Editor’s note (2014/08/06): MuffinMan just announced that they are making changes that are almost identical to what I had suggested as Option C below. Way to go Carbine!
Like many #WildStar players, I am a huge fan of the game’s combat system but believe the 50 PVP system is horribly flawed.
Here are the major issues with WildStar’s PVP system:
- The gear scales too much between blue unrated, 1500 rated, and 1800 rated gear. The stat differentials from blue->1500 and from 1500->1800 are quite significant, to the point where a 1800-geared player will vastly outperform a comparably-skilled blue-geared player. That is, 1800 gear is a faceroll advantage
- The matchmaking (MM) system pairs blue-geared players up against 1500- and 1800-geared players
- You tend to lose more rating from a loss than what you gain from a win. There are plenty of people who have noticed this. I average about 14-15 rating per win, about 22-23 rating per loss. To maintain a break-even rating, I have to win ~60% of my matches. To raise your rating at a meaningful rate, you need to win the majority of your matches. Given that the overall win/loss ratio for the population has to be 50/50 (it’s actually worse, I’ll talk about this in a moment), this means that a lot of players will be losing rating the more they participate in rated PVP. The ELO rating change calculations seem borked
About the 1st and 2nd points above, I sum up the gear differentials this way:
- blue gear = elementary school kid
- blue gear + full runes = middle schooler
- 1500 gear = high schooler
- 1500 gear + full runes = college student
- 1800 gear = adult
- 1800 gear + full runes = King Leonidas of Sparta. You know, this guy:
About the 3rd point above, the win/loss ratio has to less than .500 on a global scale. Why? Some players on the losing side in an RBG bail during the match, and this creates a vicious cycle where the losing side is short-handed, and then unfortunate players get sucked into the match, not knowing that it’s already ongoing. Therefore, the win rewards 10 players on the winning side, but more than 10 players may be credited with a loss, especially in a faceroll loss where the bailout rate is high. This week, I dropped I lost 45 points from 2 losses where I joined mid-match and our side was getting stomped. This is the reason I stay in losing matches until they finish (unless I have to log for RL reasons) – I don’t want to hurt the rating of another player of my faction who got sucked into the match in-progress by my selfishly leaving.
I can anticipate what the response will be from some players: just get 1800 gear, it’s not that hard.
The issue with obtaining 1800 gear or even 1500 gear at this point in the game:
- Class imbalance is still poor. Warriors and DPS Slingers are the meta, even with some of the recent Warrior nerfs. If you aren’t either of those classes or playing with carries on those classes, the PVP experience is rather painful
- It’s harder now to get to 1500 and 1800 than it was previously. Players who reached 1500 (RBG or Arena) or 1800 (Arena) within the first few weeks post-launch did not have to face a high density of 1800-geared players. That is no longer the case. Actually, the July 3rd patch widened the MM in terms of rating spread:
- (PvP) Improved matching for Rated Battlegrounds and Rated Arenas by increasing the amount of rating points per search interval and by increasing the max spread of rating used. This means roughly, that players should see an overall decrease in queue times when attempting to match players/teams of disparate ratings.
If you are in a guild or friends with people who are 1800, especially Warriors and DPS Spellslingers, you can benefit from them carrying you. On the flip side, if your friends and guildees aren’t 1800 or even 1500-geared, you are actually penalized for grouping with them because as a premade you will likely face a premade from the other side, and if they have geared players your team is going to struggle.
I experienced this after hitting 50 in early July and then working my way to 1500 RBG rating with my “Melee Mage” Esper. I soloed my way up to 1471 rating within 3 days of reaching 50.
I had the (incorrect) impression at the time that getting to 1500 wouldn’t be that difficult, but looking back I think I had an unusual win streak to get to 1471. Over the next 6 days my rating yo-yo’d until I finally reached 1500.
On my journey to 1500, in <Pharos> we had only 1 active 1500-geared player, a superb tank Stalker named Sinovia (now on Pergo). The more guildees I grouped with, the higher our loss %, because most of them were in blue gear, and our premade was getting matched against geared premades. This is the first time I’ve ever played PVP where grouping with baseline-PVP-geared guildees in battlegrounds is discouraged by how the game mechanics work :(
I can also anticipate that some folks will say: the upcoming progressive rating requirements for gear will help the PVP situation!
Actually, my projection is that it won’t meaningfully help players who are blue-geared, unless they are already at 1250+ rating before the patch. Here’s why:
- The % of players with purple gear (1500 or 1800) who rune their gear is going to be higher than the % of players with blue gear who rune their gear. The mentality of some players (not me) is “I’m not going to run my blue gear because I’ll replace it soon.” This is probably true for people getting carried by 1800s. But for the rest of the player base, not runing blue gear is going to put them at a significant stats disadvantage relative to purple players, and keep in mind, you need to win a majority of matches to steadily increase your rating
- There are plenty of (competent) players well under 1200 rating now, because of everything described above. Take a player at 1000 rating. Getting to 1250 would require winning ~18 matches straight, or having a 70%+ win rate over a longer stretch of matches. So while it’s nice that the fruit is lower, without being carried, it’s still too high for many players at sub-1200 ratings to reach up and grab
Keep in mind, I’m not talking about my situation. I’m not one to give up easily, and despite the unfriendly game mechanics, I’ve worked my way up to ~1700 RBG rating soloing or grouping with 1-2 guildees:
That said, I’ve been talking to folks inside and outside my guild, and there are plenty of competent players would can’t get to 1500 because of the factors described above.
Thanks to the PVP sytem, I’ll continue to end up in situations like the following screenie from this morning, where my 2-man group ends up facing a 7+ person premade with 1800 gear. My guildee Sinovia happened to start watching Blunt’s stream when the score was 3-3. Sure, we made them work for it, but they had a faceroll advantage due to gear differentials:
The kicker of the above screenshot was the loss dinged my rating by 20 points. Minus 20 points for a loss against that premade with that gear? That’s just silly! Sinovia said in their next queue pop they commented that “Taugrim’s not here” so at least I’m getting respect from my opponents. LOL.
By the way, I know things would be easier for me (and my guildees) if I just relented and rolled a Warrior or DPS Spellslinger. But games should never be about having to play the FOTM to be viable.
Granted, the upcoming patch changes should help DPS Stalker and DPS Esper in PVP. But the real culprits – gear differentials, crappy MM, crappy ELO calculations – will still be there.
My 2 cents on how to fix this: as always I advocate a skill-based PVP environment, so skill is the primary determining factor in PVP outcomes, not gear. It’s the healthiest for the game and provides the best experience for the players. The problem right now with WildStar PVP looks like this:
gear > class > skill
This is bass ackward, especially for a game that positions itself as being highly skill-based.
In my opinion, Carbine didn’t learn from WoW’s journey with PVP. WoW PVP became much more skill-based in Cataclysm, when rating requirements were completely dropped from T1 gear, so that players could acquire the same gear as anyone else, and since gear differentials were low to none, skill was the primary determinant in PVP outcomes. Blizzard later even dropped the stats upgrade in the T2 weapons, so T2 gear is a strictly cosmetic reward. Ratings in WoW are a reflection of performance – not what upgraded gear you can acquire – and that’s exactly how it should be.
If you’re truly skilled and playing a functional spec, you shouldn’t need better gear. Better players (on FOTM classes) + better gear = faceroll.
I hope Carbine sorts this out. I really do. I completely passed on a lot of games after GW2 – FFXIV, Neverwinter, ESO – because I knew those games wouldn’t appeal to me for a meaningful timeframe. I adore WildStar, but as a diehard PVP fan I’m finding the endgame PVP to be a big turnoff to me, my guildees, and the community. WildStar PVP was a blast from 6-49, not so much at 50.
As Tom Cruise said in Days of Thunder: I want to lose to a better driver, not a better car. That’s how it should be.
There are multiple ways this could be addressed.
OPTION A: LESSEN THE GEAR DIFFERENTIALS BETWEEN THE TIERS
E.g. if the current 1800 gear was actually more like the 1500 gear in terms of stats, and the current 1500 somewhere between blues and what it is now, gear would not be that much of a factor in driving PVP outcomes, and skill would shine moreso than now.
OPTION B: LEAVE THE SYSTEM AS-IS, BUT ADD 1800 GEAR TO RBGs
Wouldn’t solve the gear differentials issue, but would at least provide another option to players.
OPTION C: LESSEN THE GEAR DIFFERENTIALS, ADD 1800 GEAR TO RBGs
Option A and Option B could be combined to lessening gear differentials and adding 1800 gear to RBGs.
Option C is my recommended option, because it lessens the impact of gear and allows skill to shine, and it still provides gear progression for those who really care about that (i.e. people other than me).
OPTION D: FOLLOW THE WOW MODEL: HIGHER-RATED GEAR IS STRICTLY COSMETIC
This is letting everyone be able to acquire gear with the same stats, regardless of rating.
The longest-tenured progression MMORPG, WoW, has had strictly cosmetic gear at higher ratings for several years in PVP.
There are plenty of people who wouldn’t be OK with this, since they need progression to enjoy PVP, and/or they want to faceroll undergeared opponents.
So I didn’t realize there is another huge incentive to some 1800 players who are playing carry classes (esp DPS Slinger and Warrior) to continue to defend the system as-is: they make a 50 plat to boost a player to 1800 in 2v2.
This not only rewards the carrier with huge income – it screws up the economy, and it creates a pay-to-win environment.
I didn’t realize how much of a thing this was, but I heard about it when grouped with players from Pergo for RBGs last night. Some players have accumulated over 1000 plat (yes, 1k plat) from boosting on Pergo.
UPDATE 3 (2014/08/06):
MuffinMan posted this last night:
The gear gaps are being closed. The intent is to make it so skilled players in blues will still be competitive with players in Tier 2 sets (1800’s). We will be making following changes:
- The PvP blue set will be boosted to the current Tier 1 set
- The Tier 2 set will remain the same
- The Tier 1 set will be boosted to bridge the gap between blues and Tier 2.
- This change is targeted to be pushed out in the next few weeks.
Making Tier 2 Gear obtainable in Rated Battlegrounds:
I would also like to make Tier 2 pvp gear obtainable in Rated Battlegrounds. This is another change that will require approval and again, I will provide updates when I am able.
WAY TO GO CARBINE (with the voiceover)
I think he means that the 1500 gear is getting buffed to somewhere between where it is now and the current 1800 gear, and that the blue gear is getting buffed to the current 1500 gear.
The solution MuffinMan proposed is almost identical to what I described above as Option C, which was the option I recommended.
I am so psyched that they are going with a solution that makes PVP more skill-based, and still supports gear progression for those who want it.