Archive for PvP

PvP’s Expansion Limpness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 21, 2010 by krosuss

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.

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Skaven “Zone”

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , , on October 4, 2010 by krosuss

More information about the upcoming RvR Packs! This time we have some details about the Skaven “zone”. Bootae took one for the team by listening to Ten Ton Hammer’s grating podcast. Honest, it took about 5 minutes of dreck to get to anything in this podcast and then another drag of time to even get to the interview with Carrie. So, many thanks to Bootae! Combat pay is due! Werit also has a writeup about it on his blog.

I use quotes above because once you read about the “zone” you’ll quickly see it’s not really a zone at all. It sounds more like a 24-v-24 scenario that will feature mechanics similar to the current city siege. Call it city siege lite. The term RvR dungeon is being presented so perhaps this will be larger in scope with more interesting twists and turns than we imagine.

This instance will lead two 24-man forces of RR65+ players into a literal rats’ nest to fight it out in attempts to slay one of a handful of Skaven heroes. How many of these will be in the dungeon or if players will face more than one has yet to be revealed. The victor will gain access to the Skaven and will be able to use them for sieging keeps and taking BO’s in the RvR above. Definitely an interesting mechanic to unlock Skaven but still leaves a bunch of questions on specifics.

Since it’s instanced to 48 players, we may find ourselves with the problem of empty instances or highly lopsided ones similar to what we see in the current city siege. There could also be times when there simply are not enough players on at the time to meet the RR requirement. Not to mention that to gain access at all you’ll probably need to buy at least one of the RvR Packs. The lack of knowing how this will be made available it’s difficult to truly gauge. We know that whenever this comes out, players will flock to it … I know I will. And as mentioned previously by BioWare Mythic, this will slow the overall campaign. Perhaps a good thing to some players while not so good to others.

We’ve got a fairly nice picture of some of the items to expect in the RvR Packs. For me, there are two key things that will determine how awesome they will be:

  1. How much other stuff will be coming in the three packs? and
  2. How much will the packs cost?

Really, it should be one key thing and that’s the cost. If all the items we’ve been teased with to this point is spread across the three RvR Packs … what would be an acceptable amount to spend? $15, $20, $30? More? I don’t know. What would you pay for these items:

  • Pseudo-playable Skaven only usable in RvR.
  • A Skaven-themed RvR instanced dungeon used as a mechanism to unlock Skaven play.
  • Lifting the renown cap to RR100.
  • Access to two new sets of armor.
  • Vanity mounts and pets.

I don’t list the RvR overhaul as that is tied to patch 1.4. I also assume the revamp to the renown system comes with the patch part and parcel. I get the impression there’s more to these packs than has been revealed since we know more info will be released over the next few weeks (we can assume it will be an official PR type announcement). I am also guessing that the things I list above will be spread across the three packs. That’s how I’d do it to ensure all get a close eye when it comes time for players to decide which to buy.

It’s a Monday and I’m feeling a bit blah. I should be more excited by all this but the gaps in real info make it a little difficult at the moment.

Thoughts On the Eternal Citadel

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , , on August 31, 2010 by krosuss

So the latest new Weekend Warfront has come and gone … what’d you think? Overall I had fun with this new scenario but could readily see some flaws after only running it a handful of times.

PUGged to Death
If ever there was a need to run in a premade … this was it. My first 10 runs in the Citadel I went PUG. I enjoy completing these events and usually find it easier to do so on my own, repeatedly queuing up the special scenario of the weekend. After running the gauntlet 10 times I came out with roughly a 25% win rate. That’s not so bad for being uncoordinated and having virtually no team communication (and at times no teamwork).

The other 75% of those runs were brutal. There was one instance where I didn’t even crack 5,000 damage. How is it that a Bright Wizard could crap the bed so badly as to not break that level of DPS? Heck, we can sneeze and cause that much DPS! For each moment I was alive … I was pummeled, focused, and gang raped to where I spent most of my time respawning. There was nowhere to kite to and nothing to hide behind and sadly, no focused heals to help me stay vertical. But that’s what can happen when you PUG. So I don’t cry about it.

You can win in some instances where you have players who know their role and who on the opposing side is the greatest threat. When I PUG on my Warrior Priest I know my role … I spam group heals like there’s no tomorrow and throw out HOTs where I can. As long as I’m protected we do well. People seem to forget that this is a team-oriented PvP game.

Group Up!
My guild was excited for this scenario so we had several premades going. I got myself into one and we had a lot of success. We didn’t win every single time but I’d say my win percentage flipped from when I went PUG. Running this scenario in a group was a much better experience.

Whether in a guild or not if you play long enough you can make friends and as I mentioned above, this is a team-oriented game, so make some friends, group up, and if you don’t have access to a Vent server try using Skype. There is this misnowmer that running in a premade guarantees victory. It does not. It merely gives you an advantage. I’ve run in some pretty good premades where we underperform or lose to a group one would perceive inferior. It happens. Or sometimes you run into a group that’s a bad match for your own. One scenario over the weekend no one on either side got a kill for what seemed like forever. There was an overabundance of healers on both sides and simply not enough DPS. We wound up losing 500-491.

The Good
For those who complained about the tight closeness of the Ironclad, we got the opposite with the Eternal Citadel. There was no place to hide, it was just wide open so RDPS could have a clear line of sight but it gave MDPS ample maneuvering to smash the squishies. Adding to the fun was a bottomless abyss that you could get punted into … that lengthy Blackguard punt sure came in handy for more than a few players. The scenario was over before you knew it and I was able to garner 50+ Royal Insignias in about 3-4 hours of play. It was an insignia farmer’s dream.

The Bad
There was nowhere to hide, no cover, escape really wasn’t an option, it was die then respawn. If you enjoy a long, drawn out rumble … this wasn’t your scenario. The first time through I was amazed at how quickly it was over. “Was that it?” There were times it bordered on being too fast. Due to its quick duration, renown gains weren’t all that great. After the initial spawn into the “arena” respawning back in was a mixed bag. The worst was respawning at the door right there in the fight zone which gave enemies a few good seconds to target you and pounce as your screen refreshed. Oh … adding to the fun was a bottomless abyss that you could get punted into … that lengthy Blackguard punt sure came in handy for more than a few players.

Overall Assessment
This could be the answer many have been looking for to segregate PUGs from premades. This, just like the Ironclad, can be a brutal 10-15 minutes for PUG groups running into solid premades so it could be labeled a PUG at your own risk scenario. Personally, I feel double-premades are the real problem but then again … I don’t expect to win everytime I log into one. I wouldn’t add this one to the regular rotation instead perhaps a flipping of this and a revamped Ironclad to satiate many a desire for 6v6 action. On it’s own, this one would wear thin on me with its limited space and wide open arena-style game area.

I like that Mythic repurposed the interior from the old IC King instance and perhaps we’ll see something similar done with the Altdorf Palace, the Undercroft, the War Quarters, Bright Wizard College, Monolith, etc.