Category Archives: Game Design

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch: Post Feature-Patch

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchWelcome to Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting news and rants related to Guild Wars 2 – and on occasion, other games.

Today’s Geekwatch is all about Guild Wars 2. With the recent feature patch, ArenaNet introduced quite a lot of changes. I will not go into everything they have added here now or bore you with what I think about every single feature. Instead, I will just mention two features and one thing I like and one thing I dislike about them, as that’s what stood out the most for me in the last few days.

GW2 Ranger and moaThe first is the wardrobe. I still prefer the systems where you buy wardrobe slots and cosmetic outfit slots like Lotro and Rift have, but that’s another story, I guess. I think it’s great that you can wear your outfits in battle now and that you can dye them (as a whole, not individual pieces). Most of all, that you can dye them! Just look at my ranger in her pirate outfit and her moa pet. Aren’t they cute together? :p It’s also great that once bought, I can activate and deactivate the outfits as often as I like without having to pay anything again. The thing I do not like is that some items, like the reading glasses, did not receive that treatment. You can activate outfits for free, but if I want to wear the reading glasses, which I bought from the gem store for real money just like I did the pirate outfit, I have to pay real money again. Every time I change my character’s head armor, and if I want to keep the reading glasses, I have to use a transmutation charge. It annoys me that I have to pay twice now. Sure, for that, I can also wear them in battle, but at GW2 wardrobe reading glassesthe same time, I can’t wear them at all anymore unless I pay with a transmutation charge. Before the change, I wore them when I wasn’t in combat and I used to alternate between having my mesmer or my warrior wear them. I just think it’s inconvenient that this isn’t possible anymore. Alternatively, I would love to have a white account-bound head item that all my characters can equip, without stats, that I can put the glasses skin on. Then I could still have the functionality I want for them, switch the glasses between my characters and use them in non-combat situations.

GW2 Skkia asura thiefAnother big thing is the megaservers. Oh yes, those dreaded things. No, I actually really love that change! Levelling up my thief, who is now level 32, it feels just like post-launch when the lower level regions were crowded. Almost dying in an event because it’s too hard? No, doesn’t work that way anymore, since there’s almost always somebody close who will join and do the event with you! The only downside was that until this morning, the EU servers saw quite a lot of flaming, and using very inappropriate words and insults when people dared to speak a language that isn’t English. The problem here is that despite people rolling on a French or German server, they get put onto a megaserver with the rest of the EU players. There was a certain lack of tolerance towards people using foreign languages. Actually, as sad as it is, that’s not that different from the flames I see in whatever MMO – including Guild Wars 2 – when playing on a EU English server and people use a language that isn’t English, but the amount of flaming increased a lot with the recent change.

GW2 Map chat settingsWith the latest hotfix, however, the default setting is that you only see map chat from people whose client language is the same as yours (with a few exceptions mentioned in the patch notes). You can disable that functionality (click on the wheel icon on the upper left of the chat window and remove the check) and then you’ll see the chat from the other two client languages as well. But if you do that, I think it’s safe to assume that you’re okay with people using different languages in your chat channels. I personally would have preferred to have separate map chats that you could join (simultaneously, of course, so that you don’t miss out on any language if you don’t want to) for the different official languages (and maybe a few more than that, because… why not?).

GW2_Trading Post consumables foodThen there is a something that I haven’t seen in any patch notes: The “Consumable” category in the Trading Post is finally working correctly! I have no idea when that one got fixed, but I do remember clicking “consumable” and then “food” to buy food for the Daily Feast and only getting beverages as a result. Today, I clicked on those categories again and I was positively surprised that they’re all working correctly now. Finally! :)

So yeah, apart from the reading glasses, I’m happy. But those I clearly do miss and I’m working on my ascended helmet for my warrior, so that she can get her glasses back on an item that I’m going to be wearing for a long time.

The excitement of getting an expansion

MMO shelfIf you’re following Rift, you may have noticed that they’re handling their second expansion, Plane of Water, differently than they did the previous one or than what other MMO developers are usually doing: Instead of giving you everything at once, they are giving us the expansion piece by piece. The reason they stated is that they don’t want their players to wait until every last thing is done and release all features together, but instead, they want to give us the features when they’re ready. The first part was a new crafting profession, Dream Weaving, together with new dimensions. The profession mainly makes items for your dimensions and it can also craft the keys for the new dimensions. The second part was the PvP dimensions feature which got released with the last patch.

The next part will be the four new souls (something like “skill trees” for the non-Rift players) which we were told would arrive some time in May (but not late May!). I’m excited about that, because it means my warrior will get a healing soul and bookahnerk’s mage will get a tank soul. So, we can be an unconventional healer/tank duo!

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is really great to get those features as soon as they are done. I am slowly levelling up Dream Weaving and others are creating their first PvP dimensions. It gives us something to do and I have had those short moments of excitement when logging on after a patch knowing there will be something new in the game. But at the same time, I am not sure I really prefer it over the “traditional expansions”.

I still clearly and fondly remember my very first MMO expansion: World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade. Bookahnerk, his cousin, a friend and I drove to a city nearby for a midnight sale that a shop was having. We went out for dinner first, then went to that store. They had us wait in front and at first, I felt a bit silly. World of Warcraft was my first MMO and here we were, in front of a store, at night in cold January 2007, waiting for them to open the doors, so we can buy an expansion and it would be very late until we got back home. The employees of the store actually walked along the line and handed out free hot beverages (coffee at 11pm – smart idea! :p).

While waiting there, we started talking with some people behind us. As is usual, we first checked who played which faction (For the Horde!), then we talked about which servers we played on, which classes were our mains and so on. At some point, I had a look behind us as I had not paid attention to the line and I was shocked: The line that hadn’t looked too long in the beginning had grown huge. I had not been able to see the end of it. All those people were there only for one expansion? After they opened the doors, I think it took us 20 minutes until we finally got to buy our expansions.

After that, we still had about a one hour drive back home. I installed the expansion, downloaded another patch and created my blood elf mage at which point I fell into bed. But to be honest, it had not been about playing in the night. It had been about going there, meeting other players, and doing something with friends. This is something that I miss with the digital expansions only. But while it is a nice memory, this post isn’t about digital or physical expansions. It’s about the lack of an “all at once” expansion (or, in ArenaNet’s case, developers considering not doing an expansion at all).

The next morning, I was ready to get into the expansion. Finally! I did not even know where to start: Blood elf starting area with my mage or should I rather take my main character to the expansion region? Or did I actually want to make a short trip to Alliance side and see what the Draenei were all about? Did I want to check out the new crafting profession? There were so many things I wanted to see and check out! I felt the magic again that I had last experienced when I had first set foot into World of Warcraft. The feeling that I always get when I explore a new MMO for the first time.

And this is the reason why I’m sad that we’re not having this with Rift (and maybe Guild Wars 2 as well). As nice as it is getting expansion content piece by piece and not having to wait, it also takes away this magic moment of feeling like the game is brand new again.

Lion’s Arch post-Scarlet

Back during the beta weekend events, I already did a screenshot gallery of Lion’s Arch. I’ve always loved the style of the city and I couldn’t believe it could be a target and be destroyed one day. I did take the cues, though, and before anything happened, I did another screenshot gallery, just so I’d have enough pictures of the city. During the attack, I took just a few screenshots, as I was usually too busy trying to fight and survive in there.

Now that the dust is settling, I felt that I had to go there again and capture the scenery after Scarlet’s attack on Lion’s Arch. Yep, it’s definitely destroyed. There are places and areas where you think: “It’s not that bad.” And other corners, where you realize just how bad the attack really was. But, as usual, I’m not here to just go on and on and rant about the look of the city. I’m here to show you the pictures I have taken. So judge for yourselves! :)

New hairstyles for GW2 characters

The latest patch came yesterday and it did not bring new living story achievements to hunt for. I find that quite refreshing as it lets me catch my breath a bit.

There was not that much in the patch, but what did come were new hairstyles. This finally made me use the Total Makeover Kit I had dropped some time ago, as I had been ogling the stripe markings for my asura warrior for quite a while. And now I could finally combine it with an awesome hairstyle! Much better than the cute and sweet one she had before. Bookahnerk also found a great new hairstyle, but for him, a Self-Style Hair Kit was good enough, since he only changed the hairstyle and the hair colour and not the markings on his skin.

It is a bit sad that you can only get those new hairstyles with those kits, because they’re awesome and if I remember correctly, asura have less default hairstyles than other races. Still, they look awesome now and thanks to drop luck, we did not pay for them. ;)

bookahnerk_hairstyle Paerjja_hairstyle