Register


A password will be e-mailed to you.

I’d like to start off by pointing out that I simply love Guild Wars 2, with over a thousand hours already spent with it I still don’t see myself letting it go quite yet. Guild Wars 2 is a great game, and the developers said they want to make it as best as they can. It’s still not perfect but they try hard to make it as close to perfect as they can. GW2 changed a lot when it comes to MMOs, so naturally not everyone will like all of its features and mechanics, myself included, this however shouldn’t be the issue with the basic concept of exploration. Exploration should be a rewarding act of curiosity, but in GW2 it just doesn’t feel like it at all, because it thinks that playing Poker with a constantly revealed hand makes for an exciting game.

It took me a long time to put my finger on what was actually bugging me all this time. Being a completionist that I am, at first I loved the fact that each zone had official things to find and collect instead of just wandering around leveling up. It provided me a clear focus on how I could go about the areas, however this check-list collectible exploration system is actually one of the biggest design flaws when it comes to living in this breathing world.

Shortly after creating your character, you are immediately greeted by the first scout. These guys serve as a guide to show you what you can do and where you might want to go as they point out things of importance on your map, like nearby quests aka hearts, points of interest, vistas and skill points. One can decide to ignore scouts altogether, but still all of these markers are revealed to you on your map as soon as you come near them. Why I personally like scouts is the fact that they explain and add some narrative to the location and the situations you will be assisting with. After a few hours the player quickly realizes that the map is the primary tool to use when deciding where to go, and this heavy emphasis on the map is where Guild Wars 2 suffers most in exploration.

There’s no denying that Guild Wars 2 indeed has many nooks and crannies for you to “explore”, but these are all mostly just plain disappointing. Why? Because there is nothing for you to actually find in them. Here’s an example, I once stumbled upon something what appeared to be a crypt of some sort. There was an entrance leading deeper into the darkness, I checked my map and noticed there was nothing in the vicinity marked on the map, no point of interest or a skill point inside. Despite my conclusion that there is nothing interesting to find inside, I still went in simply to confirm my suspicions, and indeed, the place was completely empty, no items to interact with and no enemies at all. The location in question is probably tied to an event, but why should we be forced to wait for an event to start in order to have fun playing in these locations?

There are many beautiful locations in Guild Wars 2, but after that Heart is done there is no reason to ever return.

The game is teaching players to simply follow the map at all times by revealing what you will find if you head in a certain direction. This is why exploration in GW2 isn’t actually exploration at all, instead of being excited about what you found yourself, you always know that you will find exactly that which the game was showing you all along, completely eliminating the element of awe, surprise and satisfaction from traveling the world. Instead of going to places yourself to actually explore them, you are going to that place specifically for one reason, to grab that skill point/vista you missed. This in turn means that instead of feeling “Oh look I found a vista!”, you will be saying “Yeah I finally got that vista I was trying to reach for the last 15 minutes”. And it’s basically like that for every single thing, “I finally got that skill point I was aiming for all this time”, and you will be going for every “Point of Interest” because it’s marked on the map, not because it appears to be an interesting place at all, at least not from a distance.

Recently I realized that I knew the overhead “satellite view” layout of pretty much every zone, but didn’t exactly remember how that place looked in person. This was because the game taught me in the early hours (and enforced it throughout the entire experience) to keep looking at the map in order to locate rewards for my travels. Even the minimap keeps showing you mining veins, trees to cut, plants to pick up and even events taking place, essentially making players always keep an eye on the minimap if they want to locate anything, instead of actually making them look more at the world around them. I remember the first GW2 announcement mentioning players being able to see smoke in the distance as an indicator that something is going on, but so far in my thousand hours I have yet to notice such a signal. The smoke may indeed be there, but the minimap will always reveal an event before you can notice it yourself in the actual game world surrounding you.

ArenaNet stated that one of their core philosophies when it comes to designing GW2 was that they wanted players to play the game instead of playing an interface, that’s also why they don’t allow addons like damage meters or warning messages others are accustomed to while playing MMOs. Unfortunately the entire exploration aspect of GW2 currently boils down to exactly that, playing an interface, as the minimap always telegraphs in advance what you will find before you actually find it yourself.

You didn’t come here to kill bandits or to plunder the riches, you’re here because that Vista was marked on your map.

This is why I found Jumping Puzzles to be the most interesting part of GW2. They are not marked on maps at all so finding one and figuring them out is exciting and feels rewarding. The problem is that they are too few and far between, and are also way too secretive to find on your own without resorting to looking them up on various websites. Every map has one, some even have two, but they are so well hidden that you can actually complete everything in the entire world without ever finding a single Jumping Puzzle. Exploration goes from one extreme to another, it doesn’t offer us any kind of middle ground. Jumping Puzzles need in-game rumors and tips that hint at their locations and solutions, currently they are also making us play an interface by making us go look at guides for finding these rather awesome Jumping Puzzles instead of making it possible to find one ourselves.

I honestly don’t know if I should be insulted or disappointed by the fact that ArenaNet thinks players need to be hand-guided throughout the entire game, but fortunately this can still be remedied and I have faith ArenaNet will eventually do the right thing. Removing these indicators is not the solution, as that would make world completion too hard of a task, but how about simply hiding them and displaying each one as a simple question mark on the map until you actually grab it? It can then change to its actual graphic icon once you have it so you can easily keep track of these things where you found them.

Another solution is to simply add more stuff in the world which will be unmarked, but will also appropriately reward us with uniquely usable stuff for strolling off the beaten path and actually exploring the beautiful landscapes of Tyria. I’m aware that occasionally you might find a chest and other similar stuff, but these are always rare finds in the world and 99.99% they reward you with vendor trash, items that you aren’t likely to be using at all. But I digress, alternatively, the map markers could not be displayed at all until we reach 50% map completion (or maybe 75%) on our own, by that point the rest of the remaining stuff could be revealed simply to ease the pain of locating the few remaining ones which we couldn’t discover on our own. Also another method that comes to mind could be that certain cartographer NPCs would reveal these map markers to us for a certain price, in case you’re stuck or simply want everything revealed, the price would obviously decrease per marker left for reveal. I would be much happier with any of these methods than the current method of simply revealing everything automatically.

You might have never experienced this at all if you only ever played one character, but when you start completing zones with your second character you will soon see how this can be a real chore if you want those completion rewards. This is because it’s just not exciting at all, and is also one of the reasons people stop playing when they get that world completion with their first character, however it didn’t have to be like this. Exploration in GW2 currently feels like simply walking around landscapes with a shopping cart collecting stuff to increase that percentage number, which is a far cry from actual real exciting exploration. With constant repair and waypoint costs it doesn’t encourage anyone to risk their lives by going into uncharted territory if there is no clear indicator which guarantees you will find something. This being said, don’t let it discourage you from trying out Guild Wars 2, despite its flaws it’s still an amazing game with many improvements already on the way, let’s just hope exploration will one day become more exciting as the updates bring in more content for us to tackle.

About The Author

Greg is in fact a cute little fluffy kitten that likes cake, games... and undead. Thinks that Zombies are so 2008, and would like to see some skeletons and wraiths take the spotlight for a change, they need love too!

Related Posts

45 Responses

  1. yellow october

    The Absent Game

    Involving me and my husband we have owned extra MP3 players over time than I can count, such as Sansas, iRivers, iPods (common & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few decades I’ve settled down to one line of gamers.

  2. cat 4 brother

    Healing’s Dragon

    to locate troubles to improve my web site!I suppose its alright for making use of some of your principles!!

  3. blue ofica

    Woman of Alien

    Fantastic get the job done you’ve carried out, this web site is admittedly neat with excellent information and facts. Time is God’s means of holding anything from going on without delay.

  4. http://steadfastbeddin33.snack.ws

    other people, the more people will connect

    with you. below, we take a look at our top tips when it comes to writing a successful blog comment and actually getting something from it!read the blog first – it is vital that you read the blog all of the

  5. alkaline water

    The Birch of the Shadow

    I feel there could become a several duplicates, but an exceedingly handy listing! I’ve tweeted this. Lots of thanks for sharing!

  6. garciniacambogiaextractslim

    go and gather some information, quotes and

    opinions which you can then use to write your own articles and content for your website.ask around – for most of us, we have a select group of friends, family and colleagues that we can talk to, including social network and

  7. Blue Coaster33

    The Absent Game

    Involving me and my husband we’ve owned additional MP3 gamers through the years than I can count, which include Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few many years I’ve settled down to one line of gamers.

  8. watch tv show episodes

    Third Flower

    My spouse and that i happen to be now delighted that Albert could execute his studies because of the thoughts he had as a result of your online page. It truly is every now and then perplexing to simply constantly be freely giving ways which a lot of pe…

  9. alkaline water

    The Birch of the Shadow

    I believe there may perhaps be considered a number of duplicates, but an exceedingly helpful record! I have tweeted this. Many thanks for sharing!

  10. alkaline water

    The Absent Game

    Concerning me and my husband we’ve owned far more MP3 players over time than I can count, together with Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few decades I’ve settled down to one line of players.

  11. enagic

    Thorn of Girl

    Excellent info may be observed on this website web site.

  12. e-minus.pl

    is identifying what are those or what’s

    in-demand.then, figure out which among these demands are the things you can do. it can be article writing, blogging, taking online surveys or writing reviews, selling stuffs on ebay, researching keywords, or selling digital photos. you can also conside…

  13. her og nu laan

    Third Flower

    My wife and that i are already now delighted that Albert could perform his research as a result of the strategies he had via your web content. It truly is on occasion perplexing to just normally be giving freely techniques which some people could have…

  14. stop parking

    The Absent Game

    Amongst me and my husband we have owned extra MP3 players over the years than I can count, which include Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few ages I’ve settled down to one line of gamers.

  15. car parking

    Third Flower

    My spouse and i are already now delighted that Albert could execute his scientific studies as a result of the concepts he had via your web content. It truly is every now and then perplexing to only always be giving away methods which some people could…

  16. paypal loans

    Third Flower

    My wife and that i are actually now delighted that Albert could perform his research on account of the ideas he had by means of your web content. It truly is every so often perplexing to simply always be making a gift of methods which lots of people mi…

  17. pay per day loan plans

    Woman of Alien

    Great do the job you have got performed, this page is absolutely awesome with fantastic info. Time is God’s means of maintaining almost everything from occurring simultaneously.

  18. bonuses

    The Ships’s Voyages

    I think technology just causes it to be worse. Now there’s a channel to in no way treatment, now there will not likely be a probability for them to discover.

  19. more help

    Woman of Alien

    Best perform you’ve got performed, this page is admittedly neat with excellent details. Time is God’s method of trying to keep everything from occurring at once.

  20. house blue

    The Ships’s Voyages

    I believe technological innovation just makes it even worse. Now there’s a channel to never care, now there will not likely become a probability for them to find.

  21. water ionizer loans

    The Birch of the Shadow

    I believe there may be considered a few duplicates, but an exceedingly useful listing! I’ve tweeted this. Several thanks for sharing!

  22. alkaline water

    The Birch of the Shadow

    I think there may possibly be a few duplicates, but an exceedingly useful record! I have tweeted this. Numerous thanks for sharing!

  23. pay plan

    The Absent Game

    Involving me and my husband we have owned more MP3 players through the years than I can count, which includes Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few many years I’ve settled down to one line of players.

  24. here

    The Absent Game

    Among me and my husband we have owned much more MP3 gamers through the years than I can count, such as Sansas, iRivers, iPods (traditional & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few ages I’ve settled down to one line of gamers.

  25. do you agree

    The Absent Game

    Involving me and my husband we have owned additional MP3 players over the years than I can count, together with Sansas, iRivers, iPods (typical & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of gamers.

  26. great post to read

    The Ships’s Voyages

    I feel know-how just can make it even worse. Now there is a channel to by no means care, now there will not likely become a possibility for them to find out.

  27. xcmwnv54ec8tnv5cev5jfdcnv5

    xcmwnv54ec8tnv5cev5jfdcnv5

    […]we prefer to honor several other world-wide-web web-sites on the internet, even when they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages worth checking out[…]