First when I say degenerate I mean a play style not foreseen by the developers that crop up due to exploiting the game’s mechanics and reward system.
Speed runs through a dungeon is a degenerate play style since it means avoiding encounters to get to the end quickly. The abuse of that has led to the various nerfings of loot from doing them. If the extraneous encounters aren’t needed to get the reward then why did the devs bother to include them? Players are taking advantage of the leash system. If the system didn’t exist speed runners would end up pulling a huge number of mobs onto their flanks when they rush to do the next boss chest encounter.
In my previous MMO speed runs led to a reward change that replaced a random exclusive reward from list X to a skee-ball ticket system with the number of tickets based on the data mined completion times and a vendor to trade your tickets for the previous acquirable items. And they would update the ticket amounts periodically base on the latest data mine. How’s that for a nerf.
Taking advantage of the way point system, champ respawn rates and number of champs in a zone so you can dash from one champ to the next just as it spawns is a degenerate play style. I admit the champ train concept was clever combination of understanding the spawning locations, transit times and respawn rate to minimize down time between champs but I’m fairly certain the devs didn’t expect anyone to formalize it as an activity that one would play for guild wars 2 gold. It was partially the devs doing when they significantly boosted the champ rewards due to players ignoring champs but the train wasn’t an outcome they expected.
This game was never suppose to be about Progression. They threw the ascension level gear at those players. But they would never be satisfied by a horizontal progression system to begin with. As for content I can understand players wanting to binge on new content the way they binge watch a TV show’s season when they first pick up the box set. But here it’s one episode every two weeks and in the instantaneous gratification culture in the US that simply isn’t enough. They would blow through the content in a day. Me? I’m still doing episode 1. I’m ecstatic that the LS this time around doesn’t “force” me to complete it if I want the reward at the end of it. So it’s more “play it my way” than before.
But heck I’m a “care bear”, a casual player who should be playing Hello Kitty according to some. But I think I’m more of the target demographic than the OC min/maxing, speed running, leet PvP, MMO players that are leaving to look for their ideal game. I wish them luck finding their white whale.