RosesFebruary 15, 2012 at 10:14 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 28 Comments
Tags: Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
Marketing and advertising firms do something that irritates me to no end. They rebrand something that already had a name and image. They make a product seem new and fresh to appeal to a younger audience, or classy and expensive to appeal to an older one.
Old Spice used to be a deodorant for old people, and now with their bizarre marketing campaigns, it has definitely begun to appeal to a younger male demographic.
Which brings us to the MMO market where the industry is flooded with games that have many of the same features. How do you differentiate Game 1 which has quests and combat with Game 2 which has quests and combat.
Well if you’re Arenanet you might do a few things. You might innovate a moderate number of features that represent an evolution in the MMO industry, you might emphasize good story-telling and lore, you might integrate concept art to an insane degree, or in some cases you might just rename things to sound different.
Now obviously I’m oversimplifying making and marketing a video game in the extreme, but I do think it’s important to be realistic about a few things. Arenanet is making a game I am truly excited about with excellent graphics, designs, writing, and gameplay that I can’t wait to try, but there is certainly some rebranding going on.
Guild Wars 2 will have an auction house, but it’s not called an auction house. It’s called a Marketplace. So why the new name? Arenanet has included features in their auction house that other games don’t have. To emphasize that change they’ve renamed the very familiar notion of the auction house. In the Marketplace you can put up bids to buy things that no one has put up for auction. You can access the auction house from the web or perhaps from your iPhone. It’s global across all servers. It’s not an auction house! It’s a marketplace!
Semantics. It is an auction house.
I don’t really begrudge them the right to describe the game in any way they see fit, but at some point I just feel like it needs to be said. Let’s call a spade a spade.
Professions should probably be referred to as classes. There is no real reason to refer to them as anything but classes aside from the need that corporations feel to make their products seem unique and superior. “These aren’t those boring old ‘classes’ from other games, these are professions y’all! I reckon!” Yes, they’re from Texas.
I don’t consider this to be a completely negative thing for Guild Wars 2 or Arenanet. In fact in some cases I see clearly what they’re doing and support it.
Dynamic Events in Guild Wars 2 would be sullied if too closely associated with the Public Quests of Warhammer. There they were widely considered a failure and many people left Warhammer with a bad taste in their mouth. On top of that Dynamic Events seem much more complex, intricate, scalable, diverse and make up the vast bulk of content in Guild Wars 2, not some sideshow piece of content that didn’t fit with the rest of the game. Arenanet seems all too justified in distancing itself and distinguishing itself from Public Quests. I can even forgive them the use of a marketing buzzword like dynamic. I’m just glad they didn’t call them Proactive Paradigms.
But then there are some grey areas. I can’t make up my mind if Cross Profession Combos really deserve their own moniker. Didn’t we used to call these buffs? Admittedly there is a major change in gameplay here because in Guild Wars 2 you can’t target fellow allies with skills. Arenanet wants you looking at what you’re doing, not the group UI, so skills became ground targeted, and therefore you’re moving around a lot to adjust and move to buffs. Different enough that I guess I can just give them this one.
Anyway none of this really takes away from my excitement for Guild Wars 2. They can rebrand mini-games as ‘activities’, rogues as thieves, or crafting professions as ‘disciplines’ all they want. If that helps them sell the game that’s great. I just wish they had a little more confidence in the gaming community to understand what is different about Guild Wars 2 without rebranding everything. Or that I wasn’t about to suffer through endless local chat confusion about what the MP is or why they don’t just call it an AH.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.