Lee: The upcoming Spring Season has caught my interest as a guy who partially pays attention to WvW as a whole. In particular I wanted to discuss the potential impact that the season will have on players with the introduction of exclusive weapon skins. It is my thought that we will have players gladly “pay to win”, by swapping to top three servers in their league, for that easy way to get these weapons. With the time dedication needed to switch your home for WvW I think we will see the bottom tiers of WvW get left to those who can’t afford to swap or are dedicated to their homes.
If I am right this will obviously pad the strengths of the higher tier servers which will create vast gaps in the abandoned lower ranked servers and the high ranked servers. It is my opinion, at least for NA, that with this ability to swap servers in the middle of a season we’ve already decided who the winners are. We’re just waiting to see who makes the leading edge before people start swapping and solidifying that first place.
Anyone have any thoughts on this?
Greibach: I too am going to be playing in S2. I enjoyed S1, it definitely motivated me to get in some dedicated time for WvW that I normally have a hard time carving out play sessions for. I think that overall they have really listened to what players felt were lacking in S1, namely unique rewards and adjusting some of the meta requirements.
The question of server transfers and population imbalance will always be pretty problematic. WvW by its very nature is heavily coverage based, and it is quite difficult to change that in a fair and reasonable way. On the one hand, I feel like it is fair to give some incentive for your server to do well in the way of some cosmetic rewards. On the other, the disparity between the top tiers and the lower tiers is so substantial that really it just means that if you are on a few select servers you are practically guaranteed high rewards, and on others you are doomed to get much much less.
As for the question of server transfers, I actually don’t foresee it being that big of a change. Most of the people that care about WvW a lot are already on the servers that typically have a large presence in WvW. Do we really think that someone is going to spend thousands of gems to get a skin that may or may not be that good? I mean, they may as there are skins in the gem shop, but this requires a fair bit more effort, and the skins can still be acquired from the lower tiers of servers. You only need to place 5th or higher in your league to get a weapon. Transferring to the likes of JQ/BG/SoR will occasionally/sometimes mean multiple hour queues during prime times. Will people truly find that to be worth it?
Ultimately, WvW is not fair. There are not enough players that play the game and WvW specifically to have anywhere near equivalent coverage across more than a few servers. Without similar coverage, scoring will be lopsided. The most we can hope for is that the matches you actually are in are close, not that everyone has an equal chance of taking first place. Fortunately, switching to a swiss-style tournament will provide much closer matches on average, even if it does mean repeatedly fighting the same servers. Nobody has fun on either side when one or more sides stand no chance of winning.
As I have re-read the official post and the Dulfy rewards details, I guess I need to figure out whether we are in 3 leagues (bronze, silver, and gold) like before, or all in one mega league. I hope it is the former, and think that it will be, but if it is only considered one league per region then the rewards suck. It seems though that them saying “top three servers in a league” would indicate that they are separated out again to ensure more than just JQ/BG/SoR get a shot at decent rewards.
Kate: I’m in agreement with Lee about the degree of disparity between servers. Especially with the trend of server population being related to success and rewards in PvE with the Living Story as well as WvW. At the moment moving to a high population server looks like a good move all around in terms of rewards and success - not just for the duration of the WvW tournament. I don’t think it’s going to be a buy to win the WvW skins, I think it’s a buy up a tier to have a better all around experience in Guild Wars 2.
In regards to Greibach’s point about queues deterring people from switching to the higher servers: Edge of the Mists will be a game changer there. As long as people can get to Edge of the Mists and it counts towards the Tournament Meta Achievements (which I believe is the intended purpose of the map I believe, so it best contribute) queues are no longer relevant outside of those who are specifically interested in participating in the WvW effort in the Battlegrounds or Borderlands.
I hope the server transfer sales (link to prices/dates) prior to the tournament start will give the lower tiers a chance to boost their numbers, but I’m not confident it will stop transfers to higher population servers, even after the subsequent rise in prices after the tournament start.
Greibach: At a certain point, we’re going to have to get down to the question of: How do we solve population disparity? Do we even want to? Ultimately, I think too many servers are stretched too thin at this point in terms of active player base. At some point, it would probably be healthier for the game to collapse a few of them into other servers. I don’t think that the JQ/BG size are particularly healthy either (too populated), but there are too many sparsely populated servers. What I’d really like is for a way to migrate your guild. As it stands now, it’s a huge pain in the ass to migrate a guild’s server because you lose all your upgrades. If you could migrate the official server for a guild, or better yet open it up so that all chapters of a guild share the guild’s upgrades and influence, then I think a little bit of server restructuring could be healthy. One might go so far as to suggest that they are incentivizing people to voluntarily merge servers so that they don’t have to force it on people.
Lee: I agree with you Greibach with the servers. There really needs to be a spreading out of people but it unfortunately won’t happen. Gameplay encourages people to knot up into these massive servers for more opportunity at better loot or better rankings in WvW and if we just kill JQ/BG there will only just be some other servers to fit the bill. The best solution is partially what you suggested: Cut out the lower population servers and give them free transfers to medium tier servers. Doing that will hopefully upset the current trends in WvW and offer a better chance for servers to rise and fall.
As much as we want to see these things happen we will have to wait for after the end of the Spring Season (at the earliest) to see them change. What we have now is a Swiss style tournament between these very different servers in different leagues. This is to make up for the fact that there are somewhat severe differences in skill/coverage between the Gold and Bronze leagues.
While I personally think this is just a band-aid to cover the issue (alluding to the previous statement on server numbers), I am a fan of this system. I think we could see some surprising rankings by the end of this season. Especially because I am invested in seeing if TC can alter the top five servers with all their PvE players suddenly pushing hard for the top. How do you guys think your servers will fare and do you think the new tournament system will do any good to make this a great competition?
Kate: I’m a Northern Shiverpeaks native. It’s fairly early to say where exactly we’ll place. We’re one of the free transfer servers and if we get lucky and have some transfers of organized guilds or good numbers we’ll likely place mid-to-high silver tier.
In the face of last tournament, this system should give us much more fair matchups. We were ranked in silver last time as well, though our coordination and coverage levels should have put us in bronze. We’ve since improved a lot however, and Shiverpeaks have shot at performing really well when matched up against people in our tier. I think with fairer matches the competition will be a lot more fierce for us this year than last. There were a few times we felt completely defeated and everyone took the week off to
Greibach: I think we will do quite well in Silver league. IIRC we were in the top 3 spots last season, so I’d wager we’ll do similarly.