Future Imperfect

October 8, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 4 Comments
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Patiently waiting for Arenanet to drop some news about an expansion or some other kind of large update has left a lot of people stir crazy. While Arenanet seems to want to placate people with forum banter, I personally don’t think much will satisfy fans until we see some exciting announcements beyond Living Story. Behind it all though I think we can read into things and I have an optimistic outlook for the future.

Arenanet has always been very vague about what’s going on in the background, but they’ve hinted heavily at times that at the very least we’ll see expansion-like updates at some point.

Some of our players believe that because we are doing this Living World seasons, and these features or these big feature-builds, that it means that the features you would traditionally get in an expansion, or the content you would traditionally get in an expansion, is not something that will get added to Guild Wars 2. And that is not true at all.

“Not only are we doing those things, new features and content you would traditionally get from a boxed expansion are also things that will be added to Guild Wars 2.

…large regions, content and progression additions to your characters in the form of growth and professions and races. Those are all things that you will see in the lifespan of Guild Wars 2.”

Couple these comments with various conflicting reports from NCSoft (they’re working on an expansion! no they’re not! well maybe!) and you get the idea that at the very least it’s on their mind.

Outside of vague promises and hints, there isn’t much to go on. However take for instance this blatherskite about the New Player Experience that upset everyone so much. I’ll agree that some aspects of it are irritating, particularly skill unlocking, but I’ve actually found it to be much improved, more informative, with better rewards. But why devote so much effort to converting the NA/EU starter levels to match China if you’re not expecting a huge influx of new players? I think it’s a good indicator of direction.

In the short term we do have a few things to look forward to aside from the Living World continuing and festivals. Just why is there an inordinate amount of code buried in the .dat file (found by That_Shaman) for a new tutorial zone?

Something I haven’t mentioned yet is that there’s a huuuuge amount of lines for some sort of a tutorial zone as well.

I suspect it’s probably to do with PvP (via Twitter That_Shaman has suggested it has to do with China and things to do with crafting and siege mechanics so maybe not) Arenanet has mentioned a new PvP mode off and on for about a year, showing screen caps in a live stream and throwing maps into the .dat file, along with location names That_Shaman dug up like Tutelage Isles (and Combat Training Grounds, Isle of Trials, it all reminds me of the Battle Isle tutorial area) and not to mention the promise of PvP ladders and seasons a good 10 months ago.

I’m thinking the new mode, ladders, seasons, and tutorial, will likely be announced soon. They’ve got a fairly high profile PvP tournament with a cash prize coming up and capitalizing on the attention that will generate is probably the game-plan.

spvpmap2

Plenty of speculation about what the new sPvP mode could be, CTF, Deathmatch, Tower Defense. I think it’s interesting that Arenanet removed Reaper’s Rumble from Halloween 2013, and then a month later start mentioning a new sPvP mode.

But getting away from PvP and moving towards long term prospects, I wonder if we can glean something from their job listings? Supposing of course they’re not just replacing people. They’ve said they’re done using the initial personal story cinematics with stick figures in front of artistic backdrops. So does that explain why they’re hiring a couple of people for their cinematic team? Will they work on the Living World or future personal story steps which might require more man-power. They’re hiring an economic systems designer and a data analyst. Is that an indicator of a large number of new items, entire economies within the game that need to be reckoned with? They’re hiring a PvP Game Designer, which would align with a new PvP mode. They’re hiring a Raid Content Designer, which could point to either more new open world Tequatl type encounters, Guild Raids, or actual raid type content.

I could also draw from the Collaborative Discussion Initiative threads on the official forums, but so little of the content of those threads has been acted on and likely won’t be for some time. Hard to guess what they’ll implement, what is possible to implement, and what they’ll decide to ignore. The topics seem suggestive. Horizontal character progression suggests to me they’re thinking of the original Guild Wars, where a lot of new content was added but you never had to progress vertically. Some things have been implemented already from these threads but I suspect they may have already been in the works, like the wardrobe.

I’m not the optimistic fool type. Pleasantly awaiting things that will never come. They’ve got an enormous number of people working there, one of the few studios to release an MMO and not have layoffs following launch, and only a small team working on continuing updates while the rest do…. stuff.

With so little information, and Arenanet so unwilling to talk about what’s going on, I can draw only one conclusion. Expansion. I can’t guess at the content. Races, professions, new zones, new enemies, new rewards, and a ton of stuff designed to sap our wallet in the gem store, I’m sure all that is likely.

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4 Comments

  1. Your a great fan, anet lucky to have you… I personally am done. I’ve not logged in for sometime already and now I am happy to take it one step further. I’ll keep an eye on your website and hope things change. I’ve waited since they cancelled the last gw1 expansion (wish now they hadn’t). I not waiting anymore. Thank you Hunter, good luck and have fun.

  2. Isn’t opening new maps expansion like content?

    I expected them to release new content via story in small chunks for years. I thought it was a refreshing change of pace from games that are same old same old for a year or more until a large chunk of new stuff is dropped in the form of an expansion. I think it’s more engaging. Plus it’s a free update, compared to games that charge monthly fees and still make you pay extra for an expansion.

    Sometimes I feel like people really do just want WoW clones or don’t know what they want, and it will disappoint the heck out of me if we see a return to the status quo (because the status is not quo.) Especially if it involves conventional life sucking (or miss out if you refuse to schedule life around a game) raids.

    I like the “you’ve been signed on for ‘x’ amount of hours, maybe you should take a break” attitude of the original GW.

    • It’s nice, when it happens. 2 zones in 2 years isn’t exactly a high rate of new permanent content. I was really disappointed with the temporary aspect of the first season and it has really hit home how much content we’ll never see again due to the nature of that content. Although it did have its moments.
      Strange that you decry making a schedule to go raiding but thats exactly what the bulk of season 1 living story was, putting aside 2 weeks to make sure you got the content done before it went away permanently.

      I’ve never played wow so I don’t want a wow clone, I just want new repeatable content and a roadmap for where the game is going. And no I don’t equate an expansion with the status quo.


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