In general, I hate forums. I’ve always found them to be a place where people with lost perspectives go to argue, except “argue” means “state one’s position without backing it up with reasons or evidence, call out the devs for not listening to you personally, and insult everyone who disagrees.” Good discussion goes to forums to die–either by trolls or by being buried underneath a sea of unreasonable, negative bile.
Despite all this, now that the game is out, I routinely find myself possessed to stare into the abyss: the Guild Wars 2 official forums. I have to admit, the official forums are better than most other forums I’ve attempted to participate in. There’s quite a bit of informative user-driven content that gets posted there, such as the necromancer bugs compilation, that gets good exposure and is actively encouraged by the devs. It’s very nice that the devs will both weigh in when they think it’s appropriate and also respond to individual people that catch their attention.
That said, even with the official forums’ very strict Terms and watchful moderators, you still have to sift through a lot of crap to find the posts worth reading. No matter what your topic is, someone will find a way to passive-aggressively insult you and have it fly under moderator radar since it’s veiled in “discussion.” Unfortunately, the devs can’t magically pick out the most constructive OP’s to respond to on a particular topic. In fact, they claim to find value in all kinds of feedback, including the very posts that make the forums no fun to read. A thread getting dev attention is not a guarantee the thread is good, but the dev posts themselves and any that they directly responded to are worth a read.
But who has time for all that? I founded this blog in part to shield myself and others from the negativity of forums. Every couple of weeks I plan to repost some of my own forum posts and link to or summarize topics that I thought were helpful or interesting. I’ll call it “Opt Out,” because it’s a terrible pun on my name (we all know there aren’t enough puns out there) and because that’s what it is: a way to opt-out of exposing yourself to the brain damage of a video game forum, but still seeing some of the good stuff posted there.
Diminished Returns: One of the big things that came up in the last couple of weeks is the Diminished Returns systems in place for dungeons, loot, karma, and gathering. I play the game a lot and I never hit any of the latter three thresholds, though I was affected by the bugged dungeon DR system before it was patched last week. For those who played enough to hit the other DR limits, they were apparently raised in the most recent patch.
Mob Tagging: Naturally, I got downvoted to oblivion on Reddit when I told someone “I think you were just unlucky” when complaining about their drop rate in Orr, in addition to my suggestion below:
Are you getting XP for mob kills? If not, you aren’t actually tagging them, in which case you will definitely not get loot. The solution is twofold: a) try and do events that aren’t completely overpopulated so you don’t have to compete as hard for tags; b) use rapid projectile/melee and/or AoE/DoT attacks so you’re able to hit foes multiple times and be more likely to tag. I don’t know exactly how tagging works but b) seems to work well for me.
I often find myself perplexed by mob tagging as what works in some situations does not at all work in others. I’ve figured out one solid rule though: if you’re doing an event that’s so overcrowded that the game isn’t rendering all the players in the area, it’s time to move somewhere else. I think what I said on Reddit is helpful, though I would also add that it’s important to be one of the first people to strike the enemies. I think each mob might only give a certain number of tags, which is why you see stuff like helping kill a Veteran from half-health down, getting lots of hits and inflicting conditions etc., but not getting any XP or loot.
Your Pet Bug: Everyone has that one issue in the game that only they seem to notice and no one is talking about. I’m pretty observant and easily annoyed, so I probably have more pet peeves than many and I can attest that many of these issues get posted about. I found threads about the game randomly minimizing, odd “excessive messaging” errors, and even the odd sound issue that forces people to restart their clients. I made threads about some Account Bound items behaving as if soulbound and Level 400 Artificer “Extended Potions” having incorrect behavior, albeit to limited response. So, if you have some weird issue, do a search of the bugs forum to see if other people have experienced it. Add what (constructive!) feedback you can, and try out suggested workarounds in case they help you out while a real fix is in the works.
No Hidden Watermarks: I was very happy to get an official dev response on this topic, which confirms that the live GW2 client doen’t perform any watermarking of screenshots. This means you are not unwittingly exposing personal info every time you share screenshots–that’s a good thing! You will only be watermarked if you are testing unreleased content and are under NDA, in which case you shouldn’t be sharing the screenshots anyway. (I was also happy to make a not-so-subtle jab at Blizzard for secretly watermarking WoW screenshots for years. I don’t know why they thought that was okay.)
Clbuttic Mistakes: The forums’ word filter makes some kitten hilarious errors. (Also, I’m starting to say/write “kitten” instead of actually swearing. Well played, ANet.)
Dungeon Difficulty: There are people who think dungeons are too easy, and others who think they’re too hard. For the most part, I think both sides are wrong.
The people who find dungeons too easy (as a whole) would probably find anything ArenaNet could have reasonably put in there too easy. The people who’ve already cleared all the dungeons paths and have all the dungeon rewards they want have only themselves to blame–these people are the experts. They are the guys and gals who should go and write the wiki articles on how to beat these dungeons most efficiently, helping the community benefit from their vast knowledge. Their skill and obsession is enviable, but the game should not be designed around their idea of what constitutes “difficult content.” As epic as it would be to fight Zhaitan, Jormag, Kralkatorrik, Primordus, and Mr. Bubbles, all at the same time and with no NPC backup (or worse, the constantly-dead members of Destiny’s Edge,) the rest of us would like challenges that are possible to overcome.
(Someone, please draw a picture of the ridiculously awesome scene I just described.)
That said, I’m not in favor of making dungeons easier either. I was certainly shellshocked by how punishing GW2 is compared to GW1, where death is a temporary debuff that goes away for free, but having played more dungeons I am coming around to the way of thinking they require. Below is my response to someone complaining about 1-shot attacks being unfair:
I don’t have a problem with dungeons being unforgiving/punishing—in order to survive a dungeon profitably (e.g. without breaking all your armor,) you need to learn the “right ways” to get through each encounter. People are already saying dungeons are too easy so imagine how many more people would call for harder dungeons if the challenges added by 1shot attacks were removed.
I gained an appreciation for 1shot attacks in AC explorable. Those Graveling Scanvengers that leap on you, knock you down, and chomp on you till you die were giving me a kitten hard time until I accepted that I need to fight them a specific way. Every class can dodge if they time it right. As a necro I have many tools at my disposal for dealing with leap attacks: blind, fear, immobilize, freeze, and cripple. Any one of these can trivialize the leap attack when paired with good timing and intelligent positioning. If one of them does get me and I’m knocked down, I can either equip a stun-break or pop Death Shroud and use Doom to fear it away before it starts chomping. Death Shroud and Doom can be activated while CC’d, and Doom can be used even while channeling another skill.
It’s all about being familiar with the enemies you’re facing and knowing your class well. Don’t ask for the challenge to be nerfed—accept the challenge and meet it head-on.