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Guild Wars 2 Entanglement Patch Preview Thoughts

So it looks like things take a huge turn for the worse as Dry Top gets invaded by… roots? Also, it may not just be Dry Top as the camp in Timberline Falls gets attacked by roots as well.

I have to say this will be an interesting turn of events. It looks like the living story heroes try to find the “root” of the problem as they venture in what looks to be an underground chasm. I knew that Dry Top mine had more inside! This makes me think this the content will be similar to the Tower of Nightmares. Maybe most or all of it will be instanced and there will be an area.

I’m not sure how this episode will “entwine” with the Gates of Maguuma but hopefully it’s a fluid process for the story. Don’t get me wrong, I’m highly anticipated for this content. As for the content itself, this was a question I had in the back of my mind: how will players that didn’t do Gates of Maguuma see Dry Top in Entanglement? Think about it. In the video, Dry Top and it’s citizens were wrapped in thorny vines. If a person who hasn’t done Gates of Maguuma story line starts during Entanglement, it doesn’t make sense. That is unless the Dry Top change in scenery are instanced but that could affect the flow of the story. Ideally, Dry Top should be as is. When you start the instance, Dry Top can change to it’s thorny substitute but when you leave the instance, you should be in a different area to keep some sort of immersion of the story.

It also looks like giants are getting in on the action. Not sure if it’s highly relevant or was just a taste of enemies to come. With all those roots, I can’t help but feel this is some sort of “project” Scarlet left behind. Or maybe it’s a bit of the power shown by the dragon we woke up.

In conclusion, the patch should be interesting story wise. I’m highly curious how it’ll go with the Story Journal and I hope the flow from the current patch to this one is good. I’ve been putting it off but I also hope that the desert look that Asura has isn’t hard to get! More immersion for the area is best immersion after all.

Where Is The End Game In Guild Wars 2?

Hey all, sorry for the last blog post, been kinda busy with Gamebreaker & Steam Sale stuff this week. So this week I wanted to talk a bit about end game for an MMO. As you may or may not know, Guild Wars 2 is my main MMO. Some people got turned off or stopped playing the game because there is no “end game”. Before I go over about GW2’s end game, let’s first explore the idea of what “end game” is.

What Is End Game?

Endgame defined by Urban Dictionary as “In [an] MMORPG. Used to describe the playing done by people who have reached the maximum progression and/or the most advanced content currently available.“. So I think we can safely assume that I can define end game as content you can do at max level.

A lot of MMO players link end game generally with raiding and PvP. This is probably, well, more like definitely because of World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft set the standard for a highly successfully MMO. The game is like what? 8-9 years old? And still has over 8 millions subscribers to this day. That’s pretty damn impressive for a 9 year old MMO game that’s competing with today’s gameplay innovation and graphics (which is sadly what most people base if they’ll play a game these days). However that success has convinced many other companies that make MMOs to follow the WoW format for making MMOs. This leads to the end game content similar to WoW’s which includes raiding and PvP. Therefore, MMO players get accustomed to standard gameplay in MMOs and expect certain content for end game.

So Where Is Guild Wars 2’s End Game?

Tequatl-the-Sunless-590x368It’s hard for some people to see but Guild Wars 2 is the end game. You’re obviously free to disagree with me on this but that’s what ArenaNet was aiming for with GW2. You can go straight into PvP if that’s your thing. You can go into World vs World (WvW) and level that way if you want a PvP levelling experience, I suggest travelling with friends or guildies though. You can level the traditional way and do the higher level dungeons like Arah (sadly limited to 5 people but it’s there). Can do living story when patches drop.  Can do guild missions. Can grind for a legendary weapon. Can go achievement hunting. Can do Boss runs and is much easier to plan out thanks to the overlay. In my opinion, there is quite a bit to do in Guild Wars 2 for “end game”.

All of this is there yet, it’s doesn’t keep some players around. Maybe it’s because players are used to the standard way MMOs work and wanted GW2 to be the same. Maybe ArenaNet’s end game philosophy doesn’t suit them in the end so they stop playing. Both are fine, you play a game because you like it. If it’s not for you, at least you know. It’s weird because I see Guild Wars 2 as a very popular game, yet it has a niche audience. Some people who play wanted something different from the generic MMO that provides the same type of end game content and GW2 does just that for them.

Now, I pose this question. This is not me being an ass, I’m being legit serious in asking this: Why do players raid & PvP? As far as  I see, people raid and PvP for 3 main things:

  1. Rewards
  2. Achievements & Bragging Rights
  3. Social Aspect

I see all 3 points possible in GW2. Maybe the rewards and achievements in GW2 are a little easier (unless you’re going for a legendary). Is that’s one of the problems? The content in Guild Wars 2 is rather easy where achievements are concerned (within reason). If you can easily blaze through the content and reach max level, you’re left with nothing to do. I feel that most MMO players at GW2 launch did just that (guild missions and living story wasn’t out back then) and that probably turned some people off. Concerning hard content, ArenaNet has been adding more difficult content, notably the Aetherblade dungeon (which wasn’t that hard in the end once you figured out the mechanics).

The Future of Guild Wars 2’s End Game

I really think ArenaNet can increase the number of people for dungeons someday. 8 or 10 man like in GW1 would be fun again. They’d have to rework all the dugeons for 8-10 man parties but it’d be worth it. For the aesthetics of the party UI, they can scale down the portraits and HP bars so that they can fit on the left of the screen perfectly. However they are working on their vision of “raiding” (for lack of a word). So until that comes out, I’ll reserve my further thoughts on dungeons. For living story, I’m really impressed that ArenaNet is making 2 weeks living story patches and I’m looking forward to them. This, I find, will keep people playing more consistently.

As for more end game content, I’d like to see it include the use of the other main cities and other areas. I don’t really care if it takes a year to get a decent set of content in a few areas but I feel like that needs to happen to get people exploring. More mini games for casual content would be nice. Polymock arena near Rata Sum (the Asuran city) has been around for a while, yet there’s been no patch to allow access to it yet.

In my opinion, right now, I find GW2 to be in a decent state where end game is concerned thanks to living story and guild missions. I hoping that the ArenaNet “raiding” (again, for lack of a word) comes in in the next few months. Of course, they’ll probably have to keep a lot of the stuff they’re implementing in mind when making their expansion.

So what do you all think of Guild Wars 2 version of end game? Do you like it? Hate it? Needs work?

What Make A Game An MMO?

Some of the next gen games for consoles look like they will need a persistent internet connection to obtain the full experience from the game. Some of these games have even outright claimed to be MMOs while others have not. The term MMO, which means Massively Multiplayer Online, doesn’t really have a concrete definition. Everyone has there own definition of the Massive and Multiplayer parts which are, more or less, similar to each other. So, what makes a game an MMO? I’d like to share my definition and look at some of the console games that are coming out and see if they fit.

So the world of an MMO game has to be big. How big? Big enough that there is a map with sections of the world you can explore. These sections can be instanced or be all interconnected with each other. Usually the former holds true but I wouldn’t be surprised if more and more MMOs become the latter in the future. Also the world needs to have a history of some sort. Be it a game based on fiction or reality, the world needs some background or lore to keep the state of the world in perspective.

The number of people is one of the main point of differentiating multiplayer games like Battlefield from an MMO. I also think this is the point where it’s hard to classify when a game is an MMO. An MMO should have a lot of people. I don’t mean 30 or 40. It should have players in the thousands mark. Why? This large amount of people creates the community for the MMO where players can form parties or guilds in order to do content in the world. Usually parties are temporary and are formed to meet an objective. Guilds are more permanent and are usually formed to do large (or small) activities with like-minded individuals. The essence of an MMO is it’s community. The very reason you would play an MMO is to socialize and to play the game with other people.

Kinda obvious but an MMO must be played online. This intertwines with the former two above. It’s hard to be able to play in a large world with other people that you know or don’t know without actually being able to connect to the world. The online part ensures an ever changing environment of not only the world, but people as well.

My Verdicts
So let’s look at some console games and see if they have the right to be called an MMO. Note that these are my opinions and you may or may not agree with them.

  • The Crew: A world where players can drive across the USA and back and you can join friends when you want for “the Fast and the Furious” heists and go back to doing your thing afterwards. Sounds like an MMO. There is a large world, the entirety of the US where the developer at E3 said you cand rive from on coast to the other. There’s the possibility of lots of people given the vastness of the world. You definitely need an online connection to play. I’d classify it as an MMO.
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division: This ones a little hard. The world setting is New York. From the E3 demo videos I saw, New York could be huge to explore but it could also have that feel but not be as big as I initially think. The world is PvP RPG-like where you have a quest line but other people could go and attack you if you’re seen. Players can come and go but again, I’m not sure the limitation of the number of people per server. To keep the skirmishes feeling like skirmishes, I’d imagine that the number of players can’t be too high otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get anything done. Until I know more about the world I can’t really confirm MMO or not. Right now to me it’s like a hybrid of an MMO meets FPS.
  • Destiny: It’s been called an MMO from the beginning and it definitely is one. The Borderlands/Halo type of world looks insanely vast. You can join people to take on bases and other fun objectives. Destiny hands down gets the verdict of legit MMO from me.

So what do you think the definition of an MMO is? Let me know in the comments!