GW2 WvWvW – The new Alterac Valley!

This looks familiar.

Three-way Alterac Valley that persists for two weeks, with an ELO system and DAoC relics/keeps. Not that the above is bad. God knows we have seen far worse attempts at MMO PvP (Hi WAR/AoC/Aion).

Maxing out at about 300 players fighting it out is pretty good. Impossible if you ask Blizzard or BioWare. And sure, Darkfall has had bigger battles, and 300 people is a small skirmish in EVE (lulz but it’s in space so it’s ez to do right guyz!?), but overall, 300 is still decent by ‘genre norms’. I’m curious to hear what happens to the 301st person who tries to enter WvWvW though. Do they go into a queue, are WvWvW areas going to be sharded, or are GW2 servers going to be so small as to make this a non-issue?

The level/gear aspect is disappointing, but not exactly unexpected. Hopefully your iLvL = I-Win for PvP, and player-skill plays an important aspect, but I have my doubts. I also doubt low level characters will be of much real value. Remember how ‘valuable’ non-60s were in AV? Want to guess how much help they will be in GW2 when my guild of 100 raid-geared 80s is on the field? I get the ‘you don’t have to grind to cap’ sales pitch, but if you are attempting to not force people to grind to 80, don’t have 80 levels. Funny enough, that’s exactly what GW1 did, but hey.

There are also some “I don’t know shit about MMO PvP History” parts in there as well. The whole “small groups can capture smaller objectives” crap. If you have played a PvP MMO, you know how that’s going to work out. You know how players dropping gear is going to work out for smart/good guilds. You know how keep/relic raids are going to go (unless relic/keep timers were simply not mentioned in the post, but I doubt it).

Again, does this mean GW2 WvWvW is going to suck as bad as most themepark PvP does? Nope. Is it going to be god’s gift like the rest of GW2 and solve all MMO problems forever? Not by the sounds of that blog.

Still, come open beta, GW2 at least sound good enough to bother downloading, which is more than I can say for most of 2011.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Age of Conan, beta, Combat Systems, Dark Age of Camelot, Darkfall Online, EVE Online, Guild Wars, MMO design, PvP, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to GW2 WvWvW – The new Alterac Valley!

  1. Kobeathris says:

    Who knows how it will turn out. I do like the fact that it sounds like supply caravans are vulnerable to attack. Depending on how important supplies end up being, defending/attacking them could make for fun small group stuff that is still relevant to the overall battle. Also, it sounds like 4 maps in each battle, with 300 per map. No idea how that will work, maybe you queue for WvW PvP and some balancer drops you into a map that it deems needs another person?

  2. Randomessa says:

    It’s actually 300 per map, so up to a total of 1200 in the battle at the moment on the low end. Yeah, yeah, words are wind and all that, but I wanted to correct the claim.

    • SynCaine says:

      Not really. Those 1200 can’t all fight each other. The maximum number of people who can fight (aka: the largest possible battle) is still 300.

      • Randomessa says:

        Where did you get that info? The maps indicate server home turf, so it indeed means that the expectation is for 1000+ man rumbles to be possible. I refer you to the Anet dev AMA for more details.

        • SynCaine says:

          “over a hundred people from each server fighting on every map”

          From the blog itself. If 1000+ is possible, why did the blog say over a hundred per side per map?

          (I’m not saying I know 1000+ will be impossible in GW2, I’m just wondering why the blog makes it seem like it will be far less?)

        • Randomessa says:

          Oh, I see where you get the number now. The claim (made elsewhere) is that they actually have it with several hundred per server per map (AMA says 500 per). This just claims “over a hundred,” and people are running with the 100 number.

          It sounds like a modest low-end estimate to me rather than a claim of a hundred “at most.” I’m guessing the actual number lies somewhere in between. BUT here’s hoping the press beta can shed light in the reality.

          (FYI I’d have no problem with only 300 total, I just don’t think that’s what the claim actually is)

  3. thade says:

    To be fair, the utter lack of terrain does dramatically reduce the number of polys to jam out. ;)

    • SynCaine says:

      Number of polys is not the issue for lag. Its number of pings to and from the server (which EVE likely has more of thanks to shot calculation, drones, etc).

      Low FPS is a different issue, and ‘easily’ solved by having a better gaming computer.

      • Joe says:

        You’re an awesome armchair dev. Clearly game developers shouldn’t worry about FPS and it totally has nothing to do with other MMOs hitting technological limitations well before those imposed in EVE. They’re all just terrible at network code, right?

        • Sand says:

          yes they are. see above statement re: FPS.

          thank you for sharing your opinion with us. now GTFO my internet.

        • sean says:

          He did not say FPS was not an issue. FPS and lag are very diffrent and the cause is diffrent.
          FPS is dependent upon what YOUR machine is doing.
          Lag is how long it takes for a command you issue to be reached by the server and for the server to send a reply back to you.

          Lag in big fights is the server sorting all the “pings” or incoming data and requests for replies and gets bogged down. The reason why WoW can’t have more than a few hundred in an area is because the server can’t handle that information.
          Each additional character is additional data that has to be sent to every other participant. So if you double the people you need exponentially more processing power to handle it.

      • Azuriel says:

        Its number of pings to and from the server (which EVE likely has more of thanks to shot calculation, drones, etc).

        How do you figure that EVE has more pings? I would figure it has less, because even with missiles/drones/etc, I imagine any given ship has less points of articulation that would need to be conveyed to everyone’s client than the standard WoW character model (nevermind gear, etc). Even if my client handles the exact floppiness of my target’s arms as he finishes a jump, he can spin around in midair a half dozen times in a 3-second span in an attempt to foil an ability with a specific facing requirement. Are drones more complicated than that? Or more complicated than casting a DoT for that matter?

        It’s a conscious design decision either way, and I’d argue one that the average fantasy MMO player isn’t likely to care about. Without the mechanics to make 1000+ person fighting not devolve into instant death or AoE spam, who wants to mindlessly zerg?

        • SynCaine says:

          If you think the server in WoW tracks how many times you spin while you jump, create a second account and test it. Hell, have two accounts stand next to a mailbox and compare the results. To say that the servers cheat here would be a gross understatement.

          As for who wants to be in a mindless zerg? I’d argue the 6000 or so Goons do. As do all the other cogs in null-sec alliances. Or the 58 WoW players I herded back when I ran AV for the server. Or the cogs from DAoC, SB, DF, or basically any other game that allows it.

          Being part of something mindlessly is EXACTLY what most players want. It’s why they join guilds instead of running them.

        • Azuriel says:

          I’ve already seen (and done) this in countless BGs. If someone’s mouse spazzes out and they start spinning at high speeds, it shows up on my screen as them spinning at high speeds.

          As for the zergs, you’re proving my point. Past a certain size, who actually cares that it’s 40v40 as opposed to 400v400 or 4000v4000? The average player will go along with whatever the group does, whether that’s 40v40 or 4000v4000. Their enjoyment does not linearly increase the higher the (otherwise arbitrary) number goes.

          And why would it? Focus-fire/instant death gameplay doesn’t change for the cogs. Things get more complicated for the leaders, but that is as far as it goes.

  4. spinks says:

    300 would have been enough to crash the DaoC servers (at least it did when we brought that many to a PvE raid) and that still had PvP that felt tolerably epic.

    • SynCaine says:

      Perhaps my memory fails me, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been on relic raids of over 300 people total. At 5am.

      • spinks says:

        I remember large PvP raids (although the engine didn’t handle it well) but never really was able to count numbers. With the PvE raid because it was all on the same side we did know how many were there.

        It is always possible that the US servers were more stable than the EU ones though :)

        • bhagpuss says:

          I never counted the players in a DAOC relic raid but I would doubt there were 300. Does it really make much difference whether there are 100 or 1000 players involved on each side, though? Once you get over three figures, to what degree do you have any meaningful interaction with the excess above that?

          I just hope it runs more smoothly on my machine than the stop-motion animation I remember from DAOC. And that there aren’t any keep doors to hammer on for literally 45 minutes at a stretch. And any spiral staircases to get jammed in for another 20 minutes after that.

        • spinks says:

          Agree :) And yes, spiral staircases can die in a fire. But point is, PvP can feel plenty epic with 300 participants if they can keep the frame rate decent.

        • SynCaine says:

          I think it might come down to preference, but as someone who has been in a 100v100 battle and a 300v400ish battle in Darkfall, I can say it does make a difference to me. 700 people being affected by an outcome has more impact than 200 people being affected, and being on the winning side of something that large just feels like a more massive accomplishment. It also becomes a more meaningful community event, because 700 or so people can say “I was there” and can relate to the story. More friendships and enemies are made, the politics are deeper, etc.

          Now granted, if the extend of your MMO involvment is showing up and mashing some keys, yea, I doubt you noticed the difference between 200 and 700, but I don’t play just to mash keys.

  5. Morg says:

    Always wished alterac valley(or wow in general) was a 3 way conflict.
    But feel all this is rather late…doing a better alterac valley? meh
    300 a battle? meh
    Some other things are very variable depending how implemented.
    Just getting a solid “meh” all around.

    I want to be excited, but compared to EvE and PS2 I just can’t manage it.

  6. Wyrmrider says:

    The question of what happens to the 301st player is a fair question regardless of whether it’s really the 301st or the 1201st or whatever.

    What’s not fair, IMO, is the baggage you’re bringing along related to level and gear = power. Level is compensated for in PvP. “Raid-geared 80s” and “iLvl” don’t exist in this universe. After a certain easily-reached point you don’t unlock raw power anymore, you only unlock options… similar to certain other games with well-respected PvP, yes?

    • SynCaine says:

      I have not been following GW2 development as closely, but has the iLvl thing been confirmed? That the item system in GW2 is similar to GW1 in that it’s easy to get BiS for everything, and most of the ‘item chasing’ is cosmetic? If so that’s awesome.

      • Randomessa says:

        It’s been said that gear will play a larger role in GW2 than in GW1, but still much less so than other themepark MMOs. Dungeon sets are aesthetically unique rather than increasingly powerful (though they, like all max level armor, may have different stat spreads that complement particular playstyles).

        There are no raids in GW2 either, rather elite regions and events and 5-man explorable dungeons.

  7. coppertopper says:

    The real question is what happens when all 300 players meet in the same valley. I would like to assume that Anet has tested this and its all hunky dory, but they didnt really state that in the blog, and past gaming experiences prove this is usually a laggy mess.

  8. Sparklight says:

    Remember how ‘valuable’ non-60s were in AV?

    In the original one? Fairly useful, in fact. They could haul supplies from mines, tame wolves/rams and collect pelts for infantry/cavalry assaults.

    • SynCaine says:

      No, they weren’t. Raid-geared 60s could do all of that faster, and the original AV was all about how fast you could get all of the NPC spawns ready to go, spawning them correctly so they all meet up and push together, and making sure the sheep all followed along (which was easy because sheep love following the big shiny mob).

  9. Bernard says:

    I’m very interested to see how this will turn out.

    Hopefully they will balance out the objectives and rewards so that it doesn’t make sense to all join a massive zerg in the middle.

  10. roqoco says:

    The blog actually states that there will be at least 100 players on each of *4* very large maps. That makes 400 total (at least) – but note that’s 4 maps, so in that scenario all the players won’t be able to meet on a single map at the same time. How you transition between maps etc. is not clear.

    It looks like low level players will be mainly involved in outlying activities, such as taking down supply caravans and although it isn’t specifically mentioned they shouldn’t be at a disadvantage manning siege weapons etc.

    What happens when maps get full is not clear – for instance if your home map had reached some kind of player limit then noone would be able to attack it from opposing factions.

  11. Arrexis says:

    The AV of 2005, was really fun and interesting. The questions is “do I really want AV of 2005 in 2012?”

  12. roqoco says:

    Woops – I read it wrong, it’s at least 100 players from each server on each of the 4 maps :(.

  13. Ovatha says:

    So, they stole from DAOC (relics, keeps, and 3-way PvP). But it’s instanced and has a population cap (like WAR). It RESETS…bad thing. They have made PvP about loot so you loot players… a la original Alterac Valley and WAR – bad thing. Limiting the number of players in the WvWvW areas is a horrible idea.

    Using an ELO system to rank servers means population shifts in servers as players want to start playing on the “better” servers.

    I think GW2 is doing the best they can with the crap they have to work with. GW1 was a big pile of instanced crap, there was nothing persistent about it. GW2 is trying to make their instanced crap look more persistent when it’s really not. It’s just a shinier polished piece of instanced crap.

    Having said that, I will prob. play it until I get tired of having no real fun in the Mists. The only progression they appear to provide in the Mists is loot and ELO server rank. After a while that gets a little boring since it gets reset every two weeks. And after about the 3rd or 4th reset populations will start shifting to the better ranked ELO servers.

    I’m tired of MMOs borrowing from First Person Shooters. MAKE A F@#KING PERSISTENT MMO ALREADY!!! Can I buy DAOC 2.0 please?

    Good article by the way, SynCaine.

    • redgiant says:

      Planetside 2 seems to be retaining the 2-sided open-world concepts from PS1, with some changes for modernization. But so far sounds like the closest to DAoC-style RvR that is known to be coming.

      I agree, DAoC2 – a REAL DAoC2, not crap like WAR (which should have been DAoC2) – just upgrading the graphics a tad (but not enough to wreck FPS) and the UI would be awesome. But it won’t happen.

    • redgiant says:

      er, I meant 3-sided of course.

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