This weekend I had more fun in an MMO than I can remember in a long, long time. I logged into vent around 8pm EST on Saturday just to see what everyone was up to, and right away it was obvious something big was going down. Vent was packed, people were talking in a bit of a panic, and general uncertainty was the mood. Order had locked down a Fortress and were pushing Chaos Waste to attempt a second Fortress lock.
On the Monolith server Destruction has locked a single Fortress a few times, and lately Order has been able to push a Fort as well. Neither side has ever locked two Forts down and opened a capital up. That changed Saturday night.
I logged on, joined one of our alliances warbands (I believe we had three going), and flew over to Chaos Waste (CW) just as Order locked Praag. Within a very short span of time, Order had sieged and captured both keeps in CW almost simultaneously. They then hit the four battle objectives hard, and had all four captured. It was impossible to judge exactly how many people total were in the CW zone, but it had to be well over 300 counting both sides. While the client did lag when the zerg rolled over you, the zone did not crash and overall everything was more than playable. Seeing that many people was crazy though, I remember at one objective I could not see the ground thanks to all the red names around me, and any direction I looked I just saw a sea of red (I was good and dead at this point).
Destruction was generally unorganized, and while we made a push to capture one of the objectives, overall it only slowed the inevitable, CW locking down and the The Maw fortress opening up. Order must have had a master plan and great leadership that night, because as soon as The Maw opened, they hit it hard with a coordinated strike, and that too soon fell. For the first time on Monolith, a capital city was open for attack, and the under populated side (according to Mythic) had just beating the dominant force soundly.
As the capital siege was new to everyone, confusion was king. Some people were in the instanced 48 vs 48 PQs in the city, others were at the capital door in The Maw, and still others were in a new, massive scenario. We figured out the system eventually (get into the PQ at the main gate to the city, taking a scenario puts you out of the PQ after the scenario ends, you can’t be in a warband when you enter the PQ if you want to switch which PQ you enter), but for that first hour or so, it was chaos both in-game and on vent.
After the first hour or so of the siege, Order was gaining victory points (the city functions in a similar manner to an RvR zone for the 6 hour siege, blocking normal access), but then seemed to stall. From what info I could gather, Order made the decision to call off the coordinated push, and instead focus on gearing up for a future push through the PQs. If the attackers win the PQ, they get three gold bags which contain Invader gear (on par to the highest level PvE gear set from Lost Vale), if the defenders win, they get a chance (25% maybe?) for one gold bag. Basically the defenders need to play the role of spoiler, denying the attackers the gear they need to push further into the city (if you lock the first stage of the city siege, you open up additional content that requires the Superior wards you get from Invader or Lost Vale sets). It was at this point that our alliance got a bit more organized, and we proceeded to jump from PQ to PQ (five different copies were running at the same time), getting into the highest Order population PQ and denying them victory. We realized farming the PQ ourselves was a losing battle (chance of one gold bag vs a guaranteed three), so we ignored the bags and instead focused on stopping the larger groups of Order players. We had some epic battles (all with flawless server performance during the entire siege), often jumping into the PQs just in time to stop Order from advancing.
At that point, with less than an hour remaining on the city siege timer, it was 4am EST and I had been online for more or less 8 hours straight, as had the majority of our warband. Exhausted yet hyped, we logged off.
Through the night, despite being on the losing side for much of it, everyone was excited. Excited to see new content (both the city PQ and scenario are very well done), excited to be part of the servers first city siege, and more than anything, excited to finally see the WAR campaign progress past locking zones. With the campaign progressing as fast as it did, there was zero downtime or waiting. At all times, warbands were moving in an attempt to cut an enemy off, to steal an objective, or just to break through and get players into a fortress or the capital. At times we operated as a 6 man group, picking off stragglers, while at others we moved 3+ warbands strong to try and brute force an objective or Order chokepoint. We killed, we died, we gained renown, and overall just had a great time.
The day after, the realization that Monolith Destro was horribly unorganized set in. Order had been successful the night before not because they had better gear or more people, but because they were all on one page and moving as one group, rather than a collection of scattered warbands. The events on Saturday also went a long way to get people excited about the game again, giving us a small taste of what the whole T4 campaign is all about. We want to see Aldorf burn, and in order for that to happen, the different alliances and guilds are going to have to put petty differences aside and get to work. Ultimately success in WAR is not about who has the best gear or the highest renown rank, its about working together with your realm, out-organizing the other side and proving which side has the superior players. On Saturday, Order won the first battle, but in doing so has inspired Destruction to get our shit together and really fight back. We no doubt have some epic battle ahead of us, and I for one can’t wait.