Friday, July 11, 2014

Was WAR doomed from the start?

Doomed is a strong word, of course.  The game had a good run and ranks among my favorites of all time.  However, it did have problems which were never really solved and contributed to it not being around today.  Certain design decisions were made during its development which the developers spent the next five years trying to work around.

I am mainly talking about the campaign system.  The basic idea was that realms would lock zones, breach fortresses, and then invade the enemies city.  Sounds cool right?  Well, it never really worked out that way.  It was, of course, more complex than what I wrote.  For example, lower level zones contributed to the Tier 4 zone scores and such.  The best gear was also only available in the opposing realms city.  This was eventually changed so defenders also had a chance to get gear.

One of the original issues was that it was very hard to actually get to the opposing city.  On an evenly matched server, you would expect that it would rarely happen.  That meant no one could really progress their character as the campaign was in perpetual limbo.  Also, due to the way the mechanics worked, by not showing up to defend it actually made it extremely difficult to  lock a zone.

Mythic spent a lot of time trying to fix the campaign situation.  They eventually changed the ways zones locked and the whole city itself.  Players got rewarded for attacking and defending the cities.  That just led to defenders letting the enemy get to their city so they could get a shot at the rewards.

I was never a big fan of the cities or the campaign.  I much preferred the struggle in particular zones where actual fighting happened.

Imagine if the end-game content worked from the start, and all the time they could have spent on expanding the game instead of trying to fix it.   But the design of the campaign system was something I think held the game back from the get go.