The third pvp season has started a while ago and is in full swing by now. As I have posted at its start my aim was to finish my legendary backpiece and enjoy some more balanced matchmaking due to the changes made compared to last season. I am half way through sapphire by now and want to share some of my thoughts and my experiences so far in this season.
Before I start I want to give a fair warning that the following is obviously a very subjective account of things and that my own view or experience does not necessarily say anything about matchmaking and class balance. Neither do I claim to be an expert on pvp nor play anywhere close to the display of skill one can see at the ESL pro league matchups. I do, however, think I have played the mode enough to have more or less an idea what I talk about.
This season so far has been a journey of extremes in both directions – winning and losing which in short is the reason I did not enjoy pvp much lately and only keep doing it so I can get my backpiece and be done with it. I started my season in Emerald right away due to the changes made in order to prevent unfair matchups at the beginning of each season. During the second pvp season I achieved ruby tier (or truth be told I simply stopped there as I lost my motivation to go much further) which is the reason I started in Emerald instead of Amber.
The first few matchups where complete faceroll wins to put it in as polite terms as can be. Matchups like those are a completely frustrating and useless experience for the losing side. I do not even want to hear the argument here that you can win from your loss and should just get better as this is not the case. You simply cannot learn and get better when you spend more time dead than alive and there is really no time to realise or analyse what went wrong. Guild Wars 2’s combat system, as fun as it is, is fast paced and very hard to read. When even an experienced player has difficulties to make out a shock aura on the enemy elementalist, something that mid combat is basically a nigh invisible effect, then how does one expect a new player to be aware of the fact he was just stunned because he attacked the moment said aura was up? And this is just one of many examples.
To sum up: in my honest opinion there is not much of a chance to learn or improve when a new player is thrown into a matchup with enemies that may as well win while sitting on one of their hands. In worst case this will turn off a player completely of the game mode as matchups like those are a waste of time at best.
As much as my first few matchups where easy and actually unfair and not deserved wins the tides turned for me upon hitting tier 5 of Emerald. It took me almost 2 weeks with some 50+ matches to get the 4 pips needed for advancing into Sapphire. I do not even have adequate wording to describe the amount of frustration. Hardly was there any loss that was during a fair matchup that could have gone both way and it simply turned out a bit better for the opposing team.
Naturally I made bad plays as well, made mistakes, judged situations wrong etc. But I am not so bad to deserve so many matches for 4 pips needed. Even if I was that bad – how many lost matches does the corresponding team at ArenaNet believe I should suffer before my MMR adjusts and I get matches with players more akin to my skill level? When a win/loss ratio of 50:50 is aimed at – which to my knowledge is the case with GW2’s pvp, then something here went clearly wrong.
Granted, I never had so many rage kiddies, afkers and trolls in my teams as during this season but to get paired with clearly not so experienced players (which is not to degrade them it is simply the result of observation during matches that tells you this) against teams in which almost every member has a legend title from previous seasons does strike me as very odd. Again, even if I was so bad – I doubt that lower ranking players within their range of usual matchups have to suffer through so many matches just to get 4 pips.
Overall my win/loss ratio for this season is still around 48-49ish %. So what’s the big deal you may ask? The big deal is that a % number just like an exel spread sheet of Arenanets economist does a rather poor job of displaying fun while playing. Most lost matches I had where nothing to learn from but a lost cause from the very moment the match started while most matches I won where of equally bad experience for my opponents.
One of my guild mates claimed that there is no problem here. I am at close to 50% which is intended so it is fair. I say: no, far from it. Do I deserve my wins if when it was basically bashing new players? Or do I deserve my loss streaks when you get players that start to argue or contribute nothing and then go afk because the rest of the team is “useless” or simply players on your side that lack experience? Maybe MMR can’t take into account the possibility of players afking etc. and I do not expect that of it. I do, however, think it is not asked too much of that players on both sides are somewhere within the same range of skill – however that may be measured or achieved. I am no game designer and maybe my criticism is poor due to offering no solution but fair matchups is still something I wish for.
I had several days with 5-6 loss streaks in a row whenever I won a single match and then got out of Emerald with a win streak of 7 that continued in Sapphire. Both scenarios should not be the case although the latter is more or less required with how the pip system works.
What are your opinions about this? Did you have similar or actually quite contrasting experiences? I would like to know. Maybe I was just extremely unlucky this season.. In any case I will write another post on this topic once the season has concluded on July 12th and the dust has settled in order to lean back and reflect upon all of this.
Until then, all the best for your pvp progress –