MMOs are complicated. This seems like a fairly non-controversial statement; there are more or less complicated games, but they all tend to be complex as heck. I frequently cite Star Trek Online as an example of complexity run amok, where the game is significantly more complicated than it even appears to the point where the game has reworked its skill system some three separate times and it’s still difficult to understand, but even World of Warcraft has plenty of bits of complexity that aren’t really explained to new players.
Of course, it’s also been significantly simplified from its early days; who remembers Crushing Blows and 102.4% defense? Most tanks, I’d imagine.
But even seemingly straightforward systems like dungeon rewards tend to increasing complexity over time. Heck, I’ve been dealing with Guild Wars 2’s boost system with Path of Fire and found that hosting some complexity and weird exceptions when it comes to hero points and unlocking Elite Specializations. So why do MMOs tend to be so complicated, even when dealing with simple stuff? I think that’s a fun topic that I can explain in, oh, let’s say ten bullet points.
Forbes has a new interview
out this week with ArenaNet
President Mike O’Brien all about the Guild Wars franchise, beginning with something most people have probably forgotten: Classic Guild Wars
was inspired as much by Magic The Gathering as by MMORPGs, specifically in the idea that card games allowed players to collect far more skills than they could use at a time. The strategy for playing such a game came in choosing which skills to tote along, not in how many skills you’d accrued.
Eventually, however, the team wanted to expand the world itself. “You can’t go halfway on a world,” he argues. “A world is such a powerful thing. It’s where your friends are. It’s the relaxing place where you hang out in the quiet moments between challenges. It’s the home that you grow to love, and that you’re ready to fight to defend when the story asks you to. We came to realize that the world wasn’t the setting; the world was the game.”
And that led ArenaNet to Guild Wars 2, with its focus on horizontal progression, character customization, and social systems. In fact, O’Brien suggests megaservers amounted to crucial tech for the development of the game and its social emphasis.
On this week’s show, Tina joins the crew to talk about the momentous launch of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire! There’s plenty more for the crew to discuss, too, with a pair of EverQuest expansion announcements, a launch of an underdog MMOARPG, and more!
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:
My initial impressions on Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire
launch are rather late to the table, owing to some fairly significant connection issues since launch that ran up until yesterday, but I’m delighted to share my first thoughts on the second Guild Wars 2
expansion with you at long last. I really count yesterday as my first day of play since the instance creation issues prevented me from progressing my Path of Fire
story chain until then, so although I’ve had all weekend, this first launch diary entry will simply detail the things that I noted within the first day of play.
Don’t worry about story spoilers being contained below: I’m not ready to share story details with you yet and wouldn’t even if I could! Expansions are a long time in the making and fans deserve to enjoy all that entails first-hand without it being spoiled. Anything at all problematic will be marked with spoiler tags just in case. Enjoy my list of the good, the bad, and the janky, and check out my screenshot gallery at the end of the article too (though skip this if you don’t want location spoilers).
Hey, remember the MMO Book Club? That’s the Reddit-and-Discord group that allows members to vote on a game to play, then organizes a guild and events inside that game over the allotted time period, ensuring that folks who want to try out an MMORPG have a ready-made community of likeminded casual people who aren’t going to immediately scamper off to greener pastures. You scamperers, you.
To date, the Club has dipped into Lord of the Rings Online (which we streamed!), WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, and TERA, the reigning champ. As the group enters its second half-year, it’s opened the voting once again; that takes place in Discord to avoid brigading.
“The shortlist of games you can vote on to play with the Bookclub now are: Guild Wars 2, Secret World Legends, DC Universe Online, EverQuest, RuneScape, ArcheAge, World of Warcraft and TERA.” (Voting for TERA extends the current cycle another month instead of moving the crew to a new game.)
With the popularity of this month’s Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
, the pressure is on for ArenaNet
to keep the game running as smoothly as possible for all veteran, new, and returning players. While we have been hearing positive word-of-mouth about the expansion, there have been some serious issues that have kept many players from enjoying it – including our own columnist.
Login difficulties are the start of ANet’s woes, and the studio is racing to fix them. Even more dire are instance creation problems, which were serious enough to elicit a statement by Mike O’Brien, who said that the team has been “working on the connection and story instance creation problems that have been cropping up during peak hours in Europe.” The Guild Wars 2 boss said that the team believes the underlying issues have been fixed but will be keeping an eye on the situation to make sure this is true.
Meanwhile, there are smaller bugs and corrections that have been addressed via hotfixes to bolster the new expansion.
Guild Wars 2
launched its second expansion, Path of Fire
, a few days ago, and as you might expect, a new expansion means some immediate priority shifts will deeply affect the game’s economy. New materials are added, which are required by the newest recipes and are thus highly sought after, and other materials will fluctuate in value depending on their usefulness within the new content’s scope. Players typically react to this short period of market turbulence by keeping the materials that they farm until they are absolutely sure of their uses and worth: There’s nothing worse than selling a big pile of a rare material you thought you didn’t need only to realise your error later.
However, ArenaNet decided to temporarily keep a “handful of items” off the list for the game’s material storage system in an attempt to force players’ hands: The company is attempting to combat the shockingly high prices seen for expansion materials back at Heart of Thorns’ launch by discouraging player warehousing of valuable yet abundant materials. The news has caused quite a splash in the game community and it’s exceptionally interesting mechanically speaking, so I just had to dedicate an edition of MMO Mechanics to the topic.
A new infographic distributed in honor of the launch of Path of Fire shows that Guild Wars 2 has collected “over 11 million players” in the last five years, along with 53 million characters, and almost a million guilds. Wheee!
Want more on the launch? Check our full roundup from this morning!
The power of Guild Wars 2’s
expansion Path of Fire
is so great, it brought Massively OP’s Bree, Tina, and MJ together! That’s right, all three are going to be exploring the expansion goodness that just launched today. And with this trio, there’s bound to be a few shenanigans, plenty of hijinks, and maybe even a little folderol, so join us live at 2:00 p.m. for the fun. MJ even made a new Norn ranger for the occasion.
What: Guild Wars 2
Who: MJ Guthrie, Bree Royce, and Tina Lauro Pollock
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, September 22nd, 2017
Update: It’s live now! Have fun!
Guild Wars 2
officially launches its second B2P expansion, Path of Fire
, today. In just two hours in fact. And if our polls
are any judge, quite a lot of our audience is hyped for the release!
We’ll be streaming the fun later today (with special guests if we can pull it off), but in the meantime, ArenaNet has a pre-show on Twitch beginning at 10 a.m. EDT this morning, leading up to the noon launch when we all go charging into the desert.
Personally, I’m aiming to finish chapter one and then head straight for drinks on the Lily of the Elon. Who’s with me?
We’ve also rounded up all of our Path of Fire coverage to date, including our columnist’s impressions of the preview weekend, our look at mounts, our deep-dive into the new elite specs, and our team’s thoughts on the expansion as a whole. Happy expansion day!
Hey, there’s a Guild Wars 2
expansion coming: Path of Fire
. Maybe you’re coming back for that. Maybe you left the game only a few months back, or maybe you played the game at launch and then left a long time ago. Why not take advantage of a huge chart
to catch up on all the features that have changed since the last time you logged in?
Redditor KyrgyzManas lays out everything that’s been added to the game along the way and everything you might have missed along the path, color coded and blocked by year. Some things, of course, you just can’t catch up on, but at least this way you’ll have some idea of what you missed and what you can still see in action. Even if you’ve played straight, there’s bound to be something you forgot and can re-appreciate given the format.
Meanwhile, if you last played Guild Wars 2 during the Path of Fire preview weekends, you’ll have some catching up to do too. That’s because ArenaNet posted notes for some balancing changes to all of the new specs right ahead of the launch tomorrow, sending Reddit into a bit of an uproar, particularly Necromancers.
Coming back to Guild Wars 2
this week due to the hullabaloo over Path of Fire
? You might end up with a nice content freebie if you act sooner rather than later. The Guild Wars 2
team sent out a reminder that this is the last week
for players to get One Path Ends for free.
Even if you’re not into the game right now, you might as well log in and grab the chapter for some possible future date. Otherwise, the episode will end up costing you 200 gems if you decide to purchase it later. (It should be noted that, as with all Season 3 episodes, this one requires the Heart of Thorns expansion to access.)
Curious about this episode while you’re patching up? Check out the trailer and the expert analysis of MOP’s Tina!
Many moons ago, when I was first hired on Massively-that-was, my fellow hire at the time was a lady by the name of Rubi Bayer. We hit it off pretty well and became friends. She was also very excited about a title that had yet to come out at the time, a game by the name of Guild Wars 2. For those of you coming to this story without knowledge of names, she’s now working for ArenaNet on that exact same game, along with two other former writers from our staff, all of whom are people I consider friends of mine.
So perhaps it’s a bit odd that I’ve not played Guild Wars 2 since well before Heart of Thorns launched. I have some history with the game, but it’s never been one of my main titles. And now that I’m heading back into it for its second major expansion, I think it’s a fine time to walk back through my experiences there, what I hope to find, and also ask a few reader questions along the way. Because that’s how polls work, after all.