Friday, March 1, 2013

Exposing the Truth, Past and Present.

Purpose:  In effect, what I intend to do is expose ArenaNet of lies, deceit, and otherwise facilitating or spreading  false information for the sole purpose of garnering favor, attention, and playtime from the general public and its customers.  I intend to do this relatively systematically with use of direct quotes from the company, a list of facts, occasionally brief personal experiences and commentary, and a logical conclusion.

(This was originally designed for the official forum, although due to length I am posting elsewhere and I hope to have an abbreviated form on the official site soon.  I have taken careful consideration to keep this post from being incendiary or rude to the community, the players, and of course, the ArenaNet staff.  Any names cited, were for sole purpose of attributing ownership to used quotes and not meant to insult, or be otherwise disresectful to anyone.  I hope you agree, that I have followed the Code of Conduct to the best of my ability, to keep this thread from being deleted and to inspire useful discussions by all parties involved.)

Let’s start with something small.  It’s the moment to moment details that reveal the work ethic of a company and its concern for its players.  For those who don’t know Final Rest was a staff discovered in the game files that is visually unique and appealing to many.  However, for months the staff could not be found in-game.  Many player’s attempted to go to the forums, ask questions in interviews/AMAs, and even message employee’s in-game to discover it’s location or to show ArenaNet that it was indeed bugged.

Final Rest:

“I can’t give away any spoilers, but I can confirm that I’ve looked at the loot tables, and it is in the game. It’s a very rare reward from defeating a boss in the open world.”

"Just a quick note—I said the odds of it dropping was closer to .005 than the 1 in a million or so that was tossed out. Those aren’t the exact odds, but if my math is correct, 10 players running the event every day might expect one staff to drop after about 7 months. (And we haven’t been out that long.)"

-All from Jeffery Vaughn

The Facts:

-There are easily more than 10 (albeit likely different) people who participate in the event daily with various amounts of magic find.

-We were told it was not a bug, but a rare spawn that would take 10 players 7 months to see a single staff drop.

-In six months post-launch, we have not seen a single Final Rest.

-March patch = boom hundreds of Final Rests.

Logical Conclusion:  When you said you “boosted” the drop rate in a recent quote, you really meant included it in the drop table bug free, and decreased it’s rarity several logs.

Question in a Recent Interview: Where's Final Rest?

Colin: Someday you will all discover it and everybody will be really excited.

How does a bug fix on a staff dropping from an event that many people do daily, make us all “really excited”?

As easily surmised, it’s not only easy, but probable a company will be make poorly worded quotes without malicious intent.

Ascended Gear

Let’s move to the now infamous ascended gear debate, albeit briefly.  There are many arguments for either side that has been said and heard hundreds, if not thousands of times. I intend to avoid it, and expose direct quotes which are plainly “wrong.”

Ascended Gear Quotes:

“We absolutely design everything we do with minimal grind and will continue with this principal moving forward.”

-Chris Whiteside

What is your/ANet’s definition of grind?

Repetitive game play that is not fun. –Chris Whiteside

These quotes were taken from a Reddit AMA in November of last year.  At the time Ascended gear could only be achieved through Fractals, a mistake that was later admitted to by the company.  We have since moved to several, yet still unachievable in major features of the game like WvW, options of achieving them.  You can do dailies for approximately a month for each ascended piece of gear. You can farm guild missions and commendations, and achieve them through a combination of gold and commendations, or 40 laurels and 50 ectoplasms. Or you can simply gain some from Fractals, or a combination of materials (gained from Fractals) and craft your own.  The problem is that these are largely out of reach by a majority of the playerbase without investment of significant “grinding.”  Dailies are often the definition of “do these things every day” and achieve a small reward.  ArenaNet has now provided a diversity of things that we can do to achieve a daily, which has only missed the point.  If you kill 20 rabbits one day, and then are asked to kill 20 underwater creatures the next, that doesn’t suddenly change the nature of the daily. It’s intended to be a short repetitive activity that is completed daily or nearly daily to artificially create a form of progression for an item.  It’s still repetitive…and as one of the few opinions in this thread, is not fun.  I have yet to find myself, friends, guildmates, or anyone exclaim “I’m excited to do my daily today!”

Recent Events

Let’s move to the current January/February Release window and talk about a quote that has been thrown around quite a bit by the community, and examine the recent releases of content.

January/February Release Quote:

"But January and February are actually our biggest updates to date. They’re even bigger than all the stuff we did in October, November and December. And I think that when people see how much stuff they’re gonna get for no monthly fee in January and February, they’re probably going to be blown away. These two months combined are basically an expansion’s worth of content for free."

-Colin Johanson

The Facts:
-The WvW patch that was slated for January, was pushed back to February, and then moved back to March was originally intended in the “expansion worth of content” Colin was referring to at the time.

-There are usually around 5 major features in each patch, which typically include, for lack of a better word, content.

-2 of the 5 for February’s patch were “Choosing Your Own Daily Achievements” and Previewing on the Trading Post.

-The only additional content increase in February were a couple of cash shop items, a new sPvP map, and essentially the addition of portals and non-unique enemies in the Living Story.

-January included guesting that was intended to be included at launch, an improved achievement system, and bug fixes to WvW.

-The major points of a patch should not include bug-fixes and revamps of existing, broken content.

Logical Conclusion: What we have seen is nothing even resembling an expansion worth of content.  (Even if you want to include March’s content, which admittedly has yet to be fully revealed, it would not resemble an expansion.)


Let’s move to WvW, arguably one of ArenaNet’s most popular features.  In six months of release, the only thing added to WvW were bug fixes.  Instead of attempting to stop hacks and exploits by single players, ArenaNet chose to simply remove the orb system.  Before everything was incredibly dynamic, due to mismanagement in realm populations (free realm transfers for roughly five months again due to guesting), and no, we see the opposite side of that coin, it’s static to the point of decay.  Realm ranks are hardly changing, and each week the story seems to remain the same.  The same realms place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd each week, rarely changing tiers.  No forms of progression or reward have been added in six months, and we are holding on the promise that the WvW patch will come out next month.  Even with the promise of new content, it’s the length of time that has passed that is discouraging for many of us.

We have seen dungeon revamp after dungeon revamp, waiting for you to finally get it right.  We have watched you include temporary content again and again, without adding to the core of the game.  We have been waiting for ArenaNet to wake up and improve on their original design.

Let’s examine material that has yet to be fully made, that holds the potential of promise, and a return to original design principles:

The Living Story

We have seen two installments of the story, with the promise of much more exciting material to come in March.

The Facts:

-The first installment included random NPCs walking towards two major cities in two zones that “needed” aid.

-It included collecting mementos, fixing signs, and curing the cripple condition off them, with less than 5 unique dynamic events and a single title to come with it.

-The second installment now includes two main objectives, fighting portal-spawning enemies, and providing refugees with lost items.

Logical Conclusion:  There are not a lot of content or interesting things to do in-game involving the living story.

An addition of twenty dynamic events would arguably have more content than these last two installments of the living story.  There is nothing that makes it special, unique, rewarding or even interesting to the average player.  And once again, we are relying on a promise by Angel McCoy, a chief architect along with Ree Soesbee and Jeff Grubb that created the lackluster personal story.  Even worse, it appears as though ArenaNet is making the same mistakes.  

“In order to make this easier on ourselves, and on you, we’ll be introducing a set of characters specific to the Living Story, at the end of March. Hint: one’s a norn, and one’s a charr.”

-Angel McCoy

The Facts:

-In both the Lost Isles Patch and the Halloween patch,the ArenaNet team was largely criticized for a lackluster, initial phase of events because there weren’t many things a player could do.

-The Personal Story was largely criticized for revolving around a NPC rather than the player, making the player feel less than heroic.

-The Living Story appears to have the same flaws as both the previous patches and Personal Story.

Logical Conclusion:

ArenaNet is not learning from past mistakes.

I could use this remaining time to talk about the blatant lack of additional skins to the game.  The large majority of skins released have been temporary releases.  I could elaborate more on the failures of the Personal Story, and the complete reluctance by ArenaNet to address or fix it.  I could address the growing concern by sPvP players that ArenaNet is not doing enough for the e-sport community.  However, I think by now you understand my point.  I am not satisfied with the games progress post-launch, nor do I find it acceptable for ArenaNet to continue to make false claims nor learn from previous self-admitted mistakes.

In conclusion, this post is meant to raise public awareness of ArenaNet’s past remarks and errors, and enact change to the game to make it better.  ArenaNet, you can do better.

Sanctum of Rall


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