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Today, Habib Loew brings us some information about some changes that are coming to WvW, specifically culling and load changes. Here's what he has to say:

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In the January update we’ll be making a couple of preliminary changes to WvW.
  • The first of our engine changes will be coming on line to help improve character load times by using fallback models.
  • We’ll be switching over to the culling methodology that we trialed in December.
The engine change we’re making uses fallback models to represent characters until their detailed models are fully loaded. The fallback models are cached so that they can display without any asset load delay and there is a distinct fallback model for each race/gender/armor-class combination. As a result of this change players will be able to see characters represented as fallback models as soon as those characters are reported to the client. Once the specific, detailed model for a given character is completely loaded from disk the fallback model will be replaced with the detailed model. This visual compromise will help to ensure that players see other characters as quickly as possible in WvW. Please note that this change does not eliminate delays due to culling, it only addresses delays due to asset load times. Players on higher spec machines would therefore expect to see fallback models less often than players on lower spec machines. This change also lays the groundwork for more extensive uses of fallback models in future updates.

In December we ran a one matchup trial of an updated culling system. Based on all the feedback we received, both during and after the trial, we will be transitioning to the updated culling system that we used in the trial. This update allows the culling system to handle allies and enemies separately so that being surrounded by a group of allies will not impact the culling of enemies (and vice-versa). The general consensus after the trial is that this system lead to a better player experience in WvW. We further saw that some of the issues people had with the new system were related to asset load times rather than culling issues so making this change in combination with our character loading improvements should lead to an improved overall experience. It is important to note, however, that while we believe this change is an improvement to the WvW experience it does not fully address the issues with culling and we are still working towards our goal of removing culling from WvW completely. This change is intended to give players an improved WvW experience while we continue work on our more comprehensive solution.

While this update only contains a couple of visible changes to WvW it lays a lot of important groundwork for future updates. We have some exciting changes coming and this update is just the beginning! [Source]

A bit later in the thread he also makes this comment:

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[...] Disabling culling entirely is something that we’re working on still and this update lays some of the groundwork we need to do that.
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#1 Lordkrall

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:50 PM

Good to see that they are adding a alternative solution for now, hopefully it will work out as good as they hope while they work on the real solution.

#2 Airwolf

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:55 PM

Now that is some great news. Even the results from the test were good enough for me. So stacking the "dummy" load system on top of that will give a better wvw experience.

#3 Lurker14ownz

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:58 PM

Great news! Some may flame about seeing fallback models but it is WAYYY better than having a zerg of 50+ all of a sudden appear all around you.

#4 Impmon

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:59 PM

I suggested they do this back in beta.  Good thing they listen to their testers.  Its only half a year to implement a solution I suggested back then.

#5 Arewn

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:09 PM

Nice to see their plans under way, this should help a lot already, it'll be even better when they route out culling even more in the future.
It's too bad that releasing a game often causes developers to be too busy to instantly roll out every change and fix possible immediately with the first few months of the game's existance.

#6 Azure Skye

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:14 PM

I hope this reduces the portal bombing with mesmer or not. o.O

#7 Global_GW2

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:18 PM

Good news! Anything that improves the situation is a step in the right direction.

#8 Familiar

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:21 PM

Given my experience with PvP in another MMO not addressing similar rendering issues in here, I am quite pleased with Anet's active involvement to continue a positive experience for their players. I look forward to more updates!

#9 Obscure One

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:37 PM

It's looking sharp ANet! That's exactly the stuff I want to hear about so we can hurry up and refocus the mad scramble of WvW guilds/alliances. All this hype on PvE content has really been bumming me out knowing it would encourage less attendance in WvW, but this makes me feel better. Now, let's kick the WvW/sPvP hype train up to 11 and get this game in a position to truly compete with the next big MMO on the radar...ESO...

#10 dawdler

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:43 PM

"The general consensus after the trial is that this system lead to a better player experience in WvW."

They have a funny way of interpreting player feedback considering most people in the culling feedback thread on the official forum called for an immediate rollback due to it ruining the gameplay and being a complete disaster. Not to mention complaints over the fact that Anet sideswiped the community by introducing it for an extended period on live servers, rather than a testing enviroment.

This is not good news unless their explanation of the "load changes" fixing it is 100% accurate.

#11 Vihar

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:45 PM

I'm not thrilled.

  The December culling was the worst, in my experience. I was happy when it went away.

#12 Eon Lilu

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:00 PM

It all depends on implementation and execution, guess we'll wait and see how it works out.

#13 Lordkrall

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:02 PM

How surprising. People already found something to complain about.

Why can't people at least wait until the patch before complaining about how much it will suck?

#14 MrZero

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:09 PM

View PostLurker14ownz, on 23 January 2013 - 08:58 PM, said:

Great news! Some may flame about seeing fallback models but it is WAYYY better than having a zerg of 50+ all of a sudden appear all around you.

I could care less what enemy players model looks like. It's not like I stand there and admire their gear. Kind of have better shit to do when they are in my face. Right?

#15 Arewn

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:12 PM

View Postdawdler, on 23 January 2013 - 09:43 PM, said:

"The general consensus after the trial is that this system lead to a better player experience in WvW."

They have a funny way of interpreting player feedback considering most people in the culling feedback thread on the official forum called for an immediate rollback due to it ruining the gameplay and being a complete disaster. Not to mention complaints over the fact that Anet sideswiped the community by introducing it for an extended period on live servers, rather than a testing enviroment.

This is not good news unless their explanation of the "load changes" fixing it is 100% accurate.

So basically:  "I believe it is this way, and will take my limited view on the matter and say that it reflects the true states of the feedback given, because my view is the true view. And the feedback Arena Net claims to have tallied up is false and they manipulated it for the sake of purposely introducing changes that will make the game worse"

#16 dawdler

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:28 PM

View PostArewn, on 23 January 2013 - 10:12 PM, said:

So basically:  "I believe it is this way, and will take my limited view on the matter and say that it reflects the true states of the feedback given, because my view is the true view. And the feedback Arena Net claims to have tallied up is false and they manipulated it for the sake of purposely introducing changes that will make the game worse"
No, more like: "I read the new culling test thread in december and played WvW during this period".

It wasnt bad for everyone, no. Your average zerg probably didnt even notice a difference when they zerged about, ignoring allies and focusing on enemies. Maybe they have fixed the issues they had during the test, I dont know. Its still not great news, based on previous experience.

#17 Doctor Overlord

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:34 PM

Reminds me of a F2P Korean MMO where the fallback characters all wore robes.   It was creepy as heck loading into a town for the first time, it made you feel like you were surrounded by cultists lol

Good to hear ArenaNet will have different fallback models for their system.

Perhaps for April Fool's day they could load up joke fall back models - all the humans could be wearing red-shirts, the asura could be wearing those Stormtrooper outfits from Fractals etc :)

#18 Vihar

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:40 PM

View PostLordkrall, on 23 January 2013 - 10:02 PM, said:

How surprising. People already found something to complain about.

Why can't people at least wait until the patch before complaining about how much it will suck?

  Because they are just re-implementing what was done in December for culling.

   The December culling was awful, IMO.

  Instead of "X Number of models nearest you will render", it now will render "X number of enemy models", and "x number of friendly models".

  In other words, it will be better if you are in a zerg and run into an enemy zerg.

  But...if you are in a 5 man group and run into a zerg, culling will be twice as bad as it is now....because it will only render half as many enemies as it does now.

#19 Azure Skye

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

View PostDoctor Overlord, on 23 January 2013 - 10:34 PM, said:

Reminds me of a F2P Korean MMO where the fallback characters all wore robes.   It was creepy as heck loading into a town for the first time, it made you feel like you were surrounded by cultists lol

Good to hear ArenaNet will have different fallback models for their system.

Perhaps for April Fool's day they could load up joke fall back models - all the humans could be wearing red-shirts, the asura could be wearing those Stormtrooper outfits from Fractals etc :)
Like these? I thought my gaming files were corrupted when they did this update. Lol

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#20 Lordkrall

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:44 PM

View PostVihar, on 23 January 2013 - 10:40 PM, said:

  Because they are just re-implementing what was done in December for culling.

   The December culling was awful, IMO.

  Instead of "X Number of models nearest you will render", it now will render "X number of enemy models", and "x number of friendly models".

  In other words, it will be better if you are in a zerg and run into an enemy zerg.

  But...if you are in a 5 man group and run into a zerg, culling will be twice as bad as it is now....because it will only render half as many enemies as it does now.

Did you even read the whole first post?
Where do they state that they simply take the exact same thing that they used in December and just put it back in?

It is quite clear that they are using that trial and the results as a basic for the new system and they also stated that they are adding fallback models until the real models are loaded.