WvW Orbs to be Removed. I have a solution!

GW2 Orb Raid Potential
Orbs should be protected in Castles, not on pedestals out in the open.

Orbs are being removed from GW2 because they “strengthen teams who are already winning and make it even more difficult for underdog teams to fight back.” [Source]  Instead of redesigning them, or coming up with alternatives, ArenaNet states they are simply removing them entirely. There was also mention of orb hackers (wtf?) and not being able to do anything about them.

Look guys, this one is easy.  I’ll tell you why the WvW orbs failed.

  • WvW Zones are too small and capturing the orbs was too easy.  They’re out in the open on a freaking pedestal!
  • Orbs, as they were implemented, provided the wrong buff.
  • The fact that a team could already be “winning” without the orbs shouldn’t have been possible.

The failings of the Orb system are indicative of the failings throughout the whole WvW implementation.  The reward structure and winning conditions are wrong.  Matching servers, while a neat idea at first, has brought a lack of permanence to the fighting.  While I can’t solve the hole they dug themselves into with server matching, I do have other solutions.

Consider the following changes:

  • Orbs should provide the outmanned buff (10/20/30% Exp/Karma/Influence buff) and the outmanned buff should provide the orb buff (more HP, etc).
  • Re-design the zones to take out the PvE  camp in the NW area and put in a huge castle to hold the orb.  Call it an Orb Keep.  Let players go all Helm’s Deep style defense. Taking the keep would be hard enough that the attackers would want to control most other holdings before attempting an Orb siege.
  • Holding 2/3 or 3/3 orbs grants access to a third zone with fantastic incentives like DAOC’s Darkness Falls.

If I was responsible for design decisions like these, and communicating with my players about them, I wouldn’t tell people that we have no solutions at this time.  I wouldn’t pretend the other issues don’t exist.  I would reach out and have my community start weighing in with their ideas for how to fix the system.  Get the community involved, and start letting people know you have a sense for how the future of WvW will play out.

  • Don’t we already have a big keep like you suggest with the castle in EB?

    Also, not sure what you mean by server matching being a hole they dug themselves in to. It’s one of the best aspects of WvW for me, I like recognizing servers I fought a few weeks ago and having a chance to take them on again, while not having to slog away week after week on a matchup that goes badly.

  • Uhm WHAT? Are you seriously complaining about ANet removing the orbs??? I suggest you go back and read that post again because it clearly states a couple of important things.
    They said they are removing them because they hurt players too much to leave them in while they work on a better solution, and that they will, or at least a similar mechanic will return once they have it figured out.
    How is that a bad thing?
    While your proposed solutions might be exactly what ANet needs to do (I don’t know enough to claim that they are or ain’t), they still need time to implement the changes and leaving the orbs as they are while working on the changes ain’t a better option if you ask me.
    Also, orb hackers are hackers who use speed buffs to go in, grab the orb and bring it back to their teams side without the opposition being able to do anything about it (they are warping across the map).
    Also, ANet are adamant about listening to community feedback, so what you have posted here has probably already been read by one or several ANet employees and will be considered, or if you want to make sure you are heard you could go post it on their forums, which is what their forums are for after all.

  • @Shutter: You realize there are 3 orbs and each server has an orb, right? Stonemist is one keep in the center of EB. I think putting a very, very defendable location on the opposite side of the zone to house the orbs would cause servers invading to have to take and hold positions and upgrade them in order to respawn closer. That creates strategy and incentives to take and hold.

    @Proximo: Easy there tiger, I’m not complaining. I’m offering insight into why it failed — essentially validating ANet’s statement that they were designed wrong — and offering a solution to keep an important WvW mechanic in the game.

    As for hacking, that’s a bit ridiculous. Removing them because they can’t do anything about hackers makes it hard to have confidence in their ability to protect the integrity of the game. What else is being hacked?

    My solutions range from simple fixes that would make the orbs work as they are currently implemented, all the way up to making the entire WvW experience better.

  • To be fair, removing the orbs wont essentially solve the problem, because its the cultures of the areas that will decide, like english servers dont hit WvW at reset straight away like german servers do so this gives them an instant advantage because they can zerg rush most of the map before a substantial amount of players get on from other servers.

    So its a start but i liked the orbs, maybe like you pointed out, change what they do rather than remove them.

  • @Keen Yes, I do realize that. I was saying that Stonemist already gives us a “giant castle that needs to be defended” event. If you’re just saying that Orbs should have a defendable/upgradable location to be stored that would provide a good siege event for potential cappers, well…That’s pretty much the role the two keeps and the garrison fulfill. (I’m a little confused by your “They’re out in the open on pedestals” comment, I mean, I guess they are when they’re reset, but they’re in a keep/garrison 90% of the time)

    Keeps/Garrison pretty much require that they be cut off from supply camps and bombarded for a sustained period (I’ve definitely had helm’s deep moments holding the garrison water gate). I’m not sure your suggestion is different beyond saying “Keeps and Garrison should be bigger”.

    I will say I like the idea of a larger variety of capturable spawn points though.

  • @Shutter: The playable area of the map should be bigger. The size of the keeps are fine. That’s something I doubt will change for a very, very long time (if ever).

    Essentially they need to put a super defendable keep nestled up in the corner of the map and have the orb start there. It’s the same concept DAOC used with Relic Keeps. These keeps can not be taken, but provide a huuuuuge challenge to siege when there are players around. Multiple reasons:
    1) Beefy doors
    2) Guards
    3) defendable location, far from attacker respawn
    4) No one is going to ninja them early on, keeping the playing field even.

    Like you said, the orbs get taken so quickly at the start that they get put into another keep. That’s silly.

    Simply taking out the orbs won’t solve the problems they’re having. Changing the bonuses and means for obtaining them, however, will. No speed hacker is going to take the orbs from a keep, and holding orbs won’t give you a combat advantage.

  • I’d like a chance to see them orbs give access to something like DF or this new island in the November patch. A buff for overly matched servers should just depend on server score except the buff should only give them offensive specs. No extra gathering or magic find as that will just fuel botters or people wanting to lose to get extra drops without having to work for it.

  • I think the best incentive would be straight up access to a new area. Buffs in general are either too good, or not good enough. Although I think the outmanned buff wouldn’t be a bad start.

  • I cant see how giving acces to a new area help’s the losing team at all. They will never gain acces. If they are allready losing, no way they are going to take enuf orbs to gain acces. The winning team will still gain all the benifits, even thu the losers might be able to slow them down, because of the better fort you mentioned.

  • @Cthreepo: Oh, it wouldn’t help the losing team. Nothing will EVER help a server that is destined to fail. No amount of buffs, incentives, or rewards. There’s a reason they are failing.

    It’s an alternative to buffing the winner. It also makes winning better. Winning right now gets you… nothing. Eventually winning alone won’t be enough. There needs to be some depth to WvW beyond smashing skulls because the zones and servers aren’t providing any sense of pride at the moment.

    And, you never know, maybe the losers could use the incentive. Afterall, there are TWO losers every match-up. Maybe those two will work together. Making it harder for one team to win so quickly, via the defendable orb fort, is ideal.

    This is why the server match-up isn’t doing anything to help. Originally, I thought it would match servers with the same skill level. All it does it match servers who lose by the same margins. The 3rd best server can go against the 3rd worst server. That’s not going to be an even fight at all.

  • Agree with everything you mention Keen, especially the Darkness Falls portion.

    I wouldnt call WvW a failure though, its still a helluva lot of fun even though weve only had 1 or 2 really good match ups. Most of the time its usually 1 servers vs another with the 3rd pretty much getting the hell out of the way.

  • WvW isn’t a failure. It has failings or shortcomings/weaknesses. WvW is still better than most of the other attempts at dynamic world-pvp. I want to to be the best it can be.

  • I really feel something is missing without the orbs.

    Darkness Falls area would be a fail. People pvp because they want to pvp not to get more access to pve. In a game with little grind Darkness Falls would make no sense. Daoc had grind DF was a great area to level and get mats for crafting.

    The orbs need to give a poitive and useful buff in pvp or they are not worthwhile. Maybe the prvious buff was too strong. If the orbs only affected the area they were held, not across all 4 areas, then there would still be a nice buff but not too strong.

    Someone suggested enemies could not move the orb till the inner door is down. That would stop the hacking.

  • If there going to keep orbs in WvW if you ask me it should buff the people who are losing, so the winning side gains additional points towards there WvW score, however all losing teams get a staggered buff depending on how many orbs the winning team have and the margin they are losing at. This could shift the balance of power in favor of attackers but not to the extent where its not game breaking if the buff was set up corectly.

  • I linked and copy/pasted this article in the WvW section and of course the first response was a troll. Really hard to get good conversation on official forums (where Devs have a higher chance to see it). I would hopefully suggest fans of the game and those who agree with Keen in wanting to make WvW the best should either respond over there or make your own posts. The more voices that see and read the higher chance action can be taken.

  • Hope they are reading this blog.

    unrelated question, it looks like gw2 will be trying to fund itself my selling items at events like they did on Halloween. I would really love to see if this actually pulls in enough revenue and the to where they can continue funding the game like this.

  • The entire problem with the orb started because a Mesmer could move a group of five into a keep without attacking a wall or gate. And I am not talking about leaving a Mesmer inside a keep after it is taken by the other side.

    The next problem was once the alter was destroyed inside a keep, you could not place the orb back at the same keep that it was taken from. When our orbs were “hacked” the other side knew that a “hack” took place and allowed us to take the orb back. We did however have to move the orb to the Garrison instead of one of the east or west side keeps. I believe Anet fixed some of these issues already.

    The main issue is lack of participation. Once our server took a big enough lead the other two sides just gave up. We even allowed the other sides to take a keep just to have something to do. In my DAOC days the other two sides would attack the stronger force. This is not taking place with the servers we have played against.

    Server transfers for free must end!!!!

  • The Mesmer tactic is not really a glitch and exploit. They stated in early Mesmer interviews they wanted the Mesmer to be able to do that. So that would not be exploit overlooked but a something they poorly implemented themselves.

  • I would go for another answer: making holding an orb a two edged sword.

    Make the orbs worth a huge amount of points, perhaps about 50 points each, but with some kind of downside or debuff – say, an NPC faction wants to get the orbs and will keep attacking whoever holds the orb on a given borderland, and even on the EB if a single server holds two or three orbs.

    This would make the orbs essential to winning, but at the same time would weaken whoever holds them, making it easier for the other servers to catch up. It’s a similar concept to how Mario Kart manages to keep races interesting even with differently skilled players – you win by being in the front, but the more ahead a player is, the worse the bonuses he gets, thus sharply reducing any gap.

  • I think removing them is fine until they stop the speed hacking. After that they can be tweaked and balanced… actually, this would make sense if the removal is just temporary until they deal with the hackers, but then why won’t they just say so?

    After the hacking is out of the picture, I’d change the orbs to be a noncombat buff. +X% to magic find, gold find and badge of honor drops sounds good. Maybe something more creative. Basically, something that doesn’t help the winning server win more, but still provides a reward.

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