Is the Honeymoon Over Already? [GW2]

I just realized something: I haven’t played Guild Wars 2 since the 23rd of September. That’s well over a week now, and I haven’t felt that drastic need to log-in. Am I sick or something? Busy, yes, I had a very busy weekend, but I mostly have been playing other games. Now, it’s not because I’m already tired of the game… in fact, quite the opposite. I love it, and it’s sitting there on top of my “Games You Should Play RIGHT NOW” list. But, the draw right now isn’t all that strong. In fact, I think tonight I’m going to try my hand at seeing if I can make progress with Natasha in Rusty Hearts (an MMO quite under appreciated, by the way…). But I will say this: the last time I played Guild Wars 2, the shine of the community showed a lot of tarnish.

All of the following happened within a span of about 20 minutes.

It was nearing 8 PM here on the East Coast, and I was one measly event away from completing the daily. The zone I was in, Gendarren Fields, was seriously lacking on events. The overarcing zone meta-event was busted and stuck on one part, and there was a dearth of other events going on. So, to make sure I completed that one last needed event, I zoned over to someplace I knew many events were going on, Kessex Hills. Last time I was there, there was an event every 10 steps, and if you didn’t immediately run away when one completed, you ran the risk of it starting over again within the minute! So, anyway, with only a few minutes remaining, I quickly asked in Map chat “Hey everyone! Any events going on? I just need one more.” to which I was pointed to the one at the bridge near the western side of the zone, where I was told “It starts once every few minutes”. Awesome. I jumped over there, and helped to handily fend off the legion of centaurs that tried to repair the bridge. I completed the daily with just 5 minutes to spare. Excellent.

Then I looked around me… and noticed that a nice portion of those others “defending” the bridge were still attacking long after the event had concluded. Bots. Characters on autopilot just firing their auto attack or AOEs like clockwork, whether there were enemies there or not. Well, that’s disheartening. Nice to know that others can just keep farming those points without ever needing to be at the keyboard (really, botters, shame on you). So I did what every person should do if they see bots or spammers. Report them. Gold selling and botting go hand-in-hand with account thievery, and I will not stand by and let these farmers taint the game we paid for.

This left a sour taste in my mouth, though, almost like I was tattling. In the end, killing a bot is a good thing. It makes our gaming experiences more fun and safe, but I still couldn’t help feeling like that kid on the playground who was inadvertently knocked down by an errant foursquare ball and squealing to the aide.

So, getting over my reverie, I happily announced in map chat “Hey Thanks for the help guys! Just finished my daily right under the 8 PM wire!” thanking those who had informed me of the maybe-a-little-too-generous event and at the same time, letting those who hadn’t realized it yet, that the daily resets at midnight universal time, not at midnight server time. To which, this was met with a resounding “lol whatever noob. dear diary, nobody cares.” and led into flames of how I was apparently playing the game wrong.

Sigh. What a great community, huh? Bots, elitists, and trolls (oh my!). Maybe Syp and Rowan are right… though having them around is great, the actual talking with nearby players is very overrated. You take the chance of having what others have to say being much WORSE than saying nothing at all.

As Mark Twain said “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

Why does it sometimes feel like every other gamer around you is just a fool that can’t wait to prove it to the world? I know great gamers are out there, I’ve met hundreds. Still, though, great and helpful gamers seem to be quickly moving to the edge of the bell-curve.

\\ Ocho


Which One?!! Guild Wars 2 Server Choice

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?

\\ Ocho

[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.]

How Single Player Games Are Becoming More Like MMOs

This thought came to me the other day. Over the past couple of months we have seen a few big franchises release some pretty big things. Bethesda’s Skyrim and BioWare’s Mass Effect 3 spring to mind. It struck me that the gaming community isn’t treating these games as single player games anymore. They may be single player, and you may roll through the storyline by yourself, but the community refuses to play it alone.

“I used to be an adventurer like yourself, but then I took an arrow to the knee.” Where is this line from? Unless you aren’t a gamer or you are and have been living under a rock, the line comes from Skyrim. I love the Elder Scrolls series, but I haven’t purchased Skyrim, and yet knowing the origins of this line is common knowledge. We also know that “Fus Ro Dah” are words of power, that the companions are notoriously oblivious, and that you could even play a Tower Defense style mod inside of the game. Again, I have never played Skyrim. How do I know all this? The community.

Now, I have an active Twitter account and I frequently check my Google Reader’s RSS feeds, and soon after Skyrim released there was a giant influx of information. The line above was quickly turned into a meme and was soon found everywhere… Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, heck probably even Pinterest and other media outlets. Not just that, though, but all updates and articles seemed to all revolve around Skyrim. Everybody was playing it, and not only that, but everybody was playing it and comparing their progress. People were telling others about new areas or secrets, showing off video of impressive feats or tricky encounters, hundreds of status updates invaded social media. Everyone was playing the same game at the same times and letting everyone know what happened. Then, a week or two later, it died down… the articles on Skyrim stopped flowing and status updates started turning back to more mundane topics.

After the lull, another game reared its head… Mass Effect 3. Once more, social media and blogs exploded! Within days of the game’s release, power levelers had completed the game, just in the attempt to be the first to do so so they could help others/brag/etc. Once they did, they let the community know it. Then, complaints started rolling in on how terrible Mass Efect 3’s ending was, and then within a week it became a significant problem, such to the point that BioWare is altering the ending!

So… this looks familiar… where else have we seen memes come from games, powerleveling pros, and having the community come together to voice their displeasure? Not to mention having the producer turn around and alter their product? Oh yeah! MMOs! Pretty much every MMO that has ever come out, too.

In today’s world, whether we are playing a single player game or MMO’s, we’re reaching out more and more for community involvement. Lots of players I know prefer to solo in MMO’s, and thats cool. I’m one of them. They like the community to be there, but they prefer to go it alone. A friend summarized it best this way (and I paraphrase): “Sure, you could rent a movie and watch it by yourself, but I prefer to go to the movies and be around others, experiencing it with them at the same time, even if I’m not there with anyone I know. Its all about the social experience.”

\\ Ocho

P.S. – By the way, you can find me on Raptr, which is quickly becoming a favorite service of mine.