I was able to putz around in the Guild Wars 2 beta stress test yesterday. I think Jeromai’s comments all around, I can just echo (or see my comment there as well). It was a fun, very well polished slice. All it tells us, I feel is general direction of the upcoming PvE. It’s a good direction for sure, but not wholly indicative of the final result.
There was one truly amazing thing. It blew my mind. Bleed stacks over 25.
Now since my main for years was a condimancer, who has recently switched to a powermancer to play around with daggers, I am ecstatic. I love conditions. I love the ensured death from DoTs (damage-over-time). ArenaNet design lead Jon Peters writes that what we saw was a first [public] test of ArenaNet working on condition caps. I am ecstatic that this may be another feature for Heart of Thorns, or possibly before!
But, that’s not what was amazing.
The amazing thing was that we were playing a beta on the live client. I was playing on a map where the system for bleeds was completely different from the rest of the live client.
Cynical me says, the amount of engineering that had to go in to that to make that feat seems like a waste. How much design and QA was required to make sure that there was a Chinese Wall between someone playing in beta and their live account? How many resources were spent that could be used on the expansion? Why didn’t they just make a beta client with a beta test server?
ArenaNet has already answered all of this. The stage is being set for the future. The far future. Yes, I would guess that an extraordinary amount of work went in to this feature, but it can now be used for the rest of the life of Guild Wars 2.
Let’s take the new Stronghold PvP map, The Battle of Champion’s Dusk. That map and PvP game mode I hope will be beta tested out the wazoo. The new WvW map is another thing I want to be heavily beta tested. Do you think it would be better tested by (1) a few elite that are able to gain the attention of ArenaNet and jump through the necessary hoops of setting up a beta client, playing at the correct times, and writing feedback on the correct forums, or (2) a population of active players that have the live client?
The latter is a win-win for everybody. Ease of use for the player. Free advertising for ArenaNet. Less hoops for the player. Bigger testing population for ArenaNet. For an MMO based on persistence of character and account, I feel this is a technological marvel.
Let’s get back to the bleed cap. I know spit about MMO design or programming, but I have to assume that there is a united bleed system throughout the game. If a bleed is applied, use the [live] system for bleeds. Bleeds in one map or one game mode correspond across the board, I would guess.
What ArenaNet showed us yesterday on their live client, is that they are able to not only separate beta characters from the live client (no bank or guild access, for example). They can apply entirely separate systems not existing in the live areas of the client to the beta part Of The Live Client! Weeeeeeee!
I am really interested to see how ArenaNet uses this tool for Heart of Thorns and beyond. I feel it’s kind of, technologically speaking, a big deal. Players have been asking for a way to test content before it goes live for awhile, and ArenaNet may have found a new way to do just that.