We all have things we love about Guild Wars 2, places that make us cheer out and say “yes, this is my ultra-mega place!” We all have classes, abilities, and features we’re passionate about, either negatively or positively. This is a place to share all that. Once a week I’ll be raising a Guild Wars 2 question to the community– hopefully an interesting one– and we’ll share our opinions. I’ll start off with my opinion just to get the ball rolling, but these questions will not have any right or wrong answers, so feel free to argue with me to your heart’s content!
So, organized group content. Raiders sometimes receive a lot of flack because of how raid-centric and loot treadmill-like many MMORPGs have become. Want the shiniest gear? Better get your raid group together, clear three nights a week off your schedule, and get ready to stand in–er, avoid fires. Despite the negativity that some gamers feel towards raiding, however, there’s no denying the fact that a challenging raid or 5-man dungeon run with friends can be an extremely fun way to spend an evening. Challenging group content– when made well and completed with the right group– promotes teamwork, communication, leadership skills, and it makes us want to become better players.
On the other hand, there’s a very fine line between that first challenging, adrenaline-punched raid night and that night, you know, five weeks later, when the group is facerolling the same six bosses, complaining about the same pieces of healer loot, and spamming DPS meters while half-hardheartedly punching keys and watching TV. This second scenario is why raiders receive so much flack, in my opinion. Challenging group content is awesome. Repeating that same content for days on end for no reason other than to collect the shiniest item or X amount of currency is, well, a loot treadmill.
Now, a lot of gamers enjoy the treadmill affect. The more power to them, I say. Where does Guild Wars 2 fit in? Here’s where it gets interesting. We knew right off the bat that the game wouldn’t have raid content. It does, however, have challenging 5-man content that rewards currency that can be farmed in order to make your gear extra shiny. Stats eventually cap out, of course, but the pretty gear treadmill keeps on rolling. It’s a slight departure from the norm. But is it enough? Isn’t running dungeon after dungeon for currency the same thing, effectively, as running the same raid instance weeks on end?
And what about the whole ‘holy trinity’ thing? Sure, we don’t have taunts and spam-able heals, but we definitely have professions with more control abilities than others, more healing abilities than others, and different types of armor. Some Explorable dungeons benefit from certain group compositions more than others, and doesn’t that fact kind of… imply the same concept as the ‘holy trinity’ philosophy? Make a smart group and win. And be sure to roll around a bit, remember those support abilities, and stand in– er, avoid fire.
I guess what I’m saying is– despite ArenaNet’s hopes, some players are finding themselves disappointed in Guild Wars 2′s dungeon system. Personally, I do understand the viewpoint. The first time I did a dungeon, my cloth-wearing friends exclaimed excitedly how much easier AC was with my Guardian there to generally hold the attention of the bad guys. No, I wasn’t “tanking” exactly, but the effect was oftentimes the same. I distracted things. My friends killed stuff, and sometimes had to run around when mobs decided that asura were tastier.
Dungeon running in GW2 feels kind of familiar at times, yet not so much that I feel the need to farm dungeon after dungeon for the prettiest gear. I enjoy the lack of a non-cosmetic, currency-driven gear treadmill, yet at the same time, I often find myself wishing the loot off bosses wasn’t quite as random, and for the most part, useless. I like bosses that have a chance to drop certain special items because it gives us another reason to look forward to killing a boss. Yes, boss fights can be fun, but rewards at the end of a fun fight are twice as good! To be fair, that might be the old school raider in me speaking.
When it really comes down to it, I enjoy the challenges most Explorable modes present, but I don’t see myself wanting to run them day after day. When a dungeon opportunity strikes, I take it excitedly, but GW2′s system lends itself to be one more casual in nature, in my opinion, and honestly, after years of running the more hardcore-natured dungeon and raid treadmill– I’m good with that.
What are your thoughts about Guild Wars 2′s dungeon design and reward system? Like it? Hate it? Sound off in the comments section below!