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MMORPG Gulf

That bit between MMO

 

Like many, I purchased +Guild Wars 2 at release.  Oh how it split opinions.

I should probably provide some history first.   

As a group, my friends and I have always traveled or migrated to various games.  In the 10 or so years of gaming online we have traveled through the minefield of bullshit games claiming to be the next big thing, occasionally finding some hidden gems, and in general we would spend months, nay years, on those we enjoyed the most.  

It all started with Counterstrike, which at the time I believe must have been in it's 1.5 state?  Either way, we played the hell out of that game.  We had our own clan, in fact we went through 2 clans, shedding those that did not get our unique sense of humour, or those completely unable to shoot other guys in the face.  Eventually it all shook down and we settled on a merry band of adventurers, seeking a game worthy of our mettle.  Invariably this led us to the mmorpg.  At the time this space was entirely owned by Everquest.  It looked intriguing, it looked fun, characters had faces and who knows, we might be able to shoot them with a projectile of sorts.  Now, I realize that this was no doubt a mighty game, with many hundreds of hours available to bury your face into, but I was unable to sample any of these face burying treats, because I rolled some kind of shadow warrior.  No doubt a fantastic class, I thought.  How could it not be, with a name like that.  After a few hours of being killed when trying to enter any city, I gave up.  By now, due to the nature of the group, when one leaves, we all leave...

You've no doubt guessed by now, if you have any knowledge of release dates and such, that we're in what I expect industry experts will look back on and call the WoW window.  We fell for this thing big time.  We all signed up and devoted multiple years to this game.  I view this as a right of passage really, for online gamers.  You've most likely gone through the same experience.  When a game grips you so hard that you will sacrifice much of your time and even thoughts to it.  Few games and experiences manage to do this and I hope you have managed to experience it somewhere, and with friends, because it is worth it.  I may hate the state of the end game now, dismay at the time required to get anything done and feel quite sorry for those willing to grind up a reputation bar, I still would not change my time spend there.  Watching friends fail to make the jump in BFD multiple times or shouting at 39 other people, indicating that despite popular belief within the group, one of them must be able to loot the dog because I am unable to skin it.  It was all worthwhile.

I digress, and a pretty big one at that.  Eventually wow had run it's course and we became tired, bored and frankly, older.  Some people would vanish for months and return, having moved house, gained a girlfriend or some other version of growing up.  There was a period in which a few would return to wow after a patch, or expansion, and we would group up and enjoy the new dungeons and experiences.  Invariably though it would become a grind, and one we were no longer willing to participate in, no matter how shiny the loot.  Enter +Guild Wars 2.  

We had some history from a few in the group, having played the original and somewhat sang it's praises.  Most of us at some point had dipped a toe there, but it very much seemed like a game you had to learn from the start.  Since we had missed out on 4 expansions at the time, we decided not to go for it, but wait for the sequel.  And what a sequel it was turning out to be.  Every screenshot and movie looking increasingly good, and every developer vlog said the right things.

So, like many, We purchased +Guild Wars 2 at release.

I am writing this now after having re-installed the game, along with my partner, very recently.  It reminded me, sadly, of how it was received within the group.  This game had so much potential, and still does by all accounts, but it has lost most of our group by now and will not win them back.  I wonder how many of you experienced this series of events:

Group buys GW2 
Group loves quest system, vista system, class system, graphics and events system.  In fact, group really loves game in general.
Group decides to try first dungeon
Group never logs into game again

Is this familiar to anyone else?  Or are we just a rare group with very specific tastes.  Dungeons ruined this game for us.  I mean it entirely literally that at least 2 of the group did not log in again after experiencing the first dungeon.  This made me realize exactly how much we just liked playing together in a game these days.  Unfortunately this does not include a game which is likely to require tactical thought before every trash pull and asks us to factor in that a trash mob is likely to CC you on cooldown, every cooldown, with no recourse for you.  

We like challenges, and I could list the different challenges we have gone through in games, but when one offers little to no tangible rewards for going through them, and has the affront to tell you that the 'holy trinity' of class based play is no longer necessary, then punishes you for abiding to the new system, we leave the game.  I get that there is no aggro system, this is fine, although there actually is but we wont go there now.  I get that you want to separate yourself from the usual tank, healer and deeps thing.  But please, if you're going to make health bars go down, either give each character enough tools to make his own bar go back up enough to live on their own, or tell people the truth.

Yes, the game strays away from the holy trinity, but not as far as you think.  It is no longer 1 tank, 1 healer and 3 deeps.  It is now 1 or 2 tank-y dps, 1 or 2 people who deliberately must bring some group healing, don't worry guys they're not really healers, and a dedicated dps class or you will not bring down the health bars. 

I probably would not have been so offended if I had rolled out an elementalist, or at the very least been able to join pvp as a group may have cushioned the blow, but alas no.  Put a staff on and press the water button, then you resemble something which is not a healer but almost entirely heals and is very sought after for certain encounters.  The fact is we like melee characters, so 3 of us rolled out warriors, since we were told it did not matter with no trinity hanging over our heads, right? Right?  Maybe it has been tweaked by now, I don't know.  I could potentially waste hours trying to find out.  I will not.


The game is so polarizing to me.  Whilst the group and dungeon mechanics grate on my very soul, the rest of it is a fantastic romp through some of the best looking environments and story sections I have seen.  I could sink multiple hundreds of hours into exploring the world and witnessing the epic events, and they are epic, but alas, where the group goes - we all go.  As a single player game, it is an epic expansive and evocative experience.  As a group however, we naturally gravitate towards playing together, and at release you made it too hard for us to play together.  Either through missing features like grouping to queue for pvp, or actually being able to play the class we like the way we like in dungeons, you pushed us away.  Yes, other games might be very cut and dry in terms of class requirements in dungeons, but at least when I attempt to join they show me and I know.  There is value in that.  More value, it seems, than was acknowledged.

So, we come to the title of this post.  I and my group of friends are in a gulf.  No mmorpg to play.  Feels kind of empty out here.  Oh well, back to playing ARAM on +League of Legends.  Hope I random out Lux.

~sal

 

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