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Games. Tech. Musings.

Games offline and online. Technology. Random stuff.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Guild Wars: Factions is live!

Factions is now out - but sadly, according to the official site front page, the initial batch of the Collector's Edition in North America will be late. Specifically, it should be in stores on May 5th. I might be tempted to read that last "should" as more of a "might", but then I'm always a bit pessimistic. Even then, there won't be much product in this batch and more won't ship till June 30.

In an ideal world, the ArenaNet people would extend the HeadStart event even more so they don't "punish" people pre-ordering their Collector's Edition over people just buying the standard edition in stores. We shall see, I suppose.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Guild Wars: Skill updates with Factions release

Along with the release of Factions, there's a skill update patch. Minion Master skills got somewhat nerfed - perhaps because of their strength in Alliance Battles? Energy denial skills also got a lovetap from the nerf bat.

Other skill tweaks of note:
  • Signet of Capture: now gives 250 XP for each level you have when used to capture an Elite skill.
  • Contemplation of Purity: increased recharge time to 10 seconds.
  • Dual Shot: increased recharge time to 7 seconds.

Most of the tweaks were downwards, but a few skills got better - notably, the PvP crowd are getting the vapours over Mantra of Recovery. If you're playing any serious PvP, expect a bunch of Diversion spam.

Guild Wars: Getting the Tengu Mask

Here's the skinny.

Also note that the Tengu event has been extended if you register your pre-order key by the end of today (i.e. 23:59 PST). Assuming you register in time, you can play the event till 23:59 PST, May 2. Seems likely this was done because a bunch of Collector's Editions of GW: Factions didn't ship in time.

Update: Apparently I was wrong. The Day of the Tengu event is now over, according to the game updates page. Seems that they just meant that pre-order customers can play Factions a bit longer if they activate the key. Shame they didn't make that clearer.

Guild Wars: New Guild Services Pricing

480k for the lot. Sounds like a lot but if you have a fair number of people in the guild it's probably not that bad.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Guild Wars: Day of the Tengu Tomorrow

Just a reminder that pre-order customers will be able to play in the Day of the Tengu event tomorrow. The hoi polloi will be joining Guild Wars: Factions on Friday. Babysitting permitting, I'll be helping some Tengu in the evening Pacific time - feel free to say hi.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Guild Wars: 4v4 and Heroes' Ascent Guides

A couple of pretty insightful guides to Arena and Heroes' Ascent were posted on the official site.

Pretty useful stuff. Personally, I rarely play HA because the multi-hour commitment you'll have to make if you're doing well isn't normally doable for me.

Guild Wars: More Factions features

A new feature in GW: Factions will apparently be player titles. Via a GameSpot interview.

Another interesting tidbit:
Yes, we added guild scrimmages, which can be initiated by any member of a guild when they are in their guild hall. This gives guilds the ability to practice one-on-one, eight-on-eight, or even one-on-eight combat if they choose. This is also a pretty good example of the sort of upgrades that affect all chapters of the game. Anyone playing Guild Wars whose guild has a guild hall will be able to take advantage of guild scrimmages regardless of whether they buy Factions.

Apparently you'll be able to visit allied guild halls as well. This is fabulous stuff.

{infomercial-style}Now how much would you pay? But wait, there's more!{/infomercial-style}
Once Factions is out, you will be able to talk to the guild lord non-player character in your guild hall and hire various service NPCs for your hall. Hiring service NPCs is a one-time cost, and they carry over for your guild, even if you elect to change guild halls. To some degree, many of these NPCs are luxuries, since map travel allows you to reach a city that has a similar NPC with a few clicks of the mouse, but there are certain NPCs that we know people will be very anxious to hire.

Important services, such as a Xunlai storage agent and a priest of Balthazar, will be moderately priced, while other, more esoteric services will be priced as luxuries. Among the most anticipated, I'm sure, will be a vault keeper who maintains storage space for the whole guild. This is an entirely new feature that we're adding soon after the release of Factions.


Capturing an elite skill will give you around 5,000 experience points. We're improving the quality of all rare (gold) and uncommon (purple) items significantly. We've worked to make boss encounters more interesting. We've accelerated skill acquisition and given players more choice about skills from the beginning of the game. We've given players more choices about the appearance of their armor even if they want particular stats. And the list goes on!


Guild Wars: EvIL vs. Te Playoff Game

Great video of an awesome GvG playoff match between The Last Pride [EvIL] and Treacherous Empire [Te] with interesting commentary from Kriegar and Lulu of Te and Wally from GWVersus. Recommended. I hope the GWVersus guys do more features like this in the future.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Guild Wars: Match reports from GWWC Season 1

Saw this a while ago and somehow forgot to post it. ArenaNet drafted some civilian match reporters for the playoff matches for Season 1 of the World Championships. I thought that generally the match writeups were a lot better than the ones for the previous World Championships. They actually mention the builds the teams are using, which is a good start.

In case you weren't following the playoffs, the final 2 came down to War Machine [WM] and The Last Pride [EviL] again, with EviL once again taking the crown. Does seem to indicate there might be skill involved in the game, since the same teams keep winning.

Guild Wars: E3 Challenge

Feel like you can beat The Last Pride? I mean, how hard could it be? Note that you don't have to physically go to E3 for this.

Guild Wars: Day of the Tengu

Pre-order GW: Factions customers will doubtless be interested to know about this special event happening on April 27th. If you didn't pre-order, you can still pre-order from various retailers online and get an access key.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Guild Wars: Snarky Warriors rock PvE

Insightful, snarky post by Ensign in a rather sad thread at GWGuru pleading for a buff to Wither.
...if you want to powergame PvE you just Order-up a bunch of warriors and rangers, and they mow through everything so fast that these tricks simply don't matter.

The only reason you don't run 4-5 warriors in PvP is that the enemy will have lots of warrior hate, a lot of it scaling. The only reason you don't run 4-5 warriors in PvE is you don't know 4-5 competent warriors.
Zing! Well, I laughed.

Guild Wars: Art of GvG Relaxation

Nice little post by Taelorn over at GWKB on handling mistakes made in GvG in a relaxed way. People are often overly defensive about the way they play so it's good to bear these points in mind.

Guild Wars: PAX

Turns out The Wife is co-designing a doubtlessly-super-cool Guild Wars event at the Penny Arcade Expo this year. Details are still hush-hush at this point.

Anyway, assuming I can find a babysitter, I'll doubtless turn up either to man a booth somewhere or even (*gasp*!) actually play some games. And stuff. I'll post nearer the time but if you're going, hopefully I'll see you there.

Airport Screening, part 2

Slashdot helpfully points out today that they already do the Airport Screening "game" that Tony Walsh suggested. Great minds think alike, and all that.

Guild Wars: Week's dev posts

It's been a busy, busy week over at Clamatius HQ. I've been playing Indigo Prophecy in the evenings with The Wife (I'm sure I'll write more on that subject later) and work's been a bit frantic.

Alright, that's the excuse for not posting. Here's the highlights of GW news for the week.
  • Alert readers may have noticed that the promised skill balance update scheduled for this week didn't actually happen. Apparently it's now scheduled for after Season 2 of the World Championships - around May 15th.
  • Apparently the Factions Collector's Edition has been delayed in some areas and may not make it onto shelves for the 28th everywhere. The Standard Edition will be available, however.
  • PvE quests which award skills in Factions will generally give a choice of 2 skills instead of a fixed one. Additionally, less skills in general will be available via quests, but obtaining skill points and gold will be easier - character advancement in general will be faster. It was previously revealed that the majority of Factions will be played at 20th level - in GW: Prophecies, it's more like 33% at 20th just for the main storyline.
  • You'll be able to buy extra character slots for $9.99 this summer.
  • The current bug where all PvE aggro is focused on characters holding items will be fixed at some point.
  • Pet AI and Henchmen AI will be improved "on a very large scale" at some point after Factions is released.
  • Apparently the Elite Missions in Factions will be accessible by more than the 1% of players some doomsayers have been forecasting.
Credit for all that lot goes to the busy posters over at the ever-useful Game and Dev Tracker at GuildWarsGuru.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Guild Wars: Frozen Isle GvG Map

Definitely check this article out if you don't know how the switches work on the Frozen Isle map.

Tech: Airport Screening Is A Badly Designed Game

Interesting article on why airport screening doesn't work well right now.

Does seem true - if you're a screening zombie staring at the X-ray, after about the 30th hour of seeing zip you're going to have zoned out. If every 10th case looked like it had a weapon in it and you got in trouble for not noticing them, I'm guessing your hit rate on finding smuggled weaponry would go way up.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Guild Wars: Movement in GvG

Solid article over at GWOnline by Parker Bsb on positional play in Guild vs. Guild battles. Covers kiting, splitting, battle lines and the various GvG maps. Great stuff if you're new-ish to GvG.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Guild Wars: Factions Preview Event Follow-Up Q&A

Guild Wars Guru posted a Q&A today about the Factions Preview event. Nothing really earthshaking in there that I didn't know already, really.

This brings up a point I've been thinking about recently. How will Guild Alliances be important in GW: Factions? I think there's two reasons:
  • There'll be a new chat channel like the current Guild channel that everyone in your alliance can hear. This should make it easier to round up 4 or 8 on those nights where there's not as many people playing.
  • Alliances can gain access to "elite" PvE areas in the section of territory controlled by their Faction.
So how will this elite PvE access actually work? We don't know for sure yet but here's my best guess - in fact, I'll be a bit surprised if this isn't how it works.
  • Fighting Alliance Battles (PvP) moves the Faction control lines on the map so each Faction will have access to some number of outposts within their territory.
  • You can go into the opposition territory but you won't have access to the resurrection shrines without killing or bribing the guards (as per the Q&A).
  • The top-rated alliances in each Faction gain control over outposts in the territory - the "best" area goes to the top-rated Alliance, the second-best to the second-rated, and so on.
  • You increase your alliance's rating by donating Faction points to the alliance instead of using it yourself.
  • I'm guessing the control lines may update every 24 hours to give all the players in different time zones a chance to contribute and make alliance control over outposts less fleeting.
So what are the ramifications of such a system? Well, large alliances are rewarded - the way to control outposts in your Faction's territory is simply to have as many active players grinding faction points in the alliance as possible. Casual players are likely to feel excluded - if you're in a guild consisting of you and your 5 real-life friends, you're never going to see the elite PvE areas since you're highly unlikely to be invited into a very active alliance.

I hope that this is addressed by simply making the elite areas have an entry cost much like the current Underworld, only significantly more expensive. Control over the outpost means your alliance doesn't have to pay the entry fee. In fact, you could even make it so that a portion of the entry fees paid by others go into the coffers of the controlling alliance. Everyone gets to see the content and players have a reason to bother trying to take control of outposts via boosting their alliance rank since it would presumably be hugely lucrative.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Guild Wars: Balance Update on April 15th

Next skill update will be April 15th - and that's all the info we have for now. I missed this detail from Gaile last Friday.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Guild Wars: Luxon and Kurzick Violence, part 2

Following up on yesterday's post, I did the new "Romeo and Juliet" Luxon/Kurzick quests last night. I'm guessing they were balanced for a party of characters at about the level you'd normally be when you're in the Lions Arch area (14? I forget). Pretty easy for a solo 20th level character and decent xp. I'd do the quests while you can. The previous Factions "adverquest" - setting up the Luxon and Kurzick settlements - isn't playable any more and the same may apply to these quests later on.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Guild Wars: PvP Beginner's Guide up on GWGuru

After some thought, I decided to submit the Guide to GWGuru instead of GWOnline for the reasons I outlined previously. Thanks to Inde for posting it.

Looks like there's a bunch of people from Guru here - I hope you find the site useful.

Guild Wars: Luxon and Kurzick Violence

There's a couple of new quests in the Lion's Arch area. Two important points here:
  • You can't do the new quests unless you've done the Romeo/Juliet Factions quests in the area.
  • A given character can do only one side of the quest - Luxon or Kurzick - but not both.
  • You can do both sides with different characters.
  • Note that Faction points you get will be zeroed out if you cash any of the opposing Faction's points in.
5k xp reward for these quests, so not peanuts. Sidenote: I was amused to see CyberNigma over at GWGuru calling these quests "Adverquests".

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Guild Wars: Alliance Battles party formation

It's still not clear exactly how Alliance Battles - the new 12v12 format in Factions - will work in terms of party creation. But Gaile did give a couple more details yesterday:
12v12 is not random, in that you form a party of 4 and work with 2 other 4-party teams.
I don't think it's constrained by alliance, but that may become part of the mechanics.
It's my understanding that you will not be able to do 12v12 completely randomly.
That it will require parties of 4.
Sounds like they haven't completely made their minds up. Still, requiring parties of 4 should substantially increase the level of clue in the format, which would be nice. I'm still a bit worried about the "exploit" where 3 guild teams hit "join" at the same time to all be on the same team. If that actually works then it will be required to be competitive, which would suck. Getting 8 people together for GvG is a pain as is - getting 12 would be even worse.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Current Clamatius Status

Sums it up. Except it's my family instead of the wife's. And we have flu.

Guild Wars: Ascalon Arena guide

Silmor strikes again with a guide to Ascalon Arena. For clarity, I'm talking about the arena map with the tar pit in the middle, not the griefer-plagued level-limited arena area (which you should avoid at all costs).

Guild Wars: GuildCast

Apparently some people have been running a GW podcast called GuildCast for quite a while which I hadn't heard of. I haven't listened to any episodes yet so I can't vouch for quality. I'll try to listen to one today and update with my opinion.

Update: I listened to their review of the Factions preview weekend. They're very PvE centric. I wasn't very impressed - a key quote was "I thought it was ho-hum" a few minutes after they admitted that they hadn't really played Alliance Battles or, for that matter, a whole lot else of the new content. I guess YMMV.