[GW2] Weekend WvW: Bully on the Block

This week, the dice came down differently, and Isle of Janthir is the top seed in NA Bronze. This still leads to poor WvW, this time with us as the big guy. It is not as horrid a mismatch as Season One intentionally created, but IoJ took an early 20,000 point lead and has the second-highest score in NA. It is not “hold almost every keep on every map” unbalanced, but it is “flee before the larger zerg or die” unbalanced.

I had not seen a WvW queue on IoJ for over a month, so this week we get the bandwagon. This is a major factor in degrading the WvW experience. The winning team grows while the losing team shrinks as fairweather warriors follow the wind. The players in that swollen zerg have less experience, which nullifies the lone benefit we saw in the Season: developing a skilled core who could strategically fight against larger numbers. The average player is shaky on how to deal with opposing siege, and my limited time in WvW this weekend has not brought me into contact with our better commanders. Perhaps the ones who are on now are better militia coordinators and therefore better for the population we have on now, as opposed to precise folks who will not put up with ill-disciplined rabble.

Because the weight classes are closer, I did find good fights. In the Saturday night queue, guild members reported a stirring zerg vs. zerg vs. zerg fight on the order of 40-60 people from each server. Thumbs up! In off-hours fights, I had trouble finding relatively even numbers. We found some enemy zergs, but it was easier to tell we had more people once the bodies started falling. It wasn’t the instant faceroll 80 vs. 20 fights we have been the “20” of recently, but 50 vs. 30 is still a roll unless the 30 are much better. You cannot be just a bit better when zergbusting, because one person killed on your side can rally a half-dozen downed on their side, so it is hard to chip away at that 50.

I expected Crystal Desert to be carrying its matchup away, but they’re only about 10,000 points up as I type this. It is looking like our WvW weight class would be best suited by IoJ, North Shiverpeaks, and Henge of Denravi, but that is an unlikely trio given that tiers are trios. The dividing points round some servers up and others down in a way that is unfortunate given a spread that does not quite work out to trios.

: Zubon

Props to Fort Aspenwood for rocking tier 2.

20 thoughts on “[GW2] Weekend WvW: Bully on the Block”

  1. I’m interested in learning the ins and outs of Seasons, tiers and the intricacies of how WvWvW now works – in part, because I’m interested in trying to develop a solid knowledge-base about classes, skills and gear.

    Is there an easy way to “Wiki” how WvW works or is their going to be a layer of “unwritten” (insider) info that I’ll have to attain the old-fashioned way of playing a lot? I don’t mind that route, but I’d like to fast-track my learning of it all. Thanks.

    1. The mechanics are documented. The unwritten layer could vary by server. I do not know if we are using our own slang apart from terms like “blob” and “zerg.” Jeromai describes below how some different guilds and servers approach WvW differently, and there might be one-off terms. For example, on IOJ, we reference where one of our top guilds is fighting without explicitly going on to say, “And they are going to win and take that keep.”

  2. I’m on Henge of Denravi and we were that guy in S1 Bronze – utterly obliterated everyone in every match and thus, as you say, it wasn’t that fun even though we were winning. Over the weekend we slipped down to third in our current match-up with Crystal Desert and it was kind of refreshing. Now it’s just a matter of whether HoD pick ourselves up and fight for dominance or (as often happens) give up because we’re not winning and abandon WvW for a week.

  3. I very much agree that being overwhelmingly on top in WvW is not much fun. I’d far rather be the beleaguered underdog any day.

    We had a really great match last week, one of the best ever (again). We had a vicious grudge match with Maguuma and Stormbluff and coming out of the weekend, normally our strongest period, we were third and falling further behind. I was settling in for a week of heavy defense when somehow several of our better commanders stepped up a gear and then another.

    It was thrilling to see us overhaul first SBI to take second and then slowly close on Maguuma. By Thursday we were in first and for the final 24 hours we were Ktraining and ticking 400+ all day long.

    I was looking forward to a different story this week but come reset who do we get? SBI and Mag again. I don’t know whether my ennui at this repeat performance is shared widely but I’m guessing it may be because many of our regular commanders haven’t been sighted this weekend and neither have a whole lot of regular names. We are in third again and I don’t anticipate any repeat of last week’s heroics.

    For my money unbalanced matches are vastly preferable to repeat matches with the same opposition, no matter how close those matches might be. Unfortunately the current system (especially as recently tweaked) strongly leans towards stasis. A very bad model in my opinion.

    Roll on the return of the League.

    1. Yes, you are the problem and the advocate of ruining WvW. You are advocating for a system where you get to fight much weaker servers most of the time instead of relatively even matches. You are losing your grudge match and demanding to be given weaker servers so you can be the bully. Architects of your own success, you said, and you cannot keep doing it. You have explicitly advocated being the losing team, and you cannot put up with it because you are going to lose to the same people repeatedly.

      “Bully on the block” indeed. How about we just give you random bronze servers each week so you can pretend you’re a wolf while getting that variety?

  4. I admit that I don’t have much of a competitive bone, so I need someone else to help me understand the meaning of this elusive term, “good fights.” Exactly what would be defined as one?

    I’ve fought even number battles in WvW where one side has a clear skill (tactics or organizational) advantage over the other. It still becomes unbalanced stomping for one side. Is that considered a good fight by either side?

    Just yesterday, I joined a zerg-busting zerg that was, well, above-average but not perfect in its organization. Still scattered at times, not very practiced in working together, certainly not group build synergized for amazing sustain. As you may expect, we won some and lost some. Usually getting ripped apart when taken by surprise or against larger numbers, doing the same when the numbers were on our side, and when numbers were even, it was down to whichever side played better in that particular encounter. Good fight?

    To my surprise, I found myself not really enjoying the process, possibly because the commander didn’t sound like they were having fun.

    I’ve joined other zergs which have a super tightly knit core, and even when running screaming away from overwhelming numbers, it feels like everyone is having the time of their lives.

    I think I’m figuring out more and more these days that I’m more of a social WvWer.

    While I’d like PPT and score to have more meaning than not, the problem then becomes the ridiculous obligation to stay for too long to keep it going. Conversely, if it ends up devolving into a ‘hunt the zerg’ affair, it is tactically fun for a while, but repetitive and meaningless and not terribly profitable either.

    If I’m running with people that are having a good time, then I had fun. The activity – zerg-busting, karma training, defending, doesn’t matter as much. Of course, the issue is that other people’s ideas of good fights and good times and fun-having are -different- so my enjoyment becomes predicated on them finding what they enjoy doing.

    1. Good fights depends on who you talk to, of course. For me, a good fight is one between closely matched opponents and feels like we had to put out our best effort. While I’d prefer that my side won, naturally, it can feel like a good fight if we lost but it was a close-run thing. A bit of sportsmanship and respect shown both ways helps make it a ‘good fight’, too.

      There’s definitely a social side to it, and your example shows that even if the fights are pretty decent, if there’s a bad atmosphere it makes the experience less enjoyable. The flip side is that it’s hard to maintain morale if your team is getting the roflstomp of the century.

  5. That’s a very weird reading of what I said, especially since I opened with complete agreement with your premise and stated that “I’d far rather be the beleaguered underdog any day. ”

    My objection is to being matched against the SAME servers each week, not whether they are stronger or weaker. Fighting the same fight week after week is boring. I’m quite happy for us to have a succession of stronger servers and for us to come last most of the time. I prefer defending to attacking as I have often said.

    I take it you’d rather have the same match week after week if those three servers were the closest -matched available? I wouldn’t. It’s dull. I’d rather we had two much stronger servers week after week to “bully” us, provided they were DIFFERENT stronger servers.

    Winning is only interesting when it’s a close fight, that’s true. Fighting new opponents, however, is inherently interesting whether or not you win.

    1. Fighting new opponents, however, is inherently interesting whether or not you win.
      No, it really isn’t. When you are outnumbered 4- or 5-to-1, there is nothing interesting about any particular opponent. Replace a zerg of 80 people from SBI with a zerg of 80 people from any other server, and you still have a zerg of 80 people.

      Similarly, stomping new opponents is not inherently interesting. I do not recall facing either of our current two opponents before. We painted all of EB green last night and then rolled all three keeps in one of the borderlands. Which? How should I know? When you outnumber your opponent 4- or 5-to-1, there is not much interesting that they can do before they become paste.

      In small groups, changing individuals can be interesting. Interesting details average out across a zerg.

      1. Can I say that it -could- have the potential to be interesting, depending on how you view the situation?

        Obviously 80 is an extreme situation, but say if you’re facing 30-50 with an outnumbered group of 15-25, there are major differences in the ‘feel’ of a zerg that is led by different guilds or commanders.

        Some are loose militia-based ones with easily scatterable morale or squish easily in zerker (old Sea of Sorrows used to be like this before they got beat on so long that they had to adapt. I ran with a group that used to charge them with 1 vs 3 odds and have a very good chance of winning.) Some are very -tight- ridiculously sturdy militia-based ones (old Sanctum of Rall when we collided with their militia zergs was…ow. A case of wtf, why aren’t they dying.)

        Guild zergs can also be an interesting study in their class dynamics and preferred tactics. Once upon a time, AVTR played the OP confusion mesmer card very hard before that strat became less effective from nerfs. I don’t study guild zergs as much, but from what I overhear from various commanders talking, such and such guild has a very painful frontline hammer train so never never never stand in front of them, such and such guild has a lot of necros so ways to cope with conditions are essential, etc.

        Also different guild-led zergs have various behaviors. NNK’o’clock was watched and studied by various servers like a hawk, wondering how to counter that ridiculous sea of red, especially when they were backed up by the other guild (whose abbreviation I unfortunately forget offhand, think it was TFV.)

        For a time, the strategy was once to put up barely any resistance (since we were indeed outnumbered, 8 to 1 or more) and shamelessly backcap for PPT, because NNK would roll across a map to turn it green, then hop to the next. There were also stalling strategies – I remember 25 of us packed into the hills lord room chokepoint holding off 80 outside for a crucial hour or two, hoping to bog them down until it hit midnight for them, where their numbers were bound to drop off.

        Other guilds would stop and find softer targets if resistance was put up, so responding with siege was a lot more important, and so on. Some guilds hunt zergs and barely ever bog down with a protracted siege, others would occupy a tower and siege it up and turn it into a loot-bag farming location (so don’t run in to the slaughter and bore them out by moving elsewhere) etc.

    2. I’m not getting his reply either. Seemed like you were saying “being OP is boring” more or less. Don’t get how Zubon misunderstood your reply that much.

      1. “Being OP is boring” only makes sense if you’re winning. They’re losing. He’s saying “fair fights are boring” because there are too few options for fair fights.

        He liked being OP and getting to stomp a variety of smaller servers. Unless the Leagues are dramatically restructured, calling for their return when you were near the top of your League is just saying, “feed me a variety of weak servers I can crush.” If you say you want to be an underdog and demand weaker opponents, you are confused or lying.

        Yak’s Bend is not going to get tossed into Gold. If he wants to lose to a variety of servers, he can transfer to a bottom-ranked server at the start of the new Season.

        1. I am still here you know :P

          “He liked being OP and getting to stomp a variety of smaller servers”

          I what? When did I say that? Can you give me a quote to that effect? I’m wondering if you read the sentence “By Thursday we were in first and for the final 24 hours we were Ktraining and ticking 400+ all day long ” as though it was me advocating it as a preferred state of affairs. It was nothing of the sort. Ktraining I can stomach for about an hour, tops. Keep defense is my preferred thing.

          I only said that to emphasize how much our position had changed, from being 20k in arrears in 3rd place to being dominant in 1st, not as any kind of suggestion that Ktraining was the *point* of getting the tick up to 400+.

          In my opinion WvW is most fun when you are playing on a server that is the underdog but that has a chance of turning the tables. Being the server that “stomps” other servers might be fun once in a very long while but as a regular diet it is utterly tedious. The periods when Mrs Bhagpuss and I stop logging in regularly to WvW and start doing other things are those when the opposition is weak and the points are easy. The times we play all day are when Yak’s Bend is behind but has a chance of catching up.

          I’m aware we aren’t going into the Gold League. As for “calling for the return of the League”, as far as I know it is, and always was, returning in the New Year sometime. I’m not calling for it or advocating it: it’s the status quo.

          When it returns I very much hope that League Season Two is structured differently so that there is a better balance and that Gold, Silver and Bronze get a shake-up to make them all more competitive. I loike it because

          a) it guarantees a different set of opponents every week and
          b) it gives a clear purppse to the matches leading to a definite conclusion.

          I don’t like the League because YB did well in it. I do like the fact that we did better than we were expected to do (check the predictions – 4th was the highest anyone had us placing). Had we come last and lost every match, however, I would still have said it was preferable to stasis and playing the same stale match against the same teams week in week out.

          We aren’t talking about the League now, though, we’re talking about the current system and what I was hoping for after the Mag/SBI/YB match was to get either FA or SoR, both of whom are, according to the chart recently published by ANet, quite possible as opponents for us. Either of those would have given us a fresh, new, exciting match. The idea that I was hoping for weaker opposition is entirely your assumption.

          As for changing servers, both of us would probbaly quit altogether before we left Yak’s Bend. Server loyalty is a big thing for us and always has been. Once a Yak, always a Yak. That’s also why I see the change of Server names in each match as so vitally important. I never fight “Red” or “Green” or “Blue”. I fight Mags or SBI or EBay or DB. That change of nomenclature makes a very significant difference to my and Mrs Bhagpuss’s emotional involvement in each week’s match and the sense of let-down when we felt when we saw that we were stuck on repeat this week affected both of our interest for several days.

          I don’t think you’re motivations for engaging in WvW can be all that similar to ours and perhaps it’s difficult for me to express the somewhat whimsical attachments that drive me to participate. It absolutely is not for any kind of material gain or benefit to my character, though, nor to achieve any spurious sense of superiority over other servers. I love Yak’s Bend with a passion and feel thrilled when we do well, but I do need either some variety or a definite purpose (like trying to place as highly as possible in a fixed-duraton competition) or I start to notice that the whole thing is more than a tad pointless.

          1. You keep repeating that you want the League back and that you don’t want weaker opponents. Bringing back the League will give you weaker opponents. I get that you can want to eat a lot of cake without gaining weight, but if you plan to eat a lot of cake, you are planning to gain a lot of weight.

            Pitting SBI against NSP is a mistake. Season Two would be a mistake. You looked at the previous design failure of Season One and are calling for more of it. You are actively advocating making the game worse for most players so that you can get a bit more WvW variety.

            1. Are you against the entire concept of a League qua league? Or just the poor implementation of the first Season? If the former then there’s not much more to be said. If the latter, then our positions surely cannot be all that far apart.

              I think you are misrepresenting my position, too. I said above that “I very much hope that League Season Two is structured differently so that there is a better balance and that Gold, Silver and Bronze get a shake-up to make them all more competitive.” I have not “looked at the previous design failure of Season One and are calling for more of it”. I am, quite clearly and unequivocally I would attest, affirming the “design failure” of the first iteration and calling for LESS of that.

              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.

              In any event we live in the world in which we live. ANet gave us that iteration of a League system and we as players were left to make the best of it. That is what I did. Out of the seven matches YB had (from memory) two very enjoyable ones and five somewhat tedious ones. The tedious ones were the ones in which we were overpowered in comparison to our opposition. The exciting ones were those in which we prevailed over opposition that considered itself to be more powerful than us.

              For the second season of the League I would hope that ANet can come up with a draw or a ruleset that improves on a 5:2 against ratio of excitement to tedium. If the alternative is going back to the interminable stasis of the “Ladder” then god help us all.

            2. That gets its own post. Hope is not enough. Unless there is a concrete way in which Season Two can balance servers, no, your fallback position is still “I hope they can make the cake less fattening.” How? “I don’t know, but I like cake, so I’d like the cake to be even better.”

              If you have some way Season Two can not be a mass of blowouts, please share. I hope someone at ArenaNet takes notes. As it is, there is no way to juggle the existing servers beyond the tier structure without making the mismatches worse. Even tiers + randomization is giving the crap matchups that we keep having (win or lose).

          2. Your motivations are a lot more similar to mine, Bhagpuss. YB sort of mirrors TC in that respect.

            I do believe a lot of our militia and PvE crowd share this server pride sentiment, though I’m sure our servers both have their hardcore WvWers as a strong core too.

            One of the things that I enjoyed the leagues for was putting the stress back on playing for score and overall map strategy, at least for a time.

            There was a night I camped out for 2-3 hours as a lone [outnumbered] thief over Sanctum of Rall’s north camp, completely cutting the yak supply to their towers – which had just been hit by JQ’s offpeak zerg before they map hopped and went elsewhere. I stayed there, evading every attempt to fight me (I’d lose, I suck as a PvPer, especially 1 vs 2 or 1 vs 3 or more) and the few SoR militia that knew I was there got bored and went off elsewhere. Those towers -never- upgraded. Also +6 score to TC each time.

            Garrison still got some supply, since I couldn’t be in three places at once, but I kept the towers weak on purpose. JQ came back, saw free towers, and went nomnomnom. They may very well have decided to siege SoR garrison after that, not sure, I went off to zerg a little in the map we actually had bodies in.

            I doubt I’d ever do that on a non-league match unasked. Better things to do with my time.

            Of course, it turns out they failed to even recognize second and third place efforts, per se. Just first. Oh well.

            Leagues all the time ain’t the answer either though. Would get exhausting fast too.

            1. @Jeromai You make the point so much better than I could but yes! That’s exactly what I meant and exactly how I feel. As I said in a piece I wrote for my blog a few weeks back, I spent more hours walking Dolyaks in a League match than I’d probably done in all the non-league matches since launch added together.

              TC and YB were best buds right after launch, too, until ability and numbers pulled us apart. Very similar server culture, I think.

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