[GW2] Just Around the Riverbend

Many people have observed how Guild Wars 2 content flows naturally across the map. In WoW or LotRO, you know you are done with your current quest hub when your quest list fills up with “go talk to Alice, Bob, Cogsworth, and D’rkesh in the next hub.” In GW2, theme park ride A exits by the entrance to ride B, and because you do not need to go back to town to turn in your quests, you just keep rolling. “Protect the caravan” events are an obvious, justified way to move people between towns, and frequently a defense event will transition into an assault event that has a similar effect. (More on that tomorrow.) Scouts also point out the rides in advance, in case the flow fails.

My point today is simpler: the mini-map design is excellent. The right side of your screen naturally pushes you to keep rolling through new content. I have often spotted and followed a trail of resource nodes into a new area. More importantly, the map includes things that are off-map. A waypoint you have yet to find will appear at the edge of the map, guiding you toward that new content. It hovers enticingly, retreating as you approach until it is legitimately on the map. I never would have thought that I would want a map that shows things not on the map, but it works beautifully. Look, a dully colored thing! Go light up the dully colored thing!

Just above it, you have a list of hearts and events. Those work beyond the mini-map, too, particularly the events that alert you to nearby opportunities. Look, an orange thing! Go see the shiny orange thing!

: Zubon

The grinning bobcat refused to disclose why he grinned.

9 thoughts on “[GW2] Just Around the Riverbend”

  1. I’d just like to mention that the way ArenaNet have designed content flow in GW2, as you accurately and succinctly summarize above, is almost exactly how I have organized my own content flow in every MMO I have ever played.

    I have never paid any attention to “quest hubs” or any other form of directive behavior. I learned to play MMOs from Everquest in 1999, when no content of any kind was highlighted or suggested anywhere in game (and not reliably anywhere outside it for the most part). I just ran around exploring, only stopping when I came to places too dangerous in which to survive.

    Even in GW2 I pay little attention to the mini-map, to the npcs who run up to me demanding I “do something” or to any of the various call-outs. I go where I fancy and do what I please. In that respect, GW2 isn’t as different an experience, at least not for me.

    1. Again I think it’s pertinent to point out the idea that GW2 was designed to be “Everquest, without all the nonsense.” Having come to MMOs too recently to have played Everquest, I am definitely enjoying the style!

  2. I just got a long DE chain yesterday: get dwarven artefacts from bottom lake, protect artefacts from pirates, protect caravan from mobs, kill boss summoned by artefact [yes, each one is a diferent dynamic event].

    My advice: when a DE ends, stay near the NPCs for some time, a new event can start.

  3. What I found really good too is that you don’t need to do everything on the map to level up enough to go to the next step of story. So you can comme back just because you didn’t do everything.

  4. “Look, a dully colored thing! Go light up the dully colored thing!”

    Probably the best summary of a GW2 playstyle I will ever see. That’s exactly how I play, and I do love how it never feels like I’m being TOLD to do it or I HAVE to do it, I just find that I want to. It’s very nicely suggestive (but I don’t think it penalises you for doing differently).

  5. It’s really exceptional design. I’ve followed trails of crafting nodes, broken up by attacking mobs of various types for crafting materials and barely even know where I’m going, let alone obsess about any ‘final’ destination.

    Then midway through this, I stumble across some secret cave, tunnel, and before you know it, I’m side tracked into finding a veteran mob, a champion, maybe a chest or even a jumping puzzle.

    And there’s the “I see a RICH metal ore, how do I get to it?” quest which usually turns out to be a full fledged adventure on its own, the node is just the goad to give you an initial reason to hunt around.

  6. Exactly this. I found myself in a 1-15 zone yesterday without even realizing it and before I knew it I was off chaining events and nodes together. I was level 25 at the time and felt zero penalty for being in that lower level zone.

  7. This is basically how Skyrim handles exploration – “oh look, a grey thing on my compass, I’mma head that way”

    I feel like this is a good example of an MMO learning from a non-MMO. Or at least, that’s what the timing of release would imply. (Though it can be readily argued that Skyrim is a “single-player MMO”)

Comments are closed.