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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Feature Post: Turn by Turn PvP Mechanics


If you're very far into the blogging community, you probably know Diana Wildheart. She has agreed to share one of her many outstanding posts, PVP Passing: Good or Bad, from here blog, Diana Wildheart: Guardian Theurgist's Journal. In her post, Diana discusses the pros and cons of passing in PvP, and how some wizards take advantage of that. It isn't uncommon for massive matches to last hours, even with players who are quick with their card selection, and this issue certainly isn't helping the problem. PvP hasn't been completely on track for some time now, and it does need a few repairs, but can we ever truly enjoy PvP as we did originally, or are we forever stuck with at least a few of these unfortunate PvP problems?

Most of us are familiar with PvP, but for those that aren't, there are several key terms to know. Rank is your rating in rated PvP. When you win, you gain rank, when you lose, you lose rank. We'll discuss what this was originally and how it changed, which lead to several of the problems we face today. Tickets are what you earn from playing matches. You'll get quite a few for winning, and only a couple for losing. This system that determines the number received works outside the matching system. Matching is the process of selecting your team and opponents, unless you're PvPing with friends, then it's only your opponents. This has allowed Puppet teams to work so well because of the way it's done. This is flawed in the way that high level duelists with low rank oftentimes end up fighting low level duelists with high rank. Because the matching system takes only level and rank into account, any wand, pet, gear, or item otherwise gives you an advantage. Gear, pets, crafting, gardening, leveling, questing, cards, treasure cards, training points, crowns, gift-cards, and turns all play a part in PvP.

It is immediately apparent that PvP is a vast and undulating network of systems and players. Because of this, talking PvP requires a degree of specificity not needed anywhere else in game. Some of the issues addressed here will seem redundant, but it is imperative that we highlight the difference between issues in low level, mid level, and high level PvP. Beyond the level distinction there is also 1v1-4v4, all of which have their own sets of problems and requirements. (An overview of the "PvP System"  by Nick)

The Ranked Player vs Player (PvP) matching system in Wizard101 is based on two very important factors: the Level of your Wizard character and the current PvP Rank of your Wizard character. The Level of your character is more important than the Rank, but your Rank is still a significant determining factor. When you join a Ranked match, the system takes your information and tries to pair it up as closely as possible with other players who are currently waiting to compete. If no comparable players are waiting to compete, the system will widen the search. The longer you wait, the wider the search, and the bigger the difference between yourself and your opponent. For matches of 2v2 or higher, the system will average out the determining factors for all the participants and attempt to match up players to the best teams and opponents that are available. The more players who are online and participating in the Player vs Player feature, the more closely the teams will be matched. When there are fewer players participating in the Player vs Player feature, the team members will be more varied and the differences between opponents will be larger. (Professor Greyrose)

The fact that so many systems have to work together in harmony to create a workable PvP environment is the stem of almost all PvP problems. For the most part the richness of the PvP experience balances on a thread, and quite often that thread gives way under the pressure. The complexity of fixing these problems means that many of them exist for extended periods of time, and we have quite a few ongoing issues enduring for years at this point.  (An overview of the "PvP System"  by Nick)
Let's take a closer look at Diana's PvP encounter.

I noticed about that girl name Anna Fireheart, she is commander, and her health is 784. She is fire wizard and level 5. She has very good resistant gears. I don’t know where she get that gears from. I been researching on it. But it is not raven or dragon pack. Anyway, she normally used cards like pvp to use, but she used insane bolt on me, just once. That not belong to her school, as treasure card, she used it. Then I normally used cards to make sure shields, attacks, and healing. That insane bolt hit me, but my pet so crazy and so stubborn healing me with unicorn and spritely, that my pet won’t let me die.

When I used one reshuffle, I keep use cards, then I realized that she keep pass and pass over and over, I about out of cards like 8 left. I never forget what KBB told me about PVP rules: Be prepare, stop, watch and analyze before you do in pvp. I don’t think myself that I try to get her off pvp as I can. But that moment, I realized that, stop, and watch what she doing. She was not lose connection or away from keyboard. I knew something not right. So I followed her “pass” method. I keep pass as she does keep pass until whoever give up. Then Fallon Fireheart asked me, why not you use cards? I told her I refused to use cards since she pass lot of times. Fallon said why not you use cards? Again to me, I felt like she try win by run out of cards. And she don’t understand my language that I tried tell her why not she give up the cards and finish pvp. That was so offend to me. They don’t understand my English, and they said I was so mean to them. I knew they are so troll and so selfish to win pvp. But I decided to stay pvp, keep going as pass. (My language as I just said about in past post in my blog that I am not good with grammar and writing. But I am do my best as I can. I am not perfect.)

As it TURNS out (I have to have something in here to lighten the mood, right?), I've experienced the same thing. Unfortunately, I'm on a schedule here, and I don't have near enough time to sacrifice a 30 minute block of time for a PvP match, let alone a multiple hour one.

We all know that PvP hasn't exactly been at the top of its game lately, and there are several reasons why. Here's an idea of a couple of things steering the game out of control:

Puppet Teams - A max or near-max level wizard with another wizard level 1-5 or so. This will pair the two up with two opponents approximately level 30, a popular PvP level.

Spammers - Although spamming is somewhat of a strategy, this refers to people using spells like Insane Bolt over and over.

Going First - This just has too many advantages. The person going first can nearly always win.

Waiting It Out - Players like Diana experiences, who just sit on their cards and build up defenses until their opponent runs out of things to do or time.

Pet Influences - With all of the "may casts" and possible bonuses now, pets have come to influence PvP more and more.

All For Warlord - Since the rank change, once users hit Warlord, they tend to stop PvPing, and they'll do anything to get there.

Complainers - Actually one of the worst problems with PvP is having too many people complaining about too many things. In time, KingsIsle will end up making radical changes or the PvP forums will just continue to fill with useless comments and complaints because so-and-so didn't win a match. I've always been an anti-complaining advocate, but there ARE some issues here that are real.

Already, Central has filled up with over 30 threads on Puppet Teams, and for that reason, you aren't currently allowed to create any more. A puppet team is one consisting of a very high-level wizard, usually the highest possible, and a level one wizard. This allows the system to be abused into pairing the two with two opponents around level 30, a very popular PvP level. The level 60 or 70 easily has the upper hand with a much greater arsenal of spells, and while the level one might not last long, there's no way that two level thirty characters will take down a level 60 or 70.

Another PvP issue is Spamming. While spamming can be strategic, spamming Insane Bolt or another similar spell isn't really a strategy, rather a cross of the fingers and hope for the best.

"I hate when death spams 40% weakness, I really really hate it lol but yeah there are no rules in pvp." -rockingguy210

Some people have resorted to the phrase "There are no rules in PvP." However, KingsIsle has now recognized this as a problem and removed Insane Bolt from PvP altogether.

Going first seems to create a major advantage for the person who was fortunate enough to be able to do so.

Diana's problem was an opponent who just kept on passing!

I am ask you to thinking about PVP questions that may make you thinking about: Is passing like 20 times or more in a row as good sportsmanship in pvp? Is passing as skill to use for pvp? Is that good for her to win pvp for passing until whoever run the cards out? If passing more than 20 times, without use cards in row, can Kingsisle automatic kick wizard off? If yes, that will be nice and fair for pvp. If no, can you explain why not? That I want to know your opinion, discuss or have theory to share about this pvp that person keep passing, without use cards that try winning.  I may suggest, don’t do pass in pvp unless you don’t have any good cards that I understand, try discard some to get more treasure cards or waiting next turn. But do not keep passing. That won’t be fair for other pvp players. I just want to let you know that not good sportsmanship to keep passing until you winning. Unless I understand about the situation like drop ranks to get more tickets and try win pvp, that is okay to pass, but no more than 20 times pass as in a row or three hours passes. That is not good match for pvp. (PVP Passing: Good or Bad by Diana Wildheart)

I have to agree with Diana here - passing isn't really a strategy. Unfortunately, it continues to go on. While an idea involving kicking players out of a match after 20 consecutive passes would be a fine idea, what if players just honestly can't find their cards? That's the only roadblock I see.

Pets are another huge influence on PvP. At first, pets were just pets, and they occasionally gave a card, and when we got our level 48 quests, we were all amazed that our pets gave a card AND 5% power pip chance. Since advanced pets, talents have become more and more powerful. Your pet might be casting Spritely followed by Balanceblade, or Tower Shield. Maybe Weakness, Smokescreen, Power Play, or even use a stun spell! However, these happen fairly rarely, and the question is, do pets influence PvP too much?

"I feel as if pets are mini-wizards.. and they drive me insane in 4v4 with all the spritelyness." - $eth

I do think pets have influenced PvP, but not really in a bad way. If you think about it, pets that cast Spritely or Unicorn make PvP matches a little more challenging (and I know I like a good challenge!). The one problem with pets in PvP is the fact that some cast blades and traps ect. Other than that, I have no problem whatsoever with pets in PvP. (Do pets influence PvP a bit TOO much? by morganpurepyromancer)

Originally in Wizard101, back when ranked PvP was first released, your rank was reset every three months, and there was a Top 100 PvPers chart. This kept you active in the PvP world despite any potential updates and offered a challenge beyond Warlord - to be the best of the best, or at least make the top 100. Severl users wanted to bring the system back, however, I am against this idea, and for good reason. Here's my argument:

To be honest, I'd rather deal with the current problems and keep my hard-earned rank. How would resetting rank change anything? If anything, it'd encourage those spammers/bolters/odd teams to work harder at what they do. Resetting the rank would put those that play fair at the bottom. The real solution is correcting this through other means, not resetting ranks. That just starts everything over, it doesn't prevent it. If they start resetting rank, there needs to be some alteration of the title based on if you have reached Warlord before and if you're currently a Warlord. People just don't have the time to re-rank every "x" number of weeks. I'm not saying that it would drive people away from PvP, it just takes all the fun out of it for those of us that aren't hard-core 24/7 PvP competitors that have so many hours in the day to do PvP.

Who can blame people for using these methods, though? Everyone else does that same - isn't it true that there are no rules in PvP? I'm fairly certain that most of us are taught not to repay disrespect with disrespect, but PvP and its morals are almost a whole different story. Everyone is after rank, and just like in the real world, they compare themselves to others, constantly wanting to jump on the bandwagon and join the Warlord gang. There are literally hundreds listed in Central's PvP Index.

In the end, PvP isn't always about being the best of the best, or winning every match. After all, it's a game, and we need to have fun.

"I am here for fun to play wizard101 and enjoy PVP as honor. I don't like people who like winning, rude and not follow the Wizard101 rules." - Diana

Diana Wildheart: Guardian Theurgist's Journal
PVP Passing: Good or Bad
Discussion Thread
Various PvP Topics

Thanks for reading, and as always, see you in the Spiral!

3 comments:

  1. Excellent post, Swordroll. You really lay out the problems and tie it all together.

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