Monday 29 June 2009

Land of the Dead review type thing

Well then chaps, we’re a few days post launch of Lands of the Dead and now seems an appropriate time for a little review of how things have gone so far. Please note this is based on my experiences on Karak-Norn which is one of Europe’s busiest servers, but this may not be the experience of other people. More than in most MMOs your experience of WAR can vary dependent on server population.

A general note before I go off though, things would be working a LOT better IF GUILD CHAT BLOODY WORKED in LotD. Seriously guys, you hot fixed various little things and left that still broken? Sort that out pls :) Okies now I've got that shouty bit out of the way, onwards...

Has LotD delivered the RvR heaven we were promised?
No. In fact make that a resounding no, with a daemonic reverb effect and 100ft flaming letters. So far LotD has proven to be primarily a PvE experience with small bursts of RvR thrown in. Alongside that it has drained the tier 4 zones of players and I can no longer log in and RvR whenever I want. This is bad, really, really bad. Previously WAR was an RvR game with PvE as an alternative option, right now on my server it’s a PvE game with some RvR now and again.

If you are not currently subscribed to WAR then you might wondering how this expansion has basically stopped RvR, seeing as the key selling point for it was a thriller of a RvR zone. Basically what happens is… Order are in Land of the Dead, Destruction are on their own in the normal tier 4 zones. Destruction has to PvE lock zones to gain access to LotD. Due to the fact there’s very few (if any) Order to fight, this can take an hour or so. This also means you spend most of your time doing nothing, once you’ve claimed the Battle Objectives and Keeps you’re left just watching timers tick down. You can’t get any skirmish or scenario points, as there are no players to fight. Then when Destruction gets access to LotD they all rush over, quickly purge any Order that can be found and are then left with PvE in LotD. Order that got purged are then back in tier 4, it’s now their turn to PvE the zone locks and Destruction are PvEing. Annnnnd repeat…

This isn’t purely the design of LotD’s fault, it contributes of course, but more than anything it boils down to what players are choosing to do. Our greed for flashy new loot and something new wins through. People are choosing to be in Land of the Dead instances or buried away somewhere else PvEing amongst the desert sands. A lot of people are staying in Tomb of the Vulture Lord trying to beat it. They could of course decide to stay in tier 4 and fight each other, but whilst LotD is all new and shiney this hasn’t been happening and it won’t stop 'till people get enough.

On the positive side there are signs that this is changing, Tier4 RvR is on the increase, but it needs to improve fast. Big name players are quitting, guilds are dying and even within my own guild I’m seeing people getting very negative about LotD. And it’s fair enough, most of us play WAR for RvR, if we wanted PvE we’d go elsewhere. The big question is will enough players decide to kick start the RvR campaign themselves, or will Mythic have to respond with something off the wall?

Is the RvR in Land of the Dead any good?
Yes. The RvR doesn’t last long because after being killed if you release it’s only the controlling side that will respawn within Land of the Dead. The other side respawns in their home city and are locked out. It’s all gone too soon. However the fighting within LotD can be great, particularly inside invaded instances. I remember the time we trapped some poor group of Order against a huge skeletal boss, then slowly cut them apart and another classic moment where I was alone against 5 Order as we desperately tried to shove each other into the swinging axe trap, the rest of my group stuck on the otherside could only try and keep me healed and cheer me on over ventrilo (it ended badly for me :P ).

There’s also been some very cool group/warband scale skirmishing. My guild tends to keep away from the zerg and this has led to some great run ins against Order doing the same thing. Seriously if you wanna be startin’ somethin’ then you need to get away from the zerg and hunt down people across the zone, it’s much more fun.

What about the Public Quests?
There’s a few that aint so hot, for example the jar collecting ones are dull, the carrion one is rather glitchy and the roaming PQ Ricci’s Raiders is a bloody myth, but the majority of them are a huge improvement over all the PQs we’ve seen in WAR so far. I’ve not got the names of them in front of me now, but I’ve quite enjoyed most and there’s several I really like. The one down south with the huge skeletal giant surrounded by scaffolding is very cool, as is the Simon Says combination game outside the Tomb of the Vulture Lord, though if you’ve got idiots there you can’t win. In general the PQs are well thought out, engaging and make mob grinding (which essentially is all that MMO PvE ever is) enjoyable.

Lairs worth a visit?
It would seem so. Instanced lairs are the right way to go, I hope Mythic consider reviewing all other Lairs and making them instanced too. I’ve only done 2 so far and as such I can’t comment too much, though feedback I’ve heard has been very positive. From what I’ve seen myself so far I’ve been impressed with their design and think Mythic are on the right track with lairs here, but I’ve not been at all pleased with the buggy boss in the Tomb of the Sun. A one mob dungeon should not be bugged, this makes me want to scream.

So how was the Tomb of the Vulture Lord?
It’s great. This is the big instanced dungeon where Tyrant armour drops, the place with the infamous traps, enemy player invasions and difficult new bosses. I’m not going to say too much and spoil it for people, but from my experiences in there so far it has some excellent boss events and brilliant atmosphere. I love the traps; I’ve not had so much fun being frustrated by something in ages. Not since the wife decided to… uhm, in fact I’ll not go there.

It does need a bit of work with invading, there seem to be a few bugs with the invasion PQ ending and the loot appearing at all, plus there can be a lot of waiting around if the enemy poke their head in and then just leave. Also for people that are more into PvE, with the invasions you may end up saying just leave me alone.

To summarise...
Land of the Dead is atmospheric, has great graphics and has made some big steps forward with WAR’s PvE. It brings us good new instances, easily accessible loot and a wide range of things to do. However it hasn’t yet revolutionised RvR and instead is having a negative effect on PvP across my (and other’s) server, but I’m hoping that will not be a long term issue. It seems like players are already filtering back to tier 4 for some more reliable fighting, but “seems” is not enough, it must happen. LotD should be a sideline, not the main game. The tier 4 campaign and the RvR within is the core of this game, if you’re out in tier 4 looking for a fight, then you need to know that you are not alone and that you can get a PvP fight when you want.

LotD is cool, but I don’t think it’s gone to plan for Mythic. It’s black or white really, we need regular and reliable RvR back or people’s copies of WAR will just go in the closet. But instead of it being down to Mythic to fix, perhaps this time its us as players that need to sort it. Time for us all to look at the man in the mirror.


  1. Great writeup. I've been looking at reviews for LotD as a consideration for my return, but nothing is sparking great interest yet.

    Could this boil down to the lack of a third side being the problem again? In DAOC with Darkness Falls, when one of the realms had DF, there were still two out fighting eachother.

  2. LMFAO how many Jackson references did ya get in??!? :D

    good write up m8

  3. I knew LotD was going to do this the whole time I was on PTS. I kept saying how it was going to promote PvE and RvDoor because if one faction is in than that means the other faction is trying to get in but have no one to fight.

    Luckily on Dark Crag we still have about 5 fort attacks a day, we have been in the city twice since LotD, but the whole rvr scene has changed. No one is showing up to defend zones any longer for the most part.

    We really want to get the city to stage 2 again so it basically locks destro out of LotD for 18 hrs, plus at least 4-6 more after that to flip zones to get access to Lotd again, plus no rvr for them, no city instances. Of course it is fun being on the winning side, but as you can see if we do accomplish it than more destro will /ragequit from basically a day without being able to do anything but roll an alt.

    The game still needs alot of thought put into the overall fun experience for everyone. Even the city changes they mention are still going to be boring. Killing the same people in a 48 man scenario for hours and hours stops being fun after about 10 mins, and your renown drops to 1 per kill.

  4. Now, if only we could battle over Land of the Dead while IN the Land of the Dead... I think they should add in a few random murderballs. In fact, I think I'll go into further detail about this instead of just a comment.

  5. Slurms - I agree, a third faction would have made for a much more rounded game. DAoC already proved how well it worked.

    Scrunt - lol I wondered if anyone would notice :P There's 15 references to songs in total ;)

    Eyeball - City changes will be interesting to see, but certainly I will not be expecting miracles. RvR has increased some more today on Karak-Norn, I actually had scenarios popping in minutes again. A good sign, hopefully..

    Grimnir - good idea, I'll go have a read :)

  6. I am always in the opinion that RvR will increase when people get used to LotD. I have the same experience as Boatae, with RvR going more and more, I have scenario popping every 30 minutes from zero, and RvR actually make the server start lagging - bad for me, but a good sign on the population.

    I think a point about LotD is that this is not like anything in WAR so far. It is supposed to be "one hit and you die", and small teams has a much greater chance for success than in RvR lakes - invading instances and roaming as a 6-man won't get squished as easily in LotD.

    I do agree there are a few improvements possible - 1. the enemy realm should only stop spawning when their airship is down, after which a 30 min period is used "as they rebuild the airship" - and let people complete the Airship PQ again (the one in the live event) to speed it up to 15minutes. 2. Allow both realms to join and invade instances all the time. It is sad when you are winning in LotD but can't invade instances because the other realm just flipped the zone.

  7. The new zone has been out a week ... let's give it a chance to fully sink in and things will return to normal. As Bootae writes they are already starting to on his server. On Iron Rock, we still get some RvR and hopefully it will continue to revert back to normal.

    I think Mythic will do what they've done ... let the zone function, collect feedback, make some tweaks. I like the idea of LOTD being a full-time RvR zone rather than the brieg Purge period.

  8. I'm not giving any sort of review for a few weeks. It is too early to know how the LotD will really effect the game.

  9. Mine's a review of what the game is like right now with LotD, totally agree that it'll need to be re-reviewed as things move on. Long term effects are unknown, but in the short term it's worth people knowing what they'd be walking into if they log back in today. Which is a lot more PvE than expected.

    However, I remain optimistic. Things are perking up steadily here, day by day we're getting RvR back.

  10. I didn't realise that LotD was meant to provide an RVR heaven. I would like to see where this was promised.

    I am not doubting you, I am merely wish to see who promised this.

    The effects on RVR, are to be expected, as you said. So should we complain if things change for a while. If we didn't have change, then we would merely find something else to moan about.

    The impact on the Scenario pop rate is more of a concern, especially with my current character, I have been trying very hard to minimise the level split. Which is now 31 XP Level/24 RR. Considering I have been scenarioing/xping since lvl 1, then split is getting rather large.

  11. Every video, interview and so on they did talked about this being RvR everywhere. If they didnt use those words exactly, its still a fair assumption. I know me and my friends thought that was what we getting.

  12. Okay, I just didn't pick up on that.

    Maybe and I don't mean to be rude, couldn't see how devoiding one realm of it's players and having a purge every 2 hours could possibly constitute war everywhere.

    Regardless of the realm sizes, one side is going to be denuded of it's players while they do LotD.

    I merely saw LotD as a PVE zone with a hint of RVR thrown in, for variety, to cater for the request for more PVE. It merely being a side objective in the overall RVR war.

    It's comments like this, they do make me wonder if the developers are playing the same game as me, and understand the principle of cause and effect. Probably not.

  13. Scnearios have not been popping all that much on Iron Rock either. Last night was better compared to previous since LOTD launched.

    There was some good RvR action but it seems more like a "my turn" ... flip LOTD ... "not it's your turn" ... you flip LOTD.

    I enjoy the new zone and have had a lot of fun purging and being purged from the new zone. As time goes by folks will learn very interesting ways to hide in the zone waiting to gank. Last night there was a lot of gank squads which made things really fun.

    As I was playing I said to a guildie ... LOTD would make an awesome Live Event.

  14. Undoch has my thinking right, basically every video I've watched has them talking about how in Land of the Dead RvR would be in everything you did. Which potentially it is, just not quite in reality. Though there is some great RvR action to be found if you steer clear of zergs and go hunting, or do things like trying to survive when the zone is controlled by enemies.

    I think you're right Skar, Land of the Dead IS a PvE zone with RvR thrown in. That's not quite what some of us were hoping for, but perhaps our rose tinted Darkness Falls memories betrayed us.

    All told I think it's a great new zone and as long as normal oRvR continues to pick up, then it will work out very well.

    But is it going to stop the perceived player haemorrhage? Or is that perception incorrect?

  15. As an addon, I think it's very very good and shows big improvements in Mythics application of acquired knowledge. It does spread the population out a bit which I am so so about. But it's a good zone and Mythic should be congratulated on that.

    Mythic just need to decide at the beginning of each project, on their exact goal and deliver on that, and sell it accordingly.Like I said earlier, it's not a full on RVR experience and to have sold it like that, was naive.

  16. Wheres the Chosen "IWIN" button. Mythic failed me again.

    Is so-so for me, sure it's no TOA, but it's not all it was hyped up to be.


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