Anet has had quite the streak in not following up on their word since the start of 2018. Between alliances and promising more communication on balance patches last February, the developers have been infuriatingly silent on both of those fronts. Now I would have been excited with Cantha's "announcement" back a couple months ago, but considering anet's track record on slowly or never releasing updates on these type of things, this looks like a desperate attempt at keeping interest in the game and we probably won't see them "laying the groundwork" on it until we are well into the decade. So in this post, I'm going to share how the constant silence and letting my frustrations fester caused anet's words mean nothing to me now.
Let's look at exhibit A: Alliances - In the first announcement 2.5 years ago, Gaile Gray (an employee laid off last year) stated that alliances would be a long term project, which is fine as I don't think anyone expected it to come out within a year (despite Gaile saying that it will take "several months of work"). Now the last official update before progress on it went silent was around 10 months after the first announcement. As of today, we are coming up on 17 months of no alliances updates. Worse yet, in their "expansion level" ice brood content announcement on August 30, 2019, they stated that they are "really excited to talk about world restructuring in the coming months." Well it's been almost 10 months now without any talk on Alliances so what exactly is anet's definition of "coming months". We know according to Gaile Gray that their definition of "several" is apparently at least 17 months.
Now exhibit B: The balance patch nuke on February 25, 2020 - This patch brought actually significant changes to nearly all professions and considering how lackluster previous balance patches were, it was a nice breath of fresh air. The problem is, the changes were heavily targeted towards power damage ratios and MANY people were concerned that it would push the meta back towards the rather tedious and frustrating bunker condi meta..which it did. To match these concerns, the devs stated in a twitch stream (https://clips.twitch.tv/HedonisticFunWolfPogChamp) that "whatever the problems are, we're going to get in there and it's not going to be 3 months until the next balance patch". Now to give them credit, they have released balance changes more frequently as they said in this announcement, with the 3 mini balance patches we've had since February releasing anywhere from 3-6 weeks after the last one. The issue is, there has not since been a "regular balance update" and the combined changes of these 3 mini balance patches have actually less changes than the regular 3 month balance patches beforehand (around 51 changes in March 17, April 28 and May 26 to 115 changes in October 1, 2019). Another thing to note is that the changes from those 3 patches did little to impact the meta that rose from the February 25 nuke. PvP still has bunker core ranger, condi thief, and condi rev as highly optimal builds while none of these changes have made any significant influence on zerg and roaming specs.
Although I understand that the COVID-19 pandemic must have affected development progress, but in anet's official announcement on COVID-19, they stated "We’re making steady progress on all our planned Guild Wars 2 releases, and we’ll keep everyone up to date if that changes." The fact that they haven't released the end of PvP season balance patch last week nor gave any reason why it was not released only proves that they once again didn't keep their word.
Anet I don't know what to tell you, I love the combat system, the world you have built, and you've done some pretty amazing things recently in PvE. But if the PvP and WvW communities are still large enough to take up a significant fraction of your player base, then you need to start establishing a positive relationship with a lot more transparency or you will risk losing these dedicated players.
TLDR: Take everything anet announces with a grain of salt because it will mostly likely come very late or won't even come at all
WHAT?!? Did you expect something special would be written here