The Scrying Pool: DATTPARtn

This week Matt makes up weird names while talking about improving WvW Ranks.

In each article of The Scrying Pool, I look at what is and what could be. After taking a look at what is present in Guild Wars 2 now, be that lore or game mechanics, I then ask What If? What if this happened in the lore or this feature was added in a future patch.

Since the World vs. World (WvW) Rank and Ability system was implemented earlier this year, players have complained about the system being tied to each individual character. The cause for complaint is not entirely unfounded. A character would need to gain 1,315 ability points to unlock every WvW ability. With a single rank, and the single ability point awarded with the rank, requiring a reported average of an hour or more, acquiring a substantial amount of abilities on a single character is an undertaking, let alone multiple alts.

I had the opportunity to interview Mike Ferguson and Habib Loew back in March about the then upcoming addition of the WvW Rank and Ability system. A major part of this system, they had said, was to give players a progression parallel to character level so that players would still have a sense of progression after their character reached level 80.

Earlier this week, Devon Carver, WvW Coordinator and Designer of ArenaNet, hosted a live forum Q&A on MMORPG.com to answer community questions about WvW. He mirrored the same sentiment of Mike and Habib when asked about making WvW Ranks and Abilities account-wide. He said that “It is important to us that World Ability Points are a character specific progression system and that when you spend those points your characters feel like they are distinguished from one another.” In response to another question he added, “We think that the attachment you build with individual characters is important and that is part of the reasoning behind the current version of the system.”

So does this mean that players will forever be stranded on the character-bound shores of despair? Well, yes. While there will be no change to the character-bound nature of the WvW Rank and Ability system, there is still hope for an improvement. In the same Q&A, Devon said that “It is also very important to us that people with more than one character don't feel like they shouldn't play all of those characters…We think the WXP system needs to be more alt friendly, no doubt, but we also want you to be progressing your characters while you play the game.”

Admittedly, I don’t play WvW all that often. My highest ranking character is only in the mid-20s, though this is partially due to not sticking to a single character very often. While it would help my alt-oholic nature to have the WvW ranks be account-wide, I have always liked the character-bound setup that the ranks had. Each of my characters has been built up in different ways and it is nice to know where a Gold Invader sits instead of gambling whether he is just on his noob elementalist that he doesn’t remember how to play.

Like Devon, I’d like to see a way to make the WvW rank and ability system continue to work on a character basis, but not punish players for wanting to play other classes or characters. With that in mind, I will unveil my grand evil scheme that I have appropriately named Double-All-The-Things-Plus-Account-Rank-(tentative-name).

DATTPARtn (pronounced Data-part-in) comes down to two main ingredients: the introduction of an account-wide WvW rank and a bonus catch-up mechanic to individual character ranks.

Upon implementation, the account-wide rank would be set to the highest WvW rank that was achieved on the account. So if you have a character with rank 20, another with rank 12 and all the other characters at rank 1, then your account-wide rank would be 20. Now every time that you rank up on your account, no matter whether you are on the rank 20, rank 12 or the utter noobs, your account-wide rank goes up 1. So you upped your rank 20, now both your account and that character’s ranks are at rank 21.

What is important is that the account-wide rank doesn’t matter for any rewards. Your WvW title and the number of ability points that are available on any character are only affected by that character’s individual character rank.

If the account-wide rank doesn’t matter for any of the important stuff, then what good is it? This is where the second ingredient of DATTPARtn comes into play. To help make playing alts more inviting, any character whose rank is below the account-wide rank will be affected by the catch-up mechanic.

This catch-up mechanic would double all the things. Players would be getting double world experience and rank up twice every time they would rank up. Going back to the previous example, you now have an account-wide rank of 21 and rank up on a rank 12 character. After the rank up the account-wide rank would be 22 and the character’s rank would now be 14.

With this system players could quickly rank up their alternate characters and get that sense of character progression without it taking nearly as long as the first time. This system would also make it not feel like a waste for leveling alts. Since my rank 21 character is now below the account-wide rank of 22 (since I leveled it while on an alt), it now applies for the catch-up mechanic.

This creates a problem, however. Players could use alts to boost their main character by only playing it after it qualifies for the catch-up mechanic. So maybe the highest ranking character only benefits from the double rank (to keep that sense of not wasting time on alts) but not the increased WXP gain (which could be exploited for faster ranking on a single main character).

When a character double-ranks, they would still get the rank-up chests from both ranks so that this system doesn’t have a glaring negative. If you don’t play on alts, this system wouldn’t affect your WvW ranking gameplay in any way.

The double WXP is probably a bit too much, especially when the double ranking and WXP boosts are considered. I would say it would be better for the boost to be in the +25-50% range, but double all the things just sounded more awesome.

Matt "Mattsta" Adams can't wait for the Halloween content in the next patch!

With Tuesday's patch, Moto will be closing up his shop until the next release of the Super Adventure Box. If you still want/need to get something from him, you only have a few days left to get it. I personally have enough to get a yellow, 2 green and 2 blue weapons, but I still don't know what to get. Whatever I do get will just be sitting in my bank for now.

Also, ZAM will be interviewing some ArenaNet devs next week about the upcoming WvW season. Let us know if you have any questions you would like to get answered.

If you have a question for me or a topic you would like to see talked about here, leave a comment below. You can also tweet your question and topics or follow me on twitter @MattstaNinja.

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