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First, a solid 80+% of events can be soloed and, in my personal opinion, become more fun/challenging with fewer players. One of my lingering gripes with GW2 is how, outside of the increased intensity that naturally comes with a more massive scale, more players tend to make combat less fun and satisfying. More often than not, the more players that are present, the more chaotic combat becomes and the less important your individual button presses become. But this is a whole other topic for discussion.
Second, I still find players in what feels like the most obscure places in zones of every level. Of course, the trick to that is that those places are not actually obscure at all. Zones are very carefully constructed to guide players to all the nooks and crannies through map completion progression and the way events alert all nearby players to their presence. In anther MMO with zones the size of GW2's but without the event system, players who are relatively close to each other (Ie. just on the other side of a mountain) are very likely to pass by without ever seeing each other. In GW2, events draw these players who are not necessarily currently within sight range of each other to the same spot and get them participating in the same content naturally.
Of course, another potential counter-argument arises here. The resulting experience frequently feels more like players are playing along side each other rather than with each other.
Lastly, I've noticed non-starter zones behave differently than the starter zones from beta through launch. The spreading out of players and resulting reliance on map chat communication to gather for specific events near linked waypoints has been prevalent in all zones from Gendarran Fields onward since launch week. This tends to be in drastic contrast to nearly all 1-25 zones.
This, like everything else, has its pros and cons as well. It gets players communicating more than they otherwise would, but it also makes the event experience feel less natural. Players no longer necessarily just stumble upon events as their occuring, but rather teleport from waypoint to waypoint according to where map chat leads them.
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I wouldn't put much stock in claims of "ArenaNet is going to fix it!" It was obvious from the day they conceived of dynamic events that player density would be a major problem to tackle, since it is in basically every other MMORPG. If they've had 5+ years to figure out a fix for it and haven't yet, I wouldn't put much hope that another year will give them time to find a magical fix.
This, incidentally, is why in most MMORPGs, each additional level takes longer as you level up. The higher the level, the smaller the fraction of characters that will reach it, so the longer each character has to spend at that level to keep an appropriate player density. There are alternatives such as having fewer zones for higher levels (e.g., 10 zones for 1-10, 5 zones for 10-20, 3 zones for 20-30, 2 zones for 30-40, 2 zones for 40-50, 1 zone for 50-60, etc.) or fewer instances of less sparsely populated zones (e.g., what Champions Online does), but Guild Wars 2 didn't take either of those options.
If they genuinely can give high level characters reasons to go back to mid-level areas and spread out and do all of the different content in mid-level areas without breaking things for mid-level characters, then that would be a good fix. But how many games manage to do that? Guild Wars 1 kind of did that, though it helped that nearly everything was level 20--and in hard mode, literally everything was level 20. Uncharted Waters Online certainly gives plenty of reasons to go back to lower level areas, but there are still a lot of very deserted areas: go stand at the entrance to Inland Rapa Nui or Machu Picchu for 24 hours and it's unlikely that you'll see anyone else come by in that time.
But how hard it is to find other players in your zone is not the right question to ask in isolation. Rather, it also depends on how badly you need to find other players. In A Tale in the Desert, you could log on, play for a few hours, never see any other players, and still play just fine, communicating plenty via guild chat in any of the 20 different guilds that you're in. If a game makes all content take a substantial group (e.g., early FFXI), then being unable to find other players completely breaks everything.
It sounds like most but not all of the content in GW2 is meant to be soloable, in addition to automatically scaling up. "Meant to be soloable" is not the same thing as "Is realistically soloable", however--and in many games, neither will imply the other. That should at least be enough for it to not be completely game-breaking even if the mid-level zones are as deserted as the worst detractors say.
Originally posted by Doogiehowser Originally posted by Quizzical Are most of the dynamic events doable solo if you happen to be the only one there? Do there tend to be a few people there doing whichever events are active, but just not nearly as many as launch? Or are you faced with having to skip most of the content if you don't go form your own group manually?
I play on EU servers and i have transferred twice in last two weeks to end up in similar situation with empty zones. I am waiting for the cool down to try third time on this so called most heavily populated server but problem is it is always full.
So for now i am stuck on this server which says "heavy' but still has empty mid level zones and empty ORR even on prime time.
What servers did you try? And what server are you planning on going to?
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Originally posted by Quizzical Well this sure got a lot of replies. Thanks for the information. In Guild Wars 1, I could make a quick effort at getting a real group, and if no one came, just take henchmen and heroes. That's obviously not an option in Guild Wars 2. But that's all right, if "do it solo" is viable when there don't happen to be people there. I'm still somewhat concerned that this will be a case where people figure out that some small fraction of the content gives the best rewards and only do that content. That small fraction of the content will have a lot of people, so people who only do the crowded content think there are plenty of players. But that could easily happen even if most of the game is deserted. It also sounds like this could be an "it varies by server" issue. So I guess I should try to pick a crowded server? I remember seeing a thread where someone took population data on a bunch of SWTOR servers and found that some had more players than others by an order of magnitude or more. ----- Incentivizing players to go to lower level content won't work unless there are very explicit incentives to spread out. If a few particular level 57 events get done endlessly by a ton of players and most of the content gets ignored, that's not really an improvement. If you're manually increasing rewards for particular events, then some events will end up giving better rewards than others, and players will figure out what they are. To spread players out, you'd need to do things like double rewards if you complete an event that hadn't been completed in the last hour. But that could easily wander into giving players big bonuses for playing at way off-peak times, and real-life time-of-day dependence is a very bad thing. The best solution is probably to make it easy to group with players who happen to be in your area on other servers. Guild Wars did this very well, and a number of other games have done so, too. But Guild Wars 2 abandoned that for some inexplicable reason.
I big part of the free updates comming between January and March this year is a reward system for world PvE. This should help repair the disparity between world PvE and Fractals of the Mist dungeon play. (Fractals of the Mist "infinite dungeon" is probably the most rewarding part of the game right now for people who are most concerned about explicit rewards for game play).
They are also planning to add a lot more Dynamic Events to each zone, while decreasing the frequency of DEs in general so that the world feels even more organic. Frequently repeating DEs are the exception all ready, but it's an easy "trap" tp fall into, repeating these DEs over and over. Of course, they already have diminishing rewards for repeating a DE, so it's not like you could ever sit on on DE for hours and find it rewarding.
They are also talking about "living events" that will be similar to the previously seen monthly live events, but zone specific, smaller scale and more frequent. Apparently, these would be story driven, limited time events that would occur in the world and once the limited availability for these events run out, they would have had some permanent effect on the game world and then wouldn't repeat ever again.
The current frame work of the game is already excellent, but these new features and improvements should really build on and amplify the solid design foundation to greatly enhance the value of world PvE play and replayability. The world is beautiful and massive. As an explorer, I was hoping for a new zone or two, but I appreciate that there is a lot more Arenanet can do to further leverage the existing world space.
Want to know more about GW2 and why there is so much buzz? Start here: Guild Wars 2 Mass Info for the Uninitiated
Originally posted by Quizzical The problem is that you simply can't make the rewards comparable for everything. Some things will inevitably give greater rewards than others, and players will figure it out. You can nerf the rewards on what everyone is doing or increase the rewards of stuff that is mostly neglected, but that will merely change which particular content gives the best rewards. If you're relying on rewards to get players to do content, you're never going to get anywhere near an equitable distribution of players.
IMO, it's only important to incentivize more players to play out in the PvE game world. Level scaling and world design already do a fairly good job at ensuring that there is good distribution around the world of players who are actually actively playing world PvE content.
Some people focus their game play on "most efficient effort/reward" considerations, but in my experience playing the game, that isn't a driving factor for more than a small, results driven minority.
The current problem has more to do with people's sense of fairness than it does about min/maxing most efficient use of playtime. People playing world PvE and WvW have felt some degree of frustration that the game had developed a fairly steep imbalance between rewards from Dungeon play and rewards for all other modes of game play. It wasn't supposed to be that way. Rewards were supposed to be fairly equal per hour spent playing no matter what mode of play you prefered.
There can never be 100% balance, but these new initiatives by the developers seem to hold the very real potential of restoring the sense that all modes of play are "fairly" rewarded. (For many players, fun has trumped tangible rewards. I know I play what I find fun, with little concern of how efficiently my time is rewarded, but it will be nice to do so with out any resentment towards the fact that the game might be rewarding other players time in a very disproportionate manner)!
Things should never have gottent this out of balance, but it's very encouraging that Arenanet has aknowledged this and is taking steps to correct for the imbalance. That the efforts will also increase the amount of content out there in the already phenomenal game world is just a huge bonus.
Originally posted by Marcus- Never thought i'd see the day when an MMO sold 3 million, and folks still complained.
You underestimate people's fierce need to prove they're right when they've convinced themselves they can't be wrong. This goes for pretty much everyone.
Originally posted by Gaia_Hunter Originally posted by jpnz Proof is in what ANet said which is that 'yes the wasteland mid level zones is a problem'. To their credit ANet recently said 'we have a solution coming in 2013!' so hopefully it won't be an issue for new players later in the year.
They didn't say that, no matter how many times you try to say they did.
Oh really? Lets have a look at what exactly was said.
43. I am L26, and it is reaaaally slow going, as the maps and events are deserted, and everything you designed for crowds in mind, I have to solo. Is there any chance of getting heroes/henchman to offset this, at least until L80?
I love the idea of henchmen and this is something we would discuss, however the problem you raise initially would be complemented by this feature rather than fixed. We are going to ensure full use of the world by not polarizing content. This has been a huge topic of conversation today. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and questions.
"Allowing players to continue doing the things they love without focusing player migration to a specific part of the world. The introduction of the Ascended reward in one part of the game was a mistake and one that i don't want to make again. Soon Ascended Gear will adhere to these rules."
So we have ANet saying it is a 'problem / mistake' and 'huge topic of conversation today'.
Either ANet admitted it is an issue and that they are discussing a fix or ANet wasn't entirely truthful in that AMA.
Course we can look at their 2013 blog and say 'hey ANet came out with a reasonable solution'
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Originally posted by jpnz Oh really? Lets have a look at what exactly was said. http://dulfy.net/2012/11/26/gw2-chris-whiteside-ama-on-reddit/ 43. I am L26, and it is reaaaally slow going, as the maps and events are deserted, and everything you designed for crowds in mind, I have to solo. Is there any chance of getting heroes/henchman to offset this, at least until L80? I love the idea of henchmen and this is something we would discuss, however the problem you raise initially would be complemented by this feature rather than fixed. We are going to ensure full use of the world by not polarizing content. This has been a huge topic of conversation today. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and questions. "Allowing players to continue doing the things they love without focusing player migration to a specific part of the world. The introduction of the Ascended reward in one part of the game was a mistake and one that i don't want to make again. Soon Ascended Gear will adhere to these rules." So we have ANet saying it is a 'problem / mistake' and 'huge topic of conversation today'. Either ANet admitted it is an issue and that they are discussing a fix or ANet wasn't entirely truthful in that AMA. Course we can look at their 2013 blog and say 'hey ANet came out with a reasonable solution'
"having a problem" and "completely deserted" are 2 different things
But they obviously DO want more players around the world and not them being stuck to fractals.
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Originally posted by Leohan Just have to give people a reason to go to lower level areas, making the rewards all the same and people just choosing the experiance instead of "what item super special item, can I get?" Will help with brining people out of the level 80 areas.
This will probably make a certain 'DE" chain the most 'farmed' than; once the community figures out which DE chain is the best.
GW2 doesn't feel like a world to me because of how the world is designed.
The areas are smaller than WoW which makes it even worse when each area has its own loading screen; it just screams 'artificial'.
Originally posted by mikahr Originally posted by jpnz /snip So we have ANet saying it is a 'problem / mistake' and 'huge topic of conversation today'. Either ANet admitted it is an issue and that they are discussing a fix or ANet wasn't entirely truthful in that AMA. Course we can look at their 2013 blog and say 'hey ANet came out with a reasonable solution'
Not according to that AMA. ANet accepted the PROBLEM that was described as a whole.
Like I said, only other way to say it isn't 'a problem as described' is to say ANet wasn't entirely truthful in that AMA.
Of course but all MMOs have that problem.
Some parts will always give better rewards for the same work and more players will be there. Only thing you can do is to try to balance things as best as possible but you will never get an equal distribution anyways.
But I think GW2 have less dead zones than most MMOs since you actually get some reward for completing lower zones.
It all depends what server youre on I suppose.
My own experience has been quite the opposite to what people are describing here. If I started or came across an event and I didnt see anyone around I would do my 'civic' duty so to speak and announce it in Map Chat, using the closest possible Waypoint of Point of Interest as a Map-link for people and within a minute I had several players, sometimes upwards of 10 people, come to join in.
Now I am not saying that population hasn't dropped at all in the mid-level ranges, it has, but it isn't so bad that it makes me feel isolated from the rest of the server, and to be honest a decline in those areas is to be expected when you have a game with a level-cap.
I'd also like to point out that ArenaNet have done a fantastic job with making the world feel alive, not just Major Cities, but camps, forts and little nooks and crannies all over the place usually have something going on with NPC's chatting, working or just walking about.
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Originally posted by Rthuth434 most things are doable solo, though the dead zone problem is blown out of proportion of course. there was a decent influx of sales over the holiday and there's more lowbies and mid level players.
It depends on which class you play, thiefs for example are useless in solo play (even when using poison attacks)! Necor is not too bad (when using bleeding) but unable to solo champions. Have not tried a fighter class!
I haven't really seen the issue posed here and have been playing since launch. I am on Sanctum of Rall and have never looked to see how it truly stacks up to other server's activity.
I have a number of characters running the gamut in levels and have yet to notice an instance where a Champion or DE chain didn't get a sufficient amount of players to make it doable with sole exception of Krait-based DEs and Champions.
I don't think most folks care for those blasted Krait...
My advice to those that feel they are having this problem would be to just go exploring. See what new thing you can find.
Players get so bent on achievement they forget why they got the game in the first place: new experiences.
If you want constant interaction with other players I feel that's what the dungeons, WvW, spvp, and town pursuits (crafting, brokering, and etc) are for. They are also great places to find exploration and dungeon groups forming.
The dead zone issue hasn't been highlighted enough. In fact, if you do a web search for 'GW2 dead zones' then you'll find a lot of posts about how many zones from levels 20-30 onwards have three players in them as a maximum, and this means that all of the waypoints are contested in zones like Orr, which means no teleporting for you! And the bigger dynamic events? Well, unless you're a more tanky, durable class like guardian, warrior, or maybe ranger at a stretch (with a good pet) then you can just forget about it. I really wish that fans would stop lying about real problems.
A while back I asked for a screenshot by one of the fans to prove that what I'm saying isn't true. I notice no one has come forward. This is because over a month ago, before guesting became a per week thing, every server I switched to (10 or more, before I got fed up) had fully contested waypoints in Orr. This meant that Orr was almost completely empty. I'm not sure if this was before or after Fractals, but even back then, you just couldn't find people in higher level zones.
Even some renown events are a pain in the arse and near impossible for the vast majority of players because of how mobs just zerg to you in large amounts. So no, it's not soloable. Yes, it's soloable if you pick guardian, warrior, or ranger, but that's telling people that they can't play what they want to play. "Oh, you picked engineer? You're not going to be able to do most of the content because it requires soloing, now. Sorry, too bad. It's your fault for picking the wrong class."
That's going to be the reigning sentiment: It's your fault for picking the wrong class.
If this is a game you want to level up in, just keep in mind that you are going to need to pick guardian, warrior, or ranger if you want a chance in hell. It's tougher for rangers than the other two, even, but it's still doable at a stretch. Any of the other classes though? Hahaha, no. And I know because when I was playing I had a character for every class, and I've done no amount of reading across the Internet. And yet still we have fans who're trying to mislead people about this.
Let me just say this: If you're planning buying the game, you're okay with passing by 85% or more of the dynamic events, and you're okay with playing warrior, guardian, or ranger, then there might be some fun for you. If you're not okay with that, and you want to play dynamic events (like defeating the Shatterer), or you want to play a class that isn't of those three? Then you're setting yourself up for some serious heartache, because it just isn't going to happen. Right now, the game isn't designed to allow you to do what you want to do.
Originally posted by Loke666 But I think GW2 have less dead zones than most MMOs since you actually get some reward for completing lower zones.
See, I can't buy that as being true. Why is it that every server I checked out had all waypoints contested in Orr? Why is it that a common, running joke on tumblr for quite some time was pretty much the same? Why are there loads of screenshots of Orr with every waypoint contested, completely empty of players? I just don't buy it. I know fans want me to buy it, but everything I've seen with my own two eyes is contrary to that.
Let me paint you a picture. With a picture. That's just one I found whilst searching for a few seconds on the Internet, and there are hundreds more like it. If the servers are really so unabandoned, then why are waypoints everywhere so very contested? The empirical evidence is completely contrary to your opinion; yet it supports my own.
Originally posted by Quizzical Are most of the dynamic events doable solo if you happen to be the only one there? Do there tend to be a few people there doing whichever events are active, but just not nearly as many as launch? Or are you faced with having to skip most of the content if you don't go form your own group manually?
Everything that does not have a hard fail state, (such as timers or targets that need to stay alive) can be solo'd with very few exceptions. Exceptions being the events that require you hold multiple points at the same time, which may or may not still exist. I remember it being something that was being phased out of the game so that you can take each point one by one. Places where this may be applicable would be Ascalon Settlement after it gets captured by the Centaur, and the Holy Grounds in Sparkfly Fen after the Risen have conquered the village.
Other Exceptions are Dungeon centric events that require you to do a series of events leading up to the unlocking of a dungeon's front entrance. Most of these are tuned for 5 players. However I've duo'd the entire Balefire chain with another Guardian.
Personally I avoided Dragons as much as possible when I was leveling because of how much health they had, and the amount of time it would take to kill them with 2 players.(Except the Shatter)
Ultimately time is what everything boils down to, are you willing to fight a champion for 10-45 minutes just to complete an event? I know I would rather complete 2-9 events in that amount of time.
Hopefully these new "Guild Events" will be able to breathe new life into some of the more barren zones.
Then again this all taken from the perspective of a Guardian who Solo'd/Duo'd his way up to 80 before the game even reached official launch.
Originally posted by jpnz Originally posted by Leohan Just have to give people a reason to go to lower level areas, making the rewards all the same and people just choosing the experiance instead of "what item super special item, can I get?" Will help with brining people out of the level 80 areas.
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Originally posted by Dream_Chaser Originally posted by Loke666 But I think GW2 have less dead zones than most MMOs since you actually get some reward for completing lower zones.
So to talk about the mid level zones one choose Orr?
And then one post a picture of less than a third of one of the Areas of Orr (and the one without orichalcium at that)?
Let me tell you something - Orr events kick up a lot faster than in other areas. So unless you have hundreds of people actively cleaning it, in a matter of minutes most of the map will be lost.
This is Orr as well.
Look, a mid level area, with only 1 contested waypoint.
Orr is a different beast to the other areas of the game.
These are mid level areas, two of them completely out of the way to Orr.
What does one see? A couple of contested areas, generally where meta events lead to.
All pictures from the server Desolation (EU) a few moments ago.
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Oh look 5 minutes after posting the other images, I start playing and bam doing an event with 4 other people.
I know, I know, 5 people in what basically is leveling and questing is poxy.
Why don't you just log in and take your own picture? Oh thats right, you can't, because you have no idea what you are talking about since you don't own the game.
People stopped doing Orr ages about when they nerfed the rewards. The zones are still less dead than other MMOs, its just that Orr requires a large amount of players to control the maps. Most avatars of the gods would be impossible with less than 50 people.