Lens of Community
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6zBTOwuSh0 (Dynamic Events/ Downscale level)
Encourage players to play with and guide their lower level friends. When high level players go to a lower level zone, they will get adjusted to the map level. If the map zone is for 35-45, level 80 players will have the stats of a level 45 player. This gives a bit more challenge to the high levels while not sacrificing the rewards as high level players are still rewarded with experience, gold according to their original level.
- Events are additional quests on top of the normal quests (hearts) that occursdynamically in every map. Players within the area are alerted about the events and can just join in at anytime the event is active by just entering the event zone. It is intuitive and rewarding. While it is difficult to complete the event alone, it gets very easy when more players join in the event. Since most events are very interesting, levelling do not feels like a grind anymore when everyone is banding together participating over and over again.
- Absolutely no disadvantages in grouping. Every player has their own allocated loots which solves the billion years’ old issue of kill stealing in MMORPGs. Grouping with guild members performing any activities even allow players to generate influence for the guild which can be exchanged for buffs that increases stats and chances of finding magical items. Hence, guild grows stronger along with active members.
The Lens of Competition vs. Cooperation
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iH6CYjtIktw (World vs. World Gameplay)
- Guild Wars 2 like exactly what most people can defer from, has a mix of cooperation and competition. The ratio of cooperation to competition is well balanced due to team competitions. Hence, cooperation pretty much goes hand in hand with competition in this game. Cooperation level directly influences the ability to compete with enemy team.
- World vs. World is a good example of great balance of cooperation and competition in which 3 servers engage in a territorial battle. While a single player can take down sentries and kill supply carriers, an army can attack towers, keeps and castle. While numbers still matters in WvW, players can still have a fighting chance with great teamwork and avoid complete utter defeat.
- Good cooperation not only rewards individuals with more gold/experience. Higher contributions to the group give better rewards. Further evidences of ArenaNet rewarding cooperation are down to skills level, players can create combo finisher with specific skills/spells interacting with each other to give an additional effect.
The Lens of Fairness
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiyFwPsJeTI (Permanent Stealth)
- With several distinct professions, the game has an asymmetric approach. Every profession has very distinct abilities, skills and traits which can be adjusted to fit for different scenarios. And how someone build their character can affect drastically the performance in situations such as PvP, PvE and WvW(World vs. World). The game empowers players’ choice of build to give themselves overwhelming advantages in the scenario they wish to be excellent at. This is why some players could find it very frustrating that no matter how hard they try, they cannot beat others if they are simply presented in a disadvantageous situation or in a wrong build. Thieves are probably the most debated profession in the forums now because the current mechanics allows them to permanent stealth. This means they can choose to engage or disengage their fights with great ease. For a situational game like Guild Wars 2 which it wants players to choose and prepare their fights properly, thieves are kings. Everyone should be given more fighting chances in disadvantageous situation so that they are not being forced to specialise in a particular build and allow skill level of player to make more of a difference. Despite how the game looks, there is still a lot of tweaking required to ensure fairness in gameplay.
- Although cooperation plays an important role in World vs World (WvW), numbers still matter. This issue becomes more protruding as it has been several months since this game has released, most player base are relatively equally skilled. A populated server will always certainly win a less populated server. Sometimes, the lesser populated server will give up altogether and stop going to WvW. As of now, there is no in-game mechanics to balance the differences in population.
The Lens of the Story Machine
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvFWW2cBBW4 (My Story Feature 1:30 onwards)
- If anyone has played Guild Wars 2, it is obvious that Guild Wars 2 has attempted to allow players create their own experience and story throughout their gameplay with the use of “My Story” feature. What it simply does is that it records player’s experience and events like a diary chronologically.
- Players are able to choose their character’s race, background history, their religion and their character’s personality upon the character creation menu. These details are recorded in the dairy and each player can have varying starting stories.
- Eventually throughout the story mode, players are given options to choose how they may proceed to achieve. Most of the time, they are given 3 choices catering to 3 very different play styles. Particularly after the turning point of the story, there are three orders which one can choose to join. Each order has very diverse play style. For example, Order of Whispers likes to gather intelligence and sabotage to accomplish tasks, Order of Priory like to do things the intelligence way through researching and discovery and finally Order of Vigil which embraces typical hack-and-slash way of solving things. Through players’ choices, they diverge in different sub stories according to the play style/order they have chosen. To experience the entire picture, players have to play 3 times with three different characters joining three different orders which is considered very good replayability as that story mode are able to stay fresh.
- Another key success is in the details. All decisions, actions and conversations that players made are recorded down and reflected in the game world which is why the game is able make player feels like they really have a huge impact on the events that happened.
- The non-linear story quests have excellent voice acting, sound tracks and following dramatic curve of events which are often adopted in films. All these reasons led me to believing in that Guild Wars 2 has been very successfully in the lens of the story machine.
The Lens of Meaningful Choices
- In Guild Wars 2, there is almost always
more than one way of accomplishing objectives and every choice makes senses and makes differences to the game world. Like the story quests, your choices determine the next story mission and can have many alternate paths catering to different play styles. The traits and build of the character affects a lot how it performs in different situations.
- Players have choices on how they want to level. There is no dominant strategy in levelling and it is totally fine to not level the traditional way of completing quests and exploring maps. In fact, crafting gives good experience and max levelling a single job like tailoring can level players up 10 times. World vs. World is also an option for blood-thirsty players like me because I levelled from 50 to 80 by conquering other worlds/servers’ territories. In Guild Wars 2, there is no need to try hard to level because the game will level your character from whatever you are doing. These levelling choices will eventually aid players in some ways. WvW not only give gold and experiences but honor tokens which allow them to purchase high grade armors. Crafting help players to earn money by selling their products and have the abilities to craft exotics weapons. If players managed to complete all quests and explored the entire map, they will be given a handsome reward as well.
- Often, the decisions that player made changes the environment/world. For example, liberating a town under siege can give players access to a waypoint. The game let us feel that they really have the power to make an impact in the game.