Breaking down Mark Jocob’s WAR update

Mark Jacobs gave the WAR community an update on Mythic’s future plans for Warhammer, specifically the continued focus on making open RvR WARs absolute main attraction. It encouraging to know Mythic recognizes what separates WAR from other MMOs, and will focus on oRvR over PvE and scenarios, two aspects of WAR that are good enough as is. This post will be in break-down fashion, as I think Mark talks about a lot of important changes, changes that are much needed and perhaps long overdue.

Folks,

Over the last few months I’ve spoken about our continued focus on improving our open RvR systems. While we have taken some major steps in the last month, we believe that there is much more we can do to encourage people to take part in oRvR throughout the entire evolution of their character(s). Over the next few months we have some very exciting changes and additions taking place. Please note that as always, this does not represent everything that either we are doing or thinking about doing, just what we, as of now, plan on adding to WAR.

Somewhat basic here, other than the fact that Mythic now acknowledges oRvR as the main focus of WAR, rather than a piece of the puzzle in addition to scenarios and PvE. Major step forward, as no one is playing WAR because of it’s amazing PvE, or because we were looking for an update to WoW BG system. Scenarios will improve with class balance changes, and PvE (imo of course) is good enough right now to fill in the gaps between oRvR. The lack of oRvR has placed too much attention on PvE, which is why it continues to come up as an issue.

We have a number of major initiatives planned for oRvR in WAR. Please keep in mind that these changes/systems apply to oRvR only and not to scenarios. This is not all we are working on but these do reflect the majority of oRvR additions that we are currently working on/planning for the next few months.

Interesting statement only if over analyzed, but since this is exactly that, here goes. Pointing out that the changes are being made to oRvR, and not scenarios, seems somewhat bold to me. Previously Mythic was afraid to alter the importance of scenarios, mainly because of how popular they were. It’s encouraging to see that they are moving away from this stance, and willing to downgrade the effect scenarios have on the overall focus of the game.

First, we have created an RvR Influence system. This system is designed to reward our oRvR players with lots of new stuff that you can only get through oRvR. This will be a complimentary system to our PQ Influence system. This system is already implemented in 1.1 and is scheduled to go LIVE along with that version in December.

Another huge addition to the very anticipated 1.1 patch (and overhyped? Can you overhype a patch?). This was something fans and bloggers have commentated on often, and Mythic has responded. How the influence system was not in oRvR from day one is a bit puzzling, but at least it’s being added in fairly quickly. As long as the itemization is in line with the rest of the game, this should be well received.

Second, we want to improve the visibility that players have into oRvR and make it easier for players to get involved in the action quickly and easily. We have a number of wide-ranging changes going into our map and travel systems to allow players to better understand the state of oRvR in our game and also allow them to get to the action faster. We have already taken one step with putting a Rally Master in each Warcamp but we will also add the ability for people to have a second bind point to make it even easier for players to move around the maps. We will also make it easily for players to see where players from their Realm are engaging in oRvR, a Campaign HUD for all tiers and other improvements We will also improve Tier-wide messaging about what is going on in Battlefield Objectives and Keeps. Other additions include changes to the UI, in-game manual improvements, map enhancements, and a few other changes.

I found this section interesting because it’s a large collection of little fixes, which I think could add up to a big change. WAR’s main problem is getting players together in oRvR, and each piece above is a tiny step towards that ultimate goal. WAR does not need an NGE-style change, but rather a collection of these small steps to help guide players into the best content. The great gameplay is there, Mythic just has to get the players to it now.

Third, we want to provide greater incentives to players to participate in oRvR. In order to accomplish this we will be adding additional layers to the questing system of oRvR including the addition of Keep Quests, “Daily Event Quests”, Chained RvR Missions, improve the initial Tome Unlocks and other oRvR-oriented Events. We will also improve our BO itemization. Our goal is to provide players with even more incentive for participating in oRvR than we have already.

Catering to the PvE crowd here, and I’m ok with that. I think more MMO fans would be PvP fans if it was presented in a shinier package, and the above seeks to do just that. Execution and itemization will be key for these changes, both to keep them in-line with the rest of the game, but also to make them attractive enough for players to bother with.

Fourth, we want to encourage guilds to take and control keeps, and we will continue our work on adding better rewards for Guilds who own Keeps as well as the addition of a system of Keep upgrades. This system will be added to the game in several stages beginning in the late winter.

Late winter is a long ways away, but this is a good change. Currently guilds have very little motivation to own a keep, and increasing that will also increase a guilds willingness to defend one. Adding significant benefits to keep ownership will also strengthen a players motivation to stick with a guild. Mark later made a post about focusing on improving the rewards for defending a keep, which is a major issue right now.

Finally, we will begin work on a global oRvR “Fame” system that will be tied directly to the Tome of Knowledge which will provide more rewards, titles, experience, etc. for participating and being successful in oRvR. This system will provide even more incentives for people to participate in oRvR than the current systems and one that fits nicely both with the ToK’s concept as “This is your life” as well as an additional advancement and reward system.

“Fame” system, interesting. Anything that tracks more day-by-day RvR progress would be good. Let me know which day I killed the most players, which day I captured the most keeps, when I won a gold bag, that kind of stuff.

Please keep in mind that these additions are subject to change and given the nature of these changes/improvements, they will not go LIVE until we have thoroughly tested them. However, these are crucial improvements to WAR and are being treated as such by the team.

So release them yesterday!

Finally, I want to close this out with a brief explanation about the role that we believe that oRvR should play in WAR. It’s really as simple as this, oRvR should be a major focus for leveling, item gain, etc. in WAR. Some of the systems are already in place and in Tier 4, oRvR is alive and well. On other Tiers, however, oRvR is not being engaged in as often as we had hoped when we launched WAR. Our goal is to ensure that oRvR is the place where players can level the fastest, get the best items and overall, have a great time while doing it. It is supposed to be riskier, more challenging but ultimately, more rewarding than any other place within WAR. What is outlined in this letter are some of the ways we plan on making this happen over the next few months and beyond.

Considering keeps were not even in the game in early beta, this is a significant change to the core of the game. Basically, Mythic should have made DAoC 2.0, and not some reinvention of RvR. Mistake made, now time to correct it. Luckily Mythic has shown a willingness to correct mistakes, and do some rather quickly. These changes need to happen before more players bleed out from WAR.

As always, we thank you for your patronage and support. We won’t let you down.

Mark

And if/when you do, fans will let you know. (see: ToA)

There are a few more comments by Mark in the thread, so go scroll through for the full details. And as always, everything above is just talk, and needs to actually be delivered. Events like The Witching Night and Heavy Metal show Mythic CAN react quickly to address issues, but mistakes like keep contribution, itemization, and scenario over-emphasis also show Mythic has a ways to go before they get WAR where it needs to be. Hurry up!

3 Responses to Breaking down Mark Jocob’s WAR update

  1. Bonedead says:

    I’m glad to hear about the Fame system. I can’t recall how many times I’ve been running around and try to hit the tilde key to see my score, but I hope this helps fill that void.

  2. Kifix says:

    “WAR’s main problem is getting players together in oRvR…”

    No its not.
    The main problem is to make oRVR fun, so that people will want to do it.
    oRvR is happening more and more in tier4 but i’m going less and less to these encounters because its simply boring and/or completly unplayble because of server and client performance issues (with 100+ players).

    Most of the times, scenarios are more fun. Lots of people assumed most players were doing scenarios because its more rewarding, but you are about to discover that many will stick to scenarios because there’s no lag, you are not insta killed as often, you are not chain killed while trying to hit a door, you’re not stuck in a stupid stair with a dozen players AoEing your ass, you’re not dependant on having more players than the other faction, etc…

    My number one wish atm is for scenario queues to be changed so that i can play all of them. I was sure i wanted to oRvR and i wanted massive battles, etc, but its just not good in the current state of the game. If you bring players to this, they will go away.

  3. Mykelorcrist says:

    They can make all the incentive improvements to RvR they want but until they fix the underlying client and server issues that make RvR with more than a dozen players a side essentially unplayable, there will not be more RvR. If it takes minutes to get a skill off, you cannot move, you have to turn off all of the graphics elements just to be able to see a little of what is happening, the large RvR battles they envisioned cannot take place. These problems are not due to inadequate hardware of the players but with the game code itself. Before adding all these other RvR incentives, which may make performance even worse than now, they need to get what they have now working smoothly with multiple warbands on both sides present in the action.

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