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A Testament to my Malaise February 23, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Guild Wars 2, World of Warcraft.
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My excitement for fantasy based MMORPGs is clearly at low ebb.

I have two offers in my email.  The first is for Mists of Pandaria for half off, or $20.

WoW Weekend Sale

WoW Weekend Sale

And the second is for Guild Wars 2 for over 30% off, which works out to $39.99 for the standard edition or $54.99 for the deluxe edition.

Guild Wars 2 Offer

Guild Wars 2 Offer

And I cannot bring myself to pull the trigger on either deal.

I said I would buy Guild Wars 2 once it dropped below $40.  But there is sales tax, so it isn’t quite there yet I suppose.

I am interested to know if any of the digital deluxe goodies ended up being meaningful, useful, or otherwise worth the extra $15 toll that they represent in this offer.

Back to tanks I suppose.

Comments»

1. rowan - February 23, 2013

I din’t think the extras are worth the price for them, so I didn’t get the deluxe edition.

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2. milliebii - February 23, 2013

lol, well also being an Ancient Gaming Noob, and also feeling the malaise I empathize. However, despite downloading Tanks! and having the game hyped mercilessly by my son I just do not find it interesting enough to play.

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3. Wilhelm Arcturus - February 23, 2013

@Milliebii – Well, I cannot play tanks for hours at a stretch, the way I used to play EQ, WoW, or Rift. Alone, I tend to play 5-6 matches, then go do something else.

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4. bhagpuss - February 23, 2013

I wouldn’t touch the GW2 Deluxe version with a bargepole.

On the other hand, if you can’t get $39.99’s worth of enjoyable gaming out of GW2 I fear you may never play a fantasy MMO with satisfaction again.

I got six solid months and even now it isn’t really flagging. My incessant appetite for novelty is no longer sated, but that’s hardly the same thing.

Jaded with fantasy as you may be, however, I think you might get more out of The Secret World. At least for a couple of months. Just don’t use firearms.

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5. Mekhios - February 24, 2013

I also received the same WoW deal in my inbox. Whilst it sounds tempting I won’t be going down that road again.

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6. Tesh - February 24, 2013

I used that sale to pick up MoP’s CE from Amazon for $35. That’s a pretty sweet deal for the art book, soundtrack, behind the scenes DVD… oh, and there’s the game.

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7. Jaggins - February 24, 2013

GW 2 isn’t going anywhere. Save it for later and come play Dust!

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8. Aufero - February 24, 2013

I’ve really enjoyed GW2, (I’m still playing, which is a good sign) but the deluxe version is a bit pointless. I’d intended to try out MoP, but when I finally had time I just couldn’t summon up enough interest.

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9. Coppertopper - February 24, 2013

GW2 is getting better with each patch, so by waiting you are only going to get a better gaming experience.

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10. Wilhelm Arcturus - February 24, 2013

An odd bit of info. In looking at the GW2 site, the discount apparently only applies to credit card purchases. If you want to use PayPal, you have to pay full price.

I wonder what they have against PayPal?

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11. pockie - February 24, 2013

I’m going to be another voice recommending you pick up that Guild Wars 2 offer, I got mine for about… I think 45 USD? It’s a great game, and the best part is no subscription so I can play it whenever the fancy strikes me (or when the teams in World of Tanks become too unbearably bad)

I’m not so sure about the longevity of end game in GW2 but just for the 1-80 experience and world completion it’s already more than worth that price. The events (I won’t call them dynamic…) are pretty fun too, and overall there is a lot of humor in the world that is kinda reminiscent of WoW but a tad higher class (not so many poop and fart jokes).

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12. Solf - February 25, 2013

Since everyone and his mother seems to be so ‘pro gw2′, here are my two cents.

If you generally like character-progression gameplay in Rift & WoW — e.g. five man instances, like skill progression with level ups (getting new skills as you level up), this kind of stuff — then odds are you might be seriously disappointed by GW2.

For the certain definition of “nothing” there’s “nothing” to do in the game after level 20. You can get all skills that you’ll ever need (excepting I believe elite ones which are often situational at best) by that level and then it is just “keep killing stuff using the same buttons forever”. And don’t forget the auto-scaling mechanics which basically mean you’re not supposed to ever feel e.g. too much overpowered which might be fun sometimes etc.

And the stuff I’ve heard about GW2 dungeons & group mechanics (back when I played which was early fall) was uniformly horrible. Taking away the holy trinity doesn’t magically make your game awesome, it only takes away the holy trinity. Which is replaced by what exactly? Everyone fending for themselves? Which doesn’t seem such a great group mechanic to me.

In short, for a certain kind of player (me :P; the guy who likes challenging small-group content in Rift and WoW [back when it used to have one]), GW2 is nothing but a disappointment.

What was that Syncaine said? “If GW2 fixed all the MMO problems, I’m so glad so many games got it totally wrong.” Some such.

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13. NoAstronomer - February 25, 2013

Solf’s not entirely inaccurate assessment aside, $39 does get you into GW2 with nothing else to buy, ever. It’s not good group content and it’s not especially challenging and it’s not

It is fun and it is engaging. In Rift I very rarely felt any empathy for the NPCs, mostly they seemed like a big bunch of whiners. In GW2 the environment provided by the NPCs is much more alive.

Besides, how many other games have a ‘Cowapult’?

Mike.

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14. NoAstronomer - February 25, 2013

gah!

… and it’s not a very deep game.

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15. rowan - February 25, 2013

Solf, I hope you’re playing TSW with that gaming philosophy, since it will take you hours and hours of gameplay to get all the possible abilities, even after you’ve maxed out all your gear. Entertaining trinity-based dungeons with good storylines that fold into the larger world, as well.

As for GW2, I like it. For most definitions of “nothing,” there is plenty do do even after reaching level 80. The game doesn’t have a ton of depth, but I continue to reassess the skills that I have at my immediate disposal depending on the current fight, or the one I just lost. Like TSW, the limited buttons create a strategic element to the game (by strategic, I mean the time you spend on your current abilities outside of combat), since you can’t have every oh-shit ability spread across 48 or more action buttons.

The original GW maximum level was 20, IIRC. including the ex-pacs. It’s my understanding that this was the case in the original design of GW2, and there were many complaints this past autumn about the way content is gated by the increased number of levels. And despite downleveling, I can still faceroll my way through the starting areas on my max-level engineer.

And if you don’t like the dungeons, then maybe you aren’t playing with the right group of people. Despite a similarity in names, tanks in a real battle do nothing to draw fire from the opponent other than being amongst the highest damage causers. And other than patch you up field medics the healers are all in the rear, nowhere near the steel-raining artillery. There are tactics involved that don’t require a big (or little) dude in heavy armor shouting taunts at the enemy. And battle itself is very chaotic. In that respect, I think the dungeons in GW2 are very realistic, far more so than trinity-based fights (which can also be a ton of fun).

I’m guessing that no one reading this has found a predominantly PvE game really challenging for at least a decade. Much like in-game crafting, there’s only so much you can do to make button-&-mouse-based combat challenging, before you suddenly make it impossible for any newbies that may come along. I eagerly await a VR/Holodeck style game where we all have to actually learn fencing and blacksmithing techniques, but I’m not holding my breath.

As for Syncaine, his smug default position that nothing awesome has happened in gaming since the turn of the millennium brings nothing the conversation about the current state of gaming.

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16. Solf - February 25, 2013

@rowan
I think you might be forgetting who is your audience here.

As you probably know, Wilhelm spent a lot of time doing 5-man content both in WoW and Rift (and enjoyed it as far as I can tell). Nor does it look like he belongs to the club of people who hate the holy-trinity with a passion (those people who praise GW2 simply because it removed the holy trinity without bothering to figure out what effect it has).

So if person is okay with holy trinity, then I think GW2 has very little to offer here. My experience is that if there’s no holy trinity, then there’s basically no real synergy between players in a group and it is all just zerg-zerg-zerg. Co-op shooters come to mind. Yes, I know that GW2 in theory has some of that. I never really saw it working in practice though — although I’ve never managed to level enough to visit even one of its dungeons, so my experience is very limited. But like I mentioned, feedback about dungeons was very negative when I was playing.

The ‘realism’ thing has no standing here, imo. We are talking about fireballs here. I don’t care whether it is real or not, I want nice gameplay. And so far the only successful model I’ve saw is the holy trinity. Not saying there cannot be other options, but I’ve yet to see a workable one.

As to difficulty — you are wrong. Right at the moment, I’m finding Rift expert dungeons literally impossible. Although my team is one person short which probably accounts for that. But even so, it doesn’t look like they’d be trivial. There’s quite a lot of room for challenge in the holy-trinity setup it is just that the elephant in the room set the bar way below the floor at the moment.

And don’t ad hominem :P Syncaine or whoever. You are free to disagree as much as you’d like, but provide arguments if you want to be taken seriously. Syncaine usually does. And in the particular case he simply expressed his opinion which I happen to share. It cannot really be ‘wrong’ as such.

@TSW — I tried it in pre-launch beta and found its combat unengaging. It wasn’t particularly terrible as far as I remember but I couldn’t see myself paying 50 euro + sub for that. It was nowhere near that good. I might try it now without a sub — but I’d rather actually paid sub without the box cost.

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17. rowan - February 25, 2013

Solf: Sorry, I don’t pander to any audience, I stand by my opinion. I enjoyed 5-man content in both WoW and Rift. In fact, my last year in WoW was almost exclusively spent in a 5-man group. Nor do I hate the trinity. I just don’t think it’s the only possible way to enjoy a dungeon. I ran two GW2 dungeons this past weekend, and I can assure you there is plenty of opportunity for teamwork and coordination. You were personally disappointed by unmet expectations in GW2. That’s not the same as GW2 being a disappointing game.

I do suggest you retry TSW, though you may find the combat no more engaging than you did during the beta. Who am I to say?

On Syncaine, he always sounds reasonable in any given post, but I’ve never seen him write anything positive about newer games in the 3 years I’ve been following gaming blogs. He is part of the old guard being left behind—for better or worse—by the mainstreaming of online games. I’m no spring chicken, myself, but I don’t lament the bygone days when gaming was supposedly somehow more meaningful in every way.

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Solf - February 25, 2013

@rowan
I think in this particular case — discussing whether Wilhelm ought to buy GW2 or not — we ought to pander to some audience :)

I also might quibble a bit re:GW2 being [not] disappointing. I don’t think it has nearly the success it was ‘supposed’ to be — and I attribute it to its design. But it is purely subjective, no hard facts, etc. In general I agree that it is quite fine for some people.

Syncaine — well, the fact that he’s being left behind doesn’t mean he’s wrong, does it? :) I mean if he’s making sense, maybe mmorpg-landscape is indeed changing and not necessarily for the better?

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18. rowan - February 25, 2013

@Solf, I think if the question is whether Wilhelm will get $39.99 worth of enjoyment out GW2, my answer is yes. But then that is because I have gotten far more enjoyment from it, myself. And I’m not sure yardstick you are using to measure success. There seem to be plenty of people online whenever I play. Unfortunately, comparing success between games is the proverbial apples and oranges. And Syncaine’s being left behind doesn’t make him right either, but it does make him grumpy. :) Change is simply change, good or bad is purely subjective.

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19. Mekhios - February 25, 2013

TSW had some great storylines but the late game was let down by a gear grind and gated content. It’s worth trying at least.

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Solf - February 25, 2013

@rowan
similarly my answer is ‘probably not’. Although $40 means different things to different people. Basically I myself regret spending more than I don’t know… $10? on it. That’s how much it might be worth to me, or even less.

Now, of course, the question is whether I’m a good way to measure Wilhelm’s tastes :) Probably not, but then again I think Wilhelm often agrees with Syncaine and since both me (the guy liking 5-man content) & Syncaine think GW2 basically sucks…

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20. Wilhelm Arcturus - February 26, 2013

@rowan – “Sorry, I don’t pander to any audience, I stand by my opinion.”

I don’t think that word means what you think it does.

Certainly I don’t think taking into account the person you are recommending something to comes even close. Some people might go so far as to call that “thoughtful.”

I mean, if I distilled down what the two of you have written, I might end up with:

Solf – Given your past history, you probably won’t like GW2

Rowan – I like GW2, so you should too.

If you were me, whose argument would seem the stronger?

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21. rowan - February 26, 2013

Feel free to follow Solf’s advice. I know exactly what pander means. On the other hand, his opinion is on hearsay and unrealistic expectations. If you and Solf and Syncaine have the idea that GW2 was supposed to “fix” all the MMO problems, then don’t get it. Because it doesn’t, it just approaches them differently.

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22. Wilhelm Arcturus - February 26, 2013

@rowan – If you know what pander means, I guess you’re just being being deliberately insulting then? Because your comment does not seem to be a very reasonable reaction to what I wrote. You certainly seem to have read more into it than what was there.

As far as I can tell, from what I read in the comments above, Solf played the game, so as with pander, I am not sure you are using “hearsay” correctly either, as that would imply he was only repeating the experience of others. I cannot count that as a solid recommendation of your vocabulary and usage.

But thank you for your permission to follow Solf’s advice.

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23. rowan - February 26, 2013

Like most MMOs I have played, each zone is largely distinguished by terrain theme, there are a multitude of activities to participate in based on your preferences. I believe the first person to reach 80 way back in September did so almost exclusively through crafting. I did so through a combination of combat, exploration, “dynamic” events, “hearts” or renown quests, story quests, crafting and dungeons; whatever suited my (and my wife’s) mood that evening. The player experience at 9 is much the same as at 79, but again, I find that to be the case with every MMO I’ve played. That makes them no less enjoyable to me for being somewhat routine.

A half-organized group of friends can go into a GW2 dungeon and figure stuff out. A PUG will have a hard time. Many of the first groups of players were frankly knocked on their butts, and then told everyone the dungeons sucked. GW2 Dungeons are chaotic affairs. The tank (yes there are tanks) doesn’t always have control of the mobs, people have to spend time healing themselves and others and even reviving fallen comrades.

I personally like the group combos where, for instance, I may lay down an AoE fire and then any ally shooting through it get an added burning effect on their shots.

The world itself, as has been said by other commenters, feels both alive and humorous. I’ve never been in another MMO city that felt more like a real city than Divinity’s Reach. The NPCs are constantly talking to each other. If you stand there long enough, you will of course hear stuff repeated, but the spoken dialogue gives the NPCs character beyond just standing there waiting for you to sell or buy stuff from them.

Solf is mistaken, you can have all the weapon abilities you’ll ever get long before you reach 10, if you get all the weapons available to your class. Traits (like Talents, I guess) on the other hand, accumulate all the way to 80, and they affect the way you play: the weapons and skills you use. And the skills; I’m 80, and still am accumulating skills. Do I use them all? No, but then my traits are such that some skills are less effective than others. The elite skills are very important in dungeons, where I’m waiting to pop the skill as soon as possible after the cooldown.

Solf is using hearsay, making claims about dungeons he’s never played in, at levels he’s never reached. All he can say is that he got bored at around level 20 and quit. If, based on that, you think you would feel the same, don’t waste your money.

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Solf - February 26, 2013

Just to make a few things clearer.

The highest I got in GW2 is about level 30. Never set foot into any dungeon, but participated in some open-world events (think mess of people doing ‘stuff’).

When I said that you can be ‘done’ by level 20 — what I meant is that you can have all weapon skills unlocked and all normal skills you’ll ever ‘need’ in leveling (you get to pick 5 I think out of X possibilities which you have to unlock with points; by level 20-30 you should be able to get enough points to unlock what you ‘need’).

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24. João Carlos - February 27, 2013

So, Solf played until level 30, the first dungeon story mode is level 30 and explore mode at level 35….

And you want believe solf about what he say about GW2 dungeons?

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25. Wilhelm Arcturus - February 27, 2013

João Carlos – Did I say that? Are you worried that I am a complete idiot and am unable to balance the relative merits of people’s statements? Does this sort of passive aggressive shit work for you in the real world?

Plus, dude, keep up with the narrative. We’ve moved beyond this post. I actually was trying to register the product before Solf chimed in.

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