August 31, 2012

The Guild Wars 2 Review: Criticisms

     I have decided to collect all the criticisms around the game in one article. The reason for this is that these criticisms are just facets of the larger systems and are spread across a wide number of areas. Let me start by saying that I have not found any problems that severely destroys the gameplay experience. However, I still find it worthwhile to take a step back and give some areas for improvement. This not only brings out some concerns that players might have, but at the very least, start a conversation between the players and developers to see if they could make the game better. Let's start with the dynamic event system.

     One concern around the dynamic event system is that scaling can be quite tricky. There are some events where the content feels quite trivial if there is a large number of players. I can site one example where we were escorting a bull to a field. There were so many players escorting the bull that everything that spawned dropped dead in 1-2 seconds. Or looking at the screenshot below, there about 10-20 people wailing at the boss centaur and my health wasn't event taking that much of a hit. All I know is that the centaur boss is dying even if I just auto attacked. This greatly trivialize the experience since your contribution feels less significant. On the other end of the scale, some events feel a bit off if there are too few players participating. Let's say you are the only one defending a fort. Only 3-4 centaurs spawn to try and siege the area since you are the only one there. While I agree that this is the logical choice since one person can't possibly handle 20 centaurs attacking at once, the event just feels less epic than it could have been.

Kind of hard to tell what's happening but at least the boss is dying
     The team also introduced a system called the personal storyline. This is the main quest tailored for your character based on decisions you chose at character creation. While this system is quite focused and can tell a story focused on you, since the story removes you from the general open world into an instanced version tailored for you, it feels quite more tame when compared with the larger events around the world. I found that it felt more enjoyable to just continue exploring the areas around the map rather than follow the main story. Note though that this may be a varying opinion since I admit there are times where it may be refreshing to just be in "singleplayer mode".

This means you get to join the REAL Wayfarer I was in a fake one?
     In terms of grouping, there are some problems in partying due to the overflow system. Basically, if a map has reached the maximum number of players, other players are then put into an overflow which is a replica of the same map be it in a different instance of the area. This is to limit the number of players in a map at a time so that, from what I can assume, balance the player to content ratio. However, there are also several different overflow maps which means that, if you play with friends, you can find each one in a different version of the same map. There is an option to join another player by right-clicking his/her frame in the party list and selecting join in, but I have found this feature does not always work which can be quite frustrating if you want to perform a specific group event together. I can also see this as being a problem in setting up dungeon groups since you have to wait for certain players to get in the same map at the same time.

     This overflow situation also existed when queuing for World vs. World with one major difference. The overflow map is basically a dummy map where you can't actually do anything except farm mobs. To be fair to Arena Net, they have already removed this feature and introducing a queuing system where you just get in the map once there is a slot available instead of tossing you into overflow. This mean that you can still continue questing and what not while waiting for the queue. I have to say I was impressed with the speed that Arena Net implemented this and good to have this issue put to rest.

You were kind of cute the first time but I kind of want the trading post more now

     One final criticism is around the trading post. From my beta experience, I have experienced some problems around the trading post and it seems that my impressions were pretty valid. As of writing, the trading post is still down and just briefly goes up for testing for a portion of players. What's good though is that the team is working on resolving this and I hope that the trading post experience will be much smoother once they have ironed out the kinks.

     What's good about MMO's though is that the developers continue to work on the game well after it is released to continue adding content as well as polish other aspects of the game. The game that you play now may well be unrecognizable given a couple of years. This gives us a glimmer of hope that things will indeed get better. We just have to pin our hopes on the developers and given that Arena Net has already fixed some of the concerns, shows that there is a lot of potential for greater things ahead. So let's take these criticisms and give the developers something to think about as they continue to create and recreate their game.

Check back tomorrow for my final thoughts about Guild Wars 2 and wrap up this review series.

No comments:

Post a Comment