Wednesday, 30 September 2009

WAR patch 1.3.2 = joy, pain or meh?

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.

Empty Fortresses?
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.

Class changes.
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?

Loot changes
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.


  1. They're making progress.

    There, that's my highlight for the 1.3.2 patch. If they manage to get it out without any gamebreaking bugs I'll be very happy with it. You just gotta lower your expectations a whole lot. They hit a handful of things that are important to the playerbase, and still have a truckload to sift through.

    I tell ya what, if they could fix people getting stuck on rocks, that'd be 100k people coming back to the game. Maybe..

  2. Feels a bit like they are writing off their current players and thinking about the replacements!

    Stagger! HAHA! Like that will work with all the AoE :P Its like every ability that is now a stagger is now useless. Mebbe ok in V small fights. NOthing else.

  3. I feel I have to disagree with a number of your points in your post.

    Apprentice down is exactly what Mythic have in mind to help new player experience. Think about it: if some want to play in T1 and new player need help at T1, what's better than to let people at T4 come down to help new players in T1? From the official forum, the system has the following limitations: can not join scenario not relating to your original tier. (no T1-T3 sc with T4 guys) won't benefit from bolster if you are scaled down. (remember the new T1 bolster is at rank11) can only use abilities proper to your changed level.
    As long as they solve the problem of twinking, this would be a welcome addition.

    I also think the concern for people lowering down to T1 all the time is unfounded. First, you can't gain anything playing in T1 as a T4, so you are not going to gain much by going down except for the fun of it, which would quickly die down after the first few days. Second, those people who are so disgusted with T4 as to go down to T1 would be logging out instead of playing in T1 without apprentice down, if anything this should boost overall population. Third, this isn't easy to do on a large scale, since you need a T1 player to make you an apprentice in the first place.

    For the fortress, I don't know about your server, but before my transfer to the US servers, Darklands, an Australian server, did not has a problem in underpopulated realm taking zones. The problem was the fortresses, since it is extremely difficult to fight against the onslaught of the constant respawning NPCs, and the lag associated with forts. If this change were implemented before the transfer, I think it would probably means both realms taking shots at the other side's city, which would be a better deal for both sides.
    One thing I do agree with is the lack of other things to do in a city siege, if you get bored of the new killing PQ. The city scenario is actually pretty good imo, I hope with the removal of scenario from VP, T4 players are allowed to play them again. Thought with the apprentice system you may well play in lower tiers if you can get someone to get you down.

    I have to disagree on AOEs. The problem is less on AOE themselves, but the fact that you are helpless by CC when you are blasted by AOEs. With stagger, which I think break on DOTs(seriously Mythic isn't that stupid), it would improve RvR for those who have the ability to use it effectively.

    Notice the worst offenders cited by people have either the CC reduced or changed to stagger:
    -BW ruin and destruction - no CC anymore.
    -Chosen quake/KotBS Heaven's Fury - 9s stagger, imo this is excellent for defending backline.
    -Mage M3, Scintillating Energy,i.e. the "WTF I can't do anything till I die" morale, becomes a stagger.

  4. The post is so long I have to post twice, sorry for the trouble caused.

    Stagger is a perfect zerg-breaker - anything but the most disciplined zerg would break the stagger in the same second by some other guy, while a smaller group (not necessarily 6man) can easily coordinate and tactically separate dangerous elements of the enemy force, allowing them to deal with a smaller portion of enemies in the same time. It also make it easier to retreat from a battle, so it would be hard to wipe out the losing army.
    I foresee finally some smart play that can turn the tide of battles when this got implemented, which is what T4 RvR needs.

    For the career changes, I do think they should make faster and more numerous fixes, but if there isn't any new bugs associated with it it would be a very good start. Granted many disparities are not fixed, and I agree that they should do more, but with the other additions this should be something to look forward to. Remember many of these things are heavily requested by players, so if this goes on I think we can look forward to more player suggestion making into the game.
    Of course C&C is a freaking touchy subject, and the absolutely most hostile topic in WAR, so I am hoping for more focus on it in the near future.
    That said, overall I am quite positive with the patch, as long as there aren't any new or old bugs when it go through to live.

  5. I think there is a big difference between our servers tbh bud.

    On mine it's not uncommon to see 5+ (per side) warband clashes. What happens is the PBAoE gets turned on and you die instantly. CC is irrelevant if you die literally instantly. If 10-20 Bright Wizards turn on their PBAoE, then even with my Chosen and his 750+ toughness, resists beyond cap and 10k hit points, I die before anything can be done. Stagger will not help me there at all. Particularly because in fights that side, there will be all manner of AoE about breaking any Staggers used. Sure it's good for me and my guild that will mainly be running seperate from the zergs and can coordinate not breaking staggers, but it only takes one random numpty and here comes the instant death...

    Like I said though, I do like Stagger, it's perfect for small scale fighting and is a needed change. It just doesn't fix the rampant AoE that is making people quit on Norn. As I well known chap on my server said, there's something wrong when a 1v1 duel lasts longer than large scale combat.

    We have both cities regularly sieged on Karak-Norn, it's fairly even between factions and forts aren't really an issue in that respect. They were boring as hell ofc ;)

    Apprenticing, its the apprenticing UP that I'm curious what that will mean. Will everywhere be full of pretend Tier4 players? For scaaling down, I'm sure they'll get the equipment problems seen on PTS sorted out.

    Regarding city killing quest. I really like it, but only if I'm not in a PUG of random idiots that won't fight , or even worse an instance with no enemies... Hopefully they'll do something.

  6. I think most of us agree that Stagger is a step forward and I agree totally with Radishlaw.

    Stagger should be ineffective against zergs, especially when hitting them head on. The last thing this game needs is a swing to overwhelming CC. There are a lot of people playing, for whom sitting still for 12 seconds will drive them crazy, if we had 1min CC like in DAOC, they would quit in droves.

    Stagger will be there to reward those who play with discipline. Hitting a zerg from behind with 12 second cc on the healers may well help swing a fight, but it's going to need a focus.

    Bootae, people will need to learn that AOE isn't the 1st choice on the task bar. Mythic can't code for idiots who break CC. If the CC is obvious, like Zzzzzz above those characters who are CC'd, then at least it will be come clearer in time.

    Also it's worth remembering that CCings healers at the back, with the zerg moving forward will potentiall create a devastating gap, where the healers are no longer in range to heal.

    Sorry it took so long to get to this ;)

  7. CC effect need to be limited to 1 per class and 1 only
    Tank classes get root/snare
    Melee DPS get slow
    Casters get knockback/aoe knockback

    A "hybrid" class like a DOK or WP would have a choice between a slow or a knockback but not both
    Cool down timers for all CC should be increased.
    These CC have synergy with each classes role on the battle field and help them to perform better.
    Although im sure some will disagree CC shouldnt be a spamable button, not even every 2 minutes it should be used sparingly and add to the startagy of the game and force the player to choose wisely when to pop a CC.


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