Early last year I coined the phrase “3 monther” to categorize those MMO’s that launch and then fizzle out for *most* people anywhere in the first 90 days. Since then I’ve been using the 3 monther as a metric for evaluating a lot of MMO’s. The worst part about a 3 monther is that it isn’t always apparent before launch.
I have zero experience with the GW2 end-game. I’m fairly confident that very few people do. The best anyone can do is theorize with the details we have — superficial details and features we’ve picked up along the way — and try to make an educated guess as to whether or not GW2 will fall into this category. Why? Because I’m one of those people that prefers to know what I’m getting myself into.
This is the first time I’ve sat down to evaluate GW2 on these criteria, so we’ll be doing this together.
Fundamentals, etc. (Where most 3 monthers are identified)
I think we can all agree that GW2 has a solid grasp of the fundamentals. The quest grind has been addressed, the world isn’t all instanced, we’re not looking at a completely solo experience, there’s plenty of character progression and diversity, and the content appears to be unique and original. I don’t need to go into more details here. I want to focus on two other categories. Read on.
Sustainable End-game Content (Is there stuff to do?)
ArenaNet fans are been big on pushing the abstract philosophy that all of GW2 is “end-game” because your character is capable of experiencing the same types of things throughout all levels. Whether or not you subscribe to that, I’ll leave up to you. What I like is how a max level player can come back and experience the lower levels. If a new dungeon is added at level 10, we can go back and see it for ourselves and scale down.
Then there are events and true “end-game” activities (that ironically even AN refers to as end-game despite a lack of end-game… wrap your head around that one) which can always be added to the game. There’s Orr which is focused entirely on events and not on quests (hearts) and taking key locations fighting through event chains with everyone working together; Orr sounds awesome. I’m sure there are more, or more will be added.
WvW is probably the saving grace for GW2′s true end-game. Despite being able to WvW from level 1, a level 80 will have major advantages over lower players. Regardless, WvW is dynamic and a form of gameplay that can be experienced over and over and not become quite as stale as say running the same dungeon a dozen times — at least for me.
Sustainable end-game also segues into the next category…
Rewards & Motivation (Why should I do it?)
Players need to feel like they are always working towards something. Even in a MMORPG, even in WvW, players these days want to continue to be rewarded and feel like they are working to obtain something or they lose motivation. WoW does this with the gear treadmills and raids/hardmodes/etc. GW2 has neither raids nor treadmills.
Anything you do in GW2 to gain experience can also gain you skill points. You can use these skill points for the Legendary Weapons and many other things. You can earn badges from WvW or dungeons and events. You can play with the Mystical Forge as well and earn all sorts of cosmetic rewards through crafting.
WvW lacks long-term rewards. Titles won’t do it for most people. GW2 doesn’t have DAOC’s realm ranks/abilities, or a Darkness Falls type dungeon (yet). For PvE (this is where sustainable end-game comes in) what will keep players wanting to repeat the content? These are details I do not have, and as a result I can not really comment.
I’m confident that GW2 will nail the ‘Is there stuff to do?’ criteria. I’m a little less confident in the ‘Why’. This is where I welcome you all to weigh in with your thoughts on what we know about GW2 so far and fill in the blanks.
Will GW2 be a 3 Monther? At this point I’m going to say: Probably not. I’m chomping at the bit to get into the game and discover all these details.