Great minds think alike as they say. I’ve been thinking about goals and what motivates me to play recently. One thing that definitely does not motivate me is a game giving me a long tick list of tasks to do – that’s too much like project planning in my day job. Ever since Couillon posted a week ago to wonder why he’s lost interest in GW2, I’ve been asking myself the same question.
Syl of MMO Gypsy has an excellent post on the topic of achievements, exploration and mystery in MMOs. I’m in complete agreement with this complaint, achievements systems are nice enough if you’re an achiever who likes to tick off lists. But I’m not a fan of them being used as the basis of story-telling or as a manner to guide gameplay. Replace the “tired” questing model if you will, but find something more imaginative than a tasklist!
I think the significant shift in development from the original goals of the game towards ticklists for achievers and zergy zone invasions has somehow left me in the cold where this game is concerned. No doubt I projected some of my own hopes onto the game when it launched in August 2012 – I’d played Guild Wars 1 as a real latecomer and been very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the storytelling. At launch the sequel game had a rich world to explore, but even at launch there were the signs already that the game wasn’t all that I had hoped. The mini-map giving away the locations of all the dynamic events, hearts and even the vistas was a strange decision – why try to encourage exploration when that too is just a “joining the dots” exercise?
Most of the additions since have just moved the game even further away from story and exploration – gear chasing and crazy zergs seem to be the order of the day. I did enjoy the Bazaar of the Four Winds content, despite the time pressure of the Living Story schedule and despite my general loathing of jumping puzzles. It seemed that some aspects were more about free zone exploration. The map wouldn’t help you find the sun crystals – you had to wander around and spot them in the zone. But even that was tinged by the ever-present checklist – the total number needed was there for all to see.
I’ll not be uninstalling the game in a hurry, I do love my little mesmer, but this series of Scarlet-related content doesn’t interest me. I read some of the developer thread on the official forums on the direction of development (link to thread: Collaborative Development). It’s hardly a scientific way to sample the feelings of the player base; but there are a good number of posts asking for storytelling via missions akin to those Guild Wars 1. That simple system from the original game represented a permanent set of story arcs within the game that players could choose to play and replay in or out-of-order as they saw fit. With the Living Story we are given time-limited episodic content, most of which has vanished into the ether leaving little impact on the world. I know which model I’d prefer going forward.
To close on a more positive note, I currently have my computer’s wallpaper set to random Guild Wars 2 pictures, and this beauty came up randomly as I was writing this. It wasn’t an intentional image, it just happened, but I really love it!