Another week, another wonderful reading experience with The Structure! I hope everyone’s dealing well with their GW2 withdrawals! Just remember there’s the stress test on Wednesday (June 27) from 10am to 2pm PDT (1pm to 5pm EDT, 5pm to 9pm UTC)! This week, we’re going to talk a little bit about eSports and Guild Wars 2. I’ve written about GW2’s eSports viability on my blog before, but this time I’m actually talking about what kind of stuff we’re seeing already that makes it fully-castable.
Naturally, there are the essentials that you have to mention every now and then but shouldn’t talk about much. How much time is left in the match? Who’s ahead in the score? What’s the point-lead like? Which team has which objectives? At the current rate, who will win? Who’s favored to win? They’re really obvious, but we still have to mention them.
It’s also a little bit obvious, but you can talk about the teams in the match. Eventually, certain teams will be known for certain tactics. Certain players will become known for playing certain professions. As the game progresses after launch, we’ll see a lot of different team compositions coming out that will offer a variety of things. Supposedly, five-mesmer teams were ROFLstomping during the last beta.
I would certainly hope someone can tell who’s winning here.
Most of the stuff about the teams in a match are things that should be discussed going into the match and at the very beginning of it. During the match, there are a lot of different map tactics we’ve already seen going on that become crucial. Skills that give Swiftness in an AoE are already becoming a thing, and when it comes to high-end competition post-launch, they’ll be huge. Getting to your first objective and beating the other team to the first objective by two or three seconds could be the end of the match.
Think about it: two very even teams are lined up with almost identical compositions and the entire match is very even. But, the red team got both their objective and the middle objective two ticks earlier than the blue team in the match. That’s four points that the blue team shouldn’t have lost by. If you start thinking about being seconds early on killing Svanir or the Chieftain, you’re really thinking about a huge difference. There are a lot of matches in the hot join SPvP scene that end with a kill on one of the two Forest Creatures. If both creatures spawn when it’s 450 red to 470 blue, but the one nearest the red team spawns two seconds earlier, it’s game over if the blue team can’t somehow steal the kill.
If the other team had a creature kill instead of us, they wouldn’t have won here, but they’d at least be caught up to us.
Much as how you split your initial workers in StarCraft 2 is a huge deal, it will be equally important how teams split up at the beginning of matches. Is it better for their comp to send just one person to the objective nearest their base or will they need two to defend it if the enemy sends one over at the beginning? How many should they send toward the middle and how many should they send toward the Forest Creature or trebuchet or enemy’s objective?
On each map, there will be significant things to look at. Trebuchets can be very effective at killing enemy players out of the clock tower, so it will eventually be necessary to have someone destroy the enemy’s trebuchet. But, when will be the best time to do it? When will we see the time allocated for it? There’s a lot of things that, when you really get into high-level competition, will make some teams look like utter noobs, even though the majority of players will be wondering why it’s bad.
I personally thought this was the best time: when there was nothing else to do.
Here are a few things you could do when you get really picky with people. Blind condition only causes the next hit to miss. If you see someone get blinded and waste their big attack on it, they’re being noob. It also doesn’t stack, so if you see a player blind a player that’s already been blinded, the blinding player is a noob. If you see a player take a jump from one roof to another when it would be a second faster to drop to the ground, that player will be a noob.
Casting obviously isn’t about calling all of the players noobs. Casters have to be good at the game, sure, but many of the players in the matches are going to be better than the casters. But, when you really stop and think about a lot of what we’re already starting to see developing in tactics, and start looking at a lot of footage, there’s a ton of stuff out there that we’ll be able to fill matches with for commentary without digging into pointless things.
Casting isn’t about calling people noobs, but bunching like this deserves it.
Not having a spectator mode obvious puts a huge damper on all of this and puts eSports on the back-burner. ArenaNet knows the necessity of spectator mode to eSports, though, and they’re going to get it to us after launch (building a good PvP system is first priority). In the mean time, go look at some PvP footage. There’s a lot of PvP footage in the GW2WvW video gallery to go through. While you’re watching it, think about them critically. Put yourself in the place of a caster: what would you talk about? What do you see people doing that’s exceptionally good or pathetically bad? What do you see people doing that gives them a clear advantage over others?