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Guild Wars 2 = WAR (with three sides and perfect realm balance)

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WoH: What I want to know

Just a list of questions I’d love to get some answers to.

  1. What is the projected length of each match?
  2. What is the projected length of combat interactions?
    1. I.E. in LoL, a fight between two people can last seconds to a minute or so with feints, baits, etc.. Group fights can also be similarly diverse.
  3. With multiple maps, will the objective of each be the same?
    1. If no, what are the different game-types?
  4.  How many maps are there planned to be?
  5. Will there be leveling within a match?
    1. If so, what will leveling provide?
    2. Will all five powers (skills, abilities, w/e) be available from the start?
  6. Will there be any “neutral” mobs, or “creeps” similar to other MOBAs?
  7.  Any plans to include a match-only item shop as seen in other MOBAs?
  8. It was stated there are 40 levels to each account, what comes along with this advancement?
  9. With six possible team members, are you planning on adhering to typical MMO archetypes?
    1. Are you planning on sticking with WAR’s archetypes?
  10. WoH appears to be using the same engine as WAR, can we expect similar control schema?

That was enlightening

Gamescon is going on, and a lot of the people I follow on Twitter over at Mythic were reminding me of the EA segment that was going on today. I figured that something interesting may be coming, but more importantly, I wanted to see the new info on Battlefield 3, which I had also been getting pelted with tweets about. So, I happily followed the link, and watched the proceeding panel on my palm-sized phone screen while a software install of Revit processed on my work computer. Good timing!

The small community I’m injected into, and spend the most time with, is probably those who play(ed) WAR, and who still keep tabs on it pretty heavily. So, it’s no surprise that the announcement of Wrath of Heroes is the one being most talked about amongst them. There’s rote reporting, excitement, justification, ambivalence, cautious non-committal speculation, and further disappointment. Suffice to say, the emotional gamut is being run. My thoughts on it are probably not as emotionally swayed as some others at this point, having stopped playing the game with any enthusiasm months ago, and only returning on the rare occasion when I get an itch. My last days in WAR were primarily spent in scenarios, and that craving is almost entirely satiated by LoL. So, while I may agree a bit in part with Rancid’s above-linked post on the de-evolution of ORvR, I also keep in mind, that way-back-when, probably before most of you remember this, WAR was a PvP game of SCs. Keeps, fortresses, and all that wonderful “openness” was not in the picture. The franchise has come full circle, sort-of. Lum said it right when he wrote The engine was just sitting there.

What I’m seeing of WoH, is that Mythic (BioWare, EA, whatever) is trying to dive into the MOBA market. Only in a different way. They seem to be blending TF2 style play with MOBAs. Pre-designed heroes, with a small set of powers, and an account-leveling system that any LoL fanatic will find just like home. Only, apparently you can swap out heroes in mid-match. Which means there’s not likely to be an in-game leveling system (Edit: According to Werit, in his comments section, there is leveling in each match), which means your skills are what they are from start to end. This also means there’s not likely to be any creeps, or item buying that helps make the MOBA style of game work. So, perhaps this is going to be just a fantasy version of TF2, with 3 sides. The three sides thing isn’t to be discounted though, as that is something pretty new to the genre of gaming, and sadly, still rare in PvP MMOs.

I’m curious to see how it will all turn out, but there is no fire lit under me to jump onto the game. I literally know next to nothing about it. It may just be WAR with a bunch of three-team scenarios. In which case, for players like Rancid, it symbolizes a disturbing trend. Players like Mykiel, it just gives them more areas to potentially play around in. For players like myself, WAR became antiquated with one announcement, as all of the notes WoH seems to be trying to sing at first blush, are being pleasantly rung elsewhere in my world.

Welcome back!

But sorry, your lost item will remain lost.

A recap if you don’t want to read his yellow text:

CSR: How can I help?

SW: My Golden Ankrh is missing. I for sure last saw it in February, not sure about a few weeks ago.

CSR: Let me look into it.

CSR: Sorry, no-can-do.

SW: Any particular reason you can’t restore it?

CSR: Canned response. Anything else?

SW: No.

I get that customer service can only do so much, but when a customer asks for a particular or specific reason, it’s nice to get one. Letting your customer know WHY you can’t do something makes them feel like you aren’t just punching a card, and that there are actual reasons that can’t be overcome. Canned answers as a response to a request for more details is a TERRIBLE way to reply.

I’ve been wrong before…

And I will probably be so again.

That said, I replied to a commenter that one of my guildies may be a dirty exploiter, but my doubts are beginning to rise. There are a couple of reasons for this, which I’ll shortly. Beyond my near rage-enducing frustration at the lovely state of game geometry and the ever dreaded invisible walls, I was able to log onto my Knight after working a bit on my German. From there, I started looking at the whole situation a bit more critically. Now that I had gotten over the “ohmygodmyaccountisbannedandmywholeguildisgone” situation, I started to analyze and examine the whole thing.

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Things that make you quit a game

Log into Warhammer: City Siege. Okay, good stuff. Run to the door to zone into a siege, instead be sent to a Tier 1 zone. Run across the map to a flight attendant, and go BACK to the city.

Can only find instances empty of allies.

Decide instead to try and solo roam/gank any destro trying to cross Reikland unhindered.

On the path back from the city gates, drop down to the river and follow the path to Reikland, only to meet an invisible wall by rocks that you cannot jump over, even though you can clearly see the other side. Turn BACK around, and try to run up what clearly looks like a ramp returning to the bridge back to the base camp outside of Altdorf.

Discover ANOTHER invisible wall on the ramp, and have your access impeded. While rubbing your nose against the invisible wall like a hound on the scent of fowl, looking for any possible sliver of an opening through, you slide a bit off the edge of the ramp, and get stuck in a perptual non-moving fall. Only to be killed to unstick you, and put you back in the base camp. Only there are no healers in the base camp, so you are left stuck with a 15 minute PvE death timer that you have to run back to SOMEWHERE to heal.

Sorry, no scenarios, everyone is in the city.

Ahhhh…good times

I’ll say this: the customer support for EA, Mythic/Bioware/whatever-the-hell-they-are-called-now, is very good.

I got an email yesterday morning that my (trial) account had been banned for duping. I was sitting in the middle of extended care at church, so the irony of the situation had a bit more punch than usual. So, I immediately responded to the described email stating my dispute. The automated response I got in return said to expect a turn around in 24 to 72 hours. In reality, it took maybe two hours. My appeal had been reviewed and passed through. My complete lack of duping was acknowledged, a request needed to be made to reactivate my account. However, I apparently DID have some duped items in my inventory that were taken from my guild hall. Apparently someone has been misbehaving…

So, after church, my wife and I went to the in-laws to eat a crazy-good roast for lunch, and drop the little-one off to be watched over while we did some shopping for an upcoming vacation. So, after wrapping up all that, picking up the little one, and getting home, I was greeted to a Steam message from a guildie asking what happened to the guild. It seems as if almost everyone had been banned (we all use the vault for talismans/pots/etc…). So the duped items got buck-shot to all of us. I told the guildie what I did, and what I’ve done to resolve it, and proceeded onto step 2 of the guided directions to make my (trial) account active again. The process went smoothly for the most part, with the CSR’s being incredibly helpful and eager to work with me. The biggest downside is that something is going on that is keeping me from being able to actually log onto a character. I can patch the game, get to the server list, but from there I get disconnected. The issue has been passed up to tier 3, and I am expecting a resolution in 24 to 72 hours from last night, though if the track record is anything to go by, I expect it to happen much more quickly than that.

As to what I think happened: I have my suspicions, I have only been able to talk to two guildies so far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my hunch lands true. I won’t cast aspersions, but if this kills off the entire guild, I’m going to be a sad, sad panda. I had just transfered my Knight over there to play with these guys, and that may have been a waste of money now. Playing on a Euro server with my hours of play is just not a viable reality if I don’t have friendlies to fall back on. Possibility of reactivating my account is low if my group is gone.

Which may not be a bad thing, because I’m back in EVE online again, and having fun. It may seem silly, but I’m learning how to better read these various star maps with jump bridges explained out, and finding out how to work with jump clones, and transport stuff around. It’s all very menial, busy work, but it feels like what I’m doing is involved and necessary for what my greater plans are. So yeah, if WAR falls flat, and I don’t feel the urge to re-roll or pony up $20-40 again for transfers (or activate my OTHER account with a BG), EVE is always there, happily waiting and ready.

No matter what you take away from this though: remember that EA’s CS has been righteous, and deserve respect and thanks for a job frequently overlooked.

Escape Dependency

I played a bit of WAR over the weekend. My Knight remains on Gorfang, so I hooked back up with my old guild Blitz who are on Norn with my Shadow Warrior. The nostalgia was pleasant, and the game’s art is still some of the best around, but there are still some serious flaws that I just think aren’t going away anytime soon. One of these issues is the way escape tools perform in the game.

When looking at WAR as a PvP game, I tend to do so strongly filtered through my recenly refined lense that from playing EVE and LoL. In doing so, I see concepts that may be miss-applied between games. When looking at LoL, you see that the melee killers have some way of closing the distance. Xin’s charge, Eve’s stealth, Nocturnes speed path and his crazy warp ultimate. This same concept is found in MDPS in WAR: leap, charge, stealth. All are actions that work independent of the some enemy condition, outside of range.

Now, look at the escape tools for the ranged in LoL. Ashe tends to be insanely fast, Nidalee has her cat leap, Cait has her net snare + blow back, and so on. Most of these don’t depend on the state of the target, or even a target at all. When looking at ranged careers in WAR, all tools for escape are contingent on hitting the enemy and not being met with an immunity (outside of the universal flee).

Why is this a problem? Melee has much higher damage. This was done to make up for needing to close the distance. Except always functioning gap closers, and sometimes multiples of them give them the ability to make the range advantage immaterial, and this problem became even further attenuated by the unification if immunities. That act may have been good for the game as a whole, but it fucked the ranged players.

Ranged players either need to have the damage to stand toe to toe with a melee combatant, or need to be equally good at escaping as their assailants.

It always brings you back

Feeling the WAR itch again. Going to see about possibly transferring my Knight to Norn and joining back up with my old guild. Going to queue up the download when I get home.

WAR UI questions

Werit tipped me into this questionnaire from Mr. Casey.

1.  What method do you use to move around in game.  (ex. WASD, Arrow Keys, Mouse Button 1+2, etc.)

I also use a N52te game pad and had the d-pad mapped to the arrow keys. However, I also sometimes use the right+left mouse buttons to steer when my left hand is too busy.

2.  What method do you use to control your camera movement. (ex. 1st person mode, mouse RB, etc.)

Right mouse.

3.  What method do you use to fire off your abilities (ex. Click on abilities, click on number corresponding to hotbar, mouse buttons, etc.)

I have all my buttons mapped on my n52te.

4.  What method do you use to target your enemy targets (ex. Tab, click, combination, etc.)

I have a button mapped to cycle enemy targets. Very rarely, would I click on them, and when I had to, it made me angry every time.

5.  What method do you use to target your friendly targets (ex. Hotkey, click on person, click on group/warband, Function keys, etc.)

Click their name in group/warband.

6.  What method do you use to fire off your tactics/morales. (ex. Hotkey, click, etc.)

Mouse click – I always meant to bind them, but could never find the room for them on my game pad.

7.  What mods do you use to assist in any of the above and how do they benefit you? (ex. Squared, etc.)

Group icons for sure and unit frames (Pure) are a necessity. The actual method of  clicking and targeting was all done through base game functionality. I didn’t use any special assist mod or anything of that nature.

8.  Breakdown of your play sessions. (ex. 50% ORVR, 30% Scenarios, 20% PVE, etc.)

It was usually about 20% ORvR and 80% Scenarios.

9.  What one thing would improve your ability to control, target, or interact with the game? (please limit it one specific item)

Increasing the targeting range with tab/cycle target/etc… As I said above, I would get incredibly frustrated when trying to pick one guy out of a crowd from 100′ away on a ranged character. From that distance, the target to click was small, and usually jumbled with a bunch of other targets around them – and you could not cycle through targets to get them because the range on that function was about 65′ or so. It made me fume every time.