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WCPI View of 1.2.1

April 6, 2009

So this week I went out and tried to round up people’s thoughts on 1.2.1 on test.  A lot of people commented right away when the notes went up but I refrained.  Partly because I was working on a lot of other things, like updating my Armor Guide since it just recently got its 5,000th view, adding a Guides page and putting up a new pic for my header.  (Yes, that’s me naked-tanking ‘Ard ta Feed.  :p  )

So let’s take a look at what the WCPI has to say about 1.2.1, shall we?

Way of the Chosen – Focuses on, guess what?, changes to Chosen in 1.2.1 and sounds a bit mixed but thinks Destro may have their edge back.

Cry Me a RvR – Looks at Squig Herder and Shaman changes and seems pretty positive about them.

Shadow WAR’s Blog – Does a sarcastic review of Keep Changes and wishes for more Shadow Warrior love, imagine that.

Bootae’s Bloody Blog – Comments on a lot of the changes and sounds mostly positive.

Knights of the Feathered Hats – Thinks the Keep Upgrades will change the face of RvR.

Incoming Pull – Sees doom in the new 6v6 scenario.

Breakfast at WAR – Seems to go back and forth, liking some things but foreseeing doom on others.

evansims.com – Talks the good and bad of the new Keep Upgrades as to what he sees happening with them.

Alt Much? – Gave a one-word comment, but I’m still not sure if they’re pro or con…

Werit’s Blog – Gives a grab-bag of comments on some of the smaller changes in the works.   

So overall, it seems like everyone is kind of mixed about what they think of the upcoming patch.  A lot definitely look at it from their class/realm’s perspective of course.  Granted, all this is still on test and subject to change, but looking at notes right away always tends to give you a glimpse of what is on the Devs minds in regards to their overall plan for the game.

Myself, I don’t really pay too much attention to the class-balance portions.  I’ve played enough MMOs to know that they’ll be rubberbanding classes for as long as there is a WAR.  Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down, but ultimately it’s the rest of the game that keeps you playing or not.  So as to the rest of the game, here’s my take:

1.  Keep Upgrades – Hrm.  Well, I can tell right away that some of these will never get used.  I mean, it’s nice that they threw the kitchen sink at it, but bankers?  Seriously?  Overall, it’ll be an excuse for guilds to tax their members like crazy (I run 100% already in mine cuz my guildies know you make your money off items, not loot, so why not?) and it’ll be a huge money-sink for the game.  As to its effect on RvR, that depends.  If doubling the health of a keep door puts it close to a Fortress door, that’ll be a nice road bump, but with the changes to Bulwark, it still won’t stop a large group for long.  If the items you can buy to heal the door don’t have a timer, that could be interesting, and again, a huge money sink.  We’ll see.

2.  Combat Responsiveness – Honestly, it tends to affect everyone so it’s one of those things I chalk up as “deal with it” and if they fix it, great.  It’s not a hot-item for me though.

3.  UI Improvements (Guild Interface and User Settings) – Ok, so since I’m a Guild Leader, I’m very interested in how they did this.  I have yet to see it, but the original interface was lacking (although it was better than some I’ve seen).  The changes to User Settings are nice, I checked those out already and was greatly pleased.  Especially since now my chat settings stay between sessions and my chat boxes didn’t seem to wander around.  Both of those things were on my “Pet Peeves” list up to this point.  Overall here, some minor polish.  None of it on its own makes you stay or leave, but little things can add up so it’s nice to see they’re looking at little things.

4.  RvR Zone Rewards – A step in the right direction.  I think people underestimate some of these changes and what they mean for the future of the game.  Let’s break this down a little more in depth.

A.  First, mailing gold bags.  Wow.  Let’s hope this works.  This could be the front-runner to mailing you your bag all the time if you fail to get it, which would ROCK.  So hard.

B.  The BO buffs going to everyone in the zone is the way it should have been at release, so I’m glad to see it finally moving there.  This makes them MUCH more useful to efforts and actually will make you choose to possibly take them first and then hit a keep instead of the usual hitting the Keep first because BOs are useless.

C.  Renown for zone locks.  This is big in lower tiers and something that can create Realm-pride.  I know when I’m tome-hunting in lower tiers I hear cheers at times when the zones lock and the free renown gets passed around.  Adding this to T4 is something that again should have been in at release and they’re finally getting done right.

D.  Lowering renown for the initial taking of objectives.  Finally.  You can go back to one of my original posts on the Psychology of WAR and see that I’ve been an advocate of reduced renown for a while.  The point of taking BOs and Keeps should be locking the zone, not farming renown.  The focus finally gets shifted with this change, let’s see if they keep adjusting it to make sure people don’t continue to PvE their renown.

5.  Guild Recruitment – Sigh.  Really?  This is one of those polish things I wish they’d saved for later, but since they upgraded the interface and put in upgrades for keeps, I guess it made sense to do it now.  Lots of guilds will be recruiting and trying to make a 24-hour uber guild to defend their owned keeps I’m sure.  This will at least cut down a little on the amount of spam in region.  Maybe…

6.  Character Profile – Again, another polish item.  Nice addition, especially for people that play a lot of alts and want different UIs for each of them.  This may actually make me test out some of the healer UIs for when I’m on mine.  I just never wanted to bother before because (gasp) I actually like the default UI for the most part.

7.  6v6 Gates of Ekrund – Wow, this is a hot topic.  Ironically, my to-do list for this blog included a post on how I think at the beginning of each tier (1-4, 9-14, 19-24, 29-34) there should be small-group Scenario options.  Why?  Not because I want arena combat.  I don’t even know what that is nor do I care.  What I want is a learning-curve period for the beginning of that tier.  I want people to be able to experience the scenario they’re about to spend a lot of time in while being forced to work as a group without getting roflstomped by players at the end of the tier.  I think this could be a good thing for WAR and I look forward to watching how it grows.

8.  City Sieges – Wow, could they make a worse “fix” for the issue surrounding these?  Sigh.  I’ve spent a LOT of time studying the City Siege mechanic (check my guides section for info posts) and these changes smack me as the exact opposite of what is needed.

A.  The scenario – Why would T4 players want their shot at progressing to Stage 2 put in the hands of Tiers 2 and 3?  I mean, one of the main problems right now with sieges is the side on defense tends to just log off or switch to alts.  This means they’ll be switching to alts even more and they’ll all go roflstomp the regular players at the lower tiers just to keep the attackers out of their city.  This will become the sole viable defense tactic due to the scaling down of VP if there are no defenders in your instance while scenarios give fixed VP.  If Mythic truly wanted to get the lower tiers into the siege, there’s an easier way to do it:  create low-level versions of these scenarios.  For T2, let it give 1 VP per win.  For T3, 2 VP.  In T4, make it so players from 29-39 can enter the scenario and force the 40s to fight in the City.  Since one of the huge complaints of the 40s in the city is that people that can’t use the gear are getting it from the PQs, this should help alleviate some of that while still requiring all T4 players to play a part in the siege.

B.  No instance selection screen – This is the complete opposite of what needed to be done.  What was needed was more transparency, not less.  People need access to the numbers of defenders and attackers in all instances at all times, not just when outside walking in.  Taking away this information and forcing people into an instance will only cause even more players to bail on the end-game and possibly WAR.  As it is now, even with the interface, there are times when you end up with very few, or even zero, of needed classes.  I know of one instance that had zero healers once.  That’s what happens when you force people into something and don’t let them adjust and move around to create balance.  Transparency creates self-regulation.  Forced regulation creates chaos.

Let’s not forget that if one instance has 25 people in it, no one will know.  A warband trying to get in will be put into a completely new instance.  Both those instances will suffer from low populations with no way to fix it.  No one will know that someone needs to drop out and go solo in another instance for the sake of the Realm.  All this is going to do is fill region chat and the forums with more negativity about the current end-game.

The only good change I see about City Sieges is the addition of guards to the entry portal.  However, these better be the 50k, one-shot guards from warcamps.  Because if they’re anything less, a couple warbands tossing AOEs will render them pointless.

9.  Realm Ordnance – Hmm…we’ll see how this one pans out.  I like that they are adding nice versions of things to go into combat with, however depending on how nice they are, they may negate a lot of the changes to Keeps.  However, I have a feeling some people will just farm this stuff like crazy if it’s just scattered around like they said.  And I see a lot of Need rolls coming for it in PvP.  bleh

10.  Scenario Upgrades – Let’s face it, these aren’t necessarily the changes we’d like to see with scenarios.  How about fixing guards?  Or making it so they’re not really needed?  How about encouraging people to do the objectives?  Spreading renown and xp in a group and rewarding grouping as opposed to solo play.  I mean, I saw a Warrior Priest today in his own group.  Are you kidding me?

11.  Well, this has gone on much longer than I thought and kind of veered off-track of a WCPI post, but then again, most of mine do.  Sigh.  So the following are a bunch of “Yay!” put together.  I’m sure you’ll be able to understand why I see them this way.

* Heavy Metal cloak Guild Heraldry fix, prioritizing corpses with loot (round 2), guild taxes, hour long-persistent victory cry, buff info for multiple rows, how you were disabled notification, HP regen items fixed, new non-AH loot!, Krela Darkshroud fixed, mounts in LV!, no more pole-sitting for the Butcher and the Tooth Gnoblar has slower enrage, ballistic taken off Witch Hunter items (about time), Weapons of the Fallen can be sold, keep-sitters get booted to the warcamp on campaign reset(hahahaha), more transparency for the Zone Control bar, keep door health!, wind indicator fixes, lost guild permissions bug fixed, skipping pre-game splash screens, fixed the invisible space around the PQ tracker window, and much more.

Overall, I’m very optimistic about this patch.  All but the City Siege changes strike me as moving mostly in the right direction for the long-term health of the game.  Short-term health is always a highly-opinionated discussion so I try to stay out of it, but I’m not always successful.

So, keep an eye out for the final updates to the patch notes (and cross your fingers that there’s a mention of “Sum of the Whole” as that’s my Holy Grail tome-unlock and it’s broken) and keep focused on the positives.  Even if there’s some buggy, crappily-designed content out there, there’s still a lot of fun to be had in WAR.

~Gaar

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