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[General Article] Guild Wars 2: Evaluating the Living Story

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,585MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

ArenaNet tried something different with its bi-weekly Living Story updates. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. With the current Living Story season just about ready to wrap up, let's take a look back at what went right and what went wrong – and how those might be addressed in the next installment.

Read more of Jason Winter's Guild Wars 2: Evaluating the Living Story.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • RazeeksterRazeekster Solon, MEPosts: 2,201Member Uncommon

    Patches every 2 weeks makes it so they can't work on a truly epic, polished events in my opinion... I didn't really understand what was wrong with a monthly update. The every 2 weeks updates is what made me quit GW2. It's just too much, especially for those who have more going in their lives like work and other responsibilities.

     

    Honestly, GW2 should take a page from the awesome monthly events of Asheron's Call.

    Smile

  • raslirasli boston, MAPosts: 56Member
    Initially I thought if  they prolong the update to once a month would be better, however after experiencing the month long winter break ANET had without updates, I find that I really miss the 2 week update cycle.  It keeps things fresh and you always have things to anticipate. Plus the quality of those living story has improved quite a bit for the last few patches.  So I would say 2 week update is good if they have another team working on expansions.
  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member

    Living story killed GW2 pretty quickly. No expansion, no real content update beyond mini-games and a couple of zerg raid mobs. It's a shame really, I loved this game at first, then you realize it's never going to get the bugs fixed and the content is never going to get any better than piecemeal cash grab updates.

     

    I still hold out hope that Anet will make the 180 degree turn needed to save this game this year, as I have always been a GW fan and it's depressing to see the franchise starting to swirl the drain.

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • TheAmirTheAmir Traverse City, MIPosts: 328Member Common
    I will never understand how this game generated so much hype. It was so boring I couldn't get past level 20. From what I understand, the living story just made it worse.

    image
  • Gaia_HunterGaia_Hunter BristolPosts: 2,801Member Uncommon

    I think most people that dislike the Living Story dislike it because they believe it drains resources from an expansion and it is an expansion replacement.

    Once an expansion or expansion like content hit and people realize that Living Story doesn't prevent an expansion or expansion like content to be developed and released, less people will have problems with the Living Story.

    Currently playing: GW2
    Going cardboard starter kit: Ticket to ride, Pandemic, Carcassonne, Dominion, 7 Wonders

  • ZakaneZakane Midlothian, VAPosts: 68Member

    I don't understand why people get so up in arms about living stories. They are pretty cool, and I never feel bad about missing some and I know I have.

     

    -shrug-

  • GameByNightGameByNight Columnist / Podcast Host Rochester, NYPosts: 122Member Uncommon

    As a casual player, I actually like the living story. I do miss things quite often but that kind of goes with the territory of coming and going from any MMO. I understand why the game's regular players would feel pressured and even a little bit stressed by the update cadence, however.

     

    Still, the amount of complaining about these updates is perplexing. Is it that there isn't substantial feature and mechanics additions also going in? From what I have gathered from reading the news blasts, I thought there were. Maybe it's the frequency compared to achievements and story-based updates? Or is it that the community is just really tied to the idea of an expansion because of GW1's history?

     

    Not entirely clear where all of the venom is coming from. I do wonder if a lot of it isn't rooted in a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the core game after all of the pre-release hype.

    Writer of the RPG Files
    Official Podcast Host
    Blogger at GameByNight.com

  • squalleonahasqualleonaha miss, ONPosts: 211Member
    Originally posted by Zakane

    I don't understand why people get so up in arms about living stories. They are pretty cool, and I never feel bad about missing some and I know I have.

     

    -shrug-

    i dont understand why people prefer living story instead of expansion either. most of the content only ok for 3h or maybe 1 day. all is zerk fest. it has been close to 2 years without any new class, skills, lands. 

    base on GW1, you would get 2 expansion with 4 new class, 2 new continents and whole lot of new story. Anet think people live for ....like 200 years or what?

    also they confirmed it recently that there will be no expansion  or they at least havent plan on any.

  • nagennifnagennif MoonahPosts: 44Member
    Originally posted by squalleonaha
    Originally posted by Zakane

    I don't understand why people get so up in arms about living stories. They are pretty cool, and I never feel bad about missing some and I know I have.

     

    -shrug-

    i dont understand why people prefer living story instead of expansion either. most of the content only ok for 3h or maybe 1 day. all is zerk fest. it has been close to 2 years without any new class, skills, lands. 

    base on GW1, you would get 2 expansion with 4 new class, 2 new continents and whole lot of new story. Anet think people live for ....like 200 years or what?

    also they confirmed it recently that there will be no expansion  or they at least havent plan on any.

     

    If I were interested in gear grind, I'd have become a watchmaker

  • natuxatunatuxatu Denver, COPosts: 1,371Member

    I was GW2's biggest fan. GW1 was my favorite MMOish game of all time. The living story absolutely killed the game for me. Instead of working on an actual expansion with a new world to explore like Cantha they give us temporary content in which you fight a different boss.. big deal. I'd hardly call it content when the only thing left behind are some weapon skins and stuff in the store to buy. 

    It's a real shame, because GW2 could have been amazing, but trying to be different and appeal to casual gamers, I think they really missed the mark.. 

     

    Wildstar is more of what Guild Wars 2 should have been. People are going to get sick of no real content sooner or later. In reality, it's pretty much the same game it was when it was released. Sure you can get ascended gear, but the gear doesn't even matter because of how they made the game. 

     

    Living story, is bad. Living story is something an MMO should do AFTER it's released a bunch of expansions. I could see WoW doing living story type stuff but not an MMO that just came out a couple years ago.

     

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  • SeleniteSelenite RigaPosts: 38Member Uncommon

    Not that I support the way how they are dealing with Living Story but you guys do know that only a small team works on this right? That most of the company is working on a "expansion" type elements and features. The only difference for us is that were not told what exactly is being done/ when it might be finished.

    That and how are they going to deliver/ boxed expansion, gemstore or add to living story/

     

  • XiaokiXiaoki White Pigeon, MIPosts: 2,601Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Gaia_Hunter
    I think most people that dislike the Living Story dislike it because they believe it drains resources from an expansion and it is an expansion replacement.Once an expansion or expansion like content hit and people realize that Living Story doesn't prevent an expansion or expansion like content to be developed and released, less people will have problems with the Living Story.
    Uh, ArenaNet has already said they dont want to an expansion and would rather do Living Story.

    They did say they would have expansion-like content introduced through the Living Story such as large regions, professions and races but there has been zero talk as to when any of that will happen.

    I mean, seriously, are we going to have to wait until the 2 year anniversary to get an announcement of a pending announcement of a hint of possible new large regions, professions or races?

  • ZizouXZizouX Burbank, CAPosts: 670Member

    I stopped playing GW2 3 months after release.  I definetely think I got my money's worth.  IT's an awesome game.  THe combat is fluid, the jumping puzzles amazing.  Plenty of customization.  The classes play differently.  But GW2 made me realize something I didn't think I liked... namely, The holy trinity.

     

    It was the first game that took it away and the encounters played very differently.  IT was great at first, but quickly became a cluster F@#$!  How does this tie into the living story on a 2 week basis... well, it's the type of content you have to come up with if you're not going to do a trinity with tiered raid progression.

     

    Some people love this, I like the fact that there is a game that is not so focused on the raid treadmill or the carrot on a stick approach.  On the other hand, It made me realize that I prefer the 3 month gigantic content patch with new raids more than this 2 week cycle.

     

    Basically, if you like little small delicious meals frequently, or do you prefer VERY big meals to digest over a longer period of time.

     

    I prefer FFXIV's model for story and raid progression every 3 months with clearly defined roles (sometimes TOO defined).  But, I am glad that GW2 exists for people who don't like the traditional approach.

  • obocoboc Northglenn, COPosts: 189Member
    I love GW2, and will be playing it for many many years. The two week updates really helped me play it more. With work, family and just life, I never had a problem doing all the AP in two weeks, it's always been more then enough time . Looking forward to what they have for us this year ! 
  • raapnaapraapnaap LeidenPosts: 397Member Uncommon

    NCSoft stated that GW2 will still not get any expansions in 2014 as the company is focussed on the Asian release. Essentially the living story seasons one and two are placeholders as they cannot produce proper expansions until they released in Asia.

     

    Unfortunately for the game and those still enjoying it, waiting another year with more living story nonsense until a proper expansion, might simply kill the game in the West as competing titles near their release. Perhaps living story season two is significantly better than the first one, and will actually be the promised ''expansion worth of content released in several smaller updates''... That was a good joke.

     
  • teethteeth Atlanta, GAPosts: 67Member
    Originally posted by Aeonblades

    Living story killed GW2 pretty quickly. No expansion, no real content update beyond mini-games and a couple of zerg raid mobs. It's a shame really, I loved this game at first, then you realize it's never going to get the bugs fixed and the content is never going to get any better than piecemeal cash grab updates.

     

    I still hold out hope that Anet will make the 180 degree turn needed to save this game this year, as I have always been a GW fan and it's depressing to see the franchise starting to swirl the drain.

    For me, the introduction of Ascended Gear was the 1st red flag. When the living story came along, that pretty much iced my cake. Like you, I hope A-net will make that 180 degree turn. The concept of a living story is great, if you have the time to devote to it, but in practice it just isn't a good fit.

  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer ChairPosts: 5,587Member Uncommon

    I really don't care how they would do it. meaning, a full fledged boxed expansion, or if they introduced the content of an expansion over time in 2 week increments. I'm not a huge fan of temporary content. Still, It's not that bad.

    I have other issues with the game such as the ridiculously skewed reward/loot system and the RNG as well as the game's economy being s**t. Crafting is something I truly enjoy as part of my overall MMO experience and GW2 has an excellent crafting system except for one major issue. For non ascended gear, it's cheaper to buy the item than it is to craft it. Even if you already have all the mats in storage, you'd still be better off selling the mats to buy the gear.

    But then again, those issues aren't entirely unique to GW2 and while I dislike them, they aren't entirely game breaking for me.

  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Manchester, NHPosts: 2,926Member Uncommon
    All living stories need are phasing to allow people to complete it on their own time and see it later when they level alts.  No need to permanently remove content for people who were busy or come to it too late.
  • NanfoodleNanfoodle Posts: 5,447Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by KaitarBesh
    I will never understand how this game generated so much hype. It was so boring I couldn't get past level 20. From what I understand, the living story just made it worse.

    Loved so many things about this game but between the way dungeons turned into zerg fest and WvW did the same and content that was very watered down and lasted so short a time I just could not keep playing. Utility skills kept taking a back seat and everyone is some type of DPS. Any team combo will work because no one is really needed. Boils down to a online solo game. Its just me and a zerg. I dont need to know them, I just have to mindless follow a group of players to win. What more Living Story I wont get rewarded for because I cant play at my own speed? No thanks


    =-D Only on a forum can optimism be called bad and pessimism the good thing =-D Welcome to the internet and forums. 


  • RadooRadoo Reggio EmiliaPosts: 174Member Uncommon

    A.net should just  stop trying to force-feed players a feature so meaningless as this Living Story and focus upon implementing systems virtually needed as basics in every MMO. For example,  a global chat, or in-game timers for events, or actual class customization, not forced builds. The title again, has nothing to do with what the state of this game is currently, yet they keep hammering the anvil blindly, with the Living Story. I dare not even mention all the pre-launch promised features that to this day are absent.

    Its such a shame the way they handled this game and the way they continue to ignore what the players want and ask on the forums. To me, it was a huge disappointment as i followed avidly this game before its launched and had high hopes for it.

     

  • Gaia_HunterGaia_Hunter BristolPosts: 2,801Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by squalleonaha
    Originally posted by Zakane

    I don't understand why people get so up in arms about living stories. They are pretty cool, and I never feel bad about missing some and I know I have.

     

    -shrug-

    i dont understand why people prefer living story instead of expansion either. most of the content only ok for 3h or maybe 1 day. all is zerk fest. it has been close to 2 years without any new class, skills, lands. 

    base on GW1, you would get 2 expansion with 4 new class, 2 new continents and whole lot of new story. Anet think people live for ....like 200 years or what?

    also they confirmed it recently that there will be no expansion  or they at least havent plan on any.

    No.

    The most recent interviews they have been talking about expansion content and gw2 related projects in the background.

    If you add all the Living Story together you couldn't make an expansion, so don't assume if the guys working on the Living Story weren't, there would be no expansion.

    The Living Story generates revenue, it is self sustaining and doesn't interfere with expansion like content development.

    Currently playing: GW2
    Going cardboard starter kit: Ticket to ride, Pandemic, Carcassonne, Dominion, 7 Wonders

  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member
    Originally posted by Gaia_Hunter
    Originally posted by squalleonaha
    Originally posted by Zakane

    I don't understand why people get so up in arms about living stories. They are pretty cool, and I never feel bad about missing some and I know I have.

     

    -shrug-

    i dont understand why people prefer living story instead of expansion either. most of the content only ok for 3h or maybe 1 day. all is zerk fest. it has been close to 2 years without any new class, skills, lands. 

    base on GW1, you would get 2 expansion with 4 new class, 2 new continents and whole lot of new story. Anet think people live for ....like 200 years or what?

    also they confirmed it recently that there will be no expansion  or they at least havent plan on any.

    No.

    The most recent interviews they have been talking about expansion content and gw2 related projects in the background.

    If you add all the Living Story together you couldn't make an expansion, so don't assume if the guys working on the Living Story weren't, there would be no expansion.

    The Living Story generates revenue, it is self sustaining and doesn't interfere with expansion like content development.

    I'll have the Kool-Aid this guy is having!

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • aesperusaesperus Hamshire, NVPosts: 5,128Member Uncommon

    I've gotta say, very well done article.

    Really seems to do a good job of covering multiple views of the same topic, and I have to agree with a lot of them. While I do like some of the living story updates, they definitely seem like many of them could've been implemented better. The pacing, while it does a decent job of making players feel like they need to keep up, it also doesn't seem to help people hold interest in the characters, in the long run.

    Furthermore, a lack of having content that permanently affects the world (I know they've added some, but it still doesn't feel like enough), makes the living story updates feel 'tacked on', and diminishes their sense of relevance.

  • lmollealmollea GEnovaPosts: 37Member Uncommon

    My take on this:

    - 2 week patch: too quick. When they kept the patches up for 4 weeks was better.
    - Most of the patches were quick in story and then just left people grinding for achievements
    - Temporary content gone forever is bad because you can't miss it and you can't decide to dedicate your time to another game. We are in an age where the coices are manu and no gaming company should monopolize a customer attention.
    - Zerging content and converging player on a single zone: I hear you. I hate it. Even those events where something could be done in more than one zone, most of the players just stick to a zone (Queensdale for the Crown Pavillion for example). Useless to mix and match Living Story with personal story.
    - Scarlet Briar? Honestly I casually played so much that I didn't pay attention. in general GW2 doesn't shine for storytelling and compelling characters.

     

  • NanfoodleNanfoodle Posts: 5,447Member Uncommon

    So I have not played since the fractals were added. So the question, if I came back now, what would be new for me? Would I have tones of content that would take me months of play to get caught up on? Nope... its all poofed. Why am I logging in?


    =-D Only on a forum can optimism be called bad and pessimism the good thing =-D Welcome to the internet and forums. 


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