Guild Wars 2 raids won’t be getting more difficulty options in Path of Fire ‘at this time’

There are new forums for Guild Wars 2, which means that one of the first development posts can be another reminder that the developers at ArenaNet don’t want to make raids accessible. Indeed, a new post on the new forums states pretty firmly that there are no plans to make alternative difficulties. Anet’s Crystal Reid suggests that raids are intended to be about “skill.”

“We won’t be adding a different difficulty tier at this time. Raids need to continue to remain the most challenging content in the game, and they aren’t designed to be accessible by everyone from a skill perspective. Could they be more accessible from a ‘finding 9 other players to play with’ side? Sure. That isn’t always an easy problem to solve, and any solution would detract away from the team making more raid content. We’d love to get more content out to you guys faster really.”

The post goes on to address difficulty in the most recent wing, stating that the Mursaat Overseer difficulty is a bit too easy compared to what was planned and the team wants to bring out more raid content more quickly. So that’s good news for everyone who enjoys the raid difficulty and wants to be faced with more punishing mechanics and nerd-herding, and bad news for… well, anyone who really just wants to happily experience the game’s story and has no interest in raiding now or ever regardless of the supposed skill it requires. So not much will change, then.

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Dragon Whimsy

The blog post says “make raids accessible” but it can also be said that if they did include more difficulty tiers they’d be “spending more dev time on raids to the detriment of other game modes”. It also means “raiders have to wait even longer between raid patches for casual players who already get 90% of the new content”.

Not every casual player of GW2 wants more accessible raids. It’s a waste of time and if they could put more people on raids to make that possible I would rather they put those people on much more important things.

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Tiresias

I literally (as in… LITERALLY) cannot wrap my head around the irrational hatred of raids.

And I’m someone who doesn’t raid! I haven’t since Blackwing Lair in vanilla WoW. By the time AQ40 came around I just didn’t have that kind of time in my life anymore.

There are a lot of things in GW2 that are presented with the expectation that the entire player base won’t participate in all of the content: WvW, structured PvP and its competitive and ranked offshoot, Fractals, creating Legendary gear, achievement hunting, guild activities including Guild Hall design and maintenance, cosmetics collecting, etc., etc. etc.

More than any other MMO that I can think of, Guild Wars 2 presents a dramatic diversity of content while at the same time not even trying to convince players to participate in every aspect of its design.

There’s no level creep.
There’s no gear inflation.
The best stats on gear can be acquired from almost every single major type of gameplay.

You can literally (as in… LITERALLY) leave this game for two years and, when you return, your character will still be 100% relevant to current content — ready for you to dive right in to whatever suits your taste.

Heck, you don’t even have to LEVEL a character to PvP! A level 1 character can be sent STRAIGHT to the Mists, equipped with everything that is necessary to PvP through a simple interface without moving a step, and immediately queue up for PvP matches.

So some group of the ArenaNet design team was broken off to create raids for players who enjoy that kind of content… SO WHAT? The VAST majority of players will never participate in high-level PvP tournaments, a great many will never design their own Guild Hall, most won’t even consider trying to forge a legendary weapon, and a good number won’t even acquire Ascended gear.

GW2 is perhaps the most open and accessible “Sandpark” on the market. So very little is “required” even of a new character, to the point where I wonder why the game still has a level system in place at all; there would be almost nothing lost if all new characters started at level 80 and immediately began working on their Mastery Tracks.

Yes, about 2% of players will see the inside of a raid. Half that will actually complete one. A vanishingly small number will acquire a single piece of legendary armor and probably less than 1000 players will complete an entire set every year.

So why do raids exist? BECAUSE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ENJOY THEM.

And that’s okay. It’s not a bad business decision to output a few raids for the enjoyment of that small group of players, just like it’s not a bad decision to hold high-level PvP tournaments or include the ability to craft legendary weapons.

Besides, sometimes you do things just because you can. A video game is a creative endeavor.

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Arktouros

So some group of the ArenaNet design team was broken off to create raids for players who enjoy that kind of content… SO WHAT? The VAST majority of players will never participate in high-level PvP tournaments, a great many will never design their own Guild Hall, most won’t even consider trying to forge a legendary weapon, and a good number won’t even acquire Ascended gear.

I’d just like to point out that high end WvW tournaments were discontinued.

High-level PvP tournaments were finally, after many years, stopped.

New Legendary journeys were abandoned in favor of resource dumps.

Ascended Gear was made super available for every game mode.

There’s a pattern here with ANet. They try something out and when the time/effort of designing it isn’t paying off they abandon it. Sometimes it takes a while (looking at you eSports) but it’s only a matter of time before they realize dedicating talented individuals to areas of the game only a minority will see makes no sense. It makes far greater sense to either make them more available (as most other games like WOW, SWTOR, etc have all done) or simply put those resources elsewhere.

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Tiresias

They “abandon” efforts that aren’t working out because they understand the concept of “sunk cost”.

I’ll enlighten you: don’t ship something that isn’t working. As soon as you realize that a project isn’t going to deliver on its goals, you stop the project, accept the invested resources as a sunk cost, and move on.

The game is better for those efforts, by and large.

And top-tier PvP tournaments still occur, they just discarded the “esports” aspirations (thank goodness).

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I don’t think Arktouros was disputing that at all. That’s exactly what he was saying. It makes sense to retool or dump projects that aren’t working out.

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Sally Bowls

In a world without constraints, you would be correct.

In a for profit business with declining revenue, the question of whether people like it is not relevant. The question is, is there something better (which I would interpret as more profitable) to spend their developer resources on. In that light, there are a number of things GW2 does quite well but I don’t see how many people who really, really like raiding are going to choose GW2 over the the 20+ raid bosses per year WoW raiding scene; raiding is not a competitive strength of GW2. Some people like raiding or dungeons or fractals or pvp or wvw or crafting. The real world is not a Star Citizen press release; choices must be made. A dollar spent on X is a dollar that can’t be spent on something that is not X.

———

GW2 has been F2P for over two years; I recently verified a level one toon can not go to the Mysts.

—–

P.S.: my joke is not entirely facetious: “You are confused. We don’t hate raids; we hate raiders.”

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Tiresias

Ah, so you are privy to the cost-benefit analysis that ArenaNet made before developing raids? How about the intangibles like technology development?

The point of raids isn’t to steal from WoW’s community. GW2 isn’t WoW and certainly isn’t trying to be WoW. It’s just another way to experience the game, and I can tell you that my guild, which has 5 rotating raid groups, enjoy the raids even though hardly any of them are going to ever craft a single piece of legendary armor.

You also fall into this trap of believing that if you spend money and time on X it takes away from Y, which isn’t true. Every project manager understands this, including — ESPECIALLY — me, as I now run my own project management company.

And you got me on the Mists (not Mysts…). You need to play through the opening scenario to go to the Mists, which takes 5-10 minutes and gets you to level 2. Technical victory: you. Congratulations.

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Sally Bowls

We don’t know the cost/benefit analysis. I was just pointing out that “BECAUSE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ENJOY THEM.” was a necessary but not sufficient condition for it to be a good business decision. How many, how much they like it and how much it costs to make all go into the equation for whether it is a good business decision.

I spent a couple of decades working for/owning project management software companies so tend to focus more on the planning. IMO, YMMV, at a tactical level there is flexibility. People not on critical path tasks can still be doing work and have choices. But at a strategic level, for almost all companies, it is a zero-sum game. NCSoft does annual personnel budgeting. So Anet knows how many person-hours it has to spend for the upcoming year and they get to choose how to spend them and their challenge is how to get the most out from that somewhat fixed resource.

P.S. second technical victory. :-) My level 2 can’t enter either.

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Nathan Aldana

The hatred of raids is simple. Some portion of the raider/fractal player fanbase is very vocal and loud about how everyione should give their chosen activity a try and is downright hateful to you if you say you dont do either or hold no interest in either. THis is true on pretty much any mmo, and has engendered something of a divide between players who love those activities and players that do not, because in my view at least, some of the raid playerbase cannot stand that not everyone enjoys raiding.

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Nathan Aldana

Heck, I mentioned once I have never done a fractal and it didnt affect my vote for evon or kiel at all as a result once this current year on reddit and got sooo many downvotes.

kalamari_
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kalamari_

“is very vocal and loud about how everyione should give their chosen activity a try and is downright hateful to you if you say you dont do either or hold no interest in either. ”

no they are not. where did you get that from? noone is forcing you to play anything you dont want to… especially when you dont need it for anything in the game.

so I say, this is absolutely not true.

Richard de Leon III
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Kickstarter Donor
Richard de Leon III

Well…that kills my urge to buy the new expansion. I prefer accessibility and Anet doesnt want casual dollars. Which is fine, its their choice and i give em props for sticking to their guns.

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Planxx

Yeah its not like they are giving you free story every other month or anything

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Bryan Turner

It’s not free, it’s part of the box price for the expansion (you can’t do LW unless you own the expansion it was released during), but then they change the rules later on by decoupling it into two separate transactions which is slightly shady.

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Dragon Whimsy

90% of the content for this game is for casual players. You’re not going to find another MMO with more casual content. You’re being silly. Or don’t even play the game and have no idea what you’re talking about.

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Schmidt.Capela

He isn’t alone. GW2 was one of the few games I ever pre-ordered, but as soon as I learned about raids being added I gave up on it.

Though, of course, one of the main reasons I got GW2 was that it was supposed to not have raids; dungeons were supposed to be the hardest content in the whole game, and every piece of content for more than 5 players was supposed to be in the open world, where anyone could join without a formal group.

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Dragon Whimsy

And yet it still has more casual content than any other MMO. In the last year it had 6 open world/story patches and only one patch with a raid (which was released alongside one of those open world/story patches.

5-man Fractal Dungeons have difficulties ranging from easy at tier 1 to the hardest content in the game on the challenge modes.

Open world events are still the primary focus of the game just as it has been since the game’s launch. That has never once changed. In fact some said HoT’s focused too heavily on open world group content.

Obviously you’re free to do what you want but I don’t even come close to understanding why you would leave if you were otherwise happy with the game other than they added raids. They did that at the same time that they put the Living World teams on a consistent schedule and put together a permanent Fractal team so it’s not like the other game modes have suffered for it. GW2 has never had so much PvE content for all types of players.

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Sray

I find it incomprehensible the idea that you would make content for your game that intentionally was not designed for all your players. Players continuously bitch about not having enough new content, or fast enough new content. Developers complain back that they don’t have the resources to pump out content at the rate players demand it; yet they kneecap themselves by making resource intensive content solely for small interest groups. If your content isn’t meant for all your players, why the hell are you building it to begin with?

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Planxx

In MMOs the playerbase is too heterogeneous. It is impossible to cater every single piece of content developed to every single player of your game. This is what makes them so hard to develop and maintain.

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Sray

That’s a load of bs. MMOs as we know them are going the way of the dod because of that type of thinking. MMOs are the Yugoslavia of video games: 7 or 8 different interest groups with conflicting desires slapped together because no one thinks you can make those smaller groups work on their own. Prior to the last expansion, GW2 at least had that number of groups pruned down to about 3 or 4.

Furthermore, I was more directly referring to a game’s required skill level. If you want to slap a “you must be this tall to ride” on a game’s skill requirement that is perfectly fine. But 100% needs to be accessible to everyone who meets that initial requirement.

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Planxx

Maybe this is what MMOs and GW2 will be in the future but it is not currenlty

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Bryan Turner

I’d disagree, that is why Indie Studies are making MMOs that cater to small subsets.

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Bryan Turner

Most of GW2 endgame content is already tiered in difficulty.

4 Tiers of Fractals.

PVP Match making/Ranks.

Raiding is the outlier, the cancer to the healthy system that set the expectations for tiered instanced content.

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Dragon Whimsy

You do have a good point about fractals having multiple difficulty tiers.

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Bryan Turner

PvP Match Making/Ranks also creates different levels of difficulty.

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Bryan Turner

Such a tone deaf ten years ago point if view for such a ‘progressive’ company with their finger on the pulse of innovation (lmao).

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Dragon Whimsy

So would you rather have less Living World updates so you can play easy mode raids whose entire story is just “here’s a reason you’re fighting a boss”? Because those resources have to come from somewhere.

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Bryan Turner

Why not both, the raid team is almost as small as their balance team, what do these Devs make 50 to 60k a year, they already have the tech in place so they don’t need more hard ware, just salaried Dev time which might be a quarter million per year in salaries which is chump change for ANet.

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Loyal Patron
Rottenrotny

I agree that raids should be the hardest content in the game and it shouldn’t be accessible for everyone.

I never got mad that I was never going to see BWL or Naxx in Vanilla WoW. It made the game mysterious and I was always at awe when I saw a player wearing gear from there.

As for locking story content behind raids I think that’s fine, unless it’s your personal story. Personal story should be able to be followed to it’s conclusion with solo content.
But I see no problem with side stories being presented and then concluded behind very difficult content that not everyone will see.

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Arsin Halfmoon

I don’t get why some folks get so defensive when they mention that raiding or getting kitted out is not in their itinerary. There’s no need to snap at people who make it a personal goal. Nobody’s going to PM you and ask “why aren’t you in ascended gear” in the open world content. Nobody’s going to explicitly blame a group for the gear they’re wearing if they’re getting rocked by the Dragon in VB, it’ll be on failing mechanics. If someone DOES do that, they’re a bad apple and should pretty much be ignored.

Of course if you choose to join the raiding community, then that’s the expected norm. And if people can’t handle it, then they can either A. just live with it. or B. find something else to do.

Ok sure, raiding is in GW2, bla bla bla not in their old manifesto bla bla bla. But here’s the thing, there are people out there who want to play this game and feel like there’s not enough challenge. I’ve never really felt pushed in any of the content other than high level fractals and raiding. And no game out there has the same feel and combat system of GW2 other than (surprise) GW2. If they ignore this content, then they’ll lose the “1%” players. Valuable players that have insight on the game’s system and provide some solid feedback for the devs to use.

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sophiskiai

I enjoy challenging content, but I hate nerd-herding and spending hours waiting for queues to pop and needing to schedule offline commitments around gaming plans, and it annoys me when story is gated behind all that. Raiding in GW2 and the dismissive attitude shown by the devs (and some of the content creators) towards anyone who’s not a raider (“Just ask a friend who’s done the raid to let you into a cleared instance!”) have played a large part in diminishing my enthusiasm for GW2 over the past year.

Raiding in GW2 has also hurt guilds, I’m in a social guild in GW2 that didn’t have enough interested people in it for a full raid team and so lost several core members to raiding guilds.

For all the mistakes they’ve made, Funcom got this right with the New York Raid in SWL last week. A story mode lets people feel that they’re not missing out on content, and can also serve as an introduction that makes getting into proper raiding much less intimidating, thus increasing the raiding population! Devs could even put the story mode on a month delay so proper raiders not only get better rewards but also get to experience things first. I can’t think of any good reason not to make raids more accessible except pandering to raiders’ egos -.-

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

As long as they stop putting story behind raids, they can do whatever they want. Still disappointing that it’s a hard-heel turn from the entire concept behind the core direction of the game at launch, but it is what it is. I’ve given up caring about raids in GW2 anymore, and it’s harder to muster the same kind of caring/passion about the game that I once had in general : /

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Dragon Whimsy

No important story beats have been in a raid. They sometimes introduce or reintroduce concepts that are used later (and are reintroduced then too) but that’s about it.

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Bryan Turner

White Mantle says hello.

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Conner Plays

Good. I havent stepped foot in a raid because they are too challenging for a “flithy casual scrub” like me. I’m not farming ascended just for bragging rights.

So good on Anet for not catering to my casual butt (Not sarcastic, honestly mean that)