I’ve played WvW casually on/off in the past, enough to get to rank 196 before the update. I never invested my time there because it was barely fun, your only options to roam aimlessly on your own or with a zerg. The update peeked my interest, as there hasn’t been one in an extremely, extremely long time. So, well over a week into the update and my previous passing experience, here is my say on the matter.
The update did not put WvW in a better state, in fact, it may have put it in a worse position. WvW was already strewn with broken reward systems and stagnation in replayability before this. All this update did was add three things, an ‘improved’ lfg function no one asked for, yet another reward system (mashed on top an existing one) that again, no one asked for and finally a legendary backpack. Not just all that, tournament tickets have been fazed out, which mean we can expect there to be zero in the future, while PvP gets yet another. Very little needed to be done to fix WvW and they haven’t done them; actually a lot needs to be done because of all the build-up they let happen, but I’ll explain later.
First off, look for group. Something that already existed and no one ever used. All they did was make a window pop up every time you used a waypoint in WvW, even if you’re already in a party; which was annoying as hell, so I turned it off within the first 15 of playing. I always checked manually anyways, still do and from what I can tell, most people have already stopped using it again. So, there’s that ‘update’ out the window.
Then, there’s the pip system. It’s horribly designed, partly because it’s already built off the poorly designed participation system. Worst case scenario, you’re new to WvW and on a bad server, you get 1 whole pip a tick, yet 5 if you’re on a map the has the outnumbered buff when the tick ends. The new system heavily encourages map hoping for a chance at more rewards and still rewards those who go afk for periods of time. The only reward system for active players is the original, World Experience, and it increases so slowly, there’s very little incentive to do that vs the little required for reward tracks and pips. You can’t even earn pips in EotM, why?
After bumming around, I thought I wanted the WvW armour for my rev, but I’ve come the the realization it’s much more cost effective to craft the regular ascended set. I work out a full WvW set would require around 1380 tickets, on top of all the other costs from Memories of Battle and crafting marks. You can only get the tickets from the skirmish chests, so best case scenario, if you grind endlessly every week to get the max number of tickets, it’ll take a minimum of 8 weeks and that’s best case. All that time could better be spent farming gold elsewhere to craft regular ascended set. The only reason to for WvW ascended gear is appearance, as it costs more time and resources to make.
And then there’s the legendary backpack. I personally hate the design. The others for Fractals and PvP are cool sets of wings, while the Wings of War (not even wings) is just a large hunk of flaming metal. It’s more a distraction than a nice backpiece. I can see it looking okay on charr, but not any other race. The glider for it is also just flaps, it’s plain, nothing interesting.
What Really Needs to Change
Pips are a horrible mistake that should’ve never been added to the game, they need to go. Though, once you create a highly flawed system, as a developer (or the government), you commit to your mistake rather than do right by getting rid of it; cause hell, you’ve already invested time and money into it. So, the pip system is now here to stay. They should have simply added the rewards from pips to of the two already existing experience systems. Now, all we have are 3 poorly designed reward systems, that give little in rewards individually. Essentially, to fix this new mistake will require completely rework how pips are earned and how much are earned; my thought, first start by awarding pips for capturing objective, 1 pip for camps, 2 towers, etc.
Of course, as mentioned prior, stagnation. WvW suffers from this much more than any other game mode and that’s because updates are sparse. They’re so far apart, I don’t even know what/when the last one was before this, but I’m sure it only made minor changes. They beta test things like being able to repair/create new types of siege, but they never actually implement any of it. Then, there’re only two ways to really play, flip camps solo or roam around mindlessly in a zerg; there is no solid middle ground.
We also can’t ignore the fact that it’s around time for a new map. PvP gets them regularly, PvE gets them constantly, things need to be evened out. In EotM, the map is distinctly split between desert (red), tundra (blue) and jungle (green). We already have two of those types of borderlands (bl) in the game, why not finally add a third? A new map would invigorate players really want to back into the mode. It’s released so the jungle bl is the borderlands for a month or two, so people get used to it, then return the other maps and the jungle stays as the green server’s home bl. It’s also my belief that each map needs to be tweaked slightly to favor the defender, but that’s just my personal view.
Gliding. It’s really that simple. They claim they don’t want to include it because they don’t think it’d be fair to those without HoT, yet they allow elite specializations into WvW, which most are straight upgrades to their base professions. Just add gliders, seriously.
Return server individuality. The merging of lower populated worlds has only hampered WvW. The real reason ArenaNet has done this is to keep the lower populated servers and make it appear the total player base isn’t shrinking. All that needs to be done is separate the servers (allowing more world match ups) and cut 3 or 6 of the lowest populated servers; the reason for either 3 or 6 is for WvW match purposes. Then allow the players from those servers to freely pick any of the other lower populated servers. All server merging has done is apply a band-aid to an open wound.
Finally, there’s still the massive gear problem. In PvP, everyone’s gear has naturalized stats(whatever the hell that means), you can swap/have access to a multitude of runes/sigils at no cost (except some which cost 5g to access) and an amulet that covers all accessory stats (some cost 10g for no reason). Point is, why has PvP always had some form of gear separation from PvE, but WvW has not; there is no explanation for it, no reason to be forced to use open world gear in WvW. In order to play effectively in both modes for the most part requires two full sets of gear. Where’s the balance? Players should be on an even playing field where their skill determines who wins or loses, not whoever could afford better stat gear.
There are plenty of others issues, but the most important thing to take away from this article is that nothing has changed in WvW. The spike in population after the update has already started dwindling down to previous levels, new WvWers have already begun to realize there’s profit or fun to stay (including myself), while regulars are left in the aftermath of yet another failed and meaningless update. All that ArenaNet seems to do is blow off the game mode, then add useless changes that don’t fix any existing problems once there’s enough outcry for a patch. After this, who know how long it will be until the next WvW patch and even then, it will likely turn out the same as this one.
~ Michael Rey (aka Mel; Moxar.7561)