All posts by Age

Thrill of the Crime

Thrill of the Crime: PvLeague

Today I wanted to to talk about Guild Wars 2 sPvP—specifically, PvP Leagues and their rewards. I have always popped into some PvP matches every now and then, but when PvP Leagues were announced I was extremely excited to participate and see how far I could go. Over the past two seasons however, I’ve had trouble playing consistently during the season because, quite honestly, I have not been strongly motivated.

Motivation is the biggest problem for me and, from what I’ve seen, has been a similar problem for many during a ranked season. Motivation for playing the entire season just isn’t there. Right now there are two things to motivate players: 1) Get to a certain division and 2) finish ascension legendary back piece achievements. I do think it’s natural that people who don’t PvP a lot stop playing ranked after reaching a certain ranked or finished getting the rewards but I feel the system itself can be better. Going into the third season, the best or dedicated players have already finished the back piece achievements and getting tier and division rewards is the next best reason to play for these players.

The unique PvP tickets you get from these rewards however, don’t have much use outside of getting the back piece, unless you like mini llamas. Buying Shards of Glory with tickets is a waste as they are super cheap on the trading post and are relatively easy to get if you PvP. I guess you could technically make another ascended precursor back piece. It seems to me that if you do play for extra tickets, it is best to save these tickets for next year’s PvP back piece. But that could be a problem in and of itself if players continue to accrue these tickets without anything to spend them on.

Overall, I feel the motivation to progressively get better and to have challenging matches should be one of the major factors when playing ranked matches. It is the main reason why any PvP player consistently queues up.

Issue #1: Profession Balance

This is getting better every quarter but it’s still worth noting as profession balance for PvP hasn’t been the greatest. I can understand the difficulty of balancing across PvE, WvW and PvP, but that is a discussion for another time.

Specifically Thief and Warrior have had trouble in the past two seasons and even some time before that. This season you’ll see both of these professions more often than before, but I’m not sure how they’ll do in higher tier play. I think ArenaNet is slowly but steadily getting each profession in a decent spot to be viable to some degree in high tier play. While this should definitely be the goal, the issue is the slow progress it is taking to get there.

Major balance updates right now happen every three months. So it took 3 months to see Thief/Daredevil and Warrior/Berserker relatively used in Season 2 and another 3 months for them to be back in regular use in Season 3. Now Guardian/Dragonhunter is the profession on the decline and in need of some help. There’s also the issue of obvious “overpowered/broken” updates that are fixed either later in the season or after the season is over. One example that comes to mind is Season One’s bunker meta that was painful to play in and how it took about 2 weeks into Pro Leagues—which at the time was a month into the first PvP League season—before ArenaNet finally did something to balance that.

Issue #2: Queues

This is something that has plagued PvP Leagues—and even unranked for different reasons. Either way, queues have always been an oddity.

Ranked matchmaking has gotten better over time, but as it is still fairly new I can’t judge too much on it yet. It was quite evident in Season One—and a bit in Season 2—however, that queues were a major problem with organized teams fighting a mix of solo queue and duo queue players. It still happens every now and then, but it’s now less frequent. The population of players and the divisions players are in may play a part as well, but with no metrics to look at it is hard to say for certain on the matter.

The issue with three or four man groups usually causes a lack in communication with the other solo/duo players and, in some cases, one or two of the players in the larger group is less skilled but it brought up to a higher level due to how queues work. For those that don’t know, group matchmaking will work based on the highest division in the group. So if an Amber player, Emerald player & Sapphire player queued together, the matchmaking would be based off the Sapphire player. The results of this is that there’s usually at least one person who doesn’t react, fight or rotate as well because they’re playing against stronger opponents which is a liability solo/duos usually don’t want to deal with. On the flip side, people who solo queue don’t want to fight organized teams. If you duo queue, that’s a risk you take.

Then there’s the issue of class stacking with up to 3 or more of a single profession on a team. Someone needs to switch because in some cases it’s not the best thing to stack so many of a single profession. Then the person swapping may not be on a profession they’re as comfortable or skilled with. You probably already see where I’m going with this downward spiral into less than ideal matchmaking situations. So far in Season 3 though, this issue has also been better probably due to having more diverse picks available.

Issue #3: Divisions

“What about division prestige as motivation” you might be thinking as each player works toward getting to legendary or to that division they are personally proud of reaching. Sadly there are two parts to this issue as 1) any dedicated player can get to Ruby and 2) many players that reach legendary or the division they want either start playing whatever profession/build they want—which may or may not be good for those they end up queued with—or just stop playing for the season.

For those who don’t know, the ranked system is made of pips and tiers. There are a certain amount of pips per tier and a number of tiers per division. Both of these numbers vary per division, but once you complete every tier in a division you are moved up to the next division. In Amber—the 6th and lowest division—you can’t lose pips or tiers. In Emerald and Sapphire—the 5th and 4th divisions respectively—you can lose pips but not tiers. And lastly in Ruby—the 3rd division—and in higher divisions you can lose both pips and tiers. At no point are players able to lose and drop down to a lower division.

Division crossing is more of a time spent type of deal where any competent player can get into Ruby just by playing enough games. Keep in mind I’m not saying a fresh, new PvP player per say although it is not impossible. The reason it’s like this is that players who aren’t as skilled at PvP can finish the achievements for the back piece. It may take longer for said players but in the end they can obtain it. Ranked should be about progressive skill and a little luck. Making it easy to climb the ladder all the way to Ruby—which sits in the upper half of league divisions—doesn’t make either the games or the system competitive. In fact, it just means that the player were tenacious enough to play the games needed to move up a division irrelevant of their actual skill. I can see crossing from Ruby into Legendary being more of challenge due to having more pips and tiers to cross; maybe this is the trade off ArenaNet wanted.

Then the second of the issues I brought up—where players reach the division they wanted and are “done”—has two very real problems. First is when players start playing whatever they want, no longer caring for making meaningful progress through the divisions and making it harder for those players they queue with that are still trying to make progress or just have serious matches. For example, let’s say my Revenant PvP play is Diamond level but my Scrapper and Tempest PvP play, the only other professions I play in PvP, are Emerald at best. If I reach Diamond and then suddenly I need to play other professions to finish the League Professional, I have a problem. My team also has a problem because if I swap to a Tempest or Scrapper, I’m essentially handicapping my teammates. Then equally worse is that the players stop playing which can create longer queue times as there are fewer players queuing for matches which degrades the quality of matches that players get queued into.

Issue #4: The Ascension Back Piece Achievements

I have a few qualms with the Ascension achievements. The achievements are broken into four sections each of which reward an item for completing that section. Finishing all 4 sections and combining the 4 reward items will give you the Gift of the Competitor—one of the four items required for crafting the Legendary PvP back piece. The way the Ascension achievement completion works is that the more you progress the faster you’ll get the needed four items for the legendary back piece. While there are four PvP League Seasons in a year, players are able to finish the legendary in just two out of these four PvP seasons.

I strongly believe that you shouldn’t have been able to obtain all of these items needed from the achievements without participating in a full year of PvP League. Making it a yearly achievement creates a motivational end goal for all players where everyone has a specific end date to get certain objectives done. This would be much better than what we have now as it would promote players to continue to play and do well throughout all of the seasons and not rush through it in the first half of the year.

Then there is a part of the achievements themselves that inadvertently cause problems for players trying to progress. The League Professional achievements require players to win up to 10 matches on 2-3 different professions depending on which achievement section you’re on. The first problem with this is that some players do not want to play more than one or two professions in PvP. This problem is debatable, but understandable as many players may enjoy playing only one or two professions in PvP.

The second problem with these League Professional achievements is that a player’s secondary professions may not be up to par skill wise in the division they have reached with their main profession. This is going back to the example I used in the division issue.

As a whole, I don’t really like that the back piece—the best, most prestigious ranked PvP reward—is accessible by pretty much everyone with the drive to do so. Guild Wars 2 has always been casual in that sense, where you can get almost anything you want if you put in the work. That’s fine. However, I feel that PvP should be a measure of work and skill and that both should rewarded instead of just playing a lot of matches.

I wholeheartedly believe that anyone can get to Ruby if they play enough games. It all depends on how many games a person is willing to put the effort into to get there due to the way pips and tiers work in Amber, Emerald and Sapphire. Players that put in the extra games beyond this and have the skill to continue to progress higher should get something significant for their efforts. I don’t think that being able to make the back piece before a majority of players is enough and goes into the problem of what do leagues offer those players after they have finished the back piece.

It feels like ranked play in Guild Wars 2 isn’t motivating enough and it lacks drive. It may be due to the structure of PvP League or due to the population of GW2’s PvP scene, but I feel it can be better than it is now. ArenaNet is the type of company that they may miss the mark on their first run at a feature, but they work to vastly improve on it the next time around. Living World Season 1 to Season 2 is a perfect example of this. Hopefully we see the same improvement when ArenaNet works to make PvP Leagues better for year 2.

Thrill of the Crime

Thrill of the Crime: Legendary Axe’d

Last week a bomb shell exploded that resulted in a lot of commotion. Unlike most of the dramatic instances that have happened in the last year, this time around the commotion is well warranted. Of course I’m talking about the new legendary precursor journeys being indefinitely suspended.

For those who don’t know, ArenaNet President and temporary Game Director Mike O’ Brien got on the forums last Friday and dropped the news that after the April release of the Legendary short bow—Chuka and Champawat—all work on new legendary weapons will be indefinitely suspended. The team that worked on this content will be shifted to work on Living World style content.

First off, let’s talk about the word “indefinitely”. It has two meanings. For an unlimited period of time or unspecified period of time. So yes, there’s a chance that the weapons are cancelled. There is also a chance that they’ll work on them later, but even so I’m not expecting anything extra this year in terms of legendary weapons.

Another thing that I have a problem with is that O’Brien referenced the Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto that came out in 2010. That was a bad move as it validates players who reference Guild Wars 2 blog posts concerning legendaries when talking about this suspension. The most notable one concerning legendaries was the “Looking Ahead: Guild Wars 2 In 2013” post that states in the Legendary Gear and Precursors section:

… what I can say is you will see a specific way to build precursor items on your way to a legendary. On top of this, you’ll also see new legendary weapons and new types of legendary gear in 2013“.

It’s obvious we didn’t see anything like this in 2013, but that post also says near the end “As always, the content above is subject to change as we test and iterate on these systems.”

There’s also the blog post titled “Hot (not HoT) New Legendary Weapons” made shortly before the release of Heart of Thorns that says “… we will be releasing new legendary weapons in small groups at regular intervals until the full set of sixteen has been added to the game“. Note that they said game not expansion which leave room for a huge time table to release them all. Given we initially thought all the new legendaries would be accessible at HoT launch to begin with, I feel that many players thought that it was heavily implied that the legendaries would be regularly released within a reasonable amount of time after the release of Heart of Thorns. I think that’s a fair assessment to make given the information we had at the time.

By quoting these blog posts I’m not trying to start a he said/she said with whether it is ArenaNet or the players who are right. This is just what I see in these posts. Getting into the actual news, if I had two words to describe the situation they would be disappointment and concern.

Disappointment

Despite the format of releasing new legendaries, I believe it’s not unfair to say that the goal was to have sixteen new legendaries and their journeys in the game within a reasonable amount of time. Let’s say a year or so after HoT release, all sixteen new weapons were supposed to be in the game. After all this time, with only one new legendary journey coming out after the newest first three journeys, you can obviously see ArenaNet can’t deliver on this. At least not right now.

It can be really irritating for players that consider legendaries their end game. Then there are players that have been holding off for months to craft their Legendary shield or greatsword to see what the new versions of these legendaries look like. These players have to take the hit so that new Living World content can be focused on.

Concern

I think this is the first time in all my years playing Guild Wars 2 I’ve been truly concerned about the development process. It has been 5 months since the release of Heart of Thorns. Let’s say they had a month off—Christmas and all—which makes 4 months of development on new legendary weapons and their journeys.

You’d think ArenaNet would have a good understanding of the time and resources needed to make legendary journeys at a reasonable pace. They did give journeys to all the original legendary weapons and we did get 3 new legendary journeys. Buggy or not, that is what was delivered. There could have been issues within those months that reasonably hindered progress—such as fixing all the current Legendary journey bugs.

On the flip side, one Legendary after 4 months isn’t so hot. I know there’s a lot that goes into making the journey—connecting events and NPCs to the collections, making new items, developing the lore background of the weapon—but I feel like ArenaNet should have had a good understanding of how fast this process would take long before now. I can only speculate that they overestimated their abilities to build these journeys.

Staying on the concerned train of thought, I have to ask: why is this team now going to work on Living World content? Is this content behind if the Legendary Weapons team doesn’t help? Is it to speed up the timetable of Living Story Season 3 because of the recent content drought?

These questions were the first things to pop into my head and quite honestly scare me as it’s the more important issue that O’Brien’s post brings about. There’s also the mention of work on Expansion 2 which makes me ask: shouldn’t most of the issues in the first expansion be fixed and evaluated with feedback from the community first before working on another expansion? The reason I say this is that there are a lot of issues right now in every mode of Guild Wars 2. Some of these issues might be mirrored into the next expansion which is just overhead to fix once fixed in Heart of Thorns which means more wasted time on development.

In the end, I do like the transparency and I am glad that Mike O’Brien did come out and say ArenaNet can’t do legendary journeys, at least for now. It’s a sad thing to happen but Living World hits a much bigger audience than people who want to make legendaries. I feel like the timing & phrasing for this news could have been better though. After all, the April quarterly patch is just around the corner and would have resulted in less blow back. This news does however bring up concerns about how resources are being managed right now with all these issues and announced delays and cancellations on features.

It’s always important to keep in mind that people are mad, disappointed, or concerned because they love Guild Wars 2. Seeing this one forum post about indefinitely suspending work on expected content does however, raise a lot of questions that has me feeling that something needs to change.

Thrill of the Crime

Thrill of the Crime: A Sloth of Mechanics

Note: This article was originally posted on Age’s Blog.

I beat the first raid wing quite a little while ago, but I never talked about what I thought of it. In this post however, I will not only be about the first wing—including what I’ve learned of it’s mechanics in a nutshell—but will also talk about the second raid wing and how the different mechanics change the way squads play together.

In Raid Wing 1 there were a lot of little things we learned:

  • The tank is the person with the highest toughness.
  • Slick shoes is great for bosses like Gorseval.
  • Utility Chronomancer is amazing for quickness and alacrity.

Then there was the unique boss mechanics. Vale Guardian’s landfall required that at least four people had to be on to prevent party wipes. Gorseval’s prison mechanic required people to keep moving and be aware of another person’s path to prevent getting encased. Sabetha has a flak attack which targets the farthest person from her. What’s interesting was that each of these boss fights in Raid Wing 1 went from being less mechanically dependent to more dependent for individuals in the squad.

For Vale Guardian, you needed anyone melee to not stand on blue teleports, some knockbacks for seekers and at least 4 people always going for green landfall. Nothing really to hard about that. The tank would just need to move the boss accordingly so the squad didn’t eat the lava floor and so that the landfall would be in the right area. You’d also need good breaks which a power Revenant with staff and another person could easily fill. Gorseval required 3 people to have cripple, chill, or immobilize to slow down Charged Souls, a tank to lead Gorseval around, ideally someone to pull in spirits when going to a wall, and one or two people clearing spectral orbs so the squad can move around to avoid getting a damage debuff. The dependency on the entire group falls with getting to the wall where the tank was pulling so that Enraged and Angered spirits could be cleaved out and to avoid the Ghostly Prison mechanic which slows DPS.

Sabetha required a lot more group dependency on the mechanics. You have two to four jumpers going up to destroy cannons but the squad needs to be aware that almost anyone can get the green bomb which you need to throw onto a pad where the jumper needs to be. Since there is four pads—one on each side of the boss’s platform—everyone needs to be aware of where they should throw if they get the bomb. There’s also timed bombs where the person closest to Sabetha—or two closest people during the last half of the fight—will need to move out of the group to avoid doing damage to everyone, but you also have to not hit jumpers and the person who’s on flak duty if possible.

In all three fights you can have a few people purely DPS and have some players handle the other mechanics such as tanking or flak shots. So far, Raid Wing 2 sticks with the idea of progressively adding group dependency for mechanics.

Speaking of Raid Wing 2, I’m on Slothasor right now and I have to say this fight is mechanically intensive for everyone. I personally feel like this fight is really easy but still hard at the same time. It’s really easy because I find it’s very simple on what your squad has to do to beat Slothasor. It can be hard because depending on how people handle the mechanics and execution on what to do can be a nightmare.

Slothasor introduces mechanics that require everyone to do well. And I mean everyone. There is a random Fixation mechanic where Slothasor will target a specific player as the tank. This changes from time to time so people need to be aware when they’re the tank and move the boss accordingly. There’s also a Volatile Poison mechanic every ~25 seconds where a person will gain a debuff that drops a growing poison field after a few seconds drops requiring the player to move to an area away from where the squad is at or where they are going. All the while you’re traversing a poison floor of mushrooms that the squad must make a path through via an imbued mushroom that turns an ally into a Slubling. The ally who eats the mushroom becomes a Slubling enemy and can be hit with the attacks from the rest of the squad, so you have to be careful where you cleave and so on. These few mechanics alone makes this fight easy or hard depending on if people are aware of the icons on their heads and if they can move to the proper locations in time.

Essentially, everyone needs to learn how to tank and move the boss properly like with Vale Guardian & Gorseval and move dangerous stuff out of the group like with Sabetha. So if players have never done these mechanics on these fights—either because they let other people handle it or don’t know how to move a boss—it can get really hard. There’s even a small orange circle AoE that appears at people’s feet; 3 of them are placed based on your location. The squad needs to collectively move after 2 seconds to reduce the spreading of that AoE. If hit, you take substantial damage and are knocked down for 5 seconds per circle. This orange circle mechanic is similar to Gorseval’s prison mechanic and Vale Guardian’s blue teleport field mechanics where getting hit will result in a loss in DPS. Of course you still have other mechanics specific people can do such as clearing path, reflects and pulling/cleaving enemy slublings out.

Personally, I like Slothasor this way. It shows who needs to work on the mechanics, though since it’s only been a week I think everyone can improve on something. Slothasor also rewards squads who are on point and truly understand the mechanics of the fight. It may seem easier to some groups because of the experience gained with Raid Wing 1, the group understanding the mechanics, and understanding the professions they’re playing to optimal potency. For some groups it’ll be harder because they need to learn the mechanics and how to deal with them, to survive a lot better, to watch their positioning more and they need to get the best out of their professions which they may not have been doing before.

I’m hoping the rest of Raid Wing 2 will be like this. I haven’t done research or looked at much outside of Slothasor, but I’ve heard some things about the other bosses such as the second one being really easy. It’ll be interesting to see what those fights will be like. For now, I’ll be doing more Slothasor homework.

Thrill of the Crime

Thrill of the Crime: PvP League Season Two – Are Things Better?

Greetings everyone! PvP Leagues have started up again and I wanted to take a look at how things in this season differ from Season One.

Season One was the Bunker meta where players could last forever on points. For Season Two the meta is all about damage where going into down state probably means death in a team fight. I think it’s safe to say some of the most played professions in Season Two consist of the following:

  • Condition Reaper
  • Power Herald (with Glint/Shiro)
  • Support Tempest
  • (Power) Scrapper

Other common variants of the above professions are Minion Master Reaper, Condition Revenant (with Mallyx), & Rabid Scrapper. Notice that these professions all utilize the elite specialization or requires Heart of Thorns in some respect. I think most people assumed that you would not get far – if at all – without an elite specialization in sPvP.

Condition Reaper has being strong since the first season, but with the additional bonus of boon corrupting Reaper is even better now. Power Herald is seeing more play since the nerfs to condition Revenant’s resistance in addition to the removal of Rune of Durability from PvP. Despite the sword nerfs, Power Herald still brings a lot of block potential, boons, reveal and some extra sustain with staff which makes it a fairly good pick up for Revenant players. Support Tempest has become the norm with the ability to mitigate team damage and conditions while providing auras to boot. Of course some damage comes out of Tempest as well but generally they are supporting their teammates in fights or trying to survive for as long as possible on a point till help arrives. Power Scrapper is a specialization that screams tanky fighter. Very durable, a lot of blocks, & consistent damage make it another very good pick up.

So I’ve talked a lot about the popular picks but what about other professions? Well let’s start with Mesmer. Since Bunker Chronomancer has fallen out of favor, Shatter Chronomancer has come into play more. Warriors were slim to none existent in Season One but in Season Two most Warriors seen in ranked are running a Condition Berserker build. Thieves are pretty much still rocking the Dagger/Pistol or Staff build where both weapon sets received buffs. Despite some nerfs, the trapper build is still the standard pick for Dragonhunters. Rangers right now are mostly using a Power Druid setup however there are some Sustain Druids about.

Really quickly I want to slip into the topic of base specialization setups versus elite specialization setups. Both seasons makes it clearly apparent that a player not running a HoT elite specialization is not going to do well, or as well, in PvP. Why is that? Well, because all the good or better stuff for each profession is in Heart of Thorns. Some even fix problems the base profession has. Off the top of my head:

  • Berserker provides a lot of burning and some condition clearing which works well with a condition based build where base Warrior struggles to make and combat condition based builds.
  • Chronomancer provides alacrity and better/more clones & phantasms which is by itself a huge bonus over base Memser.
  • Daredevils have more evades, specialized dodges and better condition cleanse than base Thief.
  • Dragonhunters have better zone control & damage with traps, new virtues with useful actives and flat out better range damage with longbow.
  • Druid has better sustain than Ranger that can keep you and your team healthy in fights while you—and your pet—do damage.
  • Reapers are just flat out better than base Necromancer.
  • Revenant is only available if you have Heart of Thorns and is a great mobility damage based profession whether you play it condition or power. Even then you use the Herald elite specialization.
  • Scrapper is tankier and has more sustain than Engineer.
  • Tempests have strong AoE overloads and higher sustain (with aura shouts) than base Elementalist.

Some professions are stronger than others while others still need some help in a few areas within their base specializations. For the most part however, you want to be running an elite specialization otherwise you cannot perform as well.

So the ultimate question I ask is: are things better? Well the answer is yes. Each profession is viable to some extent in higher levels of ranked PvP. The ranked system itself is much better with it’s matchmaking and handling the exploits from last season.

Are things where they should be? This is a bit hard to say. Some professions are clearly better than others which is to be expected, but given that Guild Wars 2 has nine professions you’d assume the power discrepancy wasn’t so far off. Some professions are still in need of help. For example Warrior did get some love but they can really only run one build in PvP and—to be honest—it’s not hard to deal with it.

Matchmaking still needs a bit of work despite the fixes to queue times and exploits. I understand it’s hard to make a fairly low queue time for some players with the Guild Wars 2 PvP population being sparse at higher divisions earlier in the season. There also the issues of solo and duo players versus grouped players in matchmaking where duo queues get matched up against a full or near full premade—which is never fun to deal with.

So in conclusion yes, this season is much better. There are some things that still need to be addressed, but thankfully this season’s issues are not horribly significant. ArenaNet has definitely improved from Season One and I assume that Season Three will be even better.

Thrill of the Crime

Thrill of the Crime: Dungeons Need Revitalizing

Hello, everyone! For this week’s Guild Wars 2 topic I wanted to talk about dungeons as it’s been a hot issue in the past. Just taking a quick glance at the “Dungeons, Fractals & Raids” section of the forums shows that players are actually still talking about how dungeons can be improved.

ArenaNet released a blog post a week or so before Heart of Thorns came out discussing economy changes. In one section it was stated that the liquid—see Gold—rewards from dungeons will be culled and shifted into other parts of the game. It was also stated that their development time would be dedicated to Fractals and Raids over dungeons because that is the content they wish to progress on for Guild Wars 2. In fact, they stopped any new development on dungeons.

In a nutshell, ArenaNet wanted players to focus on raids and fractals over dungeons. This resulted in a 2/3 cut to the liquid rewards from dungeons by making the monetary reward per daily path run a gold and in some cases even less. So you can run Arah Path 4—a really hard dungeon path—but will get only a gold. The combination of the reduced gold reward with no additional rewards added and the reward shift into other parts of the game resulted in dungeons to have a significantly low player population. With Ascalonian Catacombs being the possible exception, dungeons do not get as much traffic as they use to.

There are a few reasons why I think dungeons need a bit of new life and should still be viable content in Guild Wars 2.

Number 1: Achievements. Not everyone has these dungeon achievements done just yet and there are people that still want to complete them. Sure, you can have a guild night where you run dungeons, ask some friends to join you or you could even pay for a dungeon run. All of these are viable solutions. However, there are times where you have some free time and no one in your guild or friends list is around and free to run a dungeon. There are people that don’t want to pay for a run and even then not every path will be available for buying. These are the moments where you use the Looking For Group tool to find a group to run it with. With LFG being utterly sparse with maybe one or two posts per dungeon, it’s harder to get all of those achievements done.

Number 2: Content for new and play-for-free players. Dungeons are one of core Tyria’s main content. If we look back a little over three years ago, dungeons were one of the main features to look forward to in Guild Wars 2. The dungeons not only provide different explorable paths but optional side story that ties in with your personal story. With new players coming in, I’m sure quite a few of them would want to view this story as well as try out the explorable paths. When I periodically take a look at the dungeon LFG, story seems to be the majority of the postings. If story isn’t the issue, then it’d be challenging content. Dungeons act as a preview to GW2 challenging content. Arguably easy content mind you but then fractals and raids come into play for the harder stuff.

Number 3: Dungeon Tokens. This one is pretty significant. The only reason to run dungeons now is to obtain dungeon tokens for dungeon specific rewards such as armor, weapons, runes and so on. People may want the look of a dungeon armor piece, some may want to complete collections & some may want a specific rune set for raiding. However, with LFG showing very few people running explorable versions of dungeons it makes it much harder to obtain these things.

Now a counter argument could be to do the PvP Dungeon Reward Tracks to obtain tokens. My response is that yes, that’s a good alternative, but dungeon tracks kind of adds onto the problem for lack of doing dungeons. First off, not everyone likes to PvP. Secondly, you have to complete the story mode of the dungeon first to permanently unlock it’s track. Arah is the exception where completing personal story (Victory or Death) or an explorable path will unlock it. If you wanted a specific track to level in PvP and you don’t have it you’d have to wait till it turns up in the rotation—a rotation which only opens one dungeon reward track for a full 2 weeks.

Lastly, dungeon tracks are essentially better than doing the dungeons themselves if you like to PvP and want every dungeon specific reward. It can even be doubly rewarding if ranked season is running due to being able to progress the PvP legendary backpiece at the same time. While I was originally running both dungeons and PvP, nowadays I will always just PvP over doing a dungeon.

Let’s take Asalonian Catacombs for example. If you manage to run all 3 paths a day that’s a 40 daily bonus for each path, 20 for the first run per path, then 15 and 10 if you ran it a 2nd or 3rd time. In total that’s 255 tokens plus some extra tokens that you can get here or there from loot bags from 9 runs a day.

If you did the Asalonian Catacombs dungeon track, it takes around 40 matches to complete where each win grants you about 3.5% for the track and each loss grants you about 1.7%—this example of completion in 40 matches is assuming 20 wins & 20 losses for a 50% win ratio. Once completed that’s a solid 240 tokens but you also get to choose a weapon every 2 tiers—for 3 total dungeon weapons—and an armor piece at the end of the reward track. Weapons range from 210 to 390 tokens each from the dungeon vendor depending on the weapon. Armor ranges from 180 to 330 tokens depending on the piece. So in one dungeon track completion you get 240 tokens and at least 1020 tokens worth in weapons and an armor piece. Note these tracks are repeatable so essentially you don’t ever have to set foot in a dungeon for the rewards.

If you wanted to get items that aren’t specifically featured in the dungeon track such as runes, then it’d be probably more efficient to run each dungeon path daily until you had enough tokens for a complete set than to play PvP.

To conclude, if you don’t have a guild or a few friends to run dungeons with, you’ll have to resort to playing PvP for the rewards. That however, doesn’t help with the dungeon clearing achievements or if you don’t play PvP. It also is odd that PvP dungeon tracks overall will reward you better than running the dungeon. New players will have a hard time trying said content or completing the achievements via LFG with very few players doing explorable mode. There were even veterans of the game that really enjoyed doing dungeons as their main content but now there’s no incentive for the time spent doing them.

Now I know ArenaNet specifically culled the gold rewards from dungeons, but it was a legitimate way some players made their income. Even if ArenaNet wanted players to run more fractals and raids, some players would still add their daily dungeons into the mix. I understand that fractals are the new version of dungeons that ArenaNet wants players to focus on, but I don’t see why crippling a part of your game where people liked doing it on a daily basis to promote another mode is a good thing. There are people who like running fractals already and it was pretty much guaranteed raids would be a hit if done right—and I think the current raid is excellent. If people don’t like fractals or raiding over dungeons, then they get punished as it’s just one less incentive for them to play GW2.

So how does ArenaNet make dungeons a little more viable? Increase the account based rewards. Throw in more dungeon tokens. A chance to get dungeon weapon boxes and dungeon armor boxes at the end of each daily path run perhaps? Maybe add more material rewards. This gives more incentive to run dungeons even if the monetary rewards don’t change. It won’t necessarily discourage fractals and raids since you still get more rewards out of those. I doubt we’ll see any changes to dungeons for the foreseeable future but I feel it is worth ArenaNet’s time to take a glance at the dungeon loot tables because dungeons need a bit of love, even if they’re old content.

Thrill of the Crime

Thrill of the Crime: A Brief Introduction

Hello everyone! I thought the best way to start this brand new column on Mattsta.Ninja was to give an introduction about myself.

My name is Age. Well, not legally I guess, but people know me by that name. I’ve been playing Guild Wars 2 since beta and I’m a Thief enthusiast, hence the column title ‘Thrill of the Crime’ which is a trait in the Thief’s Trickery specialization line.

I have my own blog where I also write about Guild Wars 2, League of Legends, and other various topics. I also make videos—mostly Guild Wars 2 related—which range from highlights and thoughts to some that are just fun and entertaining. Finally, I stream on Twitch. I bet you can’t guess what the bulk of the content that I stream is! (Ok, it’s Guild Wars 2 if you really couldn’t guess.)

Now, about this column. ‘Thrill of the Crime’ won’t focus on Thief as some might expect by the name but will focus on Guild Wars 2 related topics. Some will be focused topics while others will be more opinionated pieces covering bigger topics such as new content ArenaNet puts out or things being talked about in the community. These bigger topics may even coincide with other posts on the site to offer a spread of opinions on a subject. And as a self-proclaimed thief enthusiast, you’ll probably see a few Thief related posts here and there too.

I think that’s all for now. Right now, I’m exploring the latest big patch and I’ll probably have something to talk about soon. Have a good week, and I’ll catch you next time!