Out of all the recent MMOs I’ve played or been playing, by far the most frustrating one is Warhammer Online. Not because of anything related to bugs, crashes, or features/ui stuff, but because of how much the game changes from the early levels to end-game. Simply put, the game is amazingly fun in tier one and two, stalls somewhat in three, and just offers very little in tier four in terms of long-term, sustainable fun.
You would think that for RvR, tier one would be the one you want to leave asap, since your character is limited in terms of skills and abilities, and the entire mastery tree system has yet to start. Yet it’s this simplicity that really makes the game enjoyable, as the difference between winning and losing comes down to good communication among group members, rather than who gets the most CC/AoE off on the opponent. In a strange way, tier one in WAR is somewhat similar to PvP in DarkFall (which from a pure PvP standpoint, DF is far superior to WAR IMO), in that what you do is more important than what weapons/tools you bring to the fight. By the time you enter tier four, the winner/loser is often times pre-determined thanks to disparities in class/gear/mastery/RR/etc. That’s how the game works, you know that going into it, but it’s just strange how MUCH those factors affect the game in T4.
The only explanation that I can come up with is that once you reach T4, a lot of little factors add up to one big problem; it’s just not that fun. I don’t think its one major problem that Mythic can fix to turn T4 around (although population, both server and order vs destroy is a big issue), and while making changes to CC and such helps, it’s not like once CC is under control the lights come on and bam, T4 is awesome. It will be better, yes, but I still don’t think it will be great. It will still be zerg vs zerg thanks to players being able to travel quickly to any area at will (which is why anyone arguing AGAINST travel times in games like this is crazy). It still won’t really ‘matter’, as even a city siege at this point is somewhat meh in terms of impact, and the gear can now be gained through other means (a good change btw). And unless further changes to keeps are made, those battles will still be more about bashing a door than bashing other players (an issue Mythic really needs to address soon, as I believe the basic idea of fighting in/around a keep is solid in WAR).
LotD, which was the much-hyped major addition set to spice up T4, is IMO an utter failure, one that I’m okay with comparing to Trials of Atlantis in DAoC. Much like ToA, LotD more or less killed T4 RvR activity thanks to its lockout system of fail. If you want people to fight each other, why in gods name are you keeping one side OUT of the area for an extended amount of time, and the method for which that side gets back in is tied to fight whose inside in the standard T4 areas. A child could have pointed out why this won’t work, especially when half the servers (or more) are already having population issues in T4. The sad part is lockout method aside, LotD is actually rather decent content, and would be one hell of a zone to fight over if you know, Mythic actually let you fight more than 10 minutes every two hours or so. The ‘fun’ of trying to organize dungeon groups when you don’t know if you can even enter or not is also a rather glaring oversight. Imagine if in WoW, whenever your guild tried to enter a raid the game would randomly assign a wait period of up to two hours, and your entire raid got to sit around and wait to get in. Yea, that would go over REALLY well, and I’m sure plenty of raiders would just love to have that much time wasted…
So does WAR suck and everyone should mass quit? No, because at its core it’s a good, fun RvR game. It’s just that the core gets massively bogged down by little nagging issues that pile on and ultimately, by the time you get to T4, overwhelm the fun with suck. The good news is that removing each piece of suck (like overpowered CC) is very doable, and Mythic at least seems to get it. The bad news is that they have a long list of issues to get to, and Mythic seems to be going at a two steps forward, one step back pace (or one giant leap back when you factor in LotD).
Now, image the game with most of the little issues addressed and the launching of a paid expansion (3rd faction included) being announced. Yea, that might generate some legitimate hype, no Paul B needed.