Java Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Java RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network RuneScape 3 announced; causes high school flashbacks Sat, 23 Mar 2013 11:06:28 -0400 EdibleKnife

Think back to the turn of the century. Arguably, if you were steeped in video game culture by then, you'd most likely remember the popular MMO RuneScape. Heck, you might even still be playing it.

Well, developer Jagex Ltd. has announced the next big overhaul to the game since 2008, RuneScape 3. As mainly an engine improvement, current players won't need a brand new account. The game will utilize HTML5 and webGL for smoother running and enriched graphics. People with older PC setups are still free to use Java if that's their preference. All fans will be able to play it by Summer 2013.

Jagex has promised to expose more soon, but they've made the video above to report the basics.

Thanks to Massively by Joystiq &

Guild Wars 2: The State of the Game Summary (Part 3) Mon, 07 Jan 2013 01:21:06 -0500 Wokendreamer

Editor's Note: This is the last of a 3 part series. Miss the earlier installments? Check them out: Part 1 - Part 2

Ability balance

Discussion ensues about ability balance in general, noting that certain abilities are being debated as possibly being too powerful in Guild Wars 2's PvP when these top-tier players think that balance would be better focused taking the skills that are not currently viable to take into PvP, of which every class has many, and making them viable choices to try and help minimize the trend of considering one given build to be strongest.

Agreement was had, however, that evading skills being usable while immobilized is a problem that should be fixed, while full condition-damage teams are not viable against anything but a very specific team composition.

Of the players

The question was then put out asking what the players in the chat would change if they could implement whatever changes they wanted into Guild Wars 2 and put them immediately into effect.  Java stated that he feels there are too many issues that could not be instantly fixed to pick anything, that the game has a great deal of issues in its basic interface and how it runs PvP that would need to be fixed gradually.

Vain, for his part, specified that he'd like the game to have more skill shots in more classes to raise the overall skill cap of the game, would like the game's bugs to be handled faster when discovered, would like to hear more about what is currently being worked on, and he also thinks that character swapping in mid-tournament should be locked to prevent players from specifically trying to counter their opposing team after the tourney has already started.

Helseth very definitely wanted a viable solo-queue in the game, specifically to be able to play alone or with a single friend (not having a full team) and being able to be competitive, which leads into a larger discussion about how long it will take the game to achieve certain basic objectives in the format for the tournaments, agreeing that Arenanet needs to do better at keeping people informed about when they can expect updates.

Grouch's idea on what he would change would be to make the game's PvP, the Mists itself, a free to play game.  This would immediately attract a great many new players, which would rapidly boost the amount of people and the amount of voluntary money brought in, giving Arenanet more incentive to make the necessary changes rapidly.  The agreement on that idea was simply that Guild Wars 2 needs to make its PvP profitable.

In closing

The game is in a fairly good place, in terms of balance.  Obviously it has some abilities that are stronger than others, but the classes are largely balanced, with even the classes that are not seen often at high-level competitive play still being useful, just with more specific teams or roles.  Once Guild Wars 2's interface and PvP management gets up to speed, it should be explosive.

State of the Game should be occuring monthly, with Arenanet having a member of its development team present for the next one.  Stay tuned!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 


Guild Wars 2: The State of the Game Summary (Part 2) Sun, 06 Jan 2013 22:49:47 -0500 Wokendreamer

Editor's Note: This is part 2 in a 3 part series. Miss the first one? Start here: Part 1

Tournaments and ELO

The second part immediately kicks off with discussion about the difficulties of applying an ELO system to rank players to Guild Wars 2's tournament modes.  The way ELO generally works is, at its simplest, a number that rises each time a game is won and falls each time a game is lost, with players with a similar ELO number being matched together to play hopefully-balanced games.

The problem with applying this to Guild Wars 2 is that the tournaments in the game are single-elimination affairs, meaning one team will win three times while each other team will only lose once each, so the teams that regularly win tournaments will gain ELO far faster than teams that win in the first or second round and then lose before the end.

The suggested way of applying an ELO system would demand the ability to queue up for a single-map game, keeping wins and losses more evenly weighted.

Cost of competition

Grouch also brings up another hurdle that new PvP teams face in the costs associated with entering the paid tournaments that actually earn recognition.  Only half of the cost that the various teams put into a given tournament is won at the end as prizes, and that only to top couple of teams.

This constant expense of playing means that new teams or teams that are not yet able to win high-level tournaments from the start are going to be either spending hours farming free tournaments or paying a lot of money to enter these tournaments just to lose.

Suggested fixes in the streamchat include lowering the cost of the entry and then offering players cosmetic upgrades to buy in a similar vein as League of Legends or Heroes of Newearth or eliminating the tickets required for paid tournaments entirely.

This led into discussion of the lack of interest in the few costumes that Guild Wars 2 does have available to purchase in their gem shop, and the fact that gems being possible to be earned in game and those costumes not being usable in PvP is a bad move that Arenanet needs to reconsider.

Technical difficulties

Another hurdle for new players trying to get into the game is the interface.  The default hotkeys for the abilities in game are the numbers one through nine.  Experienced players change those hotkeys to things they are more comfortable with, but a player just starting out doesn't have the knowledge or practice to be as adept at switching those keys to something more comfortable and the defaults are simply too unwieldy to be competitive.

Grouch does turn things back around on the others by pointing out that the top tier of players need to remember that a competitive game needs a casual player base in order to sustain a competitive environment.  A game cannot be an e-sport if it doesn't have anyone who wants to watch it, and Guild Wars 2 needs to remember its casual base.


Discussion turns to the game's current meta and what is or is not essential to a working team.  Of the classes in Guild Wars 2, while Guardians and Thieves were both brought up, the one class that everyone agreed was most essential was a Mesmer with the portal ability.  The mobility the skill grants, with the ability to cross virtually the entire map, enabling lop-sided battles while still being able to return to a point if the enemy tries to take it while unattended is strong enough to make not simply the class but the ability itself essential.

While they agree for the most part that the game is not in a static meta, with team compositions being far more mutable than in games like League of Legends and still being viable, they also acknowledge that this is partly because Arenanet has not given any real indication of what direction they intend to direct the game in the future, and that Guild Wars 2's PvP being given a specific direction (either to small skirmishes or big 5v5 fights) will make a huge difference to the game's meta.

They touch back on the different rez skills, having agreed in the last streamchat that they were too strong.  Now that the utility skills cannot be swapped, however, the players largely agreed that those few skills that can revive downed allies are, if anything, too weak now, as they generally have long cooldowns and give little or no benefit otherwise, and skilled teams can now simply target the character with the rez first.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Guild Wars 2: The State of the Game Summary (Part 1) Sun, 06 Jan 2013 20:58:03 -0500 Wokendreamer

It's a good idea to pay attention to your top players if you're looking to make your game into a serious e-sport.  Guild Wars 2 is looking to do exactly that, as we saw fairly recently.  Now we've got another livestream discussion between several of the game's top players as they analyze what shape the PvP side of the game is in now.

In the streamchat were Grouch from Guild Wars 2 Guru, Java from the North American Team PZ, Vain from QT (also North America), and Helseth from Curse EU.


The first topic up this time is discussion about the focus of Arenanet's updates, specifically the idea that they will be updating the game's PvP with an actual matchmaking system before private servers will be implemented.  While at the highest level of play, the private servers would be useful in letting top-level competitive teams scrimmage against each other and practice against opponents they can know will be a challenge, they admit that the game itself needs a matchmaking system first.

The game has a high learning curve for its PvP, and it can be something players are immediately thrown into, since one doesn't need to level a character through the entire game, what Helseth (one of the players in the streamchat) calls an effective class tutorial, in order to be playing in the PvP arenas.  This makes the initial experience much harsher on a player who doesn't know what they're doing yet, but also lacking a matchmaking service means that inexperienced player could be put up against a professionally-sponsored team in his or her first game.

Breaking into the game

On top of that, because there is no matchmaking service, it's impossible for a lone player who is extremely skilled but lacking a team to play consistently with the kind of people who are similarly skilled, and in a five-player team that leaves a lot of room for that skilled player to find himself unable to win games against opponents that he or she should be able to beat.

A player needs a team to be competitive, but needs to be noticed to be competitive before a team will take any notice of them.  Matchmaking wouldn't immediately fix this issue, but would help lessen it, making it more likely for a skilled and experienced player to be paired with other similarly experienced players.

Adding in leaderboards would give yet another way for these players to be noticed, and that's another idea that has been discussed for Guild Wars 2.

The players were all in agreement that while a spectator mode is obviously necessary eventually, that it should not be anywhere near a top priority until true matchmaking and ranking tracking is implemented, citing the limited information someone can get watching a game without being able to hear the players interacting with each other.  They also agreed that dueling should not be a priority.

Weapon Swap Locks

The next major issue discussed was the recent change to prohibit players from changing their weapons or utility skills once the game starts.  While none of the players can particularly understand why exactly the change was made, they all agreed that it surprised them and that they dislike it (except for Grouch), pointing out that it makes certain classes extremely static in how they build because they can no longer swap out for more niche abilities without sacrificing their primarily viable combat capabilities.

The hypothesis on why is that the change lowers the upper skill-ceiling of Guild Wars 2 PvP, which then promotes counter-picking team compositions rather than learning greater flexibility in the class being played as a whole regardless of build.  Focus on counter-picking means learning what your opponent plays and rather than having to out-play them, simply picking the classes and builds that beat them, winning in the roster before ever reaching the battlefield.

Mesmer Changes

Mesmers got some fairly significant changes, recently, most notably a fix to an exploit whereby a Mesmer could get single illusions to proc multiple shatter effects.  The traits that were in the game to allow players to gain stacks of might and apply stacks of confusion to enemies for each illusion shattered.

By combining abilities together in a certain string, Mesmers could get one single stack below the maximum possible number of might stacks every time they activated their macro, giving them a huge amount of damage, particularly when the confusion they also applied to enemies was stacked similarly high and did more damage because of the might stacks.

The fix is acknowledged as temporary until Arenanet can come up with a more permanent solution for Guild Wars 2's Mesmers, but is an important one and one that all the players in the stream agreed needed to be done.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3