WvW has just seen the biggest and most well received update for years, perhaps in the game’s history. But as with any patch, last week’s reward update has brought with it both fantastic highlights and some pretty disappointing lows. This article is going to discuss both the pros and cons of the newest reward system for World versus World, and what it means for the game mode going forward.
Starting with what has got to be the biggest pro of the update, the population has been off the charts since the patch launched! Maps in ever tier and every match up have had around the clock queues, and since many of the players are new and inexperienced, the game mode has the same feel it used to have back at launch and before HoT. Organised groups can once again ‘blob bust’, where they take on much larger zergs, and organised defences can smash even the largest of attacking forces. The update breathed new life in to a game mode that was on the decline, and it’s been fantastic to see the return of active play and people both caring about their server and score in order to get better rewards. We all know it won’t last, people will either get their rewards or give up on the grind, but for now it’s a wonderful place to be for both fun and unique items.
The pip system and new vendor have given players new options for both gearing and prestige, but it comes at a very high cost. Literally. World versus World remains the least profitable of the game modes, and despite the Memories of Battle rising in price (which come from both the pip rewards and reward tracks), you can’t liquidate these since you will need them for the new rewards. This means that the rewards that are supposed to come just from WvW require quite a lot of either playing outside of the game mode or investing ridiculous hours in to playing World versus World (talking hundreds of hours) just to meet the gold requirements. This comes mostly from the grandmaster mark requirement for ascended armour, which is also a requirement for the PvP ascended armour. On top of the other purchase costs, this makes buying many pieces of the ascended armour more expensive than to just go and craft it, whilst also eating up your currency and tickets.
In defence of this expensive system, there are of course the exclusive skins you can get from the vendors to show off your prestige as a WvW player. This is a big winner, since it finally gives a distinction between a committed and long term WvW player compared to someone who has just jumped in aiming at cheap rewards. This comes primarily in the tier 3 armour set, which has unique and pretty awesome particle effects on top of the Triumphant Hero’s armour skins. This does come with a small criticism- the chest piece requiring rank 2000 to obtain. On one hand, I love that this is such a long-term goal, and would require players to stick around and play constantly to obtain. On the other hand, players who have playing WvW every day since launch but have been scouts, or fight oriented players, or played in off hours’ time zones, are still below this rank despite being committed and long term players. But then, that problem stems more from the way World XP is distributed rather than the requirement for rank 2000, which at the end of the day incentivises people to stick around and will only be a positive in the long run for boosting the player base.
When it comes to the new backpack, both rank requirements and ticket costs are pretty low, and crafting seems like it’s about the same expense as the PvP legendary backpack. This makes it amongst the cheapest options for a legendary backpack, and one not locked behind the time gate of multiple PvP seasons and achievements. We are yet to be able to craft the final result, but already it’s looking like a winner just from how it is acquired. It is a reasonable goal for any WvW player to go for thanks to its relatively low cost, and gives some of the long-term players a prestige item that they can show off. It also looks like this back pack might not be unique, meaning you can craft multiple if you desire, but until a few more weeks of farming up the tickets have passed that remains to be confirmed.
Ticket acquisition is pretty slow, gated behind weekly resets, and for new players getting pips can be a real nightmare if your server is losing, which is leading to a lot of outnumbered map hopping. To give some context, if your server is vastly outnumbered on a map, then a buff will appear on your bar that grants some nice QoL bonuses for fighting outnumbered. With this new system, players also get +5 pips added to their rewards, leading to a lot of people playing on a regular map, getting participation up, and them jumping to an outnumbered map just as the score ‘ticks’ in order to get +5 added to their pip count. This is, without a doubt, something that needs to be addressed by developers sooner rather than later. It both rewards inactive gameplay as well as rewarding play that isn’t helping with either score or objectives. The community has been throwing suggestions since the update, like reducing pips for outnumbered or just generally giving more pips to discourage this, and with any luck some form of update is around the corner that might fix both the slow progression of pips and this lazy gameplay inducing feature. It could take veteran players over 21 hours a week over 7 weeks (3 hours every single night, and you need to win for all of that) just to get the tier 2 armour set. For people getting less, like new players trying to get rewards, it could take double that, 6 hours every day for 7 weeks, just to get the Tier 2 set, and that kind of time just isn’t possible for all but the most hardcore gamers.
Whilst there are issues to be ironed out, and some pretty hefty gold and time gates, it has been the most population revitalising patch to date, and with more around the corner coming to WvW soon, it’s an exciting period for both the game mode and for GW2. I’d encourage anyone to come in and start getting rewards now, because you’ll need a lot of time in this new system to get what you want, and it’s definitely better to start now rather than wait and see, as nerfs and updates might not ever come. See you out there!