GW2 WvWvW Population Cap and Home Servers

ArenaNet has shed a little light on some WvWvW details, but cast shadows and raised questions for me in the process.

Home Servers

Every player has a “home server” where their character is made. Your character can “visit” other worlds (Servers) for free, but you are still bound to your home server for WvWvW bonuses and PvP. Changing your home server can be done at a cost. For those who are still confused, imagine being able to log on World of Warcraft and instead of choosing what server then what character, you choose what character then what server (after having made your character on one of them already).

I think the idea is thoughtful. Visiting other servers to see friends who may not have rolled on your home server is nice. It may also be a way to PvE in less or more populated areas. I do, however, have concerns.

1) What happens when server X becomes “the place to be” and people are flocking off that server to visit?
2) Will some servers become ghost towns as their populations “visit” elsewhere?
3) Can commerce be conducted when visiting?
4) Will there be a cap on a server’s number of visitors?
5) Can you join guilds on servers you visit?

Of coarse, I am also concerned about community.  Since you can belong to as many guilds as you want and now can go to any server you want, I am worried we won’t have any sense of community at all.  Then again, WvWvW will act as a unifier to bring servers together.  At the end of the day, PvPers will have familiarity with their brothers-in-arms and there will be a community of people fighting for glory.  Perhaps community could go either way depending on how the above questions are answered.




World vs. World vs. World Queues

It was revealed that WvWvW will have a population cap.  Once the cap is reached, players wanting to enter and participate will be queued.  I prefer this system a million times over that of an instanced system, but I am worried about the number of players capable of participating.  On Reddit they say they’ve tested hundreds of players in the same area at once.  I just hope that we don’t see a limit of 100 vs. 100 vs. 100.  In case you’re wondering, the limit does not apply beyond your world, so you can’t flood your people in to keep others out.

I remember the glorious days of several hundred players from each realm clashing in the frontier.  Sure, it lagged at times, but having over 500 people smashing swords against shields with arrows whizzing over your head and spells exploding at your feet gives you a sense of immersion you can’t experience with fewer people.

This limit on the number of players might be the first thing I innately dislike about GW2.

Update: I’ve been thinking more on the subject of limiting numbers and it occurred to me that forcing “even” numbers makes sieges much more difficult.  All things equal, even numbers favors defenders.  What’s worse is 100 defenders, 100 attackers, and 100 other people screwing with the attackers.  It happened all the time in DAOC.  The way the attackers won was either through skill or more people.

Update #2: 100 vs. 100 vs. 100 per MAP confirmed.  There are 4 maps (3 borderlands, 1 central) so a total of 400 players from your server at a time in the Mists. [source]

  • It also seems if there a multiple objects happening at the same time you ll end up with a lot of small sieges instead of a few big ones.

  • The whole “Population Cap” thing has been mentioned by ArenaNet a few times, but there was one part of it that seemed at the time (and to this day) a bit unclear.

    I’ve seen mention of “100 players from each server per ‘map'” or somesuch… which to me means you could in theory have 300 players on each of the borderlands zones and 300 players in the central pivot zone, for a total of 1200 players spread across WvW.

    I don’t know if they simply slipped when stating this (and actually meant 300 total across all the zones), but I seem to remember them saying it multiple different times as well.

    Hopefully the Reddit AMA going on right now will solve this once and for all.

  • @Wufiavelli: Yeah, this limits the “big siege” factor and encourages smaller skirmishes. It also makes defense MUCH easier by limiting the number of attackers. That’s not something I considered.

    @Devastator: Hopefully it’s a large number like that. It should be easy to find action on one map if another fills.

  • I get the impression that the only time you’ll see the really big zerg-ball fights are around the main keeps in a zone. They’d be worth grouping everyone together to capture for the zone-of-control power they offer the controlling faction. I’d expect most of the time though, folks will be in smaller groups and raids roaming about fighting over multiple objectives.

    Especially with the guild claims on objectives. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see various guilds staking out thier claims on the map and defending/attacking specific areas coordinated or not with the others on their server. There’ll be some epeen at stake on this point. You wouldn’t want some scrub guild taking your claimed objective and going on the forums posting picture of how they pwned your guild right? Personally, i think having the zerg more spread out will be for the best. You’ll end up with alot more random and dynamic open world encounters in the Mists.

  • It’d be absolutely asinine not to make it even.

    It’s a bit too early to go into deep speculation about numbers. It’d be safe to assume that they’re going to try pushing as many people as performance allows. That number probably won’t be revealed anytime soon, as it’s going to take a lot of load testing in the upcoming betas.

  • That reddit ama was only two months ago.. interesting they changed their minds then.

    But if its a cap Its gotta be like 200 vs 200 vs 200 per map.. 100 vs 100 vs 100 seems way too low to me.

    This way some factions can get 200 others cant.. their will be number differences.

  • ArenaNetTeam Guild Wars 2, 2 months ago

    500 x 4 = 2000 / 3 = 666.666666 repeating of course….

    So over 650 people PER server. That is a LOT of people.

  • Also I think since you can freely switch servers their will be dedicated trade servers similar to runescape..

    Everyone goes to certain worlds to trade.. sure it will be the same here.

    I think people will only hang out on their home world to wvw.. hang out on low pop worlds to grind/farm etc.. and then hang out on trade worlds to buy/sell.

  • @Gankatron: The higher is gets, whatever the number, the better for gameplay and the better for no queues. Chances are it will be an even number per server per “map” (4 maps in WvWvW). I would be willing to bet something like 250 per server per map.

  • Keen. On defenders having the advantage… On DAOC as an Albion defending. The Mids and Hibs never attacked each other while sieging us. They always stuck together until they gained entrance. Than it was everone for themselves. Damn dirty Mids and Hibs.

  • So I wonder if that means you can only create characters on your home server.. and only join guilds on your home server?

    So you get 5 char slots default (sure can buy more) but is that in total? As in you can only ever create a char on your home server unless you transfer your account to a new home server.

    That would make since I think.. since you can visit any server anyway being only allowed to make chars on one home server.

  • Yes, the more the merrier if they can keep up the frame rates.

    Your 3,000 number is higher than the Arenanet quoted figure of 2,000 from 2 months ago, but that number was based on the statement of “at least 500” per map, so like Adam said when he first saw Eve, “Stand back I don’t know how big this thing is going to get!”…

  • [–]DutchSunshine 26 points 1 hour ago
    Also, for the record: Will all four maps be different? Or are the maps which we currently saw the final composition?
    [–]ArenaNetTeamGuild Wars 2[S] 49 points 1 hour ago
    Those are the maps we will launch with, the borderlands will be the same map for all three worlds.

    Just read this. Looks like the maps will be identical. Also a post asking if each borderland could have different texture sets (summer,winter, autumn), but ArenaNet said it would be like rebuilding the zones entirely so no go 🙁

  • I mean if you are allowed to visit any server and the only restriction is you cant world v world their then that will def happen.
    People will naturally form trade servers and grinding servers.

    The only way that would change is if they made it where you could only trade/mail/use AH on your home server and visiting another server only allows you to do dynamic events.

    You guys think we they should have tons of visiting restrictions or only you cant w v w their?

    That would make all players able to gather on certain servers.. basically it would be like gw 1 again.. the whole gw2 community is together, not separated except in w v w combat.

  • This limitation seems to either be moot or extremely lame, depending on how high it is. Either it is so high that we would never notice and it is more of a hypothetical limitation, ot it is so low that it will create a lot of frustration and could be game breaking (a la “This is Bullshit”). You will either notice it or, or not. I ownder, why is this even necessary?

    1. Limit number of players in order to ensure lag free play? Getting together enough people for a large event may already be difficult, but to artificially punish the players for being too successful is retarded. If the players do the unthinkable and get so many people together that it would be a problem, let us deal with the lag (or improve your gaming environment as you obviously underestimated the success of WvWvW.

    2. Ensure that one side doesnt dominate too much? Duh…we already have a system in place…it is called…the third realm. That is why the third realm is there…to prevent one realm from getting too powerful. I really dont see this being the actual reason as it would be ridiculous.

    Wow, if I get the feeling that I am in an oversized battleground…that may take the magic out of GW2 pretty quickly. Let’s hope that this limited number is extremely high…and that we will never even experience it…in which case…I wish I hadnt heard that it was there. It is common MMO sense to know that if you have 500 people on screen, there is going to be lag and chances are high that things will crash…as the game continues and as populations decline, there is a chance that we will never experience the population limit anyway…

  • @Mangus: That doesn’t bother me. In any case it is the safest way to go as people will complain regardless, and the identical map approach is certainly the most balanced for game play. Sure changing up colors and textures would be cool, but for the moment I would rather that they focus their resources on factors that have the most meaningful impact on game play.

    Any more I flinch when I hear a company is spending vast resources on window dressing elements; fully voice acted NPC’s hardly make up for low frame rates and poorly design open world PvP even in a galaxy far, far away…

  • [–]gnoviere 5 points 1 hour ago

    Does each of your characters have a home server? Or is it account-based?


    [–]ArenaNetTeamGuild Wars 2[S] 20 points 49 minutes ago

    Home server is account based.


  • Looks like 100v100v100 in each MAP currently confirmed [source], so total number of players fighting from your server throughout all of the Mists at a time must be <= 400. Hopefully that goes up. I'd like to see 200 per server per map.

  • He also says that number will go up though.

    “Each map will be able to hold at least a hundred people from each server and we’re working to push that number even higher.”

  • Home server is account based, every character you create will be on your home server.

    he just said this again also.

    I asked if you can do trade while visiting another server.. havent got a answer yet

  • Since the purpose to visit a server is to play with your friends, I think they definitely will allow you to trade. Also it seems guilds can include members from other world from some guild video. Has anyone asked is there going to be any restrictions on pve server visiting yet?

  • @rasli currently you can be in multiple guilds on the same server with one character at the same time. (think linkshells in ff11)

  • It is hard to interpret the “at least” factor, which should be an indicator of the lowest number allowed.

  • Exactly Gank. I would hardly say that 100v100v100 is confirmed as much as I’d say “that’s the minimum amount we’ll be seeing”

  • So pretty much your home server is account based.. all chars can only be made on that server but you can visit other servers.

    AH is global across all servers anyway.

    Soo the only reason to ever be on your home server is to WvW

  • I wonder if server population will be affected by which server Goon Squad decides to play. I hear rumors that they are thinking about reducing their fee to join to just $100.00 for 1 year.

  • 3) Can commerce be conducted when visiting?

    I’m guessing it can since the AH will be global, that is, you’ll be able to trade with people from other servers anyway. 🙂

  • @bartillo in other words, the only reason to not stay on your home server is to play with friends:)

  • Hmmm. Given that population caps (and the theoretically resultant even numbers) will favor defenders, it sounds like WvWvW is going to end up like “world PvP” in most other games: people will look to attack places where the enemy players aren’t defending and will abandon the attacks if the enemy shows up, preferring to relocate to a less-defended objective.

    In other words, just like the (epic fail) PvP rifts in Rift, it will end up being a form of “PvP” where you desperately hope the other side won’t show up. Goodness knows, that’s what used to happen in Dark Age of Camp-a-lot all the time. RvR often consisted of attacking a relic keep during off hours to decrease the odds of defenders being present.

    I’m impressed that they’ve decided to go with three-way world PvP (helps a lot with population imbalance issues). But I can’t say the rest of the design has impressed me much so far.

  • I’m of two minds about the population situation. On one hand, forcing players to spread out across all 4 maps seems smart – perhaps it will alleviate any tendency to mob the center castle as one big blob. And from one perspective, 400 players per server sounds like a good number to be fighting in mass PvP for a game of this era.

    But on the other hand, well, 100 players per side in a huge castle battle does sound sort of limiting, doesn’t it?

    Personally, I’m not *too* concerned about the population limits increasing the defender’s advantage. In GW2 the design seems to prefer sieges as drawn out affairs, with attackers bleeding out defenders by cutting off supply caravans, and slowly draining their reserves until they can no longer make repairs. This is simply not the same game as WAR, for example, which relied on simply overwhelming the defenders and slowly wearing down the doors.

    In GW2, it seems like the first stages of an assault on a defended position don’t even require the attackers to engage the defenders directly – instead using guerilla attacks on supply caravans and resource camps, or an enveloping circle of long-range siege weapons. Hopefully this will alter strategies to require more offensive sorties from the defenders, negating some of the defenders advantage in a fun way.

    No matter what though, players will always prefer to simply steamroll undefended objectives; I don’t know how you could avoid it. Even with huge incentives for killing other players, you just encourage groups trading objectives, while also having giant death matches in the middle of fields…

    You can’t cure human nature, on some level. They’ve at least avoided creating problematic incentives for players, so hopefully it’ll all balance out.

  • @Vatec: I know we saw a fair share of that in WAR when there was nothing but random server PuGs running the zerg in oRvR, but it was mainly due to being so heavily outnumbered that we stood little to no chance if we hit the opposing zerg.

    On nights where the better guilds where out roaming and communicating with each other it was a different story though. We sometimes went to tag a keep so Order would come running to defend, just to leave it and then surprise them by flanking them as they started to run away, buying time for another warband to actually mass an attack on the other keep in the zone and get the door down before Order had time to form a proper defense. Didn’t always work ofc, but it gave us some great fights and fun!

    Having 3 factions will alleviate some of the reasons why we went for unguarded keeps, at least I hope it will. Depends how many of the “easiest path to points” people we get from WoW in GW2. 😛

  • Another thing to consider, Proximo, is that out of the box in GW2 you can upgrade major objectives with fast-travel waypoints. This should mean anyone in the WvW area could respond and defend almost instantly, while those in the PvE areas would only require a couple quick teleports and a trip through the asura gates to be in a position to defend.

    It’s just hard to say how possible it will be to “ninja” objectives in GW2, or more to the point, what strategy will look like at all, given the totally different toolbox players have on both offense and defense.

  • Not all objectives will have the ability to upgrade with a teleport, only the bigger ones. But yeah, that can spell doom for any attacks. Smaller forces won’t be able to take the bigger keeps while it’s defended I’m sure, unless they somehow manage to completely starve them of supplies over a lengthy period.

  • I was concerned that you may be able to visit a dominant WvW server and obtain their WvW bonuses for PvE. I was happy to read the following however and this should discourage people from just switching servers:

    “Some of our more astute fans asked about the complications involved with switching servers and how it would interact with world bonuses. Every account has a home server where your characters are created. You can only fight for your home world in WvW. You can visit other servers, and while you are visiting, you still get the world bonus from your home world instead of the bonus for the world you are visiting. If you switch your home server, you lose the bonus from your previous home world and are not eligible for the bonus for your new server at least until the beginning of the next battle for the Mists. We may extend this disqualification into the next match or possibly even longer to discourage people from switching servers right before a battle ends in order to get an awesome bonus. You will have to pay a fee to change your home server (price undetermined), and that will also discourage people from server hopping to chase world bonuses.”

  • It seems that they’re limiting the numbers atm, since they’ve said the limit is changeable, and subject to increase, At least they’re going about it the smart way and making sure that they’re able to support 300 man battles before they raise the player count. I mean don’t get me wrong, I loved some 400 man AMG zerging, but the lag can suck the fun out of it if it’s overwhelming.

  • Well whatever happens, I think its gonna be a blast, although I’m still having trouble deciding what class/race combo I want to be .

  • Re: population cap–

    “Question #87:
    Mike, as to further clarify please, do you mean 300 per server or 300 for each map (1200 max).
    Each map, and we’re doing our best to push that number higher!”


  • they had a really neat example of some of the mercs. Apparently in each borderland there are underwater mercs. They really help in sieging each person home keep because they spray heal rain on your team and lightening on the foes.

  • What’s up with the colors? I’m red/green colorblind and saw the team colors are red, green and blue…I’m concerned now.

    Anyone have details if there’s a colorblind option?

  • @Jim: this was answered on Reddit yesterday, they are actively looking for a solution for red/green colorblind.

  • I don’t like this at all. While the lag was an issue, I never really cared that much about it in DAoC, and god knows trying to take a keep could be an exercise in frustration with people PBAoE spamming doors/narrow corridors, only for all your hard, hour long siege work to be completely undone as a mid/hib group ran up behind you and slaughtered you.

    Even numbers in WvWvW seems like a problem, because it puts you in a situation where aggression is punished, assuming each world always hits that 100 person cap. It also decreases the possibility of multi-sieging, hitting several keeps at once to distract/confuse enemies and split their forces or to take advantage of them if they decide to turtle hard.

  • I think people should calm down until launch is imminent and ArenaNet release some finalized numbers. All they’ve done so far is talking loosely about what stage they’re at right now, in development, during closed beta…
    ArenaNet is generally tight lipped about their game until they feel its ready to be shown of, I think this is just a prime example of why, people jump to conclusions and spell doom for the game based on information that are subject to change before release.

  • I am willing to give them some leeway in figuring this out. I understand soem of the frustration but again this Dev team is super competent in everything so far and as far as WvW this is their baby for endgame whereas PvP was an afterthought in games like WoW, Rift or SWTOR.

  • They are going to place as many players into the WvW areas as they can. I don’t think anyone here wants lag. I don’t think anyone wants an uneven fight in the WvW areas either. I have read various things from people right here explaining why lag takes place. They will do the best they can.

  • @Proximo: Good to hear it’s a priority for them, ty! Outside of that…the videos show a fantastic looking zone. I think it’s safe to get excited about this part of the game assuming there isn’t cash shop creep 🙂

  • If there are suitable strategic options, it shouldn’t matter if the teams are even.

    For example, can a “Way point” be disabled, preventing reinforcements?

    Are there ways of small groups sneaking into keeps through smaller, harder to defend entries.

    True, defends will have some advantages, but I get the impression that if they just sit around behind their walls, they’re going to be starved of supply very quickly.

    That same supply will then be used to fuel weapons to smash down said walls.

    Not to mention temporary alliances between the two factions not holding the objectives. I think the best servers will quickly work out that sort term team work nets better results than constantly sniping at each other while the main faction sits pretty on the objectives, soaking up world bonuses.

    At least.. I hope so. 😉

  • I think defending keeps will actually be a pretty good challenge, they’ll need to keep the supply lines running to do anything, so they won’t be able to keep their entire force on keep defence, or all their siege gear/repairs/upgrades will be useless.

    Personally, I’m glad they are capping the pop in WvW, it makes players, especially good players/guilds, a very valuable resource…

  • Pretty sure its …

    100x100x100 max per zone map, you queue over that

    4 zone maps in a Mists 2-week instance

    What I am interested in specifically is: having all 300 characters in each others visual frustrum/clipping region and doing movement and abilities/casting effects. This is what really matters to everyone in terms of how epic, massive and performant it would seem.

    If you have 300 total in a zone map, you *will* get all 300 of them into visual range of each other for the big fights at times.

  • 1,200 players all together for a very large map seems like a viable number. I mean 4 zones having 300 of each server in 1 battlefield at a time. I feel like that will be a very active fighting scene. I havent been looking into guild wars as long as any of you most likely but i have taken in my fair share of info from forums, arenanet, and a few random rumors that have been confirmed true.

    I would like to see 150-200 on each server per map. Just for the record though, not all and more than likely that 100-200 players per server the majority will be on offense. As it’s said here the defense have the advantage. Which means (if the opposing server have more thinkers…)The best way to counter an offense is make a larger attack than the opposing server to possibly cause attackers want to go fortify the defense.

    But that’s just simple talk about my opinion on how things may be going on. If the maps are as large as they say/look from videos and commentators, then im happy. Understandably it will be tedious, but the reward of it is what i like to think of. Not the complaining of how far we have to run.

    This is where the server ratings and match-ups come into play. I do have a lot of time on my hands, and my job doesn’t take me away from home. Yes there are of coarse thousands upon thousands of people who don’t have what i do. But there is also a large community with time on their hands. I personally look forward to maybe once a week getting one of those all nighters, bashing skulls in and taking over keeps with my friends. But like i said the ratings will come into play with how your server does against other server and will do its best to match your server up with what they would call an even fight.

    I don’t care what my server rating ends up being to be honest. That mass siege PvP, dont expect mass cooperation, If you’ve played WoW back in Vanilla, a 40 man raid was full of mistakes left and right. What would you expect from a 200 man raid? It’s basicly a mass mini game that anyone and everyone can just go and fuck around. Because in the end if your server looses….whats going to be so bad? Really your going to do the exact same thing against another server with the same amount of people and the same situations. Though yeah, I want to win. I want to win a LOT of siege PvP. Just remember, there are trolls. There has to be a good handful in 400-800 people. So if your that serious guy, you brought it upon yourself to get mad if that many people aren’t cooperating.

    I also wanted to mention something that is bad and good. I actually want Elitist Jerks to be apart of this game, because in actuality Starwars the Old Republic lost nearly 3/4th of their subscribers because starwars didnt support addons. A good chunk of those people dropped Starwars and pre-purchased Guild Wars 2. I safely want to say at least 1/2 of the people who pre-purchased already, are going to look for addon support. To make a point, what have addons ever done to the players that didnt want addons? Well either it did nothing or they did suck. What has posting the dps charts on group ever do? Nothing, it just showed how much damage people did. Whats the point of dps charts? Seeing what stats help you do what, and also show how much an improved piece of gear actually upgraded your damage output. If you don’t like people posting damage charts…. simple resolution, ignore. There are jerks out there, not supporting addons isn’t stopping them from being jerks. I’m not one of them. But there is a very large community out there that are.