Guild Wars 2 has updated with a content patch – Festival of the Four Winds – after the last, big feature patch. The content is mostly a rehash combining the Queen’s Pavilion with the Labyrinthine Cliffs. The combination creates an eerie yin and yang effect. It’s uncanny how stark the two places are with Guild Wars 2 players.
The bad is by far the Boss Blitz in the Queen’s Pavilion. They took out the easy farmfest of joy and replaced it with an event to take down the 6 bosses in timed fashion. As each boss is killed it passes some abilities to the surviving bosses. A lot of instances (and guilds like TTS) have Boss Blitz on farm mode. It’s not that hard with some communication and responsiveness to split into 6 groups.
The first problem is that the Boss Blitz languishes. It isn’t kill as many as you can within X minutes! That would’ve been great. Instead fail instances are insanely punished because the failed Boss Blitz just stays. Players leave because the instance is clearly not led by anybody, and the Blitz is already lost. So the unclean have to pick it up and try and gather enough people to take down the remaining healing Boom Boom Baines. Last night I defiantly tried to rally in one of these instances. It took 20 minutes to take down the last boss even with plenty of people concentrating on the healing turret. It is a double punishment for failure.
Here’s what is happening behind the scenes. Each boss has some scalable “safe” zone where with X number of players the boss can be reasonably killed within the time necessary. If too many players arrive, the boss scales to become zerg-resistant. It start punishing the players for gathering too much. This was likely developed so that a zerg or two didn’t go around the bosses and melt each one. So now again players are punished for congregating. What do you think happens with one boss left in a failed instance? Players congregate and get punished again with a super damage resistant boss.
I feel half of the Boss Blitz, or rather the Queen’s Pavilion, is expectations. I expected a nice farm. ArenaNet expected a lot of communication to beat the Blitz, on the order of raid-level communication. This requirement for success is only beginning to seep through the community, when such a drastic requirement should have, in my opinion, been better told by ArenaNet.
Bottom line, find an instance with 6 commanders or don’t waste your time on staying.
The Labyrinthine Cliffs, on the other hand, is a place of peace. It’s relaxed with easier expectations. The place is as beautiful as ever with a small art update making it even more so. Plus, with the megaserver smooshing everybody in to one, the place is really hopping even after the Dulfy tribe has ran through getting their crystals, now newly placed for further challenge.
The mechanic I absolutely love, and I hope we see more, is an inverse of Boss Blitz (or in my opinion, what Boss Blitz should have used).
There are two new events that have fill bars. One is running some crystal energy to a frog bartender, and another is becoming a baby dolyak and running through the Cliffs in Guild Rush style. In the old style, the fill bar would be filled within the time limit of the event, and players would get rewarded for the completed event.
Now there are multiple tiers of fill bars. The event can be over, and players can take a lower tier of rewards… Or, they can keep working on the event and go for greater rewards for all. Both fill bars are a kind of race up the mountain; however, it is really hard to say no to running it up another time to get that fill bar up.
It’s weird because it feels like that dilemma we just had with saving the citizens. Only, there is no capstone reward. There are only more rewards. It feels safer, and I don’t even notice or care about all the crystal jumpers or AFK’rs. It feels in a way like success and more success rather than consolation prize and success.
I haven’t gone back in to the Gauntlet yet to re-defeat Liadri, but I plan to. I am really excited since they’ve taken away the ceiling, which caused horrible camera effects. I also like Aspect Arena quite a bit and plan on doing a session in there.
Overall it’s a nice update. I wish Blitz was a bit more friendly, but in ArenaNet’s defense, perhaps this is the type of gameplay they want to push. I don’t think it’s wrong, but better communication and expectations are required to further smooth this learning experience. At least I find peace among the kites.