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Intro

Earlier this year, Guild Wars 2 went through a massive change with regards to WvW: worlds were merged together. The goal of this update was to help boost populations within the battlegrounds, in an effort to help spark some more battles and get WvW going again. Now that it’s been a few months, it was the perfect time to check it out and see just how much it affected things. Arguably, many were fearful that it would do nothing, since many players had already been turned off of it in the past due to low populations and unequal footing. But what’s the official result?

Before the Merge

Before the merge, most servers felt like they were dead in WvW. Even during peak gaming times and right after the resets, you would be lucky to find a group of players. It was pretty much unheard of to find one of the battlegrounds full (with a queue), regardless of the time and what’s going on. And during non-peak times, you would often have to run around solo. It was so deserted that players kept joining and giving up because it just wasn’t going anywhere. This is largely because of population – WvW relies on having a healthy group of players rolling around and capturing and defending objectives both day and night. The more players there are taking part, the more fun it becomes. Large-scale battles are a big part of what draws some players in.

A Lively Resurrection

WvW has been resurrected. There’s just no other way to put this. Even in the middle of the night in the middle of the week, many worlds have queues to join WvW. This is a huge difference from the past, and one that is very noticeable once you actually get inside the battlegrounds. It’s quick and easy to link up with other players most of the time, assuming a commander is on (which does still show itself to be an issue from time to time), and the battles are large-scale. It’s not uncommon to have a massive zerg of your team taking down a massive zerg of enemies at one of the objectives, and it puts quite a bit of strategy and planning back into the game for both sides. Essentially, WvW has gotten back its feel that most of us fell in love with back in the game’s beta and soon after its release – being able to siege without feeling like you’re completely alone or having to roam around in a small group, hoping for the best.

For players that are looking to take part in sieging but are not interested in the really large-scale combat and prefer smaller group battles, definitely check around at the different battlegrounds. Generally speaking, most players are going to be in Eternal Battlegrounds, since that’s where the castle is. The ones that are designed for each of the worlds, however, will usually be much more desolate and can often give the more small battle feel.

F2P Sieging

Players that are still F2P can take part in the sieging, and for those who haven’t tried it yet, it’s well worth taking part in to see if you like it. A lot of games handle their siege systems differently, but GW2 truly makes them feel massive. With a castle and a lot of keeps to take over (as well as other objectives spread out), both defending and attacking give the feeling of accomplishment. Add in the fact that you can join the battles almost right after starting the game and you have a fun setup for enjoyment! The Need for Commanders and Chatter The downside to the WvW population is that it really doesn’t seem to have increased the number of commanders or caused a boost in chat within the game. You still often have to check out the map to figure out where players are, exploring a bit in the process. That said, when there is a commander on, it’s quick and easy to see where the fun is. And if you post some messages in chat, you can sometimes get a response (be sure to use both /map and /team for maximum visibility). It’s only a small price to pay for such a great sieging system, though, and considering anyone can snag the commander icon, this will hopefully change as time goes on.

The Possibility of More Merges Later

One of the great things about the world merges is that the system was set up in such a way that it’s dynamic. As a result, ArenaNet is able to alter which worlds are attached to each other in order to keep things flowing nicely in the future. Whether it’s from imbalance of player skill levels, play times, or general population issues, they’re able to quickly re-match worlds to help get everything back to how it should be. So far, though, it seems to be working very well as it is, and WvW is finally alive (hopefully for good).

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