All Aboard the Blackgate Bandwagon

Well our rambunctious crew of raiders have once again departed from barren lands looking for greener pastures to pillage in. Jade Quarry, for a number of reasons was no longer fun to be on anymore.. Hmm not that, as we still had some times of immense fun, more that it was no longer enjoyable for our group. Staying in tier 1 was the main option as we didn’t want to go down just to dominate, and out of the 2 we picked Blackgate. We have joked about Stackgate between ourselves before and now we are one of them. In the end it came down to knowing some of the guild there from our fights in other games and here we are.

Love Meee!

One reason for leaving was just the lack of acknowledgment our guild and its efforts were getting from the community on our server at large. I’m sure those we fight with regularly during these times know what we are doing but the men in charge, the Na who deem themselves of higher status than us lowly Oceanic’s pretty much disregarded our contribution. Yet funnily enough at the same time we were getting praise from those we were fighting against.. weird.

Each night during or raid of the borderlands we would always be drawing a large population of Hire and MERC, along with a few other tags alongs to keep us at bay (quite literally). Throughout the nights we were often able to take and hold a keep while being significantly outmanned the entire time. Both SoR and Blackgate had their zergs coming against us and we were often so persistent in our tasks that instead of map hopping to secure multiple fronts they just tried to contest our advances. Freeing up our home borderlands to make a push.

We would start our nights with nearly nothing yet leave to have it all taken again by the next night (dirty NA night cappers) with more yet we were apparently the ones losing valuable structures. The Jade Quarry forums has a culture a self entitlement and grandiosity fueled by a few guilds and people, so much so that it really sapped our will to fight for them anymore. Why would you want to contribute to that. I can’t pinpoint when it changed, it used to be a server that fought tooth and nail against the odds regardless of position and most felt nothing but pride. Now though it seems those people are gone and all that’s left is a few self congratulating egotistical idiots herding a mismatched collection guilds, pugs, and masses of PvE players.

There is something wrong with WvW when the efforts of some are unacknowledged and forgotten, I’m not just talking about our own here but every group and individual out there. Capturing a point on the map should be celebrated and seen, pop ups should announce this or at least a specialised combat log across all borderlands. It also shouldn’t just be a single flag, it should be far more and it should be more meaningful to the guild. I don’t understand for instance why capture and defending objects doesn’t reward the guild as a whole. It is a group effort and a lot of Guild resources can go into attacking points (golems, catas) and upgrading yet it is viewed as nothing.

Guilds should be more involved in these structures, with defense and advancement. There should be multiple ways a guild can customise a keep or tower in regards to defensive items and cosmetics but instead it’s just numbers on an ever ticking board. This is a problem endemic in the nature of the guild system as it is lacking in near every way… Who would have thought a game called Guild Wars could have near nothing focused on guilds except a few frivolous events and the basics of progression.

And then there is the personal acknowledgment that I think many of the hardcore players would crave. I know I would never play enough to even compare to many out there, A guy called qwerty, who regular runs with us is out there tirelessly killing yaks, contesting points, soloing camps and killing stragglers. He is one of the most dedicated and skillful thieves out there yet what really is in it for him. At the end of every match up there should be loads of statistics for players to scour over of the names of characters that have gone above and beyond, k/d ratios, guild claiming, defensive styled stats and these should be rewarded. At least give them a temporary title, maybe even a bucket load of badges, a handful of gold, and a few laurels.

Zerg Wars

Another big part was just the sheer numbers disadvantage we had during our time zone. We took pleasure in it going against the odds and trying to better ourselves as individuals and as a guild but this only goes so far. Jeromai and I have discussed WvW needing a certain balance of being outmanned, balanced, and apart of the zerg. They are different styles of gameplay, each giving you a break from the other but needed for the experience to feel whole. For us, being significantly outnumbered was no longer enjoyable and there was still no end in sight.

We used to be competitive but now it seems there are only 2 top tier servers. It’s funny though that many are still quite full, even JQ but people are just not playing WvW anymore. There is a strange imbalance with how people spend their in game time, some servers have a high population of pvp’ers and others do not. It doesn’t make sense to me anymore to have these WvW fights divided by the servers as they are not a great tool for balancing as we can clearly see since the population is too uneven and spread out. You can guest now quite freely between servers so the distinction is mostly just for WvW yet it seems to be causing more issues than it solves. It hasn’t created the community Anet intended either, not even close.

I also think an issue is that WvW is dying. Haha, yes I used the melodramatic cliche. IT’S DYING ABANDON SHIP! No it’s nothing like that, more like wow in a sense where it has this serious disease which left unattended would mean a slow, painful decline until it’s but a shadow of its former self. For months after release there were at least 4 highly competitive servers in regards to population now it is barely two. There were a lot of medium population battlegrounds too but these are on a steady decline as well. The WvW population is slowly dwindling. I really wonder how long WvW has before it loses the critical mass of players it needs to function adequately.

New Stuffz

And the reason why it is dying, lack of anything resembling new experiences. Same maps, same classes (a few changes), same opponents, same strategies. Seriously the lack of change beyond cosmetic has resulted in a game that has become ridiculously boring. Imagine running the same raid a few hours near everyday…. for 9…. months…. straight. That’s the feeling. Those in tier 1 know each other so intimately now that the experiences available have become stale. Sure we all still get those moments of adrenalin pumping combat but those moments seem to be fleeting and no where near as exhilarating. It really is a testament towards the combat system they created that it is still kind of fun to roam around in this PvP playground but that won’t be enough to placate the masses forever.

Wasn’t it said that a new WvW map would take about 10 months to complete… well we’re still waiting. It’s not just the lack of maps it is the simplicity of the mechanics in the ones we do. We need something.. SOMETHING new to invigorate play with new experiences and I’m sorry but the most basic progression system I have ever seen really doesn’t cut it. New maps would be a start but there are many other things too; new skills useable in WvW that maybe offer different strategies, new weapons, new classes, new reasons to fight. Allow more spaces controlled by havoc groups rather than mass zergs, small interconnected maps, long drawn out maps, maps were you are only facing 1 not 2 sides. I actually think the worlds should be connected like the world of Tyria but there are many other ways to change the structure of them and still make it compelling. I really don’t know what else as there are a lot of inherent limitations to the game  which would never allow more complex mechanics.

I still like the game, but without that interest being tended it is likely to wither. Hopefully by transferring I can see the sun again, if only for a limited time.

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5 thoughts on “All Aboard the Blackgate Bandwagon

  1. It’s a very different story down in T3-T5. The change to the Matchup system where they added the random factor has given us the best four or five weeks in a row since last year, possibly since launch. Close-fought matches through the entire week, sometimes with all three finishing places still in play a couple of hours before reset. As for numbers, well this week we’re playing unwilling hosts to Dragonbrand for the first time since the change and if anything there seem to be more of them than ever!

    I’m not a reliable witness on any of this because I strongly dislike the whole concept of guilds and would like MMOs to do without them entirely. I particularly enjoy WvW because you can just pick the commanders you like or respect and follow them without having to be in their Guild. I also quite strongly dislike motivational rewards, and especially showy-offy ones like zone announcements, guild colors on keeps and the like. Seeing them makes me cringe and if I ever saw my name or my guild’s name pop up for something I’d done I’d log off in embarrassment and probably not play again for a week! I feel the gameplay should be its own reward.

    I’d like to think the thief you mention is getting all the reward he needs from the sheer fun of doing what he’s doing. I know I am because if I wasn’t I’d stop doing it. I only went to YB Borderland yesterday afternoon to use the bank but we had a map call to Garrison and I went to defend and was on arrow carts and supply runs for the best part of two hours. In the end Dragonbrand overran us like army ants and sat there with 600+ points up so you could say it was all for nothing but I had a great time. Of course, I only do WvW when it suits me, so maybe those people who spend all day every day up there do need something more than the fun of the fight to keep them at it.

    • Yeh it is bit of a different story in tier. Because of the huge point difference between sor, bg, and JQ and the other servers we don’t see any change. No servers are losing that much so it stays very static, maybe eventually JQ will fall down but not for some time yet.
      Dragon brand Haha. Just last night Waha from Foo was leading around an 80 player zerg… Could have been more and that’s during oceanic. The thing is because of the amount of players in tier one the differences in numbers is more defined and the gameplay as well. It seems it kind of balances out point wise but each server seems to be outmanned during a particular time. The 4 maps may also be an issue to as bugger zergs might get matched against smaller groups.

      I agree that intrinsic motivators should play a bigger part in guiding play, especially in pvp. It has been the sole reason we have played over these months. After a while though something else is needed to highlight and further promote these intrinsic motivators. When extrinsic motivators are the focus it is the same feeling as instanced arenas and I don’t want that. It just needs certainly tangible rewards to it, and I’m not just talking about gear.

      I also don’t understand your hate towards guilds. They offer a very important structured and consistent community aspect that promotes long term play. They provide group goals which I believe really balances the personal ones. The breakdown in
      group play and the rise of solo play is, in my opinion a huge issue for mmo’s. Also people just want to feel more connected with others.

  2. Just to provide some contrast to bhaggy, I’d say you’re pretty spot on. I poked my head back in a few weeks ago and was dismayed, but unsurprised, by how much everything has stayed the same. There’s really nothing else to say about it. Nothing of consequence has truly been added to the game mode. Only pointless fluff and some misc fixes to a few terrible problems inherent to the poor systems they put into place; like culling and the immobile, demoralizing ranking system.

    I don’t even know what tier Devona’s Rest is in anymore, but the fun fights are few and far between and the overall experience is stale and growing staler. Even though the server itself is doing way better in the points game and we’re no long disgustingly outmanned after the weekend like we used to be. WvW needs an infusion of something new badly, because the combat isn’t interesting enough to justify its existence.

    Maybe it’s different for the zerglings. I can’t claim to know. But for those of us who loathe the zerg style of play with all our being it’s bloody awful.

    • It’s not different for us that play around zerging, it’s actually worse. We normally run around with a 20 person group because we like that gameplay style and we get fun fights occasionally but the overarching strategy is just zerg everything which makes the the rarity.

      And yes, the combat is no longer enough anymore. I really do love the combat system in GW2 as it is active and has been lot if complexity in group play with how you build and gear your class, the combo system, and just coordinating it all. It could be better and there are still many obvious balancing concerns but it is a very Very strong foundation. It can’t support the game forever though. Need new experiences not grinding, new areas not breakout events, new siege and skills and weapons not find siege mastery.

      I honestly think they must have fired the team that originally developed the game and I’m not to fussed with the new one and their focus on fluff.

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