living world

Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s PR nightmare

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have noticed that two Guild Wars 2 developers were cut loose last week after a heated Twitter exchange that was initiated by narrative lead Jessica Price. What started off as welcome insight into the problems with player-character narrative development in MMOs turned into a PR horror show when the dev felt slighted by a comment received in response to her musing.

The internet is alight with opinions on the drama and ArenaNet’s response to the comments made by Price and her coworker, so in this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I just had to address it myself.

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Guild Wars 2 pushes out underwater balance patch while players cross over 119,431 years /played

Just a heads up that Guild Wars 2 is putting out a small patch today to balance a few issues in the game: “Since the last update targeted underwater balance and the deadeye in particular, we’ve been listening to your feedback and are addressing some of the issues raised about each of those. There has also been a broad effort to target outliers traits and abilities on each profession.”

While you patch up, you might as well check out some interesting game stats from Analytics Lead Chris Cleary, who answered some specific player queries on the game. Among the stats, Cleary confirmed that 58,349 legendary weapons have been crafted since Heart of Thorns, players collectively have put in over 119,431 years of play so far, and only 11 confetti infusions have dropped over the course of Living World season 4.

Of course, if you showed up to this post looking for the Twitter/firing fracas, then you’re in the wrong place. We’ve compiled all of the news for this past week’s mega-story in the original post.

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Guild Wars 2 living world AMA on beetles, Joko, PvP, fractals, raids, and just what the heck happened last week

Team ArenaNet descended on Reddit last night to chat about all things – what else – Guild Wars 2. But if you haven’t got time to read over a thousand comments, swing by Dulfy, where the highlights have been helpfully rounded up. Of note:

  • The beetles were designed to not displace all the other mounts, but they might be tweaked to be less annoying in the future. Existing mount packs won’t retroactively include beetle skins.
  • Don’t expect accessories in the wardrobe, but it’s “exceptionally likely” that future collections will nudge us back to classic Tyria.
  • The next raid is “essentially done” and on the way next. Fractal reworks will continue too, but “new fractals are absolutely prioritized above reworks” – one fractal every two episodes.
  • New PvP maps are on the way too. “We have several new maps in development,” studio reps said. “A new desert themed conquest map, 2 additional small arena maps for custom arenas and a large arena map for custom areas.”
  • And what about Joko? “We had other story debt we needed to pay off this season, and a limited number of episodes in which to do it. We kept him around as long as we could justify to tie up his arc from PoF, but we couldn’t make him the main threat this season.”

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Guild Wars 2 continues efforts to fix its living world episode issues

When you deliberately add roller beetles to your game, you have to know that bugs are going to be an issue.

Guild Wars 2’s newest living world episode has been a big mess so far, with game errors getting in the way of players’ enjoyment and keeping some of them from finishing the content. The team pushed out a hotfix last evening that was aimed at some of the major issues, with another hotfix on the way this morning. It has also disabled the Stronghold of the Faithful raid map due to a serious issue with the encounter.

“Episode 3 has the largest story instance map of any we’ve ever attempted,” ArenaNet said, “and that large map size resulted in unintended consequences that were not detectable through pre-release testing but only became clear when the episode went live. We’re prioritizing getting that fixed.”

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Hyperspace Beacon: Memorable moments in Star Wars Galaxies, the original Star Wars MMORPG

Yesterday, the game that solidified my place in the MMO space would have turned 15 years old, and MJ, Bree, and I took a trip down memory lane by hopping into one of the Star Wars Galaxies emulators. All the memories of the adventures I had came flooding back, even though my muscle memory for the combat mechanics was gone.

Since the launch of SWG in 2003, we have seen the launch of two other MMORPGs (Clone Wars Adventures and Star Wars: The Old Republic) and other multiplayer online Star Wars games, like Battlefront. If your experiences in these online games were anything like mine, you’ve made many friends that you would otherwise never had contact with and have lived through virtua; adventures you’d never dreamed of experiencing in real life.

There was a time in this column’s lifespan that I would talk about all things Star-Warsy, leading up to the launch of SWTOR. And given that we just celebrated the original Star Wars MMO’s 15th anniversary, I figured I could take a moment to reflect on one of my favorite moments in Star Wars MMO history and ask you what your favorite moment was.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Our preview of Guild Wars 2’s Long Live the Lich, now live

We’ve waited out the short delay, and today’s the day when we get our hands on the third episode of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season. Long Live the Lich promises to be an intense addition to the season: A deadly plague in the hands of an angry Palawa Joko is no laughing matter, after all. I am delighted that we have some new content to uncover and the new roller beetle mount certainly helps, so I’m ready to settle in today and explore the gorgeous new map, the domain of Kourna some more. I was able to get a guided tour with some of the dev team before the weekend and was very impressed with the new map and mount, so I can’t wait to uncover more today.

In this episode of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll start off with a short recap so we’re all up to speed before I discuss my first impressions. I played for around 45 minutes and we didn’t go into any key story details, so this article shouldn’t reveal any more lore spoilers than the episode trailer, but if you’d prefer to go in without any info about the patch at all, give this one a skip until you’ve played yourself.

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ArenaNet on Guild Wars 2’s living story, Heart of Thorns vs. Path of Fire, security, and momentum

Though ArenaNet was technically at E3 this year, the group representing Guild Wars 2 was chiefly a marketing and business one, so they carted our interview questions back to team members more suited to answer. ArenaNet Brand Manager (and former Massively columnist) Lis Cardy, Design Manager Crystal Reid, Systems Team Lead Irenio Calmon-Huang, and Game Director Mike Zadorojny weigh in on the living story, security, gaining “momentum,” and more, just in time for the launch of the next episode later today. Let’s dig in.

The ever-living story

While I haven’t personally played much GW2 since the arc about the fall Lion’s Arch, I’ve liked the concept of an ever-evolving story. It’s actually what got me into MMOs thanks to the Asheron’s Call series’ monthly updates. When I asked how the ArenaNet team felt players were reacting to the current living story, especially in terms of pacing, Mike Zadorojny said the studio has “seen players become more engaged with the releases.” Apparently, they’re happy to see the connections players making to the stories and characters they’ve developed and especially with the discussions across Reddit and the forums.
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Flameseeker Chronicles: Discussing Guild Wars 2 content voids and cadence disruption

Waiting for a Living World release you know is coming eventually is one of the more frustrating parts of playing Guild Wars 2 for the chronically impatient like me, but when you add a delay announcement on top of that, community frustration can quickly accelerate. Cue a minor online panic: Content creators making parody trailers, prominent accounts announcing indefinite breaks, and general fear that we’re headed back to the Heart of Thorns content drought days! I want to slow down for a minute, though, keep my admittedly thin patience intact for a moment longer, and ask if we really need to worry just yet though.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I will dig into what we know about the delay to the next episode’s release and will consider if this is the start of a worrisome pattern or a justified blip on the radar. I’ll also consider why even small delays cause the degree of frustration they do, giving some ideas for how to minimise the impact of cadence shifts in future.

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Guild Wars 2 fans find evidence of ‘awakened’ mounts incoming

Possibly due to the delay of the next Guild Wars 2 living world update, certain store assets have been added to the game’s files that were not activated quite yet. However, dataminer that_shaman quickly unearthed a run-down of what’s incoming and shared among it the community.

In addition to a pack full of convenience upgrades and several new weapons, there are mentions of “awakened mounts” that should be coming to the game soon. The pack that you might be able to buy soon includes new golden-clad skins for the griffon, raptor, springer, jackal, and skimmer.

As players continue to wait for the patch, at least they’ll have the next season of the PvP league to anticipate. The twelfth season begins on June 12th and concludes August 8th. As for the next living story episode, that’s been delayed, and we’re still awaiting news on when it’ll drop.

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The next episode of Guild Wars 2’s living world season has apparently been delayed

You might have noticed it’s Tuesday, and there’s been no big trailer drop for the next Guild Wars 2 living world episode. That’s behind schedule if expected, given datamining, but ArenaNet has now acknowledged the delay all the same.

“The Living World Team currently is hard at work preparing Episode 3 of Living World Season 4,” ArenaNet’s Mike Zadorojny writes through the community team on the official forums. “We’re excited about how it’s shaping up, but wanted to give you a heads up that the release date will be a little outside our normal release cadence.” If that looks like a fancy way of saying the episode is late, welp, have a gold star. But there’s a reason:

“Our key focus while creating the Living World experience is the quality bar we’ve set for ourselves for each episode. With the amount of gameplay and breadth of content in Living World, we noticed that we had an opportunity to make some adjustments to how we approach developing each episode that will help us hit our quality standards more consistently. This logistical change has had some short-term ‘cost’ in time, but will provide benefits to all Living World episodes moving forward. We’ll be announcing Episode 3 as the date gets closer, and everyone on the team is looking forward to playing this new content with you!”

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Deep-diving Guild Wars 2’s A Bug in the System (part 2)

I have had plenty of time to digest the rest of Guild Wars 2‘s  A Bug in the System since the first part of my deep-dive went live, and I can’t wait to finally bring you the second half of my thoughts on the story so far. The episode was an absolute delight to play through and the creative direction for the episode really shone through. From clever mechanics to lore-rich environs, this episode really did have it all, and I just can’t wait for instalment three!

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll finish off my summary and appraisal of the latest story drop, including my high and low points as I wrap up. Just as with the first part, this article is best read after completion of the episode if you’re worried about spoilers, though tags will be used where needed to avoid the biggest spoilers.

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Perfect Ten: How MMOs can become more accessible

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was remarkably reluctant to enter into the field of MMORPGs despite being a perfect candidate (a gaming geek who loved fantasy and sci-fi RPGs). All of the reasons that I had at the time for stalling really could have been boiled down to a single word: accessibility.

MMOs back then looked — and probably were — very inaccessible. They had a payment barrier. They required a lot of setup and hardware. Their interfaces were cluttered and their gameplay interactions were obtuse. Frankly, I got the impression that a lot of them were a mess that was only understandable to those who had put in hundreds of hours to decipher the format.

When MMOs started to become more accessible, particularly with City of Heroes, World of Warcraft, and Guild Wars, I eagerly jumped in. Those three titles in particular made giant leaps forward in opening up these games to the first-time player. But that doesn’t mean that MMORPGs have arrived at universal accessibility just yet. Here are ten areas that studios could be improving in order to make their titles more appealing and understandable to outsiders.

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Guild Wars 2 tortures Dervish fans with an outfit but no class, denies excessive data collection in ‘spyware’ controversy

World polish and bug fixes are at the forefront of Guild Wars 2’s latest patch, which went live yesterday.

Several nagging issues across the game were addressed, including hang-ups in the personal story, raids, and achievements. ArenaNet teased players by adding a “Primeval Dervish Outfit” and scythe to the cash shop, making all Guild Wars 1 refugees pine for that great class.

“A Primeval Dervish outfit, instead of a actual Dervish class… cries in Spanish,” one player said.

It also sounds like there is some movement in the game’s living world storyline: “Peacemakers report a greatly diminished presence of Awakened forces in asuran territories. The Arcane Council nonetheless urges travelers to exercise caution until any remaining malevolent undead are proven to be entirely eradicated.”

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