By DragonBloodthirsty 6 Comments
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.