[GW2] Quiet Places

I think more and more players are beginning to find rhythm with Guild Wars 2. This means that launch concurrency is dropping, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact it’s quite good.

Last night I was in the Straits of Devastation with a friend that was helping me explore the zone. We picked up another player along the way who enjoyed hanging out with us along the southern and western skill points. With launch concurrency it would’ve been hot-pocket zergs at every skill point and event cluster. Instead it was a really challenging and fun zone.

We found a champion risen pirate. Champions are built for around five players to take down. We were three. It was an epic boss fight. The elementalist trying to support and take down adds. The engineer going through tons of kits trying to bat out flames, whether that was adds, player’s downed, or an uncontrolled champion. I kept as much pressure on the champion as I could with my condition-based necromancer, juggling between champion control and bleeds as best as I could while playing peek-a-boo around the corner. At the least moment when it was clearly going to be down to the wire a charr warrior leaps in and helps us pummel the boss to the ground. This could not have happened with a hot-pocket zerg where the champion risen pirate would become ashes in a few seconds.

Many of the mid-level zones have been quieter for a while now. First off, a character has a choice of roughly three zones every 5 levels, and given the high leveling speed of Guild Wars 2, skipping many mid-level zones is just going to happen. Even my first character who I was trying to explore heavily with (“smell the roses”) did not make it to the eastern side of Tyria until I decided I wanted to take down the Shatterer. That’s the interesting part. The Shatterer event brings people to the normally quiet zone because, as I’ve heard it crudely called, it is a loot piñata. The same can be said for the Tequatl event as well.

The sticky part for ArenaNet is that they have already committed a large number of resources to all these quiet zones. Are they going to continue to give reason to re-explore these zones, or will they become silent speed bumps as alts and new players pass through on their way to Orr or the cold north? I am pretty sure we’ll get good stuff with the Halloween celebration and new zones/expansions are pretty much expected further down the road, but I hope ArenaNet can share what their goals are with regard to the current content sooner.

I can’t help but feel the same way about dungeons, which have also taken a large amount of dev resources to create. Which of the dungeons will be quiet in a month or so? There are eight, and the “easiest” one goes to the farmers while everybody else is fighting for armor and weapon skins. Will story mode be even quieter? I can’t help but think that not providing dungeon tokens for story mode is the wrong move. Giving players a small carrot is better than relying on altruism. The story mode could even provide a dungeon token bonus on top of say allowing a once per day story run with dungeon tokens. For each player that hasn’t completed story mode, the veteran players get X dungeon tokens for helping them beat it.

With things having settled mostly from the ultra-high concurrency of launch, I can honestly say that I am enjoying the zones I explore more than before. Events are becoming challenging again. Random groupings are becoming more meaningful. It feels closer to what ArenaNet intended for the long run with Guild Wars 2, and I am having more fun than the first few weeks. There will be quiet places, much like any MMO. I feel like I can rely on ArenaNet watching such activity statistics, but it is unknown how they will react.

–Ravious

11 thoughts on “[GW2] Quiet Places

  1. Jondifool

    the big event sure get more interesting when they are not just won because of numbers. And the game just gets so much more quality when setting the pace down.

    Down the road i really hope they open up all the zones in a hard mode version Every zone to be with lvl 80+ monsters and nothing but veterans and better. You will newer walk alone there then.

  2. Ocho

    Zone balancing will be the biggest trick here, and I wonder how ArenaNet will handle it. Players will always just gravitate toward the most convenient system… whatever is easiest/quickest that gives the greatest rewards. If they do it right, that will always be in flux, altering the dungeons themselves, or nerfing rewards on dungeons (or multiple runs… which looks like it was already implemented). Guild Wars 2 works best when the playerbase is totally spread out. However, this system won’t last as the majority of players reach max level, which appears to almost already be happening.

    I’ll tell you one thing, though… I am stoked to see what they do for Halloween. In GW1, the Halloween events were some of the best holiday events I’ve played in any MMO. Whatever it is, it’s going to be huge. :)

    1. Curuniel

      Unleashing the Mad King on a bunch of people who never played GW1? It’s going to be priceless :D I am also really looking forward to Mad King’s Day and Wintersday, and there are NPC conversations which hint at Lion’s Arch as festival central (which makes perfect sense).

  3. melianos

    Reaching level 35 with my mesmer (and 45 on my thief), I feel like mobs are a bit too crowded to be alone.

    Do others feel the same ?

  4. Mekhios

    I am loving the game at level 80. I still visit lower level zones because they are enjoyable. The lower player density makes the game a lot more interesting. Because there is no Zerg you can get a chance to really learn your character class to stay alive and take down veterans and champions.

  5. Attic Lion

    I can’t agree Ravious. The lack of players in the mid-level zones is seriously hurting my desire to level alts simply because event spawns are so much rarer. It’s not even like Blackgate is a low pop server

    Everywhere I go I am constantly under leveled. Hell, both my necromancer and thief were only 20 by the time they had completed their 15-25 zones (Diessa Plateau and Snowden Drifts respectively). My mesmer was only 22 when I finished Brisbane Wildlands and the whole Order joining storyline.

    I played my thief for 2 hours last night to finish up Snowden and I only saw 3 events period. And they were all in the same chain. It’s madness. There needs to be some way to continue to gain exp in a zone without resorting to grinding mobs, pissing away gold on near useless crafting, or aimlessly wandering about waiting for events to pop. Maybe if they would let us reset heart quests or put in more forced spawn events.

    @melianos
    In some places yes, though I feel the more universal issue is how bloody fast respawns are. And perhaps how common ranged mobs are for how obnoxious they can be to any non-plate character

    1. Ravious

      There has to be a balance, which is probably tough. Too many events in quiet places, and you’ll just ignore them. Too few, and well that’s how you feel now. Hopefully ArenaNet is monitoring and adjusting such things.

  6. musik

    I always tried to play the less crowded zones. Best memories of dynamic events are always in small groups when the content actually gets challenging. I fondly remember trying to get a vista on top of a krait prison tower, while a champion witch was my secondary objective. I make my way up and meet four other players that have the same plan. We make our way up, but loose some of the players out of sight. At the end, I am standing opposite to the krait witch with just one other guy. We move slightly forwards and backwords, communicating without words: we both know, we will try to kill her without waiting for reinforcements. I unleash my clones and phantasms. We had fought her for about 5-10 minutes, holding our defense perfectly, but not doing much damage, when the other players we saw before enter the battle. We have her down to about 50%, when another bunch of players appears, followed by a constant stream of new arrivals. Things get more chaotic, but the champion witch goes down faster. She goes down and 20 players start jumping onto the same plank, getting their vista. I had to remind them not to forget their chest.

  7. Kichwas

    I keep seeing all these reports of lower concurrency – but I don’t see it in world.

    My guess is that, having taken a smell the roses approach to leveling, I was not in the zerg pack – I saw huge crowds on launch day a few times, but mostly not. I started with Charr – and the big cats seem the least popular so maybe I missed the zerg even on launch day.

    I’ve always seen a good number of people everywhere I’ve gone, and still see them. And about the same number of them – everywhere I go.

    Across 8 characters, I’ve yet to go above level 43, but have only two below level 20 (one of them almost).

    For me – the crowds today are the same size as always. I can find people pretty quickly when I need to, and have quiet time when I want it.

    I suppose had I been speed leveling or single character focusing, I might have been in zerg packs in the past – and so might wonder where they are now… but this seemed like burning the candle too brightly to me, when we started, so I avoided that pace.

    I spent the first few days slowing myself down by talking to -EVERY- NPC I met (and as a result, I am #2 on achiev points in my guild, and double the next person down. The guy above me was in closed beta and open beta, so he’s got an inside track on efficiency, but I’m closing the gap fast). Mostly because when a zerg pack would do a circuit (or so I read), by standing there talking – I’d end up starting several DEs on my own and doing them with the 3 to 5 people nearby.

    (Half the time I see people say “DE X is broken, hasn’t started all day, I walk over, talk to an NPC and then do that very event – a lot of them -are- broken but just as many, people never learned how to trigger.)

    Maybe concurrency is down – but I just haven’t seen it. Curiously I see more people to play with in GW2 than I do right now in WoW:MoP. So if people have left, they didn’t go there.

    With downscaling, the dungeons will always remain viable. With the farming nerfs – they will remain more engaging for those who just want to play them. It will end up, in time; a bit like it was in City of Heroes until they ‘added’ farming into that in the last year or so.

    But they will need better communication tools for us to find each other – and that is NOT a random dungeon finder that assembles a PUG of hostile players for us. It is a good lookup and invite LFG tool, easy travel INTO the cities, and maybe, just maybe… I can accept a global city channel.

    – But only AFTER they get a handle on gold spammers.

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  9. Alysianah

    I’m level 75 and called myself leveling casually. Most every zone I visit – harvesting and questing, has plenty of players but not as many as during the BWE. Players are more spread out now and while nice on the one hand, it also lessens the occurrence of zone bosses because there aren’t as many players around doing the content to trigger them.

    Since launch I’ve seen ONE zone boss, Shadow Behemoth and I’m on a high pop server. It’s crazy to me that during BWE I participated in several yet in live, I’ve done one. :-( I attribute it to the lack of zone zerg size population.

    Regardless, I love the world ANet has created. I would like long term incentive to re-visit dungeons on both modes as well. Especially post the repeat nerf it should be more appropriate to provide a nice incentive for the two runs.

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