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”
- 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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And finally today – some reportage, some reviewage, and some discussionage, as we go from more Old Gods (what is it with those guys?) to the timeless question “How the hell do you use all those buttons on a 12-button mouse?”
- Kelpsacovic is contemplating the Old Gods. Not in an “ia, ia, ftagn” way, more a “why don’t we think of them as more important in WoW” way – “But let’s face it, how much importance do we give to the Old Gods in WoW? Oh sure, the lore nerds can tell us of the various nefarious schemes and their parasitic nature which corrupts everything, but who listens to them? My point is that they too often seem to be behind the scenes, despite being present at all times. It’s strange to me.”
- Azuriel at In An Age musters some scary, scary statistics. Did you know that the top MMOs combined have lost nearly FIVE MILLION players all told this year? – “I think we may need to start entertaining the notion that the entire genre – as we know it – has peaked. Not just the hot topic of F2P vs Subs, but the whole damn shebang. “
- Stargrace talks about “community”, and what she feels we can do to rebuild and maintain it – “People play video games for multiple reasons and you never know what a persons real life stance is. They may be a complete asshole in game, but are dealing with multiple things in real life and they have no method of coping. “
- And Dulfy gives us an in-depth review of the Logitech G600 MMO gaming mouse – interesting stuff if you’ve ever wondered about getting one – “Having a MMO mouse will allow you use abilities with your right hand while moving your character with your left hand on the WSAD keys. This way, you don’t need to stop to press a button on your keyboard to fire off an ability, you just keep on moving. “
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Reviews aren’t normally top of our list of things to feature on the Melting Pot, not least because an MMO is a difficult thing to review at the best of times.
But this week we’re seeing a new, interesting phenomenon – the “first month in” review. And with an unprecedented number of games jostling for our attention at the moment, I know I’ve found these unusually-thorough reviews very interesting! And with so many MMO choices to make, here are a few varied but thorough perspectives on the current contenders:
- Stubborn is reviewing The Secret World after a solid month, and gives an interesting overview of which of the game’s mechanics age well or badly – “Dear god. I’m having trouble with some single pulls when I’m alone. I ran into a beast called “Billy’s Muse” in Blue Mountain and it MURDERED me. I had to carefully clear the whole area around it, drink a barrier potion, then carefully pull and really let lose with dps while madly scrambling from its ton of AoE effects to survive. One mob. A normal mob. I loved it. “
- Kadomi looks back on the massive amount of beta-testing she’s done in Guild Wars 2, and makes her final purchase decision – “My trepidation with GW2 is that it’s really not that much fun to play solo. Just having guildies around made a difference. Enough of a difference? I do not know. Probably not. It might be different if I had any sort of interest in PvP whatsoever, but I absolutely don’t.”
- And in related news, Psynister reviews The Secret World after the free weekend. His review is slightly spoiler-heavy (don’t read if you don’t want to know how all three factions’ introductions go) but very thorough – and it illustrates how TSW has made some choices which will delight some people and alienate others – “The thing I disliked the most about this game was the language. I knew going into it that the language was going to be there thanks to people giving me the heads up on twitter, but I’m not overly sensitive to it so I figured I could handle it. The problem wasn’t that it existed in the game in the first place, but rather that it was over done and handled in such a way that it completely nullified the story rather than adding anything to it.”
I wish I had time to play TSW, but I just don’t, particularly with MoP and GW2 bearing down on us. I’m interested to hear from those of you who do and have, though!
What MMOs are you playing and enjoying right now?
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So you want to know what the blogosphere reaction was to Diablo 3?
Let’s not waste any time then – heeeeeere we go!
TL:DR – Most people love it. A few are underwhelmed with the lack of novelty. Other than login woes, no real disappointments.
- Keen and Graev offer 5 points they love and 5 points they don’t so much – “Individual Loot: This has been a real joy. There isn’t a rush to pick up items when they drop. There isn’t this nagging fear that you might miss something. If something drops, it’s yours and you don’t have to worry about being too greedy or thinking about others.”
- Lorehound offers us an entertaining in-character writeup of their first day – spoilerific but fun to read – “Before I arrived at the inn I was stopped by a madman, he kept talking about this being the end of the world. Doomsayers always seem to crawl out of the woodwork when something bad happens, I gave the man no attention and walked towards the inn.”
- Ben at Scribblings On The Asylum Wall thinks that Diablo 3 will fill the gap before Mists nicely – “The story carried me along at a steady pace, and I enjoyed the voice-overs in substitution for just reading quest dialogue, although I imagine when both Suz and I are playing simultaneously that might be less than ideal.”
- Ferrel at Epic Slant is underwhelmed by the game – he doesn’t hate it, he just doesn’t feel it’s enough – “The core of the game, however, feels like Diablo 2. I haven’t seen anything that really improved upon that recipe. Blizzard took a good thing and continued it. There is value in that but with a 14 year development cycle it leaves me wondering what they did.”
- Fulguralis at Killing ’em Slowly spent the night tied up in server woes, but still thinks the fuss over login issues was unwarranted – “Not only did they want me to play a game simulating a fantastical hell on Earth, but they really wanted me to feel it as well. This, of course, is evidenced by the server failure just as I was getting going.”
- The Ancient at Tome of the Ancient presents us with a first impressions post from the rare point of view of a total Diablo noob – “Clicking to move was strange at first, I think not being able to change the camera angle was the hardest thing to get used to for me.”
- Spinks writes a detailed and interesting post covering the first day as an overview – “I was just getting really wound up by the templar’s gormtastic moralising and cheesy combat comments (eg. “Evil has been REBUKED!”) and thinking, “You know, what my barbarian really needs is a sleazy thief sidekick who’ll spend the whole time trying to hit on me and any female associates “ and sure enough, Blizzard obliged.”
- Pathak / Malygos writes up impressions of the game, including the horror or lack therof – “D1 was a little scary, and I didn’t get far in D2. I didn’t get far in the last Doom game, because of the lighting, and even Bioshock could only be handled in small amounts. So, I was expecting to be jumping out of my skin, but it hasn’t happened.”
- No More Noob writes up general impressions including those of the game’s difficulty – “Sure you’re going to start the first few levels pretty much man handling things…then you run into a pack of elite type monster with a sub boss and your crap habit of not clearing things behind you all of a sudden turns out to not be such a great idea. If you’re not careful you will die.”
- Live Like A Nerd writes up a comprehensive first-impressions post, touching on story, online status, and a lot more – “Of course, I was curious what others think about the game, and so I went and had a look at Metacritic. I wish I hadn’t looked. Metacritic is symptomatic for what’s wrong with gamers today. “
So – are you Diabloing tonight?
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It’s another really busy day in the MMOSphere today, with the Pandas still reverberating and Guild Wars 2 making a splash with their RMT announcement. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t interesting discussions going on other than on those topics…
What do you think about all this?
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Everyone knows that us WoW players love us some maths. Some love maths more than others, true.
So it’s very interesting for me to see someone doing serious statistical analysis on game reviews, of all things. Brainy Gamer’s been living up to his name and getting the slide rule out, and the results are very interesting:
Major releases, with few exceptions, aggregate inside a very narrow spectrum of scores. Publisher, platform, genre – none of these appear to matter (unless you’re Valve or Blizzard).
The data suggests that if you’re developing a AAA game, you’re probably headed for a B+, an A- if you’re lucky, or a plain old B if you’re not. Don’t worry about a C. That just won’t happen. Unless your name is Duke.
Warning – you may need to know a little bit of math for this post. Notably, you’ll need to know what a Standard Deviation is – in short, it’s a measure of how widely spread results are from their average. Higher numbers mean wider spread – if the average is 5, that could mean that the actual numbers were 2, 3, 7, and 8, for example. A lower deviation means a tighter spread: average 5, actual numbers 4, 5, 5, 6. The very low standard deviations he’s talking about in the post mean that every result is very closely clustered around the average.
He goes on to talk a bit about the reasons for this – going into some of the same ideas that have been floating around the blogosphere for a while, to do with the success of sequels and franchises. It’s interesting stuff. And it’s remarkable to see just how extreme the situation is – what will save us, I wonder?
Do you feel the franchise/sequel problem is as bad as all that in games? And do you have any ideas how it can be fixed?
_Quote taken directly from Brainy Gamer’s post.
Find Brainy Gamer’s homepage at http://www.brainygamer.com_
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