[GW2] Dev Posts on New Vision: WoW Loot Progression with LotRO Radiance

You can tell it’s not a grind or a treadmill because they say it’s not. Also this “add a new tier of gear” thing is totally not something they plan to do every three months. Only every time they add an expansion pack worth of content.

: Zubon

You’ll be facing WvW opponents who will get the top gear, so let’s add DAoC problems, too. Trifecta! If the horizontal endgame isn’t working as planned, why not pivot to a vertical endgame?

26 thoughts on “[GW2] Dev Posts on New Vision: WoW Loot Progression with LotRO Radiance”

  1. I’ve said this plenty around the ‘nets, but I don’t mind the new tier as much as the way it was introduced. The Studio Design Director said “ascended and infusion rewards will be available in both PvE and WvW over time” but they are not at inception. That this new gear tier with a stat for dungeons is only (now) gained in dungeons narrows the focus beam to an insane level.

    If it had been part of an expansion, players would have not been blindsided by news sites letting the cat out of the bag from a press release, and the whole picture would have been complete or clearer. That it is part of a content update (as excited as I am about it otherwise) gives us only a corner of the entire picture.

    I feel if ArenaNet is going to give us more: more events, more puzzles, more zones, etc. Then swing away. If they are going to add xpac type changes, they need to lead in to them slowly and fully.

  2. In their latest explanation, they say they want to “allow people time to acquire them as we add exciting new content that deserves exciting rewards.” But this highlights two problems. First, they are suggesting that they think that exciting rewards need to be (or at the very least can and will be) better gear. This is echoed earlier in the explanation, where they say that they added ascended items as “a proper progression for players from exotic up to legendary.” All this makes it sound like exciting rewards and proper progressions are now supposed to involve stats rather than skins. And this is antithetical to the Guild Wars approach, where the rewards and progression are intentionally and by design aesthetic. (And anyway they already sort of had an aesthetic progression: all the expensive, fancy mystic forge skins that people have been discovering.)

    Second, they’re acknowledging that it’s going to take time to get everything, which moves away from the Guild Wars approach of hit max level, play a little more, and never have to worry about gear ever again (unless you want a different build or prettier skins).

    In at least two important ways, then, this really does sound like they’ve just decided to throw out the GW endgame model, which is disappointing.

  3. When is KTR going to get an edit button? Anyway, I guess I could have been more concise, because the first and third points are basically the same: exciting rewards and proper progressions are now supposed to involve stats, not skins.

  4. Has ArenaNet not learned anything from previous games? Have we not seen this fail over and over again? Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again even though you know it’s going to fail all the same.

    1. Even worse, they didn’t even learn from their own success and alienate a large base of the people that hyped the game.

  5. I am holding onto an optimistic trust in ArenaNet that they have thought the ascended gear through, and have plans for fitting it into their broader design, and once we’ve seen how it all fits together it won’t be the world-ending betrayal that the forums are currently making it out to be. I’ll freely admit, though, that this is entirely a matter of faith on my part. It’s very possible that faith will prove to be misplaced, but I’m holding on to it.

    I think one of the hardest things for a company in ArenaNet’s position to do is also one of the most important things they can do, and that’s hold to their original vision. The game’s never going to be really different to its competitors (and if it’s not, its survival chances go way down) if the devs give in to the pressure and just change things to give players what they say they want. What many players are demanding is what their past experience has led them to believe will work. Instead, I think the best thing ArenaNet can do is stick to what they wanted to do and start offering a little more guidance about how players should be playing in order to best understand and participate in that vision.

    Of course, that’s really hard for them to do when they also have to make a profit and appease the various other parties who have a financial stake in the game’s success (many of whom probably don’t give a kitten about game design, really). Which explains a lot about the game industry overall… heh. I just hope ArenaNet can proceed without compromising their original design philosophy.

  6. Honestly I find this all a little frustrating because that whole ‘whole game is endgame’ philosophy doesn’t work if all those lovely progression mechanics just stop. That means once you hit 80 and can’t improve your character any more, how the game works changes, which is the definition of endgame. The problem is that GW1 actually didn’t have an endgame: you went hunting for elite skills and money to buy new regular skills to put together a new build. GW2 replaces that with… nothing. Before 80 you’re improving how your character plays and their capabilities, after 80 (and you get exotics, which aren’t particularly tricky to acquire) you cannot.

    So they needed to do something, and this is a decent enough compromise, assuming you don’t need Agony protection to start later dungeons. That was the whole problem with Radiance, I gather; here it’s a separate thing you slot, and they could do things like have it be an environmental hazard rather than a straight gear check, so maybe it’ll be less tedious than radiance and resistance in WoW was. As for a gear treadmill, if any new dungeons also start with an 80 in exotics as the baseline capability then I guess it’s not actually a gear treadmill at all as much as a perk.

    I don’t know what people were expecting differently, given that it is an MMORPG and the industry has voted overwhelmingly in favour of long-term progression mechanics, in MMOs and other games. I don’t know how they could have done anything differently.

  7. “I don’t know what people were expecting differently, given that it is an MMORPG and the industry has voted overwhelmingly in favour of long-term progression mechanics, in MMOs and other games. I don’t know how they could have done anything differently.”

    I think this is the key point. What you’re saying is that MMOs have no choice but to follow the industry and implement a gear treadmill.

    But GW2 originally set out to be something different.

    1. I’m not saying this at all! Long-term progression doesn’t need to take the form of a gear treadmill. For instance, TF2 has its achievement list and economy to occupy players.

      It seems like what people were expecting is that characters would grow and then stop growing, and this is as big a mistake as other MMORPGs that start off with a directed questing mold and then only provide raids when you get to the end. You shouldn’t start off with one set of gameplay mechanics and swap to a different set because you can’t make the first lot sustainable. Either characters grow or they don’t, and what I was saying was that growing is much more popular with players than not growing.

  8. well there are two progressions in the game:

    STILL horizontal progression outside of this new dungeon-mode. Get the new tier and now all of you who have this tier (new tier until now was relatively easy to get compared to other mmos where you grind weeks for it) are on an equal power-level.

    Vertical progression (in form of the Infusion-System) which works only inside this new dungeon. Outside the Infusion-stats are completely useless. In order to get stronger inside of this dungeon, you need offensive and defensive infusions.

    Furthermore: Ascended items have no rune-slot. Yes, statistics which would come from runes are embedded in this item, but these are specific stats. You can’t choose your own stats (no rune-slots) and this may not be ideal for your build.

    The only negative thing I can see: you will have to go into the new dungeon to get the Ascended ring. This will not stay this way, as Ravious pointed out earlier.

  9. When I was reading the new info on infusions and the new condition they are designed to combat, I was immediately reminded of Lotro’s radiance system. And as radiance, while well-intentioned when introduced, devolved into a brainless grindfest before they finally pulled the plug on it, the direction GW2 seems to be heading for has me worried. I agree with the previous posters asking A-Net to stick with their original vision for the game.

  10. Have to say I’m disappointed with this new direction. They should have been working on making dungeons and fights more challenging in a satisfying way rather than relying on higher numbers, and then they go and introduce a cheap fix such as agony. It could be an interesting attrition mechanic, will have to see how it is implemented and if it can be avoided through skillful play, but radiance 2.0 would be a stupid mistake to make.

    I liked the flat progression too, it allowed time to acquire more than one gear setup and also to level and gear alts, learning what the various professions were capable of is important for PvP and also working together in PvE. There still may be plenty of time to do all that, while also acquiring the ‘ascended’ gear, but it feels like an unnecessary hurdle and none of the justifications are anyway convincing to me,

    A better implementation would be for infusions to be slotted in normal exotic gear, taking the place of runes/sigils/jewels, and as a player gets better at avoiding the agony mechanic they can drop the infusions for stats and runes bonuses, but even then slotting infusions until you learn a fight is just as unnecessary.

    1. “and as a player gets better at avoiding the agony mechanic they can drop the infusions for stats and runes bonuses,”

      To my understanding, Agony was going to be impossible (or very very hard) to circumvent without infusions. Similar to GW1’s Spectral Agony and Infusion mechanic. You could not remove or prevent Spectral Agony except by a few means offered in specific missions, and outhealing an entire party of un-infused people was near impossible.

  11. There’s nothing wrong with the changes to itemization – the game was lacking in progression for sure. I’m not a fan of cosmetic progression anyway.

    But they aren’t winning any points in how they are doing it… or how soon, back-peddling on some of their most core promises.

    What I fear the most is how this will dove-tail into the cash shop in some as yet unforeseen way.

  12. the previous vision is still there… why can only few people see this?

    horizontal progression outside the new “game mode”
    vertical progression in the new dungeon

    as replied by a developer, the plans are to include Ascended gear outside of this dungeon too, so really nothing evil.

  13. @Maarius

    Except that you’re wrong. The vertical progression is going to apply to everything that isn’t sPvP, not just the new dungeon.

    And as for their ‘plans’, recall that guesting was planned to be in at launch as one of their major features. Look at how swiftly they’ve gotten that implimented. To make no mention of all the horrible bugs that have been around since early beta.

    Players have every right to be upset by this. It’s not only backpedaling on previous remarks, but it’s also being implemented in a way that many people have already experienced and grown to loathe.

  14. I think the vertical progression you are talking about is the new tier… which is a one time event as I got it. Chris (Anet) wrote that they won’t bring a new tier every few months. This new tier is there to bridge a gap, a patch if you want.

  15. The problem is that vertical progression adds nothing to this model.

    This is not a sub game. Keeping people grinding away for months will in no way move the game’s bottom line forward. In order to continue to add content, money has to keep coming in.

    Since there’s no sub for this game – making people grind and grind and stay “subbed” to the game won’t help the game at all.

    Horizontal progression isn’t working because they haven’t ADDED any. There’s the Legendary grind – which frankly a very small percentage of the game has engaged in at this point. Most of the players of GW2 don’t want to “gear up.” They want to hit 80, buy their Exotics or Rares, and then enjoy the rest of the game.

    However, for a game that runs on a gem store? The gem store is pathetic. I was shocked how skimpy the offerings were when I started playing – 3 armor skins, one for each weight, 2 townclothes sets, and some hats. The upgrades for space aren’t going to keep people coming back – and the boosters and consumables have limited value. The only thing that’s a solid seller is the “lottery” systems – dye packs, mini packs (of which there is only one!) and the Black Lion Keys. Apparently Anet thinks that people will dump hundreds of dollars a month in lottery keys for the event skins they keep stuffing into chests… and I really think that’ll only work once or twice.

    Why are they wasting development time on a system that adds nothing to the game model AND pisses off their hardcore fans, breaking very specifically against the design philosophy they espoused for years – and only three months after release? Why are they not stuffing the store with shinies?

    The stats on what sells in an MMO cash shop are out there to see. Take a look at LOTRO – millions of cloaks, dresses and horses. WoW’s full of mounts and minis. Costume sets flew off the shelves for COH. People want to LOOK COOL. And for a game that specifically promised that LOOKING COOL was the endgame… they’ve offered us precious little in that regard to actually spend money on.

    Why isn’t there a housing grind? (they said they were working on it and it got pushed back from release.) MMO players LOVE housing – then they could pack the store with housing items. Why aren’t they offering emotes in the store? The emotes right now are painfully skimpy. Why haven’t they added new skins every month – most of the NPC outfits aren’t available to us through any means, and they’re already existing sets on racial models, so why not take those pre-made art assets and stuff them into the store? Why not add more non-Event based minis – quaggans, leaf hounds, wolves, the cubs from all over Norn lands, all of them have been passed over for minis so far, but the people I know desperately want them.

    All they are doing at this point is adding something that isn’t needed, won’t move their “brand” forward, and is garnering a hellacious amount of negative press. On top of that, lots of folks who’ve been huge and vocal supporters of the game are not vowing to vote with their wallets and STOP buying gems and recommending the game to others. This is the OPPOSITE of what Anets needs to have happening three months after release.

    Not to mention.. it’s the fucking RADIANCE SYSTEM! Which was shit when LOTRO introduced it, resulted in a massive hemorrhage of players, and was removed. How stupid do you have to be in order to deliberately choose to put it into your game?

    Personally, all this announcement does for me is make me take a serious step back in my emotional investment in this game. I already had a problem with “trusting” another NCSoft game after what happened with COH, and now the devs are displaying a really troubling level of idiocy that makes me want to back slowly away.

    1. Amen. This sums up my thoughts on these changes perfectly.

      The cash shop is under-stocked and overpriced, and that’s sad. If they really feel the need to keep the event skin chests, fine, they can do that, but every halloween and Lost Shores skin should have had a BoP version for sale directly from the store for gems. Every month should have them porting over a new light/medium/heavy set of GW1 armor to add to the sets we have.

      A new dungeon should come with a new set of EXOTIC armor and weapons that fits the theme of the dungeon, to give players another option for a new style of clothes in addition to new content to play for the fun of it (remember fun, ANet? New and exciting rewards weren’t how you measured success three months ago, fun was. Or at least that’s what Colin claimed.)

      The game has an incredibly solid core, and it is seriously upsetting to see it mismanaged and led astray the way it has been with this patch, along with the continuing missed opportunities in the gem store.

  16. Prove they won’t add more tiers?

    This type of progression only works one way. You fill out a tier, you get everyone kitted out… then they run out of grind. So what do you do?

    You raise the level cap and add another tier.

    There’s no reason to think it will work differently here, especially since the devs have done a 180 on their design philosophy with this first step. And frankly? That’s not the game I came here to play. That’s every other MMO I left. I could go back to my lifetime sub of LOTRO if I wanted that.

  17. We’ll see how this goes. I personally think they ended up jumping the shark on this one. They are now trying to add a “progression initiative” but really there is no foundation in their game for progression players. All classes must be self sufficient, all combat must be skill based and small group sizes must be small basically removes a lot of options to coming up with satisfying coordinated combat.

    The dungeon looks like a fresh idea but combined with the rewards they’re giving it looks like an analytics experiment.
    Endless dungeon = We can put the real rewards so far down no one will be able to get them so we can test what the hardcore player base can actually get through.
    Agony = We can keep players at bay for now and drip feed them help.
    Stat increases = We need to give them something to chase so that we can figure out how to tune our content.
    Phased release of gear = Even more ability to hold people at bay.

    I think they would have been better served opening up a public test realm for their stuff so that they could be given the opportunity to test high end content before sending it live. As it stands there was not enough testing in beta on the endgame content and what happened is there are bugs all over the place and people have chewed through their content way quicker than they anticipated and now are bored.

    This is a lot for them to bank on and this dungeon better be good. I don’t know any progression players that would seriously consider jumping into this game because they added tiers of gear and stat inflation. A really satisfying dungeon with great group mechanics and a unique approach on the other hand would give serious players something to chew on.

  18. If ArenaNet had advertised GW2 as a traditional vertical progression MMO with a dungeon-focused gear grind end game that also had a huge, beautiful world to explore I would have bought it for the world, knowing I’d never touch the end-game. I’d be playing just the same as I am now.

    The difference is, I wouldn’t feel someone was either taking me for a fool or simply didn’t care about pissing me off because they’d cynically calculated that this way would make more money.

  19. Yeah, that was my fault; noscript was on for ktr and I thought I’d turned it off. I requested deletion for this reply, but I guess that didn’t work. Sorry! I realized later that I should’ve edited this post in case it didn’t get deleted, but the 30-minute window had passed. My bad.

    Edit: Although now I’m not sure why this didn’t get posted as a reply to Ethic. *shrug*

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