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The Alliance Structure: Sidestepping the Problems (Part 5)

Alliances neatly sidestep the problems that have plagued World vs. World since its inception, either eliminating them or reducing their effects. Consider the following problems highlighted in parts two and three.

Population Shifts

In an alliance-based system, drastic population shifts are less catastrophic due to alliances and players being locked to the match they started the week within. Any shifts have to wait until the match is over.

Fairweathering is by nature less likely because many alliances are the hardcore backbone that wants to play WvW. Alliance size determines initial place within the ladder, with roughly equal alliances facing each other*.

*More on this in Part 8.

There is still the possibility of alliances of equal power that don’t evenly divide by 3. This is where mercenaries come in. While they can possibly imbalance, or “overload” a given matchup, decent load balancing will funnel extra players to the alliance(s) at a disadvantage. Population will be dynamically shifted into a balance, even if alliances themselves aren’t.

Within seasons, designated victor situations will be harder to create. For one, no one can bandwagon the frontrunner after the season starts due to match lock. For two, alliances can only have 10 guilds. There is an upper bound limit for how much dogpiling people can do, and shuffling players and guilds around makes bandwagoning much more difficult.

Finally, the transfer meta disappears over time. Alliances provide players the choice of who they fight alongside, and the resulting style of play. Creating the “ideal team” is within a group’s grasp from day one. And of course the inevitable spike of activity in WvW due to the large overhaul that an alliance system would create.

Differences in Mentality

As stated above, alliances pick their style of play. Those who want to play “for the fights” can self-organize into alliances designed to beat the snot out of each other week in and week out. Likewise, PPTers stack the strength of their strategy up against each other.

However, an alliance-based system does not address the scoring system weakness of nightcapping. While alliances and mercenaries in concert can greatly reduce imbalances, players online during off-peak time remain more important to the score than those online during primetime.

Pride Issues

Alliances replace servers, in their entirety. Thus, the disconnect among “server pride,” “guild pride,” and rewards vanishes. Anyone within an alliance knows exactly who they fight with. While guilds and guild members might shift, alliances are deliberately formed as a team that servers only occasionally pulled off.

And while this system’s structure doesn’t address the meaninglessness of victory and defending, the sea change it ushers in provides an ideal opportunity to shift the rewards scheme completely*.

*I’ll go into more detail on this in part 7.

The Unimportance of Guilds

Solved. Alliances are explicitly made up of guilds, and a fixed number of them. The core structure of WvW is based around what was its heart and soul in the first place. Mercenaries may come and go night by night, but alliances and the guilds within them stand at the very center.

Conclusion

But alliances provide much more than simply sidestepping the old server system’s problems. While there is the possibility of things not working out as well, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Which I’ll delve into in the next post.

The Alliances Series

  1. Putting Guilds Back into Guild Wars: WvW Alliances
  2. Unbalanceable Problems: Why the Server System Cannot Work
  3. Heart and Soul: The Guilds of World vs. World
  4. The Case for WvW Alliances
  5. The Alliance Structure: Sidestepping the Problems
  6. The Pros and Cons of WvW Alliances
  7. Rewarding the Competition
  8. Implementing Alliances
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