Guild Wars 2: ten years in denial

If I had an ego problem I’d say that some dev from Guild Wars 2 finally read my blog and received enlightenment. But I don’t have that, so I simply believe that they are very slowly dragging themselves where I always stood, because my ideas have been flawless from day 1. You may think this is still way too arrogant, but the fact is that ten years later my model is finally getting adopted.

Simple story: in 2012 I ranted against Guild Wars 2 server structure saying it was fucked up (I’m linking the forum and not the blog because it has the hard dates). The reason: a good server model wants persistent/home servers for PvP, while it needs instanced PvE, in order to load balance and avoid players’ fragmentation.

So I ranted because I was realizing GW2 was going to implement a fucked up INVERSE model: PvE was server-based/persistent, PvP was instanced. Aka: how to design a system ass-backwards.

But the model of server structure I suggested is way older than that rant, and it was described in 2004. See the date of that forum post. Basically this new GW2 patch goes live in the 10 years birthday of that forum post. In 2004 the problem was that the technology maybe wasn’t ready to support that structure, but in 2012 Guild Wars 2 employed all the systems I used in my own proposed structure, but ordered them incorrectly. The forthcoming patch rectifies some of those mistakes and brings the structure closer to the one I originally proposed.

Arenanet in 2014:

It means that maps will have more players adventuring in them to provide you with the best possible PvE experience.

Me in 2012:

The solution I suggested was thought to fix both player density in PvP, and PvE feeling always “alive” with other players. Design goals are the same.

What does it all mean? Simply that my ideas, once again, get validated by being adopted. It’s like witnessing an epic long detour that eventually has to pass through HERE.

They’ll eventually get PvP too, even if maybe it will take another ten years for that. Let’s be patient?

World of Warcraft Draenor expansion resets the game to vanilla 1.0

This is what I’ve been saying for a few years: WoW was an absolutely great game with almost flawless design, that then got progressively broken by game designers that upset the original fine balance.

Lots of changes with the new expansion:

What a pathetic display of mudlation applied to game design. It all amounts to “with each expansion and patch we broke our fine design, so now we are rolling everything back to how it was originally, so that we can start breaking stuff again.”

So Draenor = WoW v1.0

as healers and their allies acquire better and better gear, the percentage of a player’s health that any given heal restores increases significantly. As a result, healers are able to refill health bars so fast that we have to make damage more and more “bursty” in order to challenge them.

To that end, we’re buffing heals less than we’re increasing player health.


Over the years, we’ve added significantly more new spells and abilities to the game than we’ve removed. This has led to the complexity of the game increasing steadily over time, to the point we’re at now, where players feel like they need dozens of keybinds.

That means making some abilities restricted to certain specs that really need them instead of being class-wide, and outright removing some other abilities.


Another big takeaway from Mists of Pandaria is that there was simply too much crowd control (CC) in the game.

To solve that, we knew that we needed an across-the-board disarmament.

It took them quite a while to realize this. Now they basically invented “Infinity, the game design”: things start great, then slowly get broken by designers who enjoy fiddling with what works, until it all goes back to the starting point for a new loop.

First they hype stuff being added: people go YAY!
Then they announce they are removing the stuff they added previously: people go YAY!

The ultimate achievement: make what’s old feel as if it’s new. It already happened with Diablo 3: they design new broken systems so that everyone rejoices when they finally remove them.

And game designers are getting paid to remove what they just added. It’s like modern economy: the illusion of wealth by moving virtual money around.

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