Missing Capitals … Condemned

From last week’s Post-PTS Dev Q&A Session:

Q: For people that have been playing the end-game for two years, are there any plans to add any more end-game cities or zones?

A: Yeah, I think I’ve finally given up and said no to the cities. Not because they’re not cool and not because we couldn’t possibly do them in the future, but we’re going to focus the gameplay experience on Altdorf and the Inevitable City. That being said, we’re aware that the people that have been playing for awhile would like some more options for the end-game and that’s certainly foremost in our minds.

I missed the event last week … many thanks to Gaar for his awesome transcript of the Q&A.

Within less than a month’s time, WAR players have gotten the answers to two of the biggest outstanding questions about WAR:

  1. Games Workshop released the 8th Edition Rulebook for their Fantasy Battle tabletop game. For those just joining us, that is the 27-year-old fantasy world that WAR is based upon. In the rulebook GW explains the dynamic of the competing forces who fight in this world as being two sides: the Forces of Order and the Forces of Destruction … thus ending any more chatter about WAR adding a third realm a la DAOC.
  2. WAR’s Producer, Carrie Gouskos, stated in the Q&A that we won’t be seeing those missing capital cities that were promised prior to WAR’s launch.

The first one is easily understandable as GW calls the shots when it comes to the IP. Their world is a constant struggle between two opposing forces. The second one though … I feel this is a big missed opportunity. I’m not alone … Sarigs discusses this as well.

For many of us who’ve been here since launch, we’ve done the Altdorf/Inevitable City ping-pong match plenty. As cool as the new city siege mechanic is, it occurring too often is a fear for many. I don’t know if we’re in “old hat” mode yet — probably close — but the sieges do happen far too frequently.

Talking to players who were in the beta, I hear conflicting stories. There are some that claim the other capitals were in beta … while others say no. I wasn’t there myself but do see their remnants. Behind Butcher’s Pass you’ll see the gates of the Greenskin capital, ‘Eight Peaks’ they call it. The once proud Dwarf city of Karak Eight Peaks was conquered by Greenskins and is now vandalized and tainted with orc and gobbo filth.

Across the Tier behind the Dwarf fortress of Stonewatch stands the monolithic doors of the Dwarf Capital, Karaz-A-Karak.

Tell me you don’t want to see what’s behind those doors. That we have the forward-facing graphics of these capitals tells me there was some work completed. And if you own the WAR Collectors Edition there are artist drawings of their interiors. In trying to get close to the Elf capitals …  Lothern (High Elf Capital) is given the same treatment.

Behind Fell Landing is nothing but a path … I couldn’t even see the Fist of Malekith (Dark Elf Capital).

Why would adding these into the game be of use? Let’s see how they could be added and what that might mean.

Keg End Live Event > Live Expansion
Use this Dwarf-centric event as the first part of a Live Expansion similar to how Call to Arms progressed to Land of the Dead. Focus the action in the Dwarf/Greenskin pairing culminating with the launch of Karaz-A-Karak and Karak Eight Peaks as new areas to explore and siege.

Repurpose the new city mechanic — imagine High King Thorgrim Grudgebearer wheeled out on a massive anvil casting rune lightning from an ancient battle axe while players fight around him … or … Warboss Grumlok and Gazbag flying down on a giant wyvern unleashing orcish fury. The Invader/Warlord phases would still be a progression flag-capture and the Royal a champion selection. The twist for these cities? Only Dwarfs and Greenskins can be champs (unless none are present), new purple weapons, potions, trophies (all Dwarf and Greenskin inspired), then rather than Sovereign a new set of high-end gear would be available … the 8-piece Monarch set.

Night of Murder Live Event > Live Expansion
Don’t leave out the pointy-ears! Follow suit with a shift to the High Elf/Dark Elf zones leading to the launch of Lothern and the Fist of Malekith. Give it the same treatment with a similar racial twist — only High Elf and Dark Elf champs — and the goal would be the 8-piece Asuryan set.

Make no mistake these should be more challenging as well as rewarding — perhaps making the Supreme Wards meaningful. From there the WAR campaign could be a shifting experience that wouldn’t always need to end in Altdorf or the Inevitable City over and over and over again. Players would be treated to three similar yet different end-game experiences that all yield different, worthwhile, and rewarding items. And in the end, that’s what it boils down to … the fun and the loot!

Reality Check
I have a better chance of playing pro basketball than ever seeing this happen. Mythic’s staff is not what it was prior to WAR’s launch … understood … but with the game having gone through a metamorphosis these past two years it’s time to be forward thinking. When the bloggers visited Mythic earlier this year, they reported Paul Barnett still onsite and a secret team of developers working on a secret “something”. Do you think Paul is filling out TPS reports all day? Maybe those devs are working on DAOC 2.

Once the RvR revamps are all in place it should be about new content … new zones … new dungeons … new races … new classes … new loot … new events … new period. Or why bother. I appreciate all that Mythic has done to pull their game out of the mire. Enough lamenting on what could have been and build this game up. Look at a game like EVE Online and how it’s steadily gotten better and better and steadily grown population … this did not occur overnight. The sprint mentality is the downfall of MMO’s these days. All the hype over Champions Online, Aion, Star Trek Online … and where are they now? Even WOW wasn’t so special until years after launch when the Burning Crusade was released.

What I propose here is not impossible with a reasonable timeframe. If the capitals were mentioned to players during beta, that means somewhere someone was working on art, schematics, itemizations, etc. Unless all that up-front capital EA put into Mythic’s hands was squandered. Who knows.

These new cities don’t each need a dungeon … just give them an auction house, bank, guild hall, vendors, some meager quests, and some nifty streets to wander through. Their main purpose would be a battleground for end-game city sieges. When one looks at the maps for Altdorf and the IC … we know that the areas we get to roam in are not their entire expanse. The same can apply with the missing capitals.

Saying “no to the cities” isn’t a “never” but is sad to hear nonetheless. Carrie wants us to have options for end-game … the two city setup doesn’t give us that. Once you’ve defeated Karl or Tchar several dozen times … what else is there?

8 Responses to “Missing Capitals … Condemned”

  1. At least they said no when it was very possible they could have continued to say maybe over and over again with no intention of ever doing it. Sometimes I just wish those MF’ers would say NO more often at very least so we have some clue as to wtf is going on.

    • I think it’s time to be over the gunshyness. Mark Jacobs is no longer there and he was the one up-front cheerleading making all the promises. It’s time to move on and look forward.

      I agree, there’s a way to inform your players without making promises you can’t deliver. If games like Champions and Age of Conan can be up-front with their players on teh future, so can WAR.

  2. I agree there is probably alot more to fix in the game than adding cities. Orvr still sucks in my book, and I am not sure it can be fixed.

    Something exciting needs to happen, or people will still be leaving. You can only do cities, and tovl so many times before you go crazy. How many alts can you roll before you are sick of scenarios, orvr, cities, and etc?

    I don’t care how big of an announcement they do for WAR I don’t think it is going to live up to anyones expectations. Once the big announcement comes, and its lackluster the population of servers will probably take a big hit.

    Oh well I guess right now it is a waiting game. Luckily 15 a month is dirt cheap so I can afford to keep waiting, and wishing.

    • RvR is that last puzzle piece needing some sprucing. It really is a drag. Against All Odds sounds good but if taking BOs and Keeps is still boring, who cares?

      More incentives need to be put into place and the act of sieging a keep or fighting for a BO needs to be more engaging, exciting, and worthwhile. I’m a fan of rewards … gold, XP, renown, influence, items, whatever. And most players are, too.

      There are so many opinions and rumors out there I just want the announcement to come out. If it’s not an expansion of some sort, it will be a huge letdown when so many other games have already released expansion or have announced them.

  3. The other four cities were never in beta; I was in since the closed beta phase. Anyone who implies differently is either talking about Mythic implying that they “might be added in at some point later” or they were a Core Tester who saw or heard something that never went on the live beta server. They were never put in for closed or (later) open beta testers to see. If they exist at all then only Mythic and maybe a few Core Testers got to see something of them.

    Your ideas are very interesting Krosuss. Not sure I like the “only one race can be the champs” part (that RR 33 IB does NOT need to be our tank Champ TYVM), but the rest of it sounds very fun. It would be great to have some variety in the final siege.

    But how would you handle which city opens up for siege? If two pairings have to be captured would both of those pairing’s cities be open to siege? Maybe if we had 3x the current population that would work, but right now I think it would dilute the population too much. Still, interesting ideas.

    This upcoming Big Announcement is going to have to be pretty amazing. There are certainly enough great ideas floating around out there that the Devs can surely bring something great to the game. Here’s hoping they’ve picked some cherries.

    • Thanks for clarifying … perhaps some players saw the fronts of these cities and thought that meant they were actually in the beta. There is a lot of cool concept art for the Dwarf and Greenskin cities in the Collectors Edition … which leads me to believe on some server somewhere are actual graphics for them.

      My posts are usually long so I sometimes omit some details. I’d envision a similar requirement like we have today to be selected as a champion. So in the off chance no dwarf is there who meets it then it would default to the other two races. Then depending upon what pairing you are fighting would depend who would be first picked as champs.

      As for the sieges themselves … I’d still see it being a two-pairings needed to lock mechanic. Whatever the second pairing was being locked would be the pairing whose city gets sieged. Or it could be a rotating thing dictated by Mythic. This week all sieges go to Altdorf/IC … next week it’s Karaz-A-Karak/Eight Peaks.

  4. I think we/Mythic need to have the option to split the game from the lore when the gameplay needs it. So just because the lore book says X about 2 forces, doesn’t mean a realignment of a 3rd force couldn’t happen.

    I think it’s highly unlikely, but the game cannot be dictated solely by the lore book. It is a reference document, not a design document.

    • I don’t disagree with you, Skar. But GW is pretty tight when it comes to their IP. And so true that what we know as lore doesn’t always make such a smooth transition into a game or movie.

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