Wednesday, April 18, 2012


WvWvW.  Summation: Three realms, four maps, estimated 500 people per map, fighting for territories, in a match that lasts 2 weeks.  Too simple for you?  By the end of this post, I think you'll change your mind. Read more after the break!

Multiple realms fighting each other was started in a previous MMO called Dark Age of Camelot.  No MMO has been able to do massive warfare justice since, though many have tried. You can level from 1-80 in WvW, as well as gear up without ever leaving.  One of the major problems with this strategy is that you will miss out on skill point challenges that will enable you to buy utility and elite skills.

There are four maps in which three realm are able to fight over.  Each of the 3 realms or servers have their own respective map called Borderlands, which are all identical in make-up.  While slightly dissapointing, I can understand that the realms need to have equal, balanced sides or the competitive side of WvW will be destroyed.  No one wants to be stuck in a fight that is a sure-fire loss, all because you ended up being green side with indefensible keeps.

The middle map is unique commonly referred to as the Eternal Battlegrounds, and each realm enters from the top, left, or right with different home keeps.  In the center of this map is Stonemist Castle, a giant, behemoth of a keep that is the centerpiece of WvW.  There are three trebuchets surrounding the castle that have massive ranges that can take down walls, or scatter a large roaming group of enemies.

Every 5 minutes points are calculated.  Stonemist is worth 25 points, keeps 15, towers 10, and resource camps 5.  The 3 borderlands maps have 6 supply camps, 4 towers, and 3 keeps.  The Eternal Battlegrounds map has 6 supply camps, 12 towers, and 3 keeps, Stonemist.  Smaller objectives like supply camps can be tackled by smaller groups of people, where as keeps you will need larger groupers to be able to take them. That means every five minutes, 565 points are up for grabs.  Points are then added to your realms total, and ranked at the end of two weeks.

Realms will be matched with realms of similar ranking in WvW, so expect rivalries to pop up between servers.  The first couple of months will be a bit unbalanced, and I think they could resolve this by shortening the first couple of two-week battles to maybe 1-week long battles.  No one wants to be stuck on a dead server, or in an unbalanced match for two weeks.

Everything in WvW runs on supply.  You can repair damaged walls or doors of keeps, upgrade guard NPCs, make various siege weapons. Supply will be needed if you want to win.  Specifically in offense, if you aren't in a siege weapon, here's some advice, don't waste your time hitting the door.  At the moment, your damage to a door is so small, that you will better serve your realm if you do something else.  Siege weapons will be key in WvW.  Golems, arrow carts, trebuchets, catapults, and ballista. There are also some defensive structures like cannons, mortars, and boiling pots of oil.   Some of these are specifically good at killing players, while others specialize in damaging structures.  The only mobile siege weapon are golems, but keep in mind there is one siege weapon which has not been revealed.  I think ladders might be pretty cool, if you allow defenders the capability of  knocking them down.

There are some dynamic events that occur in WvW.  Specifically, players can aid NPC factions in certain quests and gain their respect.  When your realm earns a faction of NPCs favor, they can join the fight providing buffs, conditions, and assault keeps.  There has been no footage of this, but the fact that this was mentioned, shows how much ArenaNet cares about WvW.

Each Borderlands map contains an Orb of power that belongs to the respective server that owns the map.  Each orb is defended by a "raid-like" boss called the Keeper of the Orb.  These orbs can be stolen giving and placed on the Altar of Power that result in bonuses to your realm.

Whenever a keep is captured, the Guild that has the highest number of players in the area will be granted the keep if they consent to owning the keep.  The keep can then be upgraded and displays the guild's banner.  The sense of community among guilds will definitely be a great aspect in WvW.

Overall, it seems like ArenaNet has spent a great deal of time designing this system.  Many of the aspects are borrowed from DAoC and Warhammer, but with unique twists on them.  Siege weapons seem very strong at the moment, and should not be underestimated.  There are also rumors of underground passageways and secret tunnels that lead into keeps, as well as an underwater infiltration route that can be used.  Time will tell how effective they are. My quarrels/concerns with WvW are that there are no skill point challenges, the threat of unbalanced matches for the first few months, siege weapon vs. player balance (I worry that siege weapons will be too powerful, and PvP will just not happen), doors may, (I repeat may) have too much health, the limit of 500 people per map could lead to lengthy queues.  The system is just so complex (and possibly wonderful), that there may be some problems that no one can foresee. If these problems do arise, I'm very sure that ArenaNet will provide an adequate solution.

 If you are interested in any form of PvP, WvWvW must be looked into.

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