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Everyone is sitting around complaining about the new changes to the game and how they’re dumbing it down.

People on the other side of the coin defend the ‘casual’ playerbase and say that it’s often overwhelming for them to have too many skills, too many traits, etc…

I think, personally, ArenaNet is looking at this strictly from a low-level standpoint and not taking into account the reverberating effect their changes have had on levelling through the first half or so of levels and probably is actually discouraging their newcomers later on in the game rather than bombarding them with crap in the first 10 or so levels.

First, let’s think about traits. At level 11, my ranger has roughly 100 in each stat. Which means that one, a single trait point, which we originally would’ve had at level 11 would allow a 10% bonus to a stat of my choosing. 10% in whatever stat you want is a pretty massive boost, and 10 points into a stat at such a low level can make a world of difference. Level 12, that bonus jumps to 20. 13, it jumps to 30. You can see how these extra stats would REALLY be helpful, considering the game’s difficulty was designed around you having the extra stat points to deal with the enemies you encounter. Now, I’ll be honest, I got my Necromancer and Warrior to 80 and have kinda slushed on levelling too much. But I’ll say that when I have leveled, it’s been noticeably more difficult without the stat points.

Now, they’re taking away skills as well, for those low levels. I would argue that, especially in lieu of traits, we DEFINITELY are going to need our utility skills to deal with PvE opponents. Now we have to make due with guild wars 2 gold.

To be honest, I -know- that ArenaNet puts a TON of thought into their changes that they make, as this game is pretty much their lifeblood, but I’m fearing that they’re focusing too much on the “Let’s make level 1-10 REALLY basic so people can understand how to play the game” so that levels 11-79 have to become almost back-breakingly difficult at times. At least they’re MUCH more difficult than what the game was completely designed around.

And, I hate to bring it into the topic. Everyone hates to hear about it. And I’m sorry in advance. But here it comes.

Blizzard followed this same trend with WoW. They wanted to make the game easier and easier to learn so they started taking away the things that complicated it. At first, this totally worked. And their subscriber numbers show it. After Burning Crusade, when all the hardcore players were screaming the game was “too easy”, sales and subscriptions soared. But Blizzard, trying to open up their game to too many people, ended up stomping on the faces of their players. After Cataclysm release, when Blizzard really started to dumb things down, player subscriptions started to plummet. The people who started level 1 as MMO-illiterate ‘casuals’ were already level 80 (or was it 90? Something like that) GOOD players. They didn’t need the dumbed down experience anymore. Mists of Pandaria sought to solve the problem by further ‘dumbing down’ and subscriptions have continued to plummet since.

So while making the game easier to understand for new players is a GOOD thing and WILL increase the availability to a more casual crowd, I think that it’s important to remember that those same players get better at the game REALLY fast. I forced my wife to play this back at launch, and, having never played any video game besides Mario Kart and Words With Friends, she fell in love with the game and had absolutely no problem understanding it. She had a bit of a tough time understanding what she should put traits into, but nothing that wasn’t solved with a “hey, where should I put my traits?”

So, in conclusion, ArenaNet (if you see this!), remember that the ‘casual’ players quickly become learned players, despite the lack of dumbing-down. My wife (the ultimate description of a ‘casual’) had no problem learning the game by herself the ‘old’ way.

Now, I didn’t do much research into the changes they’ve made, as personally, I don’t level much anymore. And when I do, it’s a LOT tougher than I remember it. (Fewer higher levels want to level new chars, so harder to do some events, stat differential, etc…) So please, I’m sure I’ll be flocked with hatred for my opinion, and I’m more than willing to accept other viewpoints if there’s something I’m missing, but I REALLY want this game to maintain its majesty.I love GW2, and I don’t want to watch it fizzle and become some unrecognizable abomination like WoW did to me.