Monday, November 22, 2010

1.4 Impressions

The Verminous Horde has been with us for a few days now and has gone through several prime time gaming sessions.  I did get to put in some time on it this weekend, not as much as I would have liked, but such is life.  Still, over the past 4 days I have been able to put together some impressions.

First, a disclaimer.  Four days is not enough time to accurately describe a patch as a success or failure.  Anyone who tells you different probably has an agenda.  I also write from a casual perspective, so someone who puts in 5 hours a day, every day, will likely think differently than me.

Stability.  I have been impressed overall with the stability of 1.4.  Sure, there have been zone crashes and lag but the overall downtime has been kept to a minimum.  As far as I can tell, servers have been packed with players.  Badlands had more people than I have seen since the days of forts.

City Sieges.  Zone captures and subsequent city sieges are occurring much too often.  The introduction of 1.4 was supposed to lessen their frequency, but this is not the case.  I expect them to make some changes to cut down on them soon.  The doors in particular don't seem to last long at all.

Open RvR.  So far I have enjoyed the new Open RvR system.  Sometimes I only have an hour of playtime, I can just head toward an active zone and am fighting pretty quickly.  The focused nature of the system is much better than the use of timers for zone domination.  I've always enjoyed a good keep defense, 1.4 makes them much more common since the keep is the goal.

RvE.  Since there are up to 3 zones open for capture at any time, players will still avoid direct combat and try to capture these less contested zones.  This is the easiest path to obtain the gear rewards, since they are won from capturing the opposing keep.  However, due to Against All Odds the best renown is still found with the larger enemy.

Thanquol’s Incursion.  I only ventured into the new dungeon once, but found it to be pretty boring.  It all comes back to this:  You can't force people to fight.  We ended up with a mostly empty instance, so it turned into a PvE dungeon pretty quickly.  Thankfully it was quick, so I was back in the lakes fighting soon.

Matchmaking.  The new scenario matchmaking system is largely invisible, so I don't have a feel for how it is doing yet.  I think it will take some time to really judge its effectiveness.

Overall.  I am liking 1.4.  It has been a shot in the arm for WAR.  Players like new stuff and 1.4 has quite a lot of it.  I was having fun before the patch, and nothing about it has changed that.  Once the campaign settles down and some of the bugs are worked out (Land Mine, I am looking at you) it should be even better.