[GW2] Unrealized Aspirations

The horizontal endgame of Guild Wars 2 does not seem to be working as well as intended. Players are using all eight dungeons, but this is not working at all in the open world. The high-level loot is too concentrated in Orr to encourage level 80s to hang out in lower level zones, so non-bot 80s visit the dragons, the dungeons, and Orr. Lost Shores will add an option to that list but not encourage using the 0-70 content. You can find action in the newbie zones, and channeling players together still works pretty well, but most of the world seems very sparsely populated even in prime time (outside the holiday event). The dynamic event model has fewer problems with low density than Warhammer Online, but you group events can sit there for hours, and the same for events not labeled as group content but effectively unsoloable. I am amongst the many people who talked about how you could play in any zone at level 80, so all these good things will come of that, but the reward structure is not supporting that. There are some people who play the content they enjoy without thought of the rewards; they are mostly not MMO players.

You still run into dynamic events that are bugged from launch, and with the less frequent server resets, those can also sit there for a very long time. This lets a lot of players see them, which furthers negativity. If an event can reach a bugged state from which it cannot advance, it will eventually get there, so over time more areas reach bugged states that cannot be cleared. Logging on Sunday morning for my 5 daily events, 2 of the first 4 I found were bugged, along with a waypoint stuck in a bugged contested state from a previous event. This is an uncommon run of luck, but I was not exactly surprised. I am still judging games based on how long you can play until you see a bug, and GW2 is not doing enormously well there.

: Zubon

If they fix the problem from my first paragraph, come back here a month later to hear me complain about how level 80s are swarming newbie events because the problems with scaling let you kill much faster at lower levels.

22 thoughts on “[GW2] Unrealized Aspirations

  1. Distilled

    I’ve been scraping together my last few zones for explorer – this means I’ve been revisiting some lower leveled zones to finish off a few bits and bobs.

    On my first trip through the world I, like most people, found that rare (gold) items didn’t start dropping till lvl40+ but over the past few days I’ve got some pretty decent level 80 rares from level 25-30 mobs. I wasn’t even aware this was possible – most of the loot I’ve got otherwise has been level 25 blues/greens.

    1. Verene

      Loot scales to your level, though in starter zones it’s rarer that that happens. Rares don’t start showing up until the high 30s, though (I got my first one at level 39 if I remember correctly).

      1. Distilled

        Thats the weird thing – SOME loot scales whilst others don’t.

        Blues and whites don’t seem to, neither do crafting materials.
        Masterworks and Rares sometimes do, sometimes don’t. Any golds dropped BEFORE they’re supposed to (ie, rares dropped in 1-40 zones) seem to scale up. But rares dropped in 40+ zones seem to scale to the zone, rather than your level. Thats what I’ve observed, anyway.

        1. Verene

          I’ve had many a blue, white, and gold scale to my level, even if the zone was well under the level I was playing in. Most of the drops I get are blues and whites :P

          Crafting mats certainly don’t, though.

      2. Naqaj

        Crafting materials not scaling makes sense, as otherwise you would no longer be able to get lower-level materials unless you keep remaking alts.
        The other stuff you mention is just … weird :)

  2. Naqaj

    That post title concisely sums up my current impression of the game. We’ll see if the recent annoncment marks a change of direction, or just a short detour.

  3. Fidjit

    This is definitely a problem that needs addressing. Of course, because of your last paragraph, it’s not a simple fix. If rewards are equal across zones then everything but the easiest content will be deserted and it’ll be the same problem all over again.

    I can’t think of a good way to fix this, but I hope Arenanet comes up with something.

    1. SynCaine

      The first problem they need to solve is rewards being a factor period. It’s far too quick and easy to be ‘done’ with progression in GW2, so even if lower level zones dropped Orr-scale loot, you would not care after a trip or two. (The bots would love it of course)

    2. Daulnay

      It would help if they could dynamically adjust reward probabilities by the proportion of players using the dungeon. As a dungeon gets used less and less, the rewards come easier, and vice versa.

      If they can do that, there will never be an ‘easiest’ or ‘best’ dungeon, it will change.

  4. MMORaid

    I’ve been running some of the lower level dungeons recently just to get the achievements for them, but it’s hard to find groups for some of them. I like what LOTRO did with giving meaningful rewards for completing achievements so that players have more of an incentive, which in turn get some of the high-end players back into the low level zones.

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  6. Zyrhan

    I’ve said it elsewhere, and I’ll say it again here: Instead of bringing in a bastardized form of GW1’s infusion by way of lotro’s failed radiance system, what they SHOULD be bringing back from GW1 is the notion of hard mode.

    Hit level 80, complete the personal story… something should trigger the option to enable “hard mode” in overworld PvE, which sets you 3-5 levels below whatever the normal scaled level is for a given area. In exchange, your loot table is treated just like a level 80. For bonus points, make it possible to 100% a zone in hard mode too for level 80 rewards akin to 100% Frostgorge or Cursed Shore. (only require normal mode 100% for the Explorer achievement though). If the newbie zones are still too easy to farm/complete, make the scaling even more harsh.

    There you go. Now 80s can go anywhere in the overworld and get full rewards, and are given a huge incentive to go back and 100% zones again, which is something I actually enjoy doing on my characters. Double the shelf-life of your content without splitting up friends, spread out the playerbase so we don’t have a bunch of dead 1-70 zones and an overcrowded tag-fight in Orr, everyone wins.

    1. Patrick

      Given that Guild Wars 2 is an “open world” game, rather than instanced for the most part, are you proposing twin versions of each zone, one for level 80 players and one for new players on the way up? If so, wouldn’t this make the lower level zones feel more empty? If not, how do you solve the problem of hard mode monsters eating new players if the level 80 who brought them into being decides to split?

      One imagines that a better tuning of scaling and rewards would solve the problem without quite so much potential for breaking the game.

      1. Zubon Post author

        I read the idea as changing character level rather than content level, so if you would normally be downleveled to 17, you are instead 14.

        I see two different difficulties. First, this would be in the open world, and I just need to tag the enemy to get my hard mode loot. If someone at the normal level does the heavy lifting, good for me. Monsters are balanced for single opponents, so I can just bring four other hard mode friends, and we will easily get our hard mode loot by swarming. Second, I will be getting most of my 100% hard mode world completion from non-combat activities such as walking to waypoints. Even the hearts can usually be completed non-violently.

      2. Zyrhan

        Yes, I intended it to mean your level is lowered dynamically in the normal open world, not creating a separate zone instance as in GW1.

        Both of those difficulties imply that this isn’t how things ordinarily work in the level 80 zones we have, Zubon. You can bring 5 people to get tagging credit on single mobs in Frostgorge Sound if you want to farm that way. But it’s much more effective to farm fast-spawning Dynamic Events in the Cursed Shore if you want loot (or karma), which in theory should be scaling up by the number of participants, but are mostly reduced to being trivially easy and requiring players to just tag the enemies to get loot because of the incredible player density at the events overwhelming the event scaling. Making it so that farming DEs in the Iron Marches or Bloodtide Coast are equally attractive – and in some ways better, because you won’t have to fight so hard to get kill credit and will have to actually face some sort of challenge to participate in the DE – serves to alleviate all of those problems at once.

        It’s fairly easy to achieve critical “holy crap tons of bodies and thus loot” levels of scaling in DEs; 5-8 people at a siege event usually does it. That isn’t hard to reach in an active zone. The problem is that when you get to the 15-20+ rolling death trains in Orr, the scaling sputters and dies and the challenge is negated. DE scaling could use some work too, but I think that spreading the population out is also an important long-term answer to several issues. Yeah, sometimes it’s fun to be in big rolling squads of 20 people flattening everything in your path, but it’s clearly pushing beyond the boundaries of where most DEs are both fun AND challenging.

        It’s also not about making hard mode loot that’s better than what you can get from Orr, it’s about making other zones equally attractive. The drop rates in Orr are good both because the Cursed Shore drops 80 loot, and also because most enemies are scaled to 83-84, and ANet has confirmed that killing higher level mobs increases the quality of your drops. The problem is that facing higher level mobs when you break the scaling throws the risk vs. reward of the activity out of whack. The Orr farmers are perverting the game: by sheer force of numbers they’ve changed the “challenge” of the game from the attacks and damage of the mobs, into beating the damage of the players around you so you can get tagging credit. I think a lot of people would jump at the chance to farm the game while facing the challenges that were originally intended, and spreading out the population of 80s seems like a pretty easy way to help events all across Tyria hit that “sweet spot” of difficulty.

        Edit: I didn’t address the 100% zone difficulty. In short, I don’t think it’s drastically problematic to create a big chunk of once-per-character timesinks that might give you some more Black Lion Keys or some more exotics if you choose to 100% hardmode zones with your time instead of farming dungeons at 80. It goes along with GW1’s method of longevity, by creating tons and tons of content that is difficult to totally finish before they put out more stuff, especially if you have alts. But it was also a throwaway bonus idea I made up on the spot. The core idea to me is the level and loot scaling for mob kills.

    2. Roq Marish (@Roqsan)

      Have also made this suggestion – on the official site. As you imply, it’s not only that rewards in lower level zones don’t scale, it’s that the current scaling doesn’t result in any challenge in lower level areas. After level 80 one is looking for more challenge not less.

  7. bhagpuss

    Maybe it depends on your server. On Yak’s Bend playing even as I do at off-peak times it’s rare not to see a good number of players in mid- and -low level zones. It’s a rare event that I have to finish alone.

    We’ve also noticed a really huge decline in the number of bots. I’m not at all happy about the direction some things are going but the viability of sub-80 content isn’t one of them.

  8. pixelrevision

    I am still having a lot of fun going through the open world checking out events and seeing what’s around the next corner offsetting that with a dungeon run here and there. I did however buy a seperate set of green items as the exotics make that content really unfufilling challenge wise. Most of my guild thinks I’m nuts for downgrading my gear but then a lot of them are sitting in a 200 yard radius in Orr farming the same 6 events over and over.

    It really saddens me as they really are onto something here. The overall world brings back a sense of adventure and exploration that I have not seen since EQ and the early days of WoW. But judging by the new event notes it appears they are going to funnel people more into dungeons, increase stats on gear and further push this content into the rear view mirror.

    1. Roq Marish (@Roqsan)

      I agree, the open world content is the highlight of the game for me and surely must have represented the bulk of development. A lot of it is really just going to waste. I think trying to stuff everyone down dungeons is a bit of a cop out.

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  10. Saylah

    Even though I don’t like the higher level zones being so risen/undead focused and it’s my least favorite content, I find myself there most of the time. Firstly, because I need to farm stuff to complete my crafting and well that means farming the upper tier content. Since you’re there farming, you join the mad scramble of events that happen. AND you’re rewarded for being in that tier with gear upper 70s and 80 that can be sold or salvaged. I’m not spending money on salvage kits to rid myself of lowbie gear or wasting bag space. All these factors combined, makes it VERY HARD to carve out time for the lower zones just to diddle about.

    I don’t mind them adding raid content for raiders. I’m no longer one but I realize that some players really crave that sort of end game. However, that’s now a portion of the player base that will disappear off the map in high zones, let alone go back to lower zones.

    My days of farming gear or over. And as much as I really enjoy the lower zones, I’m not going there every time I log into the game just to see the sights. There has to be a reason for me to go there at level 80.

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