[GW2] Weekend WvW: Demoralized Populations

For Isle of Janthir (NA Silver), this is one of the three weeks of Season One when we are not pitted against the Big Two of Fort Aspenwood or Stormbluff Isle. We are, however, again pitted against #3 (Yak’s Bend) and doing so with a population that has been beaten down by pre-season transfers and guaranteed losses.

All three of our relatively easy weeks pit us against North Shiverpeaks. This is potentially one of the more interesting competitions in NA Silver because we are unarguably the #8 and #9 servers in the league, but it remains an open question which is #9. North Shiverpeaks beat Isle of Janthir in Week One, and Isle of Janthir is ahead as I post this. Given that neither server has much chance to beat any other server in NA Silver, the competition for last place is best two of three, with Week Seven being that tiebreaker.

The potential interest of that competition is lowered because Yak’s Bend can pick which server loses by more. It is a given that neither server can challenge Yak’s Bend in terms of points per turn, which is to say in terms of WvW population and time zone coverage. I cannot imagine that there is a consensus on Yak’s Bend of which server to hit more, so whichever happens to garner the big server’s attention will probably have a lower score. Ironically, I expect that to be the server that tries harder in WvW. If no one shows up, you quickly sweep the map and move on. It is boring to take unmanned keeps (PvD) or to have 30 people camping a spawn versus 10 trying to get out. (Which is not to say that YB did not do that this weekend…) If there are good fights and more than token opposition, the zerg stays in that borderland or corner of the Eternal Battlegrounds, and then the less populated server quietly retakes its undefended territory. Or maybe you always go for easier prey. I could be wrong, but WvW players usually seem more interested in bags than strategy.

I was playing outside NA prime time, and Yak’s Bend was fielding a WvW population that outnumbered both servers at the same time. I could not see how it looked from North Shiverpeaks, but all four maps were heavily blue. At a rough count of the main forces, we were outnumbered two-to-one in our borderlands and three-to-one in the Eternal Battlegrounds, and that was while Yak’s Bend was still holding the other two borderlands and the formerly green corner of EB. I forget whether we had the Outnumbered buff in our borderlands, but we did in EB. (Checking last night: Outnumbered in our own borderlands.)

This presents another irony: if the other opposing server were bigger, we would be doing better. Neither North Shiverpeaks nor Isle of Janthir presents enough of a threat to create an opening for the other. Replace either with one of the more middling teams in NA Silver and Yak’s Bend does not have enough population to hold all four maps at once. They cannot spare 30 people to camp a spawn. With someone hitting them on the other side, we would have breathing room to retake a bit of territory and stay in the fight.

As it is, Season One has taught IoJ’s less-than-hardcore WvWers not to bother. We are below the critical mass necessary to do much but roam and take small, undefended objectives. (Even lightly defended objectives in enemy territory are dodgy when one scout can call in an undefeatable horde.) At that point, low population becomes a self-sustaining equilibrium: enter WvW, get rolled by at least two-to-one numbers a few times, go back to PvE. At peak times, we might field a decent number while the enemy is limited by queues, but we have no realistic chance of fighting the main enemy force with anything approaching even numbers. We do not have enough bodies to form a “blob” if we wanted to. That is the other side of the uneven matchups: were it closer, it would be easier to drum up enthusiasm and keep the match close.

Besides, the less WvW-focused players completed their Season One PvE in WvW achievements already or can wait for the easier week ahead, and the reward for last place is exactly the same as the reward for next-to-last or fifth place. You will still hear contingents saying they are there for the fights rather than the rewards, but how often do you get a good fight with large population disparities? Occasionally your group might find a fight that is not a blowout, but mostly you are fighting doors or running from a blob of two to six times your number.

This concludes the weekend coverage of WvW Season One from the bottom of NA Silver.

: Zubon

10 thoughts on “[GW2] Weekend WvW: Demoralized Populations”

    1. Way to smack down an already demoralized soul further. :)

      Ah, morale and leadership, those completely unpredictable factors that made me decide a while back to treat WvW casually and go hardcore in areas more under one’s personal control instead – better for wealth accumulation than the other way around.

    2. I’ll paraphrase that post as “WvW is much more popular now that the pesky PvP component is gone and we get bigger rewards for fighting doors.” A good fight is one they have no chance of losing unless they are ridiculously inexperienced and sloppy, and even then overwhelming numbers and resources let them brute force past the token opposition.

      We are basically agreeing, except that I see it as a bad thing. PvE Achievers already have every other map in the game; converting WvW to PvE Achiever content will certainly be more popular than PvP, but it seems to defeat the purpose of having WvW. I am morbidly curious about how sPvP will be converted to PvE Achiever content (beyond the daily achievements).

  1. I don’t actually have a strong personal opinion on whether WvW is more “fun” when it’s primarily about fighting other players or fighting NPCs and inanimate objects. I’ve done a lot of both, playing under all the various systems and mechanics we’ve had since launch and my feeling is that, as always, the fun is where you find it. A hard fight against overwhelming odds is fun, even when you lose, as is an easy run with great rewards and little opposition. The problem IoJ has been having is that they only get the former and that wears you down. Yak’s Bend had two solid months like that last spring under the old system and by the end even the hardcore WvW players were barely coping. Similarly, I think most if not all regular WvW players on YB would be pretty fed up if we had many weeks like this one.

    Then there are a couple of factors going on in this match that I alluded to in my post, which do make it a somewhat atypical week, even for a numerical mismatch on this scale. I don’t want to give away any intel, not that I know anything more than what’s openly discussed in map and team chat, but it’s no secret that Yak’s Bend focused NSP at the start of the match, waypointed their borderland and kept it that way for most of the weekend. That wasn’t a random act. I’m not privy to the reasoning behind it, but only last night questions were raised in /team about where our focus for the week lay and it was confirmed still to be NSP.

    The other significant factor is one that I did mention in my post. We have a couple of populist and popular Commanders, who are reasonably well-known on YB even outside the dedicated WvW community. When either of those is active a lot of players will come to WvW who would otherwise not show up. This week one of those Commanders is on a personal mission to hit Gold Rank before the next match and he has been online almost constantly. At one point he announced he had to sleep because he’d been in WvW for 39 straight hours. As I write this he’s leading a large WXP train at what must be the middle of the night where he is. Mrs Bhagpuss is in it. It’s probably the same one he was leading last night when I went to bed.

    This is not normal behavior. Normal behavior on Yak’s Bend has traditionally been to seige up everything in sight then sit in it. This week is being treated as an aberration and hay is being made all round while the sun is shining. Next week we have SBI, who will walk all over us during SEA hours and EBay, who will give us a good run in NA hours. Many of the casual WvW players who are bulking out our WXP trains and zergs this week will be nowhere to be seen.

    The wildcard in all this must be the upcoming WvW Arena. How that will affect things is impossible to say until we see it in action, but we could end up with most of the players who genuinely want to fight other players disappearing off into an instance of their own, leaving the main field to people who prefer PvD.

    I really hope that doesn’t happen but as I’ve often said it does look very much as though whoever makes the design decisions about WvW at ANet would actually prefer it to be mostly about PvE in a PvP environment rather than about PvP per se. Maybe they intend for exactly that to happen.

    PS. For a non-UK audience I probably should mention that the title of my post that Carson kindly linked comes from a derisive chant popular in football matches over here. The full chant, to the tune of Guantanamera, goes “Sing when you’re winning, you only sing when you’re winning” and is directed at opposing teams who are considered to have a lot of “fairweather” supporters who can only cope with victory and can’t weather defeat. The title was chosen to suggest a tone of mild irony throughout the piece but I guess that would be lost if the reference was unfamiliar.

    1. I am reasonably certain that I originally wrote “fun” but edited it to “popular” before submitting my comment. As you said, gather ye rosebuds while ye may, the game certainly encourages the fairweather bandwagonning.

      Funny thing? The YB plan does worse the better it does. If IOJ and NSP ever collectively give up, you get the 600 PPT, but there is nowhere for the karma train to go. Those people parked at spawn keeping the little servers from getting out are ruining it for the rest of you for a while because you cannot claim a tower unless the victims have a chance to get it back.

      1. The spawn camping is news to me. I’d guess it’s entirely unsanctioned by any reputable commander. Mrs Bhagpuss has been in WvW just about every waking hour since Saturday evening and she knew nothing about it either. I don’t suppose we’d see it unless we went to IoJ or NSP spawn ourselves, which we rarely would have any reason to do, but it’s definitely never been mentioned in /map or /team any time I’ve been on.

        In the actual WXP trains the commanders are very specifically allowing time for retakes and calling people away to other areas to encourage it. The train has to have tracks as the current saying goes. That’s hardly any more in keeping with the ethos of siege warfare than spawn camping, really, though.

        1. I can’t see a commander parking in front of a spawn, no. It benefits no one: driving off the sheep just starves the wolves. And as keeps getting stated in these WvW discussions, people are actively surrendering objectives because it is worth more to reclaim them than to defend them.

          1. “people are actively surrendering objectives because it is worth more to reclaim them than to defend them”

            That’s so sad. And so easily addressed: Just add more incentives for holding than for taking. Since you would have to take it before you could hold it, taking wouldn’t need *any* incentives.

            Maybe they’ll get this right for the next season.

            1. i belive that’s the point. WvW is all about 1 aspect of warfare (the most relevant one IRL for sure, but just one of many) which is territories control. that is the only way your server get points. more depth should be given to the game, otherwise it will always be resolved by having bigger numbers.
              this is not to say wvw is not fun or tactically poor, there’s always room for epic fight and cunny moves whatever difference in population and ppt is there. it is that those are just not rewarding…

          2. Anecdotally we did spawn camp Blackgate once this season, but that is a completely different tiger, stripes and all. It was a most glorious day.

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