So many thoughts are going through my head right now. Overall I had a really, really great weekend with WAR, but on Monday some issue are nagging me. This is likely to jump around a bit, so sorry in advance for that.
This weekend on Monolith saw our alliance (Bloodsworn) merge with Genocidal Tendencies (Lethargic and Order’s End guilds) The new alliance is now the biggest Destro alliance on Monolith, and we alone are able to field 3-5 full T4 warbands during weekend primetime. In addition to pure numbers, both Lethargic and Order’s End have some of the best players Destro side, both in terms of leadership and RR/gear. They end up being the spear head of the Destro zerg. In addition to the merger, T4 was also a madhouse of activity over the weekend, with Destro capturing the High Elf fortress multiple times, and opening Reikwald for siege as well. We came oh-so-close to capturing Reikwald as well, but Order put up a great fight and ultimately Aldorf was spared our wrath. With Saturday’s patch, fortresses no longer seem to crash, and while lag is still based on your settings and hardware (I was fine unless I looked directly at the 400+ zerg, which dropped me to 4-5 fps, others had more trouble), overall the fighting was great. Not perfect yet, but still great fun.
While on the micro scale everything was cool, the macro scale has some issues. First, Order badly needs help in T4 on Monolith. I’ll give them credit and say they put up some great fights, but overall the Destro zerg usually overwhelms them. I don’t have the numbers, but my feeling is Monolith is one of the more unbalanced servers when it comes to T4, and without some help, we might be in trouble. Mythic has been quick to address this issue in the past, and hopefully before the whole x-mas increase is over, Monolith will be tagged with an Order xp bonus or other incentives. Order has been holding its own in T1-T3, but in T4 they are simply outnumbered.
The other major problem is population spread. While in T1-T3 the major issue is funneling plays INTO one area, in T4 the exact opposite is needed. You simply can’t have the entire server fighting in Reikland, as almost all strategy goes out the window in the face of the all-powerful zerg. Clearly if we had three capitals to fight over rather than one it would help, but I think something can be done even before those are added back in. The locking mechanic needs to happen faster than it does in Reikland and Kadrin Valley (but slower than the bugged Eataine), so that the war is moving faster. Lock the zones, move to the next, and end it with a fortress battle. The fortress is a nice ‘ending’ to the campaign push, as it gives both sides a clear one hour window to capture/defend the fortress. Perhaps a similar timer can be put into place for the zones, and whichever side has more points after an hour or so, the zone locks and the battle moves on. Currently both Reik and KV end up being zerg grindfests, and that just does not feel right.
I’m wondering if the problems Monolith is facing are more due to population imbalance than anything else. On Saturday, when Order was out in full force, Reikland was a great place to fight due to how spread out everything was. One warband would be capturing an objective, usually fighting another warband, while other groups would be fighting over a keep or just out in the open. It was only when Order began to log out did the zone feel more ‘zergy’ and strategy stopped. We held everything in the zone, held Order inside their warcamp, and waiting for the zone to lock.
Overall I’m still very positive on WAR, both because Mythic has been improving the game by leaps and bounds since launch, and because the players themselves are still learning the details of RvR. I’m also just generally having a lot of fun each time I log in, part of that is because of CoW and our alliance, and also because WAR has so many different things available for my rank. Overall strategy is still in flux, and everyone is still trying to fine tune battle plans. From what I’ve seen of Bastion Stairs, and what I’ve heard about the other high end instances, PvE in WAR gets a bit more interesting at the higher levels (as is almost always the case in any MMO), and provides a nice break from RvR. I’m looking forward to rank 40, and becoming a more active part in future keep and fortress raids, assuming the population issue is addressed.