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TMORBG - Temper's Massively Overblown Ranting Blog [about] Gaming

After 25+ years of gaming, it's fair to say that some opinions written here may be older than some of its readers.

Author: VanadromArda

How To Prepare for the Guild Wars 2 Launch

Posted by VanadromArda Thursday June 28 2012 at 1:31PM
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How To Prepare for the Guild Wars 2 Launch
 
For a while now I’ve been withholding this article. Quite frankly there wasn’t much reason to release it until the time was right — and that time is now. For many months people have been bouncing around the theory that there was to be some big announcement from ArenaNet on a certain date. This date was 06/28/2012. Originally this date was 28/06/2012, which was more of an EU date-time table, but was altered when ArenaNET released additional photos of their office.
 
Jersey
 
The date came from three jerseys hanging on the wall. Sure enough, the waiting has paid off. And ArenaNET has answered the call of their restless public urging for something to come at the closing of June. They’ve satisfied that urge with not only the announcement of the Guild Wars 2 official launch date (August 28th 2012) but also the date of the final Beta Weekend Event (July 20th).
 
Many people have been waiting for this day. Long have they been holding themselves back, confident that they would not give the game a time of day until there was a release date announced. Well I’m writing this article with those people in mind, and I’m here to offer some pointers for how YOU can prepare for the up-coming Guild Wars 2 release. You may not realize it now, but there is actually a lot to do between now and then, so you’d better hop to it!
 
How to Understand Guild Wars 2 and its Servers
 
One thing you want to understand first and foremost is that Guild Wars 2 is not your standard MMORPG, just about any article in relation to that topic can fill you in on the details. What we are covering today is something that goes unsaid most of the time, and that is the mentality of the Guild Wars 2 Servers and how the current player base sees them.
 
Unlike other MMORPGs, Servers are not just static worlds where you can meet your friends and party together. They are not places where you can just jump around to in hopes to find a population of your choice size, and they are certainly not things to fear of whether they will be too thick or too thin post release. Servers are teams. That’s right, teams. A Server’s name is the Team’s name, and joining upon that server means you will become an active member of that team.
 
gw 01
 
Long before you may even choose a server, these “Teams” have already been forming well in advance. Many, many guilds of vastly different shapes, sizes, and structures have been drawing out plans to not only bring themselves into a certain team — but ALL of the additional guilds they work closely with as well. Alliances are a massive factor in Guild Wars 2, and they’ve already been established across the board. People have been planning the foundations of their server populations well in advance, and come release day these alliances will shuffle to a server of choice to block and prevent all other players from joining it.
 
In order to prevent yourself from mistakenly choosing a server you and your friends will be unable to join, you should also be preparing well in advance — even if all of the final server names haven’t been announced. All of this is because of World vs World, the ability for servers to be facing one another in Open World PvP combat. Each server will be pitted against two other servers every couple of weeks and then be ranked, graded, and placed up against equal level servers in the following weeks afterwards. While you have been sitting on the side lines, guilds throughout the world have been teaming up and marking territory.
 
You need to get with the program, and the best way to do this is find a community and discuss the plans about how they are handling the server issue. But before you can ask someone any questions, you need to first look at yourself and identify what it is you want out of Guild Wars 2.
 
Identify Your Play-Style
 
Are you purely someone who wants to go up against scripted content in a PvE (Player versus Environment) experience? Do you want to engage in role-play as you do it, and dive deep into the story of your character so that you can experience it all one step at a time? Or do you want to pit yourself against hardcore guilds, fighting for the top spot so everyone knows your Guild’s name and more importantly, YOUR name!?
 
Whatever your play-style, you may want to take time to actually make a brief list of what it is you’d like to get out of Guild Wars 2. Put at the very top of this list what it is you’re after and what you feel is most important to you. Remember, no one can tell you how you should play your game and enjoy your experience. Don’t let people push you around and tell you “this is how things are and you have to do this, this way”, because that stuff ends with Guild Wars 2.
 
Servers are here to divide the game into different communities, and in order to ensure you find the community that will help you get the most out of your experience — make a list of your most desired wants and final a guild that best fits that list of wants.
 
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Find a Guild That Fits that Play-style
 
Just like each individual in this world is different in their own way, so are Guilds. There are Guilds of all shapes and sizes, of all types and tropes. Don’t just find the first one that comes to you, you really should take some time to research. Guild Wars 2 is a very rare kind of game, never before has there been such a mass preparation of Guilds and Alliances. The sheer number of Guilds preparing for Guild Wars 2 even outnumbers Star Wars: The Old Republic — mainly because so many guilds from SWTOR are now moving to Guild Wars 2!
 
If you find locating a Guild difficult, remember that many guilds keep in touch with other guilds. Actually opening a dialogue with one guild may be a window into another, and then another after that. But please try not to join a guild just to step into another, that’s rather rude. You should take your time and talk with the people you want to play with and see if they are what you really want in a community.
 
There are guilds out there of huge mass and number, priding themselves with population alone. Joining guilds like this will surely net you people to play with. There are also smaller guilds of people who prefer more like-minded members for long-term friendship and experience, these are a lot harder to find. And of course, there is everything in-between. So there really is no shortage of Guilds to join, and you should make a point to become a part of one and feel it out WELL in advance before Guild Wars 2.
 
If you don’t find a guild that is suitable for you — you may find yourself paying for it in the end. By either blindly joining a server or joining a guild without foreknowledge of their server plans, you may find yourself unable to take part in elements of the game you want to play! For instance, let’s say you want to join for the epic World vs World portion of the game. Well if you blindly join a server that is dominated by a massive alliance — you’ll likely be population-blocked from World vs World at all times and never get a chance to play. Meaning you’ll have to shell out money to switch servers! Oh no!
 
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Ensure that Guild is building an Alliance with others matching that Play-style
 
So let’s say you find a guild, now you have to worry about who that guild is talking to! Are they teaming up with a massive 500 member guild that will try to dictate your every move? Or will your guild be teaming up with other stable, like-minded guilds that fit the play style you best favor? Make it a point to find out and ask questions. If your Guild isn’t part of an alliance, ensure they make an effort to talk with other guilds and see if they can put one together!
 
What’s even worse than you not finding a good server to be a part of — is an entire guild finding themselves unable to join the same server or totally blocked from World vs World due to some of these huge pre-built alliances. Then many more people will have to shell out money to switch servers and that can have a massive impact on your fun-factor. Don’t look to ArenaNet to solve this issue with free transfers either, that may not happen.
 
ArenaNet has not only been supporting the growth of guilds and alliances before release, but they’ve been insisting upon it! The responsibility now falls upon YOUR shoulders to make sure you pick a Guild, Alliance, and a Server than best suits your needs. They’ve gone out of their way to establish a lot of servers to make sure these alliances can find homes in many different places, allowing the population to spread out and create fluid teams.
 
They do not want everyone crowding to the same server. This is not about activity, high-pop and low-pop, “what-can-I-do-during-Prime-Time” worries like previous games. Servers are teams now, find a group of people and talk about where you want to go. Make sure everyone else in every guild you talk to and work with is going there too. Make sure they can work with you, not against you.
 
For instance, if your Guild enjoys creating Role-Play events, make sure you become part of an alliance of Guilds that enjoy those kind of events and will not hinder them. This will ensure your members will find fun within your server community come release. Don’t wait for release to do this, as it will be far too late by then!
 
gw 04
 
Pre-Purchase the Game
 
You’ve likely been putting this off for a release date. Now they have one, go ahead and drop some money for this because you will want to take full part of the 3-Day Head Start which begins August 25th. You will also want to take part in the final Beta Weekend Event on July 20th, because likely there will be something special in it for you.
 
Not only this, you can get a dry run with your Guild-Mates in game and start to get a feel for them and how they will approach Guild Wars 2. This is your last chance to get a feeling for your guild before the release, so it’s important you take time to experience some parts of Guild Wars 2 before the release — even if it just adjusting your key-binds and control scheme.
 
There are really nifty gifts you get from Pre-Purchasing, and while they will not make or break your experience in-game, they will at least make starting out Day-1 a little more fun. You can also combine them with Guild Wars 1 Hall of Monument Rewards at the same time — giving you a massive amount of free stuff to play with out of the gate!
 
gw 05
 
Get to know your Guild-mates
 
One of the most important things to do before the release of Guild Wars 2 is to get to know your Guild-mates. These are people who you will be spending time with for many hours through the night and weekends. Make sure these are people you want to play with, and not just ‘people’ to fill the void and to prevent you from playing alone. Guild-mates really should be very much like you, and should stick with you thick or thin. People like this are not easy to find!
 
You have plenty of time before release to find the right set of people, but please do not wait. If you join a server you put yourself in a bad position of having to only join up with those guilds related with that server. This will force you to Guest around to other servers for a while to play with other people before you have to drop money to switch over. Don’t put that burden on yourself! Guilds are something you should take very seriously — even if that guild doesn’t play very seriously at all.
 
Play games with your Guild-mates! Find something you have in common and join them in those games before Guild Wars 2. Come Beta Weekend and Headstart, you should already have a good idea on who you are playing with and who you can call upon to be at your side. Don’t join a guild and expect people to flock to you, or you’ll find yourself playing alone even in a guild full of hundreds of players. You should not settle for that experience. The responsibility is yours now, make a strong effort between now and release to make new friends! Time spent searching now means more time playing the game in the future. Don’t wait!
 
gw 06
 
 
Do your Hall of Monuments
 
Once you find a group of people, you may want to make a stab at Hall of Monuments. This is easier if you already have a Guild Wars account and have all of the expansions. If you don’t have all of the expansions, I recommend purchasing the key-codes from places other than NCSoft. Don’t drop $29.95 for each expansion, that’s just wasting your cash! If you shop around the internet, you can find the whole set from Flameseeker Prophesies to Eye of the North for $10 per installment.
 
If you want something to do or maybe get that nifty Flame Sword, take some time to play with your guild-mates to reach these achievements. If you don’t own Guild Wars 1, don’t worry. The Hall of Monument Rewards are mainly cosmetic features for people to wear and show off in later portions of the game. Guild Wars 2 has plenty of cosmetic rewards within itself as it stands, so you’re not missing much.
 
gw 06
 
Avoid Forums
 
Since February 2012, an absolute flood of information has been released about the game. The Beta Weekends never had an NDA on them, so ArenaNet has insisted that all fans create articles, share screenshots, make videos, vodcasts, and just about anything and everything they could think of to share Guild Wars 2. There are thousands of hours of gameplay available online right now for you to watch, hundreds of in-depth articles explaining features and details. Even better than that, there are dozens of guild-mates who have played the game first hand!
 
There is absolutely no need to jump onto any forum and ask “What’s this game about?” or “Try and sell me Guild Wars 2” because frankly — that’s totally pointless! If you do that, you’re insulting your loyal and fellow gamers who have taken precious hours of their day to write articles and produce videos for your viewing pleasure. Many players love Guild Wars 2 and they will be more than happy to share those things first hand. Do not jump onto a forum and try to make a judgment call based on the opinions of forum-goers, these days forums are not as good as they used to be.
 
Find living, breathing people who you can talk to either face-to-face or VOIP, you’ll find them more than willing to share you all they know about the game. Don’t know where to find people face-to-face? Go outside to your local game store, you’ll certainly find someone there who is excited about Guild Wars 2. If not, MAKE them get excited for it. You’ll probably find yourself new guild-mates this way!
 
gw 07
 
Ask Questions
 
You may be the kind of person that doesn’t want to spoil the whole Guild Wars 2 experience for yourself, and that’s great. So don’t ask questions about certain features of the game, but ask about servers, communities, guilds, and what people intend to do with the game once it’s release.
 
Yet, if you are the type of person who wants to know everything about the game before release now that there is a release date — then by all means, find people you can talk to and ask questions. Don’t ask questions on forums, ask your guild mates! Build conversations and a dialogue with people you intend to play with in the future, because the more you talk with them the more comfortable they are with you. This will help to make for better in-game experiences once the game begins.
 
For not only will you be more knowledgeable about the game, you’ll also be capable of playing smoothly with everyone you are playing with. Don’t leave yourself in the dark; make an effort to learn key things about the game before release. Make sure Guild Wars 2 is really the game for you, and try to figure out why so many people consider it to be the new and biggest thing to happen to MMORPGs.
 
gw 08
 
Clear Your Schedule
 
Without a doubt, Guild Wars 2 is going to be a momentous game. Make an effort to clear your schedule come late August because this game is going to consume your heart and soul. If you haven’t had a chance to get your hands on it, know that this game is going to suck you in and keep you playing whether you like it or not. If you don’t make an effort to empty your week and plan for some vacation time in advance — you may find yourself kicking yourself in the head.
 
Guild Wars 2 will have a profound impact on you when you first get your hands on it. So the one thing you’ll want to do is at least spend a week or two playing it with friends to get it out of your system before you return to a fluid work week or daily like schedule. Don’t wait! Start writing your letter or proposal for your next vacation right this instant!
 
I’m suggesting this for your own good, as you don’t want your work and real life to suffer tremendously from your potential lack of proper foresight and the overestimation of your own personal will-power. Just for once in your life make time to play a game, or else that game may haunt your real-life more than you desire it to. Guild Wars 2 is going to stick around for a long time, it’s here to stay.
 
Don’t make the mistake of just asking for launch day off or the Monday before, because Guild Wars 2 is going to be huge. You want time to endure some of the potential, inevitable frustrations of any game on launch day. Give yourself and the game a wide birth, drop those vacation days in line for a whole week or even two. You have been warned!
 
If you'd like more advice on finding good communities, contact me via Private Message or email: Temperhoof ( at ) g m a i l . c o m – and I will share them in future blog entries.
 
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Friendly Hardcore Guilds – They Live Again in Guild Wars 2!

Posted by VanadromArda Friday June 15 2012 at 11:07PM
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Quite recently I sat down and spoke with the founders of two very promising Guilds preparing themselves for the upcoming title, Guild Wars 2: Colfy of RAGE Coalition and Rorek of Infamy Gaming. The reason why I spoke with them in recent interviews is because I was approached by them after my more recent article, “What’s Wrong with Guilds Today? They expressed mutual concern for the way guilds were being managed these days, and I couldn’t help but appreciate their dedication to upholding a competitive spirit while at the same time creating an easy going atmosphere. At that moment I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps there may be hope for guilds that still follow the Old Ways.
 
In entries before, I spoke of my remorse for the loss of the Old Ways. As of ten years ago, much of the beliefs and philosophies of running fun and cooperative guilds has begun to fizzle out. The idea of playing with a group of friends, a fellowship, and a band of brothers – started to die out in favor of more structured and determined guilds. The guild name became precious, became the key focus of all things. The world must know the guild’s name, and all must take notice that there is only one guild that is greater than the rest. These ideals came into being with EverQuest, Final Fantasy XI, EVE Online, and later World of Warcraft. People became a resource, something that was faceless and easily replaced. This was the mindset of a business, and that model was steadily being applied to guilds.
 
I mourned the loss of guilds which held the individual higher than the name, believed in friendship and fun, and the same time remembered that there is life beyond the game. There is a purpose to life beyond the guild’s name and recognition of other in-game players. My call to action sounded out, and believe it or not some people heard the call and decided it was time to bring back the Old Ways. The Ways in which guilds were a unified and cooperative group of growing individuals. Quite recently I was contacted by some of these guilds. They told me of how they understand the problem of guilds today, and that it is a shame that some of the more friendly community driven guilds are fewer in number than ever before.
 
Guild Wars 2
 
After some conversation and discussions with the members of these groups, I decided that the only right thing to do was to share my findings with the rest of the world. I felt I just had to take the time to spotlight them. I feel that perhaps there are readers out there who truly desire to find guilds that are far separated from that of the business structure and works as a whole unit to achieve a goal as friends – not co-workers.
 
Perhaps some of you don’t even know what it it like to be in such a guild, and can’t even imagine what it is like within them either. Long now have the raiding structures of Final Fantasy XI and World of Warcraft held dominion over how guilds should be run. Thanks to World of Warcraft, the gaming world has seen a large influx of gamers who are interested in MMORPGs, but since WoW was their first undertaking they have little experience outside of that mold. We shouldn’t forget that even the console market has grown a great deal as well, and that there are players out there who wish to finally expand into PC Gaming and experience MMORPGs for the first time too.
 
For many people Guild Wars 2 is their very first real MMORPG beyond World of Warcraft and console games. For them, the Guild experience is also something new and foreign. For these reasons I felt it was dire to inform my readers that yes – there are guilds out there that have risen up to take pride in following the Old Ways. Guilds that really want to treat people with kindness, respect, and friendship. I want to climb the highest peaks and shout out the names of these guilds, and point the way to the beacon of light and hope to show that all is not lost. There are sane people in this world after all!
 
Guild Wars 2 02
 
For those of you who have followed my entries, you may know that I'm not exactly a big fan of the needlessly hardcore. There is no point to scheduling hours for your guild member’s to work, there is no need to apply penalties to your members if they have to excuse themselves for their daughter’s birthday. There is no reason to lord a person’s mistakes over their head, and keep a list of each time they’ve stepped out of line. Let's face it, we all have real lives, there is no need to turn your favorite form of recreation into a job too.
 
Playing a game can be a real struggle for starters, and what's worse is that sometimes so can being in a Guild too. Let's be honest with ourselves, not everyone is going to be perfect: always smiles, always a good attitude, always polite, always informative, and never-ever one to offend anyone. These people are few and far between, and even those who seem to wear that appearance aren't as genuine as they seem. Yet still, many guilds expect everyone to be just like this no matter what their personal backgrounds really are. On top of that, many guilds expect you to be somewhere and do something when you may not want to or do not have time to. If you don't show, then you will lose out on precious guild points and lose your overall standing in the guild.
 
That can be a massive headache to anyone who is really just trying to have fun and have a good time. Nobody is perfect, and a lot of people have forgotten that in their pursuit of perfection and complete domination of all things guild. I'm not a big fan of those guilds who want their name to be to be known throughout the world, as that only inflates the egos of just a handful of people --- namely the guild's founders. In guilds like that, it is those founders who will benefit the most from the hard work of the guild-mates they consider expendable underlings. I think it's time someone put the spotlight on guilds who are taking things in the right direction.
 
I speak of course of RAGE Coalition and Infamy Gaming. As no person is perfect, nor are guilds. But there are always certainly different flavors among them which help them stand out from the rest. With these two in-particular, I've taken time to speak with their guild leaders in conversation, in interviews, and I've even played with them in game in several occasions. They do stand out as groups which have come from a different time period, a time before World of Warcraft – where the individual was more important than the guild name. These guilds are not always seeking the best, this is because they believe the best can only shine when they are playing with people they know, love, and have learned with since the very beginning.
 
Rage
 
People who feel themselves to be elite, who feel themselves to be better than everyone else – will carry that with them wherever they go. They will join guilds, thinking themselves an asset that has to be pampered and pleased because of their 'skills'. But let's be honest here, skills are learned, and can be learned by anybody. These guilds believe it's best to take time to teach those skills to new players and treat them to a friendly, fun environment where everyone can have a good time and become hardcore at the same time.
 
At present, popular guilds are really only popular because of their mass number. They have no real special key assets over any other guild, or what any other guild could have with some dedicated players behind the helm. It would be wise not to fall down into the trap of following behind those big named guilds, just to be part of the crowd and bask in the glory of your guild-mate's hard work. Perhaps you may find it more personally satisfying to challenge yourself and venture into a smaller guild, where your skills will really shine as you are now part of the quality --- not the quantity.
 
IG
 
One thing I've noticed from RAGE and Infamy is that they really do appreciate what it means to play and get to know people on a very personal level. The concept of friendship is not lost beyond the anonymity of the internet. From what I've discovered, as long as you are mature and want to give it your all --- it doesn't matter if you can't hit the broad side of a barn; you are still very welcome to join in with these people. Games are about having a good time and achieving things together, and if you are going to run with them you are not going to be a friend one day and forgotten the next. If you are honest, you're going to find some real friends in guilds like these.
 
I suppose the reason why these guilds are run by such a mature crowd, is because they’ve come along in age. Many of the people who I’ve found within these guilds are well over their mid-30s, and have actually come from a time well before World of Warcraft even existed in the minds of its creators. Back then, guilds were run very differently. People had to utilize a lot of imagination and devote a lot of time to make sure that people were happy and had a lot of fun things to do. This doesn’t mean that it was a fantasy land where everything was perfect, no.
 
There are always people out there who are determined to give everyone in the guild a hard time, and just really want to be annoying, immature asses no matter their age. These old fashioned guilds believed that everyone had a say, and since people were very active and very friendly – this also meant they were very connected outside of the game. So when someone was causing a problem, it was easy to get in touch with the bulk of the member base to make a judgment call on someone who was really trying to cause great harm in a guild. It’s easy to tell someone who has personality issues apart from a troublemaker, and often these guilds are very understanding to those who have a tough time socializing.
 
Guild Wars 2 02
 
People inevitably rub people the wrong way. That is just how personalities work. But these guilds do not believe in keeping records of problems. They will try their best to work it out with the people to secure and hold onto strong friendships they want to see grow and flourish. To forgive and forget, that is their philosophy. These days, that is very, very hard to find. Like it or not, most guilds these days will not think twice about throwing out a person who may be mildly disruptive because they really want to put on a good face. Anyone who threatens the guild’s name and face is considered toxic and a potential hazard. I for one don’t like being considered a toxic hazard, so I like guilds which not only give me a chance but take the time to understand my personality and help me when I stumble.
 
Only friends will help you when you stumble, they’ll be there to pick you up and brush you off and give you a hand. Friends do not see you as dead weight or a potential liability. These days, it’s easy to forget that there are people playing games with you. It’s very, very hard to find people out there who are truly willing to listen and help out the people that are willing to not only show guild pride but also build friendships. I am proud to say I’ve found a pair of guilds who really want to push this philosophy, and I look forward to seeing them blossom in Guild Wars 2. I can only hope many will follow in their footsteps, making Guild Wars 2 the game that not only changes the face of the MMORPG genre, but the guilds that play them as well.
 
If you feel your guild fits these positive philosophies and you’d like them featured in future articles, contact me via Private Message or email: Temperhoof ( at ) g m a i l . c o m – and I will share them in future blog entries.
 
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Arena.Net, This June We Need Action!

Posted by VanadromArda Wednesday June 13 2012 at 7:01PM
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This week, many gamers around the world are shaking off the shell-shock of not being able to Login to Guild Wars 2. Naturally I include myself in this equation as I look back upon the weekend with a feeling of mixed satisfaction and frustration. What lingers now in my mind is a single question, “How long until this thing is released?”. Well in my head I hear the battle of both prospectives, and I write this now to work out my own feelings on the situation.
 
The weekend was not without its problems. Friday saw difficulties problems with imbalances of server populations. My entire guild's plan to join a server was inadvertently cock-blocked by the server transfer protocol and wasn't fixed until several hours later, long after my guild had already switched to a different server we did not plan to join. Saturday saw continued issues of course, as suddenly Siege could not be deployed properly in World vs World causing a lot of people to become frustrated because they could not execute any battles that had measured impact.
 

Image 01
 
The only day that appeared to be fine was Sunday, but the Tournaments and Structure Player vs Player match-ups were also broken and not working as intended. This was only just scratching the surface on the many, many, many issues that plagued the game to the point of causing a lot of people to question whether or not Guild Wars 2 really was the awesome game everyone said it was. But at the end of the weekend, everything slowly seemed to just come together.
 
Even despite all of these problems, I still feel as though my overall experience with Guild Wars 2 was more than satisfactory. Why? Well let's be honest here, it's still Guild Wars 2. The game is just really great for me, and it really does manage to keep me busy doing something even when other things aren't working quite as they were intended to be. Quite frankly, the entire weekend was a complete and utter disaster, but it was still the most fun I've had gaming in the past six weeks (the last Beta Weekend Event).
 
Now I find myself in reflection, thinking about how close the game may or may not be to release. After everything bad that happened, I still want to play. That to me is a very good sign. That to me is a very healthy sign. And that sort of sign, really shouldn't be ignored. Ever since February 2012, I've really been keeping my ear to the ground on this one. Been keeping a close look, reading articles, forming guilds, and trying to put together material people can use and enjoy for the upcoming title. Now, more than four months have gone by and I find myself feeling just a little bit frustrated.
 

anger
 
I imagine this frustration will grow, but in small, tiny increments. For instance, I was sweating bullets when it came to wondering when the Beta was going to happen back in March of this year. So much was happening, Beta Invites coming through and then a Pre-Purchase!? People falling over one another just to log in and submit a code onto an online profile, just to have it say “Congratulations, you've purchased the game! Stay tuned for information about future Beta Tests.
 
At the end of April, all of my questions were laid to rest and I could finally spend time just sitting back and playing. After the weekend ended, I felt completely sated and satisfied. Years of pent-up frustration has been ejected from me like a tween-boy who finally figured out how to bring himself to orgasm, and perhaps the end result was equally messy.
 
Six weeks later, we get to do it all over again with some improvements. Indeed, the game had a lot of differences in it, but ultimately it was the same game and really had the same feel. I liked it, it was very nice. I felt happy and comfortable, and even though something may have gone wrong or maybe I found something to be broken --- at the end of the day none of it matter. I had fun. I had a lot of fun. I can safely say that.
 
fun
 
I had so much fun I question myself, would I still give Guild Wars 2 the benefit of the doubt and keep playing, and keep giving their game positive PR even though the game was breaking on a daily basis and even my most favorite toys were ruined for several hours --- would I still keep playing? Yes. I fully know, through and through, I would keep playing. I'm a loyal gamer. I'm not a whiner, though I do complain a lot, but I'm not going to bitch my way into another game – because frankly I've found the game for me. That game is Guild Wars 2.
 
At this point, the only way they are going to lose me as a customer and eager GemStore money giver is by pulling a StarWars NGE and completely flipping the game onto its head and started all over again. I don't see that happening, and quite frankly it's laughable to even think a mistake like that is going to happen twice in my lifetime. I know, beyond a doubt, Guild Wars 2 isn't ready for release. But I really don't care. I'm really one those people who can devote hours of my time and life to spilling into the game because I want to see it blossom and become a fantastic piece of work.
 
I've spent years of my life in Final Fantasy XI because no other game really matched what it was. But now, Guild Wars 2 has come along and I really don't want to see it turn out bad. But at the same time, I really don't want to sit patiently for release, nor do I want them to hold back on announcing another BWE. The fact that the last one took them five weeks to announce was pretty painful enough, but waiting that duration again? Well that would just be bloody sadistic at this point. I don't think I can endure that kind of pain.
 
My Summer has only just started, and each day I see it getting shorter and shorter. Each day I see that I'm not doing something that I could be physically enjoying aside from my other daily activities. This is really the only time when I can spend day in and day out just pouring over a game, for when the Summer ends my life begins again and my business kicks up as well as more of my Graduate courses. All that precious, precious time I could be spending working and helping to tweak Guild Wars 2 and just have a bloody good time doing it --- wasted.
 
play
 
At this point, I'm starting to feel like the game may actually benefit from – at the very least, events which happen each and every weekend. Of course I would like an all-out release. But in all seriousness, they really should step up the pace, and start assuring the public that they are on some kind of home stretch. While it may not happen, and more than likely will not happen, I cannot help but feel like it really would be the right course of action for ArenaNet to take.
 
I know it's probably just my system yearning to play, but it's really starting to eat me up. My patience is really starting to get thin, and with each BWE I admit --- it's getting thinner. Each time I play, I really only want more. Each day I spend in the game, means less days I'd be willing to wait to continue. For as I grow in my knowledge of the game, there is more I want to do. There is more I want to try, and it becomes difficult to put those desires aside as I wait for the next signal.
 
I know I will have to wait, just like everyone else. But something needs to change. If not now, then especially after the third BWE. By then, I fear a lot of people are going to be crying foul at that point. So many people were optimistic for a June release back in March, that is why I dropped my money. Something really does need to happen at the end of June. I'm not saying a release, but something to change the face of the game before people become too frustrated. Just think about it.

WvW Mini-Dungeon in Guild Wars 2

Posted by VanadromArda Monday June 11 2012 at 9:26AM
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Another Beta Weekend Event has come and gone, and on this occasion I could be a little more experimental in how I approached the game. Aside from being able to finally record and process video, I was able to get my hands on a lot of the new content introduced to World vs World over the course of the past six weeks. One of the key features I know a lot of people were excited about was the WvW Mini-Dungeon, announced shortly before the weekend by Eric Flannum, the Lead Game Designer at ArenaNet.
 
One of the coolest things that we’ve added to WvW recently is a persistent mini-dungeon that can be accessed through the three keeps in the center map. This area is designed with multiplayer PvP in mind and players can do things like activate the traps in the mini-dungeon to defeat enemy players. Of course, at the end of the area there’s a chest full of rewards.”
 
While we got exactly what he stated, I and many other players were expecting something a bit different. When I say different, I mean less "Puzzly". And when I mean less "Puzzly", I mean the Mini-Dungeon is a giant Jump Puzzle. So far, at least from my prospective, there is a miscommunication in terminology between the developers at ArenaNet and their audience. For Eric Flannum, clearly the word Dungeon is very literal — as the area beneath Eternal Battlegrounds is a giant, sadistic set of pain chambers that are frustrating to deal with. Players on the other hand may think differently when they think of the word "Dungeon". For them, Dungeons have long been places filled with monsters and bosses, rare loot and precious rewards worth fighting over. But sadly, there is nothing worth fighting for in the sunken city beneath the Eternal Battlegrounds
 
This miscommunication did lead some people to expect that the "Mini-Dungeon" would be something like Dark Age of Camelot's Darkness Falls, a contested dungeon with three different avenues of advancement which meet in the middle for a rough and tumble grudge match to have rights to bosses and loot drops. I believe ArenaNet should take this as a clue, perhaps when they are to describe a Jump Puzzle, they should exclusively refer to it as a Jump Puzzle --- not a "Mini-Dungeon".
 
Late Sunday, my server fully conquered WvW and gained rights to the Mini-Dungeon and or the very first time I could venture down and see it for myself. With hopes of banding together with my teammates to gain some extra Experience Points and do something fresh and interesting as a cooperative group --- instead we got something beyond what anyone of us could have imagined. After crossing through the Mystic Portal, I found myself standing on a platform looking at two other Mystic Portals. Instantly I knew that the additional portals were from the other two Keeps within Eternal Battlegrounds, all within firing distance of one another. There were no three unique paths to fight through, no individual experiences based on which Keep you entered. All Keeps could spawn me at the exact same starting position.
 
Image 01
 
Before me was a massive chamber beneath the Eternal Battlegrounds, very much like the Caves of Planetside. The area was huge and the cleverness of the design was instantly apparent. Right in the middle of the chamber was a ray of bright purple light. It shot down diagonally from the ceiling, emitted from a huge purple crystal at the highest point on the map. The light rays bounced off a smaller crystal in the middle of the room, which pointed a ray of light off to the left --- clearly saying "Go That Way". So I did.
 
At this point my eyes were keenly looking around for something to fight. Some sign of activity, some creature or boss or baddie of some sort. But nothing was there, just a huge empty room with slender ledges and platforms. Soon it sunk in, and it was clear that this was going to be a long and painfully complex jump puzzle to solve. And indeed, it did take a good time to solve. I spent three hours recording the whole experience. But I realized I lost about an hour of footage, having failed to notice I didn't record for a while — I was too focused on solving the puzzle I admit. But in the end, I only lost a minor portion of the overall dungeon and can safely say I recorded 90% of it.
 
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At this point I've taken the time to edit the video down considerably, only really show casing at lot of parts that didn't go horribly wrong or were hindered too greatly by PvP combat. At the conclusion of this experience, I realized that what I just went through really wasn't very much fun at all.
 
The only person who seemed to have a great time was the Mesmer in our party, which is no shock to me at all because they have a built in "Reset Button" so they can just Portal back up if they mess up. Unlike most of us who play, who have to backtrack about five or ten minutes to repeat the same portion of the maze over and over again while the Mesmer just keeps going forward without a problem. I can see how he didn't find it difficult or frustrating; he's playing a ridiculously convenient class that has all of the best abilities in the game at present.
 
What truly alarmed me and made me really feel a shock and awe, was when I first ventured down into the Third Stage of the puzzle. You venture down a stairway which takes you into a pitch black chamber where the puzzle is completely done under cover of perfect darkness. The only way to venture through was to illuminate the way with torches and Area-of-Effect-Ground Target abilities to help physically "See" where to go next. I found this to be a needless frustration, as in the end I could see just fine with my abilities and the torches felt like a PvP handicap that forces you to do something you don't want to do in order to endure the trial.
 
Image 03
 
But the first time I went down, I didn't realize I even needed a torch. So I did it all in perfect darkness. Eventually when my team mates came to join me, I informed them of the torches at the entrance and things went a little easier. Yet still, even a minor mess up to any jump at any portion of the puzzle meant you had to reset back to the beginning of each Level. In all, there were five levels to the dungeon. In reflection, I can say that the Jump Puzzle doesn't make a good PvP space. I could find myself just boiling over with intense frustration while trying to work my way through this if I had enemies always a few steps ahead of me manning traps.
 
That is another thing which bothers me, the traps. It seems silly to me that there are platforms where one person can man several traps at once — giving one person the ability to hinder everyone who follows them, even if they are on your own team. This looks to me like it can be a huge problem when the game goes live, as seeing there are people out there who just love to grief and this seems like the perfect place to do it. You can create a living hell for members of your own server, and they can never, ever kill you either.
 
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But after all of that, spending hours of going through and gaining a little bit of ground after a while — the only real reward at the end is to just say "You Did it". Seriously. Of course there is a chest at the end, but it's nothing special. You can earn the same rewards from Mistrought Vault in each of the Server Borderlands, and since there are three of those you can better spend your time getting three times the reward just pushing Mistrought every two weeks. Beneath Eternal Battlegrounds resides a huge puzzle that is even more difficult, but doesn't really net any rewards that value the effort. Even worse, once you finish it -- the thrill of discovery is gone. Any repeat process through it feels more like going through the motions rather than a fun experience.
 
So in the end I wonder, what's the point? Was it fun to do? In a way, yes. But I found fun in it only as way to spend time with my guild mates and get to know them more. Do something other than fight and do something which involves team work and cooperation to get to a goal at the end. That was fun for me. But I could not and do not want to imagine this place as a shelter for PvP, especially if every team starts at the exact same location. You will have to constantly watch your back and man traps for long periods of time, likely not even killing those who venture through them and net you no real reward or experience points - only the minor thrill of ruining someone’s day. I feel ArenaNet can do better, and this just doesn't feel like it deserves to be part of World vs. World. It doesn't feel critical or exciting, heck it doesn't even feel relevant — because frankly it isn't.
 
Image 05
 
Class balance is huge as well, as many classes can easily breeze through this as others have to struggle considerably. Fairness becomes an issue, and if Mesmers do not see a massive change in their skill sets — then we'll likely see these puzzles turn into an industry for Mesmers to make a butt-load of money teleporting whole teams instantly to the end of the Dungeon using their Mesmer Portals. We tested it, it is possible, and that's just stupid. But I give ArenaNet credit. I like it and feel it does need to be in the game — just not in WvW. I share this with you all now so you guys can get a taste of just what this really was. I hope a lot of the feedback from this weekend's BWE will result in a lot of changes to change this dungeon, and perhaps to actually make it a dungeon.
 
In all honesty, I think ArenaNet has accidentally stumbled on something very promising here. People do like doing puzzles in MMORPGs, and these are good and tax the brain in a healthy way. I'd like to see more of these, in fact a lot more. A huge portion should reside in some off-the-grid location where I can invite team mates to come with me as we tackle Jump Puzzles. We can adjust the difficulty, turning on Traps ourselves for greater rewards. Maybe even be able to find items scattered around in hidden locations for special rewards and achievements. That seems like a great thing to do and may be a better use of this map. I just hope ArenaNet and the player-base agrees with me, who knows — time will tell.