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Will GW2 be a 3 Monther?

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.

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Neuronomad - August 15, 2012

I hope that GW2 doesn’t turn out to be a 90 day or less game. If nothing else at least for me with the different starting areas and plenty of class diversity the game will manage to keep an alt-a-holic like myself going for a while. The dynamic nature of the game also increase that time as well. Through the betas I still haven’t touched WvWvW as to try to keep it something brand new to me.

Most MMOs end up being <30 day games for me. A few I returned back to from time to time like Age of Conan, Everquest 2 and LOTRO. WoW of course had me come back so many times I couldn't count. That said I would usually end up canceling my sub in WoW after 2-3 months and take a break. The great like about GW2 is with the lack of a monthly fee I am more likely to take short breaks (few days here and there or maybe even a week) and still come right back to it.

I don't think GW2 will be a true 3 Monther. I do see people taking breaks more often since it is free to play and they can take a break before burning out and not feel obligated to play just because they are paying a monthly fee.

Even though I am taking a week off for when the game launches, I still plan to take my time and enjoy the game. For once I am going to do my best and enjoy the ride and not worry over hitting level cap just to see how fast I can do so.

I have so many games right now on the back burner from the last Steam sale that I am pretty sure GW2 is going to keep me from ever getting to. I think ArenaNet is the last best hope for the MMORPG genre as far as it being more than a niche genre. Sure there are other games out there that show promise but other than maybe Titan, I don't think anyone is really holding their breaths anymore outside of holding it for GW2. SWTOR was just too hyped and too big of disappointment. TSW did good, but it isn't really a mainstream game. So to me that means that for the Genre to hold onto the general gaming public that WoW is starting to loss GW2 had better not be a 3 monther.

bhagpuss - August 15, 2012

What’s wrong with three months? Three months is a long time by my my reckoning, especially for a computer game. In the case of GW2, three months would be excellent value, seeing that there’s no subscription.

I’m long past the days when I see playing one MMO exclusively for many months, even years, as a good thing. Playing it on and off, sporadically over many years, that’s good. I do a lot of that. But playing the same MMO day in, day out, week in, week out, year in year out? I don’t think that sounds like good mental health.

Of course, if GW2 turns out to be so mindblowingly wonderful that I don’t want to do anything other than play it and I feel happy and satisfied doing that, then I guess that’s okay. Or it might mean I’ve gone mad.

Misaligned - August 15, 2012

This is an excellent question and one I’ve been wondering myself. I don’t have enough experience with the game to provide an answer. I’ve participated in the beta weekends enough to be intrigued and want to play more but not enough to feel knowledgeable about the game.

I’m hoping it proves to be more than a 3-monther not because of a carrot to chase but because the game-play is genuinely fun. I remember my early days of gaming and playing FPS games (Tribes mainly) for hours on end just because it was fun. There were no unlocks or gear upgrades or anything else, just really enjoyable game-play that kept me coming back. This is something I think most MMOs have failed at, choosing to focus on always having a carrot to dangle rather than making the game-play enjoyable enough to keep playing for the sake of playing. My attention span is undoubtedly shorter these days though and I suppose without some sort of goal to attain I’ll lose that drive to keep playing consistently.

I’ve intentionally not spent a lot of time reading up on GW2 or becoming invested prior to release. I got my hopes way too high with SWTOR and ended up disappointed. TSW was the first major MMO since EQ that I decided not to buy. I was pretty confident it was a game I wouldn’t play past the first 30 days and decided to save my money, content to enjoy the game vicariously through blog posts and YouTube.

I like what I’ve seen of GW2 thus far, love the concepts, and hope it’s a game that will hold my attention for more than 3 months. If not there’s MoP, Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 on the horizon.

Keen
Keen - August 15, 2012

@Bhagpuss: The 3 monther is more about failing at design aspects than the actual time. 3 months is the number of months I chose because usually by then the details are apparent.

Green Armadillo - August 15, 2012

“The worst part about a 3 monther is that it isn’t always apparent before launch.”

Which MMO that launched since you coined the term did not fall into this category? In fact, didn’t you coin the term for Rift? Ironically, I’d argue that is the game that has done the best in sustained appeal of the classes of 2011 and 2012 to date.

Rawblin - August 15, 2012

My only concern is that Battlegrounds (Or whatever they choose to call instance/queued pvp with even teams) will destroy WvW before it has a chance to flourish. If the “rewards” (xp/skillpoints/etc) from WvW will be integrated into BGs, the system will fall apart and WvW will be a ghostland.

None of the instant-grat crowd will be willing to risk roaming around looking for possible fights in the large zone when they could just sit in the capital and click “join”.

If that happens, the sustainable part of GW2 will have bombed (in my eyes), making it actually less than a 3 monther.

Time will tell, but I’m not really hopeful at this point.

Michael Hartman - August 15, 2012

bhagpuss wrote: “What’s wrong with three months?”

For an MMO? Everything.

The concept of virtual worlds is something that (for the most part) began with the first MUD back in the 70s and grew consistently and steadily throughout the 80s, 90s, and even 2000s. The promise of virtual worlds was that you could take on an interesting persona (perhaps totally different from you, or perhaps only slightly different) and immerse yourself in a rich world full of interesting experiences.

Just like you would want to live more than 3 months, virtual worlds were supposed to offer long, drawn out experiences that gave you the ability to express yourself and learn about yourself (and the human experience in general) in ways never before possible.

That doesn’t happen if the MMO is just a weak content grind that sputters out in 1-3 months.

For a normal game, yeah, 3 months is fine. But if that’s all these games are, then they aren’t truly virtual worlds and they are nothing like what virtual worlds were originally or aspired to be.

-Michael Hartman, President & CEO, Frogdice

Imem - August 15, 2012

I think the biggest deciding factor in why MMO’s are 3 Monthers now is that there are so many more options, players aren’t as willing to wait and let the game mature. Rift is a great example, I believe that was one of the first games you coined with that term, yet the game now is much better with a lot more options and things to do than it was 3 months after launch. But with so many other options out there players get impatient and move on to the next big thing. And when the next big thing isn’t the super perfect game it is hyped up to be, players get disappointed and are even less willing to give the game time to develop.

If a game like EQ, AC, or DAOC or even vanilla WoW launched in this market they would be lucky to last even 3 months.

I just think the era of the MMO that you play as a primary game for months or years is over. What I see myself doing is jumping from game to game 2-3 months at a time, this doesn’t make those games failures of bad design it’s just that there are more options now. I can play WoW for a few months, run through the new content, take a break and play Rift for a few, move on to LOTRO, maybe some Vanguard or City of Heroes as well then back to WoW eventually and work through the cycle. GW2 and TSW are just two more enjoyable games that I can see myself going back to now and then to see what is new.

sikk - August 15, 2012

If WvWvW doesn’t pan out to be worthwhile I feel the game will fall into the 3 monther category. Why? Lack of end game is why. Let me explain. The reason WoW for example is great at extending its content is because of how their endgame raids support min/maxers. Meaning you can experience the end game at different levels based upon certain criteria. This criteria falls into skill of your group and gear they have. This makes players who want to experience the END endgame spin in the gear treadmill for awhile to get that gear and min/max their stats so they can accomplish said task. Naturally this extends the life of your mmo alot because that gear takes awhile to get. What they did though is give incentive to get said gear. This is something I feel GW2 may lack.

If there is no true endgame raid content, why should I gather items other than to do better in PVP? Well there probably is no reason to. The problem I see is that will there be incentive to keep trying to better your character in the endgame. I can tell you first hand killing a boss after wiping over and over is alot more satisfying than any form of PVP I experienced in the GW2 beta.

I want GW2 to be better than I expect but it’s hard to imagine an mmo surviving without some form of treadmill at the end. The content will get old fast and that usually spells doom for an mmo. I’d actually welcome at least some form of AA system like EQ had at the end. When I see little to no advancement/growth in my character I lose incentive/reason to log in. Then again there are alot of games on the horizon so if it is a 3 monther I won’t complain due to its free to play design. Even WoW is content specific for me these days, if the content is fresh I’ll play, once it stales I take a break. This could happen in GW2 as well.

On a side note and completely off topic, Planetside 2 looks awesome and they are giving beta keys out on their twitter if anyone’s interested. I got one the other night.

Tux - August 15, 2012

@Rawblin

Since SPVP (Battlegrounds) are really run on a instanced character; different gear, all skills, any weapons, etc that don’t carry over to PVE or WvWvW I don’t see the problem. As much time as Anet spend seperating SPVP and the PVE/WvW I doubt they will ever join.

PVE and WvW are tied together with gear, but heck even without the best gear your useful (GO arrow carts)

Lethality - August 15, 2012

I’d need to see the end-game character progression to say for sure. If there really isn’t a PvE answer to “what can my guild do at end game together?” then I don’t see myself or my guild sticking around.

I’m not big on the “travel a map, check a box, complete xx/yy.” That’s about the lowest form of “content” I can imagine.

I also don’t see how WvWvW will be interesting in the long term. For example, is it always going to be those same maps “forever”? Or does the mists somehow change over time? In all fairness, I’m not a PvP player because I just don’t see the point. But I’m trying to understand the landscape of WvW long-term.

Tzak - August 15, 2012

@Lethality

It’s obvious you never played DAOC or AC2. The maps never changed in those games yet they still flourish for years with people battling it out for territory. If you started out on a game like that and not something like EQ or even WoW than you would realize it is called realm pride or in GW2’s case Server Pride as Keen has mentioned in the past. If they just continue to follow DAOC’s pvp model for World PvP and add a Darkness Falls like Dungeon it will continue. I personally think they need to take all those PVP vendors and put them in a deep dungeon your server must control in order to get what you want. That would put people on the WvWvW battlegrounds to spend their hard earned sPVP currency. Just my $0.02!

Lethality - August 15, 2012

@Tzak

I don’t think “realm pride” is enough these days. Things have changed… expectations have changed. There are more options.

They definitely have to make WvW more compelling because all I’ve been able to do there is run around chopping down trees looking for a fight. Seriously… I spend more time running, by far, than in PvE. I just don’t see how the level of players needed to make that interesting is sustainable.

Now, putting the vendors behind something only your server controls would be a huge step in the right direction… hell, I’d go far as to say access to Lion’s Arch should be like that – just to make things interesting 🙂

Keen
Keen - August 15, 2012

@Lethality: You have a valid question that ArenaNet is going to need to address. While I may be fine getting my guild to go and do activities together in a place like Orr, where we’ll be working with others not in our guild, others won’t.

We are in the era of the guild, where the guild is the central focus for most games. The WoW guild mentality has changed the face of MMO content forever.

Interestingly, AN seems to be going against the trend. We shall see how they address the desire for large *exclusive* groups to do things together. They simply may not.

@Sikk: I think you may be right. As much as I personally enjoyed some of the DAOC PvE, without RvR I would not have played nearly as long. GW2 needs a healthy end-game of PvE content. AN has to be on top of their game when it comes to releasing stuff for people to do.

@Green Armadillo/Imem: I coined the term before Rift came out, actually, but I did deem Rift a 3 monther. The problem with Rift is that it failed at some of the fundamentals; However, Trion has done well by the game and I have heard many great things about how it has matured over time. At launch, Rift *was* a 3 monther.

Zyler - August 15, 2012

While I agree they need to add substantial rewards for winning WvW.
Like say there are fights throughout the week and out of the 3 servers the winning server moves up a place to fight different stronger servers.
Give the winner exp bonus for everyone on the server… Next win better mats gathered from mining etc.

Announced in BIG bold letters when you log in.. congratulations your server won the WvW we gained bla bla.. Fireworks and a big party in the capitals.
Statues and wall plaques for the most contributing guilds and individuals of the server.
Those that made it to that list get extra favors for a week.
Like a discount in stores? discount on the Auction house like less taxes payed? A unique cape that shows you wear the pride of the server.

Something to make people care.

That and of course The darkness falls kind of instance you get access to for a week on a win. Hardest enemies, best loot.
Encounter should be HARD. So it takes time to learn longer then the week you have access to it. Now raiders and loot hungry people also want to win the WvW.

Seems plausible to implement I think….
In the beginning of wow people did organize huge parties to take on the other side. So at least the people are willing.

Last… of course “end game” also should be mad fun.
People do not need a reward when fun is the reward.

Fergor - August 15, 2012

Last few MMOs I’ve left were for two reasons:

-end game was raiding/dungeon farming treadmills
-the worlds felt dead

So far in GW2 I’ve spent over 50 hours in Queensdale alone and I’m actually having more fun as time goes on in the zone not less. The world feels alive and I can just experience it and grow my character slowly. No rush to an endgame treadmill where the developers spent a ton of their resources.

Have I gotten bored during the BWEs? A few times. But then I was able to shift gears and hit WvWvW or sPvP and that got me excited about leveling my character in PvE again. They are all vastly different experiences. When the game goes live I’ll also be able to explore or craft (didnt do this on purpose in the BWEs). When I got bored in TSW I basically just stopped playing. There were no alternative activities.

GW2 will definitely last me more then three months. The reason is I don’t think I’ll consume the content the same way I have in the theme park gear grinders. Leveling isn’t a means to a goal, its just something that happens when you play the game. “Just one more level” gaming is fun but exhausting. I know it sounds cliche but it’ll be nice to play until I’m not having fun then logging out until I get the itch again rather then play because I feel compelled to play “chase the dragon”.

Is this good enough to keep everyone playing? Hell no. GW2 is far from the perfect game for all people. I just hope enough people enjoy this style of play so the servers have enough people to keep the world alive for the next few years.

romble - August 15, 2012

With their business model it will be an on and off game forever. You will get to max level, finish the content, drop the game for awhile and then come back when the expansion hits and repeat. If they have expansions or dlc more quickly then i can see it as a more continuous fluid thing.

however with this model, i dont see it making ppl feel they are stuck in it or want to be there for the long haul. It will be like diablo series. Play when you want, get xpac if you want play a bit more and well its on your hard drive and something you can always jump into.

That’s not a bad thing but i dont consider it playing in the same rulseset as the subscription models for comparison sake in longevity.

Rawblin - August 15, 2012

“”-Michael Hartman, President & CEO, Frogdice””

My God… if only we could get people like you to develop 3D games 🙁

Shadanwolf - August 15, 2012

I can answer the question for myself (fyi… I’ve Played DAOC on and off for 10 years). Definitely not.Why ?

I find WvW very entertaining

I love to craft

I will be growing several characters

I look at the 10 year run of GW and see a GW2 run that could approach that length

Arenanet listens to it’s customers…and acts

João Carlos - August 15, 2012

I think we will see a lot of players just trying get the legendary weapons after hit level 80… and that will take a lot of time.

MMOkay - August 15, 2012

Every MMO to come out in the last 5 or 6 years has had its excited group of supporters to assure us that “this game will be the best ever” and “here are the reasons it won’t fail.” GW2 is no different.

Personally, I believe this game will eventually become an e-sport title and people will enjoy the novelty of WvW for a couple of months and then move on – not that there is anything wrong with that. I pre-ordered, but I’m not pretending that this game is what it isn’t.

Solarbear - August 15, 2012

I knew going into Rift, Warhammer and Aion that they were likely 3 monthers. You could tell during Betas that they had issues that needed to be worked on. Rift, for example, was sort of a niche Raiding game that once you hit 50 that’s all there was to do.

GW2 is the first game I have played since WOW that I didn’t feel was a 3 monther. The game seems to be as expansive as WOW, only better in so many ways.

Zederok - August 15, 2012

I know I am an ardent fan of the game (I do have some dislikes too) but even discounting WvW there jsut appears to be so much PvE content to do. With the power creep of vertical scaling in traditional themepark games exaserbating the problems and GW2 total lack of them due to its Horizontal Scaling I jsut think this is the new WoW of the genre. Add in WvW and it a no brainer.

My only reservation is the class system, I am not a big fan of of the forced skill useage as it detracts from my personal aesthetics for classes I like to play. Heres hoping a xpac is released within the year that gives me more choice of melee hybrid classes. like the Dervish from GW1.

Telwyn - August 16, 2012

I definitely see GW2 as a ‘slow-burner’. Like GW1 before it the cap is not the end of the game or the content. I think the “pay to own” model will encourage people to stay involved even if it is their second game in the long run.

GW2 is trying something different from the majority of the competition in this “no raiding” take on long term gaming. I welcome it as a much needed breath of fresh air.

If Guild Wars 1 hadn’t been so heavily pathed (and no jumping down little slopes) I’d have played the heck out of that game.

pitrelli - August 16, 2012

Hmm I think we are in danger of over analysing games instead of just enjoying them for what they are.I don’t expect everyone to play and enjoy gw2 as its all down to personal taste.

As you say we don’t know enough yet about higher level content so why not relax and enjoy the journey instead of trying to pick holes in a game prior to release?

Jericho - August 16, 2012

@pitrelli – Nailed it on the head…

As for the “carrot” that Keen has said is missing in WvW, I will agree with him. But I also have to think that the WvW gameplay of GW2 that will be there at launch is not the end of Arena.net’s progression of the gameplay style.

If we look at GW1 as an indication of what they did with GvG (and WvW is most definitely the spiritual successor to GvG) we can only believe that we eventually will see some kind of WvW ranking system. We can also expect them to add to the gear grind by possibly adding WvW only legendary weapons, armor sets and eventually other rewards as well. Anything from /emotes to town clothes to an access to a PvE dungeon only accessible if you control certain points. Any or all of these things could come to pass, but the system needs to be up and running and successful at its core gameplay before they add any other systems on top of the base ones.

As for PvE, well… the core gameplay of PvE is events, dungeons and exploration. We most definitely will get more of all of the above as the game matures.

Do I think GW2 is a 3monther? No. Do I think there will be a significant drop in the playerbase before Christmas? Yes. Does that mean the game is a failure or that those people are gone for good? No. This is not SWTOR where there were fundamental flaws visible from the time you logged in. The game has its issues, but none so big that we can say that any of them are going to send people running for the hills. GW2 will be a highly successful game that will grow over the course of time but will take a small hit before growing again.

wufiavelli - August 16, 2012

Also most other MMOs have had full on betas where people experience all the content. This makes it easier to see how finite the enjoyment period is. Do not underestimate the leveling down aspect. COH has had almost nothing for endgame but has fantastic retention due to its sidekicking up and down.

Flintchip - August 16, 2012

How WvW will evolve will be the clincher for me, and that’s not necessarily something which will be immediately apparent within 3 months.

I think some sort of DF dungeon is entirely essential to encourage participation. The ideas mentioned on sort of engineering realm pride with perhaps titles, banners, plaques etc. sounds pretty cool too. XP bonuses, crafting times, merchant discounts are all good ideas.

But what I REALLY want to see is RRs a la DAoC. It’s not just that it’s entirely familiar for me, but a form of personal development (in terms of skills/abilities) for my character which is only possible through WvW (and not instanced PvP) would be brilliant.

Gaugamela - August 16, 2012

Keen doesn’t like Rift but the fact is that the game isn’t, and never was a three-monther even if he tells you otherwise. Trion released content at a breakneck speed (and still does) and added so much features in each patch that the game now is simply amazing.

I haven’t tried GW2 but from what I read from it, Rift seems to be doing a lot of similar things. Especially, now with low-level instant adventures, level adjustment for higher-level players (they can lower their level to do IAs with low-level players and gain the same rewards as high level IAs), the move to a pure skill based system in the warfronts and the content of the expansion I believe that will be the game to play during next year together with GW2. And IMO, Keen and other bloggers should revisit the game to see how much it has changed.

Crackbone - August 16, 2012

@Gaugamela

I think Keen’s biggest problem with Rift (correct me if I’m wrong) wasn’t necessarily the content, but the style of the game.

It’s a themepark ride with very little that’s different from what has come before it. You still have a massive gear grind in both PvE and PvP, etc.

It’s just not different enough, nor is the lore of Telara enough to really make it shine. It’s a solid game that I myself have played for probably 6 months in total, but at the end of the day, it’s lacking in many key areas

1. PvP is still a gear grind
2. Mass PvP is still lacking
3. PvE end game, while good, isn’t all that different than what WoW did before it.

Trion is in a groove with Rift, and they’ve certainly stepped up to the plate with content updates, however, the game at its core is still roughly the same game we played before it. Gear grinds with a PvE focus.

MosesZD - August 16, 2012

Nothing personal, but these “hardcore raiding endgame” and “PvP endgame” things are a load of tosh. Each of these groups is about 10% of the MMO gaming population with the other 80% doing all kinds of things (exploration, role-playing, socialization, crafting, rolling alts, etc.) including occasional PvP and occasional raiding.

In short, gamers are far more complex as a population than the hardcore PvPers and Raiders would like to admit. And that this obsession with ‘end game = raiding (or PvP for the Pvpers)’ is bunk.

Keen
Keen - August 16, 2012

@MosesZD: Themeparks need end-games with clearly defined content, or at least a way of addressing the player’s need for something to do when they feel like they’ve reached the end. (Note: I’ve outlined how I believe GW2 has the content in the post.)

I agree that the “hardcore raiding endgame” isn’t required. But something must take its place for a themepark MMO to be a success in today’s market. The reason why the raiding end-game is so popular is because it’s a lazy/easy way to create both content and the carrot in one go.

@Gaugamela: I have already addressed Rift above. I haven’t tried it since my original stint in the launch window. Rift *was* a 3 monther. Whether or not it has changed is irrelevant. We can get into MMO’s and second chances later.

@Flintchip: I too believe that WvW will be the clincher for many since it appears to be one of ArenaNet’s only long-term tools to keep players dynamically engaged — that is unless they plan to pump out PvE content at record breaking speed. However, I believe it -will- be apparent after 3 months. In fact, I predict that within the 3 month window you will see an announcement from AN detailing how they plan to address long-term achievement for WvW.

Argorius - August 16, 2012

I imagine that it will go something like this:

-Start leveling and having some fun experiencing the new content

-Getting into WvW and and having some fun learning how to play your character in PvP

-After several rounds, days, weeks of WvW, I will ask myself…does this help me with my leveling? Does this WvW have a long term benefit?

-If it helps me with leveling then I will stick with it until I reach max level

-If it doesnt help me with leveling then I will do it occasionally until I am max level

– At max level I will ask myself, is there a long term permanent benefit for my character…if the answer is no I will get bored within a few weeks. WvW will seem pointless and like a non-rewarding (bigger than usual) battleground. If they promise long term reward – frustration sets in for failing to have them at teh get go and because they are likely to be unimpressive…

Gankatron - August 16, 2012

@Argorius:

People certainly have different approaches to games, especially where loot grinds and PvP are concerned.

Many people do share your POV.

I think one can define themselves into one or another group, by answering this question:

Would you still play ping pong (or another sport that you enjoy) if no one kept score?

Thomas - August 16, 2012

@ Ramblin, I agree with what you said. I joined a large guild some time ago. During the BWE’s most of the guild played sPvP. I could not get them to come out to WvW even when I told them we were out numbered 10-1.

They gave me various reason. I’m saving WvW for launch. When they died in WvW it took to long to get back into the fight. I have limited gaming time and sPvP gives me what I want when I want it. I could go on and on. The main thing I discovered is they are for the most part the instant gratification crowd like you mentioned. Most of them have limited MMO experience and the MMO’s they did play were released in the last few years or FTP games. The only PvP they ever played was in some battleground. So of course they are attracted to sPvP.

On the other hand, the members who were in WvW were older, had a vast experience with numerous MMO’s and enjoyed the hunt.

Without some carrot the WvW zones will be dead and dominated by a few servers. When this takes places, even more players will stay away from WvW since the chance of ever winning will be zero. I see some servers never winning the WvW battle and will be sPvP servers.

GW2 will probably be a “ 3 Monther “ but at least I won’t have to pay a subscription fee.

Tzak - August 16, 2012

As long as the game evolves like DAOC did….then i am completely fine. SWTOR evolved but for the wrong reasons. To follow the WoW model. GW2 just needs to evolve its own way with innovation.

Tzak - August 16, 2012

I would of been happy if they left instanced PVP out. DAOC didn’t have it, and RvR was fun as hell. Ahh the old days running gank groups in old emain and new frontiers.

Keen
Keen - August 16, 2012

@Tzak: At least the instanced PvP uses a different character.

Rinvan - August 16, 2012

I am hoping the game keeps me entertained through the new year. I can’t wait to see what an end-game that doesn’t involve hours long raids is like.

Argorius - August 16, 2012

@Gankatron: I probably would play some…or with people that have no idea how to play that particular sport but eventually I would get bored. I don’t have to win either – I am happy to lose…but to keep me interested, there needs to be some type of scoring 🙂

Flintchip - August 16, 2012

@Keen: I know this isn’t really quantifiable or perhaps even relevant, but just as a POI – a MASSIVE part of my enjoyment of DAoC was (-is?-) 8v8 which afaik (I was 9 at the time) was a playstyle which developed and wasn’t really adhered to during the first few months of the game. Yes, you could argue it was a different era and the length of time it took to reach that stage was too long for it to be adopted initially — but I guess my point is that the general culture of the playerbase and what they do with the tools the developers give them can be a huge part of what makes the game enjoyable, and may not be something that comes to fruition within three months. You would hope so though.

Flintchip - August 16, 2012

Flintchip - August 16, 2012

^ that was me trying to be clever putting some “funny” html about it ramble over. Now I look like even more of a blustering buffoon.

João Carlos - August 16, 2012

Keen, I will post here the same comment I made at “Kill Ten Rats”, with some alterations:

The first problem I see at that metric is: as GW2 don’t have subscriptions, how someone will know how many player are playing it after the 3 month mark? Basically, it is a metric no one can measure, except Anet. My guess is that they will say only the number of game copies sold, if someone ask how many subscriptions they have they will just say “zero”.

However, with no subscription, everyone can quit and return to play GW2 when it wants. The population will flutuate, but it will need more than 3 month for any decline (or population expansion) pattern appear, because it will have a lot of data noise: players will not decide stay or quit or return at a month basis, but on a dailly basis.

I too want enphatise the psychological factor. So, Kill Ten Rats wrote:
“The first month, like a good drug, is free for subscription-based games. The second month begins the actual monthly tithe, which is darn near automatic in the minds of many players. It’s the moment where I would guess players on the fence decide to throw just a little more money at it since it’s just a fraction of the money already spent. It’s at the third month that I think issues, boredom, or grass-is-greener syndromes overcome the value of continuing to play. Players are implicitly asked the question of whether it is worth staying.”

We need re-write that last phrase: Players are asked the question of wether it is worth PAY ONE MORE MONTH.

That will not work with a B2P game. And it is possible that the opposite psychological effect happens: if a player payed $60 for buy the game, it will want maximize the utility of that money, playing the game for more time possible before quit it.

And while GW2 have strong hardcore elements, it is a game ideal for casuals. You can log for only 30 minutes and get any activity you want try (DE, hearts, crafting, sPvP, WvW). I don’t see any other MMO at market so casual friend.

Finally, I think you are underestimating the effects of some “carrots” GW2 have for level 80 toons: the legendary weapons and cosmetic items (dungeons armor sets). That cosmetic rewards worked very well for mantain players at GW1, because that was a matter of prestige for players to have them.

Rawblin - August 16, 2012

@ Keen

Somehow I missed the news that there will be an entirely separate character for the BGs? Am I hearing that correctly? Like I could have my Lvl so and so Necro that I WvW with, and then if I suddenly wanted to BG for whatever reason, I would be dropped to the character creation screen?

Keen
Keen - August 16, 2012

@Rawblin: Your battleground (sPvP) character is the same one, but as soon as you enter you are level 80 with the best gear and maxed skills. Consider it a template character.

Two versions of the same character would be a better way to put it. But yes, same effect.

sPvP and WvW are completely separate and in no way interact or affect one another.

Rawblin - August 16, 2012

Hmmm, I really can’t say whether that will have a positive or negative impact on WvW. The instant-grat crowd will certainly love having a character that is maxed out completely right off the bat… I guess it depends on what the carrot is for sPvP then? You must be able to get better sPvP gear or something from playing.

Hmmm. I’ll have to think on this, not really sure how it’ll affect the 3monther possibility for GW2.

Keen
Keen - August 16, 2012

You can get cosmetic gear and compete in tournaments.

Gali - August 16, 2012

There’s alot of Guild epeen to be measured in cyberspace, and WvW has the potential to be a huge measuring stick. Between it and the e-sport setup of SPvP, there’s gonna be alot of bigtime PvP guilds playing GW2 for a looong time.

RPers are going to love the way the entire gameworld stays relevant with the downscaling mechanic and the dynamic events.

GW2 has alot of sandbox elements that could keep it fueled for a long time, with just enough themepark to grab big numbers of players.

Gali - August 16, 2012

@Rawblin

It’s probably best if you consider the SPvP as it’s own game all to itself. Sorta like if WoW let you join a lobby and play League of Legends on the side or something.

There will be people who play GW2 that will never do anything more than finish the starter instance and immediately head to the mists to do SPvP constantly. They’ll never advance a character past level 1 or 2.

Anon - August 16, 2012

I think people have forgotten how to make their own fun.

Look outside your window. That’s the world. The world is full of interesting, exciting and fun experiences.

None of them are going to just fall in your lap. You have to go out and make them happen.

I think GW2 will be fun for as song as you enjoy it.
People may find ways to enjoy the game that are outside the scope of the design.
That’s all part of the experience.

A Gameplan | The MMO Compendium - August 16, 2012

[…] and the recent stress test. There was the fear of spoiling my fun, but also dwindling interest. It looks like I am not the only one with this […]

coppertopper - August 16, 2012

Maybe I am in the minority, but I dread getting to “end game”. I never watned to leave the Shire in LOTRO. Trying to get the best gear while leveling from 1-max and seeing the difference every time you get an upgrade is what I enjoy about MMOs. So seeing as I will always have level 80 stuff to look forward to (Orr sounds like what I expected Rifts 50 content to be), there is so much to enjoy and even go back to along the way, why worry about what happens at level 80? And not having to attach a sub price to a factor that is “15$ = X fun”, I don’t think the 3 month rule applies to GW2.

Bernard - August 17, 2012

@Keen
“I have already addressed Rift above. I haven’t tried it since my original stint in the launch window. Rift *was* a 3 monther. Whether or not it has changed is irrelevant. We can get into MMO’s and second chances later.”

But for people who continued to play and have seen the community stabilise and perhaps even grow, it has not been a 3 monther. So I’m not sure the term has much meaning as anything other than a subjective measure of ‘Did I personally find the game fun enough after 3 months to continue?’

In GW2, I doubt we will have any data after 3 months to suggest whether the active players has increased. Anet are most likely to rely on millions of sales figures to convey the health of the game.

The Merovingian - August 17, 2012

I knew Rift, SW:TOR, and even TSW would be “3 monthers” during their beta.

And I don’t think GW2 will be a “3 monther”.

This said, even though I’ve been an avid WoW player for 7+ years, I also played games like UO and AC1, where gear grinds or stat progression wasn’t the main point. People could max out their gear (back then) by trading with other players and doing any kind of PvE content, be it solo or group. There was no raid only gear grind, and no stupid realm ranks which basically achieved the same, make the newbie canon fodder for the veteran.

GW1 survived and thrived with a similar model (without gear/rank grinds), getting ANet the money to create GW2. Even if some of those lobotomized by WoW’s gear grind, and some DAoC “vets” who can’t live without a carrot that makes them OP so they can faceroll noobs, quit GW2 in the first three months, I doubt it will affect the game’s overall population.

And also, in my opinion, the less “carrot or die” players remain in the game, the better the community will be.

Keen
Keen - August 17, 2012

@coppertopper: Sounds like you would love sandbox games. In true sandboxes, if I find an area I like I just stay there and setup a life!

This week in Guild Wars 2 | GuildMag - Guild Wars 2 Fansite: Magazine, Podcast, Editorials and more - August 17, 2012

[…] Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog — Will GW2 be a 3 Monther? “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.” […]

swarmofseals - August 17, 2012

Different gamers care about different things. There is a subset of gamers who mainly play games for progression. There is another subset who doesn’t really care at all about progression and instead focuses on story. A third set cares mainly about gameplay mechanics. I’m sure there are more subgroups as well, and of course there are people who are a blend of different groups.

If we assume that GW2 has fun gameplay and/or a good story, it will appeal to that subset of gamers. For those folks the game won’t be a 3-monther. If we assume that cosmetics aren’t enough to motivate the progression crowd, then for a lot of them the game will be a 3-monther.

Honestly, I think we should not be asking the question “Is this game a 3-monther.” The better question is “Is this game a 3-monther *for me*?” And this says about as much about you as it does about the game. If your tastes match with the game, it isn’t. If they don’t then it is. Every gamer should ask him or herself that question rather than preoccupy him/herself about what other people think. Ultimately, if we ask “is this game a 3-monther” it’s really just code for a broader question of “will this game be successful?” which is a difficult question it itself simply because success is so hard to define. You say that Rift was a “3-monther” when it launched. That may have been true for you. For me it was more of a 5-6 monther, but I still lost interest. But there is a significant population that has stuck with the game longer — enough to justify a steady stream of new content and an expansion. Apparently there are enough people who didn’t think the game was a 3-monther for the game to survive.

Anywho, this is a bit of a tangent: I’m not so sure that “cosmetic gear won’t be enough” is true for the progression crowd. I mean, I’m sure it won’t be enough for some people. But when you think about it, in most games the gear upgrades are mostly illusory. It’s just a way of gating content. When you look at most raid gear, the only thing that it is really helpful for is the next raid. In some games you might want the gear for pvp, but most games have a separate gear grind for pvp (where progression matters more as it allows geared people to faceroll new players.) In the PvE game though, getting better gear statwise is really mostly just an illusion because the content that you are using it on is scaled up accordingly to negate the advantage that you have.

And lastly, I can’t resist this because I think it’s an interesting analogy — think back to the arcade days of gaming. There was a progression vs. gameplay split there too. Most arcades were divided between progression games and non-progression games. The progression games were the machines that spat out tickets which you turned in for prizes. Interestingly enough, both sets of games thrived. Games like Street Fighter and pinball didn’t give tickets because they didn’t need to. The gameplay was awesome and there was a big crowd of gamers who just wanted that. Games like skeeball had entertaining but mostly vacuous gameplay, so they needed to spit out tickets to motivate people to play. And of course there was a set of gamers who would spend all their time grinding ticket games because they really enjoyed the thrill of the hunt for that prize more than the gameplay itself.

The same thing is true now — some games feature a reward mechanic and others a gameplay mechanic. Some have a little of both, and everything in between. There is a room for both in the market.

sikk - August 17, 2012

@swarmofseals: Some good points breaking down basically why we play and why a 3 monther changes person to person. I just feel the majority of players fall into the category of progression/gameplay. If either is lacking they will lose interest fast.

As far as your statement on cosmetic gear being enough, this is how I see it. In the scenarios you described which is a natural gear treadmill to keep up with content there is a circle that is completed. Difficult content is released > Progression space is availible > gear/progression is obtained > difficult content is now less difficult, rinse repeat. There is a reason this works and has been the staple of the genre. People like new content and challenges, people like to see their characters grow, people like new shiny different looks, people like to beat hard content. When you eliminate parts of this chain you break the circle of life as it is. This is okay to do in a sandbox environment because there is usually ALOT of things to do on the micro level to keep you busy. This is not okay to do in a themepark environment, which GW2 is at its core.

Eventually, probably sooner than later, players will reach max level and probably max gear, I’d say within the first 3 months if there is no TRUE endgame content/raids. Once this happens they will notice that their character doesn’t progress/grow anymore. Their options become limited, pvp or find different clothes, neither of which fill the progression/growth void. Creating alts could be thrown in there too but I’ll leave it out since it’s technically redoing what you already did.

So what does this mean? Well much like swarmofseals said, that is up to the individual. Hell I know some people play just to chat with their friends, so it is all about individual preference of what you want out of the game. I feel the majority will sense the lack of progression too soon and will lose interest though. Endgame content wasn’t created just to let people fight big bosses and get more gear, behind the scenes it is a way to bridge the gap between large new content releases. Sadly with a lack of endgame I feel the gap will become too big too soon and that will be the straw that broke the camels back. That gap, that loss of interest due to what I stated is why it will be a 3 monther. Does that mean people won’t revisit it, of course not, I’m sure I’ll play each content release as long as the pvp is mechanically sound.

jamesyd - August 25, 2012

I really don’t think it will be a 3 monther, I’ve actually already written it in as one of my top 5 new mmo games of 2012 here http://reveredgamer.com/wordpress/?p=394. I’m excited!

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