Sorry Mythic, I aint holding back on this one and I don’t think I can be accused of being negative, just utterly realistic to the situation a great many of us are finding ourselves in right now…
I said recently how 1.4 had some issues but also had a lot of potential. The 1.4 patch has had a fair bit of time to bed in now and I still stand by that previous statement, but I think it’s fair to say that those issues have become considerably bigger. As ever there are many little things that need sorting out, but there are two big killer issues: Zerg lag and repetition.
As soon as a keep hits rank 4 the game turns into a horrible laggy clusterfuck of zergdom. Everyone piles into the keep being attacked, funnel defences are set up, morale bomb counters are used and hundreds (and hundreds!) of players fight over a single doorway, since Rat Ogres and bombers are irrelevant in large scale fights. The game turns into a slideshow, people start crashing to character select, abilities stop working and the doom and gloom begins. So you either decide to forget the attack/defence and change zone, or you face a slow inevitable collapse as people get bored of playing a game that now runs in a frame by frame manner not unlike a comic book. First your DoKs log off because soul essence no longer recharges and they can’t do anything, then a few other people log off out of frustration and at worst then the zone crashes and everyone decides screw it lets do something else.
Other than thr zone crash (which isn't exactly rare), the rest happens pretty much every other night, in fact sometimes much more regularly and it’s getting really bloody old. This patch was meant to disperse the zerg, but it hasn’t, instead it has dramatically intensified it. Prior to a 4 star keep, when the focus is on the Battle Objectives, I love the game. On Norn we get lots of people roaming around and there’s something for everyone. However, unless it’s a quiet time of day when a keep hits 4 stars, it’s then time to consider logging off or (heaven forbid) going AFK. I don’t want to slag the game off and I always try to be as fair as possible, but there’s no two ways about it, this really bloody sucks. What really grates as well is that prior to the keep attacks I’m quite often having a great time and thinking how much of an improvement the new resource system is, only to have my happiness shattered by the zerg crap it leads to.
Then we have the repetition issue. Thanquol’s Incursion is too small, not very interesting and a huge disappointment all round. Regardless of the tunnels and things in the dungeon, it has proven to be effectively a single chamber with a boss in the middle and probably no enemies to fight inside. If there are enemies you can bet your bottom dollar that one of the sides will outnumber the other at least 4 to 1, which is just a boring and frustrating experience for all. As such this new dungeon barely registers as something to do. I can not tell you how much of an epic disappointment Thanquol’s Incursion has proven to be. It looks quite cool, the bosses look great, but why are there no other Skaven inside? Why are these rat infested tunnels, not actually rat infested? What is the point of all the tunnels? It needs a lot of work.
And as for playable Skaven… Gutter Runner and Warlock Engineer are brilliant fun, but in such limited numbers that you don’t often get to play them. The Rat Ogre is dull, ineffectual in lag, dies very easily and throwing people on walls is pointless in large scale. The Packmaster is beyond rubbish and absolutely poo to play. As such playable Skaven and the new dungeon just hasn’t freshened things up enough, it still feels too samey.
Which means we’ve got another bunch of Renown Ranks to grind through on our way to 100, but in exactly the same zones as before, with nothing new to look at and a worse than ever zerg problem. I’m sorry guys, but it’s just dull. We desperately need new content, something that makes the game feel fresh and give people that sense of wonder and excitement that comes with new toys in a MMO. Look at the other MMOs around, level cap increases are accompanied by new things to do and most importantly new things to look at. That’s what keeps things fresh and helps mask the nature of the grind.
Mythic are tight on time and resources, we know that, we understand, but most people playing the game couldn’t give two turds about that and that’s quite a fair viewpoint really. Development issues ares just not their problem. They want to enjoy the game they are paying for. Yet we have an extension of the last 2 years grind and when we look around we see the temptations of other games… WoW has a monstrous new expansion, Star Trek Online has proper new content added regularly, Age of Conan has a full expansion, Lord of the Rings Online plus Pirates of the Burning Sea have gone free to play, Guild Wars 2 is on the horizon, DC Universe Online is getting some good reports, etc, etc. There are loads of MMO things to tempt us right now, and I’m still in bloody Dragonwake.
Look at the side zones Cinderfall, West Praag, etc. Notice NOBODY playing there, now notice how cool the zones actually are, and consider what an epic waste of space, time and effort they are. Take them, make the RvR enabled, turn some of the keeps and buildings into objectives, etc. Perhaps even keep some of the PQ’s and relate winning them to resource gathering. Yes I know it’s easy for me to say and there’s probably a massive amount of work involved, but seriously folks we desperately need fresh feeling surroundings. Hell, I know I always say it, but make everything RvR enabled and give the PQ’s some kind of resource related impact.
I don’t know which of the two issues is the easiest to fix, but I do know that a combination of zerg lag and repetition will do nothing to help WAR’s future. There are lots and lots of rumblings of discontent right now.
Fix it please.