I've been reading a lot of blog commentary as everyone gets themselves pumped up. The focus on PvP surprises me a tad. World vs World vs World PvP, that is (already being pared down to WvW, thank the lord). I've not heard a single person claiming to be excited about the eSport. Is that even in yet?
Guild Wars is an odd brand. The original was heavily trailed as a PvP game before launch, to the point that almost no-one I knew playing Everquest back then had the slightest interest in trying it. Mrs Bhagpuss and I gave it a shot and had a lot of fun for a few weeks. I think I tried PvP maybe three times. It was so insanely fast I couldn't even work out what was going on, far less participate.
As I remember it, that view was widespread. I seem to recall ArenaNet confirming that the majority of players were spending most of their time in the PvE instances. Certainly most of the development of the game over the following seven years and four expansions has added PvE content rather than PvP.
For a long time all the news we got on the successor game was about the PvE. The dynamic content, the eighty levels, the massive open world, the races, the classes, the ambient audio, the crafting, the dress design...the PR department seemed determined to hammer home the point that this was a true virtual world MMO. PvP information seemed very sparse in comparison.
I'm up for a bit of turf-holding, keep-taking, supply-disrupting, three-way PvP. As a side dish, though, not a main course. I'm interested in Tyria for its VW cred. I'm hoping for a solid, well-crafted, extensive, immersive fantasy world to explore. One that will occupy my attention for a good long while, years maybe. I wasn't really planning on paying much attention to the Homeworld thing. So we get some buffs or we don't. Is that going to matter?
It can't, can it? Surely the perks of winning can't be so significant that players on the losing worlds feel sufficiently disadvantaged to be annoyed. Because if one thing's been apparent in MMOs for more than a decade it's that while lots of players like to dabble in PvP not all that many like to make it the main thrust of their gaming time.
The set-up doesn't allow for total opt-outs, which is interesting in itself. There won't be any pure PvE worlds that don't participate in WvW. There will be plenty of players who opt out entirely, though. There was an enormous amount of that in Rift, where arguments would frequently break out between players who'd flagged for PvP and those who hadn't and didn't intend to. In Rift, even on the PvE servers, the PvP often came to you, whether you wanted it or not. In GW2 it will be safely parked in a conveniently separate world. Making it very easy to ignore.
I'm open-minded. I'm hoping the PvE will be so good I won't need the WvW to pique my jading interest. I'll settle for just for the occasional pinch of WvW spice late on a Friday or Saturday night. On the other hand, if WvW turns out to be the Wonder-PvP MMOs have been striving for since, well, since always then I won't be turning up my nose.
Either way, I'm not expecting to find out this weekend. I'm expecting to be overwhelmed, confused and quite possibly exhausted. Anything less will be a let-down.