This series will attempt to provide opinions on the currently known information on PvP in Wildstar. Most of this information comes from the Reddit PvP AMA, but some of the info will be from other sources, to which we will provide links. Today, we are covering Rating and Gear. Hit the jump for the discussion!
I know they plan to use an Elo rating system. I tried looking this up and it didn’t really make a lot of sense to me. I guess I will leave that more to Drew because, while I like math, I don’t love it to the point where I involve it in my gaming. Therefore, rather than looking at the boring details of a system I do not truly understand, I will talk/type about what I do understand!
Skill becomes a factor! This is really cool because it allows all those who either aren’t very good or who don’t get as much playtime to play with those at their skill level. It makes the hardcore and the carebears happy! I also like that the rating decays overtime. Skill is something that is not stagnant. You have to continue to work on it or you get rusty. I also like this because it allows me to readjust to my toon after I haven’t played it for a long time. I don’t have to worry about getting rofl-stomped so badly.
I also find it interesting that you start working on your rating from when you first start pvping. If you want to level through pvp you can have the rating to show for it once you hit cap. It allows those with more skill to hop into the better gear faster. It’s just an all around win situation.
A good matchmaking system can stymie a lot of the problems that haunt modern MMOs. Developers want their systems to be accessible to the most people possible, as that means more player engagement, which directly affects success of the game. They have to balance that with the desire to create true competition and progression. The Elo rating system will help in a lot of ways to mitigate the effects of skill gaps (and gear gaps), while still giving the best players someone at their level to play against.
At some point, I will break down the Elo rating. This will be when Wildstar goes live and we know more about the way they set up the algorithm, specifically, what K-factor they use. Guild Wars used a number of different K-factors at different times. Oh math speak. Right. Check out the ELO page on Wikipedia for a good run-down.
Rating changes are usually small. Beating players with high ratings will produce a larger change, but you will still not be raised too far too quickly. Of course, the closer to the top you are, the slower your rating will increase, as there is not as much of a gap between you and the person you are playing against.
Gear is a touchy subject for me. I hate having to grind for enormous amounts of time to get gear. I feel WoW and SW:TOR are prime examples of this. I don’t have the time to grind out all the marks to get the gear I need to be competitive so I can enjoy pvp. There’s no point for me to play at level cap.
On the other hand, I can see that gear should be earned. It shouldn’t be free and it should be difficult to obtain, lest it lose its value. So the balancing act begins. I think one good way to solve this is by doing exactly what Wildstar will do. Your ability to purchase gear is linked to your rating. Then if you’re really good, it shows, even though you may not get to play that much.
I was also pleased to see that currency is going to be a level playing field. I will use the same marks to buy my leet arena gear as a Battleground noob will to buy his beginners set. They did say that there would be a separate currency additionally for Warplots but I have my speculations about that in the Warplot post…coming soon.
I also hope they make all tiers of gear cool. I hated that to start, you have to wear ugly gear and earn your way up to the cool stuff. Every tier should have its own style and be cool in its own right. I know that aesthetics are largely subjective, but I really hope they put time into making the gear look cool. For example, I think that WoW spends more time on their gear than SWTOR does. Take that for what you will, just my opinion.
Gear has been a hot topic in many MMOs. Guild Wars 2 made a bold move by allowing a completely level playing field in structured PvP. Unfortunately, it gave little incentive to grind, and it was less fun for those of us who like slow increases in power level.
It all comes down to the RPG part of MMORPG. At its core, this will be a Role-Playing Game, which inherently has gear progression. It is one of the most fun parts about RPGs, but it is also the most time-consuming. Should gear be easy to get? Probably not. Should it be the end-all thing? Probably not.
Wildstar is taking a unique approach by smushing all of the gear-based stats together and making it more of a fair fight among players of your same rating, or in unrated Battlegrounds, of your same gear level. This, in conjunction with the rating system which insures you won’t get over your head, will make gear disparity a thing of the past, if the rating system works well. It will depend partially on the K-factor they pick, how stats will indeed be bolstered to the appropriate level, and how the stats will interact with the as-of-now-not-really-discussed Milestone system.
A final note, we do know now that there is a unique system in play called Circuit Board Crafting. This system allows almost-full customization of gear. Special ability chips may be able to be earned in PvP, and challenge chips may be given to top-rated players. Who knows how this system will interact with PvP, but it has a lot of possibilities.
That is all for this segment. Be sure to keep an eye out for the next article on Open World PvP.