I’m going to jump right in today because whether you agree or disagree with me, there are two things I can appreciate ArenaNet for:
1) Their ability to look into the past and learn from it.
Now, I hear complaints at times that ArenaNet doesn’t learn from their mistakes and have no hope or future. This is pure lunacy. Sure, there can be validity to some people wrestling through lore conflicts and issues (which is bound to happen to some extent in any sequel, especially when one wasn’t originally planned from the beginning), but the assertion that ArenaNet doesn’t care about what they hear is ridiculous. They hear, they read, and they work for a purpose. Of course, in their attempt to develop something that is simultaneously art, entertainment, and business, there are bound to be awkward lines to try to wrestle through.
As we’re seeing in Living Story Season 2, they’re looking back at what they did right and what they could improve on from last year. They’ve heard the cries of wanting more solo content (repeating story instances with achievements linked to them) and even created a new zone! They’re now trying to find a “sweet spot” in terms of where everything is focused on the story development by avoiding opening up Dry Top too much at once so that it becomes stale, while still keeping an emphasis on it. This takes time, effort, and meticulous planning based upon what they’ve learned from Season 1. So far, I’m blown away. You guys are doing awesome!
2) Their strength and determination for their dreams and goals, and sticking to it.
This is probably one of the greatest things I admire about ArenaNet. Yes, many people think that because they’ve paid for the game that Guild Wars 2 should be exactly what they want, how they want, in the way and time that they want. I’m afraid I have to disagree on the basis of leadership. Good leadership doesn’t mean you bend over backwards every time someone comes with a complaint. Yes, it means that you listen adequately, but you don’t have to do everything they say. Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right (and from my experience, seldom right if they’ve never had the experience of being in the business).
Yet ArenaNet does not run around and bash people who complain. They merely listen and disregard unproductive chatter and focus on things that are productive. Still, at the end of the day, they have their dreams and goals and are going to follow them. They have a vision and a plan and yes, we are being heard–it does not mean that it’s going to be exactly what we want or expect.
Is it frustrating to hear that things will be ready “soon”? Yes. Those lines need to be used less frequently. Instead, they’ve been focusing on the forums lately to be less chatty about things being done “soon” and more on “we can’t talk right now about it because it will spoil things, and may change.” Whatever they say about the game in the public eye will be taken as gospel truth. On one hand, we need to take it all with a grain of salt until it’s been implemented in the game. On the other hand, they should always be careful as well.
Still, I have tremendous respect for ArenaNet and where they’re going. I was disheartened for a while, but look back and wish I had committed myself earlier to the Living Story. Now, I’m on board. I’m sold.