Ok, so yesterday I posted 3 (or 4) design elements where I think HG:L fails in the design department.  Where is it better than Guild Wars? Or where did Guild Wars’ design leave a bit to be desired? I’m glad you asked, ‘cuz I’m going to tell you my thoughts on the matter.  So without further delay –

The Three biggest failures of Guild Wars:

Number One:

Forcing people to group for certain quests. And not just group, but to work with another group. Now I would be fine with this if it were for periphery encounters or side-quests, but it should not be a requirement to move the game-story forward.  All “plot-points” should be “solo-able” by a reasonably proficient player. A lot of designers, and many gamers have the misconception that since it’s a multiplayer game, everyone should be forced to rely on each other.  To make real-life metaphor, that’s like saying that since I live in a city, I should be forced to group up with a few of my neighbors just to go to the grocery store. It’s ridiculous!  So far in HG:L I’ve never felt that I was required to group. I’ve grouped with my friends for fun and excitement, but I’ve never felt compelled to do so.

Number Two:

Pacing. Guild Wars, at times, felt like certain plot-points were just being drawn on for freaking ever – with the “Factions” expansion in particular. God I -Hated- how long it took to get out of that damn city, and basically the whole first half of that expansion was just a pain in the ass.  Their other expansions were much better, IMO.  If I were to buy the series again, I’d definitely get the original and “Nightfall” first, then I’d probably get “GW:EN” and really I’d only pick up “Factions” to get the extra classes and heroes – which is basically all I’m using it for now…  I almost never play in the “Factions” part of the world.

Number Three:

Something just feels like it’s “missing.”  I’m not sure what “it” is, but “it” isn’t there, or “it” isn’t there often enough to keep me interested.  I’m tempted to say that “it” is “fun,” but I usually do have fun when I’m playing GW – so I think “it” is something else.  For me, “it” was also missing in WoW after reaching my 40’s or 50’s in level, and “it” was also missing in my first month or so in EVE Online, then EVE got “it” after that.  Again, I don’t thing the missing “it” is “fun,” because I almost always had fun when I was playing those games, I think it’s more related to being interesting or just keeping things fresh. It just felt like something was lacking that I still can’t put my finger on.  Games that still have “it” for me would include DAoC, D2:LoD, and UT:2K4, and maybe even Tekken2 or 3 on my old PS1. If I’m going to go back that far, I’d probably have to include Twisted Metal2 or 3 as well. HG:L also seems to have “it,” but that could just be due to it being the shiny new bauble in my collection.

So this time I really did keep it to just three items, YAY! I think that about sums it up, from my perspective anyway.  In my latest game design document I’ve got a lot of these issues fully analyzed in the context of several other games. If I ever find the time I may share those results here.  But to most folks it might just look like bitching, but I do have “good” things to say about all of these games as well.  If there weren’t any good things about them, I wouldn’t be playing them now would I.