Guild Wars 2: If Only…

Breath mint?I really am not trying to beat the dead horse that is my once love, but now hate for Guild Wars 2. It’s said, the further you spend away from something, the more you can be objective about it. Well for me, that time has only soured me more on the game. I see now that a lot of what I was hanging onto was my idealized version of the game and love for the franchise created by the original Guild Wars.

Going through my notes, I found a list that Wolf and I created while we were still playing the game, regarding some the biggest wants or issues we saw and hoped to see changed. Very little had by the time we stopped playing some eight months later, but I’d still like to share some of them:

Change aggro to stop trains
This was a really frustrating one. It was most often seen in the hardest areas where people run around gathering crafting materials. As they ran from one node to the next, they would aggro mobs. But they didn’t want to waste time fighting, so they would scrape the mobs off onto other people. Truly, the fault here lies with Anet since they designed mobs to break from those who aggroed in the first place.

Diversity in NPCs
Anyone who has played GW2 and has been to the Grove knows that almost all the female NPCs there are one of two models. The game had one of the deepest character customization in any MMO I have seen. It couldn’t have been that hard to add a little variety with a character randomizer, especially with generic named NPCs.

Less PvE knockdown
Sadly, GW2 struggled with finding ways to make the game hard without using cheap tactics: the one used the most was knockdown. In late charr areas, there were devourers that had large AoE, zero cooldown knockdowns that lasted three seconds. How is that supposed to be fun?

Town clothes
This is the only item that Anet actually made any improvements to. For the greater part of time we played, there were very few town clothes options that were not holiday related. Right before we left, the gem store started selling some pieces, but the mechanic itself never worked right. If, while in town clothes, you took any damage or went into the water, your clothes would revert to your armor. Which is fine, except to complete the jumping puzzles that were found in towns, especially Lion’s Arch, you had to swim and always took fall damage.

Pet Rebalance
While Anet was clearly trying to make ranger pets unique, they failed horribly on making any pet but the brown bear usable. The bears in general had much more health than any other species, and the brown bear in particular had a great AoE condition remover. They really couldn’t be beat. When the game was overrun with bots, they exclusively used brown bears. One other ranger/pet issue worth mentioning was that anytime a ranger took damage, the pet was auto-summoned. This made it where rangers were excluded from the most serious dungeon runs because the pets would cause unneeded aggro.

Graphic ... card ... meltingMore audio slider controls
One of the first videos Anet released of Guild Wars 2 was the Elementalist skill video. The human eles spouted one-liner’s throughout the video like, “I’m so stunning” and “Here come the flames!” While most people were excited about getting to see the new skills, they also bemoaned the horrible, cheesy lines. Anet promised that there would be a way to turn those lines off. What they gave us was an all-encompassing NPC audio slider. Tired of hearing Wynn the merchant or the bank NPCs incessantly repeat the same lines over and over? Well that means that you will have to give up on important team call-outs and meaningful NPC dialog in dungeons and story conversations.

More legible font
During the beta weekend events for the game, the font used in Guild Wars 2 was quite good. But something must have happened, likely with licensing, because when the game was released, it was replaced with a terrible font. Being harder to read and having poor kerning was only part of the problem. The worst was that it scaled horribly. If you turned down the UI scaling all the way, it became illegible.

Get rid of the dungeon requirement for personal story
You could very easily level all the way to 80 without doing much story. But, as it’s a large part of the lore of the game, we felt obligated to finish it on at least one character. And while certain story paths were hard to do solo, it could be done. That is until the end, when you’re forced to do a five-man story dungeon to complete your personal story – a huge disappointment to us.

Targeting fix
This seems to be an issue with all MMO’s, so it might be part of a larger problem. But considering how well the targeting worked in the original Guild Wars, I think many of us were expecting more. There are far too many issues to list with the targeting so I’ll just mention the most laughable. If, as a ranger, your pet would get in-between your camera and your target, you would lose target. Also, if you weren’t able to target a mob in front of you because of an obstruction, often if you moved your camera’s PoV (not your character), you would then be able to lock onto the target.

Mini-map lock down
A nice feature of the mini-map that they added after release was the ability to increase its size. But this cause another issue. In a game where situational awareness is key, you are constantly moving your camera. The most common way to do this was click-hold and move with the mouse. But if you accidentally clicked in the mini-map, you would just move your map. And in the hectic positional fighting, that would often get us killed.

Return alliance chat
With the launch of the Factions add-on for the original Guild Wars, an alliance feature was added where multiple Guilds could form a group, in-part for large scale PvP battle. It ended up having a really important side effect of supporting smaller guilds. You no longer had to be part of a huge guild to get access to certain content of the game. This also meant that there were more people on when you were, which created more group play opportunities. But for Guild Wars 2, they decided not to include this feature. It’s sad, but this is likely the reason our Guild Wars 2 guild died: people felt they were missing out on content so would only represent larger guilds. At the end, I was the only officer that regularly represented… but I’m not bitter. :P

I actually started this article back in November but every time I tried finishing it, I regretting having to retread all the issues the game had. I would much rather go play a game I enjoyed than write about one I didn’t. But, it was important to finish this and get it off my chest about how a game that had so much potential could so strongly disappoint.

(2) Comments

  • Aralicia
    27 Nov 2015

    It’s strange were google sometime sends you. Just read your last entries on GW2. Did you consider returning with the arrival of the Hearth of Thorns extension ?
    In a previous post, you lamented the -at that time- position of Arena Net against extensions.

  • Seyon
    04 Dec 2015

    Thanks for the comment. We will not be going back to GW2. I’m not really angry like I was at the time and I know they addressed some of the issues we had. But we have so many games to play and we really did put a lot of time into the game. Plus, we’ve already scratched that original Guild Wars itch with Path of Exile.

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