Ruminations aside, I did take part in a few Tier 1 Guild Bounty guild missions last weekend. My guild is actually composed of 5 rooms, which are actual Guild Wars 2 guilds. So we were working on making sure that every guild was able to complete a Guild Bounty.
At Tier 1, a Guild Bounty requires that two champions be found and beaten in 15 minutes. Once activated, the guild is given hints as to the locations of the champions they are supposed to find. There are 15 champions total, so it is helpful to be ready with a guide. It is not just that they are in some zone, but they could be anywhere in nearly the entire zone. With our 50+ people (many not being fully responsive) on the Guild Bounties, it took us about 1-2 minutes to find the champion. This was kind of the herd-zerg attack. A group of 10 will likely have to discuss zone search strategy before the hunt, or simply have 10 champions marked before the start of it.
These champions exist all the time. Players leveling along will see these green-named hoodlums peacefully strolling along the countryside. At Tier 3 where 6 champions have to be killed in 15 minutes, it is a very good idea for the guild to find nearly every bounty hunt champion prior to start. For community’s sake, if you do happen upon one during leveling, daily-ing, or what have you, watch map chat to help out any would-be bounty hunters.
When my guild had activated a Guild Bounty, if I took place in the actual “kill the champion” event, I would get my once weekly guild credit for Guild Bounties, which is a handful of rares, 50 silver, and 2 Guild Commendations. If I wasn’t in the guild, but did participate in the “kill the champion” event, I would only get event completion credit. I wouldn’t even get a loot roll on the champion since it appeared that the downed champion was boxed up and shipped off.
The reward structure is both good and bad. It is great for guild members because failing a Guild Bounty but killing one champion still results in a good reward. Small guilds that find Tier 1 Guild Bounties a big challenge will at least get some consolation prize since finding and beating one champion is very reasonable for 15 minutes. It is also bad because at least with Guild Bounties, there is very little reason for a local to join in for the guild’s fight. Given the speed of Guild Bounties and the champion kills, relatively little is added to a zone. The local players happily playing in the zone are going to see a huge burst of player activity for a minute or so. Then back to their regular programming.
I guess that most of the excitement and energy is within the guild. And, it was exciting. It felt like a war party, but without all the phase, strategy discussion found in instanced raids. The worst that could happen is we couldn’t find and/or beat all the champions within 15 minutes. It’s still fun to band together, blitz a zone, and in the end we triumphed. I am very excited about attending more Guild Bounties, regardless of reward. It is like a happy hour. Get lots of people together, for a short time, and have a bit of relaxed fun.
My biggest complaint is actually regarding the UI. In order to be aware of a guild mission outside of chat or secondary communication channels, a player would have to have “G”uild open with the mission part selected. There is nothing in the quest-like area of the UI that notifies a player there is an active guild mission. I would much rather there be some sort of UI function that gives the basics, such as type, time left, and amount completed. If I click on that UI portion, it should send me directly to the guild mission area where I can see clues, etc. I am actually really surprised that this doesn’t exist. I guess the UI folks were hard at work on the achievements, which are fantastic in their selectable, movable way. I would hope that as guild missions become part of the regular content stream, like some meta-events, etc. players get to see an active UI when guild missions are on.
I would also have preferred that the guild missions had greater effect on the server community. Guild Bounties and Guild Treks seem to be mostly inclusive even if they do take place in the persistent world. Guild Rushes and Guild Challenges might help to raise a zone’s activity for longer than a blip. We’ll have to wait until guilds are able to unlock those first.
For Guild Bounties and Guild Treks the content is not that much different from a guild deciding to do an event to take on a zone, zergrush the waypoints, or fill a zone out 100%. The content is just made more central with the guild merit progression. I think that at least two of the final three guild mission types (Rush, Challenge, and Puzzle) are going to feel different.
Like the three Dragon Hours, the goal of, at least Tier 1, for most mid-large sized guilds seems to be more about participation than difficulty. The challenge can be ramped up, and I am sure ArenaNet is monitoring the activity to see what needs adjusting. More life has been pumped in to both guilds and Guild Wars 2 in general. I hope they continue to introduce more guild mission-type content throughout the year.