Rant time warning!
As I posted last week, my interest in GW2 has been rekindled a bit with the announcement of yesterday’s update – The Festival of the Four Winds. It was nice to see the (short) interactions between Ellen and the Zephyrite elder, as well as the NPC heroes from the previous Living Story. It’s been stated that this is mostly a festival update, so I didn’t expect a lot of story here. It was just enough to give the players an update on what’s happening with the Lion’s Arch restoration and point us towards the two festivals at the Bazaar and the Pavilion.
That’s where the trouble begins.
Anet Fights the Zerg (And the Zerg Loses?)
Anet has done a lot to try and fight the zerg mentality that permeates much of the GW2 community. I’m not sure what they think is going to happen when they throw everyone in megaservers (in order to… you know… increase population per instance), while trying to discourage people from playing together in large groups. It doesn’t quite make sense.
First thing’s first — they eliminated the champ trains that were chugging along in the low level areas. I never took part in the champ trains (missed opportunity?), but I’m actually all for this change. The newbie area is not the place for highlevel character rampages. The fact that people were chewed out by the train for activating champ battles when the train wasn’t there, and that they dictated the flow of events across the whole zone was just not right.
Not only did this teach new players the wrong way to approach GW2, but it also created a toxic environment for newcomers straight out of the gate. Not the kind of thing Anet wanted, I’m sure. And that’s only fair.
But then, they start messing with other things, such as the Crown Pavilion. That’s where my grump comes in.
Changes to the Crown Pavilion
I’d like to argue that a little bit of zerg isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, I enjoy zerging from time to time, as long as there’s a balance of content to do. In my mind, that’s what the original Crown Pavilion was for. On the lower level, the zerg had their fun by stomping randomly spawning bosses and picking up loot from daily chests and boss drops.
On the upper level, those who wanted challenge and tactics could try their mettle against the tougher bosses one on one. While I have no interest in the gauntlet at all, I totally enjoyed running around the Pavilion, bringing my lowbie mesmer alt in to level him. I’m pretty sure I spent hours there, scoring decent drops and cash, and leveling him a good 10+ levels the first time around.
I picked up the very same mesmer (who I haven’t leveled much since then) and headed back to the Pavilion yesterday with high hopes. Only to see the mess that’s been made of the bosses on the lower level.
This has now become a tactical event that you have to pay to launch. All bosses spawn at one time, with the idea that everyone on the map should break into little groups to take on the bosses within a certain amount of time. This wins the higher prize… I guess. I don’t know. I never saw it.
This… did not work.
Instead, you get folks zerging a single boss, which ramps them up to incredible difficulties, and utterly destroys any enjoyment I had in the original version of the Pavilion. Not only that, but bosses are now gimmicky with their own little tactics you have to figure out in order to beat them. Some of those gimmicks weren’t readily apparent — when you see a healing turret, yes, you kill it. But what the heck am I supposed to do with piles of bird seed?
Tip: If you’re going to put tactics in the fight, don’t make it so I need to read a boss guide before coming to the supposedly “fun” event just to know how to live through the fight. That’s not fun.
So, instead of having a well-organized approach to a 7 minute event and earning gold… my instance had a zerg mess that took over 20 minutes to down Boom Boom Baines alone. I spent over two hours there to complete my boss achievements and only saw the event completed twice. Both times, it was well outside the time limit, and the rewards you get were crappy. Bosses and enemies no longer drop any loot, and there’s no daily treasure chests anymore. So, if your instance doesn’t finish gold or silver, it’s honestly not even worth the time.
And the frustration? If I wasn’t getting trampled by (unavoidable?) herds of centaur, I was getting my face ripped off by birds with retaliation. Half the time, I didn’t know what was killing me! I was heard saying repeatedly, “What? This is just stupid!” I gained all of 2 levels in that time… and for the frustration I earned, I should have just spent it doing personal story for the same amount of experience and probably better drops.
I got my boss achievements, didn’t stick around for the lesser achievements, and logged off to work on less stressful character advancement in FFXIV. I have a feeling you won’t see people sticking around once achievements are done. A lot of folks were already leaving last night out of frustration.
Who’s to Blame?
I’m not placing the blame on the folks who tried to zerg it. I was there to zerg it, too. In this situation, I don’t think it was a bad thing. It was supposed to be a fun, care-free event where you melt down bosses for loot. Right?
I honestly do understand what Anet is trying to do with introducing tactics and incentive to organize in the Pavilion. But unlike Escape from Lion’s Arch, this doesn’t have a good blend of content for those who enjoy a bit of zerg and loot, while mixing it up with a bit of organization to get the best rewards. That was a win-win (and a nice place to level alts).
Instead, zerging in this event means everyone just loses.
Realistically? Anet has this expectation that the average player can (and wants to) work in an organized setting. Only, by design, GW2 just mashes a lot of disconnected people together into now random servers… and hopes that they somehow communicate and connect? In our instance, we were lucky to have a single commander to lead the flow of battle. It’s only natural that when there’s a single tag visible on the map, people follow that one tag.
In my experience last night, it’s not happening. I hope Anet realizes it’s not happening. If they don’t get it, I really hate to think what’s going to become of other fun zerg events, such as the Mad King’s Labyrinth this year.
This was the patch that I hoped would bring me back to GW2. So far, the Pavilion is the only thing I’ve attempted, and I was not pleased. I’m holding out hope that the Bazarr, which I also loved the first time it came, will help ease last night’s frustration. Sadly, I heard they nerfed the event level down to 16… which means no alt leveling happening there, either. Another set of group events that I enjoyed kicked to oblivion. *sigh*