Tip Your Server

June 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 8 Comments
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After megaservers were announced for Guild Wars 2 I probably should have posted my thoughts, but without actually experiencing it there wasn’t much to say. Sure I could talk at length about the information presented, but as presented, it was nothing but a public relations masterpiece. I don’t think megaservers are a bad thing and I’ve defended them to people who have nothing more to say about them than “they suck” but there are drawbacks as well as strengths.

I think one of the major things you have to understand is just how successful Arenanet was at presenting megaservers as something other than server merges. They’ll never again have to mention the closing down of a server for their game, because aside from WvW there is no differentiation anymore. No worries about bad press, or negative nancies freaking out on forums or elsewhere about how the game is “dying.” Arenanet turned waning numbers into a huge marketing victory. Gaming “press” and fansties just ate it all up with nary a word about the possible negative connotations. Serious kudos are in order.

Not that I’m saying player numbers are shriveling up or anything. Who can tell? Suddenly after megaservers every single zone, everywhere, was filled with other players. It breathed new life into the game. There were plenty of times in the lesser traveled zone that I got the distinct impression I was the only one there. Now I can’t get the frick away from people. Doing anything alone is nigh impossible.

But try telling the temple zerg on my server that megaservers are a good thing. From launch there was a strong Northern Shiverpeaks temple zerg community, nightly raids on the major temples in orr thanks to a few community orientated folk. It grew to a point where it was one of the strongest things NSP had going for it, all without any major rules. Just show up at reset and start doing the temples that no one had completed, which on NSP meant all of them, because we were/are a low population server.

With megaservers, we can’t do that. People do the temples in every instance all the time now, so there are no guarantees that the temples will be ready to go. To keep it alive some of the Zerg put together a guild in order to try to complete temples together. It’s mostly successful, but it is a real struggle trying to find maps that have temples ready to go. There’s quite a bit of waiting and therefore a lot of unhappy angsty people whinging about how megaservers are the worst thing ever. Admittedly it’s no good for my temple zerg guild, but finding a group for any other event chain in the game is a piece of cake.

Being apart of this temple zerg guild, I’ve discovered a few things I hadn’t realized before. There is an /ip command to see the IP address of the instance you’re in. Guild scouts try to spread out and get into different versions of each map to see if temples are available to do. There are usually around 3 different instances of each orr map and these maps rotate in and out of activity.

Therefore mining nodes change position pretty consistently, making it hard to find them in the same spot more than a day or two in a row. This is possibly one of the reasons orichalcum has risen slightly in price on average. If you put the average price as a graph from the 15th of April it would pretty much be a straight line going up.

That said I don’t have a long list of complaints or compliments. This is just about it. Maybe the algorithm could be tweaked a bit so that I’m put in the same map with party members more often, and guild members to boot. Certainly guild bounties would be less stressful that way. But aside from that, I’m pretty happy with the system overall and the way Arenanet obfuscated declining player populations was admirably clever. I for one don’t enjoy reading doomsayer “fans” who can’t grasp that it’s a natural part of the lifespan of a game.

So. Yeah. Megaservers. That’s a thing.

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8 Comments

  1. Good post… I came back to the game at the start of May, just after they had introduced the megaserver and levelled on a couple of alts for a few weeks. Thought it was a really big improvement and it makes many areas such as Blazeridge Steps, Maelstrom Heights, much more vibrant than they were even immediately after launch.

    Unfortunately, though nothing much has been done on GW2s glaring issues with the economy, crafting, itemisation etc. and there is still nothing interesting after Orr except tortuous dungeons and the “living story”, in which I have no interest or zerg PvP.

    Arenanet need to pull their finger out if they want to compete with the new MMOs that are appearing, such as Wildstar, Archeage etc. Really they should reinforce success and concentrate on what they did better than everyone else = dynamic events and active combat. And they should put the story in the open world, in the dynamic events, not separate story instances… that’s just a cop out.

    • I don’t personally think the dungeons are torturous, some paths are a bit long, some more challenging than others, but if you want something short and sweet just about every dungeon has a path like that.

      Crafting is pretty damn expensive and the economy has a real problem with inflation right now, those are real problems, but I don’t have any issues with itemization or the living story.

      I admit there could be more events added to the game, the only events I can think of that have been added are the toxic bloom events from the tower of nightmare arc. But i have really enjoyed the story and am looking forward to more quite a bit.

      • Itemisation is of course tied up with crafting and the economy – but clearly something has gone badly wrong when your third armor tier (green) is worth next to nothing – much less in fact than the cost to craft it. Pretty much everything you can craft early on is valueless, since you can get most of it for free from Karma rewards. I could go on (and on), take cooking, runes of grawl slaying, … But, really the whole crafting/item system in Gw2 is lousy and far inferior to WOW/Lotro, the original Guild Wars or anything else. They should rip it out (along with the mystic random spreadsheet errh forge – lets have some shops in those beautiful but empty cities instead) and start again.

        Each to his own re the dungeons, but I’m hardly alone in disliking them. And it is pretty crazy to design what could have turned into a revolutionary new idea (i.e. dynamic events with on the fly grouping) and then to essentially abandon it in order to try to force everyone to PUG it down a hole. Many people just don’t want to do that – something that should have been obvious from GW1.

        • All opinions being fair, don’t try to convince me gw1 had a good crafting system. It was the worst I’ve ever experienced and could hardly be called crafting.

          Following the changes to magic find and the addition of luck essence, a lot of low level items have risen in value. And besides, the vast variety of ways I can get gear to outfit my character is why I like the itemization, but just like gw1 the game begins at max level, so I’m not overly concerned that blue and green gear isn’t worth much.

          • GW2 starts at max level!? Curious then that they put in 80 levels and spent almost all of their development resources on building low level areas that are no challenge for maxed out characters. Downscaling hardly helps since the PvE isn’t remotely hard the first time around:- The other day, playing my low level ranger alt in Blazeridge Steps, I went AFK for a while and by the time I got back my pet had soloed the whole map (!?).

            In fact GW2 shipped with a large amount of PvE content and a lot of it is really good. This is the area where the game really shines – or did (in Alpha), because they’ve nerfed the difficulty so that everything is trivially soloable by any class at or several levels below the content level and so there is little challenge or reason for teaming up with anyone else, except for rare champion bosses that are also being nerfed.

            The fact that you get to max level whilst seeing only a tiny fraction of the content and there is almost no high level content (and now of course you just use a scroll or something to level) is such a waste of development resources that I’m strongly suspicious that something went seriously wrong – I suspect they originally planned the whole game somewhat more like GW1, but then got a serious attack of WOW clone disease, no doubt influenced by NCSoft. That would also explain the non functional economy and crafting that were probably tacked on at the last moment to make it more WOW like. It all stinks of design by suits … similar to what happened to Warhammer Online when EA bought Mythic.

            • I disagree, you’ve got a lot of broad generalized statements in your essay here and I just don’t agree with any of it.
              You can play the whole game, no matter what level you are and have fun. That’s the point. you’re supposed to go back and see the midlevel areas at max level. You don’t like the scaling? Well I’m fine with it. It’s hard where it has to be and easy in places too. that’s why I did all my leveling and gearing up, so that places in the game would be easier. How do you expect a game to have a difficulty that can handle a fully geared 80 and a non geared 30? Ridiculous.
              Virtually every part of the economy functions on some level, people like yourself constantly insist that it doesn’t work, but when an MMO economy doesn’t work, items aren’t worth anything. you can’t make money on the AH. You can’t afford the few things that are worth anything. Virtually everything you get in GW2 has some value, yes there is inflation but the slow rate of inflation over 2 years is more a sign of natural progression in the economy than anything else. I’m not saying the economy is perfect, but it’s not broken.
              Is crafting perfect? Name an MMO where the crafting is perfect and every single item has value. At least in GW2 things I craft can be used in endgame.
              No high level content? First, if that’s what you were expecting you came to the wrong game. GW1 had maybe 5 or 6 high level instances after 4 major releases. GW2 has had a similar amount.
              I don’t know of any rare champion bosses that have been nerfed aside from the starter areas where they were farmed and caused a massively toxic environment.
              And frankly calling an MMO a WoW clone is just a copout. All mmos have similarities on some level, UO -> EQ -> WoW -> everything that came after, but to call GW2 a wow clone is just lazy. GW2 kept enough of gw1 and changed enough from previous games that I feel perfectly comfortable stating that anyone who calls GW2 a wow clone is just bitter that GW2 isn’t the exact game they wanted it to be. I’m not going to respond after this. None of your comments have had anything to do with my post. You just wanted to regurgitate all the things you don’t like about GW2. I don’t like people to use my blog as their platform to complain.

            • Well… I did agree with you that the mega server is pretty neat. Sure I’m a little pissed with GW2, but that’s only because some parts of it are just so good and I had a blast levelling my first character up to level 80 and maybe that’s as much as one can expect. Besides, I never bother to criticise games I don’t like, I just don’t play them. In reality there will probably never be a perfect MMO, it’s such a tricky genre. Anyway, I apologise for disrupting your blog and upsetting you :(.

  2. […] Hunter’s Insight — Tip Your Server. “After megaservers were announced for Guild Wars 2 I probably should have posted my thoughts, but without actually experiencing it there wasn’t much to say. Sure I could talk at length about the information presented, but as presented, it was nothing but a public relations masterpiece. I don’t think megaservers are a bad thing and I’ve defended them to people who have nothing more to say about them than “they suck” but there are drawbacks as well as strengths.” […]


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