User:Just One More Thing/Guild Wars 2 Thoughts
Obviously I have no way of knowing what Guild Wars 2 already includes and which topics the designers are aware of, but I will share all the points and areas of concern I think are important to highlight.
Spanning the (instance) divide; player interaction
- Instances and population spread
- Grouping (for both PvE and PvP)
- Finding a guild
Instances in Guild Wars were a great selling point, no need to worry about having to trip over other players, or ‘stand in a queue’ to fight a mob or worry about PKs/loot stealing. While those points are indeed true, the technology has other side effects. Not having one persistent world has some social implications; players are basically divided from each other. Exploring the world is a rather lonely experience, unless partied with other players; you can’t bump into anyone else. It makes the ‘world’ feel deserted and less alive. Population spread is also a problem, as the game expands and more areas are added, the players span many places, thinning out potential interaction/grouping opportunities.
On the topic of interaction, instances provide the biggest barrier to direct player communication. In the area of trade, it becomes very difficult to sell and especially buy what you are looking for. As previously mentioned, with the player base spread across region, language, expansion, outpost and instance, there is no easy way to find what you want or get a potential buyer. For actions such as trade, a method to span all of these barriers must be added; it could be in the form of a globally spanning auction house type interface. Where all items are broken into categories, and can be searched via keywords and have some kind of sort feature. That would make the job of buying and selling infinitely easier, instead of relying on luck that someone in the same instance wants what you have or has what you want.
Its not just trade that’s affected by the instance barrier; the same sort of global spanning interface should be applied to grouping and guild recruitment. Ease of grouping is key to promoting the player base to interact. Not just for PvE endeavours, but PvP areas as well. For example, players who want to GvG but don’t have enough players, they’d want to for a Pug match, could use such an interface to find individuals who are interested in playing also. Guild recruitment is another important area that needs such a feature. A different global interface could list interested guilds wanting new players, and have information on them like rank, rating, number of players, region, primary language, what kind of players they want and other information. Players themselves could be listed as wanting to join a guild, with the qualities they want. All of this information listed in a global spanning interface, accessible by anyone.
- Smart solutions, stacking and more options
As more items are added to the game, the need of increased storage becomes apparent. And with literally hundreds of possible collectable items, players want a place to keep them. While its understandable storage cannot be unlimited, it can be handled in smarter ways as to ease the burden on players. Player Armour is often offered as a gold sink, something to save up for, but inventory space really limits how many sets can be purchased. As an example, it could be ‘unlocked’ like a skill, instead of taking up 5 slots per set; players wouldn’t need to worry about space. Instead of having 4 different headsets to cover all the attributes, one would be enough if it had the option to toggle witch upgrade was currently active; Runes and insignias could be unlocked then switched on the armour.
Increasing the number of stackable items might also be a good idea. While player item hoarding is a concern, some things which are common and less valuable (i.e. runes, weapon upgrades, insignias, inscriptions) would be good candidates. Also, some items may no longer need to be hoarded if they are more accessible to buy. With the improvements in trade mentioned earlier, there’s a good chance players are less likely to hold onto items if they can easily buy and sell exactly what they need. Having traders for essential items like weapon upgrades would also discourage hoarding if the item was easily purchasable.
The materials tab on the Xunlai chest is a type of specialised storage and this idea could be expanded. A Special tab for dyes (colour palette) would also work well.
While the Xunlai chest provides some kind of account spanning storage, better options could be added to aid item transfers among players on the same account. Logging on/off characters and switching items in and out of the chest can be rather time consuming and inefficient. Some kind of easier way of inventory share should be added to make these actions smoother.
Putting the Guild back in Guild Wars
- Add compelling features, over simply linked chat and additional NPCs.
Being in a guild has advantages; Linked chat with the other members, easy centralised access to a number of NPCs, and if you partake in GvG, a teammates to play with.
However, additional functionality could be added, such as an in-game guild event calendar, for officers to schedule activities. Players could access it and see what guild events are coming soon.
Guild mail or some kind of notification system would allow players to send each other messages when they want to contact each other but are not online at the same time.
Adding further ranks within a guild would also be a welcomed addition, not just simply players and officers, but possibly delegated powers and titles. Like the ability to invite new players (or not), the power to kick (only certain ranks). A nice addition would be to show actual player status within a guild. For example, Officers could have ‘sergeant stripes’ besides their characters name, guild leader could have a star. So other players can easily see just by glancing at a player’s character what position they hold. The idea of a Guild hall could also be expanded, to possibly a guild controlled town or territory, which could be upgraded via player gathered resources. Not simply additional NPCs, but extra buildings, fortifications, weaponry and decoration. These upgrades would have practical benefits, not just provide different skins.
Alliances were a good addition to the guild system, providing the ability to link a number of guilds together via chat. It could be improved, however by allowing players to see the full roster of their allies, say by clicking on a guild name then it shows the list like their own guild just for the one selected. The view would be limited to 1 guild at a time, to reduce overhead. Seeing potentially 1000 users at a time wouldn’t be good performance, interface or resource wise.
- Full range of skills/weapons should be there from the start
- rank as a measure of skill
PvP should have no entry barriers for new players. It’s important that there is a level playing field without the need for grinding for the most fundamental elements such as skills and weapons.
Rank (or any other PvP earned measure of prowess), being just a single number or emote is deceptive. It should be a real measure of players performance in the form of an in game graph, showing points earned over time, just as it is on the Guild Ladder for individual teams. That way, other players can see if that player earned all his points 2years ago and hasn’t played since, if they earned all their points during a bonus point weekend or at a time when a certain gimmick was in play. Ideally it should show a players gradual points increase over time, and thus illustrating they are improving, and are currently active. The graph could be mapped to profession also, showing, for example that a monk had earned his points playing as a warrior; therefore his skills as a monk may not reflect his rank. These changes would improve the accuracy of the given title.
- Balance even within PvE. Viability rather than overpowered is key.
- Titles for vanity rather than necessity.
- Uniqueness, customisability and post creation modifications.
- Reliance on AI
I don’t think the idea that PvP requires skill balance, but PvE doesn’t is correct. While PvP definitely needs to be balanced, PvE also requires it. Having a balanced skill selection promotes diverse team play. Few overpowered skills can dominate the Meta, which leads to a stale, unskilful game state. If certain professions are perceived to have weak skills, players who choose to play them are at a disadvantage. There should be a number of viable choices for each profession, and no skill should be so overpowered as to overshadow all other choices. With a wide variety of skills for each profession, it gives all players a chance to participate, not just for the few select professions to dominate. The PvE only skills are a good example of an overpowered and unnecessary mechanic.
In PvE, it’s not “player versus the environment”, but “player versus his fellow player for space in a group”. That is why it’s important for all professions to bring something to the game. Perceived weakness is a cause for exclusion. Even now some professions are looked down upon. With future profession design, there should also be an effort to give each a defined role, so other players know what that class is capable of. Too much overlap in profession functionally is probably not a good idea.
When a skill is linked to a title, and requires a great time investment to advance, players will naturally choose other players with the highest advancement. In this case saying “titles are optional” is not valid, for it means players are forced to grind if they want to team up. Titles should be wholly vanity goals, and not be linked to such fundamental things as a skill or buff; grind should not be used as a method of improving their efficiency.
I’m sure it was never envisioned that players would have characters whose age surpassed years. Players spend a great deal of time devoted to their characters, advancing their status and building experience. Guild Wars 2 would benefit from greater variation in character visual appearance, as to provide players a number of customisation options. This could be in the form of greater control over appearance during creation and a wider selection of armours. Post creation character customisation options should also be provided, to enable players to change a characters appearance without resorting to deletion. Having a unique looking character and working towards nice armour and weapons is something many players want, not to look like everyone else but a unique individual. An in-game barber/tattooist could be added to offer players a chance to change their appearance if required. For a name or gender change, something like that could be limited by charging a small fee for the action, as to dissuade unlimited modifications. Players would pay for such a service.
It may be a rather unfortunate fact that many players prefer to team with Heroes and henchmen rather than other players. Of course there are a number of reasons for this. Toning down access to computer controlled team mates might improve social interactions. The PvP game mode should be purely player based.
Strong points of Guild Wars (the weak points of other MMOs)
- Strong storyline, missions
- Team play
- Combat and skill system
- Instances used correctly
- No player killing, separate game modes.
- Single server architecture
- Patching system
- Payment model
I’d also like to highlight a few areas where GW exceeds in. It would be unfortunate if any of them were wholly discarded in the sequel.
A lot of MMOs suffer from sandbox syndrome. You are basically dropped into a strange world, left to wander about with no strong direction or real clue as to what the game is about, or if there’s even a story involved. Guild Wars uses the mission format to weave a strong storyline, so players can experience the hero’s journey and learn of the tale of the land. While it’s true more freedom of movement could be added, in the form of multi branching/optional missions or less travel restrictions, I think it’s a better format than having no direction at all.
Too much solo play or lack of encouragement to team up can make “Massively Multiplayer Online” games feel like a single player experience. Guild Wars is built around the team, where players are like a jigsaw piece fitting into the whole picture, each providing different elements. This mantra should be continued in GW2 for both PvE and PvP game modes. Too much profession self sufficiency in PvE may not be wise.
Traditional MMOs are usually spread out regionally, among many servers and each with a finite capacity. You create a character on a specific server and are tied to it, if you want to play with friends; it needs to be on the same server. To the user, Guild Wars server appears as one entity, not split into many parts. Region and language can also be traversed easily. Playing with friends is simple, and the possibility of grouping with anyone is there.
Patching system is also flawless, working fast and efficiently. No need to worry about manually installing updates or relying on unsuitable technologies such as Bit Torrent.
- Increase advertising
- publishing the game on different platforms (mac/console)
- customisable UI/Player mods.
Guild Wars is a great game, no doubt about it. However, it doesn’t seem to get the coverage many other MMOs/games get, Either via television advertisements, traditional print or even ‘internet buzz’. It might be an idea to increase the profile of the game by broadening the advertising campaign, get people aware of the title and attract more players. Having the game on multiple platforms is also another way of increasing the potential player base.
Game modding is a very popular scene, and offers the players a chance to customise the interface as they want, change textures. Offering expanded choice is always good for the player base and could increase interest in the game.
- make sure the delivered game is 100%, polished and tested. Bad launch can kill a game
- some key features must be there from launch or they wont be successful if added later
- good community communication
- 3rd party support for tournaments/events/addons
Its certainly not something I could accuse Guild Wars in having is lack of polish, however a lot of recent big titles have been rushed out the door by their publishers way too early, and having performance/stability/bug problems. These premature launches can seriously damage the games reputation, so it’s important to only deliver the product when it’s ready. Another point is to add the fundamental features to the game from launch. Key features are only fully utilised if they are there from the start. It also dents player confidence if something is promised and takes longer to appear.
Fans of the Guild Wars franchise are always interested in news relating to the game, and also any actions or events affecting it. Regular updates to the Guild Wars sites are always welcomed, and show the developers committed interest in providing content to the players. Developer presence within the community is also a must, either just by being there casually or to directly help with player concerns or suggestions.
One of the goals of the original Guild Wars was to become a force in PvP gaming, providing an ‘e-sport’ type platform for gamers to enjoy viewing and participating in. 3rd party support needs to be better utilised for things like tournaments to be successful. ANet need to provide easier methods for allowing potential tournament organisers to setup within the current game architecture the means to hold leagues, tournaments and other events. They could potentially provide multiple sources of prizes/interest/motivation for players and take some of the burden of providing all of the PvP rewards from the company.