Rebuilding Lion’s Arch Should Have Been Interactive

We now know the new improved Lion’s Arch will be in the next content update for Guild Wars 2. After just shy of a year and a half (about a year in game time) after the city was attacked and ruined, it will finally be rebuilt. Unfortunately Arenanet missed a golden opportunity to give their players a way to be personally involved in the rebuilding effort.

You might be thinking to yourself “hey we got a poll and got to pick names of some locations” and yes we did get to do that. However, how important is a name really? As much as I really dislike the name Phoenix Roost, at the end of the day it is just a name. It’s intangible. We got to actually help people evacuate and helped defend the city; why don’t we get the chance to actually help rebuild as well?

gw281I know we aren’t going to get anymore Living Story before Heart of Thorns launches, we’ve known this for quite a while. What we are getting are various events to fill the time between the end of Living Story 2 and HoT and although the rebuilding could have happened as part of the Living Story, nothing says it has to be a Living Story update.

Imagine instead of logging in one day to a completely rebuilt Lion’s Arch there’s a month long event which progresses in stages over the course of the month. Each week could be a new set of events for players to participate in to help with rebuilding. Some events could be as simple as donating various supplies to the cause, others could be more complex.

Maybe there’s a group out there who don’t want Lion’s Arch to be rebuilt? Maybe they feel like having a city which symbolizes the great things the different races can accomplish when they work together is a bad thing because they don’t want peace between the races? There could be events where players need to protect the workers or caravans arriving with supplies. Or maybe even search out these groups and deal with them directly.

There could also be events where the players could more directly help with rebuilding. Maybe help to clear out the harbor rubble or laying boards and bricks to build the different structures. These events could even be sequential where if the goal for one is met, there will be a break and at a predetermined time the next leg could pick-up where the last left off. If the goal wasn’t met the event would repeat until it was.

At the end of all of this we’d finally get to log in and see what our efforts built. Players would get the feeling of being a real part in the rebuilding and feel like they did something which actually made a difference. We could point to a memorial and say “I helped build that” or a building or road or harbor. There would be real attachment there.

gw284The downside of this is it would be nonpermanent content and some players really don’t like the possibility of missing something. This criticism was a big part of Areanet’s choice to make the Living Story content replayable; which was a great choice on their part. However, nonpermanent content still could play a valuable role in Guild Wars 2. As it is once Lion’s Arch is repaired players won’t be able to go back and experience the different stages it has gone through anyway. So it is already nonpermanent content some people will never see.

It’s also worth mentioning this is likely not the last time Lion’s Arch will be at least partially destroyed, and it would be surprising (and a bit sad) if no other major city is ever destroyed. Even though players couldn’t experience a specific rebuilding event again, they likely would have the chance to participate in others based on the same concept.

At the end of the day I’m glad I got to be a part of protecting Lion’s Arch. I’m glad it stayed in ruins for a substantial period of time. I’m glad it is being rebuilt in stages, and it isn’t being rebuilt to be exactly as it was before. I just wish I could have had a hand in the actual reconstruction.

Pax East Interview With Colin Johanson And Isaiah Cartwright

Originally posted on Gamebreaker March 10th, 2015.

During PAX East Guild Wars 2 game director Colin Johanson and lead game designer Isaiah Cartwright took some time to go through their Heart of Thorns demo with me and answered a ton of questions about the upcoming expansion. Unfortunately, there is still a lot information they aren’t ready to talk about yet, but what is available so far is pretty interesting.

Story and Feature Updates

The storyline for Heart of Thorns picks up the very next day after the last episode of Living Story Season 2 ends. This of course means between now and when Heart of Thorns launches there won’t be living story updates. For people who really enjoy the story and seeing the world progress this is a bit of a disappointment because we will have awhile to wait before the story continues.

This, however, does not mean GW2 will be stagnant until then. The recently announced camera changes will be live in the game in a couple of weeks, and they have more unannounced feature changes planned as well. In addition there will be other events similar to the Lunar New Year festival. So while we are all anxiously waiting to see where the story goes next, we won’t be left with nothing new in game in the meantime.

Surveying WreckageGuilds are a main focus in Heart of Thorns

One of the main things I was hoping to learn more about is what they have planned for guilds in the expansion. So far the only thing which has really been announced is the Guild Hall, which although interesting and exciting seems a little light for an expansion. Guild Halls on its own seems like the sort of thing which could be implemented as a major feature patch if there was nothing else to go with it.

Unfortunately they weren’t prepared to reveal anything new for guilds today. However, Johanson did emphasize guilds are a main pillar for HoT. They really want to make having a guild and being in a guild matter in a larger way in the game as a whole. For example making it easier for guilds to work together to accomplish tasks in a collaborative way is something they are interested in.

They couldn’t get into specifics of course, but something which seems likely is improvements to how guild missions work when multiple guilds are trying to do them. For example, rushes currently work really well with multiple guilds, but puzzles are often problematic. Expanding out guild missions as a whole seems a likely possibility as well as giving us new types of content to do as a guild. Also there was mention of more support for guilds doing “non-standard” types of events.

Revenant_1Revenant

The playable demo had a level 80 Revenant available to play with the Hammer skill set and the two Legends they have announced already Mallyx the Unyielding and Jalis Ironhammer.

As previously revealed which Legend the player currently has active will determine what skills are filled in the 6-0 slots. Currently, the functionality is there so the player can switch which ability is in which slot. So instead of having the chain skill in the 8 slot the player could change it to the 9 slot. There is the potential for there to be more skills available than can be slotted (similar to how skills in other professions work) but they haven’t really decided on it yet and they expect it’s one area where the beta will help fill in what is needed in terms of customization.

Hammer as a ranged weapon actually works fairly well mechanically. It is sort of similar to how a Mesmer uses a Greatsword where there are various effects which come out from the Hammer. It’ll be interesting to see how everything functions and works when everyone is playing a variety of professions and specializations instead of everyone playing a Revenant. Though the chaos which ensued might be a good indication of what the first few weeks after launch will be like.

There have been some people out there wondering if perhaps the Revenant will start off at some level higher than level 1 to give players an easier time catching up and to be able to play the new content quicker. However, Johanson did confirm they will start at level 1. So everyone planning to roll a Revenant right away should stock up on those tomes of experience.

Pale ReaversRelease Date and Beta

They’ve just opened up sign-ups for beta here at PAX East and on the GW2 website by signing up for the Guild Wars 2 Newsletter. There won’t be an NDA for the closed beta which makes life a bit easier for everyone. invites will be staggered to slowly ramp up and test their systems. Content testing will also likely be staggered.

One thing Colin was pretty emphatic about is they don’t really have a set release date for the expansion. Heart of Thorns is going to set the foundation for how Guild Wars 2 will grow and expand over the lifetime of the game, so they really want to make sure they have it set properly before release. He expects a lot of changes will happen during beta and they really want to make sure they have the flexibility to adapt to those changes.

Next Week at EGX Rezzed

A lot of the focus here at PAX East has been on getting players into the demo and experiencing the first taste of the new areas and mechanics. Next week at Rezzed the focus will shift a bit to be more on the new Boarderlands map and WvW as a whole. Johanson indicated they have a lot of changes planned for WvW, so next week should be interesting.

Let’s Talk About Guild Wars 2′s Living Story Season 2

Originally posted on Gamebreaker May 7th, 2014.

The first season of the Guild Wars 2 Living Story wrapped up back in the middle of March and the “Big Features” patch is done, so now seems like a good time to start thinking about what I’d like to see happen in the next season.

Mordremoth and the Sylvari

In the very last story instance to wrap up everything from Season 1 Taimi talked about how Scarlet has awoken Mordremoth. She sets the stage for what will likely be the first act of the next Living Story Season, Mordremoth awakening and becoming active.

We know he is starting to stir because of the tyriaquakes which have been happening ever since Scarlet set off her device. However, he’s clearly not fully awake since nothing catastrophic has happened just yet. When he does wake we should see some zone altering changes and an outpouring of plant minions.

On that note the fact this Elder Dragon will be obviously of a plant type, there should be some interesting implications for the Sylvari. I wouldn’t be surprised to be meet another group of Sylvari who represent what they would have become if the Pale Tree’s seed hadn’t been stolen. If no one else does the Priory should be able to connect the dots on it. Assuming the truth of the Sylvari isn’t just said outright, there might be some people questioning if any Sylvari can truly be trusted. Additionally it will be interesting to see how the Nightmare Court reacts to all of this. I’d expect the Sylvari to also have a lot of soul searching to do. If any of them suspect they are creations of Mordremoth’s then there would be a whole interesting moral dilemma for them to deal with. What matters more? Who created them and why or what happened to them which made them different than what they were intended to be?

seperator2Rebuilding Lion’s Arch

Currently Lion’s Arch is just a mere shadow of it’s former self, which it should be. Rebuilding this city should absolutely take a lot of time and we definitely should not get LA back to exactly how it had been before. Rebuilding too quickly or making it exactly the same again would just undermine the importance of it being destroyed.

At the same time it shouldn’t just be an NPC only rebuilding process. Instead of having the rebuilding be a small event which happens during this season Arenanet could make it longer one which spans the whole season or more. For example one part could be a collection of wood and metal to help the rebuilding. Every person who contributed could help the process along and once a certain number of materials were collected that stage would be done.

With the implementation of the megaserver Arenanet could even set to goals for the entire population of GW2 to work on together. And it doesn’t need to just be collecting materials, there’s all sorts of events which could be utilized to help players feel like they really had an important part to play in the rebuilding.

New Boss Fight

Currently in the new universal Boss Timers there is a spot for an TBD boss. Now first thing first, it is unlikely this fight will be Mordremoth himself. I’m not sure how Arenanet intends to implement Elder Dragon fights in the future but making them a reoccurring fight seems unlikely. The only way I could that working out is if we fought him until he was forced to retreat, and then after he was beaten a certain number of times the final fight would be triggered (which would probably be a different fight). After that the time slot would go back to being a held time-slot for when the other Elder Dragons are faced.

While all that is possible, I don’t think it is likely. All the other dragon fights on the timers are champions of other dragons so it probably makes sense for Arenanet to stick with this pattern. The only real issue with making the new boss fight be the Champion of Mordremoth’s is we might find ourself in a similar situation as we are with Teq. If the plan with Living Story content is truly to tell stories which have a real and tangible affect on Tyria, fighting the same bosses forever will need to be addressed at some point. The current issue of still having to fight Teq after Zaihtan has been defeated for people who have finished the Personal Story.

Pacing

I’m not too worried about this next season of the Living Story starting of as slow as the last one. Near the end Arenanet really seemed to get a handle on how to present the story in an engaging way and when to reveal important info.

What I am concerned about is better story progression overall. My biggest annoyance with Scarlet was how we were always trailing behind her and never actually prevented her from doing anything. Every time we faced her it was on her terms and while we might have accomplished little things (like destroying the nightmare tower) it was only after she had accomplished her goal for that particular endeavor.

We a absolutely should face technical failures when facing very formidable beings. But never having any real success is extremely discouraging. I’m not saying we should be given some simple tasks to get our successes and make us feel good, but we should be able to at least occasionally actually accomplish something.

guild wars 2 mmorpg features 2     Lets Talk About Guild Wars 2s Living Story Season 2The new icons

One big loose end still out there is Rox needs to go face Rytlock and wrap up the whole part about how she was supposed to help kill Scarlet to get into his warband. I was really disappointed to see there was no real personal growth and self awareness from her at the end of the last season. Braham could use some personal growth and self awareness as well.

Mr. E… Yea we still don’t know that is or really anything aside from whoever it is was trying to help Marjory. I really hope that side story is developed more.

Taimi and Zojja could really use some “on screen” time together. All of their interactions so far have happened somewhere else and the we just get a recounting of what happened from Taimi, which is just disappointing. I’d really like to see how those two affect each other over time.

All that boils down to…

A catastrophic awakening of Mordremoth, some interesting consequences for the Sylvari, a new dragon fight, new icon character development, and an engaging rebuilding of Lion’s Arch. For everything I am expecting to happen (and I am sure there will be other things I haven’t thought of) I would guess the next season will last either an entire year or maybe a bit more. What are you looking forward/hoping to see?

What If Scarlet Doesn’t Die?

Quick word of caution, if you haven’t done the current Living Story story instance there will be some minor spoilers in this article.

The beginning of the end has started for the Living Story Season 1, and with it there have been some interesting developments. Our merry little band of NPC characters has now grown by one with the addition of Taimi, a precocious Asura who pretty quickly attaches herself to Braham despite his protests. Taimi’s ultimate goal seems to be to meet Scarlet and become her apprentice and eventually overthrow her. That’s a pretty big aspiration, even for an Asura. If we assume the speculation about this group of heroes basically being a Destiny’s Edge 2.0 is correct, then with the addition of Taimi we have one spot left to fill. And no Sylvari.

One of the more interesting conversations in the story instance happens between Rox and Rytlock. He finally tells Rox she can join the Stone Warband if she kills Scarlet. Now, I am pretty sure Rytlock isn’t saying Rox needs to go challenge Scarlet to a duel or anything, that would be a bit silly, but rather she just needs to be a big part of the effort to take Scarlet down. Similar to when Rox was hunting down Tequatl. Of course hearing this news upsets Braham because he still is dealing with his abandonment issues and there is a fight between them which is sadly reminiscent of Logan and Rytlock.

However, I don’t think the goal here really is to rip Rox away from this group. I’m expecting some character growth to happen with her where she realizes she already has a group she belongs with despite them not being Charr. Now this certainly could happen with Scarlet being killed and having Rox be offered membership and at that point realizing she doesn’t want to leave her friends behind… but feels a bit meh and formulaic. Now I am finding myself leaning more towards hoping there is some possible way to save Scarlet, and possibly even having Rox be the one to make the call not to kill her. Which is weird for me since I have been championing the idea of Scarlet dying one way or another.

Which leads me to an interview gamerzines posted with lead designer Mike Zadorojny in which he said something really interesting:

“This is the first time players get to see a little bit of the history behind Scarlet and tells the back story of how she looked into the eternal alchemy, and saw something looking back at her.This malevolent being out there was so powerful that it started taking over her mind and giving her suggestions in terms of what she should be doing and things like that. There is a big point here, in terms of the battle between Scarlet’s free will versus this creature’s and you’ll see her transformation.”

Now there are a few important things here. The first is this apparently is confirmation someone or something is controlling Scarlet. Now this is a really sad and almost perverse revelation for Scarlet personally. Right from the beginning she has always wanted to do her own thing and break free from any concept of what she was supposed to do. To know most of what she accomplished has only been under the influence of some other being is just sad. This fits nicely in with the bits from her journal in game which also indicate she was aware on some level of this thing trying to control her and her struggle against it.

The other important part is he mentions we will see her transformation. Which seems to possibly indicate we’ll somehow see the events when she was in the Asura contraption and see this thing take over her. Or possibly the events in the Edge of the Mists update will be a look into the pass and we might see the end of her struggle against this thing. Though it seems like an odd choice to at this point somehow go back in time and see things which have already happened. It’s possible but I’m not convinced that’s where this is going.

Instead, I am leaning towards in the next patch we will learn what is controlling Scarlet and we’ll either figure out how, or start working on figuring out how to free her from the control of whatever it is. Now there is some basis in the lore where Destiny’s Edge used magical tattoos to prevent the dragon champions and even Kralkatorrik from controlling their minds; it should also be possible to free someone of mind control using some sort of similar method. In this case the transformation we would be witnessing would be Scarlet going from this crazy, random, weird mess to a whole person who is possibly a bit horrified at some of the things she has done. If that’s how things play out then it is quite possible for Scarlet to then join up with our merry band of adventurers and work to try and rectify some of the damage she caused.

My only issue is while I could see things playing out like this and it makes sense, I have very mixed feelings about it all. I think it would be really cool if she died in a fiery ball of villainy; but if she is just some evil god’s pawn I’d rather she die under her own free will saving everything. I mean it would be cool to get to know her as a real character with a personality aside from brilliant insanity… Completely depends on how they play it out in game though. But I think it’s a very real possibility she might be the last member of the new icons group.

Wintersday, Guild Wars 2′s 2014 Update Schedule, And What It All Means

Originally posted on Gamebreaker January 18th, 2014.

After the many changes to this year’s Halloween event, I was a little anxious about what Wintersday would be like. Happily Wintersday arrived and it was nearly exactly the same as last year.

The Wintersday jumping puzzle received a similar makeover to the one Clocktower received. It’s now considered a PvP area, though players have no skills and cannot attack each other. However, unlike the new Clocktower, players were not transformed into wisps during the puzzle. Probably, the best change was the ability to pick which path you started from, whereas last year it was random and there was no way to change paths. Allowing us to pick a path was helpful because it allowed players to focus on learning one path which aids the jumping challenged among us.

Another positive change is, at the point where all three paths converged there is a fire to rest and regain health. Additionally players can talk to Tixx here and he’ll offer three options for finishing the puzzle. The first option is to take a gift he gives you and open it there and forgo the bonus gift at the end of the puzzle. The second option is to take the gift and deliver it to the children at the end for a greater reward. Lastly, players can forgo the extra gift completely and instead have a checkpoint at Tixx set-up so if the player falls before reaching the end they wouldn’t have to go all the way back to the beginning. As anyone who has watched the Wednesday night Gamebreaker Nation streams knows, I am jumping challenged and as such I found the option of having the checkpoint a huge help.

The only real downside to this year’s version of the puzzle was not being able to do it with friends. It never fails to amaze me when MMOs put in awesome content that players can’t tackle with friends if they choose too. At least last year players could group up to enter together. We wouldn’t always start at the same spot but when a player fell they would be able to see their friend going on and that was at least something. This year getting into the same one with a friend was a sad matter of RNG. I don’t think content should necessarily require grouping to complete, but the option to group up to do things shouldn’t be taken away.

The Bell Choir and Toypocalypse were essentially unchanged this year. One thing I wish Arenanet had added to Bell a Choir was some sort of reward for obtaining the highest score in an entire game of the Bell Choir. Players are rewarded for doing well by getting presents at the end of each round if they manage to not kill themselves, but aside from that there’s no real incentive to do well. Over the last few days some fought hotly for the top spot. It would be nice to have some recognition for that.

buildingDespite the good things about most events in Wintersday being the same there is a downside. We’ve now had the Wintersday patch for over a month, and I have recently realized this pause in the content patches has taught me something new about how I play MMOs; I really need the short content cycles to maintain my attention.

When Arenanet first announced they were entering into a 2 week content cycle I was a bit nervous. On the one hand my main issue with many MMOs has always been doing the same content for far too long. I have never been the sort of person who really enjoyed doing the same content over and over even if there was something cool and shiny in it for me. I want to see new things, maybe do them a few times, and then move on pretty quickly. On the other hand I do have limited amount of time I can play games each day so I was concerned with not being able to fully explore each patch and falling behind in terms of amount of content I had done.

Arenanet quickly fell into a pattern of each month the first patch was pretty big and would continue on after the second patch of the month hit which I enjoyed immensely. This pattern allows even people with sort of limited playtime to have a lot of opportunities to finish all the content added for that month. This cycle kept up the feeling of needing to get things done, but never made it feel really overwhelming.

Now I understand the stopping of the updates over the holidays, and I understand that they are trying to make sure each update is as polished as possible. However, I must confess that when they announced a bit of a break from the two week patch cycle I immediately felt less of an urge to play and was distracted by other games…so much so that I randomly realized last week I needed to get cracking to finish the meta achievements. Knowing I always had another patch right around the bend managed to help keep me focused.

This concerns me a bit because Colin Johanson recently indicated these breaks might be more common place this year than they were last year. In an interview with EuroGamer he said, “When [Living World Season One] ends [on 4th March], we’re going to take a break for a little bit and then we’re going to do one really big feature patch that is more akin to what people see from some of our [MMO] competitors, where they bundle a lot of features together into a really big patch every now and then.” While I am definitely looking forward to this large “features only” patch I am concerned about how long the break will be and how stagnant Guild Wars 2 might feel during it.

Let’s just say they’ll take a month break after the March 4th patch. That means the features patch won’t come until April 1st. I wonder if that means no there will be no new Super Adventure Box? Also if these four patches are just story content and the WvW changes are going to be part of the features patch that would mean the earliest we’d see Season 2 of WvW starting would be May 2nd. That’s a huge lag for people who mostly want to do WvW and for the people who mostly just play Living Story content… well we’d be looking at a potential two months of doing whatever the finale of Scarlet’s storyline is.

As itchy as I am for new content after just one month… a two month lull seems almost unbearable to me. It’s amazing how just a few months of constant content updates can really change a person’s perspective.

Guild Wars 2 “Large Features Only” Patch Predictions

Originally posted on Gamebreaker January 2nd, 2014.

What new features can we look forward to in the “feature only” patch coming up?

In a recent blog post Colin Johanson reviewed some of the changes Guild Wars 2 has gone through this past year and gave us a brief preview of what we have to look forward to. Obviously the first big thing is the conclusion of the Living Story Arc which really started a year ago with the first Flame and Frost patch. This conclusion will unfold over four patches, and after the end of this story arc we’ll get a big patch which a bunch of features without any story. If the four patches happen every two weeks we won’t see the features patch until  March 18th at the earliest. But three months away doesn’t mean it’s too soon to speculate!

Features Left Over From 2013

Back in July, Colin Johanson gave us a preview of features that were planned for GW2 in the second half of 2013. Arenanet was able to implement most of the things mentioned in that post, but there are a few things they weren’t able to implement and it wouldn’t be surprising to see those in the big features only patch.

The most notable feature that didn’t make it in in 2013 is the Precursor update. Currently I find getting the Precursor to be the most frustrating part of crafting a Legendary. On the one hand pretty much every precursor is always on the Trading Post so currently players can just buy them. On the other, it comes down to pure RNG luck. Both extremes are rather lacking when it comes to what crafting of a Legendary should be. With the ability to craft Ascended Weapons and Gear currently live and the addition of all the Ascended crafting materials, all the foundation for building precursors in in game now. However, there is a second component which really hasn’t been discussed very much. The plan wasn’t ever to have precursors be fully craftable, that would make obtaining them way too easy. In addition to the crafting step Johanson also mentioned it would also require “a combination of other items earned for completing more specific content in the game”.

We don’t really know exactly what game content they have in mind. One thing I would really like to see is a scavenger hunt similar to the one we had for the first Mad King event. I know anything they do like this will have walkthroughs posted pretty quickly so people wouldn’t have to figure anything out, but it should be a pretty long scavenger hunt and probably should only allow you to do a certain about in a particular time period. For example if it had three stages they could limit it to only being able to do one stage in a 24 hour period. Another option would be adding an item to the daily drops for killing dragons/world bosses and require a certain number for one of the steps. Having some skill challenges would also be interesting, hopefully there will also be some objectives friends can accomplish together.

Related to the Precursor discussion Johanson also mentioned “you’ll also see new legendary weapons and new types of legendary gear in 2013″. Personally I am slightly less interested in what new Legendary weapons we might see than I am interested in seeing new types of Legendary Gear. The easiest type of Legendary Gear to add would be back pieces (yes I can hear all the groans of “not another back piece”) but hear me out on this. If they were to add Legendary Armor, it wouldn’t make sense to do just a helm or shoulders or anything like that. One of the huge aspects which makes Legendaries attractive is the particular look each one has. For armor they would have to design an entire set for each armor type to work together and accomplish a particular look, which is possible down the road but I wouldn’t count on getting it soon. Back pieces are the only other type of gear which is visible and not currently available as a Legendary so it makes sense to that route first.

mmorpg guild wars 2 mmorpg     Guild Wars 2 Large Features Only Patch PredictionsOther Potential Features

Last year we did see Arenanet start the addition of new skills when they added a new healing ability across all professions (Antitoxin Spray) and each profession also got a new individualized healing ability. I am expecting this to continue in the next big features patch but with a dps/cc type ability for each profession. Maybe professions which tend to be very condition focused could get a new direct damage ability and profession which tend to rely on direct damage more could get a new condition ability. Though in the second case due to how conditions work it would be less useful for those professions.

One thing Arenanet did mention last year but didn’t plan on implementing in 2013 was the change to WXP being across the account, which is an awesome change I am really looking forward to. This will completely solve the problem of playing alts in WvW feeling like a waste of time. I am pretty sure this definitely will be part of the big features only patch, it would just be sort of weird if it wasn’t in. I’m on the fence about if we are likely to see Edge Of The Mists then as well. I would guess it will probably be held until a later patch so they could really feature it. Although I hope we don’t have to wait too long before we see it because I doubt another WvW season will start before it is implemented.

Depending on how “big” this features only patch is we might also see some of the remaining changes to PvP go into effect. The next step in PvP changes will probably be the removal of the different distinctions of PvE and PvP gear. I am guessing this change will probably coincide with the removal of Glory from the game.

In the PvP Roadmap blog post John Corpening, PvP Team Lead, mentioned this about the upcoming removal of Glory “We will give advance warning when this is coming so you can spend all of your existing glory before that happens”. The implication there seems to be there won’t be any reason to hold onto excess Glory like there would be if say Arenanet was planning on converting your Glory totals to Gold you would have earned from those matches instead. If they are planning on doing a conversion I would certainly hope they would give us a bunch of notice of that as well. Either way I’ll definitely be looking for these two changes to happen with the first major features patch.

There is another change hanging out there which was briefly mentioned a long time ago, but I haven’t heard anything from Arenanet about it recently. I am referring to the idea of every profession being able to use every weapon. Granted we haven’t heard anything more about this since back in July, so it might be unlikely for the big features patch but it would be really cool to get it. One thing I have heard people express interest in is seeing weapons which are currently off-hand only being added for main hand as well and I would caution people not to get their hopes up for that. Johanson only mentioned the ability to use every weapon, not being able to use every weapon in every possible way.

mmorpg guild wars 2 mmorpg     Guild Wars 2 Large Features Only Patch PredictionsThe Take Away

Clearly if all of the features I mention were implemented in one patch it would truly be a massive features patch, so it’s probably unlikely we will see all of them. However, with the current break in patches and the fact the next four patches will be story only the possibility of a huge features patch is definitely out there. The concept of such an expansive patch is sort of scary because as every MMO veteran knows sometimes even the most innocuous change can break things in really unexpected ways, but hopefully that won’t be an issue here.

Are there any specific features you’d like to see added?

Did Guild Wars 2 WvW Season 1 Accomplish What It Was Supposed To?

Originally posted on Gamebreaker December 17th, 2013.

Arenanet has never specifically said what they intend to accomplish by adding Seasons to World vs World. But it seems they are trying to increase the overall competitiveness of matches and to make each week’s match matter more. The clearest evidence of this was in the announcement regarding the postponement of the start of the season “to have more competitive matches over the course of the season”.

More Competition?

It might seem silly to wonder if there was more competition during the new season system. In both regions the top 3-4 servers in every league were pretty close in points with each other. Additionally all those servers in the silver and bronze leagues would have never had a shot at winning anything. So the conclusion that the league system did make WvW more competitive and did give more servers a chance to win seems like the logical observation. However, those servers never really had a shot of winning.

Think about this for a second: every server that won a bracket was undefeated the entire season. Now, you might be thinking “well there probably were some really fun and intense matches during the season and those servers probably just scraped by a few times”. Unfortunately you’d be wrong on that one. Using mos.millenium.org to go over the matches every week shows only two matches during the seven weeks in the season had any sort of close final score when any of the winning servers were involved. Out of six winning teams only two had really close matches. And honestly only the Blackgate match is truly close with a point differential of only 10,138 points.

mmorpg guild wars 2 mmorpg     Did Guild Wars 2 WvW Season 1 Accomplish What It Was Supposed To? mmorpg guild wars 2 mmorpg     Did Guild Wars 2 WvW Season 1 Accomplish What It Was Supposed To?

Now I know there were a few matches which didn’t involve the top ranking servers that were really close, and I am not disregarding the fact those matches were tons of fun for the people involved. However, only the top ranking server in each bracket was considered the winner. So while those individual matches were probably very awesome to win, from the perspective of looking at the whole season those fights didn’t make much of a difference. There is also something disconcerting about the fact both those matches took place during the first week of Season 1.

mmorpg guild wars 2 mmorpg     Did Guild Wars 2 WvW Season 1 Accomplish What It Was Supposed To?

Looking Ahead To Season 2

Arenanet has already confirmed we won’t be seeing Season 2 start until after the new year. My hunch is we’ll get account wide WXP and the new map before Season 2 starts. Both of those are really good things and will bring some good changes to WvW. But Arenanet also needs to make some changes to how points are scored if they want to make WvW be really competitive.

I know, I hear all of you saying it has to do with population imbalances and that certainly does play a part. However, the larger issue right now is that it’s just way too easy to keep capture points once a server takes them. This can cause huge scoring discrepancies by allowing some servers the ability to rack up points and pull way past the point of anyone catching up. Even if the whole rankings were scrambled more than they are with the current scoring system the results will still be pretty lopsided. I am still hoping for some sort of decay system to be put into place. Definitely not one as quick as the ruins, but maybe where if there isn’t anyone at a keep for an hour it switches over to being neutral. This would certainly help make things more interesting and equitable.

mmorpg guild wars 2 mmorpg     Did Guild Wars 2 WvW Season 1 Accomplish What It Was Supposed To?

There are two other issues which need to be addressed but I am not sure how they can both be addressed. Both are sort of cheating issues. Well, the first one probably isn’t technically cheating but purposefully losing matches to end-up in a lower bracket is pretty underhanded and definitely goes against the spirit of competition. The problem is, I don’t know how Arenanet would even go about proving servers are doing it. One way of possibly deterring this behavior is if going into next season instead of basing the leagues on the current rankings, put everyone in order of their point total at the end of Season 1.

The other issue that needs to be addressed and would probably be easier to deal with is that some servers were purposefully trying to sabotage other servers. Some people with at least one extra account will create characters on a server their main server is fighting. Then they will proceed to drain resources from the wrong places and build things where they are absolutely useless, just to waste their resources and to make it harder for the other server to win. I’ve even seen some people call out false scouting reports to throw off a match. Yes people who are new to WvW do often do similar things (except for the false scouting reports) because they don’t know better, but there are distinct differences between someone trying to cause problems on purpose and someone just trying out new things. There needs to be merciless banning for such activity.

Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to the next season, I had a lot of fun and it did feel like each week’s matches did matter more than previously. However, looking back at everything I think that some tweaks need to be made to really make the fights for first place truly interesting and engaging.