The highs and lows of RvR, a worthwhile tradeoff

WAR RvR is one frustrating bastard, and I’m not talking about city PQs, scenarios, or why the layout of T4 zones sucks/rocks. It’s frustrating because when everything aligns and you get the right (not even) number of Destruction and Order players in one area, with good leadership and coordination fighting it out, it’s amazing. I mean ‘best MMO experience out’ amazing. It’s only then that you start to notice the details put into the layout of each RvR area (no, they are not all basically the same), the balance between the classes (not as bad as some of the QQ you read), and just overall how well the engine handles everything (up to a certain number of players, but that upper cap is incredibly high all things considered).

The problem is, the stars are not aligned every single time you log on, which makes NOT having that experience more painful because of how quality it really is. Sometimes one side greatly outnumbers the other, and when that happens no amount of terrain layout or class balance is going to change the fact that the zerg is going to roll you. Other times the sides are so evenly matched it’s a stalemate, and the usual objective flipping and keep ignoring sets in, with the campaign not progressing past the current zone. And sometimes (depending on your servers population), there is just nothing really going on, and the RvR areas give off a seriously empty feeling.

Mythic has an incredible challenge ahead of them, and that’s getting all those factors listed above aligning more often, and creating that ‘perfect RvR’ feeling more frequently. It’s a tough task, considering so many of those factors are near-random due to player involvement. If you over-incentive players to look one way, they will in turn ignore everything else (the now-fixed scenario problem), but if you don’t provide SOME incentives, players tend to get lost and wander without goals. The balance is key, and will often swing on its own based on player/server maturity. What works on one server will be disastrous on another.

It’s this never-ending balancing act that makes WAR a bit tougher to stick with than a more traditional MMOs for many players. When you log into EQ2/WoW/LotRO, the content is sitting there waiting for you. Sure it’s just a script that always plays out in the same way, but at least it’s available. It’s the choice between poor/great or constantly decent, and it’s easy to focus on the poor if you tend to dwell on the negative. As someone who has been a fan of PvP since the early days of MMOs, I’ve developed somewhat of a tougher skin, accepting that the tradeoff for those high points is a string of low points. For me, I’ll take that over the day-to-day mediocrity that is the norm in more traditional games now. But I guess that makes me part of the niche crowd now.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in EQ2, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO design, RvR, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The highs and lows of RvR, a worthwhile tradeoff

  1. Chappo says:

    It weird because for people like you it doesn’t seem you need an incentive to fight in open RvR because when you get two good groups battling it out it just doesn’t get any better.
    But for others apparently that isn’t enough, and they are just playing the game for the gear or gold. And inevitably these people will lose interest because this game is all about RvR.

  2. Ravious says:

    That’s the main reason I couldn’t justify the sub in my mind… it seemed that during the week it was not hitting for me. I agree that it has been some awesome PvP when it works… the other times…

  3. Mordiceius says:

    I can agree with you to a point on this. I think just the thing is that the RvR will be hit or miss. Sometimes you get the awesome, sometimes you get the crap. I think a lot of people came into the game with too high of expectations and expected the good RvR 100% of the time. They would obviously be disappointed.

    Then you have the people that can’t play that much. Maybe they can only play one or two days a week. If they’re only getting the bad RvR on those days, then I could see how they would be discouraged enough into unsubbing.

  4. skarbd says:

    ORvR is simply surmised as follows.

    Sometimes you are flying with the eagles, but mostly scratching with the turkeys.

  5. Bonedead says:

    I must say that ORvR in T2 has picked up considerably since the first couple of months. I just got the title Squatter for capturing 5 keeps and the best part was it was on an alt.

  6. coppertopper says:

    DAOC had the same problem – but less in a way because there was no 4 tier system. You either RvRd with the big boys or you did scenarios (Battle Grounds in DAOC) or PvE’d to at least 40 so you could RvR. I think this is where the problem lies – no 1 all encompassing ‘must not let bad guys take this or my realm suffers’ zone.

  7. Pingback: Harcore Casual getting might close to what is the biggest issue with WAR? - The Prophecy Forums

  8. Einherjer says:

    I finally started with WAR this weekend.
    So far I am amazed at the game and I wonder why so many say it isn’t good…
    The starter areas are great and really show what the game is all about and the ORvR action I’ve seen so far were completely amazing.
    From what I’ve read from the people who quit I think that most of those problems are solved.
    And actually the game can be much more casual than WoW. Yesterday I could only play for half-hour (few seconds in MMO time) and I joined a Warband in T1. going against the infidel Order was amazing.
    Ever since I left The Game That Shall Not Be Named, I played (and still do) DDO. But i sure missed one big world to explore and, of course, World PVP.

  9. Jason says:

    I agree with Einherjer, having just recently joined up. I have four characters, three in T1, just to see the variety of powers and stories in each. Haven’t been disappointed yet, but the “kill ten rats” does get old.

    Re: RvR, what would you think about some roaming ‘bots? Age of Conan had this irritating habit of popping in bots that were your level to pound on you when you were digging up resources to work crafts. Maybe Mythic could consider a more proactive bot that didn’t just sit on the objectives. Roaming bands would make it more interesting, more perilous for individual roaming.

    Could really use a more proactive board for parties who want to RvR. I don’t get a very good sense of who’s online in the region and how to solicit parties outside of a guild structure. And even guilds seem to be less than effective in supporting spontaneous RvR activity (CoW is still growning, I guess – was kinda barren in T1 land this past weekend).

  10. syncaine says:

    T1 is always really hit/miss, because you just don’t spend a ton of time in T1 before you out-rank it. T2 for many is that ‘sweet spot’ in the tiers, since you have keeps and amounts, but not the mass AoE CC abilities. Personally I had a blast in T3, but that again just depends on who is around.

    If you really want to get the ‘full’ experience of the lower tiers, wait for 1.2 to come out, I know a TON of people are planning to start alts (myself included) once 1.2 is live, and not just slayer/choppa alts.

  11. Tesh says:

    This is one of the reasons that I wonder what WAR would be like without levels and gear lust. It seems that there’s a lot there to *play* with, but the standard MMO treadmill works at cross purposes.

  12. PTD says:

    I sometimes wonder why they bother with half-assed PvE, they are never going to approach other games in this respect.

    I’ll agree with you, good RvR, GOOD RvR is amazing. Sadly, it’s hard for devs to “code” for or coax out of people, because, well, they’re people. You know why fun-killing zergs happen? Because a good portion of people who play this type of game want to win above anything.

    That’s why I gave up on DAoC after 2 and a half years. I couldn’t stand the zergfest in RvR zones any longer. I would hope that Mythic could curtail that behavior, but I have serious doubts.

  13. Swift Voyager says:

    Sounds like 00 space in Eve. There’s lots of awesome there, it’s just not everywhere all the time. You have to have the time, self-motivation, and the time to go find it. Yes I said time twice.

  14. syncaine says:

    Yea the general issue is with PvP, and games that do it better generally create that ‘ideal’ situation more often than not. Then you have all of the details that determine just HOW fun that ideal situation is. It’s a complex problem, far beyond scripting a simple PvE dungeon, which is why PvP-based MMOs take a bit longer to hit their stride (if they are given that chance at all)

  15. My trip back down memory lane with the RPS crew in Planetside shows that this problem isn’t just new with WAR. The long periods of boredom punctuated by awesome reminded me again why I never renewed my Planetside sub.

  16. Einherjer says:

    I feel that, so far, the quests and lore in Warhammer make up for all the time lost waiting for a scenario or for RvR to kick in.

    So far they have been grind free and quite fun. Hope to start doing some dungeons soon enough.

    As for PvP, just had a blast with an open party. :)

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