Controversy Watch – CoH, GW2 bans and GW2 Economy

Will City of Heroes survive? Is Guild Wars 2’s economy screwed?

It’s a busy time in the MMO world at the moment, and it’s not about to get quieter any time soon. So, here’s our roundup of the current Hot Topics in the land of MMOs…

The Battle For City of Heroes

The closure of City of Heroes provoked an unprecedented level of protest – but what will happen next?

  • Chris at Game By Night wonders what the next step will be if players actually manage to save the game“The fact is it is a lot easier to type your name or check a box than spend real money; there is no commitment beyond that “name” box. And when you’re trying to save a business, commitment and follow-through are the only things that matter.”
  • And Jeromai looks at the controversy from the point of view of someone who loved CoH, but is willing to see it go“If there is one MMO community that might fight closure successfully, it is definitely the CoH one. And it is extremely disrespectful of their efforts to tell them all-knowingly that it doesn’t matter. Because to them, it does. It doesn’t matter to you. That’s fine. Say that.”

Is The Guild Wars Economy Fried?

Several bloggers have been suggesting that there might be problems with Guild Wars 2’s economy – and one of them is presenting more evidence today:

  • Azuriel looks at the incentives for low-level crafting in Guild Wars 2, and concludes that they may present a systemic problem for the game“I have every incentive to start all eight crafting professions on all five of my character slots, and so does everyone else. Doing exactly that will continue to put huge Demand pressure on low-level mats, even if gold inflation raises prices across the board. “

Guild Wars 2 bans: Good Or Bad?

And Guild Wars 2 has also seen unprecedented – and much-applauded – use of the banhammer on rude or exploiting players.

  • Gary at Funsponge overviews what’s happened so far in Arenanet’s unusual and effective policies“There is also the argument this is what the profanity filter is for, but it’s important to distinguish between profanity and offensive language. You can easily offend someone without language that would cause a parent to cover a child’s ears. “

What do you think of this lot?

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Guild Wars 2: The Weekend Roundup

Guild! Wars! 2!

Yes, even as one MMO dies, another one’s growing, thriving and feted throughout the blogosphere. Here’s your roundup of the weekend’s Tyria-related posts:

  • Tobold studies the size of the world of Guild Wars 2, and concludes that there’s at least 300 hours of gameplay there“Surveys have shown that the average MMORPG player plays around 20 hours per week, so 300 hours is over 3 months of solo PvE content. Depending on how much group PvE and PvP you do, you’ll be occupied until well after Christmas.”
  • Zubon at Kill Ten Rats is getting increasingly irritated by something that’s been annoying the Melting Pot staff too – GW2’s currently extremely buggy grouping“This is less bad than Asheron’s Call 2′s lack of functional chat around launch, but one of the basic things you should be able to demand from a multi-player game is being able to form groups with your friends”
  • Jeromai looks at MMOs in general through the lens of GW2’s groundbreaking design, and asks what you’d keep doing in game if there was no reward for doing so?“I would, surprisingly enough, continue to rez players, often in the thick of combat, even if I don’t get xp for it and even if I don’t get any thanks for it.”
  • And The Noisy Rogue writes an interesting and angry post wondering in what other industry actions like Arena.net’s summary banning policies would be accepted and praised“In MMO land the consumer gets their product confiscated and banned for life for a developer’s own mistake.”

What do you think of all this? What’s getting you excited – in a good or bad way – by GW2 right now?

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Arena.net mass bans for exploiting – blogger reactions

Arena.net aren’t afraid of making controversial decisions as Guild Wars 2 heats up, and yesterday they made a doozy – having found a major high-level exploit, they banned thousands of players who had exploited it, in one fell swoop.

That’s a pretty bold move for such a new game, and many of the players affected are claiming at least relative innocence. Needless to say, it’s attracted some interesting commentary from the blogosphere:

  • Syncaine isn’t very impressed with their handling of the issue, and thinks dark motives could be behind it“The tinfoil hat part of this is the worst aspect though. Anet loses NOTHING from banning you, since the game does not have a sub cost. If anything, they might gain another box sale.”
  • Keen looks at both sides of the issue – the things that ANet did right and the things they may have done wrong“What blows me away is the number of people who abused the crap out of this exploit and never stopped to think, “What I’m doing could get me banned.” “
  • And Nuke The Site From Orbit thinks that ANet may have been overly harsh, looking at the real world parallels“I respect a level headed approach even more… and taking care of your own house before simply banning people is a great place to start.”

What do you think? Well-deserved punishment for cheating, or excessively harsh action?

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Guild Wars 2 – the MAAAASIVE Blogger Reactions Roundup

So yeah, this MMO came out this weekend. Indie thing. You’ve probably not heard of it.

Or then again, maybe you have.

Guild Wars 2 has indeed turned out to be the juggernaut it promised to be, and it’s knocking down all other MMO writing in its path. So, since I’ve spent the last two days with my head up WoW Patch 5.04’s particulars, to balance things out here’s a MASSIVE roundup of all the fascinating posts on Guild Wars 2 and how, after this long, long wait, it finally turned out.

Long and Detailed

  • Ardwulf sums up his experience from beta to live in extensive bullet point form“The game overall is very strong. Barring the occasional bug or borked event, all of the essential progression elements (tasks, events and other means of gaining XP) work great.”
  • Anjin was expecting to dislike Guild Wars 2 – but turned out to love it“For all the time I spent adventuring, I spent equally as much time exploring Divinity’s Reach. That city is amazing.”
  • Matt Daniel at Massively is loving Guld Wars 2, but writes a lengthy post looking at the things he believes it could be doing better“I’m also not a fan of how large of a role these static-quests-that-occur-at-random-times (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it) play in overall progression, and the reason for this is simple: They occur at random times.”
  • Paeroka has been a Guild Wars fan for a while, but writes a really detailed pro-and-con post about her first five days’ experience“There is no “queuing” to kill a named quest mob. There is no kill stealing in general. And no stealing of resource nodes either! I do not feel that I have to go from quest hub to quest hub and check off the available quests in each of them.”
  • The Mighty Viking Hamster, who was skeptical about GW2, writes of his complete conversion to this new way of building MMOs“ArenaNet have definitely raised the bar with this one and now I understand the frequent talk of ‘changing the genre’ that seemed to come up whenever someone was discussing the game pre-release. “
  • Jeromai writes about Guild Wars 2 in detail – but apparently only managed to tear himself away because the servers went down“I truly don’t understand how people are having a problem with gaining experience. I suspect they’re just running from heart to heart and not doing anything else”
  • Psynister writes a HUUUUUUUUUGE review of the game – when I say this review covers all aspects, it really, really does – but it’s still very interesting“GW2 uses a semi-horizontal leveling system, where-in your effective character level is reduced when you go to zones that are lower level than you actually are. “
  • Chris at Game by Night enthuses about the game, which he says captured him even though as a newbie, he started out overwhelmed“You know that whole “me posting more” thing? Yeah, GW2 wants wants to end that. That should be a testament to how good I’ve found this game.”
  • Rohan shares his impressions of GW2 in a lengthy, interesting point-by-point discussion“So changing weapons means something, it actually changes your gameplay. It’s not just cosmetic. This also allows GW2 to make weapons feel appropriate.”

On The Bans

  • Ravious comments on Arena.net’s ballsy decision to publically air the reasons people were banned“ArenaNet decided that it would be better to air some dirty laundry. The effect? It appears that they are reinforcing how they want their community to be, and people appear to be rallying behind them in force.”
  • Timothy Burke also comments on this particularly interesting, and apparently really successful decision“Basically it breaks down into two major causes: first, that the account has been hacked by gold sellers and second, because the player was saying racist, homophobic, or grossly offensive things in public chat. “
  • And the thread where Arena.net actually aired the dirty laundry is really interesting reading“If you think you were unfairly suspended, or if you’d like to know the specific chat or character name that got you suspended, post your character name and we’ll reply in graphic detail with the reason for the block”

Other Specific Topics

  • The Nozy Gamer reports that the most-played MMO of the weekend was NOT World of Warcraft“Despite the gaudy numbers, the scary thing for other game developers and publishers is that this weekend was just the early launch for those who pre-ordered GW2. “
  • Green Armadillo wonders if the real MMO under threat from Guild Wars might not be WoW, but RIFT“When you look at what distinguishes the remaining MMO’s – and in particular the surviving subscription games – I’m much more worried for Rift. “
  • Syncaine wonders if the game will actually stand the test of time“The point remains that if killing boars or whatever did not lead to something, most would not spend hours killing boars for the ‘gameplay’ factor. “
  • Keen considers what it means for both the game and the player who did it that the first level 80 got there before the game was even officially launched“Guild Wars 2 officially launches today, yet many players are already max level… What does that say about the game? What does that say about the player?.”
  • Ironically enough given the game’s name, Azuriel is having real trouble with guilds in Guild Wars 2“Some random guy in Wisconsin six servers away claimed ownership first, now and forever, leaving me with choices like The Invictus, XxInvictusxX, Invictus 2: First Blood, and a cavalcade of increasingly poor choices.”
  • Syp loves the crafting aspect of Guild Wars 2, and explains why he’s just that taken with it“God bless ArenaNet for making crafting nodes non-exclusive. I hated that feeling of rushing toward a node while seeing someone else doing the same, worried that they’d get it first and feeling resentment toward them either way. “
  • Tobold wrote a post about the first boss of Guild Wars 2 – the login server“I’d love to tell you how much fun I had playing Guild Wars 2, but in reality I haven’t even beaten the first enemy of the game yet: The login server.”
  • Moxie didn’t buy the Collector’s Edition – but decided to buy a bunch of extra items for the game instead“Total: $300, the same price as two GW2 CEs, and we’ll certainly get a lot more use out of the gems, slots, soundtrack, and guide than we would the figurine or the in-game items”

Personal Experience

  • Stargrace checks in at level 30 to discuss the experience she’s had – which has been almost deleriously positive“How to tell I’m REALLY enjoying a game? I stop playing alts.”
  • Healing The Masses has been getting fully ADD on Guild Wars 2, and presents the experience of doing a little bit of everything“The world feels absolutely wonderful and makes you feel like some wandering adventurer out to help (or make mischief) where and how you please. “
  • Syncaine gives Guild Wars 2 the thumbs-up in typically cynical style“Overall though a good start for Anet and GW2, even with that stupid baseball cap they gave out to everyone that instantly kicks immersion in the nuts.”
  • MMO Gamer Chick shares her experience of playing GW2 over the weekend, both solo and attempting to play with friends“Alas, out of the many hours we spent in GW2 this weekend, our characters were only able to spend a small fraction of that time in-game adventuring with each other.”
  • Lorehound’s Mike explains why he’s in the minority as someone who didn’t like GW2 and won’t be keeping playing“Making all the quests public is nice, but it doesn’t solve the problem of having boring quests and I have no interest in completing hundreds of them before I get to some good ones.”

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A Ban Resolved, Fishing Fandangos, and More

Loads of good posts today – so many, in fact, that I’m saving a few of them to see if there are more responding posts tomorrow! But in the meantime, here are the other great posts from today:

  • Happy news! Battlechicken’s saga with being banned from SWTOR has come to a happy conclusion“I told him that if I could pass on anything from this situation, it would be that anyone who appeals, especially repeatedly, deserves the courtesy of a personal email, even if it says, “This might take a little while, but I promise we’re looking into it and we’ll let you know as soon as we know something.””
  • Frinka at Warcraft Street asks if Blizzard’s “improvements” have actually ruined fishing“By streamlining fishing’s leveling process they took away lot of the profession’s “flavor” without addressing what most people find boring about it — having to wait for the nibble. “
  • With expansion fever in the air, Cynwise reminds himself – and us – to play for the moment, not the future“As time marches on, and class design starts to solidify and Blizzard developers start making balance passes with the new mechanics, it hits me more and more – I don’t really know what this game will be like in the future. I don’t know what my favored class will really be like.”
  • A Casual Stroll To Mordor draws attention to something really cool – LoTRO developers Turbine are looking for players to run summer in-game events
  • And Straw Fellow concludes his interesting series of defences for Blizzard’s decisions, as he argues against himself, defending RealID in all its glory“The second you step into a social environment, may it be in public or online, you should be held accountable for your actions. It may be a game, but it is still a public venue and because of this we should know who we are dealing with. “

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Banned from SWTOR + LoTRO’s Weatherstock Wraps Up

And finally, a couple of links from the other big MMO contenders (other than EVE, which is still engaged in a massive argument over alliances) this weekend.

I nearly featured Battle Chicken’s tale of being banned for no visible reason in SWTOR on its own – it’s a difficult and unpleasant position to be put in. But the LoTRO Weatherstock music festival is just too unique to ignore, so…

  • SWTOR’s been cursed with poor customer service before now – but the case of Battlechicken’s unexplained ban from the game might be the worst instance I’ve heard of. Any ideas what she should do now?“The fact that they didn’t identify the third party source meant I couldn’t even figure out if it was something I had knowingly done without realizing it was against the ToS.”
  • On a happier note, LoTRO’s unique music festival, Weatherstock, happened for the fourth time this weekend, with over 500 players in attendance. A Casual Stroll To Mordor has the wrapup from the crowds“I didn’t hear what the final tally of players that attended this year but it is reported on the forums as “about 500 people, 1 chicken and 1 horse”. It certainly seemed larger than last year from my perspective.”

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