Flameseeker Chronicles: Things to do when Guild Wars 2 feels stale

    
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It happens to every player in every MMO: Sooner or later, even our favorite games start to feel stale. It may be that you’re stuck in a rut, or just that content you used to enjoy isn’t as much fun as it used to be. This is not to be confused with being completely turned off by a game, where you just don’t have the will or the interest to log into a game anymore. It’s the kind of feeling you get when you want to play a certain game, but once you’re in you don’t know where to go or what to do.

I know I’ve felt this way about Guild Wars 2 in the past, even though it’s my favorite MMO. The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to break out of this rut, and before long, you’ll be back to enjoying the game as much as you did before. Here are a few ideas.

Set some goals

It’s the new year, and many people are setting resolutions for themselves to eat better, exercise, and the like. When a game is feeling stale, try something similar. We all have IBNUs, things that are Important But Not Urgent, in real life and in games. Have you always wanted to make a legendary but have never gotten around to it? Never quite finished up 100% map completion? Have an alt that needs gear? Close to a PvP rank but putting off making that final push? Set those goals for yourself. Better yet, write them down, and maybe tell a friend. Try setting a deadline. Study after study shows that goals, even self-imposed ones, are huge contributors to productivity and satisfaction.

Set lots of small, attainable goals. If you simply set out to just get a legendary weapon from scratch, you’re going to quickly become overwhelmed, but getting 200 ancient wood logs or orichalcum ore a week until you have enough, then moving on to the next material or achievement, doesn’t sound so bad.

Join a new guild

Believe me, I know the experience of joining a guild that’s fun and active at first, but as the weeks and months go by, it fizzles out, or turns into something that just doesn’t fit with me. When that happens, consider going guild shopping again. Decide what you want to do with your guild — fractals, raiding, SPvP, WvW, RP, or all of the above — and start looking around for something that fits with that. Check out the guild section on the official forums, and Reddit, or ask around in game. One of the great things about Guild Wars 2 is that you can join multiple guilds, so you don’t have to commit to leaving one guild before joining another, or even a few others. Don’t be afraid to join and leave guilds; if they’re offended by your leaving because you don’t feel like you’re a good fit, you probably don’t want to be a part of them anyway.

Group up more

Guild or no guild, try running some group content that you haven’t done in a while, if ever. Fractals and strike missions are both easy to get into, and a lot of groups are understanding if you haven’t memorized every mechanic or trick if you’re up front about it. WvW zergs are more about throwing a lot of bodies at a target than executing the perfect rotation with lightning reflexes, so same story there. It’s a great way to make friends and a bit of coin as well.

Help a newbie

If you’re looking for something different to do in a game, you could do a lot worse than helping new players learn the game. Pop over to one of the five starting zones and ask in map chat if anyone is new and wants help. Show them the ropes, make them some gear, and if you’re in a good guild that’s friendly to newbies, ask them if they’d like to join. This kind of thing goes a long way toward making new players feel at home in the game, and you may just make a good friend this way. Even if not, you can have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve contributed to making the game a better place to be.

Start a new character or try a new build

This is my personal favorite. I’m half embarrassed half proud of the fact that, with my most recent character slot purchase, I now have at least two of every class in Guild Wars 2. Progressing a new character and looking at fights in a new way is one of my favorite things about MMOs, and understanding different classes and playstyles will help you work better with other players. Check the personal story options you selected when you created your other characters of the same race (which you can view by clicking the first entry under My Story in the story journal) and choose a different path this time. It’s amazing how a new and different story can draw you into your new character.

If you’re not into making new characters or simply don’t feel like spending the cash for more slots, try a new build for an existing character, maybe with the opposite elite spec from what you normally run. With build templates and build storage, you can save what you’re using right now, try something different, and easily switch back if you don’t like it. You might be surprised at how much you like a similar but different playstyle.

Try a different game mode

Primarily a PvE player? Try some SPvP. Normally a WvW player? Give fractals a shot. Mixing up your gameplay style can give you a fresh take on even your most played class, and you might just discover that you like that mode more than you thought you would.

Take a break

Sometimes, you just need to step away from a game for a while. Maybe you’re frustrated with the way a balance adjustment has changed your favorite class, and just want to wait and see if it gets fixed. Maybe you’ve had a bad experience with a guild or other group in the game, and need to wait for wounds to heal. Maybe you simply need to wait for a lot of new seasonal content to build up so you can run through it all at once. Whatever the reason, it’s OK to step away from a game for a while. The game isn’t going anywhere, and if you force yourself to log in for too long you can get really burnt out and may never return. Let any friends and guilds you play with on a regular basis know that you’re taking a break. Don’t forget to log in and grab Saga chapters as they release, though!

If you’re interested in more general advice on this topic from some of our other writers, check out the Massively Overthinking and Perfect Ten we’ve done on this subject in the past. But now I’d like to hear from you. What do you do when Guild Wars 2 or other MMOs start to feel stale? Is it one of these or something different? Share with others down in the comments!

Flameseeker Chronicles is one of Massively OP’s longest-running columns, covering the Guild Wars franchise since before there was a Guild Wars 2. Now penned by Tina Lauro and Colin Henry, it arrives on Tuesdays to report everything from GW2 guides and news to opinion pieces and dev diary breakdowns. If there’s a GW2 topic you’d love to see explored, drop ’em a comment!
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Anton Mochalin

One of the things I like about GW2 is that that last advice “take a break” is so easy to do – and it’s so easy to return. It’s playable solo and it’s easy to find a group for group content – or just join a zerg.

I’ve never had a “main” MMO or even a “main” game and I like to try new games so it’s natural for me to step away from a game for any period – maybe for a week and maybe for several years. And the biggest problem with MMOs is that the sentence “it’s OK to step away from a game for a while” isn’t a banality. Many of them are built in a way that you’re supposed to spend a lot of time in them and never step away for a long period of time. So players like me are lucky to have GW2 which isn’t like that.

And at least it doesn’t get stale right from the start like ESO and so many other games.

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Bruno Brito

Stop playing seems the most reasonable decision when a game goes stale for you.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Stop playing an hope ANet gets it’s 5hit together, been waiting for almost a year and they keep circling that event horizon.

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Loyal Patron
jay

I switch to ESO and back to GW2 every time one gets stale. The games are so similar yet vastly different that it works perfectly to scratch the itch.

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Dankey Kang

Ironically I’ve just started to play the game again so everything is fresh.