[GW2] A Megaserver Divided

The megaserver, which is kind of like an underflow map in Guild Wars 2, has been rolled out across the game. I feel like I’ve had enough time with it to take a shot at talking about it, and so does Mrs. Ravious, whose opinion I will convey. We don’t agree.

I like it. With world boss runs and messing around with Orr, things are lively. It feels really fresh, and is hopping just like those first days of a new Living World update. It’s amazing how adding population to that same, old content can really change the feeling of it. 

Ultimately, it makes sense, and the thing that makes less sense is really having a server, which now seems good just for creating WvW population imbalances. I find it amazing, disappointing, and ultimately a good thing that Guild Wars 2 is slowly creeping back towards some of the features it ditched in the sequel’s transition from the originator. I hope that the WvW team is considering how their slice of the pie is working in regards to all this. For me Edge of the Mists is my place to go to for so many reasons.

Mrs. Ravious – a more sociable player – hates the megaserver. First off, it has ruined… RUINED the karka farm. Sanctum of Rall was well known for its karka farmers, which had a very good train running through the land of veteran karkas. The glorious day when karka shells were selling for nearly 8 silver each. Now, in Mrs. Ravious’s words, made a tad more PG by yours truly, there’s a lot of riff raff in Southsun Cove.

What rubs salt in her wound is that she feels that the megaserver is not placing her with the people she would like to be with. I personally haven’t noticed, but then I probably woulddn’t as much. She, on the other hand, takes great care with grouping with guildies and her fellow karka farming krewe. To her, the megaserver has messed everything she loved up.

Both of us are right in our opinion. I trust Mrs. Ravious judgment in saying that the megaserver is not finding her people. I just have a blast with anybody, but I can definitely agree that it has a great effect on small, insular communities that may have formed due to server splittage.

Ultimately, I feel like many changes it is good, bad, and possibly necessary for the game’s longevity. Hopefully though ArenaNet can springboard off the megaserver mechanics though to smooth some rough patches over.


10 thoughts on “[GW2] A Megaserver Divided”

  1. I have a post coming on this when I have time to get it done. I’ve been paying attention and making notes and my opinion so far is that you and Mrs Ravious are both right. It’s swings and roundabouts and horses for courses and all the cliches.

    For some situations it’s better, for others its worse and if you’re a player who plays a specific way you may only see the good or the bad. If you play broadly across a wide range of content, I suspect you’ll end up feeling your overall experience remains roughly the same, only with a few of the bits that used to work or not work swapped about.

    I completely agree with Mrs Ravious on the non-existence of the supposed mechanism that would put you with people you know. It absolutely does nothing of the kind. Not only does it not put me with people from my home server, it doesn’t even put Mrs Bhagpuss and I on the same “megaserver” even when we are grouped and cross a zone-line together. It’s totally useless in that respect and it has utterly destroyed the very good “neighborhood” community we had on YB. Thank god for WvW or I might never see anyone I know again.

    Also, the whole term “megaserver” is totally misleading. A megaserver would be one giant server with everyone on it. As far as I can see, these servers have no larger a population cap than they ever did. It’s just a re-branding and re-purposing of the old overflow system. Smoke and mirrors, mostly.

    I better stop or this comment will end up being the post I was planning. Upshot is, not as terrible as I expected but needs a LOT of tuning.

  2. That pretty much summarizes the whole thing about megaserver. People who can have a blast with anybody love it. People who want to be a little more selective about who they hang out with hate it.

    I’m in the first camp when it comes to leveling and events. Random guy wanders by, I’m happy to be allies and take down a boss together. We probably never see each other again once we separate. I like crowds and zergs on world bosses, and have always been on TC, so I’m not at all staggered by how jam-packed each world boss is.

    I’m in the second when it comes to my sense of server community. It’s taken a heavy beating and become very dilute. People who gravitate to roleplaying servers do so for that certain sense of gravitas and maturity that comes with folks willing to live and let live and respect roleplayers doing their thing, plus the world/atmospheric immersion that roleplayers bring.

    I do NOT appreciate every single map, zone and city sounding like an overflow mapchat or Barrens chat. I tolerate those things with gritted teeth during Living Story crowds – to have my whole GW2 experience in that fashion is annoying, and I’m sure it’s -just- as annoying for powergaming people allergic to RP to see *shock, horror* emotes floating by if they get dumped into a megaserver map where some RPers happen to be.

    EU server communities that separated by language are having a similar sort of cultural diaspora, getting tossed into a melting pot of all languages.

    While I personally don’t think 100% xenophobia and creation of insular communities is the way forward, and that folks should learn to accept other people different from them, it would be nice to have a FEW places where one can actually have a home, a tribe, a place of refuge from being cosmopolitan ALL the time.

    Server communities (or cross-server communities, for that matter) offer nice flavor and shouldn’t be heavy handedly wrecked in this arbitrary-sorting fashion. Yaks Bend feels different from Blackgate feels different from Maguuma, for example.

  3. For the first few days of the megaserver, I had really good map chat, with helpful people and casual chatter in zones where I was mapping or exploring. It was great, and improbably friendly. Unfortunately, in the next few days after that I had a lot of really stupid, rude, elitist and/or abusive people in map. It does depend on the map, and thus what people are likely to be there for.

    A friend of mine has a real problem with the fact that she ran the Queensdale zerg a lot and now the people she used to do it with are nowhere to be found, similar to the karka group. I’d like to think that ArenaNet can keep refining the matching criteria and fixing some of that up. Two things I would like to see:
    1) A new contacts section, or a category in the friends list or something, that allows you to ‘follow’ people who you play with and like and tells the server you want to play alongside them without necessarily listing them with your other friends.
    2) (may or may not be feasible) An option to join a lower-capped map zone – so that the default in joining a map is a certain players-per-zone cap, but you can go to a menu and ask to be moved to a version of the same map which only holds x lower number of players. I feel like this would let people cut down on lag, do events/champs with smaller groups, maybe even populate a zone largely with their guild if they wanted to (but not by default). Would that be too instanced? I don’t know.

  4. I will only add one (more) area where the Megaserver system has made a total mess: Guild Missions. Totally disregarding the simplest criterion of all (being in the same party with others), people get thrown all around the place whenever waypointing! Imagine trying to do a Guild Bounty for example: it takes us (DragonSeason on Aurora Glade/EU) up to 5′ to even gather up at the NPC’s location. It’s not easier on other types of Missions either: people have to leave their group and form other groups and then disband again to get everyone to the same place – you know the works.

    All in all I like what Anet is trying to do with Megaservers. Heres to hoping they get their heuristic algorithms tuned and working then.

  5. One solution would be naming all the zone instances, like the districts in GW1.
    Queensdale EU EN-1, Queensdale EU EN-2, etc, and let people choose which one to join.

    That has the downside of people being able to track and estimate population levels that Anet doesn’t/may not want to disclose.

  6. I guess it beats distilling and combining servers, which has always been what I have seen in other games. That spawns talk of the impending demise of a game. Estimates of the number of faithful remaining inevitably follow.

    We had an issue too with our Guild missions. Seems they should be able to allow players to port to another’s instance. Then again, our server had previously spawned an elite, as did other servers, who would gather on an overflow and not allow others who were not “known”, to come. I could go, but didn’t. I don’t like the attitude and chose not to be around it. Giving myself a bat’s chance in Hell of completing some content almost drove me from the game. But, associating myself with self-important commanders was worse than the pleasure the game could bring.

    A guild member found a player from another server who is thinking of moving over to our guild. That’s good.

    I’m honestly not sure how this megaserver works to tell the truth, lol. I guess I have been playing in it and didn’t know. I’ll have to check it out. If it gives players who are lfg a better time of things, I am all for it. And, I am truly sorry that Mrs. Ravious has been affected. People should have the option to play with who they choose.

  7. I don’t like it for completely different reasons. One of the things I’ve been longing for in an MMO is the feeling that actions matter to the world, and Guild wars 2 promised that. I don’t think they delivered on this promise entirely, but saw dynamic events as a promising vehicle for eventually getting there. However, now that any semblance of having a persistent world is gone, as copies are constantly being created and destroyed; and that many events just run on dictated schedule and not because the players or NPCs performed some action in the world; my expectations for the game have been shot. Making it so Temples no longer have cross zone effects was just the icing on the cake as that means we will never have things like zones being invaded and NPCs fleeing to Vigil’s Keep to tell us of the danger’s they are encountering zones away, or Mount Maelstrom creating lava flows that affect adjacent zones. Guild Wars 2 just took a giant leap away from trying to have an open world where actions matter and having effects the of actions or inaction impacting the world as a whole.

    1. I’m with you, but I’m reasonably certain we lost that fight a while ago. The development team seems to have been more on the “world” end of the spectrum, while the live team has been steadily moving towards “game.” At this point, it’s more of admitting that giant leap was already taken and coding accordingly.

      1. I see what you mean. Around the Secret of Southsun living story update I started to notice the quality of the releases migrating toward large zergs of players doing events that had no outcomes or effects on the world, and that just sprouted up without NPC of player interaction with the world. By the time Scarlet’s Invasions hit, which did nothing to affect the world at all and the outcome was the same no matter if you won or failed, I was ready to give up on they game. I pretty much just hop on now to quickly digest the smatterings of lore they give in these Living World updates and then log off.

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