Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sing When You're Winning : GW2

A very unusual match for Yak's Bend this week. We're playing the 8th and 9th placed servers in Silver League, Northern Shiverpeaks and Isle of Janthir respectively. We expected to win but the margin of victory has been a lot wider than I expected. At time of writing (10 am Tuesday morning) we have over 200,000 points, leading IoJ in second place by almost 140k.

We've been ticking over 400 pretty much continually since the match started, frequently going for long periods over 500. I heard there was an hour or so when we actually ticked over 600, although it must have happened while I was asleep. Back in March and April, when we met the zergforces that were Kaineng and Dragonbrand in their pomp, we were on the receiving end of this sort of thing quite often but I can't recall seeing it from the other side in quite this way before.

The strange thing is that with far less to play for than usual, this week's win being guaranteed, there appears to be more enthusiasm than ever for WvW and more Yaks on the field than ever before. It seems that far from wanting challenge and glory, a lot of people just like to get stuff done without those pesky other servers getting in the way.

Both new and recently-added incentives are bringing a ton of unfamiliar names into The Mists, all with agendas of their own. Of course, most folks who are interested in ticking all the world exploration boxes finished up months ago, but there are still a few late-adopters and plain old lazybones, of whom I'm one.

Cats. They'd be good at climbing. You'd think...

Despite hearing quite a lot of requests over the weekend along the lines of "Can we just take Veloka? I need the vista for World Completion", I hadn't thought to look at my own progress until I logged into Eternal Battlegrounds a few minutes ago to take a screenshot for this post.  Looking at the map I realized that although I was in the zerg that took both IoJ's and NSP's Overlook keeps yesterday I hadn't realized I had vistas still unchecked in each of them. Fortunately we still owned one and as I was hopping up the beams sticking out of the tower to reach the top a bunch of Omegas were already on the march to the other, so that's all sorted!

Is that all I get?
World exploration may be old hat but the Season Achievements and WvW Ranks are still fresh and interest in those is keeping the trains running on time. I'm familiar with Karma/WXP trains running when we are losing badly - they're often employed as a motivator and morale booster when there's little or nothing more effective open to us. Massive trains running virtually 24/7 when we have the ability to take stuff anywhere at will is a new one on me, though.  

The Rank system appears to be the mechanism of desire here. One of our best and certainly most popular commanders commented in Map chat that he was hoping to use this week to get to Gold status before the next match. The lowest Gold title comes in at Rank 1395. (The highest possible rank, Diamond Legend, appears at Rank 9,945, or when hell freezes over, whichever comes first). By running trains non-stop he reckons to average 100 ranks a day.

By the time I finished last night my Charr ranger, my primary WvW character although by no means my only one, stood at half-way through Rank 99. At 100 he moves on from being a General, a title I very much like, to become first a Veteran, then a Champion and finally a Legend. That all takes another fifty ranks until 150 when the clock gets rolled back and the entire sequence begins again from "Invader", only this time with "Bronze" stuck in front. I imagine I'll be long gone from GW2 before it becomes relevant, but in theory the entire process repeats five more times after that, going through Silver, Gold, Platinum and Mithril and ending at Diamond.

As for the Season Meta, I'm very happy to confirm that I completed that at the weekend, on one account at least. Mrs Bhagpuss is one achievement short of completing it on both accounts but two is too much for me. It's a distracting complication in many ways. I did some things I would never otherwise have done at all, such as all the Jumping Puzzles, and quite a lot of things I might have done but not right now or not all at once, like standing on fifty ruins for 45 seconds at a time in a borderland we already own.

The signs of these Achievements disrupting natural gameplay were everywhere; players draining vital supply to repair walls that were still being trebbed as they selfishly clocked up progress on Defense Restorer; players selfishly throwing down unnecessary ram blueprints hoping to get some hits towards Demolition Expert; players selfishly sitting on the circle at sentry points for Sentry Capturer Extraordinaire while map calls went unheeded.

First server problems
The difference this week is that whereas such behavior has previously been roundly condemned and peer group pressure has been employed to minimize it, in this match the general attitude towards the focus on individual rather than team goals has been much more laid back. All in all it's made for a relaxing change but I think most regulars would prefer a closer match.

That said, we have still had some fantastic battles on occasion. We were blithely circling the Northern Shiverpeaks borderland last night, helping ourselves to whatever we fancied, when NSP brought a zerg in and wiped us at their Garrison. We promptly picked ourselves up, made a swarm of Omegas and marched them north for retribution. The second battle was intense but we emerged victorious.

Later, the evening saw some ferocious fighting in Eternal Battlegrounds, with both Isle of Janthir and Northern Shiverpeaks fielding the largest numbers I've seen from them either in this or previous matches. There's intense competition between IoJ, who have come last in every previous match but who are currently in second place in this one and NSP, who stand to lose their place ahead of IoJ in the League if they can't overhaul IoJ's current 10k lead.

The dynamic of this match may be unbalanced but so far at least it's never been dull. All the same, it'll be nice to get back to normality next week, when we face the steamroller that is Stormbluff Isle and our old frenemies Ehmry Bay.


  1. "The strange thing is that with far less to play for than usual, this week's win being guaranteed, there appears to be more enthusiasm than ever for WvW and more Yaks on the field than ever before. It seems that far from wanting challenge and glory, a lot of people just like to get stuff done without those pesky other servers getting in the way."

    Yeah, people are terrible like that. Through the magic of zen other people are simultaneously the best and worst things about most MMOs.

    1. If ANet will insist on overloading a supposedly PvP environment with PvE objectives and rewards, I guess it's hardly surprising they'll attract a PvE audience. The WvW Arena debuts next update. It'll be very interesting to see what effect that has. We could end up with no PvP players in the main part of WvW at all!

    2. Interesting like a train wreck. Even if the arena fails to kill all the PvP in WvW the fractal map looks like it's aiming to finish the job.

  2. Yes, you would think a cat would be a good climber. A Charr can be tortuous, what with its, uh, geometry problems. However...

    I have world map completion and at least ten jumping puzzles done -- I hate jumping puzzles -- all with my Charr. Did I say "tortuous"? Yeah, I did, huh? The only rational explanation I have is that damn exploration curiosity. In the beginning, I had spent all my coin on repairs establishing waypoints in places that Charr had no business wandering for, oh, ten or twenty levels. Asuras are refreshing that way...

    Meanwhile, yes, the increased wvw participation has been a mixed bag, but trips to just about anywhere in Norrath reminds me why heavy populations are a good sign. Oh, sure, you could probably lose all of Tyria in Norrath's square miles, but it's still great fun to see such vibrancy in an mmo, and it suggests the company will continue putting resources into it. (Still, it was great to see you able to retrieve your lost 'tonga from the Freeport starter island. Who'd've thunk?) Me, I'm ignoring wvw achievements, as they just sort of roll in automatically while I stumble around chasing blue doritos.

    -- 7rlsy
    (casual by Beastgate standards)


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