What is Alliances and World Restructuring?

They said this day would never come, but here we are, three and a half years later and we are about to try the first week of World vs. World with Alliances. But what are alliances you might ask?

See there has been a lot of confusion over the years. Does it require you to join a guild to play WvW? Are alliances the new servers? Let me see if I can shed some light on the topic.

Before we dive into what alliances are and how they will work, let's have a brief history lesson.

A bit of history

In the old system of World vs. World, your account is directly attached to a world. This was a choice you had to make back when you created your account. Over the years megaservers were added to PvE and PvP meaning that suddenly the world you were on only affected World vs. World. This is overall a bad system because you don't necessarily know what world to choose when you are a new player.

Over the years the World vs. World population declined, as any MMO does after the initial rush of players. To ensure that there was enough activity in World vs. World, the developers added links. It was a system of linking together worlds into teams. Every second month a relink would happen to ensure a constant shuffle of populations as players would move around over time, potentially making a single link more populated than it should be.

This shuffle of players was amplified by large groups of players that would transfer to lower population worlds after every relink, essentially nullifying the attempt at balancing the populations of the worlds.

And that has brought us to where we are now. In a place where big groups are moving around every two months, attempts of population balance are difficult and new players having to choose a world, that they don't even understand yet.

But Guild Wars 2 had a plan and that plan was called alliances. After three and a half years the first alliances beta is upon us. So, what are alliances?

New system

World Restructuring is the alliances system. It's a way of creating dynamic servers - or teams as they will be called - every season. A season is a period of time in between each rebuild of the teams. There is no set time for a season yet, but the developers have said it can end up being up to around 8 weeks.

Instead of you choosing a server to play on when you create a character, you will choose which other players you want to play with, by designating one of your guilds as your World vs. World guild. Every player that has put your guild as their World vs. World guild will then end up on the same team.

The alliances are a way for multiple guilds to organize together and say "we want to be on the same team the next season". The current maximum for an alliance is 500 players, which is the same size as a full guild, this could be subject to change in the future.

What if I don't have a World vs. World guild? That is perfectly fine. What will happen is that you will be automatically placed on a team if you're considered an active World vs. World player. If you're not, you will get the option to choose a team the first time you enter World vs. World. Teams do have a population cap just like servers do now, such that new and returning players can't just stack a single team.

It should also be mentioned, that any guild can be put as a World vs. World guild. So if you just want to be able to play World vs. World with your PvE friends on a semi-regular basis, you all just have to put your main guild as your World vs. World guild.


So, how will teams work?

Each team will be made up of multiple alliances, guilds, and individual players and as previously mentioned, then the teams will be destroyed and recreated every time a new season starts, this is called matchmaking.

This matchmaking will be sorting all alliances, guilds, and individual players by their World vs. World participation and playtime and then places them on different teams. The parameters for this matchmaking might change in the future.

To better explain how the matchmaking will work when making the teams, I have come up with this analogy:

Let's say there are 3 buckets, each of which is a team. These are all currently empty and we want to fill these as evenly as possible.

The first step will be to fill the buckets with the biggest pieces first, alliances and guilds, they can be the same size, remember? In this analogy they are rocks. Starting with the biggest rock, then the rocks will be placed one after another in whatever bucket is the least full. This keeps going until there are no longer any rocks left. With alliances and guilds as evenly distributed as possible, it still leaves a lot of empty space between the rocks, which brings us to step two.

The second step is to repeat the process that was done with the rocks, but this time it will be done with sand, these are individual, active World vs. World players that are not part of a World vs. World guild. And because sand is smaller than rocks, they can fill out all the remaining space between the rocks, giving more granular control in how full each bucket gets.

In the end, each bucket will be as evenly full as possible, giving us more balanced populations between the teams.


Alliances is going to be one of the biggest update we have ever seen in World vs. World because it fundamentally changes how teams are made and thereby how matchmaking happens. And it shapes a future for World vs. World that looks brighter than ever.

One of the biggest wins from my side is that whenever new players come to the game, they can join a guild and not have to worry about transferring to play with them in World vs. World. With this system, players are encouraged to organize themselves before a population balance takes place, not after, which I hope is going to bring a lot more fun matches in the future.

I'm Rediche and I stream on twitch.tv/rediche every Monday, Thursday, and Friday.