In my defence I qualified that view: "Caveat being that any comments are based on just a few hours gameplay that have taken me only as far as level 6". Oh really? Well let's all just sit here at your feet in awe shall we, Master?
Anyway, how wrong I was. About the "happy" part, obviously.
Here we are a month and change into Live and there's much disturbance in the sphere. Talk of one month or three. All done and over already. Heading back home or on to the Next Big Thing. Maybe just giving up.
Mrs Bhagpuss pointed out something to me yesterday that I had not noticed. On the Character Select screen for Guild Wars 2, over there on the right-hand side, hang your Account Medals. Well, yes of course I'd noticed them. I just hadn't ever moused over them to see what they were for.
What are they for?
The top one is for Map Completion, which has nothing to do with how much of the world you have seen, only how many of those little markers on the maps you have made to light up. With a single character. Not the whole account. Mine's at 47%.
The three below are Badges marking initiation into the three Orders of the Pact. Running from left to right, Durmand Priory, Vigil and Order of Whispers. The orders are exclusive. Each character can join only one. I'm in Whispers.
The last row, running again from left to right, are PvP Rank, Realm Avenger and Legendary Treasures. Only my WvW has begun to darken.
What does this suggest? First of all it suggests I'm not very interested in Achievements or in goals set for me by other people. After more than a month of looking at that screen several times a day I hadn't even thought about what those symbols were for, let alone made the small hand-movement that would have let me find out.
More meaningfully to anyone who is not me, the presence of those particular badges of achievement and their specific requirements would seem to suggest a set of expectations. Perhaps they represent what the development team expected the normative player would want to achieve during the lifetime of the game; more likely a benchmark showing the most a player could aspire to; most worryingly, what the development team expected a player to achieve.
Whichever or whichever combination of those, clearly it can't be done with just one character and equally clearly at least one character must reach maximum level. As a player, no part of the game can be skipped. To fill those badges you must defend your realm, you must compete in team PvP, you must do at least some of your Personal Story on no fewer than three characters, you must explore the world.
Ah, but what about crafting? What about Dungeons? I can skip those, can't I? Well, no. Take a look at this list of what's required to complete a Legendary Weapon that I borrowed from Stargrace:
Each legendary weapon requires at least the following:You'll notice somewhere in that frankly insane shopping list mention of 500 Dungeon Tokens and two craft skills at 400. Be thankful they didn't make you do all eight.
In addition to the above, the player must also gamble the following materials to obtain Mystic Clovers. One success results in a single Mystic Clover and 77 clovers are needed. The chances of success are currently unknown, therefore depending on the final chances, the recipe could require anywhere from 77 to 1,000 attempts.
- Precursor weapon specific to the legendary
- 500 Dungeon Tokens specific to the legendary
- Two level 400 crafting professions specific to the legendary
- 200 Skill Points
- 525,000 Karma
- 120 Gold Coins
- 100% World Completion
- 500 Badges of Honor
- 250 Globs of Ectoplasm
- 250 Vicious Fangs
- 250 Vicious Claws
- 250 Vials of Powerful Blood
- 250 Elaborate Totems
- 250 Armored Scales
- 250 Ancient Bones
- 250 Piles of Crystalline Dust
- 250 Powerful Venom Sacs
|You want me to do what ?!|
Which brings me back to the beginning. Why anyone would want to do all of this in one lifetime is a mystery to me, but it seems apparent that the people who spent five years building this world thought they were catering for people who would. Either that or they were just so full of themselves over all the marvelous work they'd done they absolutely did not want anyone to miss out on any least part of it.
GW2 is a weird game. In some ways it's the simplest, easiest, most casual knockabout fun; in others it's a truly demented grindfest of the most hardcore proportions. The bone of contention, one of the bones anyway, is in how this all divvies up. The traditional Western MMO grindcore, ready and willing to break raids over weeks then farm them for months to get gear good enough just in time to do it all over again come next expansion are taking predictably badly to being asked to put in similar effort for a flashy weapon skin.
It's not working for them but it's working for me. I don't want to "achieve" anything or"progress". I'm happy to be. Tyria's a great place to hang out and what's more it mellows. I'm enjoying GW2 more now than I was two weeks ago because I'm doing less. My goals are smaller, I'm pottering more and all is good.
One month, three months, five years, a lifetime. Come and go. Visit or stay. Your choice. Play the game. Don't let the game play you.