Based on my piece about the current main problem of PVP, I’d like to do a follow-up how an actual reworked PVP system could look like. Remember that the main problem of the game mode is the lack of players. You currently have a situation where new players that are interested in Domination face a long road to competitiveness. And even PVE toons that invested tons of time and money cannot simply slide over. This essentially leads to PVP endgame drying out. So let’s look on what would need to change.
The game currently features three PVP maps and queues, Domination, Gauntlgrym and the Stronghold Siege. The last two however are barely played because they lack viability. Especially the Stronghold Siege has tons of issues. And since the latest tier of PVP gear no longer requires running the map, nobody does. Gauntlgrym meanwhile is missing a clear differentiation from Domination. It’s basically just a 10-character version without any unique rewards, which is not enough to attract a crowd.
Let’s leave Stronghold out of this for a second, we’ll come back to that later. I’m a huge fan of a three-headed monster when it comes to PVP queues:
- Solo queue on the Domination maps with extended rewards, harsh matchmaking and leaderboard (NCL) attached to it
- Casual queue on the Gauntlgrym map with full rewards and no matchmaking
- Premade queue / lobby with no rewards or matchmaking (and a league system, but that’s not going to happen anyway)
In my opinion the solo queue is mandatory for competitive gameplay in case the devs can prevent sync queuing of guildies and friends. It would come with extended rewards (glory, tokens etc.) and take place on the Domination maps. I would not allow casual queuing however and move that queue to Gauntlgrym. That way, the 10-character map would have its own niche in the game. From the setup and size of the map, it has always been kind of a casual setup anyway. It’s way harder to strategize there and when the map was popular back in the days, it was more of a horse race. The premade queue should have no map restrictions. If two guilds choose to set up a match, they might as well freely pick the location.
Because of the lack of interest in the game mode, the PVP campaign currently cannot be completed. That’s an annoyance especially for newcomers. I would merge the three progression trees and make all tasks repeatable:
- Earn 50 Double Kills in PVP content
- Earn 25 Triple Kills in PVP content
- Execute 150 enemies in PVP content
- Capture 100 Capture Points in PVP content
- Earn 750 kills or assists in PVP content
- Revive 50 allies in PVP content
- Win 50 matches in PVP content
- Earn 250 Kills or Assists in PVP content while below half health
- Earn 150 Kills or Assists in PVP content within 20 seconds of capturing a point
- Complete 60 PVP quests
Each completion would reward five Scrimshaw Trophys that can be spent to get the transmutes in Icewind Dale, but also to buy all the campaign rewards. 10 Tokens would give a Glory Cache, 15 the Tier 1 boon (make them active in all PVP content btw.), 150 the Pirate Fashion set etc. This way, players have much more variety where and how to complete the campaign. It’s still faster to complete a variety of tasks at once, but you can theoretically just kill players and will get there eventually.
I think it’s a general consensus that Tenacity has to become an environmental stat. Just give everyone a flat amount and call it a day. This would completely invalidate all PVP armor, but for me it’s more important that you can wear the same gear in all content. Let’s take away the necessity to switch, get a second set of Armor Kits and all that crap. Lower barriers. You could still hand out PVP sets with different stats or utility set bonuses, or let players buy Refining Points for their overflow currency instead.
New old stat curves
In terms of stats I really like what josiahiyon proposed on the official forum. They’d like to bring back the old stat curves for PVP, which means harsh diminishing returns. This is a direct counter to the power creep and makes new players competitive way earlier. The only real downside is that under the current progression it’s probably too easy to hit the soft cap on all relevant stats. This would lead to PVP toons running around with 8,000 of everything and taking away build variety. It also does not solve the unnecessary requirement to run PVE when you want to do PVP.
PVP Battle Enchantments
So I would mix it with my own idea of introducing PVP Battle Enchantments. They can be bought with currency, but only grant Rank 12 stats and effects in PVP content. This is especially true for Weapon and Armor Enhancements, which you need at a higher level and become even stronger with diminishing returns on stats. Also let’s get at least one Artifact Gear set that can be leveled with glory. This combination would serve a solution to all problems: New players could get competitive faster, PVE players could jump into PVP without downside and PVP players could get all their gear they need without ever touching PVE. Win, win and win!
Black Ice Domination
I gotta admit that I have not thought about Black Ice Domination as much, and I fail to see a real use for it. What I would simply try is putting the event on a fixed timer, say at the bottom of each hour, and see if that attracts more players. Currently, even if you were interested in the open world setting, you might have to wait for Domination to pop, which is not fun at all. It wasn’t as much of an issue back in the days, because you most likely were on the maps to do dailies anyway, but currently Icewind Dale has lost all viability.
Let’s also bring the game modes on par. I would rework the whole flagging system so you are deflagged when leaving the open world areas in case you’re out of combat and out of stealth for at least ten seconds. That would open up the possibility of scratching pets from the process. Again: We do not need multiple loadouts for PVP. If open world was a larger point in the game, you could probably talk about it, but it’s literally just one outdated piece of content that warrants a completely different setup. No thanks.
In comes the Siege. I won’t get into details why this map never really worked, but I liked the MOBA style idea here and would extend on that. Let’s make this a long shot. What I would do is transform the Stronghold Siege into a full MOBA game mode. Once you’ve queued and entered the map, you choose a class at level 30 and level up while playing. Each level would grant additional Tenacity and 500 stat points (2,000 Hit Points) that could be freely allocated on top of the feats and powers.
I can’t discuss everything in-depth because there’s so many stuff to iron out. Should you be able to lock/veto classes? Can you even do something like that with 20 players or would you need to go down to 15 (5 per lane) or even less? I just know it has the potential to be awesome. This MOBA would probably have to work completely besides everything else, like a game in a game with an independent ranking etc. Once you’ve created a character, you can jump right into the action with no other disadvantage to seasoned players than skill.
The Stronghold Siege MOBA is pure fantasy (you can always dream!), but the rest of the proposals would really transform PVP into a viable game mode again in my opinion. Do you agree with the changes or favor something else? Share your thoughts in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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