Guild Wars 2: Power Creep Problems?

Power Creep may effect the Guild Wars 2 economy more than the disastrous changes to magic find and crafting.

Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet put out a report today by their economist John Smith basically saying that they are aware that the addition of ascended crafting and the removal of magic find bonuses will entirely disrupt the player-built economy in the days and weeks following the next update on September 3rd.

These changes will bring dire issues you should read about and understand, but there may be a bigger problem that ArenaNet have yet to deal with publicly. The issue is power creep, and I'm facing it in my daily gaming sessions more and more.

What's Power Creep?

The best description I've ever seen of power creep was on a web show by Penny Arcade. It succinctly explains that power creep is the issue that most games have wherein they continually add harder content with bigger rewards just to please the player. It sounds great to have more epic loot all the time, but it gradually unbalances a game and makes it so nobody plays old maps, dungeons, and other content because the new stuff is so much more awesome.

Where is the Power Creeping?

The announcement today about ascended crafting is textbook power creep. By leveling up crafting levels from 400 to 500 the designers feel like they are helping the players by giving them more interesting weapons. In fact, all they are doing is making anyone who doesn't have a level 500 weaponsmith and a bunch of ascended swords completely irrelevant in team play. This means even level 80 characters will be scorned by their peers for not having the shiniest new toy. 

When was the last time you tried to do anything in Orr? I was doing a bit of map completion there recently and found the place a ghost-town filled with only undead and nobody to help. This is also due to power creep. You can get so much loot from the living story that old content like Orr maps that used to be popular to farm in are now totally deserted. It means players that missed the boat on map completion will never be able to finish because everyone will be off playing the more powerful new content.

Is It Really Bad?

Yes. I said this was a bigger problem than the fact that they are taking away an integral stat on armor because I meant it.

A luck bar sounds like a bad idea because all of your hard-earned armor is going to be useless in a few days, but the escalating level of the game is a bigger long-term problem. The ascended weapons and armor that were announced today are a slippery slope to fall down. ArenaNet needs to stop where they are and be sure to add incomparable weapons instead of better ones.


GameSkinny intern, college student, and lifelong nerd.

Published Aug. 31st 2013

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