Why the ward system in Warhammer Online is great.

Mythic announced the ward system in Warhammer Online sometime before launch, and unanimously the system was viewed as a gear check/block for the PvE content. You can only kill the king with 6 wards from the highest set, have fun farming PvE in a RvR game!

Now that players have actually experienced the system and see how it works, I think the ward system has shown its true colors. It’s a gear check/block for PvE content, but with an RvR twist. Ever compare the stats of the lesser ward set to that of the superior ward set? The superior set is better, but in most cases only marginally better, small enough to… wait for it… not determine the outcome of a PvP fight. Shocker.

Without the ward system, a rank 40 character in basic gear would be able to skip all of Bastion Stairs, all of the rank 40 city dungeons, and jump straight into the highest level PvE content (Lost Vale) and be successful. They would have an easier time with better gear, but since the differences are minimal, it unlikely they would outright fail unless the encounters were tuned towards impossible. The ward system enables Mythic to mimic other MMOs in its tiered PvE content, while not screwing the balance of its RvR to be a game of who farmed more gear.

It’s a lesser of two evils, a gear check for PvE to maintain relative item balance in RvR, and in a MMO with a true focus, great RvR, that makes a lot of sense.

About SynCaine

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

21 Responses to Why the ward system in Warhammer Online is great.

  1. Snafzg says:

    I love that part about wards too. I really dislike, however, how you get this warded gear. The chances of you getting gold bags in keeps and forts is quite low and even when you get the gold bags, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a piece you need. The PvE gear isn’t much easier to get due to the dungeon lockout timers (just under 72 hours) and extremely random drop rates. Gotta love having a boss drop two pieces of gear for a class-type that isn’t even in your group. Lame.

    I would have zero issues with wards IF they introduced a token/currency system that didn’t leave so much up to horrible chance.

  2. Werit says:

    Nice points Syn and Snafzg.

    I think they are one change (token/currency) from really having something good going.

  3. syncaine says:

    While it can be frustrating running blood/bile and getting nothing, compared to the rate you get gear in other MMOs, WAR is ezmode. 3 day lockout is a joke, as is getting 2 pieces per boss with 6 people in a group, needing only 3-4 pieces to move on to the next instance. Not to mention you can combine the PvE and RvR set to get the needed wards.

    If getting wards was easier, everyone would be bitching they can’t progress because they are sitting around with a full set of Lost Vale gear.

  4. syncaine says:

    About the tokens, how many to get a set piece? Are we talking 2-3 full runs? 10-12? It’s all in the balance, and if they just give out the gear quickly, it will soon become pointless.

  5. Hiryu02 says:

    I gotta admit, that is an interesting take on it. I honestly was not a huge fan of the system, but the way you have laid it out does make it seem pretty logical. Kudos on presenting a previously reviled mechanic in a more enlightening manner.

  6. Coppertopper says:

    Personally I hate the token system unless they combine it with a random gear drop as well. Honestly if they just made it so only gear drops that group members can use PROBLEM SOLVED! In pvE anyways. Mythic made it so epics dropped every time for the class that needed it in DAoC eventually (ToA epics that is). So I don’t see the problem with making PvE dungeon drops tailored to the group involved.

  7. Werit says:

    @syn: It would have to be balanced for sure. The feeling of working towards something helps take the sting out of the random drop system.

    @copper: I would imagine it like WoW’s badge system. So there are drops and tokens.

  8. syncaine says:

    They said a token system is coming, and overall I agree its a good choice (especially in an RvR game where loot should be a side distraction and not the main focus), my point was just that we ask for things, and when they come out and are harder than we expect, we again bitch.

  9. Hudson says:

    Awesome, you guys are playing World of Warcraft only in a different universe. And you say you aren’t hardcore ;)

  10. Werit says:

    @hudson: Don’t you have heroics to farm? ;)

  11. syncaine says:

    Heroics? He has daily quests to finish, epics cost money yo. Or are you afk-farming a BG right now?

  12. Snafzg says:

    Heh, WAR is definitely taking similar steps with gear as WoW is, however, the fundamental difference is that WAR is tying progression to wards whereas WoW is tying progression to a never-ending increase in stats.

    I much prefer the WAR system because gear becomes much less of an issue in PvP as Syncaine stated above.

    As for running Bile/Blood being ez-mode, tell that to the people who have run both dungeons 10+ times and still haven’t gotten themselves a full set. They’re really fun the first few times but they aren’t cool enough to handle so much churn.

    I have been on four trips so far and have yet to get shoulders, gloves, or a helmet. I really only care about the helmet because I have Annihilator shoulders/gloves, but it’s still a pain in the ass. I have also taken about 50 keeps in my T4 career and I have yet to get a helmet from that either. This issue needs to be resolved.

    Nothing is more frustrating than watching a boss drop 2x Magus robes when there isn’t even a Magus in your group. Since it’s all BoP, you can’t even do anything with it unless you’re a salvager.

  13. syncaine says:

    5/5 Annihilator after 30ish Keeps, everything is working as intended :)

    And as someone with maxed rep from Molten Core, 10+ runs to me sounds like new content. Just be thankful you don’t have two hours of trash before the first boss, and 40 people looking forward to two items dropping.

    But seriously, you have been 4 times and are one ward away from full strength in LV, how fast do you want it? How much use would that content be if you got your full set in one run?

  14. shadowwar says:

    I feel for you guys. I never noticed it being such a pain to get a full set of ward gear. I had 5/5 annihilator shortly after cap, and never got overlaping pieces, in close to 25 keep takes, less than 30 for sure. In less than a week, I ran instances and got two greater ward pieces, and my conq. boots that I can’t even wear yet.

    Once I hit RR40, I can do Lost Vale with impunity most likely, all this without really trying dosen’t seem like much of a gear grind at all.

    Or maybe I’m just super lucky.

  15. Snafzg says:

    Hehe, you’re using extreme examples. I never said I wanted it in one run, but I think 4-5 is quite reasonable. As for the RvR gear, I would expect to get a full set within 20-25 takes.

    Actually, as I’ve explained before on my own blog, I wouldn’t even want RvR tokens tied to keeps/BOs. I would much rather than them drop off players to actually encourage keep defense rather than keep trading.

    As a DPS, I really only need 3/5 greater wards to enter LV/cities. That’s not too shabby at all, but can you imagine the crap a tank has to go through? People don’t even want you in their groups unless you’re 5/5 wards. Four runs and I have won the boots and chest-piece (someone gave me a belt). There are still three pieces for me to get if I want full warding (belts don’t count toward wards).

  16. Chris says:

    I made this comment over at Werit’s blog, but it seems relevant here. I think ward’s are a net plus for the reasons you state, but why not remove the “hard-linking” to specific sets, and provide them via crafting- e.g. ward potions and talismans- that require components (or tokens) from RvR and the dungeons?

  17. Orion says:

    One suggestion I can make is to include an option as to whether or not you want to roll on a PQ reward.

    I know a few people in my guild who are really into RvR and enjoy doing keep sieges for the renown and influence on a capture, and they enjoy it so much they’ve already got their full annihilator sets. They also regularly get a high contribution bonus for the siege, and in some ways this upsets them.

    Since they’ve got their full set they feel bad when they win a gold bag because they’re denying other people the possibility of useful loot. If you had the option of whether or not you wanted to roll for a bag (maybe with some other incentive as well like a bit of cash, or a trophy unlock for a certain number of times passing) you could spread the gear love around and not have people feel like they’re getting in the way of others’ enjoyment by being forced to take gear that they don’t want to.

    While this might not be a great idea for PQs at lower tiers, as it might encourage 40s to come in and steamroll PQs for lowbie friends, it’d definitely be a step forward for both the people who don’t want to roll on gear they don’t need and the people who actually need it.

  18. Ravious says:

    I guess I just don’t understand how doing the same content 10 times in order to do the next bit of content 10 times and so on is “a good thing.” A lesser evil, maybe.

    I guess if Mythic feels the need to follow WoW, then hey, good job, Mythic.

  19. Micah S says:

    You are exactly right about the ward system preventing mudflation and maintaining gear balance, but the current loot system needs to be looked at.

  20. Glumlock says:

    The biggest solution to the ward problem is not by a token system – it’s merely to put wards on non set gear (shock horror!)
    Seriously.. take the Orvr influence rewards for example. What use are they? Sure they have gorgeous stats and are comparable to conq/sentinel… but with one small problem.. NO WARDS!!
    If these items had greater or lesser wards on them.. it would be much easier to get into City dungeons. I can live with having to do 10+ city dungeons for a full set of sentinel – At least i can tank the runs efficiantly.
    What i dont like is after taking 200 keeps (im not joking here i got an achievement for taking 200 keeps) i still havent got a single piece of annihilator.. only gloves and boots. :(
    Bloodlord is also a joke because it never drops and annihilator is “readily available”. When was the last time you saw anyone with full bloodlord?
    My point is that all mythic need to do is stick wards on non set items… or weapons/rings/trophies – that way you could have 5 wards any way you wanted. Since it only stacks 5 times, you could have 2 warded trophies, a warded weapon, warded boots and a warded helm or shield or whatever.
    I think that would take much less effort than completely revamping the gear and contribution system.

  21. Olek says:

    They just need to make the bosses in the dungeons drop gold bags instead of random pieces, so that way whatever class gets the bag gets the piece they need.
    Also what they need to do ia make it so that bosses/pqs/keeps/forts that have multiple pieces from the same set drop from the same gold bag, all be in the bag at once so the winner can choose which piece they want….I personally am annoied with the 7 gold bags from keeps and only seeming to get the chest pieces.

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