Well, the update is here. Many of us are currently spending all our money to chase the next best gear. Who will win the carrot-on-a-stick race? Who will get tired and give up? It’s to be seen. The richer will become stronger faster, the poorer will have to work harder. The more skilled players will be forced to farm, as well, because unlike what was advertised to us at the beginning, being skilled in this game means zero.
That twelve-years old farmer still has a fresh mind. He doesn’t have much experience in mmorpgs, because he is still young. Just like how many of us, once upon a time, loved to spend days, months and even years farming, he too will realize that, someday, there’s more exciting and stimulating ways to keep players interested in a game than cheap statistical tricks that degenerate the gameplay into repetitive and monotonous auto-attacking spamfests. Especially when those tricks are cycling, never-ending, and bring no meaningful satisfaction at the end. So generic korean mmos, wow clones, gw2, among others, will probably all fall into the “just yet another forgottable carrot-chasing experience”, much like many of us have done the same with the archaic mmos of years old.
Looking back, you could say I was one of the many that were absolutely hyped for this game. I really believed it would be one of the greatest games of our generation. Top-tier artistic and musical talent, and loads and loads of promises on an adventure-driven game that would focus on horizontal progression, on exploration, on player’s skill and on a dynamically ever-changing world. How exciting can that be? Looking back at the trailers that showed Divinity’s Reach, I was thrilled to explore the world of Tyria. Overcoming obstacles and dangers that the world would put at my path, mastering my profession on the way, exploring and being rewarded for exploring, customising my own character through traits and personal stories, and watching the world change over time through dynamic events. That sounded like a gorgeous gaming experience, one that only the best of the best games could hope to offer.
In the end, exploration was a massive farm-fest for generic heart tasks, which are nothing but quests with less lore. All maps played and felt the same, gameplay-wise. There was barely any exciting encounter or unpredictable finding, except for hidden jumping puzzles, and even worse was the rewards. Exploring Tyria is a waste of time compared to farming in some spots. The concept behind dynamic events’ wasn’t explored enough, which made them closer to streamlined generic quests with less lore. Progression for my profession ended half-way, with the exception for traits, which are locked behind gold-sinks and npcs, and are nothing but a bunch of extra stats and passive effects. Personal story went nowhere past mid-game, offered little, and degenerated into a more linear – but even more uninteresting, story about a boring character getting a shiny sword and then giving my characters orders around. The lack of trinity was not well executed, and the game degenerated into a dodge-and-hit berzerker-gear fest. And for a cosmetic-driven game, it’s one of the worse at offering equipment that looks good. Etc. But looking back, it was still a good game. Combat is streamlined and fluid, the art style and music are gorgeous, there’s plenty to do, and even more so, there was plenty of potential untapped.
Anyways, one year has passed since GW2’s release. Anet had one year to improve everything about this game. One year to expand the dynamic event system, one year to improve the AI and/ or the encounter mechanics to add depth to teamplay coordenation and to build diversity. One year to improve and streamline the cosmetic side of the game. One year to improve the personal story or even to simply tell a more interesting story. One year to fill the world of Tyria with lore. One year to make the game more rewarding <- and they certainly acchieved in this regard. One year to improve the social aspects of the game, or the guild features. One year to put pvp into a solid position. Etc.