Now that everyone has had some time with the 1.2 patch in WAR, I want to talk a bit more about the Zone Domination (ZD) system and how it’s currently affecting tier 4 RvR. The difficult part of this is that along with ZD, a boatload of other changes have also been made (OP Bright Wizard AoE, yay!), but I’ll try and focus on just the ZD-related aspects.
For starters, ZD simplifies the whole zone locking system, adding clearly visible and accurate timers over objectives and keeps. This is helpful not only for organization, but also for strategic planning. If the enemy is trying to lock a zone, and the timer on a keep still has over an hour to go, you know fighting over objectives is somewhat pointless (they have a 30 minute lock timer). You either take a keep back and try to make your own zone push, or you focus on another area and come back when the zone is closer to its lockdown time. The enemy, who is theoretically dominating you, still has to defend the keeps from potential attack, and this likely weakens their force in other zones, somewhat breaking up the zerg. The attackers on the other hand are free to hit whatever zone they wish, with as strong a force as they want.
Once you are within 30 minutes of a zone locking, the defenders must now protect all four objectives from capture, which further divides the zerg (depending on each zone, as the distance between objectives varies), and can also lead to some small group battles. A zerg on zerg battle may occur at one objective, while a small strike force sets out to attack a second. Should either force be successful, they delay the zone locking for at least 30 more minutes. As in most PvP games, player moral is often the deciding factor, and denying a superior force progress goes a long way to destroy the attackers moral. The smaller scale battles over objectives are also generally great, as individual players impact the battle far more than when they are a part of the zerg. These battles really separate the elite from the herd, and more often than not both sides bring their top players to defend/attack in small numbers. We had exactly these types of battles this past weekend on Monolith, and even in defeat they still play out great.
1.2 for me was a great step in the right direct, but it was not the patch to put WAR over the finish line. There are still some rather drastic issues (population balance which will NEVER be fixed until a 3rd side is added), performance seems to be hit/miss for people since 1.2 went live, and the city siege is still missing that ‘something’ that will really get people fired up about it (although the change to a two hour window was a good step forward). Perhaps 1.3 will be that patch, or at worst another step forward. Until then, tiers 1-3 will be blazing soon with everyone jumping on a new or old alt and riding the slayer/choppa wave. It will be nice to revisit the lower tiers now that they have also seen some improvement.