Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fortress Solution

Yesterday, Mythic announced a solution for Fortresses. Prior to this change, fortresses were rarely captured, as there were just too many people. Estimates have been as high as 800 people participating in the fight. This has stalled most of the Tier 4 game, as progress can't be made toward the enemy city on many servers.

Mythic's solution involved capping the population of the zone. Some notes:

  • Attackers have a higher cap than defenders. Good, as it should be. The fortress itself is a pretty big extra defender.
  • Rank 40 players do have priority. Read the announcement for the details. Again, this is as it should be.
There will be some adverse reaction to this announcement, as the community has its own ideas on how it should be fixed. Two common ideas are:
  • Get better servers. There comes a time when you just can't throw money at the problem. Besides, if Mythic could fix the problem by equipment, why wouldn't they? Equipment is cheaper than programmer time.
  • Use Stackless IO like Eve does. As far as I know, Eve still has lag issues when trying to deal with hundreds of people (fighting) and they have been working on the problem for years. Besides, Stackless IO (and Python) cannot take advantage of multiple core's (cpu's). It has its uses, but is not a cure all.
The thing that bothers me is, why did Mythic think this would ever work? It seems pretty obvious that a lot of people, fighting in a small area will cause problems. When there is the possibility that the entire server could be in the zone fighting, bad things will happen. My guess is that it is all a result of the shifting to more world RvR late in development and the fact the other capital cities would not make launch.

Capping the population also gives a nice side benefit. Mythic now knows the max number of attackers and defenders, so they should be able to tune difficulty better. I really hope this will lead to a better fortress experience down the road.

Another benefit is that it limits the zerg effect. No longer can one side just overwhelm the other with numbers. I don't think Mythic has said what the allowed numbers were for each side yet.

In the end, I think this is a good change. It may not be ideal, but it should get the campaign moving again instead of the endless fortress attempt and crash loop.


I think that the number will be still quiet large .. so still "zergy".
This zerg-problem is emphasized by the cut of the capital cities. Remember Marc Jacobs talking about how good the side effect of the cut is, because if focuses the players of the realm on few targets? Well..too much focus can set things on fire... ;)

This limitation is a workaround and hopefully only a short-term solution to make things at least playable to some people and not "certain-crash-events"..

It sounds as close to instancing the fortresses as they can get right now. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Something just doesn't "feel right" about this fix.

From what I heard big battles work pretty fine in EVE.

400 vs 400 with 90% of them in firing range of each other and fighting? I'm not saying WAR can handle close to that either.

Sure Jita can handle loads now, but they are not doing much and not much collision detection either. Eve is a different beast and does not really apply to WAR.

"Big battles" depend on your definition of big..

Afaik EVE can't handle that much ships in close vincinty like the situation at fortress sieges in WAR is.

I feel that this is a golden band-aid of sorts. Great for now, but eventually has to be peeled of to make the game what people had wanted.

Perhaps a sort of training wheels. People will get a feel and understanding for how mythic intended them to play the game. ORVR has been all the rage since area influence.... yet the rewards I will use on EITHER of my characters are few. Mythic got people to participate by way of the almight carrot, and now the players realize that its fun, and quality.

Maybe fort-capping is the same. Maybe it will lead us to spread out over multiple fronts and when (if?) the cap is lifted, we will have freedom of choice but still be aimed in the right direction.

"why did Mythic think this would ever work?"

Welcome to WAR: Age of Betatesting. :P

I don't mean to be overly critical but this whole issue comes down to (again) the game being released way too early.

This is the stuff we paying customers get to deal with since they released prematurely. I guess we must just accept that there are vast parts of this game that were never tested properly or that the coding is so complex/poorly done that many fixes break other parts of the game.

I have... but I'm still bitter! :P

I hope Mythic can find a way to make this work, but this is another effect of only creating two realms.

DAoC's three realms ensured that if there was a big fight between two realms in a frontier area, the third realm would take that opportunity to pop some keeps in a different frontier, usually drawing off some of the people fighting in the first frontier...someone would have to leave and defend their territory.

Giving the realm with the most keeps under their control access to the Darkness Falls dungeon also acted as a pressure-release. As soon as your faction captured the final keep to open the DF dungeon for your realm, a good number of people left RvR to enjoy the fruits of their RvR success.

I think the linear zone-locking mechanic left me feeling flat in WAR.

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