Hypothesis: the GW2 WvW Season One design for matching servers in large groups was horrible game design that turned WvW into PvE for most servers, but it may have been commercially successful in that it gave lots of easy wins to players who never wanted balanced matchups anyway.
I have completed 4 games in the Assassin’s Creed series. I did not get all the flags in Assassin’s Creed 1, but I achieved 100% in Assassin’s Creed 2 and direct sequels. Assassin’s Creed 1 had some progression in that each chapter I got an upgrade, and the more objectives I completed the higher my health (to a cap). It was rather slight all told. Assassin’s Creed 2 had a much more varied progression, and it went up to what felt like a lot of progression in Ezio’s finale in Revelations. And, I’m not sure I played it as intended. Continue reading
The new agony infusions do a great job of showing the difference between cost and value. A one-unit increase in value doubles the cost.
They work like this: +1 agony (resistance) infusions drop. You can use one in an infusion slot to give an item +1 AR, or you can combine it with an identical infusion to increase its number. Two +1s get you a +2, two +2s get you a +3, and so on. It can be fun in guild chat to see someone who has never seen how quickly doubling numbers grow. You need 16 +1s to get a +5 and 512 to get a +10.
Assuming a trading post cost of 20s per infusion (the last time I looked), a +5 infusion costs about 3.5g, including the cost of combining them. A +10 infusion would cost 102.4g, which rounds off nicely to 110g when you add another 7.6 for all those combinations. A +20 infusion would cost nearly 8000 gold ($1,876 at the current gem exchange rate) just for the combination costs and would also need more than a half-million +1 infusions.
Part of the allure of a horizontal endgame is that you can play alts freely. You get a whole stable of them, and you play what you want to play tonight (or what your guild needs) rather than being locked into the one character that has raided enough dungeons to be viable in the current endgame. I made 11 level-capped characters in City of Heroes and was only frustrated by the introduction of an endgame system that added character-based advancement.
Guild Wars 2 spent the first year gradually devaluing alts by adding character-specific advancement. The second year has started converting that to account-based progress, adding value to alts.
After playing Guild Wars 2, going back to the standard structure of quest NPCs is like driving a car with a hand-crank starter. It does not seem like a big thing, but PvE theme parks have been quest-based ever since World of Warcraft became the trope codifier, so your metaphorical car stalls at every pause and needs to be hand-cranked again.
With the Guild Wars 2 Fractals update, there is also a bit of the Living World going on. The first time players enter the Mistlock Observatory (fractals hub) they get to go in to story mode to experience the new Thaumanova fractal. It’s story mode because Kiel attempts to commandeer Mistlock Observatory and make Dessa use the technology to figure things out. Story spoilers abound beyond.
The fractal itself, even though I have only done story mode, is well-designed. It’s a big puzzle that is mostly combat light. The goal is to cool down or shut off the Thaumanova reactor, which is being invaded by Scarlet’s (proto-?) armies. The end boss is an anomaly, which appears to be a godlike energy being. The fight is all about keeping as much of the disappearing platform available as possible as players get hit with the energy and cause the platforms beneath their feet to disappear for a short time. Spreading out is the key tactic. I think I will enjoy it as part of the Fractals lineup.
However, as far as the story instance goes… it was a mess. I will give a nod to the pain caused by a bug, which prevented wiped parties from reviving, but only a quick one because this bug has been fixed. Otherwise, it was really tough to get pieces of the story. Here we are in a puzzle dungeon that we’ve never played before, and story dialogue is happening while we are racking our brains with in-game mechanics. Who knows how much conversation I missed. Continue reading
The storyline interests of the development team and the live team can differ. This creates odd dissonance for the players. Continue reading
High self-monitors are social chameleons. They ask themselves, “Who does this situation call for me to be?” Low self-monitors have a more fixed self-image, instead asking, “How can I be myself in this situation?” Low-self monitors are prone to see high self-monitors as two-faced and inconsistent, while high self-monitors may see low self-monitors as social incompetents. You probably know some people who could get along just as well in a biker bar as at high tea, and then others who are very good in their comfort zone but completely inappropriate outside it.
I found myself thinking of this in a gaming context based on how people adapt to their circumstances. Loosely, “how can I play my character in this situation?” versus “what does this situation call for?” I think we all want players to display some adaptability, but the range of what you think is reasonable for a game to demand probably varies in a way similar to degrees of self-monitoring. People with lots of alts are generally displaying more adaptability, but people with three alts of the same class (“Alice runs dungeons, Bob is my crafter, and Cindy PvPs”) are adapting on a different scale than someone who feels comfortable respecing the one character four times in a night.
Why is it okay to play multiplayer online games in a state too impaired to play well, when you would be slapped and sent away for doing it in meatspace?
If it is your own group of friends, and you all know you’re messing around, that seems fine. You all implicitly agreed on the level of play, and you had disclosure up front of who was drunk. When you play with strangers, that is the equivalent of joining the local pickup basketball game or sitting down to play chess in the park. If you are too drunk to make a shot, you will be forcibly removed from the game. Even chess players may get violent if you get a dozen moves in and then decide to giggle about horsies and how high you are instead of making a move.
In online gaming, people queue up or LFG while too drunk to realize that it is a bad idea to talk about how drunk they are. That’s not quite true; they have enough restraint left to avoid mentioning it until you are committed. It is a rare group that advertises “drunk DPS seeks understanding tank and healer to carry him.” League of Legends players wait until they die a few times to start talking about how high they are, rather than mentioning it during champion select. And they generally have enough sense left to pick a system like LoL’s where you cannot avoid with their choice to ruin your game without suffering some punishment or significant inconvenience. After all, the joke’s not funny if you don’t have anyone to play the joke on.
The usual refrain at that point is “it’s just a game.” But no, most people have the good sense not to do that where other people are in physical proximity, so they know it is not socially acceptable. Except apparently it is socially acceptable, because very few people seem to attach any stigma to it, and the drunk troll is not the only one who will go with “it’s just a game.” So maybe it’s me, but I cannot see an ethical system that supports making a negligent, unilateral decision that worsens the entertainment of most people around you.