Thoughts On Guild Wars 2's New PvP System

Thoughts On Guild Wars 2's New PvP System

By Lewis Burnell -
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Its been a weird year for me. I was hoping to have settled into WildStar long term and instead returned back to Guild Wars 2. I’m finding myself once again thoroughly enjoying the game and that’s odd considering I’d finished all that I wanted to. The thought of chasing achievements is something I’ve never liked to do (what’s the point?) and outside of creating yet more Legendary weapons or yet another alternative character, there was little left for me to do. I hate reaching that point in massively multiplayer games where I log in and struggle for things to accomplish so instead I’ve now sunk my time into its PvP scene.

I’d played Guild Wars 2’s PvP heavily during its closed Beta but never really continued this after launch. I was far too busy in PvE to spend any amount of time fighting others. Now and having made a good handful of skilled PvP friends I’m trying to play at least 10 matches of Ranked PvP per day. It might sound a lot but queues appear quickly and matches can last as little as ten minutes if your team dominates the opponents.

The new PvP system that ArenaNet have implemented is a weird one and I suspect it’s because it is not yet working as intended. Previously if there were Solo and Team queues. You queued for these separately and the Ladders for each were separated. This meant that if you wanted to just play by yourself you could do so and still climb the ladder in the knowledge that you weren’t coming up against teams. The new system abolishes this and instead merges both queues and ladders.

I’m fortunate that I know a collection of players who like to team up and so we’re always in a reasonably strong position when queueing just because we use Team Speak. However, there are cracks in this system that I feel are glaring.

Solo Misery

Being fortunate enough to work from home, I sometimes queue early morning by myself. I like to get my matches out of the way so I’ve the rest of the day free to work. If you’re solo qeueing you expect some misery because there’s no guarantee of what other 4 players will join you. I’ve had matches where those on my team have asked what game mode it is; what do they do or what is an Amulet. It doesn’t bode well for your likely success but that’s part of the fun of queueing solo. With the current system, although you can queue solo it doesn’t really exist anymore because you come up against teams constantly. The fact that anyone in a party can now queue means that although you might not fight a full premade group of 5 players it’s common to see players in groups of 2 or 3 joining together.

You would think this wouldn’t cause a huge problem but it makes the challenge of winning, when you’re with four other players that don’t use voice communications, incredibly difficult. Regardless of how well you play you can only carry your team so much. It’s frustrating to see your team all go to a single Control Point against one player or to die instantly in a 1 on 1 fight. To deal with this as well as “teams” (irrespective of whether it’s two players grouped or more) is asking a great deal. On the flip side, when my friends and I queue we’re often destroying the competition because those players who are solo queing are coming up against teams like us. In one afternoon we played 10 matches and in each encountered only solo queuers. The result were wins for us that were outrageously easy.

I understand that ArenaNet want teams to go up against teams but it isn’t quite working out like that. What we have instead are:

  • Solo queuers
  • A mixture of small teams (groups of friends in 2’s, 3’s or 4’s with some PUG players)
  • Premade teams

The three together are a melting pot of awkwardness where solo queing is the worst thing you can do.

I think it was a real mistake by ArenaNet to merge the queues because the play experience as an individual, if without friends or a team, is now near impossible. For players like me who used to enjoy Solo Queue and what success on it meant (that you triumphed over adversity) that’s sadly a thing of the past. Perhaps as players gain traction on their MMR queues will eventually level out to the point where teams are only facing teams and solo queuers are accompanied by similarly skilled players.

Ratings and Hidden MMR

My highest rating on the new Leaderboard system is 74. It likely would have been higher if I hadn’t spent time solo queueing as a great deal of my losses were from doing this. That aside, I find the new point system bizarre. At the moment I have 24 points but I don’t really know why. 26 wins suggests I got less than 1 point per match. I’m assuming based on the new metric of Odds of Victory versus Final Score that most of my points were from beating teams that stood little chance of winning. What I find frustrating here is that it’s all so secretive and none of it ingame.

  • I don’t know what points I earn at the end of each match
  • I don’t know how close I am to gaining a new rank on the Leaderboards
  • I don’t know how my play directly affects my point acquisition

I think this is a problem because at the moment I’m yo-yoing between the 70’s and the 100’s just from taking the smallest break from PvPing. In contrast, my friend who is currently Rank 12 on the Leaderboard can go away for hours upon hours and his rank barely moves. I’m assuming it’s because he’s sat on 49 points where as in my bracket there’s lots of people around the 20’s mark.

Either way it feels as though simply playing more games than anyone else is key to climbing the ladder because the currently Ranked 1 player has played well over 100 games already. At that rate, I don’t think it’s ever possible to catch him. Surely that’s a major flaw?

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About The Author

Lewis "PersistentWorld" Burnell
The only game to have distracted Lewis away from MMOG's over the last 15 years was Pokemon Red. Despite that blip, Lewis has worked his way through countless games in the genre in search of something that comes close to his much loved (and long time dead) Neocron. Having written for several gaming networks before Ten Ton Hammer, Lewis likes to think he knows a thing or two about what makes an MMOG and its player-base tick.

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