Digital Salad: World Versus World Mist Runner!

The latest season of the Guild Wars 2 World Versus World tournament continues, and it’s been dragging me back into the game. I’m almost scared to admit it, but the tournament has reignited my flare for the game a little. What Scarlett could not do, roaming the ruins can do!

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First things first, I’ve got myself a new favourite world versus world character.

You might remember I introduced you to my, definitely not a salad, very butch Norn Necro. He had become my firm favourite in World Versus World for a good few months. Strong area attacks, as well as the massive punch you can pack with conditions was great – especially when so few seem to run with any sort of serious condition cure.

World Versus World is made for necros – especially when commanders order their zerglings to “STACK UP” – that’s just aching for a necro staff bomb.

That said, Mr Not-A-Salad, is now on the back burner. My little Asuran warrior, Ingelix, is now my favourite. I’ve been leveling her up rapidly in the Edge Of The Mists while picking up the last few achievements for the Tournament Meta.

I now understand why so many take warriors into World Versus World. Although, that said, I don’t understand why so many don’t take any decent condition cures or defensive utilities. I see so many running full dps beserker builds. As far as I can see it, World Versus World isn’t the place for beserkers, its about sustained high damage and crowd control – not charging in guns blazing and then collapsing like a cardboard fort.

That aside, Ingelix is now my favourite and who I play as most – now nearly hitting level 80 without much effort. That’s a very important postscript, because I really hated leveling her up in PvE at the lower levels despite generally enjoying levelling my other characters the old fashioned way!

Just EOTM things
Just EOTM things

So, I’ve managed the Meta. The slightly kinder achievements for this season were a definite good move by Arena Net. I’ve seen some hardcore WvW veterans complaining that they achieved them after mere hours of standard play, but for me it’s taken 2 and a half weeks of fairly intense by my standards WvW gaming. That’s just about the right level for it to be set at for my tastes, but there is no pleasing everyone!

I’m looking forward to the Mistforged weapon rewards. There’s some awesome skins in there, especially that mace. Shame I don’t use mace on any character!

At the moment Seafarer’s Rest is sitting nicely at the top of the Gold League, which is good news for me! We’ve been fighting very well recently, while a lot of our older (and arguably better in some cases) enemies seem to be having problems languishing much lower on the league tables. Looking at Vizunah Sq in particular; last season’s undefeated champions are now sitting in joint 7th with a mere 2nd and 3rd place in their first two weeks. What on earth has happened to Viz – they were amazing enemies.

With nine weeks of the tournament in total though, its still relatively early days. We’re seeing strong competition from Desolation in particular, but their later match ups might not be too kind to them on the points, so we shall see. All is still to play for, with nearly every server still within shooting distance of a chance at a podium finish.

How you (used!) to spend most time when fighting Vizunah Sq
How you (used!) to spend most time when fighting Vizunah Sq

The funny thing is, is that I now realise the impact of playing WvW on a top Gold League server has had on me. I would certainly not classify myself as a hardcore WvW player, and actively enjoy the new Edge Of The Mists map which many refer to as a sort of ‘WvW lite’, or ‘WvW for noobs’.

I’ve really enjoyed playing in the EOTM. The funny thing is is that you can almost tell which server players are from in the multi-server match ups there.

Those from Seafarer’s, we always watch the back of the group when attacking a tower. Just like the cat I used in my last post:

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You’ve got to be on the lookout like that.

I remember back in Season 1 of the WvW Tournaments, Vizunah were the dominant force for good reason. I remember one attack in particular, on our home border where we knew that the main Vizunah zerg was on another map at the time. We thought we would be sneaky and take a tower near their base. It took them less than 30 seconds for that entire zerg to map jump and wipe us out entirely. Nobody escaped, not one. It was brutal, and I learnt the lesson hard.

I would never dream of not checking behind the zerg’s back when attacking a tower these days. Most other servers, they’ve not had that brutal lesson, so you see them merrily chopping away at gates even when enemies pop up behind us.

It makes me feel good actually. Not that I’m judging the other players; I kind of envy them in fact being in such a calmer WvW environment. But, being relatively good (when as far as Seafarer’s Rest comparisons goes I’m not that great) makes me feel good. So thank you to EOTM for that, it’s a pleasure to play!

Other than that there isn’t much news from World Versus World. Now that I have the meta achievements I probably won’t be on GW2 quite so much, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the leader boards as they develop and definitely be popping in to the borderlands and EOTM for a good fight with little Ingelix.

Asura with a Charrzooka, what could be scarier!

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Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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Guild Wars 2: WvW Season 1 – The Spoils Of Victory

Season 1 of WvW is now officially over. The battlefield hasn’t exactly fallen silent, with the mayhem continuing onwards as ever, but the dust is now settling as people take a look back at the last 7 weeks and the reward they received for all their efforts.

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My prediction last week for the EU came true, we did end up with joint 2nd with Seafarer’s Rest and Jade Sea both on 27 points, with Vizunah as the run-away victor on an undefeated 35 points. Unexpectedly, Piken and Baruch Bay tied for joint 4th on 25 points. So it was all very close in the main pack at the end.

Vizunah won, and well done to them. The undisputed champions and WvW experts of the EU. I do have some quarms with saying that, what with them having the advantage of huge numbers and one language amongst those numbers. Even with those advantages though, and having fought them, they have fought hard to achieve what they have.

The main thing that struck me about Vizunah’s victory was not just how well they fought but how single minded they were. During almost the entire of week 7 they had a zerg sitting outside the Border Base for us on the Piken borderland. Anybody who strayed out of our base, even in a large group for a breakout event, was ruthlessly massacred. It made sense, it was a guaranteed way to ensure a clear run of victories, but I didn’t see how they were getting any fun out of that.

Vizunah's tactics of dominaton
Vizunah’s tactics of dominaton

Its similar to how they swamped Obsidian Sanctum with huge numbers. Anybody who strayed out looking for a fun fight was promptly steamrollered. I fear that perhaps their bloody-minded determination to win Season 1 so convincingly may have dented their enjoyment of it, as well as everyone else’s. Steamrollering small groups as a massive zerg can be fun, but not for an entire week, and certainly isn’t as fun as coming out on top of a close run battle or duel.

That’s more of a personal preference I guess. Maybe they enjoyed controlling Piken and Seafarer’s so dominantly in the final stretch. I would have been bored stiff if I was in their groups! Not to blame Vizunah in particular, I just dislike the use of such tactics.

What about the Season as a whole; has it been an enjoyable experience?

A fight against Vizunah in Season 1 - what was the difference from any other battle outside of the Season?
A fight against Vizunah in Season 1 – what was the difference from any other battle outside of the Season?

Well, the thing that strikes me most now that Season 1 is over is the feeling that nothing might as well ever have happened. Nothing has changed. That ties in with the loot, which was nothing particularly valuable. In many ways it makes sense that WvW hasn’t changed as a result, and that the loot wasn’t out of this world. With such a focus on it as a big event though I wished it would at least feel as if something important had happened. It half feels like a dream. What was the point of the Season? The only difference in the long run was to shake up the match ups a little, and even then we’ve returned to the normal pretty disappointing ones now that its over.

I wished it had shaken up the servers a bit as well, added a bit more spice to the tactics. I’ve spoken quite a bit before about my server community’s disappointing attitude towards non-elites in WvW. That attitude got us knocked down into the bottom of the Gold tier league table before hard graft and determination pulled us back up to joint 2nd by the end of the Season. Has the community attitude changed for the better? Well, a little. We have some nicer attitudes out there, where before there was very few. Here’s a screenshot of a good map chat advert from week 7:

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Yet only minutes later we had the not so constructive:

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Tempers flare, sure. Seafarer’s Rest is notorious for our angry commanders, and generally the rest of the community take it in their stride, the trouble is how off-putting it is to those not used to it. Its pretty off-putting even if you are used to it. I was hoping it had changed for the better, but it seems that there is still a strong core of unconstructive elitism at the heart of our community even with the Season now over.

All in all, Season 1 was something of a let down for me. I enjoyed watching the points tables, but that exists in the rank tables outside of the Season anyway. The community on my server improved a little as a result, but there’s still a long way to go and a lot more to learn when it comes to well-rounded WvW strategy.

What are your feelings about Season 1 now that its over? What did you think of the loot? Has your server community changed for the better because of the server?

 

Digital Salad – https://lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

Guild Wars 2: The Great WvW Experiment

I’m calling this great, which perhaps is a little egotistical but bear with me because I believe what this post will uncover is greatly important.

Firstly, I live with a scientist (who I’ll call fox from now on) and our best friend is also a scientist (who I’ll call master from now on). Although not one myself, needless to say the idea of an experiment to answer a question was one of our immediate reactions.

The experiment team
The experiment team

So, recently the debate over VOIP third party softwares has flared up. We’re all on a gold league European server, so the software of choice for our server is Teamspeak 3. Adverts for it are constant in world versus world and there are even teamspeaks for game elements such as champion farming on our server.

We could see the potential benefits teamspeak offered, after all we coordinate whilst sitting in the same room to play at our best so it’s next best to that we thought. So, we decided to experiment.

The experimental method

Get me being all science-y with a method!

The plan was that all three of us would join world versus world on our home borderland, which we pre-checked had people talking in its TS channel. This was at peak time, so much waiting happened before we could make a start.

An interesting little result that we didn’t expect was that fox got into the borderland immediately, even after joining the queue 5 minutes after Master and I. It took me another 10 minutes to enter and Master another 10 minutes on that. So, the world versus world queue is certainly random and there’s nothing you can do to make it favour you. Result number 1!

Once we were in we set up ready for the experiment. I would be following the fight on teamspeak alone, no in-game chats of any type and using the map only when seriously lost. I was chosen for this because of the three of us I know world versus world the best, so if they said a location in teamspeak I would usually know where they meant.

Tooled up Master
Tooled up Master

Fox would be totally isolated apart from the map – no teamspeak or map chat, listening to music on an MP3 player to drown out the teamspeak. We checked this before so that fox couldn’t overhear what was said.

Master was lucky enough to get both map chat and teamspeak, so he was fully tooled up.

We each left the party and represented different guilds to ensure that we couldn’t see each other on the map, and away we went on our separate ways.

We would join the fight for 30 minutes and each log where we were and what we were doing, as well as our overall experience rating.

The surprising results

First of all, in those 30 minutes there were around ten adverts on map chat for people to come and join the teamspeak channel. They had no impact at all. We began with 32 in the teamspeak channel at the start, and ended with that many. The adverts, no matter how frequent have no effect.

Second, teamspeak was of no use. This is the surprising result, and this isn’t formed of prejudices, its our scientific finding.

To explain that further, as the one on pure teamspeak I was usually the most confused. I was being yelled at by people with bad connections, coming out in such bad quality that it was of no use to Master who ended up relying on map chats far more given the freedom to choose which tool to watch. Moreover, I was the one to die most.

Paul the Murrellow sums it up perfectly
Paul the Murrellow sums it up perfectly

When on teamspeak you follow the commander. They are all you can hear – in their crackly dictatorship of the channel. I had nothing but that to go on, so I would follow him into oblivion whenever he made a bad choice. Fox and Master had the freedom to use their own initiative, and therefore died less. They could follow the zerg at a distance and choose to join it when the fight looked winnable or withdraw if the fight looked hopeless. I was left charging whatever the situation – and it got me killed often. This was also the case when we were all in a fight together. I had to follow the commander, where most of the enemy agro was, and therefore died often. Fox and Master could orbit the outside of the fight and stay alive more as a consequence.

Maybe I contributed more before I died? Our findings were that I died so often being in the main teamspeak pack, where the enemy agro is usually fully focused, that I made little meaningful impact before I was almost immediately dead. This isn’t my build or my class, only the tankiest guardians and eles survived that kind of sustained agro, but if you’re left with only them alive to fight you haven’t got much damage output left.

Not only was I the most dead, and lowest contributor to the fight of all of us, I was also the most confused. I should add a disclaimer that our server is a particularly international one, and in this case I was listening to a Greek and then a Portuguese commander. Combined with bad quality sound coming through once it was processed through their mics, over thousands of miles and back again to go through my speakers, I couldn’t understand much of what was said.

Serious face Napoleon
Serious face Napoleon

Once in a fight the manic shouting began on teamspeak, and this was of little value to me. Tactical advice goes out of the window on teamspeak in a big fight in favour of the commander repeatedly swearing very loudly. This was of no use to me, and was just plain tiring.

In fact, there was little other than the commander yelling at me or swearing at me at all, certainly no community feel – just an armchair Napoleon dictating to me.

Overall, I had the worst experience in our 30 minutes. I died more, did less when alive, and was the most confused. I think my pet Murrellow in the picture above sums up how I felt about my experience. I think we all agreed in the end that Fox had the most fun of the lot, staying alive more, contributing more, understanding more of what was going on whilst also enjoying the music of the Scissor Sisters – clearly good fighting music!

Conclusions

Teamspeak is something of a cult, and like any cult there is an unshakable belief in something that is essentially normal at the centre of it. That is what I believe teamspeak is after this experiment. Teamspeak has the potential to be incredibly useful as a tool, but it is often not used in the best way possible. Yet many players continue to believe that victory lies with getting everybody on teamspeak.

TeamSpeak_LogoIdeally, nobody should have to use teamspeak and our server is pretty much at that stage. Each player followed the commander whether they were on teamspeak or not, but those not on teamspeak were knowledgeable enough to know where they were going, what they were doing and what they needed to do. Players playing well in-game certainly don’t need teamspeak, they just need a dorito to guide them and group them together.

Worst of all, teamspeak ruins the experience. I enjoy world versus world usually, but never use teamspeak. Using teamspeak ruined the fun and left me exhausted after only 30 minutes.

At the end of the day Guild Wars is a game, do whatever you enjoy. I do not condemn those who use teamspeak, especially if they don’t find it as draining as I did. If you enjoy teamspeak, use it. However, given the results of our experiments it makes no sense for teamspeakers to advertise for people to join in with teamspeak in map chat incessantly – it has no affect at all and ruins the player community.

Anybody wondering if they should try teamspeak because they constantly see the adverts, don’t feel that you have to, you can make a meaningful contribution without it. Read our results, try it out for yourself and see whether you like it. If you don’t like it, don’t use it and ignore the adverts. Guild Wars is about enjoying yourself, its a game, so don’t ever feel that you have to compromise your own fun. Equally, neither side in this debate should try and change the other’s fun. We must respect each other as individual players who all want to play our own way within the world of Tyria – nobody has the right to change that for ourselves as individuals.

As ever with such things, a key disclaimer is that our experiment was server specific. You may well have a good teamspeak community, and I don’t mean to discredit that.

And finally, here’s a cute picture of some Quaggan because this post has been far too serious and heavy. Lets all share in the Quaggan love.

guild_wars_2_fanart___quaggan_adventures_by_jeffufu-d5fe61s

Digital Salad – https://lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

Guild Wars 2: World Versus World Season One – I Finally Got In (sort of)!

We’re almost half way through season one of world versus world now, so I thought I’d do an update on how its been going since my post about how it got off the ground.

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Queues

With the new Living Story update in Kessex Hills a lot of players have been attracted away from world versus world, and this has meant that the queues have reduced.

Hallelujah! I hear you cry it from here.

gw323Well, I say the queues have reduced, its a bit more complicated than that. If you want to get into the Eternal Battleground you’re still going to have a bad time. Queues of over 4 hours are still common on my gold league server for the EB.

However, if you’re prepared to go into one of the enemy’s borderlands you’re probably going to able to waltz right in, outside of peak hours. I even managed to get in to one of the borderlands at peak time on the weekend, when it should have been heaving with players. So, if you don’t mind fighting in the borderlands – and I personally prefer playing as the invader on someone else’s map – wvw has become a bit better as the season’s gone on, its now where it reasonably should be for queue length.

Will it stay like that? Probably, given that the Living Story will be continuing to attract people away for the next couple of weeks with its achievements and rewards.

Epic Battles

Epic battles is maybe a bit strong, but I’ve had some fantastic fights. That could be our opponents this week in particular; but on the whole I’ve found the fights much more fun since the season began. Commanders seem a little bit more willing to charge in to battle in search of glory – and that’s what wvw is all about for me, charging into massive battles and hopefully coming out alive and at least going down fighting if not!

gw319Unfortunately my server’s strategy is still slacking comparatively to our opponents. Our gold league enemies, even from much lower down the ranks, are far better at the balance between defence and attack as well as posting scouts all over their territory to report on our movements. Most of our commanders still stubbornly refuse to defend at all and I’ve yet to see much in the way of scouting going on.

I’d be happy to scout myself, but unfortunately most people don’t listen to scouts – they’ve been too busy ranting at each other.

On the whole though, good fights continue in this season.

Bad Attitude

One observation I’ve made in my time in wvw, is that the attitude has got worse. I’ve spoken about the bad attitude of many in wvw before in the last season one post, and also why I don’t want to buy a commandership (at least on my server). I guess my last post on multiplayer mentality touched on this as well.

gw322Essentially, with all very much at stake as the leaders start to pull away from the chasing pack at this point in the season, my server in particular is trying hard not to be left too far behind the leader. This has lead to fractured tempers, angry raging and just generally not a good mood on the whole.

I think cakeboxfox sums it up well, she’s my flatmate and plays on the same server as me, with her latest post on it Teamspeak? Team GW2 WvW Clique?.

I’m fed up of the uncompromising attitude of many ‘hardcore’ wvw players on my server. Everything must be done perfectly their way, without question and more fool anybody who dares ask why. It isolates them from the majority of the player base more than anything, even if what they’re doing is ‘the right way’ (if that even exists in reality).

I hope the attitude changes but I fear its declining even further on my server. What have other people been observing on their servers?

Digital Salad – https://lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com