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[Column] General: If Guild Wars 2 Changed Everything, What’s Next?

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 17,626MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Red 5's Mark Kern is back with his bi-weekly column here at In this week's article, Mark continues the discussion started in his last article about the death of quest hubs. He moves on to "what comes next". See what this industry insider has to say before you leave your thoughts in the comments.

In my last article, I talked about the death of quest hubs and Guild Wars 2, which generated 258 comments (the geek in me wanted it to stop at a crisp 256, but alas, it was not to be). I had argued that Guild Wars 2’s more organic approach of discovering content through exploration and dynamic events, rather than being led by the nose through quests and hubs, was going to prompt a sea change in how MMOs get designed in the future. Many of you agreed, and yet many argued that Guild Wars 2 had not done enough to make the claim that it had truly reinvented the genre. So if Guild Wars 2 is still “grindy” to some, still not dynamic enough for others, then what *would* be the true next step? I think Guild Wars 2 has opened the door to a lot of fresh thinking, so let’s explore.

Read more of Mark Kern's If Guild Wars 2 Changed Everything, What’s Next?


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  • Eir_SEir_S Argyle, NYPosts: 4,623Member Uncommon
    I agree that even better dynamic events are the future, GW2 just opened the door a little wider.  Time is certainly a factor I haven't seen used in their implimentation yet.  Good ideas, Mark!  It's exciting to think about.  Quest hubs had their time in the sun.
  • CaldrinCaldrin CwmbranPosts: 4,505Member Uncommon

    open world sandbox games end of...



    Themepark has been dead for me for ages.. GW2 did not bring anything new, sure it did thigns a tiny bit different but its the same old thing..


    Instead of quest hubs with numerous quests to do, you get a map with 10-20 heart quests.. oh wow how amazing and different is that.. instead of interacting with NPCs you now just get the quest when your near the heart.. wow thanks..

    So called dynamic events are not really that dynamic and are just basically heart quests that are not active al lthe time.. this has been done before...

    at the end of the day people like GW2 and fair enough im happy for them but to be it really didnt bring anything good to themepark mmorpgs..



    Anyway has i stated at the start..


    Openworld sandbox MMOs should be the future.. im not saying that they have to be full loot hardcore PVP games (some should be of course).. but its quite clear that themeparks are boring as hell and most people want somthing different..

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member Uncommon
    It didn't change everything, so the premise of your question is incorrect.
  • FadedbombFadedbomb Aiken, SCPosts: 2,081Member

    Themeparks haven't been sustainable ever since one of them grew to the size of the entire "niche" of the Themepark genre.



    In other words, ever since WoW consumed the entire Niche market for Themeparks it has become impossible to maintain any other themepark in order to compete on an even playing field.




    Think about it, Themeparks REQUIRE content to be created by hand by Developers which takes several times as much resources to do as opposed to "Emergent" gameplay that is prolific within Sandbox & Sandpark titles that require a much MUCH smaller portion of development resources to maintain & create.


    Sandboxes & Sandparks are far more profitable, sustainable, and all around cheaper to produce. The only real difficult part is choosing a specific Sandbox "vision" to use and then move forward. Your largest hurdle with sandboxes & sandparks is getting the core mechanics & "Idea" behind the product down first before building upon it.


    This is what most Indie companies suffer from, a lack of direction. Almost ALL Sand-based MMOs (Sandpark / Sandbox) have more than enough "Vision", but not enough resources and direction to generate a proper MMO. Mortal online lacked both funds & skill, but had the direction & vision they required to produce a quality product. Hence Mortal Online doing so terribly.

    Likewise with Darkfall Online, etc etc.

    The Theory of Conservative Conservation of Ignorant Stupidity:
    Having a different opinion must mean you're a troll.

  • rungardrungard st. john''s, NFPosts: 1,035Member

    the "tools" developers need are available right now. I call them players. If you have a small subset of players that can "spawn" events (not to say they cant spawn in other ways) they become dynamic because theres an unpredictable brain behind it.

    the trick to making it all happen is open world pvp, where you make the "evil" side so difficult and unforgiving to play only few play that style compared to the many that will choose the easier style within the same game. I call them the villians.

    if you combine this with sandbox style castle/wall/bridge/town building and lets players populate their areas with guards and such (within reason),

    you have a recipe for a dynamic world.

  • grimalgrimal Stamford, CTPosts: 2,883Member Uncommon

    My only concern is, will the AI ever be good enough to replace or come close to the quality of a DM?  I'm not so sure, at least not so sure in my lifetime.  What you are proposing is moving back towards the classic roleplay experience of pen n paper and the truly mysterious nature of anything can happen.

    I'd love to see this kind of stuff; just not sure the technology is there.   For all the "dynamic" of GW2's DEs, the mechanics began to show pretty early on.  So I think we are still a long way away from this.


    I think a quicker way to achieve some of this is player-created content.  If the genre could somehow bring the GM (ala Neverwinter Nights) into a sandbox, we might have something there.

  • Deerhunter71Deerhunter71 Richmond, VAPosts: 527Member
    Originally posted by Eir_S
    I agree that even better dynamic events are the future, GW2 just opened the door a little wider.  Time is certainly a factor I haven't seen used in their implimentation yet.  Good ideas, Mark!  It's exciting to think about.  Quest hubs had their time in the sun.

    Huh?  How did they open the door wider?  I saw the exact same thing in Warhammer and then Rift.....

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    I had made a comment that I felt quest hubs were invisible anyhow..... I take that back, been playing mop and now coming from GW2 to mop..... Quest hubs are very visible.

    I love the idea of an AI game director, say was that stolen from the hunger games? At any rate, dynamic events leaves room for endless possibilities. I would also like to see more AI attitude, I don't want to know I'm safe, I want to be in danger at all times, let them be less passive and more active, give them moments of unstoppable rampage. Let them tick the players off enough to infuse some passion to do something about it. Also along those lines and somewhat of what guild wars 2 does with ogres in wvw, let them be hired out. Let faction A higher out an army of AI to perform a task against an opposing faction and let the players fight right along with them. I love it when the ogres are fighting with us, but I want to order them, or just sit back and watch or follow them while they announce a task and watch what happens.

    This opens the door up for balance too. If your faction only has 100 people online and opposing faction has over 500, balance can be engineered into the game, let's continue to use ogres, well the team with less real players just has more powerful ogres for example.
  • YolenYolen ZgierzPosts: 14Member
    Or just... I dunno... make Minecraft with better graphics, phat loot and coplex combat? Minecraft changed A LOT more that GW2. I mean... who doesn't want random coputer generated worlds to infinately explore?
  • MuktukMuktuk Menomonie, WIPosts: 68Member Uncommon

    How about these things:

    1. Meaningful endgame progression

    2. Cool skills/abilities

    3. Class balance

    4. Not grinding the same dungeon over and over

    5. Quaggan as a playable race

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member Uncommon
    Please ignore, wrong thread
  • TalulaRoseTalulaRose Long Island, NYPosts: 585Member Uncommon

    Everytime I log in everyone camps the same  events. Quest hub has gone from get quest go kill to wait for DE and mobs come to you.


  • kaiser3282kaiser3282 Phoenix, AZPosts: 2,733Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Deerhunter71
    Originally posted by Eir_S
    I agree that even better dynamic events are the future, GW2 just opened the door a little wider.  Time is certainly a factor I haven't seen used in their implimentation yet.  Good ideas, Mark!  It's exciting to think about.  Quest hubs had their time in the sun.

    Huh?  How did they open the door wider?  I saw the exact same thing in Warhammer and then Rift.....

    No, you didnt. Sorry but I played WAR on and off since launch, and if you honestly think PQs and DEs are the same thing, I cant even begin to help you. Its like saying the new Lamborghini Gallardo is the same as a beat up old Geo Metro, because hey, theyre both cars.

    Theres a reason why PQs in WAR are avoided like the plague, along with just about everything else having to do with PvE in the game.

  • TardcoreTardcore MinskPosts: 2,325Member
    Well since I feel that if GW2 changed anything it was to move the MMORPG genre one step closer to the eSport gaming model, what I think is next is MOBAs. Easier and quicker to develop, wildly popular, fits in well with the BTP/FTP cash shop model.


    "Gypsies, tramps, and thieves, we were called by the Admin of the site . . . "

  • grimalgrimal Stamford, CTPosts: 2,883Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Tardcore
    Well since I feel that if GW2 changed anything it was to move the MMORPG genre one step closer to the eSport gaming model, what I think is next is MOBAs. Easier and quicker to develop, wildly popular, fits in well with the BTP/FTP cash shop model.

    Too true.

  • fenrisbluefenrisblue hampton, VAPosts: 120Member Uncommon
    i agree that gw2 is just doing things a little diferant, a quest is still a quest no matter how easy it is to obtain and finish the quest, i am enjoying GW2 though, not sure how long till i get bored of doing the same thing over and over but it is fun for now
  • MageickMageick Daytona Beach, FLPosts: 103Member
    GW2 did not change anything. It was a over hyped game that is meant for some people, not all. If GW2 is the future, well the future isn't going very far. It's still the same ol' MMO, you have quests, you craft, you pvp, you get gear, really nothing new. Sure HOW it did these is a bit different but GW2 didn't change anything about the genre.
  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer ChairPosts: 6,009Member Uncommon

    What changed? In the end, It's going to be just like many other MMOs. No, ANET didn't change much really. That title rests with two other companies. Activision and Turbine. Thanks to them, we now have this shallow FSCKD up shell that is left of a genre that grew too big for itself.

  • JackdogJackdog Charleston, SCPosts: 6,344Member

    interesting, I like your ideas and hopefully GW2 will led to the death of the quest hub raid end game MMO. I am really curious to  see what lies in the future of MMO's.

    I get a kick out of it anytime anyone calls a game a WoW clone when WoW was just a polished up EQ1. For me WoW was a step up from EQ1 and now GW2 is now a step up the ladder from WoW.  MMO's are a evolution, and I don't expect a major revolution in any give game. Look at it like cars, we didnot go from the model T to the Mercedes S class in one step. There were lots of little inovations along the way.

    GW2 borrowed a lot of it's game and consolidated tghe best parts from lots of games, however to me it is the state of the art in MMO design at the moment. I am sure in 5 years it will alos appear dated just as WoW's core gameplay design is showing it's age. The age of the end game raid design is officialy now on it;s way to extinction.

    I was talking with a freind on Vent this morning, he was grinding out the dailies in SWTOR while I was running up my guardian in GW2. Him and I would always run those dailies together a month or so ago. We had a system, knew every  mob by heart and the only challenge was trying to beat our best time by a few seconds. I remarked to him that after GW2 I could never play SWTOR, LoTRO etc again because I feel their design is outdated now just as WoW made seem EQ1 dated and stale.



    I miss DAoC

  • SentimeSentime Chicago, ILPosts: 272Member

    15 years later.  I'm still getting go kill 10 rats quests.

    Just because you change the numbers into a slide bar, and automatically give me the quest, it doesn't mean I'm not still getting more kill 10 rats quests.

  • lmollealmollea GEnovaPosts: 37Member Uncommon

    beware, some game have tried a minimal, partial kind of "time evolution". lotro and coh for example, change the environment you find around you in certain part of the game based on some act you did.

    It's really really limited, coh has (should I say had?) it just in (new) atlas park, in the first mission after the tutorial, and lotro only in some part of dunland based on your point in the epic history.

  • grummzgrummz Aliso Viejo, CAPosts: 56Member

    There is a lot that can improve beyond quests and dynamic events, true. But I just mentioned one of many possible ways we could change things.

    When we made WoW, we looked around and said, let's make a themepark...but we could have chosen anything. There were so many types of MMOs before WoW, and Blizzard took just ONE of them and popularized it.

    We can dig back and find lots of other ideas to mine and shape and polish as WoW did. I see lots of potential in online games if we can just take our WoW blinders off.

  • deth2munkiesdeth2munkies San Antonio, TXPosts: 1Member

    It's irritating to see so many focus on the title and ignore the content.  

    The "AI Director" concept I first heard of used in relation to Left 4 Dead, where it supposedly spawned zombies according to how desparate the situation was, among other factors.  I never really noticed it in that game, but I think that's the way it should be: you should feel like you're just playing the game, not feel like you're being directed.

    The way I read this, it's like playing a dungeon crawler with a random map generator, only with an MMO and randomly generated events rather than maps.  The problem I forsee is that if you want to make a massive world, you have to be generating these events for every single player at any given time, or restrict them to an area, both of which don't solve the time/money/repetition problem.  What you'd need to do is shift away from the "individual that can group to take on huge world" to a more co-op/guild focused game where you HAVE to group up and form relationships to succeed.  It puts off solo players, but it breaks up the userbase into more managable chunks that allow you to better plan events for them.

  • SiugSiug Posts: 1,201Member Uncommon
    So far I haven't seen almost nothing changed and DE's require even less brains than quests in other games because they are all kill 10 this and escort that. I wouldn't call washing and feeding cows innovation either. Maybe I can see the true essence of The Saviour of MMOs in level 80 zone? Haven't got that far because of boredom.
  • VikingGamerVikingGamer Nowhere, TXPosts: 1,348Member Uncommon

    I don't know about anything else but I predict that GW2 has killed off the idea of exclusive gathering nodes. I think everybody will switch to shared gathering nodes except EVE Online, because EVE is always different. But everyone else will. And not just because people like not having to fight over nodes are hate having nodes ninja'd while they fight the mob but because the developers can better control how much a player can harvest from a node. If nodes as not shared then you have to spawn them faster so that others can come though the area and be able to harvest as well, at least in a reasonable time frame. If you share the nodes then you can make the respawn time much longer because everybody will get a crack at the node. Then you can space out the refresh long enough to discourage people from farming a small area.

    It is a very small thing but that is also what makes the change safe and easy for other MMOs to transition to.

    All die, so die well.

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