Both got the full "level agnostic" treatment, which is supposed to let anyone group with anyone regardless of level. The game sorts it all out behind the scenes. By magic.
Well, almost. Battlegrounds actually got split into two sizes: 30-89 and 90-92. Presumably the thought of autotuning a raider with max AA, Prestige Points and end game gear versus a level 30 in quested gear made someone's wig fly off.
EQ2 Battlegrounds use a highly counter-immersive but eminently practical system of random matching. You queue up and when your BG pops you can find yourself in either the Blue Team or the Red team, often fighting alongside some of the same people you were trying to kill in the last one. Although pre-mades can still queue together and exercise their heavily distorting effect on a match, at least there's no possibility of them steamrolling you ten times in a row until you throw your monitor out of the window (Hi, Whitefall Steppes!). You're as likely to be fighting with them as often as against them.
|This is what I'll be wearing|
Thumbs up for the Level Agnostic thing then. It also seems to have revealed a previously-unknown bloodlust in EQ2's famously laid-back population. Both level ranges were popping in moments. I don't think I had to wait more than 20 seconds for one all night. As the evening wore on it got so busy a second instance of Champion's Respite spawned.
|If I PvP for a year straight|
GU64 made it so that your PvP stats derive from your PvE stats, meaning you can get started in your regular gear. The PvP gear you buy with the tokens you get from doing PvP makes you better at PvP but also now has comparable stats to equivalent PvE gear. Which means you can, if you so choose, get the equivalent of Solo Quested, Heroic Group and even Raid PvE gear purely by doing PvP.
If I wasn't about to spend what I hope will be a good while in Guild Wars 2, I would be thinking seriously about Battlegrounds as my main combat activity at 92. Lots of upgrades and very achievable solo.
Moving on to player dungeons, again the changes seem to have worked. The two big complaints about the Dungeon Maker have been
- most people want to play their own character, not some weird "avatar"
- most designers want to be able to tell stories and there aren't any tools to do it
|Mental health issues. The Designer, that is.|
So much for the player's side of things. How about the designer? Not had time to test it for myself yet, but the store now offers items that allow for text to appear on screen in locations of your choosing and you can also designate mobs to be non-combat, allowing for both extras and actors in your dramas. All these items, like all Dungeon Maker stuff, can be bough for the Marks you get from running and building dungeons - no Station Cash required.
I'll try to find time to play around with it before GW2. Making dungeons was already fun but this should add a whole new dimension to it.
Job well done, SoE. Patted backs all round.