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Megaserver status update


Arenanet just posted an update on the megaserver status.  The update, found on all of the official social media outlets, confirms the areas of the game which have been up all day, and a few which have just been added less than half an hour ago.  The new areas are found in bold.

-Heart of the Mists
-The Grove
-Black Citadel

-Timberline Falls
-Southsun Cove
-Rata Sum
-Straits of Devastation
-Fields of Ruin
-Brisban Wildlands
-Hoelbrak
-Iron Marches
-Blazeridge Steppes
-Dredgehaunt Cliffs


Second Round
  • Lion’s Arch
  • Lornar’s Pass
  • Kessex Hills
  • Diessa Plateau
  • Metrica Province


Please remember that submitting feedback is crucial.  In order to improve the experience for everyone, submit bugs and issues you find to the official forums! Back to Top

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The patch is unsurprisingly quite hefty, so the notes will be hidden in spoiler tags for the most part.

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New Features and Content
Wardrobe
World Boss Synchronization
Guild World Events
Balance, Bug Fixing, and Polish
Runes
Profession Updates
Balance and Bug Fixing

Structured Player vs. Player
World vs. World
BLACK LION TRADING COMPANY GEM STORE
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Log In for Free Transmutation Charges


Tomorrow is 15 April 2014, the day of the first ever Guild Wars 2 feature pack.  Make sure to log-in tomorrow and get free transmutation charges from the in-game store by clicking the [O] button and going to the promotions tab!

The April 2014 Feature Pack launches tomorrow! Among the many exciting features that we’ll be introducing is the account Wardrobe system, which makes it easier than ever to collect every possible look in Tyria! Through the Wardrobe, every cosmetic skin you collect will be made accessible to every character on your account.

To get you started with this new system, we’re giving away five free Transmutation Charges per account to everyone who logs in between the launch of the Feature Pack and 11:59 a.m. PT tomorrow, April 16! Visit the Promotions tab in the Gem Store to check out this and other offers!

On a related note, do not forget to transform all of your transmutation crystals and stones after the update to receive transmutation charges! Back to Top

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I sat down with Colin Johanson and Jon Peters during the first day of PAX East to go over the content patch going live on Tuesday. Most of the patch features themselves are not really reflected in play testing, so I spent quite a bit of time watching the ArenaNet developers gang up on Jon repeatedly in the 5v5s while we talked about the Megaserver system. Before we moved on to Jon’s endless demises, we went over the other features and I got to see the way the User Interface had been developed to bring these systems into the game.

Traits
The first thing on the table was the update to the traits system. I am sure most of you know the basics of the current system and the main changes to the system that were announced, so I am going to skip straight to the gushy center. You can find them in the previous blogs that were released about the feature patch if you haven’t read them.  The basics are: the addition of five new traits per class, a rework of the existing traits, a reduction in the overall number of trait points in order to make “every click matter,” free trait point refunds, and a new system revolving around discovering or unlocking traits.

Five new traits per class have been added and the existing traits have been reworked to bring more depth to the system. Colin and Jon were both excited by the trait changes since the reworks focused on bringing more skilled support choices into play. The game had been marketed as moving away from the dreaded “Holy Trinity” but Colin felt that the message had slowly morphed into an idea that the developers didn’t want players to be able to play specialized support roles. The trait updates have definitely improved the choices for those players that love playing healers or other roles focused on bolstering their allies.

A new guardian trait gives aegis to the guardian’s party every time the guardian successfully blocks an attack (20 second cooldown). Necromancer traits included some that caused conditions to heal the Necromancer when they were in death shroud or added support effects to the Life Blast skill. Elementalist traits provided more opportunities to create support effects from the skilled use of attunements. The new traits often focus on encouraging skilled usage of the classes unique abilities to allow better players to have a larger impact on their party.

Traits can now be respecced anywhere, anytime, at no charge. I will pause for a bit to allow you to rejoice… Don’t worry, I cheered too. We can now switch builds on the fly to better fill in gaps in a party’s abilities or if we happen to get bored of using a specific build while running around in Orr. Gone are the days of running to a trainer and forking over gold just to change how we played.

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During development ArenaNet had originally talked about how the trait system would involve unlocking traits by going out into the world and completing challenges or discovering locations. One of the original examples of that was completing a challenge for a well renowned sword master in the region in order to unlock a trait related to his expertise. I mentioned remembering that example while we talked and Colin reflected on how long ago that seemed. It was a long time ago, as far as Guild Wars 2’s life is concerned, and it looks like we are swinging back around.

While originally developing the system, the developers soon learned that their original plans just wouldn't work the way they wanted them to. The system simply didn't fit with how they envisioned the trait system and the other game systems worked so they shelved it. The new trait acquisition system is an evolution of that original idea.

There are locations out in the world that have tasks in order to unlock the traits. Each location has a single trait for each class and by completing the tasks, you unlock the local trait for the class you are currently on. The system is similar to the Guild Wars 1 elite capturing system that players loved so much but it removes the annoyance of having to hope that a specific boss spawned in order to capture his skill.

All these trait changes are an exciting change for Guild Wars 2. Colin and Jon were excited by how the system is built to allow them to add even more traits in the future in an organic manner. The addition of the tasks to unlock traits allows them to add another reason for a player to go back into older maps they may have abandoned, helping to keep the entire world populated. Players always like having new toys.

The game had been marketed as moving away from the dreaded “Holy Trinity” but Colin felt that the message had slowly morphed into an idea that the developers didn’t want players to be able to play specialized support roles. The trait updates have definitely improved the choices for those players that love playing healers or other roles focused on bolstering their allies.

Wardrobe
Next up we talked about the new wardrobe. Jon was happy to show off the number of skins he had unlocked, but when he opened the skin list that is now available in the bank tab, it readily became apparent just how far he had to go. Colin mentioned that there are more skins in the game than some players realize and hopes that the new interface helps to show these players that there are more looks out there for them.

The system allows players to show off their goodies without cluttering their bank with armor they hardly ever wear. Unlocking a specific skin opens that skin up across the entire account, not just the specific character. The interface is quite simple allowing a player to search for a specific gear slot and pick from any skin unlocked. At the click of a button, the skin is applied and away you go.

PvP
PvP players, don’t worry! You aren’t being left out to dry. All the above changes, of course, roll over into PvP, but even more quality of life changes are coming. You won’t have to run around to different NPCs in order to change your gear anymore. A central page has been added allowing you to change skins, builds, and armor or weapon modifications all in the same place. The Rune of the Traveler is being unlocked for SPvP so be prepared to chase down some speedy opponents.

A new map has been added. A map that has no capture points. No capture points you ask? Yes, no capture points. Players have been using custom maps to run their own deathmatch games for a while now by just ignoring the existing capture points. The developers want to support the PvP community and have created a map just for this purpose. It will only be available in custom games for now, but if the game type is met positively by the community as a whole it could be added in to the standard rotation as well. I know a lot of PvP players have wanted this for a while and it willing be arriving to an arena near you this Tuesday. The PvP announcements have already bolstered the SPvP community. Colin was particularly excited about the increase in numbers in registration for the recently announced Tournament of Legends, with registration for the tournament increasing by almost 10x more than past registration numbers. Only time will tell if the numbers will stay at the new level, but the developers will be watching closely to help support the growing player numbers there.

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Megaserver
Here comes the piece de resitance, the big kahuna, the feature to end all features. Please excuse me if I use some phrases incorrectly here; I am ridiculously excited about the Megaserver (and you should be too).

The Megaserver system has been designed to better develop the in game community and increase player interaction. Players are automatically brought together based upon their existing connections in order to fill maps with people you already run in to. As a social gamer at heart, I threw up a “Success Baby” fist when we got to this feature which got a laugh out of Colin and Jon. This is about the time where Jon got hit with a Quaggan finisher.

Ouch.

The system’s algorithm uses a combination of the player’s party members, friend list, currently represented guild, other guilds, home world, and language in order to place players together. Gone are the separate maps for different worlds and gone is having to choose what server to guest on today. Hop in a map and play with your friends with no hassles. Sounds great right?

The answer was that the megaserver can pretty much use any parameter the developers want it to. Which led to the question: Should it?

Some players have had concerns about the system. The  most salient of these being from the roleplaying community. The roleplaying community in games typically organize themselves on to a specific server. This serves a couple of purposes: concentrating them together, reducing the number of “trolls” that come in to annoy the role players, and just increasing the sense of togetherness the community has. Players have concerns that the new Megaserver will destroy this. It won’t, it will actually make it better.

I spent a long time talking with Colin about this. I actually spent most of the time in the interview talking about the Megaserver as a whole and a good half of that conversation revolved around these concerns. As an occasional roleplayer myself, I wanted to ensure that the communities that existed already wouldn’t be hurt by the new systems.

The Megaserver still concentrates like characters together. Your friends and guild members aren’t going to be ripped from you with this system and even the players in the roleplaying worlds will continue to be together. At the surface level, the system seems pretty straight forward, but when you follow Colin down the rabbit hole, a whole new perspective opens up. The Megaserver actually concentrates friend groups that you might not know existed. Your friends and guild members will be in the map with you, but remember that they have friends and other guilds as well and that THEY have friends and guild members too. These people are going to be in your maps just as often as your friends are and are going to become familiar faces to you as well, increasing the likelihood of them becoming your friends. Guild members often just become a name in a chat room that you never really get to know. With the new system, Colin sees guilds actually becoming closer with one another and the interpersonal interactions actually getting more personal.

What about trolls? The megaserver actually makes it harder for people to troll roleplayers. Or at least it makes it harder for them to actively seek us out. With the current guesting system, people can hop over and berate roleplayers at will. The megaserver removes guesting and makes actively seeking out targets more difficult. Yes, incidental contact with trolls is going to be more likely, but we all know that you can’t avoid them all and most of the community is used to the occasional troll or two. We know how to handle them. The flipside to that is incidental contact with potential roleplayers has now increased.

How did you get in to roleplaying, you ask? I started in DAoC by just happening to choose the server the RP community used. I didn’t know what roleplaying was; I didn’t choose that server on purpose. I am a roleplayer purely by chance. If I hadn’t chosen that server, I never would have stumbled into Orien and asked him “What the heck are you doing?” I wouldn’t be the gamer I am today, and the megaserver makes this more likely to happen. They don’t have to pick your server by chance, they just get dropped in with you on occasion. Adding people to the community is always a plus.

The conversation morphed into another beast I don’t think any of us really expected. I asked a pretty simple question about if the megaserver would be able to use more in depth data such as people you had partied with in the past or people who liked the same content as you. The answer was that the megaserver can pretty much use any parameter the developers want it to. Which led to the question: Should it?

Should we want the game to drop us in with players like us? Say I am a jumping puzzle fanatic, overly simplified and silly of course but it is easy to use. If the server puts people like me together, I am likely to interact primarily with other “jumpers” and no one else. I wouldn’t ever really have a reason to do any other content and the game would be fracturing possible connections. We all agreed this was bad. Colin and I both view MMOs as a social world where the players build connections. The game systems should support this, not work in a way that inhibits it. Sure, the system can micromanage player placement even further than it currently does, but the developers are fully aware that there are parameters you just shouldn’t use. Personally, I think it would be hilarious if they dumped everyone with a Twilight skin active into the same map but it isn’t going to happen.

Fin
To wrap it up, I am excited. I am one of those players that jump in and out of game. I get bored and move on and come back for a bit. The new patch makes me want to jump back in and I call that a successful patch. ArenaNet has goals for the systems and plans to develop them further in ways that benefits the community. This feature pack should bolster existing communities and help new ones form. I look forward to future social improvements, and that isn’t just me being selfish.

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How Players are Permanently Changing Guild Wars 2's Living World


In an interview with IGNs Leah B. Jackson, Arenanet game director Colin Johanson looks back at the first season of the Living World, the upcoming feature patch, and lessons learned during the first season.  He also briefly outlines some design changes for Living World patches that are coming as a part of season two.  You can read the full interview on IGNs website.

The other takeaway is how players get more excited for a story if it creates a permanent change in the world, or creates a sense that the world is constantly evolving. "That is something we're going to embrace more in future seasons," Johanson said.  Players want to feel like they have an impact, and they like going back six months after an event ends to see what that impact is.
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After a surprising absence from last month's sale selection, bags and bank slots have gotten a small price cut of 20%. To add to this, the Heroic Edition update is also discounted, and a single repair canister and gathering booster can be obtained for free. It seems like the sale momentum hasn't quite slowed down yet, so it wouldn't be such a bad idea to hold out a little longer to see what else gets slashed.

Yes, I'm talking about character slots. Back to Top

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Megaserver: Part 2


Yesterday, Arenanet outlined the new megaserver system and some of the major changes that are coming up on the 15th of April and throughout the year.  Today, they have posted two blog posts that adress issues that arise with the current system and then new megaserver system.  If you wish to read them for yourself, you can find the world events blog post here, and the guild and WvWvW blog post here.

We recently announced the exciting new megaserver project for Guild Wars 2, a system to maximize players’ social experience in our open world. Now it’s time to look to the future and discuss some of the changes that will be happening down the road.

World Event change summary

  • World bosses and world events will no longer be tied to worlds.  Instead, all world bosses will spawn at set intervals in the entire game.
  • Current world bosses are split into three new categories based on difficulty.
  • Low-level world events are simple events that occur in the level 1-15 starter zones.  Out of the current four, one will begin every quarter past and quarter-till.
  • Standard world events comprise of the original events in the game since the release.  These events will rotate and start on every half and full hour.
  • "Hard-core, super mega organized events" are the most hardcore events that require serious coordination, such as the Karka Queen and Tequatl the Sunless.  These events will ALL spawn in a 3 hour window every eight hours.
  • The Temples of Orr will not be synced due to how the new map system implements them.
  • Many events that did not have a failure mechanic will now have one.
  • All bosses are recieving an update, either adding a set of pre-events, changing the current events, or other changes to prepare them for their incoming important role in the rotation.
  • Waypoints that can be contested will, from now on, always be contested unless you are in the map itself.
  • You can no longer tell if a dungeon is open unless you are in the map.
  • Cross-map functions of the temples of orr wil now be disabled.  Instead, all maps are receiving minor temples that must be held to "uncontest" areas on that map.

Guild and WvWvW updates

  • NEW!  Guild upgrades now include "Guild World Events."  Guilds can now trigger any event, including the most difficult ones, when they want to.  This can only be done by officers, and costs a lot of influence each time.
  • Guild influence will no longer be based on home-world of the guild starting December 2014.
  • World versus World will be updated in December 2014.  No specifics given as of now.
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Introducing the Megaserver System


Arenanet have announced the final feature of the April 15th update pack... the megaserver.  To keep it simple, all servers are being merged for PvE in order to ensure a healthy and filled game.  You can read more about it in the first part of the reveal blog.

With megaserver technology, there are as many copies of a map as are needed to comfortably hold the population of players in that map at a given time. Rather than having a separate map copy for each home world and artificially limiting the amount of fellow adventurers you see, the megaserver system brings players together and dynamically opens up new map copies as necessary.

Here are some of the big ideas:
  • Essentially, overflows and "master copies" of zones are being removed.  Instead of this, all players, regardless of server, are placed in an active copy of the map.  When one fills, a new copy is made, and all players are placed there.  In essence, server map placement is gone.
  • Megaserver technology will be released on all level 1-15 maps, main cities, and PvP lobbies in the April 15th update.  Before the end of 2014, it will be released on all maps, unless there is major conflict or technical issue that arises.
  • World versus World, World bosses, and Guilds (or guild influence), is being changed.  More on this in the blog posts from tomorrow and Friday.
  • People on friends lists or in guilds have modifier values that increase the chance of entering a shard with them.
  • Players can select language preferences, which act as a modifier to match you with other, language-sharing players.
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Curse is proud to bring you EXCLUSIVE beta acess to Carbine's highly ancitipated MMO, Wildstar! These keys are good for the upcoming beta weekend session beginning on Friday, April 4th, 7:00AM PDT through Sunday, April 16, 11:59PM PDT!

Curse Premium members can claim keys NOW and guarantee a spot in this weekend's beta! Want to sign up for Curse Premium and get early access to claim your key? Click here to sign up!

Not a premium member?  That's ok! This giveaway opens to all Curse users on Thursday, April 3rd at 10:00AM CST! Visit the Curse Contest Page at http://www.curse.com/giveaways and click on Wildstar Weekend Beta Key Giveaway to claim your key! Back to Top

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ArenaNet is excited to announce our first release that focuses exclusively on in-game features: the April 2014 Feature Pack, which hits Guild Wars 2 on April 15!


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As a release that focuses primarily on game systems, the April 2014 Feature Pack will include a sweeping range of new features—everything from new systems that change and upgrade the way you experience Guild Wars 2 to quality of life and balance updates that improve existing gameplay systems.

We’ve got a lot planned for this first feature pack; too much to talk about in one blog post or video. Between now and the April 15 release, we’ll announce and discuss each major feature contained within the April 2014 Feature Pack.

Announced Features:
  • To discuss the first part of the feature Pack: Traits Unleashed, use this thread.
  • To discuss the second part of the feature pack: Runes, Sigils, Balance Updates, and Critical Damage updates, use this thread.
  • To discuss the third part of the feature pack: The new wardrobe and dye system, use this thread.
  • To discuss the fourth part of the feature pack:  Social updates, use this thread.
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