PvP in Guild Wars tends to be a bit of a sticky situation. People either love it, hate it, or have never gone near it. Guild vs. Guild and Heroes’ Ascent are hard to get into unless you’ve got a group of friends to play with that are pretty decent, Codex is just odd, Random Arenas is, as the name suggests, a complete crapshoot, Alliance Battles combine the “we need a group” and random parts, and Jade Quarry and Fort Aspenwood are barely considered PvP and generally will have long, long waits trying to get into a match.
I’m generally part of the “nah, no thanks” camp when it comes to PvP. My guild is small and we’re all primarily PvE players, so GvG is right out. HA doesn’t really interest me much, and even if I wanted to try, I have no experience so no group would take me. Codex is interesting in theory but not really my thing. RA can be fun, but sometimes it can be utterly frustrating, and tends to be full of people trying to sync matches. AB isn’t really something that interests me. FA and JQ I do rather enjoy, but as mentioned above, it can take absolutely forever to get into a match sometimes. There’ve been days where I’ve waited ten minutes for it to find enough people on the Luxon side to start a match (yes, I am Kurzick).
Well, today, ArenaNet released a PvP-oriented update. And while it doesn’t fix all of the problems inherent in GW’s PvP (mostly because a lot of them are because of the community and not the game itself), it does do a lot to make it more interesting for people who may not have tried it before.
The biggest change is to the Gladiator title. It used to be that you’d only start gaining points on that title track after five consecutive wins in RA. This is, understandably, not an easy feat, and RA being what it is, is really not up to skill at all, and rather is down to luck more than anything else. Now, you get a point for every consecutive win, starting with the second. If you win two or three matches? Those matches actually meant something, now, as opposed to before where it was basically nothing but wasted time. The title itself now requires five times as many points as before to get to each rank, but since you’re earning points much faster, this makes the title much more accessible to everyone – particularly people who may have wanted to try out PvP before, but always found it too frustrating to bother with.
Codex Arena was always a neat idea from the start, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be as popular as a lot of people had hoped originally. The nature of the format – you have a small pool of skills to choose from, and the pool changes daily – makes it difficult to get into, because you have to really know your chosen profession in order to really be any good with it. That, and the skill rotation happened so quickly (every 8 hours), that once you figured out a build that worked for you, the skill pool would change. Again, something that could be highly frustrating. The time for the rotation has changed, now, though – now you have a day before the skill pool will change. That’ll give you a bit more playtime before you have to start from scratch again, making it a bit less annoying to play. The title for Codex has also been adjusted in the same manner as RA, making that title less irritating to try and progress in.
Ahh, Jade Quarry and Fort Aspenwood. They are my guilty pleasures – I can’t remember why I originally decided to try them out, but I decided that I quite enjoy playing them. They’re fairly easy, low-stress formats that any profession can play and while teams are random, so long as you can deal damage, you’re golden. The problem is that most people play these on the Kurzick side, and hence it could take forever to get into a match. No joke, I have waited 10 minutes for a match to start before. Of course, the epic dance parties that happen in the outposts while waiting can be fun, but you know what’s more fun? Obliterating Luxons and giant turtles. To try and encourage more people to join in and play, they made a few changes to the way rewards work for FA and JQ (and also AB). Now, instead of earning Kurzick/Luxon faction, you earn Imperial faction, which you can later exchange for K/L at a 1:1 ratio, or if you wish, Balthazar faction, at a 3:1 ratio. This way, if you’re waiting for a match and it’s taking too long? Just hop over to the other side! You won’t be penalized for playing the other side at all, since you can decide what faction you want to change your Imperial faction for. This also allows you to hold much more faction than normal, since your Imperial faction cap is the sum of your Kurzick and Luxon caps. The faction reward for wins has also been increased, which is always nice.
There were some other things in this update – Zaishen coins are now tradeable, some of the coin costs on items have changed, there are new coin rewards (Envoy weapons which cost 100 gold coins…steep. I probably won’t be saving for them myself), and there are new PvP quests aimed at giving a better introduction to the formats for people who might not have tried them before (awesome, those are), as well as some new items available. Basically, all sorts of nifty stuff.
This update was definitely aimed primarily at PvP players, but I would definitely say that it benefits PvE players quite a lot, too. Tonight I played RA and got a win-streak of 8 matches (according to my glad title track, I’ve only passed five wins once before), and I managed to play a dozen matches of JQ with the timer resetting only once. And I had fun, too. Of course there are people complaining about it – I came across a few determined whiners in Great Temple of Balthazar earlier tonight. And I certainly did some trolling of them, I’ll admit. So sorry you can’t sync RA with your guildies as easily because there’s a ton more people trying it. Complain all you want, but that format never required skill. Me, I’m going to have fun playing and not feeling like I wasted my time if I lose before five wins, and enjoy the fact that I can play JQ and FA quicker.
So, if you’ve never given PvP a try in GW, or always hated it? Go take a look. Get your feet wet. You might find that you enjoy it more than you’d think!