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Real-time PVP between Players

This has been raised before, but I think the time is ripe. I used to be a Pokemon Go player, and watched the impossible become possible over the course of the last few years.

It was Player vs gyms (not sure if that’s done local CPU or server-based)
Then it was Players (multiple) vs server (raids)
Then they finally introduced real-time PvP

On the people side, there were detractors from every change.
On the technical side, yes there were many challenges with rubber-banding raid damage to consistent player attempts to hack PvP.
After numerous teething issues, PvP got to a stage where there is a core of players discussing it, holding live tournaments, improving knowledge of game mechanics etc.

Now with the scene set, yes, the feature I’m requesting is real time PvP, between players. I know it’s been raised several times before, but I’m necro-ing the request all the same. It will give a pocket of players something to do - to chase individual glory on a leaderboard with real rankings that rise and fall with each win/loss and not the current “PvP” that is all about how much time you spend.

How about stats disparity? Use the Arena model - remove all stat bonuses! Or keep them as a nod to the number of hours you’ve invested in the game, but scale them with diminishing returns. Just a random suggestion - square root your total bonus, so
+1 => +1
+4 => +2
+25 => +5
Sure, veterans will be stronger, but you could scale the rating (some games use a derivative of ELO rating system) so that the expected outcome is not only based on rating difference between two players, but also takes into consideration difference in bonus. i.e. winning consistently with no bonus moves you up faster. You could even make it so that one could choose whether to activate stat bonuses before match-making.

How about troop disparity? There must be many ways to address this, and a group of dedicated thinkers will surely think of better ways, but for the sake of discussion, another random suggestion. In Magic the Gathering (MtG), there are banned cards, limited cards (1 only) and other restrictions. In Pokemon Go, they have 3 different leagues (different power levels) and TheSilphRoad (3rd party) used to run tournaments based on specific traits. So my suggestion is for GoW:

  • put OP weapons and troops into tiers - and allow only 1 S-tier weapon/troop per team
  • allow only 1 of each troop
  • set seasonal restrictions to make things fresh, but keep enough variability e.g. never less than 50 troop choices. examples are

    “must use any of these 2 colours”
    “must NOT use any of these 2 colours”
    “must be an Elf or Orc”
    “must be from Merlantis or be a Merfolk”

On thing about PvP in any game is balance - it’s always fluctuating, but League of Legends has a team dedicated to tuning. Street Fighter has a team dedicated to tuning.
Players will complain all the time - but I feel this will be a good addition to the game for something to do. If it becomes a real game mode, you can see how troops are performing and start tuning using this information by adjusting multipliers, mana costs, base damage etc.

Guild Wars doesn’t quite cut it - it’s once every 4 weeks and P v CPU can only be so challenging. Last B1 winner lost under 10 total battles across 900 GW battles?
PvP leaderboard is simply a measure of who has the most time to grind.
Give us real player-vs-player skill based leaderboards! You say it’s all RNG? So are scrabble, MtG (starting hand), and so many other games, but that hasn’t stopped them.

You say lag will kill it?
I also used to play Yahoo Chess maybe 12 years ago? Managing two players online wasn’t hard then, especially given GoW PvP would be turn-based as well. People made 60 moves in under a minute. 12 years ago.

You say nobody will play a 10 minute match?
Chess games go for different time controls - but there are plenty of players all round. We could use a dual time limit, one per turn and one for the entire game. There could be “fast” and “slow” time controls offered, each with a different ladder?

  • fast: 20 seconds max per turn (move or lose it), 3 minutes total (per player)
  • slow: 40 seconds per turn, 10 minutes total (per player)
    I used “match” above, because I see a fair match as 2 (or 4, 6?) battles between players, taking turns starting first.

What about draws (each player winning one battle)? - several ideas

  • Leave it as a draw. Chess games end in draws, but draws count slightly against players with higher troops/teams/stats, since they are expected to win more. It’s statistical, I won’t go into details
  • Blitz chess tie-breaks use an Armageddon system. The advantage of the White player is amplified (5 minutes on top of starting first, vs 4 minutes), but if you can’t win it, a draw becomes a loss. I don’t know what would make an exciting Armageddon game to settle drawn matches, maybe 1 tiebreak game with starting player randomly selected (wild suggestion), 2nd-to-move gets 30% mana start & 1 random barrier & 1 random freeze-opponent? Even the bonus for this tiebreak game can be 3 things drawn from a pool of 10.

No matter how unbalanced things are, just remember RNG applies to everyone equally. If you do well on aggregate over many games despite RNG, it’s your turn to shine whether by luck or skill. Over a long period of several monthly seasons, those consistently on the top must be doing something right.

I am not pushing a particular implementation even though I have put forward some suggestions. I offer them only as a starting point to visualize what is possible. There are probably critical flaws in some of my thinking, and you may have an idea 10 times better than mine how to implement it. Please do share!


They dont have the skills or the inclination.

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This has come up several times in the past.
It will never happen.


I would GLADLY welcome it!

It should be very easy to implement provided that the mode generally sticks to arena rules at large, so that turn resolution does not take too much time. IDK why developers don’t want to do it, simply being stubborn to the point of silly IMHO. Some generous timer aka 20-30 seconds per move should work well. Ten seconds is too short considering turn resolution that might take some time as well. To avoid usual grindfest, they should implement some rating system similar to ELO which makes it impossible to grind the standings.

It will be very entertaining to have such mode in GoW.

I really don’t think this would be as fun as some people think, nor do I think it would be worth the effort and the strain it would put on servers.


:face_with_monocle: :thinking: :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :unamused: :-1: :-1: :-1: :-1: :-1: :-1: :-1:

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The first time someone lost to a Goblin/loop team they would rage and hate it. They would have to change/nerf so many things to get it to work.

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Here’s why this would never work: people are used to the AI being bad, even if they don’t realize it.

Ever notice that the AI seems to favor 4 matches or 5 matches? Ever see the AI ignore a skull match even when it will die to it the next turn? The AI is awful, and people expect it, whether they know it or not.

Long before your time playing, we once were given sliders to adjust the odds of the AI prioritizing colors, skulls, or spells. Adjust the sliders too much and the AI would ignore a 4 match or not cast a spell. Evil Nimhain took them away because it was too complicated and people weren’t using them right. For most people anyways.

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It is possible to make a fair and fun match-3 with head to head play. It is not possible to make GoW that game.

This game is built around unfair mechanics. The first advantage you get is you always get to move first. That lets your Empowered troops go first, or at the very least you get to make the decision first. More often than not, that puts your opponent on the back foot before they get to respond. Some of my teams sometimes don’t even let the other team make a move. Some of them don’t give up the turn before killing two troops.

Imagine yourself on that end. Sitting through matchmaking, then loading, just to watch another person take 8 moves to kill you and kick you back to matchmaking. The CPU can’t really be that effective consistently, but players will.

For GoW to be fair and prevent this, it would have to be a different game. We can’t have free turns. We can’t have Empowered troops. We can’t have generators or converters. GoW can’t be the fun pinball game it is, it has to be chess. Slow, stuffy, where every move has a small impact, but with strategy you can make the impacts stack over time and trap your opponent.

You want a different game.


And we have all been defeated by CPU teams before. I have put some suggestions towards making it head-to-head-able.

  1. Return matches. I sit through you starting first, then you sit through me starting first. It may be unpleasant for both, but we do it equally.
  2. I suggested thematic seasons so that you won’t get all your favourite troops. We could use a draft system where there are 40 troops for this season (same for everyone), or even MtG style tournament pack, where everyone gets different troops randomly and tries to make something out of it. MtG has land/non-land, we can mix weapon/troops. This will test your construction skills like arena.

These are only my suggestions off the top of my head, surely there are ways to make it happen.

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Here’s why this would never work: people are used to the AI being bad, even if they don’t realize it.

Absolutely in the context of all the game modes currently played, including Guild Wars. I would not want an AI trained by AlphaZero engine to go up against in GW or Explore 12 or Delves, it would frustrate me to no end.

But the idea excites me to go head to head and test how well I can play RNG and statistics to my favour, much like a poker player gets dealt random cards, awaits more random cards to open, but over time skill should count for something. Apparently, some others are too.

I won’t claim the desire to compete is the same for everyone, but treat it like treasure maps. Some loathe it with a passion, others actually enjoy the break in rhythm.

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No. Not now, not ever. The devs have stated repeatedly that the game would have to be completely torn down and recoded from the bottom up to make this possible. It’s never going to happen.


I’m wondering – how would you manage team selection, incl. between multi-battle matches?

  • E.g., do I pick a team (from the available troops) and hit “Play!”, finding the next available opponent and playing 2 or 4 battles against them with the same team, who has also locked in a team?

  • Or would it maybe be a lobby style where you select your team, and invite people to come in, build a counter, and defend against your team?

    • I guess it might make sense for each player to have an offence and defence team for when the second battle comes around and the other player starts. That could also keep each alternating battle interesting.

I definitely think it would prompt more balance changes, if nothing else :stuck_out_tongue:.

And to be fair, most people do agree that the core gameplay/base game of GoW is pretty solid, so live PvP could be an enduring option for some future of the game.

You underestimate how frustrating it will be. It has to do with the difference between “losing” and “LOSING”.

We lose matches to the CPU now, and people complain about it constantly. There are 3-4 teams I simply won’t start a match against anymore. It’s not worth my trouble if the win rate is so low I’m more likely to get more rewards from other matches. This is with the CPU moving second.

To simulate how this will feel, next time you’re grinding PVP roll a d6 while the match loads. If it’s 3-6, play the game. If it’s 1-2, put your phone down, count to 20, then retreat. This simulates meeting a human opponent with a fast, looping team that slow-rolls you and wastes extra turns on purpose so you can watch how thoroughly you are being defeated. Think a Norbert’s Turnip or other loop-heavy team. They are consistent but the reason many don’t use them in PvP is they are slow. That’s the perfect weapon for a PvP troll.

See how fun your play session is when a third of the time you lose before you make a move, but it costs 3 games worth of time to lose. Now imagine knowing it’s a human player who is intentionally trying to make you upset.

A lot of people would quit very quickly.

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I appreciate the discourse and your point of view.
I fully understand what you are saying, I avoid those teams too.

But have you been successful building a looping team in this world event or the last? Or the last class event? Or the last time you were in Arena?

I’m not saying there are no challenges - let’s move the discussion towards throwing ideas at making it possible. I have put my suggestions forward. Your feedback on my suggested mitigations would be gladly accepted.

Hear hear. And some may stay. Or some quit and come back if they balance it well and start loading loot into rankings or tournaments. Who knows?

For the folks that’re emotionally against this, just simply don’t play the mode, problem solved.

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“I don’t like that people have opinions, I think people who have opinions should quit the game.”

You first. If your only argument is, “This is a no-disagreement zone, I disagree with everyone but if you disagree with me you should quit” then I’d rather read a spam ad than your opinion.

“GoW needs live PvP” is the “Minecraft needs guns” of GoW.


I think what cyberkiwi was trying to say was that they’ve already put suggestions forward for the complaint of losing frustratingly to particular teams, and would prefer discussion around those rather than the assumed suggestion of live PvP in the status quo.

The point made here in the last point is that you don’t always have those meta troops available in all of these modes. Those ‘avoid-at-all-cost’ PvP defences may very well not be available. These were some of the suggested mitigations for what was acknowledged to be an issue (so you are at least being partially agreed with), and what I believe cyberkiwi was looking for engagement on, instead of a re-iteration of the acknowledged issues around annoying metas.

More suggested mitigations:

I’m not saying I think it’s a perfect idea or that the suggestions would fix everything, I just hate seeing people at odds with each other over what seems to me like a miscommunication.

My interpretation: “Yes, I agree that a lot of people would quit very quickly if it was implemented in such a way that such trolling was possible. I think it’s possible not everyone would quit. I also think it’s possible that the dev team could do such a fantastic job implementing and balancing the new system that the people who quit, for very valid reasons, might be tempted to come back with those issues out of the way. I think it’s worth a shot, and that it’s too early to say that it would be a complete failure, with all the possible ways things could be fine-tunes (as suggested above).”