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.

Building The Better Guild Wars 2 Elder Dragon Fight | Opinion

Originally posted on Gamebreaker November 22nd, 2013.

After covering the differences between the Elder Dragons and the Dragon Champion, Let’s talk about what could be done for the next Guild Wars 2 Elder Dragon fight.

It would be really nice to see a significant part of next year’s content to be devoted to taking down at least one of the remaining elder dragons. I don’t really mind that the living story seems to have gone in different direction. There are more things in the world aside from the dragons, but they are there and never dealing with them will make the world feel stagnant despite anything else that happens during the Living story updates. However, the one elder dragon fight we have had so far was a bit disappointing.

Fighting Zhaitan

At the end of the personal story player characters group up to fight off Zhaitan. This fight is often criticized by players for being a bit of a letdown on a few different levels. I feel pretty confidant the reason we haven’t faced another so far is due at least in part to the criticism Arenanet received from this fight. The biggest issue with fighting Zhaitan was the fight was just boring. I tend to not like “vehicle” fights very much because it always makes me feel like what profession I am and what skills I use doesn’t matter. It’s just underwhelming after working on a character so long only to make it to the big fight and have my character feel like it didn’t matter… was very disappointing.

I was also annoyed we either never saw him up close. Either that, or he was WAY too small to be an elder dragon. Elder dragons are supposed to be huge beasts of raw power and magic. In Arah he seemed no bigger than Tequatl, which is just incredibly disappointing. Additionally he didn’t seem to fight back much. Everything built up to taking him down. That build up felt epic and really got me excited about what was coming only to have me participate in a fight was relatively boring. Zhaitan never directly attacks the ship players are on. Rather, he sends in his minions electing to sit on a tower as we pummel him until he “dies”.

Another point I would like to make is that the death of an elder dragon should radically change a zone. Considering how they affect things when they rise, everything should change when they fall. Unfortunately if this is done in a dungeon everyone doesn’t have to do, suddenly changing the entire zone would be disconcerting for other players. This is sort of the problem Arenanet got themselves into with Zhaitan. The couldn’t just go and randomly make Orr all better for anyone who finished Arah because that would permanently split the community. However, killing him and nothing changing makes it all feel incredibly pointless.

mmorpg guild wars 2 mmorpg     Building The Better Guild Wars 2 Elder Dragon Fight | Opinion

Living Story is an opportunity to do it better

Using the Living Story could be a good way to handle all of these shortcomings. We have already seen permanent changes applied to a zone through the Living Story so it’s not a completely out there idea. Any fight against an elder dragon will need to have a fair amount of “getting ready to fight” stuff to make it feel “real”. No one just wakes up one day and goes “oh I’m going to go kill an elder dragon today”… well no one smart at least. We could have a few Living Story updates dealing with the preparation to fight. Doing standard things like gathering supplies, building weapons and fortifications, finding a lure.

A lure? Yep a lure a is important. Why would a elder dragon come fight us? We are like ants to them, and not the cool scary army ants but puny little black ants no one even notices. There’s no real reason one would feel the need to personally engage with us unless we were doing something which required the elder dragon’s personal attention. And any of the current active dragons will be much more vulnerable on the ground and should avoid landing at all costs, so we would need to find a way to get him on the ground or else we’ll be stuck with another gunship battle. We could possibly shoot an elder dragon out of the air… but finding something he would want seems much more feasible than doing that.

In addition to being able to prepare for an epic battle through living story they could also deliver an epically long battle lasting at least two weeks. I know… I can hear you thinking that having a battle last that long is just unrealistic. Yes, most battles last hours/days. However, there have been a number of battles throughout history which have lasted a long time. In fact, a battle during WWI lasted 10 months. Having the fight with an Elder Dragon last weeks would also give as many people as possible a chance to participate in the fight and see it without making a reoccurring event.

I’d also really like to see the next elder dragon fight be a huge world event. Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone participate together on one server. That would be awful. Instead I would like to see something like a world progress bar of how the fight is going to really make the fight feel huge and epic. It would also be pretty neat if they could do something where the elder dragon’s appearance changes over the course of the fight to reflect different steps to beating him being accomplished. It could really be fun and exciting. The last step could also be permanent change in the zone where the fight occurs, which when fighting an elder dragon only makes sense and would really make it feel like something big was accomplished.

That’s what I want to see out of the next fight with an elder dragon, what would you like to see happen?

Guild Wars 2 | The Dragon Champions And Elder Dragons Of Tyria

Originally posted on Gamebreaker November 15th, 2013.

Over the last year the main story line of Guild Wars 2 has seemed to drift away from the Elder Dragons, but they are still there and need to be dealt with.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

While the personal story builds to a final fight with Zhaitan, the elder dragons just seem to be part of the setting more than anything else. I was talking to a few friends a couple of days ago and we got on the topic of the world dragon fights and how some people think The Claw of Jormag is Jormag. One thing we all agreed on was how the fights with The a Claw of Jormag, The Shatterer, and Tequatl are all fought on a larger scale than when we fight Zhaitan. The dragon world events are easily the biggest fights that players regularly can take part in, so it’s not surprising for some people to think they are elder dragons, especially people who have never finished their personal story. Really though, how can we keep fighting them over an over, and what does make a “regular” dragon different from an Elder Dragon?

The Shatterer isn’t the name of a particular dragon champion of Kralkatorrik, it is a rank which is assigned to the highest ranking of his dragons. Yep, dragons. As in there are many of these dragons flying around all the time. Think of it this way, if Glint hadn’t turned on her master she would have surely been the first Shatterer. However dragons like Glint are not elder dragons; elder dragons are on a completely different power and size scale than other dragons in the world. In Edge of Destiny Kralkatorrik is described as being 20x bigger than Glint, which means he’d probably cover the entire Blazeridge Steppes map. In fact the concept of fighting him is likened to trying to fight a hurricane.

There’s actually a handy image on the GW2 Wiki which shows the size difference between the Elder Dragon Zhaitan and Tequatl:
news main mmorpg guild wars 2 mmorpg     Guild Wars 2 | The Dragon Champions And Elder Dragons Of TyriaThe large dragon is Zhaitan and the smaller one is Tequatl. Now think about how big Tequatl (or any of the other dragon champions) is in comparison to your character… and scale it up. The same differential also exists when it comes to strength. The difference between power and size is fairly equivalent between all the Elder Dragons and their champions.

The Claw of Jormag isn’t a rank passed on from dragon to dragon there are many Claws at any given time. Which makes sense if you think about how many animals only have one claw. In the same way that it makes sense we can keep fighting The Shatterer, it makes sense we can have many fights with The Claw of Jormag… although the name is a bit misleading since it absolutely does make it sound like there is only one. Plus everyone refers to the fight as “Jormag” which doesn’t help keep clarity between the two.

Tequatl the Sunless seems to be a bit of an exception to the other Dragon Champions because there apparently only ever seems to be one of him. We still get to regularly fight him because we never really kill him, we just force a retreat. He’s also the only dragon to receive a mechanics update so far since the launch of the game, which changed him from the easiest dragon to kill into the one which requires the most coordination to do. And yet, he still isn’t an elder dragon.

For players who did finish the story mode of Arah it is easy understand how some of them would think the dragon champions are equal to the elder dragons. During the fight players are never fighting directly against Zahitan. He’s always off in the distance and only really ever sends his minions to engage players. As a result, we never get a real feeling for the huge difference between the two types of dragons, when really the difference is immense. Better conveying the size and strength of the elder dragons in a fight is the challenge Arenanet faces if we are ever going to deal with them in game. But really, how does one fight a hurricane?

What Classifies A MMO As Successful?

A few months ago at a Media and Telecom Conference in New York Take-Two Interactive’s Chairman Strauss Zelnick commented on how they are pursuing online gaming and MMOs they just aren’t doing it in the US because MMOs don’t work here. To put some context on this Take-Two is known for games like Grand Theft Auto, BioShock, and Red Dead Redemption, so they aren’t exactly slouches when it comes to video games. I’ve had some time to really mull over my thoughts and feelings on this topic, so here is a consolidation of the most important points.

This is his exact quote:

We’re actively investing in online and MMOs, we’re just not doing it in the U.S. MMOs don’t work here. A couple of our competitors have found out that through very, very expensive lessons… at any given time 10 to 20 are successful in China and generating revenue.

There are a few weird things going on with this statement. The first and obvious question, why is he only thinking about the US and Chinese markets? I don’t know about everyone else but I sure know a lot of European and Canadian people who play MMOs, not to mention all the South Koreans who are also part of the larger Asian market. Maybe he just overlooked the rest of the MMO gaming world and happened to mention just the US and China. I really hope he didn’t intend to lump all the Asian countries in with China, and I REALLY hope he wasn’t intending to lump the rest of the world in with the US.

To support his claim Zelnick followed up by saying “How many MMOs have been successful in the U.S.? Two. World of Warcraft and EverQuest.” Now there is no arguing Everquest and World of Warcraft definitely are examples of successful games, but they certainly aren’t the only two. Eve Online is not only a successful subscription MMO but it also has been consistently growing throughout it’s lifespan (something WoW actually can’t claim). Another very successful subscription game is Ultima Online, and these are just two examples off the top of my head.

Additionally if you consider the fact he picked two sub based games it seems like for him the definition of success is having a sustaining and profitable subscription model. That’s a perfectly fine way to model success. It makes it even stranger he wouldn’t include Eve Online if that is his measure of success. It boggles my mind to consider how anyone can consider Eve Online to be anything but a success.

However, if that’s how he wants to define success then his choice of using China as an example of where MMOs are more often successful is really strange because the dominant model for MMOs in China is free to play. It’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges, especially when there are certainly more than two successful US MMOs if we include free to play and buy to play games.

Which brings us to the whole debate about how to judge the success of MMOs. With games like Rift and Star Wars: The Old Republic transitioned to free to play models does that automatically make them failures? Reportedly SWTOR has been doing better now after the addition of f2p than it was before, so it could be viewed as a success. However, the fact they had to change their model definitely can be argued as a failure. The same thing goes for Rift. Ever since they transitioned over the game has been booming, but I can see the argument for having to change at all being a failure. I am still not sure I would class either as a failure overall though.

If you start looking at free to play or buy to play games it can get even harder to tell what a success is since you can’t go off sub numbers. Guild Wars 2 has said a few times their gem store sales more than cover their costs and they have the most aggressive content schedule in MMOs currently. It’s really hard to see how GW2 isn’t a success. We are almost a year after the launch and they are doing so well they are focusing on giving content away instead of focusing on paid expansions.

In an interview with Massively Scott Hartsman (former Trion GM and CCO) talked about how the current business model for AAA MMOs is fundamentally broken and part of the reason is the development costs has risen exponentially over the last few years. While it might sound like a good thing companies are putting more money into MMOs, it puts greater strain on companies because it narrows the margin of error. We have gone from a model where a company could make mistakes and still have some room to cover.

In addition to the rise in costs player expectations have also drastically risen. It used to be a company could make a few mistakes but they could then learn from them and fix the mistakes and gamers would stick with them. Now it seems like as soon as a MMO has an issue a certain segment of players is out, and will go play something else. It’s not necessarily a bad thing gamers want more for their money, but it is another factor putting increased strain on game developers.

There is also something to be said for developers just not really being in touch with the MMO market as a whole. One example of devs being out of touch with the MMO community is SWTOR devs never expected people to play in one sitting for more than 3-4 hours at a time. I remember having a conversation with Cory Butler, Bioware Live Producer, at Pax East 2012 about that and being absolutely astonished. Even super casual players will have play times longer than that from time to time, and not being aware of something like that when you are making a MMO is a huge oversight.

It doesn’t end there either. Just in my general observations of MMOs in the last few years the standard life cyle is, a new MMO launches and tons of people buy it and start playing. Then a month or so later some percentage of players stop playing. Then the publisher sort of panics because for some reason they assumed it would just be clear sailing with no bumps in the road. Whereas, at least to me, it seems like they should plan for the drop off and have the ultimate goal to slowly grow the MMO over years. Instead it often feels like publishers just look at MMOs as quick money (after they launch) and if it doesn’t blow everything else out of the water they decide to abandon ship.

Personally I think the real measure of success should be if a game grows over time and if it is making enough to sustain itself. I get the argument about if a game lives up to expectations or not, but with publishers being so out of touch it seems a silly measure to go by. That goes double for living up to consumer’s expectations as well.

Atherblade Retreat

Image

A group of my friends came with me last night to checkout the new dungeon “Atherblade Retreat” in Guild Wars 2. It was quite an adventure!

Did we randomly wander into SWTOR??

Did we randomly wander into SWTOR??

After fighting through an event where you need to kill waves of pirates you run upstairs to this area, which has a dancing holo. This room was pretty funny since all of us had/do play SWTOR.  Also the music in this room was a bit different than most of the dungeon. The music here sounded a lot like someone playing with the Unbreakable Choir Bell. It was a nice resting point to look around in the dungeon some.

gw031

Fighting the Asuran Frizz was a ton of fun. The fight starts pretty normally with Frizz and a couple of adds. Then he goes into the tube in the middle of the room and the real fun starts. There are two golems who run around and you need to dps them down while avoiding the pink beams of electrical death. After those two are dead you get walls of pink electrical death and two more golems. Then lastly walls and beams, with another two golems.

Overall the fight wasn’t too rough. It took some time to get the rhythm of the last phase down though because the walls and beams rotate at different speeds. Moving the camera around to look down on us helped a lot, and we got better at keeping the golems away from the walls and beams (they get buffs when they hit the walls and beams).  I also had issues with sometimes not quite getting up to the top box on the stacks. Probably my giant Norn feet getting in the way again.

I didn’t think to get a screen of the mini jumping puzzle during the dungeon but we were all a bit disappointed in it.  Basically it is more of a bouncing puzzle than a jumping challenge. If you played Dragon Ball at all you were introduced to the stem vents which will propel you around. The mini jumping puzzle was basically bouncing from one vent to the next to get to the next area. Despite the reduced difficulty I still managed to miss the last jump and fall to my death (my giant Norn feet must have shrunk there).

Then finally we reach Mai Trin and her First Mate. At first we tried killing the First Mate first, but Mai Trin just rezed him right up so that was not a good tactic. The better plan was dpsing Horrik down to about half his life and then focusing on Mai Trin.

Being in melee with Mair Trin is scary.

Being in melee with Mair Trin is scary.

Mai Trin herself is a bit of a pain and I am not entirely sure her mechanics were working 100% correctly. She has stacks of shielding which reduce her damage taken and also with a certain amounts of stacks she gets immune to bleeds, stuns, and knockbacks. The only way to remove the stacks is to get her to stand in the lightening circles the First Mate shoots. Except she also teleports around and when you can’t stun or knock her into them… well it can get pretty interesting.

The part I think might have been working improperly is at the beginning of the fight, and after each cannon phase, she would start with either 10, 6, 2, or 0 stacks. The only real issue was when she would start with 10 stacks because she would be immune to everything. In those cases getting her into the lightening circles long enough to remove a stack or two took a fair amount of effort.

gw034

There also were some issues with sometimes when Mai Trin teleported around, our target would automatically switch to the First Mate, which is why we left him at half health at the beginning instead of a lower percentage. Overall the fight is a lot of fun. The cannon phases are mostly just about paying attention and planning your movement and dodges appropriately.

Overall the whole dungeon was a ton of fun and I am looking forward to going back again 🙂

Dragon Bash Is Sort Of A Letdown

When the Dragon Bash event was first announced I was really excited to experience it and see all the new things Arenanet had come up with. I must admit after the weekend I am a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong the holographic dragon flying around Lion’s Arch is pretty cool, and the fireworks are pretty neat as well. My annoyance really centers around three specific things: the cost of the holographic dragon wings, moa races, and the Dragon Ball.

To earn the holographic wings through the festival you have to collect 100,000 candies. How do you get these candies? Well you can get 1 from every Dragon Piñata you break (which is the most anemic piñata I have ever heard of) or from Dragon Coffers which drop from mobs out in the world or from destroying the dragon holograms. Thankfully there are a variety of methods to gain these candies but you still only seem to get one candy per thing. Not to mention Dragon Coffers don’t always have candy in them. It just feels in the end the price for the wings is a bit high.

Moa Races are fun because it is pretty amusing to watch them run around and try to guess the right one. However, for me the annoyance is in the fact you need a certain number of wins to get the related achievement. In addition you are betting on the moas so if you want the achievement the Moa Races are basically a money sink. Thankfully you do get some money back if your moa gets second or third, but unless you are very lucky you will leave with a lighter purse.

My last complaint is the Dragon Ball, though the issue is only slightly an Arenanet issue and more of a player issue. The set-up of Dragon Ball is actually a really interesting one. You join a five person team to fight against another team. Everyone starts with just one ability but there are orbs around which will grant additional abilities. There are also other orbs which will return health and will power you up. In addition there are tunnels to run through and air jets which will shoot you all over the map. If everyone in a fight is playing, Dragon Ball is a ton of fun… If.

Over time players have started looking at MMOs with less of a “what can I do which will be fun” outlook and more of a “what’s the fastest way for me to get x achievement”. I personally don’t really get that style of play, for me I like to play games to have fun and achievements are just a dandy bonus, but it is valid for people to just have the goal of getting whatever achievement they want. The issue is many people I have come across in Dragon Ball queue in and then just stand there waiting for the match to end. They don’t attack anyone, or try to dodge or anything. They are just there to be fodder.

Now I agree with Arenanet making the requirement for the achievement be participation in matches instead of wins. If players had to win 20 matches we’d have a whole other can of worms on our hands. What they should have done was to allow people to queue up with other people for the fights. It probably would have made the queues longer but at least then you could be sure to have a team who will at least try to play, for those of us who actually like to do things in MMOs.

Aside from these things I am mostly happy with Dragon Bash, just a couple of tweaks could have made it an all around exciting event, instead of being mostly good with a few large downsides.