I have to say, this was probably the worst Beta weekend I have taken part in. I don’t say that lightly and the cause primarily revolves around Player versus Player and World versus World, but it was all so fundamentally broken or bugged, in so many ways, that the experience was incredibly frustrating. I did manage to take part in some WvW and PvP but far, far less than I normally would.
My main issue as we rapidly approach release is stability and the continued errors received in tournament games and structured PvP. Across all three days servers would be up and then down with no warning. Server lists would regularly display players in games (even after refresh) and when you joined there would be no one there or worse, you simply couldn’t join. Mid match you would be regularly kicked and even more annoying was tournaments, where I lost count at the amount of times we were returned to the Mists, to be told we had come second (even though you were winning!). Then there was the continued delay when forming a team, caused by hidden lag as you went to accept the tournament invite that resulted in some or all of the party having a bugged tournament window, that required a full computer restart to fix.
Although I did take part in tournaments and we won all that we managed to complete, the entire experience was pretty miserable. What I found annoying wasn’t the errors themselves but the lack of progress in improving these known issues, which has me worried. I think the main cause is likely to be the sheer number of people, across all servers, trying to take part in tournaments and structured PvP. What I found interesting was that many US friends had no such problems when on US servers so perhaps this was confined to Europe, but with the huge influx of news players, I just don’t think it could cope under the strain. I’m unsure of Guild Wars 2’s server structure and whether tournament matches are hosted alongside the structured games, but they both had the same problems that I encountered in the last Beta weekend.
What I’m most worried about is the prospect that with strong word of mouth and a publicity barrage over the next month, we will see sales increase further, making these problems all the more likely when the servers officially open. I fear that if they aren’t ironed out and perfectly, it might be a PR disaster that simply cannot be salvaged for a long time, especially with ArenaNet’s focus on Guild Wars 2 really being the pinnacle of Player versus Player. I’m sure they are hard at work finding the cause but with new server hardware and the knowledge that they’d given out thousands upon thousands of keys, I was slightly surprised to see how poorly it held up.
World versus World
Contrary to the above, WvW was relatively bug free. The problem arose from the fact that many couldn’t actually take part due to queues. It was so busy throughout the weekend, especially on Sunday (when Desolation actually had formidable foes) many of us waited more than 6 hours to enter and still couldn’t access it. Luckily I was online at 6am on the Sunday and although we were significantly outnumbered until our world awoke, we managed to secure plenty of points by disrupting supply camps continually as well as bringing the NPC’s on side. Sadly I had to log off for thirty minutes to eat which resulted in me never being able to get back in until the servers closed.
My fear is that this will only get worse during release as server numbers continue to swell and the competition really does become real. I suspect there might have been some gremlins causing the queuing system to fail or in a worse case scenario it was working but was simply a too longer queue. I’m really hoping for the former as I can’t bear the prospect of not being able to jump into WvW when I need to, as it is such an important part of the game for so many.
All this aside, how did you find the weekend?