The new Guild Wars 2 PvP Season is well under way and competition is tough. There have been some major changes since the previous season, like the complete overhaul of the ranking system. Stronghold was also removed, which saddened me greatly, but I understand why they did it.
If you missed out on your chance to get the materials needed for The Ascension, there is still time to complete the achievements and trade in your PvP League tickets. The new legendary backpiece hasn’t been announced yet even though they said that there would be a new legendary each year. This is season five, and a year after the initial season, so the new one should have been out… maybe next season?
Queue Times Reduced
They removed the pip-based system as a base for matchmaking. This was mostly done to widen the pool for matchmaking and reducing queue times. This is also why they removed Stronghold. Including it would increase queue times as there were two separate queues to split the player population.
Finding a match is easier now and chances are you’ll be matched with people closer to your skill level because the matchmaking is based on a rating system. The experienced queue times were indeed lower, under a minute for each match, but that was in the lower ratings. I have no idea if the queue times in the higher ratings are better or worse. If you do know, please leave a comment below with your experiences.
Before you start out your journey to the number one spot, you’ll have to play ten placement matches to see what your skill level is. Based on those results, you’ll be given a rating. The new matchmaking is based on the Glicko2 system, which uses the rating, rank, party size, profession, ladder position, and dishonor. If you want to dive into the exact science behind the matchmaking system, there’s a full explanation on the Guild Wars 2 wiki.
Pips and Rewards
You still earn pips every match (even when you lose), but they now count towards reward chests instead of your ranking. I like this change very much. My win/loss ratio has a slightly higher win rate, but every loss ticking down the pips kept me from making the higher tiers. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to complete the achievements necessary for The Ascension as crossing six divisions in one season was not doable for me.
The amount of pips you earn depends on various aspects, such as win/lose, score and top stats. It’s now possible to see who earned which top stat. A win will net you 10 pips and an additional pip for each top stat earned. Each chest has multiple tiers with the first one being three tiers. The second one has four tiers and the third one has five tiers. The last chest has six tiers and is repeatable. Each tier needs 20 pips to complete. The tiers have small rewards like PvP shards, transmutation charges, unidentified dye and silver/gold.
The new season introduced a different set of currency, which is only usable to buy ascended gear. You need the Ascended PvP shards and the regular ones to buy one of the containers with Ascended weapons, trinkets, or the Ardent Glorious Armor. In the containers are multiple stat combinations that you can choose from. It’s a perfect way to outfit another character. This season (assuming that the chests reset with every new season) you can earn 1200 Ascended Shards of Glory. This is not enough to purchase all of the armor in one season, as you’ll need 1300 Ascended Shards. Shards of Glory aren’t the problem as they will keep dropping from the repeatable chests and I will leave them out of the equation. Ascended Shards of Glory only drop the first time you complete the track.
The two handed weapons cost 500 Ascended Shards while one handed weapons are 250 Ascended Shards each. The trinkets are 200, 175 or 150 Ascended Shards. I believe it’s a waste of shards because it’s very easy to get Ascended trinkets from Laurels or Fractals. I’ll probably go for the armor first because it looks great and then the Ascended longbow and staff my main druid.
Changes to SPvP
Battle at Champion’s Dusk left the rotation but Skyhammer joined in. Another conquest map was added for variation. I wish that they put in The Revenge of the Capricorn because that map is great. I love the art direction for the map and it invites for quick team battles. It’s not a large map, so you’re fairly close to each other. It’s true that the matches can be won quickly with good coordination, but isn’t that what sPvP is about?
Another major change was to the queue sizes. They changed the queues to solo/duo queue instead of a group queue. The group queues weren’t used as much for five player groups and most players chose to queue up with a buddy. This should change the dynamic of games as well because you won’t be matched up against a full guild team as a solo player. This does make me happy as a solo player.
All in all, the changes are major. I haven’t even covered the class balance changed. You’ll just have to read the patch notes, the new meta builds and try your hand at different combinations to see what works best for you. Enjoy the new sPvP for the next two months!
Next week we’ll have a short break due to the holidays. Come back next year for a new edition of the Tyrian Chronicle! Happy holidays and have an excellent start to 2017.
Related: ArenaNet, Column, Guild Wars 2, MMORPG, PvP, The Tyrian Chronicle