Paeroka’s Ponderings: Gear and level-advantages in PvP

Paeroka's Ponderings featured image for column

Some time ago, I read a topic in the German section of the Black Desert Online forum where a player suggested that the game’s PvP may be better if there were no level-advantages as a higher level gives better stats, for example. He was laughed at by others and called “carebear” for wanting that. Unfortunately, I cannot find the thread anymore – but it would be in German anyway. But this is apparently how PvP should work and it is good this way: If you spend a lot of time in the game, you should have an advantage over those who play less often or are new to the game – other than the already mentioned increased experience and skill in playing your character, of course!

I admit, I am a carebear. I am a huge big carebear! – Why? Because I think that being able to win against somebody who has no chance whatsoever at all, no matter how skilled that player may be, simply because I am higher level and/or have better gear, is a horrible design flaw of PvP in a lot of MMOs. If some new player comes in and has not played the game much but knows how to play so much better than me, then kudos to him! He should be able to win against me. I, on the other hand, should not win simply because I have been playing longer and managed to get my character in better gear. I was just very surprised to see that somebody asking for an even playing field and letting skill and experience decide a battle rather than stronger gear and higher level, is called a carebear. Some people…

Warhammer Online Chicken in Tier 1

Let’s look at other MMOs, though: Warhammer Online, for example, had four different PvP (here called “RvR”, but I’ll continue using PvP to not mix up the terms all the time) tiers and bolstering up. The first tier was for levels 1 to 11. So right from the start, you had your map with PvE zones and PvP zones. If your low level 1 entered the tier 1 PvP zone, it got bolstered up in stats to level 11. It was still weaker than a “real” level 11, but at least, you got much closer to the other player. The best part, however, was when you were too high level for a given tier – in our example, when your character turned level 12 – that you were turned into a chicken which could be one-shot by other players. You regularly had people in chat say: “Okay, that’s it. See you in tier 2” and then you could see the chicken run out of the PvP zone as fast as their little feet could carry them. I do remember some heated discussions about this feature before the game launched but Mark Jacobs stood by that decision. Of course, simply getting downscaled would have been the better option in my opinion, as that would have freed up the whole game to you once you were max. level instead of restricting you only to the highest tier. But I still think the chicken mechanic is better than having high level players repeatedly kill low level players. Especially when you consider that low level players also may be new players which are kind of important to keep in an MMO… ;)

GW2 sPvP with level 2
All specializations are unlocked, even though my character is only level 2. In PvE, you need to work towards unlocking the specializations first

Guild Wars 2’s sPvP (instanced PvP) goes even further: No “artificial” bolstering up, but being at maximum level with exactly the same stats and exactly the same gear as everybody else! When I heard that they were doing it like that, I got pretty excited! Those who have a lot of time (and who are usually the ones with the highest level and the highest gear in other MMOs) are probably also those who get the most practice and as such they will have an advantage over people like me anyway. However, there are also those who do have a lot of time on their hands, who do get a lot of practice and who may turn out to be worse than somebody with less practice but quicker reflexes or whatever the reason. I ask again: Is this bad? Am I a carebear if I say that this is how it should be? That skill should determine the winner of a battle and not the playtime, the level or the gear that a player acquired?

Thankfully, we have so many games around that I think everybody can find a game that does it the way they prefer. So, I know that even though Black Desert Online looks like an interesting game, it is not the game for me. I do prefer Guild Wars 2 where level and gear don’t matter!


I regularly have rants and ramblings in my mind, but never really know if I should post them, so “Paeroka’s Ponderings” is where I will try to give these rants a place. Sometimes they will make sense, sometimes they won’t.

GW2: Buffing my playstyle by 100 %

Guild Wars 2 is getting another balance patch this Tuesday and it looks like this one was made especially for me! :D

While I have every profession at level 80, the ones I’ve played the most are warrior, mesmer and thief – and all three get buffs to the weapons that belong to my favourites!

I know that rifle on warrior is bad and doesn’t do enough damage, but the longbow and I just don’t get along. Whenever I have to get into ranged combat with my warrior, I still take out my rifle. I also just really prefer the style of a rifle over a bow. When I saw the notes for the skill balance changes this morning, I squealed a little as the rifle will be getting a “bit of a damage buff”. The main question, of course, is whether it’ll be enough to get this weapon back to a competitive level compared with other weapons. However, as I said, I just really like this weapon and I love reading that it will get a much-needed buff!

GW2 Asura Mesmer

The moment my first mesmer got a sword in her hand was the moment I knew I had to play this profession! This was back during a beta weekend event where we were only allowed to play humans (ugh…). But this weapon still made it fun! Of course, I switched to asura as fast as I could which made the sword even more fun to play. Some of the asura combat animations are just too cute. I was surprised to read that the sword (main hand only) is getting its damage buffed as I hadn’t even known this was necessary. I have been playing with a scepter lately, though, so I did not pay attention to where the sword stands. And well, what do you expect from a person who plays her warrior with a rifle, eh? ;) Still, I take that buff and I’ll definitely try it out again after the patch.

GW2 Skkia asura thiefLast but not least, the thief. I had originally not even considered playing a thief, because I don’t much like relying on stealth or positional combat. But then I realized that neither is really necessary. What I really liked was the pistols (in any way and form: main hand, off-hand as well as dual-wielding). I don’t know what it is with rifles and pistols and me in fantasy games. Again, I think it’s so much more fun than the bow! And it is a lot more stylish with the thief, after all.

Thankfully, when I’m talking about weapons here, I’m talking strictly about games. ;) My love for rifles and pistols stops right at the “exit game” button.

Anyway, three weapons I love, three weapons that are getting buffed! Additionally, being able to see how much time I have left to put down the exit portal with my mesmer is priceless! Something I’ve been wanting to get for so long (3 years, to be precise… :p)! So far, I’m very happy with the balancing. Then again, I use a rifle with my warrior… what do I know? :p

Class names and expectations

Trove Candy BiomeI was just baking some bread while listening to a Trove stream (this one, to be precise) when the streamer was asked if Trove was going to add a healing class any time soon. I thought: Oooh, I would love that! But the streamer’s reply surprised me. “Yes, the candy barbarian will be somewhat of a healing class” (quoted by memory here). Candy barbarian… A healer. When I had heard that class’s name, I imagined a pastel coloured slightly pinkish guy running through cotton balls with an equally pastel coloured axe. Never once did I think that this guy could heal. I also always thought of “him” as a guy, even though my own character, Paeroka, is female and will always be female no matter which class I activate.

Back to the classes – I do have certain expectations towards classes. When I see a game (MMOs and RPGs mostly) I always look at what the classes are called. When they have “mage”, “warrior”, “hunter” and “priest”, I close the website almost immediately. No, thank you. If you can’t even have enough imagination to a) have more than those standard classes or b) at least give them more imaginative names, I can already assume that the game itself won’t offer anything new or intriguing either. Maybe I won’t do the game justice then, but that’s the thing about expectations.

Rift_Warrior fighting
Her build is a pretty standard warrior build: Run in, watch enemies die.

Of course, Rift is falling into that category. The main callings are named “warrior”, “mage”, “rogue” and “cleric”. But Rift advertised having souls and those do have unfamiliar names. My cleric can choose three our of ten callings: Sentinel, inquisitor, justicar, oracle, defiler, cabalist, purifier, warden, shaman and druid. Druid can call faeries to assist in combat, by the way. Purifier is a healing soul. So they clearly fit my expectations. But here comes to downside of having all those nice and imaginative names: I can never remember which soul is which. Justicar or inquisitor – which one was the tank soul?

For those who don’t know, the mesmer in Guild Wars 2 can create clones of itself.

What I’m trying to say here is that a class’s name should ideally give you some kind of an idea what it is about but not be as bland and boring as “warrior”. Or at least, a game should offer more classes to choose from with some “better” names. Warhammer Online comes to my mind (though they had it easy seeing how it was an already established IP): Black orc, Disciple of Khaine, Zealot on the one hand and Engineer, Shaman and Swordmaster on the other. Guild Wars 2 has pretty generic class names mostly (warrior, elementalist, necromancer), but at least, they have more than standard 4 classes and add the mesmer which is a class name I haven’t seen anywhere else yet.

Long story short: Candy Barbarian will be a healer. Okay. I’m still looking forward to trying that class – I love healers, after all!

Pondering about which profession to choose…

WoWScrnShot_041710_184501When I wrote about my favourite profession in Guild Wars 2, I was looking at the topic from a pure PvE point of view. This entry is about WvW now.

I used to play World of Warcraft on a PvP server and I always hated it. As soon as I got the chance to get away (because I founded a guild with friends on a PvE server and later transferred to join a guild that bookahnerk had been with back in Ultima Online who are also on a PvE server), I left and never looked back.

The ironic part is that I actually love open world PvP. However, and here’s the big caveat: There have to be “safe” zones and going to either (PvE or PvP) zone has to be optional. I want to decide when I want to PvP or PvE! I do not want some random player who passes by to make that decision for me. Especially since that usually meant players that were much higher in level or had much better gear and thus, much better chances than me.

Defending a tower.
Defending a tower.

I found out how much I enjoy PvP when I played Warhammer Online. For those who don’t know: The game has 4 tiers, which are basically four level ranges. Each tier had different zones that belonged to the different race pairings. For example, dwarves and greenskins. So there you were, a level 5 player in the dwarf/greenskin T1 area. You could either do your PvE – regular quests or public quests (events) – or hop into the RvR lake which was marked on the map with a brownish border. When you entered the area that was marked as RvR, you got a warning and had a few seconds time to run back in case you did not want to get flagged.

This is what I miss most in my current MMOs. The ease of joining RvR when you wanted to (PvE and PvP was on the same map in each zone) and do PvE if you wanted to do that. There were clear borders (on the map, at least, not in the world per se). Joining was as easy as setting a foot into the area.

Guild Wars 2 Mini Lion CubAll this long-winded history of my gaming habits is just here to explain what I love about “world PvP”. For some reason, Guild Wars 2’s WvW hasn’t sticked with me yet. I’ve been in there a couple of times (almost literally) and I enjoyed my time there, but it seems to be so distant from the rest of the game that I find it hard to get in there, but yesterday, ArenaNet talked about the upcoming WvW area Edge of the Mists, and it makes me want to get into WvW!

The problem here is: As much as I love melee and swords in PvE, I do not like playing melee in PvP. So, the warrior is basically out. I did think about taking my mesmer there, but I really dislike that she’s so slow… or I’d have to get builds that make use of the focus which is a reliable way of getting some swiftness. On the other hand: Maybe this weapon IS the perfect one to use in WvW?

All I know is that I want something tricky to play. The warrior is too straight-forward. I absolutely loved playing a frost mage in World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade. That mage was about controlling, freezing, slowing, the enemies. Making sure they can’t hit you. Something like that would be great. And this is why I’m rambling about this topic. Maybe some of our readers can help me here. Which profession would resemble such a playstyle in Guild Wars 2? Maybe the engineer? Anything tricky that isn’t melee… it’s okay if it’s not easy to play. I get used to it… I hope. ;)

My favourite profession in Guild Wars 2

Before Guild Wars 2 had been released, I had already narrowed down my choice to play either mesmer or warrior. After the game had been out for a few months, I looked at the topic again and the mesmer had come out on top. Some of you may already know it, I am actually not playing the mesmer much anymore. My warrior is my main and I do all the high level content almost exclusively with her. But it’s not really the mesmer’s fault per se, instead, it’s more an issue with conditions not stacking above 25 and me not liking shatter builds. But I digress.

I was looking for a new profession to level to 80 on my main account. My guardian is now level 65, but she’s on my “German account” (the one I play on a German server). I really like the elementalist, but I couldn’t find a weapon combination I liked. The necromancer is cool as well, but again, I just could not settle for a weapon set. And then I tried the thief and after a bit of research, I found a build that’s supposed to be good for levelling. Don’t ask me about that build, I forgot to bookmark it and have since decided to just go with my guts. ;) The point however, is that I fell in love with the thief.

And then I realized it: My favourite “profession”, “class”, whatever you want to call it, isn’t the mesmer or the warrior. It’s also definitely not the thief or the elementalist. It’s much simpler: I fell in love with each of those professions as soon as they were holding a sword in their hands! Yes, it’s apparently that easy. Give me a one-hand sword and chances are high I will love playing the class. With one exception (in Guild Wars 2’s case): the ranger. There was too much leaping, evading, aimlessly moving around…

In general, I love the movement the sword gives you in GW2. The guardian has a teleport skill to get to the enemy fast, the warrior can leap, the mesmer can call a clone to the enemy and swap positions, the thief has shadowstep. On top of that, combat usually feels dynamic and fast. This is why it needs to be a one-handed but not a two-handed sword. I have never liked combat with two-handed weapons, no matter which game.

So, am I alone with that? Loving a certain… playstyle, I guess, so much that it doesn’t really matter which class you play, as long as there’s this little something that they absolutely have to have.