An Improved Understanding of Geography

Today, quggan learned that the world has glowing blue splotches all over...

Just a quick note to say that I was mildly surprised to see TERA show up on Steam today.

I’d written it off three years ago when they decided to enforce a broad swathe of region-locking that essentially eliminated continents from playing their game.

A policy like that gave the impression that their decision-makers were either racist xenophobes or just failed geography in high school.

A little idle surfing in the Steam discussion thread today, and it appears that some marginal improvement has been made in the intervening years.

Russia has been removed from the support FAQ, although Asia, Africa and the Middle East are still listed.

Then as an additional qualifier, another link leads to a page of specific countries that are allowed access:

The following regions and countries are able to access the En Masse North American Servers: North America, South America, Europe, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Northern Mariana Islands, Malta, Netherland Antilles, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, and Georgia.

Gotta give credit where it’s due, they managed to make specific exceptions for South America, Oceania, a couple of Asian countries, one Middle-Eastern country, and several transcontinental countries.

Well, it’s not an A+ in geography or the complete lack of any region-block whatsoever, but at least it’s not a failing grade anymore.

And maybe, just maybe, I might actually get around to giving their game a try now (assuming it works in Steam and doesn’t mysteriously disappear from sight in a couple days’ time because “oops, we didn’t actually mean to unlock it in your region, our improved cultural understanding was really a bug… all Asians are hackers and gold farmers, after all…”)

NBI Random Topic Prompts!

  • Your thoughts on region-locking games
  • Argue the opposite position of your opinion on region-locking (because why not, it intellectually stretches a person to do that.)
  • Your in-game encounters with folks from different countries, good or bad (any cultural tendencies that you’ve noticed?)

GW2: Post-Patch Piranha Bend Much Improved

Fairly elegantly too, imo, for such a swift turn-around time.

The place now aesthetically looks like a dangerous cascade of rocks and timber has just fallen across the rapids, but the fake difficulty aspect of the malfunctioning water spouts has been removed and is now markedly more reasonable to navigate for Normal Mode.

The task of timing jumps carefully and short hops from rock to rock is still there, in less time critical form, by the presence of piranha leaping from the rapids potentially blocking your next jump to a rock.

It is surprising how a small change like the removal of rapid water doing damage can have a big effect. The knockdown is still present, but less violent. This promotes a determined striving to fight the force of the water and recover to the next safe spot – preferably before getting knocked into turtles or crocodiles which DO do damage or flung off a waterfall into the abyss should you reach the end of the rapids.

Big change from how one just used to helplessly fling hands in the air and give up and let the water kill you slooowly because you were either flung back too far past a checkpoint or had a good chance of dying before managing to clamber onto dry land.

As usual, any adjustment to difficulty has brought out the opposite end of the spectrum, determined to verbally fight to the death to keep things exclusive, hardcore and thus somehow more prestigious to their eye.

It’s a little sad that the changes to normal mode apparently echoed into tribulation mode as well, as both factions seemed quite happy to stay in their respective variable difficulties in general (beyond a few trolls just out looking for forum fights.)

But you know, this is real time MMO design. Game has limitations. Engine has limitations. Hotfixes are hotfixes. The inexorable pressure of the Living Story waits for no one – dev or player. It’s really easy to type out ideal dreams in a paragraph, now you try actually doing it in a couple days and run it by QA and all that, with as swift turnaround as Josh managed.

(I expect further tinkering and polish to World 2 will sneakily turn up when the SAB next hits with World 3. After all, there did seem to be a polish pass here and there on World 1 this time around too.)

Personally, I’m impressed. I haven’t seen this level of dev involvement and interaction since the early heydays of City of Heroes.

For those of you who have been holding back or having trouble on SAB World 2, this is a good time to try out normal mode. 2-1 at least has gotten to a very sane and reasonable level.

I don’t know if the decision to tweak was made on the basis of greatest good for the greatest number (ie. allow more people to actually try and enjoy special content) or simply continuing to move closer towards the original design intent, but I’m sure happy it was done.

Let the trolls throw their tantrums. Guild Wars 2 was never meant to be a game celebrating exclusivity. World of Warcraft elitism and cutthroat competition is over that way.