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Guild Wars 2 Column: Never Perfect at Launch

By David North on September 09, 2013

ArenaNet has been throwing so much content into Guild Wars 2 for the past couple of months, that time has just flown by!  I know I touched a bit on the celebration on the games birthday, but I really wanted to talk about how the game has improved since launch.  I mean let’s face it, many MMOs now launch with some issues here and there.  But how the issues are addressed and fixed is what gives players an idea on how enjoyable your playing experience is going to be. 

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Guild Wars 2 didn’t have a whole lot of connection issues at launch, but it did have some major bugs floating around causing some mischief.  For example, many dynamic events  could start, but near the middle the NPCs would stop moving, making the event impossible to complete.  Even the powerful dragons would glitch, making them immune to all player damage.  All your efforts to obtain precious experience and loot was wasted.  Some zones saw more glitched than others, and even if a player was lucky enough only experience the bugs once or twice, it was enough to make some of those players quit.

I am an explorer in games, so trying to achieve 100% map completion was very important.  The dynamic events were really just a nice way to boost my experience gain, but you didn’t need to play through any of them to get the map completion.  I thought I was safe, that is until I tried to get some skill points.   Sadly the NPCs that started the skill point challenges stopped respawning. 

Imagine only needing one skill point, three vistas, and a heart left to complete the map.  So close I could almost taste it.  After trying to find the NPC to activate it, things began to look grim.  I’d be a good player and send my bug report, and come back to the same spot day after day, waiting for the bug to be fixed.  There were three maps in total that I had to wait a few days for till I could have my map completion awards.  Sure three maps out of the entire game world isn’t bad, but when you work so hard to obtain something, and you can’t reach that goal due to a silly bug, it can stop you from having fun because you’re too busy raging out.


Throwing your computer out of a window, the new way to rage quit.

Luckily things like this have been fixed.  In fact ArenaNet put out some bug fixes here and there in small patches.  It gave players hope that the specific bug plaquing their experience would be taken care of soon.   It was handled pretty well.  The game runs smooth now, with dynamic events running to completion.  This keeps players pretty happy.  While playing my alternate characters, I’m finding the game more enjoyable now because my progress isn’t coming to a halt.  But whenever I come to a spot that use to glitch, I still get flashbacks.   

At launch many players had issues trying to play WvW.  The chat was filled with players complaining how they would love to try out WvW, but their deaths would come from unknown sources.  Many didn’t know what to call this, but soon the word culling was in every players vocabulary.  Players could run around in large zergs, using their combined might to just kick down gates and claim keeps.  But when one zerg met another zerg, very few players could actually see all of their enemies on screen.  It was like trying to fight off a group of Predators, only covering yourself in mud didn’t stop them from seeing you.


Throwing your computer out of a window, the new way to rage quit.

Culling wasn’t just plaguing WvW, PvE also had some issues.  Many players have nightmares from invisible karka rolling over them, and several other players, capable of wiping out an entire zerg.  I loved the Lost Shores event, but the culling really made it tough for many players to enjoy it.

ArenaNet didn’t repeat their mistakes with The Lost Shores by putting players in instances so that culling wouldn’t be a concern.  That is until the Queen’s Jubilee, which brought players back into huge cooperative groups to smash and bash on some baddies.  At this point in the games life, culling has been address in WvW, and players flocked to it make the battles even more epic and interesting.  The Queen’s Jubilee not only put players in a position where they may experience issues with culling in PvE, but it also brought along the same solution ArenaNet used in WvW.  We could be seeing more future events like this and The Lost Shores, which is something I feel the game is missing.

Most bugs were fixed rather quickly.  Some took maybe a month or two to take care of.   After that the monthly events started to take place.  The game started to become more alive with a story that was always changing.  Players are having fun, and ArenaNet seems to feel very confident that they have a great foundation to build upon.  Now it may have taken the games first full year to take care of both of these major issues.  But over the course of that year they kept sneaking in updates and fixes.  It was kind of like reverse Janga.  They kept putting in more building blocks to help stabilize the game.  Players are now in a mindset that the game will always get better, with major changes every two weeks.  Sure there are a few bugs here and there, but it’s hard to stay mad at an issue when you know it’s going to fixed sooner rather than later.

David North / David North is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com.  David loves to play and makes games, but now he writes about them!  If you want to creep on him and make fun of his ability to draw, follow him over on twitter @David_the_North.


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