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I never thought I'd actually say something like that, but I feel betrayed, and people need to understand fully what's going on as we approach release. ArenaNet are slipping things in which is making the game more and more like WoW.
I don't know why they're doing that.
I mean, that's appealing to the WoW crowd, and down that road lays madness and bankruptcy. And if they continue this way then they're going to end up with a flop on their hands, likely to the magnitude of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, or even worse.
So, two things have come up, that people need to know about.
1. The death penalty has become ridiculous.
Okay, so if you die, this happens...
1. You're downed, but every time you're downed after you lose 25% of your downed bar permanently until you're forced to 'die.' So, once you're downed you only get 75% of it next time, then 50%, then 25%, and after that you're forced to 'die.'
2. When you're forced to die, you have to pay a sum of gold to teleport to the nearest waypoint.
3. When you're forced to die, a piece of armour breaks.
4. When all your armour breaks, you have to pay again to repair all of your armour.
5. When the above death occurs, you have to pay for the teleport and for the armour repair.
If that's not WoW-like then what is?
2. The battles are looking more and more like WoW.
One thing the press has been noticing in recent builds is that not only is the AI pretty dumb, but it takes forever to kill a single mob. This means that you can have five guys beating on one mob and it can take over two minutes to kill. Does this sound familiar? Yeah, WoW.
Now, the approach I hoped they'd take would be more like CO or Guild Wars 1. Where you have a large group of foes, and some are responsible for healing, some are responsible for debuffing, and when you kill most of the group, the rest will run off to get help. This makes fights dynamic and interesting, because if you don't kill the right guys first, and if you don't kill the guys who run off for reinforcements, things can turn bad.
But if your situational awareness is good, and you know what you're doing, and you're skilled at the game, then the fights can go pretty quick until a new mob appears that tosses a new style of AI into the mix. That's the kind of play I was hoping for. But that's not what the journalists are seeing in Guild Wars 2.
So, instead of the CO or GW1 approach, it feels a lot like WoW. Many journalists have said this.
ArenaNet needs to take a step back from this more WoW-like path they've taken and delay the game just a bit longer. If they release it in its current state, which is very WoW-like, then it's going to be a massive flop. WoW players will only leave WoW for about a month before they either go back to WoW or TOR (and I've heard of many TOR players getting fed up with that and going back to WoW already). It's going to go the same way as Warhammer Online. It doesn't even have a big Intellectual Property hook like TOR does.
So, who am I? Am I just some troll? Ha. I'm sure some will think so. I'm a very passionate person who cares about the state of gaming. I'm one of those "I actually give a shit." people. A rare breed. I've been around for a long time, I've been following Guild Wars 2 since it was announced in magazines back in '05. I've been here. I've been watching. And you've likely seen me praising GW2 in the past.
I like a lot of the promises that ArenaNet have made. I've praised them for those promises.
But I feel a little betrayed, because it seems more and more that ArenaNet are pulling a Blizzard and going back on all of their promises to make the game they think will sell. They've turned to greed, but if they're not careful then that greed will in turn turn to bankruptcy. I'm hoping that they'll realise this and step back. I just think they need to take a look at what they're doing and go back to the drawing board, to make fights more interesting without simply being timesinks, and to make death penalties interesting without making them grindy time/gold sinks.