I’m somewhat of an anomaly here at GAMEBREAKER because I’m the only person who doesn’t play MMOs. I’ve always been into story-driven, single player games. After watching some of my best friends play hundreds of hours of other MMOs, I had come to the conclusion long ago that MMOs are just not my thing. However, the more that I see and hear about Guild Wars 2 makes me think that ArenaNet might be able to persuade non-MMOers like myself.
1.) I Don’t Play Fetch
From what I’ve seen, most MMOs seem to rely heavily on level-grinding before you can actually do something fun. The idea that I will have to do hours and hours of fetch questing before finally doing something exciting is a major turnoff for me. Fetch quests aren’t fun or exciting. I don’t want to hunt 10 deer, I want to do something important, damn it.
The fact that Guild Wars 2 has exciting early-game events already puts it a step up on most of its competition. I want to see “boss fight” style events, and I don’t want to put hundreds of hours of work in before I see them.
2.) The Game World Is Engaging
On a similar note, the antiquated MMO structure of talking to quest-givers who respond only with large amounts of written text is so stale at this point. It seems that ArenaNet has put forth a ton of effort to make sure that the game world is actually exciting. Not having traditional quests given to you in blocks of boring text is a huge step towards making MMOs appealing to non-MMOers.
In order to be memorable, all RPGs, especially MMOs, rely on player immersion into the game world. Immersion typically requires interactivity with one’s surroundings. Clicking on a dude who gives you an inane mission is hardly interactive. I want to see things happening around me. I want a reason to quest.
Guild Wars 2’s dynamic events will create your want to help the world around you, especially considering the lasting effects that quest successes and failures will impart on the game world.
3.) This Time, It’s Personal
Sometimes when gaming I like to become a hermit. Playing games becomes a stress-relieving experience, where I don’t have any responsibilities or time crunches. One thing that always turned me off about MMOs before is the need to get into a guild in order to be successful. The idea of having in-game friends is certainly nice, but with my schizophrenic schedule, I’m not a reliable guild-mate. I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to play at any given time.
This is where Guild Wars 2’s personal story intrigues me. In the instance that I want to play alone, or none of my friends are on, I can still log on and have a meaningful Guild Wars experience by myself.
As someone who plays quite a few single player RPGs on my consoles, I also really like the idea of your character “being somebody” in the story world. I feel that in a lot of previous MMOs, your character is just a face in a crowd; it never feels like you’ve made much of an impact. By including more in-depth character stories, you can be a badass.
You can make a difference.
4.) It Doesn’t Encourage Douchebags
Another thing that has turned me away from getting into the MMO scene is the amount of jerks that you can meet online. Sure, this can be said for any online community, MMO or otherwise, but the thought of putting in time and effort to complete a group quest just to have some idiot take everything and run is maddening.
I really like that Guild Wars 2 has done away with kill stealing and quest camping. Everybody gets credit for helping. The wealth spreads to all involved, the way that it should be.
5.) The Price Is Right
Speaking of wealth, not a whole lot of people have exorbitant amounts of extra income these days. To begin playing most MMOs, one has to think of not only the initial price, but also the monthly subscription fee.
For someone who isn’t completely convinced that they have what it takes to be a dedicated MMO gamer, the prospect of having to pay a monthly fee is a bit overwhelming.
I’ve always considered it a vicious circle: you have to spend a lot of time playing the game because you’ve paid for the monthly service, and you can’t stop paying for the service in subsequent months due to all of the time you’ve invested.
Asking upwards of $180 a year in monthly fees seems a tad unreasonable for my particular gaming habits. I like to play different styles of games (shooters, sports, action-adventure, etc.), and those MMO fee costs could go to either three new retail games or a whole year of Gamefly.
The Guild Wars 2 pricing structure suits MMO-curious gamers much better. Pay the game’s initial price. You don’t need to buy anything else if you don’t want to. It’s a concept that console gamers are already comfortable with.
Guild Wars 2 seems to fix, or at least circumvent, many of the issues I had with MMOs. This game might just have wait it takes to convert me into something I’d never thought I’d be: an MMO gamer.