Monday Guild Wars 2 Update: Annoying Problems Continue

I am starting to feel like a broken record. Instead of telling gamers about all the great things in Guild Wars 2, I have the sad duty to report daily on the problems affecting the game. We are more than a week into the official launch, and I must inform our readers that most of the issues have not been fixed.

We know that ArenaNet is trying their best, but some of the problems are starting to have a major impact on our enjoyment of the game. In particular, the fact that the Auction House is still not functioning properly is a serious issue for many players. It makes crafting a massive waste of precious time when we have to farm all our mats instead of buying them on the Auction House.

The first weeks after launch are the period when players focus primarily on leveling, and spending valuable hours gathering crafting mats can cause a player to fall behind their friends and guild-mates. It is especially upsetting for players who are in a guild because everyone wants to get to level 80 quickly in order to earn a spot in raids or to help their guild succeed in PVP.

Another major concern about the broken Auction House is the lack of availability of better gear. Players really depend on the auction house to upgrade their items as they level. Even though Guild Wars 2 is much less gear dependent than many games, without an Auction House, quite a few players are running around with armor, weapons, and accessories that are way below their character level. We can buy gear with Karma points, but we should be saving them for level 40 when we can get our first set of Tier 1 armor and weapons. To waste Karma points now to upgrade our equipment will only hurt us later.

The security issues that are plaguing the game is very troubling. Obviously, ArenaNet can not be held responsible for the malice of others, but the number of attacks being waged against Guild Wars 2 is unprecedented in the history of online gaming. There have been constant issues with email verification, password reset, and the address change feature, all of which have apparently been targets of hackers.

The hacking situation has gotten quite out of hand, and ArenaNet had to disable players ability to reset their passwords. On Sunday, there was a truly frightening attempt to breech the email accounts of players. So many email accounts were possibly compromised that ArenaNet sent out thousands of warning emails. Unfortunately, many of them went to people who don’t even play Guild Wars 2.

Here is the official explanation of the incident:

Scanning Accounts Email Spam”

“Yesterday, three malicious users each changed the account names of their own Guild Wars 2 accounts thousands of times, scanning through lists of email addresses stolen from other games and web sites, presumably to determine which email addresses were available (not already used for a Guild Wars 2 account) and which were taken. It obviously shouldn’t be possible to change your own account name so frequently. We temporarily disabled account name changes and have now restored but limited them to prevent this.”

“To the thousands of people who received emails stating, “the email address for your Guild Wars account has been changed,” and are not even our customers, we sincerely apologize for the spam. Please be aware that your email address is on a list of account credentials that hackers have apparently stolen from other games and web sites and are systematically scanning.”

“To Guild Wars 2 customers whose email addresses are being tested by hackers but not stolen, thank you for protecting your account by choosing a new, unique password for Guild Wars 2. Even though your unique password should protect you, we think you deserve to know if hackers have your email address on their list of credentials stolen from other games and web sites, so we’ll send you periodic notifications when we see hackers testing your account.”

The are still several other problems that are sending players up the wall with frustration. PVP tournaments continue to suffer from outages, and there have been issues receiving rewards from the tournaments. Transferring between games worlds remains problematic, and even character creation and deletion is malfunctioning. The only major issue that appears to be seeing any progress are the dungeon instances. We were able to enter the dungeons today and complete them.

To be absolutely blunt, it is now 10 days since the early access launch, and the only thing that is working dependably is questing. A large percentage of the player community decided to play Guild Wars 2 specifically for the Hot Join Games and WvW combat, and they are being asked to tolerate broken tournaments, problems with world transfers, and all the other issues that can have a major impact on PVP. How much longer they will put up with a semi functional game before they go and play something else is anyone’s guess.

At this point, ArenaNet might be better off scheduling an extended maintenance and clearing out the servers for 12 hours to get things working properly. I am sure the player community would not object if it would help get a handle on the problems. As for the security issues, the best way to deal with them would be to offer players the option to purchase an authenticator. They are probably the best solution to protecting accounts against hackers.

That’s about it for this update. I will be back later with more news. Check back often for regular reports on Guild Wars 2, and be sure to watch for our in-depth coverage of the launch of World Of Warcraft Mists Of Pandaria.