This week in Guild Wars 2

As we reported earlier this week, ArenaNet let us all know that there would not be a Beta event this weekend. Some folks have been less-than-accepting of the announcement and have shown a remarkable degree of entitlement complex — if you’re on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve probably seen plenty of whining and complaining from the usual suspects. What I hope most people understand is that this is actually a good thing: ArenaNet is still trying to produce a great playing experience even in the BWEs and stress tests. If in their expert opinion the player experience will be better if we wait a bit longer, they’re almost certainly right.

Remember all those bug reports we all filed? Some of them will be an easy fix: a change to a value in a data file or a minor revision to a map. Some of them will be “too hard” — not fixable in a short period of time due to the amount of coding/testing/graphic change required, and some will be near impossible to track down (the ones that only occur under extremely rare conditions and therefore take disproportionally long to reproduce before they can be addressed).

The message from ArenaNet has always been “when it’s ready”, and that clearly applies to the BWE as well as to the final release. While I’ve never worked for a gaming company, I’ve spent most of my career in the software business … and far too often, companies release the product before it’s really ready (for accounting reasons, or for contractual reasons, for media reasons, etc.) and the clients are rarely happy with buggy code and broken features. ArenaNet wants happy customers, and that means stomping as many bugs as humanly possible before letting the customers in to play. We may be unhappy at the wait, but we’ll be much happier with the final result.

We’ve had a couple of “leaks” reported this week: extensive patch notes showed up on Reddit, and a number of screenshots were posted on Reddit and shared on many fan sites. I’m linking these because they’re widely disseminated, although I don’t want to encourage this sort of thing in general — ArenaNet has been quite generous with information over the last several months, but they could decide to become as secretive as some other gaming companies are. I don’t think that would be good for Guild Wars 2 or the community at large.

There’s not as much footage from BWE1 showing up this week, but I’ve once again flagged items specific to the April event with this notation: BWE.

Official Guild Wars 2 news

  • On the official Guild Wars 2 Facebook page: “We’re going to adhere to a monthly schedule as much as feedback and development allow, so it may be a little more or a little less each time, depending on how things progress. For now, we will have more information on upcoming Beta Weekend Events and stress tests as soon as we’re able, and we thank each of you for being an important part of the creation of Guild Wars 2”
  • The VergeGuild Wars 2 on rifts, Waterworld and putting a nail in the coffin of quests. “Walk down the road for long enough and you’ll hear the dulcet tones of six guys lighting bales of hay on fire in a rural nook of Guild Wars 2. A loose-knit group of bandits is in the area, characters tell us under hushed breath. They come out of the woodwork to steal Moa birds from farmyards or to burn down the odd orphanage. Sometimes they’ll appear suddenly in packs in the middle of a dale, a collection of wild yokel arsonists that can only be stopped by the firm hand of a few player vigilantes. It’s 9:05 p.m. when we first notice them. One minute we’re clearing out giant Wurms in the patchy outskirts of a dairy farm, then the next thing you know the Elementalist next to me puts down his staff and stares solemnly southward.”
  • Gamasutra — Is Guild Wars 2 the answer to stagnant MMO design? “While the MMO genre has been set in its post-World of Warcraft ways since Blizzard released its market-leading online game 2004, ArenaNet is trying to go its own way with Guild Wars 2. “We’re finally seeing a point where companies realize that they’re not going to create the next great MMO by just copying what’s come before,” said Christopher Lye, global brand director at ArenaNet, who believes the definition of an MMO has come to mean games that follow a similar quest and combat structure to World of Warcraft.”
  • Venture Beat — ArenaNet president discusses careful monetization of Guild Wars 2, the least greedy Western MMO. “While it may seem trivial now in the age of free-to-play MMOs, Facebook games, and iPhone apps, Guild Wars was revolutionary for its time. ArenaNet’s long-awaited sequel, Guild Wars 2, is slated to released sometime later this year, so GamesBeat sat down with studio president Mike O’Brien to talk about keeping the game relevant (and financially sustainable) in a drastically different market than the one its predecessor inhabited.”
  • On the official Guild Wars 2 Facebook page: “Many of you have been asking about when we will have our second Beta Weekend Event. As we are approaching a long weekend in many parts of the world, we understand that some of you want to make plans for that. To help you with that we can confirm that we will NOT be running BWE2 this coming weekend. “
  • ArenaNet blog — What’s in a Name? Annie VanderMeer Mitsoda on Naming Tyria. “Salutations, readers! I’m Annie VanderMeer Mitsoda, a content designer here at ArenaNet, and I’d like to give you a little background on exactly what goes on in the process of naming things in Guild Wars 2. The world of Tyria has a vast amount of creatures, locations, and items, and though wrangling the names of so many different things over such a huge scale is a daunting task, ArenaNet has developed an excellent system to manage them.”

Recent GuildMag posts

  • Age of Deceit – Kanaxai’s Destiny. “Kanaxai ran as fast as he could in the direction of the rising pillar of smoke. From afar he already felt the smell of burning wood and flesh. His lungs were getting full of the poisonous smoke as he was drawing closer to the source of the fume, but he just ran and ran… until he arrived at the horrid sight.”
  • Teachings of Owl. “When Jormag rose and forced the norn south, three Spirits of the Wild remained behind: Ox, Wolverine, and Owl. The fates of Ox and Wolverine are unknown, but all norn know what happened to Owl. As the three spirits battled Jormag, Owl was beaten down. She was not a strong spirit like Bear or Wolf, and she was of no match to Jormag. As the Ice Dragon battered her down, she remained steadfast for if she retreated, Jormag could go after the norn who fled beneath.”

Fan articles and blog posts

  • Reddit — Patch Notes after last beta. “Leaked patch notes with some useful information.”
  • Guild Wars InsiderGW2 Profession Weapons Range Graphs. “Fighting an enemy in PvP and interested in knowing his weapons’ range capabilities? Want to synergize your weapon sets? I’ve got the graphs for the occasion. Compiled below are charts for all of the professions and their weapon skills’ ranges and put them into 8 easily digestible morsels.”
  • BWE Malefic Incantations — I Swung An Axe [Necromancer PvE, Part I]. “During the April 27th beta weekend and this week’s stress test, I predominantly played a human female necromancer and reached Level 20. I spent all of that time doing PvE renown hearts and dynamic events while attempting to find a top that didn’t expose my character’s back and midriff (I had only temporary success with that last past, but that’s a separate article.) I was originally going to write one long-form post of my PvE impressions, but when I got up to 600 words about the axe, main-hand dagger, and warhorn alone, I decided making a series of posts is more reasonable for you to read and me to write.”
  • Kill Ten Rats — Time Lapsed Tyria. “One Guild Wars 2 fan has a really cool site up that compares side-by-side the differences in the world of Guild Wars 1 to Guild Wars 2 called Project Tyria. For instance most of Guild Wars 2 charr country is built directly upon key locations in Guild Wars Prophecies pre- and post-Searing.”
  • Under the Pale Tree — Gamer tested, kid approved! “So, as it so happens to be, I am part of a family of gamers. I started at the wee age of not-quite-three when my parents got an NES for Christmas, and the rest is history. My siblings all quite enjoy video games as well; my brother is the one that got me interested in Guild Wars in the first place!”
  • Nerdy bookahs and their travel guideGuild Wars 2: Stress Test Fun in WvW. “On May 14, ArenaNet had a second stress test for Guild Wars 2. After being in the loading screen, stuck at 95%, for about 10 – 15 minutes, I got into the game and didn’t have any problems at all anymore. Weird. ;) But maybe Monday evening wasn’t the perfect time for a stress test because lots of people have to work and can’t devote time to that. Saturday could have been a better choice or even Friday. At least, if they wanted to test the login servers. Either that or they have managed to improve their systems greatly (I certainly wouldn’t mind that ^^). Nevertheless, I was really tired and didn’t stay long in the game.”
  • GW2 WvW — How to Beat a Zerg – Part 2. “So now that we all know about squads, and have formed a squad of our own, what allows a squad that is technically outnumbered (but not overpowered), to beat a larger force? The short answer: Mobility.”
  • — Why Play the Engineer? “Coming out of the first Beta Weekend Event and Stress Test, many of us got the chance to finally try the professions we wanted to. Some of us, undoubtedly, still have no clue what we’re playing, whereas some of us immediately knew what profession we were going to play as soon as we got through the tutorial. I plan to play the Engineer, a steampunk-inspired, gadget-wielding, elixir-chugging daredevil whose archetype is fairly untapped by the MMO genre. Below is my list of 5 reasons to play the Engineer:”
  • Hunter’s Insight — Largos. “I am by no means a lore expert or the first person to see a race of people in the Guild Wars 2 beta called the Largos. But I did happen by an event in Snowden Drifts that involved one and I’m intrigued. They have (it looks like) wings, are bent on deadly challenges, and disappear without a trace.”
  • GW2GM — Attacking and Defending Dolyak Supply Caravans. “While playing Guild Wars 2 I often found myself attacking or defending the Dolyak Caravans which transport supplies to Castles. It was fun to run around with a couple of my buddies and get a change of pace from the massive zerg fights that occur in WvW. Supplies are pretty important in WvW since without them you cannot construct, repair or upgrade your Castle’s defense or construct offensive structures. This does not only apply to walls and gates but siege weapons as well, great for attacking and defending your territory with extra power. Small groups can make a big impact on the outcome of a match just by focusing on dolyak caravans and diminishing enemy supplies.”
  • GW2 WvW — What do I do in WvW? – A Guide for New Players. “So, let’s real quick talk about what’s going to be happening when you’re joining into WvW. First, you have to take an asura gate to get to WvW. You pick which of the four maps you want to join. If the map is full, you enter a queue to get in. Or, you can simply pick one of the other three maps, unless they’re all full. This means you can easily join in with a bunch of your friends in a group to go do stuff. So once you’re in, what can you do?”
  • GW2 WvW — WvW General Build Guide. “When you’re going in by yourself or in small groups to ransack supply camps, the same builds you’d use in Structured PvP should cover the job. Go with something like this SPvP team build I wrote on my blog a while back”
  • Massively — Flameseeker Chronicles: Touring the Snowden Drifts. “I pretty much went all Norn for the stress test last week. Alone (like a true Norn), I ventured to the highest, loneliest peaks of Snowden Drifts, swam in the darkest ice caves, and faced the largest metric crap-ton of Sons of Svanir imaginable. As my Necromancer slid what felt like the nine hundredth Son off of her dagger blades, I took the time to look around soak up the view; there’s nothing quite like rallying three times in a fight against a whole passel of renegade Norn to make a girl really appreciate the scenery.”
  • The Centaur’s Satchel — You mess with the minotaur, you get the horns! “I’m pretty fed up with people spreading misinformation and just being generally entitled about Guild Wars 2. Where is this coming from? Well it’s been building up for a while. The proverbial straw today was when GW2 posted on their Facebook that they won’t be having a Beta Weekend Event this weekend. The butthurt and rage that people are expressing on the Facebook page is amazing. There’s a lot of entitlement issues in the community (at least the Facebook part of the community, the Twitter part is amazeballs). One of the most frequent ones is that Anet “ruined