I can assume by the title you guys know what I’m going to write about. Most regular Guild Wars 2 players know that if there’s a way to farm for loot, farmers will exploit it. Well maybe exploit isn’t the right word here. More like, utilize any content added to the game to get loot or to make a profit. This was true of Clockwork Chaos champ farming, Black Lion Key farming, the Frostgorge train farming. You get my point. And I think that farming is fine in games as long as there’s no conflicting interests.
Let me further explain what I mean by conflicting interests while farming. What I mean is that there are two groups of players at farm related content but they’re there for different reasons. One example of this is the Clockwork Chaos patch. If you were around, you know that the first week of the patch players actually beat Scarlet for the achievement but the 2nd week, the majority of players were farming the events rather than trying to get to the point to fight Scarlet. While frustrating as it is, some players that didn’t get lucky to get on a map that actually fought Scarlet didn’t get the achievement.
With the Frostgorge farming, players aren’t doing the event for an achievement, they playing to literally continue the story. I thought from the very first time I had to go to Iron Marches and do events, this was a terrible implementation. Sorry to say that but that’s what I thought. There’s always going to be less people at these events as time goes by so I was wondering how it would look a month later. To be honest it wasn’t too bad but Frostgorge proved to be the difficultly. You would think that ArenaNet would learn from Clockwork Chaos: if there’s a way to farm champs effectively, farmers will take advantage of it. Now some players can’t continue or players with alternate characters can’t catch up with their main(s) (which isn’t so bad).
Of course, I’m not going to talk about such an issue without offering some solutions:
1) Make the timer for the Fenris event chain the same success or fail. This is the solution I like the best. I also believe it would be the easiest to implement. I believe the main problem is that the event fail timer is 5 minutes while the success timer is 30 minutes. Make the timer 30 minutes for both success and fail. Players will be at least be compelled to help players out after they’ve farmed a bit. This has a chance for working since burning the transformed shamans health bars isn’t too hard if everyone helps out.
2) Reduce or remove the champions from the Fenris event chain. Pretty much kills farming but I’m against this as it removes incentive for going to the event which means way less players doing the event like in Iron Marches from patch day as compared to now.
3) Let destroying the totem after the Fenris event chain allow players to continue the story. This would work if the event chain is successful or fails. Kind of a quick and easy solution. It hinders no one but it removes the entire point of clearing the Fenris event chain.
4) Make this part of the story an instance. Probably the hardest to do because of the implementation required. There would have to be less mobs, reduced strength in the enemies and some ally NPCs to name a few things but it could work and I find it should have been instanced anyways. I would have loved to fight beside Braham and Eir.
I hope ArenaNet somehow fixes this. It’s quite important not to be blocked from the story by your ally players and it’s kind of pointless to have Living Story and players can’t continue in November because players want to farm. I’d also like to note that Living Story was revamped in Season 2 specifically so that a player can do the story whenever the player wants to. I also hope ArenaNet keeps in mind when adding a lot Champions to any event (not just Living Story) they keep in mind if it should be farm-able content or not.
Clockwork Chaos Map Invasions have been a great source for farming recently. But as much as I, and many others enjoy the rewards, I think it’s design is bad for the game.
Ok, ok. First off, let me start by saying I like farming map invasions in the recent Guild Wars 2 Clockwork Chaos patch as much as the next guy. However, as I go through more and more map invasions, I feel there are less and less people inclined to finish the map invasions and more focused on farming Champions for loot. Even if you failed the map invasion and just farmed, everyone gets some good event reward loot and it even trumps winning the map instance. Now, initially this doesn’t look like a bad thing. But, to me, it’s pretty freaking bad when you break it down.
Can’t Get The “Kill Scarlet” Achievement
One of the achievements for this patch is to beat Scarlet in a map invasion. Not the “complete a map invasion” achievement as most people know this gets done win or lose. After 3 waves of minions, Scarlet comes out and everyone on the map can go to kill her. The thing is, the final 3rd wave is never, EVER completed as of late due to the champion farming that’s been going on.
Now some of you may have the argument that “they should have the achievement by now”. To that I say no. Don’t assume because you play everyday that everyone else does. People have lives and other games they want play. If they want to spend the last week of the patch getting stuff done, then by all means they’re allowed to. The fact that the map invasion design doesn’t factor this in really hurts those players since the achievement depends on large group oriented play. Sure, it should be way harder to complete achievements near the end of the patch. However the farming zergs make it almost impossible to get not matter which hour you decide to run a map; nearly everyone on the map just wants to farm near the end of this patch. Almost every single time there’s a few people complaining about not being able to get the Scarlet achievement due to the farming zergs.
Some of you may also say “Well let the farmers farm and the people that want to finish the event can hit the other mobs”. Again, no. One of the reasons being this is highly unfair to the event completers. The event completers would be doing the dirty work and just getting the invasion rewards at the end for everyone on the map. Meanwhile the farmers would get the invasion rewards plus a bunch of exotic boxes and other loot. The completers want some extra loot as well, why should they be left out? Second reason being is that, there is no way people that want to clear the invasion can take out all the “trash” mobs by themselves. These players are not organized because no commander is leading a zerg to complete the invasion. That and there is a small number of them that would actually group up making it not necessary harder but longer to take out mobs. And map invasions are very dependant on time.
This one is pretty simple. You’d think that if you fail the invasion, you would not get any rewards right? Sadly this isn’t the case. You get slightly less valuable rewards than if you’d beat the invasion. Now, I know PvE is considered “carebear central” but come on! Make people earn the invasion event rewards, don’t be giving them away for free. This is one of the main reasons why people are just farming champions.
Zergs Not Really Zerging
Most of the Commanders (at least on my server) have been leading the zerg fest for farming Champions, specifically Aetherblade mobs since you’re guaranteed at least one champion in an Aetherblade mob. The thing is, they only zerg for champions, they will waypoint all over the map for champions and not run around and hit the non-champion mobs in the process. They will however hit these mobs after they clean up the champion filled mobs. This leads to patches of non-champion mobs players have to move back to in order to clear the wave which significantly wastes time and therefore makes the timer run out before the final wave is completed.
I’ll give you an example to paint a picture. Our priority minion waves one time came like this: Twisted, Molten, then Aetherblade. Twisted enemies are in every wave, while Aetherbalde and Molten are not, and are considered the non-champion waves (sometimes there’s the average champion in this type of mob here and there). When we did the first two waves we had about 24 minutes left for the third wave then Scarlet. I thought “Yea! We’ll be able to finish it this time!” knowing from experience that it should be entirely possible to kill Scarlet given the amount of time left. I was wrong. I was so wrong. Since the Aetherblades were the third priority wave, guess what commanders did? Started leading champ farming and waypointing all over the map. We ended up with two-fifths of the bar for minions left when the timer ran out. I was seriously frustrated. The most annoying part was that most of the players weren’t even trying any more. The absolute worst part was is that some commanders turned off their tags when they saw no Aetherblades left and so the farming was done and didn’t bother to lead to clear out the remaining minions.
Promotes Greed Over Helping Others
When a champion is up and there are people in down state, nearly everyone around them doesn’t care. I say nearly because there are still awesome people who take the time to revive people. Players want their hits on the champion to get an exotic box. Reviving downed players becomes an after though. This is one of the worst things to promote in the game.
Yes, I know, most of the players are working together with farming by pinging champions and such but when it gets to the point of people greedy fighting for themselves and disregarding others around them, that’s just not good. Also, when an event is done and there are no more champions left but there are still minions left, a majority of the people just leave in search of the next Champion to take down while some people stay behind to take out the rest of the minions. This is hard to do if there’s a bunch of minions left.
Who’s Really To Blame?
Despite my qualms with the commanders, they’re not to blame. They saw there was a majority that wanted to farm champions and they complied. So does the fault lies with ArenaNet‘s design for these encounters? Maybe a little bit. Now don’t get me wrong; I don’t mean this in a bad way. It’s just that ArenaNet made the map invasion content so that there was no downfall, win or lose. I really don’t think they could have seen the farming result coming to this extent and it’s way too late to make a fix for it for this patch. But I mean, really? You’re going to give players a legit way to make at the very least 2.5 gold per map run with a sure fire chance for rares and sometimes an exotic? Players dedicated enough will totally take advantage of that and will be very upset if it’s taken away from them especially since this living story content lasts for 2 weeks. I think that’s why ArenaNet hasn’t acted upon this. Hopefully they learned a thing or two if they want to make future events like this.
So in the end, no one person is really to blame. ArenaNet didn’t see this coming and can’t fix it given they’d have to come up with a solution that fixes the problem within a week that appeases farmers and event completers while still developing future living story content. The majority of players doing the invasions want to farm over completing the invasions. Since the majority of the community wants this, that’s what will be catered to by the commanders. Therefore a majority community based decision to farm trumps the need for completing the invasions.
How to Prevent this in the Future
I have a couple of things in mind that might be helpful:
1) Do not reward failure – This is one of the major ones. Just don’t give rewards at the end if the map invasion fails. There are at least 100 – 150 people on the map at once. If we can’t work together to beat the map invasion, then we don’t deserve the rewards at the end. Plain and simple. This doesn’t completely eliminate the farming zergs though but it’s one decent step to take.
2) Make all mobs enticing – The other major issue is that people skip mobs that don’t have any champions. You can’t get rid of the champions entirely because then nearly no one would do the map invasions near the end of the patch. One way to rectify this is to balance the average number of champions for each mob. Make it so that zergs hit each mob along the way so that the map invasions have a chance of being completed while still allowing people to farm champions. I think the solution to this, whatever it may be, will be the one to balance farming with completing the invasion.
3) Remove remaining enemies after an event is finished – This makes things go a bit faster because some people tend to stick around to finish off the minions after an event. However, the majority of the people leave for the next champion making it harder to clear the remaining minions. Just removing the enemies after an event is done will speed up the process of finishing the invasion because no one will be staying behind.
4) Make mobs anonymous – Have the events that spawn for the invasion be generic. For example instead of saying for the event “Defeat the Aetherblades… ” or “Defeat the Twisted… ” say something like “Defeat the invaders… “. This makes it so that no one knows where champion mobs will be unless people find them and say in map chat which type of mob it is. This kills a lot of extra time trying to find mobs and will therefore reduce the farming done. That is unless people get creative and send scouts to every location or something like that.
5) Kill waypoints when in an invasion instance – This ones iffy because some people might be doing other stuff besides the invasion like, for example, guild missions. However, as far as I can tell, pretty much everyone is there for the invasion. Killing waypointing in the map will force people to legitimately zerg like in WvW. The people that don’t want in on a map invasion could wait the 10 minutes window for valid entry into the invasion before going onto a map.
Again, I like farming the map invasions, but I also like to complete the invasion events as well. Hell, I even heard from someone that an ArenaNet employee asked people to stop solely farming in order to complete the event. The farming zergs really do take the fun out of it and it just becomes a greedy hit-and-run on champion mobs. It’s not about even trying to win any more. And I find that really bad for the game.
As always thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts on this, feel free to leave a comment below!