The Queen’s Jubilee brings a number of changes for fans of PvP.
For those of us who love Guild Wars 2 PvP but aren’t so excited about PvE the last few patches have been sort of sparse. Sure there was a patch which changed professions quite a bit, and the last couple of events had PvP games as part of them (Dragon Bash and Aspect Arena). There just haven’t been any real changes to structured PvP itself. Well, ok yea we did get a new map, but it’s just the same old sPvP in a new map. Thankfully The Queen’s Jubilee brought a fair number of changes for PvPers.
Solo Arena Queue
Perhaps the biggest change is the change to how queuing for arenas works. Previously you could queue by yourself but you might end up with four other strangers fighting a coordinated team who always play together, which can be decidedly less than fun. The new system allows you to queue alone and you will always only be fighting with and against other people who queued alone. Partial teams will have to queue through the separate “Team Queue”.
This change is absolutely good for everyone who queues for PvP alone, but it might hurt partial teams substantially. Now if you queue with three people you can only be matched with a duo (instead of potentially being queued with two solo people) and the same goes for queuing as a duo which could raise queue times substantially. Additionally if you have four people you had better either find a fifth or drop someone because you’ll be completely out of luck otherwise. Evan Lesh made the point to say the ability to queue with partial teams might be taken out when the LFG tool goes live, but with the current set-up partial teams could be self-selected out before that ever happens.
With the changes to the queuing system leaderboards are also getting changed around a bit. There will now be a separate listing for people who queue solo and for team queues. The upside on this is if you don’t have the time to play with a full team regularly you can still get some recognition on the leaderboards, which seems fair. My one thought on this is we are likely to see some of the same people at the top of both rankings because the people who really really love PvP are likely to queue solo when they have downtime from their team. I don’t think it is a good or bad thing, it is just a thing to be aware of.
One of the most interesting changes is maps are going to be randomized at the start of every game, so you won’t know what map you have before the game starts. It might seem like a really small thing to some people, but for people who run specialized builds for certain maps this will be a big deal. Additionally the rotation for solo maps and team maps won’t always be the same. Currently Skyhammer (introduced with Bazaar of the Four Winds) and Spirit Watch (introduced with The Gathering Storm Flame and Frost patch) are only part of the solo queue.
The last new addition I’d like to talk about is a new debuff called Dishonored which is meant to discourage people from afk’ing in games or ninja logging. This debuff can stack five times and each stack lasts for 72 hours. Once you reach five stacks you will be unable to queue for ranked matches until at least one of your stacks wears off. You will get the debuff for being inactive for at least three minutes or not being present when the winner of the match is announced. One thing I am not sure of yet is if the debuff goes across an entire account or not, I hope it does because it would be a pretty pointless system if it went by character.
While most players want systems to punish afk’ers and people who prematurely leave games there is always some concern about punishing people who just have bad luck sometimes. The way Arenanet has set the system up I think for the most part it will be a positive change. Since nothing happens until five stacks an occasional DC or needing to randomly afk shouldn’t affect people too much. Needing to afk for periods of time in multiple games or DC’ing a bunch are probably indications you shouldn’t be playing that night anyways as you aren’t really helping your team.
Those are the most important and interesting PvP changes as I see them, though are a few more you can read about in the Dev Blog.