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BioWare Mythic
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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Previews: Patch 1.3 Class & RvR Changes

By Dana Massey on May 12, 2009

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Patch 1.3 is all about Land of the Dead, but Mythic is doing more than adding the brand new Darkness Falls-esque dungeon when this update goes live in early June. During Baltimore Games Day, MMORPG.com spoke to Combat and Careers Team Lead Nate Levy and Producer Jeff Skalski about what else the team has in store.

Their much maligned Ward system has received an overhaul. Wards were previously attached to specific pieces of armor and were often instrumental to high level encounters. Simply put, some players couldn’t survive unless they’d collected the right ward sets.

Now, they’re calling it the Sigil System and they’ve entirely removed the link between wards and armor. Too many players were wearing the exact same outfits and it was all rather silly.

So now, when a player gets a piece of armor with the ward, it is tracked in their Tome of Knowledge and permanently affixed to the character, regardless of what they do with the armor. A set of five wards is called a Sigil, hence the name change.

What’s more, they’ve provided PvE and RvR mechanisms to collect these wards. It can still be done in the traditional format, but if farming for items is not high on your list of things to do, they’ve added new options.

This system should be a relief to many players who were rather frustrated by the previous system and the need to carry around entire sets of armor for different situations.

Nate Levy, the poor sap in charge of class balance, also stopped by to provide an update on some tweaks his team has in mind for 1.3.

Nothing too major is planned, but he did admit that the Shadow Warriors need a bit of attention. They plan some tweaks to how their stances work, based on user feedback. It’s a class that is good at a lot of things, but not particularly spectacular at anything. They hope to fix that with some smaller changes.

He also noted that Area of Effect spells (AOEs) are a bit overpowered at the moment, which is great for Bright Wizards, but not so fun for most everyone else. So expect some changes there too. Shamans and Archmages will get some tweaks as well, a continuation of the work they began in the previous patch. Though every class can expect minor adjustments, Levy emphasized that all changes would be closer to tweaks than overhauls.

On the RvR front, Producer Jeff Skalski talked about their desire to get away from what has been called RvE situations, where people must fight NPCs as part of the PvP war. A big area of part of this is how City Siege works. For example, they’re going to dial back the number of NPCs in the cities based on the player population in the area, to make it more about RvR.

They also recently gave keeps upgraded defenses to encourage guilds to somewhat move in and hold their ground. Unfortunately, this has meant that attackers just avoid the upgraded keeps to attack the less defensible ones. Thus, Skalski plans to introduce greater rewards for the conquest of these upgraded keeps.

In general, everything they plan in RvR is all about “magnetizing players” and getting them to fight each other, which they still believe strongly is the core of their game.

Beyond 1.3, Skalski also mentioned that they are in the process of refactoring the keeps themselves to add a second ramp up to the keep lord room. The final stage of keep conquest was a bit cramped for the number of players involved, so in the next while (no exact date was given) they will simply swap out all the keeps with these new ones, a change that should help more people get up into the tower.

For a full preview of Land of the Dead, the main new content iniative in this patch, check out our hands-on first look.

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