[GW2] The Impossibility of WvW

The more I play WvW in GW2, the more I must believe that the developers’ goals are different than mine and from what I thought they stated. As implemented, WvW is a PvE system with periodic steamrolls and occasional good fights. Either good fights are contrary to the design or WvW is performing very far from its design.

The dominant problem remains the mismatch in weight classes, and I have heard no solution for it nor even real awareness that it is a problem. Let me narrow that: it is not the case that the weight classes are in neat groups of three, so the majority of the matchups will feature an odd server out (two heavweights with a middleweight or one heavyweight with two middleweights) or even worse matches. The Spring Tourney system designed to mitigate this problem has yet to do so, and unless there is some reason to unite against the winning server, I am not sure that any system can.
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Multiple Unlock Options

Hunting for traits in the wild sounds disturbingly like New Content, while being able to buy our way out of playing through parts of the game that we don’t care for seems like a sound compromise.
Bhagpuss

I find this an enormously wise decision, both for players and the developer.

On the player side, part of the draw of GW2 was “play how you like,” meaning visit whatever zones and repeat whatever events you like, WVW to level 80 if you like, and get your exotic equipment from the open world, dungeons, crafting, WvW, or jumping puzzles. I don’t know how everyone felt about it in GW1, but I don’t think the GW2 crowd would be entirely happy with being required to hit specific dungeons or bosses to get traits. I don’t think the hardcore WvW crowd will be entirely happy with diverting gold from rams to trait books; maybe they will (soon/someday?) allow those to be bought with Badges of Honor or currencies other than cash.

I stepped away from Reus due to its unlocks, and I have yet to get back to it. To unlock iron, which seems like a pretty basic resource, you need to make a fairly prosperous town with no animals. Recall that Reus has animals, plants, and minerals, so you are giving up a third of the game for this attempt, and many plants and minerals depend on animals for bonuses. I made a short game, set up a few towns with no animals on the map so I had a few chances, and proceeded to have almost every special project appear with animal-related bonuses or requirements. I am reasonably certain that I could tough it out, finish that map, and finish my unlock, but doing this just raises the specter of future unlocks that will require similar annoyances. Annoyance is not what I want in my gaming time.

As a developer: gold sink, ho! Players can buy gems and sell them for gold, so new ways to spend large quantities of gold prop up the price of gems and make purchases more appealing. Players are paying to skip the game? Normally, that would sound like a design issue, but $$$.

: Zubon

Ingress

Friends started playing Ingress and invited us to join them on the losing team (Enlightened). I leaped at the chance, of course.

Ingress is a Google-made augmented reality game, which is to say you use your mobile device to interact with your environment. The gameplay looks minimal. It is Foursquare or geocaching with a sci fi theme: you collect and deploy “exotic material” at “portal” landmarks, seizing control for your faction.

It is useful data collection for Google. Its energy mechanic is “go for a walk,” which is a good thing, and it encourages you to go see the sites of your neighborhood with your friends. There is not a lot of there there, but the local weather just surged above freezing, and I could use the nudge to go walk a few kilometers. Most of our games encourage less healthy habits.

The neighborhood around my workplace is a hotbed of Resistance activity. Sadly, I don’t think I can take this thing on vacation and link from my workplace to Disney World. Not many portals in your area? Great, Google would like you to establish your own so it has pictures and walking maps of your local landmarks.

: Zubon

Naturally, folks have long since worked out how to fake GPS coordinates wherever you like. Get rid of that pesky walking, exploration, etc.

[RR] Skills as Story

In the ramshackle of numbers we call a character sheet there is usually a place for skills. Skills are usually learned or honed abilities or knowledges. A bootlegger might have some really good driving skills. A mediator will have something like diplomacy. Of course, they are virtually worthless without the gamemaster (GM) presenting a challenge. There are many ways to incorporate a skill in to the story, and I am going to look at a few tools a GM can use to enliven a game with skills.

Skill Checks

Climbing checks have become legendary in my gaming group. We were in some sort of badlands, and we needed to climb some cliff faces. The problem was that none of us were great climbers, or if we had some inkling the dice hated us.

‘Climb check.’ Continue reading

[TT] Dominion: Intrigue

While you could play most of forever using the base set of Dominion, it now has a lot of expansions. The first of them is an expandalone, which contains a second set of the base cards so you could play without the base set or play 5- to 6-player games. (They now sell the base cards separately as well.) Intrigue cards have with more flexibility than the original game.
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[GW2] Wuv Downtime

I find it interesting to see what happens with the Ravious household when Guild Wars 2 is not pumping out updates every two weeks. This happened earlier during the winter holiday break, and now it is happening again as we wait one more week for the feature patch update (4/15).

First, I’m back to doing Tequatl. I have fun with that “raid”. I like how TTS does it. Zubon muses on the new event timetable that will be coming in a week. I know I am line generally with the comments in his post. With Tequatl, I’ve been on a timetable for quite a long time. Some nights Mrs. Ravious and I do world bosses, and we’ve headed to fan-made websites that use the Guild Wars 2 API to tell us where to head. For me the timetable is just incorporating something that I (and many others) have taken for granted anyway. Continue reading

[GW2] World Bus?

As the design of a game, this timetable makes perfect sense. As the design of a world, it makes me sad. “Go forth, hero, and make your legend by following the attached schedule of events.” Someone already made that legend? No problem, the enemy will spawn, disappear within fifteen minutes, and respawn again on schedule no matter what you do.

We may have overshot “theme park” and started approaching TV re-runs.

While the content has always been completely mutable and timer-based, something about making an explicit schedule of villainy weakens the illusion.

: Zubon