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Sun's Refuge as "Expansion like content"


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In recent interviews, Mike Z used the Sun's Refuge feature as an example of a feature that "Typically comes with an Expansion" but is being released with Living World. With the comment from a dev in the AMA/Developer Celebration stating there are no "Long term plans for Sun's Refuge beyond Episode 4", what does ArenaNet think Expansion features/content look like. To me that tells me that Sun's Refuge was designed with 3-6 months worth of content.... that's NOT expansion grade/level/quality content. GW2 is (obviously) not the only MMO to create and abandon features/content, but at least with WoW, FF14, and others that content is abandoned (or reworked) after ~2 years, not after only 3-6 months.

Why is this the norm in MMOs and why is it becoming even worse with GW2. If I spent time building something in my Software Dev job that only would be used for 3-6 months with no long term business value, I'd be out a job..... again, why is this acceptable with MMOs?

And more on topic, what does this say about ArenaNet's view on what Expansion Quality looks like?

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I think you might be missing somthing here.

You could argue that Suns refuge is of such quality, A reasonable size map tied to several collections and features with some story attached to them.Mounts came with path of fire, they had the good 18 months or w/e and produced 5 mounts among other content, the previous episode they added the rollerbeetle (you could argue that was expansion worthy material)

Though the issue you seem to have is mainly with its lifecycle, there are several reasons for why the suns refuge would not be supported lets say 6 months down the line. Primarily I would say would be the story, gw2 is very narrative driven and depending how the story progresses, we might find ourselves in different regions, small content could be added over time to it or they could take the expereince and tech developed in the production in suns refuge, like they so often do and repurpose it in interesting and entertaining new ways.

Heres food for thought, lets say throughout seasons 4 we make use of suns refuge, maybe in season 5 they produce another instance like it as a hub tying seasons 5 areas together?
Suns refuge would of been abandoned BUT the tech and mechs not so much ^.^

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I guess I'm of the mindset that if something is "Expansion Quality" content, it's designed to endure not only when it was released, but be used throughout the game's remaining lifespan (or at least until the next expansion). How would people feel if Gliders and/or Mounts were not usable in Season 5 or Expansion 3? That'k kind of how I feel about this. It's not expansion level/quality content if it only lasts for a few months or even just for one patch (which was implied in the reply).

Granted, I'm looking at this through the glasses of someone use to WoW doing the same thing, but making that content or feature last for ~2 years (at the least). I also see it from a software dev/sys admin standpoint where spending man hours to create something that has no long term customer value is a big no-no.

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I think a better example of Expansion-like feature is the new armor. A lot of MMOs reserve the shiniest of skins for expansions (or cash shops). This involves an extensive series of collections, plus a lot of different skins, with all sorts of aspects that people have asked for.

I am disappointed that ANet spent 5 months +/- of time on an instance that they don't plan on upgrading, but... it's still feature rich:

  • It comes with a number of collections, some of which will take people months to finish. (And some of us will finish today or tomorrow, but that's true for expansions.)
  • Unlike other areas except the home instance, it evolves as we do things in the world.
  • As many people have requested, it includes a "return to sender feature," so you can enter the instance for a vendor and return to your previous location.

It's basically a super-charged home instance, which (a) is something that would take 5 months of time to make and (b) is usually reserved for expansions, not (mostly) free DLC.

tl;dr yeah, ANet oversold its importance and yeah, it's weird that they don't want to keep evolving it. But all the same, it is something that I would have expected to be part of an expansion rather than a Living World episode.

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@"Illconceived Was Na.9781" said:

  • As many people have requested, it includes a "return to sender feature," so you can enter the instance for a vendor and return to your previous location.

I am intrigued -- how does it do that? I haven't thought to click the scroll/Plea again while inside the Refuge, does that do that trick?

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@EagleDelta.4726 said:Why is this the norm in MMOs and why is it becoming even worse with GW2. If I spent time building something in my Software Dev job that only would be used for 3-6 months with no long term business value, I'd be out a job..... again, why is this acceptable with MMOs?

As a software developer, you don't understand an iterative content model?I find that very hard to believe.

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@mindcircus.1506 said:

@"EagleDelta.4726" said:Why is this the norm in MMOs and why is it becoming even worse with GW2. If I spent time building something in my Software Dev job that only would be used for 3-6 months with no long term business value, I'd be out a job..... again, why is this acceptable with MMOs?

As a software developer, you don't understand an iterative content model?I find that very hard to believe.

Iterative code, yes. Workarounds, yes. But intentionally building something that has no long term business/customer value tends to be a something that is not encouraged at any company I've been at (except when it's an employer with tons of "Snowflake" customers). But Iterative implies evolution/changes/improvements.... not intentional abandonment.

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@EagleDelta.4726 said:

@EagleDelta.4726 said:Why is this the norm in MMOs and why is it becoming even worse with GW2. If I spent time building something in my Software Dev job that only would be used for 3-6 months with no long term business value, I'd be out a job..... again, why is this acceptable with MMOs?

As a software developer, you don't understand an iterative content model?I find that very hard to believe.

Iterative code, yes. Workarounds, yes. But intentionally building something that has no long term business/customer value tends to be a something that is not encouraged at any company I've been at (except when it's an employer with tons of "Snowflake" customers). But Iterative implies evolution/changes/improvements.... not intentional abandonment.

woooosh

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We went from new map + achievements to new map + achievements and collections, now they added the possibility of a whole 'nother bunch of things they can release with, things that would previously be too large in scale to be shipped with a normal LS update. That's all it means really. New armor skins and a whole instance with its own system and integration into the story + map is definitely not something that would have ever been possible before

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I am one of those who rather like Sun's Refuge. Don't know how much I will use it, but I would love it if they turned it into something like the EOTN Hall of Monuments type of thing where our in-game deeds and collections are put on display.

I know, wishful thinking, but then, as with our home instance, we could bring other people in and show them what we've done with our 6 years of play. I kind of miss having my doppelgangers standing around with all the armor sets I've collected or a selection of my favorite minis milling around where we can see them.

Just sayin....

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@mindcircus.1506 said:

@EagleDelta.4726 said:Why is this the norm in MMOs and why is it becoming even worse with GW2. If I spent time building something in my Software Dev job that only would be used for 3-6 months with no long term business value, I'd be out a job..... again, why is this acceptable with MMOs?

As a software developer, you don't understand an iterative content model?I find that very hard to believe.

Iterative doesn't mean what you think it means...Iterative is something you build upon, not something with a single release, and that's exactly what the OP is railing against...

Next time check yourself before you make yourself look bad.

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@mindcircus.1506 said:

@EagleDelta.4726 said:Why is this the norm in MMOs and why is it becoming even worse with GW2. If I spent time building something in my Software Dev job that only would be used for 3-6 months with no long term business value, I'd be out a job..... again, why is this acceptable with MMOs?

As a software developer, you don't understand an iterative content model?I find that very hard to believe.

Iterative code, yes. Workarounds, yes. But intentionally building something that has no long term business/customer value tends to be a something that is not encouraged at any company I've been at (except when it's an employer with tons of "Snowflake" customers). But Iterative implies evolution/changes/improvements.... not intentional abandonment.

woooosh

The closest this get's to iterative development is in the way @"Blocki.4931" describes it (though that's not iterative development on its own, IMO) and I'd rather not have a special personal instance every few episodes.... maybe one per expansion or so... but even then it's unnecessary. Instead iterate by building out an Instance that can be built upon as the game progresses rather than creating throw-away instances that they'll never use again. I know it's rooted heavily in not wanting to create content that players may miss out on, but it's time to get past that.

ArenaNet limits their development because a handful of current players won't log in at all during the current patch or because new players may come in and buy PoF after the episode has passed.

I really like the Sun's Refuge and that's why I'd rather they not "fire and forget" it and find a way to utilize it long term.

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There's also this possibility, based on ArenaNets history I highly doubt they would tell us outright if they had future plans for adding to Suns Refuge...all they've said is that it would be a personal content hub(to summarize)...now whether that content is all from EP4 or there will be more added in the future is something we will have to wait and see. I didn't expect any other kind of answer from the Dev, they do not reveal their plans until they're ready to...and that would even go for something like Suns Refuge.

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The way I see it, this content doesn't go away in 3-6 months. Maybe for the players that run through everything right now, but that content remains indefinitely for slower or newer players to enjoy. So it was designed to be relevant forever, but not necessarily for everyone always.

Isn't that the nature of MMO content?

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@"EagleDelta.4726" said:I guess I'm of the mindset that if something is "Expansion Quality" content, it's designed to endure not only when it was released, but be used throughout the game's remaining lifespan (or at least until the next expansion). How would people feel if Gliders and/or Mounts were not usable in Season 5 or Expansion 3? That'k kind of how I feel about this. It's not expansion level/quality content if it only lasts for a few months or even just for one patch (which was implied in the reply).

Granted, I'm looking at this through the glasses of someone use to WoW doing the same thing, but making that content or feature last for ~2 years (at the least). I also see it from a software dev/sys admin standpoint where spending man hours to create something that has no long term customer value is a big no-no.

Has there been any indication that this particular expansion like content will be not usable in the future?

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His mention of "expansion-like" content was referring to season 5 if you follow what he says exactly. I think Sun's Refuge is a fun little side-item that you can work towards and wasn't expecting it to be more. The fact that it had such little press and didn't even really get its own feature video kind of led me to the conclusion that it would be what it is and nothing more.

They will probably add little collections and tidbits to it here and there, and hopefully Aurene again as a nice little home for her to grow up in, but anyone that was expecting fully customizable housing was expecting way more than they should have.

It is rather strange though that they added all of the music to Sun's Refuge but as far as I can tell have not added those songs as an option or upgrade for guild halls. I would love to have these song options in my guild hall.

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I'll admit I have concerns.

I got very excited for Suns refuge and I do think Anet have oversold it bit.It's clear that a lot of people got the idea that Suns refuge would be some kind of new home instance or something similar to the Hall of Monuments.

Having completed I believe almost everything collection related to it with exception to the runes and Requiem armor.I'm starting to get the feeling that all these upgrades are little more than fancy decorations and mostly pointless NPC's..

Even the Wiki states that Sun's Refuge was based on the original concept of the home instance.It's disappointing that all those nodes, cats etc i've spent a lot of time, gold and real money getting are not present in the Refuge.

So far it's usefulness outside of story is almost non existant, if anything having to regularly return there to talk to a NPC to progress a collection is more of an inconvenience.The free teleport scroll will be useful as a Go to Jahai free card but the refuge itself doesn't feel like a home instance at all.. more a regular hub for 1 time only collections that gets a bit nicer every time you have to go back and talk to someone.

I expect the refuge will improve with future releases of living world 4, new collections and stuff may be added etc and we can only wait and find out if that's the case.But I think a lot of players are going to be left disappointed with the refuge if it does not become the home instance away from home instance that they got their hopes up for.If we could at least access our unlocked nodes in the Refuge at some point, that alone would probably be enough for most of us.

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Sun’s Refuge also comes with a dueling arena once you get one of the collections done. Not sure which. Didn’t see it in any of what was listed so I thought I’d mention it. It’s a little on the small side, but I’m sure that could be changed. Allows you to duel anyone you bring into the instance with you and into that arena.

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I was very disappointed to hear Anet explain Suns Refuge wont get big updates in the future.

But to be honest, right now I’m really loving it and having every collection put something inside of it is a great feeling of payoff for me, so I’m quite satisfied.

It feels as Anet can finally add significant things to the living world and we might have a bright future ahead of us!

EDIT: And I hope they continue on this path with collections, this really feels like a small expansion to me and I couldnt be more happy about it!

EDIT2: If only Anet could go back and add Collections for the weapon sets in Episode 1, that would be amazing and give me yet more stuff to do! :)

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