Thursday, June 4, 2009

WARs Future

Last weeks post about Vertical Progression got me thinking about what options are available for WAR. There is certainly a lot of horizontal progression possibilities which we will likely see. Are there really any vertical opportunities?

In a traditional MMO, vertical progression usually consists of adding a new area, new raids, bumping up the level cap and adding new items. WAR is not a typical MMO. The core of WAR's game and its endgame is the RvR Campaign. This really starts in Tier 4 and culminates with the city siege.

Where a traditional MMO keeps players in the linear progression via gear, WAR uses the Sigil (ward) system. If you do not have enough Wards, you will likely not survive the encounter. WAR follows most MMO's with a set of gear for each raid/encounter level. The Sovereign set is the best you can get from the game's final encounter.

The big difference which WAR has to deal with is that the city siege is gated by RvR. On a balanced server this makes those encounters a much more unreliable source of gear and advancement. The new token system has improved this as has the Sigil system. Still, unlike a raid, it will be very difficult to gear up for progression.

If they add higher level rewards to something other than the city siege, they will risk making the core of the game obsolete. The City Siege isn't just another Molten Core, it is an important game mechanic and the end goal. Also, the King is the end of the siege, so how would you add an encounter after him?

On the plus side, Sigil can be obtained by a number of ways. This will help alleviate the treadmill gear requirement system that plagues many MMO's. That is if Mythic uses it correctly. On PTS, the only way to obtain the best sigil's are to get the actual Sovereign gear.

Adding vertical progression to WAR is not as easy as just plopping down new stuff. It must fit in the campaign without making it obsolete. I'm sure Mythic has a plan so I guess we have to wait and see. They may concentrate on horizontal progression, but the truth is many players need to advance those experience bars.


Well first of all, we could have rotating capital cities, so that when they are all back, we could have one up a month or so. Tied into each pairing.

You could actually make the endgame change, as to reflect the ebb and flow of the war. Cities get sacked, then turn one or two into a ruins and shove some proper dungeons underneath them.

Though I think such radical changes should be tied into the arrival of expansion packs.

Mythic could easily add a couple more capital cities with higher requirements, making the sack of Altdorf and the Inevitable City stepping stones to the newer capitals. Could happen.

-- Tipa

The capital cities option is an interesting one. But it would end up moving folks away from the campaign. If Altdorf is no longer useful for a segment of the population, they won't want to fight there.

I do expect the other capital cities to be added, but they would be a horizontal expansion and provide the same level of sigil's and gear.

If more importance is placed on a city, it will take away players from the other ones.

I never got this far into WAR but, are there only two cities to siege? One for each side? And the cities that were cut were never siege content anyway? Or were they? And if so, why if the King is in one of the two prime cities?

If the entire point of WAR is sieging the enemy city and taking their King, wait for the reset, rinse, repeat than all Mythic really has available to them is adding more content to drag the process out further, such as adding smaller forts/keeps/cities/whatever that have to be captured and held in order to siege the King, and more side-content like dungeons.

Notice how people keep suggesting more PvE content? I don't care how you slice it, PvP and nothing but PvP won't cut it for an MMO, especially with a subscription fee.

@Scott: You are pretty much correct. One city on each side and 1 King for each side to fight. The other cities were supposed to be siege content too, so you could push each paring to a city. But you described the end game pretty well.

The only way I can see for PvP to succeed long term, is when ownership is involved. For example null-sec Eve and Darkfall. Even DAoC has more of an ownership aspect.

Player housing has been talked about for the next paid expansion. More likely, it would be a guild outpost instead of individual shacks. They really really want to do it. Think Shadowbane style cities as opposed to UO houses.

I agree with thatsskarwithak and have posted something similar about the other capitals on the forums. The focus of the war shifts from pairing to pairing opening up many new things while still keeping the game's basic structure. You can push to The Maw or Reikwald but instead of assaulting the Inevitable City or Altdorf you would seige a different pairing's capital. You would still need to take 2/3 forts to be able to seige.

I see these as purchased expansions. With them would come new dungeons for tiers 3-4, new zones, new loot, perhaps some new abilities, and maybe even some new classes. Mythic could resolve and fix "end game" while players focus on the new expansions' focus.

Assault on the Ark ... the Forces of Order go on the offensive and try to cut off one of Tchar'zanek's allies. Order takes the battle directly to the Dark Elves' foothold in Ulthuan -- the Fist of Malekith. Pushing to the Fist and completing certain stages of this assault -- not a Dark Elf king kill, he's chilling with Tchar in the IC -- would help to unlock a new area (similar to how Lands of the Dead will work). A successful defense grants Destruction first access. The fight could lead to Naggaroth itself with new zones (each with accompanying scenarios) ... The Bleak Coast (scenarios: Grassland Harvest, Doom Glades, Arnheim Defense); Granite Hills (scenarios: Hotek's Column, The Monoliths, Vaul's Anvil); Chill Harbor (scenarios: The Shipyards, Doom Gate, Lakes of the Abyss); Spiteful Peaks (scenarios: The Black Pillar, Wasteland's Edge, Battle in Spite's Pass).

The new zones would have various new dungeons: T3 (ranks 25 - 32) - The Petrified Forest, T4 (ranks 32 - 40) - Isle of Great Beasts, T4 (rank 40) - Pits of Zardok, T4 Destruction (rank 40) - The Underway, T4 Order (rank 40) - Wrath Gate.

Throughout the zones -- like other zones -- would be two hidden lairs. As a part of this expansion we get to see Lothern and it will be siegable by the Forces of Destruction. There would not be any dungeons. This expansion would put a lot of focus in the High Elf/Dark Elf pairing and new content would be added to the existing zones.

To attract new players and to invite current players to roll ALTs, a few new classes could be introduced. For the Dark Elves: Corsairs, Beastmasters. For the High Elves: Phoenix Guard, Sea Guard.

A similar set of zones, scenarios, etc. could be put together for the Dwarf/Greenskin pairing (call it Grudge Unleashed). I'd see their expansion focusing on many underground zones, perhaps more dungeons. Leading up to either of these would be a revamp of the current Altdorf/Inevitable City "end game" as a free expansion to give us an actually fun end game.

After something like this I would like to see a third faction (would be rather difficult to shoehorn into the game at this point but not impossible) or the addition of some new races. I know everyone is cheering for Skaven and Lizardmen -- which would be really cool -- but for some reason I want to see Brettonians. Perhaps with their introduction we get mounted combat. Beyond that how about a "Return of Nagash" expansion delivered in similar fashion to Land of the Dead where players square off against Nasash. I'd still love to see a Magic expansion introducing a plethora of new loot, magic items, spells, and classes.

Very lofty and forward thinking but I really enjoy WAR even with its warts. I am not blinded to the myriad things that need to be fixed. The current end-game is at the forefront. Land of the Dead has many folks stoked and many more wanting to come back to the game. After that, how does Mythic keep them? Announce a revamp to end game. I've read many suggestions on how and if Mythic's response to other issues is an indication I am hopeful they will fix it (eventually).

You are right, what would there be after killing the king? Should there be anything? Do I hear Nagash calling?

Wow. Every time I even consider trying WAR again, all the "new" stuff plus comments from existing players push me away again. T1 was the most fun? Wow. Just wow. I thought T1 was miserable. Granted, that was during the first couple weeks where everyone was in Scenario Grind mode, and the only Scenario anyone would queue up for was Nordenwatch -- a horrid little map that would have been a great little indie FPS map... in 1995.

Guess I'm still recovering from realizing RvR is nothing more than the same generic PvP we've seen for over a decade in various genres and has no ultimate meaning whatsoever.

@kros: All interesting ideas on how the game can be horizontally expanded.

@scott: I don't think Tier 1 was more fun. Meaning is an interesting topic. Personally, I don't care much for meaning from my video games. Can meaning be fun? Sure. Is it necessary in order for it to be fun? Not for me.

I don't require meaning for fun but considering this is allegedly an RPG, I do actually tend to want some meaning behind things.

I have completely meaningless PvP in LOTRO. Why should I subscribe to an all-around inferior game like WAR for more meaningless PvP (more places to do it, but the same net effect: nothing) and inferior everything else when the Lifetime to LOTRO lets me do it for free?

If I want 100% meaningless and fun PvP, I have any number of shooters, etc. on both PC and 360 to choose from to satisfy that itch. For an allegedly AAA MMORPG with it's AAA $15/month subscription however, yeah, I'd like for all that time spent grinding to mean something either for my character, my realm, or both. But it doesn't.

Which brings me right back to: WAR would have made a good Scenario-based Source-engine third-person "shooter" RPG rather than a MMORPG.

@Scott: "I have completely meaningless PvP in LOTRO. Why should I subscribe to an all-around inferior game like WAR for more meaningless PvP (more places to do it, but the same net effect: nothing) and inferior everything else when the Lifetime to LOTRO lets me do it for free?"

Answer: Reading your post it's pretty clear ... you shouldn't.

As far as PvP in MMORPGs go, I'll defer to people who have played more than I. But of those I know who have, many say WAR is the best for PvP in the MMORPG sphere. If it's not deep enough for you or enriches your characters growth in the game, I'm not sure what other game has that.

Aren't most of these games about leveling up, getting new and improved gear, new abilities, access to new more challenging areas? (shrug)

What I'm ready about Star Wars: The Old Republic sounds like it might be up your alley where decisions you make affect your character and are not reversible. That assumes they actually put that in the game. Not sure how its PvP will be but hopefully it's in there.

Scott: Oddly enough, LoTRO's PvMP is actually what got me started liking PvP and why I like WAR. I spent 90% of my time in lotro as my creep, so I wanted a full game like that.

WAR actually started out as a scenario based game. During beta the players convinced them to make it an open rvr based game. That is one reason I think it is stuck between designs still.

That just makes me wonder why EA doesn't take advantage of their Steam partnership and find a different studio who is more capable of making quality maps for a Source-engine version of Warhammer totally based on Scenarios.

Even better would be if there were RvR Campaign servers which all contributed to a persistent war like Tom Clancy's EndWar and Chromehounds do... I'd probably enjoy that a lot more than this clunky DikuMMO PvP garbage.

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