Guild Wars 2 State of the Game March (Part 1)

It's time for the next State of the Game. Covered in the first part are the February patch and matchmaking.

It is March and it is time for the latest State of the Game livestream chat between top Guild Wars 2 PvP players and the developers from Arenanet.  This month we see Grouch once again hosting, Xeph from Team Paradigm, and Nero from JBUO NA.  From Arenanet we get to hear from Tyler Bearce, Karl McLain, and Jon Sharp.

February Patch Feedback

As one might expect after the build-up that the February patch received, and the new PvP map being released, the first question was what everyone thought of it.  The Arenanet devs all agreed that feedback has been positive from the community, particularly that players have been enjoying Spirit Watch.

With that said, they were also immediately asked about the different abilities that are clearly more powerful than others for the new map.  Specifically abilities like Ride the Lightning are simply able to move too fast with the orb itself, with that single ability able to cover the full straight-line distance towards any given point almost instantly.

Tyler confirmed that they are looking at balance issues but that the primary delay is deciding where they draw the line.  If Ride the Lightning drops the orb, what other abilities should?

Xeph brought up a suggestion from the forums whereby the orb replaces the skills of the character.  Jon noted that they tried exactly that at one point but that players wanted to play their own characters rather than playing as the orb itself.

Nero asked the devs what information they are looking at to decide what changes to make.  User feedback was the first example given, but win/loss records on individual characters was not mentioned.

Matchmaking

So how has matchmaking been doing?  Paid tournaments were the original version of matchmaking, and without that a great many more pre-made groups found themselves against pick-up and solo-queue groups.  This was compounded by the matchmaking system effectively resetting itself with the removal of paid tournaments, causing a great many teams to play extremely mismatched games in the first few days.

Grouch brought up that in the previous State of the Game Arenanet said matchmaking would prioritize groups to play against other groups and solo-queue to play against other solo players.  Jon confirmed teams still facing solo players is due largely to population, with this being part of the reason they have not implemented a solo-queue option yet, as that would compound the PvP population problem by splitting it up.

Tyler also pointed out that most 5-man teams are spread out through the (invisible) matchmaking rankings, meaning that oftentimes there simply isn't a team of anything but solo players within a reasonable skill level of a queued team.

Nero brought up an issue that I myself have run into repeatedly, that being when players would go offline and remain in the queue, causing a game to have one or both teams short a full roster.  Jon immediately jumped to say that it was an issue they noticed and have already corrected it.

Xeph asked if making the matchmaking rating visible should be implemented, both to inspire players to improve and to serve as a sort of punishment for the players who leave games in progress.  Jon acknowledged Arenanet is already working on things to punish players who leave with internal testing so that when they determine it is ready they can "flip a switch" and make the change live.

When matchmaking goes live, it will not be an arbitrary number, but it will have players ranked on their servers, while allowing players to view the comparison between themselves and their friends, their guild, or the entire server.

The eight team tournaments have lost a lot of popularity in North America, so Arenanet is also looking at incorporating them specifically into PvP Monthly achievements.  They're also looking more to perfect the static PvP system of Guild Wars 2 before they try to streamline the entry point for new players.

Hit the link to continue with the State of the Game!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Featured Columnist

Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.

Published Mar. 29th 2013

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