WvW Rewards

I saw a lot of people in general chat and the official forums complaining that WvW doesn’t have enough rewards.  The common complaint is: “What keeps me playing WvW when I hit 80 if I do not get a reward?”  Despite a discussion delving into the concept of needing to get a cookie for doing every little thing, there’s a valid point to be made for both sides.

1) You shouldn’t need a reward to want to win.  Server pride!

2) Despite not needing a reward, you still need an incentive.

Well don’t those two conflict?  The first is the spirit of the game.  Your server is at war with other servers, and winning is the goal.  It appeals to the competitive nature of the players.  If you win, you climb the ladder and go against better servers.

Then there’s the the incentive for continuing to participate over time.  At first, the ‘Power of the Mists’ benefits will entice players because whoever is winning can gain significant boosts to stats, crafting, and gathering.  Those benefits carry over to PvE for -all- members of your realm.  Over time that carrot will lose its appeal.  Players will need more than being able to loot corpses of players and getting server-wide bonuses.  GW2’s sPvP utilizes cosmetic rewards.  DAoC used Darkness Falls to entice players into winning in order to control a dungeon for loot.  There are many ways to motivate, but not all of them result in quality gameplay.

ArenaNet needs to avoid granting points for killing players, and has to emphasize winning strategies over individual actions.  Players will eventually demand a cookie that tastes better than victory.  The focus must remain on holding the most keeps, and it should compliment the concept of the entire server winning for the duration of the match-up.  A dungeon that offers loot might be the perfect idea.  For however long your server is winning you can zone into ‘Dungeon’.  When another server is winning, you can’t enter ‘Dungeon’ until you are winning again.  The two losing servers will constantly be on the offensive to gain access to the dungeon, and the winning realm will have to both defend their status and utilize the dungeon. This will fuel the conflict for as long as the gear remains fresh — it’s easy to add more dungeons.

While the official forums were still up, I saw the devs talking about the achievement system being utilized for WvW rewards.  There was an achievement for being a lifetime WvW’er and winning 25 matchups — a year’s worth of WvW — being discussed.  There is a lot of power to be had in using this system to give players titles and other cosmetic rewards.  Achievement points alone would be a waste.  Something to think about there.

So bottom line, the integrity of WvW can easily be destroyed if manipulated poorly to rewards players (See: Warhammer Online), but players will ultimately need motivation.  I hope ArenaNet takes their time and does it right.  If I was at the helm, I would go with cosmetic rewards and a dungeon 2-3 months after launch.

  • Motivation is one thing. But rewarding players with more powerful gear, will only lead to a gear gap. Ask players of Warhammer Online and to a certain extent, Rift how thats working out for them. New players, and even casual players getting one shotted, no chance to compete. Yes you will have to put in the work to get the best gear, but you don’t have to grind artificial WvW levels. I think Arenanet has devised the perfect system. Yes you risk losing players who need stat changing rewards. But I think you keep all the others. I can PVE , run dungeons and explore for several weeks, and know that when im ready to go back to WvW I won’t be impossibly behind and will be able to compete.

  • It’s the one thing that continues to baffle me about Online gamers verses say sports people.

    If I’m a member of a local soccer club, I’m not really getting “material” rewards. I’m doing it for the love of the game, for the friendship of my team mates, the pride of our side.

    For some reason, this concept, or “love of the game”, appears lost of a lot of players.

    You PVP because you enjoy PVP. TF2 has continued to flourish, despite the lack of any real progression.

    You play because you enjoy the act of playing? What more is really needed?

  • It’s definitely a difficult balance to strike. Personally, I think the fact that it’s fun and winning is the point is plenty motivation, but sure, I suppose people are going to want something more.

    The dangerous thing is that this “cookie” has to be appealing, but it can’t be TOO appealing. Then it goes from being viewed as a reward for 1/3 of he playerbase and is seen as punishment for 2/3 of the playerbase. You don’t want it to be so good that people are transferring to servers that routinely win WvW just to have access to it.

    Dungeons are tricky too because you’re getting into different areas of gameplay. If you love dungeons and never ever touch PvP, I can understand being frustrated for not being able to play your preferred style of play based on PvP results.

    I guess time will tell. I just wish that, like Anon points out, people would play for the love of the game and be satisfied with that.

  • Back in the day I played Half Life deathmatches for hours and hours because it was FUN. I enjoyed winning, but I also just enjoyed playing the game. Same thing goes with Starcraft, Warcraft II, Myth, Counterstrike, and any number of other oldschool competitive games.

    Sadly, every genre now tries to just incentivize players with some sort of achievement/unlock/point/rank grind because it exploits basic aspects of human psychology. In a way, the first games to really do this were a Pandora’s box as now large numbers of gamers just refuse to play simply for the fun of it.

    Personally, I plan to play WvWvW if it’s fun — and I fully expect it to be. If they decide to throw some stuff at me for playing that’s fine by me. But I don’t need it. And in a game where gear matters less, incentives should really matter less too. Gear grind games need incentives for everything. If they give gear for thing A and not for thing B, then people won’t do thing B because it will cause them to fall behind the all important gear curve if they “waste” time on it. Hopefully in GW2 this will be less of an issue.

  • I played the PC version of Halo 1 so much. Casual servers where it was ok to ‘brb’ in a capture the flag map and the teams would complement and comment on each other in a constructive way. Plus just some really awesome dog fights. Didn’t hurt that once on April Fool’s, the server found a way to cause tanks to shoot out more tanks every 4th match or so.

    But now we’re in the age of instant elitist match making. :/

    I really wish WoW took the gearless approach to it’s random bgs. I love Arathi Basin, it’s remained a mainstay in my pvp habits since it first came out. Too bad this late in the expansion cycle, it just feels like a 15 minute ‘who’s better geared’ check as opposed to an actual match type.

  • The incentive of DF in DAOC original incarnation was one more of supply of materials than gear. Sure the gear was decent but it was the seals that you farmed, then used to purchase gear that could be salvaged into high level crafting materials.

    In a way farming DF Seals was like mining ore nodes in other games. It was quite an intuitive system and I’m not sure why people seem to think the Runescape node model is the best.

    It was like the reward for winning at PvP was access to the best crafting mats. It wasn’t the only way to obtain them but it was certainly the most efficient in the early stages of the life of the game.

  • I find that personal rewards are absolutely essential in maintaining a healthy WvW environment. The PvPing for server pride and “for fun” can only carry you so far. These types of built-in rewards only capture part of the player base…it will not be enough to mobilize the entire realm. On the other hand, with a limited population in WvW anyway. This point may be moot. However, we also have to think about population during the off-hours. What keeps me going during the off hours or the slow times? At that point, there may not be enough people to accomplish meaningful victories or tasks for which you may get some sort of reward. During those times, people will rely on their personal rewards to come out and play.

    Open world PVP can be be oodles of fun but it can also be slow and frustrating…maybe even pointless at times. Maybe you are up against a dominating force – you need personal rewards to keep you motivated. Sure, idealistically, it shouldnt be this way but we know that it is that way.

    People rarely do things for no rewards. People might go on a PVE long raid to accomplish the raid but they wouldnt do it over and over if there wasnt some sort of reward. Rewards are key in these games. PVP is more exciting though and people’s attention span will generally be higher and the motivation to participate is longer but without personal rewards, it will eventually fade.

    After every kill in PVP, there should be something that you get. Some form of points towards something. DAOC had a great balance in my opinion. A solo kill got you a lot of points and you could spend the points on a long term goal. That is the other important part. Whatever the reward is, it ought to be a long term goal – nothing that can be achieved within a few weeks, or months…the RR in DAOC took a long time to achieve and that was perfect. If you can get them too quickly then people will feel like they have to grind them out and that isnt fun.

    At this point, it may make sense to start with cosmetic rewards as long term goals. If that loses its excitement then you can still throw more meaningful rewards at players (skills etc.). Please just dont make this an armor grind to get better PVP armor.

    In conclusion, GW2 would do a lot better with a personal reward system. The system should include a long term goal to work towards. Each kill should be meaningfully rewarded. This system will mobilize more players, keep more people motivated under a variety of circumstances (off hours, slow days, crappy days, days when you cannot win as a team, etc.).

  • I’m quite happy to do WvWvW just for the fun of it, thats why I play it, and when its not fun I go do something else. Alts, PvE, watch a movie, whatever….

    But I’d also love the ability to collect various titles, hats, shiny stuff that just looks cooler or different, and other cosmetic rewards. An important thing for me, would be being able to have my guild claim a keep, I haven’t done enough WvWvW to see if that’s possible.

    What I think might also be important would be some sort of “glorification” for top performing guilds and players. Have Guilds throughout the world cheering or commenting on the performance of top guilds and players? (text only sadly)… or have major cities displaying the banners of top guilds, and statues of the top 5 players of each server from the previous matchup?

    I’m not sure if I want to see a return of the realm rank system as per DAoC, thats only because they had balance issues with that for a long time, and in the end, those high level realm rank abilities were pretty potent, and at least for now, there are enough balance issues.

  • Having played MMOs for more than a decade I can tell that endgame motivation with no rewards will last a month at most. WvWvW is time and money consuming and all achievements disappear overnight.

    I played 3 beta weekends and I’m already bored by WvWvW. It is huge and you can’t win it fast even if you totally dominate the map. You can play hours and hours and have very little satisfaction at the end. And as a semi-hardcore player I don’t care about cosmetic rewards whatsoever. Only Power and Money.

    Stop thinking WoW, start thinking EvE.

  • Well, in all honesty I don’t think the WvWvW system will be particularly well balanced until a month or three after launch. Remember that ANet will be rotating server matchups and attempting to create pairings that will put servers against evenly matched competition. Of course it’s going to be boring if you completely dominate and your server controls the entire map. But in practice that’s probably not going to last for long, especially once your server starts getting matched up against more competent opposition. When you are just sitting on forts and waiting for points to come in while your opponents barely even try to attack of COURSE it’s going to be boring. When you are fighting for every inch of ground over a two week period it’ll be much more fun.

    And Galarad, it’s depressing to me that there are many players that aren’t motivated just by fun — although I’ll quickly concede your point that they do absolutely exist. It’s not about hardcore vs. casual though. I am semi hardcore as well. Maybe fully hardcore by some standards — leader/co-leader of a top PvP and PvE guild in WAR, two server first Akylios kills in Rift, server first Ragnaros and several server first BWL boss kills in WoW (I quit WoW before we cleared BWL), etc. etc. I play for fun and have no problem PvPing for bragging rights. There are plenty of hardcore players who feel the same.

  • There is to reason for reward : progress and motivation.

    Progress :

    As a low level player, it is really frustrating to not progress (Gear and lvl) in WvW and lose a ton of money, just to be able to play. So Yes, I think we need more short term reward to be able progress as fast in WvW as in PvE. And not lose so much money.

    Motivation :

    As some other point it out, I do not need long term goal. Taking a fort, seeing the effect of My actions on the equilibrium is sufficient for me. In fact I think that long term incentive are bad : they reward playing time and not skills. If moreover, they increase power, it is depressing for low-time player.

    To take back the dungeon exemple : for exemple you can add a dungeon only accessed for the central Castle. That means that all player will try to attack the Castle while leaving alone the other towers.It will not be fun. A better solution would be to have on dungeon for each objective, with different (cosmetical) armor set in each. This will incentive the players to attack every tower, until they have all the armor sets. But what do you do after that ? Long term rewards are doomed : they are always finite OR they juste infinitely increase numbers that screw small-time players.

    The only way to have long term reward is that you can lost them. But you will not have infinite progress.

  • @Untos: Completely agree. I think it’s simply a case of expectation and conditioning.

    People “expect” personal rewards, so when there aren’t any, they feel jibbed.

    The fact is, GW2 will not be for everyone. Nor should it try to be. There will be people who enjoy the game and play it for years, while others quit inside of a month.

    That doesn’t mean the game is flawed, or needs to incorporate ideas from other MMO’s. It simply means the game wasn’t what you were looking for.

  • The fact is, will not be for everyone. Nor should it try to be. There will be people who enjoy and play it for years, while others quit inside of a month.

    That doesn’t mean is flawed, or needs to incorporate ideas from other MMO’s. It simply means wasn’t what you were looking for.

    I feel like your statement can be applied to any of the major releases of the last few years. Maybe you are correct and it is all expectations and conditioning but that merely describes how things should be…but maybe not how things are in reality. It would be great if people didnt have these expectations and they maybe shouldnt have them but they do have them. If GW2 doesn’t get this right then it becomes a 3 month-er for many people.

  • Dang it…part of my previous post vanished…now it makes no sense! Ignore please hehe