A new player experience cannot cater to everyone, and shouldn’t impact everyone either, you simply show them what is potentially available and hope they like what it is you have to offer. Also the target audience you seem to be trying to capture with these changes have a high chance of being game hoppers are highly unlikely to make online purchases and are just not long time player material. A group of your existing players has been put off by these changes and the likelihood for some of them creating alternate characters has lessened, meaning less purchases and now some players are negatively vocal in the community.
First Suggestion – Starter Area
Instanced starting area, it’s been suggested before I know. A first time player put into an instance that undergoes a serious of simple encounters with dialogue explaining, preferably 9, each weapon skill unlocks after an encounter then the utilities one by one until their elite opens then a boss fights that downs them on spawn and a brief tutorial on what happened and how to get up by killing a trash mob that spawned with the boss.
Second Suggestion – Tutorial Hints
Option in settings for tutorial hints, on or off.
» Weapon skills should not be locked at all, but when a new weapon is picked up and tutorials are on, then some form of indicator popup should notify the player and when clicking should be shown the hero panel window with weapon skills with the weapon skills in question to be highlighted. I’ve provided an image.
» Utility skills should unlock at level 10 with again an indicator similar to the above that notifies the player they’ve obtained new skills and when clicking they are brought to the skill points window in their hero panel.
» Elite should unlock at level 20, same indicator same response.
This gives new players more tools earlier on to be able to try different ways to beat each encounter and makes each encounter less tedious and repetitive as well as making existing players who make alternate characters happier and increases the chances they will do so.
Third Suggestion – Downtime
Downtime alleviation, both for new and existing players. Please remove the personal story level requirement, some players do prefer challenge. More importantly level locked quests that players receive from the game are a red flag, either don’t notify the player he has a quest he literally can’t do or revert it back to a suggested level. Condense nearby activities to a quest objective, closest one only, one at a time. I’ve provided an image. This is a very simple way to direct players to content while putting the icons for vistas, points of interest on the map again to show the map is full of content, without these icons all over the map for new players it seems utterly barren and it would appear there is nothing important on the maps to do.
For existing players, well, content packs are a definite way to promote player choice. Plus if they include areas, dungeons etc guild mates will encourage other guild mates to get gw2 gold. Static content like you’re adding is prone to delays, has to take into account more level ranges and simply is not enough content to keep these people busy long enough for the next batch.
Fourth Suggestion – Test Server
I hate surveys I hate polls and I tend to lie on ones I’m forced to take and I never volunteer. However what would definitely entice players to give you feedback would be an easily accessible test server with definite or potential changes at least a month in advance, maybe a button next to Play on the launcher that says Test Server. Of course to coincide with this would be a section in the forums, Test Server Feedback.
The way it has been updated negatively affects at least some long time players already familiar with level practices and game mechanics by gating the tools available to them during game play and I would honestly say does not alleviate confusion nor breed longevity in new players either because again it hinders their ability to dictate encounters and be successful and promotes grinding.
This is not a typical online game and should be treated as such where we have classes and new skills for those classes each level, we only have very few skills/abilities available to us through the game so the sooner you deliver them to the player the quicker you alleviate boredom and frustration.