[GW2] Annals of Horrible Game Design: Mad King’s Clock Tower

We have a new contender for the worst piece of content ever put into a game. The Mad King’s Clock Tower is the holiday jumping puzzle for Guild Wars 2.

Begin your mix with every problem caused by character models and camera movement. Add in a map with lots of spinning, with ups and downs, so the camera will definitely be moving around things and objects will be between the camera and your character. Add in a time limit.

Now come the brilliant part: make it impossible to run alone, so that other players’ characters block your view of your character and the platforms. Let any of those characters throw up a speech bubble to block the rest of the view. Implement it during a holiday event and make it available for a limited time so that more players will run it, and all the Achievers and completionists will keep running to make sure the population stays high. Just in case they pass it, add a great reward at the end that is available per-character so they have a reason to keep coming back, with little rewards along the way to give them even more incentive to keep filling the map and blocking the view. Don’t advertise that the jumping puzzle is not a requirement for the holiday meta-achievement.

Take a game designed around the idea that we are all on the same team, then make it so that having anyone around makes things much harder, especially the 2/5 of the races that are much bigger than the others. Not only does having other players around make the content harder and worse, there is no way to avoid them except moving to a low population server and playing during off hours so that there are fewer.

Note that there is no combat. This is actively anti-social Socializer content.

: Zubon

Update: many people (mostly elsewhere, since we do not have many comments yet) are confusing the argument “hard because of bad design” with “hard means bad design.” The difficulty is not the problem — the source of the difficulty is what makes it a problem, somewhat the interface issues but mostly the design that makes the content worse as more people play it. That is a rather critical flaw in a multiplayer game.

86 thoughts on “[GW2] Annals of Horrible Game Design: Mad King’s Clock Tower

  1. Calista

    After about 26 tries I gave up on it. Way too frustrating and very poorly designed. One of the lows of the holiday event which has actually been quite good to date.

  2. atx

    I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Absolutely brilliant content. One of the best jumping puzzles in the game. Sure, it’s challenging. It’s meant to be. Challenging is fun, and this jumping puzzle is very fun. The rush I got from beating it the first time after learning it for an hour or two was beyond compare from anything else I’ve done in GW2. And then I completed it 15 more times. :)

    I did it as both a norn and a human, and found that norn and charr, contrary to popular opinion, are no more difficult jumping mates than any other race. It’s not the size of bodies that makes it hard, it’s the number of them.

    1. Jonathan

      I have to respectfully disagree. While norn are not really much more difficult as jump partners than humans are, the charr are decidedly worse. This isn’t so much because of the size of the model as the orientation of the model during jumps — charr stretch out horizontally, covering significantly more “view from above” space. When jumping onto some of the smaller items (such as the small tile oriented low around roughly 16 or so jumps after the delay where the clock “explodes” and the puzzle really starts) they can completely block the view of the landing.

      If it wasn’t time limited, or if it was done solo, it would be fine.

      Next year we hope that the Mad King turns them all into skritt.

  3. rulez

    Currently I am trying to leave the overflow as a guildie suggested, to get rid of at least some other players. But since 30 minutes of just standing there and dying over and over, it just won’t give me the option to travel to the normal map. I should probably try again at 5 am or so. Why not just make it a group instance like dungeons, so it’s up to us if we want to do it together with friends?

    But the clocktower is not the only anti social feature/content in the game. Another one of my favorites is how loot works, especially in crowded events with mobs dying like flies. Hopefully it is just a matter of time and experience, in the live environment of this game, for ArenaNet to get better at it.

    1. gwj

      I imagine having an instance dedicated to each individual player would be very taxing on the servers.

      1. Zubon Post author

        Like the personal story and the home instance? You don’t create one for everyone; you create a new copy as needed, which will be a small fraction of the playerbase at any given time.

        1. Zeldain

          But that conflicts with MMO design… so in your original assessment, you are correct in saying the content is terrible design… for an MMO.

        2. gwj

          Smaller groups, sure, I can agree with that. But people (as you can see from the comments) will be trying this puzzle for hours at a time, and it only lasts until the end of Halloween. Personal story instances last what, 10 minutes max? Plus given the number of players who will be trying it all at once…I don’t know how much it taxes the servers to hold and maintain each instance of the clock tower, but multiplying the current strain by 25ish…I dunno, maybe I’m grasping at straws.

  4. niwaar

    I spent some time doing this puzzle. I thought it was a wonderful and challenging piece of content. Yes there were issues with it. Yes, they could have fixed a major issue with the puzzle by doing one simple thing. I do not think it is even close to a horrible designed piece of content. It has issues, but it is (at least in my opinion) the best and most interesting and fun pieces of holiday festival content that any MMO has given us in years.

    1. GLN7

      I agree, the JP is a lot of fun. The only thing I have issues with are the norn and charr character models, who can make it impossible to see your own character’s position. But since most people drop after the first few jumps and the field also stretches out, that becomes a non-issue shortly after the first waiting point. The rest is pure brilliance. Tough, probably driving folks insane, but a lot of fun.

    2. Zubon Post author

      That’s the funny thing: fix one or two simple things, and it becomes good content. It is the combination that is horrible. There is nothing wrong with motor oil or ice cream, but if you put them together, you have something really horrible.

      1. Zeldain

        And oddly enough, some people don’t even like to eat motor oil by itself! Nor do many cars like ice cream all alone either. Individual tastes, as it were.

  5. Pingback: Incredibly Tough | The Mad King’s Clocktower (+Walkthrough)

  6. Syl (@Syl_RM)

    I think a lot of players still mix up ‘challenge’ in games with bad or broken design….it’s a common misconception, I recommend reading this article on the subject: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6143/evolving_the_social_game_finding_.php

    The clocktower is absolutely not well-designed. depending on what time you run it, what PC you have etc. it becomes a nightmare. the added difficulty of the timer does nothing to improve some of the big issues JPs already have in general in GW2.

    Things like dodgy and annoying controls, trial&error, repetition, unclear goals or directions, low user-friendliness or accessibility are signs of lacking design and lack of polish. They are not hard in a good, challenging way, they are only really annoying. It also stands to question how beating a broken game makes you a great/skilled player and why it should be a good thing for any MMO to only attract those few exceptionally stubborn exponents. I would also question bigtime if spending several hours on this nonsense for a pair of slippers that’s also on the marketplace adds particular satisfaction for anyone who actually beat it.

    Clocktower, no thanks. the game is full of more enjoyable content than this – which is sad because seasonal events could be that much fun. for everybody.

  7. João Carlos

    Sincerelly, Anet said that don’t need the clocktower for the title “Emissary of the Mad King”. So, I don’t care… I really don’t like jumping puzzles.

  8. Silencium

    I do like the clock tower. Didn’t complete it but hey… it’s the tower of the Mad King what do you expect. Yes it’s frustrating if you are trying long enough but still i think this is great for a holliday jumping puzzle. It’s great that not everyone does achieve it from the start or even will not achieve it at all…. i had an hour of fun with it…. some friends of me did also…. so no complaints for me….. have fun!!!

  9. ScytheNoire

    It is badly designed, there is no argument about it. Either the timer needs to go or it needs to be a single person instance. Better route is getting rid of the timer mechanic. But it is a horrible game design decision. One of many I’ve seen in this holiday event.

  10. Alysianah

    I’m continually amazed that Anet released GW2 with that camera. They had to have realized it was crap or they didn’t have people other than the designer try every jumping puzzle in the game. Within the first zone you’d realize it was a hindrance. Add in the racial heights and how that causes the camera to hit its limitations/boundaries more quickly, it’s a fail feature. The fact that we have to even discuss how the camera works at all illustrates horribleness.

    1. Meagen

      I’m trying to solve as many jumping puzzles as I can unspoiled, and a rule of thumb that’s served me well is “if the camera starts glitching into terrain you’re probably on the right track”.

  11. Ravious

    I found that as soon as you got past the first chest, the herd thinned enough. Of course between the explosion and the first chest is some of the more difficult parts of the JP because time is so critical until you get to the big fall.

    I had my two girls cheering me on the whole time, we had one norn in our instance… they yelled with delight every time the norn fell in to the goop. It was that noticeable to two small girls.

    I think the JP is amazing like ice cream. Playing with people this event has been nice… like a good motor oil for my car. But yeah… these two together.

  12. steve

    Was a nightmare at first but after several hours, muscle memory kicked in and I was able to pull ahead near the beginning at least far enough to know that if I fell it was a bad jump. I can’t really complain about the camera it’s designed around an MMO. Now when you stick something in that needs precise jumps and combine that with geometry you easily get stuck on and people summoning large tree monsters at the first major platform…

  13. Arc

    I honestly loved this puzzle. It took a while but it was completely different from everything else in the game. The holiday stuff is supposed be special and difficult to complete 100%. Some titles in gw required multiple events to complete (un/lucky).

    Once you get past the first section in the clocktower, you’re likely alone. Most people die in seconds. Once you’re alone it’s easier and less distracting,. This is a *Mad* King event. It should be a little insane.

    Once you get each section of the puzzle down it’s really quite fun.

    Moreover, i had a blast talking with the people in the lobby and making new friends

  14. LineNoise

    On one of the YouTube solution guides (which really aren’t *that* helpful, since they do nothing to help you with the camera issues or the timer, which are 90% of the “difficulty”) had a comment by someone claiming to be the level designer (and seems to actually be who they claim).

    They said that they hadn’t expected *any* solution videos yet, and were predicting a success rate of about 5% of the population. For time-limited event content. I wanted to punch them in their face, right about then.

    1. Pyrthas

      Wow, that’s a pretty violent reaction. You might have more serious problems than video games that include a small amount of completely optional content that’s not intended for the majority of the population.

    2. Calista

      The problem is if they annoy people too much with difficult content they will lose customers. One of our guildies spent 5 unsuccessful hours on the clocktower puzzle when it first opened and he ragequit after that. We haven’t seem him online since. Thankfully I gave up after only one hour and decided to move on to something else in the game that was actually fun.

      1. GLN7

        So they should only add content that everyone can manage, even if that content is not needed for anything and provides no advantage, so that they don’t have to “fear” (lol) those ragequitters leaving the game?

        Yes, the game provides you with a Wooden Club of Difficulty +3, but whether you bash your face in with it or just leave it be is completely up to you. It’s not like GW2 is Super Meat Boy, which provides nothing else.

        1. Meagen

          I suppose that’s the flipside of not having a sub – when you have players who want to see all your content, beat all your challenges, get all your rewards, you can make content that bascically tells them “lol don’t even bother”. You already got their money and they’re just using up bandwidth by playing so much, after all.

        2. GLN7

          That’s a very simplicistic view that does not take into account things like company reputation, sales through the gem store or future expansions. You can troll better than that, it’s too obvious.

          On another note: “beat all your challenges” you write… but then again, some people obviously don’t want challenging challenges (not talking about camera issues (which I did not encounter in my numerous gos at the puzzle) or player crowds). The Mad King would be amused.

        3. Meagen

          Really? Making the case that “maybe you shouldn’t punish your completionist players for being completionists” is trolling?

          See also: achievement for carving 150 pumpkins. There are exactly 150 pumpkins in the world, “some quite deviously hidden”. The fact they reset with time and for other characters is a “technical glitch” and was unintended. In this particular case, their technical expertise combined with their design experitise happened to come together to make something that wasn’t completely annoying.

          (Also, the 150 pumpkins *are* needed for the overall title. Once again, “lol completionists, don’t even try”.)

        4. Zubon Post author

          Are the 150 pumpkins needed? I didn’t see it increment the meta-achievement. I have 5 Halloween achievements finished but only 3/5 for the meta-achievement. I know the Clock Tower does not count, and I was pretty sure the pumpkins were the other.

        5. GLN7

          No, they are not. Things needed are Huntin’, ToT-Bags, Events, Party-attending and Mad King’s World. Another example of how bad Meagen is at trolling (or just really badly informed).

          There is nothing wrong with having some really tough achievements, as long as they don’t offer any advantage over others. If not getting everything presented on a silver platter hurts your little completionist soul, because your skills can’t match your attitude, well, too bad for you.

          PS: Wow, these text boxes get REALLY narrow after some answers… can you please try to do something about it, this is annoying.

        6. Meagen

          OK, fine, the 150 pumpkins are not needed for the main achievement. Factual error, doesn’t actually detract from my main argument.

          Just because I don’t like frustration doesn’t mean I prefer boredom. There *is* an area in between them with “fun, engaging gameplay”, you know.

        7. LineNoise

          It’s interesting to note that when I took a look at Griffonrook Run, another of the triple-A jumping puzzles, it didn’t bother me at all. I jumped around for a bit, looked up a solution video, laughed, and moved on.

          The inclusion *as part of the Halloween Event* bothers me more than the difficulty. I’m not insane enough to think that I’m ever going to be able to experience absolutely every piece of content ever introduced. If nothing else, I don’t have that much *time*.

          But, to my mind, if there’s ever an appropriate time for “accessible content”, it’s holiday events. It doesn’t offend me at all that there’s really hard content that I might not get to. But for some reason having that content be part of a time-limited holiday event bothers me a lot more. I guess because “holiday event” just screams “optional funtimes” already, it’s jarring to think that someone else thinks it’s an appropriate place to put a massive cockblock jumping puzzle.

        8. Pyrthas

          I’m not saying it’s a bad idea (although I’m not sure it’s a good one, either), but Anet has never been very concerned to make sure that everybody can participate in everything that’s added for every holiday. Just look at mini jingle bears in GW, or the very rare/expensive skins for this Halloween.

        9. Meagen

          Is it really a good idea to have things in your game that make people think “I don’t have to do this. I could be doing something else instead, something that’s actually fun.”?

        10. GLN7

          What’s fun and what not is a matter of personal opinion. A lot of people have tons of fun with the puzzle. One of my guild mates completed the puzzle over 16 times (and god knows how often he tried). Sure, this puzzle is not for everyone. So what? It’s fine. sPvP, WvW or dungeons aren’t for everyone either, there are also people who dislike JPs in general. If you leave everything out of a game that is not liked by everyone, then there is no game.

        11. Meagen

          That’s fine. I’m not saying to take out the puzzle. Take out the achievement for finishing it. Then people who like super-difficult jumping puzzles can keep on completingit as many times as they like, while people who like completing achievements can go do something that’s less frustrating.

        12. gwj

          Tell that to any of the people who don’t enjoy GW2. There are a lot of people with a lot of opinions out there, and someone will always think your game/story/content is shit. Does that mean you stop making it?

      2. Aly

        A player that’s going to get that hung up on such a miniscule piece of content in such a large game is probably going to rage quit over something one way or another anyway – assuming they aren’t back in a few days. The most rage-inclined players tend to be the most obsessive, unfortunately, as evidenced by him spending 5 hours on one silly puzzle.

    3. Meagen

      I think in general “it’s only a problem if you’re a completionist, stop caring about getting every achievement and the problem goes away” is a bad argument. If a new patch introduced some massive class discrepancy in PvP, like Elementalists having three times the damage of any other class or Guardians running faster than anyone else, you wouldn’t advise people who were upset with it “it’s only a problem if you’re a competitive player, stop caring about having an even playing field in PvP and the problem goes away”.

      If I have to stop caring about some of the game’s goals to keep having fun, why am I playing the game in the first place? I could go play some other game that does a better job of keeping its goals within the “flow” area and avoiding “boredom” on one side and “frustation” on the other.

      1. Zyrhan

        The game isn’t tailor-made for you. Unfortunately, ArenaNet did not spend millions of dollars to make Meagen’s personal MMO. Some people want a difficult challenge here and there. ANet are among the best titles in the MMO genre when it comes to not *forcing* you into doing challenging content to participate in the game, mostly by largely removing gear from the equation.

        Optional little achievements and 10 points in your thousand-plus ANet GamerScore is not exactly the same thing as allowing major class imbalances to persist in PvP, unless your definition of fun means “everyone being able to be equally and completely rewarded by every metric no matter what their personal limitations in time, effort, and ability”. I like that I have my little 10 point Clocktower achievement, and I will enjoy the memory of beating the tower for the first time. Conversely, I really don’t care that some people have 50/50 HoM points and a handful of fancy prestige titles that I will never have. It’s a very strange metric to measure fun by.

  15. Zyrhan

    They needed to move one or two chunks of rock after the initial pause that caused camera issues, and it would have been nice if they made the area either solo-instanced or made the other players translucent to they didn’t obscure the view so much. Of course, 90% of them don’t make it past the first chest in any given run, so after about 30 seconds you’re basically running it alone anyway.

    Personally, I threw myself at the puzzle for about two hours and thought it was fantastic. I like difficult platformers, and I’m glad that it isn’t required for the halloween achievement – since it definitely is NOT for everyone – but I had a lot of fun. I finally got it after a good 40 minutes of syncing my runs to music (Time On My Side, for my own amusement), so that I could memorize the rhythm and patterns on the initial puzzle; once you get past the second chest you get a lot more leeway to take your time and plot out your jumps.

    I liked that I needed to memorize the platforming through repetition, and I honestly didn’t have a huge problem with the other players or the camera after that one section around the first chest. I thought it was one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in the game so far after I finally got my achievement.

    1. SiriusAmory

      “liked that I needed to memorize the platforming through repetition”

      Yeah! Like a monkey learning sign language.
      You jump through those hoops!

      1. Zyrhan

        Or like learning a song on a guitar. You know, a challenge that requires both technical proficiency and appropriate timing and rhythm, which is best learned and mastered through repetition, the process of mastery in itself serving as a source of entertainment and pleasure.

        Yeah, jumping up a video game clocktower is not as inherently rewarding as learning a song on a guitar, practically speaking. But a good number of people find that process of practice and mastery rewarding just in itself, regardless of the skill being mastered. You know, I bet if they made some kind of game that was LIKE learning how to play a song on a guitar – that guided you, but still required a challenging amount of learning the timing and finger placement through repetition – why, that just might be pretty popular. I bet there might be something to this whole idea of a rhythm game.

        Or I guess I could just derisively write it off as jumping through hoops like a monkey or something?

      2. SiriusAmory

        No, it’s not really like that at all. Because learning that song, is something tangible, something you can personally keep forever. Something you can use to entertain others, and something that takes actual talent, and isn’t based around exclusionary content in a holiday event,

        No, your weak analogy would work if you went to a Halloween party, and an event required you to learn to play guitar, with a dozen other people playing at the same time, and the strings become obscured several times during. Which NEVER HAPPENS.

        No you jumped through hoops like a monkey for a piece of armor, that doesn’t even have a unique skin.

        Josh Foreman even said he designed it with the notion that only 5% of the player base would ever succeed.

        If you learn a song, you’re doing something to expand your practical knowledge of music. When you complete this tower, you trudged your way through poor game design to reach a banana at the end.

        Hell, they couldn’t even be bothered to include a cutscene or anything, you just load into a room and collect your food pellet.

      3. Zubon Post author

        Imagine Guitar Hero where members of the crowd could walk in front of the notes on the screen, or where adding more than one player caused all the notes to appear on top of each other instead of on parallel tracks.

      4. mgnexus

        I take it you came into gaming around the time the N64/PS1/Xbox Era when everything started becoming easier to complete?

        Games prior to that often times required multiple attempts to clear a level, only done through practice and repetition. If you’ve ever played and enjoyed a Mario game, then you are just as much a monkey as you claim him to be =P

        As for the puzzle…I completed it just fine after learning it. Completed it on my wife’s Asura as well with big Norns and Charrs in the mix, and was able to clear that as well.

        I think they still have some work to do on collisions when jumping, as some of the early jumps did have a knack for sometimes getting you stuck until you jumped again, but I also think this article should be re-titled to “Was unable to complete this puzzle, so therefore it sucks and I’ll blame the camera for it.”

    2. Zubon Post author

      Another contender: condescending tone, makes false assumptions, but fails to make the standard arguments. 5/10, but extra marks for insulting people at random.

      1. mgnexus

        And I suppose none of what you just called me out on was present in your article? k.

        So you want some arguments…

        Lets start with the title, using words like “horrible” and your initial statement that “this could be one of the worst pieces of game content ever.” Dramatic much? Now I know..you need to sensationalize it a bit to get more views. Anyone that has been in your position knows this and I get that. But come on, contender for worst ever?

        You move on to say that Character Models and Camera are the key reasons that make it bad. Now we’re talking about game mechanics that have been around (and semi problematic) since before the Clock Tower arrived. Are we talking about the design of the tower or the game in general now? So the entirety of the clock tower, the green vortex, the intensity…is all terribly crafted because you think the camera is bad and the guy in front of you went a little crazy with the height filter? Thankfully, about mid way through the article you start talking about things actually related to the puzzle itself and give some arguments that I may not agree with, but have validity to them. Let’s visit those..

        It’s a difficult challenge for most, and I think giving those having trouble a few seconds rest in the little lobby area so they can chat with others also struggling was a good idea. A lot of people struggled with this puzzle, and I would think seeing others in the same state would at least give them the relief that “its not me, it really is difficult.” Am I correct? I don’t know, just my feelings on that. I completely agree that the 5-7 seconds after the brief wait on the disc is the hardest part of the puzzle before people start to drop off, but it’s hardly an impossible task..even as an Asura.

        I think the real issue is that people fail to admit they are just not good at something, and blame anything but their lack of talent in that area as the cause. In GW2, I’m fantastic at jumping puzzles, but terrible at PvP…but that doesn’t make PvP broken with horrible game design.

        Anyway, all in all I give this article a 5/10…stating content is terrible but making your main arguments based on game mechanics that have been present since day 1, blaming other people for not being able to complete it, getting seemingly annoyed that anyone would ever want to do it again and get in the way, and wanting to run it solo while simultaneously saying that ArenaNet designed in in a way that is bad for multiplayer.

        I hope that was enough to qualify as standard arguments. Happy Halloween!

      2. Zubon Post author

        Entombed (below) is still way ahead of you, but you are earning extra points for repeating things already addressed by other comments or posts. The strongest must be the pair of “I take it you came into gaming around the time..” and “not being able to complete it” because obviously it must be sour grapes, despite how many of us have reached the top but still think the design is poor.

        SynCaine, scoring grid? Do you lose or gain points for mixing in reasonable statements like “this is hyperbole”? I think it undermines the purity, but the mix could be more effective.

  16. Ashes of Ice

    I may suck at the challenge, but it is fun and exciting plus very addictive. I love jump puzzles in all sort of games and was thrilled to be challenged by this very difficult piece of work. Stop being such a wuss about it and mad that it is hard.

    1. Aly

      That would also remove a lot of the flavor. It’s a clock tower, and the mad king’s clock tower at that. It should be fast paced and chaotic.

  17. Aly

    Of all the problems I’ve had with the puzzle, bodies is not one of them. And yes, I’ve attempted it with asura. I don’t really notice the other players because I’m looking at the platforms below their feet. That, and if people are making jumps before you, you’re already losing to the clock anyway.

    My camera issues happen so rarely I haven’t bothered to try changing the camera setting. Does changing the setting not help? Or do people not know it’s an option? I think I did make use of a similar camera option in WoW because otherwise that game made me too queasy but GW2 has generally been easier on my sensitive tummy.

    In my case, I struggle with jumping puzzles as it is, and adding a time limit is too much pressure for me personally but if everything in the game was balanced to my abilities, that would be lame for those seeking some semblance of a challenge.

    I also don’t get the argument that limited content should be easier. Are people seriously going to butt heads with content that annoys them for more than 5 days, anyway? It’s not like something bad will happen if you don’t complete it, and that’s 360 days you don’t even have to think about it, rather than have it hanging over your head.

    The only thing I wish they’d change is that part with the sideways rock. It’s a little too mean-spirited a jump for a timed puzzle and the one that consistently thwarts me.

  18. Vin

    If you have completed other jumping puzzles in game… And know how to jump, knowing how far to an edge you can get before you fall… This puzzle is not that hard…

  19. Love For My Comrade

    Personally, i believe Joshua Foreman did a wonderful job with this peice. it is very well designed. it was meant to be dificult. some will get it and some will not. I say, if you dont like the content the game has to offer, why dont you just go make your own game and stop complaining about someone elses. As a game designer myself, games are built for the customer base likes as a whole, it wasnt built to fit your every little detail.

  20. Jeromai

    I quite agree that it’s a piece of design entirely at odds with the way they designed the rest of the game to be social and for players to be unable to troll each other.

    I finished it, on a huge Charr no less, after 2.5-3h of grimly plugging away at it until I got the timing and ‘feel’ of the jumps. If it upset other people, too frigging bad. Few of the ‘take off your armor’ whiners seemed to care enough to actually learn the jumps, it was easier for them to blame other people for their own inability to get the timing right.

    Imo, caring about what other people are doing just screws up your rhythm. I eventually took the advice of another guy who got to the end, CTRL+SHIFT+H and hid the interface. It was far easier to focus on just my own performance then.

    1. Ravious

      Yeah I found I was starting to watch the portion of the screen where my character was going instead of my character… kind of like driving, how you watch the road ahead of you instead of the exact spot your car is.

  21. d

    I completely agree with this , i spent 9 hours in the clock tower and still never got through it because my crummy computer kept lagging whenever i jumped and larger characters were blocking my view half the time. Holiday content should be easy and fun and no game should be designed so that most of the difficulty is caused by flaws.

  22. Lothirieth

    I thought it was brilliant. Took me a few hours of trying but I eventually got it. The first bit was the hardest bit to learn I found. I do think they should have reduced the amount of people in each layer, but not go as far as solo (also get rid of the cutscene once you’ve seen it once). When I completed it, there were only 5-6 of us in it, one was a norn.

  23. Entombed

    I absolutely loved it. I only wished it was a little longer and harder with more rewarding items. Zubon, your complaints feel like they come from someone who just couldn’t complete the puzzle. The character size model is a common complaint, but I actually love the camaraderie/rivalry you feel while doing the puzzle. All 3 of my friends have been able to complete it, and while yes, it took about an hour to learn it. I love that it’s challenging. This puzzle wasn’t made for everyone to be able to complete it. It’s mad, it’s chaotic, it’s terrifying, it’s thrilling. It’s the Mad King’s Clock Tower, and anything less would be a disgrace to the name. And if you want to start the camera argument, there’s an open beta that improves your camera going on as we speak. It involves simply adding a line of text to the file, and there really is no excuse for complaining about camera as there’s a viable fix out there.

    1. Zubon Post author

      He hit almost every point of the people complaining about complainers, especially the tone, and just barely missed the keyword on telling me I didn’t complete an achievement I have. 9.5/10.

    2. Alysianah

      This event in and of itself, I could care less about. I did what was fun for me but the camera is a problem in general. It’s nice to know there’s a fix coming. If they’re fixing it, it means they acknowledge it’s an issue. You don’t fix what’s not broken. I’ve never had to worry about, complain or even think about, a game’s camera before GW2.

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  25. Matt Stone

    Completely disagree. The jumping puzzle was the most thrilling time I’ve had in GW2. Having other players in same puzzle added an element of competition, so even falling felt like an accomplishment if I was ahead of the pack.

    - Turn off camera shake
    - Turn off speech bubbles
    - Turn off player names
    - Get naked
    - Stay at the front to avoid characters blocking your view

    Done? Now it’s tough, not impossible. If it’s driving you crazy, well that’s part of the holiday theme isn’t it?

    It’s a brilliant feeling to finally beat it.

  26. Tinta

    Clocktower event is fun as hell, i used a hour in there the other day and laughed my ass off every time i messed up;) as long as you party with someone this event cant become boring or bad.
    even returned yesterday for a few runs just for fun.
    note. only thing i did was disable doubleklick to evade

  27. Melissa

    In general I love jumping puzzles, but I stopped doing this one after a few hours, out of pure frustration. I definitely agree with your article.

  28. Darkever

    Completely agree. The problem is not the overall difficulty. After the first part, even timer becomes a lesser issue, to the point where there are players that must wait for about 30 seconds after reaching the top.
    The problem is other players. With 10 or 20 other people jumping together with you and destroying your FOV, it becomes incredible hard to see where you are jumping and where are the next ledges. One Norn or Charr is enough to completely hide your char… and don’t even think about doing this puzzle with your tiny Asura.
    I may continue to repeat this one until I key-memory every jump of the first part… but I’d rather do something funny, rather than frustrating.

  29. Harbard

    There’s so much real bad design and bugs in dungeons (hello buggy burrows that teleport people into walls and make them fall to the ground) that the shitty camera on this event and the bug that was booting me out of the tower for no reason actually didn’t matter that much. The tower, in comparison to dungeons, was at least fun, engaging and challenging, despite all the crap, not just the slogfest dungeons usually are.

    So maybe you should consider to use your superlatives for the dungeons and not the poor tower! :P

  30. Joseph Skyrim

    I found the Clock Tower to be incredibly fun (even if it took me over 3 hrs to do) – moreso because other people were running it with me that I could chat to and laugh with during the waiting periods, the plentiful falling, and the getting stuck times. There are many solo jumping platformer games out there and I’m glad GW2 didn’t take that route (individual instance).

    I’m even glad they didn’t separate it by race because who doesn’t have friends that aren’t the same race as you? If the character models are really your main issue then maybe ANet should implement what they have in Mabinogi – hide other players (Blacklist). I’d imagine it would be like the current contacts list but just does the opposite (people you DONT want to see or hear from).

    Gotta remember to clear that out before heading into PvP though. Or it should be auto-cleared out for you. Mabinogi doesn’t have to deal with sudden WvW battles hence the problem with this particular design. Just because you blacklisted someone (and they are now invis to you) doesn’t mean you are invis to them. :P

    Anywho, here are some observations I had that may or may not help with jumping puzzles in general:
    1 – Always hold the right mouse button down and pan that camera accordingly.
    2 – Did you know an asura can jump as far as a charr? I find that wierd.
    3 – The “base” of all characters is the same – regardless of size. Just imagine a cube, probably near human size. An asura doesn’t fill it. A norn or charr exceeds it. But that cube which handles your physics is the same. (eg. there are no small holes an asura can fit that a norn can’t)
    4 – Your character is always in the middle of the screen. If you can’t see yourself don’t worry – I guarantee you are there.
    5 – What you need to see are the gaps in the floor and their relation to the middle of the screen (because that’s where your avatar, who is exactly the same cube of data and has exactly the same jumping power as everyone else is)

  31. Zorggz

    Not gonna lie, I spent 7 hours attempting this puzzle, 5 hours of which were before I got to the top. Amazingly social, especially if you swap servers again every now and then. Sure it gets tricky trying to see an Asura on a platform with 5 Norns + Charrs, + Humans + Sylvari, but that’s part of the challenge. Besides, once you jump about 4 blocks from explosion you’re pretty much by yourself, so that’s not an issue.

    I’ve found the content addictive, amusing, interesting, challenging and whole heartedly enjoyable. So much so that when I reached the top and got the achievement I was over the moon, DESPITE the fact that it GLITCHED a split second later and placed me on the roof of the starting area before I had chance to open the chest. Great puzzle, I’m glad they put 1 thing into the holiday event that wasn’t straight forward and easy. Having something that required multiple attempts, trickery and many a fail was a huge plus!! ++++

    For those struggling, switch your video settings to ‘best performance’ use the mouse to control the camera, ‘right click’ this will let you strafe jump, and keep the camera from glitching. (tried this method with each race, no problems). Also untick ‘double tap evade’ and set interface to small. All of this will increase your FPS and give you a smoother jumping experience. Good luck to those who are willing to try :)

    GOOD JOB ANet! Keep up the good work!

  32. JDX7779

    Whiners and crybabies. Just because you people suck at this jump puzzle or don’t have the patience to do it, doesn’t make it anti-social, nor of bad design. It was meant to be challenging and designed that way so about 5-10% of players would make it up top.
    You can get the skin from the slippers from level 70 exotics, so the actual only reason you guys are crying is for that tiny little achievement you won’t be getting.
    And I can discredit all your complaints easily:
    1-Bad camera angle? Use the left and right mouse button at same time to move forward and turn angle with mouse. Camera always stays behind you, problem solved.
    2-Oh no! There’s too many people and big ass Charrs and Norns I can’t see anything…. Well if you were any good at all after 30 mins of practice you would be able to do about 1/4 of the puzzle and by then 4/5 of the group would have fallen already , leaving you ample room and view to continue your way up.
    I’ve done the first part of the puzzle right after the explosion numerous times with good timing while seeing diddlysquat, after about 5 jumps I’m ahead of the pack and theres no looking back.
    The jump puzzle isn’t the problem, you are.

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