Ah back to blogging. Odd how even a few days away gets me twitching.
I have an EVE update post coming, but wanted to get these GW2-based thoughts out first.
Queues in GW2 WvW: Honestly it’s the second best solution, and the best (be CCP) is technically impossible for the rest of the industry. If one assumes GW2 will actually perform like an MMO, and not die after the first 1-3 months, populations should stabilize and people can move around until the odds of hitting a queue are low, or the queue itself is short. I would much rather sit in a 5 minute queue during prime time to get into WvW than get in instantly to some pre-packaged 10v10 or 40v40 instance of non-factorism. That said queue rage will be epic the first week of release, and the tears will be delicious.
As for the rest of the info/videos released from the press beta weekend, none of it really changes my mind about GW2. I’m still looking forward to it, and I still expect it to be decent. I think GW2 will be a fun 3-6 months, and then something to wander back to during slow gaming times, but I just don’t see it raising the MMO bar going forward or becoming a stand-out, must-play MMO long-term (unless the WvW ranking/competition aspect takes off, then the game might be somewhat of a massive-scale arena PvP hybrid game, which would be interesting).
With that said, I do think ArenaNet is going to benefit from a bit of a perfect storm situation. The last year+ in the MMO genre has been one failed release after another, and the latest and biggest, SW:TOR, is even more disappointing than even I had expected. Along with new failures, WoW itself has not stagnated, but gotten noticeably worse (linear idiot-proof questing + ‘hard’ raiding; good job interns). On top of all that, shockingly, the themepark model does not have the legs more traditional MMOs have, and so whether you are playing a failure themepark or not, the whole formula has grown stale for many/most.
So here comes GW2, the first AAA MMO in a while that is not a direct copy/paste job of WoW. For many ‘casual’ players, it will be the first MMO in a long time/ever that is not a hotbar smashfest, that has PvP as a feature rather than an afterthought, and that is more massive than a four-person insta-queue silent loot collecting trip (sorry, silent but fully voiced loot collecting trip). That alone will make GW2 special to MMO players that just don’t know a whole lot about the genre (but oh god prepare for the forum idiocy as WoWbies ask for a DF and welfare epics), much like WoW was special for so many because even the most basic stuff, like seeing another player in a city, was something new for them.
The bitter-vet in me knows GW2 ‘active’ combat is semi-active compared to Darkfall, or that their ‘massive’ maps are blips in EVE’s scope, but I fully understand that bitter-vet status is rare in the grand scheme of things, and that it’s not the AAA space that is really going to push the genre forward in significant ways. Hell, I’m just happy GW2 is not a copy/paste WoW. That alone is (sadly) worth celebrating in the AAA MMO space.