But I'm too lazy to do it.
But I'm too lazy to do it.
Agreed that there are many games with better combat, better jumping puzzles, better elite missions, etc out there. But I bought GW2 because I wanted to play an MMORPG and none of the other ones I heard about or tried came even close to being satisfying.
I do play many other games to satisfy other gaming needs though. Lots of good games out there, outside the MMORPG genre.
But it really saddens me. I guess I was swept along by the hype (silly me), but GW2 is not at all what I envisioned it to be. I figured it would be the game to save the MMO genre. But it's not. It's just one more in a long series of games that are really not that different from each other. Kind of like how most JRPGs are similar. Different, but similar.
Puzzle-wise, even jumping-wise, Portal 2 and some indie titles have done it better. Puzzle games tend to be one-gimmick though, never managing to expand beyond that. In some, they keep it fresh by having one gimmick-at-a-time (Braid had the time aspect changing every chapter; Portal 2 introduces new elements one-at-a-time). I remember an old puzzle game where each level you were given 3 magic skills to solve the level, the skills you had changed often so you had to use what you were given... Anyway, those games are great often because you develop mastery of those few gimmicks. GW2 puzzles never seem to last long enough in their gimmicks to develop a good sense of mastery.
I still prefer OMD2 for defence, even though the GW2 "tower-defence" missions were cool, they were nowhere near what OMD2 delivers. Balance means less space for crazy sh...
But the main flaw of MMORPGs is in its core goals. It wants a game where lots of people play together. As such, it has to cater to a broader more casual audience. It has to have simplified gameplay so people can learn easily, and also so that bandwidth demands are kept reasonable. It has to have challenges good for casuals otherwise people drop out of frustration. It needs a large diversity in activities which means a general lack of focus.
All that means you can never really create a focused expertise-based experience and expect it to work in a MMORPG context. Or at least, if you do, you need to figure out some tough conceptual questions before you can even start doing that. Event scaling was a big breakthrough for the genre, and even that turned out harder to tweak than they probably thought.
ANet has broken away from conventions everywhere it makes sense to do so, and so have improved the MMORPG quite a bit. But you can't break away from the audience, and in particular, they didn't just want to keep the GW1 audience, they wanted to open up to MMORPG'ers.
I'm not sure whether the server architecture and it's community-building aspect ended up being more good or more bad, but I can understand why they went that way.
Now I am a true GW1 fan... But was GW1 better in these respects then? Well, no. GW1 was good for many reasons, but partially it was because of the intense focus on teamwork. People have called it a continuation of Diablo, but I disagree. Icewind Dale, though, had roughly the same gameplay (but a much older version of it, of course), with the focus on the team, the status of every team member as weak on his/her own, yet an important part of a whole. (GW1 also had other things such as the deck skill building aspect, but let's not think of that for now.)
The strong point of MMOs is the social aspect, it has always been that way. There's not much reason to play MMOs except for that. The poor quality of other parts of the game is, I think, partially because they don't need to be better. People play MMOs anyway just to get the social part. That is why we accept crappy minigame-like play such as jumping puzzles and tower defense maps. Nobody buys GW2 to play jumping puzzles, that's side content, but they are still interesting because the rest of the gameplay isn't really that much to talk about. (I'm not saying that the effect would not be similar in GW1. It was similar. Think of how serious people were about the rollerbeetle racing.)
But MMOs don't even do that part well. Look at what you, Alaris, said earlier in this thread - you are happy, instead of annoyed, to see people. Yes sure, technically, but reports are the same everywhere I look. Dead zones, people playing side by side, little to no team chat except when needed. You no longer have to worry about kill stealing and ninja looting, but that's about it. Sure, there are MMOs that actually do this good. Take EVE Online for example. But as other games have shown, it's hard to do this properly. Darkfall tried and IMO it failed. There have been others as well but as far as I know, no big names. Perhaps Pathfinder will manage to do it. Perhaps not.
We will see.
Comparing single-player games to MMORPGs is quite unfair, because single-player games offer a much more controlled environment in which to tweak flow and balance. In single-player games, you don't have to worry about how many players will show up, group tactics, solving the game for others, or people aggroing foes onto other players just for lulz. The challenges posed have to work independent of how many players you have, independent of some of them spoiling it for others.
Can you imagine Portal 2 but with 50+ people in one map?
Likewise, imagine how you feel good for wiping every foe in an area in single-player games. Imagine now that without respawns, every single person after you going there will find an empty map. Ultimately, permanence works well in single-player games, but fails pretty hard in MMORPGs unless you can solve the major problem of how you can create content that keeps explaining why you can never seem to achieve any sort of progress.
I don't care for team chat outside of dungeons, I just want to interact with people via combat. GW2 offers that, provided I find where people are. With zaishen areas, that should be pretty easy. Yes, right now it's not optimal, by far, but hey... I remember in WoW actually being rewarded for playing as far away from other people, and that was the opposite of why I was playing that game. Now when I see others, I can tag along for the ride, and often do.
I keep hearing good things about EVE online. If I had more time on my hands, I would buy it.
Players don't need to be "eased in". Throw them in and hit them with at least half the mechanics at once - they'll pick it up. Not only that, they'll piece together things better than if you spoon feed them.
I love the tutorial in Dark Souls. Love it. You start in a prison cell, with a broken and nearly useless sword. A key you find on the floor allows you to open the door. Outside you find a couple of almost inanimate zombies, together with messages, seemingly scrawled on the floor, for how to attack. So you do that, you finish off the first one with normal attack and the second one with heavy attack. There's a ladder leading up. You climb it. No enemies up here. Eventually you reach a large chamber. There's a message on the floor: RUN. You barely have time to read it before a gigantic demon descends on you, basically giving you a choice between running like hell or certain death. Welcome to Dark Souls.
The reason I love it? It's pretty well done. It actually does describe how to move around, and how to deal damage - in theory, you can kill the demon with your starter broken sword. In reality, you're better off running, but the entire thing lights you up with adrenaline. And once you are in that state, the game keeps throwing messages at you - do this to dodge, do this to make a jumping attack. Here's a shield and here's how you use it. And right after each message you are given a chance to use your new knowledge, a knowledge that the rest of the game assumes that you have a basic handle on. And do you learn? Boy, do you learn. You learn because even in the tutorial you are pushed to your limit, and you find that you reach that limit. And once you touched that limit, you know it feels good. I don't mean good like sex, I mean way better than that, like when you're coding for 5 hours straight without even checking what you are doing and then when you run the stuff it just works. That kind of good. GW1's pre-searing was very nice, but Dark Souls' Undead Asylum is the only tutorial that actually made me feel that I was already playing the game.
(EDIT: Nah, tbh, pre also gave me that feeling. I didn't notice it until after the searing cutscene though. Amazing experience. But for a completely different reason)
The last message in the tutorial level is how to attack from above - jump down from a height and just do a normal attack in the air, while falling. After getting that message, you find yourself on a balcony directly above the 20-foot demon that you ran from earlier - but now you know how to fight him. And after that, you are done! The rest of the game is yours. You now know all non-PvP game mechanics (except spells, and I don't remember when degen conditions are introduced) and have access to them all (again, except spells, and special-damage weapons such as lightning damage).
Now, sure, yes. It is a very controlled environment. But that is beside the point... Consider the GW2 tutorial level.
Yeah, sorry about that. I didn't mean the starting instance. I mean the GW2 tutorial levels. Because they are more than one. First you learn your weapon skills, arduously, and then you get trait points, but not too many at once. By the time you max that out, you will have, if you are the average player, spent many times the normal single-player campaign length of other games! Are you telling me that what Dark Souls, in a controlled environment, does in half an hour, must be done in maybe 30ish hours, or more, in an MMO?
This has nothing to do with wiping every foe. Rather the opposite. What MMO designers are afraid of is pushing their players. Casuals, they think, don't like risking failure. Nothing could be more wrong! Consider the gazillion phone games that exist. Consider how many times little Billy had to replay that really tricky level of Angry Birds before he finally beat it. He felt that razor edge too, and he ****ing loved it. Just like he loved finally getting 100% on Hit Me With Your Best Shot in Guitar Hero. On easy. Because that's his limit. Because he is an utter casual and still loves his edge. Everyone does.
Some people just haven't realized it. And if we keep seeing MMO after MMO not offering a chance for it, then we'll continue to have MMOs that only offer the social side. Now that is why I was so sad to see the old GW1 ideas vanish from GW2. Because GW1 had that, that edge, a little bit of it, without having to do much for it. Oh, sure, it's in every MMO if you get far enough. If you play GW2 and hit FotM level 80 you are probably there. But even then not really, I'd think. At least, so far I've never broken a sweat while playing GW2 (not saying that I have reached level 80 FotM!).
Sure, GW2 doesn't punish you for playing in the vicinity of other players. But that's about it. To me that's about as social as a bus ride. You are close to people, you can talk to them, but the most common way to ride a bus for most people is to find a seat and then stare blankly at the window until you reach the destination. GW2 makes me feel that I'm playing side by side with people instead of with them - I think it's because they don't really have any effect on what I do and vice versa. Not completely true, they give me random buffs and I kill the same guy they are fighting. But it still feels like a lot is lacking.
EVE have the corps and the entire player-driven economic structure. It's a vastly different beast than GW2, not always for the good because the grind is monumental and the actual gameplay is IMO not that hot. But the social part, yes, that is the reason why I like to list EVE as a top MMO, perhaps the top MMO.
But yeah, like you, I can't find the time. From the stories I've heard I'd probably get hooked enough to cancel my sleep for 8 nights per week. And the week don't have that many nights.
I'm not saying WvW shouldn't be. I'm saying I don't believe there is a real reason to have physical separation based upon continents.And WvW seems to have been a really big hit. In all fairness, just because it's not something you (this is a general you, not specifically aimed at you Rabid) think is worth it doesn't make design decisions catering to it a bad thing.
We could just as well have been assigned a region at first sign-up drawn by your IP.
Of course, if they'd actually spent time thinking about that problem, they might have found other ways as well.
Last edited by Cyberman; 21-01-2013 at 19:19.