Announcing Improvements to PvP and the Ladder Test Season

by John Corpening on November 19, 2014

Hello, Tyrians!

We’re very pleased to announce that on December 2 we will be releasing some major updates to PvP that will enhance and improve a number of areas of the PvP experience.

Matchmaking Improvements

First off is an overhaul to matchmaking in PvP. Previously, matchmaking only accounted for players’ ratings. Justin O’Dell has been busy talking to players about the information they’d like to see our matchmaking algorithm take into account, and he’s developed a system that can factor in a number of parameters. In addition to ratings, matchmaking will now consider factors such as the largest group size on a team, team composition, players’ accumulated dishonor, and more.

Justin has put together a blog post that we’ll be releasing tomorrow about all of the matchmaking changes. Make sure to check it out for all the details.

Map Selection and Match Flow

The update will include a host of other improvements to PvP. We’ve overhauled the entire flow of how a player enters PvP. Rosters are a thing of the past; now you can simply join with your party. Players now have to confirm before entering a match, so 4v5 situations can no longer occur from people going AFK. For players who do drop out, the Dishonor system has also been improved to better handle bad behavior.

One of my favorite new additions in this update is the ability to have a say in the map that you’ll play on! Evan Lesh’s upcoming blog post will give you all the information you need to know on match flow, map selection, and more. Check back for Evan’s post on November 21.

Restructuring PvP

With the overhaul to matchmaking complete, we’re now ready to begin restructuring PvP for the future. PvP is now grouped into three areas: “Practice” in hot-join, “Play” in unranked arenas, and “Compete” in ranked arenas. This change will help guide players through the stages of development toward high-level competition.

With this change, all competitive play (both solo and team) is consolidated into Ranked Arena. You can join ranked play with any party size from 1 to 5, and our new matchmaking algorithm will match players to help create games that are as balanced as possible. If you play team arena by joining with a team of 5, you’ll generally be matched against other teams of 5. You can play solo by joining alone, or join in groups of 2, 3, or 4 and have your party filled out to create balanced games. The new matchmaking algorithm will take party composition into account when determining how much a game impacts your ladder position. So, on the off chance there aren’t enough solo or small groups of players in the queue to fill two teams and you find yourself up against a fully organized team of equally skilled players, the match will have very little impact on your ladder ranking if you lose and may give you a bigger boost if you win. Justin’s upcoming blog post on matchmaking has all the details on how the quality and outcome of your matches will affect your ladder points.

Unranked Arena will give players a safe place to play solo or with their friends in any sized group without having to worry about affecting their ladder standing. If you’re ready to move on from hot-join, or if you want to test out new builds, warm up a new profession, try out new teammates, or just chill out and have fun in a structured PvP environment, Unranked Arena is for you. Unranked Arena also takes advantage of all the new matchmaking changes, so you will tend to be grouped together with players of your skill level and group size.

Ladder Formula Test Season

To test all the exciting improvements to the leaderboards and reinforce the competitive aspect of Ranked Arena, we’ll hold a test season starting on Tuesday, December 16, that will be running until Tuesday, January 13. The top 250 players on the ladder at the end of the season will receive a mini llama. The top 20 players on the ladder will also receive a piece of Glorious Hero’s armor, and the top 5 will receive two pieces of Glorious Hero’s armor. Glorious Hero’s armor is only available through skill-based play in PvP, so this is a great opportunity to acquire a look that lets everyone know you’re the best of the best.

Another feature we’ll try during our test season is map rotation for Ranked Arena. During the test season, and during future league seasons, Ranked Arena will have a limited set of maps available for more serious competition. During the periods between seasons, the ladder will be reset and all maps will be available for an unofficial and more casual ranked experience.

Because we’re transitioning how leaderboards are handled, we want to reward all the players who have fought their way to the top of the leaderboards in the old system. For your efforts, we’ll be awarding a piece of Glorious Hero’s armor to the top 20 players on both the solo and team arena leaderboards. The top 100 players on each leaderboard will also receive a mini llama. The cutoff time for the current leaderboards is December 2. At that point, the new build goes live and we transition to the new system.

While this is another step toward leagues, please understand that this test season is not the league system. Leagues are still one of our top priorities, but we’re not yet ready to reveal what we have in store for league play. However, the new features in this build are part of a much bigger overhaul to the PvP infrastructure that was undertaken to lay the foundation for leagues.

MMO PvP Is Stronger than Ever in GW2

We’re very excited to bring you all of these PvP updates because they further enhance the experience and commitment to competitive gaming that makes Guild Wars 2 stand out among MMOs.

This year, we worked with our community to bring you the Tournament of Legends as a path to legendary weapons; the Tournament of Glory to earn unique skins through skill-based play in PvP; the ESL Go4GuildWars2 tournaments, where players can earn weekly cash prizes and an even bigger monthly cash prizes; and the World Tournament Series, where the very best players of each region can become legends on the international stage.

These tournaments together with the changes coming in December are another big step in Guild Wars 2‘s dedication to supporting competitive gaming in MMOs. They follow other major steps since launch, such as Reward Tracks, Custom Arenas, Spectator Mode, new maps, and much more, on our path to grow Guild Wars 2‘s PvP for players of all types and skill levels.

Additional details on all of these changes are coming soon in Evan’s and Justin’s blog posts, as well as the next episode of Ready Up on November 26. We are really excited about this update and look forward to sharing it with you in December!

Have fun, and we’ll see you in Tyria!