User:Regina Buenaobra/Journal/Archive Oct-Dec 2009

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Lag and High Pings - 31 December 2009

We're aware that many players are experiencing increased lag and rubber banding issues. The high number of players in districts is causing increased load on server CPU, despite the efforts of the load balancers. There are a few things you can do on your end to try and improve play experience. First let me explain what's going on. Each district of a map is likely to be hosted on a different hardware server. Higher numbered districts are generally going to be newer instances of the map, and will be less likely to have accumulated whatever is slowing down the older/lower numbered districts. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you try different, preferably higher numbered districts, if you're experiencing rubber banding or high pings.

We're also monitoring increased game client crashes, and investigating the issues. Our programmers suggest that trying different/higher number districts might help avoid client crashes.

We'll continue to actively monitor the issues here and continue to take steps to address them.

Thank you, and we apologize that some players' game experience has been impacted by these issues.

Update - 31 December 2009

Two of our programmers have been taking a look at the situation and they've determined that the best way to try and resolve the lag, and disconnect issues is to do a new build. The new build will place everyone back into a properly-functioning server when they login. We expect this to happen within the hour. Because it is a holiday, and the offices are closed, you probably won't see the usual Game Update note on the web site. Due to the holiday, will be difficult to get the game update notes localized and turned around quickly, etc.

When you log back in, we anticipate that players will have a more improved experience with regard to the lag, rubber-banding, and connectivity issues. However, we will continue to monitor the issues and address them as we can if the issues persist.

Thanks so much for your understanding, and we apologize for the inconvenience this causes.

Happy Wintersday - 24 December 2009

I hope everyone has a lovely and safe holiday, whatever winter holiday you celebrate. :-)

And if you don't celebrate any winter holidays, I hope people don't get on your nerves about the holidays. ;-)

I'm going to be celebrating Zombie Yule, holed up in a secure, fortified location, eating canned goods, keeping warm, and sharing companionship, togetherness and celebrating another year without a zombie apocalypse with my (uninfected) loved ones. And also watching zombie films. \m/

Take care, everyone, and see you in the New Year! =D

Security Update - 21 December 2009

We just released an important update to the game. From now on, you will be required to type in the name of a character on your account in order to login. Please see this FAQ for more details about the new login process. This is one of the steps we've taken to help protect your account. We're continuing to actively work on additional methods to help protect your account.

Next Skill Balance - 17 December 2009

The Test Krewe has been discussing many proposed skill balance changes in preparation for the next balance update. The next skill balance update will not be released this month, but we would still like to give you a few more details of what our developers are working on, with feedback from the Test Krewe. Please keep in mind that not all of these changes may make it into the next skill balance and there is the possibility of different changes making it in, however we just wanted to give you an idea of some of the projects we’re undertaking at this time. The upcoming skill balance falls into two categories: addressing pressing issues, and tackling other issues.

Pressing Issues

  • Shadow Form – Shadow Form is a formidable build, providing blanket protection against both attacks and spells. The developers and Test Krewe are taking a look at a couple of options, including reworking the skill from a fundamental level.
  • Possible Changes to 600 Smite – The effects of this build on the game are less pronounced than other extreme farming builds, however it operates on the same basic premise of making a character invulnerable all of the time. The developers are looking at changes to some of the skills in this build.
  • Balancing Midline Spike – Several skills have been identified as overpowered. Several of these skills have brought more damage and defense to GvG midlines than we'd like. This de-emphasizes distinctions in roles between frontline and midline characters and removes some of the versatility we've seen in midline characters in the past.
  • Addressing Fast Cast Blood Spike – The Test Krewe is currently taking a look at a couple of proposals targeted to address the cornerstone of this team build.
  • 4v4 Issues – We’re looking at both Illusion of Pain and Ebon Dust Aura in terms of addressing issues in the 4v4 format.

Addressing Other Issues

Again, please keep in mind that not all of these changes may make it into the next skill balance, and the changes may be different.

  • Hammer Mastery – Hammer suffers from a number of issues that make it difficult to take over other Warrior weapons in PvE. For example, the combination of high adrenaline costs, slow attack rate, and battles ending relatively quickly in PvE mean that it can be hard to use skills before a battle is over and mean that being blocked feels much harsher. We’re looking at a number of approaches to address these and other issues.
  • Tactics – Tactics is the least exciting Warrior attribute and primarily sees use as a secondary attribute on other classes. We’re considering several options to address the weaknesses of Tactics.

Protect Your Account: Change Your Password - 16 December 2009

We are aware of the increase in hacking attempts on Guild Wars player accounts. We take account security very seriously and are actively working on solutions to further protect your accounts.

Hackers know that players often use the same account names and passwords for multiple games, or share passwords between games and game-related web sites. Through the use of key loggers, Trojans, and attacks against other sites, hackers have built extensive lists of account names and passwords. They check these account names and passwords to see whether any of them are valid for Guild Wars, and steal any accounts they can access this way. Thus, to protect your Guild Wars account, be sure to use a password for Guild Wars that you don’t use anywhere else.

To further protect your account, take the following steps:

  • Change your password regularly and make sure it is unique to Guild Wars!
  • Don’t use third-party programs.
  • Don’t share your account.
  • Don’t type your Guild Wars password into any other site.
  • Never buy a used account.
  • Keep your email account secure.
  • Don’t buy gold or items from a real-money trader.
  • Don’t trade game accounts or access keys for in-game payment.
  • Be careful on third party sites.

For more account security tips, please visit this page.

Rest assured this matter is of the utmost importance to us. We are working on additional modifications to keep accounts secure.


Update to Post on Stolen Accounts - 15 December 2009

The Support Issues page has been updated with some additional info, quoted below:

I've noticed a number of comments about NCsoft Master Accounts and hacked game accounts. It appears that some players are assuming that there is a connection, that if you have an NCsoft Master Account (NCMA) you may be at increased risk of account theft. We have conducted extensive research on this factor, and I have data as current as this morning that shows that this does not appear to be true. Of a cross-sampling of accounts, nearly half did not have an NCMA at all. I hope that this information puts your mind at ease on any perceived "risk factor" regarding whether a game account is tied to an NCMA or not, for that truly does not seem to be an element in the current situation.

Today, as many have already noted, we changed the in-game account security messaging to make it more noticeable. (Feedback given in an existing thread will be relayed to the Live Team.) More information on the subject of account security will be coming soon. -- Gaile 21:34, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

A Note on Snowball Automated Tournament for Wintersday - 14 December 2009

This is just a reminder about Snowball Automated Tournaments. Remember that you need to be in a guild for two weeks before you can participate in the Automated Tournament, and this includes participating in the Snowball ATS. So if you want to play Snowball ATS, please make sure you join the guild you'd like to participate with soon. :-)

Upcoming Scheduled Maintenance - 07 December 2009

I just wanted to let you know about upcoming maintenance that might have an impact on your game play experience.

We'll be doing some maintenance work on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 1:00 am PST. We expect the work to take about an hour, during which you may get disconnected or might not be able to log in. We're sorry for any inconvenience, and appreciate your patience.

  • Start time: Wednesday, December 9, 1:00 am PST
  • End time: Wednesday, December 9, 2:00 am PST

December Status Updates - 04 December 2009

I'd like to give you a few updates on what's been going on recently since the Dhuum release.

  • The Test Krewe opened to members earlier this week. At the moment they're reviewing a few proposed changes that the designers have drafted and put up for discussion. This mainly involves skill balance updates.
  • Live Team is preparing Wintersday content.
  • Linsey is looking forward to 2010 in terms of what she would like to do for content updates.
  • The customer support team continues to work with individual players on hacked accounts. Gaile Gray recently updated this thread with more information.
  • We released an awesome (IMO) new Guild Wars 2 trailer today. This is a project that has been in the works for months, so it's really gratifying for all the teams to be able to read your positive reactions and constructive criticism.
  • We're aware that a lot of people will be on holiday or won't be able to play at the time when the mAT would normally be scheduled. So, this month's Automated Tournament will take place on the weekend of December 19, and you will need 15 QPs to qualify for it. The new Map Rotation will go live early next week.

Latest Game Update - 20 November 2009

I would like to take the time to address a couple of questions that came up after the latest scheduled game update.

The re-design of the Underworld was intended as a way to add fun new content to the game while preventing ridiculously fast speed clears up the Underworld. (For example, the first Shadow Form group to beat Dhuum took 85 minutes rather than the 7 minutes it used to take similar groups to clear UW.)

This was not an attempt to address all of the concerns about Shadow Form Assassins. That will happen in the next major skill update, which will include big changes to Shadow Form and may also include changes to other prominent farming skills.

Work on this next update is currently in progress, but it looks like it will not happen this month. We are aiming for not only “tweaking numbers” of certain skills, we are looking into making changes that will require extensive testing and implementation time. We intend to heavily involve the Test Krewe in testing and evaluating the changes before they go live. Unfortunately it took longer than expected to get the Test Krewe off the ground.

I hope this sheds a little bit of light on what’s happening and where we are going.

New Honorable Mentions - Halloween Art Contest - 10 November 2009

After some discussion (with our legal department), much email communication with different parties, and information gathering, we have an update for you about the issues with a couple of winning entries in the Halloween Art Contest. Another entry had to be removed. This change was reflected on the web site on November 9. This left two empty spots in the ranking. Following this decision, we contacted two contest participants who were next in line according to the tally of votes to offer them the Honorable Mention prize. I'm happy to say that the two participants have replied back and agreed to accept the prize. We will update the web page to show off their entries this week. Thank you to all for your patience, and thank you again to the folks that let us know via PM, email, and other methods that there were potential issues with certain entries.

The Mad King's Steward Would Like a Word With You... - 5 November 2009

We hinted a couple days ago in various forums that the quests that began during Halloween would eventually reach a conclusion.

The Game Update notes read:

"The Mad King's Steward will soon depart to serve his master, but he has one last word for all the brave souls willing to join the battle against Dhuum's minions."

The Mad King's Steward is offering a new quest today, but he will not remain in Lion's Arch and Kamadan for too long, so if you're willing to answer the call to arms against Dhuum, you will need to speak to him while he's there. After he's gone, you won't be able to accept that quest.

Please also note that the "waiting" referenced in the quest text is not a matter of hours, but days.

Mad King's Steward Called Away - 2 November 2009

The Mad King's Steward has been called away on an urgent request from Mad King Thorn (e.g. you may have noticed it missing from Lion's Arch and Kamadan), and the Steward will return tomorrow.

Halloween Art Contest Issues - 2 November 2009

We have been made aware of issues related to a couple of the Halloween Art Contest entries. While every effort is made to check each entry to ensure that the artwork submitted was not plagiarized, the internet is a big place, and we are not able to check every single corner. Thank you to community members who contacted us to make us aware of those issues. Entries that the team judges to be plagiarized work will be removed over the next couple of days. One submission was affected so far. When we are confident that there are no further issues with contest entries that are displayed on the web site, we will then start the process of awarding prizes to the next highest ranking creator(s). This whole process may take at least a week. Thank you for your patience and understanding in this.

November 1: Erroneous Fraud Blocks - 2 November 2009

On November 1, a few Guild Wars accounts were blocked in error due to payment fraud, however those purchases were legitimate. We sincerely apologize for this error. The Support Team is aware of this error, and they're devoting more people to reinstating the affected accounts. If you have been affected by this, and have not already done so, please open a Support ticket. For additional information and steps you can take, please refer to the Support Issues page on the wiki. Again, we apologize for this error on our part, and we're doing everything we can to reinstate those accounts.

Happy Halloween from ArenaNet - 30 October 2009

A bunch of staff dressed up for the occasion today. Check our their awesome costumes on our page on Facebook!

PvP Henchmen and Heroes in Guild Halls - Updated - 30 October 2009

You should be able to add Heroes to your party in Guild Halls now.

PvP Henchmen and Heroes in Guild Halls - 30 October 2009

Yesterday's update introduced the new PvP Henchmen into the game. Players also discovered that they could not add Heroes to their party in their Guild Halls. The dev team is aware of this concern, and Joe, our programmer, is looking into a way to address this. Joe told me that he can't make any guarantees, but he's pretty optimistic that he can make it happen.

A Note on the Mad King's Guard Miniature - 29 October 2009

Contrary to rumors and hearsay, the Mad King's Guard Miniature is not dropping anywhere in the world. You cannot obtain it through killing monsters or completing quests. The Mad King's Guard Miniature is being introduced as a prize for the Halloween Art Contest of 2009. At this time, there is no other way to obtain it.

Quick Reminder About Frequency of Halloween Quests - 29 October 2009

Hey, everyone. There seems to be continuing confusion about the Halloween quests. Please note that the Halloween quests are not daily quests. As we noted on the official web site, players will be treated to a "series" of quests, meaning there are multiple quests, but these quests are not daily quests.

Thank you. :-)

Automated Tournament Issues - 23 October 2009

Evening, all.

As some of you probably have noticed, there has been an issue with the last two Automated Tournaments.

As a result of that, many guilds were not able to get the remaining Qualifier Points they would need to compete in this weekend's MAT.

We will reduce the required amount of QPs for this Monthly Automated Tournament to 10.

We will also temporarily revert the changes to the Automated Tournament times.

Izzy and a couple of other coders are currently looking into the issue.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Halloween Art Contest Deadline Extension - 23 October 2009

We've received a report that a couple players have had issues sending Halloween Art Contest entries to contests@arena.net. We had our IT Team on it to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. All told, there was a one hour window during which we were unable to receive mail. Because of this, we will extend the deadline. Players now have until 5:00pm Pacific time to submit their art contest submission.

We're sorry about all the inconvenience, consternation, and confusion caused. Looking forward to seeing those art contest entries!

Codex Arena - 22 October 2009

Today we introduced Codex Arena. You should be able to see Codex Arena on your map in the Battle Isles. If it doesn't appear for you, head over to the Great Temple of Balthazar, and check your map again, and it should appear there.

Remember, you can use just a limited set of skills in Codex Arena. When you travel there, you may see that your skill bar has lock images over some or all of your skills. To find out what skills you can use in Codex Arena for the day, please open your Skills menu by pressing 'k'. These skills will change each day. For more information about Codex Arena and about the Codex Title, please head over to the web page.

Team Arena / Hero Battles Closure - 19 October 2009

The Live Team continues their hard work on the Halloween content.

Meanwhile, last week we discussed letting you all know about the closing of TA and HB, and Linsey agreed that it would be a good idea.

Team Arenas and Hero Battles will be removed in the next build. The game update to remove those two formats will arrive this week.

PvP: Current Projects Status Update - 07 October 2009

As a follow-up to my previous update-y post here, Linsey has outlined more details about what the Live Team is currently working on:

  • The Henchmen project: Robert has done a major pass on all the PvE Henchmen, changing many of their builds and polishing their stats to a glossy shine. Only some minor AI tweaks remain. Live Team collectively managed to get through the 30k+ PvP Henchmen submissions and picked 40 builds to be used on release. Robert is working with Joe now to make sure the AI knows how to handle the builds. Linsey and Robert are working with me to get in touch with all the winners, nail down (appropriate, in-character) names for the Henchmen. The last bit of fun is going to be digging up cool models to use for them all once we have the names.
  • PvP Skins: The work on this is done. Joe miraculously resolved the two "show-stopping" graphics bugs with the EotN skins, implemented the price reductions and added support for ZCoins.
  • Sync-ing Random Arena: The GW2 Programming Team had been playing a bunch of GW PvP lately during their lunch breaks and on the weekend. During one play session, the room got into a lively discussion about Sync'ing Random Arena. Next thing Linsey knows, one of the members of the GW2 Programming Team was telling her that he'd found a way to put everyone into the same bucket so that Sync'ing won't be so easy. We decided to push it live as soon as possible and we put it up on September 1st.
  • (TA + HB)^Sealed = WIN!: This project has taken a little bit longer than we had expected. Joe needed to pretty much start from scratch in order for Sealed to be robust enough to handle Live conditions as a full format. That's bumped a couple things from this build back on the waiting list. At this point, Joe is working with QA to get the last remains of TA and HB removed and QA has begun their first test pass on the new Sealed format. Sealed has all its basic functionality there now, it just needs to get through the testing/bug fixing phase and on to the final polish.
  • GvG Tiebreaker: We've read through lots of feedback, distilling it down to key points and proposals, but other than that, the project has been mostly put on hold. There are so many different opinions about how we should deal with this that it would be best to wait until the Test Krewe is in place anyway so that we have a way to test each approach. Linsey prefers this one to be really solid before we put it out. That means iteration and a lot of testing, which takes a lot of time and people.
  • Bug Fixes for Fort Aspenwood and Jade Quarry: These have mostly been put on hold for now since they're primarily code issues.
  • New HoH map: As we said before, "we’ll probably wait until the Test Krewe is in place" and that's what's happening.
  • New Schedule for Automated Tournaments: The last status update from QA was that they were doing their test pass and this was pretty much just a matter of Izzy pulling the trigger.
  • The Next Skill Balance: We have not started production on this yet. Linsey won't be free to think about it until Halloween is set, but James and Robert have been brewing some ideas already. We'll let you know when this project gets further underway.
  • Halloween: As I mentioned a couple posts ago on this page, Linsey has been itching do something new for Halloween. She didn't want to just put in a few more terrible jokes. It’s been on her mind a lot and ideas have been percolating and for months on sleepless nights and in daydreams abound. The last couple weeks, in between scrambling around working on PvP stuff, she's been developing something fairly ambitious. She isn't sure yet if we’ll be able to pull it all off, but regardless, we'll probably manage to get at least a little shiny and new in for this year’s celebration.

Beware of Phishing Sites! - 05 October 2009

This is an important message for all players. We have recently become aware of a phishing site offering players access to the Guild Wars 2 beta after you input your existing Guild Wars account information (username and password). This site, ncsoftinternational.tk is not affiliated with or owned by NCsoft. Do not access this site or give this site your account information!

Henchman Skill Bar Contest Winners - 01 October 2009

The results are in, and the winners list is up! As a reminder, here were the prizes as listed in the official rules: Prizes: Twenty (20) winners will receive one (1) of each of the prizes below:

  • A henchman named after the winner’s character or an appropriate name of the winner’s choosing. Please note that all names must abide by our Naming policy and are subject to the approval of the Development Team.
  • One Everlasting Henchman Tonic. This unique item will grant the winner the ability to temporarily transform into the image of the henchman that they are named after.

The list of winners, in no particular order are located on the web site for both Guild vs. Guild and Heroes' Ascent.

Congratulations to the winners!

FAQ

  • There are 40 winners listed. What gives?

Because of the overwhelming number of great submissions, the Live Team decided to accept a total of 40 submissions, 20 for each format. We predicted we’d get a lot of awesome submissions, so that’s why we included this line in the official rules: “We reserve the right to declare additional winners and award additional prizes in our sole discretion.”

  • Will everyone get a henchman named after them?

Yes! Each player-character listed will get a henchman named after them, or an appropriate name of the winner’s choosing. Each winner will be contacted individually to coordinate naming their henchman, and also to coordinate receipt of the tonic.

  • Will the new henchmen be able to use the winning builds effectively?

This was a concern at the start of the contest. We posted that, if appropriate, henchman AI could be tweaked and improved so they can use those skills effectively.

  • What went into judging the builds submitted in the contest?

As stated in the official rules, entries were judged "on the basis of merit and appropriateness to game design considerations as determined by the Development Team." The contest asked players to "devise potent, effective skill bars for the new henchmen in GvG and Heroes Ascent" and to submit competitive henchman skill bars.

Linsey explained things a little further in terms of why she and Robert picked the skills they did for the winners:

Magic: The Gathering has a similar situation to Guild Wars: good decks are good decks. Individual players do not hold exclusive copyright or trademarks to use those decks. Lots of people play the same kinds of decks (i.e. those decks are popular), sometimes with slight variations, for one reason: they are effective. There are sites out there devoted to Magic: The Gathering strategies, on how to build the best decks, what cards to put in those decks, etc. This information is available to the public.

Likewise, in Guild Wars, good builds are good builds. Linsey was looking for builds that would be competitive and effective for GvG and HA. This is why the contest rules asked players to "devise potent, effective skill bars for the new henchmen in GvG and Heroes Ascent" and to come up with "great, competitive, henchman skill bars". There are certain builds that meet all of the design criteria that Linsey and Robert were looking for. Linsey and Robert had to balance a lot of needs and wants when judging the entries for this contest. Because there are certain builds that are more appropriate for this than others, one expects a certain amount of duplication. Many of those builds and strategies are publicized on places like PvXWiki, but also in guild forums, alliance forums, strategy guides, etc. They are out there in public for a reason: players have found them to be effective. Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that there's no room for innovation or imagination. Only two of the winning skill bars had more than 50 duplicate entries. All the rest had less than 10 others submitting the same bar, and 23 winning skill bars were completely unique in the contest. Keep in mind another fact: Linsey and Robert wanted those henchmen to be equipped with skills that they know players will know how to use and will want to use.

  • Were all of the winning skill bars unique?

Of the 40 winners, more than half were unique skill bars that no one else submitted, out of 30 000 total submissions.

Here's the breakdown:

1 Build -> 62 submissions
1 Build -> 51 submissions
1 Build -> 9 submissions
1 Build -> 5 submissions
3 Builds -> 4 submissions
2 Builds -> 3 submissions
8 Builds -> 2 submissions
23 Builds -> 1 submission

In the case of duplicate submissions, the winner was decided by a die roll.

  • Will those henchmen skills ever be changed in the future?

It's possible. The design team may decide to modify the henchmen in the future if they feel it's appropriate, this includes tweaking their AI, or even changing their skills.

  • When will we see the new henchmen?

You'll see them in an upcoming game update, so keep your eyes peeled!