I originally posted this on the GW2 Official Forums, but I've decided to transcribe it here for two reasons. First, the GW2 forums are inaccessible right now, so the conversation was cut short. Second, I generally find the conversation on Incgamers to be more intelligent than any of the other Fan Forums... perhaps it's because the mods are less afraid to punish inappropriate behaviour...
More than a few articles out on the web have stated that your average video gamer can be classified into a few types. I won't go into listing all of those articles, but I would say a good place to start reading is: http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/com...is-legendaries
Although Brother Laz's original definitions were aimed at Diablo 3, these player types can easily be applied to any online game. They are:
- The Spike – Plays to win, no matter what it takes or how boring the path to victory may be. This is the guy who is perfectly fine with the fact that his D3 wizard wields an axe and his D2 sorc wears a green potato bag on her head. This is the dickwad who picks Tryndamere in 3v3 blind pick and after banging your *** for 20 minutes goes GG EASY NOOOBS in all chat.
- The Timmy - Likes big stuff. Uses the rocket launcher because it makes big explosions. Goes all offense in every build because it makes big damage numbers. Picks Garen and screams DEMACIAAA every time he spins2win from the bush. Plays for fun where fun is defined as smashing stuff but is not willing to get bored out of his skull to maximise his success rate.
- The Johnny - Sees games as a means of self-expression. This is the guy who builds a Molten Boulder druid, intentionally wears tier 2 paladin gear in WoW when not actively fighting and picks Orianna. Usually he gets trampled by Spike but sometimes it works and then he feels great.
A lot of argument can be made on what is the "correct" way to play a game, but in the end, this is a matter of a person's preference and personality. So with all that... how does it relate back to Guild Wars 2?
Guild Wars 2 is currently not designed for Spikes. With the heavy emphasis on Dynamic Events, Exploration, and other non-conventional sources of leveling rewards, the traditional "A to B" path to winning or leveling does not really exist in Guild Wars 2. On top of this, the current Microtransaction Store offers several ways for casual players to catch up to Spikes with items such as the XP Boosters and Damager Reducers.
For those Spikes who are unwilling to purchase XP Boosters, this game likely feel like a very hostile environment where the Dev's seem to actively work against them. They probably feel that they are being forced to pay more money in order to "play" the game as they intend.
For those Spikes who are willing to spend money on XP Boosters and the like, they will likely find this game very disorientating with seemingly no where to capitalize on those precious moments when the XP Booster is still active.
All in all, this game is not designed for Spikes.
In my experience, Timmy's tend to be those who most readily adopt "cookie cutter" builds. They are also the ones most likely to be "sitting on the fence" about Guild Wars 2.
Guild Wars 2 can be very rewarding to a Timmy. However, this game has a very unconventional leveling system and play style (vs. traditional MMOs). This means that it is very easy for a Timmy to wonder into areas he's not ready for. He may choose very non-Timmy classes like the Engineer. Or, he may wonder into areas that are not designed for Timmy's (i.e. any area that down-level's your character). These are all things that may disappoint a Timmy.
Clearly, Guild Wars 2 was targeted at this group. There is literally just SO MUCH TO DO!
That each of the personal backgrounds will general entirely different sets of quests (i.e. try "Noble + Lost Parents + Dignity" then try "Commoner + Lost Sister + Ferocity" for Human backgrounds) clearly shouts out to the Johnny's. Not to mention that each weapon set and utility skill set seems to offer hidden combo's just waiting for your average Johnny to figure out and develop into full fledged builds.
How can we "fix" the game for each of these archetypes?
For the Johnny's...
... the Dev's have an easy job. Just keep doing what you're already doing.
For the Timmy's...
... I think we need two changes... the first is education...
While a lot of people saw those early Guild Wars 2 "Class Reveal" videos, I think very few people other than the most ardent fans really bother to look up what each of those videos meant. For example, early on one of the dev's (I think it may have been Colin) mentioned that the order of the reveals is the same as the increasing level of "difficulty" in playing a given class. Few people now seem to remember this.
Recall that the warrior and elementalist videos came first. They are really the most stereotypical Timmy classes with easy builds and big numbers right from the get-go. However, on these boards, I seem to see a lot of Timmy's try to play classes like the Engineer or Mesmer then complain that their DPS is very low. Few of them realize that these classes heavily rely upon esoteric builds and combo's that are really intended for your Johnny.
A possibly easy way of fixing this is to encourage Johnny's to share their builds with the Dev's. The most simple of these builds should have their skills move to the first tier of the skill tree. The most effective should have their skills scattered through the tree to encourage Timmy's to progress.
The unlock order of weapon skills should also be changed so that Timmy's will unlock effective builds early on... teaching them how these skills interact with each other.
The second change we need is to change the leveling feel. I think the "down-leveling" mechanic should be tuned so that the reduced level is still at least 1 level above the average level of mobs in an area. (So if the average monster is level 4, a level 10 character in the area should be down-leveled to 5 or 6 at most)
Yes, this will potentially make certain areas too easy. However, there is very little impact on the other two archetypes of players. A Johnny is not going to care as they're there to explore. Leveling is probably last on their mind. A Spike is not even going to be in that area... They are probably where ever the next key to their progression toward "end game" is.
Skyrim did a good job in this respect. Very early on, players realise just how absolutely broken Enchanting and Blacksmithing was. They also realised how with just these two skills a character can become God-like. This gave Timmy's a very easy way to feel "good" about how "powerful" they are. As more people played the game and as more character builds started getting released, those same Timmy's found many other builds that didn't rely on Enchanting and Blacksmithing...
For the Spike's...
The solution is more complicated. Less so that it is complicated to describe, more so that it will likely be complicated to implement...
First and foremost, we need to add clearly defined paths of leveling for them so that they always feel that they are progressing towards their "end game victory".
Good methods are:
- To make events easier to find.
- To make the actions required for triggering events easier to determine.
- Earlier introduction to dungeons and clearer direction/gameplay hints leading towards these dungeons
Second, Spikes need a constant feeling of progression in their ability to attain "end game victory".
Good methods in this respect are:
- Special loot drops after each Event (or at least each Group Event)
The current version of XP Boosters, Resurrection Stones, and Damage Reduction boosters HAVE to be removed from the Gem Store. Early Microtransactions in other games have completely poisoned the minds of your average Spike. To them, the idea of getting XP and DR from a cash store equals unfair advantage. To them, this creates an unfair advantage that creates a resentment not towards those anonymous members of their community who use them, but really towards the Dev's for allowing them.
Really, these items are more designed for Johnny's and Timmy's anyway. Alternatives can also exist that are specifically suited for Johnny's and Timmy's:
- Alternative XP "Booster": An XP storage. It grants bonus XP based on how long ago you've logged onto your account.
- Alternative DR and Alternative Res Stone: Activate to return to any unlocked waypoint and ignore the repair cost and waypoint cost. (Could also be used just for travel purposes)
Anyways, what do you guys think? (Apologies for the TLDR..)