Guild Wars 2 World vs. World is Broken (and how I would fix it)

Posted by DragonBloodthirsty (470 posts) -

World vs. World (WvW) was one of the major selling points of Guild Wars 2, and anyone who expressed interest in the game had an interest in WvW. There's been a lot of unpleasantness as the worlds have been settling into a routine of "Play for real briefly for a few hours on Friday, then somebody wins for the week". I think there's a lot of trouble with this.

First, the design of WvW actually favors winning and defending. Giving some advantages to defenders isn't all bad, but giving huge gameplay benefits to the team that's winning is. First, there's the orbs, which grant a 5% boost to your stats as long as you hold them. There's three of them spread across the maps, and once one team holds all of them, that's a 15% stat boost to all their players across all of WvW. Once one team has all three orbs, it becomes very difficult to defeat them in even numbers. Compounding this problem is the fact that winning in WvW accumulates points that also gives you stat boosts, especially to your health and healing. There's nothing particularly wrong with granting a stat boost to gathering, but giving the winning team more health just helps them win more.

Second, the things that were put into place to encourage participation aren't working. The Magic Find boost given to "outnumbered players" is really lame, and only means something if you're able to win. If you aren't winning any fights, it isn't doing you any good.

Finally, there is still a penalty to dying -- the repair fee. This means that, if you are dying repeatedly, you're losing money as you play. If you're spending money buying siege equipment, you lose money even faster. It is possible to get siege equipment without spending money, but it uses badges of honor, which you only collect while you're winning fights. All these things combine to make losing at WvW unpleasant and un-fun. The people who are winning are strongly motivated to stay and keep winning, while the people who are losing are penalized for losing. Throw in the free server transfers that let you change sides on a whim, and big chunks of server population just migrate with the winning team, making it difficult to build stable guilds and participate in WvW while on a non-winning server. I don't think this was the intention.

So how would I fix this enormous problem? I think that, for starters, what a guildmate suggested was the easiest to implement and best idea: swap the Magic Find and Orb bonus. Granting additional magic find while you hold orbs doesn't make the current holder win any harder than they already are, but players are still motivated to take them and hold them. Also, if you are sorely outnumbered, you need a stat boost to help make up some of the difference in numbers. This also has the benefit of causing epic feeling battles (Of the "I was outnumbered 5 to one, but I still killed two of them before they got me" sort). Just be careful that the stat boost isn't so large that you'd rather have it than extra players on your team.

Removing the stat bonuses from the WvW rewards and replacing them with some other reward would cut down on this problem as well. Simple bonuses like "increased gold from monsters" don't prevent comebacks in WvW.

I also think that, even when losing, players should still get some reward (especially in the form of Badges of Honor). Soldiers in the military get purple hearts for being injured in the line of duty, and I think something should be awarded for participation in WvW, even while losing. I don't think we should reward players more for dying than for winning, but even losing required active participation on the part of the player and should be rewarded. I think it is reasonable to add an NPC who rewards badges of honor for dying, and set it to pay out at half the rate of winning. It doesn't make sense to have your badge drop at the location and time of your death (sitting there taunting you while you're not able to pick it up), so an NPC in the main base who keeps track of your earned badges seemed the next simplest solution. That's a much more involved solution, but it still seems like a good idea.

#1 Posted by DragonBloodthirsty (470 posts) -

World vs. World (WvW) was one of the major selling points of Guild Wars 2, and anyone who expressed interest in the game had an interest in WvW. There's been a lot of unpleasantness as the worlds have been settling into a routine of "Play for real briefly for a few hours on Friday, then somebody wins for the week". I think there's a lot of trouble with this.

First, the design of WvW actually favors winning and defending. Giving some advantages to defenders isn't all bad, but giving huge gameplay benefits to the team that's winning is. First, there's the orbs, which grant a 5% boost to your stats as long as you hold them. There's three of them spread across the maps, and once one team holds all of them, that's a 15% stat boost to all their players across all of WvW. Once one team has all three orbs, it becomes very difficult to defeat them in even numbers. Compounding this problem is the fact that winning in WvW accumulates points that also gives you stat boosts, especially to your health and healing. There's nothing particularly wrong with granting a stat boost to gathering, but giving the winning team more health just helps them win more.

Second, the things that were put into place to encourage participation aren't working. The Magic Find boost given to "outnumbered players" is really lame, and only means something if you're able to win. If you aren't winning any fights, it isn't doing you any good.

Finally, there is still a penalty to dying -- the repair fee. This means that, if you are dying repeatedly, you're losing money as you play. If you're spending money buying siege equipment, you lose money even faster. It is possible to get siege equipment without spending money, but it uses badges of honor, which you only collect while you're winning fights. All these things combine to make losing at WvW unpleasant and un-fun. The people who are winning are strongly motivated to stay and keep winning, while the people who are losing are penalized for losing. Throw in the free server transfers that let you change sides on a whim, and big chunks of server population just migrate with the winning team, making it difficult to build stable guilds and participate in WvW while on a non-winning server. I don't think this was the intention.

So how would I fix this enormous problem? I think that, for starters, what a guildmate suggested was the easiest to implement and best idea: swap the Magic Find and Orb bonus. Granting additional magic find while you hold orbs doesn't make the current holder win any harder than they already are, but players are still motivated to take them and hold them. Also, if you are sorely outnumbered, you need a stat boost to help make up some of the difference in numbers. This also has the benefit of causing epic feeling battles (Of the "I was outnumbered 5 to one, but I still killed two of them before they got me" sort). Just be careful that the stat boost isn't so large that you'd rather have it than extra players on your team.

Removing the stat bonuses from the WvW rewards and replacing them with some other reward would cut down on this problem as well. Simple bonuses like "increased gold from monsters" don't prevent comebacks in WvW.

I also think that, even when losing, players should still get some reward (especially in the form of Badges of Honor). Soldiers in the military get purple hearts for being injured in the line of duty, and I think something should be awarded for participation in WvW, even while losing. I don't think we should reward players more for dying than for winning, but even losing required active participation on the part of the player and should be rewarded. I think it is reasonable to add an NPC who rewards badges of honor for dying, and set it to pay out at half the rate of winning. It doesn't make sense to have your badge drop at the location and time of your death (sitting there taunting you while you're not able to pick it up), so an NPC in the main base who keeps track of your earned badges seemed the next simplest solution. That's a much more involved solution, but it still seems like a good idea.

#2 Posted by celegorm_menegroth (63 posts) -

I think that you are on the right premise ( WvW does need some tweaking to make it more viable for a wider range of players ) but I think the problem is two-fold.

One, and the most obvious, is that players are playing it in a way that ... I don't necessarily think that the designers exactly intended. I'm not going to go so far as to say that they're playing the game "wrong" but I get the distinct impression that ... something's just not quite right. The area that I'm talking about is the ability to make so much money/karma/experience from taking control points far outweighs the gains you would get for actually keeping them. In addition, you are not actually rewarded for maintaining a presence inside an area. In fact, remaining stationary in a tower and just defending ( unless you pick a really active tower constantly under threat ) is a "waste of time" if all you want is karma/gold.

Taking and holding ground should be part of the game. There should be some mechanic in the game that encourages you to develop a presence in an area. A long term benefit for maintaining a group at a tower, or even around a supply camp. The game needs to discourage the pattern of having one group of the enemy run around and take all of the camps, only to have ( 5minutes later ) a team from another side run around and re-take them all. Unless there is a real reason ( a siege going on at a keep ) there's no motivation for players to guard a camp ... but there's a huge motivation for leaving them unguarded and retaking them.

I don't think this strategy of abandonment is how the designers thought the game would be played.

Secondly, I think the game maps are ... not quite right for this scale of WvW. They're too small, they're too identical, there's not a whole lot else "going on" on them. I think there is a place for the "Borderlands" style map that's there, now; but I also think that there should be a "Homeland" map beyond it. You can hash out how it's accessed all you want ( maybe you can't get in unless you control the borderlands, or just a keep, or can't waypoint in ) but the bottom line is that there should be a map that is both much larger, and require a greater commitment from an opposing force while at the same time giving the defenders a distinct "home-field advantage." These homelands should also offer some "good hunting" for players, with some neat events and reasons to go there other than simply stand around watching /team.

On the "going on" front, I'd like to see some bigger events happening. Why not have a dragon hit the ruins in the southern section of the borderlands once every few hours. We need some more randomness to the NPC's, too. If they're going to be there, make them interesting. If one side holds an entire map ( or at least all of the towers/keeps ) then the quaggs unleash an invasion force ( something big, with siege weapons of their own ) to strike at one of the towers and occupy it once every thirty minutes. That way, if a map is left completely undefended, within a couple hours you would see some turnover. This would force people to stick around on one map rather than saying, "hey, we took everything here ... on to the next one!" so one giant zerg can roll the entire set of maps in an evening. You'd have to defend what you took .. or the map itself would retake it.

A smaller fix in the same vein for this would be to create two more borderlands maps, each with their own distinct advantages for the "home team." The current one favors the defender in the north. I would like to see two more borderlands maps added so that each of the three is different, and that your "home" map changes every week.

And, while you're making those maps that'll never be made, please make them with a more varied atmosphere. And more locations. Can we get a map with a bunch of tunnels, another one with some fog so it's hard to see in parts.

And on a side note ... I would love it if you could declare a player a "traitor" while you're in a full group, and if the entire group votes on it, so you could attack someone on your own side ... then we could form a "bot-killing squad." That'll never happen, though.

Another side note ... I really like the idea of your loot being sent to a chest next to the asura gates automatically. Then you just need to go pick it up when you're finished playing. Your loot could stay there for 8hrs in case you got booted, but then you wouldn't have to worry about hunting around on the ground for those damn bags every time you get a kill.

#3 Edited by EXTomar (4687 posts) -

I see part of the problem in that in general terms, WvWvW is like a small intramural league. When one team gets enough of a lead there is a Risk vs Reward issue where second and third place see no reason to continue to even try. The last time I looked at the WvWvW on my server the lead had 8x the score over my server so it offers little incentive to even try at this point. They need to have a mercy rule or some sort of handicap at this stage or this server will never ever be competitive. As already mentioned, the leaders have big incentive to keep winning while those that fall behind have nil. They might have to consider adding some big incentives to second place to help keep the situation competitive so second and third keep fighting. Or alternatively I would favor some sort of "upkeep" or "overhead" cost automatically levied against a server that is so far ahead that helps dissuade the winning side to queue up just to keep winning.

#4 Posted by celegorm_menegroth (63 posts) -

I think that one interesting twist would be if the first place team gets that far ahead then the second and third place are automatically combined until things stabilize. That'd, potentially, put the leader in a rather severe numerical disadvantage.

#5 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (3254 posts) -

@DragonBloodthirsty said:

So how would I fix this enormous problem? I think that, for starters, what a guildmate suggested was the easiest to implement and best idea: swap the Magic Find and Orb bonus. Granting additional magic find while you hold orbs doesn't make the current holder win any harder than they already are, but players are still motivated to take them and hold them. Also, if you are sorely outnumbered, you need a stat boost to help make up some of the difference in numbers. This also has the benefit of causing epic feeling battles (Of the "I was outnumbered 5 to one, but I still killed two of them before they got me" sort). Just be careful that the stat boost isn't so large that you'd rather have it than extra players on your team.

Removing the stat bonuses from the WvW rewards and replacing them with some other reward would cut down on this problem as well. Simple bonuses like "increased gold from monsters" don't prevent comebacks in WvW.

The problem with just switching the Orb and Outnumbered buffs is that it changes not only increases the incentive for underdog servers to participate, it also changes the inherent value of the orb to something entirely different. It would no longer be strategically necessary (at least in WvW) for a server to attempt to capture one, and anyone who did try would likely be accused by their server of wasting the slot they're taking up on something that's not helping to win the match. By the same token, it means that people who really don't care about WvW - basically any serious PvE farmers - will actually have a reason to disrupt the queues of people who want to play in order to maximize their output in another part of the game.

I agree, though, that the Outnumbered buff seems useless as it is now.

#6 Posted by DragonBloodthirsty (470 posts) -

Well, orbs have been removed from the game, and I think the game is better for it. WvW has constant and relevant activity now.

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