This weekend on Relics of Orr we touched on the Hall of Monuments. There was speculation that 1) profession-specific rewards will be added for the as-yet-unknown professions and that 2) these rewards will be obtainable with Hall of Monument points beyond 30.
Frankly, I think the second idea is complete rubbish.
Ask yourself this: Why would a company put so much emphasis on accessibility and anti-grind and then turn around and present tangible rewards only to the elite echelon of players?
”Oh, but HoM reward points are easy to get!” you might say.
Well, I’m sure they are, if you’ve got the time and resources to go hunting for them. I know a number of people who have picked up the game for the first time. I can also assure you that playing through the campaigns isn’t enough to even get you half-way. I myself have played Guild Wars since before it was even released, beaten all campaigns, and religiously dedicated miniatures. My husband is the same except he didn’t give a toss about miniatures and focused on titles instead.
When the Hall of Monuments was released we both had only nine points. (Both of us!)
Hall of Monument points are not something that the casual player, looking to see the story, will accumulate much of while going through the game. These points are something that will be acquired by the seasoned Guild Wars player looking for something to keep them busy.
You wanna know a secret? That’s called grind.
It is absolutely a grind to get those points and there’s no two ways around it. It’s a grind to increase reputation to make PvE skills worthwhile, it’s a grind to go find them all, it’s a grind to play nice in Factions to be able to get more skills that will eventually make you worth-a-damn. (Here’s where my “won’t it be great when I can be useful just by picking up a weapon?” whining starts.)
Getting beyond 30 points is a grind that any sane anti-grind company (like arenanet) would never force upon their casual player base.
But just so that I don’t hear cries about ‘catering to casuals’, let’s look at this from a different perspective.
Let’s say in Guild Wars 2 I want to play the Ranger, and you want to be a super-ultra-mesmer-pirate (SUMP).
If I’m a Ranger, I can get all my class-specific goodies (and there does seem to be a disproportionately large number of them, so I don’t think they’ll be adding more) with only (30) HoM points.
Let’s then say that once the SUMP profession is revealed, the Hall of Monuments is updated to match. You’ll get the heirloom armors, you might get a class-specific reward or two at the lower levels, and you’ll have another reward or two at 37, and another a 48.
I’ve got all my rewards with only a medium amount of effort. However, if you want to trick your SUMP out and really show the world that you’ve ‘Been There, Done That’, you’ll have to sit down and GRIND.
It stands to reason that no one Profession will be given any more of an advantage than any other. So basically you’ll be getting the same power as me, but for twice the work. Isn’t that nice?
No, I don’t think it is. Not At All. Not for you, not for me, and not for Profession diversity.
The tangible rewards stop at 30 points for a reason. Thirty is a level that requires a certain amount of dedication to reach, but also isn’t out of reach for even the most play-time restricted people (like myself, who can’t stay away from minecraft). You get those 30 points and you’ve accomplished something. You’re not elite, but you’ve gotten something done and you’re rewarded for it. For those that want to go the extra mile, who really enjoy poking their nose into every corner of Tyria, slaughtering every last Bad Thing that crawls on the earth, and bowing and scraping to the diminutive mole-people until they finally decide that you actually are Not Too Shabby… well, you’ll have a super-sexy title to show off to the world that you have gone the extra mile.
The point is that the higher numbers don’t give you a tangible advantage over everybody else. The lower levels do give a tangible advantage, and why shouldn’t they? The easiest rewards to get are the armors. It’s also likely they’ll make the most difference, especially in earlier levels. Getting enough points for the armor is completely possible by finishing all the story-based content. You’ll get statues to dedicate for finishing the campaigns and from your War in Kryta gains you can buy a weapon and put it in there too. Add in the extra 3 you get just for linking accounts and bam, six points, all armor accounted for and then some.
As you go higher in points the rewards become increasingly aesthetic until, ultimately, your only reward is a title and knowledge of a job well done. This graduated scale is very kind to old-hat ADD gamers like myself and to new players who’d like to get their hands on something just so they don’t look like complete country bumpkins come the release of Guild Wars 2.
I’m absolutely certain there will be new rewards added to the Hall of Monuments. Each Profession has special pieces just for them, so it stands to reason future Professions will be accorded the same honor.
I’m also absolutely certain there will not be new, Profession-specific rewards added above the 30 points threshold. I can imagine town clothes, or miniature pets being added above 30, but nothing that is not purely cosmetic.
Things like that can lead to unbalance, imposed grind, and an appearance of Profession-favoring. We all know how Blizzard feels about their precious Paladins right? I don’t think ArenaNet will make that same mistake.