There are three types of gamers.
1. Casual gamers – they play games to pass the time in a fun way. A lot of this demographic has moved on to mobile gaming because it’s able to take away time in transport and whatnot while computer gaming is somewhat more restrictive in terms of required equipment.
2. Hardcore gamers – there are two variants: those who play a game because they are immersed in the world/community of the game itself, and they live the game as a second life; those who play a game because they want to feel a sense of accomplishment, and since games run on fairly consistent rules, it affords the ability to achieve in a fair environment, while in reality you could throw all your resources into something and never be rewarded when your luck is bad.
3. Professional gamers – they play games to earn money, either through tournaments or through converting ingame resources to real finances.
Professional gamers always go where the money is, and as they have a somewhat higher profile (and occasionally industry sponsorships), games sometimes like to have some of them in play every now and then for marketing exposure. But since their aim is to actually earn money, restrictive costs tends to turn them off from a game. Aside from attempts at ‘e-sports’ (which frankly will likely fail because the complexity of Guild Wars 2 mechanics is way above that of your average esports audience’s ability to grasp without doing prior research), there’s been limited effort in this department.
This thread is started and populated mostly by the achievement-type hardcore gamers. However, traditionally, game companies have relied more on keeping systems generally consistent and fair as the only effort towards this entire community, since the amount of time already invested in the game presents a very high cost to leaving a game. From Marketing’s eyes, it’s not a dollar-efficient effort to retain hardcore gamers.
Casuals seem to be the main target of a lot of these recent updates at the moment. Without time to invest in a game, pay-for-convenience features like gem-gold conversions, buying skins, or gambling RNG are ways to monetize this crowd, but it seems like to avoid turning them off from the rest of the game until they spend more, disproportionate effort has been spent in the initial phases of the game (pre-lvl 80). Once they play enough to become invested as a hardcore player, retention is no longer as much of a concern.
If you want to see things change, the hardcore gamer as a community has to undertake relatively drastic actions, involving cutting the monetization source. It does not necessarily mean you stop playing Guild Wars 2, but it means you stop spending any real world money, if you already do, and limit gold=>gem conversions. Then we engage them in dialogue over certain non-negotiable updates – say, precursor crafting.
Once a promised update has been conceded, spend money or convert guild wars 2 gold to gems the moment the patch hits, then if the update frequency stalls, stall the monetization process as well. Once the message is clear that the community will financially support the developers only if they acquiesce to the desires of the community that supports it, it’ll be easier to see updates that you want.
If not prepared to coordinate spending behaviour in response to updates, there will be little or no chance that even developers who are interested in improving things for us will be able to convince the other departments within the company to give them the go-ahead.
I’m serious about the spending phase bit. If you’re expecting them to work for free to create patches for us when only the casuals support them financially, it’s just not going to happen.