The Lost Their Shit ShoresNovember 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 14 Comments
Tags: Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
Guild Wars didn’t have gear progression. You could get to level 20, buy a cheap set of armour, slap on some superior runes, and still be just as powerful as someone who had been playing for years. Progression in that game came with the multitude of skills you could acquire, the skins, titles, location unlocks, and other aesthetic goals.
Guild Wars 2 is a different game. Among the updates coming this week are rings that are slightly better than the current max stat rings available to players. Ascended gear. Not including whatever the infusion adds to the unused slot.
Personally I suppose I expected gear to progress with an expansion. You don’t make a game that is this gear dependent and then do nothing with gear when an expansion is released. I fully expect progression of several types in the future as Arenanet have said they’re going with a more traditional expansion model. Seems like they’re probably thinking about that too.
Adding item progression is a delicate process normally undertaken in an expansion, but we feel it’s important to strive to satisfy the basic needs of our players sooner rather than later. – Linsey Murdock
What I did not expect was gear progression to come in this soon. 2 and a half months in and the exotic rings I finished making last week are going to be replaced next week. But to me that’s merely a minor annoyance. Others aren’t taking things nearly so well.
There is a lot of outrage at how this seemingly flies in the face of Arenanet’s philosophy that gear progression should be based on aesthetic looks rather than stat-based power. The thing is I don’t think they ever said there would never be any sort of gear progression. They just said it wouldn’t take you thousands of hours to get gear that is comparable to the rarest sets in the game.
“Here’s what we believe: If someone wants to play for a thousand hours to get an item that is so rare that other players can’t realistically acquire it, that rare item should be differentiated by its visual appearance and rarity alone, not by being more powerful than everything else in the game. Otherwise, your MMO becomes all about grinding to get the best gear. We don’t make grindy games — we leave the grind to other MMOs.”
-Mike Obrien, President of Arenanet
A lot of the outrage likely comes from the perception that Arenanet isn’t doing what it said it would do.
Exotic gear is difficult to get but reasonably difficult. Legendary weapons are difficult to get but unreasonably difficult. These rings, the back piece, for all we know are reasonably difficult. It’s probably only as grindy to get them as any other max stat ring.
What is more important a question to me personally is whether this sort of lateral progression, the infusion, is the direction Arenanet wants to go. This could easily create an atmosphere where groups don’t want to take a player with them because they don’t have anything infused.
The original Guild Wars had a type of infusion. The Mursaat had a skill that was called Agony and the only protection from which was infusion on your armour. Plenty of room for speculation about that in another post. But I certainly remember running Iron Mines of Moladune on every single one of my characters trying to do missions in Guild Wars with someone who was not infused and seeing people kicked out of parties due to their lack of infusion.
On the other hand infusion seems like a reasonable way to laterally progress gear, if only the stats didn’t seem to better on that ring. And I think Syp would probably have something to say about lateral progression systems.
All that aside I’m pretty sure this is a little bit of genius planning on Arenanet’s part. Argue about the possible hypocrisy if you like, but most major MMOs begin to have a big fall off in activity after their first 3 months. Adding in a bit of gear progression just as some of the more hardcore players begin to be done with the game is a very strategic move. The Lost Shores is timed extremely well if you ask me. 2 and a half months after launch.
As for me, am I a fan of the idea that Guild Wars 2 will have plenty of gear progression? I’m going with optimism on this one. This doesn’t have to be such a bad thing. I’m not really thrilled that I’ll be replacing my rings but I’m happy that I’m going to have more stuff to do and that Arenanet is charging forward with new content and ideas. I’ve done gear progression in plenty of other games it was always cool to get something better. Whether its Skyrim, Borderlands, Runes of Magic, Minecraft, or virtually any other video game ever, gear progression is not the worst thing in the world.
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