Massively multiplayer online games have this way of becoming a rush to the top. If a game has 50 levels, 49 of them will end up being considered inconsequential as players float up to the level cap and then stay there. As more and more players reach the limit, more and more of the game ends up focusing around them. Even a game like Diablo III, technically not an MMORPG at all, ends up with endgame woes.
Guild Wars 2 has been out for less than three weeks, but already power-minded players are driving their characters to level 80 in droves. And yet, ArenaNet representatives say on their blog, that's not really where all of the "good" content is, and players may as well slow down and enjoy the process.
"We didn't want the endgame to be something you could only experience after a hundred hours of gameplay or after you reached some arbitrary number," ArenaNet's Mike Zadorojny wrote, "so we've introduced game elements that you'd normally associate with "endgame" at every level and every possible opportunity." The hope is that players will find value in more activities than the traditional top-level gear hunt and raid circuit. Dedication to crafting and exploring each have their own extrinsic rewards, as well as dedication to the fine art of going places and killing stuff.
But will the focus on spreading boss monsters, drama, dungeons, and explorable locations across the entire 1-80 game actually placate players who sped to the top? Sure, "the dynamic events become larger, the battles more spectacular, the circumstances more dire" as players level, but they still remain the same sort of content that players have been poking their noses into from their first tutorial boss.
Eventually, there comes a time where players have simply exhausted their options, and going back to explore low-level content missed along the way up loses its allure. There are promises of "new types of events, new dungeons, new bosses, new rewards, and new places for players to explore" in the works, and based on the first Guild Wars ArenaNet will no doubt deliver regular content additions. Hopefully, players will learn to enjoy the journey and not just the destination.
The Endgame Reimagined [Official Blog]