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GW2 - Why AFK Players are Killing sPvP

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Guild Wars 2's Structed PvP system has been having problems since the beginning due to AFK players ending up in matches. The solution to this problem was to only reward players for things they do in the matches, so that there are no real benefits to being AFK, although it does not work too well.

All too often, what we are seeing is players either entering a match and standing around (or otherwise just chatting and not helping), or not even making it in to the matches. Because Structured PvP is based on small teams (five players each) fighting one another, even missing a single person can make a massive difference in who wins the match. What makes matters worse, however, is that a lot of the time there are two or more people absent or AFK.

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It Kills Morale

Probably the worst part about the AFK players is that they end up killing the morale, usually for both sides during the match. One side is at a huge advantage, and the other has no real challenge. This causes both of them to start losing interest (aside from the people who are there solely for the rewards), and if multiple groups in a row end up missing players it causes people to stop wanting to continue.

While this does not have a short term effect, over time it starts to drain players. Speaking to a lot of people that dislike sPvP, this is by far the most complained about thing. It is also worth noting that while we are looking at this in the tournament perspective, AFK players in regular matches have the same effect.

It Slows Progress

Each player gets rewards based on their own contribution to a match, but this is still a little flawed when dealing with smaller groups (being outnumbered). Take, for example, a group of two players against a full party of five. The things you get contribution for (as a general rule) are:

  • Kills
  • Resurrects
  • Taking objectives

There are some small things here and there that also give rewards, depending on the map, but those three are static across each fight. Now, why does this become an issue?

When you are fighting against people, let us assume you are going with both teams clashing. You have two and they have five. The chances of you getting a kill are very slim, meaning that you will likely not be getting any credit for kills. Resurrects is a little iffy, as this will depend on if you can do an instant resurrection (such as with the Mesmer, for example), or if you have to rely on resurrecting people out in the open. In some cases you will be able to do this and in others you will not.

Taking objectives, however, is where things start to get even worse. If you take your entire team to an objective, your opponent can defend it with that many, plus have others keeping a watch out for the other ones. Or they can just defend an objective with their entire team, significantly reducing the chances that you will be able to capture anything.

There is also another aspect of the PvP that is slowed, which is the winning bonuses. Winning a match grants bonus rewards, and when you are outnumbered on every match the chances of winning are much lower. This is not to say that you can not win while still at a disadvantage, but it does not happen nearly as often.

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What Needs to Be Done?

Really, there should be a timer and accepting mechanism added to the matches. Instead of automatically throwing people in to their tournament, it should ensure everyone is actually present. This would save a ton of headaches as it would at least solve the issue of the people that join a queue and then leave for a while so they can do other things, or those who completely forget about the queue altogether.

Another thing that would help is a way to report AFK players. Even if there were not an automated system for handling them (as everything should really be done manually in cases like this, to avoid players abusing the report system), this would be the best way to handle the situation. It is assumed that logs are kept on the server regarding matches and such, so there should be no problems with combing through them to verify whether or not someone's report is accurate, and then take the appropriate steps to help keep it from happening in the future. Even giving a warning or a sPvP ban for a short time would go a long way!

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As it Stands – Conclusion

As the system stands right now, it needs some work. The matches are made to be quick and easy to get in to, but in cases like this it is too easy to hurt other players. Sometimes this is not intentional, and there are a lot of legitimate cases for why someone may have to ditch out early or go AFK, but with the high rate of it going on in Guild Wars 2 right now, it is definitely something that needs to be dealt with. This is the number one killer of the sPvP, and I think that, depending on how it is handled, resolving it could really work to resurrect the system. It may take a while for it to get back to normal, but I have faith in it!

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