In a recent developer blog, Colin Johanson, Lead Content Designer for Guild Wars 2 asserts that their new dynamic content system will fundamentally change the MMORPG genre:
MMOs have become extremely popular, but the genre has done little to evolve over the past decade. Generally MMO players explore an unchanging, persistent game world, leveling up by performing quests which do not change the world in any way once completed. It’s time for the genre to take the next step, and explore the idea of a truly dynamic, living, breathing persistent world where the player’s actions really make a difference, and everything that occurs in the game world has cause and effect.
I’ve really been enjoying the Guild Wars 2 developer blogs. I like the use of the cartoon strips to poke fun at some of the hoary practices of traditional MMOs (in the blog providing an overview of the combat system, for example, players are all set to pitch into a bar fight but then are reduced to standing around trying to calculate their relative damage and attack stats; I wept bitter tears of recognition). The GW2 developers’ analysis of the problems with current MMOs is considered and, for the most part, accurate. The design they are proposing in response sounds great; everything about it (with the unfortunate exception of it being set in a fantasy realm, but I could possibly suck it up and deal with that) sounds like exactly the kind of game that I would love to play.
However, I don’t have a lot of faith that this kind of game will prove sufficiently popular to last very long.