Bhagpuss believes Guild Wars 2 is pretty lively from all the open world activities. I agree. I’ve been seeing more and more people running around the open world. There’s another stick-of-measurement to watch. Oh sure, we can all be beguiled by the entrancing smile of Colin as he says numbers are still rising post-launch…. Sigh. Oh. Right. Carry on then. There is also a lot to be said about community tools as an activity meter.
Community tools feel necessary in MMOs, and lively MMOs seem to have lively communities. The movements in the hive eventually produce tools you never knew you couldn’t live without. Guild Wars 2 is still missing a lot of MMO features usually taken for granted, and yet out of the chaos of an MMO community comes spontaneous triumphs. In the words of somebody “you can’t stop progress”.
Looking For Group
Guild Wars 2 has had cross-server dungeon groups since launch. This feature, as great as it is, is limited to basically using it with people players already know, such as friends on another server or a cross-server guild. The only in-game way to find a cross-server group with strangers is to spam in a Lion’s Arch overflow server, which is also a cross-server entity.
GW2LFG created a simple site where players create a message to find a group or more players. It’s simple, accessible information. It feels kind of like a Twitter feed in a way, and I’ve had really good success finding groups with the site. With almost 3 million LFG’s created, I’d say there is significant demand for this community tool.
The best protip I have is to start your own group and then start posting “LF#M” (Looking For [Number] More). Don’t be shy if you’ve never run the dungeon before. A lot of people haven’t, and unless you are joining a “zerk gear W only no nubz” people are pretty patient. If you do intend to watch cinematics be sure to talk to your group so that they have fair warning.
A raw competitor, GW2LFG.net has also appeared, and I personally like their information flow a lot better. However, it appears that this new site is scraping the LFG’s from GW2LFG.com, which is not helpful to the community. That’s a shame because I much prefer the new site’s user interface. Still, the fact that there is some competition, as dishonest as it may currently be, is a good sign.
I fear that the bandage of GW2LFG.com, as fantastic and soothing as it is, will delay ArenaNet’s inclusion of a feature in Guild Wars 2. For people that want to run dungeons, GW2LFG.com is working. It is not the best solution, but if the choice of engineering time is between making an in-game LFG and all the other issues and features on a very long list, I feel that an in-game LFG is going to be pushed behind issues and features not having any band-aids. It will be a bittersweet day when GW2LFG.com is no longer needed, but I hope it comes.
One such feature I pray is higher on the list is modifiable GUI (“graphical user interface”). Currently only a handful of GUI parts can be moved, and the interface size can be resized wholesale. I think that for the most part the interface is pretty good. It just can always be better, and the handful of ArenaNet devs simply cannot compete with the crowdsource dev time of fans.
It was a step backwards from Guild Wars 1. I can understand how ArenaNet might not want a World of Warcraft level UI where the game can completely change depending on which mods are plugged in. However, Guild Wars 1 GUI had pretty decent modifiability. Elements could be resized, moved, and removed from the GUI. I remember seeing how some PvP players had their GUI set up, and I was amazed. I felt some of them had really improved the flow of information with only the simple tools ArenaNet gave them.
There are movements in the herd to improve the GUI, such as Combat Mode 2.0. Except that without direct support by ArenaNet many of these GUI mods had to work along the same lines as bot programs. This has caused all sorts of trouble because ArenaNet does not allow such modifications, but they might not ban players for using various mods.
It all comes down to advantage. Is someone at an advantage for wiping clean the painterly UI style of Guild Wars 2? Probably only in the most self-subjective sense. What about fixing the field-of-view? Now perhaps players can see around corners they couldn’t before. It gets really tricky really fast, but the pressure to modify is going to be there.
The pressure is going to be greater if ArenaNet’s allowable modifications are extremely limited. When Combat Mode 2.0 launches, I’m sure Guild Wars 2 Support is going to get slammed with tickets regarding the mod. People might get “accidentally” banned. The anti-bot people might decide that Combat Mode 2.0 should be a bannable mod. Or, simply the request for a “yay” or “nay” vote by ArenaNet on the mod is going to be smothering. Just as the lack of a feature, like an in-game LFG, can have pressure relieved by a community tool, a community tool can increase the pressure exorbitantly on getting that feature to the top of the list.
There is always going to be pressure for ArenaNet to add new features. I still constantly see requests for player-to-player trading so that the 15% trading post fee can be avoided. ArenaNet reduced the pressure of player-to-player trading scams, but increased it in other areas. The famous GW2Spidy increases the pressure to play the Trading Post, which is a good thing. I am hoping that with the best of culling possibly killed or at least beaten in to a corner, the engineers can work on an in-game LFG tool or more modifiable GUI.
Regardless, a lot can be said about the health of the game for the fact that the pressures even exist. It’s just the case of whether the pressure is a good one to have exist, or whether it will turn cancerous on itself. That one is for ArenaNet to ponder.