It’s been a quieter week this week – but less dominant topics mean more cool random bits and pieces.
And so we close out the week with two interesting posts from two of the major MMOs we haven’t heard from this week: SWTOR and GW2…
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Shintar’s very worried by what does indeed look like an incoming trainwreck in SWTOR – the upcoming PvP Arenas, which are planned to be non-optional for PvP players…
Read “Going Commando: Meh, Arenas” »
And Jeromai delves into the mysteries of Guild Wars 2 lore in a really interesting post, starting from a look at some artwork and heading into deep, cross-game lore speculation about the future of GW2.
Read “GW2: The Cliffs and the Colossus | Why I Game” »
There’s a new event happening in Guild Wars 2 – Clockwork Chaos!
Apparently, there are clockwork critters roaming the land, descending on zones at random.
How’s it working out?
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Ravious criticises the design of the events because of overflow issues and the length of the event overall, but still thinks that this one’s a rollicking success with intriguing hints about the future…
Read “[GW2] Tick Tock Assault | Kill Ten Rats” »
And Morrighan finds that the events themselves are awesome, but that the bad guy behind them is less than compelling – making an argument for a recurring villain.
Read “Guild Wars 2: Clockwork Chaos | Caer Morrighan” »
Guild Wars 2’s innovative, massive PvP setting, the “World vs World vs World” games, have had a pretty major shakeup recently.
Arena.net have changed the world matching from being heavily based on world ranking, aiming to match up worlds evenly, to a considerably more random system that can match worlds up seemingly randomly – regardless of their PvP ability or status.
As you might expect, this hasn’t entirely been met with cries of joy.
But interestingly, it also hasn’t been met with hatred and fuming. Jeromai gives us a really detailed and interesting report on just how things are shaking down, from massively unbalanced matches to reactions from various schools of player:
“Strangely though, there is another subset of players that seem to have an impact on whether queues pop up across WvW maps or not. These players tend not to post on forums, and turn up based on the scoreboard. They have been derisively called fairweathers or pugs, weekend warriors, or if one is feeling very very kind, “militia,” by those who fancy themselves a lot more dedicated to WvW. They do tend to be less well versed in the game format, and have builds not optimized for it as well.
You will rarely find them in WvW when your server is doing less well. Yet once a server pushes over 300 or so, there seems to be some kind of critical mass effect that attracts them into jumping in and riding the gravy train and pushing the server even higher and higher scores.
Hardcore WvW players tend to be very scornful of this playstyle. Me, I don’t know. It occurs to me that sometimes, majority votes can’t be wrong. Maybe it’s not so much what players say, but what they actually do.
Tarnished Coast has been massively queued across a good number of maps in this blowout week. (You could map hop freely last week against Sanctum of Rall during most times that weren’t NA primetime, and I think it got even worse past Tuesday – I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t there either.)
A number of these guys contributing to the queue are definitely beginner WvWers and primarily PvE players and probably not a few map completionists either. There are doubtless opportunists who leap at the chance to kill people when the odds are in their favor. Add on the regular WvW guilds trying to get on during their usual times for pushes, and things are definitely crowded.
I’m thinking – they wouldn’t stay in there, if they weren’t having “fun” with matchups the way they are.”
Read the rest of “WvW – Variety Or Balance?” »
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I’d never really thought about this, but one of the big cultural differences between MMOs is how they handle their updates.
For WoW, of course, each patch release is a mini-event – there’s buildup, there’s ferocious argument, there’s a tsunami of information accompanying each release.
But Guild Wars 2 has a very different policy – and as Morrighan argues this week, it might not be one that’s helping the game out…
” I had no idea when the patch would be during the 24 hour window given, but when a 1 hour warning came up I was part way through my daily. I tried to finish it, but of course I didn’t have an hour. It wasn’t ‘in’ 1 hour, but ‘within’ 1 hour. So I had to restart my daily. Grumble
But that was the worst of it. There were features in the patch that were announced very late or not announced at all. The patch notes were made available just a few hours before the update and nitty gritty detail of class changes only appeared then. The day of the patch ArenaNet announced the removal of paid tournaments, since the matchmaking system made them redundant. And when the patch appeared, it was complete with the ability to track achivements. Not just dailies, but any achievement. This is a particularly nice feature that was given no coverage at all.”
Read the rest of The Guild Wars 2 Update Experience >>
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We’ve had a great crop of “impressions” posts in the last couple of days for a variety of new or new-ish additions to the MMO world.
I’d not had time to check most of these out, so I found everything here really interesting – and if you’re considering what to play next, or whether to return to an old game, this stuff’s for you:
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- The Ancient Gaming Noob ponders why he doesn’t get on with RIFT’s apparently ground-breaking Storm Legion expansion – “The ideas about the use of space changed with Storm Legion.”
- Chris at Level Capped checks out the new FPS-ish MMO from RIFT developers Trion, Defiance – which is twinned with a TV show – ” I suspect that once the show starts, the flow will be “watch the show, jump into the game to see what (if anything) has happened as far as crossovers, play and monitor the game stories during the week, and watch the show to see what leaked in from the game.”
- And Jeromai waxes lyrical about the fun he’s been having with Guild Wars 2’s new whimsical Super Adventure Box – “I think the biggest compliment that I can give the Super Adventure Box is that I’m late in blogging about it.”
It’s incredibly active, it’s very controversial, and it’s never out of the headlines for long, but how well is Guild Wars 2 actually doing?
Well, after the introduction of new outdoor loot options, several bloggers are arguing – with persuasive evidence – that it’s not only doing well, but much better than most traffic numbers would suggest:
- Kill Ten Rats looks at the active support and development of community tools for GW2, even ones that fix major limitations with the game itself – “With almost 3 million LFG’s created, I’d say there is significant demand for this community tool.”
- And Bhagpuss reports back from the front lines, telling tales of joyfully overcrowded and really fun-sounding times on his server – “The run up to every chest-dropper is like a little mini-event in itself, with impromptu costume brawls, dance parties and heavy map banter. The spirit is good because, by and large, people are getting what they want and they don’t mind waiting for that. “
How’s GW2 doing for you?
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Everything old is new again. Guild Wars 2, famous for its innovative “no quests” MMO gameplay, now has a growing demand from players for old-school, kill-ten-rats quests as part of its game world.
But why? Well, there are definitely problems with the way the game works already – but does that mean that quests are the solution? Jeromai of Why I Game really doesn’t think so – and he takes the “gief quests plox” argument apart in a fascinating post looking at the problems and solutions of GW2’s current gameplay style:
“As for stories, well, even across the open world, some of the dynamic events may feel more generic than others – nameless bandits, centaurs, Inquest, Risen, whoever, just rushing to the slaughter.
But I remember Rhendak the Crazed pretty well, mostly because I keep joking he’d have to be crazy to sit all day underwater waiting for people to come by. I remember the ghosts in Barradin’s vault VERY well, because Ivor Trueshot kept pwning my lowbie and Horace still tears up my downleveled 80 and I recall them as people from Guild Wars 1. I even remember the Bane warband going on their regular ghost patrol, if only because they and my character share part of their surnames.
(I even remember that most useless group of almost-pacifist ogres that need their hand held with everything – even if I don’t remember their names.)
I think what we’d really like is to get to know some of the characters in the open world a little more. Learn their names. Hear their stories. Get involved in meaningful ways. Bring a little more personal story into the world story.”
Read the rest of the article here
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The lovely people at Arena.net recently posted a detailed look at what the next six months hold for their game – and there’s some exciting stuff in there.
But will it do the job? Will Guild Wars 2 stay on form?
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- Ravious thinks that there are some good ideas in there, but it’s all a bit wooly – “Lots of good words, but 2013 is a long year. The only imminent-ish stuff feels like the achievements/ crowns since ArenaNet is most open about that.”
- And Hunter’s Insight is excited about the new changes, but once again feels that they’re still rather vague – “Content that will allow guilds to go on missions together. Interesting terminology. Missions like in the original Guild Wars? Separate instances maybe? “
Most people loved the new Fractal dungeons in Guild Wars 2 – at least when they were first introduced. But since then, there’s been steadily more muttering against them.
Is it just whining? Perhaps not, according to Malefic Incantations, who offers a well-thought-out argument as to why Fractals could divide and destroy GW2 –
“This is not just raiding, this is grind! ArenaNet has over and over said that this game would not have grind, but now we have Fractals. This is the gear grind treadmill that they promised us we would not encounter. These are typical, WoW-esq raids, in mini packages so we do not call them raids. While there should be challenging end-game content, the requirement that you must grind in order to be well equipped, goes against the MMO Manifesto ArenaNet themselves created.”
Read More Here
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I felt the time was about right for a Battlestar Galactica reference. Plus, it’s actually appropriate – Zubon’s really nailed it today with an example of how MMORPG history repeats itself, and is doing so again in Guild Wars.
Plus, we’ve got Psychochild’s epic examination of the game, more on fractals, and more…
- Psychochild continues his dissection of GW2 from the point of view of an experienced developer – fascinating stuff in here – ” If we had infinite resources that were available everywhere, there would be no need for economics because there would be no scarcity. This is basically what has happened to GW2’s economy.”
- Zubon gives us a spot-on example of a game that initially developed in a way spookily similar to Guild Wars 2 – “The PvE was relatively relaxed, the community was more positive than average. There was a lot of play and exploration below the level cap, and the endgame content was structured around single-group dungeons, although content did exist for larger groups of characters to tackle together, if you were up for fighting a dragon.”
- Clockwork looks at the new Fractal dungeons, and unusually has more than a few issues with them – “”Lets split the community into 40 units within each server!” – Said no wise developer ever.”
- Keen writes a short piece in support of Guild Wars 2’s new direction with Ascended gear – “The problem ArenaNet ran into is that they violated their own “Manifesto” (like a constitution for their game) and created a gear-grind when they said they wouldn’t.”
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