How to cure the scenario plague in Warhammer Online.

Out of all the possible post-launch issues, I wonder if “the players are in the wrong place” was ever considered. On the one hand, a player choice, rather than a technical issue, would indicate that you avoided the usual MMO launch troubles. (servers being down, key game features not working due to bugs, bad engine performance) On the other hand, when you have customers leaving (or in this case, not subscribing) because of this social issue, it’s clearly a problem.

I am of course talking about Warhammer Online, and the current ‘scenario plague’ infecting so many of its players. Over-simplified, scenarios are too popular, and in turn they suck away too many players to their instanced content, leaving the actual game world barren. In a game so heavily reliant on other players, this is clearly a major problem.

It’s debatable whether WAR should have scenarios in the first place, and made all the more real with the consideration of a ‘no scenarios’ server option. Would removing scenarios (not from WAR entirely, just from those select servers) fix more than it breaks? Would gaining ranks be effected too heavily? And would open world RvR increase enough to justify their removal? Is the main issue that scenario’s give too much experience currently, or is the problem a bit deeper?

I’m not sure even Mythic has the answers to those questions, but clearly something needs to happen to re-balance WAR, and turn it into the game most players thought they were getting. When people are quitting because they don’t get enough of what they really enjoyed (world RvR), it’s almost a nice problem to have. Almost. On the one hand, if by tweaking some settings, you can get a good balance between scenarios and open world RvR, you figure those people will return. It’s not like they quit because you pulled a bait and switch, going from a solo leveling game to forced raiding (WoW), or a story driven game to a typical quest grind (AoC). But people quitting is people quitting, and in this case, they have a legitimate point. WAR was billed as an RvR-focused game, not as a selection of scenarios to wait for.

For some, myself included, the ‘scenario plague’ is somewhat of a non-issue. I don’t find them boring, I’ve generally been able to find groups for PQs and world RvR, and I don’t feel like I’m ranking up too slow because I’m not sitting in a warcamp in a queue. Do I think the RvR lakes could be a bit more populated? Of course, but I don’t seem to be playing in that same barren world that some players are reporting.

I always assumed scenarios should server the purpose of a quick, fill-in-the-gap break from whatever you are focused on (PQs, RvR, questing), and not be the main go-to activity for advancement. They should have the lowest time/reward ratio, due to how instantly accessible they are. How can a PQ or RvR lake compete with a scenario in terms of time/reward, when you are comparing something that must be found, travelled to, and done in a pre-made group, to something that is instant and solo-friendly? In their 15 minute time frame, a scenario should be worth no more than a single 15 minute quest, perhaps even a bit less than that due to the fact a quest is generally a one time task, while scenarios are repeatable. Open world RvR, especially around objectives and Keeps, should be worth enough to offset the occasion time you don’t find any action. If it takes me 30 minutes to get into RvR combat, and that combat lasts for an hour, the xp gain should be more than two hours worth of scenarios, give or take.

I do think scenarios are over-emphasized in WAR. Whether the majority of the blame should be placed on the players for trying to make WAR play like WoW, or whether the current game rules herd people into scenarios, the fact is WAR needs and will receive some tweaks. How quickly Mythic deploys those changes, and to what effect, will determine how many players stick around, and how many of those that quit due to lack of RvR will return. So far Mythic has a good track record of addressing issues quickly and effectively, but this will likely be Warhammer’s biggest challenge. Hopefully they are up for it, and deliver.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in MMO design, RvR, Warhammer Online. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to How to cure the scenario plague in Warhammer Online.

  1. LurbyJo says:

    I’ve been hearing a lot of the same, but as you report, I’m not running into the issues with the same intensity they seem to be. Sure, I’d like to see more people in the oRvR areas, but I feel like everything is moving at a good pace and I’m content knowing Mythic is reviewing the mechanics.

  2. Talyn says:

    Again, not being a DAOC player and therefore assuming/hoping in my naivete that RvR actually meant something more grand and meaningful than merely faction-based PvP which we’ve all been there, done that before, I personally don’t feel scenarios have any place in the game. It’s supposed to be about open war, not instanced battles for points.

    Out of Tier 1 I never saw anything other than Nordenwatch. Is Nordenwatch actually that fun to you people is why you constantly queue for that and only that? Seriously? Maybe I’ve just played too many shooters over the years but the first time I loaded into Nordenwatch on the first day I played WAR by overwhelming reaction was “This is it? You’re kidding me…” I was bored to tears of it within 3 matches, which tends to be the case with me on small PvP maps. PvP isn’t nearly as dynamic as PvP fans make it out to be, especially on smaller maps. The names of the players will change each time, but the same battles occur in the same spots every time like clockwork.

    If anything, scenarios could have been PvP-based PQ’s where you just step into the zone area and accomplish the goals, team balance be damned. If it actually had a lasting, meaningful affect on the world to make people care (which scenarios don’t) they’d come help.

  3. Thallian says:

    for sure, syncaine. I’d like to in open rvr but nothing is pulling at me to go there yet.

  4. JoBildo says:

    Back in beta, one of the larger reasons for the delay until this fall was that scenarios mattered too much in terms of RvR.

    It’s a different problem now. They matter too much in terms of character progression. I’m confident Mythic knows we’re all worried (they do seem to read a lot of our blogs and the boards), and I’m patient enough to wait and see.

    Fact is, despite not being as cool as Open RvR can be… scenarios are a crap-ton of fun.

  5. syncaine says:

    Yea in moderate doses, scenarios are great. Which is why I think they would still be valuable content at a fraction of the reward. So what if you don’t get good xp/rr, it’s a quick 15 minutes of fun. That’s how the perception of scenarios SHOULD be, rather than the current “if you want to speed level, sit in a camp and queue grind”.

  6. Barakah says:

    I’m only in tier two but I actually wish that scenarios gave no XP and only renown rewards. As it stands for me I am leveling through much of tier two doing Qs, PQs, and scenarios last but I am now Rank 17, RVR 10. I must not that I am a tank so renown rank can be harder to amass at times, especially when you are at the higher end of a tier and earn less renown due to modifiers. I hear that in tier three it gets be a bit more of a grind so maybe that will no longer be an issue.

    Still the world seems a bit empty much of the time and nerfing the rewards of scenarios seems like the best solution atm.

  7. Bonedead says:

    I’m sure a lot of the people complaining are used to WoW (and tons of players everywhere). Really, how do they know the people aren’t in their area because of scenarios? Maybe they’re RvRing in a different land, PQing in a different land, or maybe there just aren’t as many people per server as people are used to seeing in WoW.

    These are all unknowns that could also be the culprit.

    On my server it just doesn’t make sense that everyone is in scenarios. How many people can be in 1 Scenario per side? 10-12 in T1? 15-18 in T2? I don’t know if there can be multiple Nordenwatch scenarios going at once or Mourkain Temple, but I do know that usually people only play 1 Scenario instead of all 3.

    Am I right? Iunno, I’m just sayin.

  8. p@tsh@t says:

    Mythic hear our screams.

    @Bone: Well, at least in T2, even with the beyond crappy implementation of showing RvR battles on the pairing map (never accurate), its pretty easy to determine that there is little open RvR going when all your keeps and BOs are belong to us and not under attack.

    Whether there are hundreds of people online at all (and perhaps in scenarios or not) is a fair point. As has been mentioned, it does seem the server pop caps are probably too low.

    AFAIK, multiple scenarios can spawn as long as their are enough willing players on each side. Otherwise, their just zones… How many instances of a scenarios can spawn simultaneously probably has some limit but its got to be at least 3-4.

  9. spinks says:

    There’s a whole slew of issues to do with slow levelling. Some of it could be resolved with more xp for quests in Tier 3/4. But also, some classes have a PvP spec which just isn’t good for PvE . I mean, I like healing in PvP so since I knew I could do scenarios and open RvR all the way from level 1 that’s how I specced. Which is great except when you run out of quest xp and end up having to either grind stuff really really slowly … or queue for scenarios.

    It’s pretty clear which you’ll do. Scenarios are fun. But xp outside them is not good at higher levels.

  10. Trollonfire says:

    I’d have to agree with Syncaine on this one. Currently oRvR on many worlds that are not high pop is dead during peak times (7PM-11PM EST). In the past 2 weeks, I have seen exactly two (2) nights where Order came out to play. The most recent episode we warred for over 2 hours on 1 keep… back and forth, each side seeming to gain and lose the advantage by the minute. It was a blast; the most fun I’ve had in a PVP enviroment in years. Sadly, it is the exception and not the norm. Most of the time Order just sits in the scenarios, only playing the ones they “know” they can win.

  11. mm says:

    In the past two nights, I’ve been questing in High Pass while queueing for scenarios. In those two nights, I ran into just one (ONE) other person. I’m on a decently populated server (Ironfist), and it feels depressingly dead. I can only imagine the isolated feeling on being on a low population server.

    Mythic needs to rebalance xp, loot, and cash rewards. Since open rvr and scenarios give renown in addition to xp, they should give slightly less xp as compared to an equal amount of questing time. I think all three should give equal cash/item rewards. If I can do about 5 quests/hour in T3 at an average of 5k xp/quest, that’s 25,000 xp/hour questing. I make that much with just 2-3 scenario runs. However, in open rvr keep sieges, I make almost no xp. Doubling pitiful xp (in pahse 3 xp tweaking) is still pitiful.

    I would think the ratios should be:
    Questing: 100% xp
    Scenarios: 60% xp / 40% renown
    Objective/Keep RVR: 40% xp / 60% renown
    Random open world PVP: 50% xp / 50% renown

    Just use questing as the baseline and tweak that to meter leveling rate. Base all the other activities off that.

    I also think the xp from scenarios should be based off your contribution only. Don’t tie it to winning/losing the scenario – or at least minimize the connection. Renown gains should be principally tied to scenario performance.

  12. Joggoms says:

    The empty game world was the primary reason I decided not to subscribe. If scenarios aren’t causing low population in the game worlds then it’s a general population issue and Mythic needs to combine servers.

    As syncaine wrote, and I have written about the same issue myself, the rewards for scenarios are just too great. It takes no effort to get into a scenario and very little effort to complete a scenario. Compared to open-world RVR, PQs, regular quests, or whatever the balance is just totally out of whack. Scenarios should be the *least* rewarding activity in game (in terms of exp and renown) and players should only queue for them when they want a break, are short on time, or just plain love to do them more than anything else.

  13. Yeebo says:

    Quests need to yield better XP. PQs need to be completable with smaller parties. And there should be some sort of PvE that yields enormous rewards per unit time in the RvR areas. Give soloists and small parties that can’t hope to take a keep a good reason to be wandering around out there. In DAoC mobs in RvR areas and battle grounds gave roughly twice the XP per kill as those in the PvE areas. i don’t see why that wouldn’t work here. There are also barely any quests that force you to go into RvR areas. There should be more.

    All that said, I just hit teir II (yes I’m slow) and I’ve actually been having a blast doing PvE. The PQ gear is a nice upgrade over my vengence gear, and I’ve gotten two levels likety split doing quests. I can see that the quests in my zone are only going to get me to level 15 or 16 (tops). Rather than spoil the other two areas by questing there I’ll likely runs scenarios to make up the difference. It would be nice if the quests gave enough Xp to get me to teir III (were I inclined to level that way) without having to change zones. But hey, whatever. I do think scenarios are a ton of fun, I don’t mind spending half my time there.

  14. Melf_Himself says:

    I think that if they brought the accessibility of scenarios to open RvR, we’d see a mass exodus of people from scenarios. This is what I came up with:

  15. Chris F says:

    I agree it is a problem, but I think it becomes less of a problem when the server matures. Right now the server pop is spread out over t1-t4. When the majority of the server is t4 and level 40, oRvR and scenarios will be all there is to do. Should see more participation then. Especially with keeps and cities legitimately on the line.

    Of course, that doesn’t solve the problem levelling up where the RvR lakes in t1 & t2 especially are bare. They are beautifully designed in terrain, but empty. Such a shame.

  16. warguide says:

    When the population balances out and people stop (worrying about) leveling up, they’ll do more RvR and it should be more or less fine then. There’s not THAT many other things they can do in War anyway.

  17. brindle says:

    i tell you one thing, i’m not paying a monthy fee to play the serpent’s scenario (practically the one and only scen that pops in T4) over and over and over and over. I think you have it wrong saying “scenarios are too popular”. almost non of the hard core regulars on my server (im renown rank 35) like the scenarios. It is simply that we are forced to queue and re-queue again since at 40 there is not much else to do and open world RvR is mostly dead until night, and even then, is mostly a ‘dodge’ affair since defending is non-value and popping BO’s gets a decent renown.

    To me, the entire game is mediocre at best. scenario’s are a major factor in that feeling.

  18. crimsonstarfire says:

    Maybe only making scenarios accessible at endgame (i.e. lvl 40) would solve the problem?

  19. Pingback: » How to Fix the Warhammer Open World RvR Problem Mordiceius’ Gaming Blog

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