Guild Wars 2 – Disadvantages Low Level Players

Asura Mesmer
Asura Mesmer

Guild Wars 2 is hard to play. Compared with World of Warcraft, or Tera, both of which I love and do not complain about.

The reason appears to be that ArenaNet is designing the game for the end-game players. For example, the recent update notes stated that they have upped the health of the champions [bosses] and reduced the time required to kill them. These are the events that show up in all areas, including low level areas and that you can do once per day, per account to get mid level loot and exp.

I think the problem is that the “Down-leveling” math is not fair and they are compensating in other parts of the game rather than fixing “Down-leveling”.

The ArenaNet folks are not happy with any criticism on their forums, so I need to post this here.

Where I’m Coming From

I’m not a casual gamer. I play 30-40 hours a week.

I played GW1 for 2 years, then some Asian MMOs, then Wow for 2 years, then Tera for a few months, and now GW2. I got GW2 right after it came out but got bored with it since it was hard to play – even at low levels.

I’ve recently come back to it, and it seems better, at least at low levels – 1-20. Not sure if it’s me or GW2 that has changed.

But it’s still too hard to play. Maybe here’s why.

Down-leveling Not Fair

Down-leveling is the math that reduces the level of a character to the local environment. Some games call this Side-kicking, but in the case of side-kicking the concept is to down-level a character so they can be in a party with others at the same level. GW2 tries to make low level content challenging for high level players by reducing the effective level of the high level character to the level of the content. But it doesn’t work.

For an example of how Down-leveling doesn’t work. Just ask a high level player to join you in a low level area to help you out and then watch how they do. You struggle to stay alive against a Veteran [World Boss] or other powerful foe and they kick it’s butt. If down-leveling worked fairly, then they would have as much trouble as you are. And the rest of the game would be designed a little differently. They wouldn’t be upping the health of the Champion Events and you could move through the map in approximately in keeping with the levels marked on the map.

If you are trying to clear the Plains of Ashford map, the last Way Point is to the South West just outside of the Guild Puzzle – whatever that is. Right outside of this area there are a dozen ghosts at your level that will gang up on you so you can’t get to the Way Point. But if you ask a level 80 Guild buddy to come along, he has no trouble trashing them to let you get to the way point. How fair is that?

Here’s another concrete example:

Playing an Asura Mesmer level 19, in Wayfarer Foothills trying to do skill point East of Hunter’s Lake.

Hunter's Lake
Hunter’s Lake

I fought my way into that valley to do the skill point. But it was taking so long to kill the mobs that they were re-spawning. Esp the Veteran Svanir. So I died. Then I went back to Hunter’s Lake lodge and got a hunter helper. She came along and 2 shot-ed the mobs and 4 shot-ed the Veteran. So I contend that if down-leveling were fair, there would not be so much difference between a level 19 Mesmer and a level 80 Hunter when both down-leveled to 14. Just to show you my gear is not trash, here’s my char and gear at the time I did this:


Map Levels are a Joke

Heritage Heavy Armor

If you start playing GW2, don’t believe the map when it says 15-25. If you go to the 15-25 area at less than 20 you will die. And you probably shouldn’t go there until you are level 30.

Now I’m not using Stock Gear. I have worked through many areas and regularly done Champion Events, so I have blue and green gear at the appropriate level for my characters. I play all the classes and all are above 15; some are 22 at this point. But if you step over the line from Metrica Province into Brisbane Wildlands as a level 18, prepare to die. The toads will gang up on you and trash you.

Fine. The Rules are the Rules.

So Fine. That’s the way the ArenaNet want’s to play the game. Advantage the high level players. Disadvantage the Low Level players. Make the low level areas places that are filled with high level characters getting their rocks off on the Champion Daily’s.

I can live with that. The new strategy is to do all the Low Level [1-15] areas, and explore all the cities [check google for those hard to find Vistas and POIs] to get Exp. Don’t forget SharkMaw Caverns, it’s a hoot.

And when I’m 30 or so, I’ll go to the 15 areas. At least as I level in a 1-15 area as a 20+, I’m getting level 20 gear. Thank goodness for small favors. Other games fix the level of the loot to the area, rather than the character, so it doesn’t make sense to farm in low level areas for gear.

One more Rant. So I’m working through Wayfarer Foothills, the Norn 1-15 area, and I’m working on a heart around Svanir’s Dome. Then I move up the hill and help a group kill the Champion that holds the camp. We work like 5 minutes to take down this Champion and clear the camp. Svanir’s gone. And I get a ton of loot. Good job. But I still have to go down the hill and clear more icy elementals and Svanir tough guys to get the heart. How fair is that? How about we get at least 1/2 the heart from doing the World Boss event in the area? Sigh. I guess we like our grinding…

GW2 Doesn’t Need to be So Hard

I think Wow is so popular because it’s easy to play. Not trivial, but straight forward. It works as advertised. Sure you die some. But if you do the quests in the areas that are marked for your level; Clear all the maps as you go and move on when you are a level or two above the next map, then you will make progress until you are level 85. Or 90 I guess. I bailed when it became a grind in the new Pandaria areas.

But none of those rules apply to GW2. There are a new set of rules that are to the advantage of those who have “Arrived” at high levels.

We’ll see how long before I get bored with these new rules.

– ww