I’m not happy. While the rest of the site has been unable to write due to the joy of Guild Wars 2 being so awesome, I’m fuming at a critical failure. Structured Player vs Player is working, in a sense. But anything resembling a competitive game is thrown out the window once you realise the simple flaw of being unable to make a private game. Balance issues and map problems are nothing if you can’t play it on a competitive scale on your own, and players are stuck unsure what to do apart from nothing.
I’ll just say it straight out. If I am a five-player competitive team in sPvP and want to scrim against another guild, either for practice, training or even an outside tournament not run by ArenaNet, there is no physical way to do it. Forget spectator mode, forget map and balance issues, forget all the nitpicking. If sPvP does not have a way of making sure five players can play against five players on a chosen map, there isn’t an eSport, there isn’t a competitive game, it will be forgotten completely.
Now, there are still competitive tournaments ingame with the tournament mode system. While this is an interesting idea and works, it’s just not good enough. The standard pickup 8 team competitions are currently unranked, the first teams to arrive go into the bracket. This means that a team with higher skill and learning, for example a standard guild, will mostly be matched up with random pub groups, or an even higher guild with more skill, making games incredibly one-sided. Furthermore, we have no way to confirm what teams are winning and losing apart from word-of-mouth and screenshots, a far cry from the ranked ladders and other tools from the original Guild Wars.
Let’s say I want to run a league; we’ll have an open invite for any team to join and make it pretty casual. It says right there on the website that competitive players looking for organised play can participate in player-run tournaments. So why can’t anyone make a map for the two teams to play on? This makes no sense! You can’t say you’re making a game that’s going to be an eSport and then not include a way for people to actually play the game like one. Spectator mode I can understand, it’s not essential to having your basic match. This? No.
I stated in my last writeup that I was willing to make allowances for the MMO genre with no map-making and demos to be expected. But you can’t be this barebones and expect players to flock to your game. Why would I want to play a game where I can’t scrim or practice rollouts? Who will sponsor a game that nobody can see and nobody can organize? No-one, that’s who.
I say this one more time.
The community needs these tools to create a great eSport. Please ArenaNet. Give them to us.
Edit during peer review: A redpost on the official forums by Colin has them explaining the current status of these tools.
All three of these features are planned, yes. It is our tradition to not discuss in detail any feature until we have it fully implemented enough that we can talk about it with confidence, as we don’t want to promise a feature to work one way and then end up having it work a different way. We’ll save details on all of those until they are ready to be talked about.
Chaplan will be putting out a blog post in the next few days that summarizes where we stand with PvP right now, and where we’re headed. From there we’ll continue to update as other Esports features come online.
Our focus right now is making sure absolutely all of the potential issues/bugs with base tournaments and rewards are 100% cleaned up before we introduce any form of more serious competition. We’re also trying to make sure we’ve given enough time for the base strategies to develop, and for any skills/builds that are out of balance are identified. Once we’re totally convinced things are in a solid state, you’ll start seeing a roll out of major PvP esports features and we’ll get this thing going like crazy. Take this opportunity now to learn your classes, learn your builds, lockdown strategies for your teams and get ready! Once we start rolling out the esports features, it’ll build up rapidly from there.