flameseeker chronicles

Flameseeker Chronicles is a Guild Wars 2 column by Tina Lauro. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

Flameseeker Chronicles: Why wave-ban Guild Wars 2 cheaters?

Last week, our very own Bree Royce summed up a response given by ArenaNet’s Chris Cleary to a self-confessed hacker on the game’s subreddit who asked why he had not been banned for his actions. A list of offences was given in the post, and the indignant OP explained that the purpose of this bout of ill-advised honesty was to shame the company into taking swifter and more decisive action against cheaters. Guild Wars 2 Game Security Lead Cleary’s response to the hacker — who used the name MegaWormHole — received as many harsh words as the hacker himself, so I thought I should weigh in on the issue and discuss my views on how ArenaNet handles hacking (and cheating in general for that matter).

Cheating detection is a whopper of an issue for MMO developers to handle, especially since both fairness and equality of resource access are crucial in successfully managing massive online communities. Having said that, if an anti-hacking system is too rigorous, false positives can occur and honest players then suffer for those who decide to cheat. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll break down Cleary’s response to this hacking admission while discussing batch banning and how adequately this deals with cheating in GW2. 

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking the proposed Guild Wars 2 WvW scoring improvements

In my last edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I outlined ArenaNet‘s recent WvW player poll and discussed the possible implications of voting for each of the two options presented. On one hand, quality-of-life improvements aimed to bring some much-needed intermap communication and clutter-free fun to Guild Wars 2, and on the other, scoring improvements sought to even the playing field and prevent victories being decided before a match had even begun. Fast forward to the end of the poll: The voting was close, but scoring won with 48.90% of the vote versus 45.23% of votes for QoL. The WvW team has since opened a second poll to further refine and prioritise the direction of that scoring overhaul, and we’ve also been given a statement of intentions of sorts to mull over.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to talk about the proposed scoring improvements in more detail with reference to Game Designer Tyler Bearce’s outline, and then I’ll ponder on the new poll and how I might prioritise the listed features.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Everything you need to know about Guild Wars 2’s April 2016 update

Today is the day, people: I’m hoping you’re all willing and able to log in and follow along with the Q2 update patch notes because Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns has just had a major revamp with changes affecting every type of content you can think of! Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to the 16,000 or so words that comprise the Q2 patch notes in advance, but I did have the opportunity to quiz several key players at ArenaNet about the patch and get some hands-on time with the improvements in preparation for today’s launch. I joined Lead Game Designer Mike Zadorojny, Game Designer Link Hughes, and Associate Global Brand Manager Joshua Davis for an absolutely info-packed chat, which I’ll be unpacking here.

If you’re unfamiliar with the patch content, know that this is a long-awaited, largely reparative update that seeks to quell the most pressing issues the community is currently voicing. Zadorojny described the goals for the update as “reducing the perception of grind the players had with HoT, increasing the overall rewards and payouts the players get for playing the content, and getting to the fun faster.” Prepare for a long but worthwhile read: I’m hoping that this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles will help you figure out how valuable the patch will be for you and your guildmates, especially those of you who aren’t active right now. I’ve divided the information into handy content-specific sections, so feel free to scroll to the parts that are most relevant to you if you’re pressed for time.
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Flameseeker Chronicles: The future of Guild Wars 2 under Mike O’Brien

The news coming from ArenaNet has been very interesting since the company’s President Mike O’Brien took over as Guild Wars 2 Game Director, so I thought it might be a good time to look at some of his decisions made at the helm of ANet and throw in my two cents. We’ve seen references to the GW2 Manifesto, drastic shifts in dev team focus, and a promise to focus on sustainability and quality, but also sustained player outcries over issues such as legendary weapons being put on hold. One thing that’s certain is that this is a time for decisive action and O’Brien surely needs to do something to make players happy.

It’s undeniable that a significant proportion of GW2 fans — particularly those who have bought into Heart of Thorns —  are feeling more than a little bit frustrated with the on-again-off-again nature of content delivery, and distrust is spreading because of the perceived non-delivery of ANet’s promises. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll look at the raging debates happening between the new Game Director and the playerbase, and I’ll weigh in with my thoughts on how O’Brien can win us over going forward to resecure a solid basis to build upon with the second expansion.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 Gorseval raid boss guide

More than one reader has asked for further Guild Wars 2 raid guides, and who am I to disappoint? I’ve been keeping back this Gorseval raid boss guide for a while as I tried to find a good time to publish it, but ArenaNet has been a rather busy studio of late and I’ve not had the words to spare for this ugly duckling until now. Apologies for the gap between this guide and the last: I hope that my general impressions of the encounter shared way back when the raid wing opened kept you going while you waited. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll take you through the mechanics-heavy encounter in more detail in much the same way as I did with the Vale Guardian fight, which will hopefully help secure you a boss kill if you’ve not been successful already.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Hands-on with Slothasor and the Guild Wars 2 AMA breakdown

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind week for ArenaNet, especially with a jam-packed Reddit AMA that contained the announcement that Colin Johanson has opted to leave the company for a new opportunity that allows him to spend more time with his family and less time commuting. This has, of course, left a bit of a smiley-shaped hole in the top ranks of ArenaNet that Mike O’Brien is temporarily filling, but the Game Director role cannot be held by the busy President forever.

Aside from the workload that’s usually associated with a busy studio in the midst of major feature redevelopment, expansion development, and a director handover, the team added to that pile by inviting me to playtest the new Slothasor raid encounter that goes live today. In this edition of Flamseeker Chronicles, I’ll share my thoughts on the new raid wing and will also unpack the key takeaways from the Reddit AMA.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: A visual guide to gliding in Guild Wars 2

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that there aren’t many mechanics that are more fantastical than zooming around within picturesque environments with amazingly outlandish backpack-strapped wings on your back. I was delighted to see that gliding was just as fun and useful as I imagined it would be when Heart of Thorns launched, but I caught myself forgetting that I could only glide in the Heart of Maguuma more times than I’d care to admit. After banging my space bar in vain one too many times, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated whenever I was out and about in Central Tyria and kept forgetting that it was a glider-free zone: I was definitely part of the pro-CT gliding camp, even if I did worry about implementation. Imagine my delight, then, when my wee wish came true in Guild Wars 2‘s Winter 2016 patch!

I’ve had plenty of Central Tyrian airtime at this point and could ramble on for hours about it, so for this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles I thought I’d do just that. I’m going to preface some beautiful in-flight screenies of my favourite places to glide in Central Tyria with a little bit of background information about verticality and no-fly zones in the form of a Central Tyria gliding FAQ.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Hands-on with Guild Wars 2’s Shatterer Unleashed

In the last edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I discussed the Guild Wars 2 Winter 2016 update that releases today in great detail, so I’m really excited to follow that up with my initial impressions of the revamped Shatterer fight in this edition! I was invited to play through the encounter for myself in advance of its release today: I played alongside some of the ArenaNet gang, including Game Designer Andrew Gray, and other members of the press on the staging client, so you won’t be seeing my usual characters in the screenshots. During two playthroughs we were able to ask our questions and get some answers while we attempted to down the new-and-improved baddie, who is now considerably more challenging. To find out how I fared, what I thought of the iteration, and how the fight shapes up to other Heart of Thorns content, keep on reading!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Examining Guild Wars 2’s winter 2016 update plans

Guild Wars 2 Game Director Colin Johanson dropped a massive amount of information about the direction development will take in the first quarter of 2016 and beyond in his Q1 state of the game update yesterday. This is the second of this sort of update since the launch of Heart of Thorns and it most definitely hasn’t disappointed in its scope and breadth of information. General comments on ArenaNet‘s development rationale paired up with plenty of welcome Q1 improvements that will begin rolling out as soon as January 26th as well as more far-reaching outlines for the rest of 2016 that cover future expansion development, more fractals, a major overhaul of WvW, and the commencement of the Living World Season 3. With so much ground covered in one dev post, I thought it’d be helpful to summarise that information and add my thoughts for this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 predictions for 2016

2015 is coming to a close, and I’ve eaten my own bodyweight (and then some!) in festive treats, so it’s the perfect time to put my wishes for Guild Wars 2 in 2016 out there while I’m looking forward to the year ahead. With Heart of Thorns so freshly installed on our machines and an action-packed 2015, one prediction I can be sure will come true is that the coming year will see more reactive development, a very busy team at ArenaNet, and more content to fill out and continue on from the seeds sown in October, even if that content is divisive!

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll make some predictions about what lies ahead for GW2 in 2016, most of which will be fairly standard speculation with the odd potential spoiler clearly marked throughout. I’d recommend skipping the hidden spoiler text entirely if you’re not through with the HoT and raiding storylines yet!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Recapping Guild Wars 2 in 2015

The holiday season is well and truly upon us, so it’s that most wonderful time of the year during which the Massively OP reporters cast their minds back over their game-specific 2015 column entries to remind you of the highs and lows over the last year. ArenaNet has had a particularly packed 2015, so I’ve plenty to cover before Guild Wars 2 rings in 2016. Of course, the launch of Heart of Thorns is the big talking point of the year, but there were plenty more points of interest during the last twelve months. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll reflect on 2015 and recap the year, focusing on both ArenaNet’s and my personal highlights.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 Vale Guardian raid boss guide

I’ve been having a grand auld time smashing my toon against Guild Wars 2‘s first raiding tier recently, and since I’ve now (finally!) started to get some results, I thought it was time I brought you a more solid Vale Guardian boss guide than my general initial impression piece from when the boss was in beta testing. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll break down Heart of Thorns‘ first raid boss fight for you, taking raiders right from preparation to, with luck, downing the Vale Guardian!
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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2’s enhanced Squad UI factsheet

I’ve already brought you my initial impressions of the Gorseval raid encounter followed by a quickfire interview with Guild Wars 2 Associate Game Director Steven Waller to clue you in on the first Heart of Thorns raid wing that launched yesterday, but there’s still so much to say in this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles! I managed to spend some time raiding last night, and I was particularly keen to test out the enhanced squad UI functionality that has also been introduced to Guild Wars 2 expansion. Although the new system is multipurpose and doesn’t just apply to raiders, it seems particularly apt that its release coincides with this type of endgame content.

Today I’m going to take a good look at the enhanced squad UI that has been created to more efficiently handle the community’s grouping needs. I’ll talk about its features and impact on grouping to save you having to dig too far to get to grips with the new grouping functionality.

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