Release Communication

So it used to be that for new releases, we would get a page on the Guild Wars 2 website that outlined some of the info for the release – some basic stuff about what the release was about, some info about other things that were coming in it than just living world, and so on.

I loved these pages. I liked having an idea ahead of time of what was going to be happening – especially if skill changes or other balance changes were coming. I liked having an idea of what the new content was going to be, especially as my life got busier and I had less and less time to play.

For whatever reason, they’ve decided to do away with these preview pages, instead turning to short cinematic trailers for each release. Okay, whatever. The trailers are pretty enough, but I keep running into the problem of they really don’t tell us anything. For example, the next release, coming on Tuesday, is Battle for Lion’s Arch. They released a lovely minute long trailer video, which is well done. However, it tells us nothing of what’s happening. This is meant to be the finale for the first season of the Living World content, and yet we are given no clues as to what’s actually going to be going on, other than we will be fighting in Lion’s Arch and, presumably, trying to wrest it back from Scarlet’s forces.

But we don’t get a hint of what Scarlet’s up to (people have made enough guesses, based on what little we do know of Scarlet and what we’ve seen her doing in-game, but nothing concrete). We don’t know if we’ll be taking the fight to her, and if it’ll be for real this time. We don’t know if there are any other changes coming in with this update – skill updates or anything like that. We just know that we’ll be fighting in Lion’s Arch…which, realistically, we’ve been doing for nearly two weeks now. I’m sure there’ll be a handful of interviews with various bigger gaming/MMO sites released over the weekend that will hint a little bit at these things, but I’m not a fan of that approach.

All that said, there’s one thing that has never been clearly communicated about any release (besides Lost Shores) – and that is how long the content will stick around.  Since they’ve moved to a two week release schedule, generally content sticks around for four weeks. But sometimes it only lasts two! Which wouldn’t be a problem, if, you know, we knew ahead of time how long the content would be available.

One of the big things in Escape from Lion’s Arch has been collecting Found Heirlooms and Found Belongings, which can be traded in for a number of things. Last night I completed my stack of Heirlooms and got my Selfless Tonic, and I’ve been trading in Belongings for Tomes of Knowledge to help get my baby warrior to level 80 faster. One question I’m seeing frequently on twitter and in my guild’s chat is, “Do I have to turn all these in by Tuesday?” “Can I still get them after Tuesday?” and so on. And we don’t know. We don’t know if the content is going to drastically change after Tuesday, if Found Heirlooms and Belongings are going to go away, if the collectors are going to go away or if they’ll stay around longer.

The thing I don’t get is people have been asking for information on how long a patch’s content will be around since, well, updates were switched over to this Living World thing. For whatever reason, ArenaNet has never seen fit to actually tell us this information, despite the fact that not doing so always causes confusion as to how long things will be available, not to mention frustration at things going away earlier than expected on the few that have disappeared after two weeks instead of the four that most have lasted.

The disappearance of preview pages is irritating, but this is far more so. I know that the storylines and patches are planned out well in advance. Why can we simply not get a note of “available for two weeks” or “available for four weeks” on the actual update page itself when they do go live? Or even better, an in-game timer? We have those for daily and monthly achievements now, why not attach one to the meta achievement so that people know how long the content will be around and how long they have to complete those things?

It’s a simple thing, and it would result in a huge quality of life change for the game. Come on. Please implement something like this. Remove the confusion and the frustration, and let us just know how long things will be available. Please?

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7 thoughts on “Release Communication

  1. I would have to wholeheartedly agree. I mean, I really enjoy the secrecy at times, there’s still a certain amount of communication that’s needed. I think it’s an area they need to be aware of and work on. I’m not saying they need to give everything away, but I do think they need to give some time-frames and a bit more information on the upcoming content, other than just a video.

    Well-said!

  2. It’s something I’ve commented on with friends, on twitter, and in my blog posts, why can’t we just know end dates? Do they not know? Are they worried about some kind of psychological tick that will make people not play if they know the end date? Maybe their production schedule is so sketchy that they can’t be certain when an update will end? I’m pretty clueless as to why they take this stance.

    • Yeah, I am as well, and it was all the comments in guild chat yesterday plus your tweet late last night that prompted this.

      I’m assuming that everything is planned out well in advance; I see plenty of comments on twitter from various GW2 writers saying how they’ve finished scripting the stuff for (insert month that’s 3-4 months away). So it just seems so weird to me that they can’t even tell us how long a patch will be around.

  3. ^^This, all this^^ I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I loved the old ‘mid-patch’ Tuesday preview page and it’s teasers and confirmations. Whilst the video trailers are well done and I can kind of understand the embargo on too much info on the last stages of the story the lack of communication on why they chose this format of release and lack of confirmation on timelines for achievements really goes against all the good things they were doing with community interaction previous to Wintersday. If these are permenant changes in information release I would have liked to see a bit of community discussion and if they are just for the final stages of LS series 1 then they really should have explained their thinking.

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  6. I totally agree. I am a fairly new player and I have several different items I was collecting only to sign on the next time and not be able to use them. I don’t play everyday, and at times I can only play once a week, so knowing a head of time if I will even be able to participate in an event would help me tremendously. I currently have 564 found belongings and can’t do anything with them. I even have blue bags I haven’t opened. I guess they don’t like casual players in this game.

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