Cracks in the Patio: Where ANet might trip

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I love my metaphors. Bars and Guilds, Sex and Games etc. Well, here’s another: the Patio.

Ok, picture the scene: A swanky London garden party, the grass is immaculately trimmed to the millimetre. On the patio, erudite people wearing sunglasses in the early evening light drift between waiters carrying canapés and empty wine glasses. As the sun begins to drop below the horizon, a lone waiter steps out from the house through the sliding patio doors carrying a perfectly stacked tray of sparkling champagne, the crowd turns and applauds – the champagne cascades down the tower and the waiter grins with pride. No sooner has he stepped onto the expertly laid stones is the silver tray flying through the air, the grin turns to horror and the guests are showered with fizzy-pop and broken glass. With a screech, the violins from the band punctuate his landing in a pile of shattered flutes and broken pride. The patio stones are hewn to a fine and flat sheen; they are billiard-table flat – every single one. How on earth did he manage to trip?

In a complex system, often, even if every element is perfectly constructed and each works with its own immaculate internal logic it is the joins where you can trip up. You can look at a skill and see that it is built perfectly: not excessively powerful in its effect, a recharge time which is not too long, but not overly short to encourage spamming, a cast time which is proportionate. Great – send it out, this skill is ready! But the skill might be internally balanced, but it is where it rubs up against other skills that the imbalances begin to emerge. The same goes for every game element.

Guild Wars 2 is an extremely complex system. Skills, traits, crafting, armour, weapons, dynamic events, mini-games, dungeons, PvP and countless other elements we probably haven’t heard of yet. Thousands of elements pulling and pushing against each other, each one likely honed and iterated till it reaches the very high standards we have all come to expect from ArenaNet.  It is where these elements interact that there is the potential for unforeseen problems.

So, when we are lithely scurrying over the patio of Guild Wars 2, and our shoe (shined to military-standard sheen) gets trapped between one of the cracks, will we fall? Will the contents of our tray bounce or shatter? Will we pull ourselves up, laugh it off and head to the dance floor?

To the readers: Do you expect bugs in every new game release? Even after such a long testing period, would you be surprised to find glitches? Is imbalance an unavoidable part of MMO gaming?

About the author:  Distilled (Will) has been playing Guild Wars for almost 6 years, he works as a clinical researcher in the UK but has recently been accepted on a PhD place (starting in September, woo!). In his spare time he enjoys kicking ass, chewing bubblegun and restocking his bubblegum when he runs out. He writes regularly on Guild Wars and gaming over at Distilled Willpower. You can also follow him on Twitter at @Distilledwill!

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  • I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to find bugs and glitches upon release and I certainly wouldn’t expect a perfect game. Even ANet themselves have conceded that they’re only aiming to make the best game possible because it’s impossible to create a perfect game.

    However, what is within our control is to reduce the number of bugs/glitches to a minimum and to ensure that it’s not game breaking and thus, this is where their multiple levels of stringent testing come into play.

    For most games, I mostly use the beta as an early preview and just report any bugs that I happen to find; I won’t go all out to try and reproduce it to give a more thorough report. But where GW2 is concerned, I think ArenaNet has done a very good job in rallying the community with a common goal: To make the best game we can. So I’m sure that everyone will definitely try their best to eradicate bugs/glitches though I’m sure there will be a few that will be missed.

  • Josh d

    I don’t see an issue, the original had it’s bugs and balancing issues and yet it’s had the most staying power of any game I’ve ever played. Thousands of hours over many characters over almost seven years and I’m still hooked, and that system was just as complex

  • Bill

    get to the point without all the blah balh filler crap

  • Pvtyria

    I absolutely love the complexity in gw2. Having tons of customization between weapons, utility, heals, elites, traits, attributes, sigils, and runes is what makes it the game im most excited for.

  • It’s going to have bugs. All games do. Even at launch after ~3 years of prep and iteration. I’m not at all worried though. Considering how much effort and TLC ANet has put into the creation of this game, I know they will be dedicated to making it as balanced and smooth-running as possible. I expect nothing less from them. 

    Betas are for bug squashing, and while we all want the game to run great fresh out of the box, there will be hiccups. There will be balance issues. But, you know what? ANet is still balancing GW1 after half a decade. My response to that? Thank you for caring so much about your game that you seek to constantly improve it. And thank you for not charging me a monthly fee to play a game of this caliber. 

  • Koder

    Yes, there will be bugs and the need to balance out. I’m a professional tester and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from experience that there’s no way a system like this goes shipped without a bug. 100% testing the system is not possible, no mather how long you take for testing.

    This sounds very negative, but most bugs will be found and I don’t expect any crashes or other major bugs when GW2 goes online. 

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  • Zoaea

    I think beta’s are to find major glitches, having the waiter trip on a practice round so to speak so that he is ready for the big party. But I think some small bugs and glitches that come from a million people tinkering, playing and poking around your game is going to shed light on something that remained hidden in beta. Heck back in WoW when I played be fore Cata it seemed half their patches had glitches they had to fix and Wow was one of the more stable games I’ve played. I think Arena Net is going to have few bugs, and when they show up I think they will fix them quickly, which to me is high quality.

  • Giuliano Lemes

    I Really really love this complexity in GW2 and GW1. Actually on GW1 we have much more skills and we have attributes that plays like the traits in  GW2. For example if you are playing a Ritualist you have the attribute “Spawning Power” who increase your spirits life and we have about 24 skill for this attrib, we have “communing” attrib that we have about 19 skills and so on, “Channeling”, “Restoration”, just with one class you can play a healer or a damage mitigation or Dps style… You can merge a second class and raise others attribs.. the complexity is huge let’s calc:
    A typical typical dual-class build: average of 20 skills per attribute, the average of attribs per class is 4, so:
    80 primary class skills (4 attribs note That the warrior and elementalist has 5 attribs)+ secondary Class(9classes x 60 secondary skills (average) =(20×4) + (9x 60) = 620 skill choices with just one build!!!We have so many options and we love them.