Thursday, 15 March 2012

Return to WAR no.3

Earlier this week I activated my 2 weeks free return to WAR. I was bored and a little curious to see how things were these days. First impressions were not great….

ORvR lakes were far quieter than when I used to play. Sure there was some action and I did have a little fun and got a few kills, but the lower population was pretty evident. It’s a shame it took so long for the forts to get sorted out, because today there are quite simply not enough players for them to be of any interest. WAR is most certainly not everywhere.

Also obvious was the gear gap. The relation between Renown Rank differences and time to kill is absolutely horrific and unchanged from when most of us quit before. As an occasional WAR forum lurker, it is amusing to see people constantly bragging of player skill when they are all so carried by gear. Though I guess it’s hard for people to be objective when they’re so close to something, especially when it’s giving them huge bonuses. Anyway, I tried out a few of my characters that have a range of renown ranks and the difference between them is frankly ridiculous.

I will log on at least a few more times to get a more complete picture of the state of ORvR on Karak Norn and perhaps it will prove to have just been an off night.

Scenarios were horrible. I knew it would be bad, I’d seen people talking about it being nothing but RR90-100 premades these days and yeah, they were right. This is of course fine when it’s premade vs premade and if gear is less relevant, but alas WAR is neither of those things. As such the scenario scene will be an unpleasant experience for the majority of returning or new players in Tier 4. Epeen bollocks about L2P and people deserving their power because of time played is just na├»ve nonsense, that kind of thinking does nothing to retain (let alone gain) subscribers. Which is evidenced by the situation WAR finds itself in.

So far this 3rd return to WAR hasn’t done much to change my opinion of where the game is right now. There are things in the pipeline to address the balance problems, but I’m not convinced they will be enough and even if they are I doubt they will arrive soon enough to do much. The fundamental issues with WAR (aside from the factions) is that it is no longer a competitive game. An RvR game has to be competitive or it will alienate new potential subscribers.

If I could have my way with WAR I would:
  • Remove all stats gains from items and make armour cosmetic only.
  • Give characters a stat pool to distribute amongst their various stats, so players can still customise their play style, but wouldn’t gain more stats through farming gear or playing more than others.
  • Renown rank would unlock the armour options and would also have new abilities linked to it. Sideways progression giving options, not stat power gain.

This is of course too brave and probably impossible to do anyway because of effectively redesigning so much stuff. It would however work and would result in a competitive game where player skill and organisation would be the defining factor in your results.

11 comments:

  1. This is precisely the hypothetical situation in my head that has kept me from returning to WAR. Hopefully Keaven can bust some balls and straighten things out, but my lack of faith is disturbing...

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  2. I don't think that such radical changes like you propose are necessary.. the changes Mythic is planning/announced seem to address the power gap problem imo in a good way without tooo much changing on the overall design involved.

    Overall I see some good things planned for WAR, but frankly..this is way too late. GW2 will give WAR the deathblow (for little renown) .. and I will have too look for something different as GW2 didn't catches me.
    MWO is still on it's way and WAR will be empty, because of said GW2. I see rough times ahead for my search for PvP/RvR.

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  3. LOVE that idea for stat distribution! Assured level playing field and still customisable characters.

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  4. How could the producers ever let WAR get to the stage where gear is everything? Being rolled by high RR premades cannot be fun for either side and just serves to drive new players away. Almost the textbook case of how to ruin a game that had promise.

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  5. Been playing WAR and on norn for the past 31/2 years (with a 4 month break from when 1.4 went live and to 1.4.2) and the server was pretty good back when they merged Azgal to Norn, the big problem came with the german+russian server merges + even more time. Right now if you dont have a premade consisting of 2 rr90+ healers (preferably one WP/Dok) and 2 rr90+ dps you wont be able to touch any premade and a rr90 tank (heal debuff or inc dmg debuff). The gear gap is become so large again that grouping with sub rr90 guildies is a "problem" because there is a very good chance that the ppl solo joining sc's are rr90+.

    I fully agree with your suggestions Bootae, that or:
    1) they need to remove all gear above rr80
    2) remake LV or BS so it drops doomflayer compatible gear.

    Konfuzfanten

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  6. That doesn't sound good at all mate. I'm not that close to a comeback just yet, but have been thinking about it. I thought maybe in a patch or two. Sounds like it might be too late!

    Really like your suggestions about the gear. If I'm being completely honest, when I'm levelling for new gear I think I'm 90% doing it for the new look and 10% for the improved stats. So that suggestion sits really well with me.

    I do like the stuff they have planned for WAR. But again, is it too late? We all know that WAR only works well with high pop. Having spent over three years playing the game it really saddens me to read your post.

    This is going to sound weird, but I've actually been enjoying SWTOR PvP. Not Ilum (obviously) but the warzones (i.e. scens). I've finally got a great PvP spec on my BH, got enough purple PvP gear to be competitive, and it's really good fun. The performance could be better, but it's miles better than at launch.

    I'm still really sceptical about GW2. Call me shallow but I'm struggling to see through the fluffy fantasy bollocks. I think the PvP will have to be especially good for me to overlook all that. And even then... hmmm, not convinced. If I can get on the beta I will give it a go.

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  7. Sadly, I think WAR has just left a poor taste in the mouth of too many gamers for it to have a real come back. At this point I'm not sure if anything would attract new subscribers. The game's been out for four years now and has had a free trial of some sort for the majority of that time. I think anyone that was going to try it has by now. I like your ideas but I think they would have to coincide with a free to play transition to regain any significant amount of lost subscribers.

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  8. It would be redundant to say that the game is 'on its way out'.
    Blaming gear alone is cute.

    There are issues with cheating/exploits that take it far beyond gear. There are those (as in all games) who rock the 'win by fair means or foul' mentality.
    People who reach top rank/gear by cheating, and continue to cheat.

    Whilst nothing is done about stopping the cheat utilities, guilds have been 'broken up', with most members however declaring innocence and remain paying subscribers and beneficiaries of cheats - now in a position they no longer need to.

    There's a sickness through to the heart of the game.
    I wouldn't mind the cheating so much, if the people didn't act like they were hot shit; and smell like it.

    In other games, there has been a much more solid approach to tackling cheats at the source. It's obviously do-able, and the fact it's not fixed leads me to 'conspiracy' theories, that the cheats still pay to play. Perhaps it's just that endemic. You're not 'hardcore' unless you exploit faults in the game and mods.

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  9. WTB 3+ faction, none gear grind, primarily PVP game with a great engine backing it up.
    Small fights, large fights, fights in fields, fights in dungeons, fights in forts, fights, fights, fights.

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  10. I agree that the scenario situation is pretty bad at the moment; noticiably worse in the last few weeks tbh. There's nothing worse than spending 15 mins being camped in Caledor Woods (except maybe 20 minutes, or more). I hope that the bracketing system works out, although it stand the risk of dividing the population more.

    I'm surprised at your assessment of the population, but I can't remember when you quit... I may well have been oblivious to the downward creep. In the last month or so my (ridiculously crude) assessment is that it's gone up, and there has been more action outside primetime.

    I like the idea of cosmetic gear only, at least beyond a certain rr.

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  11. The list of what went wrong is unfortunately turning into a manual of "how not to", but ultimately, 1.4 iWin gear, de facto handed out to people with time on their hands and not much else needed to be honest, had the predictable and predicted effect to not only create the very experience you describe in RvR and Scens.
    The harsh truth is that, remove the gear now, and there is really no point at all left, no fun either as the population went down alongside its structures (fgs, WBs).
    Forts were the last example of delusion as the very mechanism ("alliances WBs can claim the forts"....) illustrate a complete blindness as what is the game today.
    Cold zones (with people leveling the keep ranks) is the epic warzone of 1/2v1/2 in prime time.
    The online populations and organised groups eroded sharply in Feb 2011, to reach a point where you could call WHO 2008-2010 another game altogether.
    Apart from being waiting to see how your rr90 or 100 armor will look like, or try alts, there is not much reason to even log on.

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