The title of this post is really just a riff on how mandatory this all feels. Quite literally every blog I read has had something to say about Guild Wars 2’s PAX reveal this past weekend. And not many of them have had cuddly things to say.
So, in the interest of following the compulsion of the Blogging Borg (Blorg?) and to hopefully counter some of this negativity around the announce, I’m going to write why I think Raids in Guild Wars 2 could be a nice thing.
First I should start off by stating that having a negative opinion about the content doesn’t make you wrong. It’s an opinion. No one is more wrong or right than the other unless your opinion is applied as policy or law. And, for the most part, I agree with a fair few of these concerns. Points came up that were strong, valid and definitely makes you think.
Thing is, though, we’re operating on prior experiences, and Guild Wars 2, despite some of its flumps, is still removed from the traditional MMO. I have no reason to think that Raids will work any differently.
The first point that comes up often is that Masteries = Attunement. Masteries have been stated as being something that raids will require, with different Masteries being applied over the course of an encounter. Thing is, though, I’m pretty sure that unlocking your Masteries is going to be part of the regular playthrough experience of Heart of Thorns while you’re doing stuff in Maguuma and the rest of the overworld. This is part of regular content in the expansion. While it’s obvious that we don’t know what Masteries will apply where and when, I gotta believe that there will be enough divergence and enough different players and playstyles that the pool to pull together a team won’t be too much trouble. And since this is all happening as part of the standard content in Heart of Thorns, it shouldn’t feel like an attunement process. This isn’t something being done after you’ve played through Heart of Thorns. This is included.
Another frequent point is that raids draw in some of the worst types of players. I can personally vouch that a raider mentality is poison. It’s what very nearly slaughtered WildStar. It’s being used as a weapon against me in Final Fantasy XIV right now. But even despite these realities, they are still a vocal minority, and the answer of forming your own team and finding friends to pull together is the best way. It’s certainly not the most efficient way, but I personally would rather have quality folks over quantity. And since Heart of Thorns won’t include a Raid Finder (at least not right now), it’s pretty much the only way to go along with the best way to go.
The team makeup is another thing that has people on edge. A game that has a “soft trinity” at best doesn’t really lend itself well to raids in the traditional sense. This is why I think that raids in Guild Wars 2 will be completely non-traditional. The best assumption I can come up with were the large-scale content that was part of City of Heroes.
The Hamidon Raid, for those who were not familiar or had missed out on one of the single best superhero MMO’s of all time, involved any number of players, with stages of the fight requiring a variety of classes. This allowed everyone to be a part and everyone to contribute. The Crashed Rikti Ship was another large-scale piece of content that allowed everyone to have a purpose. Despite the need of Masteries, there still should be plenty for people to do across the entire board, and I have to believe that the raids in Heart of Thorns will be a lot more free-form than the usual structured “dungeon but larger” raids we see in other MMO’s.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at how the strategies of Fractals operate now. If this game’s raids end up being “Fractals Up To 11” I don’t think we’ll have too much to be concerned with. Of course, I’m not clear on what meta drives Fractal teams now, as I have no character even close to 80, so this could be wrong…but reading over these guides I don’t know that things are as gloomy as they seem.
Finally, and this is a purely personal point of view…this gives me something to shoot for–something that I have absolutely not had in Guild Wars 2 prior. As it stands right now, the only thing I have to look forward to at level cap is slogging through the annoyance of Orr and maybe putting together enough lucky charms that the Mystic Toilet will grant me a Legendary Weapon. And to be honest, neither of these prospects appeal.
I have only run one dungeon in Guild Wars 2: Caudecus’s Manor. It was probably one of the more fun dungeons I have ever been in, as confusing and hectic and high-paced as it was. I would like to see what Fractals are all about, but Raids are a bit more appealing to me.
Sure, I could be locked out by a meta. Sure, I could find it difficult as hell to get even in to a group since I don’t personally know anybody in the game now. But I still feel like it’s a goal to reach for, and I actually find that I want to get through leveling in the game in order to get there.
Obviously, this is all supposition on my part. But honestly, it’s also supposition on the part of everyone else. We have more questions than answers. Answers do need to be provided and slowly ArenaNet are offering them. In the case of Guild Wars 2 and its raids, a wait and see approach is likely healthier for everyone invested and involved than any great levels of worry and assumption.
At least that’s how it’s lookin’ on my side of the fence. Anyone reading this far is welcome to join me. Or stay on your side of the fence and disagree–that’s totally ice-cold cool with me. If that is your decision, though, at least hear this much out:
Let’s try and wait for some more information.