Thursday, October 16, 2008

Much Ado About Scenarios

There’s been much ado about the lack of Open RvR participation in WAR around the blargh-o-sphere. Bildo has a post about it as does PotShot (you have to imagine the funny “o”s he uses). The issue, in a nutshell, is that no one is doing Open RvR because they’re all in Scenarios which are currently the best means of progression in the game. A losing scenario at level eighteen can still net upwards of five-thousand XP for five-to-ten minutes work. A winning scenario at level eighteen can grant upwards of ten-thousand XP. I can’t get five-thousand XP for half-an-hour’s worth of work in the PvE content and I’d probably get significantly less for Open RvR. Forget ten-thousand.

The only thing I can liken Open RvR to in my recent experience is the Ettenmoors in LotRO. It’s an open, instanced place where players are free to do what they want. There’s no particular goal, but there are rewards for taking keeps, etc. When both sides have raids put together, the battles are epic and a lot of fun. Sadly, it's usually a raid on one side hunting around the map for odd players on the other side. To make the area the most fun, you really need players, lots of players, fighting on both sides. With two Freep raids and two Creep raids marauding across the map, the place is alive and exciting. There was no place you could go where there wasn’t troop movement or a battle raging. Without a population engaged in that kind of content, it’s just a boring map.

I hope Mythic can do a better job of getting lots of people in *each* tier to want to participate in open RvR battles - whether it's making those battles easier to put together or some kind of incentive system to help players progress via open RvR (and enough of a progression scheme to compete with Scenarios). The idea of the armies of Destruction and Order hashing it out in open battle is cool and a lot of players would really enjoy themselves. However, currently, it would interfere with their progression. The Ancient Gaming Noob has a recap of a keep battle on his site today for those interested in seeing what one is like.

A lot of the discussion around the keeps is centered on the argument that the Scenario grinders aren't having fun. “Why don’t they stop grinding and have fun with some Open RvR?” I suspect that either a) they are having fun as speedy progression is fun to them or b) they aren't having fun and wouldn't have fun at anything they do below max level. I disagree with both mindsets. I can’t stand grinding anything, whether mobs or battlegrounds, for any reason; and if the “getting there” part isn’t also fun, I couldn’t care less what happens at end-game – I’m gone. People are hell-bent to get to max level so they can begin complaining about the lack of things to do there.

“Why is there no Open RvR going on?!?”

Umm … there was: It was the blur on your left when you were rocketing up the ranks in your PvP sport matches. *shrug*”

PotShot’s suggestions will certainly make battles easier to get into for Open RvR and Bildo’s would address some of the concerns of the progression-minded. I hope Mythic does something to inspire the troops on both sides to get some fun world battles going for players in each tier. It would be pretty sad to get to the level cap without having even visited the Open RvR areas because there was nothing going on there.

In the interim, perhaps the large guilds on each server could sponsor Open RvR battle nights? Might make things more exciting on the servers and rather than waiting for Mythic to do something you’d be taking matters into your own hands. Declare, oh from 7 pm EST until whenever people lose interest on, let’s say, Friday as open battle night. Enter the RvR area of your choice and have at. I realize that with the three pairings, each having its own RvR area available, it would still be a crap-shoot as to whether there’s anyone there to fight BUT that could be part of the fun. You head off and take the Greenskin area and notice that the Empire area shows it’s under attack. So rally your troops to stop the attack in the Greenskin area.

Or you could put an end-time on it and then say that whoever controls the most areas of all the tiers when the time-limit hits is the winner. Based on the demographics (Order seems to be on earlier while Destruction on later) I’d make the limit something like 11pm EST – late enough that Destruction should be in full swing but ideally not too late for Order players either.

A big problem with the idea above: no gaming forums. Players would have to coordinate it and cross-faction cooperation in this case would be difficult. Sadly, I think it's Mythic that's going to need to solve this problem and there may not be much the players can do.

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