The WvW season has seen quite a few complaints in the way that scoring is done for the servers. Some servers score high without facing challenges that other servers face. A unique issue was pointed out in the North American Gold League match-ups where Tarnished Coast would be place in fourth or fifth behind servers who aren’t pitched up against Blackgate near as often as this server. In response to this a tactic was developed to completely upset the Gold League scoring.
Prior to the tournament starting predictions were already going around and it came quickly apparent that the scoring was going to allow Sea of Sorrows to be ranked second in the tournament. This is due to the fact that Sea of Sorrows ranked first in their match-ups with Maguuma and Dragonbrand more often than they ranked third in match-ups with Blackgate and Maguuma. Alternatively, Tarnished Coast faced the exact opposite issue. On top of all this Jade Quarry, who was predicted to come second in all match-ups, would be placed third in the entire tournament behind Sea of Sorrows.
To put it bluntly, servers who had to face difficult opponents more often benefitted the least out of this entire system. It is apparent that one can win this tournament purely by working the system to their benefit rather than through skill of the server. While I haven’t been watching the other leagues as closely as Gold League, I can imagine that similar issues were raised by the other servers.
A plan was hatched in Gold League by the servers who appeared to benefit the least by this current scoring system: Tarnished Coast and Jade Quarry. These servers knew that, individually, they could not upset the predicted outcomes unless something crazy occured. The Commanders of these servers met and they decided they would work together to accomplish something that nobody really predicted: shutdown Blackgate.
These servers have banded together in WvW to completely shut Blackgate out of the game this week and force Blackgate to come in third. This upsets everything everyone’s previously predicted and has changed the scoring completely. Questions were raised about this strategy and some layers became very vocal about this temporary cease-fire made by the second and third ranked tier one server.
At the core of Guild Wars 2 WvW all players have come for the simple joy of having fun. Nobody enjoys being shut out of a game simply due to the actions of other players and that is what this boils down to. Commanders had to use this tactic purely out of necessity and have completely changed the way that many players have been playing WvW to this point. This tactic was not used in malice but out of need to get the fair scoring that each server deserved to earn.
Commander Jadon, of Tarnished Coast, validated this with me, “This isn’t fun. This is a necessity for Commanders [of Tarnished Coast and Jade Quarry] so that they can get what the servers have earned.” He went on to say that this same tactic was used on Tarnished Coast in the past and was as valid a strategy then as it is now. He ends by saying that this tactic changes the meta for servers and offers a way for low populations servers to overcome servers who dominate by sheer presence and number.
The fact that it isn’t fun is what sticks with me the most. Isn’t fun supposed to be at the core of what ArenaNet and players are aiming for? Being completely crushed by Blackgate week by week isn’t fun and completely shutting a server out of a fair match-up isn’t fun either. Everyone loses due to this current scoring system. I don’t blame the guys at ArenaNet for this error but I do hope that they acknowledge the issue and look into potential fixes for future Tournaments.
The Potential Answer
It’s hard to say what the exact solution for these Tournaments could be. Prior to the match-up starting I had a very similar discussion with Kate and Greibach from Relics of Orr about the match-ups and what they feel on this Tournament. I can safely say we came to the agreement that the server population disparity is a major factor in the issue here. A part of the answer could lie in forcing players to spread out over the servers so that there are equal numbers. This could be enforced and players on different servers can still play with one another now that the new Mega Server system has been implemented.
Alternatively, a whole new Tournament system could be put in place. Commander Jadon said that possibly a ranked bi-weekly match-up could be a potential solution. These smaller match-ups would give far smaller rewards every two weeks, but the ultimate reward could come at the end of the season where the top ranked servers would be give large prizes. This sort of bi-weekly “Championship Cup” contest allows servers to be awarded for their skill on the ladder but still see a much larger award as the end of the season as part of the various leagues.
Whatever the solution may be something still needs to be adjusted for future Tournaments. The current tactics being devised are more acts of necessity for award than for the fun of the game. I know this isn’t a fun environment for players and I can’t imagine that ArenaNet wants to see servers completely shut out from participating.
Think that maybe things are fine the way they are? Possibly have some insight in how your own server is fairing? Let us know in the comment section below or send us a tweet at @CanadasMathlete or @TenTonHammer with your thoughts!