Hello everyone. Point of this post is to prove following things about claim buff:
1. Overpowered stats: Gives too many stats thus affects outcome of battles directly. Basis for following arguments.
2. Players shun attacking: Defending is much easier thus mainstream.
3. Fights being less epic - Objective fights being reduced to only "points" and "farm" instead of epic largescale battles
4. Competitive scene suffers Fights between High level guilds, blobs and roamers, even pugs, often end up coming down to the wire. Unseen locational variance kills motivation to become better making them quit the game.
5. Promoting active defence > passive defence: There are better alternatives to keep attacking in line
Now those of you who played WvW before HoT and slightly after it, know that keep and tower fights were hourly occurance and often ended up in stronger side winning. Once a group managed to defend, he was often ready to take offensive instead of defensive like today. Commanders and guilds were more equally matched and things like Garri and EB keep were completely viable places to strike at while today they're suicide spots unless you're twice as strong as your enemy. Keeps were pre-sieged more and guilds fought each other inside objectives. Main difference however between this "Defending" and old "Attacking+Defending" meta however is the amount of cloud: Before you had no extra stats so to match enemy organisation, you had to organise yourself.
Lets see what claim buff itself gives:
This translates to
Now these don't seem like big numbers but do realise that it does mean that you have permanently 2 extra offensive sigils and 200 defensive stats (compare to stacking sigil). Needless to say, from sPvP we already know that 1 sigil already makes a huge difference in 1v1 or 5v5 fights if we consider the stats as 3 sigils, it wouldn't be weird to say that it affects all the way to 30v30 size considerably.
Presence of the keep
With presence of the keep these difference becomes even more noticeable:
Needless to say, as your players deal 17-20% extra damage and require 20% less support, it means 5v5s are actually 5v6s, completely impossible situation. Look at sPvP. 30 man guild fighting 30 man guild is actually fighting 36 man guild and if both are at level where neither messes up a lot, the side with the buff will win always. Do note that at high level people focus certain group of targets meaning boon removal isn't spread equally between everyone and the people you're damaging shouldn't have boons as long as you land the removals you got.
Well as there is advantage to defending, it is the smarter thing to do. But what is your response after you wipe enemy at your objective? Is it that you're stronger? No, even if you don't understand that it was the claim buff stats, your experience will often show that difference between fighting at your corner and shifting towards attacking enemy SM is a huge difference and often leads to you becoming a corpse. So by past experiences, some players don't even bother trying it. So not only is it harder, you also lose people because "not defending is too hard".
enemy vs allied objective
So lets say 30 man guild has amazing fights with 30 man guild at neutral spot, at enemy keep enemy will instead effectively have 36 players and beat you everytime. So they beat you and they should attack you after with their newly found morale right? But once they go to your keep, they're fighting against 36 players themselves and stand no chance. So summary of this is:
So instead of WvW being this back and forth gamemode where one or two good players logging in can turn you from defensive into offensive, you literally need to get a dozen of good players for it to make a difference. You defend your keep and try fight enemy open field, but it doesn't work out. What changed? If you do not understand it is the claim buff and the fact that some people leave/afk instantly, due to past experiences, when you leave the objective, it only makes everyone in your group more frustrated as nothing seemingly changed.
I only used 30 man guild as example but this affects small-scale, especially 1v1ers, slightly more. As top level player can never beat top level player that has 3 extra sigils in a fair fight.
This means guilds often choose defensive playstyle which means they "bore enemy to attack them" to get this massive advantage. They never hit enemy keeps if enemy has a commander/guild on the map unless they're going for easy points.
Defending also caters to lazy build making, while in sPvP people opt for mobility runes, in WvW often soloplayers run builds that do not have swiftness or other mobility. Then once they leave friendly objectives where it is easy to survive, they become fodder for the enemy. This means while good players often struggle unless on stacked servers, casuals are often happy just showing up when defending because thats the only thing their build can be decent at because the stats and movement speed provided.
Now that it has already been shown that going near enemy keeps leads into fights where you can easily lose against worse players. Now it was fine before claim buff because defenders had siege, respawns and ranged pressure to fend off enemies with multiple attempts. Defenders have multiple lives while attacker has only one while also having combat advantage that attackers can't remove
Current situation is comparable to running over a massive uphill just to find another one right after you exhausted all your energy instead of road being smooth with little bit bumps on the way
So naturally this has lead into WvW being played around towers and camps, less meaningful objectives. Keeps give enemy 800 stats so a commander will always choose to fight enemy at where they have 400 stats instead. Then you might lose against weaker group. Now this weaker group with newfound morale pre-HoT would push your tower but now you will one-push them due to the 800 total stat swing and you will have to go back to enemy objective yourself for constant uphill.
We have arrived into conclusion that WvW is always uphill for one server while another server can't match them on more equal ground. Also keeps are offlimits for fights making WvW play out more monotonously. This especially hurts organised groups for which losing is more painful.
Overall, one can depicts pushing enemy objectives as stupidity, because you're climbing a 100 degree wall when hitting a keep. Very very unfun and only power that keeps people doing it is nostalgia and the fact that it worked far in the past.
Only spots smaller and even larger groups can fight each other on equal ground, unless 3rd server has the objective claimed, are:
Shocking claim: High level roaming and guild scenes are dead!!
Needless to say, with equally strong groups, one side having 3 extra sigils will always lead to the one with extra sigils winning. Then when you reverse the claim buff, the other side wins. Fights can't come down to a wire due to skill, but rather due to passive buffs.
Obviously this means there can be no power hierarchy between any group that is below 30 players, I would even argue it affects up to 45 players. Which means legends are dead, there can be no roamer above all roamers, there can be no guild above all guilds anymore. Guild/roamer with 90% efficiency compared to another can match them.
Active defences are related to things like time given for defender to respond, the potency of defender options and amount of those options.
Attacker can play around tactics like emergency waypoint, in ways such as baiting them out with an attack and showing up while it is on cooldown, and take down enemy siege with ballistas and trebutchets before pushing in. Quite simply, defenders biggest advantage is time given. If acs hurt more, they do more damage to enemy siege thus attacker needs to breach in less time. If wall HP is increased, the attacker will take longer to breach and defenders will have more time to respond to the siege.
So there are multiple ways to buff active defending:
So there are better options to keep attacker in balance that give not only defender, but also attacker, more control over the situation. Instead of relying to a stat buff that neither side can interact with. This would not only increase the interaction between players but also how often it would occur as attackers would be more willing to take a fight at enemy objective. Basically brain over brawn and more action.
By promoting active defences over claim buff instead of having 60 kilogram man fighting 80 kg one, it can be 60 kilogram men fighting each other, with both brain and mucle. There are weight classes for a reason.
Now a question rises to everyones mind:
Q: But we managed to take a keep from equal numbers of enemies and I felt like it was epic fight just last week!
A: There is simple answer to this: Enemy was just much worse and disorganised. If they were truly organised and made very few mistakes, they would have never lost. Now ask yourself:
Q: If you manage to have close fights within enemy keep, if you owned that keep and had the equal claim buffs, would enemy even stand a chance?
A: You can simply find answer to this by gathering personal data how fights play out when enemy or your team shifts from defending to attacking. You will often notice close fights become onesided depending on a location.
With this data, you will arrive into conclusion that there is no variance in who owns the claim buff if you get multiple epic close fights in a row. Meaning you're often locked at 1-spot. Do think about this:
Pre-HoT there could be fine balance in how close to ones spawn one finds equal fights, but claim buffs breaks this balance. If you managed to defend a keep, you were very close to being close enough to taking enemy tower, so instead of it your powerlevel being linear to distance to enemy spawn and which objective you're at, right now it fluctuates a lot. You can compare it to having a training/competitive environment where you face against anything from scale of elementary schoolers to professionals randomly, very very unnecessary and massive waste of time.
There are some options:
1. It could instead provide slight non-combat buffs like increased siege damage, activating gliding, lowered tactivator times, reduced amount of supply needed for siege etc. Things that enemy can play around
2. The stats could be reduced to a more reasonable level such as 30 stats each. This would revive high level competitive scene and claim buff could be used as small adjustment to give advantages to otherwise weaker enemy.
3. The radius of it could be reduced: Half assed solution. Wouldn't make fights within more objectives more epic but only outside them. Would help openfield, duelers and roamers a lot.
It took me about a year after HoT to start breaking down how HoT changed WvW. WvW overall suffered from introduction of claim buff as high-level guilds, commanders and roamers slowly disappeared from the scene. Some can blame metachanges but the epic fights are still there, they might be hiding at only one spot on the map instead of multiple like beforehands. Fluidness of WvW suffered a lot thus leading to experienced people stacking on a few server to get same experience every day. Open commanders often have varying types of leading and ones that prefer offensive gameplay in a server that has a lot defensive ones often end up having a bad time due to players not being able to keep up with the skill required and opt for only guild activity these days.
I truly believe claim buff, while seemingly irrelevant, is a plague within WvW and source of server stacking, as attacking now requires you being a LOT better than enemy combatwise, while also causing death of dueling/roaming scene.
It pains me that the buff isn't spoken about more. Yes, you can play around it against weaker groups, but that isn't the point but rather the fact it affects how players act, how willing they're to attack/tag up, the server stacking and the kind of people left in the game. One of the worst thing that can be done to a man is take away his identity, which is what claim buff does with the variance it brings: Making one feel unsure where he ranks at.
@Cal Cohen.2358 you said on Teatime that you read motly PvP forums so putting this here as you left it unclear if you read WvW ones
Riformed - On break from commanding
~Waiting for them to fix WvW~