Sunday, 31 May 2015

#GW2 maintenance mode and the anti-grind

During the week I disconnected from all my Guild Wars 2 feeds, stopped following GW2 fan sites and cleared out all of the articles related to GW2 from my Pocket reading list. Why?

Firstly, I love Guild Wars 2. I had two and half good years from that game and met great people. However, over the last two months my play time has dwindled to almost zero. I was still logging in everyday to get my daily reward chest and farm my home instance but now I'm not sure I can even bring myself to do that. I'm about to be away for a week and I haven't given a second thought to be being able to log on. Will I pick back up when I come home?  Probably not.

What changed?  Well, I had a bit of a revelation in the shower one day (I don't get much thinking time anywhere else). It's not complicated, I won't labour this or ramble. Here it is:

Guild Wars 2, as we know it, is in maintenance mode. We're basically in the pre-release period for a new game: Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns.

That's it, it's as simple as that. This came to me when I was thinking about what to play instead of GW2. I was thinking about GW1 and realised how ridiculous it would be to log into a game, purely to get achievements in another game I'm not even playing. It was then that the similarities between GW1 and GW2 occurred to me.

Since some of the changes that HoT will bring will be backported to GW2 this is not technically true but it perfectly sums up my psychology. In many ways it's like GW2 will get one last patch and then be done while HoT takes over. The problem with GW2 is that there isn't even a similar incentive to play building to HoT!

The talk of HoT being "expand-alone" makes me grow even colder. The last expand-alone game I bought was Dawn of War: Soulstorm. Expand-alone has a tendency to change things that you love and add little into the bargain. You might even hate the new things. So far HoT isn't offering much to freshen GW2 and the 'anti-grind'. If grinding is defined as "doing something you don't enjoy to get something valuable", does that mean that Guild Wars 2 is about doing enjoyable things to get worthless items? Far from being averse to change, I'm now worried that HoT won't bring enough.

What concerns me even more is that we're looking at two free to play releases from the same publisher in Autumn/Winter of this year. It would be weird to launch a paid expansion against two of your own F2P titles. I think that means HoT will either be here this summer or not until next year. Apparently next year is a popular opinion already (last paragraph). The GW2 content drought stretches on?

And speak of those F2P titles... I was hyped about Wildstar right up until they announced the business model and then my interest flat out died. Turns out that was probably lucky because, from what I have heard, I would have hated the game in the state it launched. But a game with that much character that you can dip in and out of with no risk? Sign me up!

As for Blade and Soul, well, I'd never even heard of wuxia (I'm guessing, based on my rudimentary knowledge of Mandarin, that's pronounced wu-shia) but now I have heard of it that sounds like a blast! Why wouldn't I want to give that a try?

So, Guild Wars 2, I'd like to remember you as you were. I'm not writing HoT off but I've never been one to hang on every announcement of a new game; I've stated previously that I hate all the guessing and speculation. I'm taking my leave and I might be back when all the cards are on the table*. Until then Tyria, I bid you adieu!

* though I'm likely to be playing the slots and not notice.

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