There are a lot of head scratchers in the halls of ArenaNet. It’s not that things are wrong per se; just that sometimes they are really going against the grain. For example, their dynamic events are incredibly deep as this video illustrated. Yet it took some small amount of effort to find the hidden depth of the dynamic event.
I admit that it can be hard to stop. Just stop. And enjoy the moment. The transitions between most events are really quick, but the NPCs do take a small chance to talk. I noticed that I have to stop and pay attention. Fiddling with loot, trading post, or remaining enemies usually means I miss a bit of the story action.
I know that when Guild Wars 2 launches I am going to make sure to set up a chat channel for NPC discussions. Still, I wonder if I will train myself backwards to slow down and get the content hit as it happens. I wonder if I will care, or if it will be go, go, go.
When I am running through an area for the second or third time I might stop or take time to search out new experiences. This is why I can’t say that all the development resources taken to create these “missable” cut scenes were a waste of time. I think that the content’s depth of beauty won’t be found right away (especially as players rush to 80), but I do think it is worthwhile endeavor. Without the pressure of a subscription after the initial surge, I am hoping I can find a peaceful pace in time.
This is the long game ArenaNet is playing. They are banking on depth and new experiences to enhance replayability of areas. When everybody is so concerned about “the end game” for Guild Wars 2, perhaps the question has already been answered. There is no bait-and-switch-style end game. Just play.
This is compounded by ArenaNet’s plan to update the game with a live team [PC Gamer]. New events will just pop into existence without any warning. Patch notes will not herald the fact that perhaps the Queensdale Brood Mother event frequency has been halved and replaced with, I don’t know, a skale stampede running towards the smell of fresh baked apple pies. Man-with-the-plan Colin Johanson says in the PC Gamer interview:
“Our goal is that every time you make a new character, you might go back through a map that you played six months ago and you’re going to find completely different content.” New content, he says, will be spread across the whole game rather than concentrated in specific areas. As this happens, the events already in place will be altered to accommodate it.
To be honest, I am more shocked than anything. It seems to break two well-cemented MMO rules: (1) spend development resources on things everybody will see, and (2) MMO players don’t like change. Yet, from the interview ArenaNet would be excited if something was patched in and found three weeks later!
Maybe a year from now all the Risen across Tyrian zones will begin to wane as more and more players defeat Zhaitan and the army of Bubbles, the Elder Sea Dragon arises from the depths. Or perhaps the Blood Legion gets uppity and easily aggitated creating a new type of renegade to deal with in Ascalon. It appears that the entirety of Guild Wars 2 is going to be a living document for ArenaNet instead of just expansion-type content.
It’s an exciting and scary thought, and I’ve actually reconsidered my alt-ing strategy in lieu of this. Is this just going to be a monumental waste of resources, or is the depth going to pay off in the long, long run? The original Guild Wars has maintained some definite life for seven years, and if returning to Guild Wars 2 launch zones a few years later is going to be a new experience… well, that might pay in dividends.