Today, ArenaNet is finally launching the long-awaited build and gear template features in Guild Wars 2. While it has brought with it its fair share of controversy, I’m at least happy with the way it works, for what it is.Guild Wars 2 is the ideal MMO for newbies. But there is always room for improvement. Now that build templates are finally going live today, here are a few more ideas for features that Guild Wars 2 could add to make life in Tyria even friendlier for players.
For a game with “Guild” on the box, Guild Wars 2 is surprisingly lacking in guild features. You can join and represent a guild, and I appreciate that the game lets you join multiple guilds, but apart from message of the day, there really isn’t a whole lot in terms of helping you engage your guildies.
I think an in-game guild calendar would be great. Give players a place to go to check for guild events, and let them opt in to in-game pop-up notifications if they happen to be online. Even better, let players add the guild calendar to their Google calendar so events show up on their phones (you people do have phones, right?).
The game could also use better recruitment tools. I know a number of MMOs that have a guild finder, where guilds can optionally list themselves, what kind of activities they do, and a short description, and allow players to join with a single click. I’ve even seen games provide clickable chat links to in-game guild adverts. Recruiters can include these in their broadcast messages to make joining that much easier. It would be great if this system could be integrated into guild buff banners as well.
Yes, you could do most of this with Discord, forums, and a few other existing tools. But how much better would it be if we could do all of this in-game? Not everyone is comfortable with downloading third-party software or connecting with guildies outside of the game. These players shouldn’t be excluded from guild events.
In thinking about quality-of-life features from other MMOs that I would like to have in Guild Wars 2, I kept thinking of features that I think of as part of that game’s interface but are in fact player-created interface mods that I installed so long ago that they became essential to the game experience for me. In games that allow them, players invent all kinds of great mods that do a wide variety of things. They assist in playing complex classes or tricky boss fights. They let players filter out sounds, graphics, or messages that they find annoying or even triggering. They can make crafting, quest and achievement tracking, or inventory management more convenient. They can enhance immersion and roleplay. We’ve even seen player-made, in-game minigames to keep you entertained while you’re waiting for your queue to pop or for that world boss to spawn. Yes, sometimes mods open up new avenues for cheating, but if they’re implemented properly, I think the benefits outweigh the risks.
I know this is a touchy subject for many, but hear me out. I really like what ArenaNet did with the new strike mission, and I’m looking forward to playing content like that. Perhaps what I like most about it is the public mode, which allows you to walk in and be matched with other players without the work of spamming zone chat or organizing a set time with a guild. I would really like to see this type of system added to raids as well.
I know that raids, as they stand, require a lot more planning and group cohesion than what you will get in a random pick-up group with no voice comms, as well as a fairly specific group makeup, to be successful. This would mean creating a lower difficulty version of the raid for pickup groups. World of Warcraft and other games do things this way.
True, not everyone in those games likes this kind of system, but I think it really does lower the barrier for players to experience that content that the developers have put so much effort into. This is a game that’s mainly about stories and experiences, not about gear score. Why not break down some barriers that prevent a large segment of the game’s population from having some of those experiences?
Black Lion Trader updates
As much as I appreciate the fact that I can list my items on trading post from anywhere, it is long overdue for a refresh. It’s sluggish, especially when you’re trying to sell a lot of items at peak hours. Some item categories, like aquabreathers or backpacks, are hard to find (not that there are many aquabreathers or backpacks to buy, but that’s a whole different issue).
Worst of all, though, is the search feature for gear. You can’t search by set, only by selecting three stats. So if I want to search for a set of berserker’s gear, I have to select power, precision, and ferocity. The problem is that assassin’s gear also has power, precision, and ferocity, with precision as the primary instead of power. Diviner’s also has those three stats, in addition to concentration. Also, you can select up to only three stats to search on, and an increasing number of expansion gear sets have four or more stats, so it’s hard to search for only the set you want without wading through a lot of similar sets. Perhaps worst of all is that you can’t even search on some of the stats that were added more recently, like concentration and expertise.
Couldn’t you just type “Berserker’s” into the text search field? Yes, that works for the most part, except that many sets also have a named version with the same stats, but with a different skin and a rune included – Devona’s armor, in the case of our Berserker’s example. So you have to remember which of the nonsense fantasy names maps to the set you’re looking for if you want to be sure you’re getting the best price.
The point is, there needs to be more ways to search for gear on the trading post. At bare minimum, we need to be able to search for all stats, and for at least four stats.
I would also like to see the trading post integrated into shareable build and gear templates. Don’t have the suggested weapons for this build? Need a different set of sigils? Click a button and bring up the listings for those items. If it’s something that can’t be traded, give me a link to the wiki page on that item instead.
Finally, before the game’s launch, ArenaNet talked about creating an app that would let players chat and buy and sell items on the trading post from their phones while they were away from the game. Given that it’s been seven years since the game launched, I think it’s safe to say that that project is long dead, but I still think it’s an interesting idea. As someone who hates paying the full, buy-it-now price for anything, I would love to be able to easily pull out my phone and update my buying offers when I have a free moment, and while there are some great mobile apps for checking your inventories and stats and spawns, there’s no API for actually placing bids and sales.
There are a few other small features that I’d like to see, like dyeable back items and recaps for living world stories, but enough from me. I want to hear from you. What quality-of-life feature do you most want to see in Guild Wars 2? Is it one of these, or something else entirely? Let us know in the comments!