able to get up from downed. So I wouldn't call it endless repeats, but you do get alot. These people will then have to shell out more moneys on armour repairs etc though.

  8. #8
    No one forces you to grind renown hearts. I found it refreshing that I could just do what I wanted. If I was bored with killing bandits I could feed some cattle. When bored with cattle I could cleanse some fires. When bored of that I could stomp wurms. Or what I rather did: run around the farm and do whatever crossed my path. Wurm > bandit > fire > wurm > cattle > fire > wurm > bandit. It was not so much grinding a single thing but rather "help out at the farm" which wasn't nearly as boring as just grinding bandits until the heart was filled.

    If you don't like fighting, you don't even have to. Almost all hearts have several non-combat elements. To me it doesn't feel grindy at all, since there is no grind. You just do whatever crosses you, which is more logical than go out to do something specific.

  9. #9
    I found this to be well written critique of the content. The only real innovative part of the hearts is that they are automatically added, there is no need to talk to a quest giver. The fact that they can be completed in different ways have no real importance, and the fact that some of them can very easily be completed by accident (like in the Yogscast video) makes them worse than most normal quests.

    Quote Originally Posted by harniq View Post
    No one forces you to grind renown hearts. I found it refreshing that I could just do what I wanted. If I was bored with killing bandits I could feed some cattle. When bored with cattle I could cleanse some fires. When bored of that I could stomp wurms. Or what I rather did: run around the farm and do whatever crossed my path. Wurm > bandit > fire > wurm > cattle > fire > wurm > bandit. It was not so much grinding a single thing but rather "help out at the farm" which wasn't nearly as boring as just grinding bandits until the heart was filled.

    If you don't like fighting, you don't even have to. Almost all hearts have several non-combat elements. To me it doesn't feel grindy at all, since there is no grind. You just do whatever crosses you, which is more logical than go out to do something specific.
    It's still grind. You still got equally rewarded just for carrying out mindless, endlessly repeating tasks (including endlessly repeating before and after you had completed them), regardless of any playing skill above the one needed for the absolutely most routine actions. It's grind.

    And just to note: you don't have to grind in WoW. It just happens to be the most efficient way to play. It is certainly not the only way to play.

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    Amusing, but breaking everything down to the point where all in life is optional - breathing as well btw - is hardly relevant.

    With renown hearts, you can pick the order and the amount you want to do of each yourself, I'd say the later is a minor innovation over a regular quest, while the former would simply equal doing 3 quests.

    But the activities themselves do repeat throughout the different locations and just because you dress them differently doesn't mean the activities themselves are different. I don't have a problem with that, there are only so many activities you can offer in a specific game, however, calling it innovation is what i find hugely exaggerated. They don't really differ from each others (or other games) once you understood their repeating pattern.

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