During the Warhammer Online beta, each poll showed Destruction being more popular than Order, sometimes vastly more popular. These numbers were always taken with a grain of salt, with the common response of “it’s beta, the casuals don’t play beta, and the hardcore like evil”. We all thought once the game went live and the casuals arrived, Order would see a spike in popularity from all the Alliance players jumping from WoW to WAR. We are still waiting for the kids bus to drop them off…
In a somewhat unexpected development, Destruction dominates most servers in total population, and this has created some very notable problems. Scenario queues are quite long for Destro players, server queues generally only affect Destro players, and Order gets dominated in open world RvR, with Destroction holding control of most areas 90% of the time.
Now the big question for both sides is whether the casuals who will play Order are still coming, or is this just a rare case of the majority picking the bad guys? Warhammer has had a phenomenal launch, and the total number of players is sure to continue to rise, even with the ‘ten of the same’ expansion coming in November, but I’m not convinced those new players will pick Order over Destruction in any amount larger than beta or first week players did.
If we assume new players will follow the current trend, and go more towards Destro than Order, what can Mythic do to remedy the situation? Clearly in the long run, WAR needs both sides more or less even for the overarching conflict to work, and Mythic can’t just let the current imbalance persist. I’m not saying make any drastic changes right now, as the dust of launch is still settling, but in the coming months something needs to be done.
The first and most obvious change is adding back the previously cut classes. Empire missing a tank is killing them, and who would not love to play a psycho melee dps dwarf? The Dark Elves will get a flimsy elf tank, and the Greenskins will get… well ok most likely a badass melee dps orc that will own, but still… If those added classes are slightly overpowered in favor of Order… well that should help the population balance right? You can always nerf stick them later once things settle down.
The other option would be to offer in-game bonuses to under populated Order servers. Perhaps each new character would start with one of those bonus xp books with three charges, or some kind of underdog title/trophy/tome unlock. History has shown it does not take much to influence MMO players (see every game with pointless fluff that people chase for hours/days), and a small bonus might be the tipping factor for someone deciding to roll Order or Destro.
It’s an issue that I’m sure Mythic is monitoring closely, and I would be very surprised if they don’t already have a plan. Lets just hope they roll it out before all the weakling Order players pack up and go back to Power Ranger land. Oh and if you are thinking of playing WAR, roll Order on Thorgrim so CoW can beat you up. We might even blog about your epic fail!