Big ‘un

It’s time for one of those drawn-out, half incomprehensible suggestion posts. Mythic has announced that after introducing and stabilizing patch 1.3.5 and the improved city siege they’ll be looking into improving ORvR in general. This is my contribution. I appreciate any comments, criticism or suggestions.

Update (27.5.): Has now been updated with more stuff.

On the Subject of Fortresses: As much as I’d like to see them re-introduced, I just don’t see it happening – or I’d rather not see it happen. The technical limitations (code, server technology, whatever), that prevented Fortresses from functioning as they should have months ago, are still here. I don’t want to see a cap on the attacking/defending population, and I think most of the player base would agree with me. I don’t want to see them instanced either, we have instanced scenarios and keep sieges, that’s enough of that. So unless they can be redesigned to avoid the overpopulation problems in some other way, I really don’t want to see them back.

Note that:

  • I’m not claiming that these ideas are mine. They might be things I’ve picked up reading someone elses suggestions, modified suggestions I’ve picked up around the web or genuinely my ideas.  Think of me as a collector, processor and packer of ideas. I’ll try to credit the authors that I remember.
  • These are purely RvR changes and do not take into account any repercussions PvE would suffer.
  • Outlined changes would only affect T4.
  • There are many ways in which to improve ORvR (surely you’ve heard “OMGZ maek it a better gaem!”), but I have considered the difficulty of implementing the fixes and tried to come up with solutions that can be implemented with ease.
  • The changes would not occur overnight, all of them would be introduced gradually.
  • This post might be updated and modified based on feedback I get.

Zone Locking:

The Change: Make the last zone in the pairing act like a T1/2/3 zone, in the sense that once locked, it can be re-locked by the opposing realm. (idea from Bootae)

If the defending realm reaches their designated VP’s/Domination timers it should flip despite being locked by the attacking realm. For example if destro locks Kadrin Valley with 65 VPs and goes on to try to lock other zones, Order has the opportunity to relock it. Kadrin Valley would stay locked by Destro and wouldn’t flip unless Order reached 65 VPs or dominated all keeps/objectives. Underdog would function as it does now.

This would not affect the middle “neutral” zone.

Benefit: Locking a zone would no longer end all activities in it and would no longer shrink the ORvR area to two-thirds the full size. It would be easier to defend zones and keep the enemy realm away from your city if you were outnumbered. The attacking realm would need to strategize more. As instead of just deciding between attacking two zones, they would need to defend the zone they capped while doing so, in order to start a city siege.

Drawbacks: It would increase the difficulty of zone locking and consequently reduce the City Siege frequency. With improved City Sieges, however good they may be, reducing the frequency is in order. Everything get’s boring after doing it two times a day for an hour. And now that sieges are something different and fun (in general opinion), it would be an added incentive to reach it and face a fight with balanced opposition.

Battlefield Objectives:

The Change: Redesign BOs to promote strategic gameplay rather than zerging. (Testpig, Mr. Meh)

Current T4 battlefield objectives are mostly just flags stuck in the ground with a few objects thrown around them. There is no real value to them. They don’t work from a lore point of view. Why would you bother guarding a graveyard or some unimportant patch of land? They don’t work from an RvR point of view either. There is no cover, there are no hiding places so you cannot surprise attack or ambush anyone. What you can do is stand in the middle and hope you see the enemy before they see you. The only thing going through your head when attacking/defending a BO is: I hope they don’t bring more people than we have. Revamp them into towers, factories, caves and the lot. Add multiple entrances/exits and voilà!

Benefits: BOs would have more of a strategic value and they would actually add immersion to the game, rather than make you wonder how the hell did GW approved it. The change would discourage zerging

Drawbacks: None.

Victory Points:

The Change: Scrap PvE contribution and introduce a Capture the Flag/Murderball mechanic instead.

Having PvE contribute to RvR is dumb, it only serves as a distraction from PvP. Remove it and replace it with a new mechanic for acquiring VPs. A flag/murderball spawns in a field anywhere inside an ORvR lake. It would be a smallish object (the size of a skull) that inconspicuously lies on the ground. There will be no indication on when or where it spawns and the spawning frequency would depend on the RvR activity within the zone. Anyone can pick it up and once picked up, it has to be carried to the friendly warcamp. When it is picked up a marker appears on the map, denoting the flag’s position. Players of the attacking realm could possibly have the option to teleport to the middle of the ORvR map to prevent hit-and-runs (or maybe something like an invisible hunter that teleports you to within x feet of the object – not sure on this one). The object would snare the wearer for 60%, which could not be removed. In addition, it would prevent the use of Flee, Charge and mounts. If the player is killed, or drops the object, it will disappear in one minute and will only respawn based on the frequency that takes into account zone activity. It would also reset if the player leaves the ORvR zone or enters a keep (to prevent from hogging it). This would not spawn in non-contested zones.

The object would give the realm that has captured it a 20% increase in Flag/Murder ball section of the VPs (current PvE VPs). A realm would be able to get a maximum of 100% of the current PvE VPs. Players who capture it would not be awarded (a possible contribution reward discussed further down) to prevent abuse.

Benefits: Instead of forcing players to leave the ORvR lake and do a PQ, it would force the players to roam the ORvR lake in the search of the “golden snitch” and call out for support, or fail miserably because of getting zerged by the opposition, once they find one. This would make the gameplay more strategic, since it would force warbands to deploy roaming parties, instead of just guarding all of the BO’s.

It would be a novelty object or a locator of RvR activity within zones that have very little-to none activity going on. Sort of serving as a tool for finding 1v1 on a late night.

Drawbacks: Locking an undefended zone would possibly be easier. There would be less PQ activity in T4 zones, which is hardly a loss, considering the low amount of them being done and the ease of leveling within LotD.

The Change: Break VPs into smaller pieces so you can inform the player when he contributes to locking a zone. Remove the renown for the second tick of a BO and lower the amount of renown awarded for a Keep take and general zone lock. This would be done to avoid waiting for timers and renown whoring. Instead, award him for the amount of VPs contributed. (idea from Testpig)

When a player wins a scenario, captures a keep, takes a BO, kills a player or captures the flag he should be informed of how many VPs he contributed. Either break them down, so you’ll be able to inform them of how much he contributed, or use a % of a single VP if it’s needed. Players who are trying to achieve a lock in the current system have no idea how much of an impact they have made in the battle. This would give them a sense of purpose and importance.

Furthermore, award him based on how much VPs he contributed when the zone locks:

  • A bonus for every BO/Keep take or defence. The bonus renown received for a lock from BOs and Keeps should be increased to compensate for the loss or renown when capturing.
  • Everyone assisting in the battles around the flag carrier would be awarded renown for contributing to the flag capture (if the captures are successful).
  • Anyone gaining small percentages of skirmish VPs by killing players should be rewarded with renown aswell.
  • Similarly, players who won scenarios and contributed scenario VPs should be awarded with renown based on how many points they contributed.

This might be a bit hard to implement. Unless we use a system already in-game, the PQ system. This would just mean an enlarged City Siege PQ system designed for zone locks. However, there would be no roll or bags. On completing a zone lock players would simply gain bonus renown on how well they performed and how much they contributed to the lock (based on VP contribution). Even with that, it might be hard to implement a PQ system to cover zone-wide kills, objective captures and scenarios. Idea needs to be worked on, but the current system does very little to encourage players to actively take part in defending and locking a zone beyond taking BOs and Keeps for the renown bonus when it locks.

Benefits: It would discourage players from “mailbox guarding” or simply leeching the renown of a lock by letting everyone else do the defending. It would also make the player feel like he is contributing and helping his realm in achieving victory. It would give him a clear goal and reward the most diligent players rather than rewarding the most patient ones.

Drawbacks: Players who join late would have less of a chance at getting the full renown bonus even if they did their best to help lock the zone. It might also be quite hard to implement.

Playerkill Gains:

The Change: Implement an XP drop-off splitting instead of per capita splitting that we have now. (idea from Testpig)

For Example: Say a player kills another player in an RvR lake and gets 1000 XP. If two grouped players kill the same target they’ll each receive 500 XP. If a warband of  10 players kills that target, they’ll each receive 100 XP. This is how the current system functions. In the new system each individual in a group that was present at the kill would receive XP decreased by a percentage. This percentage would scale depending on how many players there are in a group. The exact amount would need to be adjusted, but I envision a 4% drop-off per player in the group (with a limit of 50% xp mitigated). This means that if a warband kills a player, each player would gain much more experience in contrast with the current system.

Benefits: It would encourage players to level in ORvR and Scenarios as it would be much more viable than it is now.

Drawbacks: None.

Grouping:

The Change: Implement a system to encourage random players to take part in strategic gameplay. (idea from One shard)

Since the launch there were two kinds of warbands, organised and random ones. Organised were usually alliance/guild warbands that showed discipline, organisation and coordinated with other warbands. Random or PuG groups were ordinarily a loose group of individuals, who grouped more for convenience rather than being like-minded or ready to work together. They usually didn’t coordinate with other warbands and were quickly demoralised.

This is still true. If anything, the gap between random and organised warbands has only widened. Along the way, they also acquired the stigma of being nothing more than leeches and cannon fodder. But there were times when good leaders showed us that random warbands can be competitive and contribute to the campaign. Alas, this is a rather rare occurence.

Bad public warbands will usually resort to using numbers in overcoming obstacles. As these warbands can be found on both sides, it normally turns into a numbers race, with the side who can muster most forces the winner. This perpetuates the zergy gameplay and lowers the quality of the PvP in the game.

If we could encourage players to work as a team, rather than a group of individuals, ORvR would become much more interesting. There are a lot of people with good leading capabilities who do not run in a guild group everyday or most of the time. If Mythic would incentivize leading and reward successful warband leaders with trophies, titles, special potions and other minor privileges, there would be plenty leaders around.

Furthermore, systems could be implemented to encourage players to join a random warband and actually attempt strategic gameplay rather than zerging. With implementing a sort of morale bar that would track the warbands progress and unlock passive abilities that would slightly increase the potency of the warband and augment renown gains (for example passive 5% movement speed, 5% morale generation, 10% renown gain that would be unlocked in stages and would stack). But to discourage empty zone locking this bar would only fill when actively killing players. To discourage zerging the bar would be filled according to the difficulty of the encounter. Say, for example, 24 players kill a group of 6 players, the bar would hardly budge. If they were to kill 24 enemies in an encounter, the bar would get a much bigger boost. So there would be benefits and rewards to joining a warband that plays tactically and coordinates with other warbands.

Benefits: There would be more active warbands, more quality leaders and the gameplay would become less zergy, as a different kind of gameplay would be awarded.

Drawbacks: This would possibly widen the discrepancy between organised and public warbands even further. But I don’t think this would have a drastic effect, as the gap is so wide these days, it’s hard to imagine the situation getting any worse. All of these ideas are also prone to abuse and I honestly don’t really have an answer to that yet.

RvR Currency:

The Change: Simplify and unify it. There is no reason for having two split systems that are trying to achieve the same, that is to provide gear reward for the player.

I can only see one reason for Mythic implementing two separate system for gaining RvR gear. They were afraid that after removing zone specific scenario contribution and removing several of the less played ones, player base wouldn’t be as interested in playing them. Which isn’t a very good reason really. All this system does is confuses players and forces them to grind Scenarios if they want to stay competitive. Instead of forcing them, award them for completing scenarios. Allow RvR weapons to be bought with the existing ORvR currency and award the player with it when completing a scenario, in the same manner as insignias are (player gains Invader crests if they already own the Conqueror level weapon, Warlord crests if they own an Invader level weapon, etc.). The current system of players of appropriate renown ranks dropping crests, and the armor acquiring connected with it would remain unchanged. The prices of the weapons would be inflated in relation to the rate of gaining crests.

Benefits: Less confusing and rewards rather than punishes. Players who don’t like scenarios would simply gain the weapons at a possibly slower pace, instead of having to grind the part of the content they don’t like.

Drawbacks: A very small chance of Scenario popularity dropping.

Random Changes:

The Change: Implement a new way of taking down a keep door. Swap the current ram with an NPC that blows the door up  in 3 minutes unless killed.

The NPC would be placed on the ram pad and would take 3 minutes to set up a charge that decreases the door hp to 0, effectively destroying it. The NPC would be similar (the same?) to the new Dwarf/Goblin sappers inside contested cities. It could be healed and damage in the same way and could be destroyed once deployed. The players would still be able to damage the door as per usual. The time it takes to blow the door up could possibly scale with the door upgrade placed on them.

Benefit: It would give the players the option to try to kill the defending force instead of focusing on hitting a bloody keep door, as long as they can defend and keep the sapper healed. This would solve the problem of players being bored to death while hitting one button over and over again.

It would also make other siege weapons more attractive as sappers would be taking largely unmitigated damage from Oil/Ranged weapons.

Drawback: Taking undefended keeps would be easier as sappers would do the work with without player interaction if not destroyed. It would possibly be another issue of “Waithammer” with players scratching their bums while waiting for the NPC to do the work. But then again, taking undefended keeps has always been boring.

Conclusion:

The two of the more radical changes in this writeup, change to locking the last zone in the pairing and the flag mechanic, discourage blobing up and zerging every zone (as it became the norm). Instead they promote strategic gameplay and force distribution that would ensure a different gameplay that most of the player seem to be craving. However, the changes wouldn’t further punish the underpopulated realm as they all make guerilla warfare and smaller tactical groups more viable. All of this would nicely tie in with the improved City sieges, with reducing their frequency, and making them more of a rare delicacy rather than an everyday grind.

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8 thoughts on “Big ‘un

  1. Could we possibly see the battlefield objectives to actually be battlefields? Right now there’s just a few guards standing around the flag with little purpose.

    Would like to see more towers around the flags to get some key defences aswell.

    • Yes, but Testpig already covered it nicely in his latest video. They should be defensive positions with 2-3 chokepoints that enable an organized group to actually defend the BO from a stronger oponent.

      As it is, it’s just a competition in who can bring more bombtards.

  2. I think they really need to adapt the new city mechanics to the Orvr lakes.

    I like the idea of sappers. I think once a BO is taken it cannot change hands like the bo’s in the new city. So it could bring more strategy to the lakes. Do you still do each bo one by one, and escort the sappers, or do you do multiple at once so they can’t be zerged down?

    How about once these sappers make it to a keep they summon the dragon or whatever to take down the door like in the new city.

    Once inside you are not zerg killing the keep lord. You take him prisoner, and must escort him back to your warcamp .

    Once both keep lords are escorted back safely the zone locks.

  3. I like the escorting the keep lord idea. The lord could be escorted back to the warcamp by 2 champions or so, that would need to be killed in order to get the him moving back to the keep? And once he gets back the to the keep it closes the doors or something. But then the players would need to be ported outside to prevent spawn camping the lord. Needs work. :D

    We definately need new ways of getting keep doors down, ramming and auto attacking while going afk is getting old. :(

    But I don’t think having BOs permanently lock would work really. It gives even more of a advantage to the side that has more numbers rather than the one that plays strategically. A smaller group of defenders couldn’t screw up the attackers plan by stalling the lock for 30 min (again and again…).

  4. Horay, a small part of my ideas were noticed in some way. Big props to actually citing us.

    On the fortresses: I disagree, I think it should be instanced. I think what they did to the cities is great, but should moved to the Forts with that idea. And then take the time to go even more epic in the cities. Though I don’t want to be argueing that I shouldn’t be in Sov Armor by the end of June, I agree with our old friend Blaze (who has left us), epic gear should not be given away. Time should not grant exposure to the spoils, skill and dedication should.

    I like it Ze, keep it going, don’t stop there.

    • It just feels like WAR would become much less of an RvR game and more like a big arena type of game. If they reintroduce fortresses as instanced the only ORvR left would be the lakes. I don’t really want fixed battles, part of the charm of RvR is unpredictability and the players ability to respond and react to unplanned situations. Maybe it would feel different if they revamped the whole campaign to actually include epic fights instead of either zerging or taking empty keeps.

      Thanks and keep up the good job yourself, I enjoy reading your blog. :)

      • Agreed. Part of what I wanted to see in the Open RvR court was dynamic objectives and roaming NPCs. That way if there was a zerg about, a small group of opposers could still have fun.

        I remember when they added in RvR influence (Dec 2008?), on my WP I could basically solo defend a keep. Yeah, I couldn’t stop them, but I could still have fun being a pest.

        There was a time when an NPC was scary. There was also I time when Oil was too.

  5. Yeah, roaming objectives would be awesome. Something like the flag I suggested or even a boss of some sorts that would require like a wb to down.

    Balancing NPCs and siege weapons seems very hard tho. Remember how devastating oil is in T2? Or the endless champs in the forts. They could make them scale according to the number of the attackers tho.

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