Monday, April 5, 2010

War.. what is it good for?

Hello Mythic, and the Forum community,

This is not going to be a rant on the short comings of war, but instead give mythic insight as to how I (the player base) feel towards certain aspects of the game, which seem to fall short. And also, simple, very simple changes which can in my opinion can really put Warhammer online on the right track to make it a game the player base(myself) want to enjoy.

Some of you know my history with the game, and the company, being one of the first original Core Testers back when this game was… well not even considered a game. And during those days of beta, many things were changed for the better, but many things were not changed at all. And those things, are the core fundamental problems the game is facing today. What are these problems? What are these game elements that just seem to constantly drop the ball, and causing this game to bleed players on a daily basis? It’s not what most players think it is honestly. It’s not game balance that causes players to quit, heck, it’s not even population balance.. or the lack of a 3rd realm. DAOC had tons of player balance problems, and population problems, but it still prospered. So what are the true issues in war that need to be adjusted? In my opinion, they are as follows:

-Solo Play Vrs Group Play
-Unwelcome Time Sinks
-The Campaign and End Game

Now you must be thinking… whoa! Testpig.. you are out of your mind. What about everything you constantly complain about? Are you saying all those issues you posted are not valid?! Not at all folks, all those issues are based off either one of those 3 problems.

Solo Play vs. Group Play
Lets start basic, ground level, the foundation of all Massive Multiplayer online games. What all MMOS are about, Multiplayer. Playing with other players, not playing alone. This is by far the biggest mark that mythic has missed within it’s game. Warhammer online, feels like a single player game. You go from level 1-40, solo. It’s not that we as players don’t want to group up, we most certainly do, however, when a game, punishes the player base with such a large XP reduction hit when grouped, it makes you feel as grouping is just a hindrance, instead of something to seek out. When I can gain far more from being alone over grouped, why should I as a player.. ever group up? That mindset is one created from War, and might be the core reason why this game is lacking.

Do to the punishment of group, it branches off into other areas of game play which would be great features, such as gunbad, bastin stairs, and public quest. The game is riddled with Public Quest, in all shapes and form, scaling from easy, to hard. Mythic recently made changes to these PQs to allow them to require less players. However the player base still refuses to do them.. why? Because we are still punished for grouping. The XP gain is already to low per mob kill or a player when he is solo, it is by far less when he is grouped.

Back in beta, and in early release. Mythic had a great simple feature built into the game, that actually promoted grouping, and due to it promoting grouping, it actually also promoted players to engage on the games content of public quest. It was the Combo Kill System, the more you killed, the faster you killed, the more your xp % rate would improve per kill, allowing you as a group, to really pull in some nice xp gain. Players would actively seek out groups, and actively move towards PQs. Mythc, turn this feature back on. Raise the XP value per mob. Raise the coin Value per mob, Reduce the XP hit when grouped.

Unwelcome Time Sinks
I understand that mmos do need Time sinks. However, there are time sinks that have worth, to enhance the game play experience, and time sinks that do nothing but discourage the player base. The time sinks in war are some of the most punishing to any player/customer for any game, ever. BOP , and lockout timers.

If you really want to keep the player base active and engaged on your game, allow them to play it, allow them to enjoy it. The time sink should not be the lockout, the denial of game content that we as players and customers are paying for. The Time sink should be the 30 mins, 1hour, 3 hours it takes to complete a dungeon. Not 8 hour, 3 day, 5 day lock out timer. Why would you do that to your player base mythic? Why would you punish your customers for taking part in your games content. Then on top of a 5 day lockout, having the items that drop, be Bind On Pickup. There is no value or use for that. This is just shooting yourselves in the foot, by removing something which can keep the in games economy flowing.

Not really a lot needs to be stated as the solution for this but. Remove Lockout Timers on Dungeons/boss encounters/lairs. Allow players to repeat a dungeon as many times as they want, back to back to back. Allow the time sink to be the time it takes to finish the dungeon. Remove the Bind on Pickup on weapons, armor sets, and items. Allow the player base to trade/sell these items to each other, and start some for of in game economy.
The Campaign and End Game
The big picture. Why we do what we do. This is where everything everyone does, is for the greater good of the realm. To drive the campaign, to win, however.. does it actually accomplish those goals? And if it does, are we aware of it? Which is the next major issue. Lack of Reason, and lack of result. Each Tier our goal is to, control the objectives, finish some quest, kill some players, win some scenarios. Half of our objectives are based on the other team showing up to the fight (still). Where in some cases, mostly in many cases(larger do to how land of the dead functions) there is no one to fight, and the players are forced to wait a 2 hour time sink for the zone to flip. There is no Skirmish fights happening, and no scenarios popping. So the zone control mechanic which seemed to function in t1, no longer works in t4.

Mythic, you need to rethink the zone control mechanic as a whole, I wont go into details on this, being that I already made 2 pod cast on how to fix it. ( ) in a nut shell. Giving set value VP to each PQ/Quest/Kill/SC victory. Each time you finish, you earn points. Keeps and BOs generate points as you control them. Eventually the zone flips. You can have the zone flip faster, by earning more points by doing more quest and pqs. It’s simple. But I digress. Zone Domination needs to be removed, and the Victory point system needs to be Fixed.

Reason, and result.

We need reason to lock zones, and we need to see results for the realm. In each tier. The campaign needs to be tied together, so the players don’t feel a constant disconnect. However, there needs to be a major independence of each teir.. t4 should not rely on t3, however, t3 can help t4. Why bother locking a zone in t1? What does it do for your realm? What does it do to the opposing realm? The answer… nothing. Same can be said for any zone that locks in any tier. A realm needs to see a reason.

When, a realm locks a zone. All the epic guards at the losing warcamp despawn. The players can now engage the enemies warcamp. Killing the warcamp boss, and rewarding all the players with 2 crest of the tier above. Also, all enemies within the zone become flagged. (allowing players to engage them within the PvE zones)
End Game Content/Dungeons.
Hands down, needs to be more player friendly. Not saying easier. Saying accessible. Right now, the games content is designed around 6 players. Where as even in dungeon runs such as gunbad and bastin stairs, which you travel around as a warband+, you are forced to leave players out, and only engage with 6. This is discouraging to the players, this is not enjoyable. We want to enjoy this game and content, fighting epic monsters as a group/party/warband/guild/alliance.. we want that under geared player to be 2 shooted, and have a good chuckle over it. Leave a margin for error on epic encounters, remove the enrage timers, let us mess up, recover, res. There is no reason why we have to do each encounter in this game “perfect” without any player deaths. Please allow players to resurrect during hero/lord fights once again.

Lets use Lost Vale for all examples(but please base the ideas I’m using on lost vale for ALL instance dungeons). Firstly, remove lockout timers(as stated in the time sink section). 2nd, allow us to bring up to 24 players into these dungeons. As a result, increase the give a damage output boost to all mobs up to 15% per added group, so if 6 players are in the dungeon.. it’s normal. If 7-12 show up, mobs hit 15% harder, if 13-18 show up, mobs hit 30% harder, if 19-24 show up, mobs hit 45% harder. This allows you to not have to make new content, but allows more players to take part in the current content you have

Open RvR, Objective Value:
In Open RvR, objectives are more of a hindrance then something of value and worth, we don’t really want to control them, we simply have to control them, they don’t provide anything for the realm, but another target the enemy realm has to ruin zone domination timers. These objectives can be so much more, if you already seen the pod cast, you’ll get an understand of the global value of these objectives. But what about value, in the hit of combat.. something that even if the your realm is attacking a keep, you will still want control over the near by objectives for.

Solution/idea: Epic Siege Monsters.
When your realm controls a BO, the players can pick up the flag from the BO, and bring it to a nearby keep, place the flag at the keep, and it will summon random NPCs to assist on the attack.. from cave trolls to bang on the door, a flight of elven arches to rain the keep with arrows. Undead creatures being raised from the dead, beneath the keep the engage the players within, or a large dragon that flys around above, landing on the ground to attack. Once the epic siege monster dies, it takes 5 mins for the flag to respawn until they can summon another one. If the defenders get the flag, they can set it up inside the keep, and the same things will happen, but towards the attackers.

End Game City Siege:
The biggest mark missed by mythic, and the latest state of the game, shows that they still don’t understand what the players want. Currently stage 1 puts the 48 players vs. another 48 players in an epic show down to kill each other, after then kill each other, and burn about 50 useless objects, they need to kill a epic lord, with 4 epic heroes, while also trying to kill the 48 players protecting him. How do does this sound like fun for the attacking realm? How is adding the more Players in each stage of the city siege encounter, making it more fun? It’s actually the COMPLETE opposite.

Remove the PvE aspect from stage 1. Put 3 objectives that generate VP. Whoever controls those objectives, earn more VP. No need to have any complex epic boss running around. Just let players fight each other at objectives. Control the objectives, and win. Simple. Allow stage 2 to have some Heroes running around.. but don’t make them epic lords that do 30k attacks. Nothing in this game should do 30k damage. Give the winners the means to kick the losers out. And when the losers are out of the city siege, give them the option to fight their way back in. By retaking the downed forts.

Bop and Boe/ Loot / lockout timers

Bind on pickup should be look at, if dungeon timers don't get removed. The game is designed to constantly run the same dungeon over and over again, without getting anything out of it. You get gear drops for classes not in your party, gear drops that are not repearable. And the worst part of it.. it's bind on pickup. Nothing we can do with it, but junk it.. or sell it for about 2 silver. Based on the understandable need for lockout timers(to stop people from farming).. having the loot system the way it currently is, does not encourage or reward players for the ammount of time and effort they put into the games content. The means does not in anyway equal the reward.

Using Lost Vale as an example: Lets Remove the Bind of Pickup for all the gear in the dungeon, HOWEVER, make it so that in order for a player to wear any piece of armor or weapon from that dungeon, the player must have a kill credit for the boss mob which drop that gear. So if a 6 man group, does lost vale, and kills N'kari, but she only drops a shadowwarrior BP, and there are not shadow warriors in the group. The players can then put that 1 BP item on the auction house.. or give it to a guild member. The person that purchases or recives it, will not be able to equip it UNLESS they have killed N'kari in the past. This solution allows everyone to actually gain something from the effort they put into the dungeon. And Please before you think the market will be flooded with DP gear.. concider the requirements in order to get the gear. 6 to 1 ratio.. you will still need 6 people to get that 1 item. the dungeon still has lockout timers, so it wont be on farm mode. More players would actually do the dungeon more often, knowing that they can still get credit, and still sell the item that drop. Overall less frustration to the playerbase. And yet, still rewarding.

Dungeon Mechanics.

-Dungeon that is able to complete with just 6 players

-Dungeon that scales from 6-24 players based on how many groups enter the instance together

-Dungeon that is fast pace, not 100 slow epic encounter pulls

-Dungeon that has no level restrictions

-Dungeon that has no need for Wards

-Dungeon that the mobs levels increase the deeper you go in.. from 40-50(60?)

-Dungeon that lets you REZ during boss fights

-Dungeon that the bosses do not "instant" kill you for not playing "perfect"(by design)

-Dungeon that gives the same level gear as Hunters Vale

-Dungeon that has no lockout timer

-Dungeon that is fun

-Dungeon that is Designed from the Cities that did not make it into the game (4 dungeons themed after each city)

-Dunegon that has it's gear and items and graphic armor sets designed to make the theme of the dungeon

-Dungeon that the only way to enter.. is via control over the New Fortress

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