Monday, November 4, 2013

The Turning Of The Seasons : GW2

After a thrilling couple of hours of intense WvW combat yesterday evening, Mrs Bhagpuss and I were chatting in the kitchen while making a cup of tea. As the conversation ambled along It occurred to me that I was somewhat in the dark about several important aspects of the new Season.

All I really know about it is that each server gets five points for a win, three for second and one for third and that the winner of each League will be decided after seven weeks by a simple total of those scores. Also, there's a reward chest for everyone participating and the higher your server places in its League, the better the contents of the chest.

Come on! You can't all have found a pirate map.

Beyond that it was all a bit fuzzy. I found myself with a lot of questions:
  • Will there be relegation and promotion?
  • Does the next Season start immediately after the first one ends?
  • Do the total points scored during each match matter?
  • Does the old glicko system still run on in the background?
  • If so, will the Leagues for next Season be decided on that basis rather than on who won this round?
So I did a bit of research, which mostly consisted of googling until I found this official announcement, which I'd already read and which answered precisely none of my questions and this slightly extended version of the same thing which adds some clarifications by Devon Carver that go some way towards answering at least a few.

We'll have none of that language here, thank you!
On reading the interview I found I'd fundamentally misunderstood the most basic concept of the WvW Season. I'd been under the impression it was a permanent change to the structure of WvW. It isn't. I thought we'd made a permanent and irrevocable move from a Ladder system to a League. We haven't.

Some quotes:

Carver said... that the team is focused on “getting all its ducks in a row,” with this first season, and once it is over the team will evaluate how well it did and how AreanNet wants to continue using the WvW season as a way to change up the WvW action.

“In terms of how frequently these seasons will occur, it will just depend on what makes the most sense for the community and for our general release plans.”

Teaching Tactics To My Dog Bear.

I'm still unclear on what happens when the Season ends. It may be that ANet haven't decided. It's clear, though, that we will not be moving directly to Season Two and I consider that a disappointment. Moreover, I feel that the sheer vagueness of the above approach will almost inevitably lead to a loss of momentum and confusion. At the very least we should have some kind of Schedule so that we know when the next Season will start, even if we are aware that the exact format may have to change.

Stop that cheering at the back...

For all the problems with uneven weeks and predictable outcomes, I find the League/Season system to have several major advantages over the open-ended Ladder we've had since launch.

  • A League replicates a format familiar from Team Sports, whereas a Ladder replicates one normally used for Individual Sports.
  • A Season has a defined Winner and defined Places for all contenders.
  • A League offers the possibility of Promotion or Relegation.
  • A Season has a finite duration and the prospect of a fresh start.

Anecdotally, I would contend that there has been a more evident and intense awareness of WvW as a result of the more familiar and easy-to-follow League structure and that there is a an enhanced sense of "Server Pride" because of it.

Arithmetic? We Ash leave all that technical stuff to Iron Legion.

The League system clearly needs tweaking. As I mentioned elsewhere, I would prefer two Leagues running concurrently: a Weekend League covering Friday to Sunday and a Weekday League covering Monday to Thursday. Seven days is too long for most matches, the result of which is rarely in doubt after the halfway point and there are well-known variations in the abilities of various servers to compete at different times of the day or week. One size does not fit all, nor should it need to.

Assuming I won't get my wish, however, and that ANet are unwilling to run multiple competitions, I would still very strongly prefer a permanent and ongoing series of seven-day/seven-week Seasons to a return to any of the previous variations on the Ladder we've suffered until now.

And I'm still no wiser on whether it matters not only whether we win a match but also by how much.


  1. I think that would be a really novel idea, actually, and I really haven't witnessed anyone toss it about. A weekend league would really condense the matchups and annul a lot of the coverage problems servers start to have in the weekday. Most matches are decided on the weekend anyways.

    The problem though, are the quenes and whether the weekday/friday leagues lose a bit on the "prestige" and lead to less participation. Still, the league structure is definitely a good first step that needs tweaking. I'm wholly in agreement with you.


    1. If I could actually log on to the GW2 forums I might go post the idea there, but I have about given up trying. I guess I must have a separate ID or password somewhere because they certainly don't recognize anything I can remember.


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