Artist’s impression of Noscoc receiving his permanent dishonor punishment from ANet GMs. Digital scan from original oil painting. Repository: The Grouch Collection, eSports Drama Historical Museum.
I’ve hardly played any Guild Wars 2 in 9 months, and it’s been literally years since I last blogged about it, but I’ve still been following the game and was shocked and saddened by what happened last month. A group of five players paid five top-tier PvPers to play on their accounts and win the first automated monthly tournament for them. In the aftermath, all ten players were punished by ArenaNet with permanent dishonor, meaning their accounts are banned from structured PvP.
I believe that the punishment was appropriate (perhaps even on the lenient side), and I’m sad that such icons of the game as Noscoc, Magic Toker, and Wakkey would do this. But, as disappointed I am at them, I’m also disappointed at ArenaNet – not for the way they handled this incident (which was swift, decisive, and fair), but for the months of neglect of the PvP playerbase. I’m not condoning what Nos & Co. did, but I empathise with their feelings of anger and abandonment: it’s hard to respect the game’s rules when you feel disrespected yourself, and I want to explore how they came to feel like that.
So yes, I have feels about everyone involved in this, and I want to spew them all over the internet.
I was pleasantly surprised with last month’s Stability changes in Guild Wars 2. Changing Stability to stack in intensity rather than duration, with each stack nullifying a single instance of crowd control, rather than giving you full immunity to all control effects for its entire duration, was a perfect illustration of why soft counters are better than hard counters, particularly in a fast-paced game like Guild Wars 2, where player skill is supposed to trump build advantage.
Now builds that rely on control effects to either deliver their damage or to stay alive are no longer completely dominated by builds with a lot of access to Stability. Nor are supposedly game-turning skills with extremely long cooldowns, like Lich Form, brutally shut down by a single Corrupt Boon, which takes away the stability and lets you bounce the Lich around like a ping pong.
As you’ve probably figured, I love this new system! Although, as Noah Sky over at AspectGG pointed out, the effects of this change haven’t been that drastic, at least in sPvP (WvW group fights are a whole other kettle of zergfish, and the changes have had a heavy impact there!), the beauty of this new system is that it will let the developers to make far more granular balance adjustments! For instance, the “3 stacks every 3 seconds” elites might be a little bit TOO immune to boon removal for my liking, as stability is reapplied too quickly. On the other hand, Foot in the Grave is still far too weak for a grandmaster trait. Having control over both duration and intensity means these imbalances can be fixed far more easily: you can adjust duration, intensity, number and frequency of pulses. Stability no longer either makes you completely immune or not. Continue reading →
So, after over two years of Conquest, we’re finally getting a new PvP game mode in Guild Wars 2, and in the past few weeks we’ve learned a lot about what it’s going to be like. Mid-February brought us an article on the game’s website, and the following day a demo of the new map in Ready Up 28.
More recently, we’ve had a plethora of streamed Stronghold games, played by developers, journalists, and members of the public at PAX East and Rezzed (including a game between WTS finalists the Dankening and Heaven and Earth).
As we know, the win condition will be killing the other team’s Lord, just like in the Guild vs Guild game mode from the original Guild Wars. But ANet’s decision to call the game Stronghold rather than GvG, combined with the presence of NPCs you can spawn to attack the enemy base, have gotten some people worried that the whole thing will be too much like a MOBA. This was especially so with the original announcement at PAX, with the person running Mistpedia’s (since renamed to AspectGG) Twitter account wondered the same, asking:
Even though we’ve learned a lot more about Stronghold since then, this impression seems to have stuck, and I saw a lot of derisive “MOBA Wars 2” comments on Twitch chat in response to the Stronghold exhibition game played during the WTS finals. So the question that everyone looking forward to Stronghold wants to ask is: is it really GvG, or is it a MOBA?
Well, hold on, embittered Twitch commenters, I’ve got an answer for you! Continue reading →