Thursday, 18 March 2010

The impact of 1.3.4 and the great carrot problem

Now that 1.3.4 has had a little while to bed in, I think it’s about time I posted about what it has meant for WAR on my Karak Norn EU server.
Unless there’s an organised king push on (which is about 3 nights a week) the RvR lakes are very, very quiet. The solo and small-scale roaming scene is almost non-existent, there seems to either be Order in zergs or no Order at all. My guild has a lot of solo and small group roamers, it’s something we’ve always done and in the past more often than not you can find plenty of fighting. Alas, everyone is complaining about how hard it is now to just find an enemy to fight. Even the player designated duelling area is empty. Last night myself and 2 guildies spent about 2 hours trying to find people to fight and only saw 4 Order roaming about, that is other than a 2+ group warband trying to lock zones. Though even they decided to guard their warcamp’s mailbox after the 3 of us with a handful of other Destruction (and in total we were still outnumbered) killed them once... I’m not one that normally flames my opponents, but sorry guys, that was just pathetic.
The nights where Order are on a push for IC are different and at those times there are plenty of enemy players to fight in the RvR lakes, same as ever really. It’s zergy of course, particularly when Destruction warbands have turned up to fight too, but it shows there’s still plenty of people active. Also there’s some smaller fighting to be had around the edges on these occasions, its not all zerg. Damn shame this just isn’t regular right now. Oh and I’m not blaming Order for this, Destruction are just as bad with their regular as clockwork morning King raids. It’s a bit like people have decided to let the enemy kill the king on certain days, especially since it gives you underdog points regardless if you are actually an underdog, it’s just convenient.
On the other hand, our people doing regular scenario groups are really liking this patch. Scenarios pop almost instantly and there are plenty of great fights to be had. Despite earlier concerns, pre-mades are not dominating any more than they were before, I’ve been in a great many successful PUGs (randomly formed Pick Up Groups) and a just as many crap ones. When doing pre-mades I’ve won far, far more than I’ve lost and I imagine this is the same for most guilds doing pre-made scenario groups. Simply because so many people are doing scenarios that you’re going to go up against a lot of PUGs and players less experienced in scenarios. Pre-made vs Pre-made can go either way, but is often defined by who is in your side’s second group. Poor quality comrades against quality opposition can easily lead to poor results.
For me the improved scenarios are of course a positive, but the reduction in oRvR is a huge negative. However this is NOT Mythic’s fault as such. It’s down to the player base choosing to do scenarios instead of open RvR. They could choose to do oRvR normally, instead of only trying to PvE zones down quickly when there’s King loot to be had. It’s people’s materialistic thirst for shiny new pixels grabbing them by the knackers and creating a temporary obsession for scenarios. Just like when Land of the Dead was released, until the novelty wears off it turns the normal oRvR lakes into unpopulated deserts. This isn’t a phenomenon specific to WAR, remember the impact of Arena weapons in World of Warcraft for example, but in WAR it does have more pronounced effects because the game is utterly reliant on it’s community to function. However the novelty isn’t wearing off quite as quickly as I would have hoped. People are not showing signs of returning to regular oRvR just yet.
That’s not to say this situation is entirely down to the player base, because it quite simply isn’t. You have to look at the bigger picture and ask why people are quite so obsessed with the new scenario system. Obviously it’s the loot, but it’s not necessarily because of the quality of the items or a must have uber item X, Y & Z thing. For many players the new items are more of a sideways progression, they give options rather than any huge increase in power. They also take a lot of time to get, unless you dedicate your entire gaming time to doing scenarios. So we have items that take a lot of time to get and for a great many players are not that much of an upgrade (if at all), in which case why the obsessive scenario farming? It’s because they’ve reached the end of the stick and eaten all the carrots.
So many players are in the 70-80 renown bracket now that they’ve more than likely got everything they want and have run out of things to work towards. If you’ve got full Sovereign and/or Tyrant, got the glyphs and fancy weapons, you’ve exhausted your character’s progression options. Which only leaves you with scenarios and the new loot. I can see it in my future with my Chosen, I’ve got the Tyrant Chest and cloak to get, then I just need a few more funery masks to get the rest of the Tyrant drops. Now that I’m doing Tomb of the Vulture Lord regularly again, that isn’t far away. I don’t have any Sovereign armour, but this is actually by choice as I dont go on my guild's king farming warbands, because I don’t like the Sov graphics and don’t need the stats. We’re also almost at the point of downing the Colossus as a guild, so I’ll be able to farm that should I want to. Which means all that will be left for me are scenario items. Now I’ll still play for the fighting alone and I’m a filthy altoholic anyway, but long term MMO experience tells us most people aren’t like that. They get all the gear, quit the game and go off in search of achievements elsewhere.
And this I think is the biggest impact of 1.3.4. It is a good patch, it has added to and improved the game, but more than anything it has highlighted how long term WAR gamers desperately need real new content. Mythic need to add a new dungeon, a new zone, whatever, just more things of real substance. We need things to achieve and not Blizzard style earn 5 million gold crap by the way... ugh
Mythic’s supply of carrots is dwindling. If 1.3.5 really does fix the city siege crap but it doesnt bring new carrots as well, will it be enough to get people out of scenarios and back out in oRvR?

I sure hope so.


  1. Great writing. I realy enjoy reading you end-end game experiences and while it doesn't all sound rosey I'm still trying to get my ass there in a hurry. I'm no expert but I gather that ppl's wants in-game will ebb and flow, and after 1.3.5 the City will be the thing to do again.

    Your spot on about the need for some real content though. Mythic must know this, it must be on the agenda, but it depends how close the general population are to exhausting their options. I wouldn't mind seeing a new tier at some point, something for RR70+ perhaps, despite only being 42 myself. Something very original in terms of PvP. Hmmm... I'l have to give that some thought.

    Great write-up and opinion as aways Bootae.

  2. I have moved my dawi to Karak-Azgal (EU) and created Destru on Karak-Norn (EU). I'm enjoying the activity in T1. At the moment I'm playing a Marauder, Chosen and Squig Herder and I can't decide which one I like the most yet.

    I just hope Mythic give us some light about future content, as it is now I'm not sure if there are going to be enough things to do in T4 to keep me paying a sub.

    On a side note, between 7pm-11pm I have so much lag I can't play at all. I'm with BT and this only happens with WAR, have you heard of people having the same problem?

  3. Aeo - thanks for the kind words old boy ;) Indeed Mythic should have something up their sleeves, I just hope we don't have to wait too much longer.

    Forjador - I think when you get to tier 4 you will have LOTS to do for quite some time. It's more an issue for those of us that have had level 40s for so long that we've achieved everything the game has to offer. Which is quite a lot of people by now. For someone like yourself just moving out of tier 1 with Destruction I think you'll find plenty of reasons to subcribe ;)

    As for the BT issue, no I've not heard this at all. I'm on virgin cable myself, but I know a few people using BT internet without too many problems, at least none specific to WAR. It sounds like there maybe an issue with your exchange coping with the demand between those times, BT are swines for sharing the bandwidth across a lot of users...

  4. There have been some traffic shaping issues with WAR and BT for a while now I think. There were some posts on the official forums a while back.

  5. Bootae, thanks for the reply. When I left the game I had some dawi in T4 already (not very well geared but that's the price I normally have to pay as an altholic). After a year break I thought it would be a better idea to see the new changes from the start. That's why I'm playing Destro and I have to say I'm enjoying it.

    I had problems with WAR and BT before but there were resolved before I left. Sad to to see there are problems again. From all the online games I play, it only happens with WAR. Tough luck.

  6. Bootae - didn't have to wait long at all!!! I've posted an idea for extra end-game fun over at my blog.

    I had problems with BT too, now with Orange. Sorted.


About Me

My photo
Half man half pixel. Music obsessive, likes a drink, occasional bastard.