Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Why the #GW2 Stronghold beta can go suck a fat one

Today is the open beta for the new Stronghold mode in Guild Wars 2. A lot of people are excited.  I'm not one of them.

Let's be clear, I'm a black hat "thinker", I look at the negatives. Here, in my eyes, the negatives eclipse the positives in such a colossal fashion I can't even see light at the end of the tunnel.

In short, balance. Several prominent members of the "community" have spoken out recently, explaining the problems with PvP in GW2 and the problems they anticipate in Heart of Thorns.

Lewis Burnell said this:
Tough Love Critic has actually written another piece since, talking about how the expansion will shake up GW2 fundamentally. One quote stands out:
From a game meta and structure viewpoint, it’s going to be complete chaos. That doesn’t mean it won’t be fun chaos (it most certainly will be)
No, it won't be. I think there is some sort of assumption that MMO players all enjoy this type of change. We don't.  And the degree of change outlined so well in TLC's article, makes me wonder what proportion of players will just give up on GW2 while it meanders through the pre-expansion content vacuum and won't come back.

I just can't get my head round the scale of the balance problem.  As it stands, ArenaNet have decided to combine the following into a single update:
  • a new class
  • 8 (9 if revenant gets one) specialisations
  • a new sPvP mode (not a map)
  • a new WvW map
Where do you even start balancing that? Maybe the fact is you don't.  You just push it out and say "hey, we're aware there are some issues" and watch as the community pans for gold in the torrent from your sewer. I mean, is PvP in Guild Wars 2 even balanced now?

Although today brings "beta" testing, the fact is you'll still be "testing" these changes way after money has changed hands. If not, then release is even further out than I myself have predicted.  And that's even worse.

So, no, I won't play your beta. I won't log in. I won't allow my contribution to the metrics to reassure your stakeholders.

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