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Columns: Competitive Communication – What’s Next for PVP and WvW?

By Alexander Wilkie on December 06, 2017

Competitive Communication – What’s Next for PVP and WvW?

For most gaming companies, ArenaNet is absolutely astounding when it comes to communications with their fans. Outside of the official forums, news feeds and social media posts, developers of Guild Wars 2 take time out each release to do an AMA on the game's sub-reddit. Over time, developers have taken more and more steps backwards when it comes to communication -- backpedaling from Colin Johanson's hype train approach to allow players to experience the content as it arrives. And whilst the PvE releases are sticking to an open approach, the competitive game modes WvW and PvP are being left in the dark, leaving many of us wondering just what ArenaNet has in mind?

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WvW has a history of poor communication. Throughout the game's lifespan, there were always issues arising where the developers did not want to talk about what was in the shop for this game mode. And really, who could blame them? A game mode full of contention and conflicting ideas, what might make one crowd happy is sure to upset another. The best we ever saw came in the forms of player polling, which asked players to choose between a set number of options regarding the direction the team would take. The polls have informed a great deal of what is currently in the game mode, with some good scoring reworks and population balancing achieved. Since the last poll, the game mode has only seen a single major update, where the Warbringer and various new WvW related rewards were added to the game. From there, it has been radio silence.

Between the June 6 Competitive Feature Pack and now, there has been an expansion, 2 living world episodes, 2 new fractals, Halloween and a new raid wing. The most meaningful update before the feature pack dates back all the way to April 2016 with the introduction of World Linkings, with a few of the WvW polls occurring in 2016 along with minor updates or feature testing. For a game mode that is supposedly meant to be 1/3 of the game, WvW is seeing updates at a snail's pace. And to compound the problem, players have no idea what, if anything, is being worked on to keep them playing.

PvP is in a similar boat to WvW, but has not always been like this. Once upon a time, ArenaNet pushed the eSports dream heavily, hosting tournaments and promoting the game mode above all other areas. This eSports push has slowly declined, resulting in ESL shutting down their GW2 section and many well-known players quitting the game entirely. Whilst I genuinely believe this was the healthy option for the game to take to ensure longevity, there was no communication about ceasing the tournaments or competitive updates, with ArenaNet instead choosing to go completely silent until enough people gave up on it.

Now it suffers from the same issues as WvW, plagued with uncertainty for its future, with no communication about future developments coming forward. PvP also saw its last update in the June feature pack, which brought with it the highly popular Automated Tournaments. Along with these recurring tournaments, PvP does have regular seasons that help to invigorate the game mode. But without updates, the seasons and becoming increasingly similar and mundane for dedicated PvP players. There is a recent attempt to salvage this, with a community QA being hosted over the course of a week based on specific discussion topics on the official forums. Hopefully, this will see some hints at upcoming changes coming to the game mode, and is a great step in the right direction.

How do you feel about the communication for competitive game modes? Do they deserve the same kind of regular updating that the PvE side of things is getting, or do these game modes thrive on staying the same to ensure that the parts players love is not taken away from them? Let us know in the comments if you would like to see more communication and/or updates for the competitive game modes!

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