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.