Many moons ago I had written a draft for an article that never made its way to the sunlight. It was kind of an open letter to the community in which I tried to explain how Guild Wars 2 was not going to be perfection, that no fan new or old should expect it to be, and how that didn’t matter in the long run because it was still going to be a fantastic journey.
I still stand by those sentiments. So before I go into my little countdown, I suppose I ought to start by saying how much I freaking love this game. So don’t get me wrong, universe, when I spend some time on the aspects of it I particular dislike or perhaps don’t understand. And trust me, it wasn’t easy to come up with five points in the first place.
So here we have it, folks. Izzie’s top five gripes in increasing order of sad-panda levels, complete with enriching quotes that may just change your life forever.
• Character-bound dyes. Runway rebellion.
“I had a lot of dates but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows.”
The woe of fashionistas everywhere. Originally dye unlocks were proposed to be account-wide, but they’ve since changed that system to be character-based. Most other dye changes I was happy with (the whole seed thing being axed sparked an enthusiastic “HALLELUAH”) but this one still irks me. I understand this choice most of all my gripes, though. Dyes are actually pretty limited and only a handful highly prized. That and the fact that they are no longer consumable but forever-friends for your hero once you’ve got it pretty much means they need to be character based.
Having maybe 5-6 colors you actually care about readily available on all your characters would basically guarantee the dye market would eventually crash (both in the gem-store and in-world economy) so this was a necessary evil. You can snag dye packs from the gem-store, and at 200 for 7, with guaranteed 2 uncommon or rares, it’s really a worthwhile investment. Any colors you’re not crazy about, you can throw on the trading post to make a small profit.
I may not like it, but I’m willing to suck this one up for the team.
• Vistas. There to look pretty. Literally.
“What o.s. does it use?” “Windows Vista.” “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!”
~The IT Crowd
Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s my dexterity. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been relying on tethered 3g to play since I have no internet in my apartment yet. But man, do I have issue with vistas.
My problem is not entirely on just the fact that in some cases one is at the mercy of such outside influences as lag or hand-eye coordination or shoddy camera function, but I find that vistas were almost thrown in for the sake of adding something more to map completion. And they feel silly because of that.
Ultimately, it’s not the vistas themselves I dislike (since I started writing this, they’ve sort of grown on me…) but their requirement for basic map completion and the feeling that they don’t fit-in. Map completion, in my head, is about getting through an entire zone organically. The waypoints, the points of interest, skill points, and heart completion make sense. They lead you naturally to the next part of your journey. They intertwine with one another. Vistas, on the other hand, are out of the way and awkward. They feel more like the realm of jumping puzzles; extra exploration that should be part of another adventure and not a requirement.
Map completion is something I use as a guide since this game doesn’t have the questing progression we’re used to. There’s few things that discourage me more than getting that last skill point, PoI, etc. and then realizing, oh, I need go to wall jump a few points now before I’m “truly” done.
In a perfect Izzie world, puzzles and vistas would be a part of their own thing together; either a second tier to map completion or their own explorer track. Something I’d do when I’m level 80 and don’t want to do dungeons. Reasons to go back to the old stomping grounds and appreciate them again in a different way. But I truly dislike them being a part of just regular progression.
• Vanity items & town clothes. You probably think this point is about you.
“Vanity is as ill at ease under indifference as tenderness is under a love which it cannot return.”
Gotta love the gem store. So many fun and interesting little treasures to behold. And yet, I can’t show them off unless I’m standing around in my armor-less town clothes staring off into space.
Perhaps Guild Wars just has me spoiled, but I like the idea of being a dapper badass running around slaying monsters in a top-hat and monocle. Or boxing gloves. I mean, why the hell not, right? Discovering that any sort of costume or accessory I buy for looks can only be used when in town-clothes mode was a huge disappointment. Huge enough that I pretty much decided I won’t be spending any gems on such things so long as this limitation exists.
Don’t get me wrong; I know that sounds not much unlike a Here Comes Honey Boo Boo whine-fest. But as much as standing around the bank trying to catch the attention of the fine ladies and gents around as they completely ignore me in favor of rabid flocks of carrier pigeons sounds like a fine time, it’s not my cup-o-tea. I really liked the system in Guild Wars which allowed you to wear your costumes over your real armor. Made my runaway bride hammer warrior that much more intimidating to behold.
I’ve yet to come up with a real reason for this. Sure, the artists over at Anet put a lot of work into the gorgeous armor sets that await us closer to end-game, and even some of the lower-level stuff is impressive. But much love was put into the costumes, too. If I wanna be a pirate slaying pirates, I don’t see why not. And quite frankly, considering how much time / money will eventually go into those top tier sets (more on that later), there’s little worry that I’m always going to opt for the chef’s clothes over my prestige armors anyway. Maybe just once in a while when I’m trying to be impressive.
The whole idea of town clothes, in fact, feels arbitrary. At best it allows you to always carry your finest duds around without taking up inventory space. But ultimately, I think it’s a much better concept than execution.
I would really like the ability to just wear my fun stuff over my real stuff, so I’m not limited to gimping myself if I want to be a little ridiculous while out leveling. At least let me wear some fancy head-gear. Sunglasses and bandanas, for instance, are not completely out-of-the-norm to be wearing, right? Guild Wars’ set up was perfect. I wish this trend could be carried over.
• Guild influence and bonus’ separated by server. Forever alone.
“Sergio Leone was a big influence on me because of the spaghetti westerns.”
This is one of those situations where I think I get the reason but I don’t feel it actually works out as planned. Although I’m not sure if it’s more a technical limitation, the fact that any achievements or influence (and by proxy all bonuses, including guild banks) earned by a guild are exclusive to each world is a point of frustration for many. My guess is they are trying to limit the power of huge guilds spread over many worlds, but quite frankly I don’t see the harm in allowing all members to enjoy the collective perks of a guild regardless of where they are.
I would even argue this sort of counters the whole idea of cross-server guilds in the first place. The point was to be able to include everybody; give more power to the players, spread out the population and allow everyone to be included. It’s very discouraging to players who are away from the core guild, which is already kind of lonley. It causes one to question the point to even be a part of it if they will constantly be denied the collective perks. It’s in their best interest then to just join a guild whose core is on the same world.
If this is more a technical issue, I can understand it, but as of right now I think it’s needlessly limiting. Especially in these crucial early days of population instability where players are sometimes forced to join a different world, and where a lot of those initial perks (bonus XP for instance) are really important.
This is something I hope will change eventually once more pressing issues are handled and resolved.
• Prestige armor and end-game gear grind. Whyyyyyyyy?
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” *
Hands down, my biggest disappointment in GW2 was the shift from its predecessor’s hardcore dedication to accessible max-stat armor to the new, more standard gear-based platform that so many other MMOs love so much (but I personally despise, and I don’t use that word lightly).
I try hard not to assume it’s a change that was meant to cater to a larger fanbase that’s used to measuring their value and success on stats, but it’s hard not to at least consider the possibility.
The exact significance of the stat differences at 80 is hotly debated right now. I’m not a math-person, but I’ve seen anywhere from 5-13% stat differences being thrown around on various sites. Now, I haven’t gotten anywhere near that progressed in game to worry about it at the moment, but from what I have seen and gathered from discussions, the prices for the best gear as far as stats go can get pretty intense. Glad I learned this early so I don’t waste any more karma on pickaxes.
I’ve tried to reason with myself on this one, but I just can’t happily agree with this change, no matter how little the armor stat difference may be. If Guild Wars 2 was supposed to be the answer to what was wrong with MMOs (namely, the grindiness) then why was there this one change from the original that was flawless? Is it fear that people won’t think appearance is enough prestige? Is it the idea of migrant MMO players being turned off by everyone ending on equal ground? I just can’t think of anything else.
Veteran GW players would probably agree – the rarity and difficulty of some of the elite armor in Guild Wars was certainly enough to keep us going for months, sometimes years. It was a bragging right. You knew if someone was running around in obby armor, that they freaking worked hard for it in one way or another. Farming obsidian shards and ectos. Farming the money to buy mats off others. Organizing guild runs just so one person can get the last few items they needed. That was always enough. So why not now?
I like the idea of piecing together a weapon, for instance. Or having an entire set be scattered throughout different explorable dungeons (this may already be the case?) And it doesn’t necessarily have to be better stats. Just make it awesome to behold, give that stuff some nice particles. Throw in smoldering rocks or rotating auras. Include some titles or achievements with it.
This is one aspect of the game I am really, truly sad was changed to match some sort of convention. I wish they had kept to the ideal that anybody could get the best stats and choose to go on the quest for the sexiest armor or weapons their time and money could get. There is no reason we couldn’t carry on that legacy and re-tune people to appreciate more than just the extra .5 DPS from this tier over that tier, the same way this game is re-tuning how people think about leveling, or quests, or adventuring, or crafting.
Don’t underestimate gamers’ love of fantastic looking gear. Even in games where stats matter, many people would rather keep less than optimal pieces to keep the look of it. I don’t expect this part of the game to ever change, sadly, but I can dream.
If you’re looking for a bit more, check out Time’s list of gripes.
* Editor’s Note: Your milage may vary. Naked people may actually have a lot of influence on society.
** Images were found randomly on the internets. If anybody has a source, please share it so that proper credit may be afforded.
About the author: Izari’s one of those obsessive fan types who’s been playing Guild Wars since the first beta weekend in 2004. She’s been blogging about video games since 2005 and is thrilled to have fellow fans to write for and with about this series in particular. She can be found on twitter and may or may not think she’s the avatar. Deal with it.
To the readers: What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree with this list? What are the things, big or small, that YOU dislike about Guild Wars 2? Admit it. There’s gotta be something.