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NC Soft Q4 earnings report. GW2 25% decline over Q3


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This is my hot take. Anets gamble to cater to the vocal minority of toxic casuals on this board by giving access to everything and lowering the difficulty curve has backfired.Add to that they angered pvp, wvw, and hardcore pve players with build templates and specifically their monitization. These communities were already salty after the saga announcement and getting scraps.I can tell you after August 30 many of my raid friends left for ff14, and then build templates came, and rest of them followed suit. I am sure anets partially to blame for ff14 increased revenue.

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@Vayne.8563 said:Sure that's how it looks now, because of the effect HoT had on the playerbase over all.

You are saying that the game is in this situation because of the effect HOT had on the playerbase? May I remind you that there was a bump in revenue with POF and that 2018 had better results than 2019? The game reached this point due to their decisions, both forced by the layoffs and NCsoft, and their own direction in 2019.

Edit: 2014, 2017 and 2018 had comparable financial results, so the game is doing as well in 2017 and 2018 as it was doing back in 2014, you know the time you say the game was doing fine. Blaming HOT that was released in 2015 for the woes of the game is 2019 makes no sense as in 2017 and 2018 the game was back to 2014 levels and was stabilizing. Then 2019 came along and ruined everything. It's not HOT to blame, it's not POF to blame. It's solely the direction in 2019 that led to a considerable drop and more importantly the direction in Q4 2019 which has an even larger reduction.

Edit 2: the first sign of things to come was in Q4 2018, there was a very noticeable drop there. Then it stabilized at that low level for Q1 2019 up to Q3 2019, then took another nose dive. Not surprising anyone, Q4 2018 had zero new content releases and the only thing they released during Q4 2018, that is worth mentioning, is the roller-beetle racing.

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I wish people would stop panicking over quarterly figures. Especially when not even comparing the stats properly.

•Compare Q4 to Q4. ...which is still a drop.Probably to be expected, since the game is aging and the dedgaem train keeps on running far faster than marketing can keep up with it.

•Compare Q3->Q4 to another Q3->Q4.This is where it gets concerning. Q4 is the Giftmas season, a time to get the product out there, make bundle deals, and drum up excitement as players buy gifts for friends (like, say, new copies of GW2 to bring friends into the game?). Every other year shown has an upswing in revenue, or at least no significant shift from Q3. That 19Q4 tanked by a bit is cause for speculation.Is it the lack of expansion? Poor performance of content? Grind (and I mean blantant, wait-for-it grind) over reward? Frustration of constant CC? Lack of marketing? Lack of steady communication?Or maybe the for-cash offerings are not attractive enough? Maybe stop cutting off horns, ears, and good taste.The approach to the game obviously needs a shift if even Giftmas can't boost sales.

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The Skyscale grind and cost ran many out of the game. Now this last patch has been horrible! They have made the boss's so hard that you doing them is manly a waste of time because you will lose. Drakkor is a good example: Had over 60-70 people run it and lose and wasted 30 minutes for nothing. Second time of running it there were even more people but everyone dc and when they came back the timer kept going so another lose and waste of time. People were mad and said they won't waste their time on it any more. So as time goes fewer will run it and winning will be even less possible. With all of the map change due to lack of people they sure are shooting themselves in the foot while listening to the few raiders. I bet the majority are casual players wanting to have fun . Huge grinding of repeating the same thing 20 times for an achievement or dying all the time is NOT fun. No one likes to lose and this last patch has been crap.

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@Mytee.4752 said:The Skyscale grind and cost ran many out of the game.

The revenue held very stable for the time that episode 6 of season 4 was released (May 14, 2019 - September 16, 2019). Not sure what you are basing this on. Unless you are arguing that many players remained for the content of the finale, then decided months later to leave. Even then, the last quarter would have started 2 weeks AFTER the end of Season 4 and into the Prologue of the Saga (September 17, 2019 - November 19, 2019). Your opinion is not reflected in the numbers on that timeline.

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i used to buy some gems, but after realising it only makes them push more gemstore content instead of real updates i just stopped.fake announcement of "expansion like" content was big hit, but main issue for me was monetised templates. Basicly now i play only fractals and wvw(with way less builds), cuz i have other things to spend gold on than eq templates. i just cant bother swapping build for ow or raids now

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@Mytee.4752 said:The Skyscale grind and cost ran many out of the game. Now this last patch has been horrible! They have made the boss's so hard that you doing them is manly a waste of time because you will lose. Drakkor is a good example: Had over 60-70 people run it and lose and wasted 30 minutes for nothing. Second time of running it there were even more people but everyone dc and when they came back the timer kept going so another lose and waste of time. People were mad and said they won't waste their time on it any more. So as time goes fewer will run it and winning will be even less possible. With all of the map change due to lack of people they sure are shooting themselves in the foot while listening to the few raiders. I bet the majority are casual players wanting to have fun . Huge grinding of repeating the same thing 20 times for an achievement or dying all the time is NOT fun. No one likes to lose and this last patch has been kitten.

skyscale is not mandatory for anything. first timegate was certainly bad for ppl with small amount of time, but overall it wasnt issue.u cant complain that drakkar is to hard. its good. ppl just need to learn to listen to commander, or learn the fight by themselfes. Its good, OW brings content, where u have to do something more than auto attacking from long bow, and praying others will carry

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@Alyster.9470 said:Well, I blame to the overhyped icebrood saga announcement which made some people quit if they were not even going to. Continuous letdown releases such as build templates and no mention of elite specs also made it worse. Abandoning most content and not communicating with the community in time to give people something look forward to is just another thing that makes most people lose their faith thus they dont want to spend more on the game as they think its death is coming. Some good communication were made in the last few weeks but I guess that was a bit late considering all the backlash and drama already hit the point of no return for some players.

Agree.

Overhype and underdeliver is like the worst thing that can happen to an MMO. While ESO and FF14 are literally destroying with their expansions. My guess is that ANet could actually deliver a smaller scale expansion but decided to go with the stable LW release, which in my opinion was one of the worst decisions they could make.

After all, there are so many things that keep GW2 in the back of MMO market.

  • lack of meaningful class progression, BDO is a grindfest but the combat system makes this game
  • lack of subscription
  • lack of paid content, and I mean quests, campaigns, not extra bag slots
  • lack of expansions => lack of E-Specs (lack of class progression)
  • lack of communication for a long time
  • lack of meaningful in-game rewards
  • F2P business model all the way to the end-game
  • F2P users being able to compete against P2P players; you can actually play the game never spending a single penny thus not giving ANet any money
  • GemStore items being pushed to the front-line in order to make up for the lack of money caused by all of the above

And these are, what I think, what makes the game stagnant (this is very subjective):

  • horizontal progression - Masteries aren't a game-changer, Gliders are now unneccesary (like 90% of Masteries), Enemies have the same power level since Orr.

I really like GW2 for all it has, but when I reached out for other MMO, I realized how many fantastic systems these games have. They choose and focus on the best thing they have, be it combat or lore, story-telling, visuals, PvE, PvP. ANet trying to appeal to every single person out there is actually putting itself in the cage. For me, whatever ANet is going to add, it is sadly going to be long overdue, while most games being ahead. The great and unique combat system GW2 has is overshadowed by the lack of any new additions to it. Story is presented in huge time gaps and even if it's great, you are now playing against the exact same enemies, hell - with the exact same equipment.New implementations are abandonded after a while, so whoever enjoys them is going to stay in the same spot for a very long time, without any assurance that there might be new content added to it.

Maybe it's just me but I nowadays I simply can't get excited for anything new in the game. Whatever it might be, I feel like we all know the way it's gonna go.

Maybe ANet is in safe spot, maybe GW2 will live on another 8 years, but the decisions made right now are influencing the game and its future whether we like it or not.

TL;DR:ANet makes very poor decisions when it comes to the game design. They shift their focus from one thing to another which leaves players of dedicated content left to what they have without any future. GemStore and GW2's monetization model, and lack of any future expansions leave this game behind its competition. Sad, because GW2 is a great game.

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I also consider myself a fairly active buyer of the gem store, so I will insert my 5 cents into the conversation. (+1 to the need for an expansion. I'm sure that many leave, because they think that the game is close to the ending already)

And few points about revenue and why, even if I have money, I can't spend it at the gem-shop:

1. Very few "game-lore" skins. Yes, the alchemist glider has finally appeared, but most skins look like toys for small children. Yes, it's fun to buy a glider that transports your character with small dragons, but half of my characters are brutal and clad in steel, or focused on the magical theme. And there is almost nothing on this topic in the gem store.Moreover, we have a huge number of things related to elementalists (elements in all their forms), but almost nothing related to the mesmers. as example. Or warriors, Rangers, Deadeye, and many others.I have the ability to buy any item in the gem shop, but I can't find a suitable glider for a Charr-thief, for example. Or a glider for the classic-theme guardian, except for the already slightly banal white wings.

2. I would buy mounts if there were interesting models. For example, where are the armored mounts? There are fire-ones, corrupted-ones, but really armored - only skin dreadnought (lizard). Although it would seem that this is the easiest option for skins - and always popular, not as banal as horses. And as a result, even though I would like to buy mounts , I can't find almost anything that suits my game-thematic characters.There are no armored mounts, no magic mounts (those on whom mages could ride lore-wise - with some magic books at the saddle, runes, etc.).

3. Skins. Just imagine, I want to make a Mesmer-Mirage in the theme of classic arcane-magic (or battle-mage - not that outfits, that can't be combined with everything other): there are hundreds of skins with hearts, tons of skins with fire, tons of skins with a star theme. And nothing that is associated with the theme of Mirage - or, maybe, some runic-weapons, or assassin-weapons. Or something whitch can be paired with https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Arcane_Marksman_Rifle - for example. Tons of skins, which hard to connect to anything else.Well there is a weapon-set for Chronos at least (Time Keeper or something like that). But for most cases, it is very, very difficult to find something suitable for the topic of serious-thematic transmogrification (I can't even find epic full-plate armor for charr-warrior, which can cover every part of body - not small hat with open neck).

4. Improvements for the home instance. Yes, perhaps only the most persistent players buy them, but I think it's easier to make them than to draw new skins, and many people are pleased that the "house" (or rather its similarity) becomes more "complete". But there are almost no improvements for the home instance. I bought everything that was sold - but I can't "catch" flowerbeds for my house for a month (even write about this in corresponding theme on forum). And I think that the more possible (even paid) customization for a home instance, the better.However... a chair with hay and another new things for the elementalists: I think to remove all the characters on which I did not find a suitable appearance, and create elementalists. There will be a lot of variety there.

So yes, in the gem shop there is nothing to buy, even if there is a desire for it.

I could spend another couple of hundred dollars on a gem shop this month, but I have nothing to buy in the current store (._.)

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@maddoctor.2738 said:

@maddoctor.2738 said:Also keep in mind that Arenanet stopped selling Heart of Thorns in late Q3 and of course it was free for the entirety of Q4
Maybe that can explain part of the drop, depending on how well Heart of Thorns was selling.

Good point, while it may not account for the entire drop, it certainly contributed. But HOT now comes with POF, so there should be an increase in rev from an increase in value as a pack?

That depends on how much HOT was selling before. When the game went free to play, the Core Game was still selling on online retailers, meaning the game lost a good amount of revenue from going free back in 2015. I believe its' the same situation here, the content quality/quantity, the Saga announcement and so on, are good indicators of a drop in revenue, I won't deny that, but I think stopping the sale of a, popular, expansion is likely to have an impact on revenue too. It's a very big bump in Q4 from being so stable in the previous 3 quarters to be justified on content "quality" or the build templates in my opinion. Of course we'll never know.

The announcement of the last founder leaving spelled "game over" to many as well. I constantly hear the game had reached EOL. Time will tell. One of the devs I follow on twitter has "... of an unamed title" in the section of employment. Which could mean the one that was cancelled, or there is a new game in the works.

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@Cyninja.2954 said:

@Zok.4956 said:

@"Vayne.8563" said:It's just so easy to say expansion = a win. That doesn't always prove to be the case.

You are right. It has to be a good expansion (quality and quantity) that attracts players and reviewers from media. And the timing of release has to be right. And the marketing and the coverage in (special interest) media has to be good. And of course several other factors…

Anets original idea was to do this different than the competitors, so they invented the LW as a better alternative than expansions. So you do not have to wait 1-2 years for the next expansion whithout new content, then play the expansion, then wait again 1-2 years etc.

Instead the LW idea promised a nearly continuous stream of fresh/new content. So there will be no long waiting period for new content. And Anet realised that and delivered in a two-weekly release cycle for some time. Which was new, no competitor could do this before. I call this the "golden time of new content". :)

Maybe it was because too much content delivered too fast for lots of players, maybe it was because lots of the content could no be replayed later, maybe they put too much ressources away for other secret projects, but after that "golden time", the "average new content per month" ratio (not measured scientificly, just my gut feeling) decreased a lot over time and is now on a very low level compared to the "golden time".

My guess is: If we still would get good content and also the same amout of fresh content per i.e. month like in the "golden time", nearly no player would ask for an expansion.

The Saga was announced/hyped as the "next big thing" (my words, not theirs) and if I remember Mike Z. correctly, he said, the Saga fits much better to how Anet wants to deliver content than an expansion. I believe he said the truth. However, I am not sure if how (much) Anet wants to deliver content matches the needs and wishes of the player base.

Competitors are releasing content drops throughout their expansions, so that covers the Living World aspect of GW2, even if the LW is to some extent more polished versus competitor content (and it is, no matter how one might stand towards Living World content. It is very polished and well made).

Expansions create buzz, attention and most important, they bind players to the game for extended periods of time via big content drops.
A player bound longer period to a game is more likely to get others to join him.

Now this is anecdotal, but when I mention Living World releases in my circle of longtime gaming friends (as far back as our Diablo 1 times together), all I get is a mild: oh is that game still a thing? If ANY expansion drops for any game, the buzz we have about it is far bigger, no matter if all of us are going to play it or not (for example not all of us played or gave BfA a try, but we certainly discussed it).

That's what Living World, no matter how good it is, will never achieve.

This maybe a case of good idea on paper but not as much for execution. Getting a steady stream of content drops sounds good but the difference is in the unknown. With large content releases you have the concept I don't know what's next. Now in some this leads to rushing thru all the content and missing many of the nooks that may be there and they just go straight to the end and say 'that's it?' while they missed a lot of the content. In others the larger drops will lead to more exploration and they also lead to what do I spend time in doing since I don't know what else is out there. The feeling I get from the LS is that it will be a couple of hours and than that's it for a couple of months. I am sure I am missing more activities but the drip feed doesn't hold the attention.

Quite often in the extended LS it also feels like the episodes are disjointed because you forget what two EP before were even about since it had been that long and many people don't repeat the older ones before playing the newer ones. If you play them all together after the final one is released they play much better and make much more sense even if you speed thru or take your time. An expansion giving you all of that in one stream lends itself more to replayability as you might take multiple toons thru it and its takes some time. With the smaller LS once you do that twice you feel done since it's just a sixth of a series.

The LS also feels like it follows the PoF model versus the HoT model. Now people's mileage will vary here and when we get to the end of the saga we might see it differently. To me PoF lent itself to be something you played straight thru, there was little reason to explore. I don't think I even completed any of the maps since there was no reason to do so. HoT forcing people not to be able to go in that straight path lead to more exploration and felt that it expanded while playing thru it. When you try and use that same concept in smaller releases that idea fairs even worse. People are done in a day and then are even more in that state of, off to another game I go. With a larger release people have to decide do I spend time doing 'x' or do I do 'y'. With the smaller release there is only 'x' and once done they feel there is nothing more even if there are other smaller easter eggs out there waiting.

I think this difference is also drawn between the people that feel they already have more than enough to do and those that feel that they have done it. LS for people that have lists to do fit rather well, its an injection of new but doesn't slow them from other content. For people on the other end it's not an issue since you know you can be done the same night as the release. With an expansion the first set feel pressured they may not have time to finish what they have while the second set have to decide where do I spend that time.

And again some of the features being released are great fillers in an expansion but as stand alones they are not that thrilling. Let's take cooking as an example since I feel Anet thinks that its expansion level content but players may not. If released together with other things player would have had to make the choice do I explore cooking or do I go off and try this new world boss. As stand alones they burn thru both and then they are done.

I also agree with others, throw away masteries that don't progress outside of a map are not a good way to go. If a mastery is added it should lead to new areas in older maps, you need that layering in if you want people to feel the need to acquire that mastery, else it feels like busy work.

Just some 2 cents.

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@Burnfall.9573 said:All eyes are on Thief Profession and Stealth in the upcoming patch. To once again be the deciding factor of Guild Wars 2 fate.All eyes are on Anet to either deal with Toxicity with a blow or to continue minimizing it?

Toxicity is a serious threat to healthy competition. Making excuses for it or to even try to minimize it by throwing it under the carpet will only result in Chaos.

What we are witnessing here is the birth of Chaos and it will not end here until Thief Profession is completely redesigned from the ground-up with a complete removal of Stealth mechanic in the game

or simply 'kill-switch' Thief Profession

-no alternatives or short-cut to this-

(within the last 3 previous months; large guild members totalling 800+ walked away from the game including new players who have huge influence to the population. Also not forgetting a large portion of streamers quiting guild wars 2 alongside with many of their followers due to Toxicity running freely in the game)

I play all classes, no thiefs aren't impacting my gameplay even in WvW or sPvP. Replayable and new content are. Where are the new Elites. Where are the new WvW maps, where are the new sPvP maps and game modes. Where are alliances, guild goals and missions. Where are the rewards that would draw interest. Where are the new things to achieve and work towards. Where are the new dungeons and fractals. Where are the new meta events that are fun and rewarding and have something to work towards that would challenge do I ranked sPvP or this event that would get me new gear for my WvW build-out. No thiefs aren't the end all issue even in teh slightest, at least not to me.

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@maddoctor.2738 said:

@"Cyninja.2954" said:Warframe has regular huge content drops though in form of new classes and huge expansion like content drops. So yes, if individual content drops rival expansions in content, sure then that would suffice. We are miles away from that though in GW2's Living World. Also the pace of which Warframe delivers its content is far more similar to expansions, than 2-3 month content releases.

Oh I agree that the two games are miles apart. I just gave an example of a game that doesn't release "expansions" and is doing very well, if not too well. And my belief that the Living World could be like that too. It's obviously not on that level (not even close) but the Living World can become a way to release meaningful/good quality content that rivals expansions. I believe that the Living World -could- be a substitute for expansions, it's just that Arenanet's scope for it is way too limited. They -still- treat it as filler content, even though there is nothing to fill for!

The games are fairly diff tho to say one is getting alot of content, often and its very meaningfull. Warframe is a grinding game through and through and gw2 imo is nowhere near that.

They do get big content updates that would "rival" expansions of other mmo lites but it usually comes at a 2+ years and on some of tgeir goals they been consistently missing the mark both in quality and release cadense. The last couple of years were esp rough/bad.

Cinematic quests, the thing closest to lw id say is better often in production value in regards to story (very rarely in regards of non story content, where it surpsases the content a lw update can put out) but those updates come at a much, much slower pace, id say 1 cinematic quest takes as long as 3 or 4 episodes of gw2 lw.

Honestly warframe thrived as long as its biggest competition was one: doing badly and two: b2p, since other games have released that are in a good state and f2p to an extend it has fallen off to the wayside.

Imagine if every next episode of the Living World we got a new Elite Spec, tied to the story of the episode, unlocked through actually playing the latest content. An elite spec that is part of the story for a change, with lore/story and an unlock method that involves doing things for that Elite spec. A Ranger that has to interact with the Druids to learn how to become like them, a Holosmith that needs to craft their own Photon Forge before they can master it, and so on. Those are examples using existing elite specs, but I think anyone can understand the idea. But of course this won't happen due to how the episodes are monetized, that kind of system would make the Elite Specs content "locked" behind episode purchase. One can dream right?

I wouldnt want that tbh, not the way to unlock elite specs, that sounds cool and ff14 does it with their expansions similarly, but, getting an elite spec per lw wouldnt only be meh for players that didnt get their favourite class' elite spec (imagine being the main of the class that got it last) but also it would prob scewe pvp balance for that one class. On the other hand balancing one elite spec at a time would prob be easier for anet, still, who wants to see the others get new stuff while they get nothing (mmmh pvp, wvw)

Ultimately ppl dont like to not have their elite spec unlockes in the first couple minutes of a patch ( as they dont like masteries taking longer) so maybe having elte specs feel like interactive quest collections will trigger some (some will absolutely love it tho).

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@"Loules.8601" said:I also consider myself a fairly active buyer of the gem store, so I will insert my 5 cents into the conversation. (+1 to the need for an expansion. I'm sure that many leave, because they think that the game is close to the ending already)

And few points about revenue and why, even if I have money, I can't spend it at the gem-shop:

1. Very few "game-lore" skins. Yes, the alchemist glider has finally appeared, but most skins look like toys for small children. Yes, it's fun to buy a glider that transports your character with small dragons, but half of my characters are brutal and clad in steel, or focused on the magical theme. And there is almost nothing on this topic in the gem store.Moreover, we have a huge number of things related to elementalists (elements in all their forms), but almost nothing related to the mesmers. as example. Or warriors, Rangers, Deadeye, and many others.I have the ability to buy any item in the gem shop, but I can't find a suitable glider for a Charr-thief, for example. Or a glider for the classic-theme guardian, except for the already slightly banal white wings.

2. I would buy mounts if there were interesting models. For example, where are the armored mounts? There are fire-ones, corrupted-ones, but really armored - only skin dreadnought (lizard). Although it would seem that this is the easiest option for skins - and always popular, not as banal as horses. And as a result, even though I would like to buy mounts , I can't find almost anything that suits my game-thematic characters.There are no armored mounts, no magic mounts (those on whom mages could ride lore-wise - with some magic books at the saddle, runes, etc.).

3. Skins. Just imagine, I want to make a Mesmer-Mirage in the theme of classic arcane-magic (or battle-mage - not that outfits, that can't be combined with everything other): there are hundreds of skins with hearts, tons of skins with fire, tons of skins with a star theme. And nothing that is associated with the theme of Mirage - or, maybe, some runic-weapons, or assassin-weapons. Or something whitch can be paired with https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Arcane_Marksman_Rifle - for example. Tons of skins, which hard to connect to anything else.Well there is a weapon-set for Chronos at least (Time Keeper or something like that). But for most cases, it is very, very difficult to find something suitable for the topic of serious-thematic transmogrification (I can't even find epic full-plate armor for charr-warrior, which can cover every part of body - not small hat with open neck).

4. Improvements for the home instance. Yes, perhaps only the most persistent players buy them, but I think it's easier to make them than to draw new skins, and many people are pleased that the "house" (or rather its similarity) becomes more "complete". But there are almost no improvements for the home instance. I bought everything that was sold - but I can't "catch" flowerbeds for my house for a month (even write about this in corresponding theme on forum). And I think that the more possible (even paid) customization for a home instance, the better.However... a chair with hay and another new things for the elementalists: I think to remove all the characters on which I did not find a suitable appearance, and create elementalists. There will be a lot of variety there.

So yes, in the gem shop there is nothing to buy, even if there is a desire for it.

I could spend another couple of hundred dollars on a gem shop this month, but I have nothing to buy in the current store (._.)

Im also a frequent critic of the lack of consistency, lack of "themed" skins in paid and no-paid content. after POF its get a little better but still hard make thematic/"lore" characters in GW2..

In heart of thorns for example, we had bladed armor, but no bladed weapons, we have auric weapons, but no auric armor.

In POF if u want a "Forged" themed character, all stuff is scattered: weapons is random loot, warbeast armor is crafted, and the backpiece is gemstore. War god weapons is gem store. if POF was a PWE game(that produced neverwinter) u will have a warbeast armor, warbeast weapons, warbeast backpiece, or "Forged" all obtainable in maps/bosses with a some title "warbeast", and just remembering that PWE is a company greed as crazy.

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@Vayne.8563 said:You saying the game would be dead without HoT doesn't make it true. It would simply have differenet players. Casuals left, hard core players came in. It didn't do well for the company in my opinion. I mean the game wasn't dying before HoT and after HOT it had lost a lot of steam, whether HoT is more popular now or not.While i agree with you that the direction HoT went into was probably not that beneficial for the game, and that an expansion aimed more at the majority of players (instead of hardcore minority) would probably have been a better idea, i do remember that time vividly, and i do remember, that everyone wanted expansion. LS2 just wasn't enough for players, and the game population was visibly dropping - and that got stopped only when HoT got announced.I agree with Cyninja, that the game would have been dead without HoT. Or, to be more precise, it would have been dead if Anet tried to continue with just the LS model, instead of releasing an expansion.

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@Vayne.8563 said:

@Zok.4956 said:

@Vayne.8563 said:It's just so easy to say expansion = a win. That doesn't always prove to be the case.

You are right. It has to be a good expansion (quality and quantity) that attracts players and reviewers from media. And the timing of release has to be right. And the marketing and the coverage in (special interest) media has to be good. And of course several other factors…

Anets original idea was to do this different than the competitors, so they invented the LW as a better alternative than expansions. So you do not have to wait 1-2 years for the next expansion whithout new content, then play the expansion, then wait again 1-2 years etc.

Instead the LW idea promised a nearly continuous stream of fresh/new content. So there will be no long waiting period for new content. And Anet realised that and delivered in a two-weekly release cycle for some time. Which was new, no competitor could do this before. I call this the "golden time of new content". :)

Maybe it was because too much content delivered too fast for lots of players, maybe it was because lots of the content could no be replayed later, maybe they put too much ressources away for other secret projects, but after that "golden time", the "average new content per month" ratio (not measured scientificly, just my gut feeling) decreased a lot over time and is now on a very low level compared to the "golden time".

My guess is: If we still would get good content and also the same amout of fresh content per i.e. month like in the "golden time", nearly no player would ask for an expansion.

The Saga was announced/hyped as the "next big thing" (my words, not theirs) and if I remember Mike Z. correctly, he said, the Saga fits much better to how Anet wants to deliver content than an expansion. I believe he said the truth. However, I am not sure if how (much) Anet wants to deliver content matches the needs and wishes of the player base.

Competitors are releasing content drops throughout their expansions, so that covers the Living World aspect of GW2, even if the LW is to some extent more polished versus competitor content (and it is, no matter how one might stand towards Living World content. It is very polished and well made).

Expansions create buzz, attention and most important, they bind players to the game for extended periods of time via big content drops.
A player bound longer period to a game is more likely to get others to join him.

Now this is anecdotal, but when I mention Living World releases in my circle of longtime gaming friends (as far back as our Diablo 1 times together), all I get is a mild: oh is that game still a thing? If ANY expansion drops for any game, the buzz we have about it is far bigger, no matter if all of us are going to play it or not (for example not all of us played or gave BfA a try, but we certainly discussed it).

That's what Living World, no matter how good it is, will never achieve.

I am absolutely convinced that this game was doing better before HoT came out. Heart of Thorns, as much as I like it (and I do like it) was a mistake. Not only because it had a bad release and a lot of bugs, but because Anet listened to a small but very loud portion of the playerbase that demanded harder content. We needed something like PoF difficulty first and Heart of Thorns would have been a decent third expansion. Anet needed to ramp up the difficulty. The company seems to have a history of over compensating.

An expansion, in and of itself, can bring interest to a game, can make money for a game, but an expansion can also sink a game. I think Anet learned that lesson and they're hesitant to put the time and energy into something which could, like HoT, just as easily backfire.

That would relate way more to PoF, which needed multiple reworks to even sustain player attention, than HoT, which is considered some of the games best content longevity wise. HoT might have been a tad to challenging for the player base on release.

The game would be dead without HoT. If you think otherwise, you are not remembering the 12 months pre HoT the same way I do, which were basically an entire player base waiting on new content and only holding on because an expansion was promised. The continued living world releases of Living World Season 1 had failed as a concept by then. The time pre HoT was CARRIED by hope for an expansion. Not unlike the hope for the content reveal last year by the way.

We'll see what the future brings I guess.

You saying the game would be dead without HoT doesn't make it true. It would simply have differenet players. Casuals left, hard core players came in. It didn't do well for the company in my opinion. I mean the game wasn't dying before HoT and after HOT it had lost a lot of steam, whether HoT is more popular now or not.

Also people go where the rewards are. If they made PoF metas the most rewarding metas out of the gate, people would be doing PoF metas. It's just not possible to draw actual conclusions due to the complexity of the issues. I surmsie the game would be healthier now if that first expansion had been better for casuals, even at the expense of harder core players. That's obviously an opinion I can't prove. Nor can you prove the game would be dead if it weren't for HoT. Sure that's how it looks now, because of the effect HoT had on the playerbase over all. But that's not to say we wouldn't have completely different players in greater numbers. No one can really say one way or another.

So why isnt it "recovering" and "growing" post pof, that not only had easier content but has had less "w8ing for stuff to happen" time as well between its releases (for the same type of content ppl played prehot).

Truth is both expansions failed but for diff regards, hot failed because it didnt give content to the more casual and story driven part of the community post hot, while pof failed because it didnt take the things that made hot great while trying to solve its short commings. One expansion let down the casual story fans the other let down everybody else.

As you said anet is overcompensating

And now we are 3 years without an expansion (which is similar to the time window prehot?) and the game isnt growing, infact it has stagnated at 11mil since the release of pof, it had one of its worst quarters since forever and everyone and their mother, story lovers, casual, hardcore, pvp, wvw players want an expansion because thats content for all of them.

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@TheGrimm.5624 said:

@Burnfall.9573 said:All eyes are on Thief Profession and Stealth in the upcoming patch. To once again be the deciding factor of Guild Wars 2 fate.All eyes are on Anet to either deal with Toxicity with a blow or to continue minimizing it?

Toxicity is a serious threat to healthy competition. Making excuses for it or to even try to minimize it by throwing it under the carpet will only result in Chaos.

What we are witnessing here is the birth of Chaos and it will not end here until Thief Profession is completely redesigned from the ground-up with a complete removal of Stealth mechanic in the game

or simply 'kill-switch' Thief Profession

-no alternatives or short-cut to this-

(within the last 3 previous months; large guild members totalling 800+ walked away from the game including new players who have huge influence to the population. Also not forgetting a large portion of streamers quiting guild wars 2 alongside with many of their followers due to Toxicity running freely in the game)

I play all classes, no thiefs aren't impacting my gameplay even in WvW or sPvP. Replayable and new content are. Where are the new Elites. Where are the new WvW maps, where are the new sPvP maps and game modes. Where are alliances, guild goals and missions. Where are the rewards that would draw interest. Where are the new things to achieve and work towards. Where are the new dungeons and fractals. Where are the new meta events that are fun and rewarding and have something to work towards that would challenge do I ranked sPvP or this event that would get me new gear for my WvW build-out. No thiefs aren't the end all issue even in teh slightest, at least not to me.

i do know there are many other main factors that affected the decline as a whole and Thief Profession played a major role in it. There are more Truth to this matter and this isn't mainly about Thief Profession. I'm sorry if i come across as singling out Thief Profession this way as being the only main factor

You raise important factors as well and i agree with you

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@Evon Skyfyre.9673 said:

@maddoctor.2738 said:Also keep in mind that Arenanet stopped selling Heart of Thorns in late Q3 and of course it was free for the entirety of Q4
Maybe that can explain part of the drop, depending on how well Heart of Thorns was selling.

Good point, while it may not account for the entire drop, it certainly contributed. But HOT now comes with POF, so there should be an increase in rev from an increase in value as a pack?

That depends on how much HOT was selling before. When the game went free to play, the Core Game was still selling on online retailers, meaning the game lost a good amount of revenue from going free back in 2015. I believe its' the same situation here, the content quality/quantity, the Saga announcement and so on, are good indicators of a drop in revenue, I won't deny that, but I think stopping the sale of a, popular, expansion is likely to have an impact on revenue too. It's a very big bump in Q4 from being so stable in the previous 3 quarters to be justified on content "quality" or the build templates in my opinion. Of course we'll never know.

The announcement of the last founder leaving spelled "game over" to many as well. I constantly hear the game had reached EOL. Time will tell. One of the devs I follow on twitter has "... of an unamed title" in the section of employment. Which could mean the one that was cancelled, or there is a new game in the works.

That dev in her own words never worked on gw2, i dont know why people care what she has to say. Its like people in wow worrying about what a d3 or hearthstone dev has to say.

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@"zealex.9410" said:The games are fairly diff tho to say one is getting alot of content, often and its very meaningfull. Warframe is a grinding game through and through and gw2 imo is nowhere near that.

I gave an example of a game surviving without expansions, nothing more than that. Guild Wars 2 survived a few years without an expansion too, it's not that expansions are essential. The content we are getting outside expansions is just not worth as much as the content we got in the expansions. They -could- deliver everything we got in expansions through the living world, but they won't for their own reasons.

I wouldnt want that tbh, not the way to unlock elite specs, that sounds cool and ff14 does it with their expansions similarly, but, getting an elite spec per lw wouldnt only be meh for players that didnt get their favourite class' elite spec (imagine being the main of the class that got it last) but also it would prob scewe pvp balance for that one class. On the other hand balancing one elite spec at a time would prob be easier for anet, still, who wants to see the others get new stuff while they get nothing (mmmh pvp, wvw)

The easiest solution would be to limit the spec to PVE until all of them are ready. But that would complicate things a lot. The other way to go about it is to release the first "part" of all elite spec "quest lines" in one episode, then follow it up in the next ones. I don't know I'm brainstorming ways of getting new elite specs through the living world, which is apparently what a lot of players call "expansion level" content (and it is)

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@"Arden.7480" said:To be absolutely honest, now we know why we got so many news, posts, everything will be perfect in 2021, we lay the groundwork etc.

This improvement of communication was caused by this massive drop of money.

That can be read in both ways: more positive and more negative, first is that the community has spoken with their wallets, and that's why there is some kind of improvement on PR side. second on the other hand means they actually panicked before the NCsoft's report and wanted to cover this massive drop by milions of news, i mean that's why we got this big post from Andrew Gray few days ago.

just look at reddit rn, like people still believe in bright future https://imgur.com/a/A1xzaNp

Everything looks so beautiful now, right? I am not sure, for me it's just another mirage, and people will believe there is an oasis, while it's going to be just a dry desert.

I think the problem is, there are many of us (like me) who enjoy the whole as a whole, but get fed up with constant wasted potential (Drakkar....). I've tried endlessly to defend the game week in and week out, but I'm struggling to find something to grasp onto when they squander episodes so badly like the last two. It's not even that they are outright bad, it's just they don't realise the potential in the product they have. I'm not even sure they care about their Universe anymore.

And if that perception - right or wrong - is being felt by a portion of the base, then we aren't going to be obliged to part with money here and instead spend it elsewhere (which is what I now do - GW2 just doesn't move up the list of my whale-like spending any longer).

They need to do something big to restore a waning confidence

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@Burnfall.9573 said:All eyes are on Thief Profession and Stealth in the upcoming patch. To once again be the deciding factor of Guild Wars 2 fate.All eyes are on Anet to either deal with Toxicity with a blow or to continue minimizing it?

Toxicity is a serious threat to healthy competition. Making excuses for it or to even try to minimize it by throwing it under the carpet will only result in Chaos.

What we are witnessing here is the birth of Chaos and it will not end here until Thief Profession is completely redesigned from the ground-up with a complete removal of Stealth mechanic in the game

or simply 'kill-switch' Thief Profession

-no alternatives or short-cut to this-

(within the last 3 previous months; large guild members totalling 800+ walked away from the game including new players who have huge influence to the population. Also not forgetting a large portion of streamers quiting guild wars 2 alongside with many of their followers due to Toxicity running freely in the game)

What are you even talking about? Remove stealth why? And what does that have to do with toxicity? This makes no sense...

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