It has been a long time since I last wrote anything about WvW. What’s even worse I haven’t been playing WvW like I used to do in almost a year. A few days ago the news about this new patch showed up and my first thoughts were: “Wow”, “They should have done this earlier” and finally “This has potential”.
Hello, Tyrians. I’m excited to reveal the big WvW rewards changes the team has been working on since it was voted for in the last priority poll. We wanted to create a system that encourages caring about WvW skirmishes and adds prestigious rewards for WvW players.
Veteran players will remember those days where you played World vs World for nothing more than the reward of playing and fighting. The loot was mediocre at best, some blues, greens or a heavy lootbag and once in a month an exotic weapon or armor (miracles did happen of course). But they have been working on that, after the introduction of the Reward Tracks (April 2016) and the Skirmishes (September 2016) they are now introducing the Skirmish Rewards. The week-long match-ups have been split up in skirmishes that last two hours and when you are now playing in WvW you will be rewarded for playing once every five minutes (tick), prior to this patch only in reward track progress, but from now on also in pips. These pips will fill up the Skirmish reward track. This reward track, that looks like the PvP leagues track, will award you with rewards when you cross tiers and divisions. Besides normal or WvW items this track will also grant Skirmish Claim Tickets (yes, they used to be called Tournament Tickets) and these can be used to purchase things from the Skirmish Supervisor vendor (and more about this later).
With the introduction of these Skirmish rewards they are even encouraging players to play on lower populated servers as well, because it is not just based on your Worlds rank in the Skirmish, but also on your own achievements. Fighting outnumbered gives you a significant bonus, your WvW rank (max rank 10000) is involved and when you are commanding you will get bonus pips as well. Also, when you have transferred to a new server you won’t receive any pips until you have played an entire match-up on the new server. This discourages players to server hop and with the bonus pips you get for playing longer than three weeks on one server it might do something against bandwagoning.
You will start receiving pips once you reach tier 3 participation every tick, the same ones as the reward track ticks, so you need to be playing WvW. Just standing at keep or spawn AFK’ing won’t give you any pips and, just as important, it won’t give you WXP, badges, proofs or memories. I do hope that the participation can be shared with scouts that are scouting keeps and not playing actively enough to maintain their own tier three level, because they are an essential part of WvW. But it’s nice that you can’t really leech it.
The only thing that might be a bit tricky is the fact that you will also get extra pips when you are commanding a squad with at least five people in it. In it’s essence I like the idea, because it can be a great opportunity for aspiring commanders to actually start commanding and I think WvW could use some more commanders, good ones, or people willing to learn how to become a good one. The problem is that there might be too many players, who are new to this game mode, deciding that they can be this awesome commander as well and will be tagging up, without actually knowing what to do, just to get those extra pips. Worst case scenario: the person tagging up is clueless, squad wipes, players get annoyed or angry and every new player in that squad, or even across all the maps, will see the confirmation of World vs World being a toxic game mode.
After finishing the reward track you will receive a wooden Skirmish chest and you can repeat this track seven times before you receive the final Diamond chest which is repeatable (this track resets weekly). One of the rewards you get out of the Skirmish reward chest are the WvW Skirmish Claim Tickets and this is something they implemented in a very good way. With this patch they introduced the two next tiers of the Triumphant Armor, the Triumphant Hero’s Armor and the Mistforged Triumphant Hero’s Armor and they also introduced a way to acquire the Mistforged Hero’s Weapons again (the Mistforged Hero Greatsword is one of the best skins in game imo, just look at the Skirmish Supervisor’s weapon). Each and every one of these items need these tickets and Memory of Battles, so the only way to buy them is by having played actual WvW. There even is the fact that you need to be a certain rank before you can buy the tier 3 Mistforged Triumphant Hero’s Armor, rank 1500 to 2000 even, and this is not something that can be achieved by playing World vs World casually for two weeks, it will take a lot of time and dedication and you will need to love this game mode in order to achieve this (just for the record, I’ve been playing WvW for a long time and even I need to do some serious levelling here :D).
We are also getting our own legendary backpiece, next to the PvP (The Ascension) or the Fractal one (Ad Infinitum), called the Warbringer. It is siege themed and it looks like a flame ram (everyone who knows me know how I am with siege, so I’m pretty sure I will keep my scruffy backpiece or none at all :D). Just as with any legendary in-game you need to combine three gifts and a precursor in the Mystic Forge. And again, these are all based on actual playtime in WvW and they require either Badges of Honor, Proofs of Heroic, Memory of Battle, Skirmish Tickets or a certain rank to purchase. Legendary Commander War Razor is selling most of these items and, if you want a preview of how the backpack looks, just look at his back :).
They also added a few smaller things that might come in handy. One thing is that Standard Enemy Models now also works in WvW. This can come in handy if you prefer no distraction, but it might make targeting more difficult (“That small asura necro over there!!!!” is definitely better than putting a target icon on a random player). Another thing they added is an improved LFG system that pops up whenever you switch borders. I’m still not sure what to think of it, it might be useful when there are not that many people playing, outside of prime time or on low populated servers, but keep in mind that there always will be moments when there are not many people playing. With the Match History Tab they added a way to analyze the match-up. This tab will display the war score, victory points and kill/death statistics. Most people won’t need this tab at all, but when you are interested in how your world is doing, victory points per tick or even comparing the kill/death ratio it becomes a nice new feature for sure.
I really like this patch that, with this new Skirmish reward track, the devs tried solving some issues that had to be addressed: decreasing population, bandwagoning, server stacking and a reward system that wasn’t encouraging. Now you get the feeling that you, yourself, are actually contributing and helping out your server, community and commanders during the skirmishes and winning the match-up in the long run. There are finally rewards that are worth it: unique WvW only exotic and ascended armor and weapons and our very own legendary backpack that require actual WvW playtime.
But the thing I like most of all is that I think they are understanding the things that make WvW special, they are not rushing to go for the easy solutions, but trying to keep it fun for everybody. The freedom you have in playing how you like, the servers, communities, guilds, roamers, zergs, scouts, all equally important and all working together in their own ways. These changes where made with this in the back of their minds and I really appreciate that. They will also keep on working on World vs World, although we won’t see any bi-weekly patches of course, the patches will need time. I can only hope that they are working on other things as well, WvW being a third game mode, WvW class/skill balance, build templates, a third borderland, etc.
So is this patch the ultimate solution? No, of course not. But like I said, they are working on it and they took a nice step with this patch.
If you are a new player and want to get a bit of a head start before you jump into World vs World, take a look at this guide, it’s an older one, but still has tons of tips that might help you.