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Guild Wars 2: PvP: Why 'Progression' Doesn't Matter

Posted by MikeB Monday February 20 2012 at 5:11PM
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In perusing our Guild Wars 2 forums today, I came upon an excellent thread by Ishan-shade. In the thread, Ishan-shade discusses his concern over GW2's lack of progression when it comes to PvP. After the last few years of MMOs, I think many players are going to find themselves strongly pondering this themselves, which is actually a good thing. Many of us have had what an MMO 'should be' like ingrained in us over many years, and ArenaNet is looking to challenge a lot of these MMO tropes with Guild Wars 2. I wanted to respond to Ishan-shade, but as I began writing it I realized my response was a bit more in-depth than I initially thought it would be, and thus a blog entry is born!


Well to answer your question I guess I want to grind for gear to be competative in PvP. I dont pve, too me thats my progession, attaining new gear, skills to make me a better pvper. So the only poin to pvp in gw2 is for some title and or ranking or something?  Dont get me wrong those are cool bonuses I guess, but hell I want to pvp and get better gear!

Is there even a reason for me to lvl lol?

For structured PvP, there are rolling tournaments going on all the time with qualifiers that can earn you entry into monthly or annual tournaments for real bragging rights, for example. Winning some best PvPer of the Year honor seems like something more interesting to strive for (even if you don't make it THAT far) than a set of gear that says you've put in the time to earn it. You can't simply put in the time to qualify and win the highest level of PvP tournament the game offers, you just have to be that good. I think this sets players apart much more than a set of gear would.

Examples of the tournaments GW2 will feature:

  • Pickup Tournaments: These single-elimination tournaments wait for 8 teams to join before starting. Once they start, they go through 3 rounds of eliminations, with winners receiving qualifier points.
  • Monthly Tournaments: For monthly tournaments, you'll need a certain amount of qualifier points to join.
  • Yearly Tournaments: These grand tournaments feature the winners from the monthly tournaments slugging it out for the right to call themselves the best PvP players of the year.
  • Player-Run Tournaments: These tournaments will be customized by players, allowing for great flexibility and unique bragging rights.

'Grinding' a set of gear doesn't make you any better of a PvPer than the next guy, it just shows you both have been playing long enough and put in the time to earn it. What it DOES often do is create a disparity between new PvP blood and old PvP blood, more often than not to the detriment of the overall PvP game. Depending on the game, the best PvPer in the world simply can't overcome a player decked out in the best PvP gear in the game. Look at RR gear in WAR. You basically can't even participate in T4 RVR without RR65+ gear. Many players currently stay in T3 as long as possible so they have a fighting chance in T4.

For WvW, I think ArenaNet may be looking to tap into that long-lost sense of realm pride. In GW2's case, it's server pride, but it's essentially the same thing. MMOs have been missing this for some time now. I'm not sure what individual-focused rewards WvW may offer, but I find the concept of a living, breathing campaign between three servers over a course of two weeks to be particularly compelling on its own. The fight doesn't end when you log off. I've got notions of checking my GW2 Mobile App obsessively while being away from the game in order to check on the status of my server's war effort. I'm not sure if this is one of the functiionalities of the Mobile App, but it should be!

Securing victory for your server won't be as simple as winning some major skirmish against one of your enemies, but a long protracted campaign that is almost certain to create intense server rivalries and possibly even some politics. When wins or losses are settled within a short period of time it's easy to forget them. Consider how hard-fought a win will have to be over a two week campaign against two other servers and I think you may find yourself appreciative of this accomplishment more than you would some piece of gear, especially when a significant chunk of your server population is involved in the overall effort. These are the sorts of things that MMOs were made to foster, and it's why many remember DAOC so fondly. These are fights bigger than the individual, and potentially provide opportunities for guilds (large and small) to really make their mark. I don't know how successful ANET will be at executing on this aspiration, but in my opinion, they are at least aiming at the right target.

This is the sort of stuff that sets MMOs apart and can't be replicated in other genres. It's a design that focuses on the community building aspects of it all at its heart, which is really the 'hot feature' many MMOs have seem to have let slip by the wayside over the last few years. You can add MMO-esque progression to games like Call of Duty, but you can't create the opportunities for real community like you can with an MMO. I get the idea ArenaNet wholeheartedly embraces this significant advantage of the MMO genre, and is looking to leverage it in every way possible with Guild Wars 2, including its PvP offerings.

What are your thoughts? Share 'em in the comments below!

Comaf writes: Gear is meaningless, and usually becomes outdated anyway. Dark Age of Camelot did it best: earn realm points that you can invest in realm abilities and stat increases. Swing a sword 1,000 times in battle, and yeah, while a new suit of armor should not magically appear, your sword arm should get darn good at swinging a blade. Shame so few folks understand this mechanic or even know it exists. Mon Feb 20 2012 5:27PM Report
SQTO writes:

I always pvp for fun but i am not sure the masses will like this as much.  everyone always brings up the point that many people pvp in FPS ( battlefield, cod...) without progression  but even those types of games are adding more progression to them.

Also I am not sure how it works with having characters on different servers or character transfers, and the ability to pvp at low levels ( making switching servers and rerolling easier) because these things could bring up some issues with realm pride

Mon Feb 20 2012 5:28PM Report
Comaf writes: There was a scout (I'm sure many examples of this in the game) that played from 2001 until now. This guy had been a scout for ten years. He was max realm rank (the max title for points gathered in realm v realm v realm pvp), and he could fire a bow so fast and do so much sickening damage that you knew he had been trained for ages. He had earned his right as a hero on the field. I thought, man, this guy is a legend. You just don't see that anymore - it's all gear. Mon Feb 20 2012 5:29PM Report
Comaf writes: @SQTO there is no realm pride, it's server pride. You are killing your own races and classes - period. I'm not complaining, I just have higher expectations and for once I wish to god I could fight a class/race combo that was different than what my guild had to offer. Mon Feb 20 2012 5:30PM Report
SQTO writes:

yea i meant to say server pride, and I also would prefer realm pride for motivation.

Mon Feb 20 2012 6:14PM Report
Bunks writes:

Well at least the dicussions have changed. Back to where it was years ago. Then somehow we got on a different track. That in and of itself is hopeful.

Mon Feb 20 2012 7:52PM Report
BadSpock writes:

It's funny how people have been asking for DAOC 2 forever and GW2 seems to be the closest thing to it - yet those same people complain because it's server vs. server vs. server and there are no different races/classes...

No races / classes difference is a good thing - just like no racial limitations on class is a good thing - play what you want to play.

More options > less options.

Mon Feb 20 2012 8:06PM Report
Kendane writes: Dominus actually seems the closest to DAoC PvP, at least as far as I can tell. Still, its good to see other companies trying to change things up, even if PvP is not a big thing for me. Mon Feb 20 2012 9:28PM Report
sly_1 writes:

People who "want to grind gear to compete in pvp" don't really understand what pvp in GW is about.  Speaking from gw1 experience, high level guild vs guild pvp is all about teamwork, coordination, timing, strategy, player skill etc, rather than gear farming. 

If you have 8 players vs another 8 players all with comparable gear, the winner becomes the team with the best combination of the traits above.


The notion of wanting to win in pvp because you have played the game longer as opposed to winning because you have an innovative strategy, good teammates who work well together, etc, it's just a totally different mindset.  The best analogy for GW pvp is actual team sports.

Now having said all of that i think QW2 is going to have more of that traditional open world/ he who has grinded most wins in the world vs world pvp, at least from what I have read.  So people used to the "conventional" grind to win pvp format will at least have an option in qw2, if it gets implemented like they say it will.

Mon Feb 20 2012 9:44PM Report
CommoX writes:

Farming for gear is something you can achieve yourself, without teamwork etc etc. Heck, it's something everyone can do eventually. Putting together, being part of, participating and working as a team is not something everyone can do, it's not something that has been rewarded since DAOC. Realm Ranks were a perfect way to reward for PVP, you couldn't afk in a BG and get free points, the game never ended. You either worked hard and took a keep as a team, or earned your solo title (much later in the game.) Bringing back realm/server pride, teamwork and community will mean a lot more in the long run compared to farming points for a leet set of gear you'll be burnt out on once you've achieved it.

Mon Feb 20 2012 10:19PM Report
HurricanePip writes:

Spot on.  Gear grinds just make me ignore MMO PvP.  It's an awful system and flawed in its core design.

PvP rewards either need to be cosmetic or work like LoL where they reset every game.  I also like the idea of basically making PvP a sit and go type of structure like poker rather than roll that noob team and move on.

Mon Feb 20 2012 11:06PM Report
Torval writes:

E-sport pvp doesn't interest me much.  It's the thing I like least about Guild Wars 1.  For me, that form of pvp is meaningless and boring.

I like pvp the Lineage or ArcheAge, or even RIFT, WoW, and EQ2 present it.

I am glad the e-sport players have something, but "no progression is a good thing" is subjective.  Just another perspective in the mix.

Mon Feb 20 2012 11:42PM Report
Jostle writes:

If you're looking for a Dark Age of Camelot 2, try taking a look at Dominus. It's being built by a small dev team, but they're genuine and accessible, and on paper, it looks like it's as close as you'll get (much closer than GW2's WvWvW system, which will feature, as mentioned above, totally arbitrary enemy "clones" of people from your world, and even a lack of persistence in enemies. Part of what made Dark Age of Camelot so great was knowing your enemies, having rivals, knowing which guilds and players were the bomb, etc.).

Mon Feb 20 2012 11:44PM Report
arji writes:

Try to imagine League of legends and why u playing ranked matches. Answer: Higher rank=Better player=Satisfaction for yourself.

Also if i recall right what LoL gave u at the end of sesson for 1400 match making? Answer. A skin for a player(Jarvan)

And for the end what do you thinkinking before every match ? Watch the best combination of heroes to win.

At GW2 you can join "ranked" matches from lvl 2. So if 2 have 5 char slots you have 5 chars that u can PvP and chose the best depending on your grp.

Tue Feb 21 2012 1:23AM Report
Indol writes:

This is good news. Do. not. want. to grind for gear ever again in my life. It's part of why the genre is currently punching itself in the face.

Hey, it's only taken a decade to get back to where the genre left off and was supposed to go =D

Tue Feb 21 2012 7:51AM Report
Asleep writes:

Is it confirmed that the only progression is e-sport?

Tue Feb 21 2012 11:48AM Report
reap3rzx writes:

Yeah I don't get why people want gear progression... I mean there are plenty of MMOs out there that have it. GW2 is trying to break the mold.


I'd be fine with COSMETIC gear progression with along with PVP ranks. Think DAoC realm ranks without the realm skills. 

So in WvW, how you have "Red Invader" as you rank up, your "Invader" title changes to be something like "Red Eagle Knight" or whatever ranks they come up with. That'd be a cool addition. Though it's not necessary. That would give those who want progression something, without unbalancing PvP with statistically advantageous gear.

Tue Feb 21 2012 12:32PM Report
Walderal writes:

All what I want is to have a google translator in game chat ))) sometimes I need it so much))

Tue Feb 21 2012 3:15PM Report
beerwig writes:

Grinding for gear in battlegrounds ruined wow...ruined rift etc....It empties out the the world.If you go and play way and want to world pvp,good luck.Everyon is in  a stupid generic,boring bg.I love that Gw2 doesnt have the dumb grind for pvp gear.

Tue Feb 21 2012 5:09PM Report
palulalula writes:

It is more like fps style of pvp. It is ok to see little changes , time will show how much players like that. I am not against that but i think most of players will not like that. What is most successful mmo today? WOW right? Thats shows only what most of the players like. You all forget  games like AOC, they had new concept in game but succes was average

Wed Feb 22 2012 2:49AM Report
Rageahol writes:

AOC didn't fall due to concepts, it fell short becuase of bugs and the limited amount of the game that was shown.


same for Guild Wars 2 it not due to the concepts, its the player reaction tot he game as a whole, remember didnt do poorly post launch due to what the new conecpts were, Open Parties were a hit, and were put into rift and guild wars 2 because they worked, PQs were awesome, thus rift's rifts were cool and DEs in guild wars 2 will be a hit (because they advanced what worked. WAR failed to have any sort of renention due to the poor engine the game was running on, the inblance of classes , and the poor use of rewards in the RvR lakes.



Sat Feb 25 2012 4:43PM Report
demonic87 writes:

Guild Wars 2 touts equal PvP opportunity which im excited for. Tired of getting characters to max level in games like Warhammer and WoW and then being useless for the next month until I get "gear". And im tired of losing matches because the other team has "more gear". This is not what pvpers want. We want fights based on skill, not stupid gear because others grinded for it more.

Sat Feb 25 2012 8:30PM Report
Coltalb writes:

Seriously now...why on earth ppl are so reticent to something new and pretty obvious better?

To become competitive is equal to grind like a mindless robot for a piece of gear?? really:)?

Dnt u had enough ot those players ,  that often  made the mistake to think that having a better gear or much more time to spend in a boring pvp grind , doesn't make them a better pvper but only a guy with pathetic ego?

Please, please. take  away this mentality that encourages selfishness and  let the concept of teamworking, smart ideeas and good strategies win, not that piece of crap named gear...

Sun Feb 26 2012 7:42AM Report
Thegoodlol writes:

The bad part is that if you're not a good a player you have no place guild wars 2 since it's all about competitiveness and e-sport stuff.

Mon Feb 27 2012 4:43PM Report
iceman00 writes:



I really don't see how you say that.  The numbers are going to be pretty huge in those fights.  No server is going to have 500 All Stars.  And even then, you probably wouldn't want that, as 500 glory hounds can't work as a team.

In games that put the most focus on teamwork, it isn't the superstars who win.  What you get is a few guys who are really good, and then the rest of the team who knows how to work together.  Maybe not super skilled, but knowing who complements who.

Sun Mar 04 2012 4:44PM Report writes:
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