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Overall Review of Beta From the Perspective of a Small Guild of Roamers and Scouts


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PREFACE

     I would like to begin with this stating that my experience in the beta was largely negative because of design changes in the WvW matching. I found the shards to be subpar to the original server and link setups. For perspective I pugmand, scout, roam, and majorly defend. My guild is made up of scouts and roamers as well and we work well in tandem with large guilds, other roamers, and havocs cooperatively in server settings. I pull from experiences as well as word of mouth of friends and guildies from a few different guilds, including my own personal perspective. This statement is not representative of any particular guild either- just my own. I respect anyone's opinion of the beta and simply wanted to share what I've seen and heard and appreciate any consideration. I am a chronic insomniac and may revise this going forward but apologies if anything seems disjointed or redundant within. I would also like to note that the tone intended is of curiosity and a strive for understanding and improvement, not judgement. 

Experience Summary

     To begin- prior to the beta I had noticed with the lack of alliances being implemented many people who were regulars of our server, Sea of Sorrows, were being pulled in multiple directions to join larger guilds to remain with each other during the beta. People did not want to leave long time friends but were forced to. My guild, [boop], which consists of some 25 members majorly of roamers and scouts, was pulled in a few directions as well and thankfully around 80% of the group joined up with us but the rest could not. This issue would likely have been resolved with the keeping of alliances and is a complete non-issue on server settings. No hard feelings for those who chose others as well but rather I find it unfair to force this choice on players who enjoyed playing with many groups and guilds. Quite a few friends and fellow server members expressed similar issues when talking about their placement considering they had multiple guilds for WvW they allied with and would have to choose one and not be able to play with the others. Further more- the first week of beta our guild was pitted against one of our major allied guilds that would normally work in cadence with us quite a bit on our server, [nice], and then against on the third week we were forced against both [nice] and [oHH] which we had close friends in as well as fellow guildmates. People should not be torn from longtime alliances and friends which is why the current server system grants that stability to most much more capably than the current methodology in the beta. Further on, the current server system offers a greater investment in WvW to those that play it and allows for much greater camaraderie which I believe could be kept in place without overhauling it completely into this mess of a system that seems to only benefit large GvG battles.

    Our experience in this beta started with way longer queue times and glitches, as expected of a test situation and will not be regarded as issues overall with the beta, and finished with.. emptiness. Our server-shard initially had fewer large guilds compared to our enemy servers, which felt troubling seeing as a more organized force is much more daunting to pugs, which felt quite imbalanced however within the first week we had been far outshining the scores of the other teams. I understand many people view success differently in WvW: some through KDR, some through score, etc., and personally I find a combination of score and ground held to show success in the battlefield as it is the most apparent aspect of the game mode. For much of our days we held our home battleground with no contest and far surpassed our enemy scores quickly which displayed well how imbalanced the teams were. It did feel like despite our large number of roamers and small guilds there was a distinct lack of pugmanders available at times as well.  The second week wasn't much different as we moved up a tier and experience RBL as our HBL and still prospered despite having fewer large guilds and being more roamer and havoc group based on the server. Not only did it feel like we won too easily but it felt like there was not much to do in comparison to how populated fights would be in our usual server-based sytem. Additionally populations felt lower the second week and I had noticed that during the first there were quite a few more people representing PvE oriented guilds. This is a problem for data acquisition because a fair bit of people I knew who had been WvWers did not participate for the beta whilst we have PvE players coming in. Having an influx of players is great, the more the merrier, but that would make the output of the beta skewing results from players who already enjoy the mode and have perspective over its current non-beta state toward newer uninitiated members. The third week of the beta teams were rearranged again, and this time we were finally isolated from most everyone from our initial server as [oHH] had magically been paired with us  for the first two weeks to our pleasant surprise but now was on another team, specifically on one of our new enemy teams. We started the reset with three commanding guilds on one enemy team, two on another, and not a single guild on our home battleground to defend. In fact we did not even have a queue for some thirty minutes into the fight. It is understandable guilds will go to other battlegrounds to fit their entire groups or just because the liked them but it felt like we completely had no interest in defense for this last week of beta, nor could we in many hours of the day. Less players that I knew were logging in for the last week, many expressing how much they miss our original servers and how they don't feel motivated to log in during the beta any longer. Many scouting calls were ignored, possibly because of numbers and possibly because we are unknown to the new groups. In general it felt like nobody cared anymore. Large guilds came on and did their thing GvG style, individuals came on to follow a tag and nothing else. There was no camaraderie, no sense of defense, no sense of home battleground. EBG kept queued 50+ at times and yet calls would receive some 5 people at most. The WvW beta effectively made the game feel like large scale PvP rather than actual warfare and promoted dissonance between players rather than a sense of community.

     Overall I found the beta to reveal quite a few flaws. The distribution between big guilds and small guilds was lacking, guild focus was not addressed where some like to ppt and some like to gvg, player distribution was not considering long time friends and alliances, PvE players may have overshadowed data from WvW players that decided not to participate, there was not enough transparency with how distributions of teams would go through, some guilds were pit against other guilds that have had longtime disdain for each other and normally avoid this by being on different host servers, timings of guilds felt wrong with some being every day whilst others only certain times of the week and having issues where double teaming could come at times of no guilds on allied-shards at all, etc. It was a mess. Initially when this recent beta was announced as a smaller and newer guild I was quite hoping that we could recruit some folk into our folds- which normally I do so by whispering people who I notice are quite prevalent in WvW and are good people. I did not have the time to fully see the capabilities of players during this small window and get to know who they were in most cases. In others when I attempted to recruit I found they were already a part of a larger guild because they felt the need to prior to beta so they didn't get separated from their server friends just the same. I did get to see some guilds I hadn't interacted with before fight and met some nice people but overall I feel like the system is very inadequate in comparison to the old method of servers.

     That in mind- I have a few ideas of alterations to the current non-beta system that could possibly fill in gaps that the beta is looking to do. To keep with camaraderie and community that is already established it is important to keep those players in mind and allow them a say in how teams are divvied up. For this I suggest ultimately a form of an opt-in system hybridizing our current server method. If you allow whole guilds or individuals to opt-in and then remove them from server pools and redistribute when the servers relink it could use the algorithm designed for smoothing out populations in combination with currently established communities. I believe this will be especially useful for guilds that enjoy the GvG methods that seemed to be focused on during the beta as they could be matched up more evenly with enemies to fight against and cover gaps in current server and server-link populations while allowing people who like the feeling of something to fight for and defend or ppt for server dominance to prosper with their fellow community that is already established. If there is not enough people willing to opt-in rewards could be offered to do so as well, creating a sort of mercenary style of play for people who are there for fights and rewards. With an opt-in system you would also be able to roam server to server much more easily before finding that perfect community that you feel you fit into well and settling down. At the very least alliances being removed hurt the beta significantly but even if they were implemented you would still be forcing people potentially split from others they enjoyed being with. 

     As an aside I would also like to talk about the reduction of links to only four weeks. From a personal standpoint this will make it more difficult for me to recruit- I like to be very sure before asking someone to join my guild as to who they are and how they act but I am quite skittish and picky and I'm sure that's not necessarily a common issue. One that will be that I do notice is understanding the who's who of WvW. I sometimes pugmand as part of my server during less populated hours to fill in gaps and have noticed that in starting up very few people will follow someone they do not know. The same comes with scouts- the more known you are the more commanders and tags are looking to work hand-in-hand with you in defending objectives. It can lead to some amazing things when everyone knows and trusts each other and I have formed bonds with quite a few guilds on other links in addition to my home server because of this- shout out to all you amazing guilds there. I find at the start of links, especially ones that don't know me or others on my server well, there is a dissonance between the two servers. Generally within a few weeks people start to warm up fully to each other and work well together but with only four weeks in the total link this initiation period can be quite problematic. Further on with such small link timings if a server doesn't like the pair they may just choose not to work with them at all instead of giving it a shot and finding friends and allies alike amongst the new link. I had seen this happen in the link prior to the beta already. Not only are there issues involving community but with the current style of having four tiers of servers this becomes a huge issue for skill matchup. Our server on a link had started low tier, moved up several times forcing us to have RBL as home, which is commonly disliked, and then relinked back to RBL as home at a lower link again. We never found a skill match during that link because there was not time for the server tiers to settle and it was quite an unsatisfying experience.

   Ultimately I ask for further consideration of community-based content with WvW going forward. I understand the need for adjustments to our current server-based system but I found this beta to be unrewarding and deterring to longtime players of the mode. I will say also thank you to whomever was working hard at the start of the beta fixing glitches that came up from the start- including four of my guildies that did not get placed properly but were fixed within a day.. your hard work is most appreciated. I will be excited to rejoin my server when this is over for however long the old system lasts and do hope that some of these issues and concerns might be addressed in the future systems being put forth before finalizing the reconditioning of WvW matchups.

TL:DR

BETA SHARDS

-Loss of community

-New players wont understand the beta immediately and may not find their groove because of the beta or the opposite and may find a home but need server transfers thereafter or be displaced

-Less investment in teamwork or gameplay and more of a focus on large fights only and recapping for rewards

-Poor distribution of guilds ratios of havocs vs large GvG guilds vs large PPT guilds vs roamers vs pugmanders

-Too short to recruit discerningly / Many already joined prior to beta to avoid being desynced from friends

-Periods of heavy fighting outnumbered as well as times when battlegrounds are completely barren of enemies (This happens in servers but unavoidable with the algorithm as well?)

-Lack of camaraderie or feeling of importance to defend, respond, or assist friendlies

-Lack of transparency involving the placement 'algorithm' to properly prep

-EBG massive queues but barebones battlegrounds outside of it most hours

-PVE player influx and WVW exodus messing up potential results?

-Guilds not assisting if they cant fit a whole guild in (No knock on the guild, but how does this work with low pop outside the guild? Is this in the algorithm? Lost objectives to this.)

-Roamers being jumbled who dislike joining with guilds but like their servers (Friendly lone wolves, we missed you!)

-Trolls still prevalent from the start including tactic trolling and glitching into maps

-Some guilds only ran certain times of the week (Power to them! But was this incorporated into the algorithm or just the guild size..? What about guilds with high roamer counts?)

-Alliances being scrapped = Alliance guilds = Pulling people from their OG guilds to try and fit the most friends in as possible while leaving others behind or quitting other guilds

-Cannot quantify the impact of a good pugmander so were they factored into the algorithm? Guilds are scheduled but roamers and pugmanders often join when its fun and leave when it isn't.

-HUGE score disparities (Poor team distribution? Perhaps a quality vs quantity thing that cannot be incorporated into an algorithm?)

-Multiple WvW guilds on your acct means you can see the chat of the enemies from what was once a allied guild

-Playstyle issues of alliance guilds (If you want to keep with friends you need to be with their guilds- but you could be disinterested in GvG and like a roamer / scout style)

-The whole beta was forced and no way to opt-out and enjoy what already worked for many players (Understandable, but disregards player-base to a degree.)

***Possible Bug: When claiming for a guild that is on an enemy shard it removes their claim rather than letting you claim it for both teams. Could be exploited to prevent tactic placement.***

4 Week Relinks

-Not enough time to get to know team and establish camaraderie

-Less investment in teamwork

-Not enough time to settle in tiers so potentially constant RBL as HBL, lack of proper fights, or much too difficult enemies multiple weeks followed by a relink

-Feels more like a gamble matchup because of the lack of tier settling before next relink

-Feeling less attached to links will open the door for more trolling, less friendliness amongst servers, and a lessening feeling of community

Possible Ideas

-Opt-in system for guilds or roamers (Keep servers, redistribute opt-ins amongst servers at links, offer rewards if not enough opt-in)

-Hybridized system (Servers for those who don't have an alliance, for those who do allow them to become a server-shard and fight paired against a server)

-Adding more guild slots or continuance of the alliance system (Keeps more together but still might ostracize established server communities)

Thanks

-To all the amazing guildies that took the leap and joined up with us and other guilds during the beta- the community is what makes WvW great ^_^

-To the ANET employee(s) who helped fixed glitches arising from the beta including guild placement on server shards- much appreciated ❤️

-To the awesome guilds out there that played well with others- it was a pleasure meeting new and old friends on the battlefield alike.

-To the great admins of the NA Alliance Discord- you all did an amazing job connecting us all for the beta and are much appreciated for helping cultivate the community further.

 

Spoiler

Uhh.. whoah, you got down this far? Thank you for reading all of that! I hope you had a decent beta experience, stranger! ❤️

 

Edited by Jozrich.6548
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The very first issue is that there is a loss of community and the very last thank you is to the amazing community 👍

That should tell us so much is driven by emotions and not having our feet planted in WR yet, rather than a systematic failure.

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13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

 

Experience Summary

    Our experience in this beta started with way longer queue times

Was this on all maps or select maps like EBG? Any idea if your normal game time is considered light for its time zone on SoS? The reason I ask is they had lastly added time zone into the algorithms and your statement could show that it was working to group people which could explain some of the queues.  

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

 The distribution between big guilds and small guilds was lacking

Were you playing your normal times or did you also play outside of your normal time zone during the beta? Example could there have been larger guilds in the mix that were simply not in your time zone? 

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

guild focus was not addressed where some like to ppt and some like to gvg,

Outside of an opt-in for a Guilds to define themselves I don't know if they would be able to attribute these factors to have it apply to the sort. But I agree I saw this happen as well in the mixes just as you could see different servers normal go to tactics clash.

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

player distribution was not considering long time friends and alliances

Understand but again not sure if they could code for this. Community Guilds are the middle ground for now as they ponder Alliances. One of the big issues with Alliances was that it still left a manager in place and that means someone would be choosing who was in and who was out. Communities accept people that agree and disagree today already. To your point on having people have to choose either A or B is an issue with the Community Guild compromise and was a potential issue for the Alliances. Now have some thought there but let me not distract from your feedback and save that for later or another thread.

 

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

, PvE players may have overshadowed data from WvW players that decided not to participate, there was not enough transparency with how distributions of teams would go through

A list out of the final sorts and numbers would be crazy to see. And I can understand why they wouldn't share for a number of reasons.

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

, some guilds were pit against other guilds that have had longtime disdain for each other and normally avoid this by being on different host servers, timings of guilds felt wrong with some being every day whilst others only certain times of the week

They didn't indicate they wouldn't be adding in more logic as they go, I think them adding time of play along with playhours is a good step. A thing to consider is everytime you add a variable in the mix you need to retest and see results since as you pointed out players are often erratic in the their times of play and then how long they played would have variables of their own that Anet would only be guessing at. 

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

and having issues where double teaming could come at times of no guilds on allied-shards at all, etc.

But we have this today already with coverage issues. I would list this a normal thing today.

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

     As an aside I would also like to talk about the reduction of links to only four weeks.

The four week idea is partially temporary to allow for more sorting tests and result reviews from changes.

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

-Poor distribution of guilds ratios of havocs vs large GvG guilds vs large PPT guilds vs roamers vs pugmanders

Tags were factored into the mix. What is unknown if they are attributing visible versus invis in two different pools. So there might have been more tags than were seen for a number of reasons. Some of which you had above as people that may not be familiar may not tag up since they didn't know the group so they just went private instead.

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

-EBG massive queues but barebones battlegrounds outside of it most hours

If Anet was to share data that is one would be interesting to see what this looked like server by server and hour by hour. If I was crunching their numbers to determine if the time of play part of the sort was working that would be a good indicator. 

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

-PVE player influx and WVW exodus messing up potential results?

Agree, possible.

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

-Guilds not assisting if they cant fit a whole guild in (No knock on the guild, but how does this work with low pop outside the guild? Is this in the algorithm? Lost objectives to this.)

Saw this but this also happens in regular linking as well.

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

-HUGE score disparities (Poor team distribution? Perhaps a quality vs quantity thing that cannot be incorporated into an algorithm?)

Didn't see this one while watching. Was using gw2matchups and it seemed like there was normally two servers in similar scoring and then a third that was out of sync but nothing I would call huge.

13 hours ago, Jozrich.6548 said:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

Uhh.. whoah, you got down this far? Thank you for reading all of that! I hope you had a decent beta experience, stranger! ❤️

 

lol. Thanks for the feedback and Welcome to Forum Wars 2! See you here and in game. Good hunting!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am just going to address one point in your wall of text. 

Which is, if you like the players you are playing with now, you can always join a guild or multiple guilds that is in that alliance, move with them to where they will be at in the future. Make known your role/Specify your role in WvW.  I know very well that feeling of familiarity of seeing the same names appearing in team/map chat, or seeing them running around flipping camp and sometime when I call out for help to flip a keep when I've taken down all the walls. It's harder to do that when you feel like you are in a strange place. Best to join a Guild if you what to hold on to that feeling of familiarity. 

If you do not like the players you are playing with now, what is the difference playing with strangers? 

If you are too stubborn to join a guild and want to remain a free agent. Than you should accept that free agents will be sent to random locations. Best to get use to playing with other random free agents. Good News is this situation of feeling like you are the only one in that team ISN'T permanent, after several months, you will bump into the same free agents again on different team. Who's to say that won't be fun.  You will probably have friends everywhere by than.

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