League’s Season Four ended on 3rd of October and since then, we have had little news about the upcoming changes for Season Five.
To provide a background: Season One to Season Four marked the “First Year of sPvP Leagues”. That included the Legendary Backpiece, as a special reward only achievable through playing Ranked games during the Seasons’ length.
Now that the “First Year” has come to an end, ArenaNet is taking a longer break between Season Four and Season Five to address some core problems, create the new rewards and improve the overall system.
There is a small change we know of already: Skyhammer is coming to Ranked’s map rotation. More maps are always good news for gameplay diversity. Since the map has been reworked, Skyhammer has been a great and enjoyable map.
On the same topic, they are going to remove Stronghold from Ranked play. Even though I loved Stronghold and what it meant for sPvP, balance and Elite Specializations did no good to the game mode and it turned out barely enjoyable. For competitive play, that is.
That’s all we know so far, a month and a half after Season Four has ended. And even if there’s no doubt that the dev team is working on improving matchmaking, tier-rewards etc., for the fun part of it, I’ll throw out there some wishes and ideas they could play with in the season to come:
Ladder Climb Rewards
The first thing that comes to my mind are League Tickets. Whenever you cross a Division, you are rewarded with League Tickets (along gold and other goodies, of course) that you can exchange for items such as the Legendary parts for the First Year reward, or Mini Llamas, Shards of Glory, but little more.
I think that adding more rewards with the League Tickets would be on point. They could give finishers, skins (because Fashion Wars matters in sPvP too!), even monetary rewards because many people play both PvE and sPvP, and the latter is not the greatest gold earning method.
On the other side, there are rewards attached to Tier climbing. But you are only rewarded whenever you cross a Tier or a Division, and nothing else. If we assume that the Ranked system tries to place you in your “right” Division and Tier, you are supposed to get stuck in a pip range at some point.
Therefore, you are only rewarded when you climb easily, and not when trying to reach your right placement. One should be rewarded from improving his skill, not only for grinding against lesser skilled players than him.
I can’t come up with a genuine idea to fix this with the current system, but we know that they are working on it for Season Five and I am so looking forward to it!
Finally, the Second Year rewards. For the first year, we had the Legendary Backpiece, which needed a series of items purchasable with League Tickets, and it was acquired by a four-part achievement dedicated to it.
I think the overall idea is alright, but I hope for two things in this Second Year: a reward different than yet another backpiece and altering a few of the achievements. Especially when it comes to the latter, as much as I love completing achievements, some of them just drive me crazy.
For example, the daily matches achievement. I’m not quite fond of it because not only it just delays the reward artificially, but it also has nothing to do with being skillful and it’s only there to get people involved with PvP on a daily basis.
Then, there is the class achievements. Forcing you to play classes you might not like or you might not know how to play is really not that much fun and it can easily lead to toxic behaviors within your team. Say, I am in Diamond Division, I’d want my teammates to play the class they know the best, or the one that it is the most fun to them. Not a class they will play badly on, just because they need to do so to get the achievement.
This is a plain and simple wish. Usually, balance patches occur in off-seasons with an aim to fix unbalanced gameplay, to motivate diversity and to change the metagame.
Having that in mind, in my opinion, there should be a mid-season balance patch that happens about a month into the season, adjusting and making minor changes. Mid-season balance should be minor, while off-season balance should have a much larger scope (including reworks and the like). The first would improve gameplay, while the latter could be changing gameplay.
There have already been cases of minor changes aiming to swiftly balance some broken mechanics or builds during a season (hello there, Season 1 Rev & Chrono!), but what I’m mostly referring to is a broader group of little changes and tweaks to the classes that could take place every now and then.
Pippin’ Aint Easy
Even though I have my doubts regarding how the point system that we currently have in place truly represents a player’s skill, I won’t question it.
What I’d like to see in Season Five though, is a demotion system. It’s common knowledge these days that some players tend to lose on purpose many times in order to “tank” their MMR and as a result get easier matches. Demotion would greatly discourage players to do so.
It would also help place players in their right Tier according to their skill adjustment and not have them stuck somewhere where they don’t belong anymore. Pippin’ aint easy, you should be able to earn your place.
Another thing I’d like to see introduced in Season Five is tweaks to the Legendary Division. This one should somehow showcase the skill and prestige required to reach it, but given the amount of players that get there and the fact there is no more real rewards after it, it discourages players to continue playing.
Legendary Division at the moment is Sapphire-length and repeatable. Once you get to Legendary the only thing that awaits you is repeating the same Division over and over again until you feel bored and stop playing as much.
Getting to “Legendary x10” has no more prestige than getting to “Legendary x3”. It just means you have played more games. We could say that the pip system, overall, just encourages farming games, instead of improving your own skill.
One of the things the dev team could perhaps do, is showcase MMR when a player reaches the Legendary Division and hand out rewards accordingly, judging by their position on the ladder by the end of each Season. Another solution of course, would be having a cap in place regarding with how many players can be in Legendary, something that would effectively increase competition for a place in the Division.
All in all, I’d be pleased with anything that encourages to keep playing once you hit the last of the Divisions in the hierarchy.
The news about the allegedly big changes coming to Leagues are not yet released, but there are many hopes (and hypes!) surrounding it.
One thing is for certain, many things will change. I truly wish to see greater rewards while climbing (Tier cross), different rewards when entering a new Division (League Tickets) and an improvement to the overall rewards system for simply playing (Second Year reward).
Another hope I have is seeing the introduction of a demotion system and making Legendary Division truly meaningful. In my opinion, the pip system hinders the potential of Leagues, but that’s a topic for another discussion.
In any case, Season Five changes will bring joy and tears (probably more tears than joy). Only time will tell if the changes the dev team is planning will work out as intended and solve the current problems in place.