Developing an MMO in a market oversaturated with clone games is never an easy task, but somehow ArenaNet has managed to avoid falling victim to the same problem that plagues many other games: "grinding through chunks of boring, repetitive content."
Guild Wars 2, for me anyway, has been a much-needed breath of fresh air. It has taken everything I've grown tired with about MMOs and revamped it. Where Guild Wars 2 truly differs from others, however, is the "end game" — the portion you experience after you hit the level cap. For most MMOs, this is the make or break point for many players. Just look at Star Wars: The Old Republic whose lack of an intriguing end game led to tons of players unsubscribing and the decision to eventually go free-to-play.
So how will Guild Wars 2 differ from the other MMOs that have fell victim to the end game death? ArenaNet has posted a new blog post discussing the concept of their reimagined end game.
"When we looked at the concept of “endgame” for Guild Wars 2, we designed it the same way. We didn’t want the endgame to be something you could only experience after a hundred hours of gameplay or after you reached some arbitrary number," ArenaNet explained. "We wanted it to be something that players got to experience every step along the way, spread out across the entire world of Tyria, so we’ve introduced game elements that you’d normally associate with “endgame” at every level and every possible opportunity."
Some of those elements include large-scale boss encounters early on in the gameplay. The goal with this was to create an experience that players will "remember and cherish."
They explained, "Each new experience, new dungeon, and new giant boss is a chance for us to layer on more difficulty, or teach you an interesting aspect about your profession and what you can do when you combine forces with other players."
"Guild Wars 2 is a game about banding together with friends and complete strangers to accomplish great things in a world ruled by uncertainty and challenge."
Some of those challenges include dungeons with explorable modes that offer three different paths that players can conquer. Other difficulties are giant bosses which are scattered throughout the world that usually come at the end of the meta-event chains.
"But the concept of “endgame” isn’t restricted to a few specific encounters and monsters; we have multiple paths and a variety of different content for players of all kinds. For people who enjoy crafting, we added legendary weapons that use rare components gathered from multiple game types—they’re created using the Mystic Forge. The final reward at the end of this epic crafting path is a visual masterpiece: a weapon with a unique appearance and special effects that are sure to make you stand out in a crowd," ArenaNet said.
"For explorers and completionists, we added the idea of “world completion,” which involves completing renown regions, Vistas, skill challenges, waypoints, and points of interest for each of the maps in Tyria. We keep each map interesting thanks to the level adjustment system, which removes the ability for higher-level characters to enter lower-level maps and trivialize the content. You’ll still be more powerful in lower-level zones because you have more traits, skills, and gear, but the level adjustment system will insure that the monsters give you a proper fight."
I've already asked my coworker, who is near max level, what he plans on doing. He responded with "exploring the entire map" to get that 100% completion. The fact that the game scales makes each area a unique challenge.
"As you can see, we’ve taken the idea of “endgame” content beyond the traditional model and have infused it in all levels of the game, while adding enough variety to keep players with a wide array of interests engaged," ArenaNet concluded. "The launch of Guild Wars 2 is just the start. With the game now out in the hands of the players, we can focus our efforts to adding new types of events, new dungeons, new bosses, new rewards, and new places for players to explore. Together, our journey is just now beginning, and I hope to see you in-game."
For those looking for people to play with, the GameZone staff plays on the Gates of Madness world. If you'd like to play with us message me on Twitter, @Matt_GZ.