Call me a megalomaniac if you will but killing people and besting them in combat whether it be on even terms or a complete landslide has to be one of the best parts of an mmo. I love the thrill it brings and even that deep down feeling it of being better than someone when you beat them. I even love defeat as it gives you a reason to strive for more, to better your skills, your build, and how you put it all together.
The developers have done an amazing job crafting some great PvP game types in a field where it usually is nothing more than an afterthought and for that I am truly grateful. I have been flitting between mmo’s for a little while now and have been thoroughly unsatisfied with everything else out there and then Guild Wars completely blows me out of the water with a decent focus on creating bigger and better PvP systems. Now they aren’t perfect, far from it but it’s a start and it is leagues better than anything else that has come out in many years by a bigger developer.
And without further adeu here is my first.. of many wishes for the betterment of PvP in Guild Wars 2.
WvW Map Improvements
At first I was completely and utterly blown away with the scope of these maps, they seemed so expansive at first when I was running around with the guild, bashing heads with randoms. Learning the maps was a big part of those initial battles which extending over a month, it was a period of learning for everyone but now it is starting to feel a little old, the maps have grown stale as we have learned what we can and there is very little else to do except following the same basic strategies, the same siege placements. Now the maps we do have are well designed with many different layouts throughout the zone to adapt to such as valleys and hills, choke points to hinder zergs, and open plains for lots of carnage which is enough that the combat you have changes based on the terrain surrounding you.
They are good but it would be even better to be playing a different maps regularly where your strategies change and evolve depending on the different maps. With a couple maps cycling between the borderlands for each match up you would get many more different gaming experiences, the matches wouldn’t feel so stagnant with teams going through the motions, and I wouldn’t be getting that feeling of sameness every time I log in. It would also be great for them to be incrementally added as we can just get some more great memories where we are all learning these new maps together, finding quick routes, secret cata spots and just engaging in general tomfoolery.
Now I don’t exactly understand the amount of work that goes into creating a new map, with the many hills, ridges, mountains, and man made structures but I am sure it is a great undertaking. The maps we have are amazing in a way but when you’ve spent exorbitant amounts of time on one map type, a few hours a day for weeks straight like some then it is really quite inadequate. I, and I am sure many many others have spent more time in WvW then the entirety of the leveling experiences. WvW is designed for people to spend a lot of time in, it is a major part of the Guild Wars 2 endgame just as much and maybe even more so then alting when it comes to a long term experience.
At this stage you can’t help comparing the limited WvW maps to the PvE world which has dozens of maps catering to them of varying themes and layouts; jungle marshes, arid plains, snowy mountains, coastal areas, corrupted wastelands as well as some amazing capital cities, and WvW is designated a very simplistic design that is reminiscent of any temperate climate. Now this isn’t just an issue of appealing to players sense of novelty although that is part, it’s just that when playing it is just nice to be in a different environment, to experience different visuals and aesthetics. Playing in the same environment just grates on the nerves in a particular way, and when your playing for extended periods you just need a change of scenery, a fresh breath of air. The amount of comments that the Orr area elicits as an end game area is astounding compared to WvW but they are both just as important as they entail large amounts of play. The Orr area is by far worse aesthetically but they rectified that with down leveling to a certain extent being still rewarded as well… so now it should be our turn.
Now the main issue with the WvW maps I think doesn’t just come down to the recycling of content but is about the the flow of the maps seeming all wrong. The maps are far to small making it just far to easy for individuals and groups alike to traverse the map, getting from A to B is a short run especially with alternating group swiftness which means the available strategies become quite limited. Because it is very easy and quick to get around the map the dominating strategy is that of just zerging points with as many bodies as you can muster, there is no need to leave defenders around since a force can be there in a minute and just recapture. If a server has a much larger zerg then the others they can completely dominate both sides as they can attack and defend almost simultaneously, a quick run or port back from the frontlines to defend a keep and then a short run back again. It is rather meaningless and hinders the strategies people can enact.
Small strike forces still have a place in the game from attacking supply camps, knocking off dollies, and ninja capping keeps but when a force can recapturing everything in the space of minutes there is a problem. Small squads should be the dominating strategy on the map as moving a large force from North to South and West to East should take time. There should be enough time between movements where considerable damage could be done or for an entire force to be routed in an order of defence. For Instance if you commit your entire force to camping the enemies spawn and you become aware that a force has sneekied into a lord area of a northern area then you should be in trouble. It would create a far better meta of Large Scale combat and because it may break up big groups more it would be very beneficial in regards to culling problems during combat. It would also make waypoints feel far more powerful then they are and worthy of being a rather expensive upgrade, right now they are so close to they original spawns that it is only an upgrade of convenience but if they were much further away then they would offer far greater strategic benefit.
I don’t expect a wealth of maps now or in the foreseeable future but it would be good if Anet could make a new design schedule of maybe creating a new map every 6 months, as more get added rotations of them can start which will go a long way to making each match feel less stale. I honestly don’t care too much if they are slightly unbalanced in favour of one of the spawns or certain keeps and towers in fact that will be part of the fun of it. Just give us more maps and we will take it from there.. pretty please.
Another issue that bothers me about the maps being so small is that it is remarkable easy to treb other keeps from relative safety. I don’t think I can recollect from the documentaries and my travels through England and bits of Europe of any castles or keeps that were close enough to each other that you could safely shell each other from their own walls. And if that did happen I would imagine one of those would have been completely wiped out and the structure torn to the ground. At the moment moment it gives the advantage to the attacker when it should be on the defender. If a full siege of a tower or keep is required then it should be an undertaking requiring considerable forces to set up and defend.
There are parts where this is working ok such as attacks on the eastern Keep of the borderlands (Hills), for assaulting that keep you need trebs set up on a nearby hill which you then need to defend, the defenders then need to take the fight to you but it is a far fairer fight for both sides. Then there is the Western keep which is rather silly as if you own Garrison and have upgraded it enough it is very easy to keep an outer wall down indefinitely which makes that entire wall completely pointless. Even the major keep Garrison is not immune as both towers can bombard the outside wall.. and vis versa. It is silly design. If you are assaulting a keep then the siege you are using should be attackable by the other side without the need for a full assault on a tower or keep. The only issue then is those sill mortars which have a range of half a map when a trebuchet should have the largest range.
Now this is by no means the only issue with WvW, there are many that affect it from mechanics, missing features, aesthetic, and long term reasons to fight but this is my list so =p. Stay tuned for the next issue and see you on the battlefield.