I’m not a big fan of April Fools Day. I don’t think it’s right to play tricks on people. Yet, when Guild Wars gets into their holiday mode, it’s usually pretty cool. Today, I logged into Guild Wars to see what ArenaNet cooked up. I watched the progress bar. New content was being downloaded. What could it be? The anticipation was building. My main (and only) character “TANK” was left in Gunnar’s Hold. The map was loading. I could see it. The zone was starting to load, but I couldn’t see the people? Oh, the game is still loading. OK… a few more seconds would do it… what would I see? What would ArenaNet do this year? Loading… loading… loading… AH HA… that’s cute.
For this year’s April Fools Day, players are miniaturized.
I remember shrink potions from back when I played EverQuest. They were pretty handy, as the potions could be used to get a fat troll or ogre unstuck from a cramped dungeon. They were also fun to use around a crowd of people. I liked to watch the player reactions. It was as if you could see their though process… “Why is this player so small?”
That same bewilderment has stuck Guild Wars. Players not realizing ArenaNet’s history, or the date on the calendar, might not understand what happened to their character. I’ve seen two basic reactions… confusion or disappointment. Players that know about ArenaNet and April Fools Day might have been expecting something more. Meeting high expectations seems to be one of ArenaNet’s biggest challenges. Personally, I was expecting something more interesting. While miniaturization is kinda fun, I think that I enjoyed last year’s event a bit more. ArenaNet turned the players into Plush Gwen Dolls. I’m not sure, but I’m thinking that my Plush Gwen Contest might have been inspiration for it.
2009 was my favorite Guild Wars April Fools Day event. It energized me. It felt like recognition for my hard work on my Guild Wars fansite. I was looking for that same type of excitement this year. But unfortunately, it seems that ArenaNet is focused on Guild Wars 2.
Although, despite expectations, this year’s shrink mode is on par with previous events. One year, ArenaNet simply reversed the player’s gender. As far as the game is concerned, that’s just one piece of data to switch. That’s not really a challenging thing to do at all.
I thought that the 2008 was great. Players were in stick-figure mode. This especially worked out for me as my video card had burned out. I was stuck using my computer’s built-in video support for graphics. Heh, but the low-res game mode wasn’t permanent… and ultimately, I upgraded my computer anyway.
Will Guild Wars 4/1/2011 be in the sequel, or will ArenaNet’s biggest trick (even if unintentional) still continue? I thought that we’d at least be beta testing GW2 by now. Considering the sensitive state that the community is in now… with comparisons of GW2 to Duke Nukem… should ArenaNet even be honoring a silly holiday? Again, ArenaNet has to manage expectations. If they did nothing, that would disappoint the community.
I think that the shrink mode is pretty cool. This seems like an opportunity for ArenaNet to introduce another party item. Oh, and I checked. I don’t think that shrink mode can be used for exploits. It doesn’t work in PvE or PvP areas… only in towns and outposts… like your Guild hall or Gunnar’s Hold.