Come three months after the launch of Guild Wars 2, I distinctly remember asking myself, "when do I get to the fun part?" Fast forward about a couple of weeks in and I get to lvl 80, I become excited to finally go do that AC run I failed at a week ago. And as time goes by I keep looking for an answer as to what to do now that I'm level capped.
Normally I thought to myself there would be some secret dungeon or raid I wasn't aware of but no, all you had to deal with was the world, PvP, and WvW, which is something I didn't touch.
So one day in Lion's Arch I'm greeted with the first advertisement for my first WvW guild. I get introduced to the reality of WvW and things like Red Guard, and the challenge was seemingly present in chunks.
However the one thing I've always hated about this game was just how easy it was on the PvE side of things. The most present challenges available during those days were the Ahra, CoF, and CoE dungeons which if given the ability were not actually more than just dungeons.
I wanted to raid and WvW was that thing that quelled my satisfaction. Boredom drove me to quit as ANET pushed out content. Living story season one with Scarlett came, and her character as I recall was really hateable. But the challenge in PvE was there. And after she attacked Lion's Arch, that on its own was challenging to go through.
Sure there were fractals but they were the same ones we've done for an eternity. And they weren't as spread out in options as they are today, in fact there were like only 6 and if you've done them once, at the time you never really wanted to do them again because the reward you have today weren't really there.
And as the waves of living story come out I can't help but notice that the boredom in PvE was still there. As a skilled WvW fight guild player, everything that was PvE was simply too easy, like a walk in the park.
The only thing we had at the time to deal with were massive meat shields which was ANETs brilliant idea at the "harder content we asked for". This was the mordremoth living story stuff. Just mundane massive meat shield.
Come the first raid and this is it, a real challenge, the Vale Guardian. Finally a challenge worthy of the gods. The new expansion too was amazing because enemies stopped being these absurd massive meat shields and in turn turned into mechanic heavy opponents. Things weren't boring anymore. New skills, new specs, gliding, it made the game more interesting on the oven side of things.
However during my first time raiding I greatly underestimated how hard it was going to be. Mind you I really took lengthy breaks from the game because of how boring it was. When I realized what raiding was actually like, a couple of things greatly puzzled me. The first is that there wasn't any back story as to why we were going to kill the Vale Guardian. The story didn't make sense, and there's nothing that told me to go do this task for the special forces.The second thing was the lack of reasonable rewards; see if you raid in another game there would be some sort of special loot or something but instead you get exotics and a couple of gold? No thanks.
This mentality kept me away from raiding even during alot of the longevity of PoF. Why go through this challenge to get really nothing in return? The incentive wasn't really there. I didn't even want legendary armor because I didn't really need it. After all, all I needed was my minstrel and berserker ascended armor sets so why bother doing all of that to inconvenience myself.
And besides it was incredibly challenging to find a raiding guild at the time. You could spend hours and hours spamming map chat to look for one that did any raids with a silent response. And in reality Elitism was rampant in raiding, to the point where you weren't taken in by any guild. I managed after a week of searching to land a training group and practiced a set of training bosses for weeks and I loved it. The problem is that they were the same bosses, the same order, the same strategy, it eventually became mundane. But it gave me joy to fail and fail and fail again for the first time and notice that as I was failing in PvE I made actual progress.
Now that I come back to the game in March 2020, I feel energetic to get back into action and finish what I started, I've even managed to find groups for training and an actual guild that does static raiding. I want to get through the content raids and have downed two new bosses, amazingly enough through much failure. But that's what I want. I want that challenge, it is actually fun to die with a solidified purpose in gw2 and achieve something noteworthy.
Fractals have even become harder and I'm getting into that too, it's actually 10x more rewarding than it used to be 5 years ago. Just like all the new content, just like everything new.
I'm hoping they ramp up the challenge in the metas and everything else. It's a huge shift from the old days where warriors can hop into Arah and clear a wing solo, to now having to focus on stressful mechanics in strike missions and raids.
I really genuinely hope ANET continues to push out more raids and more involvement for the player into the stories leading into them. Like something unique, like say once you finish the living world story, there's another one that builds up so you have an item that works inside of the raid or something unique to say "oh this is why I'm here" the next time I'm in a raid. I love the challenge and it's good to finally have access to a variety. In short terms, more raids!
The reason I say all of this is to encourage players saying content is too hard to take a closer look at the content from the old days and really question yourself how easy you want things to be. Because I have to tell you, we went from literally not having to dodge roll enemies to be successful to actually having to. There's too many people discouraged by a bad experience but really I implore you to keep trying. And if realistically you're not having fun with a good challenge, then don't do it. But don't go off antagonizing people who actually give them a shot, because given ANETs past, it is a blessing to actually have one.
I see this a lot, people are just spreading confirmation bias amongst each other to not do more challenging stuff because of their bad experiences. And I see this as people agreeing with each other to be bored and not have fun. Maybe look at it from another angle, maybe the person wasn't capable of learning from their mistakes, maybe the person doesn't actually know how to play the game more efficiently. Be skeptical of people trying to remove yourself from actual fun, including yourself. Remember, being given a challenge in Guild Wars 2 is an actual blessing from ANET, so appreciate it and look at it as an angle as if you're to do something great like climbing mount Everest.