Five things I DON’T like about Guild Wars 2

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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.”
~Andy Warhol 

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.”
~George Eliot

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.”
~Quentin Tarantino

I’ve got my eye on you, ANet. Oh yes. I do.

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.” *
~Mark Twain

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


Further reading:

  • I think the point I agree with most is the one with the Vistas. I’ve probably enjoyed them from the start. They look fantastic and can bring some footage I can’t get in a third person sort of way of some really lovely locations. And I really like seeing them. However, like you, I don’t care to see them as part of a zone completion.

    In part, some of it is because my ideals of the game are that you should be able to do things together in a group if that’s how you play the game. And while you can stand by and watch a friend try to get up to a location, you yourself cannot actual help them up – whereas with a PoI, heart or Skill Challenge, you can generally assist. Therefore, I feel many of the vista’s are a blocking point for those playing in a group if you have folks who can’t navigate the vista puzzles. Granted no one is being ‘forced’ to do the zone completion. However, I think when zone completion is offering good silver, masterwork gear and other crafting items – some folks may feel ‘they need to do it.’

    Aside my opinions and theories, I know for a fact that you also have a lot of folks who suffer from lag and coordination issues. What can be a simple jumping for one person, can be absolutely hellish and frustrating to another. So yeah, like Izari, overall, I don’t feel they should be a zone completion requirement. I might instead put them to their own achievement section. 

    • izziebot

      Thanks, darlin.

      It’s funny; since I wrote this probably over a week ago, I’m actually starting to like vistas, too. They aren’t THAT bad, even though I’ve always had issues with wall-jumping and falling and stuff.

      It’s not that I don’t mind a challenge. But it’s like you said and I said; I don’t like it being part of map completion. I want it to be something I do on my own time. While completing a map, to me, feels like it’s … not “required” per say, but in a way it marks your progress. It feels wrong to leave a zone at 90-95%, you know? I just can’t. So I suck it up and go and do vistas. It takes the enjoyment out of them, too, cause instead of it being a discovery with a cool cinematic at the end for me to enjoy, I’m begrudgingly doing it and then skipping the video because I had to do it but I want to get on with finishing the area.

      • Lizzie

        Just wait till you get to jump puzzles. I haven’t had any real trouble completing  vistas, but some of the puzzles are set up horribly.  The problem is not the jumping, its the camera.  It’s tough to make a tight jump when your camera is clipped inside of your body, or stuck in a stutter.  

        The only other issue I have is how easy it is to train mobs onto someone.  I cannot tell you how many times I have been hanging out, killing a dude, when someone with five mobs chasing him runs by and since I am actively attacking something they all turn on me.  So far I am sure this has all been unintentional, but I foresee many trolling opportunities in the future. 

        • izziebot

          I honestly have no desire or interest in jumping puzzles. I can be a completionist when I want to, but I know that the aggravation I’d suffer trying to involve myself in that task would not be worth it for me. 

          That’s just not my idea of fun, so I will avoid it. 

  • Wholeheartedly agree with everything here. Especially the last point. On guilds, to be honest, I think it HAS to be because of WvW. An entire quarter of the guild perks are devoted solely to WvW perks, including but not limited to bonuses to keeps you control and creating guild siege equipment. My guess is that they want to avoid situations like part of the guild spending the full guild’s influence to build up sieges and keeps *against the rest of the guild on a different server*. Like if Yak’s Bend was against Gates of Madness and Jade Quarry, and you had guild members in all three servers, they could/would all be using the same shared resource to effectively fight themselves. Frankly, I find it incredibly frustrating and a poor implementation. As you said, it completely discourages cross-server guilds unless they are huge on both servers. I have my own guild to run, and as much as I love TWIT, spending time representing is actively hurting my own guild without giving me access to any perks and without dedicating meaningful influence (since I’m the only one on Yak’s).

    I also agree on dyes, but to their credit, they have made them drop MUCH more commonly. In fact, all common dyes are only ~60c each, so for as low as a couple silver you can basically get any color scheme you want. My main character has a ton of dyes now, and of course you can still give them to alts or mystic forge them. I’m not the MOST happy, but I am at least mildly appeased.

    I also agree that the vanity items seem like a complete waste. While I was fine dropping 10 bucks on one in GW1, I was able to wear that around (and have as many as I want, which is a whole other gripe I have) in combat, in town, pretty much everywhere but PvP. Now, as implemented, I do see one reason for not allowing them in combat, but I don’t know if this was planned before and drove the design or if they were designed for out-of-combat and this was added later. If you have a full set of a gem-store outfit (pirate and chef atm), it actually gives you 5 special skills for fun out of combat. It replaces your weapon skills with things like summoning a fake cannon to fire, summoning a pirate, “walking the plank”, and others. That is kind of neat, but I would vastly prefer a GW1 implementation. Especially with inventory space. The fact that dropping cash is for a ONE-TIME-USE item is horrible. Buying the armor skins is freakin’ awful because if you use it before 80, you need to keep T-Stoning it. Ugh, obnoxious. Why didn’t they do it in some way like the HoM? That system works AMAZINGLY. As a side note, I love the HoM stuff, I frequently went back to it up on the way to 80 when I would get ugly but superior gear.

    On end-game grind… I will say, if you kept up with crafting, or have a guildy that did, it is actually not that much gold at the end. Crafted Exotics have the same stat tier as dungeon/karma/racial ones, and they are far cheaper. An exotic weapon from a crafter will cost you ~1.5 gold if you BUY the mats for it, and it isn’t THAT hard to get some of the materials. Ecto can be salvaged from any 70+ rare or exotic, and each elite crafted item takes 5. One salvage can give between 0-3 (so I’ve heard, I have only gotten 2). Between zone completion for the last three zones, each of which give 2 70+ exotics, and just tooling around, it doesn’t take an enormous amount of time for crafted exotics. I crafted my own armor, and I payed probably 3.5g and got one lucky zone completion bonus (40 gossamer scraps). I would say it costs maybe 5-7g for a full set of exotic armors to be crafted. That may sound like a lot, but the Orr zones can give you a TON of money and/or high level drops in not that much time. I do think that some of the prestige gear is a bit excessive and grindy, but there is one thing in particular I am EXTREMELY curious about, and that is Legendary weapons. The ingredients have been discovered now, and to say it will take eons to do is an understatement. In general, I don’t hate that (though I do think it is overboard), but what worries/bothers me is that according to GW2GuruDatabase, they have slightly higher stats than exotics. I don’t know where they got this info, or if it is up-to-date/true, but if it is, I’m going to be furious. Absolutely furious. It goes SO FAR against what they have explicitly stated and against their philosophy that it blows my mind. Hopefully, the DB is just wrong, I’m sure we will find out shortly.

    • izziebot

      Thanks a TON for the awesome comment and for clearing a few things up that I realize I wasn’t fully aware of.

      I’m kicking myself that I totally neglected to consider WvW (I think since the first time I’ve actually been IN wvw was last night, and this article had been written a while ago, lol). That’s a very good point. Although I think it would still be a better option to simply restrict WvW perks per server while allowing some of the other stuff to get by. 

      Agree on the dye part. I think I’m averaging about one a day so far, with 2 hours a day played average, so it’s hardly an issue. I came close to removing that point all together but I couldn’t think of something else to replace it! 

      >> “The fact that dropping cash is for a ONE-TIME-USE item is horrible.”

      I heavily agree with this sentiment, and this is why I came very close to NOT buying the digital deluxe upgrade. But the pet, ring, and golem per character I figured was good enough and I love Anet so I ultimately didn’t mind spending the extra 20 on supporting the team, but any gems I buy in the future will definitely be for items I can feel are worthwhile (inventory space, mostly). 

      I’m pretty bummed with the gem store in general, actually. I WANT to buy things from Anet, but I just want to feel like those purchases are worth it. Consumables just aren’t doing it for me. Costumes, I’d love to get as well but I’m not gonna pay for stuff I’m never gonna use. I have to be honest with myself. I hardly ever spend time idly in cities, and those are the only times I’d really use them.

      Although the full-set bonus skills does sound like it could be fun to mess around with, so my mind may change on that. 

      I’m extremely relieved to hear crafting exotics is an option for armor. I’m not level 40 yet and I’ve managed to get about 2-3 gold so it’s nice to know I won’t be as gimped as I thought. Definitely also curious about that legendary weapon stuff, though. Please do keep me posted on that. 

      • I’ll definitely make myself heard when we find out the final word on Legendary items 😉

  • I’m really quite unhappy about guild influence/perks being world-bound. That sucks, so hardcore. And that’s screwing us over, a lot. 

    • izziebot

      That has me really bummed 🙁 We have some awesome people in TWIT but we hardly ever get to actually talk to  them because they’re pretty much forced to rep other guilds.

      And it is gimping the guild a lot, too, since we’re not getting as much influence as we could. 

      •  I mean, I really hope it becomes less of an issue once guesting is made available, but the fact that it’s an issue at all just really bothers me. Guilds are meant to be cross-server, but this doesn’t support that at all.

        The fact that upgrades are limited to the server also suck – have you taken a look at our guild bank? Half the members can’t even access it, because they aren’t on JQ.

    • T-T

  • Aly

    Some guilds, namely WvW Guilds, don’t want their members on other servers anyway due to conflicts of interest. I think cross server guilds would work better in a game that didn’t have the added complication of cross-server warfare. Then again, some other WvW guilds might like it for the purpose of having spies on opposing servers. I’ve said elsewhere, but the ability to have cross-server guilds or be in more than one guild is kind of a logistical nightmare due to the nature of things like influence. Not a lot of guilds want members who don’t rep for them, either.  I think some features are very much at odds with other features, and don’t see an easy solution that doesn’t create a new set of problems.

    • izziebot

      Well, the idea was that it’s up to each individual guild to choose whether or not to have members on other servers. I think everyone’s aware that by allowing that, you always run the risk of fighting someone you know in WvW. As it turns out, though, the anonymitiy of WvW kind of makes that not a big deal, really. 

      Competitive WvW guilds will deal with those issues on a case by case basis. I have no issue if WvW or PvP specific perks are somehow limited by server or something.

      Ultimately it IS a logistical mess; but by limited other perks like bank access, exp, etc, and influence gain they basically make the multi-server guild option useless. 

  • Aly

    Also, I think vistas make more sense as part of map completion than hearts do as they are about exploration, specifically learning how much mobility the terrain and mechanics allow, than hearts do. Hearts are tasks that generally don’t relate to exploration, and were simply added as guidance for players who  needed something static to steer them toward events. It also perpetuates the misconception that hearts > events (and events obviously can’t be included for map completion without undermining their dynamic nature.)

    • izziebot

      I disagree in this area. Hearts are part of the story in their own way. It’s your character contributing to his or her community by helping individuals around the world. Some may have more to do with the overall tale than others but they all seem to contribute a little something, even if it’s just learning about the race or area. 

      IE; lots of bandit and centaur fighting in early human maps. They go hand-in-hand with the center of human conflicts and your own personal story. In early queensdale it’s all about defense. Driving them away from farms and homes. Later on we aid in taking over key tactical points; a mix of hearts and events. As you move on to kessex hills, and then to gandarran fields, you’ve taken the offensive. Now you’re invading centaur and bandit strongholds and homes. Again, this is a mix of hearts and events. They go together a lot more fluidly, imo, than you think. 

      Hearts may be the most static / linear of all the PvE scenarios but they are still an integral part of the overal journey the game is pulling you through.

      Vistas aren’t really integral at all. The puzzles fit more along your description of “learning how much mobility and the terrain and mechanics allow.” Most vistas aren’t even that hard, per say. a few may be but they don’t contribute to the progression of the story in any way, imo, mechanical or lore wise. 

  • Ashley

    I have found Jumping Puzzles are easier as an Asuran than as a Norn. The Spiral in Caledon Forest for example I did 1st time easily with my Asuran so I went to try it agian the next day with my Norn main and found the cameras didn’t work and it was a lot harder.

    • izziebot

      You are definitely not the first to state that.

      The cameras in GW2 should have replaced my dye rant. They can be aggravating. 

  • Jesse Wan

    Eir and Zojja doing LoK expressions made me LOL SO HARD. All we need now is for Logan to NOT apologize to Zojja for cheating with Jenna behind her back… Oh wait, that already happened. 

  • Braving_the_Elementalist

    I can’t speak on the gear grind aspects as I haven’t played GW and I am not level 80 yet in Guild Wars 2, however I agree on several points. I was disappointed when I realized dyes only belong to one character. I also don’t “get” the vanity outfit, I rather stand around and show off my gear that I play in presently.

  • Have to agree about the vistas, they seem a bit out of place. Don’t tell Anet but half the time I don’t even let the vista ‘movie’ play out.

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  • Prn324

    On character bound dyes:
    I think the point is to create lasting scarcity so that there will always be a dye market.  The fact that people create alts and need to enter back into the market is what makes it work.  Among the hundreds of dyes available there’s only a small fraction that the typical player wants.  The only way to have a market of account bound dies would be to make them EXTREMELY scarce, resulting in very few people running around with the colors they want.  This brings up another question: do we need a robust dye market to begin with?  Anet seems to think so…

    On Vistas:
    I disagree with you here.  While things like Hearts can be considered social exploration (learning about the people and enemies of tyria), Vistas encourage geological exploration.  The camera problems almost ruin it though.

    On vanity clothes:
    The vanity clothes are viewable by anyone out fighting in the world.  This is different from GW1 because everyone was segregated into instances when entering combat zones.  If a wedding bride running around swinging an axe ruins someone’s immersion, they simply didn’t have to play with you and they’d never see it.  I can’t think of any other reason besides immersion to have this restriction.

    On guild influence:
    Well I think it’s been said, WvW is the sole reason.  Large multi-server guilds funneling resources to a single world giving them near infinite influence.
    Why influence bonuses were made powerful enough in WvW to warrant this to begin with…I dunno.

    On gear grind:
    Agreed.  I think the intent is that in a month once people get their crafting on everything that is max will become easily attainable on the TP.  That’s just my speculation, we’ll see.

  • Syl

    I couldn’t agree more on everything you said on that last point: I was greatly looking to GW’s approach to gear as I really disliked WoW’s stat hunt (also how it kills diversity in looks, transmutation or not) – now I am quite disappointed this doesn’t seem to be a feature in GW2…..I dunno how bad to feel about it just yet, but yeah it is a bit of a blow.

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  • Douglas Maxter

    You did forget about something like:

    Bots and Hacks – There is no map on GW2 that you can’t see any group of bots farming around or some teleport hackers doing their jobs on farming resources or killing mobs. It’s useless to report them and expect them to be banned within at least a month or more. Add them to your friendlist and you will notice they aren’t being banned. I hate to have that option to report to play dumb. 

  • Jsfd

    Well, a month on, you realize how ridiculous your last point is, right? A full exotic armor costs about ~7 gold, or you can easily craft it with mats you gather in Orr for a few days.