Bomb groups… bloody nasty things. The vast majority of WAR players will have encountered the horror of facing a bomb group, but as I know I’ve a bunch of readers that aren’t playing right now, I shall first explain what these terrors are.
Bright Wizards and Sorcerers have very powerful PBAoE (Point Blank Area of Effect) nuke spells, the damage is quite simply insane and is going to get the crap nerfed out of it, but for now it’s live and bloody dangerous. A bomb group uses these spells to maximum effect by having a tank using guard on the PBAoE spell caster combined with a team heal spamming healer. The casters and tanks open with AoE stuns/disables/etc to stop their targets escaping and then they spam the PBAoE to kill all the targets in seconds. It’s brutally effective.
Order and Destruction can both make use of this tactic, with each faction having slightly different advantages. Order has Bright Wizards that do a bit more damage than Sorcerers and they also have the Knight of the Blazing Sun, a tank whose AoE stun makes it almost impossible to escape once you’re in the bomb radius. Where as Destruction can use a Rift specced Magus to pull people from range into the bomb radius, then use the (less reliable) pet detonation stun and lay the smack down with the Magus’ considerable PBAoE. The Order groups are harder to escape from and the Destruction one has more control.
If the group is built with these abilities in mind, I don’t think either side has an too much of an edge. Typical Bomb groups will look something like this:
Knight of the Blazing Sun
Knight of the Blazing Sun
Magus (Rift specced)
Disciple of Khaine
I think it’s fair to say that a well-played bomb group is top of the pile and has a huge advantage in WAR. If you’re in a more mixed up group that’s not using bomb tactics, then against an equally skilled and organised bomb group… well… basically you’re buggered.
Bomb groups capitalise on the current prevalence of Crowd Control and AoE in WAR and there’s nothing wrong with that, people are just playing to their strengths. The problem is that this creates cookie cutter groups and risks isolating and annoying people that either don’t want to, or don’t have the option of, running in a bomb group.
I was running a group in Praag a few days ago, it wasn’t an uber group, far from it. I had some mates that had returned to the game and me and a couple of others were showing them round Praag. Our group consisted of my level 40 Chosen, a 28 Zealot, 35 DoK, 35 Shaman and a 40 Sorcerer. Hardly ideal, but they’re all good MMO players and we’d been holding our own against groups full of 40s. Then we walked round a corner and into one of our server’s Forum Ego Monkeys™ and his pet bomb group. It was a Knight of the Blazing Sun, 2 Wizards, a Warrior Priest and someone else that I don’t remember.
We died in seconds, a full wipe in a handful of bloody seconds. Not because the enemy was particularly good, just because we instantly had no control over our characters due to CC and their PBAoE damage output was so high that it killed all of us before the first unbreakable stun had worn off. It was impossible for us to have done anything. Now, I’m not complaining about them doing this at all. That would be hugely hypocritical since I regularly run in a Rift-Bomb group myself, yet I do think it demonstrates how these groups make a mockery of other set ups. Yes my group was a weak one, but regardless it should not be possible to wipe any viable Tier 4 group faster than the duration of unbreakable CC. Otherwise you’re just left with early DAoC style “who CC first wins”, wild accusations of being OP, claims of balancing being fooked and also risk players leveling in tier 4 feeling they can’t join in oRvR (it's not like they dont get shit already for daring to do scenarios).
Amusingly with the above incident, the Order players felt the need to laugh at our corpses and taunt us. Ironic considering not only was most of my group lowbies, but also a day or two before when I was in a more hardcore guild group doing scenarios, we ran into the same Forum Ego Monkey™ and farmed the crap out of them. :P Perhaps that’s another problem with bomb groups, it gives people delusions of grandeur… :D Not that I suffer from that at all, ehem.
Another example… I mentioned recently about us doing particularly well in Praag a few days back. We had a guild warband of two and a half groups and went up against (no exaggeration) 3 times our number of Order that were heading towards our warcamp. By using calm and coordinated Rift Bomb pulls, we cut our way through them, wiping the bloody lot and ending up at Martyrs. It wasn’t a one off either, when they resumed their attack we did it again, though we had another group or so of Destruction with us for the second fight so I won’t claim too much glory there. But then how much glory is there to claim? Yes we wiped 3 times our number, yes we were very organised on ventrilo and OMFG did we earn a lot of invader, etc as loot, but would it have even been possible to without us working as an oversized Rift-bomb group? I’m confident we would have done well, that batch of enemies can’t have been properly organised for this to have happened, but surely their numbers should have eventually taken us down? I mean 3-1 mannnnnnn....
Clearly bombing is over powered and I think it’s hard to argue that it’s anything but bad for the game. Will I stop running in our rift-bomb groups? Hell no. We have to be competitive or enemies will have our city on farm status, there’s no third faction for underdogs to work with in WAR. Once you’re on the back foot you’re in bloody trouble. Whilst it would be nice to be all sweetness and light, we can’t afford to drop certain abilities and/or tactics because they’re overpowered. No quarter given, blah, blah…
It’s down to Mythic to give us more diversity in powerful play styles and escape from “who CCs first wins”. Thankfully their next collection of patches is going to be all about balancing our characters. We know that AoE is getting nerfed and that CC is going to be seriously looked at. Assuming this spells the end of bombing, will we get an even playing field? No doubt us devious players will discover the next over powered combo, but can Mythic make it so that in future we have at worst only slightly overpowered options, rather than the (almost) auto-win groups of doom that we have now?
With 2 factions and a total of 24 classes, it’s an unenviable task.