Another quickie. I'm officially moving Guild Wars 2 down to the "Departed MMOs" pile.
Don't get me wrong: GW2 is a fun game and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I think it's going to remain for me the benchmark in describing games that manage their learning curve perfectly. GW2 doesn't have a learning curve: it has a gentle uphill slope treadmill that guides you into the more and more challenging aspects of the game in a way that makes the game fun, and fun to learn. It's a fantastic achievement, and something ArenaNet can and should be proud of.
In addition, I love its scope, grandeur, and wow factor. The game is balanced beautifully, and has some of the best PvE I've ever experienced. And it does a simply fantastic job of drawing players into low-level social interaction that feels fluid, dynamic, and unforced. It has weaknesses too, of course. The AI is not particularly good, and in places the difficulty scales up in an unintuitive fashion. And the less said about gear and crafting, the better.
But all in all, I enjoyed my time in Tyria immensely.
Why quit? Because at the end of the day, there's not much there there. The game is broad, but not very deep. As someone who's never played World of Warcraft, GW2 demonstrated to me the essence of the theme park game. Theme parks are great, and I loves me a good roller coaster, or even a whole day of them. But then the day passes and it's time to check your watch, gather up the kids, and go home. For me, there needs to be something meaningful behind all the color and flash. This is the major quality that GW2 lacks and its PvP game play proves unable to pick up the slack. And while low-level social interaction is beautifully handled, at a higher level, GW2 drops the ball.
If you haven't played it, I do still recommend you pick up a copy. It's worth some time to experience it and I suspect I'll still reference it here from time to time. Hell, I might even revisit in a year or two to see what's changed.
So for a while, EVE is going to be my only MMO. However, even with its flaws and a likelihood of being another theme park, I will be playing Elder Scrolls Online when it's released, and I'm also going to put a few dozen hours into World of Warships when that one comes out. I could no more not play ESO than not breathe. I'm such an Elder Scrolls fan-boy. ;-) And I'm also such a World War II naval nut that I'm definitely going to want to try out the new WoW. But neither strike me as having any sort of deep game play and I doubt that either of them will claim my allegiance for long.
As I said a couple of weeks ago, it's been a tough year for MMO development! On the other hand, multi-player shooters are looking to have a fantastic year, but that should probably be its own post, even if as another quickie.