Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bigger, Better? : GW2, Landmark

It's Spring and things are bursting out all over. Wait, that's June...

I largely escaped the Great April Egghead Eggsplosion. Out of half a dozen log-ins on two accounts it only caught me once. It was also happening over in EQ2, where at least you could switch it off. Maybe, just for a change, next year we could all get gigantic feet instead.

Fortunately SOE had the sense to wait until April 2nd before confirming Player Studio as front-runner for the future of the studio and, indeed, of MMO gaming (that is if they don't migrate to Virtuality by means of Project Morpheus). Most importantly, at least from where I'm sitting - literally - they re-iterated their commitment to rolling out the ability to buy and sell imaginary castles for real, taxable dollars to the rest of the world, or at least those parts of it that shout the loudest buy most Sony products have the most amenable legal systems.

Good news for residents of Canada, Germany, France and the U.K. Not that I plan on submitting any of my teletubby tree templates for consideration any time soon...

I can do you one for $25 - $15 if you chew the bubblegum yourself.

Meanwhile ArenaNet released the first volume of their epic trilogy, Featuring Friendly Play. We all wondered what that meant and now we know - it's a Megaserver. My first reaction was glum disappointment but I've cheered up a bit since. My secondary loyalty in MMOs, directly after my characters, is usually to my server. I certainly put it above any Guild. Any move that weakens let alone, god forbid, removes that bond is very likely to do the same to my feelings of connection to the game.

Moreover, having leveled up both at launch, when all the maps were highly populated, and later, when they were very much not, on balance I prefer them almost empty. The events work better with just a handful of people, at least when they scale well, which most do. It's much easier to become immersed in the storytelling and the fights are often more exciting too. Having all the maps busy again (which I'll believe when I see, megaserver or not) will be something of a mixed blessing.

On the other hand, most of the really big event chains do need a lot of people so it could help in seeing those more often than just once in a blue moon when a World Meta Train is running and if it puts the elitist cross-server mega-guilds out of business then it may well be a price worth paying.

Team Charr FTW!.

What this all portends for WvW is anyone's guess. If they de-couple that from individual servers it just leaves them with v so I can't imagine how that's going to work. I'd go for a five-way based on race, meself. There are two more "friendly play" announcements to come so maybe we'll get a better picture by the end of the week.

I'm past caring all that much if I'm honest. GW2 has become a knockabout affair akin to throwing a frisbee in the park or a pick-up game of pool. Great fun for as long as you're in the mood but not to be taken seriously. I'm content to go along with whatever vision ANet has for the game this month - it's not like there won't be a new one along in a few weeks anyway...


  1. The Megaserver idea....

    I'm similar to you in that I'm pretty loyal to my server, and am afraid of any dilution of the sense of server community.

    Yea I dunno. Although I imagine life would be more convenient for everyone in general, can't help but have mixed feelings about it. I guess I'll have to actually experience it to make a judgement.


  2. Yeah, waiting to see how it works out in practice before complaining or praising it. There's lots of good aspects on paper, but not sure how it'll work server community culture-wise.

    Going into overflows tends to make my eyes bleed already and make me very grumpy from all the random Barrens Chat-like hostility and more competitive/elitist/powergamey players than generally found on Tarnished Coast.

    I personally think I'll be ok. TC is -packed- so all our server's residents will probably end up glomming together on two maps or more, but not sure how guests to TC will fare then.

    TTS will just use the party system and jump into a map together, though cleaning it out is probably going to be a massive issue. Probably what will happen is they'll force a new map by stacking 150+ players together, then zoning into that one, which still leaves people left out, but that happens with old system also.

    Small to medium servers are likely to have excess people bleeding in from the more crowded servers like Blackgate, Jade Quarry, TC, etc, which may be problematic for those who prefer a more small-town feel.

  3. Lets face it.
    225% increase in a map where you see 3-5 people (which means it probably has 10-30 people) you will going to see 6-12 people and the map will have anywhere between 20 and 70 people.

    Far from overcrowding when compared to the size of the maps.

    Second whenever the living story is on I rarely get to play in my world (Desolation). In theory this means I'll end up in an "overflow" with more desolation players than before.
    Especially annoying was ending in an overflow with people speaking french or spanish (the germans will revert to english pretty quickly if you ask).

  4. Yeah I'm on Deso too, EUs home of the ZerkerZerg, too and getting bossed out to overflow so frequently because we ended up as the European PvE Super-hub is annoying. This may help with that so yay.

    I'm fiercely loyal to my servers/battlegroups. Being in Deso was arguably merely conceptual in the first place, at least where it counts most in WvW. Noone is 'in Deso' in WvW anyway. It's being 'from' Deso that counts there.

    It will be a shame though if I log in to 30 random people on the Champ Train instead the guys that normally hang out there, the guest zergs are bad enough but I'm concerned the player base will become so fragmented that adhoc sub-communities become unable to form. Am I going to have to friend list the whole bloody server?

    Hmm we need to set up a Deso Mega-Guild before this hits.

  5. Judging by the massive forum thread and the damage control dev replies this whole change of direction hasn't had the near-universal approval I was expecting. Seems quite a lot of people do actually care what server they play on and who they play with after all.

    I just came here from reading the second and third blogs, which really deserve a follow-up post but are just going to get a quick mention in this reply for now. WvW is safe - yay! I was dreading a move to fighting under the stupefyingly uninspiring banner of Green, Blue or Red but that rumor has been firmly knocked on the head before it could get going. Fighting for the Honor of the Yak is back!

    The moving of World Bosses to a fixed schedule is a resounding nail in the coffin of , well, of just about everything ANet claimed GW2 would be right up until the first Karka debacle. I'd just love to see them try and spin the new version as a "living, breathing world" but they've long since given up even paying lip service to the original vision.

    And I've lost interest in it. There is no hope for GW2 as any kind of "new paradigm" or "fresh start" for MMOs. It's now officially a themepark MMO with an actual, published schedule for the rides. I plan on enjoying it on that basis only from now on and I'll look elsewhere for something that feels like a virtual world.

    1. I'm curious how the boss timers will work out. A number of those events they've listed coming timer values for are currently kicked off of dynamic event chains, where the initial event or a mid chain event languishes until completed (looking at Foulbear Kraal and Centaur Camps campaign, not to mention Fire Shaman, Mega Destroyer and Thaumunova Reactor's Fire Elemental). I can see an overall event chain time limit causing those rides to fail far more often without that world boss even having to make an appearance.

      I can see this driving the remaining PVE loot driven players to farming zone X ChampTrain(tm).

  6. I feel that GW2 is evidence that players don't really want a "living, breathing" world on the micro-scale...too much inconvenience, and a vast majority of players still views it as a game.

    On a macro-scale though, it's still a constantly-changing world. Unless some game developers find some clever way to figure out how to let player convenience and truly dynamic events co-exist seamlessly, I feel like this is the best we can get. Basically the developers performing CPR (every 2 weeks) in order to make it seem like it's breathing and living. Truly living world changing based on player-driven actions though? Until I see it with my own eyes, I'm going to insist to anyone who wants to talk to me on the subject that it's impossible.


  7. Honestly, a frequently changing world is good enough for me (as in, keeps my interest.) Especially if there's a developer-created story to move the lore along at the same time.

    Call me cynical, but player created and driven content to form a "living world" tends to lead to a) vast stretches of boredom interspersed with short moments of excitement and terror and b) various re-enactments of the Lord of the Flies. Players destroy a lot more easily and frequently than they create.

  8. I'd given up on 'living breathing world' on Day 1 when I saw that waypoints were a thing. If ever there was a game not to be taken seriously is this beautiful volatile mess.

    Except for the WvW. Take that seriously *warface*.


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