The Pace of Things

August 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 22 Comments
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As much as I like the pace of new content added to the game it has created a few problems.

You can’t really take a break from the game because so much of the content has been temporary. A half dozen sets of achievements that we’ll never see again, that nobody will ever experience again. Arenanet thinks that adds a certain amount of specialness, a unique quality, and I don’t disagree. However, for the odd player who took a break from the game, who didn’t know about the game? Does that make them feel like they’ve fallen behind and can never catch up?

That can’t be good for retention, and retention is the life blood of a game whether it is sub based or not.

Then there are those who; have kids, have a job, have a social life. How do they keep up with the rapid pace of content? Sure the Queen’s Jubilee and Gauntlet achievements have been around for a month and if one dedicated themselves one could complete these within the time frame. But what about the times that content is around for only two weeks? For someone who likes achievements but doesn’t have a lot of time, I would think they feel alienated.

Well, I know they do, as I know several people who feel this way.

For me this is the main reason I want more permanent content. Most people, I think, are after a wider variety of things to do and a sense of permanent change. I just want to be able to finish things at my own pace.

I think Arenanet, quite cleverly, has decided they needed to add a sense of urgency to play that is lost when your player base isn’t paying a monthly subscription. If you’ve got temporary content, players have to log in to see it, and if they’ve logged in there’s a better chance they’ll buy that cash shop item than if they haven’t logged in.

I can’t say it’s a big deal. It’s just achievements. Most people either get it done, don’t care, or complete what they can and move on with their lives. It can be a bit annoying, that’s all.

On a side note it’s not looking like more permanent stuff will be seen any time soon. Super Adventure box for September, Halloween in October, Wintersday in December.



  1. I think that the way that meta achievements can be completed by doing various dailies is a good way to handle this, personally. With that, you can either knock out everything in a couple days, or do so over the span of the patch if you’re more limited in time.

    It seems to me like it’s already handled in-game with how they added that in for the Queen’s Jubilee and Scarlet patch.

    • I don’t disagree, but, people who like achievements like all the achievements. Leaving an empty achievement leaves a hole in the heart verene.

      • Yeah I’m just not a huge achievement person I suppose, as I’ll happily leave ones undone if I haven’t got the time for it or don’t like that particular one 😀

  2. As you know, I agree completely. I was talking to my friend just last night about how rapid the content comes and goes. She confessed to me it was the very reason she hasn’t logged in a couple of months. She feels overwhelmed by all of the new stuff and doesn’t want to delve into it without a clue. I agree that making more permanent content would be a good answer to this. Maybe some time sensitive stuff, but keep it balanced between the two so that players like myself and others who can’t be on everyday can still feel the satisfaction and rewards.

    Something else is all of the items that only apply to temporary events. Like the kite fortunes. I didn’t get enough to really do anything with them, I couldn’t sell them and they were taking up bank space. At least the support tickets you could sell to the NPC and get something for them. I ended up destroying my kite fortunes and it felt like such a waste.

    • Yeah even if everything is around for a full month, its still not going to help some people.

      Recipes are one thing I miss that have only been available during short time frames, like the sentinel stuff. It’s ridiculous that we can no longer get a hold of those for a reasonable price.

  3. Definitely some interesting things to think about. I for one know that I’m feeling really pressed for time for each of the second halves of the content cycles, the ones that only come out for the last two weeks. The first set you have a month to do, the second you have two weeks, and often the second set has the cooler set pieces like dungeons. I still haven’t gotten the time to get into Scarlet’s mad house or whatever it’s called, and with PAX this weekend, that means I have to cram it in tonight or tomorrow. It’s kind of stressful.

    I completely agree with your analysis that this is a way for them to create a sense of urgency, and to a certain extent it is certainly working. Like you said, I would like to see some things more permanent so that I can take them at my own pace, and I would also just like to see their impact on the world. There is a LOT of Tyria out there, plenty of room to make a few small but permanent changes to reflect the events of the living story,

    • Seems to me that playing on a time sensitive basis, with that sense of urgency, isn’t a positive thing. Less fun maybe. Certainly sub games with the added money concern are dying out. There are a lot of reasons for that but I bet this is one too.

      • Yeah, whether its a net positive or negative is kind of hard to call. For some it works, for some it drives them away, in many ways just like a sub fee does. All I know is that it certainly has psychological *power*, it is a powerful influence on behavior. Whether that is good or bad, necessary or not is always going to be hard to tell.

  4. I agree, the temporary content is fun and all that but I’d like to see the game grow into Cantha and Elona.

    There are other dragons to take on too, a year in now and I’d like to take on another one of those beasties.

    • I’d be willing to bet we see more of the local tyria before we see elona or cantha but yeah, i’d like to see that stuff too. Desert next? South of ebonhawke? That’s my guess.

      • Agreed South of Ebonhawke is already set up with the gates. I can also envisage the road the spars off from the Ruins of Holy Demtra being used at some point in the future too.

        The Crystal desert will be next though

        • Not to further provoke speculation but there are also doorways and roads in places like frostgorge, sparkfly, mount maelstrom and brisban, if you didn’t know.

  5. There are several issues with GW2 right now, but I’m not sure that the rate of content delivery is one of them. Few of us are able to to complete “all achievements” in any game. I’d suggest that adding more complex, “harder” content for groups and having some form of progression would make it more fun for many. The strategy needed to down most mobs is non-existent. Zerg until dead is not compelling in the least. I do agree that adding permanent content is a good start. I’d further suggest that at least some of that content should be a great challenge to kill. Lets call it Mobs with mechanics…./grin

    • Zerg seems to be plenty compelling, they’re are a lot of people out there having fun in large groups. How awful.

      • Different strokes, I suppose. Our guild of 130 has moved on….After doing fractals deep into the 30’s, many members with legendary weapons, All dungeon paths done for most of us. Tons of WvW done. Most of the guild achievements done….we ended up saying that it was time to move on as a guild. I was hoping we’d be able to stay for years as we did in older games. Zerging isn’t awful and I like GW2, but the difficulty for guilds is not there. If we want to do something as a group of 20 or 50 what is there to do? Not much. Arenanet has targeted a particular group of MMO players and it works. My guild and I are not that target audience.

  6. I think the first thing to remember is no game developer is ever going to be able to please all the players all the time. No matter what route they chose, you can bet a sizable proportion of the playerbase would be up in arms about it.

    That said, it does seem particularly thoughtless to use Achievements as the spine to hold up a seemingly endless series of short-term or temporary content drops. I’d have thought that almost definition the people most excited by the thought of all those new Achievements would be the very same people least likely to accept that they’d never be able to complete all of them.

    Or maybe that’s entirely intentional. As a dedicated non-achiever, able to skip most MMO content if it’s not convenient, I don’t fancy it or I’m just not in the mood, I already regard Achievers as somewhat obsessive. ANet may be counting on exactly that obsessive character trait to lock in the maximum number of Achievers for the maximum time, knowing that all us non-achievers will happily pick and choose the bits we want and feel we’re getting a pretty good deal.

    The further and longer they go down this road, and they do seem committed to it at least in the medium term, the more we’ll see just how many players there are who do like fast, relatively simple content that refreshes frequently and doesn’t require a huge commitment in time, socializing or skill. A lot of veteran MMO players are uncomfortable with the no-strategy zergfest Teer describes, but there are one heck of a lot of people doing it at every possible opportunity. I’m not so sure it’s an unpopular strategy with the bulk of the playerbase and it’s certainly extremely accessible to new starters.

    Also I noticed a certain amount of backpedaling recently on the “No Expansion” rhetoric. Pretty sure we will be getting one eventually. That’ll all be permanent content, presumably.

    • I think from the sound of some of the things they’ve said they’ve taken a far too mathematical approach to how much time to spend on what and how to get people coming back. They keep saying they’ve looked at the numbers and this is the approach that satisfies that.

      They’ve always been pretty wishy washy on whether or not they’re doing an expansion, to be honest I don’t think they even know yet, or if they do, its a recent decision.

  7. This is a good discussion. Thanks to Hunter for providing a forum on this topic and the contributors who have brought up great points.
    One of the positives that I’ve drawn from the living story series, that I haven’t seen discussed, is that the living stories have increased my need for help from guildies and friends. As a guild, we tackle the new living story and help each other work through the content that we chose to accomplish. I remember running around as a guild to collect all the samples from Southsun, or having guildies remind me not to throw away the crystals needed to open the playhouse. Without new content, the game stagnates and becomes “wash, rinse and repeat.” Simply put, the living story updates has increased the value of my guild, in my eyes.
    I’ve had a few discussions in my guild about the living story and the consensus seems to be that the release time is too fast. We enjoy the new content, but feel the push to accomplish achievements. I know that there are guildies that love to WvW and haven’t found time because there are trying to finish their living story before it’s gone forever.
    It’s clear that there isn’t a simple fix, but from my perspective, I’d be happy with an extra week for the temporary content. Make each patch 3 weeks so each living story would be active for 6 weeks vice 4. Is it a band aid fix? You bet, but it would provide a little extra time for “regular” gameplay in addition to the living story.

    • That’s an interesting point actually, the increased need to cooperate is a beneficial side effect I suppose.

  8. This is actually exact reason I stopped played GW2. I feel like there is so much pressure created by rapidly vanishing content that I will never catch up. I went on vacation during sky pirates even and never saw the dungeon, even though I liked the idea very much – that was the last straw

    When I feel like I MUST log in in order to miss out I rather not log in at all and not commit anything

    • The two week stretches to see a large piece of content are entirely too short. Seems like a total waste to make content like that, that people only see for short periods of time or not at all. No surprise that alienates some people.

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