Zubon is currently playing through Guild Wars for the first time - a move composed of much win. I wanted to re-post a reply I made to one of the commenters.
“That is a common misconception about GW. In it’s first months, the devs intended PvP to be the endgame content, but since most of the players didn’t care about their intentions and stayed in PvE, the game got more and more PvE-heavy.”
I disagree with this quite a bit. In the first few years of the game’s life, PvP was extremely popular and a massive focus, both for the casual and hardcore players. Random Arenas and then Alliance Battles were extremely popular with the former, while Guild vs Guild and Hall of Heroes offered a more competitive slant for the latter.
The pioneering ideas they had gave the game very strong appeal in the “super hardcore” competitive e-sports scene, eg
- mechanics that require active use of skills to prevent damage
- co-ordination of the team to “spike” down a target
- observer mode for all high-level games
- no reliance on grinding to achieve power
More prize money was up for grabs at the high point of this than had previously been offered in any competitive game.
But you are right that PvP is not as big of a focus now. Interest died off with each expansion because more and more skills and classes that did not fit with the fantastic balance of the original campaign devolved the metagame into “Build Wars”. Eventually all the high profile players moved on.
Hopefully they can get back to the core principles in GW2 and create another fantastic PvP experience.