Friday, January 19, 2007

Waiting Becomes Electric: The Test Weekend Cometh

It's nearly noon time Guild Wars Standard Time which, of course, is set to the clocks hanging in the ANet office in Seattle. That means the PvP Test Weekend's about to kick off. And I'm....not going to be playing just yet. Have some things to get done first but I'll be delving into it soon enough. I'm hoping the skill updates get posted soon and I can go over them before I log in and all.

While obsessively checking the official site for those changes, though, I was, well, amused would be the wrong word for it but it was one of those banners at the top of the page advertising, if you will, the upcoming weekend. I find it “amusing” because it makes a big deal out of the upcoming skill rebalancing. Now, maybe it's just me but that's something that should be a given. A feature of the game that gets delivered time in and time out. Not something for the marketing department to crow about (Now, “we rebalance and actually update the game regularly unlike our competitors and a lot faster than, oh...WoW.” that's something to brag about but I'm not sure it flies.). But, then, I've checked the update page and the last time they tweaked any skills was nearly two months ago on November 30th. That's just....yeah, that's not good. I know they don't like to change skills in the middle of a season and all but rebalancing should be a constant process. Hopefully, with the new tournament system we'll see them more frequently – I wouldn't be opposed to having them weekly, mind, but I'd settle for monthly updates following a string of the supposedly daily tourneys. Maybe every 4th week could be a “test” week (Or a “silly season” where rankings and ratings won't change.) where they'd throw a wrench into the metagame just to see what happens before making more permanent changes. But, whatever's done, it just needs to tick over more rapidly. Just like playing the game the more you do it they better you'll get at it. Making a few changes every so often and hoping they turn out all right isn't as effective as making a lot of minor course corrections as you go along (What's that? I hear someone chanting “evolution not revolution”. But whatever could that mean?).

Still, you'd have to pay me to stay away. And I'll be throwing down once the update goes up. Since this is a Big Scary Year, I have a few goals for the weekend. I'm not sure if I'll get them done but, then, that's not the point. Trying for them is.

First, I want to get to rank 4. I'm at 252 Fame at the moment, so that's not that far out of reach. One good night at the Tombs (Where, you know, I'm going to be spending most of my time, I hope.) and I'll get the 108 fame points it takes. But I'm probably not going to have a good night at this point so I'll probably be working on it all weekend.

Second, I want to earn a Celestial Sigil. I've held them before, traded for them, but I've never had one drop for me before. And while it's no longer the huge ticket item it once was, I've always said that I'd get one during a hall hold. It's not like I haven't been there before countless times during BWEs (Sigh, I had rank 5 at one point, based solely on my Tombs time during the preview weekends.) and shortly after release. But it became something of a joke – whenever any of my teams would get to the Hall I was going to drop or we'd lose or something would happen to keep me from my prize. And I just haven't been lucky enough to get to the Hall and get some wins since. Largely because I just don't put in the time, of course. Finding a group in HA is rough especially when your rank is as low as mine.

Still, this weekend the place should be jumping and hopefully I'll find some good teammates again.

Update (12 on the dot):

It's late anyway. I'm off to finish my things and maybe it'll be live by the time I get back.

Second Update (12:30):

Nope, still not up. So much for timely updates. Word is they're delayed thanks to all the snow they've had in Seattle this week making life miserable for the developers. I agree with the general sentiment in that thread that if they knew about this they could at least have posted an announcement or something. Just not telling people what's going on is about the worst possible move here. By way of contrast, the word comes from a German site where a PR representative was on the ball enough to post the news - the people there are content to wait for the update, confident it'll be done right. See what a little preventative medicine can do?

Third Update (1:30):

Still all's quiet on the Guild Wars front. I'm done with my things and ready to play but there's no point until the updates go in, really. I've taken to surfing the Guild Wars boards because, you know, I really needed to be reminded why I stopped doing that in the first place. Anyhow, I'm done sitting around waiting and I'm going to find something else to do. As for the lack of an update and the lack of communication about just why it's not up when promised, well, I wish I could say I'm surprised but, you know, this is typical.

You can count on ANet for 3 things:

  • Great ideas.
  • Mediocre implementation of said ideas.
  • Absolutely horrendous marketing of both.

I think we've hit the trifecta here.

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