Games Under November Rain

Been a busy October, and Zubon’s been keeping the fort down well enough. I am grateful that he has such insight on WvW in Guild Wars 2 because I just can’t get in to it. I’ve still been playing a lot of Guild Wars 2 and other games. Carry on, wayward sons and daughters.

Time to Kill

While I am not as tapas-oriented as Syp in my gaming, I do enjoy having small, different bites. I’ve found the number one, absolute top dog reason I won’t bite a game I enjoy is the time to load coupled with time to play.

Looking at my yearly main course, Guild Wars 2 loads up very quickly (except in Lion’s Arch), and I can jump to just about anywhere I want to play in seconds. The only place this doesn’t occur is WvW, which I don’t play. If I want to WvW, I want to WvW. I don’t want to pass the time when it’s the BBQ of enemies I want in that crazy format. Hopefully early next year it will be much different with the WvW overflow map.

The only other MMO I jump in to right now is The Secret World, which has a fairly quick time to load and play. It’s been a lot faster since I found the death express waypoint system XXX LINK. The MMO I want to play is Lord of the Rings Online, but it feels like it takes so long to load. I’ve heard that it might be fixed… something to do with skirmish caching? I don’t know. I know I wouldn’t mind logging in for a few KTR quests and Middle Earth narrative.

Hearth’d Home

Another game that has gotten a hold of me is Hearthstone. More and more I appreciate the game for what it is. It is not a replacement for Magic the Gathering. It is still a good CCG with a fun progression system. However, I find I rarely play past the daily gold quests because I am just not finding great reasons to do so. The actual games can be fun, but I disagree with Blizzard that the game is feature complete.

Maybe it’s too sterile. I don’t know how to test my shaman-murloc deck in a fun setting against a player having jollies with their “fun” deck. There is no multiplayer. There is only matchmaking and arena. More and more I want this game to succeed because I am becoming drawn to it. However, it’s missing some key soul element. I’m not sure what though. I just know it is not feature complete.

Assassin’s Creed

Last wintery Steam sale I think I bought Assassin’s Creed 1 and 2. I putzed around with Assassin’s Creed 1, which I enjoyed, but it got tireseome. The best recent Tweet-length review I read about the progenitor of the series was that it was a tech demo. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of good story and the environments are amazing. However, it did feel cookie cutter in many ways, such as each city has a rich district, a poor district, etc. Each assassination has mostly the same type of missions. I picked it back up because I saw some Assasin’s Creed 3 action at a friend’s house.

Since then I’ve gone bonkers for the series. Assassin’s Creed 2 is the first full-on AAA game of the series. It was so good I got to 100% without ever getting to that “grind” point. Assassin’s Creed 2: Brotherhood feels even better in terms of early progression, story, and gameplay. I plan on basically working my way through the series. A lot of people say Revelations is skippable, but I’m not sure why. Assassin’s Creed 3 also seems like a love/mostly hate relationship. Still the latest Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag has been hailed as possibly one of the best pirate games ever. I’m on board, but I see no rush to get there.

Guild Wars Wayside

Mrs. Ravious has become a WvW player once again. She is not having as easy a time as Zubon did getting the achievements, but she also doesn’t like going on VOIP anymore either. Our server has gone a bit acidic too it seems with “casual” players just wanting to follow a commander and play. We’re clinging to 3rd place in the top NA league, and slipping down to the bottom half might be the best thing for our server’s climate. This is probably not a popular opinion I hold. Still, even writing this post I am getting more itchy to join Mrs. Ravious.

The latest content patch was good, but nothing fantastic. It was just staunchly good. I still really enjoy the Toxic Alliance army. High praise to the creature devs there both in art and mechanics. I kind of like that this content update was, how to say it, less laser focused than some of the past content updates. With Queen’s Jubilee and Scarlet Invasions I felt overly compelled to join them. I was a fool for playing any other content, some would say. All the goodies are there. Kessex Hills feels more like an introduction, and a good one at that. Jeromai insightfully wrote this might be a Molten Alliance do over. What would Molten Alliance have felt like if it were on a much shorter, intense cycle.

I like it, but I also worry about gem store profits. I only have myself as evidence, but I am less and less interested in the gem store. I would love to buy more skins, but the cost of replacement is too high. I wanted to buy the Tequatl mining pick too, but I already had the Molten Alliance one soulbound to my main. I have too many minis to know what to do with. I am starting to feel like I’ve had enough of the buffet regardless of any new offerings the kitchen is producing. And that’s not good.

These are not new or original ideas by any stretch, but I know I would be much less full with a few changes. One would be a skin system, ala Lord of the Rings Online and many other MMOs, where I could swap around skins with ease instead of figuring out the total cost of re-skinning, say, my shoulders for a few weeks. This cost possibly includes overwriting a current, irreplaceable shoulder skin or paying more so I can de-skin it. A silly, heavy system from the start. I’m sure ArenaNet has plenty of data on the profitability of their system by this point… either way.

Another addition would be having a miniature slot so that a miniature permanently follows me around rather than having to open my inventory (with that mini-hating deposit all button) every time I want it out. Perhaps a better idea would be to have a miniature’s bag, which randomly changes my miniatures in that bag every X minutes. Just slot the bag in normal inventory, add a few miniatures to that bag (which is invisible to deposit all) and the system takes care of the rest. I would happily pay gems for that.

The next update follows our valiant heroes in to the Tower of Nightmares in Kessex Hills. It’s going to be open world, ala Queen’s Jubilee, apparently with small instances within it. That will be interesting, and I feel like I am ready for higher community focus after a decent break with Halloween. It makes me wonder if ArenaNet actually planned for less intense content periods, or whether this is just something I needed.

–Ravious

8 thoughts on “Games Under November Rain

  1. bhagpuss

    I’m quite disappointed that the League/Season format for WvW is apparently nothing more than some kind of trial to be evaluated and only repeated at some vague, indefinite time in the future. To my eyes it’s the format WvW should have had from the start. Yes, it needs tweaking and tuning, but the thought of going back to the interminable Ladder fills me with ennui.

    WvW continues on its long-established path towards a focus on PvE in a PvP environment. Of the 19 Achievements required for the Meta a mere two specifically require that you do any PvP at all. It would be possible, indeed not all that difficult on a dominant server, to get the 15 required Achievements without ever coming into combat with, or even seeing, an enemy player at all!

    More than that, every single Rank ability is PvE-focused. A handful have indirect benefits to fighting players, such as increased Power or Vitality, but the entire thrust is aimed at PvE. With the current update even placing PvE-only Living Story events right on the battlefields of the Mists it’s pretty clear how ANet conceive of this part of the game and it has little to do with open-field fighting.

    No wonder so many want a dedicated Guild vs Guild system. There are rumors of a team working on one but if it ever happens I fear it will gut WvW completely, splitting the playerbase into those who like a fight and those who just want to tick off lists with no opposition.

    1. Zubon

      That WvW rank ability that gives +Vitality (Applied Fortitude) is pretty huge. Killing five guards is marginally more difficult than sneezing, and it gives you +2500 health. if you are a Vitality-focused warrior, that may not be much to you, but if you are a glass cannon Thief, that could be about a quarter of your base health. That lets you be a glass cannon Thief without dying, with all the health you need to get the attack chain off and/or get away.

      Even if you have 50,000 health, +5% is nothing to turn down.

  2. Carson

    I’m digging Hearthstone, but I think it definitely needs competitive play (with entry fee and prizes) for constructed, to go alongside the Arena. I think it would also be nice to have some sort of lobby where you could arrange a match-up for funzies against a specific type of opponent. e.g. you wanted to practice an anti-priest deck so you drop into the lobby and ask for a priest who wants to play against you.

  3. Darkeye

    Yeah i think the same about leagues. Leagues should be permanent, with promotion and relegation happening at the end of each 7 week period, 1(or 2) server(s) move up a league and others drop down a league. Having the danger of relegation should make the bottom half of the leagues more interesting and intense.

    Tying server transfer costs to whatever league a server is in would be a good idea too, much better than overall server population as it is now.

    The new arena for GvG is possibly coming next update, it will be interesting to see how it changes population, it’ll be located in the Obsidian Sanctum and will have it’s own queue. And then the new map is coming in the new year as well.

    They are purposely not given any PvP advantages from ranks, as it is perceived as unfair. Though that that argument should apply to ascended gear too, capping ascended gear to exotic while in WvW should be something easy to implement given they already scale stats in other areas, but will they ever consider doing so.

    1. Zubon

      Remember that servers were conspiring to lose to drop leagues. If I’m Henge of Denravi, “you get to fight SBI or FA every week for two months” does not sound like a reward, and if I’m Isle of Janthir, moving to Bronze League sounds like a reward.

      1. Dahakha

        Indeed, in sports leagues the main incentive for clubs/teams to want to advance to the next highest tier is financial: they get more prize money/sponsorship revenue/attract better calibre players/etc. Likewise, clubs struggle to stay out of the relegation zone because they will lose money, players and revenue if they drop down a tier, even if they end up dominating that tier.

        Can the devs provide lasting, significant rewards for a server that become an incentive for players to want to remain in a higher league even though they will not win as often as a relegated server? Because as long as the only reward for server performance in a league is glory or status, or an insignificant and temporary buff, players will always try to be the big fish, even if it means moving to a smaller pond.

  4. Sir Darwin

    The fix Turbine applied to LotRO reduced loading times quite a lot for me, it is now maybe a third of what it was before. Still takes a few minutes sometimes but I haven´t timed-out since they fixed it which was a constant problem when I tried to log in the first time and those skirmish stats loaded. Now you can start playing and those stats are loading in the background after that.

    If you want to come back to LotRO, remember that a new expansion is comming in less than two weeks (Helms Deep), so new areas to explore (for free) and new things to do (if you buy it). Also, there will be a complete overhaul of the classes which changes a lot of things and has the community in heated discussions for weeks now (to say the least).

  5. Stormwaltz

    “…The Secret World, which has a fairly quick time to load and play…”

    I wonder what I’m doing wrong. My time to load and play TSW with no patching, from hitting the button on the task bar to actually having control of my character, is about 3:20.

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