Posted in Gaming, Guild Wars 2, MMORPGs

Guild Wars 2: Ambivalence and Burnout

Spoiler: The good guys win in the personal story! : O

I’ve played the Guild Wars series since early beta for GW1. I was a beta tester for GW2 and established a highly followed GW2 Tumblr. In fact, if you Google “Guild Wars 2 Blog,” my Tumblr is in the top 5 search results (can’t figure out how that happened).

I supported the community, made lots of friends, joined many Tumblr parties. I’ve spent time RPing, writing fan fic and drawing fan art, things I don’t do for just any game.

So why is it, when I was such an advocate of GW2 for so long, I suddenly feel so meh about the game? Nothing I do, even joining a guild including my favorite RP folks, has enticed me to log in and stick around.

Is this burnout?

If so, why do I feel so guilty about it?

I Still Luv You…

There are lots of things in GW2 I think they got right. I love dynamic events, questing for hearts, world discovery, shared nodes and that I can help people whom I come upon without impacting them negatively.

I love the art style. I love the music. I love my character designs. I enjoy playing the classes (I have several level 80s).

I love a lot of the foundational things that make GW2 a quick, casual game that (usually) doesn’t force grouping and allows me to progress the way I enjoy most.

So Where Did It Go Wrong?

I’m not sure when I changed from logging in nightly and having a blast to rarely logging in at all. I think the beginning of disgruntlement for me was the Waypoint Dungeon change.

Beating the Mad King’s Dungeon

I ran a fairly casual guild. Some of us ran dungeons. I was never a fan of dungeons, but I ran them to help guildies. Some of us were good at it… some of us were not so good. But it didn’t matter. We’d just waypoint and try again. We weren’t skippers or speed runners. We fought the trash and we did our best.

Then came the no waypointing while someone in your party was in battle change to dungeons. I understand why it was done, but it severely punished players like me and not-so-practiced folks in my casual guild. It got to the point where I pretty much gave up on dungeons. That was before the living story, so there wasn’t really a focus of content to do in the game, if you didn’t WvW. I certainly wasn’t going to bust my head against fractals.

Then came the Guild Missions. I was so excited for this! Our little guild saved up all kinds of influence to unlock them. They turned out to be the thing that drove my guild (and small guilds in general) into the ground. It took way too much influence to do anything if you weren’t a goodly sized guild. And when we did get a hunt going, we failed terribly since we were a small guild and didn’t have the manpower to do what needed to be done.

Sure, we could have advertised it and recruited help from general chat. But to me, the idea of Guild Missions was an activity that guildies would come together to do… not something you had to recruit in Lion’s Arch to complete. What I expected were quick and fun activities that encouraged guild members to work together. What I got was a broken guild of people who simply lost interest and either stopped logging in or went to bigger guilds who could finish this kind of content.

Then Came the Living Story

With a fractured guild, I often pulled through living story scenarios by myself. I wanted to like the story and to encourage GW2 friends to join me in enjoying them… but the story was uninspiring and it fell flat for most of us. I still logged on to try most of it (since I was keeping a RP character journal), but even I began to get burned out on the two week release dates and the timer ticking down until content was removed.

There were scenarios that I enjoyed, don’t get me wrong (Super Adventure Box, Zephyr Sanctum). I actually even enjoy zerging to a certain extent, since it helped me level up some of my alts. However, I don’t like the way the story became so focused on forcing achievements and daily participation as progression. I began to feel like I was on a treadmill where I was rewarded with sub-par story snippets and random minipets or back items.

I remember a time when you could actually BEAT Tequatl….

When Scarlet showed up, it became obvious that devs and writers were going to do what they were going to do, no matter what the player feedback was. I found myself growing increasingly negative to each release, which made me draw away from posting on my GW2 Tumblr — a place I’d always tried to keep positive and upbeat. I wasn’t feeling positive and upbeat about the game anymore. Something had soured, and no amount of forced two-week updates could salvage it.

Now, the first part of the Living Story is over. However, along the way, I lost my guild and most of my friends who used to play with me. Community is important. This wasn’t a good trade off, and has made it increasingly difficult to log in.

Quality of Life Updates

I was dearly hoping that I’d read something in the upcoming April release that would call me back to the world of Tyria. So far, I haven’t.

It seems like they have a lot of good ideas. But there’s always a catch to the improvements.

We’re changing the way traits work! Buuuut… you don’t start earning points until level 30 now! Yay!

Oh, we’re adding a great new wardrobe system! Buuuut… if you purchased certain retired town clothing or duplicate outfits from the gem store (using real money), you’re kinda out of luck.

We’re making everything into one big mega server! Buuuut… what does that mean for RPers who chose a RP server for a specific reason? And what of WvW players who want to talk shop in non WvW maps?

Yeah. So no matter what they’re trying to introduce, there’s always a downside to it. Anet can’t please them all, I guess. But they should have seen certain scenarios coming a mile away.

In the Meantime…

I’ve found myself pulled back to more story-based games like Secret World and FFXIV. I wish I could be a part of that excited crowd cheering for the GW2 April patch…. but I just have little interest in it at all aside from checking out the wardrobe and cleaning up the guild roster now that we can see the last time someone logged in. It makes me sad.

I wish I understood what turns a game from most-loved-and-championed into the I-just-log-in-to-keep-the-client-updated. I guess the only thing I recognize is what is fun for me… perhaps one day, GW2 will be back on that fun list.

GW2 Tumblr Rainbow Party — My Nipp Mousetrap in the front here! 🙂


I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects!

5 thoughts on “Guild Wars 2: Ambivalence and Burnout

  1. That was interesting. I’ve only been on GW2 since December but having played WoW from BC to Pandas it was all familiar. My playing of GW2 has been completely informed by my WoW burnout. I mostly play for the races (I love the Charr and Asura) and I was enjoying the RP until they took away my beloved town clothes I spent tons of real money on. I feel like I have to find what I love about an MMO and find a way to ignore all the enraging parts, the nerfing, the grind. I think I will “run out” of GW2 at some point but I’m also thinking that’s a natural progression.


    1. I still think that many of the things I enjoyed about GW2 are still there under it all. I, too, love the races (Charr and Asura). And I’m going to wait and see if they’ve learned something from this first attempt at Living Story.

      They can win me back (a good story is all it’d take)! I honestly want them to. I hope they do.


  2. I played GW1 with a few RL local friends for a long time, and introduced a number of long distance friends to it, including a very good friend who pretty much is the only one I play with anymore. Unfortunately, his life has been pretty rough for much of the last few years, and we haven’t been able to play much. We did a bit of beta for GW2, and it looked like it had real potential, but as it always seems, potential rarely is realized well in the game industry.

    I’ve gone through periods where I don’t play GW2 for months, then come back and play for a couple months, usually coinciding with my friend’s ability to participate, and then go back on hiatus. It seems to me what you say about the treadmill effect is spot on. We’re a tiny guild, and if you don’t play hardcore, you miss out on a lot of content and achievements.

    That, and the game mechanics don’t make a lot of sense to me. It is very difficult and/or expensive to get a particular set of gear decked out and, if you choose your stat bonuses wrong, it actually can reduce your effectiveness and/or survivability significantly. The problem is that there is really no way to figure out in-game how any particular combination of gear will perform unless you try it (read: trial and error), but the cost of that kind of experimentation is astronomical.

    The Living Story is a bit of a crap shoot, not only in design, but especially in execution. The final Scarlet event where you kick her arse out of Lion’s Arch (as well as shuffle her off the mortal coil) was rebalanced several times and, by the last week or so, our server couldn’t even down a single knight during primetime. As a result, I had to guest over to one of the full servers to get into a more competent overflow to finish out my achievements, which I barely had time to do before the event ended. That doesn’t even address the bugged events, like the Karka event.

    Anyway, some of the stuff coming out in this week’s patch sounds interesting, but I understand where you’re coming from with the caveats and gotchas. As long as the overall direction is a positive one, I think I can live with it.

    Of course, I also have a massive laundry list of game design issues which I won’t go into here, for sake of brevity.


    1. I’ll log in today to check out the changes, but I’m still not really excited about anything (not even the wardrobe system that I’ve said we needed since the game launched). My mind’s on other games right now, but I’ll probably revisit GW2 again when I get the itch. I’ll certainly be following future updates just to see what it’s all about.


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