Experienced Points: How Massive Multiplayer Should Work

By Shamus Posted Friday Sep 21, 2012

Filed under: Column 117 comments

Boom! Outta nowhere. Suddenly I write an Experienced Points column. This week I’m talking about How Massive Multiplayer Should Work.

Of course I’m talking about Guild Wars 2. I’ve covered these ideas a bit here on the blog, but I wanted to gather them up and present them in some kind of order.

In the column I mention that I’ve spent a lot of time in a group. The sad thing is, not all of it is as productive as it could be. Some people are so enamored of the idea that helping is kill-stealing that they deliberately avoid helping. Just an hour ago I was pounding the snot out of an ogre, like you do in these games. Someone else came up, and began hitting another ogre, nearby. If she’d helped me, we’d both get credit for the first ogre, kill it twice as fast, then both get credit for the second. We also get a loot roll for each ogre. We’re effectively doubling the experience and loot for the same effort by working together.

Still, it’s hard to explain these mechanics to people in the middle of an ogre-brawl, and it’s probably just easier to push on and let other people do their own thing. Still, her behavior is incredibly common, and I’m sure it’s just a habit picked up by long-time players of old-style* online games.

* By “old” I mean, “older than last month, which is when Guild Wars 2 launched.

It’s not a horrible problem and it doesn’t really harm anything, it’s just an interesting behavior to observe. Me? I’m a habitual murder-buddy. If I cross paths with someone I often drop what I’m doing to follow them and help them kill stuff for a while, but because it’s interesting to see the various classes and players do their thing, and because combat is more fun with low-commitment teamwork.


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117 thoughts on “Experienced Points: How Massive Multiplayer Should Work

  1. Spammy says:

    I wish I had the money to buy Guild Wars 2. When I play I do one of two things: Be a credit to team or be crazy.

    No seriously in TF2 I have about 3-4 times more Engie play than my next most-played class. I love being an Engineer. I love the sound a Sentry Gun makes when it acquires a target. I love seeing a Medic hug up on my dispenser. I love hearing compliments when someone walks out of my teleporter. I am an Engineer. And then Shamus keeps blogging about how you get rewards for helping and reviving people and I frown and want to see what being credit to team is like in GW2.

    1. Shamus says:

      There’s an engineer class in the game where you can make turrets and healing devices. (They give off a healing aura.)

      Just saying.

      1. Mephane says:

        GW2’s engineer is also a pyro. Just saying. XD

        1. Lovecrafter says:

          And a Medic.

            1. Spammy says:

              I don’t know if there’s a word yet for being the opposite of helpful, but you people are doing it. Stop tempting me to spend my dwindling cash supply on GW2.

              1. krellen says:

                GW2 Engineers are also Soldiers – getting both a rocket launcher (as long as you are Charr) and a rocket jump (available to all races).

                1. Cody211282 says:

                  Wait, their are races other then Charr?

                  1. Cody211282 says:

                    There are*

                    1. Rack says:

                      Yes. Races voiced by Jennifer Hale.

              2. Brandon says:

                Have we mentioned how much Guild Wars 2 rewards you for helping people? :)

              3. Soylent Dave says:


                (couldn’t resist)

                1. Diamond Dog says:

                  I don't know if there's a word yet for being the opposite of helpful, but you people are doing it.
                  There is: troll.

    2. Mark says:

      The nice thing about buying GW2 is that once you do, its yours to play whenever.

      I’d’ve thought a lot longer about buying it if I had to commit to a subscription. Actually, no, I’d’ve thought a lot less, I simply would’ve ignored it.

      I have 3 level 2s and a level 3. I’m enjoying it so far.

      1. rofltehcat says:

        Yeah it costs only the initial purchase but I really dislike the things they did with the crystals. Yeah, they can also be purchased with gold but some of the things they designed to be paid with crystals seem to be limited on purpose to require massive farming or micropayments.

        Maybe I’m just bitter because I completely lack bank space to store my sweet sweet cooking stuff (arrrg I hate the components that can’t be stored in the collection -.-)

        1. Peter H. Coffin says:

          But what did they do with the gems that you don’t like? I mean, there’s not a lot that can be bought with them that’s even *useful*, and nothing that’s game-changing…

          1. rofltehcat says:

            Ah, I just dislike microtransactions and feel that some things purchased with crystals are intentionally limited to sell more crystals. For example, the bank feels far too small and even the first extra tab costs 600 crystal.

            1. Duneyrr says:

              Luckily, there IS a Gold to Gems conversion. By the time you really feel you need the extra bank space (which probably won’t happen unless you are cooking or a pack-rat) you should be able to afford that many gems with the gold you have. I have been cooking and, since intermediate ingredients don’t fit in the collectibles bank, I ended up grabbing an extra bag and bank slot, but if I wasn’t cooking, I’d still be fine with the starting spaces that I have and I’m at level 45!

            2. Kdansky says:

              I also hated these things, until I realized something:

              Other people are paying real moneybucks for gems, so they can have useless vanity items. Those real moneybucks are used to keep the servers running for the game that I play. In essence, other people are paying my subscription. That’s a bit stupid, but very nice of them. As long as the RMTs don’t break the game (see Battlefield Heroes), they are great for me!

      2. Zak McKracken says:

        What does it say about games these days that “once you buy it you’re allowed to play it as long as you like” is considered a positive trait?

        1. Pickly says:

          Not so much games in general, but MMO’ss specifically, are what this applies to (Previous ones were largely subscription.)

        2. KMJX says:

          Actually it’s more like “as long as you like, and follow the rules of conduct”
          Which is awesome for an MMO.

          1. Bryan says:

            …And the servers are up, of course.

            Not that I think they’ll be torn down anytime soon, given the way everyone seems to like the game at the moment. But eventually I do think they won’t be worth the cost to the company anymore, and will be taken down.

            As long as you get enough entertainment out of it between the time you spend money and the time that happens, it’s still worth it, of course. But there is that other caveat. :-)

            1. Jeff says:

              Idly, Guild Wars 1 is running.

              It actually has a surge in population from people going back to fill their Hall of Monuments.

  2. Phantos says:

    I don’t blame people for not wanting to help out others in Guild Wars 2. So many MMOs bizarrely punish players for thinking about anything other than self-conservation. Maybe this is why giving a single drop of loot, and then expecting 70+ people to take down the boss to get it might have been short-sighted.

    This built-in aversion to helping people in a game that demands(or at least strongly encourages) co-operation is something that should have died years ago. I don’t know why developers of MMOs do that. I don’t know what lunatic decided players should lose EXP if they try to work together to take down a foe that is their own level. If they even think about trying to play the game the way it was intended. Design choices like that completely miss the point of a Massively Multiplayer title.

    It’s why “Rhete” had the following to say about Final Fantasy XI, an MMO notorious for punishing players for wanting to help each other out:

    “In a game where you are worthless on your own, creating an atomosphere where no one will help and lives in constant fear of death and can’t just loosen up, and play the game for FUN, makes it damn near unplayable, and the worst video game ever.”

    1. Brandon says:

      Interestingly enough, FFXI has a really close-knit community and people are always willing to help. Even people who have been playing since launch have jobs on their main characters that are underleveled, or they are standing around bored waiting for the next dungeon or whatever, and they can sync their level with yours to help you.

      The fact that you are worthless on your own is an encouragement to find a group.. and since EVERYONE needs a group to be successful, people actually FORM groups. It’s not like everyone but you can somehow solo just fine.

      Really, in that game you just have to put yourself out there and talk to people. Weird huh?

      I played it for a long time and I had a great time, no idea what he’s talking about it being the worst game ever.

      1. CTrees says:

        I suspect it just takes the right sort of person to enjoy the game. Because personally? I’m with the author of that article – FFXI is the single least enjoyable video game I’ve ever played, including random browser games or free crap I downloaded on a whim from the Android App Store. For me, it was painfully unpleasant on every level, from installation all the way through the inevitable uninstallation. The thing is, I went in expecting to like the game, and tried playing significantly longer than I normally would have, just because I wanted to find something to like.

        I’m happy you managed to enjoy FFXI, but good lord, that was painful for me.

  3. Daedalist says:

    I’m a little of a “murder buddy” myself. This makes me a little unpopular in LOTRO, as I have a tendency of “helping” somebody without grouping as I move past if it looks like they’re in trouble. Not only do I not get XP — they get penalised for it too.

    Fortunately, that’s getting taken away in the next major update. Still, I wish LOTRO took more out of GW2’s book (I know a month isn’t long to update your game, but stil… ;)

    Massively ran an article on what LOTRO and GW2 could learn from each other. It’s a good read.

    1. Joshua says:

      Eh, his priorities are not my priorities. I think what LOTRO could have learned most was giving benefits to people to help others do old-content. In GW2, you get xp, money, karma, etc. *and* an exciting time.

      LOTRO’s solution was implementing a clumsy “Token of Valor” system that only worked for the Epic quests, had to have the quests picked up first, and then gave generally lousy rewards. The side-quests for the Moria dungeons to help someone else complete their class quests were more of the same nice idea, idiotic presentation.

      So, the incentives sucked, so LOTRO’s solution was, “I guess no one wants to help others anymore, so we’ll just make the old content all soloable”. Well, that is one way to do it, or they could have just given more incentive to help others apart from a pat on the back.

    2. Peter H. Coffin says:

      Heh. That’s the opposite of how I handle it — flashy ANYTHING gets my attention, and I’ll divert. If it’s more than I can handle, I’ll hang around the edges and take potshots and revive people that the battle has drifted away from. If I’m getting gimped by the leveling of the area, I’m unlimbering with the mace and torch, wading in and playing dumb-bash-babe. But anything I see, hear, or happen to be near, I’m there, for at least a little while. I’ll even wing a few shots at critters I merely run past, in case they’re the not-self-healing kind and someone can come along and take down a centaur or Son that’s not quite at full capacity anymore.

  4. shiroax says:

    I’m pretty sure some quests in quests in Cata let you share credit without grouping too, but too few and too far apart to reprogram players to help each other out. Usually I helped people kill the first mob i saw them fighting, then if they helperd me with my next one, asked them to group, or just did that till we’re done, and if they didn’t just shot their monsters once so i could leech kills without killstealing.

    Edited to add: I guess more games will do it now they see people like not being jerks to everybody all the time. Who would have thought?

    1. It will be a major evolution in gaming. The “blue !” quests were a nice start, and GW2 took that on to the next level it looks like.

  5. Well, my first post was eaten. Here it goes again:

    This may be less previous MMO experience and more “playstyle”. I frequently enjoy GW2 combat so much that I actuall;y test myself by going it solo at times. And some of my characters seem like the kind of people who’d rather wouldn’t jump in to somebody else’s fight unless they were asked, instead politely or respectfully keeping their distance. Others will leap into he fray and assist anyone around. In fact, without even realizing it – I found myself roleplaying, something almost impossible in other MMO’s.

    It’s interesting that GW2 supports the variety of playstyles, ironically by NOT supporting them. Or hindering them. The point is to allow people to make their own choices and it’s done very well. You can cooperate or go off by yourself. You can tackle quests peacefully or violently, try stunts or explore, and the game doesn’t need to bribe you much because it’s all fun. You’ll want to do it all, so the game quietly slips off. It doesn’t need to shove its way into the action, and while the UI is a necessary evil, this game comes the closes to making it entirely optional of any MMO I’ve ever seen.

    Likewise, I love the fact that different people’s character, and the characters of different people, comes to life so well. Look at the way opeople play different classes at times, or the way different races act. When I’m playing a human, I’m extra aggressive in defending human settlements or attacking centaurs. It’s not because I hate other races – it’s because I get involved in the kind of personal relationships Brisui has with with people who get attacked (even if they are NPC’s). They freqently do things and live their lives, and act a lot mroe lifelike than most MMO NPC’s. I’m not going to break down in tears if one dies, but the fictional character and world are real enough that I *want* to defend them.

    The centaur aren’t just pretty chunks of xp randomly spawning – they’re merciless brute barbarians who must be repeatedly crushed, because they will happily murder any human they come across. They’re not just abstract “bad guys” to me. They’re specific villains who think of themselves are superior and sneer at the idea of humans even having a right to live. Sure, a little bit of that comes through dialogue. But mostly it’s their actions and the way the game world presents them. They wreck and destroy everything, even their own environments, and they target not warriors and soldiers, but any settlement they come across. And even better, the various enemy groups aren’t identical in their organization or presentation. The Inquest is totally different in its style and actions, even though it basically fills out the same role. My Asura character doesn’t want to destroy the inquest as my human wants to destroy the Centaur – he wants to humiliate them, and even that is a more abstract “stop wasting my time and getting in my way” attitude.

    It’s a rather impressive achievment, actually.

    1. StranaMente says:

      One thing that keep impressing me is the amount of exposition you get just by overhearing npc’s conversations.
      Often I stand near npc’s while managing my inventory and listen to what they’re saying and I get an idea of the place where I’m in without having to do anything. Tidbits of informations, or even better opinions of the people living there, so you can have the quaggan pirate who’s in favour of pillaging, and the seraph guards that despise the pirates in the same area.
      You have children playing that may let you comprehend something about the history of the nation.
      Or the escort missions, where the people you’re defending tells you about the place you’re seeing.
      It’s all wonderful and never yanks you out of the action to dump on you walls of text, and make the places feel alive.

      Also I loved how the heart missions give you the chance to roleplay by chosing which activity could suit you best.

    2. Lachlan the Mad says:

      Speaking as an Asura (both in-game and spiritually), the centaurs baffle me. All centaurs are listed as enemies, they’ve been in a constant state of warfare with the humans for some 300 years, they lose almost every single battle they fight, and they’re presumably slow-breeding since I’ve yet to see (and kill) a baby centaur… how are they not extinct yet?

      1. That is exactly the sort of question I often have in an MMO. One of the great things about phasing in WoW/Cataclysm and even the phasing in WotLK.

        1. Lachlan the Mad says:

          Sorry, MMO noobage; how is phasing relevant to that? I kind of get what it is — for example, GW2 phases loot drops and resource nodes — but I don’t get how it’s relevant to the fact that centaurs are not extinct yet.

          1. Mechakisc says:

            Phasing in this case refers to the way Blizzard changes the world around you as you complete quests.

            The big one in Cataclysm is the Hyjal Zone. As you progress through the zone, you are phased into a different version of the zone – when you complete the quests to clean up some of the elementals, the area you’ve been questing through is suddenly greener and growing again, rather than the blasted landscape you were wandering through before that.

            Therefore, you don’t feel like you’ve killed 300 million centaurs (or elementals), but there are still 300 million to go.

            1. Lachlan the Mad says:

              So in this case, a phased version of the centaur battles would mean that after you had defeated the centaur chieftain, you wouldn’t see any centaurs there any more? Actually, I’m not sure that I would like that… the constant centaur events *are* good for my karma…

      2. Gildan Bladeborn says:

        Dunno about the whole “not extinct yet bit”, but technically the centaurs are at war with the nation of Kryta and not all humans everywhere. Admittedly that piece of information isn’t exactly glaringly obvious, as it’s from a conversation 2 npcs have (a centaur envoy and a member of the lionguard) that, depending on when/if you happen to pass through a certain fort Kessex, you might simply never stumble upon, so it’s an understandable mistaken conclusion given the available evidence.

        But anyways, centaurs are actually fine with Lion’s Arch, or at least they’ve signed treaties and are not actually at war with them.

  6. Raygereio says:

    I'm a habitual murder-buddy.

    I immediatly muttered “praise the sun” when I read that. I might have been playing a bit too much Dark Souls lately.

    1. IFS says:

      Jolly Cooperation!

    2. Alphadrop says:

      Every game needs more sunbros.

  7. zob says:

    After all your posts I was about to cast my doubts about MMOs aside and try GW2 but then they released FTL.

    1. rofltehcat says:

      Oh yeah, that one got me hooked, too…
      I constantly wonder why nobody ever thought of the game concept before. After all, it is just based on the usual Star Trek/Andromeda/whatever crew-based Sci-Fi and it isn’t really limited by technology, either.
      Hell, my SNES could probably run that game’s graphics.

  8. rofltehcat says:

    While we are talking about grouping in GW2, I’d like to share my opinion about one kind of group content:
    The dungeons are BAD. Some concepts in the ones I’ve seen up to now (namely trap mechanics) are good. But most of the battles are very bad and full of (mainly but not limited to melee-unfriendly) oneshots that can theoretically be dodged using the game’s (very good) dodge mechanics unless the mob is blinking like a christmas tree, which it always is. Other than that, many mobs seem to be simply overtuned. Sadly, many of the battles boil down to everyone running back from the nearest waypoint several times.
    Strangely, I’m running into these problems only in dungeons. Outside of dungeons, I got no problems to dodge all the nasty abilities and often solo mobs that others wipe on with 2 people (once some kind of ogre that was standing on 4 player corpses and had such a slow swing time that every single hit could be dodged… don’t ask me how they made that happen).
    But maybe I just got into bad groups, I don’t know? Or maybe it gets better in the later levels?

    However, other group content outside the dungeons seems to be quite fun. I only wish there were a little more events. Especially the ones that have some sort of boss fight at the end tend to be great.
    For example, one of the events I did was a huge giant inside a cave. Pretty easy to dodge all his moves (many aoe) but still a lot of fun.

    1. Shamus says:

      Agreed on the dungeons. And the first dungeon in the game (catacombs) is offensively bad. This is how we welcome new players to the group mechanics? Massive difficulty spikes, gotcha traps, one-shot bosses, and ass loot?

      It’s like a throwback to the bad old days of pre-WoW games where you needed a full team and careful pulling so the group can dogpile on one mob and slowly wear down its massive pool of hitpoints. And if ANYONE makes a mistake you’ll end up with a domino party wipe. Bad bad bad stupid brain-dead unfun horrible. I’m not against the traps in theory. And I’m not against gimmick bosses. But let’s keep that stuff to a minimum while players are still getting a feel for the radically different dungeon-combat mechanics.

      I ran Ascalon Catacombs, and by the end I’d earned half a gold and gotten 3/4 of a level in the course of an hour and a half. The problem is, even if I wasn’t paying for repairs due to death, that’s still AWFUL pay. I could have gone to Harathi Hinterlands and looped through the event chain there. I would have made more loot, more XP, more money, heaped up lots of crafting materials, and had more fun.

      Randy figured out that bosses with defiance were still vulnerable to being hit with rocks. (One stack of defiance makes the boss immune to one knockdown attack. If he’s got five stacks of defiance, then you need to hit him with 6 knockdowns before he’ll actually fall over. Then they get back up and their stacks are restored. The King has twenty-five stacks of defiance.) So everyone in the party grabbed the boulders used for the idiotic Zelda-button puzzles and literally stoned him to death. We weren’t actually playing the game anymore. We weren’t using our classes or powers. We were just throwing rocks. It was hilariously stupid, and was the only thing that kept me from rage-quitting.

      Even the trash mobs were HARD. The fights were slow, and we couldn’t tell if they were supposed to be this way, or if we were doing something wrong. The only feedback the game offers is YOU DIE.

      The REALLY scary part is that the Manor was reportedly not too bad, but in a recent patch they made it more like the catacombs. ArenaNet is apparently listening to the advice of their hardcore raid-masters for designing their introductory dungeons.


      1. rofltehcat says:

        Ha, the manor is hell. The first boss(? at least it gives a loot chest) is manageable despite being still very melee unfriendly and oneshotty) but the trash after that is just an insult.

        The king in Ascalon Catacombs was a pure corpserun and I was in there with a very competent group, 3/5 had already done the instance. Even shooting him from a distance with the rifle had insulting (weapon throw?) onehits that could only really be dodged by guessing his cooldown timer…

        I don’t know about the hardcore raidmasters, though… I was very hardcore into the raids in Rift and I guess we were doing ok in WoW’s Sunwell before RotLK with having killed everything Kil’jaeden. Sure, encounters are very different in this game but you’d expect that the dungeons would be at least manageable. But looking at GW2’s forum, there really seem to be people posting “it’s fine, l2p, learn to dodge and play properly”… though many many more complain about dungeons there, too, so they’re probably just the usual trolls.

      2. Mephane says:

        The weird thing is that the dungeon mechanics themselves are not that bad. If they just cut damage of all mobs by 50% (or generally enough to not one-hit everything all the time) it would be far better. Getting hit for half your health is usually managable, it would show you did something wrong, you back off, regen, pay closer attention the next time the mob does the same attack, and learn. At the moment it is just *poof* you are dead.

        I can’t even imagine playing a melee in any of the dungeons, for them it must be even worse.

        1. Lachlan the Mad says:

          I agree that the dungeons are too effing hard, mostly because the monsters are too hard. I made it just past the doorway in Catacombs before giving up. You really can’t finish them without having a good team who know about raid mechanics. I had a rubbish team and it was very difficult to convince them to gang up on one ghost at a time rather than running around letting all the ghosts out. We gave up very quickly.

          The other problem I have with dungeons is that it’s really hard to find a group. Group-seeking is done through ye olde method of standing outside the entrance typing “LFG AC” for an hour. It cuts quite a contrast to the game’s usual “everything is new and streamlined” approach. A proper group-finder (preferably one that can throw you a vaguely balanced team) would be awesome.

          1. Mephane says:

            There is one thing they did right – no enrage timers. Last night I was in Sorrow’s Embrace, and the fight against Kudu and his Golems took us really long (about half an hour), with many phases where only one was still alive, just constantly dodging stuff until everyone else was back in the fight. Other MMOs tend to prevent people from defeating foes by outlasting them, and impose arbitrary timers and thus DPS constraints.

            1. Khizan says:

              In WoW, though, without enrage mechanics or other strenuous DPS tests(Kill all the slimes! Now! Quick!) you can end up with raid progression groups that look like, say 10 tanks and 15 healers for certain fights without heavy DPS requirements. Hell, you could do back when I was playing, IIRC, though none of the harder ones I can recall.

              And people WOULD. IIRC, for the world-first kills on Heroic Nefarian, the guild stacked ridiculous amounts of druids to abuse their Rip being too powerful at the time.

              Rage mechanics, hard or soft, prevent the “10 blood DKs, 10 holydins, and 5 disc priests” style of bossfighting.

              1. Danath says:

                Soft enrages are good counters to this, or mechanics that DO require a certain amount of dps to be hit to do something important (you must break the bosses shield by doing X dps or else he kills everyone or at least the current tank).

                Or alternatively, and this is my personal viewpoint, it’s “who cares”, let them bring 10 tanks and 15 healers, unless the boss has a good reason to have a hard short enrage, then it doesn’t matter to me.

                I know in GW2 I’ve managed to solo several incredibly powerful champions, or take out a reasonably powerful event boss (Champion Siege Destroyer!) with just me and a couple of others and it took us a long time, simply because nobody else would show up and our dps was low. It was hard, long, but we still GOT it, and I’m cool with that, no arbitrary “this thing kills you all now” mechanic to deal with.

      3. The Rocketeer says:

        Did they change the manor? Recently? I remember the first two fights being a bit tougher than they might ought to be, and then everything after that being exactly as hard as a dungeon probably should be. Which is to say, not too difficult at all, because why should it be? The difficulty should be in line with the rest of the game, and the rest of the game is set at “manageable, but sometimes challenging.” There is nothing about the dungeons- the treasure earned, the rewards paid for in Dungeon Doodads, or especially the exposition recounted in them that does or could justify such remarkable heapings of fake difficulty, since that’s what the real complaint about the dungeon’s is- it’s not really a matter of being hard, it’s a matter of being total and utter bullshit intended not to challenge players but to frustrate them and waste their time.

        Aaaanyway… the Manor is actually light enough that last week me, another guildie, and some random fellow three-manned it after arbitrarily deciding not to wait on anyone else. We thrashed it. Our party did wipe once- due to pulling two large groups at the same time. So that’s something.

        This is not a complaint. I don’t know if they rebalanced it before or after that, but every time I run the Manor’s story with someone who hasn’t done it- which I love doing because I have an inexplicable attraction to slaying and profit- we have a total blast, and if they were expecting something like what they’d seen or heard of the Catacombs, they are blown away by how fun and rewarding and it is. It also isn’t a massive drag on time because you don’t spend 45 minutes regrouping from TPK’s. If someone has any complaints about that, I have a woodchipper they can stick their hand in, because it really sounds like they might enjoy that kind of thing.

        And if they don’t I can just tell them to learn to do it better, and then throw some bottlecaps at them they can spend on an ugly pair of pants.

        1. StranaMente says:

          Just did it yesterday and got lucky with other (more competent) people helping me.
          Killing a single foe (even the smaller ones) took a lot of group effort, and the life pools never seemed to go down. We all got killed at least four times, and singles were often downed.
          At the end I luckly managed to get enough money to justify the trip, but I barely get anything from the story and was really boggled by the spike in the difficulty in respect to the rest of the game I experienced until now.

      4. Even says:

        You probably don’t want to even glance at exploration mode. The story mode is a cakewalk in comparison. I’ve run the story mode AC a few times with my guild and each time it’s been considerably less painful when we’ve known what to expect. Our first journey into it was pretty much what you described expect we were one man short of a full group. Still managed to finish though. The King is actually pretty manageable if you can avoid the Foefire AoE. It’s not always easy but it’s by far the most damaging ability he has.

        The Manor at least pre-patch was kinda anti-climatic after surviving the Catacombs. It’s about two times shorter for starters. I think it took at tops 40 minutes for us to finish on our first try.

        We’ve done so far all the story mode dungeons at least once up to the Citadel of Flame and I’d have to say that you’d just better get used to getting downed and/or dying since it’s going to happen a lot. I don’t really care anymore. It only really hurts if your whole group dies and the group or boss you were fighting resets (One major improvement compared to other MMOs on this though is that generally if you kill something, it also stays dead) What I’d perceive as the main challenges to overcome in the dungeon mechanics are aggro management and knowing when to dodge. It’s ridiculous how many enemy abilities are dependant just on where you’re standing or where they predict you’re going to move. The seemingly random aggro is also a bit weird when coming from other MMOs and so far it’s been the leading cause of death personally.

      5. Lovecrafter says:

        Yeah, the Manor used to be something you could sort of waltz through whilst chatting with your party and getting decent rewards out of it. It’s still nowhere near the frustration levels of the Catacombs, but the thrash got significantly tougher, although it’s still doable.

        Right now, Twilight Arbor seems to be the easiest dungeon, assuming you’re forewarned about the difficult spots (never open the buds, never stop moving in the second bossfight, never try to melee the second boss) and most of the trash is manageable.

        I’ve also noticed that combat gets easier as you level, so perhaps the higher-level dungeons are a bit more doable.

      6. Muspel says:

        The biggest issue with the dungeons, in my opinion, is that they’re punishing without really being challenging.

        That is, most of the boss mechanics and such are fairly simple to deal with, but if you make a mistake, you’re going to die almost instantly. And because they use these abilities from the very start of the fight, your first time on the boss is going to be terrible.

        The second-biggest problem is the lack of any kind of middle ground for difficulty. Story mode is miles beyond the regular questing that you do while leveling, and explorer mode dungeons are even worse than story. There are people who enjoy content that hard, but there’s nothing in between for when I want “harder than the faceroll quests, but easier than the kidney-punch dungeons”.

        I think that one opportunity that they really missed out on was to make the bosses teach you what they do before the one-shots kick in. For instance, the first boss of explorer mode AC has an attack where he winds up for two seconds, then shoots out five grappling hooks, which pull in anyone they hit. He then stuns everyone in melee range of him and kills them instantly, so you need to dodge the pull.

        No one ever dodges that the first time. Probably not the second, either, because learning the timing takes practice. A much better solution would be to reduce the damage significantly (maybe it does half of your health or something), but each time he casts it, the damage goes up. By the sixth or seventh time, it would be back to a one-shot, but by then you’ve learned how to avoid it.

        1. Peter H. Coffin says:

          Story mode is well above adventuring, presuming that you’re actually using the recommended level, with the gear you’ve probably just gotten at that level. Then some of the story fights are double-tough. On the other hand, if you’ve run a half-dozen levels beyond the recommendation and run a story event with that gear, then the level reset makes things challenging but with the expectation of success rather than the expectation of having to redo the attempt a couple of times.

          1. Muspel says:

            Even when running the dungeons far above level, the difficulty is excessive (for AC, anyways– the only other dungeon I’ve done is Arah, which is level 80).

            The whole “lack of middle ground” seems to be prevalent throughout most of the game, unfortunately. For instance, it’s pretty easy to get full level 80 exotics via crafting. But getting a full dungeon set takes dozens of runs of the same dungeon. Similarly, legendaries are a massive step up from anything else.

            It’s very odd to suddenly hit such a grind at endgame, when they clearly went out of their way to avoid it while leveling. Sure, the rewards are only cosmetic, but still, looking at how much I’d have to grind to make any progress on that front makes me not even want to start.

            I greatly enjoyed my time with Guild Wars 2, and I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth, but I don’t know that I’ll be coming back to it much. The dungeons are frustrating, and I don’t care for the look of the gear from them anyways. The only item I want is Twilight (the legendary greatsword), but the time investment to get it is nothing short of absurd.

            It’ll be interesting to see how many players it’s able to retain in a year or so. I have no idea if my reaction to it is typical or not– I feel that the only lasting content is PvP, and I’m unsure how wide of an appeal that’ll have.

  9. Adam P says:

    So, about WoW…

    Blizzard recently added a new thing called cross-realm zones, and it affects every zone in WoW (except for capital cities). It’s designed to fill the world with people so that it’s not dead and empty all the time. Players didn’t like this, they want to opt out of it so they can have the empty world (of Warcraft) to themselves so they can farm rare mobs easier.

    In interviews, the lead systems designer, Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street, has basically said “we’re not going to provide an opt-out because WoW is not a single-player game. It’s an MMO, deal with it.” I can’t find any sources right now both because it is a raid night and some interviews were audio-only and I’m not transcribing them (again, raid night). I know it’s mentioned in this interview, though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dddMQBkjyFc

    Anyway, part of the initial build up/hype for this feature was that you could group with the players you meet in a CRZ and you can quest and do all this other stuff.

    I mention all of this because, Blizzard wants players to group together… so they make grouping together as stupid as possible. Like Shamus mentioned in his column, you lose out on experience gains if you’re in a party. I think you need three other people (group size = 4) just so you get a normal amount of experience, and having a full party gets you an extra 5% or whatever. Party of 3 or less? SCREW YOU.

    But that’s not the only thing. Say you need to kill raptors for 10 raptor brains. The loot is set up so that each person gets one brain, so you need to kill a minimum of 50 raptors for a full group of 5 (5 x 10 = 50) for everyone to be able to turn in the quest and keep going. There are some quests where you have to loot the one thing on the ground, and each subsequent person in your party has to wait for it to respawn. There are two quests in the Hinterlands where the respawn timer on such an item is 7.5 minutes, or 450 seconds. If you have a group of 3 people, you need to wait 15 minutes before you can all continue, assuming there aren’t more people doing the quest and competing against you for the chest.

    And there will be, because of cross-realm zones.

    So yeah, WoW is definitely a multiplayer game that punishes people for playing together, even though the developers say they want people to play together.

    1. Sagretti says:

      Here’s the dumbest thing about Cross Realm Zones. The problem right now is that the lower subscription numbers have made a number of servers “dead,” with horrendous economies and a lack of players for endgame content. Instead of facing reality and merging some servers, Blizzard decided to implement a system that temporarily transports people between realms on a zone by zone basis, in order for all zones of the game world to seem full.

      Unfortunately, for those servers that are having problems, this does not give them more players to recruit or fix their economy. Instead, it just artificially fills their realm with random strangers that they will never see again. This has caused a huge amount of bugs, griefing, and other unintended consequences, with very few real gameplay benefits. Night turns to day randomly, events break, pve players are somehow accidentally transported to pvp realms, just to name a few problems. Of course, in most interviews they just blame most of the complaints on people who don’t want competition for crafting resources.

      1. Mephane says:

        This sound absolutely horrible. It’s like on top of GW2 being so good that I would never want to go back to WoW, Blizzard is actively trying to keep me away from their game, too.

        Mind = boggled.

    2. Pickly says:

      The reduced experience and loot for parties does make some sense, since a party of multiple people will kill the same enemies faster than a single person, so reducing the experience/items per person, it keeps the benefits even. Of course, the actual numbers don’t work out so well when players exhaust enemies in an area, or run out of a specific enemy to kill, or have to spend time organizing.

      (These issues are yet another reason why I have a very low tolerance for leveling/progression and loot/rewards in these games, since they encourage a playstyle where the incentives have to be designed extremely well, but that is extremely difficult to do.)

      1. Thomas says:

        The thing is though, you should really want people to group up in an MMO, that should be a design goal, because generally it’s more fun and creates social ties. So instead of reducing earned XP, you should just let that easier group XP be the reward for grouping up. And if it’s a Guild Wars system that you don’t even have to worry about solo people, because people will be for intents and purposes automatically in a group.

        (Besides they speed up XP gains in every expansion, right? So letting people level up a bit faster because they’re playing with other people doesn’t sound like it’d screw everything up too much)

        1. Pickly says:

          That depends heavily on what sort of game your trying to make. Creating a situation where groups can level up much faster than single players or smaller groups creates its own issues in the game (consider if players show up in off hours, or if certain zones end up emptier as the game goes on, for some examples.) This actually goes back to the parantheses point in the post you responded to, that trying to design games around people following rewards and incentives like this creates a lot of issues, and is part of why the progression and loot part of MMO’s is the main part I find unfun.

          Guild Wars 2 seems to be, so far, fun for most people with its system in place, so it worked out well, but for other games penalties for individual kills while in groups would make more sense. (Although WoW had too much of a penalty with how it handled loot and experience, from how I remember playing it.

    3. Hal says:

      It was my understanding that they changed loot mechanics for quests when people are grouped. That is, if 5 people kill that raptor and they all need its brain, then each person can grab a raptor brain from it.

      Perhaps they only changed that for the higher level content.

      1. Adam P says:

        There are some quests that are like that, but there are still quite a few which are not. There isn’t a consistent pattern to it.

        There are a few quests where everyone can share quest credit regardless if they’re grouped or not. This has been reserved for the tougher mini-boss type of quest mob.

  10. Heche says:

    I have been reading your blog posts on both SWTOR and GW2, and I must say, you make Guild Wars sound very appealing while also managing to articulate what I found so unattractive and boring about SWTOR. I think I might buy Guild Wars, if my boyfriend does. Thank you for writing informative and helpful pieces ^_^

  11. Brandon says:

    Speaking of Guild Wars 2, isn’t there a 20 Sided guild of some sort, somewhere? How do guilds work anyways? I think you are allowed to be in a guild cross-server?

    I would definitely be interested in joining if I got the details. :)

    1. The Rocketeer says:

      We are on the Henge of Denravi server, and we are called the Eikosi League, guild tag [dXX]. I’m not an officer or anything, but I can often be found clogging the guild chat as Horace.

      I don’t know how cross-server membership works, but if you’re interested, send a message to Jerim Extar, Steel Princess, or Rason Johandy for an invite. We’d be glad to see you there!

      1. Peter H. Coffin says:

        I gotta break down and pester people sometime…

      2. rofltehcat says:

        How can I join the guild? I am on a German server but I guess being able to pester you guys in chat would be entertaining ;)
        However, I don’t have any idea how cross-server membership works, either :(

    2. Dianne says:

      Guilds are allowed to be cross-server. My friend and I are on Piken Square (North American servers just lag too much for me in Sydney). Our achievements on our server still benefit the guild.

      You may belong to multiple guilds. Currently the cap is 4 guilds, but they’re working on fixing that.

      At most, you can only be active in one guild at a time. You choose which guild you’re actively earning points for by representing that guild. You may stand down and represent any of your other guilds at any time, or even represent no guild.

      That’s the important stuff. There’s more on the wiki:


      Come join us! And be prepared to invent puns. Lots and lots of puns.

      1. Alphadrop says:

        Oooh jolly co-operation. May get the game when it goes down in price a bit then.
        Was put of by GW1’s lack of teaming. The only thing really Massively Multiplayer about it were the city hubs and it was a bugger to find a team before level 20 where the pvp kicked in.
        Nice to see GW2 taking a different route, also I must see regular puns or else I get bored of MMOs.

        1. Blackbird71 says:

          That’s because GW1 was not an MMO; the devs repeatedly pointed out that while it was an online multiplayer game, but due to it’s instanced nature, it was never intended to fit the “massively” description.

    3. BlckDv says:

      Yup; you can join the Guild from any server. Some benefits are server specific, and for obvious reasons you would not be able to join the bulk of the guild for WvW play, but you can party cross server and use the “Join XX on Map…” function on Party portraits to hop over and play together while partied.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ah,I see why I dont seem to be hyped about it as much as everyone else.Basically,its just a bigger version of diablo 3 without the real money auction house.And the only thing that drew me to diablo 3 is the auction house.

    Luckily,there is FTL,to satisfy all my needs.

    1. Zukhramm says:

      Yeah, it’s just like Diablo 3. Except the gameplay is totally different, and it’s an MMO.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Totally different?From what Ive seen its only slightly different.And diablo 3 is an mmo as well.Not as massive,but thats why I said bigger version.

        1. Abnaxis says:

          Unless diablo 3 is radically, radically, radically different from the previous 2 incarnations, there is almost no similarity between D3 and GW2. I’m not even really sure what you’re drawing comparisons to to say they’re similar.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Everything that Shamus has described about grouping in this article is exactly how diablo 3 works,only on a smaller scale.The benefits of grouping,individual loot and xp for participation,quicker enemy disposal in groups,the small easily accessible skill bar with 6 skills that can be easily swapped to suit your playstyle,benefit for raising fallen teammates.Then theres dodging attacks(ok I guess its easier to do with a keyboard key than with a mouse)instead of just being rooted in place.

            So the radical difference is where?People keep saying that it is radically different,but from what they are describing,I dont see it.

        2. Even says:

          What exactly have you seen? There might be similarities but one is an isometric point-and-click and one is a keyboard + mouse 3rd-person game which should be difference enough.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            I watched Josh playing it,and read these articles.

            No,control scheme and view are not radical differences.If using your mouse in one game and keyboard in another lead to the same outcome,that doesnt make the games vastly different.

            1. Even says:

              How is the outcome the same? To me they’re both vastly different experiences just in basic gameplay. Spatial awareness alone is something I have to do a lot more work with since I don’t have a constant vision of 360 degrees around me all the time.

              If killing mobs and gathering loot makes it the same regardless, well, each to his own I guess. It’s a not a point of view I share.

            2. Brandon says:

              That’s like saying Fallout 1 and Fallout 3 are basically the same thing because they both have weapon drops and run off of the SPECIAL stat system.

              View is absolutely important. Moving to first person from top down changed SO MUCH.

              Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2 have little in common other than they are both RPGs and they are both primarily online multiplayer games. The resemblance essentially ends there.

    2. Muspel says:

      I… can’t think of a single way that GW2 is like D3, aside from the fact that they both use a third-person camera.

      And if you’re saying those make the games at all similar, then… uh… I can’t even think of a way to finish this sentence. It’s like arguing that Gears of War is just like Torchlight because they’re both 3rd-person games and both have items that you can pick up.

    3. Lachlan the Mad says:

      I spy with my little eye… a massive troll.

  13. Bill says:

    Putting on my armchair game designer “assume the worst of everyone” hat, I have to ask if leeching is a problem in GW2?

    By leeching I mean players who travel along with an ad-hoc group and whack every monster once so that they get credit, but don’t really contribute to helping the group in any meaningful way.

    I guess it’s not a big deal if there are leeches, you can basically just ignore them since they’re not really causing you to lose anything. But I was just thinking about the downside of a “everyone automatically gets credit” type of MMO combat system.

    1. Abnaxis says:

      Not everyone gets full credit for everything. The game has dynamic events that give progressively better rewards for better levels of participation. You get a gold, silver, or bronze medal at the end of the event, each with it’s own partition of xp and money.

      As far as just running around tagging random mooks is concerned, I believe a player can leech this way, but the rewards for hitting random mobs aren’t all that great compared to the rewards for participating in events or completing tasks. The rewards for actually accomplishing something overshadow the rewards for leeching.

    2. Shamus says:

      I could be happening, but I wouldn’t know. They need to travel with the group, so there’s no real benefit to hitting a monster ONLY once. You’re standing there, so you might as well press a number key. :) It would take a spectacular form of dedicated lazyness for someone to follow the group and hit only once.

      I do admit to doing drive-bys once in a while. I see a guy in a fight. He’s fine. I pop off one shot as I pass without breaking stride. Still, this happens once an hour, so it’s not like it really changes anything.

    3. Peter H. Coffin says:

      Part of why this isn’t really a problem is that the “leeching” doesn’t cost the group anything. It’s not like the loot gets DIVIDED among those that take a swing at a critter, it gets multiplied.

      And, as Shamus pointed out, it takes a LOT of dedication not to run something down once you’ve taken the first swing. It’s much easier to end up going in as far as everyone else, just because you’re caught up in it.

    4. Wedge says:

      For that matter, you *always* have access to one auto-cast skill, so even with *that* amount of spectacular laziness you can still just press 1 once and participate in the entire engagement.

      Personally, when I’m soloing, I expect to have to kill everything by myself, so when someone comes along and helps, I’m always happy. Doesn’t matter to me why they helped.

    5. Lachlan the Mad says:

      The game sets a threshold of sorts for most of these “everybody can participate!” things. So sometimes, when I see a battle out on the horizon, I will charge towards it, but only get in a single axe-throw attack before the monster dies; I don’t get any experience or loot for that.

      Events have bronze-silver-gold participation, which increases your reward for staying with the event for the full chain (although very, very occasionally there are times times when you have to call bull**** on how this is measured, like when an NPC runs through a bunch of enemies without engaging them, you kill the enemies, and then you lose a participation level because you weren’t staying with the NPC).

  14. Mari says:

    What’s interesting to me is that aside from putzing around to level 5 or less in a handful of other MMOs and almost finishing GW1 but not actually managing to do so, I’ve not really played MMOs much but I’m prone to the same attack of “no! do not help or you will be punished, hated, and ostracized!” instinct in GW2. Which tells me that MMOs have so permeated geek culture that not even having played them you can soak up the tropes, culture, and conventions of the things.

    It’s like classic literature. How many people here have actually READ “War and Peace”? And yet I’m sure that most could give us at least a sketchy plot synopsis and hit a few literary talking points because it has become so ubiquitous to our culture that you don’t have to have read it to know about it.

    My point is that GW2 isn’t just having to overcome all those people swarming in from other MMOs. They also have to overcome people who are relatively new to the MMO community yet “know” that helping other players is a grave offense. It’s kind of amazing.

    Although…I’ve giving the game a little rest for a while. I still love it with all my heart and fully intend to come back in a month or two but right now I’m at this point where every time I log in I become incredibly frustrated with game bugs and a flaky economy and just…everything. So I’m going to give them some time to work out the kinks a little before I become too infuriated to come back. I’m not mad at ArenaNet or anything – this has been a HUGE undertaking and they’ve done a phenomenal job. My threshold for frustration is apparently just low. I hit three bugs in a single hour-long play session last night, shrugged it off, did some crafting, went to sell my handiwork on the trading post and was given the choice of “let it sit indefinitely by asking for money” or “sell it now to people with standing orders for LESS than the listing fee.” So I logged off, penciled in a date a month and a half from now on my calendar, and moved on to a different time suck.

  15. Amarsir says:

    “Online games have been trying to get players to group up for years.”
    The problem of course is that they haven’t. They’ve been assuming we would, but not really trying.

    “World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Champions Online, DC Universe Online, and all the others worked so hard to make me play with others with forced-grouping quests, and it rarely worked.”
    DC Universe seems to have shared rewards in the open world, in most circumstances. It’s not 100% so unfortunate ninja-objectives do happen. And you can sometimes heal non-groupmates but not buff them in other ways. So maybe they get a “B-” for heading in the right direction but only getting halfway there.

    Going out on a limb, I suspect the reason GW2 can do this is because leveling is no big deal. When grinding levels is the game, then getting full XP for a minor touch is close to an exploit. People would engineer a way to power-level past content as if they’ve outsmarted the system, then quit because there’s nothing to do. Guild Wars 2 seems to be saying “you want to be 80? Fine, go be 80, we don’t care.” (Which also correlates well to not charging a monthly fee.)

    That said, to the extent that there’s an endgame I’d be very surprised if this “the more the merrier” attitude continued indefinitely. Do 5 people on one boss get 5 rewards and 50 people on that same one boss get 50 of the same reward? Wouldn’t that insanely frustrate the challenge-seekers?

    1. StranaMente says:

      “That said, to the extent that there's an endgame I'd be very surprised if this “the more the merrier” attitude continued indefinitely. Do 5 people on one boss get 5 rewards and 50 people on that same one boss get 50 of the same reward? Wouldn't that insanely frustrate the challenge-seekers?”

      One could try to guess what is the percentage of players that can and will like those challenges.
      You have such example in the dungeons as Shamus said in a comment earlier.
      They are vocal and really attached to the game, but I think they are in a minority, so it could be a smart move to try and cater the more relaxed majority in this sense.
      You don’t have an obsessed minority that always try to chase a more difficult challenge and the majority of people keeps having fun without hitting walls.

      1. Amarsir says:

        I did read those “dungeon” posts now so I’m a little more familiar. Thanks for pointing them out.

        I am curious what the relative numbers are between “hardcore” and “casual” on the various MMOs. The quiet majority probably doesn’t think much about difficult raids or completing all content. (Though I strongly suspect catering only to this audience would leave the game lacking in long-term dedication, guides and assistance, and critical mass of players.)

        But to my original point, I don’t think you have to be too hardcore to be annoyed with “I did all this work for X, that guy did nothing, and we got the same reward.” It’s fine when you can scale by activity, but to the extent that binary awards exist I suspect there’s a reason the traditional raid structure evolved the way it did.

  16. Mike C says:

    Slightly related, do you think the new scenery in Mists of Pandaria holds its own against the scenery in GW2? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOeUvGrugbc

  17. Tetracyclic says:

    I spent a good twenty minutes admiring the view from a ridge of the Wurmhowl Spikes, which also happened to overlook a Sons of Svamir camp on the other side. Every time I heard combat, I’d go to the other side of the ridge and rain arrows down on the mobs below, occasionally dropping down to resurrect fallen players. An experience I don’t think I’ve had in any other MMO (or many if any other games).

  18. Xodion says:

    I bought Guild Wars 2 yesterday and had it download overnight, after so much positivity on here, and it seems pretty good. I’ve never played any MMOs except Runescape, so I’ve managed to avoid the ‘can’t help’ thing because in Runescape you cannot join in another fight, on either side, except for a couple of the nastiest high-level bosses in the game.

    I have to say the controls are a bit odd, and it’s taking some getting used to – are they standard MMO controls? I rolled a Mesmer because they look fun, but it took me 20 minutes to figure out that a) I didn’t have to click attack every time I wanted to attack and b) my scepter shot little energy balls at people. Up until that point I’d been running up and clicking frantically on enemies, because that’s how a lot of single-player games work and nobody had told me the right way to do it. The tutorial was just like “kill these centaurs” without telling me how to do that. It took me a few minutes just to point in the right direction to run towards them.

    1. Joshua says:

      GW2 is unfortunately terrible at explaining basic mechanics like this. I recall them having more pop-up help in the beta, but it was still not very helpful and would tend to spawn all these windows in the first boss battle and get you killed.

      Things you may not know yet: you can equip different weapons, and they give you different powers. The scepter shoots energy balls as its 1st attack, but as a Mesmer you can use a sword, greatsword, or staff, and if you’re using a 1 handed weapon you can use a sword, focus, pistol or brand in your off-hand. They all do different things, and let you do different combinations. Moreover, that energy ball doesn’t just damage the enemy: every third bolt confuses the enemy (their next attack hurts themselves) and generates a clone that also attacks the enemy. You can have a max of 3 clones out. Your F1-F4 buttons cause your clones to run over to the enemy and blow up, doing different things: F1=damage, F2=confuse, F3=daze, F4=makes you evade attacks.

      This is all basic stuff that Mesmers really ought to know and get some practice in, and the game explains none of it except for terse tool-tips when you mouse-over. If you have time, watch this video that explains all the mesmer powers and weapons and how they work: http://youtu.be/7eZ0NNd7b60

      1. Xodion says:

        Thanks, that video was a lot of help, and now I definitely want a sword instead of a scepter :). I’m still a little slow with the actual controls, but I’m getting better as I get more familiar with them – twenty fun minutes trying to jump from pillar to pillar to reach a vista is helping.

        I’m on a European server rather than the US one the guild is on, is it still worth joining the guild?

        1. WarlockofOz says:

          I’m on EU servers as well, if there are enough of us I’d happily move to a d20 server to guild.

  19. Even says:

    “World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Champions Online, DC Universe Online, and all the others worked so hard to make me play with others with forced-grouping quests”

    LOTRO is actually moving away from this in Riders of Rohan.


    “Open Tapping

    Every monster involved in Hytbold's quests uses a new tapping system called Open Tapping. This is also being utilized across the whole of Rohan. Open Tapping means that anyone who contributes to defeating a monster, whether they were the first one to strike or the last, whether they were grouped or not, gets credit when that monster is defeated.”

    It goes on to describe further, the gist of it being that it should work just about the same as in GW2.

  20. fscan says:

    I didn’t play GW2 yet, but from what i’m hearing i’m very concerned this goes the same way as WoW is going since WotLK.
    While i’m still playing the game i have to admit it was much more fun before the days of dungeon finder, crossreaml stuff and super easy dungeons. The thing is, back in vanilla and TBC the whole server was a big community an you knew a lot of people. You had a reputation to uphold, because it was hard to get into good groups. The content was much harder, so you had to invest time with the people youre currently running (discussing strategies, etc).
    If you just want to level up toon after toon, i guess the GW2 system is perferkt, but i think this experience gets stale after a while because one of the big things of an MMO is the social aspect. Meeting new players and overcoming big challenges with them and in return getting known to other players and building a reputation (good or bad :).
    Rushing through an LFG dungeon maybe fun a few times, but there’s nothing social about it anymore .. you’ll most likely never meet these players anymore. Talking is an exception nowadays.
    I think i wouldn’t play WoW as a new player very long, one of the primary things holding me is the community i build way back.

    1. BeardedDork says:

      I think you have some rose colored glasses action going on there, I played those early days and I don’t remember anything being less fun than trying to find a group for dungeons on your own. I wasn’t able to play with people I knew in real life and since I didn’t know what I was doing finding a good group was nearly impossible (for me). These exact things you are praising are exactly what chased me away from the game for years.

      1. fscan says:

        I didn’t know anyone from real life either. I don’t know, i just talked to people i met leveling, we even founded a small guild. For me. searching for a group in LFG channel or later group finder (not the random group tool) wasn’t that bad. It was a slow process but i think it payed off. Was a long time before i saw my first raid.
        Today everyone is expected to be fully geared as fast as possible, no mater the cost (easy fast loot foor me, don’t care about others). The journey and the people you meet along the way are almost irrelevant. I’m in a lucky position where i’m in a guild with people i like and can do nice progress raiding (and it’s not about the loot, it’s about the challenge/experience) .. but finding people with this mindset gets more difficult every expansion, most of our new members are also people who played since vanilla or tbc.

    2. Zukhramm says:

      Guild Wars 2 does feel very anonymous (Hope the filter doesn’t catch me for that) because of the lack of need to group. You’ll run up, silently work together then part and never see each other again.

  21. Danath says:

    /points back to comments made by myself on Massively Single Player about encouraging grouping if it’s an important part of the experience. http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=6449&cpage=1#comments

    It’s nice to see a game actually come through with a good way of encouraging this kind of generally cooperative behavior.

    Regarding the behavior of the person, I would have done what they did… because I know on your own you’ll be fine dealing with the ONE ogre, wheras if you had both hitting on you you might die or at least go down, so I pull the second ogre off you so you won’t get taken out, confident that when you kill yours you’ll help me with the one I got off you.

    Depending on how strong the ogres actually are of course.

  22. ENC says:

    I’d like to point out that ‘getting full xp for hitting something’ only shifts the anti-helpful part elsewhere; I have had many people tag a lot of monsters and draw them onto me so in a last stand I take down maybe 3 or 4 and they ru noff and have already done this to someone else.

    Not to forget that quest items littered about the place are in fact exclusive so we are still competing just as much.

    The story also lacks as a result unfortunately so the game as a whole feels pretty aimless if your story’s level is too high and has turned off the majority of my friends from playing GW2 after having bought it.

    1. Zukhramm says:

      Yes, it has a tendency to drive players to hit as many things as possible instead of actually being efficient. Killing different mobs in close proximity is also a form of playing together, but one that goes completely unrewarded here.

    2. Peter H. Coffin says:

      There’s two kinds of aggressive out there that can get pulled around: actual hostiles (things that are red to begin with), and pissed-off neutrals, which happen when someone else gets a little too quick to attack anything that moves. The latter case now (I don’t know if it was before or not) limits the pissed-off to things that have actually attacked. Someone foolishly hits a moa by shooting randomly into a crowd and the moa will be mad at HIM, not you. You can use that back, too: if a hostile river drake flames a moa in the process of getting to you, the moa will turn on the drake. and help you kill it.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “quest items” in this case. I was recently in an area where a special sword was needed (or at least very useful) for killing a special foe. The mechanic for getting the special sword worked repeatedly, and any number of players could leap for the chain, magic up a sword, for themselves or anyone else in the area.

      1. Lachlan the Mad says:

        My problem with luring wild animals to fight each other is that I inevitably catch both in my wild axe-swinging, so the moa I just saved from the panther goes berserk at me…

    3. Onomojku says:

      I don’t know what you mean. Most quest items (“clickies”) in GWII are personal. You can click to disarm that trap, and so can everyone else. The same trap.

      Training a bunch of enemies on someone and running away is a bad move, and I can see how that could be abused. Rather unpleasant if it hits you.

      1. Abnaxis says:

        There are a few places I have found where the competition happens, and when it does it pulls a stark contrast.

        In the Norn area: there is an event where you have to answer riddles posed by little raven statues. The statues are all over the place, and only one is giving a riddle–shared by all the players–at any particular time. Despite being present from the beginning of the event, my friend and I only managed to answer 1 question between us, because everyone else got to the special glowing statues first.

        Destroy X quests: I have talked to event NPCs that task players with the quest of destroying some village, collection of weapon racks, zombie-fish Higgins boats or whatever, only to have them all destroyed before I hike to the event area from the quest-giver. If I start the event, I should at least get a shot at participating in it }:(

        In both these cases, I get very annoyed for wasting my time trying to play with other people.

  23. rayen says:

    good article as usual but i do have one thing. i now have proof that you’re still a contributor to the escapist so Y U NO COME TO EXPO???

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