For those of you who missed those heady days, the launch of Warhammer Online was one of the best times in MMO blogging. Props to whoever at Mythic’s community team pushed it, the blogger community came together and decided we were all going to try this game as a group. This became the prototype NBI, and several of those bloggers are still around. And then the game launched, we all got to experience it, and we turned on it like an angry creature that turns on things.
One item I used for years as an example of failed developer promises what Paul Barnett’s “bears bears bears” video. For those of you who can’t click on videos right now, the idea was to never again have a “kill ten rats” quest pop up after you had just slaughtered dozens of rats, because the dude should notice the rat corpses. Warhammer Online then launched with a severely limited implementation of this, along with all the usual quest stupidity of being sent to kill someone you just killed on the previous quest stage. As I phrased it, “developers explicitly identif[ied] a problem, identif[ied] a solution, [and] then implement[ed] the problem exactly as described.” Oh, how I carried that grudge.
Four years later, Guild Wars 2 is moving towards launch. And what has it quietly implemented? The answer to “bears bears bears”! Through hearts, when you slaughter a path to what would normally be a quest-giver, s/he recognizes and appreciates the things you did along the way. Granted, sometimes it is silly that you know what fills the heart before you meet the heart-person (“I’ll just check this shrubbery for stray moas, in case anyone nearby lost one…”), but if the dude hates bears, and you just killed a bunch of bears, he recognizes that you killed a bunch of bears.
After four years, the circle is complete. Everyone who wanted WAR to be DAoC2 can now look forward to three-sided RvR with territorial control and a development team that has implemented the design described under “bears bears bears.”