Walk of Shame

November 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Dungeons, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 5 Comments
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Lately I’ve been doing a lot of dungeons and I’ve been experiencing a balance issue that is less about the difficulty of the bosses and more about the placement of waypoints. It’s a quality of life problem.

In Guild Wars 2 dungeons it is often an invitation to suicide if you were to stop and res a teammate. Being the diligent teammate it often becomes your responsibility after dying to immediately teleport to the closest waypoint. Sometimes these waypoints are close by, but at others it is an insanely long distance. In fact I’d go so far as to say that almost every dungeon has a notoriously long run back from a waypoint somewhere, sometimes in multiple paths.

Perhaps the most well known run amongst my regular guild is the run back to the second encounter with Subject Alpha in Crucible of Eternity. Between the waypoint and the location of the fight you’ve usually killed, depending on the path, a number of bosses, elites, and champions not to mention the challenge of completing a laser grid puzzle to unlock the waypoint in the first place. I’m not sure how long it takes to run back to the SA fight but it is quite a distance.

And on some level that is fine. A challenge is a good thing and a penalty for failing is a way to make the fight matter. But there a number of things that come to mind that make the penalty so much more bitter.

To begin with you have little chance to rally. There are tendrils in the fight that you can kill to get up, but they are not a guarentee of success. I can’t be the only one who has damaged something while downed only to not rally when it is defeated. Nor can you always be in a location in this particularly small room to be able to hit one of the tendrils. One might rely on a teammate to res you if it weren’t impossible 80% of the time. The combination of the difficulty of successfully ressing someone combined with the chance that you might die as well means hesitation, lack of confidence, fewer people taking the chance. Then there are the crystals. Some professions can deal better with these than others, and it takes quite some effort to free teammates before they are targeted by the Aoe. Not to mention being encased in one usually means certain death. So if you get crystalled you will get downed, if you get downed you will die. No rally, no res.

Hence the bitterness of what feels like a 2 minute run back to the fight. A fight which is still going and in urgent need of your assistance.

One of the worst byproducts of these runs back is something I’ve seen a few times now with Subject Alpha and other bosses. A vicious circle of a single player alone with the boss, desperately trying to stay alive and keep the boss in combat and the fight going. That player dies just as another player runs in to do the exact same thing, repeated and repeated again.

And you don’t even unlock a waypoint after this encounter. You have to fight two (two!) more bosses to unlock a waypoint. It’s just a mess.

There are plenty of other bosses with similar problems. The fire golem in story mode of Sorrow’s Embrace is a prime example. The chain knockbacks of Sure-shot Seamus in Caudecus Manor, and any number of other dungeons where you have a long run back.

I haven’t even begun to get into some of the balance issues with the actual bosses. Some fights can be done while browsing reddit. Others require intense concentration and reflexes.

The difficulty never seems to correspond with the reward of a waypoint either. In fact, placement of waypoints seems to make little sense at all. Many dungeons place one after the first boss fight, mere seconds from the original waypoint, and never seem to award another waypoint at all. Few bother to place one at the midpoint of the dungeon which would seem like a logical location. Twilight Arbor is a good example of some of these problems.

I have a history of taking note of these types of scenarios. In Runes of Magic I wrote this post. It’s about how long it takes to run back to a dungeon after a wipe. Some of those dungeons took 5 minutes to return to the same boss.

Guild Wars 2 can be frustrating in this respect but it’s nowhere near as bad. In fact I feel a bit like a spoiled brat complaining about this issue. Particularly when better tactics or better players probably have much less trouble with some of these bosses.

But that’s the way Guild Wars raised me. Instant travel. No corpse runs. Spoil the casual player. Let us play when we want to play without the grind of a death penalty. And that’s what we’re encountering with these runs back. A death penalty. The thing is, I thought failure was supposed to be the death penalty. Not the waypoint costs in zones, not the temporary health reduction, not the damaged and broken armour, but failure itself.

One of the worst penalties in gaming is wasting the time of the player. It’s a commodity that is valuable to us not just in gaming but in the rest of our lives as well. So when you waste it, you had better have a damn fucking good reason.

Fine, whatever. Failure makes success that much more sweet right? I guess I just wish there was less of that miserable feeling of being screwed out of rallying culminating with a walk of shame.


  1. I don’t agree, the way back is not the death penalty. It’s what reduces the usefulness of graveyard zerging. The alternative would be to have more TPs but not allow you to use them as long as your group is still in combat. That means, once dead, you would just lie on the floor until the boss or your group is defeated.

    • I’m not advocating graveyard zerging, I just think a waypoint as a reward would be nice to have after a few victories. That doesn’t mean they have to be right next to fights.

  2. I agree with your assessment on the long runs and wasted gamer time. I also experienced some rather dumb fire blasting in stairways where running back is the only option. I am not liking the GW2 dungeons at all.

    • Theres plenty of interesting and fun things in Guild Wars 2 dungeons, I like the variety of fights and diversity of strategy. But there is plenty to be frustrated by as well.

  3. […] Hunter’s Insight — Walk of Shame. “Lately I’ve been doing a lot of dungeons and I’ve been experiencing a balance issue that is less about the difficulty of the bosses and more about the placement of waypoints. It’s a quality of life problem.” […]

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