Editor’s Note: This is part 2 in a 3 part series. Miss the first one? Start here: Part 1
Tournaments and ELO
The second part immediately kicks off with discussion about the difficulties of applying an ELO system to rank players to Guild Wars 2‘s tournament modes. The way ELO generally works is, at its simplest, a number that rises each time a game is won and falls each time a game is lost, with players with a similar ELO number being matched together to play hopefully-balanced games.
The problem with applying this to Guild Wars 2 is that the tournaments in the game are single-elimination affairs, meaning one team will win three times while each other team will only lose once each, so the teams that regularly win tournaments will gain ELO far faster than teams that win in the first or second round and then lose before the end.
The suggested way of applying an ELO system would demand the ability to queue up for a single-map game, keeping wins and losses more evenly weighted.
Cost of competition
Grouch also brings up another hurdle that new PvP teams face in the costs associated with entering the paid tournaments that actually earn recognition. Only half of the cost that the various teams put into a given tournament is won at the end as prizes, and that only to top couple of teams.
This constant expense of playing means that new teams or teams that are not yet able to win high-level tournaments from the start are going to be either spending hours farming free tournaments or paying a lot of money to enter these tournaments just to lose.
Suggested fixes in the streamchat include lowering the cost of the entry and then offering players cosmetic upgrades to buy in a similar vein as League of Legends or Heroes of Newearth or eliminating the tickets required for paid tournaments entirely.
This led into discussion of the lack of interest in the few costumes that Guild Wars 2 does have available to purchase in their gem shop, and the fact that gems being possible to be earned in game and those costumes not being usable in PvP is a bad move that Arenanet needs to reconsider.
Another hurdle for new players trying to get into the game is the interface. The default hotkeys for the abilities in game are the numbers one through nine. Experienced players change those hotkeys to things they are more comfortable with, but a player just starting out doesn’t have the knowledge or practice to be as adept at switching those keys to something more comfortable and the defaults are simply too unwieldy to be competitive.
Grouch does turn things back around on the others by pointing out that the top tier of players need to remember that a competitive game needs a casual player base in order to sustain a competitive environment. A game cannot be an e-sport if it doesn’t have anyone who wants to watch it, and Guild Wars 2 needs to remember its casual base.
Discussion turns to the game’s current meta and what is or is not essential to a working team. Of the classes in Guild Wars 2, while Guardians and Thieves were both brought up, the one class that everyone agreed was most essential was a Mesmer with the portal ability. The mobility the skill grants, with the ability to cross virtually the entire map, enabling lop-sided battles while still being able to return to a point if the enemy tries to take it while unattended is strong enough to make not simply the class but the ability itself essential.
While they agree for the most part that the game is not in a static meta, with team compositions being far more mutable than in games like League of Legends and still being viable, they also acknowledge that this is partly because Arenanet has not given any real indication of what direction they intend to direct the game in the future, and that Guild Wars 2‘s PvP being given a specific direction (either to small skirmishes or big 5v5 fights) will make a huge difference to the game’s meta.
They touch back on the different rez skills, having agreed in the last streamchat that they were too strong. Now that the utility skills cannot be swapped, however, the players largely agreed that those few skills that can revive downed allies are, if anything, too weak now, as they generally have long cooldowns and give little or no benefit otherwise, and skilled teams can now simply target the character with the rez first.