Tough Love Critic (TLC) has a very good article over on his blog about the tri-fold pride problem in Guild Wars 2 World vs. World gamemode. It’s well worth the read, and in summation he writes:
How bad rewards are, how effective the zerg is, and how terrible the scoring system is should never be covered over because “that’s the way things are, take pride in what you do have. These deep flaws need to be corrected, otherwise WvW will always be fighting staleness as “the new” fades into a realization that key parts of the game mode are still awful.
This is another thing I was mulling over the weekend, and especially Sunday night when my SBI guild heads to the field for an hour or so. Then it was like the bell rung for Cinderella, and poof everybody just disappeared back to PvE pumpkins. Mrs. Ravious and I were standing there quite puzzled wondering what to do now that SBI did not have a commander on the field.
I came to the realization that apparently TLC did as well. As amazing as the Desert Borderlands appeared, it was a “new” that could fade. The map itself will only be shiny until the sheen is overcome by the standing issue grime. I am hoping that ArenaNet is planning on moving WvW forward with a comprehensive change.
Rewards in Alpine/EB WvW feel pretty bad in comparison to every other gamemode including Edge of the Mists “prideless” WvW map. TLC has a very comprehensive post on things that should be rewarding, beyond mere pride. For the most part, I agree. I hate when RvR/WvW devolves into an Ouroboros of snakes chasing rewards, which is largely what WvW is right now.
I feel that reward tracks would be a great idea to consider for WvW. Then instead of having a granular payment for certain activities, players could get some reward tracks points, which would eventually add up. PvP players get PvE rewards without ever stepping in those zones. I feel WvW should not be any different. I personally would love to get an Arah Dungeon reward track based on WvW activities. In fact, I feel if that were the case I would spend more time in WvW than PvP.
The big modification I would add to Do Activity, Get Reward Track Points is the momentum of activity. WvW players should be extra-rewarded for sticking around a map and being constantly active. Players that pop in to get a daily Ruin or Sentry Post should get minimal Reward Track Points. Players that have been going at it for an hour should get a lot.
For example, in Desert they’ve said that the supply yaks can be bolstered with a player escort. However, the past has shown us how bad it can be to provide a granular payment for just escorting supply. However, if escorting yaks provided a little bit of a Reward Track and momentum for more Reward Track Points for future activities, escorting yaks becomes more rewarding. If I escort a yak and then work on building defense of a Tower from the supply I just escorted, by the time I am actively defending the Tower I have high reward momentum.
Reward Tracks compound the “sticking around” by also providing larger goals for the player. I don’t know how many extra PvP matches I have done just to hit the next reward tier. I would guess in WvW it would be much the same.
TLC also feels a big issue is zerging. The Desert borderlands appears to support a lot more “spread”, however, taking a Tower or Keep as a zerg is safe. Taking a Tower or Keep in a 5-man is pretty tough and risky by comparison. I agree with TLC that zerging is an issue, but I am starting to think there is a bigger issue.
Leaderless play. WvW is not going to be a great and greatly supported gamemode unless casual players are interested in popping in. When Guild Wars 2 players ask themselves “self, what should we do tonight?” WvW should be a valid answer regardless of whether there is a commander on the field.
For pride-filled servers that have commander rotations, that’s great. I love that, and I loved that when Sanctum of Rall used to be Tier 1. It allowed me to pop in to WvW and understand where to go (follow the commander). However, now that I have experienced bottom ranked WvW (Sanctum of Rall) and am currently home in a Tier 2/3 server (SBI), things are much different.
I don’t have an answer for this. It’s a tough question to answer. However, it is critical going forward with ArenaNet’s toddler of an MMO.
One idea I like, which is not a comprehensive answer, comes from playing in Heroes of the Storm. In that MOBA, three-lane, or whatever the kids are calling it these days, I can click on objectives or the mini-map to declare to my team I want to take this camp, kill this person, defend, etc. As a MOBA noob, you would not believe how helpful it is to snap out of whatever I am doing to go help the team when someone declares they want to kill this person.
If I could log in to WvW and see on the map that some player wants to take a Tower and needs help, it’s like a siren song. This is in comparison to a commander (requiring 300 gold and why should I follow that person) and someone talking in map chat, which can be easily missed. I can guarantee, at least for me, that the drive to help my fellow players in WvW is much greater than my drive to go take a supply camp on my own doing.
If players keep sticking around because they can coalesce as teams without commanders, then activity and “zergs” able to take greater objectives will be the natural result.
Finally scoring, Winning matches is not that exciting. Losing them isn’t either. I don’t even really watch the WvW bonuses any more. They are just there, or not, through the week.
Let’s go back to server pride, in Guild Wasr 1 Heroes’ Ascent I was constantly told who was claiming the Hall of Heroes. A tad annoying, perhaps, but mostly because in the later days of GW1, I had no care in the world who had it. In the early days, especially when certain regions (NA, EU) were taking it over, it was interesting. What if I was told in Guild Wars 2 that “SBI’s Garrison has fallen.” Naturally I don’t want spam every time a Tower is taken, but if I join a server, it would be cool to hear the WvW news outside of Teamspeak.
With megaservers there is no longer the ability to rally in Lion’s Arch. There is virtually no way a devoted WvW player can gather casual players to the cause outside of a guild. If I got a system message once in awhile, I feel that creates an itch. It’s not just some game mode over there I don’t care about. It’s “my server is being attacked”.
As far as points-per-tick (PPT), I’ve always felt that maintained objectives should be worth more. If a Tower is flipping like crazy, it should not be worth much points to either side. If a server has been holding on to a Tower for a day, it should be worth a ton of PPT, and it should be seen as a huge objective for the enemy teams. Perhaps if they take that Tower they automatically get X server points.
I have so many ideas. I know TLC will have so many ideas. The community at large has so many ideas. I don’t feel there is an obvious solution, and to the ArenaNet devs, I am not saying any of this is right or easy.
What I hope ArenaNet has is a comprehensive plan to do more for WvW than just provide a new borderlands map. I think Desert is going to be amazing, but the shiny will fade. Let’s make it lasting.