The one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater flying overhead! And us looting the chest after the fight.
Yay! Arb and I fought a dragon in GW2! It was big and purple! There was loot!
Let me describe a typical dragon fight in Guild Wars 2 – bear in mind that the dragons are the big bads of the setting.
- Arb and I go to a zone, there is lots of running around like 4 year olds on a sugar rush as we both get distracted easily by hearts, vistas, gathering nodes, events, and just about anything else.
- Someone in zone chat comments: anyone seen the dragon recently?
- Someone else answers: it’s due in about 10 minutes.
- I say to Arb: Just like a bus timetable.
- She says: Probably 3 come at once.
- We get distracted by the prospect of a dragon in 10 minutes and head to the other side of the zone to find the appropriate dynamic event (probably involving getting lost, splitting up, one of us dying from falling off a cliff, and more gathering.)
- We get there, yay! The event is starting, yay! Lots of other players turn up, yay!
- The dragon arrives, keeping a better timetable than local buses. There may be some mechanics and strategy but we’re too busy saying “ooo! It’s big” to really focus on them. The dragons are pretty big and impressive.
- LEEKS! Arb spots a veg node.
- We hare off in the middle of a dragon fight to pick the leeks.
- We get back in time to see the dragon die and get some loot, which probably isn’t very exciting but you might get a nice rune.
It is very typical of the GW2 experience that you might run off to pick vegetables in the middle of a boss fight. Even though you know perfectly well the veg will still be there afterwards, because all material nodes are shared.
On this basis, I am naming GW2 as being neither a Themepark nor a Sandbox but a Playground MMO. Free Realms might be another example of a Playground MMO. In the playground, there will be lots of different activities on offer. They will probably be a bit disorganised. There might be a small sandbox. You can do whatever you want, although staff will stop you annoying the other children. Some activities will happen at set times (eg. storytime). I don’t find the game childish, but there is something very childlike about playing GW2.
Maybe it’s the focus on play and playfulness in the open world. It feels difficult to take the game seriously. Why else would you run off in the middle of killing a dragon to go and pick veg?