This section was devoted to my experiences with the game Guild Wars. With The Crusaders (dead, was patchday.com - archive) as my benefactors and by Photics' invitation I entered into alpha testing with him.
An overview of the game "Guild Wars" was a central-point for a game overview, where this section was meant to delve deeper into various software and gameplay issues.
This diary is, of course, no longer updated as I don't particularly care about this game any more.
Ok, so I may as well log in another entry here.. although I have no idea what I'm going to say. See, the thing is that I can't even talk about improvements in the game since a previous rant. E3 allowed me to vent a lot of steam, but the fact is I'm not so active a participant in complaining where it really counts (the alpha tester forum) that I can really ethically continue ranting at all.
So I'm kindof stuck. Basically, I need to keep my butt in a useful place instead of venting here.
I, however, cannot bring myself to the mindset required to troll through forums reading and posting and all that nonsense. So.. I'm going to shut up.
I'll use the
/bug command as frequently as the desire strikes me.. but unfortunately due to time and the aforementioned inclination issues I'm not going to be updating these diary entries much at all.
Even before I get to doing the diary, I ought to update my overview page, to include all the stuff which was made public as of E3. Certainly that would be of some interest.
I've begun to make separate pages for diary entries.. for ease of maintenance.
The E3 Experience ∞
I'm going to rant for a while about my E3 experience. E3 is an event during which NCSoft announced that they would allow public access to the alpha of Guild Wars.
As it so happens, they allowed it a day early. Quite exciting..
I didn't actually end up playing nearly as much as others, because.. well honestly I've played day in and day out for a while.
What I did end up doing is playing a little at work (during breaks, of course). I had to nuke the install after, but it was worth it being able to dink around during my normally off-hours.
No, I can't play the game on a work computer because of legal considerations. However, since everyone else could play on their work computers during E3, why can't I? No harm no foul.
I began by loading the client and having it hover there.. observing the chat. I answered bunches of random questions. I found the chat interface appalling.
Honestly, I think NCSoft mad a bad decision making the game in that current state public. I hope that the public can overlook the obvious alpha nature. I really do. I found myself quite ashamed at a number of things.
Sure, I could go into a rant to discuss the elements of the game which I dislike.. but frankly, my concerns are already commonly understood. Also, a lot of other people who played during that brief window have written threads on the topic already. I have no need to chime in. My concerns are known, and more than most I do know that my concerns are being worked on. The last thing I'd want to portray is that the devs aren't working hard cause I know they really are.
HOWEVER. What I was very disappointed with was the public. Yes, you bastards out there made the game suck. Well, some of you at least. I personally believe in legislating and coding away the idiots. Not enough time was considered in just how amazingly out of whack the game would get.
Chat Interface ∞
The chat window (in the
F10 group of tabs) did not have a particularly functional scrollback. Not only that, but it hopped around when new text came in and was otherwise extremely unwieldy. Trying to scroll back and having the text hop around was so damned inconvenient.
The private chat tab allowed public flood to come in. Private chats were not separated into their own tabs, but spilled into the same window.
The /send command was a godsend. Pun intended. If it even is a pun. Whatever. I liked it, I'm glad it was there. I sometimes used it.
Character Names ∞
Offensive character names, or downright STUPID character names really detract from the game. When the game goes public, I'm sure there will be excellent character name filtering, but frankly I intend to ban/ignore as many stupid names as I can get my paws on. That kind of crap is unforgivable.
Yeah, I'm a jerk like that.. there are some very cool names and such, and technically I'm slapping a lot of devs for their cool names. Hrm. Oh well, bite me.
Trading was downright stupid. There was no trading implemented yet. That was very very very frustratingly silly.. a massive oversight.
Well.. honestly I think some sort of "hey guys, your characters are temporary" note would have helped.. then maybe people wouldn't have cared so much about wasting their lives trading for no real reason.
Crafting shouldn't have been in to the degree which it was. It was unforgivable to have seen items being dropped or being created which had no value. People trading for these worthless items was even more sad.
I'm going to rant on this even though I never read any of the public documentation. Was something missed? An in-game FAQ would have rocked. People were asking really embarrassing questions. Constantly. About items they crafted or traded for. Or whatever. Sad really.
Ok, so I ended up ranting. Fine fine.. whatever.
What the entirety of e3 turned into was a bunch of people running around like headless chickens.. channels being flooded with stupid questions, trade requests and text which I would ban people from the game for writing.
Alphas should have been given squelching superpowers or something. There have been some excellent discussions on voting on players and such.. like karma. Something like that is absolutely necessary for the game to flourish. There's just no way in hell I'd be able to tolerate the game without some sort of character-deafening ability. Some people are just so worthless and I wouldn't want to listen to any public channel after seeing some of the stuff I saw.
Don't get me wrong.. some of it was just random poetry.. but I still don't want to see it.
Overall, I wandered around in some groups just randomly beating on stuff. I couldn't help but take charge of the groups I was in.. I'm just like that. I didn't do any real tournamenting.. since I don't play the game for that.
I think I ended up abusing a bug, but I earned the kind of coin I needed to pick up the skills I needed (to actually begin having fun, so I don't feel bad about the exploit).
I ended up camping at the gem dealer to pick up some of the rarer skills.
I kicked the crap out of the summit quest, with five other players. We rocked it hard. We played so damned well together.. it was amazing. THAT is the kind of gaming I want to see.. being teamed with people who turn out to be competent and fun.
Hrm.. ok, I feel better now...
Ok.. I also have serious problems with the equipment space size.. carrying all of those bs crafting goods (which I can't use), as well as weapons, equipment and random oddities leaves me with very little space to work with. This means that I have to break from my group to go to town pretty much after every mission. =/
Well.. I'm not particularly enjoying myself. I can't even explain why because of the NDA. I'll put it this way.. the E3 preview will open up a huge can of worms. I for one will finally be able to properly rant about my concerns. Personally, I think there are some pretty significant gameplay issues which need to be addressed before public beta. What I probably should have been doing is posting my concerns more violently on the alpha forum, but I'm tired of that. Basically, what I'm going to be doing once E3 comes out is speaking frankly about the game. I'll be able to tidy up my overview very nicely and will otherwise be able to address ideas, concerns and all that sort of goodness. This means that I might end up writing more than gaming during that time.
There is a fair amount of hubub in-game about what's going to be happening with the influx of participants from E3. Many are joking about the fresh meat, about playing tricks, or about repeatedly tournamenting their newbie asses into the ground. I for one have a serious concern -- downloads. If Guild Wars brought out a quick
.iso the day before which allowed these players to download one big file all at once beforehand so they can play when things are ready, that would help a lot of users. The fact that some people will have to download for an hour or more may well put off some players. Who knows. I guess the real concern has to be dialup users. Me, even as highspeed (and high highspeed at that) I hate having to sit through load screens.. they just bog my mindset down. I want to be able to tell my client to get everything all at once so I can go make a snack and have as much of the game, even unvisited maps, readied. Well.. I assume all of this will be "all better" when the game is released and there will be an official CD and such.. sigh.
I think the biggest concern I have with the game, that I can discuss here and now, is that it will become a character-addiction. I don't think that I personally will be quite happy with a character in that I will always be lusting after another part, another piece, etc. I'm not sure that I'll ever quite get into the spirit of actually playing a game. This is an extraordinary concern of mine. I hope that skills find themselves much more completed.. and MUCH BETTER DESCRIBED. I really despise making a decision only to learn that I assumed something or that the language was misinterpreted or whatever. Yes, I've played Magic The Gathering, and the parallels really are there.. along with the worry and wonder of figuring out what something actually is in in practice. Again, my wondrous NDA prevents a real rant, but I trust that intelligence will eventually prevail in working through some issues to some exhaustion.
Yeah yeah.. so fine this is a diary entry to appease all you folks who actually read this crap. =p No, I don't really care to take much out of my day to write.. and why is that? The NDA, of course. Most of my issues are temporal in nature. They are a product of the game being in alpha, of things being experimented on, and of whims being worked out. I dunno.. maybe I should just have faith and try to not be so jaded. Maybe I should just take a break until E3.
I completely remade my character from another mindset and am somewhat enjoying myself. There are some obvious game and gameplay issues which of course remain in an alpha test by definition -- when solved, things go into 'beta', remember. These issues aside, things are coming along nicely. I have a lot of fundamental issues which remain unsettled that I ought to write about to the arena gang.
I hope the game comes out with a whole lot of maps to play in and a lot of skills. The reported 300 skills between however many classes at game launch is pretty cool, but I don't want to learn that 80% of the skills suck.. and be forced to wait for an expansion to get my character pointed in a cool direction. =/
Today I dinked around with my vanilla character. I dunno.. gameplay just isn't doing it for me. The "shiny shiny" is wearing off.
Sigh.. I'm just not inspired to make a particular character at this point. I suppose I'll have to work on it some more. =/
These notes were made between April 11th and April 25th, 2004.
Newer entries are at the top, and each entry is probably from its own day..
I rebuilt my character a few times and found that I really hate my character.. any character. There just isn't enough choice at this point in alpha. Starting skills are just no fun for me. Rebuilding basically ruined my cash-flow and so I'm back to square one with el-boring. Sigh.
I lost my main character because of a UI inconsistency .. ok well it was trying to be "smart" .. I deleted my character. Yay back to square one. I had to exploit a bug to get through part of the game so there's no real way I'm going to bother with a lot of stuff again. I'm really pissed off about some of my work being lost.
God the game gets updated a lot. It's almost as if these people work full-time on it. =p
Player-versus-Player is a lot of fun. Sometimes. More and more I am being singled out as groups realise that combined-fire is a useful tool. This makes mass combat hopelessly frustrating as there is no real to-and-fro when two good teams clash. Some one target on each team will get targetted and eaten alive.
Sometime around here I played with my first losers. Unable to keep up, wandering off track, doing the wrong thing. Standing around. They weren't just new, they sucked. I played and played and played and they didn't improve. I didn't get mad at them, I just didn't enjoy myself at all. Was I this much of a dork when I began? Hell no. Someone gave me a basic rundown and away I went. I was immediately useful.
God I love NCSoft's alpha tester forums. They rock.
Yes, I'm still alive. Everything has been going very well. My last couple of good hardcore gaming nights went very well.
The game is really a lot of fun, and the mindset I have while playing it is so much more free than with other games. PvP is turning out to be some of my favourite stuff, even though I hate the idea of it. Tournamenting will be lots of fun when it's out.
Boy, I can really feel the game improving hour by hour.. it's stunning really. The active role the developers have in our little community is inspiring. The tools and atmosphere they create and maintain really do help things along.
I'm finally beginning to find my character style. I honestly believe there will be a bewildering amount of options for me once the game is live.. so this mindset is important for me to foster early. It's really amazing the number of choices and combinations which can exist. The skills really will play off of one another in sometimes strangely subtle ways.
My clannies rock, and so do so many other people. Even if someone joins a tournament just to figure things out or fill up space they really do help everyone out a lot. I myself am trying to fill whatever gaps I can.. if there's a team a man short, I'm there.. if someone needs help, I'll try.
A friend told me he could have gotten my video card for $100 cheaper. Oh well.
Sent out some inquiries to a couple of people to see if they wanted to start alpha testing. I got a couple of seriously interested people so far.
I started the All Call late, but puttered around and got smoked handily. This fancy "teamwork" thing is really foreign. =p
I desperately want to do lone-wolf or small group stuff. Sigh.
PVPed a few rounds with four other players, including our own Gaile Gray. Kicked some serious butt, although I got pasted late in the third round. PVP sure is lots of fun, there is a lot of team spirit in the game because we do rely on one another a lot. PVP really helped me come to grips with the hotkey setup, although they might be changed, or become user-editable, in the future.
I finally got into the game, and puttered around a bit. Thanks to an enthusiastic player I got a good introduction and did some campaigning. With senior players one really has to learn to keep up in the game..
Work has continued on An overview of the game "Guild Wars" and it's coming along nicely.
I made an application to become a Guild Wars alpha tester. I signed an Alpha Tester Non-disclosure agreement as part of my application.
The server transplant has gone exceptionally well. Aside from a bit of page request lag, everything is running smoothly.
After speaking with Photics/The Crusaders, I began preparations to become a Guild Wars alpha tester.
I bought an Asus Radeon 9600XT/TVD 128MB card, and transplanted this server setup to another box to raid it for parts. From what I understand, my setup is considered 'good'. I was forced to use a 180GB 8MB cache HDD because my smaller HDDs wouldn't work on that box. Sigh. =/