A week ago the first round of Pro League Finals took place. The teams participating were the top two European ones (Rank 55 Dragons and Vermillion) and the top two North American ones (The Abjured and Team PZ). Despite the technical difficulties that occurred during the event, following it on Twitch (alongside some friends on TS) was great fun!
There’s no doubt that there has been quite an improvement since the WTS finals in China. The quality of the stream back then used to be kinda bad and the information displayed on screen was sort of unclear. Coming back to this day, Pro League features lots of clarity when it comes to getting to know how things play out during the tournament. There’s obviously a great deal of preparation time gone into making sure everything works as intended. Additionally, I really did appreciate those nice little video interviews airing just before each match taking place. They helped me attach some faces to the teams I was about to root for.
Allow me also to say that I welcomed wholeheartedly the tweaks we saw being introduced by the end of Season 1. The current meta has ditched Bunker builds which is a step towards the right direction. At the same time the change done to time-altering boons like Quickness and Slow has shifted the entire metagame to be much faster (Ha! Guess you didn’t see that coming :P).
Of course though, there’s always room for improvement and I hope everyone’s feedback will be taken under consideration until we reach the second season of the Pro League finals.
First of all, the main issue I think ArenaNet needs to tackle is balancing. They need to shake things up so that some underused professions get the their time to shine. I would love to see all those compositions we are so used to over the last few months being spiced up a little bit.
The teams these days usually consist of two Revenants, as well as a Necromancer. Those are the three main pillars upon which all groups seem to be built. The last two spots are often reserved for a Cleric Elementalist and an Engineer (Although we got to witness a Mesmer and a Druid in some special occasions during the finals). No one can deny that bringing these professions together often leads to nice results, from a viewer’s perspective though things get stale pretty quick when there’s no variety along the lines of each team.
Another issue I had with the organization of the finals this time around, was the downtime between the matches. This is quite major considering how a huge chunk of those watching was leaving the stream during these empty periods of time only to never perhaps come back. When there’s action going on and you have everyone’s attention it’s better if you find a way to get back into the arena as fast as possible.
The format of the tournament, although it provided a solid, fast-paced ground for the finals to take place on, felt punishing for the teams that had perhaps a single mishap and couldn’t showcase their 100% potential in action. In my opinion, the double elimination bracket that we saw being utilized during the last two WTS tournaments, was the perfect setup for such an event. That would give everyone a chance to adapt to the recent shift in the meta during the ongoing tournament, seeing as the current way ArenaNet has decided to plan out Pro League leaves next to no time for practice prior to the embedded Challenger Cup.
Needless to say, the PvP scene of Guild Wars 2 deserves all the quality of life improvements it sees. I’m very much looking forward to the promised changes to visual noise for example. That, along with some regular updates to the way Spectator mode operates would bring in a larger audience as well as help ensure the viewing experience that has in one of the best possible. Ranging around 3.5k viewers on Twitch was good enough, but I’m sure that number is nowhere close to where some high-ranking people at ArenaNet would want it to be.
Summing up today’s piece, I believe that Pro League has so far been great. It is a step towards the right direction and for the most part a visible improvement from the WTS. I really do hope ArenaNet keeps pushing towards establishing Guild Wars 2 as a part of the ongoing eSports scene because its unique gameplay does have a place there.
So, dear readers, did you watch the finals yourself? What did you think of them? Drop me a comment below and let me know of your opinion. It’s always nice interacting with you all.