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.