Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Annoyances and Other Bothers

Tyria hasn't been all suns and roses.  My praise of ArenaNet has been pretty evident in the past, but as I've played the game, I definitely have a laundry list of complaints.  After finishing writing this, I'm definitely frustrated with the state of the game when it was released, as well as some of the fundamental design decisions.

First and foremost, the higher end PvE content has been filled with nearly fatal flaws.  These flaws are so serious, that if you were only a hardcore PvE player, I'd advise you to choose a different game.  Most obviously, Orr was terrible at launch, and has only just recently become relatively glitch/bug free.  The PvP side of things comes out a bit better in the end, but ultimately, there are very significant problems that will need to be fixed soon.

However, let's talk current PvE metagame for a moment. The options at the moment are: explore, play anywhere in the world at 80, do story mode dungeons, do/finish your personal story, and farm explorable mode dungeons for armor sets.

Well story modes are simply useless after your first run.  The rewards are negligible, and word is that ArenaNet is working a to-be-announced fix.  Fine, but at the moment, they are really a "do one time and then never again" kind of things.

Go anywhere in the world.  Well, if you want decent rewards, you can really only work around Orr or Frostgorge Sound.  Exploration of the higher level zones reward nice exotic gear, a large chunk of change, and some respectable materials, but they are only achievable once.  The rest of the time you will be running events in Orr.  And, sadly, they weren't that creative in many of the Orr events.  Even worse, its really monsoon or drought in people population.  You are either running into large un-doable meta events by yourself, or oppositely, you kill everything by simply outzerging the enemies and autoattacking.  There's a couple of exceptions, but by in large they are in the minority of events.  Futhermore, botters have been plentiful in many of the upper level zones, which only cripples the experience further.

Now that being said, there were moments of brilliance. There was a champion abomination mission pre-nerf that was absolutely terrifying to take down.  It revolved around kiting him in a very small space, immune to CC's 95% of the fight, and the capability to one shot anyone who was hit by him.  When a very small group  tried to take him down, we were wiped nearly instantly.  With a bit of coordination and practice, we downed him with great accomplishment.

And that really is my main problem.  ArenaNet had the capability to make something great in meta events and Orr, and instead the final designs just seems rushed, and poor imitations of something that was supposed to be great.

And this is all ignoring the rampant amount of glitches and bugs in Orr that were only recently fixed.  ArenaNet you can make many excuses, but the "they-were-working-at-launch-but-we-pushed-builds-so-often-that-they-were-never-tested-for-longer-periods-of-time" excuse is a pretty awful oversight, or at very best exercises extremely poor judgment, and was frankly unacceptable.

And then we have explorable dungeons.  Yeah, well if you were in the overwhelming majority that farmed your dungeon of interest (*cough* COF *cough*), you most likely have your gear of choice by now.  Why?  Well most of you didn't do it on skill. You simply exploited glitches and bugs and map exploits to shortcut your way through the hardest mode in the game a large amount of time.  Not only did you cheaply receive gear that was supposed to be hard/take a long time to get in a matter of hours, but you also tanked the economy with overwhelming amounts of gold. However, I don't blame the players.  We as an entity will do achieve items we want with the least amount of work, that's just how it works.  ArenaNet's answer to all of this?  Several patches of fixes that took weeks to fully stop the exploiting.  Too late to have really any effect. How could they have prevented this?  By better testing pre-launch and more expedient action.

Okay, so maybe you want a legendary.  To be honest, only the greatswords appear worth the effort.  I was so stunned to finally see the long-awaited-flaming-unicorn shortbow in-game, that it was pretty disappointing to see it in action. Seriously, if you are going for over the top rainbow unicorn madness, this falls well short of the mark in animations.  When you try to compare any of the weapons to the greatswords, they just fall flat.  Or how about that one-handed sword that looks fairly nice.   Well have fun with the annoying buzzing sound for the rest of your days.  This point is fairly subjective, but I charge you to find a weapon equal in "awesomeness' to the greatswords.

Oh, and please don't get me started about the Zhaitan encounter again.  It was just so clearly poorly tested, how in the world can anyone view this as fun/acceptable for any final boss.  I simply can't leave that fight without feeling overwhelmingly lied too.  That (awful) trailer released several weeks ago that was fairly poorly recieved by the community was also a final slap in the face with the imposing (but ultimately laughable) Zhaitan being the closing image.

And the personal story.  Oh the personal story.  Something that was ultimately just empty promises.  Will NPC's actually care about you now if you re-enter your personal instance?  We were promised this repeatedly leading up to launch.  I can walk into my instance and see nothing of value and certainly no NPCs that I remember or that remember me.  Will my choices matter?  No.  That soldier you just saved, that artifact that you just stole from Zhaitan, those friends that died, nothing will ever be brought up again after that mission.  All of this upsets me, and ultimately, the personal story just feels like it was a waste of resources.

Now, WvW is a huge amount of fun.  There are just so many problems that inhibit the levels of fun.  A month and a half after WvW rounds, I would have hoped they would have been more even, well-rounded fights by now.  They simply aren't.  My realm alternates between destroying the other servers, to being crushed every week.  Worse, people just give up after 2-3 days of losing, and the zones can become desolate places.

WvW is still way too zergy.  My small group of 3-4 friends on a night can take a supply camp.  We can upgrade it, we can set up siege equipment, and outgear our opposition.  It simply doesn't matter when 30 people just come in and wreck us in a couple of seconds.  Nothing we do matters.  At the moment, it just feels like multiple zergs roam together around the map and capture things.  I thought WvW was supposed to include the power of intelligence over shear numbers.  At this point, it just doesn't feel that way.

And then let's talk about rewards.  Well what can I get for my 1000 WvW badges of honor.  Absolutely nothing.  Yes, you can buy your 500 token precursor for a legendary.  But then what?  Your only medium-to-long term rewards are toughness and vitality gear.  ArenaNet, why did you not give players the possibility to buy other types of gear?  I'm just not sure how anyone could have overlooked this.  Can you at least provide some kind of currency exchange, or a way to make gold off buying exotic gear with tokens and allowing us to salvage/mystic forge the items.  As it stands now, the only reason to WvW is fun.  Which is eh, I understand that.  But throwing a legendary precursor and gear that most people don't want into something that takes a long time to get, doesn't cut it.

ArenaNet you have a plethora of issues with your game.  Please fix them, or they will eventually destroy you.


  1. you also didnt point out how servers can have their induvidual glitches of events, some servers are worse then others true but they all require a server event reset by Anet to fix, i mean all those cases of a event that dosent complete because the npc is running into the wall or something. what is a real shocker is the amount this happens in orr (on my server atleast), i can honestly say without exageration that fully half of the events in orr are bugged on my server at this time, atleast 3 of the cathederal-priest events are glitched and as im writing news is spreading in chat that the grenth one is now bugged making it 4.
    Fully agree with all you said about WvW aswell mate, all these frelling problems are just starting to piss people off now, its just that people expected..something...something without all the obvious flaws youve pointed out, dangerous talk is flowing around in the chat/forums, talk of people just leaving the game already.

  2. I think you set yourself up with unreasonable expectations, not just of the game but technology in general. I find Orr's events very diverse and creative. I'm especially fond of the Dwayna chain (for all of Malchor's whining) and Lyssa. My instance has new NPCs, and they know who I am.

    1. Very possible Aly. I think the human personal instances are a lot more complete than the rest of the instances, but I'm not entirely certain of this.

    2. Sorry, kid sent before I was ready. Anyway, I didn't play WoW until a year after launch and I remember the instance servers or entire continents crashing for hours at time...which was fine as long as time was reimbursed. I also remember expansion launches rendered unplayable by lag. While other people bemoan the small amount of bugged content relative to the sheer volume of content, I tend to be more amazed by everything that works right. When it comes to dynamic events, there's so many more opportunities for something to go wrong. As I've said elsewhere, I'm old enough not to be jaded about technology.

      Rushing to 80 and complaining about the lack of content or rewards makes little sense to me. I can't complain about how rewarding the game is because my mesmer is already better geared than my WoW main ever was (and that's with suffering through scheduled raids and all the drama that goes with them.) 2 months, and I'm already near max. And that's without setting foot in a dungeon since I did CM story (lack of time not interest.) If anything the game is too rewarding (not that I mind.) They've almost spoiled us with how easy leveling is and how attainable things are for casuals, save legendaries, and as a result, the power gamers are asking for more.

      I think what's happening is you praised certain aspects of the game (the casual friendly ones) without actually embracing them. I say that because I did the same. The difference is I'm overwhelmed with all that I want to do, which includes casual pursuit of a legendary while I busy myself with all my other goals that contribute without making a concerted effort

      Don't get me wrong. I have criticism as well. For example, it occurred to me that after level 50, the personal story loses replayability. There's only 2-3 story branches after a certain point (granted, with a couple more choices after those branches), yet I have 5 characters. On the bright side, there's some I won't mind repeating and others I know to avoid. I'm constantly on guard about nerfs, and think they need to split PvE and PvP as in the original. Dual professions was bad for balance, splitting PvE and PvP was good.

      The biggest thing hurting WvW is free transfers, and loss of upgrades when guilds move. Transfers from "losing" servers to "winning" servers needs to stop, and there needs to be an incentive for WvW guilds to move to less active servers. Beyond that, there's only so much they can do without stepping on players' toes. I'm one of those servers that would get spanked one week and spank the next. A lot of poor sports left our server because of it. Then something funny happened. Something changed on the top server (namely an alliance split and major guilds moved elsewhere, which they should have and now we're the top server. It's almost like the game isn't in a fixed state. Tides change.

      A year from now, CoF exploits aren't going to matter. Heck I didn't even know about that now, the biggest problem I was aware of was speed clears of CM story and a certain path on a non-CoF explorable. It was also nerfed around the same time I noticed it was becoming an issue. I also remember a guildie losing their proverbial poo about the nerf and carrying on all day about quitting. They still play.

      The state of Orr at launch won't matter. Believe me, most players haven't even seen it yet.

      Dangerous talk?

      Threats on people's lives? Or just melodramatic threats to quit a game (most of which won't be kept, unfortunately.)

      And I think that's what it comes down to. People expecting something more than a game. What, I don't know. But they're putting previous experiences on a pedestal and expecting some sort of transcendent experience like the forever alone guy still bemoaning the one who got a way. Meanwhile no girl could ever live up to the relationship he imagined in his head.

    3. wow...nice response, its true though i still remember how pissed off i was on the big patch days when i got this specific error, hmm what was it now, i recall it was that same damn error that i couldnt log on or fell through the world for about a day after every big patch, had the same error message, damn thats gonna bug me now.
      and yes by dangerous talk it mostly is the melodramatic threat kind, but its still people raging out on fan forums/RL, i made the comment because ive already heard from friends who havent bought the game about how theyve heard these (admitingly overblown) rants and its influencing their purchase opinion of GW2.
      that thing at the end, now THATS a pretty clever analysis wd.

  3. Scratch the which they should have. Not saying the guilds on that other server should have moved, was going to say they should have been able to without losing upgrades.