Published on January 18th, 2013 | by Gary Kirwan
Holidaying in Tyria this Spring? Here’s The Forecast
Ah, Guild Wars 2. How many times have I logged in over the last few months and thought to myself “If only there were more stuff to do”. Wait, that’s not right. I’ve not even visited every zone. Apparently some people have been clamouring for more, more, more, though and Arenanet are more than happy to comply. What courteous hosts.
It’s safe to say it was a good year for the GW2 team. Ubiquitous end-of-year top 10 lists featured the title so frequently that it became a bit tiresome, and the critic scores weren’t too shabby either. So nothing to complain about on that end. But wait, there’s more. A lot more in fact. A blog post landed earlier in the week over on the official website and it’s filled with more promises than a parent trying to get a child to eat vegetables – they make you grow big and stong, don’t cha know? You’ll find the full text of the blog posted quoted below:
Only joking! It’s a huge wall of text over there. Here’s a video though.
The gist of it is that there’s more of everything coming our way. You want events like those for Halloween and Wintersday? They’ve got those, and they’ve been listening to all our complaining to make them even better. Are you one of those people who enjoy zone events? There should be more of that kinda thing as well. Good for you. And then there’s rewards. If I’m going to do any of this I want to be showered in shiny gifts, I won’t lie. It’s lucky then that those achievements I’ve seen popping up at the corner of the screen, as I mine the 50th gold ore vein of the day, will go towards buying exactly those baubles I covet so much. It’s a bit sad, but show me a way of collecting vanity pets and I’m all over it, no questions asked. We’ll also be able to pick up some more of that elusive Ascended tier gear through the upgraded Achievement system, if that’s what you’re into, so something for everyone I dare say.
This is all part of Arenanet’s desire to get people back into the earlier zones and spread the population as much as possible. As a certifiable altoholic, I fully support this initiative. I’ll stand in the rain and hand out pamphlets if that’s what’s needed. Running events solo when they’re clearly designed with a certain zone population in mind can be demoralising, so the more people around to carry me through content the better. Guilds are also being enticed back to these areas with guild-specific missions, so those that like to have a tangible presence on their server can do so as well. And if the grass is greener on your friend’s server, the now long overdue guesting feature is finally ready. I predict much rejoicing, dancing and perhaps even frolicking through meadows as people are reunited at last.
Not content with filling your browser with text, the devs also jumped onto their Twitch channel last night to expand on general game design issues and answer questions from the community, as well as further demonstrate Arenanet’s ability to hint at things without actually telling us a whole lot – they’re getting frustratingly good at that. Only part one of the chat is available in their VoDs at time of writing but Dulfy over at Dulfy.net was kind enough to transcribe the whole thing, so there’s no excuse not to be completely informed when arguing on forums. Many of the topics covered are merely reiterations of those in the blog post, but there are one or two things which caught my eye.
Dungeons and Fractals of the Mists are getting tuning passes to better balance the difficulty of some encounters and do away with rez-rushing (resurrecting at a waypoint after death and rejoining the fight before the fight resets) – which is certainly something that felt cheesy, during a typical night of articulating how terrible Adam is at games, in as descriptive fashion as possible. The LFG tool, which at the moment seems borderline useless, is also getting an upgrade to cover all aspects of the game. They were quick to warn us that’s a way off yet, which is unfortunate. Looks like we’re stuck with spamming chat until then.
Class balance, an ongoing problem with every MMO ever released, is also on the table including weapon and trait changes somewhere down the line. Cookie-cutter builds tend to lead to stagnation and boredom faster than anything else, so it’s certainly welcome. There’s also the chance that we’ll see different weapon options available to each class at some point, which would be fantastic. That’s something which many a forum-dweller, myself included, assumed would be content ear-marked for whenever the first expansion lands, but hearing it hinted at now could mean even sooner than that.
On the PvP end of things, a lot of it was covered before the holidays - improvements to matchmaking, custom arenas and generally growing the community as they push towards the goal of ESports recognition. WvWvWvWvWvWvW will also see improvements to culling which should hopefully address the biggest problem in that realm. Nothing quite like skipping along, picking mushrooms for your soup, only to be surrounded by a sea of red text and mashed into a fungi flavoured stain on the landscape. Given the choice between unplayable lag or the occasional drive-by killing by invisible zerg, I think I’d still take the latter – but it’s great to hear that they’re actively working on improvements.
The PvP community is always pretty outspoken, but a new paid ‘winner-stays-on’ tournament mode should reduce wait times for the standard tournaments, requiring two teams rather than the usual eight. The map of choice will be Temple of Silent Storm, which I enjoy tremendously. A lot more than the stupid one with the sharks at least, those guys ruin my day. It’s also unlikely that we’ll be playing anything other than conquest mode for the foreseeable future, although deathmatch and capture the flag are being discussed internally.
Improvements to WvW include a change to the rewards system to pry people away from the current zerg mentality and incentivise doing things other than PvDoor, until someone shows up to AoE you to death. Changes to those Area of Effect abilities will also refresh tactics in both WvW and sPvP, moving the focus back to the single target damage dealers and make standing in the fire a little less painful. Not that you should do it now, never stand in the fire – this is a public service announcement.
So , in summary, lots of stuff. Stuff for all aspects of the game, and plenty of it. When can we expect any of it? Not a clue, but probably sometime in the next few months. Maybe. It’s hard to know with these guys.