Jump to content
  • Sign Up

Request for a new design manifest

Recommended Posts

Dear arenanet and community. I have a proposal and I have been writing about this issue in several posts so far. Now I decided to write my thoughts down in more detail and share it with you all.

It is basically very short, but requires a longer explanation.

Short version first: Stop catering the requests (demands) of parts of the community to the letter. Instead write a new manifesto to replace the outdated manifest and use our input for it to make it something for us all.

First to explain the design manifesto.
It was released tot the public in 2010 and has been the design principle for this game
It is still on the website and it is outdated in my opinion.

Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto – GuildWars2.com

A editorial summary with explanations where it is outdated:
“Shouldn’t great MMORPGs be great RPGs too?”

This outlines the redundancy of quests. It was pre-development already outdated cause test users said they missed out on a quest system and the renown hearts where introduced. The added layer of events works great but has shifted a lot towards event meta’s. Although they are very fun, they also take away the freedom that was promised in the manifesto. They make the story much more linear and shallow and it is not what the intention was originally.

“It’s time to make MMORPGs more social.”
This is about the loot-tagging issue in other games and the need to be in a party. GW1 was isntanced and required a party to enter. GW2 had to be open world, but they didn't wat the loot tagging issues in other open world games.  I think this part of the manifesto still stand, although with raids, drm’s, fractals and meta’s you very much need some kind of organization. It comes with the request for challenging content. With such challenges, good organization is crucial, as well as someone taking charge. This also result in the need to organise in a party or a squad.

“Rethinking combat”
This chapter is about not going with the holy trinity (tank, dps, heal).  Although this is and was a huge selling point for the game, it also has proven to have flaws. We automatically went for the most effective builds and cause there was no trinity, we where all the same and we all went zerker. Due to balancing and polishing this has shifted a lot, but balance is an issue (as proven by the latest balance update). To be honest, a lot has to do with traditional balance pain (How dare they nerve my class! Now I can’t win as I used to be and feel useless!), but it also gives a fair point. A good manifesto should be the base of any balance update.

Many changes have been made to the game due to our feedback. But to be honest they haven’t all been that great and least of all haven’t been what we where expecting of them. Often they came from the thought “I had feature A in my favorite game B and it should be in GW2 as well!”. A few examples.

1: Raids: Do not get me wrong. Raids are a good addition to the game. I was critical at start and it is not my cup of tea, but I know people who enjoy them and they are a good addition to the game. However, it is also a niche and even though DRM’s and high level fractals are designed to bridge the gap, the gap has never been bridged. They definitely do not have the same place of importance as in that other game.

I do not mind them being a niche. I do mind the lack of philosophy behind them. Raids has ment a lot for balancing it broke the zerker meta) and for other formats going into the same direction. It is good they exist, but should get a better place in the game as a design principle. I doubt anyone thinks they have the role that was expected when the community asked for raids.


2: Guildhalls
We loved guildhalls in GW1 and we missed them in GW2. The team creating them did an excellent job. They look awesome, they work perfect and still it isn’t the way they are in GW1. Mostly cause we have less connection with our guilds as we can be member of a bunch of them. A guildhall in GW1 felt like the neighborhood shed where I met up with my neighborhood friends and hanged out for days. We used it as a base of operation and just to spent time. I had my first kiss in there. I had my first fight in there. In GW2 with so many guilds, they feel much more like a clubhouse for one of the sport teams I’m in. You do not even have to go there to meet eachother and it is mostly gathering dust.

3: New content delivery.
Above are a few examples of what I call waddling without a proper philosophy.  The best example is however how new content is delivered. This has changed a lot and still is far from the place it should be.
a: Originally all content was to be delivered by living world releases. Once every two weeks new content that was available for 4 weeks. This gave way to bring out less polished content as it was only around for a short time.  The backlash here was that it was temporary. If you where on holliday or taking a break from the game, you missed it.
b: Then they shifted towards free living world seasons and paid expansions. They actually worked great, but it is expensive to do it this way. You have simultaneous teams working on expansions and on living world. While it do nothing to boost sales. Both types need a good Q/A and polishing as they are permanent additions to the game.
😄 Living world saga’s. No more expansions, but more extensive living world chapters that are worthy of an expansion. Many people believe this failed cause IBS lacks that kind of content, but after the first 2 chapters, the main backlash was the lack of an expansion. So they shifted back to the old ways halfway in development.
d: Expansions only that are released over time. We have to see how this develops, but I have not much trust.

Overall it feels a lot that since they took off and made a beautiful game based on the design manifesto, they have been listening to us a lot. With us I mean the part of the community that express themselves and voice their opinion. Most active players are not found on the forum complaining. They are playing the game and enjoying themselves. So while our opinion here is important, it is not everyone’s opinion. The result is a design since launch that seems to be wobbly. They have moved forward waddling around like a Quaggan trying to make everyone happy and satisfied, without looking at the greater picture.

I would like the studio leads to come with a new design manifesto. This goes beyond the annual studio update, but is to set out the pace and design principles for the next 5-10 years. Nothing set in stone, but a solid baseline as a foundation to build on. Do not dictate it, but work together with the community. Not just us on the forum, but all of is. But most important, keep it on the level of a design principle. So not something like: “We do player housing”
But more like: “We want players to feel at home in Tyria. This means they should be able to be part of the world and contribute to it in a creative and personal way to make it their own place.”

To the community. How would you feel about a new design manifesto? And if you agree, what would you want to be in it?

  • Like 1
  • Confused 6
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do not expect that to happen. By releasing a true manifesto, they would be showing parts of their community that they were left on the wayside and their desires for the game will be ignored. Anet does not want this, as it might cause those players to leave. Better to keep their hopes up even if they'll never be realized, because some of them might still pay for expansions and gemshop purchases that way. Additionally, a honest manifesto would inform the community about the amount of resources Anet is still willing (or still capable) of spending on this game - if my suspicions are right, they would not want this to be known either.

Basically, they do not want to talk about manifestos and design goals, because they want to keep pretenses up and do not want players to get disillusioned.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2
  • Confused 4
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, because except for one point (diverging storyline), and the specific exemple who are outdated because some systems changed, the manifesto is still accurate on it's core point. 

And that's all that is needed, if you go to much in the specific, you're either limiting yourself or took the risk to make it outdated even faster.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, to have a consistent and well-structured design manifesto you have to have a clear direction and vision for the game. Guild Wars 2 for the longest time didn't have that and it's hard to say if the leadership intends to stick with the current 'iteration'. Also, everytime you go out of bounds of your manifesto people are going to whine and moan and rage post and complain endlessly. The other problem is that I don't believe Arena Net is capable of sticking to their guns and eventually this manifesto will become absolutely worthless.

On the side note,  truth is, when you encourage bad design for years, you get a bad game. 

  • Like 3
  • Confused 3
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...