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

Another State of the Game streamchat round table has taken place. In this part the players and devs discuss the new PvP paid format, the matchmaking system, and some of the map design philosophy.

It’s time for another State of the Game streamchat round table discussion with some of Guild Wars 2’s top players.  Grouch hosted once again, with the other speakers this time being Lowell of Curse EU, Jon Peters and Jonathon Sharp both from Arenanet, and Java from Team PZ.  The video itself is in the source at the bottom of the page.

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New PvP Format

First on the agenda this time was the new PvP format introduced with Flame and Frost: Prelude and the map it was originally packaged with, the Temple of the Silent Storm.

The most obvious change that excited the players and developers alike was that reducing the queue to only two teams made paid tournaments trigger much more quickly.  While that might be obvious, the convenience that increased speed offers, combined with the reduced price, has led to a notable increase in the number of teams actually participating in the paid tournaments in Guild Wars 2’s PvP.

While Java did note that the shorter queue often ends up having the same two teams playing against each other repeatedly, resulting in extremely similar games one after another since the format only has a single map, Jon Sharp responded that they are liable to try new models on the map rotation aspect of things but that for now they are using the one-map-per-week format as a way of testing things and gathering information with as few variables as possible before deciding on how to handle having multiple maps available to the format.

Sharp was also asked if the new matchmaking system would have a player’s rating visible in the near future, and he responded that they have plans regarding such that he cannot be specific about yet.  He and Peters both spoke to imply that there is a fairly major system being planned for Guild Wars 2 that will incorporate rankings of some sort.

Matchmaking

The new matchmaking system draws on several different things, but primarily takes the scores of the players in a given team and averages them. Teams that queue up together in a full five are more liable to be paired against other full teams even if their aggregate score is closer to a team of five people who each queued alone.

While this invisible matchmaking score is one that will decay over time, it is also not something that they want to be a major decay.  Their business model specifically wants to avoid making players feel genuinely penalized for not playing any given day.  Therefore, they are trying to find a formula for rating decay that mirrors that ideology of players playing because they want to more than because they fear hurting their score.

Referring back to Java’s earlier comment about playing the same teams repeatedly, Sharp confirmed that they are looking at ways to help mitigate the situation in Guild Wars 2 in the future, and mentioned that the number of new teams entering paid tournaments is already helping to give a larger pool of teams to play against.

Maps

In regards to how Arenanet feels about the secondary objectives in different maps, noting that in some maps those secondary objectives have a truly enormous effect on how the map is played,  Sharp’s initial response was to say that they are able to tweak the numbers on things like the trebuchet on Battle of Kyhlo if the community and Arenanet both agree that it gives too much control. However, they are more concerned now with bugfixing and perfecting the overall system first.  After they manage that, they will look more at trying to more carefully balance the various factors in the specific maps.

Sharp also mentions that the new matchmaking system also makes it possible to see how the different maps are played at different skill levels, and that this information is very new for Arenanet and is giving them data they’ve not previously had access to in Guild Wars 2.

Specifically, regarding the new map, Java spoke first by explaining that it offers spectators excitement through the value of the map’s buffs and the possibility of them enabling a come-from-behind win while also giving the players new forms of strategy based on those buffs not spawning at the start of the game.  No reason to kill a player 20 seconds before the buffs spawn, but killing them five seconds before gives a huge advantage in trying to claim them.

Hit the link for part two!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5


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