MMO patch promotion: two approaches

Both Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft will be launching patches late August by the looks of things (WoW’s might end up a bit later).  For GW2 this is the one year anniversary patch entitled ‘The Queen’s Speech’. For WoW this is 5.4 The Siege of Orgrimmar.  Both have taken different approaches.  Please be aware, this particular GW2 patch is not representative of all their patches – a lot more mystery is involved.

Blizzard’s Cinematic Trailer
Blizzard do a good cinematic trailer.  Even the non-WoW players around have been noticing.  This one is particularly good, in my opinion.  Even the raid clips are firmly routed in a piece of dialogue and the new raid is set up beautifully.  Accompanying this is a suite of interviews with fan sites that seems to increase with each patch and a series of blog posts setting up new content.  All in all, its making me look forward to the patch.

Guild Wars 2’s mysterious villain
The Guild Wars 2 approach is normally to release details of the patch around a week before (given they have a two week patch cycle, this is fairly equivalent notice really) with a post.  Then, the day before release, there will be a live stream by the developers.  There may also be some interviews, although the engagement of ArenaNet with fan sites is less tied to patches.

Not this time!

The post arrived announcing … that Queen Jennah would give a speech.  Now we all know thats not the extent of the content, but no one knows what the content is.  That was the first teaser and it was fairly effective.  Then …

vandalism

Vandalism!  This was followed by several of the fan sites receiving a package.  Nothing new there.  For Dragon Bash ArenaNet sent out dragon pinatas.  For the election, they sent out campaign materials.  However, this time they sent a pocket watch along with a mysterious poem:

Tick tock goes the clock
It’s almost time for time to stop
Something you all must understand
Your world is built on fog and sand

You’re out of time, your jig is done
It’s time for Scarlet to have her fun
She has some hard lessons to teach
To the people of Divinity’s Reach

So mark the date in permanent ink
The hour is later than you think
On the twentieth day she’ll start her games
And warm her hands over Kryta’s flames!

Make of that what you will!  Reddit are picking it apart as we speak.  I’m hoping to see the return of Marjory Delaqua for this patch in some way, personally.

Both different approaches, but both are making me want to play their respective games.  It just goes to show that there isn’t a ‘right’ way to make an MMO.

MMO Guides: Cheating vs Enabling

When new content appears in Guild Wars 2 or SWTOR, there is always a guide on Dulfy to go with it.  The debate every player faces is this: do I use the guide or do I attempt to do the achievement without it?  And when you raid in WoW, do you read up in advance or do you go in blind?  Do you build your own toon and rotation or use a guide?

There is definitely a feeling that you are achieving more if you do not use the guide, and I understand this point of view.  I also agree that in some games (not Guild Wars 2 as much as others) the guide means you burn through content quickly and end up sitting around with very little to do.

That being said, I use the guides.  There are two main reasons for this.  The first is time: I lack it.  If I had just one MMO I might use guides less.  If I had less to do, I might use guides less.  Especially in Guild Wars 2, with its two week windows for achievements, I could easily never find all the solutions in time.

The second is a responsibility to others in group play.  In the case of raiding guides, for example, if I turn up without the knowledge others have, I am letting them down.  Of course we could decide as a group not to read the guides at all.  However, that is only an option if you are confident that your group will get there without these.  Which brings us back to time, and a lack of it.  You’ll notice that in the guides I write, I focus on trying to get information to people quickly.

If you read some posts, you would be made to feel like you were somehow a lesser player for using guides.  Don’t believe the hype!  Guides enable you to engage with content you would not otherwise get to see.  It isn’t the case that I would get there eventually without some of the guides I use.  Personally, I see using guides as using brains instead of time.

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