Within these walls…

The game is live, and so are we.

A few lumps and bumps along the way. A few ‘hmmm’ moments. Some points when we all seem to be rushing in different directions. But that’s fine.

Hopefully *touches wood* the guild and grouping bugs are now (mostly) resolved. Last time I checked I could see and queue influence correctly. Names are now appearing properly. People can represent. There will always be frustrations and bugs at launch. Despite all of Arenanet’s careful beta testing, the sudden onslaught on the world servers was bound to bring up a few anomalies. Despite these problems, we do all seem to be having fun. Long may it continue.

Searching around on Reddit (instead of doing what I’m meant to be doing) has brought up some interesting threads about naming issues, in-game music and the like. However it does raise one bizarre phenomenon. The lack of GW2’s own dedicated forum to this point. I mean, honestly, what is that about? Arenanet made a long blogpost dedicated to their concept of building a community – but then have driven that community to scatter to other sites elsewhere. And will they win them back? It just seems daft.

One thing that SWTOR got utterly right was to bring up the community forums early. Bring the conversation there as the first point of call. Have the numbers venturing into Tyria flooded the system? Is it overwhelmed just coping with registration? Dunno. But I hope for their sake they bring those forums up soon, as without that base, they lose their community.

The voice divide

We’re not even in game yet and already that thorny issue of voice chat has come up.
There will always be those who much prefer to use voiced chat. It is undoubtedly a quicker and more responsive form for game life. But for many people, voice chat is intrusive or difficult, perhaps because of social arrangements, noisy backgrounds, poor hearing, doubts about language skills, whatever. I don’t think it is appropriate to expect people to use a voice system; it doesn’t add anything to our community in game. And it does tend to encourage a partisan grouping system; the formation of a voice party is far more swift than the summoning by text.
But it is difficult to know whether the immediacy of worlds vs worlds pvp will be supportive of many forms other than voice chat.
Can’t predict these lumps and bumps just yet. Guess we’ll find out once we arrive in Tyria.

Old habits, new thinking

Old habits are indeed hard to break.

During last night’s stress test, a group of us plunged into World vs World pvp – which is a blast, let’s be clear. The walls of the fortress were under attack, ranged spells were hammering into us as we stood behind the ramparts, attempts to bolster the gate and rebuild an arrow cart with supplies were frustrated by the onslaught of damage.

A certain person, suffering a beating, ran to find me, shouting ‘I need a heal, Bram!’

My reply: ‘Well, I can’t help you.’

‘But I thought you were a healer type.’

‘Nope, no pure healers here. We all have our own heals.’

‘But- but- I can’t do that job.’

‘And I’m on a level 2 mesmer. Can’t help you.’

As it happens, on my ranger, I can put down a water field which brings some inherent healing. But not much. Want to make that more effective? I need someone to complete it swiftly with a blast or whirl finisher. Then we will all get a semi-decent heal.

That’s Guild Wars 2 healing. It’s not my job. It’s not your job. It’s our job.
God, this is going to be a nightmare to coordinate…

 

As an aside, as we launched into battle against another wave of those fierce French invaders, I did call everyone back to admire my robot asura dance, and me rolling on the ground laughing. Got to love emotes. And the fact we’ll never change.

Footsteps in a new land

So here we go again, venturing into a new realm in Tyria.

Although not so new considering all the time we’ve spent among the lands in the betas. But hopefully there’ll be some new elements to surprise in once the game proper launches on Friday. And some emotes. Proper emotes would be nice. *nods*

I’m not going to pretend that I’m not nervous about this. We’ve all been burnt before. Will Guild Wars 2 be another flash and burn? And do we perhaps just need to shift our expectations of mmos anyway? We’ll become a migratory population, moving endlessly to the next rich feeding ground as the seasons pull us onwards. (Ooh, I’m getting into this analogy…)

Although this prospect does make me somewhat sad. I like having a game that I can call home. Where I can log in to find friends. I know that nobody is all that far away through the marvellous means of voice and chatrooms. But actually, to me, you are. Going back to my distracting analogy, I enjoy having a settled camp and a home town. A place from which we can start our adventures together, farm materials, explore the world.

Well, let’s see. A new dawn is coming, we’ll have to see what this season holds…

Take care and enjoy.