First, some disclaimers:
1. I am not currently, nor even recently have been, in danger of harming myself or others (this has to be said for legal reasons)
2. This post has been on my mind for a while, and if the mods feel something is wrong with it, I'm fine with it's removal, but would appreciate the opportunity to correct what is wrong. This is an important subject, and I'd rather edit it so it is acceptable than just throw it out completely (not that I have any intent for it to violate community standards)
3. While the examples given and some of the subject content is related to WvW, this post is being placed in general because it's not specifically about WvW or any given game mode.
There is no particular blame to be placed in this situation that I'm going to relate here. There's not "this one mesmer" or "that change in game mechanics", or "ragerage anet rage" (yeah, I know, that's my norm).
A little history that I feel is relevant. I first signed up just before Halloween 2012, right after launch, and have played around 7000hours. Overall, for the amount of time I've played GW2, I am pretty much an average level player. I've done dungeons, one raid, and tier 2 fractals, but beyond that, my primary activity is open world PvE and map completion (currently at 16). I am also a crafting oriented player (not just in GW2).
The love of crafting is what got me into trouble.
The best skins in the game, excluding gem store items, usually have a bit of crafting involved, and a lot of them involve collections. If you choose to craft legendary weapons, this is no different (even more-so now that you can craft the precursors). Many years ago, world map completion required the maps in World vs. World (three alpine and EBG). I was fortunate enough when I started to choose a server that changed colors a bit, so while there was some waiting involved, I was eventually able to get world completion done 5 times under that model. This got me accustomed to using WvW as a game mode, even though I detest PvP. Years of playing Eve Online taught me 2 basic principles with PvP: First, I will never be proficient at it to the point where I am the victor. Second, because of the first thing I simply just need to sit down and let them kill me, do their corpse dancing, and respawn when I can.
WvW did have the zerg aspect, and with that I've been able to get the maps done, and grind my way through obtaining several Gift of Battles for crafting legendary weapons.
When Arenanet removed the map requirement, the only reasons I had at that point to enter WvW were the Gift of Battle, and, later, the longbow skins. I know that most average players and even the below average players can crank out the reward tracks to where it takes maybe a day to get a Gift of Battle, but, I am not that good. Changes to WvW have affected me a lot over the years, both good and bad. The only time in my experience in WvW that I ever felt like I was useful to any given group, and not just "a zergling" was during the "no downed-state" week, because as a ranger I could actually take people out from a keep wall.
Fast forwarding to late 2018. I was in an okay space in RL and in GW2. While I've never been the most exuberant person, I was just cruising along. My wife and I decided that we would craft Dusk, Twilight, Dawn, Sunrise, and Eternity. This required two Gift of Battles. Around the time we finished obtaining those, I had started to notice that I spent a LOT more time dying in WvW than progressing. After we finished unlocking Eternity, my wife chose to leave GW2 for the most part, other than doing dailies occasionally, and mostly logging in for the log-in rewards. She was burned out because she was trying to also finish her bachelors degree.
My mistake was that out of being stubborn, I chose to try and get a third Gift of Battle on my own, and to attempt to get the 700+ skirmish tickets I needed to unlock two longbow skins.
I can't recall, and perhaps this is a blessing, the chain of events that put me into that very dark place, but sometime late last year deep into the Pacific/SEA timezones, I logged off one night and realized that for a period of a week or more, I was logging out of WvW with a very very strong desire to kill myself. It may in fact be that lack of options to do such a thing played a part in my decision to make sure I got help, as well as to quit GW2 for a while, but I can't really psychoanalyze myself to that point without the conclusions potentially being incorrect.
To be clear, I am not writing this out to try and say that "WvW is so bad, I wanted to kill myself!". There are way too many factors involved with the situation for there to be just one bad guy in this scenario. Did the current state of the game mode contribute to it? Possibly. It's kind of humiliating when you're reduced to nothing but bag delivery and fully aware that it's because you simply don't have the skills to make it with the current mechanics. And yes, there's something to be said about this being the only way to obtain a Gift of Battle.
This is, again, not really about the specifics of why I reached that low point, but I do believe this is something that should be spoken of openly, because while my experience is specific to WvW, it does not mean that there isn't someone else out there who has been where I have been because of Raids, or because of Dungeons, or because of Open World, etc. Among hundreds of thousands of players, you cannot come up with a prediction on what will cause someone to fall into a pit.
The very nature of almost every game in history is to present a challenge. Whether that challenge is presented by another player, or computer code, or natural obstacles, etc., it is a challenge. With challenges come both success and failure. When you add rewards for success, there is a natural increase to the desire for succeeding in overcoming the challenge, but at the same time, for a portion of people, this also intensifies the "pain" associated with failure. Whether the pain is emotional distress, feelings of humiliation, inadequacy, or whatever, the fact that these feelings exist means there is also a probability that some people will begin to spiral downward because of them.
For people who actually care about other players in a game, it is important to recognize the signs that someone may be headed that way. Not everyone is going to say "I hate this! I hate myself! I'm going to end my life!" (in fact that's very unlikely to happen). Some suffer in silence, and quietly disappear (sadly, some never return because they follow through on their feelings). The urgent question in this is "what are the signs"? We don't have a "mood indicator" above our characters heads, etc.
The truth is, the signs really can't be categorized when it comes to the more subtle indicators. Obsessing over certain things may be one. A drastic change in online time and in a certain game mode could be one indication, or for people in guilds, a change in ones attitude can be another (though this one is a bit more obvious). Yet both of those examples are things that could easily be due to something completely different. In the end, the initial conclusion might be that there is nothing that is a good indicator, and this conclusion can then lead to an issue of "we can't do anything". This is wrong. You can do something. It's just something that has been slowly disappearing from society in general .
-Rescue that downed person.
-Rez that player at the bottom of that cliff, even though "they should know better."
-Tell them if you think their character looks amazing.
-Tip your mesmer, commander, guide.
-Kill the trash mobs before harvesting if someone else is already fighting them.
-Help players find the answers to their questions instead of just saying "wiki it" in map chat.
-Give someone directions on how to find something, and then offer to help them if it's an event they need to complete.
-Think about whether or not running through that trash mob is going to train it into someone else that is not currently in it's aggro range.
-Thank someone for helping you.
There are dozens of things that can be added to this list, and I know a few players that could certainly add to it because this is their core attitude in the game.
It is so easy today to think only of ourselves. It is so easy to not care whether or not that dead player who "should know better" isn't just a player who "should know better". People make mistakes. That dead guy may be in the middle of a real life crisis, and in a dark place mentally, laying at the bottom on the rocks, looking at his characters broken body, pondering if that might be a good idea in RL. Yes, you're more likely to drop 5 precursors in a row from trash mobs, but never assume that you know.
I know this. Because I've been there. I have survived because I have a long history with mental health that is not always shiny, but because of this history I also was aware of my situation enough to know it was time to take a break and get some help in RL.
I know this isn't well written, I rarely write well. I'm writing from my heart. I'm writing this here because out of all the games available, and in spite of some individuals, GW2 does have a community that is generally more player friendly and helpful than other communities.
That's .. all. I guess. it's an abrupt end. I'm not a speech writer.
Soul-binding needs to be allowed to die gracefully. It has expired. It is long past it's time to become a footnote in the history of gaming.