I came back from vacation just in time for a rise and shiny blog post from ArenaNet discussing the particulars of their World vs. World vs. World system (a.k.a. WvW pronounced WuvWuv [says my cold-addled brain]) in Guild Wars 2. To recap: three servers are pitted against each other to fight over objectives on 3 Borderlands maps spoked out from a central Eternal Battlegrounds map. Points accumulate for your server to create server-wide bonuses. Every two-weeks servers are re-ranked and pitted against servers of like rank. So yes, all the RP servers will have the chance to /emote battle since they will all be ranked together. The whole article is great, and really in-depth. It is a must read for any RvR, or the like, fan.
There are a few interesting points. The first is that the WvW holds some “absolutely gigantic” maps capable of holding over 300 players each. It appears that over 400 players can fight for their same server at a time, which gives a hint to possible server sizes. Between all the ways to play in Guild Wars 2, such as PvE, PvP, and WvW, it will be interesting to see what a “healthy” server size will be.
Second, I am not as familiar with Dark Age of Camelot, but so many problems from Warhammer Online seemed to have been taken in to account for Guild Wars 2 WvW. One of the things I hated in Warhammer Online was the Ouroboros effect where it was better for the groups of players (the snake heads) to keep attacking the tail of the other group. It was much better to take objectives than to fight unless the objective was a big one, which meant that one snake took all the objectives.
WvW appears not to have any “gating” of objectives, but it also has the Orbs of Power, which are one of the bigger objectives in the Borderlands maps. I am hoping that the fact that the “prize” is always in danger make it so a snake will not have to weave it’s way through the Borderlands in cyclical fashion until it builds enough momentum to leap for the map win. Of course, simply having three opposing teams ensures that streamlined snakes are going to be the minority.
The other thing I really like is supply, which is the WvW resource. The resource is gained from supply camps, where players can pick up supply or an NPC dolyak train is sent out to allied keeps and towers. Supply is used to fortify the big objectives and also siege the big objectives. This is great compared to the smaller objectives in Warhammer Online because it will actually matter during the quiet hours if a small band of players can control the supply camps. If supply can be accumulated at major supply depots during off-times then the server with a lot of supply coming in during prime time will be in a better defensive and offensive position.
The supply mechanic also means that a determined server can bleed out a well-defended keep. If the supply trains stop coming to help fortifications, but supply is added to the attacking force to build more siege engines the keep will fall. It appears that skirmishes on secondary objectives will be critical while the siege continues. I like, at least on paper, this “soft” gating as compared to Warhammer Online‘s hard gating using minor objectives.
Another interesting objective is gaining NPC allies. Mike Ferguson gives the example of fighting off harpies assaulting an ogre camp to gain the ogres as allies. The mercenary ogres will then send out NPCs to attack enemy objectives as well as patrol the area for enemies. This mechanic is a lot harder to envision on paper because there are many more unknowns. Are the mercenary NPCs going to be mere speedbumps to enemy servers, or is it really going to add to the turning of the tides where enemy servers really take notice if a mercenary camp becomes allied? I think it could be neat, and it appears it is again more activity for smaller groups of people.
I feel as if ArenaNet took time to ensure a battleground with constant activity. Three opposing servers is going to really ensure there is no two-week absolute beatdown by one well-organized server. Yet, it seems that a smart, embattled server could do many things to cripple a winning server. Hopefully this leads to a system where if a small band gets together they can do something. Sometimes it feels good to just harry and harass the winner.
Finally, siege golems are objectively cooler than any battering ram.
our hubris was our downfall