[GW2] Feature Shock and Collection

It’s been a few days since the second Feature Pack arrived from Guild Wars 2, and large chunks of the vocal community are in an uproar. My favorite description of the Feature Pack contents comes from Bog Otter’s delightful YouTube video, but for the written word head to Jeromai’s overview.

So there were some class changes. Mrs. Ravious loves her new Ranger Power! I haven’t had a chance to dabble with a dagger necro now with mini-cleave (pinky to mouth for effect). There’s some new WvW stuff, and I’m getting used to the new Trading Post updates. Yay for speed, Boo for default to list the item instead of auto-selling it. Double Yay for improved search and sell from my backpack power!

The “content” of this Feature Pack is the new Collections Achievements. These are long-term (usually) achievements to say collect things like 1 of every type of junk item. As soon as the junk item hits your bag it unlocks that part of the collection. Another achievement involves gaining the skins of every exotic crafted armor, and another one involves the skins of every ascended armor. The only one I am really interested in is the Treasure Hunter achievement because it puts a daily lootable chest in the home instance. Heading to the home instance for a daily mining run is a pretty good way to earn a decent chunk of a gold. Overall Collections seem like nice longer term goals, especially as achievements, and I’ve enjoyed them greatly in other MMOs (RIFT especially comes to mind).

That was the good first. Now let’s move on to the New Player Experience (NPE).

I think it is best that we start with the monthly post of Distilled Willpower. Most of the feedback coming from veteran players is not very probative because they are not “new players”. These changes were based on feedback from new players, usability studies, and likely a wagonload of heuristics on seeing things like ‘when did this player stop playing the game’.

I am mostly underwhelmed, but also unaffected. I will likely never level a character from 1-20 again since I have nearly a dozen (or more) auto-level to 20 scrolls. If I did play around down there it would be to check out the NPE, such as what Jeromai did. Judging by what I’ve seen from people playing, vocal feedback, and implementation I think these words from sage Jeromai are the best:

The biggest mixed feelings I get from this new player experience is the distinct sensation that we’ve moved over from stressing an Explorer experience to focusing on an Achiever one.

It isn’t so much, I feel, that the implementation was bad (although I certainly feel there were better, and more time costly, ways of implementing a NPE). I think it’s that we started with an MMO that was free. It was “do what you want” from the start. It was “just play”. And now it feels like it could be a series of restrictive hoops with no way to make the player feel clever.

The NPE has gone banal. The spark of Guild Wars 2 has been divided, categorized, and sub-divided. It has become a paint-by-numbers instead of a blank canvas. I hope that ArenaNet made the correct decision for new players. I would guess at least in part they were correct in the assumption that MMO pros had already picked up the game and now it was players that needed this clear, yellow line to follow.

I am pretty grateful that I am so far beyond the NPE that I am still getting pretty enjoyable content. I still look forward to WvW on my sewer-ranked server. I love messing around in Cursed Shore with all the megaserve’d farmers, and I enjoy Dry Top even more though I seem to have a mental block to learning event times. I hope at least on the end-game end of playing ArenaNet continues to try and keep that spark glimmering.

Yet, that won’t return until November. I assume Halloween is in between since that’s a pretty popular event. However, I do beg the question of how did we go from seemingly sustained content earlier this year to lots of breaks. The NPE seems to shed further light on the lack of anything feeling “new” to the classes. Good on rangers and other balances. Good on the few traits, but it definitely feels like things like new weapons are off the table in the Living World.

Everything is getting more and more polished, and I sure would like an expansion to mess things up.


8 thoughts on “[GW2] Feature Shock and Collection”

  1. Besides the bugs and ‘unintended’ restrictions, that new content guide is one of the features I’m ambivalent about and sums up for me the on-rails feel of the direction they are headed in. In addition to the NPCs that run up to your character, the content guide also points to nearby events. The NPCs were an interesting and immersive feature before but could be overlooked, why not just put more in and highlight them with (optional) icons or similar, a tutorial pop-up explaining the significance of an NPC that runs up to the player or runs aimlessly about looking distressed instead of creating a new system to lead players from activity to activity.

  2. The only parts of the alt system I cannot stand are the over the top incrementations like level 40 being the elite level and the restrictions on training weapons, and finally the cost of traits which they still have yet to fix from the last feature pack. At no time should progression in any title be tied directly or indirectly to sales of store currency and that’s what they are still doing.

    The rest of it is actually good. Two of the items they added were requests from the long archived Suggestiosn folder in their own forums. Here’s to hoping they head in this direction to get their audience back.

  3. “Monthly post” is a compliment I’m not sure I can quite live up to, but thanks anyway Ravious. :P

    I’m softening my opinion somewhat in light of a lot of the positive feedback from people who actually like the new system. I still think its shit, but if the majority opinion is that it works, then who am I to argue? (apart from a haughty windbag blogger)

  4. Levelling some alts for the fun of it, I’m mostly fine with the new system. I like the little rewards each level. But I *don’t* like the chunked stats and skill point increases. Why not just dribble them in?

  5. Guild Wars 2 Free Trial This Week

    The Guild Wars 2 website announces a free trial for Guild Wars 2 gets underway on Thursday …
    For a limited time, play Guild Wars 2 for free and experience why Guild Wars 2 is the fastest selling MMO in history!*

    *Based on initial 9 months physical and digital unit sales against PC pay-to-play games including North America, Europe, and Australasia. Source – DFC Intelligence

    That’s… kind of a strange disclaimer with a strange time frame made to support yet another free weekend.

  6. Now that a month has passed, how would you assess the “feature pack” now?

    I am decidedly underwhelmed. The large break in content is worrisome.

    1. I think it is great for the long term player. Collections seem to be pretty driving as long term goals. I too am underwhelmed with the long break in content, especially since it seems like we’ll get a few more episodes and then likely have a winter break on top of this break.

      Mrs. Ravious signs on pretty frequently to work slowly at collections. I’ve been putzing around here and there in Dry Top b/c I wouldn’t mind doing the fossilized insect weapon collection, but FTB (Minecraft) has been calling my name as of late.

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