Every time I idly browse the Guild Wars 2 Guru and official GW2 forums, I am deeply amused by all the entitled whining going on – the mood is hysterical, tinged with more than a touch of xenophobia. Let’s disregard the PvE dungeon reward complaints and the “his class is more OP than mine” complaints for a time and just check out the WvW ones.
According to these people, those dirty Oceanics are PvPing against door and NPCs, turning entire maps one color with zero resistance and sitting back to accrue score uninterrupted for hours at a time while decent folks are asleep. Why, everyone knows that when real Americans wake up and start fighting, that’s when those silly Australians melt away to the might of the superpower!
What do you mean, they need sleep too, Down Under? Don’t be absurd. We’re winning because we’re so good.
No, hang on, I got it confused. We’re -not- winning during our prime time too. Because all the North Americans are fighting on NA servers in a three way battle, and thus our efforts are diminished, and unimportant, and it’s so unfair, and I’m really depressed and I RAGEQUIT this stupid game – if only it had a sub, I’d throw it in your face, ArenaNet!
But then, that wouldn’t help me with my original goal of winning and dominating and feeling supremely important… So I know! I’ll sit here and theorycraft an immensely complicated scheme of scoring that would take into account what I imagine populations are like at different timezones. In essence, 95% of people are on at the same time that I play, and those dirty 5% are having too easy a time and should only get scoring worth 5%, reflecting that lack of effort.
Sorry, I can’t continue in this vein any further. I’m trying not to bust my sides laughing. It’s a supreme effort of will to resist rolling on the floor already.
You see, I’m one of those dirty Oceanics. (Or I play in their timezone anyway. I’m really South East Asian, but you can call me a Chinese Gold Farmer, no problems.)
And here we are, PvPing intently against Door!
What we have here is an intense three-way battle between IoJ, ET and CD at 2.48am server time. Or 5.48pm my local time, and about 1-3 hours later, 6.48pm-8.48pm for the real Aussies.
Actually, we’re lined up at the behest of ND (a Korean guild, Never Die) around 3.am server time, to make an extreme zerg rush for Eredon Terrace’s orb up north – after they spent the better part of 3 hours or so walking supply dolyaks and fortifying the hills keep.
Trust me, there were lots of Eredon Terrace people still awake and still doing their best to get in the way. There’s a big Thai alliance on that server now, I hear.
Oh. But you only managed this because you naturally had more people than us online! *stamps feet* So unfair!
Duh. What part of PvP attempts to be fair?
Structured PvP is over that way – try not to get too uptight about gear not mattering except for cosmetic looks and everyone having the same stats. (Apparently, it is only desirable to have better stats than thou and thus steamroll one’s opponent if you “worked” for that gear.) Or wonky team balancing and people jumping ship and sides looking for the easy wins.
PvP is never going to be 100% fair. It’s called strategy. It’s looking for a temporary weakness or a chink in your opponent’s armor. Of adjusting the odds in your favor to be better than a coin toss. It’s 2 vs 1 having a better chance of winning than 1 vs 1. That’s normal.
But what makes things really interesting and keeps hope alive and creates opportunities for epicness is how you adjust this situation to give the underdog a chance of biting back.
On a minute scale, take one moment on the battlefield I experienced last night. A group of 5 opponents were beating up on a fellow guildie (a very tough mesmer to fight in sPvP) and had him downed when another guildie and I arrived on scene. They had him downed, and alas, managed to finish him off before we could get him up. So essentially, 2 vs 5. Horrible odds.
A great deal of desperate sword slashing, dodging, sword teleporting, wall of reflecting and self-healing later, I was downed… then miraculously up again as the other guildie finished off one opponent, then downed again, and up, and once more as I pumped that self-heal and healing/aegis virtues for all they were worth. We looked up, and oh my, all of the opponents were dead/down and we finished them off, marveling at our sheer incredible luck. Obviously, we beat the odds with good luck and no doubt, momentarily poor judgement/play on the other five’s part, they picked the sturdier lower-damage output target to hit first, rather the guildie thief who was built to kill things.
ArenaNet’s hand in the design though, was the downed mechanic, that allowed for such a situation to occur.
So, how do you react? Do you scream UNFAIR, we ought to win, 5 vs 2, dead is dead, this downed thing sucks balls, CHANGE IT NAO! (Never mind that 5 vs 2 wasn’t fair to begin with.) Or do you say, hey, this is as it should be, give the underdog a chance at winning? (And add, “in fact, that’s what we’re arguing, that night-capping makes things unfair for the underdog who is asleep! That’s why we must change the scoring mechanic nao!”)
Or, as it is never a simple dichotomy, do you just accept that in this game, such a mechanic exists, and adapt your tactics around it and learn and adjust accordingly?
I never really participated in Guild Wars 1 PvP. But even as an outsider, I can appreciate that it always had some manner of changing metagame. Some guilds would find builds and strategies that seemed overpowering and would win everything in sight and sweep all before them. Cue lots of forums screaming. Then some clever guy somewhere would find the counter, and before you know it, there was a new uber powerful team in town. Until the next counter. With some minor adjustment from ArenaNet here and there as they deemed necessary.
If there’s one thing I’m extremely fond of in WvW and what ArenaNet has achieved with this format in Guild Wars 2, it is the removal of stress on FFA PvP and killing anything in sight and deathmatching each other, and correspondingly placing importance on strategies and organization of people on a large scale – objective-based goals and siege and supply uber alles.
The distance you are forced to run from a respawn point to get to a place means good play and survival is important, creates opportunities for reinforcement and cutting off reinforcement, of some places being more easy to take than others due to how reinforcing points and supply lines are laid out. There are chances for guerilla actions and large scale scene actions of an immensely epic nature.
Supply running and defending/holding a position are meant to be activities just as important as assaulting. If there’s one current flaw in WvW, it’s as Jon Peters acknowledged, these activities may need to be a little more rewarded or encouraged – right now, it’s pretty much only folk who have a grasp of the strategic importance of these things doing it (usually guilds), along with server pride and sheer stubborness being the rewards.
On the other hand, clumsy adjustments might bring on even weirder behavior. I’m sure we all remember the happy dolyak trains of people doing absolutely nothing but trotting from place to place behind the front lines. Perhaps it is better to let things shake out for a bit and let the meta reveal itself.
It’s obvious that 24/7 servers have an advantage over servers who cannot field a good number into the maps at various timezones. Working as intended, I’d say. As Ausj3w3l points out, ArenaNet agrees.
Oh noes, the blamestrewers decry, this is so unfair! (See above caveat about all’s fair in love and war and PvP.)
Good lord, people, if this is so important to you, it’s about time to consider moving servers to one that fits you WvW-wise then. Or building up your own.
I know I picked my server very very carefully because I wanted an exceedingly active WvW server that would fight well and have crowds in my timezone. It’s fortunate that enough Oceanics love this server and represent it well and got organized enough to attract a very respectable cohort of NA guilds to balance out our initially weak showing in the NA timezone. A second tier server hoping to break into the first tier is a perfect match for me – not too organized to the point of getting trounced by overly clever opposition, hence I avoided the tier 1 servers (the queues must also be hell) and organized and crowded enough to create opportunities for participating in large scale actions.
Haven’t we all learned playing MMOs by now? Crowded server = longer lived, more interesting things happening. People make an MMO. Community.
If you’re a little less hardcore than I in terms of how much WvW blood is desired, a third tier server is a good option. More middle of road.
If you have NO interest in WvW, period, and don’t want any queues or indeed, even people getting in the way of your collecting PvE nodes and points of interest, then I would suggest the servers significantly lower in the rankings – with the caveat that due diligence must be done on how crowded PvE-wise the server is for your interests – don’t come to me crying later that the place is completely deserted.
I’m going to leave you with an anecdote from this weeks’ battles. In the last one or two days, Isle of Janthir has been giving a stronger showing during NA night times than Oceanic night times. I suspect the key is organization. We’ve been running around at my nights sans siege sans many leaders sans much organization at all. There also seems to be a little fear left over in the general pugs from the last time we got trounced by ET, which has not yet successfully converted over into rivalry and hope. (It’s getting there, I hope.) Conversely, the NA guilds on IoJ are out in concerted force and it is showing in the points scoring and the people directing each other around on team chat.
Things can change in the blink of an eye, of course. It’s way too close to call at this point, any server can make a comeback or a push. One thing’s for sure, though I sense some people (aka whiners) are a little discouraged by not having easy wins or getting squished by two parties on occasion, there’s plenty of people who aren’t giving up without a fight yet, a lot of people are hellbent on demonstrating that they aren’t going to be walked all over by ET again, win or lose, and there’s going to be at least a few good fights left this week.
As a forums goer mentioned, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”