Random musings: SWTOR event, MoP trailer, and GW2 fanboism

I was hoping very much that Bioware would be able to use the SWTOR world event (that had been hinted at by dataminers after the last patch) to regain  the community’s confidence. Demonstrating the ability to keep putting out good quality updates  would do a lot to win people over to the future of the game in the upcoming F2P environment.

Things began with the news bots on the fleet, directing players to Nar Shaddaa to pick up the first part of the quest. The second part followed via in game mail, which led to another questline that runs in parallel. Basically the A questline involves characters trying to find various items in a scavenger hunt. The B questline involves trying to figure out whether the scavenger hunt has a nefarious underlying purpose.

Some of the scavenger item quests are supported by actual quests telling you where to go and (vaguely) what to do. Others are hinted at via in game conversations. I’m not entirely sure what the clues are since I didn’t personally see any, I may not have been hanging out in the right area, or not for long enough. I imagine a lot of people are using websites to find their items. Dulfy, as usual, has a great summary for anyone who is interested in running through the event.

Rewards are mostly cosmetic, with a couple of weapons included with purple mods that only cover a couple of classes.  If you finish the grand acquisition quest there are some titles and light side/ dark side points up for grabs also. We have also been informed that the event will last only for one week.

Rohan wonders if the event was designed to allow hardcore players to run through it quickly with slower paths for more casual players. This would have been cool if true, it was a good idea on his part; but it turns out one of the ways for players to complete things fast was a bug and the quests don’t actually expand slowly to include all the items eventually.

I was hoping for something more similar to the rakghoul world event, which included dailies, explorations, collections, and so on. This is an event with a smaller scope. I would personally give it a resounding ‘meh’ so far and have not really heard much in guild chat about the acquisitions after the first day or so, so I don’t think they are very excited by it either. The event has also been plagued by bugs, particularly one early on which rewarded players with ALL the items if they did a particular space mission.

I can’t feel this bodes well for the future. I’ve nothing against small scale events, but it would be nice if they were … a bit more fun? Anyone else tried to solve any of the item locations themselves?

And then the over powered new race/new class beat everyone else up!

moptrailer

So as is becoming the norm, Blizzard released a short trailer for the upcoming expansion. Apple Cider Mage does a shot by shot feminist analysis :

…the fact of the matter is that this trailer is literally and utterly masculine. It features male power fantasies and counterpoints them with a more wise, agile man. It’s all men! All men, all the time. Just the way we like it, eh?

She’s not wrong.

However I quite liked the trailer and here is why. From the very earliest days of Warcraft as a RTS game, the theme and in fact the subtitle was Orcs vs Humans. I feel that what Blizzard have done with this trailer is present a very classic Warcraft scenario (ie. an orc vs a human) and then thrown a panda into the mix to show how it changes everything. That’s it. That’s the actual story of the expansion. Portrayed in one short, and very pretty, cinematic. The butch male orc and butch human in the new trailer do look reminiscent of the box art from the old Warcraft games.

warcraftboxart

So I think the trailer does a good job of setting the scene, with callbacks to the very core of the WoW lore and backstory, and then showing what’s new in this expansion. I would have personally preferred to have also seen some fly bys of the new zones, dungeons, bosses, creatures, and so on. I want to see how pretty it is.  I preferred the Cataclysm cinematics from that point of view.

The GW2 backlash to the backlash starts on time

It is an incredibly normal part of the MMO cycle for a new MMO to be hyped to the stars and back during beta, for the backlash of criticism to begin shortly before launch, and for die-hard fans to decide that arguing with critics IS the hill they want to die on … still before launch.

It is also true that criticising a game that everyone else loves, or waxing lyrical about a game that the majority seem to hate will tend to get a lot of page views. It’s called being contrary; but that doesnt mean that people raising contrary points are wrong, per se.

Azuriel has drawn the wrath of the GW2 fanbois by listing some features of the game that he thinks are merely OK. He also comments that he has pre-purchased his copy and has every intention of playing it. But that won’t stop the tide of haters once the fans decide to strike.

It will be interesting to see how views pan out on this game on release. I expect to be playing next week, assuming the servers hold up, and I agree with Azuriel that dynamic events are not the be all and end all of PvE. I think I did like the WvW much more than he did, but he has also played the beta for longer than me. Time will tell. Hopefully the fans will stop piling on any views of the game that are not 100% enthusiastic once they are actually busy playing the thing.

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20 thoughts on “Random musings: SWTOR event, MoP trailer, and GW2 fanboism

  1. On GW2 – this reminds me of SW:ToR all over again. Not a surprise. Game with a good IP (self-created for GW2) that makes lots of promises and even more importantly doesn’t try to rein-in the true believers. No game can live up to the hype that they build. Expect a back-lash even greater than SW:T0R when the feet of clay appear. I’ll still try it, free after the box is a good enough deal, but I’m probably a bit more realistic; especially after seeing the same dynamic events 3-4 times in just a few hours. A free Rift with slightly more dynamism and worse class design.

    The MoP cinematic left me cold. It was technically excellent but the content wasn’t there. It doesn’t help that I’ve never liked the Blizzard-normal Steroid Man character design. The message was very muddled. Orc and Human fight big naval battle. Orc and Human just about annihilate each other. Survivors escape the devastation, and continue the fight once they find each other. Thus far, a yawn. No shades of grey, just a less stirring repeat of the first cinematic. Then…Enter the Panda. The wise and fearsome Panda takes on both the Orc and Human to prove the superiority of his ways. The Orc and Human, as they always do, align against this outsider who threatens their good fight. And then it’s Pandageddon, as both are promptly humbled.

    What’s the message from that cinematic (ignoring any feminist analysis)? Looking at it without the benefit of all the Panda-lore that Blizzard has released I’d say that Pandas are the new enemy – and it looks like they win. After all, the exemplars of the Horde and Alliance are easily defeated. With the benefit of knowing what’s coming, how does this in any way indicate that the existing factions are going to fracture a peaceful land and release the Sha?

  2. There is a big diference between SWTOR and GW2. The hype is not coming from cinematic trailers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ToztqqDcaY) or from a well made marketing campaing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wjf_lWxqyI)

    GW2 hype is coming from people that played the game at the Beta Weekends. The hype is coming word of mouth. So, there is some quality to the Dynamic Event system that maybe you are not seeing. Call it a “backlash” from a “GW2 fanboy”, everyone have the right to have an opinion, and you and Azuriel have the right to not like DE, but aparently a lot more people like DE better than the old quest system.

    @rimecat

    Sincerelly, to compare Star Wars IP to GW IP as being the same is not a fair and a honest comparation.

    And as I said above, the hype is coming from players that saw the game features at the Beta Weekends. A lot of people get “converted” playing the game. It is not another wow-clone…

    • The backlash comes when people attack the writer, not their opinion (with which, of course, you can disagree), or when the reaction is really out of proportion to what was said. I’m sure people also played the SWTOR beta before release for the odd beta weekend or two, I know I did.

      Like I say, we’ll see soon enough how people feel about the game a month after release. Don’t worry, it’s a good game, but only after the non-core-fans play will we see how it goes down.

    • João, I’m not sure you’d say that the hype for SW:ToR was all marketing buzz if you had been on the forums for the years before beta. It was a nest of the same “no one may dare question the game” fanboyism that we see in GW2.

      And yes, I think that the GW universe is a strong IP. It is more limited to the MMO community but let’s be honest, that was always the market share for GW2 from the beginning.

      And as to the dynamic content – from a few hours of play it repeats like clockwork. Rift with a few interesting failure branches that will only be seen if the zone is underpopulated.

    • Actually, the zealous GW2 hype was around well before the beta weekends started, and nobody (muhc) had had a chance to see the game yet. I remember seeing discussion after discussion of other games derailed by GW2 fanboys as early as last year. So the early buzz *must* have, in fact, been marketing or trailers, unless they were all secretly paid by ArenaNet to astroturf, which seems… unlikely.

    • I do not agree with Joao Carlos at all. The hype has existed for a long time. One of the reasons I accepted the opportunity of playing in a GW2 beta event, back in February, was that I was getting sick and tired of the hype around the game. ArenaNet has been doing their share of causing this hype with their design manifesto. After BWE1 I blogged about how I personally feel their design manifesto isn’t working. It’s the origin of the hype, the manifesto itself and the matching video.

      When people participated in the SWTOR beta, people were raving about the story and the quest experience as well. The SWTOR hype came from the players as well, just like it’s now with GW2. It’s the endless hype cycle of the MMO world. Only that GW2 people apparently cannot accept that people criticize their beloved game.

  3. I feel for Azuriel. I remember being savaged during the WAR beta for daring to say, among other minor trivia, that I didn’t think the Tome of Knowledge was all that great. This in a post where I said I liked the game overall.

    Of course, I feel the shame of it now, years later, since so many other MMOs have directly copied the ToK. *cough*

    • At the time, and especially during Betas I think even I wasn’t impressed by the TOK. I felt it was a lore throw back for GW fans that wanted to read more in game.

      Months of playing made me realized the the TOK was the most epic easy thing you could implant in a game. I still hold it against games I play now that don’t have a mimic system.

  4. I’ve been too busy leveling in TOR to check out the race. I figure that once I get a bit farther along the stories that I’ll be ready to examine these world events.

    Of course, it could be that WoW has trained me to think that I have to be at max level to truly appreciate a world event, and that’s not the case in the TOR ones.

  5. Don’t think it was wise for Blizzard to fall back on old tropes of deformed, muscled men and male orcs, what does that say about their intended audience, and their unwillingness to freshen the style up a bit, at least Pandaria looks interesting. Would it hurt to have a trailer with all female protagonists for a change. Unlikely seeing as the in-game females models are pretty uninteresting, an afterthought in a few cases, they’d end up creating a female orc that looked nothing like the in-game versions. It’ll definitely be interesting to make a comparison when the GW2 launch trailer shows up.

    I find fanbois easy enough to ignore, then again I’m not putting myself out there and trying to rile them up by saying that GW2 may be a success despite the dynamic events and WvW being rubbish. Have had really good experiences in the last two stress tests, a chance encounter with a stranger led to an evening of playing events and adventuring together, then again I’m on the unofficial RP server, and players are more willing to run up to you and say ‘hi’, and start running together, or maybe that is just universal goodwill in the beta tests. Guess I’m saying that the early events mightn’t be that interesting, and they may not get too much more complex later, but they do enable some interesting social play.

  6. Seems the Chevin world event generally excited people less than the Rakghoul one. I intend to write down my own thoughts on it later tonight.

    I did make a post about my own attempts at scavenger hunting, and they were pretty fail. :)

  7. I have every intention of playing GW2 and I already prepurchased my copy, but if I haven’t some of the “fanbois” would 100% discourage me from ever giving it a chance. you know the ones that come to the forums/facebook pages/etc of other games and start shitting all over them all the while praising the virtues of THEIR favorite game. people like that do NOT bode well for the game’s community. SWTOR had some of those, but I don’t remember it being THAT bad. its literally, ever single notification that Bioware would make – comment section turns into GW2 is awesome it will kill your already dying shitty game, blah blah blah.

    that said, I just wanted to say, I agree with your commentary on both Pandaria trailer (that made me giggle in a few spots) and Chevin event. i keep checking back if they added something but that interesting investigation chain seems to have gone nowhere fast :/

    • comment section turns into GW2 is awesome it will kill your already dying shitty game, blah blah blah

      Absolutely. Some of the GW2 fans are *really* zealous, and pretty darn toxic. I know fannish blinders can make anyone obnoxious about their favourite thing, but GW2 seems to have it worse than most.

  8. Not GW2 specific, but I just want to point out than many of the so-called fanbois for any game are actually trolls. If you have ever worked as an editor, in fact, you can often spot the same person being both a fanboi and hater of the same game, even responding to their own posts back and forth. And while I’m sure many of those are crazy people types, or more likely teenagers… um.. same thing I guess, the amount of trolling for anything on the internet is probably something along the lines of 80% troll, 10% fanboi, 5% confused, and just 5% reasonable discussion. I mean, just look at YouTube comments. O.o And that isn’t counting blog posts deliberately trying to generate hits with such articles, sometimes with a little help of fake responses in the comments by the blog author. Again, not pointing at anyone in particular, as I haven’t even gone to that link.

    Oh, and nobody but the ArenaNet staff and closed beta testers really know what the dynamic events are like, for good or bad, as the ones we’ve seen are just the basic early level ones with little to no branching. We’ll have to see how that turns out in the full blown ones later in the game. My guess is they’ll fall somewhere in the middle of everyone’s guesses. As for the clockwork reset comment about them, that was intentional for the betas, in case people didn’t know, I think the devs even mentioned that a few times at trade shows and on Twitter.

    Not a WoW player here and haven’t really paid any attention to MoP info, but I like most games and so had a look at the trailer. Um, that would make me not want to buy it. I’ve checked previous WoW trailers and thought they were pretty good, but all I could think of with this was some really terrible kiddie game (and I like games aimed at kids too) … just really, really bad. If you’re spending the bucks to do a CGI trailer, at least do something really good, like the ones for SWTOR, DCUO, or …. previous WoW CGI trailers. :)

  9. The next time someone asks me why I’m not playing GW2, I’m going to point them to Azuriel’s post. There is not enough gameplay in the world that can convince me to play the same game as most of those people.

  10. Wow, that’s GW2 fans typified, isn’t it? I don’t always agree with Azuriel, but I love reading his blog. Will have to read more of those comments and commend him when I’m not on an iPhone.

  11. My issue with GW2 is that I’m not seeing what the hype is actually about. It’s pretty much every other MMO but witha dodge button and without the trinity. Which would be huge and revolutionary, I guess sorta maybe, except it’s possible because they’re built around PvP rather than any particular wonders of design. It’s also kind of pretty. Except it’s Aeon/Conan/etc pretty, which means it’s going to look like ass within a year.

    I’m going to play it but I don’t see any reason to froth about it and it’s fan base is unusuallly and obnoxiously frothy. In fact, I think it’s going to beat out rift for every public chat post being about how terrible WoW is. .

  12. A key point to note is Azuriel, as an MMO player and GW2 buyer, a vested interest in the success of the game.

    He is not raining on the parade because he wants to see it fail to fulfil his Schadenfreude.

    The same fanboys that passionately shout a game’s virtues before it launches will be the ones raging on forums for months on end because it failed to meet their (impossibly high) expectations.

  13. By the standards of tear-collecting (which our roidraging WvWvW friends live to do) Azuriel scored big.

    But yeah, it looks like community-wise it’s going to be that kind of game. I enjoy PvP in general, and if the game itself is good enough, I can work around that. However, if sensible, even-keeled company is indispensable to your gaming, GW2 might be one to miss.

    If I do pick it up, I’ll wait a while for first returns, then roll on an underdog server and contribute as best I can to its success.

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