WvW is the closest I have ever come to reliving Dark Age of Camelot RvR. I chose to lead off with that comment because WvW is the reason why I will play GW2, and the reason why many of my friends decided to even give GW2 a chance. I want to begin by giving you a narrative of the video I shot below.
The video starts off with my server fighting outside the outer wall of our Western Keep in Blue’s World. We are the invaders taking and holding Blue’s territory. Almost right away we are pushed back through our wall just to find ourselves flanked by an even larger Blue force which broke through the other gate on the wall. Keeps, Towers, and Outer Walls in GW2 have multiple gates. This makes defending much more difficult because the attackers can come at you from multiple fronts.
As we are pushed back, I dive off the cliff into the beautifully done waters of our Keep’s moat. Water combat, and water in general, are stunning and an amazing addition to the game and WvW. We battle back and forth and eventually push Blue back to their Garrison (primary keep, awesome defense). Moments later, as my guildies and I are retreating to our keep on our way to take a supply depot, GREEN server’s army flanks us out of nowhere inside the walls of our keep. I LOVE three faction PvP!!!
The video ends with the end of our attack on a Tower and a look at the Orb (DAOC Relic). We break the doors with our ram and burst through cleaning up the last of the defenders. Slaying the Tower Lord, we claim the Tower for our server and march off to take more objectives.
Read on for more WvW Impressions.
Each of the zones, one for each faction and a center zone, have a different look about them. One is snowy, another wetlands with ruins, another foresty. They all have the same design, for balance I suppose, but make me feel like I’m in a different place. Keep placement works well on the sides and top of the map with Towers in between. The map layout provided extensive back and forth, and plenty of 3 faction skirmishing.
During the weekend I watched the WvW map and saw players behaving how they should; If Blue invaded Green, Green would respond and Red would come mess with them. What I would like to see in the future is a group of people dedicated to defending and monitoring “milegates” or areas between where the enemy portal in to the zone and the Keeps they want to take.
ArenaNet could quadruple the size of the zones and I would still want them bigger, but that’s nitpicking since the zones are larger than most anything else we’ve seen in years.
Keeps and Towers
Towers in GW2 are essentially like Keeps in WAR. Keeps are huge in GW2 and even have outer walls and moats like you saw in the video. Unlike DAOC, there are multiple gates to defend. This makes taking keeps easier, which may prove problematic since I want to avoid the constant keep flipping pandemic from WAR. Keep Lords could use a buff as well so that there is actually time to say “They’re on the Lord!” and get there to intervene.
Siege equipment is awesome. I was firing a mortar at the dock and I think I killed 20 people. The arrow towers are annoying and really, really strong. Spam enough of them and it becomes nigh impossible to siege. I suspect there will be balancing with siege before launch.
No one could afford upgrades to the Keeps or Towers during the weekend, so it’s entirely possible that once the game comes out and guilds become organized it will be easier to defend.
Incentives / Purpose for WvW
Winning in WvW gives bonuses that are enticing, and capturing Orbs leads to competition and more bonuses. I hope that people really grasp the concept that if your server is “red” for the week you need to defend “red world” zone from invaders. I think that players will unite under the idea that they want to win and go up the ladder. There’s pride associated with winning, and shame in losing. If buffs and benefits don’t entice, hopefully shame will.
Like DAOC, additional awards can be added later. If players need further incentive to win, or incentive to avoid losing, add a dungeon to the game that players access through an Asura Gate like Darkness Falls. Lock the two losing realms out.
I’m bothered by the amount of AoE. It’s annoying more than it is effective. The chaos created by all the circles on the ground, especially when you have 200 people sieging, is overkill. The freedom of movement and ability use makes chasing even more interesting. Without having to stop and cast most abilities, it’s easier to chase.
Being a melee sucked. I had way more fun on my Necro than I did on my Warrior because my Warrior felt useless 50% of the time. WvW, much like RvR, is a ranged game when attacking and defending. I recommend people consider that before choosing a class and while thinking about how to spec your melee characters. Take some ranged stuff on those warriors! Melee are still very good in open-field combat. When people start defending lands more and holding areas of the zones instead of sieging constantly the melee classes will really shine.
Lag / Performance
I had a great deal of framerate trouble during sieges. I would drop to 11-15 FPS and felt miserable. Ability lag was present and some attacks were made useless, like the warrior leap, when ability lag caused movement to feel ‘sticky’ or ‘clunky’. Fixing these issues is a must.
WvW is a slam dunk by today’s standards. It’s not quite DAOC, but with some balance tweaks, performance fixes, and time to mature it’ll be right up there. I like how ArenaNet is taking a proven model and adapting it while keeping what works.