Sunday, May 27, 2012

WvW: What will the Meta Game look like?

With siege weapons, keeps, towers, guards, supply, NPC factions, 3 realms, and massive battles, it can be a very difficult to imagine what WvWvW really looks like, especially if you have never played the game.

The guild, Team Legacy, composed a video that captures what a battle between two skilled, and well-supplied forces might look like.  Many players have made multitudes of WvW videos, but very few have been able to capture the end-game potential of these battles.  You often see skirmishes between two players, or you watch people auto-attacking a wall, and to be honest, they are extremely poor representations of WvW.  This video shows a massive assault of a well-supplied keep called Dreaming Bay.  Notice two things:  the skill and coordination of Team Legacy and the power of siege weapons and supply.  No one knows what the meta-game of WvW will look like, but I think you may see some brief images of it during this video.   Be prepared, war is coming.

Note:  Forgive the poor rendering of the video, you may have to use Youtube to enable a full-screen view.  If anyone has an idea on how to improve the size and format of videos on Blogger, I would love to know.  Thanks!

The narration is top-notch, and I only wish they would have filmed the entire battle.  Many players during the  beta event did not fully realize the pure destructive power of siege engines.  Arrow carts can swiftly eliminate players, trebuchets can knock down entire walls from enormous distances, and all of these machines are created using supply.  Pay attention to how Team Legacy used runners to continually build and repair their siege weapons, and how monumental of an effort it was to take Dreaming Bay.  Supply camps and towers are extremely easy to take, and thus they switch hands between the realms fairly often.  Keeps, however, require well-coordinated guilds and groups of players to take.  The Battle of Dreaming bay during this last beta event was certainly no exception.

You have to wonder what the end game will revolve around.  Will there be a focus on the top players on each realm, or do you think the main attention will be on the best guilds in the game?  Will groups of players outside of the elite guilds have any place in WvW?  There are many questions, but this video might provide some hints at the answer.  While Team Legacy certainly has a great deal of coordination, they are clearly not the only players featured.  Guild Wars 2 may have provided a nice way to allow very different groups of players to play together in WvW, merging the elite and the casual into a team that works together.

 Do you think siege engines are too powerful in their current iteration, or do you think they are well balanced  currently? Trebuchets and arrow carts are strongly featured in this video, and ultimately dictate the final outcome of the battle. Is the strength of siege weapons threatening to take away the Player vs. Player aspect of WvW?  I'm not entirely sure.  From my personal experience during the Beta, there was an enormous amount of PvP happening, but that may have been because both sides lacked good coordination.  The small group of players I was with didn't always have the supply or blueprints for every battle.  So instead of using an arrow cart to eliminate the opposition, we had to fight them ourselves.  A well placed siege weapon can change the tide of battle rapidly, which acts as a double-edged sword.  Siege equipment is a double edged sword, it can be extremely exhilarating during the good times while mind-blowingly (it's a word, trust me.) frustrating during the bad.

And then we have the realm situation.  If you want to change your home realm for WvW, you will have to pay for it with real-life cash or player trading.  Realm transfers are also on a two-week cooldown.  However, if WvW is important to you, what's to stop you from transferring to one of the top realms every couple of months. Will people be willing to pay money to constantly be in a very competitive realm? Could that make queue times unbearable for these elite realms? And what happens to the realms that are not the best?  Yes, the matchmaking system will allow realms with low performance to compete with others of a similar ranking. But might that lead to even more server transfers by frustrated players to the top realms?  Will a player have to be on the top realm for a quality WvW experience, because all of the other realms are dead? Or is that too much of a stretch, and will there be a large gradient of activity among dozens of servers?  We just don't know.

There are so many questions that can only be answered adequately after launch, but I think this video has done an excellent job of illustrating some of the key features of WvW, and what a good group of players can accomplish with a little bit of coordination.

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