Dulfy, of course, had a full and detailed precis up almost before the ANet devs had toweled down and Ravious was quick off the mark with his reactions. Other than that we had to wait for The Mystical Mesmer to frame the entire thing in detail and tease out the implications.
This morning I flicked through some of the video of the presentation. It would be charitable to suppose the two presenters were still suffering from jet lag or the after-effects of a great con party the night before. Possibly both. On the evidence of the few minutes I watched neither of them seemed interested in what they were showing, much less excited by any of it.
I did catch the moment that The Mystical Mesmer highlights, when one of the presenters describes the way defenders are compelled to stand in a line along the top of the gate of a Keep, something that she apparently believes is common practice in WvW, but which I have rarely if ever seen in all the countless hours I've spent there.
It really is one of those "do you even play the game?" moments and exactly the kind of evidence WvW players love to point to when claiming that ANet have no clue what WvW players want. Almost all of the problems the developers seem determined to "fix" aren't even on the radar of WvW regulars, while the many longstanding, serious, well-documented issues that do concern them go completely unattended.
|ANet just doesn't understand Career Soldiers like us.|
When considering upcoming changes to MMORPGs you always have to begin with the proviso that things may play very differently in game than they look as though they will from the developers' descriptions and the PR releases. Usually that means you need to dial down your excitement and remember that what you get is usually a lot less impressive than what you were promised.
In this case the proviso stands but for the opposite reason: maybe, just maybe, it won't be completely awful. On the evidence so far, though, things don't look good.
The litany of inappropriate concepts included in the thirty-minute presentation is breathtaking. In essence it's a long string of gimmicks dragged wholesale from other parts of GW2. Moreover, they are largely those gimmicks that were themselves dragged wholesale from other video games and shoehorned uncomfortably and unconvincingly into the MMORPG framework, where they have rankled and irritated genre purists ever since.
|And again, and again...|
The obsession with turning every aspect of Tyria into one giant jumping puzzle continues unabated. After Heart of Thorns releases we might as well tag GW2 with a new acronym - MMOPG - Massively Multiple Online Platform Game. The "Desert Borderlands" are set to have our battle-hardened veterans of the Mists leaping and hopping into battle like so many leaden-footed ballerinas. It doesn't match any conception I ever had of the grim reality of war, that's for sure.
Then there are the Boss Fights. It seems that in New Tyria, as in all good platform games, everything drives towards the End of Level Boss. WvW, being an environment in which players pitted their skills in both fighting, strategy and social organization against those of other players, hasn't previously needed "Bosses". The nearest we have are "Drivers", the recognizable and often reviled Commanders who lead their mindless zerg armies against our own noble, always outnumbered but always better-skilled, forces.
Well that's just not good enough, is it? Everyone going for The Charr Legend With The Blue Hair doesn't cut it. That's not a proper Boss.
The solution? Upgrade the NPC Lords to full Boss status so they can Seriously Contribute to Keep Defense. Never mind that all they're really there to do is mark ownership. Never mind that no-one cares about them in the slightest and never has done. Let's make fighting a bunch of NPCs the real focus of this PvP environment and turn the rest of the players, attacking or defending, into faceless grunts.
|Could this mean the end of the Golem Rush as we know it?|
Not that any of that is by any means the worst of it. How could it be, when there are dinosaurs that need to be burped?. As if there wasn't shark-jumping potential enough merely in the appearance of these previously unsuspected Creatures That Time Forgot, we're asked to accept that they eat "Power Cores", and at such a phenomenal rate that every three hours we must drop everything and punch them until they cough up.
Then we run to The Men From The Priory who take the bile-dripping cores and install them in some revamped, upgraded version of the old Quaggan Weather Machine that lasers down Keep doors from the skies, undoing all the work actual players have put in to restore order since the last time that happened. Talk about a Sisyphean task. And a thankless one.
There's a lot more and all of it is just as dismal. The new environments look fantastic, of course. There is that to say for them. ANet's Art Department remains, as always, the shining beacon of hope in what is otherwise mostly a sinking sea of despair.
And if nothing else at least it'll be something new. There will be a period, quite possibly a lengthy one, where no-one quite knows how anything works. When new tactics and strategies come into fashion overnight and are countered then abandoned just as fast. When players are overwhelmed with new concepts and new content and the established order may crumble.
I'm quite looking forward to it.