[GW2] Hidden Mechanics: Community and Death Scaling

A Guild Wars 2 Reddit user took it upon themselves to memory-hack Guild Wars 2 to find out what is up with scaling and player death. It seems that the Guild Wars 2 client is actually sent the numbers for the enemy’s health, but those numbers are kept hidden for good reason.

Guild Wars 2 is all about inclusivity, and seeing a number can have a detrimental effect. When a player runs up to hit a mob to help another player this should be a good transaction even if the mob’s health goes up bit. Seeing the mob’s health go up in number is more off-putting than noticing the per-player DPS affects a smaller portion of the over all health as the health bar goes down.

However, there is a secret mechanic, which should not be secret. Or, it should have been kept secret, but now it’s not. How does dying affect scaling? Continue reading [GW2] Hidden Mechanics: Community and Death Scaling

[GW2] Stronghold, Round Two

Tuesday’s Stronghold beta was good. I feel things are moving forward with the polish of the game mode. Mrs. Ravious and I had a lot of fun duo-queuing, and the household stance is we can’t wait for this PvP game mode to go live. However, there are still a few blemishes and a bit of fat for Stronghold.

The Meta Shift

I wrote last time that having a poor amount of player knowledge and meta is probably the worst part of Stronghold. I realize they are still far out in early beta, and a whole weekend or week of Stronghold play just might not be helpful to ArenaNet. Still, there is no time to cement anything player community wise in 24-hours.

The most important aspect of Stronghold that I felt many players seemed to miss was the gameplay shifts. Supply and creeps are especially important in the early stages, and hero summons and lord room rushes are the late game. I found many times players would still be running supply even after all doors were down. I would get a hero, and no one would join me in the push. Players have to be ready to switch gears, and that teaching didn’t take a lot of times, I felt. Continue reading [GW2] Stronghold, Round Two

[GW2] The Verdant Itzel Story (Beta)

Yesterday I was able make portions of the first and second closed beta runs for Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns. I decided rather than try and take in everything in those short two-hour sessions I would laser focus on one thing. The Itzel meta–event chain in northeast Verdant Brink caught my eye, and that is what I did pretty much the entire time.


Each Outpost in the beta had an attached meta-event. The southeast Outpost seemed to be dealing with a Vinecrawler from what I heard in map chat. The Itzel outpost dealt with the hylek (frog people) issues. These meta-events provided a complete story. I will describe the Itzel outpost story in detail below so SPOILER alert. Skip to the next section to remain unspoiled. Continue reading [GW2] The Verdant Itzel Story (Beta)

[GW2] Glide Compartmentalization and Flying Mounts

Tesh got me thinking. The post is about World of Warcraft’s apparent cut to flying in the latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Tesh isn’t too happy, which echoes much World of Warcraft community sentiment. There is almost a literal gross of flying mounts in World of Warcraft. Some mounts require incredible effort and play time to get. There is a whole culture of flying mount gameplay in World of Warcraft. They still won’t be seeing any Draenor skies.

I’ve already praised the compartmentalization for the upcoming Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns. The elite specializations, for instance, I feel are fantastic ways to advance professions, and they stay compartmentalized so each elite specialization doesn’t compound on each other. Yet, Tesh truly gave me pause with regard to gliding. Continue reading [GW2] Glide Compartmentalization and Flying Mounts

[GW2] Reaper Shroud

My necromancer in Guild Wars 2 is everything. I have stuck by and loved my necromancer despite all it’s problems and inefficiencies. It gets even worse, I have often played a condition-based necromancer in dungeons and open world events. I’ve always hoped that being at the bottom, the only way to go is up, or in a twist, possibly to something more necro-y, the revenant.

The reaper elite specialization gives the feeling that it was designed with a serious amount of attention. It is a kit that feels cohesive to turn the necromancer into a cleaving, controlling powerhouse. The greatsword weapon skills seem like they have zero fat. The new offensive shouts are going to be a blast to use in many of the game modes since each shout grows in power the more enemies there are to hear it. I feel, there are going to be a lot of reapers running around.

Yet, all this would have that sickly death pall if it weren’t for one change. Death Shroud. This mechanic that has been the white paper bane of the necromancer. Thankfully, the reaper’s first trait is getting the new Reaper Shroud.  Continue reading [GW2] Reaper Shroud

[GW2] Les Festivals

I was going through old screenshots, and I happened upon one that tugged my heart strings. I remember taking this one because I am a huge fan of Dear Esther. It also was from a festival that happened almost exactly a year ago, the Festival of the Four Winds. I personally love the Labyrinthine Cliffs. It is beautiful, and fun. I personally wish it was a great city hub.


My heart tells me that we probably won’t get the Labyrinthine Cliffs tomorrow. The Zephyrites are currently stuck in time in Dry Top, and I feel that returning to the Labyrinthine Cliffs would constitute a “Living World advancement”. The map would have to be scrubbed of Zephyrites. It would probably be less without their airships in the sky. Continue reading [GW2] Les Festivals

[GW2] Dragonhunter-y

Last week ArenaNet revealed the second of the Heart of Thorns elite specializations. This time it was the guardian’s specialization, which turned out to be a longbow wielding “dragonhunter”. The theme of the specialization appeared to be attaching more range and physicality to the light-wielding profession. Most fans appeared positive with the mesmer’s chronomancer, but the guardian received a lot more skepticism.

What Do You Mean By “Witch”?

Jon Peters attempted a community interface to explain over the weekend that the name “dragonhunter” was a high concept title. It came with the lore of a guardian believing that justice is the eradication of dragons and their minions. He compared it to a medieval “witch hunter”. Continue reading [GW2] Dragonhunter-y

[FF14] First Impressions

There has been a noticeable trend in this Guild Wars 2 pre-xpac downtime where I am seeing a lot of fans and devs mucking around in Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn (FF14). To be honest, I didn’t bat an eye when the first iteration of Final Fantasy 14 first dropped. I did follow their rebirth story a bit because it was an interesting tale where money and time (and brand power, let’s not forget) can truly turn things around.

Last week, I finally picked it up through Steam, which says a lot right there. I can almost guarantee that if it were were not for Gaben’s paradiso I would not have tried it out. (Really surprised Guild Wars 2 still isn’t there, but I guess they feel more profitable without Gaben’s cut.) Actually I got the demo first, installed it, and didn’t touch it. Guess I needed that $20 worth of worth incentive to actually play it.

Before I cut this post, I will say it is a hyper polished experience of a calm distillation of last decade’s MMOs (for better and worse). There you go, tl;dr.

Continue reading [FF14] First Impressions

[GW2] A Mesmer Without Time

The end of the last week gave a lot to chew on over the weekend with the Guild Wars 2 expansion’s first look at an elite specialization: the chronomancer. Elite specializations are basically Dungeons & Dragons prestige classes that build upon a core class. The chronomancer builds on the mesmer, in this case.

Being a chronomancer gives another shatter, the ability to use a shield, and a new type of utility skills, wells. The theme of all these powers is the manipulation of time, which is most notable in the form of Alacrity.  Alacrity is a new buff that lowers the recharge duration of recharging skills, which makes it the opposite of the Chill condition.

I was blown away by the chronomancer on Friday’s Twitch demonstration. Dulfy provides all the notes in her usual fine form. As an aside, I really did not like the use of pre-recorded video. It didn’t feel like a great demonstration. It was neat that ArenaNet showed off a new sub-area and enemy, but there was a lot lost in the busyness of the videos. I would have much preferred a “now I am going to demonstrate the shield projectile ability after I explain it a bit”. Real time has a lot to be said.

Anyway, what I kept thinking through the end of the week news overload was “why wouldn’t a mesmer want to be a chronomancer?Continue reading [GW2] A Mesmer Without Time

[GW2] Trait-orous Fiddle

With the expansion, ArenaNet is redoing all the trait lines, and more. The Twitter pitch is that each trait line is being collapsed to 3 minor traits and 3 tiers of 3 selectable traits, where players pick one from each tier. Stats are being divorced from the trait lines, and instead of putting points in to trait lines, players just choose three trait lines getting all trait levels from that trait line. Specializations are essentially a trait line that opens up the ability to use specialization aspects.

This update will come before the expansion. After the expansion, the elite specializations will be available, and it must be slotted into one of the three specialization slots to use the elite specialization’s skills, weapons, and of course traits.

Bhagpuss puts the changes into the fiddling that seems to occur with many MMOs. In his mind it won’t be a substantial improvement.  Continue reading [GW2] Trait-orous Fiddle