Archive for the ‘ArenaNet’ Tag
On Friday night I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I hung out with my fellow gamers in a guild event. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not the sort of gamer who schedules his time to play. Essentially, anything and everything could come up and I consider anything in real life to be above gaming, from going to see a friend’s show to an impromptu bottle of wine with the wife. This makes me a terrible raider and a terrible guildmate, but it makes me a great casual player. I can’t wait to have kids to see how they impact my gaming habits.
So what did we do? Jumping puzzles! I love Guild Wars 2 jumping puzzles, personally. I love scaling the highest heights and untying the trickiest puzzles they can throw at me. Although it looks like the inclusion of them is a hot debate among some people. To them I say… Really? There’s even a debate? I think this goes to show exactly how much people just love to complain. I mean, really…
“I’m OK with them, but at the same time despise them since they’re just catering to those damn Nintendo kids with their jumpy marios and mushrooms game.” - Massively Commenter
… Come on now. 1) this person is posting on a gaming website. 2) Despite including themselves as a gamer, they are lambasting those gamers they deem lesser than they are. “Jumpy Mario and Mushrooms Game”? You mean, oh, I don’t know, THE GREATEST SELLING VIDEO GAME IP OF ALL TIME?! Seriously, I haven’t played all the Mario games, and I’m not the best at platformers, but even I respect the history of the hobby. This statement is the equivalent of “Damn kids! Get off my lawn!!!”. If it’s not a game specifically built for you, that means that it shouldn’t be enjoyed by anybody. Gotcha. No, that’s not a really jerk thing to think. That’s totally normal.
I want to ask these people what went wrong in their lives somewhere that they need to feel such jealousy or such hatred towards something so small as an optional jumping puzzle.
Another common thread of a “problem” with them is just how difficult they are. So, wait, sometimes these games we play have a difficulty attached to them and need a little skill or hand-eye coordination to complete? Welcome to the gaming world! There are a lot of games out there that don’t just hand over a virtual prize so easily. But really, these games aren’t as hard as, say, BattleToads. On the grand scale of difficulty, where Final Fantasy end-game bosses end up taking over an hour of perfect play to defeat, these jumping puzzles don’t even register. If one person, by himself, can complete these jumping puzzles, then anybody can. It doesn’t take Superman-like reflexes. It just takes time and the ability to learn from your mistakes.
For those who complain of the difficulty of the vistas I say again… really? Where the jumping puzzles have a modicum of difficulty to them, the vistas are even less. For the vistas, just find the path and make the one or two jumps to get there. You can always cheat using Youtube, too, if you really can’t figure it out yourself… but I haven’t found one yet that was so tricky it needed cheating. Does this seem to speak of a gaming community that, more and more, want their games handed to them on a plate? Haven’t I talked about this before?!
But, overall, they are awesome. It’s like ArenaNet listened to all of the complaints of how you weren’t able to jump in Guild Wars 1 and said “Fine. You want to jump? WE’LL GIVE YOU A REASON TO JUMP!” Content that anyone of any level can do that doesn’t involve combat and rewards for exploration… I just don’t see how anyone can really complain about getting MORE content, about having MORE stuff to do. Now, looking back at other MMOs, sure, they have jumping… but now what good is it if there’s nothing to jump for.
They’re fun. They’re tricky. They’re cooperative. They’re a welcome addition to the gameplay and yet another jewel to put in the crown of what makes Guild Wars 2 such a great game.
Well, if you didn’t see, my Guild Wars 2 (or as my wife calls it: Guildawars 2… she’s really cute like that) account has been fully restored and everything is back to the way things were.
It did take 4 days, which as I said in previous posts, is a long time to wait, and I’m surprised that in all the testing leading up to release, being heavily attacked by gold sellers and bots wasn’t considered a major issue. However, it seems that they are coming back up to speed. Check out their September 2nd status update to see all the headway they’ve made in the good fight against the hackers. Here are some of the more notable entries:
- “Over the past three days we’ve received approximately 8,500 new support tickets related to hacked accounts and other blocking login issues, and we’ve resolved issues to get approximately 9,500 players back into the game (most from tickets submitted prior to Friday, August 31).”
- “We’re aggressively ramping up our customer support team, with 28 new support representatives starting today and more coming online in the next few days, to provide the fast response times our customers expect.”
- “We had the Trading Post down for maintenance earlier today but currently it’s online and available to all players.”
- “To play with a friend on a different overflow server, form a party together, then right-click on the friend’s portrait in the party list and click “join”.” (I had problems with this last night. I tried playing with a friend on a different server… but it seems that isn’t exactly possible just yet or maybe it was just really not intuitive. I hope that does become possible soon. Being able to chat with friends on other servers is nice, but playing with them is the primary goal.)
- “If you discover an emergency game-breaking or economy-breaking bug, do not exploit it, but please notify us immediately at this email address: exploits (at) arena (dot) net.”
As I said before: “Mistakes will happen. It’s how you fix them that count.” Although I still don’t see ArenaNet in a spectacular light, you have to admit they are doing their best attempts to fix it. Losing your account is VERY frustrating for any period of time, especially if it was for something somebody else did. My account name has been changed, my password has been made very secure, and I suggest you all reading to do the same. The best defense against these hacks is to make the information that they have on their stolen lists incorrect. For example, creating an alias e-mail address in Hotmail. G-mail, I believe, also has security methods like this, too. Use them.
As far as password strength, use this site to check it’s strength: HowSecureIsMyPassword.net. Simple enough, it’ll tell you how long it’ll take a desktop PC to crack it. I don’t think the website includes the strength of graphic processing units into it’s calculations, which would make it much quicker, but it’s a good judge for password strength. For example, the password I had notes that it would take 7 hours to crack. That’s terrible, and you can see why it was so easy. Now, it says my new password will take 178 quadrillion years. See the difference? Make your password stronger, folks. If you think you’ll have trouble coming up with something more secure, check out this Xkcd comic:
From xkcd.com, a great comic. The password “correcthorsebatterystaple” would take a quintillion years to crack, according to the link I posted.
Anyway, I’m back in Guild Wars 2! Awesome! And it is back to being everything I expected and more. Freeform exploration and grouping with only your whim pushing you ahead is just… relaxing. As I noted, I had a little difficulty grouping with a friend of mine last night, but I’m sure this will be addressed. Or maybe I’m an idiot and just didn’t do it right. Either way, hopefully it’ll be figured out soon.
I don’t have too many thoughts on any real negatives about Guild Wars 2 right now, but that’s because I’m simply having too much fun to even think about the negatives. The weapon skills could be more diverse? So what?! Guild stuff is still a little tricky? Who cares?! End game? Eff end game! Tutorials don’t explain much? Don’t rely on guides! Explore! Spreadsheets can be consulted later. For right now, Guild Wars 2 has what it promised: Fun. And lots of it.
I know I’m not exactly like other gamers out there, though, and it shows. I love the new dye system, for example. You grab a dye as a drop and suddenly it’s added to the palette of colors you can make your armor, for free, at any time you want. Right now I’m rolling with a color scheme that is mostly Pottery and Ebony with Autumn highlights. The other night, I spent about 15 minutes working on this scheme, which has a sort of wild-west flavor to it that is badass, especially for my gunslinging engineer.
When I was done, I continued on my way and saw this in chat:
“Player1: What are these dyes for?
Player2: To dye your armor.
Player1: That’s really lame.”
Lame? The ability to give your character style and customization at any point in the game for free is lame?! See? Different strokes. But at least you don’t have to look silly for half the game…
From another great comic, Nerf NOW!!
Interested in more Guild Wars 2 screenshots?! If you’re anything like me (most likely not), I know you are. Here you go… a few more for you screenshot-aholics.
P.S. – If you’re still locked out for a hack, just try to be patient, despite the anger. My time was 4 days, and I would expect that or sooner. Just know that if you’re innocent, you will almost guaranteed be getting your account back.
It is now Day 3 after I was hacked and had a permanent ban placed on my Guild Wars 2 account. Still no resolution…
Not even a response back after the last time I sent them information at 2 PM yesterday. It’s now 7 PM, so that makes it 30 hours since their last e-mail sent to me. Unacceptable.
As a frugal gamer, it takes a LOT of thinking for me to drop $60 on a new game or anything, for that matter. $60 on entertainment is a significant amount, and I spent the full $60 for Guild Wars 2 because I thought I would be getting a true quality product for it. I, like all my fellow gamers, have waited 5 years for this game. So what do I have to show for it? I played for… what… 2 days? Now, it’s the start of a nice 3 day weekend, a great time to put in some gaming time… and I’m still up in the air, having been blocked out of it for reasons that OBVIOUSLY WEREN’T MY OWN and also receiving NO REAL RESPONSES FROM MY REQUESTS.
Listen… I’m not callous. I see and understand that they are swamped. However, I’ve also worked in e-contact for a major international corporation before and have been swamped myself. We also replied to EVERY e-mail, personally, no automated responses, within 24 hours with only a team of 6 people. If it was an issue that involved some more research, we made sure to check in daily with our customers to let them know we didn’t forget about them. I know that seems more like the exception than the rule, but I lived it from a CS perspective, our customers loved us for it, and I have come to expect that high level of quality from businesses I contact.
Here is a quick rundown of the Laurel and Hardy type communications I’ve had with ArenaNet’s Support so far:
Initial hacking and permanent ban complaint lodged by myself at 08/29/2012 03:33 PM via the Support website. No e-mail had been received noting of hack or of the ban before this time.
Reply back from Customer Service individual #1 at 08/29/2012 07:22 PM, ~4 hours later, requesting information to prove I am the owner of the account.
I reply at 08/29/2012 07:51 PM, ~30 minutes later, giving them all the information I can requested through their customer service site.
Reply back from Customer Service individual #2 at 08/29/2012 08:10 PM, ~20 minutes later, requesting the same information that CS #1 requested.
I reply back at 08/29/2012 08:26 PM, ~15 minutes later, with more information, copying the information from the initial request. I notice that two tickets are open for the same request and I close one of them. The other one is still open and active.
Having not received another response, I add to the open ticket at 08/30/2012 07:51 AM the next morning with more information, hoping that there wasn’t a confusion from having multiple tickets.
I receive a reply from CS individual #3 at 08/30/2012 01:05 PM, ~3 hours later, asking for the same exact information I gave CS#1 and #2.
Third time’s a charm, I think, and I reply back at 08/30/2012 02:21 PM, ~80 minutes later, with the same information I gave CS#1 and CS#2. The worst part is that I can see the entire chain of information I’ve given already, and am copying/pasting the information. It’s obvious I’m repeating myself.
As I write this post, it is 8/31/2012 07:24 PM, ~30 hours after the last communication I have received from them and ~29 hours after my last reply, and I haven’t received a response to my last inquiry.
UNACCEPTABLE! I mean, I can see the responses I’ve given and received, why can’t they? I’ve repeated myself multiple times and am almost at my breaking point. Every response I’ve given to them has been polite and direct to the point.
The worst part is, what’s my course of action? I’m not even sure where I stand! Do I demand my money back? Do I just write it off as a loss and to never give them money again? In this situation, I feel helpless. I feel like I’m being screwed over by a company and a community that I liked and respected with no course of action I can take beside just voicing my opinions and warning others.
So that is what I am doing.
If this is solved tomorrow, will I still play? Yes, and I’ll probably still enjoy it. However, the shining admiration I have had for ArenaNet as a company is fading fast, and so in the future, I’ll be less likely to give them more of my hard earned money, and warn you all against it, too. If you need support from them, I wouldn’t expect it to be quick or efficient.
“Mistakes will happen, but it’s how you fix them that count.”
P.S. – If only they had a phone number to contact. I’d sit on hold for an hour to get this fixed no problem, and I’d do it with a smile. This lack of communication and being left up in the air is driving me nuts. Day 3… and still nothing.
P.P.S. – I do realize that this can definitely be chalked up as a #FirstWorldProblem, and there are lots of other things in the world that are much worse problems. However, this is a gaming blog, I KNOW I’m not the only person going through this problem, and I feel like I am the little guy fighting against a much bigger opponent. I will not be giving up this fight until it is won or lost. This is also very frustrating and this is a nice cathartic release. If this suddenly gets fixed in the next 5 minutes, I’ll feel very foolish, but as of right now, I’m a very angry customer who just wants to get his money’s worth, and doesn’t have many options left to do so.
[Update 9/1/12 - Everything has finally been cleared up and my account has been returned. As off 11:22 AM, my password was changed to something GM derived and I was told by e-mail that I could log into my account again. The e-mail indicated to "Please be aware that the Support Team is unable to restore any missing characters or items." Since my character is level 13, I'm sure anything I lost could be easily gained again, so this wasn't a problem for me. I signed in, and... nothing was different. I still had all my items, my measly 6 silver which the hackers apparently didn't show any interest in, and I was in the same exact location I last signed out at. Nothing changed.
As a recourse, and because it seems Guild Wars 2 players are being heavily targeted, I changed my password to one of the strongest I've ever created and I changed my account name. Hopefully this doesn't happen again.
So, to recap. My account was brute-force hacked from a location in China as my password wasn't the strongest. I was given a permanent ban with the explanation that it was based on RMT transactions. I was contacted by 4 different members of the Support staff, after giving the same information to 3 of them. Finally, on the 4th day after the hack occurred and ArenaNet was notified, my account was fully restored.
4 days after the event is by far not the best, as this was a pretty open-and-shut case. To ArenaNet's credit, though, and this is a definite nice point: I was not once, during this process, berated by ArenaNet for having my account attacked.]
Isn’t that a scary thing to see when first logging into anything? “Permanent Ban”. Yikes. What the heck did I do?! I’m not one to use profanity or any insulting language to other players. Being offensive to others is not exactly the best way to build in-game (or out of game) relationships. I’m assuming there is nothing wrong with my character name either… Checking my e-mail resulted in this….
Well damn. I did not institute that, so since this might still be spam, there’s NO WAY I’m clicking on that. I was then able to log into my Guild Wars account and on checking my account security settings, I encountered this quite large anomaly…
AHA! Hacked from China. Well, that solves that mystery.
So… that was quick. Looking into it, though, this appears to not just be an isolated incident, but appears to already be a big problem. Right now, I’m patiently waiting my turn in the Support Ticket line, hoping for this to be resolved quickly.
But this speaks to a deeper issue. World of Warcraft and Battle.net have a physical or app authenticator. Google has a two-step authentication in place. Rift has, among other things, a Coin Lock that is based on the region of signing in. Even Guild Wars 1, you needed to enter one of your character names as well as the password to get in. For such a large game, which was obviously going to be heavily targeted by hackers and gold sellers (which is a legitimate job in parts of the world), where was the focus on account security? It’s nice that they have systems of getting these things righted. But shouldn’t the age-old addage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” have been given a little thought?
I’m all for banning or suspending players for insulting/bullying/offensive names and acts, which I think is awesome, and at least I haven’t received any mention from ArenaNet how this was my own fault and I was so negligent that I deserved it (which is the attitude I find from a lot of people who simply haven’t been hacked yet, and the attitude I received from Blizzard after my World of Warcraft account was hacked). The reality is that accounts will be hacked! Even if you avoid phishing attempts, even if you have the best security on your system ever, even if your passwords require you to have 20 fingers, with today’s technology brute force attacks are ridiculously easy.
It’s not a question of “if” a password will be cracked, but just a question of “when”. That’s why two-step authenticators like Blizzard’s are almost seen as a necessity now. (I hate to keep using them as an example, as Blizzard does like to blame the victims of an attack which is simply reprehensible, but they at least do offer more than others)
So, ArenaNet, in the game of security it is your move. Riding high on the current success an “ounce of prevention” may not be on your shopping list, but you might want to pick some up when you’re at the store.
P.S. - Now, just in case you’re wondering, after I discovered this, I went to town on my system with Microsoft Security Essentials, Malwarebytes, and Norton Anti-Virus and my system came back with a full bill of health, and it has periodically come back clean since my last reformat a month or two ago. Also, I’m not one to easily fall for phishing scams, and am diligent about account security, making sure all my passwords are different. To be fair, my password for GW2 up until now had not been a very secure password (not stupidly easy, but not exactly hardcore cryptography either), and most likely didn’t take them that long to brute force it at all.
P.P.S. – Here are a few links from Reddit to peruse:
This person agrees. Something needs to be done immediately to help with account security.
This guy is awesome, as hacked account money has been arriving in his in-game mail, and he has been returning it back to the affected players. Great community!
A few tips for account security from another Reddit user.
And as always, if you have questions about account security, please contact your local tech person, check out tech blogs like Technical Fowl, or search around for security tips. Browse safe, folks.
[8/29/12 Update: It looks like ArenaNet is taking this situation seriously. Already, through both Reddit and on the Guild Wars 2 site, they have announced that rolling out August 30th, 2012, they will be instituting an E-mail verification for any new location you sign into. Just have to make sure that your e-mail address is secure. Take that, China!]
[8/30/12 Update: Day 2... still no resolution. I replied to three different people from ANet all asking for information to verify my account... still nothing. The launcher for me did change, though... now, it's saying it's for engaging in RMT. For the record, I have never purchased gold from a gold seller. I know upwards of around 30% of the gaming population has, but I have not. I refuse to assist any organizations that achieve their income from the theft of others.
*Sigh* Hopefully, this will be settled soon. Reading updates of everyone playing, while I'm still "banned", I find myself just seeing ArenaNet in a worse and worse light. Just reinstate my account people! I already changed my password and have given you the information you need multiple times.]
[Update 8/31/12: Day 3... still no resolution. Check out my new post on this issue here.]
*Slowclap* Seriously, I may still be running on a new launch high, but this is outstanding. Whether Guild Wars 2 will herald a complete paradigm shift in the genre or not is still yet to be seen. But who saw this coming? Anyone?
According to reports from Massively and MMOCulture, Guild Wars 2 has it’s first max level 80 player, and they achieved it by doing a LOT of crafting.
We knew it could be accomplished, as has previously been made clear, but the FIRST?!
Now, the player mentioned is a confirmed Level 80. Whether it’s the first or not might be in contention, but there’s no doubt the character is definitely One Of The First, and even being one of the first, and hitting max level with significant crafting is amazing. Tell me another game where the amount of experience gained from crafting or exploration is so significant that you can not only reach max level, but reach it so quickly! It really hits home that there are multiple ways to progress, and all ways are valid.
Of course just crafting won’t help with gaining skills, and there are no crafting specific skills, so his character probably still has a way to go. Being max level, though, is definitely a great starting point.
This might just confirm my previous theory that the time needed to hit max level in Guild Wars 2 will take approximately the same amount of time it took to hit max level in Guild Wars 1. What level you are just isn’t as important a stat as it use to be, and is just a gate for more difficult content and some skill unlocks.
Anyway, Congratulations, Surfeuze of War Legend, you hardcore crafter you, you’ve earned the gamer title of hardcore.
[Edit: The character apparently did not level ENTIRELY with crafting, as a commenter has noted below, but was still able to accomplish a good 25% of his levels with it. My post has been changed to reflect this.]
The day we have been waiting for has finally arrived. Guild Wars 2 launched last night for headstart acess at the strike of midnight on August 25th, 2012. After five years, all the anticipation and hard work of the ArenaNet employees finally becomes reality.
So far, it’s as you expect it to be… a complete lagfest. I haven’t had time to log on recently as I write this, but last night the lag spikes were so severe I became disconnected about 5 times, with each play session only lasting at most 10 minutes.
But really… who wasn’t expecting this? This is pretty much standard fare for an MMO launch nowadays. So I know the fine people at ArenaNet are working their butts off right now, trying to make the experience for everyone as smooth as possible, though it’s probably the equivalent of holding back the water after a dam breaks. I do not envy them.
It’s not a usual trait among gamers, but now, and even through the first week or two after launch, please be patient. The game will be open for YEARS. There will be plenty of time to play.
Anyway, if you’re looking for me and my BADASS Asuran engineer (I know. An original choice, right? But LOOK AT HIM! Totally badass.), we’re on the Fort Aspenwood server and my name is Ocholivis.2709. Hope to see you all in game!
P.S. – As far as differentiating servers go, it appears the primary e-sports and PvP Server is Yak’s Bend. (thanks to @Zalszibar for the info!). The North American Roleplay Server looks to be Tarnished Coast, and the European Union Roleplay Server is Piken Square.
P.P.S – Here are a few more screenshots in the small period of time I had last night.
Obviously, I don’t play World of Warcraft anymore and don’t really intend to get back into it in the future, but I must say their decision to make their mobile offering free is a stroke of genius on their end, and their timing simply couldn’t be better.
The World of Warcraft mobile app is exceptional. It adds the ability to access the auction house, chat with your guild members, check server status, talent calculators, character profiles, etc. Making it free makes it easily the best MMO mobile app on the market, and I’m sure they’ll see plenty of returns on this move. Awesome and well played. (Other developers take notice… having a mobile app for your online game may not be really important now… but that will be changing VERY soon.)
It’s like watching a tennis match. On one side, you have Blizzard with it’s mega-hit veteran World of Warcraft. On the other side, you have ArenaNet with their unproven rookie, albeit with foundation shaking talent, Guild Wars 2. In the past, when other games have released, Blizzard it seems never batted an eye. And why should they? Just look at their still staggering numbers.
But Blizzard is taking a look at Guild Wars 2, and it’s staring it down. Now, I may be a little shaky on exact details, but here are a few events and counterstrokes that I can remember:
1) ArenaNet tells the world that Guild Wars 2 will launch in 2012 – Blizzard counters by offering it’s players a free copy of Diablo 3 if they purchase a year’s subscription.
2) ArenaNet gives a release date for Guild Wars 2 – Blizzard plans to release a huge content update in preparation of Mists of Pandaria on the exact same day, including the anticipated talent tree changes.
3) ArenaNet will open it’s servers tonight around midnight for official opening of headstart access – Blizzard makes a previous unpopular subscription mobile app which includes guild chat, auction house access, and numerous other perks 100% free.
Possibly ArenaNet’s placement of their game’s release just happens to almost coincide with the September 25th planned Mists of Pandaria release, but a month is a LONG time in this genre, and a month is more than enough time to see the inevitable dropoff from Guild Wars 2, so release dates seem to favor both sides (and you can see why Lord of the Rings Online has decided to stay as FAR away as possible, now shooting for their Riders of Rohan release of October 15th).
Is there really a winner and loser in all of this? Financially, yes, both companies and their investors are closely watching. To us gamers… no. We all win. I’m sure Guild Wars 2 will launch and be everything people want it to be and more. Mists of Pandaria will launch and also be a much welcome addition to the Warcraft family.
Seeing these manipulations, though, I can’t help but feel a little like a puppet. What will be the next release that’ll pull our strings across the stage? I guess we have to keep watching the show to find out.
I’m on the fence as to which Guild Wars 2 server to choose as my home server. Fort Aspenwood, Stormbluff Isle, or Sanctum of Rall? I feel it might be a game-time decision.
Never in the history of my playing MMOs have I been this careful about which server to play on. Sure, occasionally I’d pick one based on it’s reputation… Landroval on Lord of the Rings Online, for example. Or I’d pick one that my personal friends have already started on, thus always needing to play catch-up, but that was after I had already been playing for a while, and still didn’t feel that important.
In most MMOs, your guild is essentially a place to find available people to group up for instances, raids, and maybe PvP, but that’s if you were lucky. Mostly its just used as an advanced chat channel. Rare is the guild that I have joined that led to more than just that. The majority of the game is still spent questing solo, where other players encountered mostly feel interfering, a stop of productivity, or a bother. Simply inquiring another player you encounter to group leads to silence, ignoring, or at the worst, griefing. This is why MMOs have tried their hardest to make grouping easier, to help ease the negatives… but still, grouping is mostly only for instances.
But initial server choice has never felt like so big a decision before, and I believe that’s simply because of the way Guild Wars 2 handles grouping. Suddenly, those other players around you aren’t a burden. If more people help, the more difficult the enemies, and greater rewards will be. Dropping in and out of groups is automatic, coming in late or dropping out early doesn’t punish everyone else. Easy traveling makes meeting with others quick and painless. Without individual quests (apart from the main story), there is no “being on different parts of the questline”. Grouping just feels like a good choice Everywhere, not only in Instanced areas. So, suddenly, the server you choose and the guilds you join become important decisions and a guild becomes more than just a chat channel.
I’ll make a decision by the time I roll in for launch, and will post it here, but I’m still on the fence. If you’re going to play Guild Wars 2, what server are you playing on, my dear readers, and why?
[Edit: By the way, if you're looking for individual server "types", it appears that the unofficial North American Roleplay server is Tarnished Coast, the EU Roleplay server is Piken Square, and the NA E-sports PvP server is Yak's Bend.]
When I was younger I remember sitting around my friends basement, eyes glued to my friend’s huge cathode-ray tube television set, controller in hand, staring intently into the upper right hand corner of the screen. Periodically, I’d glance to one of the other corners, though this tactic was frowned down upon as you would be able to discern your enemy’s location. The trash talk was thrown like candy from an Independence Day float, and the pizza and Mountain Dew seemed to never end.
This was my first foray into the world of PvP gaming, and man was it sweet. The feeling of trouncing your best friends into a James Bond-approved submission, showing almost superhuman reflexes and coordination necessary to end up on the top of the PvP rankings.
Compared to today and the plethora of MMOs I play, I could really care less about PvP. What the heck changed?!
It all comes down to gear. Equipment. Virtual swords and armor.
When I first started playing World of Warcraft, I remember when they first introduced the battlegrounds. Areas set aside with objectives to capture or defend, with or against your fellow man. Finally, in a setting that wasn’t Terran Mill and Southshore we could show up those Alliance kiddies in proper Horde fashion! I was excited the first time I jumped into a PvP game… and I was dead in seconds. Huh? It ended up being that I was too low level. So, looking at the way PvP was set up, I needed to come back when my level ended in a “9″ in order to really compete. Level 19, 29, 39, etc. In the level 20 – 29 range, if you weren’t level 29, you were useless. It wasn’t even worth trying as the chances of making a contribution were slim to none.
At level cap, it was slightly different. Everyone was the same level and had the same advantage… but not quite. Those who had the time to raid three or four nights a week would be wearing armor that was nigh impenetrable, or wielding weapons that would stop you in your tracks. Those who played PvP more got better and better gear. It got to such a point that it seemed entirely futile. If you weren’t the right level, you were at a disadvantage. If you were at the right level, but didn’t have the gear, you were at a disadvantage. So, then, what is the point of even playing PvP if you have to be beaten down for 200 matches just to finally get the tokens needed to compete?
That sounds… fun?
The level of time and punishment needed to obtain even a semblance of equal footing just looked more and more insurmountable. So in today’s MMOs, I don’t even bother. I’m not a raider, so I’ll probably never see the best items needed, and I’m not willing to be teabagged over and over again just to finally be on the same level. So for this reason PvP, for me and a lot of other gamers, is pointless.
However, the times are changing…
On the Rift forums, it was announced that Trion is testing the waters of more competitive PvP that is based on equal stats. You want to win? There are no advantages. You need to outperform your opponents with skill and tactics. Their motive for switching to such a format could be the pending release of Guild Wars 2. PvP in the original Guild Wars was very skill based. Teams, with coordinated skill combinations, would compete with the same resources. If you went into PvP at level 2, you were bumped up to the max level. Those who acquired more skills obviously performed better, but that’s just because their toolset was more diverse. The number of skills you could use were still equal. PvP in Guild Wars 2 will be a very similar style.
So if you take away that grinding of gear or tokens needed to PvP in the first place and put everyone on equal footing, just like in the style of Goldeneye, PvP becomes a lot more fun. It feels like Guild Wars 2, and now Rift trying it out, are showing they don’t just want PvP to be something for the small population elite. They’re taking a page from the shooter genre and showing that they want it to be enjoyed by everyone.
Those who are organized and good at PvP will still dominate and those who were just relying on overpowering gear will be humbled. This may be the change needed to bring MMO PvP back to being a fun part of gameplay for many. I know I’ll be giving it another shot.
In a little under 3 weeks, on Tuesday August 28th, the moment many many gamers have been waiting for, Guild Wars 2 will open to the world. I am excited as hell. To me, having Guild Wars 2‘s servers open and stay open is the most exciting MMO launch since…. since… World of Warcraft? No, I believe it even trumps WoW.
No pun intended, but… Wow!
For all the MMO’s that have opened since World of Warcraft, including such gems as Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, Star Trek Online, and others, I think the excitement for the launch of Guild Wars 2 surpasses them all.
Now, some could say this excitement is completely fabricated and that it’s been way over-hyped. I see where these complaints are coming from, but I don’t agree. Guild Wars 2 has a record breaking amount of hype attached to it, but it feels pure and my own personal history with the title should hopefully explain why.
I found Guild Wars when I was browsing a newly opened Gamestop on my lunch break. The Gamestop was brand-spanking new, such that you could still smell the paint and drywall. It smelled clean and fresh, as good construction does. At the time I picked it up, I was still a thrall of World of Warcraft, but I had become a little bored with it, and the thought of an MMO with no sub fee intrigued me. What could be the harm? I’d still play WoW as I was paying and didn’t want to waste the sub, but this game would also give me the online fix, but not cost me anything extra. So, I could essentially play two MMOs at the same time!
I didn’t get far in the first couple times. Being a secondary game, I simply did not give the game the time it deserved, and looking back… I regret it. The game’s high focus on story, on skills rather than loot, and hired henchmen to make up for holes in groups made it far from being just another clone. After stopping WoW and subbing to Lord of the Rings Online, I still kept Guild Wars as my secondary backup game.
Only recently, however, did I finally get my first character to Level 20 and started to make some progress. Sadly, I stopped that progress because… well… Why can’t a Paragon just wear some pants?! As powerful as I was becoming, the virtual breeze I kept feeling was slowly getting to me. I once again stopped, but not for lack of love of the game, just the thought of starting over with another character wasn’t something I wanted to jump back into. I’m not the biggest fan of repeating content, especially content I JUST completed.
But with the opening of Guild Wars 2 comes, in my mind, a chance to make up for my past regrets. A new Guild Wars, and being there in the opening month, where I know the game will hold my attention. Now being released in a mostly Free-To-Play atmosphere, the Guild Wars franchise isn’t playing second fiddle anymore. It’s primed to take the main stage.
Every little bit of nugget that ArenaNet released was solid. They weren’t just throwing out “Eh, maybe we’ll include this” type stuff. If they said it, it was already going to be included in-game. Then, they started making Guild Wars easier to play, they increased the number of heroes, they added the ability to let your other characters join you in your fights. Essentially, ArenaNet was saying: Get ready.
Adding completion perks from Guild Wars is just a stroke of genius. As the sale of Gamecube games increased after the Wii came out, I believe there will be a surge of Guild Wars players post-GW2 release. Players who find that they love Guild Wars 2 will pick up Guild Wars just to get all the perks!
I know I won’t play Guild Wars 2 forever, as that’s just not how I roll, but by turning GW essentially into a fully soloable game, I see no reason to stop playing the original either. The draw of GW2 incentives will still be very strong, and aren’t disappearing anytime soon. My primary game will be from ArenaNet, and until I fill up that Hall of Monuments in the future, an ArenaNet game will be a backup, too.
ArenaNet seems to know the market and how players think better than most companies out there, and that shows in their products.
Now, ArenaNet, stop teasing us with these stress test samplers! We don’t want 6 hours! We want the main course.
Bring it on!
P.S. – Looking for some good reading on Guild Wars 2? Here are a few posts from other’s around the gaming scene that are well worth taking a look at:
Quadzi over at Warrior Needs Time Badly, pontificating on the calm before the storm that is Guild Wars.
Ravious over at Kill Ten Rats looking back on the past 5 years of GW2 development and how it’s more than just a game.
Syp over at Bio Break gives us a list of his top must-play race and class combinations.
Elisabeth over at Massively gives us a history lesson on the history of Tyria. There will be a test later.
Entombed at Divinity’s Reach gives a personal recount of the last 5 years and the building anticipation.
And finally, the geek icon herself, Felicia Day, opens up a Guild Wars 2 Collector’s Edition box for the world to see.