Keen Commander

April 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 13 Comments
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Great shot of World Versus World

I haven’t really rambled on about a lot of things that we’ve been seeing from the closed beta weekends. Partly because it was information overload, partially because a lot of it just plain works the way they said it would.

I guess now is a good time to talk about World Versus World since Arenanet just posted about being a Commander and joining squads on their blog.

The whole squad thing seems interesting, we’ve been hearing bits about it for a while now, but it does leave me concerned with groups of people who can’t afford the Commander perk or don’t want to follow some random dude.

While I’m sure there will be plenty of competent types who purchase the Commander rank, I’m also equally sure there will be plenty of people who buy it for prestige only, or buy it and just rage at people or buy it for the sole purpose of trolling. That isn’t to say I think we shouldn’t have such a mechanic, just that as swell as it is to have a fix for the limited group size, it does come with its own problems.

And part of me just wishes it was fixed in a different way. Why not increase group size for WvW? Or maybe raid groups? 5 seems a bit limiting. Not all guilds will be able to afford the “substantial” cost of a Commander rank. A lot of people might even prefer to group only with their guildmates, tackle challenges only with their guild, or otherwise group without the benefit of vent or large group communication. Anti-social people in an online game! Who’d have thought?

But I guess that’s a minor inconvenience overall. A lot of WvW videos from these weekends show a lot of two things that don’t require a lot of specific instruction. One is zerg rushing everywhere you go with dozens of people. A test of how good you are at following a giant group. The other is bashing your head against a door.

Not exactly complex group behaviour that needs to be directed.

As for the other aspects of WvW, a lot of it looks fun and complex. Not that zerging or door bashing isn’t fun, I’ve often enjoyed a large scale group zerg in other games, but outflanking people, ambushes, and a host of strategic thinking seem to be required of the player looking for more of a challenge.

It’s hard to say more without actually playing in WvW but I like that it has a basic simplicity that easily becomes more complex if that is what you want. The Commander perk ought to be perfect for those interested in that complexity.



  1. “Not exactly complex group behaviour that needs to be directed.”

    No, those behaviors don’t need to be directed, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. For that, I direct you to an excellent write up of what are the possible strategies for WvW, and that should give you (it certainly gave me) a good idea of how the game can benefit from these tools.

    If you really put a nice serious group of players to do some proper WvW gaming, strategies like those discussed on this article are fundamental, and you will really benefit from the ability to mark targets and give specific instructions to your squad.

    • I’m confident that there’s plenty of people who don’t want or need the commander ability and the majority of people will not need or use the commander ability but it seems nice.

      • Of course, most people won’t need that feature at all. That is a feature that will mostly be used (in a efficient way) by guilds looking to achieve some important conquests in WvW. It isn’t meant to the casual player which will likely be the majority of people on those maps at any given time in any way more than a gimmick.

        • And I’m saying that the casual player should have some form of functionality for groups larger than 5.

  2. Am I allowed to reply? I didn’t want to interupt your antisocialism!

    I like the inability of a group to be shielded off from others, its a mmo and your all on the same side.
    I assume that outside of massive dumb groups of press/ youll also get to see guilds/friends trying to go free from the mass zergs to do something a little more useful. I assume supply is one such thing to do. Actually trying to defend might be another. AB is full of loosing zerg teams I assume that Anet will encourage a bit more that just zerg groups. Important though they may be, I personally can’t stand the lag, and insta-seemingly-pointless-death but each to their own.
    I do hope groups of 5ish are going to be able to do something.
    Given all the holidays and work I need to do, the 10th is going to be here amazingly soon (offical preorders – EB have long since taken my collectors preorder). We’ll be in there having a look around shortly. Cant wait! He says writing off all of April…

    • I’m sure small groups can take supply areas rather quickly its the walls and getting crushed by zerg groups that they’ll have to worry about.

    • The first beta weekend isn’t until the end of April and about once a month after that according to the updated FAQ so don’t write off April just yet, though there’s always the possibility of other beta testing going on independently of the weekend events.

  3. […] Hunter’s Insight — Keen Commander. “I haven’t really rambled on about a lot of things that we’ve been seeing from the closed beta weekends. Partly because it was information overload, partially because a lot of it just plain works the way they said it would. I guess now is a good time to talk about World Versus World since Arenanet just posted about being a Commander and joining squads on their blog.” […]

  4. Not too sure about this idea of buying WvW rank. Surely a reputation is something that should be earned not bought. It seems odd and unnecessary, as if ANet are scratching their collective heads in order to find uses for gold and appropriate gold sinks. Do we really want a bunch of idiots running around in WvW ordering everyone around? and What’s wrong with Warhammer’s “open party” system? that would work well with a few tweaks (to avoid huge zergs).
    In general, I don’t like the idea that gold should be used as a currency for WvW at all. For all intents and purposes, WvW is a separate game to open world PvE, so using gold for buying siege weapons etc. will just encourage many people to leech off the WvW purchases of others.

    • It’s not the gold I have a problem with at all, in fact it seems perfectly legitimate that you can level, craft, and earn gold in wvw all without going to pve. The problem for me is the high price, whatever that may be, and no real grouping system for people bigger than a 5 man party but smaller than the need for a squad commander ability.

  5. I agree that its good that you can earn gold in WvW. However, what concerns me is having to spend that gold on things that are specific to WvW (and have no relevance to open world PvE outside WvW), such as rank, influence and siege weapons. Why? Because what that means is that *many* people will hang onto their gold for use only in open PvE and rely on other less stingy people to get the siege equipment etc. At least that is exactly what happened in Warhammer Online and with the gold/gems conversion will almost certainly be worse in GW2. So ideally as well as gold there should be WvW tokens, earnable in addition to gold, only in WvW and that can only be used for things that are specific to WvW.
    i.e. the flaw is that this is a system that’s precisely primed to encourage and reward selfish behaviour, which is one of the the things ANet is trying to avoid.

    • I didn’t play warhammer so I can’t comment on why people would behave in that manner, but when it comes down to it the people who care about wvw will pay for siege equipment and the people who don’t won’t. I think it will even itself out.

  6. […] Hunter’s Insight: Keen Commander. Hunter’s take on the squads and commanders. […]

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