Greetings, Mist warriors!
We’re here to go into a little more detail about some of the upcoming World vs. World (and WvW-adjacent) changes. These are part of the overall schedule of content coming to the game over the next couple of months, which you can learn more about in our recent studio update.
Guild Hall Arena Update
Guild halls have long been a space where players can gather together and craft their own unique gameplay experiences—roller beetle racecourses, jumping puzzles, asura football, and more! We are always thrilled to see the creativity of our community at work, and we want to give creators a few new tools for their toolbox.
Currently, guild halls are limited to using PvE game balance rules, creating a very different combat experience than what’s found in WvW or PvP. In January, we’ll be adding a new option that allows you to choose whether your guild hall arena uses PvE, WvW, or PvP game-mode balance for play. Additionally, we’ll be introducing options to allow you to extend PvP combat outside the confines of the guild arena, meaning you can battle your friends across the entire map. Skyscale aerial duels, anyone? We look forward to seeing what you do with your new battlefields when this feature goes live in late January!
World Restructuring News
As a refresher, we’re in the process of making some big changes to how teams are structured in the World vs. World game mode. Currently, players choose a world (e.g., Blackgate and Desolation) to play on, and each week they are matched up against other worlds based on their performance in the previous match. This system has one critical flaw: seasonal player population fluctuations and world transfers can result in some teams feeling very empty and others feeling unbearably full. To address this, we sometimes link worlds together as a single team, but the relatively small pool of worlds makes it difficult to create balanced matches from a player population standpoint.
World Restructuring is a feature that aims to address player population imbalances and create great matches. It achieves this by deprecating the current concept of shards (a.k.a. worlds or servers) and introducing a team-building system to the game mode in which players and guilds are programmatically redistributed to new teams (previously known as shards) on a set schedule. This gives us more flexibility and granularity when creating new teams and helps address natural fluctuations in population over time. It’ll also give players more agency in choosing who they want to play with on an ongoing basis and allows long-standing communities to continue playing together.
In a previous studio update, we talked about adjusting our priorities to focus on releasing a live, always-on version of World Restructuring as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the complete version of World Restructuring. This moved up our timeline for releasing the first version of the World Restructuring system, and we’re now approaching what we hope is the final beta test before we enable the system 24/7. That beta will include bug fixes for WvW guild-selection visual issues, several queue failure bugs, incorrect map names being shown in the contact list and guild panel, players being redirected to the wrong map, and various UI issues at reset. We’ve also added some new metrics to our team-building algorithm to help create more balanced matches, taking into account commanders, time zones, and more.
What’s Been Postponed?
To achieve our goal of getting World Restructuring into a 24/7 beta state, we’re postponing development on the following features for the initial release of World Restructuring, although they’re on our list for possible future improvements.
Alliances: Alliances refers to an additional group-management system on top of World Restructuring that would allow multiple smaller WvW guilds to band together as a single entity for team creation. For now, we are focused on developing the best version of the team-building algorithm and maximizing the player experience at the WvW guild level. It’s worth noting that the current planned player cap for an alliance is 500, which is identical to the current max roster size for a single guild. In other words, guilds as they currently exist can be used as a proxy for alliances.
Team Transfers: Once a match has started, there will not be a way for a player to initiate a transfer between teams. Players will need to wait until the next team-creation event or season to be placed with a different guild. To help mitigate this in the short term, we’ll be reducing the duration of a season from eight weeks to four weeks.
Where Do We Go from Here?
This is just the beginning of the World Restructuring system. We have several features that we are discussing for future implementation, depending on what player feedback looks like after the first version of the system is live. Some examples include:
- Additional WvW guild information and management in the guild panel
- Team-building algorithm adjustments and improvements
- Scoring adjustments
Until Next Time
To recap: In Q1 2024, we’ll be running a World Restructuring beta. This beta helps us approach our goal of releasing a live version of the guild-based World Restructuring system by testing our new team builder, UI updates, and bug fixes. If the beta goes well, we’ll be able to move forward with turning the system on full time, which will allow us to get consistent live data and community feedback to inform future development.
We’ll continue to share development information for World vs. World and other game systems here, although we won’t have much in the way of news until after the start of the new year.
We’ll see you in the game!