Monday, October 18, 2010

My thoughts on this Guild Wars survey

A while back they had a survey about War in Kryta, and I made damn sure to fill it out to voice my discontent.  The results were posted earlier today and I'm not entirely pleased, though overall it skews in a direction I like.

I'll provide my responses to each question and then try to give some sort of constructive reasoning for why I feel the way I do.  As much as I really want to just type "holy fuck this shit was too fucking difficult" over and over, everyone's heard that and constructive criticism goes over much more favorably.

Q: How did you feel about the difficulty of the War in Kryta content?

My answer was too hard.  This was likely due to the way I played it.  The content was clearly designed for parties of eight human players starting from the Temple of the Ages.  My guild is pretty much dead, and I don't like pick-up-groups (hereafter, PUGs) for reasons I've probably gone into before, but can be summed up with one word: incompetence.

Since my guild is pretty much dead, I was attempting the War in Kryta content with heroes and henchmen.  The henchmen available in the Temple of the Ages are only level 15, and as such have different skill sets and armor/health values than their level 20 counterparts.  I was surprised that the henchmen were not automatically promoted to their level 20 counterparts once I entered the War in Kryta quest chain, which takes place entirely in instances designed for the purpose.  They can do the very same promotion for Hard Mode, so why not the War in Kryta?  The small bit of War in Kryta content I did in Hard Mode was actually far easier for this exact reason.

Another contributing factor to the difficulty was, of course, the enemy group composition.  It was designed such that multiple enemies with the same name (Peacekeeper Enforcer, etc.) could have varying skill sets.  This goes in stark contrast to what we're used to everywhere else in the game, where an enemy's name indicates something about their profession combination and skills used.  In addition, multiple enemies per group were capable of resurrection, including via the imbalanced shout "We Shall Return!" which is instant, cannot be prevented (except via Frozen Soil), and affects all dead allies within earshot.  I ended up spamming Frozen Soil to get around the whole "enemies have too much resurrection" issue.  It goes without saying that resurrection is far more common within War in Kryta content than anywhere else in the game, save for the Desolation in Elona.  At least there you have the Junundu to deal with 90% of it.

Enemy group sizes ranged from what anyone who had played Prophecies was used to up to the average for Factions, i.e. really huge.  Combine that with their level (24, usually; the max a player can get to is 20) and all the resurrection they pack, and it makes it unfairly difficult.

Q: How difficult was it for you to locate the War in Kryta content?

It was pretty easy.  Between the update notes singling out the zone containing the camp and the documentation efforts at GuildWiki, there was no problem at all.  The only annoying part was that the camp was not an outpost, so to see the next part of the dialogue you had to run there again.  If you got behind a few lines of dialogue, you couldn't just stay there and have it play all of them, you had to map back to town and run there again, which was just monotonous.

The part I absolutely hated was the scavenger hunt for Lieutenant Thackeray.  Really only one specific part of it.  One of the items he was looking for was Hard Apple Cider, which is a Thanksgiving event drop.  This event started so far in advance of Thanksgiving that simply waiting for the event to roll around was not feasible, and unless you had hoarded them from the previous event, the only way you could possibly get one was to buy one at a greatly inflated price from other players.  This just screams poor planning.

Q: How did you feel about the length of time the War in Kryta ran?

Considering that we knew what the outcome was going to be before it even began, it took too long.  Furthermore, I consider the quest line to be too long because it's too difficult.  Retries count towards content length.

It also took too long for the content to be added to the game.  It takes place kind of alongside Eye of the North (the Asura storyline hints at it, with Livia working with Gadd and trying to save Kryta), yet it wasn't added until a long time after Eye of the North.  I mean, I had time to beat Eye of the North before it was added, and I took forever to beat Eye of the North.

Q: How happy were you with the rewards from the War in Kryta content?

ArenaNet loves to make people work way too hard for meager rewards.  This shows with the Zaishen coins, where everything is overpriced.  It shows with Nick the Traveler, where I have yet to get anything rarer than a Keg of Aged Hunter's Ale.  It also shows here.  There were not one, not two, but three collectors for various things.  They made the rewards entirely random by way of trading to collectors for Royal Gifts, which turn into a wide array of useless items and only a few actually desirable items that if you receive one, you ought to consider playing the lottery.  Honestly, if you have to work that hard for your reward, you should be able to choose what you're going to get so you can be happy with it.  You know, like the end of Prophecies, the end of Factions, the end of Nightfall, and the end of Eye of the North.  So basically, like everywhere else in the game.

So I guess my answer is "not at all".  Or to be more precise: "all pain no gain".

Q: How interested are you in seeing new stories that evolve the game world?
Q: How interested are you in seeing stories that explore existing game lore?

These two both fell into the "duh" category.  Without fresh content to play, the game gets stale.  Quickly.

Q: How easy was it to party with other players for the War in Kryta content?

As I mentioned above, I never tried to party with other players.  I also only very rarely saw people trying to put together parties for it.  PUG quality is seriously lacking, and I guess the majority of players have figured that out by now.

Q: How would you feel about having a party that you could fill with Heroes?

I would love this.  I've wanted it since Heroes were added to the game.  I've always hated how henchmen had their builds that they were going to run regardless of what your party was trying to do.  Up until I determined that the enemy AI always targets Livia first, I ran a party build based around Order of Pain.  Order of Pain requires anyone who wants to receive its damage boost to be dealing physical damage.  Yet it was impossible towards the end of Nightfall to get a party put together with henchmen that had all five of the key damage dealers dealing physical damage, because of Aidan's use of Kindle Arrows, which changes his attack damage to fire.

It does make me happy that they're adding this to the game with their next content update, though.  They're adding it along with something else I'm looking forward to: an outpost that can take you to any mission outpost you've unlocked.  It really should be expanded to take you to any town or outpost that you've unlocked, but it's a good start.

Overall, the War in Kryta was necessary for story development, but it could have been done much better.  I'm still annoyed that to get the zones to revert back to where I can go around vanquishing them and expect a favorable outcome I have to beat the entire thing; there's no way to turn it off other than reaching the end.  It was way too different from what the entire rest of the game had conditioned us into.

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