They really removed Team Arena and Hero Battles. Really. I come back after a long break to find this?
So, what exactly is there anymore for one-player PvP? Running around in Random Arena, where it's basically a battle of which team is randomly built the worst? Hardly a suitable replacement. And the Codex Arena as a replacement, where you're handed a bunch of random skills? Terrible. They really should have just defined a "competitive" skillset and allowed players to opt. to play with it. At least then you have some degree of intelligence involved with the game. Before people might have quit by some random determinant. Now you lose because no good skill combinations were in the Codex? At least the old system didn't go about wasting your time. I sincerely hope I'm wrong about that.
Thanks for the great 2000+ hours on Guild Wars, Arenanet. If GW2 is anything like the newest editions of GW1, I look forward to the ~$50 I'll save by actually doing something constructive. /ragequit
Limited Deck, Sealed Deck, and Variant Guild Battles
Limited Deck: One issue with the game currently is how there are so many skills; 1235 skills, according to the Skill article. This makes the game nearly impossible to balance, as I'm sure you've all heard. However, this opens up a yet-unused opportunity for the GW developers in the form of limiting skill choices. For example, before joining a game type, you could choose to play under certain limitations; for example:
- Prophecies/Factions/Nightfall/Core skills and professions only
- "Balanced" set skills (It's an alternative to deleting skills that works equally well in some cases; Izzy or a player council/vote would decide which skills should be added or removed from the "Balanced" set)
- No attack skills
- No enchantments
- No primary profession skills (Players couldn't use any skills from their primary profession)
Naturally, players would be pitted against foes accepting identical limitations.
Sealed Deck: This has been used in the past for tournaments, and should definitely be put into the game.
Variant Guild Battles: The most abstract idea on this list. Basically, the idea is that there could be alternative advantages for holding the flag-stand. For example:
- Capture the Flag: Classic. Just sneak into the other team's base and grab their flag. Then run back to your base and hand it to your Guild Lord, or put it on a flagstand inside your base, where the Guild Lord would usually be. When one team has 3-7 flag captures, they win.
- Premade Build Match: Prior to the beginning of the match, each player would choose one of three or four premade builds for their profession. Otherwise identical to vanilla GvG.
- "Death Limit": Each team starts with a set amount of death "tickets" they can lose before losing the match. No death penalty, but a team would lose a ticket for a player's death. By holding the flagstand, a team steals tickets from the other team for each time they would get a Morale boost. A team wins if the other team runs out of tickets.
- Bombing Run: The enemy Guild Lord can only be killed by a bomb, which spawns by the flagstand; only the team holding the flagstand can pick up and carry the bomb. Players carrying the bomb walk 50% slower, and if they drop it, the bomb detonates, killing anyone adjacent to it and severely harming anyone nearby, as well as knocking them down. Otherwise identical to vanilla GvG.
- "Monster Team": While one team holds the flagstand, swarms of hostile monsters would run toward the other team's base. The monsters would be hostile to both teams, so the one team couldn't team up with the monsters to take down the flagless team. The monsters wouldn't be too tough, either; level 10 or so; but they'd pack enough of a wallop to kill NPCs, and would force the other team to split to guard the monster's route while the flagged team attacks the other door. Otherwise identical to vanilla GvG.
- Meteor Storm: During the match, meteors would strike players randomly, knocking them down and causing damage. This would be proportional to the percentage of the time each team has held the flag stand. So, if one team had it for 5 minutes, and the other team had 0 minutes, every ten seconds, one of the 0 min. team players would be knocked down. If it was 5 minutes to 3 minutes, there would be a 5/8 chance of the 3 minute team getting hit, and 3/8 of the 5 minute team getting hit. Otherwise identical to vanilla GvG.
- "Hypnotism": While one team held the flagstand, the flagless team's Guild Lord would begin walking slowly toward the flagstand. If, then, the other team capped the stand, the Guild Lord would stop and run back to the base, and the first team's Guild Lord would begin a walk to the flagstand. Otherwise identical to vanilla GvG.
- "Guards": There would be a number of Guild Hall-specific AI enemies standing around in the "No-Man's Land" in the hall -- the part that isn't a base. Whichever team has the flagstand is allied with the AI team. Unlike "Monster Team", the AIs wouldn't march to the bases, and would be human rather than monsters. Otherwise identical to vanilla GvG.
- IDDQD Guild Lord: Whichever team held the flagstand would have an invincibility effect put on their Guild Lord as long as they held the stand. The Guild Lord would also be granted a skill allowing him to teleport all of the other team's players within aggro range to the flag stand. If any player capped the stand while the other team was killing his/her Guild Lord, he/she would be in significant danger of getting telefragged by the eight enemies now surrounding him/her. =P
- "Favor Mode": Avatars of the five "gods" of Tyria would appear prior to the beginning of a match. Talking to them would cause a player to gain a blessing specific to that "god" -- if someone joined late or didn't talk to any of the avatars, they'd get a random blessing. By capturing the flagstand, a team would win an improved version of the blessings, "favored blessings". Otherwise identical to vanilla GvG. The following are examples of "favor blessings":
- Balthazar's Favor: You have +15% movement speed. If your team has the flagstand, you have an additional +15% movement speed.
- Dwayna's Favor: Enchantments cast on you last +15% of their duration. If your team has the flagstand, they last +30% of their duration instead.
- Lyssa's Favor: You have +15% attack speed and +15% spell casting speed. If your team has the flagstand, you have +30% attack speed and +30% spell casting speed instead.
- Melandru's Favor: Conditions put on you last -15% of their duration. If your team has the flagstand, conditions last -30% of their duration.
- Grenth's Favor: All damage you take is changed to Cold damage. If your team has the flagstand, you have +10 armor against Cold damage.
- "Tattered Flags": Before a team could put their flag onto the flagstand, they'd need to kill an invisible target NPC("Flag") to tear down the enemy team's flag. Otherwise identical to vanilla GvG.
- Rift Mode: A great deal different than other game types would be, due to its three act structure.
- Act One:The first "act" would pit the two teams against each other. After each kill, the screen lighting would change slightly, to make the setting darker and more foreboding.
- Act Two: After a ~5 minute timer runs out, the second act starts with a rift breaking out in the center of the hall, and the power struggle turns into a fight for survival as monsters begin to pour out of the rift. The two guilds hold their respective halls for as long as possible, while the monsters increase in strength until they hit ~Lvl30, which would take about 7 minutes.
- Act Three: After one of the two guilds falls and their Guild Lord is killed, the game goes into its third act. The two teams are now allied together against the enemy "Monster Lord", who possesses the captured base, displacing the fallen guild to their once-enemy's base. If the now-allied teams succeed in surviving the enemy horde attack for ~7 minutes, they are given ~10 minutes to invade the monster base and kill the Monster Lord.
- Scoring: The reward is based off of the number of Acts that each team won. The first act would be determined either by simple kill count or a miniature version of one of the other suggested game types (above). The winner of Act Two would be the team that survived the Monster attacks. Act Three would be won or lost by both sides at the same time, but would divide the two points it could potentially give based on the involvement of each team in the fight, so the two teams would be competing to see who could cut the biggest gash in the Monster horde. The team with the most points would win the overall match, and Faction rewards would be distributed based on each team's point scores.
GW2? Pt. 2
As you may have deduced from my previous entry on the subject, I will not be purchasing Guild Wars 2. There are two big failures, which will ruin a game for me despite any other feature. Trump card failures. The first of the two big trump card failures(for me), is lack of perceived concern about the player base. If an MMO's developers don't at least pretend they care for the game's players, it's a huge flaw. It causes unrest among players, and listening to a half a million players complain gets really old, really fast. The second fatal flaw (for me) would be the lack of a more lightly armored medium-to-high damage melee unit -- an Assassin, in Guild Wars. I've always found standard warriors dull. "I've got to hit the foe eight times before I can use my mediocre-at-best attack combo? Great! I'll just finish that Haiku I've been working on!"^ I'd much rather take the risk of getting one of my attacks blocked and being forced to retreat. The Warrior earns his disorderly attack style by having a ~10 second adrenaline charge time.
Unfortunately, having an Assassin profession tends to be problematic in implementation. Because of that, people complain, which is the first trump card flaw, and thus, by not having the second flaw(the lack of Assassins), they always have the first. So, GW2 just can't win in my books.
^Yes, I have ADD.
To Those Who Hate the Assassin
There are quite a few people who dislike the Assassin so much that they use the argument that, "the concept behind the Assassin profession is fundamentally flawed -- a lethal spike that's not bounded by movement at all is quite obviously overpowered, and thus Assassins should never have been made." I disagree in many ways. It is arguable that no new professions should have been added to the game once the original six were released, and I can respect that argument, but "Assassins should never have been made" is a blatant cop-out. It is like saying, "Monks are fundamentally flawed. Smiting damage and healing together is bad, and thus Monks should never have been made." A flawed argument, at best.
However, it is quite arguable that Assassins should not have been made as they were. Assassins' shadow step skills come at far too little a cost. Even the immense strategic advantages that the increased mobility provides would be balanced had the cost been suitably intense. Instead, the current shadow steps have little to no cost; Aura of Displacement, arguably the most powerful shadow step, doesn't even have an attribute to put points into.
Bye, 60-something days of my life spent in GW1 playtime. Arenanet has just thrown all that work out the window.  "Don't count on subscriptions", third paragraph:
"Be very aware of the choice you are asking players to make, and the frequency of that choice. In a subscription model you are asking players to make a choice every month, and it is a fairly drastic choice: Stay married, or get divorced? It is certainly the case that if every player decides to stay married every month, you can make more money from each player in the subscription model. But that will rarely be the case, and not something that you should count on. Every month, some percentage of your player base will decide on divorce, and as with marriage in the real word, once you are divorced you rarely get married to the same person again. If you go the subscription route, you'll need to have the confidence that your marriage rate will exceed your divorce rate."
Except in this case, not only is this a marriage or divorce choice, it's a "get remarried and give up pretty much everything" or "get divorced and find a better game" or "continue playing a dead game" choice. If GW2 is going to succeed, Arenanet will need to treat their players better.