Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Guild Wars 2 going no where (and some pics)

Guild Wars 2 is not perfect (actually quite far from it), but it does enough things right to keep me entertained. I am level 26 on my Norn thief, Heartless Foe.  The average level of players according to most polls of MMO veterans is in the 50 to 60 range.  I'm behind; way behind.  And I don't care.  Guild Wars 2 leveling is fast and I've found that I have no reason to rush it because Guild Wars 2 is not going anywhere nor is its content.

As an MMO vet, I should be embarrassed at what happened last night and this morning.  I played for almost three hours between the two and only gained a couple levels.  The entire time I was out and about doing things and having fun.  Before I knew it I had moved onto a new zone, Plains of Ashford, and started in on the "hearts" and various points of interest.  I was cruising along having participated in a few events when it struck me.  This zone was a level 1-15 zone meant for new players.  I was level 25 at the time.

Guild Wars 2 doesn't punish players for being in lower level zones and it levels-down your avatar seamlessly to make the zone still a challenge.  Experience gains from killing monsters is not a large portion in any leveling and the experience gained from the events is generous.  The leveling curve is flat, so whether I level in a lower level zone or a higher one doesn't really matter.  In fact, as the newbie zones start to wind down in activity, there is a fat and happy bonus for killing some of the monsters that haven't been knocked off in a while (I was seeing 40 bonus experience in some cases, 2x what an equal level kill would net in a zone my level).

Even with the game design in mind, I am still a bit shocked how long it took me to even register the fact that the creatures I was slaying were in the single digits for levels.  The loot as well was working out; scaling to somewhat meet my level (albeit about 5 levels low, but still that was 15 levels higher than what I was killing).

Funnier yet is that I came into the zone through a gate from Diessa Plateau and immediately walked into a dynamic event that had spawned veteran (aka hard mode) units that quickly did me in.  A quick re-spawn and I was able to join the fray and see the event to conclusion.  In past MMOs entering a lower level zone meant enabling EZ mode.  Not so in Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2 is refreshing and with no subscription to pay there is no impetus for me to put metal to the grind stone.  I can do what I want, when I want and most of the time feel rewarded for it.  There is more to it than the meager little bit I passed along here.  Tons of tiny little things is really what makes Guild Wars 2 and without these nuances, the game could easily fall flat.  Again, I highly recommend Guild Wars 2 to any MMO veteran.

And picture time:

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Guild Wars 2 9/1 Status

Another day, another Guild Wars 2 update:

  • Account Security
Read this! If you don't want your account hacked, don't use the same email address and password for Guild Wars 2 that you've used for another game or web site. Hackers have big lists of email addresses and passwords that they've harvested from malware and from security vulnerabilities in other games and web sites, and they're systematically testing Guild Wars 2 looking for matching accounts.
We're doing everything we can to protect you. But to protect you in this case, we have to start with, "the hacker knows this person's account name and password; now how do we keep him from stealing the account?" That's hard to protect against. Don't let it get to that point. Please immediately change your password to a new, strong, unique password that you've never used anywhere else.
  • Hacked Accounts
Our customer support team is prioritizing tickets from customers with hacked accounts or who are otherwise blocked from logging into the game. If your account was hacked, please follow these instructions for submitting a ticket, to make sure that your ticket is correctly prioritized and to make sure you're submitting all the information we need to restore your access.
For hacked accounts, expect a response within 72 hours. As of this writing we're working on tickets submitted August 30. If you submitted a hacked account ticket on August 29 or earlier, and haven't received a response yet, your ticket may not be correctly prioritized. In that case, please submit a new ticket using the above instructions, and in the title write, "Hacked Account - Ticket submitted August 2x - Ticket number xxxxxx-xxxxxx" (fill in the date and ticket number), and we will prioritize your existing (August 29 or earlier) ticket.
  • Reset Password
We're leaving the "reset password" feature disabled for now. If you forgot your password, please contact the customer support team. We're leaving this disabled for now because we believe that a significant number of customers are unaware that hackers have the passwords for their email accounts. If we enable "reset password", a hacker who can get into an email account can use that access to get into the associated Guild Wars 2 game account.
  • Email Authentication
Email authentication is a feature we use to prevent hackers from gaining access to an account even if they know the account name and password.
We suffered an outage of email authentication mails today, preventing players from authorizing logins from new locations. This is now resolved. When you receive an email authentication message, or any other email fromnoreply@guildwars2.com, do not mark the email as spam! If you do, your email provider may prevent you from seeing any future email authentication messages.
  • Parties, Guilds, etc.
We've made significant fixes to parties and guilds. However, you may still see intermittent outages. These outages cause symptoms such as party members not appearing on the map, party members not staying in the same overflow servers as they travel between maps, party members not joining dungeons together, and guild invites not working.
  • Trading Post
We're periodically opening the Trading Post for testing. This morning it was open to all players for six hours. As of this writing, the Trading Post is offline so we can apply further bug fixes and performance improvements.
This morning during testing, some users purchased items and didn't immediately receive them, or sold items and didn't immediately receive the gold. We do have record of these transactions and are working on completing them. Check the "pick up" tab on your commerce panel to see if your transaction has completed.
  • PvP Tournaments
PvP tournaments were temporarily disabled today. We have now restored them.
  • World v. World
World v. World matches are now updating daily. We're running 24-hour matches to balance servers.
  • Worlds
We added three new worlds in Europe on Thursday, and three new worlds in America on Friday, and increased the population limits on all worlds.
  • Overflow
During this initial surge of high concurrency, and especially while most characters are low-level and thus playing in the same starting areas, it's common for players to be directed to overflow servers. If you want to play with a friend, but you're not on the same overflow servers, you can form a party together, then right-click on your friend's portrait in the party list and click "join".
We expect the use of overflow servers to naturally subside as players spread out more through the world.
  • Botting and exploits
It is our policy to permanently ban accounts engaged in botting and exploits, and we're ramping up to do that.
If you discover an exploit in the game, do not exploit it or publicize it, but instead please notify us immediately at this new email address: exploits (at) arena (dot) net. (This email address is for notifying us of emergency exploits. We cannot respond individually to questions sent to this address.)
  • Forums
Our most important priority at the moment is to ensure that the game runs stably and flawlessly. So as to not create additional demand on our infrastructure and on our programming team, we made the decision not to open the forums until the initial mass influx of players has calmed down a bit.
  • Next software updates
We're making non-disruptive changes throughout the day. We'll publish the next back-end server update tonight at midnight Seattle time. The game may be unavailable for approximately 20-60 minutes while we perform this update.