Well now that we have a Lovers thread to go with the Haters thread, me being who I am simply must walk that middle ground, so thus we have the thread of indifference.
The TL;DR version – There’s just not enough in GW2 that recaptures what I loved and was compelled to play with in the original. It’s a quality game, but not one that I can or will be playing.
Let’s take a trip in the way back machine to late 2004 and early 2005. While my memory is a bit hazy from that time – changing careers, getting married, buying a house, child on the way … there is one thing that still stands out.
During that time I was still re-playing my favorite characters in the Wizardry Archives and Eye of the Beholder, while still booting up the old IBM for some real nostalgic gameplay. While I was interested in many other games throughout the years in that time, nothing was really satisfying my itch for good old group-based dungeon crawling. In fact, most of my play time was spent with Caesar II and more so with Firefly’s castle building sim Stronghold – many a sleepless weekend went into that game before something caught my attention during this time.
There was talk about a game on the horizon from some new upstart dev comprised of guys who jumped the Blizzard and WoW ship to strike out on their own and redefine this still young genre of on-line gaming. I had heard of WoW, but never gave it much thought as what little I knew of “MMO” didn’t appeal to me – continuing to pay a monthly fee to play a game I already bought? No thank you – I like owning things I purchase and being able to play whenever and wherever I wanted. But this new game would be something different – there was no monthly fee, and best of all, it had the potential to offer me something that I felt was lacking in the RPG genre for a long time – group-based exploration. While many a good RPG had come and gone, most were simply the lone hero battling against legions of enemies. Gone were the mechanics of creating your full party a la Wizardry, or picking up NPCs to journey with you such as in EotB and Baldur’s Gate. But here, with this thing called Guild Wars, was the opportunity to once again form a group of adventurers to battle against evil.
Arenanet seemed to know exactly the kind of game I wanted to play:
1. Group-based, the highlight of which were NPC henchmen, so I could explore the world in my own way on my own terms in my own time, without having this single-player gamer having to worry about playing with other people right from the get go.
2. Buy the game and play as long as I want without ever having to pay another dime to keep playing. I was still worried about the longevity of the game and still not really “owning” the game like my shelf full of aging titles that I could still play even after the dev/pub went belly up.
3. Pick up and Play without having to worry about missing content. Like my favorite SPRPGs, I didn’t have to worry about time (or content) in the game passing me by. My adventures would not change if I wasn’t able to log in every day.
4. It would be a game where I did not have to worry about other players negatively affecting the world or my gameplay experience. I could determine the amount of “MMOishness” I wanted to get out of the game on my own terms.
After the final BWE, I knew that Guild Wars would be the first game in 20-odd years that would match and possibly even exceed the two games that made me the gamer I am today. Over time, the game continued to improve, even though there were changes and elements I did not like and think went against the original philosophy of the game, those four core components remained more or less intact. That’s why I was equally excited about the announcement of GW2 and what additional fun Anet could bring with the advancement of the technology in those couple of years since the original. And that’s why, since that time, my excitement continued to wane and my disappointment at not being able to re-capture the feeling and desire to play GW2 has grown.
Ultimately, while GW2 keeps #2, the other three components of what made me a GW1 fanboi are either changed too much or my liking or gone althogether. The game feels like it has lost the casual and pick up and play focus that kept me going in the original. It’s tough to say right now what the changes to instancing and creating a more typical MMO world will do in terms of the old MMO griefing, but there’s not enough there now to make me want to try. Couple that with the things that have been added that I do not find enjoyable in my swords and sorcery RPG, I find that GW2 is not the game that I want to be playing nor am compelled to play. I have made mention of these things in other threads over the months and years, so will not reiterate here, but technology and level scaling simply do not appeal to me.
My bookshelf is full of quality games (make no mistake, I think GW2 is a quality game), but ones that ultimately end up feeling average to me, and nowadays, I just have no more room for an average game. I only have time for those games that keep me compelled to play or think about playing every day – SWTOR pulled me away from GW1 as GW1 pulled me away from Stronghold, which pulled me away from BG, which pulled me away from EotB and Wizardry. GW2 has failed to do that, and so must be relegated to the realm of average for me.
So, after over 7 years of enjoying the company of players in game and on these forums, I must finally bid my final adieu. I have had a great time discussing and debating with many of you over these years and perhaps one day in the future we can meet again in GW3 or (even better) GW1: Reloaded.