Guild Wars 2 just gave the most far-reaching core content preview we’ve seen in ages

New content design lead offers peek into episodes, fractals, and raiding

    
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Minnesota is hard done by here.

ArenaNet heard you wanted more communication, and now, that’s exactly what you’re getting. Guild Wars 2’s new-ish Content Design Lead, Andrew Gray, has chimed in on the MMO’s official forums with an address of sorts for the playerbase. Though he begins by admitting 2019 was Anet’s “most challenging” year to date, he also says the team is trying to carry forward a specific “legacy” instead of giving in to the status quo, and that clearly includes the old status quo of staying tight-lipped on the future.

So Gray’s outline for 2020 is threefold. The living world content will continue on with Visions of the Past up next before the next episode. Episodes three and four after that will include a map that is “meta-focused with a push-and-pull feel similar to WvW in a PvE setting” with high replayability – that’s a big thrust for all of the team’s content going forward, apparently. And then episode five will “revisit some of the types of content [ArenaNet] pioneered in the past” – here he references the community impact on content from season one, which as you’ll recall is the opposite of replayable, so it’ll be interesting to see how the studio’s learned from that.

Fractal fans out there? They’re not dead. “I am personally committed to Fractals and see them as an area that deserves more focus and attention going forward,” Gray says. He’s put former fractal dev (from season three) Cameron Rich on new fractal stuff.

Finally, Gray focuses on raids. Like many other studios, ArenaNet appears to have come to the conclusion that people don’t like raids because they are hard, with little intermediate content leading into them.

“Raids are a trickier beast. They’re a unique experience and community that we want to find better ways to support, the biggest challenge in creating more is the small audience they attract. We gathered data to determine why, and the most common answer was that there is a giant leap in difficulty between raids and other endgame content, and there isn’t anything to help players work their way up. Our intention was for Strike Missions to be that intermediary step into 10-person content. As we’ve mentioned before and you’ve likely noticed, strike missions are getting harder. Once a full suite of strike missions is complete there should be a graceful ramp up to the existing raid content rather than the imposing leap that previously existed, and our hope is once that ramp is in place, the number of players participating in raids will go up. In addition to that, we’re striving to make improvements to Strike Missions themselves to make grouping easier, and to improve the rewards. We hope this will help introduce more people to 10-person content, which will in turn increase the number of people interested in Raids. Regardless of if that succeeds or not, we understand the importance of balancing our efforts between accessible content with broad appeal, and content that appeals to the more hard core audience, and recognize that we need to do a better job of supporting the latter.”

All in all, this is a significantly further-ahead look at content than we’ve gotten from ArenaNet in years, and we’re here for it. More like this please.

Oh, and bonus: Guild Wars 2 will have a big presence at this year’s PAX East; Gray says Visions of the Past will indeed be explained at the show.

Source: Official site. Cheers, JBNL!

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Arktouros

If I wanted to do raiding content there are a variety of teaching guilds who will happily wade through frustrating hours of excruciating failure until we figure it out. A stepping stone has never been required nor will it really address the core issue at play here.

The simple fact is I can not be bothered to learn whatever series of elaborate dance moves I need to accomplish before the invariable burn phase of a boss where I then push a predetermined set of moves in a particular order to min-max my DPS. It is soulless, joyless, robotic game content that removes what last vestiges of agency I have in these supposed RPG games.

ANet focusing on the hardcore crowd is pretty comical since they’ve done it now repeatedly and every time it’s failed to pay off. Raiders always want more raids and more content to conquer. They are a blackhole of game content that leaves nothing but useless, dead content in it’s wake.

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Matt Genaro

Nice. I was looking foward to comeback. Perfect timing!

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psytic

I think they are looking at this all wrong. Look at FFXIVs Roulette. I never touched a raid in my life outside of Lady Vox and Nagafen years and years ago but in FFXIV I run 8 man and 24 man raids daily and its fun.

What the GW2 dev team seems to be missing is they need to incentivise running the group content like how it used to be with dungeons. There was at one point a pretty big dungeon community until they nerfed the gold into oblivion. This can come back for Raids, Fractals and Dungeons.

They need a proper queuing system. A lot of people are too lazy to hand form their groups and it leads to elitism versus pressing a button and it gives you your teammates.

They need to cap the old raid tiers through this random pick queue at a lower combined item level. Ie. if its a previous raid tier cap the difficulty to be appropriate difficulty for a group decked out in orange rather than pink/ purple. Those that want full difficulty on previous raid tiers can run it through custom party finder.

There is so much content in FFXIV I never would have touched with a 10 ft pole if it wasn’t for this system of random queueing for tomb stone/ gear tokens and allowing previous tiers to be over geared and ran by PUGs. Now I can see all the raid content and its fun. Put easy grouping, good rewards and gear score cap on old tiers in GW2 and i’ll come back in an instant. The amount of content this opens up for the average casual can not be overstated either.

Nothing in FFXIV is truly outdated , wasted or gated content as it all goes into the random roulette queue eventually and is run for glamour/getting gear that makes your character look cool.

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kgptzac

and the most common answer was that there is a giant leap in difficulty between raids and other endgame content, and there isn’t anything to help players work their way up

This sounds eerily similar to how a new player experiences the first, lv30 dungeon back in the days when the game just launched.

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ecchiboy590

The biggest issue with GW2 is that if you have the ascended gear you want with the weapon and armor skins that you like the most well…then there isn’t much point of playing anymore is there. Don’t get me wrong a casual mmo can work. But, GW2 can’t seem to decide if it wants to be casual or hardcore. You remove the gear treadmill but also abandon dungeons to focus on raids. It makes no sense to me.

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jaif13

I like WvW, so that’s one reason. However, the population for WvW has been dropping; hopefully the balance patch will shake up the current meta and bring people back

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SirPufnstuf

Well, I think one thing they could do is include some Ascended gear drops in the raids, including some new ones. Make them super rare, of course, but have them there. Because one of the things that was always a bit boring for me, when it came to GW2, was that the best you could hope for when it came to drops was some high-end crafting ingredient – you know, to aid in the super long, expensive, and mostly boring, slog to craft an Ascended item yourself. So the prospect of being able to get one as a drop by doing the most difficult content in the game, however slim the chance, would be pretty exciting to me personally.

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Ewan Cuthbertson

I don’t think the season 1 like content will be episode but will actually be bonus week content.

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Jeremy Barnes

When has Guild Wars 2 strength ever been raiding? What is it with these MMO devs and raiding? Maybe stop wasting resources trying to increase the amount of players that raid and develop content that isn’t raiding…

I can’t fathom how they managed to twist themselves into thinking that the raiding population is small(..and has been small in *all* MMOs for the last 20+ years) because the difficulty curve in content up to raiding is too wide..

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Anton Mochalin

I’m one of those raid-averse players they found in their data. After trying the Freezie strike mission during this Wintersday I start to think that “maybe I’ll try raiding in this game someday” so their strategy is somewhat working at least for me. I wouldn’t call that a leap in difficulty – I heard raids in GW2 aren’t super difficult – but rather a leap in complexity. Strike missions basically show what raids consist of and what’s fun about them.

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Ben Stone

Yeah I think they got the wrong conclusion from that data. The reason the ‘hardcore’ stuff isn’t popular isn’t because people can’t do it, its because noone plays GW2 for hardcore content. Everything about the game is too casual to take seriously. It’s why I don’t understand the push for eSports or raids. People genuinely interested in those aspects will go to better offerings.

I hope they correct course and focus on making more fun casual content and play to the games strengths.

WrathOfMogg
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WrathOfMogg

In my heart I want to believe that GW2 is still worth playing. My head tells me it’s not and never will be again.

Alyn
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Alyn

There are aspects of GW2 I just truly appreciate as a player. Of course the things that scare me the most about GW2 is whether it will continue as a viable mmo in the future.

I know there those that would love to see an attempt for a GW3. However, I’m not going to hold my breath on that one. There just might not be the financials or the people needed to create a third Guild Wars.

As I read Bree’s article I smiled and thought ya know, this whole thing might just work itself out with what Anet has now. We’ll see, I do appreciate the communication.

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TomTurtle

I appreciate the communication, but it’s still basically once more promising great things are coming and saying how things are back on track. Okay ArenaNet, still waiting on better expansion-like content.

Good to see fractals aren’t wholly abandoned, but raids and WvW are kind of left lingering. While I have little to no interest in all three, ArenaNet added them to the game, and they should still support them.

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TomTurtle

Laying the groundwork

GW2 Reddit

Found this particularly and depressingly apt.

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Bruno Brito

This was extremely funny. And accurate.