I’m a fan of meaningful objectives being at the heart of team-based player versus player mechanics. Do a search here on our blog for “Darkness Falls” and you’ll find dozens of posts where I expound upon the merits of something meaningful to fight over — something the winning team has access to that the losers will want, thus giving them a reason to get out there and fight.
Guild Wars 2′s Eric Flannum gave out a few basic details in an interview about a mechanic that may end up resembling DAOC’s Darkness Falls.
“One of the coolest things that we’ve added to WvW recently is a persistent mini-dungeon that can be accessed through the three keeps in the center map. This area is designed with multiplayer PvP in mind and players can do things like activate the traps in the mini-dungeon to defeat enemy players. Of course, at the end of the area there’s a chest full of rewards.” [Source]
Based on what I know about GW2′s WvW combat, the center map (Eternal Battlegrounds) has 3 keeps forming a triangle with the Stonemist Castle in the center. According to what Eric Flannum said, those three keeps will have portals to the “mini-dungeon”. How WvW works is simple: All keeps are vulnerable at all times, and to take the keep one simply kills the Keep Lord.
I’m not sure if we simply do not have all of the details, because I have a few questions about how this will work. There are a few flaws that jump out at me immediately. First, a “mini-dungeon” sounds a lot less “cool” than a dungeon with bosses, great loot, and room to actually progress your character. DAOC’s Darkness Falls was one of the better places in the entire game to find gear and gain experience. If this “mini-dungeon” is nothing more than WoW’s Baradin Hold, I will be disappointed.
Second, I think it’s a mistake to make only the center map, Eternal Battlegrounds, the contested area for control of this dungeon. I would make it so that whoever is winning the overall World vs. World struggle, a feature already implemented, would be granted control of the portal into the “mini-dungeon”. Make Stonemist Castle worth more points if it’s not already, and create a desire for players to want to control, AND DEFEND, every keep, castle, and supply point in all four of the WvW maps.
Hopefully someone at ArenaNet has the foresight to see the obvious issues with the system that Flannum described. As it stands now, the mini-dungeon in question will be zerged and change hands all the time with no clear owner, and no clear desire to “hold” the rest of the keeps outside of the Eternal Battlegrounds — a zone with a current cap of 200 players per server.