Until it gets a good testing we won’t know for sure, but from viewing the patch notes the general consensus seems to be a large dose of “meh”, spiced with a considerable amount of concern. And I have to say I agree, on paper this is a very under whelming set of patch notes and a huge disappointment.
There are good things in this patch, no doubt about it, but there are several critical things noticeable in their absence and others included that are potentially very dangerous.
First off lets look at the revamp to the starting experience.
This is the first of a few major changes in this patch and this one is a good move. If Mythic want to hold the attention of new players, then they’re first few hours in the game need to be great and full of WAAAAGH! That means they need to have other players to fight, which this change will provide. Unfortunately it does mean the much better starting area of the Orc zones will be wasted, no matter what Mythic forum posters say about flight masters, but I’m sure for a new player the overall experience will be much better. However, WAR's existing players are mostly in Tier 4 and have more than likely got their alts into higher tiers as well. So good move it may be, but it’s also an irrelevant move for what I would expect to be the majority of the existing player base.
Next up we have the Apprentice system.
I was a bit concerned about this when I heard it would allow us to scale our characters down to play alongside lowbies, with it potentially meaning we had our high end abilities available. Thankfully Mythic have done the right thing and it scales down the number of abilities you have available to those of the appropriate level. My main worry now is actually at the other end of things, will Tier 4 become packed with “pretend” high-level characters? How will this work with renown, lag, scenarios, etc? I’m not convinced that a few weeks on a PTS (and the unrealistic environment that represents) will tell us much.
Uhm… So the fortresses have been decoupled from the campaign and are now sitting empty until a future unknown patch. To get to cities you now only have to lock 2 pairings zones. This is very, very worrying.
Rubbish as the forts were, they did provide a buffer that an outnumbered faction could use to prevent the enemy starting a city siege. If a server has one faction with much higher numbers during the day, will this mean by the time we get home from work, the daytime players will have locked zones and the rest of us we will now only be playing in cities? If we end up with city sieges whenever we log on, what will those of us logging in after it started have to do?
Last night I logged in at about 8pm and there was a city siege already under way. It had been running for an hour at that point, all our guild and alliance warbands were inside and already had people that had queued for the entire hour waiting to get in. So all I could do was join solo and PUG it. Which unfortunately was in a hideous warband, in a hideous instance and was not fun in anyway or form. Since there was nothing else to do and it was physically impossible for me to join up with my friends… I logged off.
Now this now and again is fine, it was just unfortunate timing on my behalf, but what if every single time I log in after work and I all I've got is a city siege already underway? There are no scenarios to do, no other RvR options, nothing. This is very worrying indeed and I can only hope my concerns prove baseless; otherwise I’ll be forced to play something else.
The thing that puzzles me most is who is telling Mythic that we all want to do cities more? Nobody I know thinks that, quite the opposite in fact. The people I talk to all want expanded main campaign zones and a more epic feel to the game. Sieging an enemy city should be a rare and momentous occasion, not a daily event.
And it has to be said regarding this whole thing, we were really looking forward to revamped fortresses. This is a massive disappointment :(
Bye bye stun, hello stagger!
Fine, I like this change; it’s good and needed. BUT! How does this stop 10 Sorcs or Wizards instant killing masses of people with combined PBAoE? That's right, it doesn’t. This change only effects scenarios and small scale RvR, where it is indeed more than welcome, but where the bloody hell are the AoE nerfs? Once again AoE is making large scale RvR a load of boring old tosh and is driving people away.
Remove close quarters from the game and stop too much AoE stacking, just like they did with RoF/PoS. Why has this not been done? It’s bloody obvious…
Question about stagger though.. DoTs? If applying stagger doesn't clear them, or let existing ones continue without breaking, then it's pointless and will very rarely do anything.
I'll only comment on a few obvious ones needing comment...
Magus changes are nowhere near enough. Unless there are some serious stealth changes, this will do nothing for the class’s future.
Marauder changes look very dubious, but I hear rumours they’ve worked out well on PTS. I await confirmation.
Black Orcs and Swordmasters need their whole mechanic changed. The lag stops it working and it’s just a bit crap anyway, so where’s the fix?
Sovereign gear made available to the masses? Good. It makes for more realistic incentives for a LOT of players.
At the end of the day
I'm at a real loss with this patch, its just like... uhm is that it? Unless there are lots of stealth changes and my other concerns prove to be worthless, I will be gobsmacked if this does much to help the game. It's quite simply not enough.