This is my personal analysis of the long-awaited WvW-focused mega-patch, Flame and Frost: The Razing. It will focus primarily on what I think of the changes ArenaNet has made to World vs World and class balance, pus provide some insight into hot new ways to play. Overall this is a very pleasing patch, with a few caveats and balance nitpicks. As always, you can find the update notes here.
The major addition of this patch is a rank system for World vs World, though it also contained a lot of snazzy-looking additions to PVE. I find the idea of world titles (<server> invader, <server> scout, etc) functions very well in practice and that the events and actions which reward world xp are appropriate, as is the decision to give out-manned players bonus world xp. The upgrades leave something to be desired however, and the decision to make it all character-based is less than appealing (as is ArenaNet’s continued refusal to make commander-hood an account-based ability). PVP rankings should measure and reward the personal skill of the player, not the number of hours logged on an individual class / character. This is especially questionable when one considers the minuscule percentage bonuses being rewarded (1% per rank to 5 ranks). That said, large bonuses would tend to imbalance WvW and thus would be undesirable albeit more suited to a character-bound system. What I would have liked to have seen is a branching tree with a few mutually exclusive choices towards the more powerful end, but the current skill system is functional enough.
As expected, Badges of Honor were made more valuable. They can now be used to purchase various (existing) armor and weapon skins via vendors in the WvW `main bases. Invader gear is now available at a reduced badge cost with the caveat that it now costs gold in addition to badges. It is also available in all of the main attribute prefixes. Invader weapons are still a complete and utter disappointment however, still bearing the generic ‘bandit’ skin for an absurd price while Invader armor boasts unique, prestigious skins. ArenaNet DID however see fit to put in a full suite of new weapon skins purchasable via guild commendations. Why some of the most time-expensive weapons still don’t have unique skins this long after launch is completely and utterly beyond me.
For the paranoid out there, including myself, I have updated the site to use a self-signed SSL certificate. I’ll work on forcing SSL in the near future (which has the added benefit of messing with bots, which often support only plain http), but for now you’ll need to point your browsers to https://mistguard.org instead. Because I’m not going to pay the trust cartel for a signed cert, you’ll need to create and preferably store a security exception in order to use it.
Seeing as I’ve retired from the “guild leader” business and my hosting company is still seeing fit to offer me a primo deal, this site will now become my personal gaming blog where I post videos, commentary on events, briefly re-blurb relevant news, and maybe review a game or two. It will also contain a stream embed reachable via the bar at the top.
I made the decision to retire when my availability dropped off a cliff due to school and other real-life concerns, and was not able to dedicate sufficient time to the guild. It got to the point that people who had come in and left still had their “applications” not crossed out in the forum thread while spam rotted in one of the forum sections and I lagged further and further behind on updates even though I was still somewhat active. Even so, that doesn’t mean I consider the guild a failure. Rather I learned quite a lot, and we managed to get 13 people together in World vs World out of 30 total at its height while contributing to the server community at large. I also got quite a reasonable sum towards the commander fund (40G), though half via third parties, some of whom will be getting a mention very very soon. It’s time to move on, and this is the future.
This fund is important, and has a goal of 200G in order to obtain commander tomes for the leadership to help us coordinate the uncoordinated bits of our server population. You can find it here. Please post the amount you are sending in order to keep this as transparent as possible. Nobody is expected or required to contribute, nor will sitting out hurt your chances of promotion if you choose to contribute to the guild in other ways. The money in this fund will not be withdrawn or borrowed against for any purpose other than buying commander tomes. For those worried about trust (the guild leader did/does play EVE after all), I would remind them that scamming is a bannable offense in Guild Wars 2, and Arenanet will attempt recovery of noteworthy sums.
This is the first in a series of monthly status updates on the health of the guild, changes of note, and our activity. These will be published during the final week of each month, under the announcements tag. Ideally, everyone should be reading these because most will contain at least something important. This one primarily concerns rank changes, procedure changes, Maguuma as a server, current status versus future plans, and a special announcement. This one will be lengthy since it does a deal of laying out future goals and plans. Future updates will be shorter, but basically everything here is important so do try to at least skim.
In terms of roster size we find ourselves a bit static at the moment. We sit at exactly 28, the very same number we had two weeks ago. This is due to a combination of a couple factors including somewhat lazy recruitment. Fortunately, almost the entire member base is active (1/3 of the guild online any given night) and we are running near-nightly WvW parties. However, our short term goal is 50 active members. We’re aiming for this number due to the higher activity, sense of community, and stability that guilds in the 50-75 roster size range enjoy. 100 would be ideal, but that is a longer term goal and not something we can work on quite yet. As such, we would appreciate it if members could help with recruitment. This can come either in the form of recommending us (and our server by proxy) to your friends or by posting in recruiting threads we’ve made on the official and MMORG.com forums (GW2Guru soon).
Concerning recent changes in ranks and procedures, I have decided to overhaul the guild ranks and add two more. Officers will now be termed Generals, and given formal charge of getting people together in WvW. At our current size it is ideal that we party up and choose a single WvW map to commit to each night, switching maps as a group when key goals are accomplished. This is the responsibility of our generals and our marshal (a new, slightly more important, for now unused rank filled democratically – we’re not going to need it until we hit 50 or so members). Members have been renamed to men-at-arms, and have lost invite privileges (sorry about that – couldn’t give it to both you and the knights due to the way guild roles work).
Knights, as you might have guessed, are another new role reserved for dedicated, WvW-active members. They have stash access (for whatever that’s worth) and more importantly may activate stored guild upgrades and claim forts. A few of you have already been put into this position, and if you have this next bit is important: When we have stored up WvW stat buffs, karma banners, MF banners, XP banners, road markers, etc they are yours to use as you see fit. If the server takes an important fortification and we have buffs stored up, by all means claim it (becomes available ~3-5 minutes after cap) and pop buffs. A lot of guilds claim keeps just to fly their banners, and this added capability for dedicated members of our guild to claim keeps should help us increase coverage of buffs. Concerning PVE, use discretion; don’t use xp/karma banners like candy but feel free to drop one during a big event or dungeon. Think of these PVE buffs as thanks from the guild for your continued service on the fields, but try to use them responsibly.
In matters of server, a higher population (and thus the ability to fill all 3 maps at once) would be ideal. If you know friends in coordinated WvW guilds on other servers, try to tell them what we have here in terms of organization to see if their guilds will transfer. We have top 3 tier organization and dedication, and it is a shame that we do not have the population to fill three maps. Granted, we don’t actually want to be top 3 until free transfers go away, but more WvW guilds willing to join a greater, more tightly knit community is something we want right now. There are concerted efforts by elements of Goons, Pangolins, and myself to spread pro-Maguuma propaganda through various mediums to encourage transfers while they are still free, so if you see one of those threads on the forums please do drop in with a word or two.
Going forward we will be taking a more forward role in the server community thanks to my throat condition starting to subside. I personally am an experienced fleet commander from EVE Online, and with a stronger voice (that doesn’t cause me pain to use) feel I can make meaningful contribution here. I’d also like to take this time to encourage our generals and knights to step forward and take charge of groups when no clear leadership is apparent on Mumble or a zerg split is called without a given leader. Our promotions are merit-based and based on an officer:member ratio (which we are behind on), so if you are a knight and regularly helping the server coordinate you stand a strong chance of being bumped up.
In terms of site updates, it has been quiet lately thanks to matters of real life. These matters have settled down a little, so not the site should be receiving more frequent updates. First on the table is a resource center featuring a starter guide to WvW, a list of common terminology, effective strategies, and maps. We will also be adding a build center for those seeking character ideas. Feel free to post your builds on the forums if you want them added to the resource center. I will also be seeking to publish a matchup recap and forecast each time the server matchup changes. At some point (50-100 roster size) this will also include marshal changes. I am also working on getting generals set up with site publishing permissions so that they can start to help make changes and additions to our web presence (they do currently have forum moderation privileges).
Finally, I would like to announce the creation of our commander fund. We are at that size and level of involvement where it is responsible for us to give icons to our leadership, starting at the top. We have had issues on Mumble where the server simply doesn’t have enough coordinated commander coverage, which lets the Mumble-less Peasant Race (the “pubs”) run wild with no behind-the-scenes control from the Glorious Mumble-using Master Race; ideally we want to help correct this. There will be a separate post soon™ about this along with a forum thread where you will post your deposit amount (to keep things transparent). This gold will not be borrowed from or used for any other purpose save buying commander icons. Our starting goal is 200G to account for two commanders, with a milestone at 100 where the fund will be emptied for the first tome. Nobody is obligated to pour gold into this fund, and nobody will be kicked from the guild or passed over for promotion for not giving to it.
In conclusion, we have a lot of work to do but we’ve made great progress. A higher involvement with the server community will let us be more visible and meet our recruitment goals. We will also need your continued support and participation to make it there. Assuming things continue, in time we will establish ourselves as an old, respected WvW guild known to coordinate with others for the greater good. Getting there will take a while and won’t be easy, but it’s something that’s within our grasp. Everyone has a role to play in getting there, and the leadership is committed to giving whatever it takes to make sure we succeed. I’d like to personally thank everyone who’s brought us this far, from man-at-arms to general, and hope to see you out in the fields soon.
Today is a special day; today is the day Maguuma finally stepped up and delivered. We’re in first place in our matchup against Ehmry Bay and Yak’s Bend, and this is new. In the time that the guild has been on maguuma we have always been a second place server. Something changed to put us in first. Specifically, we as a server began to organize and form bonds. First, our guild (among others) started organizing parties of guild members to focus on specific objectives and give a bit of method to the madness. After that, SFD and Goons stepped up as the larger guilds present and put together an alliance for WvW guilds to coordinate with. Today you can find coordinated groups of multiple guilds rolling together. Rather than zergs, these are groups with a specific goal in mind. These groups plan ahead, while also being able to react to changing situations in ways that a zerg of random pubs can’t. This is big. If this alliance continues to grow in scope and influence, Maguuma could in time become a top 5 WvW server.
In either case, part of this new co-op effort is a free-use 200 slot Mumble server. A page will be going up under the “about” or “guidelines” section at the top with specific setup instructions for getting on the server. In the meantime a rougher draft of that without images will be located here. Let it be said now, ideally everyone in the guild will have Mumble installed and have this server set up as a bookmark by next week. Nobody will be kicked for failing to turn up on Mumble (nor will presence be explicitly tracked), but being in the server with us and the other guilds will help build community, strengthen our force, and improve your awareness of what’s happening on the map. You can find the Mumble server information in our guild’s in-game MOTD, and you can obtain the Mumble client here. When you connect, your username should be in the format [MIST] Character Name. The server has agreed on a naming scheme for locations in the Borderlands map, and people on mumble frequently talk in those terms. Most are quite obvious, but you should be familiar with the maps, which can be found in Charlie’s post on our World vs World forum. I’d also like to take the chance to mention that it is helpful to be up to date with site posts made under the announcements tag, as they are generally of some importance.
Good luck out there.
We have been on Maguuma fighting in regular WvW for two weeks now, meaning that our guild has seen matches against two servers come and go. In that time we’ve picked up quite a few people, and unfortunately lost a couple of them. As of the writing of this post we stand at 20 active players, with a good weave holding us together. Even so, it’s time to strengthen that weave and get a little serious in the process. That’s why I’ve seen to getting us a voice server.
Right now our voice base is Mumble, the details of which can be found in-game. However, this is only a 15-seater, which means that at some point in the near future we will have online players in WvW that won’t fit in voice. Let me say this now: I am committed to ensure this is not a problem, and have every intention of renting or even buying a larger voice server when the time comes. Growing this guild and providing for its means are both priorities to the leadership, and we as a wholewill deliver what’s required no matter how big this gets or how modest it remains.
I feel it is also important here to mention “the hump.” The hump is an area of a guild’s growth that occurs early on, when it needs to find its first members and then its first dedicated members that have a place in the leadership. We’ve cleared the hump. From here it gets easier in a lot of ways. A few things get tougher and a few require a few extra hands, but we are past the part where most guilds meet their end either due to member frustration (which we had a bout of on Gate of Madness) or a general lack of determination in the leadership.
Status? We’re doing this, we’re making this happen.
If you haven’t joined us already and want to do World versus World with a solid group at your side, get a free transfer to Maguuma and join today!
Effective immediately, the guild is being relocated to Maguuma (NA).
Server landscapes tend to change wildly after launch, and currently Maguuma is much more attractive for World vs World than Gate of Madness.
“At launch, players will be able to transfer between worlds freely. However, once server populations have largely settled and stabilized, world transfers will be restricted to once a week and cost a variable amount of gems based on the population of the world being transferred to.”
If you cannot get into Gate of Madness, roll another server and keep trying to use your free transfers to get in.