I have never been excited for PvP in any other game than Guild Wars 2. PvP is wow was interesting, but never really entertaining outside of Arena. Rift PvP has been very entertaining despite being the same thing as wow minus the Arena system. And PvP back in Ragnarok Online was schedules for 2 hours twice a week which made it very predictable despite being massive and fun. Structured PvP in the form of Battle Grounds that you can queue up on the fly as well as participate in weekly tournaments as well as fan based tournaments is a very exciting prospect for me. The unstructured side of World PvP that works like a PvE server where you choose to participate in it (similar to how wintergrasp works in WoW).
As of right now, there is only one battleground called the Battle of Kyhlo (BK). BK is a 5v5 King of the hill type game where there are 3 locations on the map that each team has to control to gain points (Arathi Basin and The Codex). First team to 500 points wins the match. It is a simple premise overall with the added complexity of a Trebuchet (giant catapult designed to launch objects further, more powerful at the cost of reload speed) and destructible buildings.
The three points on the map are the Clocktower, the Windmill and the Mansion located North, South and Center. Each of the teams spawn at their bases located on the East and the West sides of the map. The Windmill and the Mansion are the two mirror points, each of them easily accessible to one of the teams (windmill for red and mansion for blue) and separated from the center section by a ramp that acts like a choke point (cough cough strategy cough). The Clocktower point is at the center of the map and elevated from the rest of the map. The only way to get to this point is by using the two ramps inside of the building that makes this point the hardest to defend or captured based on team composition and strategy.
The point of the map is to hold the points for the longest and the most points. Holding 2 points will grant you 2 points every 1.5 seconds (this number might change). Unlike The Codex in Rift, all the points give the same amount of points, so if you hold all 3 points, you get 3 points every 1.5 seconds. If you hold 1 point, you only get 1 point every 1.5 seconds. All in all, the basics of this map are very simple.
Trebuchets add the next level of complexity by allowing you to destroy buildings (such as the Clocktower) and assault points. As of now, Trebuchet fire will only damage opposing teams, meaning that if you sacrifice the single player to man the Trebuchet, you have complete map presence on all points at all times. However, this means that the game is essentially 4v5 while the Trebuchet is reloading. Early use of this to expose the Clocktower can make assaulting that single point that much easier and sporadic use of the Trebuchet will make it far less likely to be destroyed by the opposing team.
This map provides nothing new to the PvP world as far as game type goes. King of the Hill is in all sorts of games from Halo to any major MMO out there. In fact, the only unique game type I have ever found was a hybrid Capture the Flag, King of the Hill type game in RIFT called Black Garden. However, despite not being anything new to the PvP world, the game type is very tested and works in every game it has been implemented in. While definitely not my favorite game type, I do enjoy it when there is a new twist to it. In RIFT, that twist was the Codex being worth 2 points and the other 3 locations being only worth 1. Rather than being a flag to capture, the various areas are auras that you just have to stand in. The more people, the faster the capture. If the team outnumbers you, they can take your capture right out from under your feet making crowd control, such as knockback and pulling, more crucial than actual damage output. In addition to that, you are also awarded 1 point for each kill you get for your team.
Where this map differs from the rest is that these types of games revolve around high numbers of people (15 is both WoW and RIFT) while also keeping a small number of people, focusing more on small skirmishes rather than full blow team battles over points. Smaller numbers means far more strategy is involved. 5v5 Arenas in WoW required a lot of strategy, but 2v2 in WoW was where it got far more complex. Rather than having a diverse skillset, 2v2 teams had to really think about what was the optimal class combinations. Some classes did far better than others and that reason was because of the toolsets those classes offered. In WoW, the more people that were involved, the less actual strategy was employed. The only strategy in Alteric Valley (the 40v40 map) was the bum rush the opposing teams leader and maybe destroy the other captains if the first attempt at rushing failed. The strategy involved in 2v2 was careful team balance, perfectly timed purges, counter spells and heals and positioning. In BK, every assault on a point can be anywhere between a 1v1 to a 5v5.
I really like this map, despite not having actually played on it. I have always been a fan of small scale PvP (2v2s being my favorite in WoW) because of the amount of preproduction is required to be successful. Throw in inter-class combos and you have the most complex PvP experience available in any game. To be successful in this type of environment is to be extremely flexible and have a stable of max level characters at your disposal. Because of the gear normalization, the only real way to be different is to have a different stat distribution, (hopefully, you will have the ability to reset this so I dont have to have 4 Engineers) you wont have to worry about gearing up all your 80s to be competitive. The Trebuchet also adds a new level of complexity that really spices up the game.
However, there is one major flaw of small scale combat, particularly when there are no kill requirements. I have to completely agree with Boon Control when they state that it is dangerous to have an Esport where there is a possibility that nobody will get killed. If everyone plays conservatively and leaving various capture points when outnumbered or when low on health, then you can still win or lose a match but never die. You could chase enemies down, but holding points is far more valuable that getting a single kill. Despite this, I am still very excited for this map and all the possibilities it possesses.
So good job on Arena Net for taking an old game type and freshening it up with a certain quality that makes this exciting to just think about it. If world PvP and keep combat turns out like this map, then I am very excited for that as well. My only hopes is for Arena Net to keep producing high quality PvP content without saturating it with more battlegrounds. One of my big issues with RIFT is that they produce way too much content and makes the game saturated. So long as Arena Net keeps along with the minimalist approach and producing very high quality content for us to enjoy.