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Guild Wars 2 Endgame: You Actually Get to Eat the Carrot


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#1 Darkademic

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:33 pm

Just finished this beast of an article.

http://www.darkademi....uk/blog?id=202
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#2 Donkzy

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 10:56 pm

Great work, lenghty but a good read never the less, agree with you completely. I do think it will be strange not raiding religiously ever weekend but it was just a mind trick the developers used to keep you coming back to pay for your subscription giving you these illusionary rewards and making you scared not to get them and be left behind when as soon as another expansion comes out the gear you've just spend the last 100+ hours in game grinding is worthless
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#3 Darkademic

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 02:14 am

Great work, lenghty but a good read never the less, agree with you completely. I do think it will be strange not raiding religiously ever weekend but it was just a mind trick the developers used to keep you coming back to pay for your subscription giving you these illusionary rewards and making you scared not to get them and be left behind when as soon as another expansion comes out the gear you've just spend the last 100+ hours in game grinding is worthless

Cheers!

Yeah totally, it's definitely time for a change in terms of how MMOs operate.

I've been posting the article on various forums and it's been getting very positive feedback. Maybe 80 replies and not a single negative comment so far. Chuffed!
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#4 Darkademic

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 02:31 pm

Wow, the article now has over 10,000 views and over 300 comments. Didn't expect it to be quite that popular. Of all those comments I think maybe 3 or 4 had anything negative to say.

Update: A couple of hours ago ArenaNet themselves tweeted a link to the article on their @GuildWars2 account. Very happy indeed! :D
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#5 Donkzy

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:19 pm

Oh no it definately deserves the recognition. Extremely well written article. Congratz pal
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#6 Brewzr

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 09:28 am

Just finished this beast of an article, soon to be posted at GWOnline.net:

http://www.darkademi....uk/blog?id=202


Great read. I believe the mmo community has been waiting for this. What I hope people see is that the PvE structure is going to compliment the PvP very well. Instead of Raiders vs PvPers, it will all be one continuous experience. I'm sure you will touch on this when you write your PvP article. Can't wait to read it too.
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#7 elyan

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 05:29 am

T'was that article that led me to apply here mate. Impressive stuff.
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#8 Darkademic

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 04:35 am

The exchange on the article on my blog was getting a bit too long, so I'm going to respond here instead:

Awesome post! I appreciate your feedback - lemme address your points as you raised them.

Concerning Endgame: Grind/Repetition and Content are not synonymous. As proof of this, look at any number of cheap Asian MMOs - tons of grind/repetition and almost no true content. What I'm saying is that once you hit the Guild Wars 2 level cap, there is not gonna be much to do in terms of content (since Arenanet is spreading content throughout the entire game instead of having early-to-mid-game content and then endgame content). All that will be available will be a few high level instances (such as the final Dungeon that involves taking on a major character in the game [trying to avoid spoilers] or some level 80 Dynamic Events). Whereas in WOW or SWTOR, a significant amount of endgame content opens up when you reach the level cap - and in the case of SWTOR, another Operation and endgame Flashpoint have already been added only one month into the game's life, with the promise of another Operation and endgame Flashpoint on the way.

Concerning Repetition: Many people seem to think that Guild Wars 2's system requires all skill while those of other MMOs simply requires endgame specs. However, anyone who has done endgame content for games like WOW (in the past, at least - maybe not with the dumbing-down that it has done recently) and SWTOR can tell you that skill make all the difference. Playing at endgame in SWTOR, it's easy to tell who is poor, who is mediocre, who is average, who is good, who is great, and who is fantastic with their class, advanced class, builds, and skill setups. I myself, after spending 300+ hours in SWTOR, continue to figure out how to play my chosen class setup better and better all the time - where I was at the beginning of level 50 (SWTOR's level cap) is nowhere near as good as I am now. Moreover, SWTOR progression includes achievements and titles much like Guild Wars 2, so neither game has an edge in this regard.

Concerning Revisiting: In Champions Online, there is a side-kick system much like that Guild Wars 2 has planned. And while it is true that you'll have high level players side-kick down to help out friends, other than that, you'll almost never see a level 40 player deliberately doing lower level content. I'm guessing the same will be with Guild Wars 2. Just because you can scale down and help the farmer feed his pack animals again doesn't mean you will. 1), you probably will have already done this before, and 2) Defeating the Shatterer (or one of the dragons) will be much more fun than helping the farmer. And as it is, a game like SWTOR already has the ability to do old content via rolling a new character and optionally a new class.

Concerning My Perspective: Personally, I was and still am a huge fan of the Guild Wars system - grinding out GWAMM was very enjoyable given my completionist nature. However, I also know players who bought Guild Wars 1 and then uninstalled it days or even weeks later because they had no way to progress aside from achievement/monetary grind.

Many people are hailing Guild Wars 2 as the upcoming Messiah of the MMO realm in that they claim that Guild Wars 2 will revolutionize everything we know and expect from MMOs. However, I do not think that this is so - rather, I believe that Guild Wars 2 is simply expanding on Guild Wars 1's system. The only truly revolutionary aspect of Guild Wars 2 is that of Personal Storyline intimacy (if said system ends up living to Arenanet's claims), as Dynamic Events were originally implemented in Rift (albeit blandly and poorly), Visceral Combat was originally implemented in Champions Online and DC Universe Online, and Guild Wars 2's Dungeons are simply adaptations of WOW's Dungeons and SWTOR's Flashpoints.

In the end, while it's true that Guild Wars 2 directly appeals to players like me, I simply feel that it is more of the same with a few interesting tweaks - it's definitely not the world-changing game that many people seem to think it will be.

Alright, putting grind aside, I'm not sure how you could have arrived at the conclusion that GW2 will have less max-level content than SWTOR or WoW. At the moment WoW has 1 raid and 3 dungeons that aren't deprecated, and if I'm not mistaken SWTOR has 2 operations and 10 heroic flashpoints (only ~3 of which are new, the rest of which are heroic versions of lower level dungeons).

GW2 will be released with three level 80 dungeons, each with a story mode, and then (IIRC) three separate paths within the much more challenging explorable mode (for a total of 12 distinct experiences, which doesn't take into account dynamic encounters). If you count the 7 not-max-level-but-heroic flashpoints in SWTOR, then GW2 also 5 more dungeons which also scale to max-level (which also have explorable modes, which turns 5 into 20, making a total of 32). Then there are the elite dynamic events, but there is little information on them, and we don't know how many of them there are (I'd estimate at least 5 or 6, as there is supposed to be an entire zone dedicated to them).

So, if we go strictly by the amount of unique content, even without counting the pre-80 content which remains available, GW2 still appears to have more PvE content for level-capped characters than either SWTOR or WoW, and depending on how different the paths within the dungeons are, a lot more.

I should also ask, do the new operations and flashpoints in SWTOR render the already existing ones obsolete? If not, how long is it before the gear treadmill comes into full effect and makes this the case?

As for your point about skill being noticeable in SWTOR and WoW, sure. I've raided a lot in WoW (I decided to quit just before the most recent patch), and of course skill makes a difference, but my point is that it is not the primary factor in determining success. If you have good enough gear, you can steamroll through any content. Since there is no gear progression in GW2, this is not the case. Skill is the ONLY factor that will determine whether you can complete a given piece of content.

As for revisiting content, you're probably right that going to low level areas won't appeal to everyone, but the option is there, and you do get rewarded for doing so. You mention the Shatterer - are you aware that he is a mid-level encounter (around level 40 I believe). I know for a fact (as one of my friends has played the game) that even the very low level dynamic events can be a lot of fun and have an "epic" feel to them. That said, a better analogy would be WoW raids: Because I missed two of the expansions (I played in vanilla, quit just before TBC, then came back for Cataclysm) I missed some of WoW's best raid content. It always frustrated me that I couldn't experience that content, and that it was sat there completely unusued and wasted. If I was given the chance I absolutely would have gone back and done them. All I could do was solo or 2-man them to find gear for transmorgrification; and even that was quite enjoyable as I at least got a taste of those raids.

Also, I don't claim that GW2 will be the perfect MMO, but I do believe that it is doing everything right, will be enormously fun to play, and has plenty of content available once you reach the level cap.
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#9 years1hundred

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 10:15 pm

Alright, putting grind aside, I'm not sure how you could have arrived at the conclusion that GW2 will have less max-level content than SWTOR or WoW. At the moment WoW has 1 raid and 3 dungeons that aren't deprecated, and if I'm not mistaken SWTOR has 2 operations and 10 heroic flashpoints (only ~3 of which are new, the rest of which are heroic versions of lower level dungeons).

GW2 will be released with three level 80 dungeons, each with a story mode, and then (IIRC) three separate paths within the much more challenging explorable mode (for a total of 12 distinct experiences, which doesn't take into account dynamic encounters). If you count the 7 not-max-level-but-heroic flashpoints in SWTOR, then GW2 also 5 more dungeons which also scale to max-level (which also have explorable modes, which turns 5 into 20, making a total of 32). Then there are the elite dynamic events, but there is little information on them, and we don't know how many of them there are (I'd estimate at least 5 or 6, as there is supposed to be an entire zone dedicated to them).

So, if we go strictly by the amount of unique content, even without counting the pre-80 content which remains available, GW2 still appears to have more PvE content for level-capped characters than either SWTOR or WoW, and depending on how different the paths within the dungeons are, a lot more.

I should also ask, do the new operations and flashpoints in SWTOR render the already existing ones obsolete? If not, how long is it before the gear treadmill comes into full effect and makes this the case?

As for your point about skill being noticeable in SWTOR and WoW, sure. I've raided a lot in WoW (I decided to quit just before the most recent patch), and of course skill makes a difference, but my point is that it is not the primary factor in determining success. If you have good enough gear, you can steamroll through any content. Since there is no gear progression in GW2, this is not the case. Skill is the ONLY factor that will determine whether you can complete a given piece of content.

As for revisiting content, you're probably right that going to low level areas won't appeal to everyone, but the option is there, and you do get rewarded for doing so. You mention the Shatterer - are you aware that he is a mid-level encounter (around level 40 I believe). I know for a fact (as one of my friends has played the game) that even the very low level dynamic events can be a lot of fun and have an "epic" feel to them. That said, a better analogy would be WoW raids: Because I missed two of the expansions (I played in vanilla, quit just before TBC, then came back for Cataclysm) I missed some of WoW's best raid content. It always frustrated me that I couldn't experience that content, and that it was sat there completely unusued and wasted. If I was given the chance I absolutely would have gone back and done them. All I could do was solo or 2-man them to find gear for transmorgrification; and even that was quite enjoyable as I at least got a taste of those raids.

Also, I don't claim that GW2 will be the perfect MMO, but I do believe that it is doing everything right, will be enormously fun to play, and has plenty of content available once you reach the level cap.


Concerning Endgame Content: Actually, I couldn't speak for WOW as I haven't played it - all my other-MMO experience came from SWTOR. But honestly, you got me here - your knowledge of Guild Wars 2's endgame far surpasses my own. I didn't realize the amount of level 80 content Guild Wars 2 had, so I do agree that Guild Wars 2 seems to have more endgame content than SWTOR does. But currently, the new Operations and Flashpoints in SWTOR do go concurrently with the old level 50 content, so it isn't like new content renders old content obsolete.

Concerning Gear Treadmill: SWTOR cleverly gets around this by rewarding level 50 content (such as Operations and Flashpoints) with tokens that can be redeemed for endgame gear. In addition, it has been hinted at by Bioware that should the level cap increase, Operations and Hard-Mode Flashpoints will scale to the new max level, which means that they will not become outdated. And with the token system I just mentioned, it also ensures that you play the Flashpoints you want to play rather than the ones you feel you need to play.

Concerning Gear Progression: You mention that there won't be gear progression in Guild Wars 2 - I'm just curious, how do you mean this? I was very much under the impression that Guild Wars 2 has gear progression (which is why they revealed Transmutation Stones way back in 2010), so if this has been change recently, I'd love to know about it! :D

Concerning Skill: While it's true that a highly geared player in SWTOR can steamroll through early-game content (such as lower level Flashpoints), skill still literally makes all the difference with endgame content. Moreover, while it is true that Guild Wars 2 players will be side-kicked down to lower levels when they enter a lower-level area (which means that their gear won't win the day for them), they'll still have access to traits, additional skills, and elite skills that will enable them to breeze through early-game content. And at your current level, skill will indeed make a difference, but so will your attributes, your traits, your skills, your weapon sets, your elites, and your gear. I'd honestly argue that skill is of equal importance in both games - neither one caters to players who don't continually improve.

Concerning Revising Content: Yeah, I was aware that the Shatter was mid-level content - I was just throwing that out there since it's a well known boss and doesn't serve as a spoiler. Unfortunately, I think SWTOR corrected the problems you had with WOW's content, as you can always easily go back to do earlier content in SWTOR (so long as you don't mind getting lower level rewards) - I've never had the problem of wishing I could do earlier content and being unable to. But yeah, after thinking about it, I think you're right here to - at least it's available to players, which means they have freedom in this regard to play how and what when and how they want to. :)

One Final Point/Query: I still, however, don't feel that the main point has been addressed - mainly, that Guild Wars 2 avoids the must-play-endgame-content-to-get-best-gear "problem". If anything, now that you pointed out how much endgame content Guild Wars 2 truly does have, I feel that more than ever players will have to do endgame content to get the best gear available. Which means that while Guild Wars 2 will allow you to play lower level content if you want to, you still will only get the items you need if you play endgame content.


Anyways, thank you for the invitation to post on your forums! I apologize that I couldn't go more in-depth with my replies (and sorry for their poor wording/phrasing) - but lack of sleep coupled with lack of time has me at a disadvantage atm. :)
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#10 Darkademic

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 11:15 pm

No probs re: the invite. I shall try to find time to respond over the next couple of days (I'm self-employed and have a lot of work on at the moment).
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#11 CdV Jesus

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 04:29 am

One Final Point/Query: I still, however, don't feel that the main point has been addressed - mainly, that Guild Wars 2 avoids the must-play-endgame-content-to-get-best-gear "problem". If anything, now that you pointed out how much endgame content Guild Wars 2 truly does have, I feel that more than ever players will have to do endgame content to get the best gear available. Which means that while Guild Wars 2 will allow you to play lower level content if you want to, you still will only get the items you need if you play endgame content.


As far as I know they solved the problem in a way similar to this of SWTOR: You are rewarded with some kind of token for completing quests, participating in events... for these tokens you can buy equipment. BUT it doesn't matter if you recieve a token from a lvl 20 or lvl 80 event its still a token and by the time you have a complete lvl 80 gear you can not get better equipment. The only thing you get from endgame content are different looking gears with the same stats. So your reward is that every one can see from your gear that you completed certain dungeons.
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#12 years1hundred

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:42 pm

As far as I know they solved the problem in a way similar to this of SWTOR: You are rewarded with some kind of token for completing quests, participating in events... for these tokens you can buy equipment. BUT it doesn't matter if you recieve a token from a lvl 20 or lvl 80 event its still a token and by the time you have a complete lvl 80 gear you can not get better equipment. The only thing you get from endgame content are different looking gears with the same stats. So your reward is that every one can see from your gear that you completed certain dungeons.


To be honest, in SWTOR, after I hit level 50, it only took two week of casual playing (about an hour per day) to get completely geared up with the best available gear, which was due to SWTOR's token system. So from then on, the only reason I was doing more Operations and Hard-Mode Flashpoints was because 1) I enjoyed them a lot and 2) I wanted alternate looking gear so that I could make a unique-looking set of armor. Based on what you've said and what Dark said, it seems like Guild Wars 2 is doing the exact same thing as this, which means that it isn't "avoiding" the "gear problem", but rather doing it only with slightly different variations (such as guaranteeing a piece per Dungeon completion).

And my deal with doing lower level content is that Saving the Farmer (a fictional level 15 event that takes an hour to complete) might give you 20 tokens (which is a lot at level 15), but Defeating the Dwarven Raiders (a fictional level 79-80 event that takes an hour to complete) might give you 200 tokens (which is standard for level 79-80). So the incentive to do Saving the Farmer won't be there as it would be much more effective to do Defeating the Dwarven Raiders and other such high level events.
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#13 Omnipop

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:51 pm

And my deal with doing lower level content is that Saving the Farmer (a fictional level 15 that takes an hour to complete event) might give you 20 tokens (which is a lot at level 15), but Defeating the Dwarven Raiders (a fictional level 79-80 event that takes an hour to complete) might give you 200 tokens (which is standard for level 79-80). So the incentive to do Saving the Farmer won't be there is it would be much more effective to do Defeating the Dwarven Raiders and other such high level events.

Although that might be true to an extent (they said the rewards won't be quite as good for doing lower level content compared to higher level content), I don't really see the replayability as being the main benefit of the side-kicking system. One thing that was very annoying about WoW for example, was that if you wanted to play with your friends, you had to all level up side-by-side, simultaneously. You couldn't play more or less than the people you wanted to level up with because the moment you did so, you became unable to party with them because you'd get no rewards, and neither would they as it'd take into account that you were too high level for the content. The side-kicking system gets rid of this issue, and also means you're not forced to make an alt whenever a friend who you want to level with joins the game or starts a new character.
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#14 years1hundred

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 08:35 pm

Although that might be true to an extent (they said the rewards won't be quite as good for doing lower level content compared to higher level content), I don't really see the replayability as being the main benefit of the side-kicking system. One thing that was very annoying about WoW for example, was that if you wanted to play with your friends, you had to all level up side-by-side, simultaneously. You couldn't play more or less than the people you wanted to level up with because the moment you did so, you became unable to party with them because you'd get no rewards, and neither would they as it'd take into account that you were too high level for the content. The side-kicking system gets rid of this issue, and also means you're not forced to make an alt whenever a friend who you want to level with joins the game or starts a new character.


That's very true and I highly appreciate that - Champions Online had such a system, and I really wish more MMOs would have similar systems. It really does do wonders for fostering a sense of community, as elder players can directly help out instead of being forced to give advice only. Moreover, it allows people to help out others without ruining the inherent challenge/fun in the content, which is another great aspect to it.
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#15 Donkzy

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:52 pm

Agree, how many times have you helped a lower level guild member or friend, well normally this happens

1) you get no money or token reward of 'value' for your level for helping do the lower level content sure your helping out but an in-game rewards also nice. This can also be bad for the lower level if the content rewards are base on damage / healing etc so the lower level person would not recieve anything.

2) Most of the time being such a high level makes the lower level content far to easy, therfore not developing the lower players and not being as fun' or chalenging for either player (very good point there years1hundered)

The side kicking system is an awesome mechanic and I think its right you don't get as much of a reward as a higher level content or people would end up farming lowest level stuff. It can only help create a better sence of community which I think Anet is all about. Good stuff :)

Edit. Helps more casual and hardcore players play together as well so the more casual player can learn of the more experienced players which is great as there was leveel gaps their a lot of the time
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#16 CdV Jesus

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:32 am

To be honest, in SWTOR, after I hit level 50, it only took two week of casual playing (about an hour per day) to get completely geared up with the best available gear, which was due to SWTOR's token system. So from then on, the only reason I was doing more Operations and Hard-Mode Flashpoints was because 1) I enjoyed them a lot and 2) I wanted alternate looking gear so that I could make a unique-looking set of armor. Based on what you've said and what Dark said, it seems like Guild Wars 2 is doing the exact same thing as this, which means that it isn't "avoiding" the "gear problem", but rather doing it only with slightly different variations (such as guaranteeing a piece per Dungeon completion).

May be we missunderstood each other. You refered to the problem as "must-play-endgame-content-to-get-best-gear problem" so I simply wanted to say, you don't have to play endgame content to get the gear. It may be more time comsuming to get the tokens from other events or quests, but you don't have to play the hardest dungeons to get it. So ones you have reached this point, you are right, you will play the endgame content just for the two reasons you metioned obove, maybe also to help a friend.
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