Putting the “Guild” Back in Guild Wars 2

We understand that games change, much like we understand Guild Wars 2 is not the original Guild Wars. They’re two very different games. But for a number of Guild Wars players, Guild Wars 2 is like the little brother who can’t quite live up to the expectation to be like his older sibling. Don’t get me wrong, I love Guild Wars 2. Dynamic gameplay and fresh playstyle coupled with beautiful graphics and scenery–there’s some great things about Guild Wars 2 that a lot of people overlook. But that’s a talk for another day, as I’m simply here to ask “where on earth did the “Guild” in Guild Wars 2 go?”

First off, ArenaNet is starting to get the picture, and are taking steps in the right direction. We appreciate the open communication in the forums and the updates (even though they seem to have gotten a little update happy with the crazy spaced out announcements). There’s been a lot of talk of guild halls in the CDI threads, and a lot of excitement about the possibility of more guild features that we’re missing from Guild Wars. Don’t get your hopes up. There is no confirmation that this is even in development, nor is there any mention of Guild vs. Guild except that they’ll have a separate CDI phase on GvG. Soon™, right? (More on CDI later)

But let’s talk about why there’s still so many disgruntled players. There’s been a lot of negative talk surrounding guilds (and rightfully so) because people feel like the ArenaNet is playing catch up. And they are. The focus since the game’s release seems to be temporary content. At least that’s what it looks like. Living story, event bosses, Living Story, recycled holiday events…did I mention Living Story?

I love the concept of Living Story. It’s a great idea, should keep things fresh and entertaining for veteran players, and provide rewards for staying up to date with the game. The problem? It doesn’t do any of that at all. It’s dry, forgettable, easy, boring, predictable, poorly implemented, and does next to nothing for the game.

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The problem lies in ArenaNet’s development model. They can’t afford to not push out frequent content, because there was such a lack of end-game content at release. You can argue “Oh, legendary weapons!” and fractals and ascended gear all you want, but that boils down to how much the RNG gods hate you. Not skill. Not challenging content. Just luck and nonstop dungeons runs that are way easier than they should be. So what does all of this have to do with neglecting guilds?

Temporary content has everything to do with why the guild system isn’t where players feel it should be. Yes, ArenaNet is trying to fix things and add content that players have been pushing for, but why wasn’t this done sooner? They shouldn’t have to be playing catch-up, nor should they have to be implementing something from the original game 2 years after the release of the new one. 2 years is a long time for something that had no reason to be left out in the first place. So rather than pushing development on things like guild halls, GvG, and other guild functionality that we had in Guild Wars, why on earth are we being drip-fed dry content with a bland story?

Many of us would rather the developers be proactive, not reactive. No, we don’t expect ArenaNet to read our minds, but we also don’t expect to have to wait over a year before we see any meaningful response on things that we’ve given feedback on. The trade-off for living story content should NOT be the rest of the game. As of right now, that’s what it is. Aside from colored commander tags and global guilds (which should have been implemented from the start), what did we really get out of the September feature pack? ArenaNet (once again with their drip-feeding), built up expectations for what seemed to be a decent feature pack, only to let us down once again.

Things like this are why the Guild Wars 2 presence has declined over time. Not because there are new games coming out, not because of the next World of Warcraft expansion, but because there isn’t enough to be able to rope players back in with meaningful, interesting, quality content. Permanent content. Things we can revisit. As much as we like dynamic, we also want content every now and then that sticks around, and not just fractals and recycled events. This is the frustration of so many players.

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For me personally, and I imagine a lot of other PvPers, I’d just be happy to see GvG brought back as part of the game, not something players have to struggle to implement themselves. Now I could be wrong in saying that they haven’t been working on these things, but if they have, none of that’s been communicated to players.

To kind of wrap this up, we appreciate the communication from ArenaNet, and we’re once again hopeful that you’re heading in a direction that is going to make players want to come back and make current players want to stay. We want this game to be a success as much as the people who made it (hopefully) want it to be. Many of us gripe because we hate seeing guilds and communities fall apart due to the lack of content keeping us in the game. We just wish that this could have been addressed a bit sooner, so that the lack of overall presence hadn’t declined so much. I want to like Guild Wars 2, I’d like to continue to enjoy playing it, but like a lot of other players, it’s hard to get back into it when there’s not much left to do as far as challenging content and game modes.

So for those of you that are interested in some of the suggestions and ideas from players and staff alike, I’ve included some links to forum threads worth keeping up with. Onto a bit of information on CDI:

Chris started a CDI thread specifically for Guild Halls, so at least we know someone’s listening, if nothing else. For those of you that don’t care to pay attention to the forums, CDI (Collaborative Development Initiative) is a program ArenaNet started sometime around late 2013. It’s been divided up into PvE/PvP/WvW and progression, but they’ve started doing some more specific topics such as, yes, Guild Halls. (Also check out the compilation Orpheal put together. By far the easiest way to get information on this topic.)

So if you’re one of those players that feels like ArenaNet isn’t listening and your feedback doesn’t mean anything, now is the time to take about 5 minutes out of your day, head over to the General Discussion section and let them know what features surrounding this topic you’d like to see. The more player feedback, the more visibility they have as to what we want instead of having them attempt to read our minds. Hopefully in return we’ll see changes in the near future.

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