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Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2's megaserver update and patch primer [Updated]

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Hands-On, Buy-to-Play

If you're still reeling from playing dress-up and retraiting your stable of characters thanks to Guild Wars 2's feature pack launch yesterday, then friend of Massively Richie "Bogotter" Procopio has just the video for you. He's put together a patch primer that walks current and returning players through the new wardrobe system, dye system, and trait system. He also gives a few more obscure tips that aren't obvious from the patch notes.

Meanwhile, ArenaNet has posted that the patch's promised megaserver tech is slowly rolling out to key zones. Here's what's been activated so far: The Grove, Heart of the Mist, Black Citadel, Timberline Falls, Southsun Cove, Rata Sum, Straits of Devastation, Fields of Ruin, Brisban Wildlands, Hoelbrak, Iron Marches, Blazeridge Steppes, and Dredgehaunt Cliffs. [Update: Lion's Arch, Lornar's Pass, Kessex Hills, Diessa Plateau, and Metrica Province were just converted this afternoon, according to the official site.]

Enjoy the primer video after the break!

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PAX East 2014: Guild Wars 2 on the Feature Pack and beyond

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Events (Massively's Coverage), Buy-to-Play

Also accepted: Tumblr reaction GIFs.
If you're a Guild Wars 2 fan, we all know what you're excited about today. After a year(ish) of small incremental patches and living story, the game is rolling out a big patch full of features appropriately dubbed the Feature Pack. It's not new content, but it's a lot of big bonuses and improvements to the ways that players already play the game's existing content. And we got to see a bit of it in action at PAX East.

Some of the information about how these features will work has already been discussed, but not everything, and seeing all of the improvements in action definitely gave a sense of tangible change not visible in development blogs. It's part of a shift in ethos for the development team, as well; rather than trying to roll out changes along with Living Story updates, ArenaNet is implementing a big set of improvements at once to make the whole update feel meatier.

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One Shots: Bobble heads

Screenshots, EVE Online, Fallen Earth, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Miscellaneous, The Elder Scrolls Online

Did we all have a good April Fools' Day this year? Oh hush you; this is why nobody invites you to parties. I certainly had fun, especially while running around with my giant bobble-headed characters in Guild Wars 2. Giant bobble heads are scientifically proven to make any video game 75% more enjoyable.

Reader HawkEye sent me in a disturbing number of screenshots with his large noggins, but I chose this one because it also tickled me that the animals had their heads enlarged. "'Sup Mister Ram?" HawkEye said. "Don't headbutt me, okay? Please?"

I think that creature more wanted to end its misery than contribute to yours, HawkEye, so hopefully you survived the experience. What other strange views await you in the rest of this column? Probably nothing this strange, that's for sure.

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Make your own kind of music in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Music, Player-Generated Content, Buy-to-Play

And now the song is in your head, too.
You could be forgiven for overlooking the new drum in Guild Wars 2's cash shop -- it's just a cosmetic thing for roleplayers who stand around town, right? Well, not exactly, and a developer diary from ArenaNet audio programmer Aaron McLeran aims to explain why you should care (and buy all the things). The drum actually allows players to select from two modes: a pre-set groove mode, which lets you auto-play several drum tracks solo or in time with other players' tracks, and user groove mode, which starts to travel into Lord of the Rings Online territory. Says McLeran,
The first five skill buttons have five unique drum sounds respectively. Each sample can be triggered individually so the drum can perform like our previous instruments in free-play mode. The only difference is the drum will quantize beat events so that they always sound good to you – and in rhythm. If you push the sixth or seventh skill slot, you put the drum into "loop-record" mode. If this is the first time you've pushed it, you'll hear a nice little click-track (that only you can hear!) that gives you an idea of where the "global" pulse is. Think of it like a count off: "A one, a two, a one two three four!" Then, when you push the drum sample set skill buttons again, they'll actually loop back on themselves. You can build up ever more complicated and funky grooves.
We just have one question: Where's our Bard class?

ANet answers community questions on GW2 Feature Pack livestream

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

GW2 livestream
If you've got questions about Guild Wars 2's April Feature Pack, ArenaNet has answers. In fact, it's already published a few of them via a livestream that happened yesterday and is now archived on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

Associate game director John Corpening, gameplay programmer Ryan Diederich, and UI designer Kate Welch are your hosts, and they spend about 17 minutes powering through community-generated queries collected from forums and social media.

See for yourself after the break!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Customization and playing together in Guild Wars 2's feature pack

Fantasy, Patches, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Plush bobblegriffon!
As of last week, ArenaNet has revealed all of the major features Guild Wars 2 players can expect to see in April 15th's highly anticipated feature pack. When I say "highly anticipated," I mean that a large part of the playerbase is collectively vibrating and may soon gain enough momentum to will April 15th into arriving immediately. If they don't manage it, at least we've only got a week to wait.

Until then, we've got plenty of GW2 discussion to tide us over. Most of the feature pack announcements have been well-received, and there's a lot to look forward to, but I still have a few minor nits to pick. Blame it on nits being easier to find when everyone's head is 200% bigger.

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Guild Wars 2 encourages patch mystery and player speculation

Fantasy, Interviews, Patches, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Death to Guild Wars 2 patch notes? ArenaNet might not be going that far, but it may be getting a lot more secretive about them in the coming months.

In an interview on IGN today, Lead Developer Colin Johanson said that the team learned a lot from the first season of GW2's living world, especially how much the players loved to speculate and discover patch additions organically. He said that the team observed players becoming more engaged when ArenaNet dropped in content that wasn't spelled out in the patch notes.

Johanson said this trend will continue: "You don't know what's going to happen and you don't know what you're going to find. Every week you want to search every corner of the world because the next hint for the living world could be hidden anywhere."

Johanson talked about the great changes to the world, especially in regard to the team nuking the city of Lion's Arch. He mentioned a player who predicted that the event would occur back in January: "It was really interesting for us to see that, and to be able to point back at him and say, 'Hey man, you nailed it!' and to be able to call that out was really cool."

One Shots: Up close and very personal

Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Champions Online, RIFT, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous

I am pleased as punch today because several of you took me up on the screenshot challenge to get an "up close and personal" picture of an enemy. Without stealth or a sniper scope, this is a very tricky proposition, but even so, three of you came out with the photographic proof.

First up is reader Wolfger, who escaped by the skin of his teeth in Guild Wars 2. "Here's a shot of Brewer Foster getting up in the face of one of the game's favorite loot piñatas, the champion boar in Queensdale. It catches the beast reeling from a blast as our hero is facing it down with a... slingshot?"

Mmm... anyone want a ham dinner? Either way, scoot closer to your monitor and prepare to have your eyeballs blown from the awesome images to come in this week's edition of One Shots!

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Perfect Ten: My favorite MMO April Fools' pranks of all time

World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest II, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, RuneScape, Guild Wars 2, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter

There are two types of people on April 1st: those who are annoyed and indifferent to the tomfoolery going on all around them, and those who gleefully embrace the zany antics and baldfaced lies. For the record, I am of the latter crowd. I love April Fools' Day and the humor and creativity that it inspires. While this day is by no means contained to our neck of the woods, MMOs have a long-running streak of trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

I think a good goof has to have several qualities to make it truly memorable. It needs to be original. It needs to be actually amusing, whether or not you "fell for it." And it needs to tweak our expectations and understanding of how MMOs work. Sometimes there are even important ideas that emerge from these jokes that could, indeed, make these titles better.

So let's go through my favorite MMO April Fools pranks of all time, as catalogued by yours truly!

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Guild Wars 2 offers 50% off sale on digital editions

Fantasy, Business Models, Events (Real-World), News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2 is ramping up for its feature-pack patch due out in less than two weeks with what ArenaNet is calling an "unprecedented" worldwide sale. From today until April 13th, the subscription-free, buy-to-play game is 50% off its usual price. According to the studio,
Players can get access to one of the most popular MMO games of all time at the unprecedented discount of 50 percent off, and get all of the exciting content ArenaNet has planned for 2014 and beyond without ever paying a subscription fee. The offer applies only to the Digital Heroic Edition, now available for $24.99 (€ 19.99 / £ 17.49), and the Digital Deluxe Edition, now available for $34.99 (€ 29.99 / £ 24.99), when purchased through the official Guild Wars 2 online store from April 3 at 12pm Pacific Time through April 13 at 11:59pm Pacific Time.
If you've been on the fence about the game, it's a good time to pick it up... if you aren't, you know, playing The Elder Scrolls Online this weekend.

[Source: ArenaNet press release]

How Guild Wars 2 megaservers affect guilds, WvW, events, and world bosses

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

Yesterday, ArenaNet announced that it will soon begin to roll out megaserver technology for Guild Wars 2 in order to eliminate overflow and underpopulated servers. Today, it has delivered a pair of blog posts intended to clarify those plans.

The first post tackles guilds and WvW. ArenaNet aims to unify guild chapters split across home-worlds so that all members contribute to and benefit from the same version of the guild. But the studio does note that WvW won't be negatively affected by megaservers and will continue to be based on competition between worlds.

The second and more meaty entry focuses on world bosses and events. The API governing boss timers on individual worlds will be replaced by a more consistent schedule such that world boss events will start at the same time across the entire game. There's even a 24-hour proposed schedule ready to go.

ArenaNet rolls out the Megaserver for Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Patches, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

As part of what ArenaNet calls "just the beginning of our new approach to enhancing the in-game social environment," the Guild Wars 2 developer is announcing a new Megaserver technology that will allow similar players to play together more easily and more frequently.

Launching with the April 2014 Feature Pack on April 15th, the Megaserver System will introduce a new metric that will restructure the way servers will work. According to the studio, this system will place players on servers that have more of your friends and guildmates, and more players who speak the same language as you. It hopes to eliminate overflow servers and dead shards.

The Megaserver System will start out as a test on the level 1-15 maps, main cities, and the PvP lobby. The team hopes to roll the technology out to the entire game by the end of the year, if all goes well.

Guild Wars 2 inflates your character's head

Fantasy, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Humor, Buy-to-Play

It's going to your head.
So everyone thought that Guild Wars 2 was just going to do Super Adventure Box again. But no, this year is going a different route. After all, you're super important in the game, aren't you? So why not let all of that importance go straight to your cranium? The designers have turned on the game's big head mode, and it's probably going to significantly improve your experience within the game as a whole. Maybe. Who knows, it could happen.

The point is that the super adventure is now in your skull, which is greatly engorged, and you can log into the game right now to start playing with the biggest head your character has ever had in Tyria. Bigger even than Trahearne's head! Check out the full infographic on the update just past the break (click for a larger version) and enjoy the new visuals as you head into battle.

[Source: ArenaNet press release]

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Guild Wars 2 reworks PvP with its major April update

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Do you hate this PvP gear?  Then so do I!  Hit the road, gear!  Ever seen a man say goodbye to gear before?
As of April 15th, Guild Wars 2 will have no more PvP gear. None. Your appearance in PvP will be the same as it is in WvW and PvE, and you'll enjoy complete statistical parity with everyone else on the battlefield. That's one of the biggest takeaways from the game's latest development blog, but it's hardly the only one. PvP is seeing a major overhaul like everything else, and it ties directly into more rewarding experiences via the new reward tracks.

The reward tracks set down a series of objectives for players to accomplish by taking part in PvP, with several smaller rewards along the way and a big bonus at the end. There are also rotating dungeon reward tracks, allowing players to unlock dungeon skins and rewards by taking part in PvP challenges, ensuring that you can unlock what you want through the game mode that you like the most. For more details, as well as a look at the upcoming PvP build interface and other changes, take a gander at the full development blog.

Working As Intended: What Guild Wars 2 got right

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Hands-On, Crafting, Buy-to-Play, Working As Intended

I returned to Guild Wars 2 recently after months away and was pleasantly surprised with what I found. No, there was nothing earth-shatteringly new, and no, I'm not going to praise the latest installment of the plot, but I realized that I'd forgotten just how much Guild Wars 2 managed to get right. I have many complaints about the game ranging from the way group combat in dungeons flopped to how the economy tanked to the fact that the living story bores me to tears. But Guild Wars 2 has some true nuggets of brilliance all the same, even if it doesn't have (I'm gonna say it) Cantha.

Let's talk about them.

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