PvP’s Expansion Limpness

There are sooooooo many other things I’d like to be posting about, but it seems the expectations and hope for Patch 1.4 are a resounding clunk. I was reluctant to even post my comments on Thanquol’s Incursion but as I take a gander around the WAR blogs … I am not alone with bad feelings. Many WAR bloggers have been accused of being too happy shiny about the game so they’ve been posting items that are taking a critical look at this MMO.

And the most recent post from Bootae has hit on something I’ve been thinking for quite a bit of time … the lack of actual new content. I feel that’s the biggest problem with a PvP game. How do you give new content to a playerbase that wants to fight other players?

The big dog WoW is easily expanded as we’ve just seen. Forget that they destroyed Azeroth via the Cataclysm, forget that they did a redo and “improved” the graphics … they went in and did this:

  • Two new playable races (Goblins, Worgen).
  • Each race was given their own starting zone to get players to Level 6.
  • Expanded use of flying mounts.
  • Seven — yes 7 — new dungeons.
  • Three new raids.
  • Two previous dungeons revamped.
  • New battlegrounds and PvP zone.
  • And more …

Easy, right? PvE is much easier to add to and those who love PvE are somewhat easier to cater towards. Call them carebears or whatever, serving up new quests and dungeons is what they want, what they need. You can build a quest chain with story, some loot, and lead them all over the map finding things, talking to NPCs, and killing mobs. And if you’re WoW that could entail taxiing mobs from one side of Gobbo Land to the other. Same with new dungeons … add a portal to some underworld cavern with elaborate architecture, increasingly difficult bosses, and epic gear to be won. That particular path really doesn’t seem possible for WAR since RvR and PvP are what keeps us here. So what can be done?

Patch 1.4’s zerg-busting, RvR-stalling intentions haven’t really come to fruition. Every server is different but on the whole, the zerg still rules and getting into your opponent’s city is still a frequent occurrence. Hey, Mythic tried and what looked good on paper didn’t pan out. Where do we go from here?

If us PvPers can’t be satiated in the same way as WoWophiles, what will fit the bill? We need more territory to fight over, more zones to explore, some more scenarios to clash within, and yes … more gear of all kinds to win. That’s the easy stuff that can be added in. The “hard” stuff referenced above therein? How about new classes, races, and pairings?

Forts … Forts … Forts
They aren’t expansionworthy since they currently reside in the game as pretty scenery and they definitely better not charge us for doing something with them. These need some sprucing up to put a little speed bump in our paths to city siegedom. This post isn’t about specifics so I won’t go into ideas for how to bring these back … all I know is they are needed. Get on it.

Change Your Mind … Add Missing Capitals
When asked directly at a Q&A session, Carrie conceded that completing the missing capitals was off the table. There are other things to focus on. Fair enough but those other things better be freaking good. Going along with my theory that we need more places to fight, four new capital cities with different mechanics, Warlords, and Kings would be cool. Throw in a special set of armor only available from each of the cities all with different appearances and stats. A rotating “city to siege” would be in order rather than capturing one pairing to enter. You’d still need to lock two pairings to get in with the second one locked opening up that pairing’s cities. You wouldn’t fight to lock Dwarf/Greenskin second for a chance at the Grudge set?

More Zones, Please
As others have made mention, it is a bit stale to be fighting it out in the same zones over and over and over again. New is good and despite the hardcore who play WAR, even we are getting tired of the same old Dragonwake and the same old Chaos Wastes. Yeah! Praag again! There are four Tier 4 zones just sitting there not being used. What a waste. And I’ll bet there are players who don’t even know they are in the game.

These are West Praag (Empire/Chaos), Isle of the Dead (High Elf/Dark Elf), Cinderfall, and Deathpeak (Dwarf/Greenskin). I posted a Q&A question on the forums that Andy Belford actually answered. I asked if they considered repurposing these existing PvE-only zones for RvR? He said it was a good idea and something they would consider. Okay … do it. It’s as low a hanging fruit as you’ll find with them just sitting there waiting. Give us a reason to fight there.

Refresh the Weekend Warfronts
We have yet to cycle through all of the retired scenarios that were to be repurposed for the Weekend Warfronts. Some of these gaps can be explained with resources working on other things. But I’m also guessing some of it is a lack of knowing just what to do to make some of them better. To make my point, here are the retired scenarios that have yet to make a reappearance:

  • Gromril Crossing
  • Grovod Caverns
  • Maw of Madness
  • Reikland Hills
  • Thunder Valley

All but one of those are bottom-of-the-barrel in the fun department. Grovod’s is a Phoenix Gate clone only underground. Gromril and Thunder Valley are near clones of one another with multi-flag captures and ranked near the bottom of players’ fave scenario lists. Reikland Hills is similar with multi-cap BO’s for players to run between. The Maw of Madness really doesn’t need any rejiggering. It’s a death match that’s actually a lot of fun. Let’s bring these back some weekend, spruce up the rewards (a longstanding issue for all WWs), and perhaps surprise us with some new scenarios (War Quarters, Undercroft, Bright Wizard College, The Monolith).

Beyond the Warfronts the issue of pops also needs to be addressed. Many have thought that with scenarios removed from the campaign that cross-server matchups would soon follow. Let’s hope they do.

Easy Said …
Those are the easy things that could pump some new life into WAR. I say “easy” from my armchair but some of them are easier than creating a ton of new content from scratch. Much of what I’ve listed is there already either in game or hidden code currently hidden.

The hard stuff? Yeah, now that would take some effort but I feel that’s where the path must go despite the limited resources. You could probably hold back the dogs by simply adding in missing mirrors for the races. Mr. Meh actually listed some intriguing options. Wouldn’t it be cool if every race had a glass cannon? What about a melee-healer for all?

New races with a whole new pairing is definitely pie-in-the-sky but it’s what’s truly needed. The Skaven implementation of 1.4 has been lackluster at best. Thanquol’s Incursion is not widely embraced nor is it much fun. Talking with those who’ve actively played the new Skaven “classes” say other than the Gutter Runner and Warlock Engineer … they really are only so-so. I don’t see too many people using them.

Suck it up and finally — FINALLY — load that silver bullet into your gun and pull the trigger. I know the RvR Packs have sold pretty well by all the players I see running around with their trinkets. There’s a lot of new people playing (or some say). Take that momentum and capitalize on it. Bring Skaven to the game for real with actual classes and zones. Match them with the Lizardmen for double the win. That’s your silver bullet, trump card, sure thing. I wrote about a possible pairing before and Ekalime wrote an epic post on both of these races (and a ton more … shame on you if you don’t read his blog!). It’s right there! Go head down and do it!

Closing Thoughts
It’s a tough road ahead to say the least. Are we coming to the end of the line or is there something worthwhile on the horizon? A patch that on paper sounded fairly solid has landed on its face. Instead of slowing the campaign it’s been accelerated more than ever. The anticipated addition of Skaven has been a dud. We’re tardy on a Producer’s Letter by nearly a month. Guess there’s either nothing to say or is Carrie at a loss for words? I don’t buy that … she’s always got something useful to write. What’s going on?

I know a ton of work went into the RvR Packs and Patch 1.4. And there is some good stuff there just not as substantial to truly enthrall subscribers for longer term. Taking a step back to recover on Mythic’s part is warranted. However, with some of these glaring issues at a time of year when a good chunk of WAR’s playerbase is off from work and school, all ears are open awaiting some word on what is planned to resolve these problems and any hint of what the horizon holds.

The conspiracist in me sees the quickening of the game and the raining of gear on the playerbase as a precursor to no good. Have we been kidding ourselves the past year thinking that if we turn the corner all will be well? I don’t see WAR closing down but can it grow beyond the meager subscriber base it currently has? Where are we … 100,000 – 200,000? More? Less? Who really knows? Is it possible to take the EVE route and grow this thing slowly to where you can gain momentum or are we staring at the eventuality of a F2P model?

If you’re profitable as stated earlier this year … if you have all these “cool expansions” planned … we better see a roadmap or are you guys moonlighting on Star Wars The Old Republic. All I do know is we’re coming to a real crossroads with this game and the directions aren’t looking too rosy. I want Doomflayer and Warpforged gear but am staring at 10 tough renown ranks for each with nothing truly new in between to keep me happy or engaged. It’s just an extension of the grind that isn’t that appealing for me at this moment.

Two years in and we have no new zones … no new races … no new classes … and all the hard work and effort put in to fix the game is quickly forgotten with this recent patch. The work put into WAR to fix its innumerable wrongs does not go unnoticed but for how long can that be the excuse that holds us back? What do you think should be done?

My Xmas wish is for clarity.

10 Responses to “PvP’s Expansion Limpness”

  1. I agree with most of what you said, but some corrections :)

    The new WoW Goblin starter area got me up to level 14.

    A year ago in June we got the Land of the Dead (new zone). We also got Choppa’s, Blackguards, Knights and Slayers post-launch. Sure there can be debate on whether they were really ‘new’, but they were added after launch.

    Adding new content is going to be really tough for WAR. The new zones need to have a good purpose, and not just empty out the current campaign leaving other players high and dry. New classes/races are on the top of my list though.

    • I gathered my WoW Cataclysm info from across the Interwebs so some could be dubious. LOL

      I’m aware of the new stuff we did get. Of it, only Land of the Dead was truly what I would consider new. The four classes were all meant to be in game at launch (except for the Slayer which replaced the Hammerer). To me those were items they needed more time to complete and they used some clever Live Events to introduce them.

      We do need something new and I’m with you 100% … new races/classes are high on my list, too. If they add races, I’d want the new zones to go with it. Call me greedy. There is still so much that can be added but alas, a skeleton crew probably can’t pull it off.

  2. I’m with you guys, I’m still hopeful, but it’s getting to that point. As it stands, assuming WAR doesn’t go F2P, I’ll probably stick it out until W40k comes out (SO EXCITED), but we shall see. Hopefully Mythic does somthing to bring some life back!

    • W40K is still years off, we also know very little about it. It could be WOW wrapped in a new skin. Which means we still don’t have our PvP fix.

      Part of the problem with playing WAR is your judgement on all other games with their PVP is going to be skewed.

      However, like every other GW nerd, I’ll be there for 40K too.

      • I know that, sure. I still have to hope though. If it’s terribad, well… we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

        I am fearful though that it will not live up to its universe in terms of pure battle. We can only wait and see.

      • Mr. Meh is correct, there really isn’t any other good PvP options out there.

        Darkfall? First-person mode kills that for me and I don’t like the idea of dying and having my killer stealing my stuff.

        Aion? Real PvP doesn’t happen until Level 25 and then you get pwned by the Level 50’s.

        I haven’t been following Rift but if there’s good PvP … look out.

        I’m hopeful that Dark Millennium Online is good and it better have some nice PvP. That universe screams for it. From what I’ve read we’re looking at 2013 for it to come out. Graphically it looks cool but needs to look more grim … darker.

  3. I think a part of the problem was inaction for so long combined with action too late that was mediocre at best. Part of the direction that WAR needs to figure out quick, and by quick I mean if they would like even a dozen subscribers after RIFT’s release quick. What they need to admit is that they screwed up PVE, they arent a contender in that MMO direction. Those types of subscribers left long ago and never came back.

    They need to revamp towards a PVP full lifestyle. And though you can argue that we have that now, to me you have wasted memory and server lag occurring because you have so so much PVE still sharing the zones. These aren’t just respawning NPCs, some of the PVE out there is a bit involved and fairly complex. As Bootae expressed, they are server burdens.

    Things need to be reworked. And after this latest expansion, I think it depressingly clear that the resources to give us real new content isn’t probable. At best, after Bioware is done sucking up all of Mythics resources for SWTOR release, more effort might be put into working on the PVP game that they control. I know a couple hundred thousand subscribers doesn’t mean much in the gaming world, but WAR is still the best of the best in PVP out there. For EA to ignore the easy hold they have right now is hard for us to watch.

    You shouldn’t feel bad about the negative. Unfortunately, over the past couple of weeks the player base populations are dropping. Pauser is having trouble getting accurate data from Realm War, but numbers (other than Gorfang for some reason) are showing about a 20% drop since November. This kind of reaction and loss in player base is not going to help influence EA to spend bigger bucks on further content. You would hope that they learned a lesson in going big or not at all.

    With SWTOR being announced to have crappy 8v8 instanced PVP, WAR will survive as the PVP holder. But if RIFT’s PVP turns out to be as good as WARs if not better, I think you are going to see a mass exodus. You already have a very large portion of WAR players in the Closed Beta already. I’d like to see quick turn for the better out of WAR immediately if this game is to thrive but just to survive at this rate.

  4. I have found myself asking the question. Just how many devs does it take to program an expansion like this? Say they had 2-3 months to work on this exclusively would you need 30 guys to write the code for TI and design the new armour art and stats plus the new trinkets? I really doubt it. This expansion was done by a skeleton crew.

  5. […] a few suggestions for the next RvR pack. Which I hope will address some of Bootae’s and Krosuss […]

  6. Okay, before the last couple of weeks I hadn’t heard of rift. The problem with rift, is that it needs to start from where War is now and hit the ground running. That’s a tough nut to crack.

    It’s not good that there hasn’t been a producers letter. We actually need a letter along the lines that MJ used to put out, which gave some guidance on the future.

    I’ve experience 2 city seiges since 1.4 rolled out on Karak Norn in prime time. They aren’t happening anywhere near as frequent as on other servers.

    I finally came up with a way of bringing new content into ORvR without diluting the population and being naff.

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