Is the Guild Wars 2 culling problem in World vs. World about to be solved?
That’s the claim made by ArenaNet developer Habib Loew in the most recent GW2 blog post, fittingly titled “The End of Culling.” Loew reminds everyone that culling — meaning the client not reporting nearby characters — will be removed in the March patch.
But the reason culling existed in the first place was to reduce bandwidth and help the game run more smoothly. So if all those characters are now going to be reported to the client, how will ArenaNet prevent the game from running like molasses?
Players will have the option of three settings for determining whether characters render in large fights. They are, as Loew describes:
- High resolution models - These are the high-res character models that you’re all already familiar with.
- Lower resolution fallback models - These are the models that we’ve been using as placeholders in WvW while the hi-res models load. They differ depending on race and armor class, though human, sylvari, and norn share the same model.
- Nameplates only - We don’t render the model at all and instead only show the nameplate for that character.
Players can set how many nearby characters render with a model and how many with a nameplate and the quality of those models.
TL;DR: You likely won’t see every character in a big fight, rendered in stunningly beautiful graphic detail, but you’ll at least have some indicator — even if it’s just a nameplate — that they’re there, so you can select them to attack… or just run away, if you’re a coward.
On the one hand, this implementation seems to fix the issue, at least in terms of functionality. But it’s also a little sad that the dev team has to sacrifice some of the beauty and grace of their artistic design to make it work.
What do you think? Does this solution for culling satisfy you?