I want to try and address the state of PvP without talking about balance. That gets talked about enough here on the forums. Instead I want to highlight some of the other issues inside of PvP.
The biggest problem with PvP in Guild Wars 2 as of today is the current matchmaking system in Ranked.
The way the system works (correct me if I’m wrong) is by matching up players queuing depending on classes, then rating. In an ideal world where there is a large player base this system works fantastic. It would allow players of the same skill level to be matched against each other with similar team compositions.
Years of neglect to the PvP scene from lack of balance updates and overall content updates has made players quit, having a knock on effect making players leave and lowering the player population of the PvP community.
This is where the problem begins. With this current matchmaking system combined with a low population it means games are first balanced around team composition and because there is a low population, players are matched from different rating levels making the skill gap huge. This is frustrating for players at both ends of the skill spectrum. Low skilled players will get stomped by high ranked players and high skilled players hate being on the same team as low ranked players as they can lose by no fault of their own. This creates resentment and the cycle continues. Players leave due to reasons mentioned and the population gets even smaller making matchmaking worse.
To make matters worse, this system can easily be manipulated for win trading which happens quite frequently. If you and a duo partner queue up as 2 Thieves, you can get someone to queue as a 3rd Thief and they will be drawn on the other team. They can simply throw that game or go afk granting the original duo an easy win. Again, this creates a burn of players who stop playing making matchmaking worse again.
Ranked is the most lucrative way of farming gold and rewards inside of PvP. Making it attractive to botters. This affects lower ranks more than higher ranks but with the current matchmaking system even high ranked games can have bots in them. Arenanet state in their terms that botting is not allowed yet it is seen so often inside of ranked. If you have a bot of your team, chances of winning are extremely slim. Meaning no matter how well a player plays, they still lose. Once again having a knock on effect making people leave and making matchmaking worse. I would like to see a system where your reward chest from pips is decided by your rating. For example Plat 1 and above would have access to the Byzantium repeatable chest and bronze players could only reach Jasper but would be repeatable. You could only give rewards at the end of a season, rating dependent and how many games played. This might eliminate the incentive for botters.
Hackers are starting to pop up more and more often and it takes too long for things to be done about this. Anti-cheat systems need to be updated in order to catch these as once again they ruin the ranked experience.
Match manipulating as mentioned above is very easy to pull off. I am unsure of what can be done to prevent this other than reworking the whole matchmaking system, which I think is the best option.
Not balance updates, I’m talking about content updates. The game is currently 8 years old. Conquest is the main (only) game mode and only has 9 playable maps. Let that sink in. 8 years, 9 maps. On launch, PvP had a barebones system. It took a year to get Custom Arenas and Spectator Mode. Ranked game modes came 3 years after launch. Automated Tournaments came in 2017, 5 years after launch. I may seem like I am nitpicking here but Guild Wars 1 had all of these, plus much more! Obviously PvP is not a priority at Arenanet but it seems like it is completely neglected. The Gemstore gets more updates than PvP does.
Arenanet has a bad habit of going radio silent and never interacting with their community. We understand PvP is not a priority for them but it feels bad they never talk about it at all.
A blog post talking about the monthly automated tournament, maybe even a PvP stream or just talking on the forums (I know, it's dangerous there) but not doing these things has created the toxic environment we have today amongst our community.
All of these issues are connected and affect each other. Each one needs to be addressed if we are to ever have a healthy PvP community. For those who have read all of this, thankyou. Please share your views and experiences of the subjects I have highlighted and ideas on how to improve them!