Having hit the level cap almost two weeks ago, my focus, aside from the on-going Mad King Halloween event, has been World vs World. I touched upon it a bit in my Guild Wars 2 review, but it really deserves it’s own review since it’s a completely separate system then PvE. So here we are.
As I stated in that review, my currently relationship with WvsW is a love/hate one. It solves a lot of problems other MMORPGs have with RvR, but doesn’t get in quite right and makes a few errors itself.
I’m going to start off by talking about map size as I feel everything is in some way influence by it. The World vs World area is split into four deceivingly large maps and while they feel and appear to be large at first, they’re actually very small and the source of many of WvsW woes.
Currently the primary, and really only successful tactic, is to form massive armies to attack structures around the map and while this type of tactic is expected, it ends up being the only tactic used. I’ve tried soloing or running with smaller groups, but they don’t last long; you’ll run into a massive army after taking a camp or two and will be forced to retreat. The problem is that maps are so small, these zerg armies are able to go after small bands of players while on their way to larger structures. There’s no decision to be made whether or not to take a camp as it’s only a few seconds off the path and players that separate can quickly regroup with the zerg in a few mins.
If you expand the size of the maps, these zerg armies will be forced to break into smaller groups to go after small hold points or bands of players. Creating a greater variety of combat other than massive scale.
Moving on, lets discuss towers, forts and castles. Towers require small armies to take over, while castles are the crem della crem of massive PvP combat, with forts being somewhere in the middle. Sound good, right? Well the problem again comes from the small map size. While towers should be objectives taken by smaller groups of armies, it ends up being large scale combat most of the time. The problem is that 2-3 defenders can successfully hold off a group of 10-15 attackers fairly easily to give enough time for reinforcements to arrive. So what ends up happening is people get discouraged, join the zerg, then attack the tower. The problem again stems for small map sizes. While a group of 10 attackers might eventually overwhelm the defenders, they can’t take over the structure in the speed required to avoid reinforcements.
Currently the biggest problem with WvsW is unbalanced server matchups. Last week our server Blackgate controlled 100% of all 4 maps for the last week. It was a complete and utter blowout with the other two servers basically quitting, making for a horrible WvsW experience for everyone. You can’t have WvsW if there’s no one to fight.
The more structures a server holds, the more bonuses they get, which is great, but the servers losing don’t get enough incentive to keep fighting. This obviously needs to be fixed in a way that doesn’t lead to exploiting. Perhaps a magic find bonus to losing servers, but then you might end up with servers wanting to lose just to get the bonus, but you get my point.
I actually think larger maps would help solve this issue as well. No matter how many WvsW players a server has, the maps should be large enough where it would be impossible for any server to successfully hold every point. Perhaps allowing NPC camps to attack structures as well if they haven’t been attacked for a certain amount of time. Massive armies should be reserved for fort and castle attacks only.
I’d also like to see commanders get more map control powers, allowing them to mark things on the map to setup attacks and defenses.
Not that we’ve discussed what doesn’t work, lets get to what does; siege weaponry and resources. I love the system Arenanet came up with allowing for siege weapons to be placed anywhere on the map with players working together to set them up and protect them. This system would shine even more if the maps were expanded as more emphasis would have to be placed on siege weapons and strategy then just overwhelming your opponent with massive armies.
As far as PvP class balance goes, I’ve been playing the ranger since the launch and never felt I’ve been under or over-powered by any class, so from my perspective there’s no balance issues, although I’m sure others will disagree. I did get my ass kicked a few times, but since you can’t view other players gear, I’m not sure if that was the reason or not. Its hard to tell if the system is unbalanced when you can’t see peoples gear.
One last grip, which I’m not sure is even one, are with item drops. I have yet to get any sort of decent item drop in WvsW and almost feel compelled to go back to PvE to farm World Events for a shot at any. Are you guys experiencing the same thing or have you gotten exotic items in WvsW?
Overall WvsW is the best open PvP system I’ve played in a long long time. If Arenanet just expands the size of the maps, most of the complaints I had above would be gone. Hopefully we’ll see a large scale update focused on WvsW in the short future.