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Arenanet, we have to talk! (Personal thoughts and ideas of a common gamer)

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Dear Arenanet,

I started playing Guild Wars 2 in January 2015 and stick to the game since then. A lot of improvements and expansions came over time. Some were great, some were at least questionable. But in my opinion you did a overall good job with Guild Wars 2. Nevertheless there are certain things that go wrong. The recent sales and player numbers go down, and I have a few ideas about the reasons. Like I said in the title I'm just a simple gamer without any experience of marketing or gaming development. But I want to share my personal point of view to things that might help you to get Guild Wars 2 back to its former popularity. The potential is there.

.Frustrating item grindingYeah, let's start with one of the biggest flaws I see in the game. Of course there should be some "work" to get certain items, whether they are loot from bosses or they are items you have to pay with a map currency you need to collect first. Most things in Guild Wars 2 work good this way. I'm fine to spend some of my time on doing repetitive events, farming bosses and such. But that only keeps me entertained to a certain degree. For example, I'd like to have a skin from one of the raid wings, lets say the Malicious Sparking Dagger. There is a low chance that you drop that item by defeating the Vale Guardian. But you are out of luck and can't get it, even if you try it every week. Then you have the option to buy it instead by using Magnetite Shards and gold. But in the end, you get your wanted item in a decent amount of time. Sadly, there are certain items which are almost impossible to get for certain reasons. Let me list some samples:

  1. Wurmslayer's ArmorYou can receive those ascended armor pieces by defeating the Triple Trouble event in the Bloodtide Coast. But it's nearly impossible to get at least one of those items. The drop rate is extremely rare. Even if you try to participate on this event every day, you need an organized group with three commanders and direct communication on a Teamspeak or Discord server. Further more, the event can still fail, if there aren't enough people for each group. And in the end you have no guarantee that you really drop a lootbox you can choose one item from. You may spend one year trying to do that event each day, but in the end you don't get what you want because you are out of luck. That's frustrating and shouldn't be in a game. Games are there for having fun. And certain work should be rewarded. But grinding events that have a high risk of failing is senseless and demotivating.

  2. Weapons of the SunlessLike the Wurmslayer Armor you can receive ascended weapons by defeating Tequatl in the Splintered Coast. Unlike the Triple Trouble a full organized group isn't necessary here. Still, the drop rate to get one of those weapons is extremely rare. After playing Guild Wars 2 and doing this event at least once or twice a week I only got one lootbox I could choose an item from. Again you can't tell when you will finish collecting all of skins. There is a good chance that you spend five years grinding Tequatl each day and get nothing besides the guaranteed loot. Keeping players motivated doesn't work this way.I have some ideas to change that, but let me add two more items on this list first

  3. Weapons of the ScionYou may have an extremely rare chance to get those weapons from a Mistborn Coffer when you finish events on the Dragonfall map. You also have a one-time guaranteed drop after opening 1000 of those coffers. Wow, an increased chance to get those weapons compared to the Weapons of the Sunless or the Wurmslayer's Armor ... not really. Some people may think that the drop rate is better with an one-time guaranteed drop and the lootboxes you can open more than once per day. And still, that didn't help to keep players on the map. It's still too ominous, when you get the wanted skin after the first guaranteed drop. 1000 boxes may give you a slight hint, but how many boxes do you have to open to get the second one? 1000? 10000? Who knows. That's ridiculous and not what players want.

  4. Visage of the Khan-UrSeptember 17, 2019 Prologue: Bound by Blood was released. With that release a bunch of new achievements came into the game. One of those achievements was Merchandise Collector. Completing it rewards you with a nice and funny skin (and yeah, I like Metal Legion!). Most items are obtainable by doing events and such. But there is one, that is impossible to get, the Visage of the Khan-Ur. When you are out of luck to drop it, you can buy it on the trading post, but for 7.000 gold (April 10, 2020). But you don't have to finish the achievement to get the skin I'm talking about (Band Shirt). You can also get it by spending 5 gold and 200 Hatched Chilis at Grothmar Valley instead. Same item, but without the costs of 7.000 gold. So, how could you possible solve it?It's true that the requirements to finish the achievement were reduced, so the expensive item isn't necessary. But that change came at November 19, 2019. A bit too late not to frustrate players. Also, wouldn't it be better to increase the drop chance instead here? The skins of the Visage of the Khan-Ur are only wearable by charr characters. It's true that the community is responsible for the high price at the trading post. But the high price just indicates how extremely rare the drop rate for the item is, not fitting for something you only can use for specific characters. And it's not even ascended, just exotic.

There are some more items which require hard grinding and spending time on frustrating or boring events. But I will keep my list to those four examples. But what can you do now to solve this? Well, for the Visage of the Khan-Ur it's simple: Increase the drop rate to the same like the Shoulders of the Ebon Vanguard Choice Chest. This drops at the Shiverpeaks Pass strike mission. And if you are out of luck, you can buy it for around 15 gold at the trading post. That's more than fine to me.But what can you do that the other items? Not so complicated as well. Use the system you have in the raids. There you have a chance to get items as a drop. But if you are out of luck, you can buy those items of shards and gold to get them this way instead. How might that work for the Sunless Weapons and the Wurmslayer's Armor? Each world boss could drop an amount of "World Boss Shards", limited by 150 per week. And for 600 of those shards and 20 gold you could pick an item you want from a vendor, just like you can do in the raids. This way you have the chance to drop the items from the events, or you can collect them in another way, if you are out of luck.For the Scion weapons you have two options: You could use 250 of each living world season 4 map currencies to buy a box, maybe limited by once per week. Or you get "Aurene Shards" from each meta events from those maps, again limited by 150 per week. And you need 600 from those and 20 gold to get one of those weapons.This way, players have like a perspective when they have their items they want. With all the games around people need motivation and reasons to stay with a game. Spending some ominous amount of time on something without being rewarded won't keep people to play Guild Wars 2. That's my honest opinion.

.Time GatesAdding time gates for collecting items (like the 150 magnetite shards limit in the raids) is fine to me. That prevents that people grind the content (that makes me wonder why players have to grind stuff doing other things, see above). But if you add time gates for other things like achievements, it's another topic. Visions of the Past: Steel and Fire brought us a bunch of new achievements, new currencies and such. But to finish these achievements you need at least five weeks to finish them, thanks to their design elements. You need to open the Emissary Chest multiple times to get progress in those achievements, though it's only possible once per week. Like the collection for the skyscale which has various time gates as well, such stretching of content is more frustrating than keeping people busy.

Here is a list of acceptable (my opinion) time gates:

  • weekly limit of currencies (Magnetite Shards, Gaeting Crystals)
  • weekly loot limit of raid bosses and raid events
  • daily loot limit of world bosses, dungeons, meta events, strike missions, hero challenges, renown hearts etc.

And a list of unacceptable time gates:

  • time gates for achievements
  • time gates for collections
  • daily limit of collectable recourse nodes and similar (nodes of the living world 3 and 4, volatile magic, unbound magic)

There are also some time gates for crafting, which are at least questionable nowadays in my opinion:

I can understand that ascended items needed a time gate when they came into the game. But today it's very easy to get ascended things. So a strict time gate here doesn't make any sense anymore. Five per day would be better, if not unlimited.

."Old" ContentGuild Wars 2 was released August 28, 2012. Since then many new things came into the play and expanded the gaming experiences. But even old things are worth to be taken care of. Thanks to the growing world more things can be added, new aspects of something can be shown etc. But even when old content can't be expanded somehow, it needs constant support and fixes, depending on what the players want. Time changes, and so do interests and wishes. Many people I spoke with said, that Arenanet wouldn't work with any of old things. But is that wise? Isn't that a missed chance to do something that might help improve the game? Here are my thoughts about some of the old content that should get some attention again.

  1. Guild MissionsThese activities are meant to do things with other guild members. Most aren't very hard to solve. Yet there are things that could make them more interesting again to keep players in Guild Wars 2.There are many nice new spots for the guild trek on the maps that came out after the original release (Maguuma Wastes, Heart of Maguuma, the maps of Path of Fire and Living World Season 3/4/5). And with new maps new locations become available.Guild challenges could be also expanded with new little missions, like protecting an outpost, or defeating an upcoming army. Both are possible on all the new maps. And it's easy to give them a bit of story to make sense.For the guild bounties it shouldn't be a problem to add the bounties to the rotation that were introduced by Path of Fire. Also new targets with foes shouldn't be difficult add. The new maps give so many opportunities for enemies to search, find and defeat.The guild puzzles and the guild races can be expanded easily as well. I'm not talking about 50 new things at once. But a growing number depending on the map releases certainly impacts the gaming experiences. It's "just" expanding the things that are already in the game. That should be an easy way to give players more content to have fun with.

  2. DungeonsWith the recent introduction of Visions of the Past: Steel and Fire another part of the living story was released. I can't help but think that the Forging Steel is something like the old dungeons. So, why not working with the dungeons as well? Like I said in the beginning of old content chapter, the dungeons need a constant support. There are quite some things possible with them. It shouldn't take too much afford to add a challenge mode to them, for example for better loot (doubled or something). Also new dungeons are possible to give more story background or new places to explore. Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire have a lot of potential areas of those dungeons. And even without completely new ones, working with the old dungeons can bring back lost players to Guild Wars 2. There is no need to reinvent the wheel at all to add new things to a game. Expand the things you have already. And people will be happy.A little side note: Fyonna's Path of Twilight Arbor has been replaced by the Aetherpath. Like me many people never had the change to play that path. It shouldn't be hard to bring it back as the "forth" path of the Twilight Arbor (I will also talk about removed content later).

  3. Guild HallsWhen Heart of Thorns was released October 23, 2015 two guild halls came into the game. With Path of Fire a third hall was added in September 22, 2017. Since then, nothing new was added there. The current max. level there is 69. But there are some more things that could be added: crafting stations, trading post, bank, black lion weapon specialist, mystic forge (with the trader as well), laurel merchant etc.It was so much fun to build and improve the hall with my guild members. Adding more content to the hall would be fun again, collect materials, do events together, spend time in the game. Also new halls besides the existing three would be nice. There could be one in each main region like Ascalon, Shiverpeak Mountains, Kryta, Maguuma and Orr with their own specific architecture and looks. Also, Claw Island would be a great guild outpost people could rebuilt and defend (as a guild mission maybe, or as a side story).

  4. Daily Activities (Crab Toss, Sanctum Sprint, Southsun Survival, Keg Brawl)These little activities are funny PvP-based events that rotate on a daily bases. Sadly their design don't allow any group-based fun which is sad. That's certainly a flaw if you do some group-like activity like the Keg Brawl, but you can't really do something as as group. Also, it would be fun to have these as a guild activity you can do just with your guild members, like any other PvP content. A missed chance to give people things to do together. And that was one of the main ideas of Guild Wars 2. It certainly needs some re-organization how people can join the activity, but it shouldn't be too hard to do so. It's just something like the activities themselves: having fun, being silly, without the serious business from the other PvP content.

.ImprovementsGuild Wars 2 is almost 8 years old. Though it still doesn't look ugly compared to new games. It's really fantastic what you managed to get out of such an old graphic engine. Though to keep things fresh, constant improvements are necessary. As far as I can see the limits of the current engine are reached. Whatever you do won't improve the graphics in the game anymore. Like I said before, I have no experience in game development. Though it should be possible to transfer the aged Guild Wars 2 engine to something new, for example the Cry Engine or the Unreal Engine. That certainly is a lot of work. But I can understand, that new players won't come to a game that has "old school" graphics.With the new generation of consoles coming out soon people will support games that provide an up to date graphics (and gameplay etc.). Sadly a 8 years-old engine can't do that. But even if you keep that old engine, a support of DirectX 11 should be possible. Players of Guild Wars 2 proofed that. But it wasn't a good idea to ban those players. Instead, work together with the growing community of modders. They want to help you improving the game. Many developers have a close connection to their fans. Some fan-made mods even became part of the original game. Why not using the extra-workpower to make Guild Wars 2 even better? Games like Skyrim were only that successful, because the community created fantastic mods to improve the gaming experience. I see no reason why that wouldn't work with Guild Wars 2. True, basic game mechanics shouldn't be altered in a MMO. But there are many other things that can be modded (graphics, overlays, etc.).

.Removed ContentEven Guild Wars 2 is constantly growing, there are things that were removed for various (partly unknown) reasons. The list is long and worth an extra discussion. So I will just give examples of these lost things new players can't get anymore (or for a horrendous amount of gold). I like to collect things like having all skins or recipes etc. It's a motivation for me to stick with a game. Also other things are certainly interesting to take a look at that aren't in the game anymore. For example, when I started playing the game the living world season 1 was already over already. Thanks to the design it wasn't possible to keep it in the open world. Season 2 and the following had a better design, so it's able to repeat them as often as you want. Though there might be a chance that season 1 will come back since a few missions from there became available with the last living world update.But anyways, there are many things that have been removed from the game and should be back in my opinion. So new players are able to get items the old players have. That's more than fair and shouldn't be much of a balancing problem. The following lists are just examples, but should give the idea about what I mean:

  1. Playable ContentLiving World Season 1Twilight Arbor: Fyonna's Path

  2. RecipesBjarni's Celery SnackOoze CustardEda's Apple PieWurm StewWooden SwordKeeper's Weapon and Armor recipes (Ascended, sold for high prices at the trading post)

  3. SkinsGuild Archmage ArmorGuild Watchman ArmorGuild Defender ArmorCelebration HatToymaker's BagZephyr Rucksack Skin (sold for high prices at the trading post)

  4. OthersDragon Emblem Clothing OutfitGuild Kite

These lists don't show all the items that became unavailable. There are many other things I could mention, but I will keep it to this. It would be a good motivation of new players can get all the things old players were able to achieve.

.Well, that's a whole lot I wanted to say. But these are things that go wrong in Guild Wars 2 in my opinion. There are other topics as well that should be taken care of. But I'm not a player of PvP or WvW. So I stick to the things I actually know a bit about. I hope you don't consider my words as a rant or something. I just tell you what's going to the wrong direction at the moment, in my opinion of course. I wish I could do more.

Take care,Neodisher

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I like super rare items or time limited items that never come back. Some uniqueness is cool even if it comes from rng.This game is missing more unique pieces that come from the hardest bosses in the game and have super low drop chance.I used to play a lineage clone where there were super rare items from bosses that the whole server couldn't beat for years. It literary took years for us to get enough people geared, invent tactics and get a stable enough alliance to beat the boss. It was possible to grief during pretty much every activity in the game since nothing was instanced and pvp was possible everywhere. Any time an alliance formed that was able to beat the big bad boss other alliances griefed them so they wouldn't get an edge.And when something this super rare dropped the guild/alliance leader or sub-leaders got them. They were the banner of our guilds/alliance and also front line in castle sieges and everyone was in awe and jealous and we were proud.This was cool and people worked together and guild and alliances had a purpose. In gw2 a random yellow moa mob can drop the best items in the game and no one cares because everyone is entitled to everything and squads look like light shows.

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@Super Hayes.6890 said:Not sure how many forum users, let alone devs, are going to read through all of that. Summarize next time maybe? Good luck though, I sincerely hope you get somewhere with this as there are several things I agree with you on.

Yeah, I know that my text is very long even I already tried to shorten some passages. That's why I didn't put more aspects to my post. There are certainly some more things that should be talked about. But my listed ones bother me the most.

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