So I see alot of people asking “what happened?” and I see alot of other people trying to explain things who clearly haven’t been around since the start and don’t understand the context. For instance, many players think the stability change is what killed-off hammer-trains, when the reality is that most top-end guilds had shifted away from hammers more than a year before this.
I will try to explain here the history of WvW and show the changes that had a material impact on how WvW is played, to give some proper context to how we have ended up where we are. I don’t think I’ve missed anything important (obviously plenty of insignificant things missing) but shout if you think I have.
It is important to understand the timing of events, as this is what explains why HoT changes have been poorly received. For instance, the Desert BLs are not inherently bad maps, however the series of events from 2012 to 2015 resulted in a player-base which was conditioned to not like them.
Obvious hype at new game, massive queues for WvW. “Turtle” meta emerges, abusing unlimited AoE heals, bundling together, and nuking from ranged.
Ascended Trinkets introduced.
Orbs of Power removed due to hacking.
AoE Heal skills limited to 5 targets.
Meta shifts from turtling to maximising abuse of culling through portal-bombs and chaining veils.
Gem-cost for transferring server introduced.
First organised GvGs take place in EU.
WXP Ranks and Masteries introduced.
Emergence of the “hammer-train” meta, making heavy use of guardian stability uptime, warrior warhorn cleanses, elementalist water-fields, and hammer-stuns.
Confusion and Retaliation adjusted to match PvP values. The “confusion-bomb” tactic dies out.
Siege randomly despawning fixed.
Arrow-cart damage buffed by 80%.
Obsidian Sanctum moved out of EB into its own map instance.
Supply/Stealth Traps introduced.
Siege blueprints become trade-able, significantly increasing availability of superior siege.
Lake in borderlands replaced with Bloodlust Ruins.
Ascended weapons introduced.
“Violate my game-mode” incident where an ANet employee deliberately trolls an organised GvG, producing significant backlash on forums.
Bloodlust Ruins were controversial when first introduced, but quickly became totally irrelevant to most people. Generally only used by people to do daily’s.
“Violate my game-mode” incident severely damaged the relationship between ANet and hardcore WvW guilds.
First WvW Tournament Season
Boons and heals adjusted to prioritise party members.
Tournament sees highest participation in WvW since initial release.
There is extreme disappointment at the lack-luster rewards given at the end of the tournament. Bug (which was never fixed) means many players receive nothing at all, and those who do generally just get a few blues/greens.
At this point many players become dis-illusioned with “PPT” play and server-rankings, as tournaments highlight how dominant coverage/population is, and the poor rewards. “Fights” over-take “Points” as the most popular reason for playing.
Arena added to Obsidian Sanctum, assumed to be a consequence of “violate-gate”.
Toys and town-clothes disabled in WvW.
GvGs mainly move into OS, reducing some of the tension between hardcore PPTers and GvG guilds.
Move to OS sees the emergence of the focus-party meta, as OS has significantly more space than old windmill site.
Dis-abling toys in WvW means there is little reason for WvW players to buy things from the gem-store.
Ascended armour introduced.
Meta among guilds shifts from hard-CC to soft-CC. Warriors become most valuable for Flurry rather than Hammer-stun. Flurry+WellBomb becomes dominant guild meta. Pug-blobs still follow hammer-train meta.
Edge of the Mists map added.
Queues fixed to show your queue position.
Introduction of EoTM sees a significant population shift, as the more casual WvW players move there permanently, enticed by the significantly higher badge/karma/XP rewards. New players no longer need to enter “proper” WvW in order to earn badges for legendary.
This is initially received as a good thing, as now “true” WvW players don’t have to compete for queue-spaces with “PvErs”. Long-term result is significant drain of WvW population.
Second WvW Tournament Season begins.
Once again the tournament rewards are bugged, with many players not receiving the reward tickets.
Megaservers introduced in PvE
WXP changed from soul-bound to account-bound.
Ferocity stat replaces Crit-%
Major re-work of runes, sigils, and method for unlocking traits.
WXP change well received. Megaservers in PvE sever any link between WvW and PvE, and makes it much harder for WvW to recruit players from PvE. Decline of WvW population accelerates.
Ferocity change sees shift in roaming from power builds to condi builds.
Coloured Commander-tags added for 300g.
Third (and final) WvW Season Tournament begins.
Banners no longer revive dead Keep/Tower Lords.
Significant backlash against the proposed cost for commander-tag colours. Cost is eventually removed.
WvW maps no longer required for Map Completion.
Stability changed from stacking duration to stacking intensity.
WvW no longer required for map completion removes the last incentive for new players to try WvW.
Stability change does not affect roaming or GvG, but has major impact on large-scale fights. “Pirate-ship” becomes dominant zerg meta. Warrior is effectively removed from the meta. Ability of smaller guilds to fight larger groups significantly damaged.
Major re-work of traits (removal of “points”, forced to choose 3 trait-lines).
Change to arrow-cart line of sight.
Heart of Thorns launched.
Alpine map replaced with Desert map.
Revenant + Elite specializations introduced.
Changes to guild upgrades.
Guild Halls and Arenas.
Shield Generator introduced.
Guild banners and tactivators introduced.
Changes to how buildings upgrade.
WvW achievement requirements adjusted.
Badge gear now salvageable.
EoTM rewards reduced.
Waypoint availability between repel events fixed.
Many positive changes, but unfortunately many negative changes also. Major problems of WvW remain un-addressed (particularly population and stability). New PvE content, and requirement to PvE for new specializations and gear drains WvW population even further.
Revenant and and elite-specs reinforce the pirate-ship meta. Roaming becomes almost impossible for all non-elite builds.
Desert BLs not well received. Lag from Oasis event makes it almost unplayable for many. Majority of remaining population shifts to only playing EB if possible.
Changes to guild upgrades universally disliked.
Poor design of guild-arenas results in many GvG guilds giving up.
New squad UI.
Desert BL waypoints moved from spawn-towers to keeps.
Can no longer revive fully-dead while in combat.
Rallying reduced from 5 to 1.
All changes generally well received, but do not address major issues.
Oasis event disabled.
If there was one period I would point to as sending WvW into decline, it would be the introduction of EoTM, abysmal tournament rewards, the removal of WvW requirement for legendary, and introduction of megasever cutting off the supply of new players into WvW. No matter how good or bad the updates to the game are, veterans will always leave eventually. Without new-blood the death of the game-mode is only a matter of when, not if.
(edited by Ragnar.4257)