Monday, October 6, 2008

The Tobold WAR challenge

Tobold’s WAR challenge:
If you want your heroic deeds to count, you'll have to do them while playing Order. Burning down Altdorf is too easy, it's burning down the Inevitable City that is the real challenge. Everyone can win by playing on the stronger side, so if you want to stand out, go Order!

Great challenge, Tobold! I agree 100%. Taking world objectives as Destruction IS too easy. If you want the elite credit for owning a keep or taking down a city, you need to do it on Order. After all, how hard is it to take world objectives when you constantly outnumber your opponent or only face NPCs?

No easy mode for Order
As was sagely predicted by countless bloggers prior to WAR launch, realm imbalance is problematic in WAR. Arguably, the impact of the problem is perhaps less than the expected dire consequences, but it is certainly a problem.

On my server, it is rare that Order controls more than one keep at any given time in the Tier 2 zones. Truth be told, we often don’t even have one keep at all. Without a fairly organized guild or group, you don’t stand much chance in World RvR. If you roll Order, you WILL face an uphill battle in the Realm War.

Slippery Slope of quick Scenario Queues
As Tobold points out, a lot of Order players are choosing Scenarios (which are fairly balanced) over the World RvR objectives. He theorizes that Order is choosing to pick Scenarios over World RvR as a result of being outnumbered by Destruction in World RvR.

I would posit having such quick queues actually makes the Realm Imbalance that much worse. After all, if Order players can get Renown and Experience more quickly through Scenarios, why do the World RvR?

Let’s say that Order has 15 players and Destruction has 20. Everyone queues for a Scenario. A group of 10 from each side hops into a Scenario. It finishes and they all re-queue for the next Scenario.

Everyone who didn’t get into the first one (5 Order, 10 Destruction) gets the queue for the second. However, since 5 more Order are stilled needed, the first five to queue from the first group get instantly into the second Scenario.

The result is that Order gets to participate in 50% more Scenarios than Destruction and has much shorter queues. Unfortunately, that just makes the problem in World RvR that much worse.

At any given time in my example, only five Order and 10 Destruction are left over for World RvR. Instead of being outnumbered 15 to 20 (which is only 3:4 ) they are outnumbered 2:1. In this example, the actual World RvR is 50% more imbalanced than it otherwise would be due to the availability of the SCENARIO.

The problem is even worse if we add more players. If there were 35 Order to 50 Destruction and everyone queued for a Scenario, then 30 Order/30 Destruction leave to fight in three Scenarios. This would leave FIVE players to fight the TWENTY remaining. The World RvR imbalance drops from being outnumbered by 30% to being outnumbered by 400%!

In other words, the Scenario situation makes the World RvR situation significantly worse.

For Order, WAR is Everywhere
One complaint I have heard from Destruction players is that there is no one to fight. Order doesn’t have this problem. Scenario queues are fairly quick, so your nearest Destruction player is simply a click away.

Moreover, so many Destuction are itching for a fight, taking world objectives is like a beacon to every Destruction player on the server. Taking a keep? Better do it quick or you will have every Destro player in the Tier at the front door in 10 minutes. Defending a keep? Better be prepared to stay all night or lose it.

There is even more challenge for Order on the Open ruleset. On Core ruleset, Destruction players complain about not having anyone to fight. On an Open ruleset, they come and FIND you. Open ruleset is an open invitation to getting ganked. At peak hours, some of the PQs are impossible to complete due to Destruction interference.

Renown Gear? You don’t need no stinking Renown Gear!
If you roll Order, be prepared to fight not only larger teams – but to do it with worse gear! This is because outside of Tier 1, you can only purchase Renown gear in RvR objectives like Keeps. On my server, Order rarely owns more than one keep.

Thankfully, the gear that drops off enemy players in Scenarios can be pretty good. Most of it is higher level, so it’s not terribly useful at the lower ranks in the tier (this is where the Renown stuff would be good) but it does provide some decent gearing options.

The point, however, is that Destruction players can take Renown gear for granted. Order players need to actively think about how/when/where they will have the opportunity to buy such gear and even buy it in advance of actual levels (by turning off filters).

Always an objective to take!
One thing Order doesn’t lack is places to attack! If you have a team put together to take an objective, you can take your pick about what to attack. There’s no waiting for the other side to take them – that will happen the instant it’s open again for attack.

Of course, stay in any one area for a period of time and you will get swarmed. Keep one step ahead and you can do well – just don’t expect to hold onto any one thing for any length of time.

All joking aside…
I’m pretty convinced that well organized Order guilds will have a much better time in WAR than Destruction guilds. The reason is pretty simple – quicker queues and no lack of people to fight. A well organized team can beat a lot of “zergs” where they might otherwise be outnumbered.

WAR is a PvP game and if you are itching for a fight or wondering where all the enemy players are at – come join Order. It will be harder, make no doubt about it – but you may also find it’s a lot more fun. Now if only the stupid high elves didn’t look so dumb...

1 comment:

Garumoo said...

I was just thinking RvR could be made to work, despite pop imbalances, if it is set up such that dominating a realm via PvP only unlocks PvE content and rewards, while if you are the ones being dominated then extra PvP quests and rewards are made available.

Thus setting up a negative feedback loop, a teeter-totter balance.

Why do MMOG designers keep building positive feedback loops?