This has been quite the contentious issue in our guild so far and elicited a lot of debate. the update was good we all agreed on that but it was the details of it.. and I guess it is more the expectations we had more then the actual update.
One particular comment by a guildy was just shut up and play… at the time we were running from camp to camp dodging a MASSIVE number of enemies and him saying that was indeed a little sobering. Just shut up and play, and once we did the one thing we all agreed on was that the culling update is truly marvelous. This is what we have been waiting for, this is an erasure of one of the critical flaws in large scale combat, this has improved immersion in battle, and this has greatly improved that feel of epic WvW combat. And my god it is truly epic now. The amount of models that can be displayed is really quite amazing and, as many have point it, truly terrifying at times. A see of enemies and allies alike at times, effects raging on across the plains. The scope of the fights really is breathtaking.
Now during combat each and every person can evaluate their actions accordingly, no more random deaths to enemies you can’t see. Movements has taken their forefront now which is good to see, that intricate little dance that comes out of allies and enemies fading in and out of combat is finally taking shape. It was their before but there was the shambling and stumbling of partners who don’t understand each other. I could honestly watch this dance for hours and be very happy.. and I have.
The good thing too is that it all still performs rather admirable, we expect an fps drop during these items as I’m guessing their isn’t a gpu that could flawless render that many character models and still be over 60 fps. During the big fights i was still getting over 20 fps.. even 30, it never dropped to the point of stuttering. The options, while simplistic are excellent as well as they leave a lot of the control on the user. If your system can’t handle the vast numbers having name tags only really does suffice at times as you can still see and target people.
The issue now though is that there is soo much word spam in these combat situations, a screen of text and the addition of putting titles below the enemies names doesn’t help at all.
Stats and Shiny Things
It is a great selection of armor types they have added to the vendor which compliment many of the more popular builds. The selection is Invaders (Soldiers), Knights, Clerics, Carrion, Berserkers,and Rabid which is a nice collection of crafted and karma gear which shows they actually do understand the players in wvw/pvp. I don’t understand too much why they added the karma sets though, you earn a lot of karma in WvW.. a LOT and if we are after those types of stats we would be better suited to go to the Orr temples in order to gain them and thus save our badges and gold.
As a side bonus too the badge cost on the regular gear has been decreased significantly and this new gear has taken that into account so it is no longer the outrageous time cost it used to be. With the updated drop rates in of bags and badges it is even more reasonable, i still think the time value is not comparable to Karma or dungeon running and the gold cost may be a little high to make up for the lower badges but it is definitely much better.
I remember how long it took me at first to respec from rabid to Carrion though, because I never really PvE’d as much so I was lacking gold and those expensive little ectos so i am very appreciative of the change as it will definitely help new WvW players to gear up in the future. It will also help me gear up my alts rather nicely too. A nice middle ground for people is the addition of rare armor sets of the same varying types for very little karma, about half of what the exotic stuff goes for, the perfect price for those new to 80.
All in all it looks like a great way for people to rely entirely on WvW play for their gearing needs.
What would a pvp update be though without a little controversy and this one does not disappoint . using low level armor model as a placeholder was definitely some nice trolling though. I have to admit to be a little annoyed as well, they have the time to put in a few different weapon models in different parts, a wide selection for dungeons but 8 months on WvW still doesn’t have its own unique style.. booooo. I like shiny things too and if it did i think they might get more pve minded people involved if the skins were at least decent.
The other skins added from the karma vendors around Tyria is nice too, not just for WvW people but everyone as it is much easier to gather now that it is in a single place… the clothing models were never great though.
The new tab is well sorted out, being able to see controlled points as an average and in different zones lets people make much better choices about where to go.. it’s quick and easy to see the war effort as well and where might need help.
The basics of a progression system are here now to stay, it’s a sleek design but I can’t help but think adding an extra trait line sort of thing to the character sheet would have been more appropriate. It is definitely a nice part to get people engaged and adds that sense of working towards a long term goal (very long term), it’s not as bad as the achievements thoguh and is rather achievable for a few months play. One night had me go up 5 ranks and it looks like it is one flat overall cost per level so it seems a reasonable ask. I’m a bit annoyed by the character bound aspect though as it once again promotes playing a main over other alts which rather neglects how much fun playing the various classes can be at times.
I still don’t understand the focus on npc models. Is 5% really going to help. As a necro I can solo a camp relatively easily..round them up aoe all down even without that aoe if your playing smart and pulling solo guards it’s relatively easy. 5% isn’t going to help someone who doesn’t know their class or plays dumb so it really doesn’t seem to help hardcore or newbie alike. Siege defense and attack are very solid additions, supply seems very expensive but then the ability to build siege quickly and more of it is a very powerful ability to have. The extra 5 you get from the camp buff improves squad capabilities greatly although the question remains about wheter it will stack with the guild claim buff, preliminaries say yes but when killing a dolyak can strip you back from 15 to 10 i really don’t know yet.
The more fleshed out siege upgrades seem like a great idea. The cannon is a bit dumb as it is often first siege piece to die, with enough people attacking it usually can’t even be manned.. but the concept of these upgrades is very appealing. Ballista stuff is great in many ways, an extra skill will make it rather sought after even if it isn’t that great but the small improvements make the Ballista much more damaging in the right hands.. faster firing, and more damage is great…oh and it is 25% not 2% as well.. AWESOME. I’m wishing for more additions of the other siege types now.
It doesn’t seem enough though in many ways as it lacks that sense of meaning within your choices. What this should be is a certain type of specialisation in an area of WvW, the WXP amounts is a limiter of sort but with greater options available we would have seem more variability in how people upgrade. To be honest I have no idea what else I would add, the only thing I can really think of is to add a passive out of combat speed boost which would free many classes up to use other utilities and also add a bit of balance to the classes. What types of progression buffs would you do?
The best part of all this though is the new titles you can achieve which go by you current rank and look to change every 5 levels. All a lot of the serious WvW population wanted was just for their time and effort in WvW to be acknowledged and this is a great way for enemies and allies alike to get that recognition. The only problem with all this right now is that WvW has seen a bit of an influx from people trying it out for the first time which has resulted in queues and some sub par combat situations. It will all sort out though in a week or so when the majority of pve people release again why they hated it in the first place.
See you on the battlefield.. and I really do now.. I really do *Tear*