Ask K&G: Our most anticipated GW2 feature

GW2 Dynamic Event Boss
Anyone can just run up and join in on the fun in GW2, and it’s not just simple public quests but some of the hardest monsters in the game.

This is a new feature we want to run every Saturday called Ask Keen and Graev. You ask us questions via email, comment, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and, if it’s a question we feel others may be interested in knowing the answer to, we answer them here for everyone to see.

This week it’s going to be short and sweet due to our busy schedule.

Q. What feature are you looking forward to most in GW2?

Keen: More than anything, I’m looking forward to the lack of ‘progression’ content as it relates to raids and gear treadmills.  I’m excited that I don’t have to worry about the concept of getting to the end for the real game to begin.  I love the idea that I won’t have to log in every night and hope that 9-24 other people are going to pull their weight and show up too.  Everyone gets gear, there is no private instanced raiding, and ‘progression’ is a public affair.  If some guild that’s considered “uber” wants to kill a boss, I can show up too and get loot. I’m a bit of a PvE carebear when it comes to this stuff.

Keep sending us your questions!

  • That looks so epic. Sounds like a good idea with the open bosses. I hadn’t heard about that feature before.

    The other thing I hope makes a come back is more traditional, chaotic combat rather than the choreographed dancing and hoop jumping stunts that battles are now. If that epic guy spawns four adds and you have to dps them down to a certain % and finish them all at once while clicking a MacGuffin for no apparent reason i’ll make a sadface. I’d rather see deadly dragon’s breath obviously, fear auras/roars, and his attacks should send people hurtling through the air and stun them when they land.

  • Im looking forward to hundreds of thousands of players writing caps at general : ” WHAT? NO RAIDZZZ??? FAILLLLLL”

    Seriously though what is that treasure on World PvP maps that you need to control the Neutrals? Do you guys know anything about that?

  • Love reading your blog guys… however!

    Have you ever taken part in the “Raid Finder” version of Dragon Soul in World of Warcraft?

    Basically, it’s a raid of 25 random people, where you get to see the biggest and baddest bosses and fights in the game. Players can jump out at any time, and another player is immediately slotted into their spot. In essence, it’s as close to a GW2 dynamic event as can be, other than it’s in an instance.

    The problem? (Social interaction and lack of need for coordinated teamwork aside, which are the very cornerstones of MMO gameplay) – There is absolutely zero satisfaction in winning.

    It ends up feeling like a chore. Just a task on a list, and a waste of time, because there’s just no value to it. You’re not overcoming anything as a team.

    And this I fear – or worse – is going to be the problem with GW2 and the dynamic event bosses. They’re going to have to be dumbed down so significantly without requiring any real strategy or having any punishing mechanics since it has to accommodate the random passer-by.

    In other words, players may think that they want to show up and get loot without any effort. But the truth is that doesn’t have any longevity as it lacks the “gamer’s high.”

    For everything that ArenaNet is trying to do right with GW2, I think in many ways the game is pushing MMOs back by taking away the core of the unique selling proposition: cooperative team play as no other genre can do it.

  • This. 🙂
    and having thought about this a lot lately, I am also greatly looking forward to honest, voluntary cooperation for a change – not one that is based on sheer necessity, but free will; social contact that extends the purpose inside the game where we get manipulated to group via by restrictions, setup dictations or progression content….and leave or forget each other as soon as that component is removed. group up because you can – not must. maybe that is truly gonna be one of the biggest social achievements to come in future multiplayer, online games as risky as it sounds, too (and I am myself a sceptic). play not for the game’s purpose and agenda, but your own – play not against each other but together with the reward multiplying for everybody.

    A year ago I never would’ve said this probably, but I’ve come to realize just how falsely glorified some of our MMO ‘memories’ back from WoW etc. are. whatever happens to deeper social interaction or group cooperation in GW2, which I cannot predict, at least it’s gonna be a lot less about pressure and a lot more about free will. I have probably never been more anxious and excited about this genre’s next evolutionary step.

  • @Lehtality

    LFR is not like this at all.

    LFR forces the standard group makeup and vastly simplifies the raid itself. GW2’s combat is alot more action oriented, and jumping into bosses without a standard “required number of people” does not in fact make bosses feel less epic. In fact, it allows for MORE overpowered end game bosses that are much more epic to defeat.

    Also PVE content is much less of a focus in GW2 than in WoW, you don’t HAVE to go farm those bosses, because those bosses are not the main focus of the endgame, they are just one of the things you can do.

    Gamer’s high is silly, there is no such thing, people feel proud for participating in stuff, not everyone wants to be part of a small team of elites doing… elite things. Also your very statement “people can get loot without effort”, well YEAH, that’s what we want, it makes the playing field much more easily even in general, especially for pvp.

    Focusing on fun rather than the treadmill? Yes please.

  • @Lethality

    It could end up that way but judging from some of the sub 10 mobs I’ve run into wiped groups playing badly out so I’m confident the higher level zones will get more, not less difficult.

    There are plenty of opportunities for cooperative play in GW2: Dungeons, WvWvW, sPvP and even events in the world. The game does a great job of making people coordinate with people they never met and haven’t grouped with. I’ve run into dozens of scenarios over the BWEs where I was trying to get to something (skill point, etc) surrounded by mobs that were giving me trouble. Another person or two showed up and we spontaneously helped each other, coordinating CC and helping each other. That never happens in other MMOs I’ve played.

    I’ll take that type of coordinated play over raids any day.

    I’d argue that the unique selling point of MMOs are their sense of community more so then acts of coordinated gameplay in an instance a few times a week.

    Arenanet is trying to make the whole server your community and not just your guild. The emphasis on raiding in games like WoW has really narrowed the focus of people to just their guilds and nothing else. It’s your guild versus everyone else. The rest of the server may as well not exist. In GW2 its your server versus every other server. Everyone on your server is part of your community and they will all lend you a hand (and are encouraged to based on mechanics in the game).

    I’ve had enough of the former and look forward to trying some of the latter. It’s really a callback to old school MMOs where enjoying the community and the world was the point, the world wasn’t simply a place to farm up items for the next raid.

    If the cost of that community is a few zergy boss mobs in the world I think it’s a small price to pay. And let’s be honest, if you need that sort of raid play to enjoy an MMO there is no reason to leave the game that does it best.

  • @Danath – easy there pardner, I’m not kicking your puppy.

    This is rooted in psychology, mostly. You may not realize it but yes, there IS a gamer’s high that you experience. And it doesn’t come with “just showing up and wasting time.”

    The fact is, they cannot use punishing mechanics that require coordination in open world dynamic events. If not for lack of hope that random players couldn’t, then for the opportunity for greifing that it would present.

    The ways that LFR and DE’s are exactly the same as I mentioned; there is no satisfaction from winning, there is no real teamwork required, and there is no real longevity.

  • @Fergor

    My main issue is that there aren’t ways for large organized groups to play together and get the kind of challenge they crave. It’s fine if all the open world bosses are zergy for everyone, and even if they are the big story bosses. But make larger instanced content where the real teamwork can occur… where there can be punishing mechanics you first have to figure out, and then try to execute on a strategy.

    There’s just no way that can exist in an open world, especially not one built on accessibility in PvE as Anet has been touting.

    Its’ great that people perceive this to me something they want, but I think it sets the genre back instead of pushing it forward.

  • @Lethality

    I understand your point but I think you’re conflating one play style as THE way forward for MMOs. I’m arguing there are multiple paths forward for MMOs. Some MMOs will refine the raid game, some will push forward on the PvP front, others will push forward in other fronts. None of these paths is the holy grail ‘right’ path as they appeal to different people.

    At least I hope that’s true because if more and more refined raiding is the only way forward for MMOs then I’m done with the genre.

    I also don’t believe there is no way Arenanet can’t add challenge to the outdoor events and they will default to zergs. I may be wrong but lets at least see what they cooked up before we criticize.

  • Well, I see a lot of commenters saying as GW2 “plays”, but these commenters obviously NOT played the game…

    GW2 have cohoperation, maybe more than any other MMO I played before. There is no kill stealing, players gain max loot and xp for any mob that they attack. Players gain xp rezzing dead players.

    There is a complex system of combos, but that need some time for learn to use it effectivelly. The advantage of combos is that anyone can complete a combo with any other player, just need know what action to take. Smash the keys 1-5 in sequence will not make a combo.

    Some class too can autocombo, guardian with greatsword can 2>4 and gain regen (only 1-2 seconds) and make a massive damage. As ranger I just get near elementalists, necromancers and guardians for use my ranged attacks for finish combos. It is nice to see my arrows making burning or giving blindness or giving me regen (combos with elementalist, necromancer and guardian, respectivelly). My ranger too can autocombo, set a fire trap and burn enemies with arrows.

    People are learning the strategies. The bosses out the world too need strategies, but people will need time for learn them. For now, with everyone at lower levels, we are seeing zergs, but zerg is just working because zerg ever work. With less players fighting bosses, that players just need learn strategies for fight the bosses. For example, the ice champion at Svanir’s Dome, there is a central ice pillar that players can use for escape boss attacks runing around it. That cyclop that attacks teh Town of Nageling, just learn to dodge the bolders the boss will throw out. The fire shaman at that cave at Lake Feritas, don’t use ranged attacks, DoTs will be more effective against it.

    When the game launch we will see guilds being structures, players grouping with guild members for explore the world and have fun (better than wait 3 hours for the raid be ready for go…) and we will see cohoperation and strategies being developed.

    I just hope that Keen and Graev learnt, now, that there is nothing wrong at warrior use longbow or rifle…

  • @João Carlos: Warriors do fine with rifle and bow. I think some people would agree that warrior are actually better at ranged attacks than Rangers. Warriors are the masters of weapons, and Rangers are masters of a balance.

    At first it was odd to me that the Warrior was a better TRADITIONAL Ranger than the Ranger class. As a long, long time MMO player I have been conditioned to think that Warriors don’t use bows as a main form of combat. It’s taking some time, but I’m coming to accept it.

    @Lethality: There has been a lot of discussion in the comments already, but to answer your question directly — I have used LFR. LFR is how I defeated Death Wing and did all of the Cataclysm raid content. LFR is definitely different from public content, though. I think the biggest difference is that in LFR peopel are a number or a slot, but in public content like GW2 has it’s literally everyone wanting to attend participating for the goal of killing this monster in the real world and achieving an objective.

  • @Keen That is the odd thing about GW2: people will need time for get rid from the oddities that we were conditioned by the other MMO.

    People will need time, people will get confused by the “chaotic” place with all that DEs comign and going at the first hours of gameplay.

    But, IMHO, who cross that first hours and learn how to play GW2 will not want return to the tradidional quest system from other MMO.

  • @ Lethality

    “My main issue is that there aren’t ways for large organized groups to play together and get the kind of challenge they crave.”

    It’s true that GW2 might not offer this in PvE form. They certainly offer it in PvP form through WvW in a way that few (if any) MMOs still offer.

    However, I say this: Who cares? Or rather, I’d disagree with the whole notion that what (most) MMO players crave is punishing content for large organized groups.

    Over the years, the typical raid size has shrunk and shrunk. The days of really large, difficult group content (40, 50+ players) is gone. Now 25 is about as big as it gets, and an awful lot of people raid with much smaller groups. If what we want is content for large groups, why do they keep shrinking?

    Then, despite raiding being the standard endgame across most MMOs, a small percentage of the playerbase have ever actually done it. The whole reason Blizzard added LFR so far into the game’s lifecycle was because for so many years they’d put all this work into raids for such a small percentage of their playerbase. Now, we can only speculate on how many people started raiding in WoW using the LFR, but it doesn’t matter, because as you say the LFR isn’t representative of the type of content you’re talking about.

    Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that there’s a lot of room in the MMO space for many different types of players. For the type of people you are talking about, there are lots of great MMOs out there. However, there are millions of MMO players that either don’t have the time or aren’t interested in that type of gameplay. So if GW2 wants to cater to that particular demographic, I’d say all the more power to them!

  • @Keen I guess I meant, in a similar way, LFR provides the same level of gameplay satisfaction as dynamic events – and that would be near zero. I don’t feel like I’ve achieved or contributed anything in LFR, and I get that same feeling in DEs. There’s no puzzle being solved, there’s no tweak of strategy… it’s just stay a live and don’t be dumb.

    That bores me to tears, as I suspect it would many gamers than enjoy a challenge and don’t just show up for loot.

  • @Fidjit I always find the “hardly anyone raided” argument interesting, because at the same time, the game was growing in popularity more than ever. Ironically, the more accessible it becomes, the less popular it is.

    I can’t put my finger on it, but it has something to do with the psychology of the “journey is greater than the destination” 🙂

  • @Lethality: I see what you mean now. I mostly agree with you. The dynamic events I have played so far do deliver that same type of satisfaction — I don’t know if I’d say “zero.”

    The events I was referring to are the ones at the “end” of the game. There’s a zone called “Orr Ruins” (or something like that) and there are various large bosses that can be considered the ‘hardest in the game’. Those, I hope, offer a more fulfilling experience.

    Even then, I’m looking forward to the LACK of raids more than I am looking forward to GW2’s type of content. It’s what GW2 is not that excites me most.

  • @ Lethality

    WoW isn’t losing popularity because it’s too accessible. It’s losing popularity because it’s old. How many years can someone play the same game? It doesn’t help that Blizzard is so slow in pumping new content out. if anything the new pet battle and scenario system in MoP will gain Blizzard more long term subs then their raiding game.

    Back to challenging content, my favorite game of this console generation is Dark Souls. One of my favorite games of all time is contra on the NES. I like challenging content. GW2 offers that. The pve is challenging (bwe 1&2) pretty early and I can’t level by just hitting 1 over and over like in other MMOs. I was also satisfied with the low level world events I’ve seen so far as they make the world more alive and they bode well for things to come.

    What’s funny is we’re comparing low level DEs with hardcore raiding in WoW (I assume hardcore because regular modes are super easy). Why aren’t we comparing these low level DEs to rage fire chasm or the stockades? It makes more sense.

  • @Lethality, others:

    I’m curious — did you ever play EverQuest? The idea that open world content HAS to be easy is a relatively new development in the history of MMOs. For a good chunk of EQ’s lifecycle, basically all the content was open world and there were definitely some very difficult encounters in that game.

    In WoW, if I recall correctly, there were some reasonably hard world boss encounters as well. I’m talking early Vanilla WoW here — like Blackwing Lair and earlier. I quit playing before the third raid was released, but I recall there being some dragons out in the open world that were not as difficult as major raid bosses but still not trivial to defeat either.

    In Rift, most of the open world content is/was pretty trivially easy. But there were a few encounters that carried some significant challenge. The first tier Fire raid rift comes to mind — it was nerfed at least three times and up until the third nerf it still had some challenge to it. And before the first nerf it was really very difficult.

    I think it’s valid to be concerned that some or all of this open world pve content will be easy. But there is PLENTY of precedent in the history of MMOs for challenging open world content.

    Personally I think that the best bet for Anet will be to have some large scale open world content that is of very large, “epic” scale but also easy to beat (much like Rift’s zone events) alongside some very challenging open world content that requires a lot of planning (like classic EQ content). The fact that there is no plan for a gear treadmill means that they can have truly challenging content without worrying about players stressing out about not having access to that content’s loot. I can’t stress enough how big of a deal that is. In gear grind games there is a LOT of tension about content difficulty because everyone wants to be able to get the best gear. In GW2 this motivation will hopefully not exist, thus allowing them to design some really epic encounters without making anyone too jealous.

  • @Lethality

    “I always find the “hardly anyone raided” argument interesting, because at the same time, the game was growing in popularity more than ever.”

    Yet overall, the percentage of players raiding remains low. Raiding itself never got any more popular.

    You also have to remember, as the game was growing in popularity more than ever it was adding many non-raiding features. Battlegrounds, arena, dailies, more reputation grinds, achievements, pet and mount collecting became extremely popular, etc. Probably not a coincidence.

    And what is Blizzard’s focus in Mists? Alternate forms of endgame progression. Dailies award VP, loads of new factions, a new reputation system, harvest moon alike, pet battles, scenarios (which are VERY similar to DEs in GW2), etc. Even Blizzard is trying hard to move away from raiding as the main endgame activity, because they know it’s just not what most of their players want.

  • @Keen

    100% agree. As someone who was a former raider I no longer have time to engage in such treadmills. I am looking for a more casual friendly MMO and from the three BWE’s I have played GW2 will fit my gaming lifestyle perfectly.