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Basket Brawl - just a really inferior Keg Brawl

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#1 Shayne Hawke

Shayne Hawke

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 08:20 PM

Basket Brawl is a new limited-time activity released today accessible from an NPC in Lion's Arch near the Grand Piazza for the next two weeks. I played it for half an hour and determined that it sucks.

There is another brawl game that has already been around since the game's release that is much better - Keg Brawl. Here's a list of what Keg Brawl provides that Basket Brawl doesn't:
  • Better shooting and baskets - The Shoot skill in Basket Brawl is devoid of aiming, autotracking the ball towards a miniscule basket, and whether you score or not appears to be a total roll of the dice. You can jump before you shoot the ball for the placebo effect that you have a better chance of hitting a basket, but it really seems to do nothing. The goalkeeper in Keg Brawl is much easier to hit and notice, and you can actually aim your throws and lobs so that reaching the goal is a matter of skill instead of a dice roll.
  • Better passing - The Pass skill passes automatically and directly to seemingly the closest ally, and this happens the instant you use the skill. Passing in Keg Brawl involves a short windup so that people can actually recognize what you're doing, and instead of passing to an automatically assigned target or location, you can aim your short throws in Keg Brawl to go straight to a teammate or near their feet. Or, if you just want to throw away the ball, you can do that in Keg Brawl, but you could only drop it at your feet in Basket Brawl.
  • Visible balls - The ball in Basket Brawl is near impossible to spot in the air because there is very little contrast between the ball and the arena ceiling. The ball is near impossible to see in the arena because there is even less contrast between the arena floor and the ball. The ball is near impossible to see in other players' hands because it is extremely small and hard to spot, still mostly blending in with the floor, and the action of moving and passing can keep you guessing. Through all of this, there is no marker for where the ball is, except when the ball comes into play after a team has scored. In Keg Brawl, the bright blues and whites of the entire arena contrast with the dark brown of the keg, making the keg easy to spot by itself in most places. And, when players carry a keg, they not only have a marker over their head, but it has their team color so that you can tell who has possession.
  • Better reset of gameplay - When a basket is scored in Basket Brawl, a ball is spawned for the other team near their basket with the only ball marker that exists in the game (in other words, the most consistent place to find a ball is the only place that is made to stand out, top notch design there). As soon as this gets picked up, it can be stolen (no rule against back court play or whatever that is in basketball that stops the ball from immediately being contested again), allowing a dominant team to score many quick baskets. This quickly overwhelms a losing team and leaves little room for comeback. When the ball is sent out of bounds, it resets at the center at a random and unannounced time for the luckiest player spamming F to pick up. In Keg Brawl, when a keg is scored, a new keg enters play by being announced with a loud sound upon launch and upon landing, and this landing is roughly in the middle of the arena (slightly closer to blue though because no polish or balance). This provides a (mostly) fair opportunity for a losing team to fight back by starting again from halfway. This also somewhat simulates the bringing of the "ball" back to half court to resume play.
  • Better player interactions and skills - Fast Break has nothing on Charge or Dive Roll. Screen and Throw Elbows are laughably useless. Interceptions really aren't a thing in Basket Brawl. Interesting skills like Stomp and Pour Ale don't exist. Steal, apart from working much less consistently than Disarm, has no windup, making it hard for ball carriers to tell when to dodge, and immediately transfers possession of the ball when successful, unlike how Disarm can bring about chaos over the keg by having merely knocked it onto the ground or ending up in the hands of a third party. Shoot and Pass are bad for reasons already covered. The more interesting ways of shooting, passing, and knocking out the ball had to be sacrificed for Jump so that players could feel like they could be Air Jordan without ANet giving players a sixth skill and players having to stretch their fingers to press it.
  • Incentives - Keg Brawl has achievements and rewards, Basket Brawl does not. That might be fine if Basket Brawl could stand on its own as a decent game or if ANet hadn't cultivated a playerbase of skritt, but neither is the case.
This game should never have been made. I don't even know why it exists. I don't pay attention to sports, but I have to assume that either a new basketball season is starting, something important is going on in basketball, or ANet is just late on making an Olympics tie-in. Whatever the case, this was a waste of time to make and is a waste of time to play. If they really wanted to do some kind of basketball promotion, they should have just made some changes or improvements to Keg Brawl and made it available all week instead of just Sunday. They could even swap in a game for Sunday that people actually want to play, like Aspect Arena. I can only think of two good reasons of why they didn't take this route, and they both seem plausible. The first is that they just forgot Keg Brawl exists, which I wouldn't put past them as they've hardly done anything with any activity in the past year or so, positive or otherwise. The second is that whoever looked at the team responsible for this content recognized that they lacked any ability to understand what made Keg Brawl any good to begin with. If they touched it, they would undoubtedly make it worse in a permanent way, so they were instead told to make something else which ended up being totally inferior to Keg Brawl. Then it was shipped without any rewards attached so that players wouldn't feel compelled to stay long enough to realize how flawed and awful the game was.

This beats out Lunatic Inquisition for the worst activity of all time, and you really have to just not care at all about what you're doing if you put something out worse than Lunatic Inquisition.
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