GW2: The Sweet Addiction of Sweet, Sweet Loot

by manylaughs on May 6, 2014

When was it? Sometime back in May… maybe it was June… of last year I got bored with Guild Wars and left the game for other adventures. I tried Tera – again, but couldn’t get into that – cool characters and fighting, but not much to the MMO. After that, I played mostly single-player games, Call of Duty and such, but they can only hold your attention for so long. I tried Defiance – meh – and I tried Final Fantasy XIV – solid game, very pretty, but it wasn’t for me.

In the end, I found myself back in Guild Wars 2. The lack of an ongoing, monthly fee made it easy to come back, plus I wanted to came back for the holiday events. I didn’t really plan to stay: Just come back, do the seasonal events, and then go off in search of other MMO adventures.

But guess what? Yeah, I got hooked, you might say addicted, to Guild Wars 2, again.

Guild Wars 2 is a great game, but, in spite of the April 15 updates, it remains a great game with some problems: PvP still doesn’t quite hack it, in spite of the new rewards; except for maybe Fractals of the Mist, the game doesn’t seem especially challenging; and ArenaNet has given up all pretense of GW2 not being grindy. None of the April 15 updates really have done anything to “fix” any of these issues.

So what’s changed? What hooked me, again?

What’s changed is ArenaNet has found a way to appeal to the most powerful human emotion – Love.

Lol. You can stop laughing, now, I’m just joshing you. Not love, but greed. Greed, baby, greed. ArenaNet has re-engineered GW2 so that it taps into that most primal human motivator – GREED.

They do this by constantly giving you loot bags. Nearly every aspect of the game gives you a loot bag. You get loot for doing your daily. Loot for achievements. Loot for events. It’s to the point where they’ll probably give you a loot bag for navigating from the bankers to the Black Lion traders. They could call it the “Don’t Trip” achievement.

And let’s not forget the loot trains, aka ktrains, karma trains. In GW2, the champs spawn more or less consecutively, so hordes of players – the zerg – move from one champ to the next, killing them in relatively short order and getting their loot bags. In one zone, Queensdale, there’s an almost continuous zerg moving from one champ to the next. In the amazingly short timespan of 10-15 minutes, a player can harvest 4 or 5 exotic loot bags from this ktrain. Since the April 15 update, there’s even a new train running in Orr, plus there’s still the ktrain for the world bosses, and while they’re a little more time consuming, you can easily collect a half-dozen loot bags in about 30 minutes.


Running with the WvW ktrain.

This isn’t isolated to PvE, either. The same sort of loot trains exist in WvW (World versus World), except in this case the zerg moves from one keep or tower to the next, killing the lord and reaping their loot bags. The addition of Edge of the Mists (EotM) just gives players another even more lucrative WvW ktrain option: It’s not unusual to reap a couple of dozen bags from EotM in an hour or so.

The unfortunate effect of this in WvW is there’s very little motivation to defend and actually try to “win” WvW. In fact, it’s clear that sometimes the other side will actually let your side take an objective just so they can take it back a few minutes later and get more loot bags. But that’s okay – more loot for you, right?

If you log to GW2, you can easily get a half dozen to a dozen loot bags in the course of a night. This is the very definition of easy mode gaming. All those “hardcore” gamers who bemoan the demise of Everquest are not happy about this, but for everyone else, this can be a lot of fun.

Greed is a powerful driver. People always want more: more money, more power, more loot. Is it addictive? Are sugar-coated, heroin donettes addictive? You betcha. That’s why you’re still riding the ktrain and so am I. It’s not hardcore, but it sure is tasty.

There’s not much to be done about this. This is the game that Guild Wars 2 is – a zergy loot fest. It’s not for everyone, but it sure is for a whole lot of people. Just sit back and enjoy the ride and, as your character so often says, the sweet, sweet loot.









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