Gamers without Remorse
In a surprise post after yesterday’s stress test, ArenaNet announced today that Guild Wars 2 would launch on 8-28-12.
This is sooner than I expected by about a month. The results of the last beta weekend and yesterday’s stress test must have been better than I had thought. With just one more beta weekend before launch, August is a welcome date for many of us waiting for this game. Now we’re just counting down the days until our game goes live!
Yesterday, reports around the net exploded with a potential release date of the much anticipated Guild Wars 2. According to the Fry’s retail advertisement, the game would be released by June 28th.
But how accurate is this information? If you ask me, it seems a little soon. While the game play and the environments seem polished from the Betas I have played personally, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done with the game engine. As of yesterday, the game engine was still not fully optimized. It still primarily ran on one core of your CPU for both game play and rendering and only a little on the GPU. Crossfire/SLI also not yet available.
These are not small fixes and will likely take more betas before we start to see real improvement. At the rate in which ArenaNet is going with their Beta Weekends, we should have one over Memorial Day Weekend (hopefully an extended weekend) and another just before the supposed release date. This leaves us with only two betas, maybe three if they squeeze one in right before the date (like TERA did with Open Beta). Hardly enough time to flesh out all the content and engine issues.
We have seen what releasing a game before it’s ready can do to a game with so much potential. A good example of this would be Age of Conan. The game was dubbed by Funcom and their fans, “The best MMO Ever created.” It released a whole 8 months ahead of schedule due to demand from it’s fans and criticism that it took too long on development. Within 2 months, the subscription numbers dropped to half, and PVP was largely the only thing that carried that game.
Even if I’m wary of the date, I can’t help but get excited about the prospect of playing this game every day in just over a month.
It’s been a recent trend for new AAA MMOs to launch without End Game raiding like that found in games such as World of Warcraft, Rift, Lord of the Rings Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Being that my roots in MMO communities are in guilds that Raid, I can say I’m fairly concerned about this trend. Part of being part of a guild for me is the ability to make a larger team of guild players and take on difficult content. To me, this is the pinnacle of being in a guild.
Many veteran players of games like Guild Wars and other games without End Game raiding will tell me that there’s no need for it in the modern day MMO. Personally I’ve not yet been sold on this opinion. En Masse/Bluehole Studios used to take this stance with TERA, but have since opened up to the idea of Raiding, experimenting with it using the Nexus mechanics. But still, this is not guild organized raiding.
Playing through the Guild Wars 2 beta this last weekend, I was impressed with the level of gameplay and polish put into this MMO. The Dynamic events seem fun and very much “Raid Like” in some cases (such as the Shadow Behemoth event). However, there aren’t going to be any raids in this game. This seems like a complete shame, as the game lends itself very well to a raiding environment.
If there’s no raiding in the end game of MMOs like Guild Wars 2, what will they provide us to occupy our time at Max Level? I’ve heard people say PVP and Doing 5 man dungeons. But this seems a bit short sighted to me. With a game title such as “Guild Wars” I imagine doing more with our guild as a team.
I ask you, do you think End Game Raiding is necessary?
If not, what would you do for guilds wanting End Game content that the guild can do together in games like Guild Wars 2.
Please avoid telling me to play something else, etc. Let’s brain storm together.
The Guild Wars 2 beta was everything I had hoped it would be. I played around with the Thief, Engineer, Guardian, Warrior and Ranger. So far, I am really liking my Guardian and Ranger.
The game plays like a traditional MMO (unlike GW1 which was only an MMO when in cities). The questing system was fun and felt dynamic. There were static quests for you to go and do on the map. Just walk within the quest range and the quest activates with instructions. Then there’s the dynamic events that happen from time to time.
The game is free to play after you buy the game. To fund the games servers and development there’s a Cash Shop. They offer things like costumes, the ability to keep the stats from one item and the look of another. There’s also some XP bonus items that provide XP bonuses from killing monsters. This SOUNDS like a big bonus, but when you see how little XP you get from killing things, it’s not a huge deal. You can also trade in gems for gold. This wasn’t active yet, so I don’t know the exchange rate, so this could be game breaking or it could be really expensive. With as much thought as ArenaNet put into the other parts of the game, I imagine they will experiment on this and find a nice balance.
Didn’t get to PVP much (too engrossed in the beginning areas for the 3 races available at start). Leveling was slow for me, but I also spent a lot of time trying out the different classes to see what I want to spend time playing next time around.
All in all, I’m very impressed with the game and I’m torn on where my time will be spent. But without end game raids I’m not sure what I’ll be doing when I hit 80.