YouTuber WoodenPotatoes, whom you might remember from Tina’s top five Guild Wars 2 vloggers review earlier this week, has posted a lengthy review of Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns, now a year and a half on. It’s a critical look at the promises made for the expansion, the expectations we had for it, what was actually delivered, and how the game has progressed over time to now.
“I think you’d be crazy to say that Heart of Thorns didn’t disappoint at release,” he says in the first video. “It disappointed me. The story was too short, the content was too limited, and very importantly, it didn’t feel like much more had been added with the raw expansion than if they’d simply continued the previous living world season instead. And that would’ve been free.”
But since then, he argues, ArenaNet has fleshed out the game and made 2016 the game’s strongest year (though it wasn’t without its own content droughts). If you’re a fan or former fan of the game, it’s worth a look — it certainly resonates with me and echoes a lot of the complaints (and praise) we’ve seen over the last many months down in our own comment section.
This week’s Massively Overthinking comes to us from Xijit — and I think you’ll agree it’s quite timely.
“In light of The Secret World getting reworked into more of a single-player or online-but-not-actually-an-MMO title, what other MMOs would you like to see downgraded from the full MMO format and turned into a single-player-focused or limited multiplayer title?”
I’d like to say I can speak for everyone and say NONE ZERO NEVER STOPPIT. But I bet our staff — and you — can probably think of a few MMOs that might be better suited for a different format. Let’s dive in to this pool full of poop jello and fight it out.
Today we are sitting down with ArenaNet
Lead Composer Maclaine Diemer
, who players might best know from his work on Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
and Living World Season 3. Diemer picked up the baton from Jeremy Soule
, the original composer for the base game, and has been pumping out terrific music for the MMORPG ever since.
Massively OP: At this point in your career at ArenaNet, how many pieces of music have you composed for Guild Wars 2?
Maclaine Diemer: I think about this from time to time, but I honestly don’t know. I’d say it’s in the “several dozen” range, between all the holiday festivals, Living World content, Heart of Thorns, and other miscellaneous stuff like cinematics and marketing videos. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!
An MMORPG with a crappy user interface doesn’t last long in 2017. ArtCraft has this lesson memorized and has put it to good use in Crowfall, if today’s dev update is any measure.
UX Design Lead Billy Garretsen grants game-watchers a tour of the evolution of the PvP MMO’s alpha login screens, kingdom selection screens, heads-up display, and tooltips. The first thing you’re going to notice? It’s very white, reminiscent of the sort of look capitalized on in 2011 by Dragon Age 2 and 2012 by Guild Wars 2. Inside the game, though, the HUD and tooltips are relatively dark and flat — an extremely popular look for everything from World of Warcraft mods to smartphone operating systems.
“Long ago we established a brand guideline that carried us through the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and development of our website and social media,” Garretsen says. “Over time, the UX presentation in the game has deviated and lost some of its brand identity” — and that’s what the latest revisions are meant to fix.
I often find that playing Guild Wars 2
leaves me with more questions than answers when it comes to lore and story predictions, build strategies and rotations, and efficient raid clearing, so I spend plenty of time listening to the advice and opinions offered by my fellow players to both improve my own gaming experience and engage with my favourite MMO when I’m not logged in. My YouTube subscription list reads like a who’s who of Guild Wars 2
content creators and I’m never stuck for entertaining and informative videos to watch during my commutes to classes, so I thought it was about time that I took some time to share my favourites with you in case any are missing in your own subscription lists.
In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll list some fantastic YouTubers who you should most definitely check out if you’re not already familiar with them. Many of the names making the list are massively popular and you’d have to have lived under a rock to be unfamiliar with their work, but others deserve much more attention that they get for the fantastic GW2 content they create and might well be new to you. Have a watch of the videos included below and don’t forget to subscribe if you enjoy what you see and, of course, add your favourite GW2 YouTubers in the comments.
Never underestimate the ingenuity and creative spirit of players when they are given even the most bare-bones tools in an MMORPG.
To wit, a player who goes by Alilinke.7690 painstakingly created the famous Mona Lisa painting in a Guild Wars 2 guild hall using blocks and shadows. While the painting might not be as detailed as the real thing, it is nevertheless impressive that this could be done at all in the game itself.
According to the description by YouTube eyepoo, this probably took a very long time to create: “To construct this ‘drawing,’ objects were placed with remarkable precision mid-air (which requires that object to be placed on top of something else which is then removed). The difficulty of exact decoration placement in guild halls is considerable, making this shadow sculpture all the more mind-boggling. The cast shadow then ‘draws’ the Mona Lisa on the wall made of blocks.”
Imagine what could be done if Guild Wars 2 had proper housing, eh? See it for yourself below!
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we have stories and videos from Heroes Evolved, Dungeon Fighter 2, Splatoon 2, Overwatch, Heroes and Generals, Aion, Neverwinter, Elsword, Guild Wars 2, CS:GO, and MU Online, all waiting for you after the break!
Whether you’re a big fan of the e-sports scene or you would be quite happy never hearing about it ever again, you are no doubt aware that a lot of companies are sinking quite a bit of money into it. It’s not just limited to existing e-sports darlings like League of Legends, either, as Blizzard is very clearly targeting the field with Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch, and it’s pretty obvious that Guild Wars 2 wanted a slice of that pie. But a new piece by Joost van Dreunen, CEO of Superdata, brings up a relevant point that is often getting overlooked: With all of these companies investing in the field, where is actual business model to make money off of e-sports?
Van Dreunen points out that the long-term impact of e-sports, both in terms of viability and engagement, has yet to be understood in anything more than the broadest terms and may in fact be part of a shifting of culture. The current emphasis on a very narrow appeal isn’t helping drive long-term engagement, and it raises questions about whether the long-term goal of e-sports is to serve as a business model unto itself or if the goal is basically to use these events as an advertisement for the games in question. It’s well worth reading even if you’re not a fan of the field, as it brings up some interesting points about where the idea of competitive video games will go in the next few years.
A few weeks ago, we mentioned that Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns music would be featured in concert in Seattle — not so useful for most of our readers, who do not in fact live in Seattle! Fortunately, ArenaNet has just released the entire concert for you video game music junkies who couldn’t hop to the Pacific Northwest for the real deal.
The concert was performed by the Evergreen Philharmonic Orchestra, a professional training orchestra made up of local high school students. Take a listen (and a look!) at the whole 48-minute, 14-piece show below.
Do you remember the unofficial Guild Wars 2 CCG? If you don’t, you should, because it’s absolutely awesome. In concept, anyway; while Luke Dowding put a lot of work into making a fully playable unofficial CCG based on the game, actually playing it requires printing out over 200 cards and getting everything cut and laminated before you can even start testing it out. Since that pretty thoroughly narrows your audience, there’s all the more reason to be thankful for Mr. Dowding putting in even more work to make the game available for play in Tabletop Simulator.
The version on the simulator is not just totally playable, it’s also had some balance issues addressed, as Dowding freely admits that he hadn’t been able to do extensive playtesting before now. So not only is the game now in a format for everyone to enjoy, it’s also in a format where problems have been fixed. Now you just need a friend who’s just as crazy about fan-made CCGs as you are to play against.
Every so often, a man needs to have a conversation with some anthropomorphized concepts. I do that every few years. In the past, I’ve usually focused on more philosophical concepts. I had a great conversation with Insight and really learned a lot about myself in the process, for example, and I can’t stop thinking about my talk with Contemplation. My dinner with Indulgence was fun, too, even if I would up spending far too much money on it; I feel like scheduling a chat with Regret the morning after was a bad idea.
Most recently, though, I decided to have some conversations with studios. Not their representatives, but with the actual studios themselves. Some of those conversations went better than others, though. You don’t need to take my word for it, though; I included the most interesting ones just past the break. I double-checked with Honesty first, so we’re good, it’s all fair.
Since it takes a superheroic effort to put on a podcast every week — so many words! so many Star Wars Galaxies references! — Bree and Justin consider themselves in equal company with this week’s superhero news and discussion. From Ship of Heroes to Marvel Heroes to City of Heroes, it’s 300% of your RDA of spandex in one hour!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
One of my favorite MMO April Fools of all time is Guild Wars 2’s playable Super Adventure Box. It’s so brilliantly designed and executed that it goes far beyond mere joke territory and became an institution. A fun game-within-a-game.
Reader Little Bugbear took advantage of an initial foray into SAB to take what I consider to be a very arresting picture. It’s almost a silhouette of a character lounging against an 8-bit skybox. “Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy a nice day of gaming,” Little Bugbear said.
Before we get into the rest of this week’s lineup, I want to share the news that we’ve made some further improvements to our comment system that should allow you to share your screenshots in bigger and bolder glory, especially when you post one at a time!