Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Weigh In - Arenas

A weigh in 2 days after the last may seem silly, but the results are no laughing matter. I am up to 219 as of this morning, and that's really no surprise. Mostly I have been hitting the bottle pretty hard since getting back from PAX - Mountain Dew of course. I think I've had one glass of water in the last three days? Need to correct that. I also need to be more consistent with my trips to the gym. I've had about a 50% adherence rate, and less when it comes to the strength building, which is sad because I just have to go into the next room for that. It's not all bad news though, I have kept to the daily walks at work and I haven't used the elevators to descend since returning from PAX. I haven't had lunch at the cafeteria in weeks, which is great for both my pocketbook and my portion control. I cannot say the same about dinners, we have been eating out far more regularly and that's a primary goal for this next week along with reducing my soda intake again. (Not looking forward to those headaches.) After I finish this post I will be heading down to the gym for a run on the elliptical, give my phone a chance to charge up so I can watch one of the 50 pending videos I have on You Tube.

Today Jen Gordy aka Bardic spoke to us on the subject of PVP Arenas. Follow me after the cut for the highlights.

Arenas in Wildstar will be a max level PVP option for organized groups of players looking for competitive small group content. They will have 3 team size options -- 2v2, 3v3 and 5v5. These options are very similar to what World of Warcraft offers in their Arena system, but not everything is the same. Wildstar presents one major difference right off the bat - extra lives!
"...our Arena match is not a single elimination match. Each team shares a set amount of respawns (based on the match size). To win an Arena match, your team must get the opposing team to use all of their respawns and then defeat any remaining living opponents."
 This could create some interesting strategies that shake up the game play. Do you take out the healer repeatedly, or do you find a fragile team member and eliminate them? Do you make a sacrificial play to accomplish a 2 for 1 trade? I am not a fan of duels or area PVP personally, I like objective based PVP when I play. When I watch, on the other hand, I'm happy to see skilled players working complex nuanced strategy to accomplish victory. Having these life pools will change the dynamic significantly. It's no longer about getting that first kill and then it's all downhill because that player will be back, able to swing the game back into balance.

Jen Gordy also discussed advanced features briefly.
"Web support (such as PvP leaderboards, profile pages, and reports), spectator modes, and support for streaming tools are items which we are either looking to tackle for launch or are putting on a wish list for future development."
 This was a bit of odd phrasing. Which features are planned for launch and which are regulated to "wish list" status? There is a serious difference even in saying that something is planned for future development and saying that it's added to a wish list. I don't think it's a good idea to even mention desirable features for an upcoming game unless they are planned for release, especially when talking PVP features. The lack of all of these features at Guild Wars 2's launch really hurt their PVP community. I hope Wildstar doesn't make the same error in judgment and is very clear with the PVP community which features they are going to get at launch and which features can be expected to work their way in over the first 6 months and what items are stuck on a wish list pending budgeting determined by utilization metrics.

It's hard to judge the value of these features because in truth how many people are really going to effectively use streaming tools? Anyone serious about streaming probably has the tools they need already with Xsplit and capture rigs. Will they really miss one button streaming tools? How about spectator cam? maybe 1% of the games population will ever use the spectator camera more than out of curiosity. Even a very popular game has a limited number of shout casters really making use of the tools for effectively broadcasting a match. But how many people watch that? How many people will be drawn to the product as a result? Is a streamer just as valuable as a shout caster? It's hard to put development time into these features over adding new maps or game modes, or new rewards.

I hope these tools make their way in at launch, I think a strong PVP community is a vital pillar of support for a game, and they are probably the second most fickle crowd so getting their loyalty early is crucial.

Let me know what you think. How does the team extra lives system taste? Do you feel the expanded PVP features are important to the general health of the game?

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