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Just a quick post after a long day at work. I’ll save both my wisdom from running around in Guild Wars 2, and my thoughts on the news that City of Heroes is flying off into the four-colour sunset, for another time. Instead, I thought I’d try to bring a little perspective to the Internet. Yeah, like that will ever happen.

If you care enough about MMOs to read an obscure blog like this, you’re bound to be aware A) that Guild Wars 2 launched last week, and B) that the launch was not without issues. You may also be aware that C) ArenaNet have both been fairly liberal with the ban stick and not shy about explaining why. Depending on your perspective, it’s either been a brilliant launch or you may be one of those people describing it as “epic fail” and “worst. launch. ever” by a bunch of humourless Nazis who took players money and then banned them from the game for the developers’ own mistake.

Understanding, as my good friend Ambassador Kosh was wont to say, is a three-edged sword. In Internet terms that means the rabid fans, the trolls and something remotely resembling reality. It most definitely is not a perfect launch. If I want an example of a perfect launch, I look at Rift. GW2 had a significant outage during which people couldn’t log in the first day, and then another one last weekend when they enabled email authentication on all accounts but the server that sent out the authentication emails stopped working, resulting in a load of customers who couldn’t progress into the game until they had clicked on a link in an email they never received. Oops. On top of that the entire trading post system has been down for most players for most of the week, so we can file the current state of the economy under “Economy? What Economy?” Oh, and the mail system was taken down for a while to fix an exploit, and players have been discovering the limitations of playing in ‘overflow servers’ when their home server is full (no WvW, and some issues with grouping up across servers). Plus, you know, a bunch of people got banned for exploiting a vendor for selling weapons at 1/1000 normal price (the ban stick was only used on people who bought over 50 weapons for resale/salvaging, so “I didn’t realise it was an exploit” doesn’t really hold water), for naming their character “verybigballsackk” or for the whole referring to people as “you fuckasses” thing – a clear miscarriage of justice if ever I’ve seen one.

On the other hand – I, and the rest of the players, actually got to play the game every day, including the first one. That’s far from guaranteed on launch day. There was very little staring at a “server down” message and no “you are 438 in the queue. Estimated wait: 2 hours”. Maybe I couldn’t dump stuff on the trading post and the queue to get into the virtual Valhalla of World vs World is insanely long, especially as you can’t access it during that semi-exile to the overflow… but I was still free to run around Tyria exploring, killing centaurs, stopping bandits from poisoning the reservoir, throwing snowballs at Norn kids, discovering weaponsmithing recipes at the crafting station and trying to get to that last [expurgated] vista in Metrica Province… and didn’t I feel a fool when I found the path to it I’d walked past half a dozen times. I got to play the game, and the game was good.

So yeah. Not perfect, but good enough for me. Worst launch ever? Have you kids even LIVED? And as for the bans – looks to me that ArenaNet are working hard to nudge players towards their definition of acceptable behaviour, instead of letting the player base settle to the level of the lowest common denominator… like WoW. I really, REALLY don’t have a problem with that.

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