Over the last couple weeks there have been quite a few posts in the forums and on the official Guild Wars blog about upcoming events and changes to the game. I would like to take the time to catch you up on the stuff that went down while I was not posting.
Black Lion Trading Post Sale
Firstly, lets start with the most recent stuff from the blog posts on the main page. If you did not know there is a sale going on right now in the Black Lion Trading Post. The sale will be on for the next three days with each day featuring three new sale items.
To celebrate the dawn of a new year in Tyria, we’re chopping prices in the Gem Store for three days from January 4-6! During each day of the sale, we’ll feature three different items on sale at drastically reduced prices! All sales begin at 12 AM Pacific and last for 24 hours.
Fractals of the Mist Changes
Currently, if a party member disconnects from a fractal dungeon run, they are unable to rejoin, which can cause a lot of issues for that player and their party. Our new system will allow players who disconnect to reconnect to their party and jump back into the dungeon.
...[W]e’ve modified the party-level restrictions to allow players of any fractal level to group up. At party creation, players can choose any fractal level up to the highest fractal level in the party. Upon completion of the fractal run, all players equal to or lower than the chosen fractal level will have their fractal level increased by one. All players above the chosen fractal level will gain karma, but their fractal level will not increase. Rewards from the fractal will be based on players’ personal reward level as long as the reward level is equal to or lower than the chosen fractal level.
These are much needed changes that should have been included when the Fractals of the Mist went live. The Anet team is promising to role these changes out at the end of January. This is a little late for me. I have really lost interest in running fractals due to these two problems.
Mesmer Nerf / Exploit Fix
Next up lets head to the forums. Again, starting with the most recent stuff. Firstly, when the Wintersday stuff was removed and the Mesmer class received a nerf to help close up an exploit. See the patch notes here.
Mesmer Shatter skills now share a global 0.25 second recharge, to prevent multiple shatter effects triggering on the same illusion. Shattered Strength: This trait now grants 1 stack of might per illusion shattered.
This was an especially bad problem so we did what we had to do given the resources we had to solve this while the studio was closed for the new year/holidays.
That was the plan but fixing it for real is going to take some time so no timeframe right now.
Next up, a lot of you probably noticed that you can no longer preview gear that you can not use on your toon. Apparently, this is a temporary change and should be back to normal soon as is confirmed by CC Eva here.
As it has been correctly stated here, the previewing feature such as it is right now is just temporal and will change back very soon but we ask for a little bit more of patience till it gets updated and released
Ban Wave Drama
Next up in the Dev tracker is the drama over the resent ban wave. I really do not want to get into this here. I have mixed feelings about the situation. If you want to read the main drama threads that actually have red posts check out, "Fear of Ban", "The Tale of Two Jewellry Recipes...", or "Bans for Snowflake Jewelry are unfair".
WvW Culling Issues
1) Bandwidth out of our servers/datacenter (traffic would increase without culling)
2) Bandwidth in to each client (traffic to each client would also increase without culling)
3) Client performance issues related to rendering (potentially) all the players on a map at once. (Note that we base our performance requirements in this case on min-spec clients. We don’t want to stop anybody being able to play the game after all.)
I believe that our goal of removing culling from WvW is achievable and I’m looking forward to the day that I can announce to you all that we’ve pulled it off!
Colin Johanson Q1 Teaser
Next up we have a huge post from Colin Johanson where he teases us with what is to come in the Jan/Feb/March patches. I am just going to quote the entire post below because it is probably the most important post on the forums that I am seeing for this post.
Just to help provide some clarity on this, we’ll be releasing within the next couple of weeks a high level summary of our big plans for the first half of 2013 to help provide more transparency into our plans with the game going forward. This will include providing more details about our goals for the game, information about the stories and features that you’ll see in the Jan/Feb/March releases.
Colin Johanson - Game Director
To set expectations accordingly, the January release will be a relatively small release that sets the table for the stories and features we plan to roll out with the Feb/March releases and beyond. Also, there will be no new race, profession, or new region with these larger Feb/March releases. One of our major goals with these releases is making our existing world as strong as possible, ensuring there are reasons to go to all the locations in the world we’ve already built, and strengthening the core game we’ve provided. In saying this will be an expansions worth of stuff in these releases, we’re talking about the number of new features that will be rolled out across PvE, WvW, and PvP in early 2013, which usually you’d only find in an expansion for a traditional MMORPG.
More details and specifics to come in the next couple of weeks, but I hope that helps provide some more insight into what to expect at a very high level.
So, to summarize. January update will be small, and we will not see new races, classes, or regions (note he did not say zones) in February or March. Basically he is clarifying from an earlier interview where he said Jan/Feb would have an expansions worth of content. A lot of people speculated that this meant new classes, races, and multiple zones. He is merely clarifying here that is not what he meant. He meant that there is so much stuff coming that it is like an expansion. So, with that said Anet will be releasing details about their plans for the first quarter of 2012 in the next couple weeks. Expect to see improvements to existing content.
Anet Philosophy on Quality of Life
Next, Evan Lesh has an interesting post on Anets approach to fixing issues and patches bugs. This post gives you an insight into the philosophy at Anet with respect to adding quality of life improvements.
We try not to jump the gun and add an option to customize everything we can think of. Its a fine balance ... that really depends on cost/payoff.
More WvW Goodness
Then we have another gem from Colin Johanson. Firstly, he posted a link to an interview done by GuildWars2Junkies.com with Habib Loew and Matt Witter. They talk primarily about WvW and the future changes they have coming up. There is some good stuff there, so I recommend watching the video or checking out the audio version. A lot of forum goer's were disappointed by the lack of concrete details given in this interview, even though it is hinted at that February will have huge updates for WvW. Due to this uproar in this thread Colin Johanson had this to say,
It’s worth noting, while they said we’re not working on new versions of the home maps currently, they didn’t say anything about new maps in general.
What?! ... What?!? ... again WHAT?!?! Can't really interpret that any other way than, we are getting another map. Totally did not expect that. Anyway, he also adds,
I know some of you got the impression there isn’t much development going on here, but I was to clarify you couldn’t be more wrong. There is a boat load of very serious WvW being done, much of it they discussed in this interview. Major features require many month long projects, our hope is you’ll start seeing the major fruits of those labors starting in our February update.
Basically, patience. WvW changes are coming and in February we will see what those are, although, Colin's other post I mentioned above does imply that they will be making an announcement about these changes very soon.
Minion AI Improvements
In the comments j3w3l pointed out that I missed a red post made, probably as I was posting this article yesterday. Anyway, Jason King talks about improvements coming for minions. In the thread he is talking about necro minions but I would imagine that the AI improvements would apply to ranger pets as well.
We’re working on the minions’ behavior now and will be testing some changes to see how they work. Thank you for your patience, everyone!
Well that is it. I have gone back through all the Red Posts since before Xmas and those are the interesting tidbits. Hope you guys find this stuff interesting and it saves you some time.