GW2 vs. The Zerg

Yesterday I had the fun pleasure of going in for surgery to remove my gallbladder, which came out just hunky-dory.  While the whole thing was an out-patient procedure that went according to plan, I like to imagine that something like this happened while I was under anesthesia:

knifeDon’t thank him; thank the knife!

With that out of the way, I’m spending the next couple of days playing the “stay as still as possible on the couch so as not to aggrivate the tummy monsters” game.  Also, Guild Wars 2.  Thank goodness for laptops.

This immobility paired up nicely with the recent Guild Wars 2 living story update titled “Reheated Leftovers for Chinese Appeasement.”  Well, that’s what it SHOULD have been called, because let’s be frank: that’s what it is.  Two past updates, slightly changed and smooshed together with the aim of giving the new Chinese audience the one vaguely Asian-themed zone in the game.  Welcome to Tryia.  Go climb a cliff wearing a panda hat.

Lest you mistake my tone, I’m not disagreeable to this patch, because at least it’s something new(ish) since mid-April’s feature pack.  Working through the achievements to get the nice fat meta reward is perfect to take my mind off of the pain.  And the meta isn’t all that hard to get, either.  I got 13/14 by night two.  I figure that when I get done, I’ll try my hand again at the Queen’s Gauntlet to see if I can make good progress, and barring that, thank the update for its time and return to Mapping with Necromancers.  C’mon, you can’t tell me that that wouldn’t be an AMC smash hit.

Because other than the achievements, there’s not a lot in this update for me.  I’ve either done it before or don’t care to do what’s being offered.  And while I’m always up for a good rewarding zerg, it’s not here this time around.  ArenaNet has made a couple of pointed decisions aimed at curbing zerg farming that I would otherwise be doing.

The first decision was the big ol’ nerf to the Queensdale champ train.  Most champs have been downgraded to vets for the interest of shooing map chat-yelling old timers out of the place.  I can understand the choice to change this, although I won’t lie by saying that I’m indifferent to it.  This particular champ train was relaxing, had good rewards, and was great for finishing up certain dailies.  Plus, for all of the chat vitriol that it sometimes spewed, it also brought out teamwork and comradeship.  I’ll really miss heading up to the boar hill to see generous guild buff banners flying and people dancing the wait away.

The loss of the Queensdale train was definitely overshadowed by my excitement to return to the bigger champ farm of the Crown Pavilion, which was by far one of my favorite living world experiences in the past.  Like it or not, Guild Wars 2 is a zergy game, and the pavilion champs were perfect for the swarm to hop back and forth farming merry loot and keeping the action going.

But… yeah, this happened to be the one thing that ArenaNet decided needed to be changed/fixed/nerfed.  Instead, we now have the boss blitz, which eliminates those pesky rewards like loot drops and XP, and instead implements a brazen gold sink to activate an event where six bosses must be downed before anyone gets a goodie bag.  There’s a lot of strategy to this, and if the mob can split up to do all of the bosses quickly, rewards will be showered upon them greatly.

I have yet to see that, however.  Every time I’ve been in there, it’s been a long, long slog through six bosses for two goodie bags after maybe 30-45 minutes.  It actually penalizes zergs by making the bosses too hard if you have too many people there (kind of like the robot fights in Lion’s Arch a couple of months ago).  It’s so bad, in fact, that I was rushing to get it done this week out of a fear that players will simply give up on it soon and make the deed-getting impossible.

Maybe these are two disconnected things in the same update, but it really feels as if the devs are seeing that players enjoy champ farming and are taking pleasure at putting a hard stop to that.  No fun for you; here, have headache!

Under the Pale Tree makes a good point that employing the intended strategy for the gold reward in the boss blitz is very much hampered by a lack of support and UI to organize and coordinate groups.  And Kill Ten Rats concurs that it languishes instead of being a nice farm.

Pity.  I just hope this doesn’t indicate that there’s a stubborn movement at ArenaNet to quash the zerg farms in a game that’s encouraged them greatly to date.

11 thoughts on “GW2 vs. The Zerg

  1. Jeromai May 23, 2014 / 9:17 am

    Some days, I think Anet should just give up and give players back the Southsun zerg. The purest distilled form of zerg ever. Run from Point A to Point B. Spam 1. Collect loot. Run from Point B to Point A. Spam 1. Collect loot.

    All this worry about maintaining the economy or providing challenge or novelty is a giant waste of time. Take the path of least resistance like everybody else.

  2. Rowan May 23, 2014 / 9:37 am

    Hey, congrats on getting the Alien out before it reached maturity! In the immortal words of William Jefferson Clinton: “I feel your pain.” I had to have a lap-chole when I was in my 20s. That darn gall bladder caused me the worst pain I have ever experienced, and Medicos sit up and pay attention when I say my pain is a 7 or 8, when that is my “10.”

    I want to like GW2, I really do. After all, I’ve paid for the box, and so it should be an easy choice to play. And I like a lot of the features, character progression, etc.—in theory. But in practice, nothing draws me to play any more. On the occasions I have logged in, I’ve logged out again within a half-hour because nothing on offer piques my interest.

  3. Jeromai May 23, 2014 / 10:09 am

    Out of curiosity, Rowan, what do you think would pique your interest in GW2?

    A good story? A community to play with? Hard content, easy content? Permanent content? New zone? New race? New weapon? New skills or traits? The lure of vertical progression and increasing rewards? A loot windfall? Double xp? A new jumping puzzle? Better directions or guidance so that one doesn’t log in lost and overwhelmed with possible things to do, or underwhelmed because there seems like nothing is available? Something else altogether?

  4. Aywren May 23, 2014 / 10:22 am

    I’m feeling you on this, Syp. I wrote a similar blog post about GW2 and their attack on zergs. I enjoy time where I can just sit back and run around in a group without any attachments or worries. That’s fun to me. What they did with the Boss Blitz is not fun one bit.

    I think my major complaint is that instead of creating new raid-style content, they’re starting to take away old casual content and rework it. That’s actually removing content for me to do, as I’m not, and never will be, a raider.

    I don’t mind reducing drops if needed or increasing difficulties. But the Pavilion is supposed to be fun festival content. It was never advertised as an organized raid. It’s getting me worried about what other returning content GW2 is going to mess with. I hope they leave the Halloween zerg event alone. 😦

    Hope you recover soon, btw! 🙂

  5. Rowan May 23, 2014 / 12:58 pm

    @Jeromai I’m not sure, tbh. There’s nothing wrong with the game exactly. Though I did have issues with connecting with the individual story as it developed, and the living story just seemed like one set of achievement chases after another.

  6. darkeye May 23, 2014 / 1:42 pm

    I think it is an interesting event design, swinging from 7 mins and good rewards, to a 30-40 mins trudge. I was in an instance with no commanders (either six or none are needed) that managed to organise enough to get silver completion twice in a row last night. It was a nice feeling to get Pyroxis down fastest due to working together to keep reflects up and rezzing each other in a small group.They also improved design of the bosses from last year, they feel more satisfying to me, Kukali was toned down and an interesting mechanic with the stampeding centaurs added. Before megaservers the event would be likely deserted after a week, it will be interesting to see how it will develop next that the few interested players will be automatically stuck together.

  7. bhagpuss May 23, 2014 / 3:04 pm

    @Jeromai I loved the Southsun zerg and so did Mrs Bhagpuss. Bringing it back would be very well-received in our house.

    ANet’s problem is they don’t have a clue. Period. Give up hoping anything they do will show any kind of consistency, logic or foresight. It hasn’t yet and evidence suggests it never will.

  8. Ocho May 23, 2014 / 3:12 pm

    Zergs. Blech. I’m sorry, but zerging just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like good gameplay. Sure, it is by far the most beneficial way of progressing in GW2. You get great reward for doing little effort. It turns me off, though. I don’t play these games to be handed rewards like a kid getting a huge trophy for riding the bench in T-ball. It doesn’t feel equal. However, pesky thoughts say “Hey, but since you’re putting in your time, doing anything but the most efficient path is pointless”, even if that most efficient path feels pandering and puerile. But then this leads to a dissonance. Do I play the game and have fun, but avoid the most efficient path? Or take the efficient path but don’t have fun? This, ultimately, leads to not playing it at all, and finding games where the dissonance doesn’t occur as strongly.

    So, I’m all for breaking up the zergs. Well, not breaking them up, per se, more like altering them to give them a much less lopsided effort/reward ratio, which it looks like ANet is doing. However, then they have these weekly events where they are trying to get the community to work together after an entire game of training them not to? It’s wrong. The limited time content should be easier, zerg-friendly stuff, and the permanent stuff, the champs, and other events, should be the ones needing more strategy.

    Anyway, glad to hear everything went well. If you use Steam, I highly suggest checking out the new In-Home Streaming. Use your desktop’s power but stream it easily to the laptop with very little lag. Then you can recover on the couch, but still use your desktop’s power (and then use something like Splashtop to control the rest remotely… or just VM, too, that works…). And yes, this even works with non-Steam games (you just have to add the non-Steam title to your Steam library list). Here’s to a quick recovery! 🙂

  9. Coppertopper May 23, 2014 / 7:00 pm

    I was really excited to see that announcement on steam. Glad it is working for you. Going to give it a shot as I miss gaming on the couch, but the ol laptop just doesn’t have the pull anymore.

  10. Dahakha May 24, 2014 / 5:34 pm

    I’m with Ocho, I despise the notion of zergs in MMOs. It’s bad enough that they happen as much as they do in PvP, but it is an instant turn-off in PvE content. My enthusiasm for GW2 dropped off immensely when I realised how much stuff depended on it. I think it was the Crown Pavilion event that did it, actually…I’d just come back for the living story from a few months’ break, and after two nights of dipping into that I was done. Was not excited at all that that was the best they could come up with to keep people interested.

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