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Vicarious Existence

To blog about what is going on in the MMO genre from a casual MMO player's viewpoint.

Author: UnSub

The Twelve Trials of UnSub: Warhammer Online - Age of Reckoning

Posted by UnSub Friday October 31 2008 at 9:50AM
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I wasn't going to play Warhammer: Age of Reckoning at launch. Like AoC before it, I was going to give it 30 days, then see what the community reaction towards the title was. Frankly I thought AoC was going to be a trainwreck of a launch, but someone sold their soul for a pretty good launch - it was only after that the problems became clear.

But then a friend picked up WAR and I was in the right place and time that getting it seemed like a good idea. So I end up buying WAR and using the month's play time that comes with the box to trial things out. Unfortunately  I found myself disappointed with a very empty feeling world, a PvE experience that lacked soul, a PvP experience that varied from being fun to incredibly frustrating and a developer who appears not to understand player behaviour in MMOs.

In the initial play month I got my character Etherial, a High Elf Shadow Warrior, to level rank 19, but just got to a point of frustration that meant I was no longer having fun.

I've already blogged about the empty world feeling of WAR arising from server population limts so won't really cover that ground again... except to say that it is probably a major reason for a lot of WAR's other issues. More players closer together means more chances to team up and PvE, more chances of running PvP and more chances of the world actually feeling 'alive'. PvE had no tactics at all to it - no point standing on the other side of a river or up a hill to do a ranged attack, since mobs move the same speed over all terrain, so it is just stand there and attack until they die, then repeat.

No point trying to use terrain to your advantage when your enemies can walk on water!

PvP showed some high points - I got into playing Scenarios... for a while. But seeing Mourkain Temple pop five or six times in a row got old. PUG experiences could get very messy, especially since what was good for individual players often led to play behaviour that lost the match (i.e. it is better to be out there damaging targets than protecting your flag, but not protecting your flag often costs you the match and reduces your play rewards). My RvR experience was running around empty areas and looking at PvP sites that were protected by PvE mobs.

Probably the largest secondary factor to quitting WAR (after not having fun) rather than waiting a month to see if things improve is how Mythic appear to have little understanding of what the real problems of WAR are. Or, if they have the understanding, their will to do something is lacking.

Take the current situation with RvR. It is mostly under-used partly because the character progression rewards from it are so weak, yet is meant to be WAR's core. However, instead of incentivsing players to come to RvR by making it give excellent experience, reknown and / or loot, Mythic instead starts talking about introducing new 'no scenario' servers. Firstly, the last thing WAR needs is more servers (the news on free character transfers off low population servers would seem to support the idea they've got too many servers up currently) and secondly I would hate to see the grind this game would have if scenarios were taken out. Rather than reduce scenarios, Mythic needs to improve RvR's reward if they wish to see this area improve and get players excited.

Or take the Witching Night event. The main show sounds like a great idea - a PQ in an RvR zone for special loot - but Mythic opts to have the PQ reset every "few hours", even hotfixing the event when it was discovered it could reset more frequently than that if successfully completed (it's the last patch note here). For an event that only lasts 5 days, having to wait for a few hours for the chance of something to appear (which can be completed very quickly once the first stage of killing 100 players is completed) is a text book way of annoying the player base.

I'm sure the idea was that people will RvR in the mean time as something to do, but the reality is that scenarios provide better rewards than RvR so it is more likely players will stand around warcamps doing them while waiting for the Witching Night PQ to start, or perhaps taking keeps or area objectives (which, because RvR rewards are so low, generally aren't defended). C'mon Mythic - it's Halloween! Have the Witching Night PQ constantly reset, keep the players in the area and fighting each other, let the players get their candy when they win and keep them happy during the event!

I could go on in this vein, but I've already written plenty. Mythic appears to have designed a game of separate parts, not a game that hangs well together. Nothing it does is really exceptional while a multitude of flaws are on display... and all the while Mythic keeps making changes that appear designed to actively distance players from each other and from the game.

To say something positive, WAR does look good most of the time. It's just ... empty.

I might come back to WAR one day, but 'might' is the operative word. Right now it isn't delivering me much fun and I'm getting more enjoyment out of seeing Mythic deliver fun-stifling changes than I would get from winning a scenario or completing a public quest.

Terranah writes:

I think your second to last paragraph that starts with, 'I could go on in this vein..." sums it up perfectly for me.

Fri Oct 31 2008 10:26AM Report
Rhoklaw writes:

As a diehard fan of DAoC, I can certainly agree that Mythic completely messed up the RvR in this game. DAoC was so much better but for some odd reason, Mythic chose not follow in their once successful footsteps.

Scenarios are not the issue. Why people do scenarios only is because its fast XP and Reknown. If Mythic wants to keep the same leveling pace, than all they need to do is lower scenario gain and increase open RvR gain even more. Its really not that hard to do, but apparently Mythic doesn't want to go that route.

However, once people hit 40, T4 is a completely new set of problems with people PvEing in raids for gear because PvP drops haven't proven their worth.

I love Mythic, but someone in charge over there isn't looking outside the box or using common sense in fixing the biggest flaws in the game.

Fri Oct 31 2008 12:09PM Report
Majinash writes:

you posted this today, they already increased open RvR XP by 100%, and yet you said they... didn't do anything to boost open RvR.

 

and while the game has plenty of problems, you make it seem like it's worthless.  your picture of a mob standing on water is a mob standing on... a puddle that is a few inches deep.  I just can't take you seriously when you seem to be out to get the game.

Fri Oct 31 2008 12:19PM Report
Balkin31 writes:

Your complaint about PUG's is just foolish. Of coure PUG's are not always very good. Most MMO players already know this.

Fri Oct 31 2008 1:06PM Report
Vestas writes:

They may have increased RVR rewards a bit but they still pale in comparison to Scenario rewards.  Let's see, T3, running Tor Anroc, you can net 16k XP in 7 minutes for a win, or about 7k XP for a loss.  In 8 minutes.

In a group in open RvR you net about 160 XP for a player kill.  In a warband, which you're most likely in, you net about 30 XP.  There aren't enough players to make the kinds of XP gains you get in scenarios in 7 minutes.  Oh, but wait, they added XP for point caps now right?  Right.  1800 XP, takes a minimum of 8 4-8 minutes to cap a point.  More if you do it as a small group.  You get less XP for a point cap then you do one quest turn in.

It's just not worth the time. It should not be hard for mythic to run the math and realize why scenarios are popular.  Besides being the most fun the game has to offer (because it brings people together from all over the game world without travel time, and is competitive) it's also the most rewarding.  Open RvR is frustrating, long travel times to get to a spot, often empty, and when not empty, impossible to "win".  If you try to take a keep during prime time and it has even a token defense force, it's almost impossible to take the keep.  Yet keep defenders get almost ZILCH as a reward.  So the impetus to defend is offly small.  So instead what you see is a lot of unmolested warbands roaming around capping points, on each side.  Because it's more beneficial to let them take the point then not.

Occaisionally, the odd 24 on 24 match, or 48 on 48 occurs and things get interesting and the potential for open RvR reall shows itself, but that's so unbelievably rare.

Fri Oct 31 2008 2:16PM Report
greydor writes:

thing I don't get at this point is why make a new scenario for patch 1.1 when scenarios are killing ORVR now. It's like they ask themselves how else can we screw up ORVR. Why not make a ORVR event to get the reward of getting a head start on the characters. If everyone playing gets to unlock the characters would that be bad?

Fri Oct 31 2008 4:34PM Report
Camthylion writes:

Warhammer wasn't a tottal failure but its not a great mmo I rate DAOC as a better MMO then WAR... its sad when you release a game and the game you released 6 years before is still a better game.  

Fri Oct 31 2008 10:29PM Report
Daragoth writes:

I have to agree, I spend most of my time running around waiting for a scenario to pop.  It's pretty bad when you are in a large ORVR and 1/2 of it still joins a scenario when it pops mid-battle.  That alone should tell you something.

Sat Nov 01 2008 1:02AM Report
daltanious writes:

Different players different tastes. No game can satisfy every player. So only numbers in time will show if game is successful or not.  Successful game makes money.

And stop complaining about games for kids or no .... game that has players is successful. And who care if 1% to 5% is disappointed if there is nothing revolutionary? Companies makes money from remaining 95% of player base. Btw, im not kid, my kid is now 22 so I have played many games in my life. And my favorites of all times are WoW (still no. 1; forget about cartoony graphics, WoW is most complete world ever in any sense) )and War. They suit completely my taste.

About my profile, I never liked PvP (never liked throat jumping from i.e. lv. 70 at lv. 20), actually War is only one where im reguraly doing it; unfort because rvr lakes are mainly empty, I stick in scenarios for now).

And forget about history and nostalgy. There were times when Pacman was the best. Yes, once. And that time will never return again.

Actually there are problems with War. But i have so far leveled 7 alts to between lv. 20 and 22, today another will get its lv. 20. I do not see game boring at all. There are plenty of things to do at any time, pretty standard and always fun quests, one can fly between different areas, Dwarfs, Elfes or humans, ...

However said all this there are many points from original poster that I agree and some corrections will be needed.

The most disturbing is (at least on some servers) lack of players. But as I have in this time leveled so many alts to lv. 20 it could be also that players lack only in this initial areas up to tier 3, do not know. PQ are usually completely empty. About scenarios, Murkhain temple is offered 90% of times. :-)) A lot of times I play them because are fun, but also for xp which is really to high. I miss good looking tank on Order side, but yesterday as last of pack leveled my swordmaster to lv. 20 and at later levels is actually effective and fun to play.

Gathering and crafting plainly sucks, should be rewritten. I can not imagine game about war that do not have some kind of weapon or armor crafting, but on the other side has (at galactical proportions) useless talisman making. But this last is my primary complain.

Sat Nov 01 2008 5:12AM Report
ZeppelinJ0 writes:

 I agree with your statements, I had actually cancelled my pre-order for WAR due to the fact that the game just seemed off to me.  It definitely stemmed a lot from MythicEA attempting to make the game feel like Warcraft but in the process they booted out everything that had made DAoC such a wonderful game(the best MMO ever, imo).

I'd love to see Mythic develop a new game down the road and maybe make a bold move and make a DAoC 2.  WAR just isn't going to cut it.

Sun Nov 02 2008 10:36AM Report
ElRenmazuo writes:

I got bored of it real fast too and I already canceled my sub.  Might go back to it one day that is if they take out scenarios.

Sun Nov 02 2008 4:34PM Report
UnSub writes:

I've just re-read this and I was pretty tired when I composed it. Sorry about the rambling...

@Majinash: 100% against no-one in an empty zone is still zero. Also that screenshot shows a pool of water that is up to my charcacter's knees, yet the Cold One can just stand on the top of the surface. It also doesn't take away from the issue that mobs can run up steep terrain that player characters can't or swim at the same move speed as they run because Mythic apparently wanted to avoid kiting mobs at all costs. So, while you can't kite, very little tactics are involved in taking on the vast majority of PvE opponents.

Sun Nov 02 2008 6:55PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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