Phoenix Gate (PG) is an interesting scenario in Warhammer Online. On the one hand, it’s very Warsong Gulch-like in that it’s basically a game of capture the flag, with the two flags being on opposite ends of the map. It’s also WSG-like in that stalemates can occur, and little real progress is made until the 15 minutes are up and the scenario ends. This generally happens when both sides are full of me-first players looking to WoW-grind xp and renown by running head first into the enemy. At some point they will realize that’s actually a terrible way to get good xp/rr, but for now, the clowns continue to charge. (Notably this has been getting better since launch, as players are catching on to the differences between WoW and WAR PvP, but you still see it too often)
PG is NOT like WSG in a number of other, very important ways. For starters, the map is far more open and not nearly as linear as WSG. Related to this, the location of the flag is in an open field, and not in a base-like structure. This is important because it makes it far easier to grab the flag and keep the game moving, since you can attack from multiple angles, and the defenders might be distracted enough on one front to allow a second team to swoop in and grab the flag. The design of the map also allows for multiple escape routes with the flag, each with its fair share of advantages and disadvantage.
The overall focus on offense rather than turtle-like defense generally keeps a game of PG moving (WoW-minds aside), and if one side is noticeable more organized, games end quickly. It’s entirely possible for a team to cap a flag, and grab it again on respawn with another member, scoring in rapid succession. The key to PG, and scenarios in general, is organization. Have tanks run in first, draw the enemies attention, and then provide ample support from the healers on the hills or hidden behind the front line. DPS classes also have to know when to engage, and when to fall back and protect healers. Even a greatly out-ranked and out-geared team will succeed with good teamwork, due to how tough tanks are, and how powerful healing is compared to dps output.
That final point, about skill being greater than rank/gear, is perhaps why scenarios are so popular in WAR. Yes it helps that they offer great xp/rr, but along with that they offer very satisfying gaming moments. Nothing is more rewarding than keeping a tank alive versus five other players as your DPS chew up the back ranks, leading to a crushing victory. However these great moments are not exclusive to scenarios, but rather to WAR RvR in general, which is why it’s important for Mythic to encourage players to get out into the RvR lakes and mix it up. Given the torrent of successful patching (almost daily fixes and improvements since launch day), I’m sure a solution is coming shortly, and we can finally have a good balance of scenario AND open world RvR.