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Monday, November 26, 2012

[GW2] Fraking Fractals

Despite the title I actually don't disdain the new Guild Wars 2 Fractal dungeon(s) all that much. A dungeon that is slightly variable each run and scales in difficulty and requires you to run it to access the higher difficulties? Sounds great!....on paper. In practice this runs into a few issues.

The first is that the difficulty scale is a little off; while the low difficulties do a good job of teaching you the mechanics for each fractal, some of them remain relatively easy while some scale up to difficult fairly quickly.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, with regards to the difficulty, is that to advance by even a single level (the fractals go up to 40) a person has to do the previous one. So you begin at 1...then are eligible for 2...then 3. And for each of these stages you need to find a group, and because so many people are jockeying to get to the highest levels, finding a group that is looking for your specific fractal rank can be a challenge. In a few months I suspect it will grow more and more difficult as the community's eligibility spreads out.

"Lets split the community into 40 units within each server!" - Said no wise developer ever

While this is made somewhat easier with Overflow servers, in which you can hope around to try and find more people, it does bring to light the glaring issue that which is GW2's lack of a good group finding tool. I am not necessarily asking for an LFD, but perhaps a world-wide system which would show others looking for your level of fractal across all servers (oh god, I went and made the cross-realm suggestion...please don't hurt me!). Some games have experimented with this tool, but it seems modern players are reluctant to use "do-it-yourself" systems (as indicated by their relative disuse...though that could also be due to the limitations of these systems in the past).

Alternatively they could relax that difficulty a little, allow it to be account bound (though I recognize that this would raise other issues), or in segments....or "If you run a level 1-10 x times, you become eligible for 11-20 automatically". The problem I see is that the system is relatively alt-unfriendly, in a game that seems to have gone lengths to be alt-friendly. Many dungeon rewards are account bound, its easy to transfer things between characters and they share bank space.

That said, the dungeons themselves are entertaining enough; they each have a unique little gimmick or mechanic to observe (for example, one requires running from fire to fire in a snowstorm to keep warm) and I hope that Anet adds to this and pushes some of their own limits in making them interesting....because sadly, at this point, the boss encounters are still relatively "DPS'n'dodge"; meaning they are basically similar to regular mobs but that do more damage and have substantially more health.

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