An MMO that makes you feel… peaceful?
Yep, in amidst the frantic dodging, weapon-swapping and mass-zerging, Guild Wars 2’s doing its bit to contribute to world peace. How? Well, their approach to player resource sharing – from ore nodes that everyone can share in to XP bonuses for reviving fallen players – seems to be making waves within the blogosphere, as blogger after blogger comments on how refreshing, calming, and generally pleasant it is to no longer worry about another player stealing your node.
First up, Clockwork writes enthusiastically in favour, saying that Guild Wars 2’s gameplay means he no longer hates his fellow players –
“Individual loot, individual resource nodes, bonus xp for contribution to objectives, xp for resurrecting other players….so many “individual” terms and yet they make the game feel so friendly. Personally I don’t miss having people swipe veins out from under me while I’m clearing the mob right next to it. I don’t miss mashing pull abilities to grab needed quest mobs before someone else takes them. I don’t miss a quiet disdain from other players as I adventure in the same area as them. I’m fine with those things in other games, but I am glad for once that there is a game that encourages and rewards cooperative activity in a meaningful way (and not just by forcing us to form a random party or get a guild). Heck, some Hearts actually are faster to complete with other people, since both players can activate the items that give credit. Playing as I write, I encountered crab traps which gave credit for a heart and spawned a crab, which also gave heart credit upon defeat. If two players use the trap, two crabs spawn, so each can get extra credit and xp.”
I’m surprised myself at how powerful this effect is. As a long, long term WoW player, I still get the sudden stab of panic at another player closer to a crafting node – followed by the sense of relief as I realise I can let him have the resource – I’ll still get it too.
Ravious, meanwhile, touches on these points as he considers the questless flow of Guild Wars 2 as a whole –
“Going through the PvE zones at a calmer, realer pace is an eye opener compared to the brief periods of play I had before launch. The questless design is simply a different animal than a quest-based MMO. I wouldn’t say that one has victory of the other, but I do know that I am having more fun in Guild Wars 2 than I’ve had knocking out all the quests in a hub and then moving on.
The biggest side effect is the “who cares” effect. I am not fighting for resources or time against other players anymore. We are not racing to the shiny moss or seeing who can tag the respawn first. I am just about to kill a centaur and Joe Bob Ranger runs up and hits it for a few shots. I know he will get experience and loot, and who cares. Some people still do, it seems, as I’ve seen a few chat occasions where players whine about leeching.
For the most part open world PvE can be played “solo”. Ignore downed players. Don’t join events. Play how you want to. The game, I feel, is a lot more fun when my actions do respond to the nearby players. If I see a player taking down a normal mob, I will help out. I may have only saved that player a second or two of their time, but I also get an easier pass at experience and loot. Not a bad tradeoff.”
It’s true that GW2 can sometimes feel a bit disconnected as a result of just how instanced the world is – but as Ravious concludes, despite requiring a change in mentality from both player and developer, so far GW2’s managing to be exciting and peaceful at the same time, for me and apparently many other players. No mean feat.
What do you think of GW2’s envy-free design?