As frequent readers here know, I’ve been playing Warhammer Online casually for the last few months now, alongside DarkFall and Blood Bowl. While I originally pegged WAR as my ‘full time’ MMO at release, the games issues with population and tier 4 (and the launch of DarkFall) cut that time down considerable. With the recent server mergers Mythic has address the population issue, and with the next patch Mythic is aiming to address T4 and the city siege.
Aside from mechanics issues, the major problem with city sieges in WAR was the amount of time you needed to commit to get anything done. In a game like DarkFall, asking the players to siege for 6 hours is somewhat understandable (and even in that game most would rather it not take so long), but in a game like WAR, a game that features jump-in jump-out gameplay like PQs and Scenarios, asking those same players to stick around for hours to accomplish a siege just does not make sense. Now add in the fact that the siege is an odd mix of RvR and PvE, plus the previous issues with getting warded for the PvE parts, and it all comes together as a less than fun event. That’s a big issue when the city siege is the ‘crown jewel’ of your endgame, and the content that is designed to keep people subscribed and paying once they finish the overall brief leveling game.
Hopefully the worst of all this is set to change when 1.3.1 goes live, and so far the reaction has been positive on the test server. Assuming the changes in the patch work on the live servers like they do on test, the next question will be: is it enough? Will a better city siege be enough to keep players going once they hit T4? WAR is a great game until you hit T4 right now, so one can only assume that if/when Mythic fixes T4, the game SHOULD retain far more of its player base, and eventually start to actually grow. As I’ve said all along, the core of Mythics game is solid and it’s an all-around fun game, but currently suffering because as an MMO, it needs an end-game that keeps people subscribed for 6+ months, not the 1-3 months it takes to go from rank 1 to 40.
Even in it’s current form, WAR is a great game for alts (hell even I have a few, and I generally hate alts in an MMO), so fixing T4 is not so much about giving people something to do on their main character day-in, day-out like WoW and it’s dailies/raiding, but rather giving them a reason to keep playing that main AND working on alts in the other three tiers. It should be a nightly option: Is T4 happening, go with that. If something fun is happening in T2, get on that alt. That’s more or less how CoW is currently playing on Iron Rock with our Order characters, and it really is fun.