This month of improved culling has really been truly amazing. I had been losing a bit of my passion for it beforehand, especially with being on a Tier 1 server because what’s the point if you can’t see or react to the enemies around you. It was a frustrating affair. This though is a joy to be apart of… large scale combat on a pretty much nightly basis. Eighty man (and women) zergs crossing the screen with regularity and you can’t help but watch in awe, even if a large chunk are still just name tags for me I don’t think I’ll ever not be amazed.
40+ from both sor and bg last night and performance was perfect, not even any skill lag. Combat is amazing during these times, and the degree to which strategy, coordination, and we’ll timed skill use can make a difference. I wouldn’t say GW2 has an action combat system as it is still very much driven by tab targeting but it certainly feels more active then the standard. This is why even with its flaws I still enjoy my time playing, because the combat accentuates rather then hinders skill based pvp. Sandbox features or not, combat really does make the game in many respects.
While the core code of the game has seen a massive improvement I still can’t say that about any other mechanic as there are still the main flaws that have annoyed everyone since the start.
*Truncated this a little earlier then normal since it’s just too long*
The new rank system is incredible poor in terms of implementation and innovation. There is nothing even remotely interesting about it at first glance just a standard pointless progression system kind of like fractals except no pink bits. The base of the system seems ok though and they still have room to expand and improve on this further with different passives and such. They just need to better acknowledge much of teir hardcore players with it rather than accommodating the casuals too much. I would like to see the cost on some like the supply buff lowered and more added so that then there is more specialisation in the system while leveling it up.
They’re missing a few key points as well that I think could make a decent addition
- upping the aoe cap, and maybe one with less aoe damage. These would be good for combating zergs.
- Some sort of passive speed buff because wasting a utility on this really detracts from the choices you do have, it’s also a way of making these buffs more equal
- Improved Resing..or something like that
- maybe a specialty buff that is placed on npc’s around you as a way of defending camps and such better.
They also need to improve the ways of gaining World Exp to include many other activities that don’t really include combat, defending yaks is a big one as is defending and repairing towers and keeps. I would like to see some gained from building siege but it could be abused a little, maybe having it as a daily, or only awarding it if the siege placed has done damage to something. They have already said they are working on improving this which is good.
Breaking the Zergs
The zerg seems like it is still the prominent playstlye within WvW which is rather a shame, smaller scale fights and even those against havoc groups are a lot of fun but zerging is rewarded more in terms of how much easier things are. World xp could use a little change to encourage people splitting up a little. With GW2’s general tag and reward fully mechanic it means numbers are rewarded the same as skill. I would like to see this changed a little by maybe upping the amount of world exp given on kills but then splitting this evenly between the people have contributed that way small groups and more even fights are rewarded more then 10 people ganging up on one.
I would like to see more zerg affecting skills in each class. Mesmer has Veil, feedback and null field that are invaluable. Reducing the cap on a lot of the professions skills would be good (maybe with diminishing returns) but if they don’t wish to do that maybe the other classes could get new skills that are relatively uncapped that either help out your zerg or punish the other.. Stuff like large scale chill or blind, stability and protection as well. They have said recently how they want to balance WvW differently away from pve so now would be the time to make these differences meaningful.
The borderlands need to be a bit bigger, I know they have previously said just is a limitation of the tech and this can’t happen but to me the Eternal Battlegrounds seems a lot bigger…why can’t the borderlands be this size as well. There is a lot of wasted space in the already small borderlands too which lends itself very strongly to zergy as there is a smaller number of points to fight over. The jumping puzzle, centaur camp and giant lake really could be better put to use.
Generally I think these need to be harder to attack but there is also a few balance changes if this happens. Firstly it is still way to fast to take keeps and towers at times because of golems and other siege. The lack of collision for these things makes for some terrible defensive gameplay, a herd of golems pounding down a door should never happen and these plus rams should have a hit box that can’t overlap.
The fact that during a siege you often can’t even get on the walls is a huge issue as well, it shouldn’t be as easy as it is to place aoe skills on top..or maybe it’s just that these aoe skills are far to big. Even if they can’t improve on aoe placement there needs to be some benefits to being on a wall, the two I can think of are protection and stability… Less damage then and can’t be pulled off to your doom. Also there is an issue for the defender about even seeing below the walls to do any damage and that seems a hard one to fix.
Other things that need to change is the usefulness of the defensive upgrades like oil and canons. Most can’t even be manned in a siege due to the amount of damage focused on them. One thing I read would be the person manning this items be invulnerable to damage, and I think this would be a good balance as the siege can still be destroyed be is useful during the attack.
Everyone pretty much agrees that there is very little reward to WvW at the moment and while that isn’t much of a problem by itself when comparing it to other modes you can’t help but feel a dissatisfaction towards it. From a personal point of view it still seems very lacking, the new armor stat selections were a brilliant quality of life change but the time to acquire this in WvW compared to other modes is still rather ludicrous. Some items of ascended gear should also be in there, many find this advantage unfair (even if it is rather minor for now). The one thing people do want is some unique items only available in WvW for a costly price as a sort of status symbol, there are heaps of clothing models across the game..except WvW and this lack is rather irritating.
There is very little recognition and rewards for guilds and their efforts throughout WvW. It is a huge time and money sink for those involved so it seems that there could be some reward for it, nothing much though. I think there could be a weekly or monthly just for guilds to complete that maybe reward the guild a little gold, influence and pieces of siege… maybe even a guild commendation or two. Influence Gain seems rather slow in WvW and these guilds do miss out in a bit that the pve crowd may have regularly.
The way keeps are held by guilds seems like it may need improvement as well, a little flag hanging from the walls really isn’t that much. Better naming of the guild among it’s npc’s would be good as would better flag placement, and maybe even a zone message when you get nearby the keep. Just something to acknowledge guilds better.
Oh there was also this massive spvp addition you may have heard about recently, custom arenas will be here shortly as will be spectator mode. There is a decent Faq for it already on the forums and an official one incoming. As usually there is a little contention over these updates and this time it is how the custom arenas need to be purchased and have a monthly cost to run. While I think that charging for a custom server is maybe kind ok I don’t think it is the right move for Anet right now, maybe if the had a sizeable and growing population it would be a good money boost but as it is spvp is pretty much in life support. What has been here in terms of features for a while has always been rather basic and probably why the mode has never been quite popular, and yet they are now locking the features like organised team fights and controlling the map behind a pay wall when these are usually standard features in pvp games. Sure with the other customisation options it could be worth it but the majority don’t want those.
It seems to me like Anet keep trying to monetize the fringe of an already small community. Every other game type is has access to making gold in order to convert into gems, so it seems rather coincidental that gems purchases have been rather critical to certain SPvP features. The whole gold conversion thing is just very poorly thought out, they keep having to redesign the cost based on this and peoples in game funds but at the same time the real world cost of these items keeps inflating.
They are chasing the big money that certain other games are bringing in yet they don’t have the appropriate monetization strategy for it and I also think they are still under a misguided belief that it has a bigger population then it does, a population that could support these custom arenas when it really can’t. The plebs in hot join are what make the game, not the select few pros that get more face time . There needs to be a decent population to continually fight, train and learn of each other and that is still missing – and holding back features isn’t going to help this.
Matchmaking still seems rather incomplete so far, caused in part by the splitting of servers and the lack of population but also inherently by design. It is this matchmaking that is still causing less then satisfactory matches between competing teams. And then there is the problem with preformed groups facing solo joiners. Once this all gets a bit more polish, I could see more players maybe returning in the future but Anet would need to make a gigantic gesture towards that community.. maybe it’s time to announce a proper tournament with a big cash prize, that would certainly get a bit of media attention.