Gamers without Remorse
There’s a lot of people out there comparing the hype behind SWTOR and GW2. While they both had a lot of attention placed on them before launch and a lot of people really got excited for both, I’ll just tell you now.. the two hype machines were completely different.
Star Wars: The Old Republic:
Bioware, known for it’s amazing narrative in their single player RPGs such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age and of course Knights of the Old Republic. People were excited about SWTOR for a number of reasons. Mostly because the idea of an KoTOR MMO really sounded amazing. Mostly people had built up the idea of what the game would be like in their head. EA/Bioware did a good job of telling people about their grand ideas throughout the development process. People really couldn’t wait to see this amazing new MMO that promised a true story and choices for your character.
However, here’s where things started to go wrong. EA with it’s massive budget, really pushed the game around launch time. It’s widely thought that they pushed for the game to get released early, and using media to try to get as many buy-ins as possible. Here, they spent millions on advertising for the game. They created a level of hype well above the expectations of those who knew better. So far, at this point, most everyone in the world hadn’t gotten their hands on the game for more than a few hours during one of the few beta weekends.
So we have lots of talk from the Developers about what makes the game great. The beta testers were largely under lock and key from NDAs. So by law, they couldn’t tell people what flaws they saw. By the time the game launched, the media hype had blow so big that people were declaring the game “Game of the Year” (Gamespy) and singing it’s praises.
Guild Wars 2
7 years in the making, ArenaNet had been researching and developing this game. They spent some time talking about their design philosophies and ideas, but mostly they were just working on the game. In fact, there were a few times that the press had to ask “Are you guys still working on Guild Wars 2?”
It wasn’t until late last year that press screenshots and interviews started to happen. Some gameplay footage here and there, but mostly nothing to really call home about. It wasn’t until the press betas that things really started to take off for ArenaNet. When the press got ahold of the game and started playing it, they started talking about it. Showing gameplay videos, telling people about the experience, etc. This got people interested and excited.
It’s important to note this here: ArenaNet didn’t give a press release, scripted reply or otherwise tell the press what they should say. They simply let the game tell the story. Good experiences bred good reviews.
Players got excited about the prospect of a game that has so much promise that they signed up for beta and hoped to be one of the lucky who’ll get to play the game. Once pre-purchase beta weekends went live, people started talking about the game a lot. Again, the press only reported on what their experiences were and players were only talking to others about their experiences. Word of mouth spread fast.
As you can see, there’s a big difference in how GW2 was hyped over SWTOR. SWTOR relied on a media blitz backed by millions of dollars of advertising budgets. Guild Wars 2 didn’t have to do that. They simply allowed people to talk about the game and how great it was. So far, Rift was the only other game that came close, but they too also had a media blitz campaign with their “Not in Azeroth anymore” ads.
Rift recently released their 3 faction combat Conquest. You pick your faction at the time the match starts. It lasts about 1 to 1.5 hours per. Rift, like usual as of late has really dropped the ball on this. And I’d love to hear your thought on this, but I’ll go over my problems with it.
1. Because you pick your faction before each match, players will always queue up for the faction that wins most often. This negates what makes 3 faction PVP so great. It also makes choosing a faction trivial. Personally I think that picking a faction should be meaningful in some way.
2. It uses the Stillmoor Map, largely unmodified. This means that the map isn’t balanced for large-scale PVP. There are certain points that are important to winning that are simply easier for one faction to control. This causes the problem above to get even worse.
3. Because of issues with Marksman Rogues with Vampiric Munitions (passive buff that can be spammed that provides 50% healing debuff and heals the Rogue), it’s extremely unfriendly to virtually anything but a Rogue spamming Fanout at 35 meters over and over again. All other ranged classes must get within the spamout range for 5 meters before they can do any kind of meaningful DPS. Forget being Melee, so Warriors are largely useless, having to respawn often (personally, I just stayed dead until rezzed or until force respawned soaking in Favor and Prestige).
4. The rewards favor massive farm-fests over objectives. So often, the entire match will be one zerg trying to find the other zerg at a portal (Eye of Regulos or Caer Mathos) and farming them back and forth to get a ton of prestige and favor (allowing PVP ranks and gear to grow faster).
5. No solo play. Since you can’t kill an extractor by yourself (not easily, and not worth the time), there’s not much for you to do as a solo player who wants to not follow the zerg running from location to location and capping objectives or farming.
6. Objectives are boring. You’re literally running around capping these “Extractors” on the map, standing around for the timer to tick down until you capture it, and moving onto the next.
I like that Rift is trying something new for their game, based on player feedback, but I really think Trion has no idea how to balance PVP. It’s literally the most spammy PVP I’ve ever seen.. couple it with really high stat bloat in PVP gear and there’s no meaningful choices. Conquest only magnifies these flaws.
I really want to say that PVP has gotten better since the early days of PVP in Rift. However, I’d be lying. With passive spammable 50% healing debuffs and horrible class balance, PVP in Rift is a hot mess right now. I imagine that anything short of a complete redesign couldn’t fix it at this point.
If only Trion would take a few queues from ArenaNet and their PVP design. Horizontal scaling, short CC durations, great use of terrain, etc.
Less than 3 weeks. Then I’m done playing Rift.