How are random World vs World matchups affecting Guild Wars 2?

Guild Wars 2’s innovative, massive PvP setting, the “World vs World vs World” games, have had a pretty major shakeup recently.

Arena.net have changed the world matching from being heavily based on world ranking, aiming to match up worlds evenly, to a considerably more random system that can match worlds up seemingly randomly – regardless of their PvP ability or status.

As you might expect, this hasn’t entirely been met with cries of joy.

But interestingly, it also hasn’t been met with hatred and fuming. Jeromai gives us a really detailed and interesting report on just how things are shaking down, from massively unbalanced matches to reactions from various schools of player:

“Strangely though, there is another subset of players that seem to have an impact on whether queues pop up across WvW maps or not. These players tend not to post on forums, and turn up based on the scoreboard. They have been derisively called fairweathers or pugs, weekend warriors, or if one is feeling very very kind, “militia,” by those who fancy themselves a lot more dedicated to WvW. They do tend to be less well versed in the game format, and have builds not optimized for it as well.

You will rarely find them in WvW when your server is doing less well. Yet once a server pushes over 300 or so, there seems to be some kind of critical mass effect that attracts them into jumping in and riding the gravy train and pushing the server even higher and higher scores.

Hardcore WvW players tend to be very scornful of this playstyle. Me, I don’t know. It occurs to me that sometimes, majority votes can’t be wrong. Maybe it’s not so much what players say, but what they actually do.

Tarnished Coast has been massively queued across a good number of maps in this blowout week. (You could map hop freely last week against Sanctum of Rall during most times that weren’t NA primetime, and I think it got even worse past Tuesday – I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t there either.)

A number of these guys contributing to the queue are definitely beginner WvWers and primarily PvE players and probably not a few map completionists either. There are doubtless opportunists who leap at the chance to kill people when the odds are in their favor. Add on the regular WvW guilds trying to get on during their usual times for pushes, and things are definitely crowded.

I’m thinking – they wouldn’t stay in there, if they weren’t having “fun” with matchups the way they are.”

Read the rest of “WvW – Variety Or Balance?” »

Read more →

Controversy Watch: WvWvW, SWTOR F2P, Brawler’s Guild, More

A few weeks ago I was saying that the MMORPG blogosphere was quiet.

Ah, I remember those days.

Right now, there are tons of interesting debates to get your teeth into – from the WoW Brawler’s Guild (Cash For Features SCANDAL!) to Guild Wars 2’s wobbling WvWvW populations (PvPers in server desertion SHOCKER!). So, who’s saying what, and do you think they’re right or wrong?

SWTOR Free To Play

  • Joe at Corellian Run Radio posts a thorough analysis of the heavy Free To Play restrictions coming in SWTOR, saying that they’re going to force-choke the game” I make this prediction – the number of players will jump through the roof next week. The activity will be VERY high for three months. The revenue will roll in. And, just like launch, after those three months revenue will tank as the active player count falls.”

Guild Wars 2 WvWvW Numbers

This one’s a new controversy – with easy server moves and top PvP guilds jumping from one Guild Wars server to another, will the game’s uber-PvP mode cope?

  • Jeromai looks into the implications for his own server of some of the most major PvP guilds leaving for distant shores“Is it unhealthy, in the sense that these multi-game-spanning guilds are more focused on their own communities and less about fostering -server- communities?”
  • And Healing The Masses sounds an optimistic note for WvWvW from their own experience“I think the system in place will do well over the coming months especially after the server populations settle down and guesting is enacted so people can’t bunny hop around to the better servers in WvW. “

Guild Wars 2 One-Time Events

The furore over GW2’s one-time events has mostly subsided, but there are still interesting things to discuss about it…

  • Bernard Parsnip responds to the one-time events’ fiercest critic, Azuriel, saying that publicity reasons justify Arena.net’s decision to run one-time gameplay“Guild Wars 2 is a new game that is not based on a well-known IP. It NEEDS this press coverage. Furthermore, the business model relies on front-loading revenues from players, so continually growing the player base is crucial until the RMT shop can pay for the overheads of the game.”

WoW Dailies And Grinding

  • Big Bear Butt complained about dailies and gearing up – but then practical experience has shown him that it’s actually comparatively easy to get raid-geared in MoP“If you’re a new raider, it does not take that long to get to where you need to be to get started. I just proved it. And once you’re getting drops from the raids that are now being released, you WILL get items of such higher iLevel that the LFR stuff will be massive downgrades.”
  • And The Godmother is looking at alts, and how she and other players will level them and prioritise them with all the grinding“The shift has been subtle, but it has been noticeable. Alts are likely to be left by the wayside by many except those with a huge amount of time and patience. Its not just about the achievements either, there are a lot of choices bound up with the way the current system is being weighted.”

WoW: Brawler’s Guild

  • Typhoon Andrew defends the design choices Blizzard are making with the Brawler’s Guild, including their invitation policy“New gameplay is asked for constantly, so anything which adds options without placing a highly prohibitive barrier is good.”
  • And Rohan looks specifically at the Guild’s content gating – high AH prices – arguing that it’s never been tried, and is worth experimenting with“To my mind, selling the Invitations on the BMAH might not be the best possible idea, but it might be the one with the least side-effects, and thus, the least-worst idea.”

Bullying and Unpleasant Players

So, let us know – what do you think?

Read more →

Will You Like Guild Wars 2? The Final Final Final Roundup

It’s all over bar the releasing. Yes, Guild Wars 2 is now officially beyond the beta stage – but will you like it?

Fortunately, bloggers the world over have been rushing to answer that question, or at least give you all the information they can. We had a few point-by-point discussions yesterday, and today, six bloggers are giving their unique takes on the game – and in many cases, their thumbs-up or thumbs-down:

  • Spinks goes over the pros and cons of seven of the major aspects of the game, including the famed PvP World vs World vs World combat“It is definitely interesting, particularly in the early game when you still have a lot of skills to unlock. I suspect later on things settle down and get less confusing as you get used to what is available.”
  • HUnter’s Insight writes a very balanced piece about Guild Wars 2’s pros and cons, but in the end is extremely impressed with it“I may have some criticisms but I think Arenanet has plain nailed it. A lot of the dynamic event hype and revolution talk is definitely overwrought but it’s a superior game, better than any other MMO I’ve ever played.”
  • Rowan at I Have Touched The Sky found Guild Wars 2 potentially rather impenetrable, but also potentially very rewarding” GW2 did not grab me the way TSW, SWTOR, STO, Rift and WoW all did. I might get GW2 near launch if it were up to me alone. Sctrz, on the other hand, was caught up in it hook, line, and sinker. I have a feeling we’ll be playing again as soon as possible, and loving every minute.”
  • Syp at Bio Break has come to his pre-launch conclusions on Guild Wars 2, and they’re mostly positive“I think it’s going to be an excellent entry into the MMO field offering strong visuals, a slightly different way to play (less questing, more reacting to the world around you), and many small improvements over what we’ve seen in this genre so far. For some it’ll be the one MMO to rule them all, for others it’ll be a fun side diversion. “
  • Moxie at Wild Boar Inn is in no doubt – she’s a self-confessed Arena.net fangirl these days. Nonetheless, she includes both her loves and her few dislikes about GW2“Finally, a game that has cities that feel like cities. Divinity’s Reach is hands down the absolute best capital city I’ve ever seen, no contest. It makes Stormwind City look like an outpost.”

Will GW2 be something you must have, or something you must avoid?

Read more →

WvWvW Woes, 38 Studios, and LoTRO Hat WIN

From the charming to the heart-rending, here are the other great posts I’ve come across today:

  • This one’s pretty upsetting, so be warned – from Gamasutra, an anonymous writer tells of the devastation 38 Studios’ messy collapse wreaked on their family“On the 24th of May, my husband was laid off officially after six days of wasted gas, with no payment of wages for all of May (1st-24th), no insurance, slim chances of ever seeing any money since the State of Rhode Island would be paid first by all asset sales, and had to drive in once more to get his belongings and attend a meeting on unemployment benefits.”
  • Bernard at Diminishing Returns explains why he was left cold by WvWvW, Guild Wars 2’s innovative PvP system“The lack of healers led to dominant strategy in which players used their long cooldown abilities, absorbed a small amount of damage and then backed off to use their heal and to wait for their cooldowns to be ready again. Indeed, until I started calling targets, hardly anyone was dying. Whilst you might expect players to be more aggressive when there are no healers to mitigate their efforts, the opposite was true.”
  • And finally, this one’s just charming – a blogger is chronicling her efforts to knit the hats of Lord of the Rings Online.

Enjoyed today’s posts? Please consider sharing them!

Read more →

DPS responsibility, Irritating Sexism, War Stories and Final Grades

Some interesting discussions on a variety of topics today – plus more info on the game de jour, Guild Wars 2!

Oh, and whilst I’m at it – Guild Wars 2 Beta Signups are now open

On to the awesome articles:

  • Tobold responds to yesterday’s criticism of SWTOR Heroic Flashpoints, discussing the crazy idea that maybe DPS could be the role with responsibility“What if tanking and healing was relatively easy, and fails were predominantly caused by the damage dealers not dealing enough damage per second? Well, what would happen would be that damage dealers would be extremely unhappy.”
  • Ravious at Kill Ten Rats gives us details of just what a Guild Wars 2 World vs World battle is like“We just didn’t have enough players. This was a well defended keep and someone had taken the time to upgrade the NPC defenders. Every minute a swarm of hefty NPCs would appear near our siege, and we had to waste precious time taking them down, healing, and finally getting back to the door.”
  • Apple Cider Mage issues a takedown notice for the tired old ‘Make me a sandwich, woman!’ joke“World of Warcraft has a fairly even split of men and women now, if current numbers are to be believed. There’s no reason to NOT accept that at any given moment, you’ll be surrounded by women, whether they choose to reveal this to you or not. “
  • And Tzufit’s “Cataclysm Final Grades” project has more-or-less come to a close, with wide selection of really interesting posts about the evolution of the various classes in this WoW expansion

Found these posts interesting? Please consider sharing them!

Read more →

Guild Wars 2 WvWvW (that’s World vs World vs World) announcement roundup

Yes, the lovely people at Arena.net, responsible for the upcoming juggernaut that is Guild Wars 2, have broken radio silence to talk about a new feature of their game. And this time, it’s genuinely very exciting – they’ve been talking about their approach to PvP, and specifically large-scale PvP, with their World vs World vs World (WvWvW) system.

Before we get on to the reactions – the original blog post discussing World vs World vs World is here, and it’s worth reading in detail:

“From the earliest days of development, we knew that we wanted to include some form of large-scale PvP combat in Guild Wars 2, but how would it work? We knew right away that we wanted three teams fighting against one another on a series of huge maps in the Mists (our world vs. world battleground) and that each team would be composed of an entire server full of players. Including three forces in world vs. world acts as an excellent balancing factor, preventing one team from growing too powerful and ruining the competitive balance of the game. Two teams can gang up to counter a more dominant third team, a dynamic that simply isn’t possible with only two opposing factions.

We dreamed of a game where players could work together to capture objectives on the battlefield, like keeps and towers, claiming them for their guilds, then fortifications before defending them against hordes of attackers. With players from three different servers fighting each other, we knew that we would need a lot of different areas for them to fight over, and we wanted to have plenty of locations for guilds of all sizes to claim as their own. With this in mind, we created a number of different objectives that are designed to be captured and contested by large groups, small groups, or even just a few players.”

I’m very excited about the ideas in this post, and I’m not the only one:

  • Keen and Graev pick out their favourite bits of the announcement, paying particular attention to the 3-way battle: “I like the sound of creating healthy competition between servers; maybe that’s what’s needed to create the infamous “realm pride” in today’s market.”
  • Kill Ten Rats has a detailed analysis, touching on NPCs, supplies and more: “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.”
  • And Hunter’s Insight talks not so much about what we’ve heard, but what we still need to know“I do have questions about recruiting NPCs though. How effective are they? How many can you recruit at once? Can they be used to attack gates like siege weapons?”
  • And Syncaine has a typically cycnical viewpoint on the announcement – “There are also some “I don’t know shit about MMO PvP History” parts in there as well.”

Are you excited about World vs World vs World?

Read more →