Friday, August 14, 2009

ArenaNet Fail

This is something that has been bugging me, and I'm sure several others over the past couple months. ArenaNet seems to be unable to meet deadlines or even keep up with routine maintenance.

The latest of ArenaNet's offenses has been the Test Krewe page. They enlist players to play around with updates on a test server before it was pushed out to the live one. Cool. The problem? Apparently they don't know how to write PHP! Basic form validation was completely absent, people who used hard returns, too many characters, or certain punctuation broke the page. Come on people, this is basic stuff. They took it down until it could be fixed the same day it was up (Aug 11) and its still down. Yet again, ANet kept the community in the dark. While there was a post by Regina Buenaobra buried in Guild Wars Guru, if you navigate to the page today, you will just get the message "We're sorry, the page you requested could not be found." How hard would it have been to put a message saying "We know this page is broke, we're fixing it". As usual, there is no time estimate whatsoever for when the page will be back up.

Another example of their apparent complete lack of even basic web dev skills was the whole Xunlai Tournament House fiasco. The page was taken down June 23 because of problems with the distribution of the points for May. It's now been 2 months and there is no word on its status. There are players who still haven't gotten their points. Another 'It'll be done when it's done' deals.

GW2 news, plz. I know, I know, everyone who plays Guild Wars would love to have some tasty morsel of information regarding Guild Wars 2 and ArenaNet doesn't want to jump the gun (though I think they already did by suggesting a beta in 2008 then reneging on it). I think especially in the light that there won't be a beta, players would much appreciate a blog or something where once or twice a month SOMETHING is posted about GW2. Maybe its an idea they have for a profession. Maybe its some kind of rough sense of progress (1/2, 2/3, etc). It doesn't have to be much. It doesn't have to be written in stone. Just something to let us know we aren't forgotten, and that GW2 is still making progress.

While this is a problem that is not unique to Guild Wars, I'd really like to see community involvement. Take a look at GuildWarsGuru, there are several threads full of ideas people have for making the sequel kickass. Why not find a way to incorporate these in some way? Maybe even respond to some of them?

It seems to me that ANet is short-staff and/or over-tasked and anachronistic in its communication. I know they're probably working on a tighter budget than some other game companies (though their quarterly report shows increased sales (up 51%), and growth in Guild Wars), but would it really be that expensive to be more open with your customers?

I'm kinda mad.

---Oh, and $20 is too much for character renames.