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BioWare Mythic
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 09/18/08)  | Pub:Electronic Arts
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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Interviews: Update 1.3.4 Interview

By Garrett Fuller on February 25, 2010

Numerous Mythic Entertainment developers take a stab at answering Garrett Fuller's questions about the recently launched 1.3.4 update including: James Casey (Associate Producer), Mike Wyatt (Designer), Nate Levy (Lead Designer), Carrie Gouskos (Producer), Amber Turner(Designer), and Sean Bosshardt (Items Lead).

MMORPG.com:

How does changing the scenario system impact players the most? Will removing the less used scenarios help with wait time?

James Casey:

The biggest impact of the scenario system changes is that there is a higher concentration on scenario quality and consistency. For some of the more popular scenarios, we're extending them across multiple tiers, so players can learn the ropes in the lower tiers and be masters of the scenario by the endgame. Each tier also has unique scenarios, so there's something fresh to experience. In selecting those, we focused on scenarios that were more appropriate given the abilities players would have at those levels. This new scenario allocation also means that at any given time, people will always know what to expect from the scenario systems, the gameplay, and the rewards. This is especially important in Tier 4, where the dependency on the campaign meant that there could be as few as one scenario open for players. Now there will always be at least six.

As for wait time, removing the less used scenarios should help with wait time in a number of ways. With a consistent and manageable core group of scenarios (in tier 4 especially) that are comprised of some of the most popular scenarios, the pool of players for any given scenario should be larger, which in turn brings less wait time. Additionally, the scenarios that were selected for Tier 4 centered around a group of scenarios that have similar ending times and renown gain, so that players would be more likely to embrace the variety. With the addition of Warfront events, weekends will be buzzing with players revisiting old scenarios, which should drive bigger pools in a targeted fashion. We'll be monitoring the metrics of scenarios post 1.3.4 to see how well the new lineup affects wait time amongst a number of other measurable goals. ;)

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MMORPG.com:

The new Patch continues to bring adjustments into the Tier 4 RvR system. Tell us how you have seen the city siege system change from launch and where it has improved the most?

Mike Wyatt:

The cities have gone through a couple revisions since launch, and though there are many things about the cities that we think are exciting and interesting, we kept coming back to one core problem: the RvR endgame is PVE content. While we strive to support both of these major focuses of Warhammer Online, the endgame for the RvR focus needs to be RvR-centric. We have exciting new plans in Patch 1.3.5 for the RvR endgame to address this core problem by making the RvR endgame entirely RVR!

MMORPG.com:

How does Patch 1.3.4 continue to improve class balance? What changes will impact the classes the most?

Nate Levy:

1.3.4 continues our war on bugs, across all careers. Our ongoing career balance improvements will continue, as we've mentioned before, with smaller-scope, targeted, incremental changes over time, and 1.3.4 moves forward in that direction with some changes such as the addition of Feeding On Weakness to the effect of the Black Guard's Dark Protector ability, and several improvements to the White Lion, among other things - check the patch notes for the full list!


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MMORPG.com:

How has the endless free trial been working for the game?

Carrie Gouskos:

We've seen a lot of interest in the free trial, and players are getting in there and experiencing the first taste of what Warhammer has to offer. We think this provides a good entry experience to our game, for both trial players and new subscribers, as the servers are vibrant and alive in those areas. Additionally, more people getting their eyes on the game, means more people deciding to become subscribers, thereby giving our current players more competition, so we think it's working out well for everyone!

MMORPG.com:

Can you give us some hints on live events in the game that are coming up for 2010?

Amber Turner:

In addition to the triumphant return of our previously established calendar events, 2010 will herald the release of our new Weekend Warfront events. These events will center around scenario game play and award players will various exciting bonuses and/or new shiny things with which to cheerfully slaughter other players on the battlefield.

MMORPG.com:

RvR remains the core part of the game, what are you most happy with in terms of RvR in recent months?

James Casey:

We love RVR, and we're very happy that we've been able to retain our focus on it, because we think it's one of the things (if not *the* thing) that players enjoy about our game the most. And because we hold it in such high esteem, we choose to continually challenge our approach (instead of putting it on a pedestal and leaving it alone). For example, even though removing content is something we like to avoid, we made the tough decision to pull the fortresses out of the campaign, as they were inhibiting players' ability to enjoy RVR. We experimented with a number of different approaches internally before coming to that decision, but felt the more significant change was the right one. Now after making this change and seeing how the community has responded, we believe we made the right change. And so we begin the process again, after giving a serious look at Open RVR, we've turned our eye straight to Scenarios. And after that, we'll be focusing on the RVR balance in the city sieges. And then we'll look at Open RVR again. Being able to constantly improve, listen to feedback, and react, we think keeps this aspect of our game fresh and exciting, and that of course, makes us quite happy.

MMORPG.com:

How has RvR currency helped to improve players getting loot in the game? Do you feel like it is better than the normal drop system?

Sean Bosshardt:

RvR currency acts as a failsafe for obtaining loot. Traditional loot methods focus on chances to drop, which makes obtaining loot unreliable at best. On the other side of the coin, using an alternate currency system is extremely straightforward and the player knows exactly what they need to do before they can obtain a desired item. We feel like combining the two systems creates an experience that is both satisfying and fun for the player. There are still those moments where the player gets a rare drop, however if all else fails they know that if they have a string of bad luck they're able to obtain the item eventually through the store.


MMORPG.com:

You mentioned changes to the Orc and Dwarf Tier 2 leveling, what has improved there for players?

Mike Wyatt:

The adjustments to the Greenskins versus Dwarf Chapters within Tier 2 were exclusively quest flow. Quest flow has been dramatically improved to cause less of the "back and forth" traveling and better placement of quests to ensure that players receive quests associated with the same area around the same time.

MMORPG.com:

Do you see a shift in players now moving more towards RvR content vs. the PvE parts of the game?

James Casey:

That's a tough question to quantify. With changes like the consolidation of Tier 1 in the New User Journey and the endless trial, RVR has picked up in Tier 1. We've seen the same pattern with some of the changes we've made over time for other tiers. City sieges are hopping and we hope to make them more attractive and chock full of RVR in the near future, so it's absolutely something we've been focusing on, and we think our players are responding in kind.

MMORPG.com:

Can you give us some hints on Warhammer's plans for 2010?

Carrie Gouskos:

We're still working through the year's master plan, but we've released our next steps in the most recent Producer's Letter. The letter focuses on some near term initiatives like the city changes and increased inventory space in 1.3.5, as well as our intention to realign communication with our community. One thing we want to focus on going forward is the spirit of collaboration, so that our vision for the game matches the future that our players desire for it.

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