It feels like the ranked PVP rewards were originally designed with the idea that the playerbase would be very small. You need to place within the top 1,000 players in order to actually get anything greater than the participation award, which implies maybe a game population that should be around 10,000 players. 10% of players would get onto the loaderboard, while 10% of those would start to get significant prizes and then the top few would get the best prizes.
Adding to this feeling is the sheer underwhelming value of the prizes compared to the amount of effort it requires to get onto the leaderboard. Being self employed, I’m able to spend more time playing than your typical person who has school or work taking up nearly half of their waking hours.
For a sense of scale, I played enough to earn and donate to my guild 1,350,000 gold last week. I am on my way to beating that with already 620,000 gold saved up for next Monday so far over 3 days, most of this earned through PVP. If I were to, hypothetically, get 1st place in PVP I would get enough gold to… not even really impact my week’s earnings in any meaningful way, what-so-ever.
I would get enough souls to, I don’t know, maybe be worth a quarter of one day’s worth of souls that I already get? I would get 50 gems though. That’s… ah, nice? It’s enough to open five gem chests. Nevermind that I get enough gems to buy 50 gem chests a week and the first two tiers of the event deals for each event.
The only thing that does seem to be a decent reward are those 11 arcane traitstones… that you can buy for 300 or 400 glory each. And I get close to a thousand glory a day. Which means if I am so inclined, I could easily get around 17-20 arcane traitstones a week. I mean, hey 50% more traitstones. that’s something.
Except obviously I am not in first place. I’m in 33,400th place. And if nearly every single first place reward is worthless to ME, I can only imagine how unbelievably worthless the rewards actually are to the first place guy who it appears has fought ten times as many battles as I have so far this week.
This creates a clear problem; aside from the very few people who are extremely motivated to get first place purely for the sake of knowing that they got first place this week, there is absolutely no incentive to even bother trying to compete. The amount of time and energy it takes to actually place within the top 1,000 is astronomical compared to the incredibly minuscule rewards on offer.
In order to motivate people to get competitive about ranked PVP, there are two things that need to change. One is that the prizes need to fit the time investment. Let’s be honest here? There is exactly a 0% chance the guy in first place right now doesn’t have every troop fully traited, or at least enough stones to do so.
The most valuable reward will be gems, and gold, because those resources continue to have purpose after you’ve fully upgraded every troop. Gems because you can buy event deals with them weekly, and gold because you can donate to your guild for LTs at any time, and once a week you need to do normal tasks again. Glory, souls, and traitstones should probably weigh more heavily towards the lower prizes then gold/gems heavier towards the top prizes.
The second thing will be to make prizes attainable. Even the best prizes will fail to get people invested in chasing after them if there is a 0% chance of actually getting them. I can think of two ways to do this. One would be to expand the number of people who win in each prize category; something like say 50,001+ is the consolation prize category, then it moves to 50,000-30,001, 30,000-20,001, 20,000-10,001, 1000-101, 100-51, 50-11, 10-4, 3, 2, 1.
Another way to do it would be to create a ladder system which allows smaller groups of players to compete with each other and move up into higher tiers for more prizes by placing high in their group. This would be more complicated, but the plus side is that players could compete for “first place” at every stage of the game, rather than only at the endgame.
These changes would be major, but I do think that it would bring the pvp competition from something only a vanishingly small number of people can take seriously to something that the whole playerbase can engage with.