Since the implementation of guild missions a couple of weeks ago, the Guild Wars 2 community has expressed a wide variety of, well, concern. A significant portion of small-to-medium guilds have not been able to even start the process of learning guild missions because of the high Influence requirements as well as the fact that the Art of War guild upgrades need to have been unlocked before a guild bounty can be unlocked. Right before the update, we saw a developer blog where smaller guilds were reassured that they would be able to participate in guild missions with ease. Unfortunately, the result is that while players can technically participate in another guild’s mission, they cannot earn the valuable rewards for participating.
This leaves a smaller guild with few options. The guild can merge with another, larger guild, which would work nicely for guild missions, but might harm either guild community. The guild can also actively recruit, which is probably the most effective possibility, but also extremely difficult when large guilds right now already offer a large chunk of guild missions and challenges. The third option is to unlock guild missions using gold. This seems to be the route that many smaller guilds are currently taking, but it’s proving to be a difficult road so far.
The problem with all three options is the fact that smaller guilds are at a severe disadvantage during guild missions when you look at the issue from every angle. When Guild Wars 2 launched, the promo videos all depicted a game where groups of friends– no matter the size of the group– could join up, defeat enemies together, and have a blast. From the early stages of the game, smaller guilds were encouraged to stay small, build a strong community, and work on some of the game’s toughest content together. That’s right– 5-man content. Small group content. The larger guilds tended to attract WvW players, which made sense. Players who wanted to concentrate on PvE gameplay instead generally found themselves in smaller guilds due to the lack of large-scale PvE options in Guild Wars 2.
And now… well, now there’s almost been a complete reversal. Guild missions are effectively scaled for larger guilds. Guild missions are far easier to unlock and access with a larger guild. Guild missions are even easier to take part in with a larger guild due to the randomness of guild bounty mobs and how the tagging system currently works. Unless you have your entire guild out searching for where the bounty mob has spawned, you risk not being able to complete the bounty at all. The whole system just… doesn’t seem well thought out for smaller guilds.
Larger guilds are having issues with guild bounties as well. Bugs are fairly prominent, which when paired with the odd tagging system, the two often result in wasted Influence and guilds full of frustrated players. I’m sure some guilds out there are enjoying guild missions, but the most part, it really seems like ArenaNet didn’t implement the feature with a whole lot of careful thought. Bugs are expected, of course, and it’s good to see that the team is actively working to fix many of the guild bounty bugs, but the tagging system just doesn’t seem quite right.
There’s also the issue of guild bounty mob scaling. In a game where literally every map scales a player to a level appropriate for the local mobs, why don’t bounty mobs scale to the size of a group? This would allow smaller guilds to experience a challenging fight without needing to band with outside players or other guilds. This would also allow extremely large guilds to experience a truly challenging fight and not a simple zergfest. For that matter, it seems like it would be possible to also allow guild mission requirements and rewards to scale with the size of a guild.
Many players on the forums have given ArenaNet some great ideas and suggestions regarding how to fix these issues and make the overall guild mission experience more worthwhile to both smaller guilds and larger guilds alike. The largest forum thread is this beauty, which is currently 40 pages and ongoing. ArenaNet has yet to address the thread, but players keep hoping that the team will come out and share a few thoughts on the implementation of guild missions and whether or not they are satisfied with the results. For a really long yet well organized post, check out this one.
What do you think about the implementation of guild missions in Guild Wars 2? Should smaller guilds simply learn to adapt, or could the feature have been implemented or planned better? Has the dust from the initial storm settled?