One thing many others and I would like to see improved in WAR is siege warfare. Within this are a wide range of topics including things like; better access to keep lords, the role of melee, risk vs reward and much more, but I’m going to have a ramble about siege engines and how I think they could dramatically improve keep sieges.
At the moment we have the following siege weapons:
Of these by far the most effective are boiling oil and battering rams. These two are very much the lynch pin of attacking and defending keeps respectively and also highlight one of the main problems with sieges. It’s ALL about the main gateway and getting that door down.
Rams themselves work ok. I think perhaps we could have more options for battering rams, maybe expensive ones that give protection against oil, but in their current state they are still very effective. Also I think the interface and method for using rams is awkward and a bit dull, but generally they work pretty well. It’s not something that needs urgent attention. The same goes for oil.
The ranged weapons however are not so hot. I love the look of them (for what that’s worth), but they’re just not cutting it performance wise. Even after the damage improvements in 1.2, they’re still not effective enough to be important. Very rarely will you see more than a couple deployed by defenders and even less often for attackers. I think they need dramatic improvements in their effectiveness, not just so they can kill players, but more importantly so they become important to players. I want to see both attackers and defenders actually giving a toss about siege engines other than oil and rams. We should be hatching cunning plans and launching sneaky raids to destroy enemy siege engines. If the enemy has deployed cannons we should be living in fear of the bloody things, not ignoring them as irrelevant.
However, if ranged siege engine damage were increased without other changes, we’d just end up complaining about Cannons being the new Bright Wizards/Sorcerers. To prevent this and solve the zerging one doorway bit we need to encourage the battle to spread out a bit and give both attackers and defenders more options. This would benefit keep related RvR generally, as it would reduce the effect of AoE, possibly reduce lag and importantly give melee and tanks a bit more to do. So how do we this?
Easy! Well, easy for me to say anyway... It's not exactly new, but is of course siege towers, ladders and tunnels!
How then could these work? I’m sure there’s loads of different ways of implementing them, but here’s some ideas:
These should be both expensive and bloody good. Requiring say 12 people carrying a component each to create, so that you would need 2 full groups working together on the battlefield to construct the tower. Then you’d push it towards the walls, with the defenders first challenge being to try and destroy it before it gets in place. It would need loads of hit points and be something to be feared; if it gets deployed then the shit has truly hit the fan. Once in place, attackers could rapidly climb up and onto the walls. Defenders would need to rush to the block off the enemy’s path, clear the walls and destroy the tower, or risk attackers swamping the walls.
A simple mechanic for a simple tool, attackers can place them against walls and climb up. Defenders can click the ladder to knock it off the walls with a chance of destroying it totally. This would mean defenders would actually need to properly man the walls, not just if you are a ranged class. Defending melee DPS and tanks could fight to keep the walls clear.
Ideally we would have the option to undermine walls and make them collapse like in medieval sieges. If we can’t have that, then being able to employ some Skaven or Dwarf miners to dig a tunnel into the castle grounds could be cool. To prevent tunnel spam, like the siege tower it would need to be expensive and/or difficult to create. For the defenders, perhaps attacking either entrance to the tunnel with some kind of explosive (purchasable from the Quartermaster NPCs) could destroy it.
I would love to have destructible walls and I’m puzzled why we don’t since Camelot did (not at launch mind you), but I’m assuming that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. However the above suggestions would spread the combat around the walls, making things much more interesting and without needing us to blow walls up. They would also provide real tactical choices for both attackers and defenders. Attackers would be able to get into the keep by multiple methods and from different directions; feints and attacks on multiple fronts really would be possible. Defenders would need to take all this into account and have at least basic defensive plans in place to deal with the various types of attack they could be facing.
Look at the size of tier 4 keeps and their surrounding walls. How much of it do we actually use? If you’re not in tier 4, the answer for you is; bugger all. We’ve got all this space to play with and instead we’re huddling together round a single bloody door. Of course there are melee DPS classes sneaking in postern doors with pick lock, but since they can’t get healers in with them and we’re only talking about 2 pre-set entrances, it’s not proving to be as dramatic an option as I’d hoped for.
Spread the fight around, give us options and make keep sieges the slice of awesome pie we hoped for.