Here's the first batch:
- The Grove
- Heart of the Mist
- Black Citadel
- Timberline Falls
- Southsun Cove
- Rata Sum
- Straits of Devastation
- Fields of Ruin
- Brisban Wildlands
- Iron Marches
- Blazeridge Steppes
- Dredgehaunt Cliffs
The first serving went down well enough that we got seconds very quickly:
- Lion’s Arch
- Lornar’s Pass
- Kessex Hills
- Diessa Plateau
- Metrica Province
|See? I told you Diessa wasn't all brown!|
Metrica, on the other hand, always seemed quite a happening place but then I generally only go there when the Fire Elemental's up, which I guess isn't a representative sample. It's curious that it's the only starter zone to go Mega so far. It's not like you don't see a plethora of Asura skittling about everywhere. I'd have thought Plains of Ashford would be less-used.
Enough theorizing. Time for experiment. Late last night, just coming into NA prime time, I took a jog from Wayfarers Foothills into Diessa Plateau to see if I could see any difference. Diessa has always been one of my favorite maps. I wrote about it during beta, although reading it back now it does suggest my initial reaction was less affectionate than it became later on. I've certainly spent a lot of time there on and off ever since so I must be quite fond of the place.
|Who says you have to stand well back to fling a fireball?|
Not any more it seems. Within half an hour I'd done three Hearts (with their much-improved completion UI as noted by Syp), several Meatoberfest events, killed the Nageling Giant and even finished the really annoying Dredge event in Bloodcliff Quarry that always used to fail with too few people. In everything I was accompanied by a whole bunch of friends-I-hadn't-met-yet. Didn't see a single name I recognized from Yak's Bend.
Not that I felt out of place. The whole time I was there a Mesmer was porting all-comers to the very difficult vista and skill point at the Breached Wall and map chat was buzzing with cheerful, excited chatter. It was all very jolly if a little bit uncomfortable, a bit like the last day of term when your year tutor lets you bring in games. I wouldn't go as far as to say it was like launch week all over again but it certainly did make the whole map feel alive in a way it hasn't for a very long time.
|Rock Solid Work, Name Deleted. |
(Not actual name although there must be someone called that)
So, on the basis of those two snapshots and with the weight one should always allocate to anecdotal evidence, my conclusion is that it would seem the Megaserver is doing what it was intended to do. I'm not about to declare it "awesome" like Heartless but my first impressions are definitely positive, more so than I expected.
It's going to take some getting used to, though, and the benefits may be arguable in certain situations. I logged my engineer in earlier. He happened to be in Metrica right next to the Thaumanova Reactor and by chance it was only ten minutes before the Fire Elemental's new two-hourly slot. Crowds were gathering.
|Stop shoving at the back!|
By the time the Elemental appeared I would estimate there must have been at least sixty players crammed in the room. The timer for the event runs fifteen minutes but I doubt the "fight" lasted thirty seconds. Overnight FE has changed from a very, very challenging encounter for a few determined individuals to a trivial, challenge-free loot drop for a zerg.
With Megaserver populations that's going to happen to every event with a fixed timer and loot worth having. It risks putting us back almost exactly where we were a year ago when, even after all the difficulty passes, most World Bosses still melted in seconds when a huge zerg arrived. Except this time, with Megaserver technology, a huge zerg will always arrive.
After FE died, though, it should be noted that there were quite a lot of complaining comments in map chat. Some people couldn't get there before he died, some couldn't do enough damage to get credit, some just thought it was a lot less fun than it had been with a lot fewer people, some wanted to do it on their own servers and not some unnamed overflow, as they saw it. When I left five minutes later the post-match analysis was still going on.
Oh well. Never going to please everyone. At least it works. That alone is more than I was expecting. Looking forward, nervously, to seeing the new tech rolled out to those few maps I actually spend time in. Whichever those are. There must be some other than Wayfarers and WvW...