Feb 17, 2012

When Worlds Collide

The reveal of information about World vs. World (WvW) PvP in ArenaNet's upcoming Guild Wars 2 came as a bit of a surprise this week.  Not that we didn't know what it was or that they were working on it, but the timing of the reveal and the amount of detail was unexpected (for me, at least).

I've never been a big fan of PvP for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I don't seem to be that good at it and the second is that I generally don't find it fun (which is probably a result of the first reason!)

However, as I read the blog post about WvW, I started thinking that this was PvP that I could get into.

And then I asked myself: Why?

And the answer to that, I feel, is that WvW is a collision of worlds, both in a real sense and in a more metaphorical sense.

On the real level, the format pits three different server populations against one another for supremacy on a very large map.  Judging from the screenshots in the article, it looks like some of the keeps might be as large as a Guild Wars explorable zone, although it's hard to tell from just a couple screenshots.  Having three servers (or worlds) is intriguing because it brings a potential cooperative element into a competitive setting.  If one server is able to really rally it's players and it starts to dominate, the "lesser" two worlds can team up and face the more organized server with a united resistance.  I find this added dynamic very refreshing and appealing.

On another level, and what really grabbed my attention, is the addition of NPCs and monsters to the map.  The blog talks about defeating a nest of Harpies to gain favour with a band of Ogres who could potentially go on a rampgage on your behalf.  My initial reaction was "They've brought PvE into WvW".  And I think that this will be the great strength of the WvW format.  There's enough classic PvP content and bashing on other human players to satisfy the diehard PvP fan, but there will also be enough familiar PvE elements (mobs, XP, drops, dynamic events, quest-like objectives such as escorting Dolyaks) that it will also appeal to people (like me) who generally shy away from PvP.  Knowing that I could go into WvW and be able to just fight Harpies and not necessarily other players is something that appeals to me as a diehard PvE'er.

In a further melding of the two worlds of PvE and PvP, your server's success in the Mists can bring bonuses to the PvE world.  Now, I've read a lot of comments about this and most are surprisingly negative, but I think it's a great idea.  If your server does well, PvE players get a bonus.  If you don't do well, there's no penalty so there's no harm done.  We don't know what the bonuses are, but in another online game I played they ranged from a slight morale boost (think: getting a +2% morale/favor of the Gods bonus in Guild Wars) to accelerated XP gain for each PvE kill.  While the bonuses will inherently be beneficial, I think their true benefit will be in getting people to try the WvW format.

As an example, let's say that you belong to a PvE-only guild and you decide that you're going to work as a guild to do the dynamic event chain that will end in the fight with The Shatterer.  You could just work on the chain and go up against the boss.  Or, your guild might decide (and it will depend on what the bonuses turn out to be) that you'd be better off going into the mists and doing some WvW first to unlock a bonus which might then give you an edge against The Shatterer.  If the PvE bonuses entice players into WvW then I think it's a definite win-win.  And having things familiar to PvE'ers once they get to WvW might just keep them coming back.

At the end of the day, ArenaNet has spoken a lot about wanting to build communities.  Both with the game as a whole and within each server.  Having the personal story for the PvE fans and the 5v5 battles for the competitive PvP crowd is great for the game as a whole.  But I think that WvW is what will really make the individual server communities come to life as it bridges the two worlds of PvE and PvP while pitting three server-worlds against each other in a battle for bragging rights, glory and the joys that can come from well-executed teamwork in accomplishing a shared goal.

If it lives up to the expectations, WvW has the potential to bridge worlds and really breathe some life into the game and the communities it hopes to foster.

What are your thoughts?  Are you more of a PvP fan or a PvE fan?  What aspects of WvW appeal to you?  Let us know in the comments section.

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