Monday, April 30, 2012

Quarrels and Other Quandaries

So now that its post-Beta, and I'm slowly recovering my sanity and well-being, I think its time to make a critical list of things I feel did not work in Beta.  This is by no means complete, but I think it is important to establish my  negative opinions in a manner easy to find.

1.  Chat.  Chat was a failure in many respects in both forms of PvP.  5v5's chat worked for both teams?  I could not talk to my own team.  WvW chat was for all 3 teams, and I could not talk to my own realm.  It was very frustrating trying to quietly organize a group of people, and it ended up being "follow a mass of people" while saying nothing to each other.  

2.  Personal Story was extremely buggy.  This section of the game had the highest amount of bugs attached to it, and needs a large amount of polish.

3.  Useless Weapon sets.  I don't know how true it is for other classes, but for the thief the only extremely useful weapon combinations are shortbow, dagger/dagger, and possibly pistol, pistol.  Everything else was just sub-par, and didn't really have clear roles to play.  A sword was supposed to be very mobile, but flanking strike just seemed to be more trouble than it was worth.  It did very little damage, and wasn't that hard to react to by either mobs or players.

4. Steal.  Again, I'm not sure how true it is for other classes, but the thief's unique mechanic is rather disappointing.  Steal is quite awkward. The tooltip is white when you are in range, but when activated would occasionally not shadowstep you to the target.  Sometimes this was due to elevation, while other times there should of been no problem.  Also, steal is too random to be that reliable in a fight.  Its primarily used for combinations with traits to gain initiative or a quick stealth to get away, or to catch up to your opponent.  The thing you "stole" actually mattered very little.

5.  Poor leveling directions.  Zones are huge, and knowing where to level can be confusing.  For example, Queensdale is for 1-15, but as a level 5 you can easily stumble into a level 8-10 area and get wrecked. I'm not asking for a linear experience, but a little guidance would be nice.

6.  WvW is expensive.  This may or may not be true, and I do regard this as something that I may later say is not true.  The cheapest siege engine blueprint is 4 silver.  The cheapest upgrade to a supply camp, etc. is 2.5 silver.  From level 1-15, getting 4 silver is hard to do.  Yes, you do get some gold, and you are by no means poor.  However, investing 4 silver at level 5, which is probably 80% of the money you own, is kind of poor design.  By level 25, I will say that getting the money for blueprints isn't as hard to do as it once was.  I'm not sure if its because the quests give me more money, or that the items I get sell for more.  It could be both. Maybe its acting as designed, so that higher level characters have some advantages over lower characters.  I don't know.

7.  Renown Hearts.  They seem to resort back to the old days of MMOs.  Instead of collecting 10 zebra hooves, I'm watching a bar slowly go up.  The major difference of course, is that you can work with other players while doing these.  However, my bar seemed to be independent of my friends quite often.  I would be finished, and be waiting on them.  I would like them to at least be linked based on party lines. I'm not sure if this is bugged or working as intended.

8.  Too much Karma.  By 25, I had way too much Karma then I could ever hope to use.  I think its one thing to make a currency too rare, and then make another one that you just have a ton of.  I never was worried about running out of karma, and I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing.

9.Overflows and Parties.  These two things are very incompatible.  You would constantly be in a group of friends and then see that player had a black background as their portrait.  This meant that the party was split among different overflow servers, thus they could not play together.  There's rumors of ArenaNet mentioning on Twitter that they are going to try to fix this.  Its something that should probably a priority in the coming weeks.  After all, they want us to play with our friends, and they have done a lot to make this happen.

10.  Eternal battlegrounds.  I was in the queue literally all day on Sunday and never got in.  Enough said.

11.  PvP Interface and UI.  I feel like there are many silly things.  Having to go into the Mists before you go into WvW is kind of dumb. Having to go into Eternal Battlegrounds or Lion's Arch to go to the 3 Borderlands also seemed rather clunky.  There should just be a tab on the hero UI where you can instantly teleport to any of them.  There should just be a button on the side that you press.  Also, having to grab gear from different vendors to change your armor seems also kind of dumb.  I imagined this interface where you could just adjust your stats arbitrarily through some sort of bar system.  I could have +500 power, +300 toughness, and then slightly adjust my toughness at the expense of something else.  For example, giving the player 2000 points to put in 6 base categories.  They could have a default one, but you should be able to customize it.  It just seemed so clunky in game.  


  1. Most of what you are talking about is obviously just from the fact that the game is in Beta. I wouldn't worry about 99% of things.

    However, I like that they don't make it super easy to get into any area like WvW. I hate the laziness that comes from WoW mindset that makes everyone sit in org and do everything from there since its all in a tab to join.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I agree with you, most should be solved in time. For actual design mechanics, they isn't a whole lot wrong with the game to be honest. As a blogger, I do have to voice the best and the worst of game, and try to give both opinions equal weight.

      I think we might have a disagreement there. I agree with you about the laziness in WoW. It just seems odd that you can go into Eternal Battlegrounds pretty easily, but have to got through the hoops to get to the Borderlands. Having easier access to all 4 maps, would spread the population a little better.

    2. there*, I really wish there was an edit option. :)