The more I play WvW in GW2, the more I must believe that the developers’ goals are different than mine and from what I thought they stated. As implemented, WvW is a PvE system with periodic steamrolls and occasional good fights. Either good fights are contrary to the design or WvW is performing very far from its design.
The dominant problem remains the mismatch in weight classes, and I have heard no solution for it nor even real awareness that it is a problem. Let me narrow that: it is not the case that the weight classes are in neat groups of three, so the majority of the matchups will feature an odd server out (two heavweights with a middleweight or one heavyweight with two middleweights) or even worse matches. The Spring Tourney system designed to mitigate this problem has yet to do so, and unless there is some reason to unite against the winning server, I am not sure that any system can.
Let’s go to the scoreboard to see how it has worked out so far. After running numbers a few ways, the clearest I found was to compare the ratio of the winning team’s points to the losing team’s. High numbers indicate a blowout: the top server dominated the other two and/or the bottom server should not have been on the same map with the others.
Round 1, EU: 1.50, 1.28, 2.06, 1.52, 1.55, 1.12, 1.03, 2.90, 3.02
Round 1, NA: 1.23, 1.53, 1.67, 3.71, 3.60, 1.27, 1.27, 1.55
Round 2, EU: 1.39, 1.17, 1.54, 2.11, 2.19, 1.73, 2.84, 5.56, 6.11
Round 2, NA: 1.94, 1.68, 1.46, 1.86, 2.27, 1.98, 2.17, 1.96
How do you want to define “close”? In 34 matchups, we had 4 where scores were within 25%, 6 more within 50%, then 12 where #1 was less than double #3, followed by 12 utter routs (double-plus, ranging all the way up to 611% (!!!)). Part of me wants to call that 1/3 each for pretty close, not close, and utter rout, but that involves defining “pretty close” as anything less than a 50% difference. If I saw a basketball game that ended with a score of 115 to 80, I would not say it was a “pretty close” game. So 12% where the matchups seemed to work? There were more matchups where the difference was 200%+ than it was less than 25%.
That hides a mix of good and bad. On the good side, there will be relatively good fights at some times in some places. On the bad side, some of those fights will be worse than implied because of the difference between weekdays and weekends; the aggregate worked out close, but one team zerged the other for three days then the other zerged back for four.
The gaps in the scores are less bad than I had expected, although having two EU Bronze servers held to 5-digit scores shows a horrifying breakdown of the system as populations get small. I’ve been on both sides of that mismatch already during this Tourney, and it’s not much fun on either side. I’ve been in an unstoppable karma train that took every objective in EB, and I’ve been Outnumbered in our Borderlands with 30+ players from both servers attacking our keeps. And in either case, you say to yourself, “what’s the point?”
And that is “what’s the point” relative to a MMO.