March 2, 2013

My reviewing/ranting about Guild Wars 2

This is kind of a subject I wanted to avoid, but I realized the more I tried to ignore it the more it ate at me. This is going to be a review/rant at GW2 and tearing down the walls that the fanbois and apologists built up in defense of that game. Now, I want to preface this, there is no misconception, there is no I just haven’t played it long enough as many of the fanbois will undoubtedly say. I have, I’ve spent several weeks playing the game, a few of them devoted to just finding a class that wouldn’t bore me to tears, because make no mistake, this game makes the cardinal sin by being mind numbingly boring in the worst ways for an MMO.

I am going to get this point out of the way. Right out of the gate you are pretty much required to grind things and while people kept clamoring and claiming everything you would do in GW2 would be epic (including ArenaNet, so no backpedalling their boys, like you did when you tried to claim GW1 wasn’t an MMO after years of claiming it was), you are still met with grinding that would make even the most hardened EQ1 fan cringe. Each class is repetitively boring and while might start out fun, all of them fall into the same trap as losing steam by the time you reach around level 15. And losing steam in the worst way to.

Part of the reason for this issue with the character classes is they are completely aimless. You have no idea what they were designed to do, how they should function or in what way would be best. You meander around looking for something to fill in but you can’t, and instead try to get by being a jack of all trades. And it isn’t a problem of just not understanding the class design, it’s clear that ArenaNet had no real design in mind just what they felt would be cool, because while some classes have a lot of great tools, others have questionable tools that leave you wondering what were they thinking, and it’s almost like they didn’t even bother balance testing a lot of this.

Quests are superfluous, as you are doing menial tasks from farming for lazy NPCs to picking daisies for incompetent star crossed lovers. There is nothing epic about these fights so already that’s one lie out of the gate about everything you do is epic. Later on the quests devolve into killing X rats, and while people will say no it doesn’t, I’ve done at least 8 different zones and ended up doing the same kill X mobs in all the heart points every time. This is the absolute worst facet people hate about MMO quests, and all they did was move the quest giver from someone you talked to, to a local area for nothing new. Hell, the epic battles are actually so far and few between and give so little rewards I actually had to beg people just to tackle a giant in the Charr zone. And when you get a big battle event it’s not even that epic as you are watching several dozen people doing damage and nothing really else with zerg mentality going full steam.

In addition to this, you don’t feel rewarded. The thing about WoW, Champions and such, every level you felt a little bit rewarded for reaching that level, even if it wasn’t a big reward. In GW2 the gulf between getting something new and interesting is so far and between that just getting there feels like you are walking barefoot over rusty nails. And that’s only up to level 30. Once you pass level 30, you’ve already hit the peak for what you potentially wanted. Even the trait gaining doesn’t even feel like milestones because you get so little for your investment.

The world itself is so god awfully big that it is actually a detraction from the enjoyment of this game. They basically said at the office let’s do WoW but EXTREME and obviously people nodded their head in agreement because the terrain is unrealistically big, the buildings are unrealistically big, even the architecture is unrealistically big. And while there are some very beautiful areas, they are far and between. I hate designs like this, you don’t make your world actually big in design to make it feel big. This is incompetent game design and drives me up a wall.

This also brings up the waypoints in the game. This is the only game, I’ve ever played, that waypoints are actually mandatory, not a convenience to your enjoyment of the game. Waypoints should be conveniences to your game, not design requirements. But they don’t allow mount travel, but everyone has a way to increase their movement speed, in some cases significantly, and of course there are the gobs and gobs of waypoints.

Next, the story. Oh god this story. I thought SWTOR was a badly written game, whoever wrote GW2’s story should feel ashamed. They set back the whole story in industry a good decade with this mess. It’s like they hired Stephanie Meyers, or the lead writer was taking notes from her or something. And let’s not get on the voice acting, because it was obvious the voice actors were only there to get a check, because the way the lines are read are so cringe inducingly bad, I can’t believe people take this atrocious mess seriously and think it is good. This is as bad as the prequels with as many plot holes as the TNG movies.

Then oh boy the bugs, bad controls and crappy camera. This is the first game I’ve ever played that has actually made me rage because of how poor the controls are. And there are also numerous bugs that constantly get to me, in addition to the poor camera and just poor responsiveness of the controls of this game. One bug that always annoys me, despite the game has a solid lock on and I will be locked onto a target, facing it all the good stuff involved and my character will still turn to face at something behind me and start shooting at it once I start pushing my fire button. This is not an uncommon occurrence either, I tend to get into large fights because of this bug alone with crap I had no interest in fighting.

And barring the buggy camera not getting to you, the jumping puzzles are so insultingly easy that I wonder why they even bothered with them. The hard ones are actually based around speed running while platforms disappear underneath you not on actual precision jumping because very little of the precision jumping is actually anything that can’t be easily corrected in the game by a simple jumping back up.

So that brings me to the PvP maps. After 30 levels of the teeth gritting bad story and the mind numbing heart quests of kill X mobs, I decided to just PvP my way to 80. Except that 3 of the 4 PvP maps are the exact same map, right down to the last detail, and that the only map with anything different is the 4th map. But, and unfortunately for me, my realm was hopelessly outnumbered, because the server pop is actually only high (according to the server list) while the other two realms are in the very high status. On average, the other two realms generally bring odds that favor them 3 to 1 against us, average, per realm (it’s often higher odds against us). Nevermid that fact we never get that outnumbered bonus because… who the fuck cares obviously, because while 50 baddies might be attacking a keep with only 15 of us inside of it defending.

In short, as far as the PvP is concerned, it’s obvious ArenaNet didn’t think too hard on it. Gear and level play important roles there, no matter how much people try to say you get auto leveled to 80, that doesn’t help matters when people are using top PvP gear and maxed traits against you. They make a big difference. And that isn’t even bringing to the table the fact that this is zerg PvP at its worst. I’ve been told people feel the maps are too small, but that isn’t even the problem, it’s the maps are the exact same except 1 of them, and the other problem isn’t their size, its if one faction dominates they can set up way points inside keeps they control. The problem also isn’t the size of the maps because they are entirely too large, but the fact that any point that gets taken over can be near instantly retaken over in almost an eyeblink.

There isn’t even time to set up defenses if the PvP is especially aggressive, and considering, again, my server has the other two servers deciding to beat down on us cause we are a small server we tend to have very little chance to actually set up defense until everything we fought for is lost. And what’s sad at points is our server proves that we can actually keep them at bay, but when they fight together against us that means we are outnumbered 6 to 1 and due to fast turn arounds it’s impossible for us to maintain territory.This doesn't even include the fact that the game is riddled with bots,a nd in PvP bots and cheaters are especially prevalent which apologists or fanbois will try to downplay.

This also brings up the issue I have with guilds. Since anyone can be in any number of guilds, it makes spies quite a large possibility. I know on my server there is a guild leader that likes to think he’s a great leader (funnily enough whenever he leads our alliance we lose everything) and tries to claim that he doesn’t have guildies on other servers despite we’ve seen them. He’s a laughing stock and claims he doesn’t run a spy ring. However, most everyone knows differently. I personally hate this multi-guilding non-sense as all it does is breed contempt between people when someone isn’t devoting time and just makes it easy for spies to get in.

In the end, just to put it bluntly, GW2 isn’t a very good game. It’s very dull and repetitive, it blows its wad on anything shiny very early on and snoozes the rest of the time for the rest of the game. The PvP is poorly implemented and balanced with obvious copy pastaing going on for the maps that are also poorly designed, with several important structures within siege weapon distance from a safety zone for specific areas. People believe the trinity is dead in the game but it is obviously still there, as doing content like dungeons if someone isn’t healing and someone isn’t drawing agro, you tend to die, a lot. And even more comical people believe the game play is vastly different from other MMOs, yet I still just watch cooldowns on powers thus my attention is still focused more on my hot bar than actual game screen. So in the end, this is yet another game that made a lot of promises, and failed to deliver on. Sorry for GW2 fans if that isn’t praise, but I am going to be honest about this stuff.

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