By Shannon Doyle (Leliah), OnRPG News Editor
Guild Wars 2. Fastest Selling MMO of all time.
Average Days Between Each Release: 18.9, about 5 times as often as the typical MMO.
But at what cost?
Guild Wars 2 is now several months into a grueling 2 week update schedule. There can be no denial that this is an amazing feat. Unfortunately it would appear that it comes with a price, quality.
Bugs happen in every release, of every game. This is simply a fact of life when you are a gamer, one you come to accept and expect. But when these bugs, errors, and complications increase, while developers are so strapped for time preparing the next wave of content that they can’t look into them, then there is a problem.
This is a problem Arenanet now faces. One of many that are beginning to unravel the community.
The most recent issue is but a few days old. During the most recent update which opened the Super Adventure Box, the three day old monthly achievements reset which for much of the community, myself included, meant a loss of progress. At first the answer was immediate; this was not working as intended and was being looked into. Fantastic news, yes? No. Several hours later the same developer returned with an apology. There would be no fixing the issue. And now, the forum thread on the issue grows hourly, but there is no developer interaction. This wouldn’t be so much of an issue if it were the first time this had happened, or if it weren’t part of an ever growing lack of quality control prior to release.
Communication is breaking down
A patch which changed how a major currency, Karma, was released which changed how Karma buffs and bonuses had an effect on containers of Karma. This resulted in huge outcry. Players who would collect these containers lost out on millions of Karma without warning. The patch was quite quickly removed temporarily because warning was meant to be given to the players before this change took place.
Portals to nowhere.
During the Clockwork Chaos event a new consumable was introduced. It dropped during the mass zerg that was August and requires hard to acquire holiday ingredients to create. But this consumable had a bug. It didn’t work. The Twisted Watchwork Portal Device didn’t teleport, there was no portal. And so, when one dropped, because it was bugged and took valuable loot space, they were dumped or sold. And only now, with a new month and the content of the previous living story all but gone, there is a fix.
How fast is too fast?
Have Arenanet set themselves into a development schedule that is too demanding? Guild Wars 2 forum goers would argue yes. There isn’t enough time for proper quality assurance and for issues to be fixed before the next batch of buggy content is released. Cries for less content, no, more quality content over quantity, are being ignored.
An Ignored Community?
All of this leads to an ignored community. True, you cannot please everyone, but this is no reason not at least acknowledge these concerns. One needs only to look at the developer panel from PAX Prime to see that there is a disconnect between community and studio. sPvPer interested in other modes? Sorry to disappoint. Are you a Charr who wants better armor? You’ll be disappointed as well. And biggest of all, being the hero of your story…well…the response showed there was a clear disconnect.
The Right Man
It has been pointed out to me that Guild Wars wasn’t an MMO in a traditional way. And Guild Wars 2 is a success on levels I don’t think anyone could have predicted. Is Arenanet struggling to keep their head above water?
It is a beautiful game with the chance of a rich and detailed lore that few MMOs have from day one. There is the potential for greatness. But a year on the edges are starting to fray and something needs to be done before it all unravels.