As we move closer and closer towards the implementation of alliances, I wanted to take a minute and compile a list of things in WvW that could be improved upon or changed, in a constructive manner. This list will include things such as the current fight meta of WvW, scoring, and structural upgrading/defense, mostly focusing on topics the majority of players can agree upon, with some of my opinion mixed in as well. Big boy wall of text inc.
Much of the current meta's problems can honestly be attributed to scourge. Having a class that does 10 target cap on a large portion of it's damaging attacks makes it near impossible to push any competent group. The high amount of corrupts it can provides is unnerving, especially with the scepter buff several months ago driving even power necros to take up curses for the added boon rip. It's high area denial and boonrip potential has been universally agreed upon to be unfun to fight in many capacities. I propose at the very least another look towards devouring darkness, and it's boonrip potential, and a suggestion that may not be feasible but would be much appreciated would be the removal of the PBAoE shade around the scourge. It feels bad whether you're roaming or zerging to be punished so strongly for pushing your enemy, and is a big contributor to the pirateshipesque meta we've had since PoF dropped. I'm sure others have even more suggestions to lessen the power of easily the most popular zerg class in the game, but if scourge is adjusted its counterpart firebrand would need to be touched as well.
Firebrand isn't necessarily a problem right now, and in fact is the only real counter to the obscene amounts of boonrip and damage scourges can put out, with it's 10 target stab and high master of all trades support output. But the fates of scourge and firebrand are tightly intertwined, and if one is to be touched so must the other. As it stands now since the changes to boon mesmer and superspeed nerfs engineer experienced, firebrand has become really the only support you need in a group. Look at any other support and think "what if this was a firebrand instead?" and you'd find that a firebrand would be the better choice in nearly every situation. Sure you may want a condiclear/immobilize tempest, or a superspeed purity of purpose holo, but neither of the 2 classes come anywhere near to the versatility firebrand provides. The combination of an instantaneous rez, extremely high healing effectiveness, high stab uptime, the only real provider of large scale aegis, and serviceable cc makes it a little too powerful, especially if scourge was to be nerfed. If scourge is to nerfed firebrand would have to closely follow behind. Keeping its strong points of MI res, high stab uptime, and oodles of healing effectivness and aegis would be a good thing for the class, but the sheer amount of boons such as regen and prot that it can output, as well as its strong condi clear in resolve would need to be looked at if scourge's corrupts were to be looked at. No one wants to return to the melee ball neverending fights meta of HoT, but a good medium between it and the hard ranged gameplay of today would be much appreciated.
Revenant is surprisingly in a good spot, which is something I didn't really expect. But if the other 2 juggernauts of WvW are to be nerfed revenant would need some sort of adjustment as well. In my opinion the damage of rev is in a good spot right now, where the problem lies is in how fast and easy the damage comes out. Even scourge has to wait 15 or 20 seconds before they can shade spike again, while revenant's high damaging abilites have extremely low cooldowns. A look at phase smash and Coalescence of Ruin's cooldowns may be in order, But if scourge and firebrand get adjusted many of the oppressing issues rev has today may not be a problem if groups are able to simply push through the damage towards the stack. It would have to be something that is closely looked at after scourge and firebrands' effectiveness are looked at.
Mirage, Soulbeast, Deadeye, and Roaming
Most of the issues with large scale combat right now are attributed to the sheer dominance of the above 3 classes, so here I will go into the roaming side of things, and how these 3 classes have hurt the viability and fun of roaming for many people. Many of the ideas here will be my own more than overarching ideas most WvWers can agree with. I included them all in the same section because I believe they all suffer from the same issues, design that hasn't necessarily taken WvW into account. Mirage and it's ability to break stun/dodge while stunned, high mobility, the power of infinite horizon, and it's extremely high and constant condi pressure makes it an honest to god chore to fight whenever you encounter one. It's simply not fun at all to battle, as most of the fight you'll be watching your UI to find the exact moment you need to strike due to the high amounts of visual noise mirage gives out. Mirage cloak needs to be looked at, possibly a reduction in its duration from 1s to .75 or even .5s, and ICD on infinite horizon, a reduction in the sword ambush leaps distance or a cooldown on ambush skills in general would take great leaps towards making the class more enjoyable to battle, while keeping it's strengths.
Soulbeast simply just does too much damage, for the EXTREMELY high amounts of sustain and mobility it has. The ability to cover 2400 range extremely quick with sword and the owl pet, 33% reduction to both condi and power damage from dolyak stance, sic ems insane 40% damage modifier, and extremely high access to protection and stability makes it even more draining to fight than mirage sometimes. We've all been sniped by a soulbeast or two, instantly dropping from 100-0 in a matter of seconds with little to no counterplay. The addition of soulbeast has seriously hurt many people's enjoyments of roaming, as it simply has too many rewards for very little amounts of risk. A higher cooldown or range decrease on owl pet's beast ability swoop, the removal of the 33% damage reduction from dolyak stance, a look at it's obscene amounts of protection available from Companion's defense and moa stance, and a drastic reduction or removal of sicem's damage modifier applied to the player would let the class retain it's high damage from range without making it obscene, while also making sure it isn't an unkillable melee juggernaut.
Deadeye has been touched upon many times, and I feel Anet's really close to making it a strong but balanced class. I urge anet to look at both core and daredevil thieves with the same enthusiasm they looked towards deadeye while they were reworking it. However deadeye still suffers from the issues that both soulbeast and mirage do, that issue being extremely high reward for very little risk. Being able to remove reveal on demand, an extremely easy access to immobilize, and the ability to stealth on dodge makes it irritating to fight, even if it's not exactly overpowered. I suggest anet moves some of the strengths it has from stealth towards making it more survivable in combat. Stealth is fine to reposition or drop aggro, but attacking someone once then sitting in stealth for 12-15s waiting for an opening to oneshot is extremely annoying to fight. Another pass on the dodge on stealth trait and deadeye elite, as well as the inital damage of malicious damage would be much appreciated.
A couple years ago Arenanet introduced the skirmish mechanic, wanting to curb how much nightcapping effected the gamemode while still allowing players in those timezones to contribute to their server. The system was fine on release, but having not been touched for so long the cracks in the system have been revealed. I can't speak for EU, but several servers in NA have been able to maintain their current standing by simply playing around their enemies' playtime. PPT shouldn't be discouraged, people have the right to play the game however they want, but currently PPT and nightcapping lends itself to victory way too much per week. Some form of primetime system, where for example whoever takes 1st place during the 3 skirmishes in primetime gains 2 or 4 more victory points would make sure a server can't climb the tiers solely through nightcapping and off hour ppt, while retaining the importance of objective control and PPT.
Stuctural upgrading and tactics
As it stands now the advantage defenders have has become a little bit ridiculous. The inclusion of all matters of t activators, buffs on every keep and tower you claim, and the addition of shield gens and mortars have skewed objectives a little too strongly towards the defenders side, the biggest offender of this being SMC. In my opinion siege on the third floor of SMC is extremely unhealthy for the mode. Having trebs, mortars, and ACs that are near impossible to hit in any reasonable capacity makes SMC a nightmare to recapture unless a focused effort form both servers is used, or nobody is online for the defending server. It's also extremely easy to upgrade structures very fast now, a dedicated group can t2 a keep in as little as 30 or 40 minutes. A look towards the current state of tactivators and how structures update would be much appreciated.
As it stands now these are most of the problems I have in the mode, and I'm interested to see how my fellow mist warriors think of the current state of WvW as a whole. I hope anet puts a little more focus on WvW in this time between expansions, and keeps in mind the effect any new elite specs would have on WvW.
TLDR: Scourge and Firebrand are way too dominant and stifle any competition in their roles, Rev is alright but may need a look at its cds if scourge and fb get nerfed, Soulbeast mirage and deadeye are extremely unfun to fight against and have too much reward for how little risk they have, nightcapping accounts for too much of the current score per week and encourages simply playing when your opponent isn't awake, and the defense of structures has gotten a bit too easy and out of hand, especially SMC.