Saturday, 17 November 2012

Lost In The Mail : GW2

To begin with a digression, I was about to rummage in the cliche bag and come up with "much-heralded" as an opening to this brief run through the first phase of Guild Wars 2's "Lost Shores" event when it occurred to me what an inappropriate phrase that would have been. Much hyped, certainly, but heralded? I haven't heard a peep from my own personal Herald for weeks. Perhaps my singular lack of enthusiasm for any of his previous proposals has led him to seek employment elsewhere. Or maybe it's just because I never paid him.

There's something in the waterrrrrrrr!
His absence hasn't quietened the flapping of my letterbox, though. Far from it, and that's my main complaint about Lost Shores so far. But we're getting ahead of ourselves again. Let's recap.

It'll be nice when it's finished
At exactly 8pm last night a very brief cut-scene signaled the Karka invasion of Lion's Arch. Given the completely unexpected, surprise nature of this attack it was incredibly fortunate that several hundred heavily-armed adventures just happened to be holding an impromptu fireworks party around the Lion Statue plinth, where rebuilding work has just begun.

Kill the babies!
There ensued half an hour or so of the kind of chaos and mayhem that I thoroughly enjoy, although other opinions are available and were indeed volubly expressed in map chat at the time by some who might have been better-employed crabbing than carping, given that the invaders turned out to be crabs. Big crabs, I'll grant you, with very tough shells, but crabs all the same.

As huge MMO events go, it was nowhere as laggy as many I've attended. I was able to move, fight, communicate, loot and follow instructions reasonably well. It fell squarely within my tolerances for playability, although those are admittedly broad. I didn't get any Karka Samples until the Asura collecting them announced he had sufficient - in fact I was barrelling towards him with the two I'd managed to hack off some baby crabling a minute before when he decided to shut up shop. After that, of course, I got dozens.

Eventually the concerted forces of the Lionguard and sundry adventurers drove the Karkan horde back into the sea and the inquiry began. After a brief examination and dismissal of the new hand-ins at the Mystic Forge, which Mrs Bhagpuss rightly identified immediately as not much more than a new item-sink, we moved to the beach where the wreckage from the boat that sank in the opening cut-scene had washed up.

I love beachcombing, me
Confusion ensued over crowbars. The ones lying on the beach appeared not to work. The server briefly hiccuped a roll-back after which I found myself next to large chest filled with the things and I had soon had the top off a barrel. Incriminating evidence led me to the incredibly annoying Blingg. If I never hear the word "CITIZENS!" again it will be too soon, that's all I'm saying.

He soon cracked under our skilled interrogation and it was off on a merry chase around Caledon Forest and Kessex Hills. Karka were fought and defeated, clues were discovered and deciphered and around midnight after a fruitless search for Lionguard Tyrro we called it a night.

Come on! He can be hurt! I just did 12 points of damage!
As events go I enjoyed it. I didn't die once, I was largely able both to follow what was going on and to participate effectively and the Karka turned out to be surprisingly convincing invaders. There were bugs and glitches but I've seen much, much worse. So far I'd give it about seven out of ten.

The one thing I really didn't like derives, I think, from ArenaNet's stubborn insistence on reinventing a wheel that wasn't broken. What follows the invasion is by any rational analysis a questline. Only GW2, of course, doesn't do quests. Consequently, where other MMOs would have a nice, neat journal entry with stages that tick off tidily when completed, what we got was a series of bizarre notes in the mail and a lot of vague hints in the Event descriptions.

Here, I'll just write it in your journal. Oh, wait...
It's a half-assed, clumsy way to deliver content of this type. It works, but in the way that tying a piece of string between two baked-bean cans worked to talk to the kid next door fifty years ago. We have mobile phones now, maybe you noticed?

That cavil aside, I thought it all went off nicely. I certainly had a lot more fun doing just that first part than anything that was thrown at us for Halloween. Looking forward to phase two tonight. 

4 comments:

  1. I came here from KTR and found it funny that there you were essentially bemoaning the increased 'usability' features, and here you're bemoaning the lack of them!

    I know, apples and oranges and whatnot, not a serious complaint, just giggled a bit when I read one after the other ;-)

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    1. Heh! That also occurred to me as I was writing this post and I did debate with myself whether to rephrase some of it to make me sound less demented, but why break the habit of a lifetime?

      An awful lot of it is mood-based to be honest and a lot more is just personal idiosyncrasy. I never did enjoy hand-tracking quests and I liked automated quest-journals from the moment I first got to use one so I tend to think of them as helping not hindering immersion (if we dare use that word).

      Never going to please everyone so my preferred option wherever possible is for opt-ins/outs for as many features as possible.

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  2. Hmm my experiences ran direct opposite to where you sit.

    I also had much.. much worse "events" than this one, that is true; but none of those were one time events that we only had only one chance to live it correctly.

    For a one time event; it was abysmal.
    First fight: The "I will not show you random things when there are too many players running around" feature made me fight invisible mobs half the time. The lag was too much that my attacks were going off no less than every 10 seconds.
    Investigation: was riddled with bugs that prevent events from resetting. I waited 30 minutes in caledon forest with everyone saying nothing but "dont speak to him. he wont reset" to no avail.

    These two were enough for me and I didnt even attend the second phase last night. I doubt I will try to find more about this event.

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    1. You may be annoyed to know I enjoyed Phase 2 even more. I'd have posted about it but it's been a busy RL day and I didn't have time. Obviously the fact that I really didn't have any significant lag is a huge factor in my enjoying these events where others haven't, particularly surprising since I'm playing on US servers from the UK.

      If there's one thing that this weekend's made blindingly obvious it's that GW2 desperately needs a proper public Test server.

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