As an MMO hopper, MMO sampler, and MMO juggler of yore, I acknowledge that I’ll never truly know the ins and outs of a particular game the way someone will who plays that single title extensively. So there’s always more to learn, but even so I have to admit to being really puzzled by Guild Wars 2’s dungeons.
I’ve been doing a couple of these every night since my re-entry a few weeks ago, and I am still mystified as to their purpose and design. Unlike every other MMO I’ve played, it seems as though the group consensus is to avoid mobs at all cost, using speed to dash by them and terrain tricks to get them to reset, so that we can blast right to the boss. Then most of the bosses are attacked with another set of tricks and terrain quirks, such as hiding in this corner or jumping up on that ledge. Then there’s the “everyone stand on the exact same spot so we look like an unholy abomination of arms and legs and buffs” tactic too. We get loot and gold — which is nice — and leave. And I walk out of these dungeons just wondering what I’m supposed to be getting out of them.
There’s a lot to be said commending what I’ve seen ArenaNet do here. Each dungeon has two major modes and several paths that the group can vote on, although almost all my groups choose a tried-and-proven path of least resistance. The design is cool and I love the idea of flexible dungeon runs. Some of the boss fights that we aren’t tricking are pretty engaging and the battles can be nailbiting as we try to keep everyone up and fighting. I love my Ranger’s spirit of nature pet, since it can do an instant-rez of anyone nearby.
But I can’t shake the feeling that either the playerbase or the design team or both have conspired to create runs that teach us to be cowards. Run. Flee. Avoid. Trick. Loot. If I stop to attack anything, I get told to cut that out and get running again. It seems as though we pass up waves of mobs (and their associated bags of XP and loot) just to get it over with already.
When I’ve mentioned or joked about this to guildmates or party members, pretty much everyone ignores me. I guess it’s what we’re all supposed to be used to by now — I’m not giving a brilliant new observation.
It’s not even a new thing to the devs, who more or less defend the right to go ahead and skip mobs. So… why throw in trash mobs to begin with? Why deliberately design a dungeon that encourages such behavior instead of creating a dungeon that’s just boss fights and nothing but? Works for plenty of TSW instances and it wouldn’t make the dungeons come across as a failed experiment.
I’m not a huge fan of plowing through trash mobs, but I don’t feel much like a hero for avoiding them, either. Maybe I don’t get what the community already understands, and maybe it’s the lack of dedicated roles that turn these dungeons into blitz fests, but… I’m stumped.