There is an increasingly apparent divide between veteran and novice players in the PvP community.
How do we bridge this gap between veteran and novice players? I believe that an answer is already implemented in the game: Hotjoin.
Some people might not know what hotjoins are. There is a game browser at the bottom of the PvP window that has constantly running, public servers that rotate through maps. There is no queue to wait for, no matchmaking to segregate the playerbase, no biased moderation, and no pressure to succeed while learning. If there’s a player you enjoy playing with/against, you can easily jump into their server and it allows spectating. You’ll notice that they are almost all empty, mostly due to the free-for-all and unranked arenas.
Spectator mode is perhaps the greatest, yet least used feature in this game for learning. Simply watching without having the pressure to play lets players see how conquest works at a high level. It allows you to inspect someone’s build and see them play it, from their perspective, in real time. This is invaluable and most importantly, easy. If someone beats you, in a few clicks you can hop into spectate, see how they did it, and how they play their build in a conquest setting. Then you can plan how to counter it and hop right back in to try your strategy. Through trial-and-error we develop a deeper understanding of what works and why.
Seeing from others’ perspectives and trial-and-error learning is lost in the free-for-all arena and queues. That player you can’t seem to beat and want to try a new strategy against? No guarantee you’ll be matched up against them again. Maybe that “OP” build really struggles in certain settings, but you’ll never see it from their perspective. Maybe that player is amazing, but you can’t tell because you’ve never played that class/build and don’t know how hard it is to play. Mastering a new build/class when you’re still a novice at your first one is simply too much to ask.
Consistently playing against players of all skill levels and gaining an appreciation for their perspective is how you build community. Communities build knowledge bases (i.e skill, veterans), friendships, and competitive teams. Competitive teams draw big events. Big events draw interest, new players, more development etc. Guild Wars 2 PvP lacks community and I think hotjoins foster it the best of all game modes. However, they don’t work with a population divided among game modes.
So remove free-for-all and unranked then? It’s clear that dividing the population among four modes (including ranked) isn’t a good strategy, but there are arguments to be made for keeping each. Free-for-all is probably the least useful. Unranked is more structured than hotjoin, but people don’t take it seriously enough for this structure to matter. Team queues are the biggest issue in my opinion. However, serious team queues are better done in private server scrims and casual ones are more about playing with friends, regardless of which team they’re on.
Any thoughts on this? How do you feel about reviving hotjoins?
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