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3 Changes Structured PvP Urgently Needs

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August 13, 2013 - 3:41am -- Lewis B

It isn't often that I'll have a diva melt-down moment in Guild Wars 2. While its our job here at Guild Wars 2 Hub to be objective and critical, I did find myself (to no one in particular) having a bit of a rant at the state of structured PvP and more accurately, it's reward and progression systems.

As grateful as I am to ArenaNet for adding "dailies" to structured PvP alongside spectator mode, the foundations of sPvP and its reward structure is in need of immediate attention. In this list, I present 10 reasons as to why it is in need of immediate attention if ArenaNet are to have any hope of the player-base participating in one of Guild Wars 2 core components.

1. Snail Ranks

Obtaining ranks in Guild Wars 2's PvP is agony. As a player who averages 200 points per match without the 50% extra Glory booster, I tend to consistently total 500 from a match win with it. To progress through Dolyak to Wolf it would take around 50 hours of continued play. For 10 "levels" of a rank, 50 hours of investment is absolutely ridiculous when you compare this achievement to PvE and when factoring in the complete lack of rewards you receive. To add insult to injury, the progression through ranks from Dolyak to Wolf, to Tiger to Bear escalates in the number of points you need, with the jump from Dolyak to Wolf doubling in point requirements from 7,500 to 15,000 and from Wolf to Tiger, leaping to 45,000 points. Is there really any wonder then, that so few players even get close to the Bear or Shark ranks (don't even mention Dragon) when the sums required are 450,000 or 750,000 respectively. It begs the question as to whether anyone at ArenaNet has ever thought about the figures based on the snail’s pace of acquisition. If nothing else, our point gains from boosters or matches needs multiplying by at least 5 for nothing more than removing the grind. 

2. Rewards and Incentives

The rewards in sPvP are terrible. There is no other way to describe it. We earn little achievement points outside of our daily, an arcane sliver is redundant when you have an armour set you actually like, while being given further boosters or multiple sets of armour (that go straight into your locker) is hardly an encouragement for players to continue playing. What we need is for the ability to earn achievements (and lots of them) so that we can get our hands on Zenith or Hellfire skins without venturing into PvE but also the ability to gain unique armour exclusive to sPvP or better yet – gold and karma in the event we do ever venture out of the Mists. I can appreciate that playing sPvP and shooting opponents in the face is a reward in itself, but there really has to be more. It also doesn’t help that most of the best armour skins are tied to ranks, which 90% of people will never own due to the restrictive rank system.

3. PvE/sPvP Crossover

I care a great deal about how my characters look. In many ways it’s more important than the rest of the game, achieving the perfect image. Despite thousands of gold (no kidding) two legendary weapons and painstaking hours invested in finding the “look”, the moment I enter sPvP I look like horrendous. Nothing I wear reflects the amount of hours I’ve invested into Guild Wars 2 and instead for some of my characters (notably my Mesmer) I’d have to achieve Dragon Rank just to look as she does in PvE. This is wholly illogical and despite me having asked ArenaNet for justification on this many times, I've never received a reason for this approach. If nothing else, it undermines the hard work players put into PvE and gives a sense of reverse progression. You go from looking brilliant, to looking as if you've never played Guild Wars 2. 

In Guild Wars 1 it was a reward to be able to take your PvE image and appearance into structured PvP so why has this been lost in its sequel? I firmly believe this is a primary factory for the unpopularity of sPvP: the fact that there is no reward or encouragement to those of us who do invest time in PvE to move over into structured. 

While these 3 items might not seem drastic, it is worrying that they seem incredibly low on ArenaNet's pecking order as they throw resources at living world temporary content. If they truely want Guild Wars 2 to become an E-Sport, there has to be greater value to participation in structured PvP. Encouraging people to move over from PvE is one method, but surely rewarding users for their time has to be the most important. As it stands, it's actually a huge time investment with little to no returns. 


Wedge7's picture
Submitted by Wedge7 on

I'd agree with you on these points, especially point 1. It's frustratingly slow to rank up. It's hardly surprising there are 24/7 "glory-farm" skyhammer custom arena maps going on, to allow people to rank up faster. Kind of defeats the point of rank though, as now when you see a high-ranked player, they're not necessarily a good player. If they increased the glory gained from playing normally, I think more people would be inclined to do so, creating a healthier, less leechy, environment. 

RedGlow's picture
Submitted by RedGlow (not verified) on

While I agree that PvP can be frustrating, I think it's good that PvE and PvP are so strictly divided to me.

Indeed, the set of skills you get in PvE has almost nothing to do with the ones you get in PvP, and while in PvE you may be a god on two legs that never dies with two legendiaries and everything, in PvP you get in a totally different environment where you have to hardly earn your respect, look and ranks, because it's substantially a different game you are playing. I'm speaking as a quite-noob PvP player, beware. While in PvE I have 3 level 80 toons, geared in full exotics and with the looks I've chosen for them, I recognize that in PvP I have still tons to learn, and my look and feel... well, it reflects it quite accurately :-).

As for the snail-pace of gaining ranks and everything... yeah, ANet seems to have thought competitive environments (PvP and WvWvW) for hardcore gamers that will spend tons of hours into it and want to have very hard achievements to get. Which leave the more-casual players (like me) a bit in the cold, indeed!

Yski's picture
Submitted by Yski on

While I sort of understand those complaints, I have to somewhat disagree with them, especially the part 3. Don't get me wrong, I much prefer having my characters look the same way as their PvE counterparts, and in some cases that simply isn't possible, not yet anyway. A good example would be my poor necromancer needs rank 60 for his PvE look, which in my case means 13 more levels of waiting.

However, when it comes to PvP, looks are the rewards. If I see someone running around with the gear I've been dreaming of for good 10 levels or so, I know that guy is a badass. What would be the point if everyone has those looks? I'm no longer even impressed when I see a legendary weapon (despite being on a sub 20g budget most of the time myself), but I'm VERY impressed when I see someone walking around with a set of Flame Legion armor in PvP.

The point is, complaining about ranks being too slow is like complaining about Legendaries being hard to make makes no sense since that's the justification for them existing in the first place.


That being said, I would approve a less grindy way of gaining some of the skins. Perhaps make some of them achievement based rewards rather than just points you can grind in hot joins, or giving exclusive skins for winning more competitive things like the recent Mist League games. Reward achieving something, not just experience!

Every single forum I've used to spread anti guardian propaganda has subsequently died out on me. Coincidence? I think not!

chaosgyro's picture
Submitted by chaosgyro on

What I do find funny is that as a PvE/WvW player I've amassed so many achievement points, and thereby reward chests, that I have a large stockpile of PvP rewards despite never having earned a single point of glory.  It's quite unfair that this doesn't translate in reverse in some way.

Yinsen's picture
Submitted by Yinsen (not verified) on

I Very much agree on this.

I personally dont care much about the looks of my charachter in PVP. Sure it could be nice to carry your PVE skins over to PVP, but thats the least of it. The main flaw is as your also point out the crossover between SPVP/PvE. 

Why is it when I invest tons of hours in sPvP, and then decide to go with my buddies in a dungeon, they have way better gear/skins than I have cause they have been running CoF all day? (which is another thing btw that they need to fix!)

Im not going to judge whether it should be easier to get rewards in sPvP, but im asking that A-net let the player decide where (in sPvP or PvE) he "channels" his time-investment in this game. I play a lot of sPvP because it is rly fun, but why cant i get PvE rewards instead of PvP rewards? Is it A-nets job to tell me how to spend my time in the game? 

Otherwise I should just run P1 in CoF all day, wouldn't that be fun?