One of the hot topics on this forum (and rightfully so) is the current state of sPvP and why it is in such a bad spot. I'd like to take a look at some of these issues and propose suggestions for them made by myself and other members of the community.
What needs to be done in order to provide a better sPvP experience to Guild Wars 2 players?
1. Tutorial - I know this may seem like a dumb suggestion, but there is no in-game way for players to learn how to play sPvP before they hop into a match. It just lets you queue right into a regular match at PvP rank 0, and although players should be learning as they go, if they're never taught the correct way to begin with, they may just play however they want until level 20 (which only takes a couple days), then they hop right into ranked. This tutorial could cover things such as how points are captured (yes, we've all seen someone stand on a point then get off before it finished capping), the scoring system (so players know what goes into winning/losing), making smart fight decisions (ie. don't run into 1v4s at mid), rotating (don't fight a 3v1 at home when there's a 1v3 in mid), different types of damage and how to mitigate them, and more. I think the best length for this tutorial would be approximately 30 minutes, with the player having to actively participate in different 'minigames' (ie. there's a 2min cutscene explaining a mechanic, then the player has to show proficiency in said mechanic). Yes, it might suck for veteran players to have to run through this tutorial if it were implemented (as a one time thing), but I think this alone could significantly improve the quality of matches.
2. Matchmaking Deviation - A big issue a lot of people have noticed is that the matchmaking system pulls players from every rank if it has to in order to make a match. When I was in Plat 1 I had a ranked match where there was a Silver player and a few low Gold players on my team, and a Legend duo on the other team. That should not happen. Ever. There should be a maximum deviation of 200 points from any given player within a ranked match. This means that if Player A has a rating of 1500, and Player C joins the queue at 1300 MMR, then everyone else would have to fall between 1300 and 1500 MMR (as 1299 would be 201 points from Player A, and 1501 would be 201 points from Player C). This would make queues longer, but would significantly improve the quality of matches. Once the sPvP population increases, that deviation could slowly be decreased to further improve match quality.
3. Functioning Report System - Currently poor behavior goes completely unpunished in ranked. Whether it's raging at other teammates, trolling by running around the map, going AFK, dancing in mid, I'm sure we've all seen it all. There needs to be a way for these players to be held accountable for their actions so the players that do want to take ranked seriously are able to. I originally came up with a system for automatically granting players dishonor after X amount of reports, however as Ithilwen pointed out, that could easily be abused. Omcrazy came up with a great idea of having multiple reports bumping a player to the top of the report queue, and I think that's a solid solution. One thing I would like to add is that all reports of players should go under the same ticket for that account as to not clog up the queue, but also that we get a dedicated person to handle player reports, and not just have it ran through regular customer support, who already have their hands full as it is.
4. MMR System - There have been a lot of complaints regarding the MMR system and how punishing it can be at times. It makes sense that our MMR gain/loss is determined by our individual MMR compared to the average MMR of the opposing team, but some games are simply not winnable, no matter how hard we try. To correct this issue, if we were to assume that the even matchup MMR gain/loss is 15 points (below Legend), then the maximum gain could be 17 points, and the maximum loss could be 13 points. That is a 2 point deviation in either direction compared to what I believe is currently a 5-7 point deviation. This would also make sense when we look at suggestion number 2.
5. Balance - This is a hot ticket item at all times, but I think it's also one that isn't addressed enough by ArenaNet. Condi right now is in a much better spot than power in sPvP. Yes, there are great Power builds, but if you want to hit those big numbers in teamfights, you're probably going Condi given the amount of AoE condi applicators, and rightfully so. One of the big issues with Condi is that you can be tanky and still put out tons of damage via things like Carrion Amulet and Vitality/Toughness runes with Condition bonuses, or vice versa. On the other hand, if you want to put out big numbers as Power you have to invest in Power, Precision, and Ferocity, or at least Power and Precision OR Ferocity. To be truthful, I'm not sure how this could be corrected (besides tuning damage numbers), but adjusting some of the Amulets/ Runes would be a start. Furthermore, we have the issue of builds such as Ventari Rev which go untouched for months before being nerfed/changed, allowing players to 'abuse' these builds for extended periods of time. I'm not trying to call out Ventari Rev specifically, but seeing as that's the current thing to hate on, I'm using it as an example. If builds are found to be too strong, they should be balanced within a week or two, not a few months. I understand the balance process can be quite lengthy, but come on now.
6. Core vs Elite Specs - I was going to put this under balance, but I feel as if this deserves a segment of its own. Currently for most classes, their Elite Specs are objectively better than their Core, and as I stated in one of my other posts, Elite Specs should offer a different way to play, not a better way. There are very few viable core builds, and even the ones that are viable are still often left having to choose between a rock and a hard place when it comes traits, skills, and weapons. There are a lot of traits which are simply outdated and no longer used, and there should never be obvious BiS cookie cutter builds, and yet currently that's exactly what we have. The same goes for utility skills. Each class has skills which are outdated or simply no longer useful at all (in either PvP or PvE), and should be brought up-to-date, as well as with weapons. Of course this is a very lengthy process, but it is certainly an overdue one.
7. Game Modes - This is another big ticket item. We've had Conquest since launch, and Stronghold was a complete flop. Where's our 1v1 dueling, 3v3 Deathmatch, 5v5 Deathmatch, 5v5 Capture the Flag, 10v10 Capture the Flag? You get the picture. We are desperately in need of new and exciting content when it comes to sPvP, and a new map every other year isn't cutting it. PvE has raids, fractals, dungeons, open world content, world bosses, meta events, and new updates every few months with Living World, and we've gotten jack. We're part of the community as well, and we've been placed on the backburner for far too long.
8. Hide Opposing Team Names - Players are unable to be even relatively sneaky if they don't have stealth because they have a giant name above their heads. Hiding behind a pillar, box, or even around a corner doesn't work when our names stick out like a sore thumb. Seeing as there's no real reason to be able to see an opponents name in sPvP anyways, I suggest removing them all together, but allow us to still see our teammates' names.
9. Lag, Disconnects, Desync - All of these issues have become even more prevalent since the POF launch. Large ping spikes (isolated to GW2) have been frequent as of late, we still have the disconnect at the end of almost every match bug, player model positions are different on different player's screen are the big issues at the moment, and only hurt the competitiveness of GW2 PvP.
That's all I have for right now, but if you have any other suggestions you think I missed that you think should be added let me know and I will add it when I get a chance! Thanks for reading!