Is it that you believe it is impossible to have a League that doesn’t consist mostly of a few strong teams overmatching a large number of weaker teams? Is it not feasible for ANet to come up with a draft or seeding system that mitigates against that? I believe they can learn from the mistakes of this last season and give us a much improved version next time. Maybe you think that’s beyond them – if so you may well be right, given the litany of failures in similar circumstances since launch but I prefer to remain optimistic.
Yes. No. Even balanced tiers may be beyond possibility given the current server structure due to the spread in weight classes.
To have a good matchup, you need three servers of roughly comparable strength. (See DAoC for ways of combining the smaller servers against the bully or siphoning off the bandwagon; the comments on that post have a bit of discussion.) What are the odds that the 24 NA severs and 27 Europe servers neatly fall into 8 and 9 sets of three? Empirically, we know that did not happen, most notably in the cases of servers that bop between “crushed by 2 bigger servers” and “crushing 2 smaller servers.” It’s worse than that: the best case scenario is to have just a few servers’ WvW experience be crap. Imagine instead that we have 4 super-heavyweight servers and everyone else is neatly in groups of 3. Except for that AAA match, every single matchup is one bigger server against two smaller servers, and we risk getting tossed into a situation of all those marginal servers entering that bop cycle of crush or be crushed. It is only because the system has so many problems matching 3s that the matchups are as good as they are, because a duo in the middle can offset a foursome above.
Did that last sentence make sense? AAA ABB BCC CDD DEE, where A beats B beats C. That’s really bad. But if we have AAA ABB BCC DDD EEE, the double-C offsets the quadruple-A, giving us two good matchups at the bottom.
It may be even worse than that, because I don’t think we have just 8 weight classes in NA. If we are closer to 10 or 12, given the server spread, we are trying to find a “least bad” solution, because there are no good ones that yield anything close to AAA BBB CCC DDD EEE FFF GGG HHH. Bronze folks, what do you say? Are you closer to FFF GGG HHH or FGG HIJ JKL? I hope it’s not that bad, because those would all be crap matchups.
Unless the idea for Season Two is radically different and includes dramatic ways of balancing population advantages, the Leagues only make it worse. That was discussed at length in Weight Classes, but let’s put it simply: if we have trouble getting a EEE match, mixing up C through G and randomly drawing three will yield a worse match in almost every possible case.
As WvW is currently structured, the tiers are the least bad way of getting matches that are not utter blowouts. Putting Blackgate and Sea of Sorrows on the same battlefield is just mean. You cannot make Gold any smaller without just recreating tiers, and you cannot make it any bigger without just making victims of the top Silver servers. You cannot go smaller than tiers, and going bigger just makes the blowouts worse.
The suggestion of adding a Darkness Falls-style dungeon is interesting and will be explored in a later post.