Today was going to be a non-MMO post day and I was going to talk about Civ 4: Colonization, but then Mark from Mythic put out his State of the Game letter, and well yea, Colonization will have to wait (it’s a good game so far, I’ll play it some more over the weekend, but bottom line: if you like Civ, you will like Colonization)
The letter is all about the upcoming 1.1 patch, which will bring a ton of improvements and expansion to WAR. Mark did not state a specific release date, but considering we have had hot fixes or small patches daily, I doubt this will be a “WoW will have hero classes shortly after release” type of deal (sorry, still bitter about that one…)
The big huge news is the addition of two tank classes, the Black Guard (dark elf) and the Knight of the Blazing Sun (empire). I’m guessing they will share a similar game mechanic and be mirrors, but it will be interesting to see what that mechanic will be. This will also spur a whole new wave of alts to be created, so the lower tiers should see a nice population increase shortly after the patch, making it much easier for totally new players to get into the game. I’m guessing in addition to people rolling the new classes, guild mates will roll other alts to join them, so hopefully we will see some lower tier balance. This will also work again when Mythic adds the final two cut classes, leading to another wave of alts in lower tiers. Not a bad side effect for cutting a few classes before release.
The other interesting bit for me was the mention of influence gain and rewards in RvR areas. I’m guessing this will work similar to chapter influence rewards, but will likely be for each race’s tier rather than chapter. When I read this, I got a sort of “of course they should do this, duh!” feeling, the same kind of thing when I read about PQs. Hopefully this will get more people into world RvR in each tier, and will further reduce the current MMO mentality of “hit the level cap, then play for fun” that too many people are sucked into.
The mail system will be improved, which I honestly could give two shits about as I don’t play WAR as a mail simulator, but everyone bitching about it might finally shut up and we can return to discussing actual issues that matter in a game about RvR. The really amazing thing is everyone’s perception of the issue. WoW had a shitty mail system as well, and only be “incorporating” (look another word for steal) mods made by players did WoW get a good mail system. (and hotbars, and party interface, and raid interface, and anything else related to the UI) Lets give credit where it’s due, to all the mod makers since 2004 that due to their hard work do we have a somewhat standardized MMO UI. Without its open modding system, my guess is WoW UI improvements would have arrived as promptly as hero classes and shaman/paladin balance.
Back to the letter, Mark also mentioned further plans to balance server populations, including free character transfers. The interesting thing is he mentioned the opportunity to go from a low pop server to a med pop one, in addition to going from a high pop to a med pop. This leads me to believe they might be thinking about closing some of the really low pop servers, and brining them back up one at a time when needed. I’m sure once people hit Rank 40 and play around with the top end RvR, some would jump at the chance to restart on a fresh server. This would also lock in all of the original servers into stable populations, giving each server the optimal number of people to support the focus of the game, RvR. Each new server opened up after would be a great opportunity for new and old players alike to experience that ‘launch rush’ that we had, where you get to move through the tiers with the majority of the server.
All good stuff, now lets see when/how it’s delivered.