WAR has some great and immersive PvE most players don’t know about. And I’m not talking about dungeons either (even though some great lower level dungeons seem to be ignored these days). I won’t pretend I’ve done loads of open world PvE, after all, I am mostly after PvP in WAR, like the majority of players. But what if the PvE was improved and integrated with PvP?
In lower tiers you can always choose between PvE and PvP. They are both viable ways to level, get gear and have fun. So you have this possibility all up to rank 40. Doesn’t matter if you actually do open world PvE (PQs, quests, exploring), you can if you want to. But then you ding 40 and bam, you suddenly realise that regular PvE has nothing to offer to you. Sure you could do it, but you can’t advance your character solely by PQing or questing. It’s either PvP, instanced dungeons or gtfo.
And therein lies the snag. A certain type of gameplay suddenly being shut down is what makes players feel like they don’t have much to do in WAR. That’s what makes half the game world empty and not utilised.
How could this be remedied by involving the game’s forte, PvP, instead of developing it into a PvE heavy game, which developers seem to be avoiding? Simple, integrate PvE into the existing PvP. With that you are opening up more options and spicing up the PvP.
How do you do that? You start with an epic quest. You create several of them with different difficulties and rewards. Then you connect the last part of it with a PvE encounter inside an RvR lake. But the devil is in the details, so let’s first have a look at the incentive for doing those quests:
The rewards would need to be good enough to entice the players to complete the quests. What is the thing lowbie players are struggling the most to get right now? That would be Annihilator and Conqueror armor pieces. While Invader grade armor and up is fairly easy to get, due to frequent city sieges, grinding the required amount of medallions for the first two sets is painful. And getting them through other means is like playing the lottery. Awarding a gold bag with a random piece of Annihilator or Conqueror, or even have the player choose what part he wants after the completion of such a quest would be enough incentive for lower level players, but what about veterans?
What are the higher RR players after? Well, renown mostly. But awarding renown for pure PvE is bypassing content, renown should be awarded in PvP. And what about RR80 players? They don’t need renown. But there is something higher RR and RR80 players do have in common, at least in my experience. They want to look cool. So I think that a viable reward would be something that’s quite hard to get through other means and has a purely cosmetic value. I’m talking about epic dyes (Chaos Black, Skull White, Ulgu Grey). I’ve seen those dyes go for anywhere between 100-500g on the AH, so awarding one such dye at the completion of a hard quest would be a good enough incentive in my mind’s eye.
You would have 3 kinds of quests that would increase in difficulty.
1.) First one would be the easiest and would award Annihilator armor upon completion. It would require the player to complete a certain number of easy, normal and hard PQs through a pairing. Let’s say 1 easy, normal and hard PQ in all 3 zones of a certain pairing. So if you would choose to do the PQs in High Elf zones, you’d have to complete an easy, normal and hard PQ in Eataine, Dragonwake and Caledor. You would have to complete 9 PQs in total to finish one such Epic Quest. Perhaps the awards could be different for each pairing, for example the High Elf pairing could award Annihilator helm, Dwarf pairing the chest and Empire pairing the shoulders.
2.) The second Epic Quest would award Conqueror and would in principle be the same as the Annihilator one. The required PQ numbers would change though, you would need to do say, 3 easy, 2 normal and 1 hard PQ in each zone of a pairing. This would mean you would need to complete 18 PQs in total to acquire a piece of Conqueror (belt shouldn’t need to be awarded, even though there are no other sources than the renown vendor, since it is BoE and players can buy it from other higher ranked players who are buried in tokens).
3.) Third quest would again, be in principle the same as the other two, with a different number of PQs required. This one would have you do 1 easy, 2 normal and 3 hard PQs. Each pairing would award a different color, High Elf white, Dwarf black and Empire grey. You would need to do 18 PQs in total to be rewarded with an epic dye.
The number of PQs is approximate and are what I thought would fit the most. It would need to be adjusted according to how fast the quest is completed and other factors. But if you consider that a PQ won’t take longer than 5-10 minutes in average, you are looking at anywhere between 2-3 hours of doing PQs to get a guaranteed piece of Annihilator or Conqueror armor, and 4-5 hours for one dye. In my opinion this makes it worth it. This calculation does not account for the last part of the quest, which is a bit tricky, and is described in a paragraph below.
I’m in two minds about making the dyes BoP, since the value of the item is quite large and would in time diminish the value of doing Epic Quests themselves. But then again, if a player devotes this much time towards getting an item, he should be allowed to do with it whatever he pleases?
Just completing the PQs wouldn’t be enough to get your reward. Each of the Epic Quests would have a final part, which would ask the player to venture into the RvR lake and summon a boss, who must then be defeated in order to gain the rewards.
Upon accepting the final part of the quest the player would receive a quest item that would allow him to summon a boss at designated spots in each RvR lake. The item itself would have a timer on it and would disappear in 48 real life hours from accepting the quest, to prevent exploitation by cross-realming (the number can be adjusted). If the quest isn’t completed in that time, the item disappears, but the quest will not abandon itself and will stay at the last stage. The player would need to either restart it from the beginning, to get a new quest item, or join another player, help him kill the boss and get the credit. The bosses could only be summoned inside an active zone at designated spots.
1.) The boss for the Annihilator armor would be fairly easy to kill with a standard 6-man group. Think a level 40 Bastion Stair difficulty boss, with double the hit points to account for the possibility of other players helping. His damage would still be normal though, with no special attacks.
2.) The Conqueror quest boss would be of city instances difficulty, with double the hitpoints and one special attack. Still a boss a standard 6-man group can handle without difficulties. Both the first and the second Epic Quest boss would have the same summon location, which would be closer to the destruction warcamp for order and closer to the order warcamp for destruction.
3.) The dye quest boss would be of world boss difficulty. Think Karl Franz/Tcharzanek when they were still part of the city siege encounter, but triple the hitpoints and only one or two AoE special abilities. The damage they do would be reduced, so a well geared tank could solo tank one. A boss like this would be fairly easy to deal with for a warband. They would spawn in the middle of the lake and players of both factions in that zone would receive an on-screen message that a boss has been spawned.
All of the players in combat with the boss would receive a renown reward upon his death, if their faction has dealt the most damage to him (dunno if a check can be/is implemented for this, so it could possibly be changed to killing blow, which isn’t that far off). If the boss wouldn’t be engaged and damaged enough (10% of his hp) in 3 minutes it would disappear.
The bosses for the first two quests would award 3k renown and the world boss would reward 10k renown.
Also, these mobs would not require any wards what-so-ever.
Only one boss could be summoned at any given time, and anyone on the final step of the quest participating in the kill would get credit for it, regardless of who spawned it (even if the enemy faction spawned it). When credit for the kill is given, the summoning item disappears so no chain grinding would be possible. Furthermore, the cooldown on summoning any boss would be 10 minutes.
- As all RvR events, this could be exploited. A cross-realmer could summon a boss just to mess with the other side and help his side to win, though a timer on the summoning item should prevent players doing this.
- Players would avoid unwanted attention and spawn bosses in the off-hours. The sides are usually balanced in the number of players at off-hours, so an undisturbed summon would surely be a rarity.
- The bosses might be either too easy or too hard, depending on how many players from the opposing faction try to disrupt the event. But that’s the beauty of it. The PvE part is easy with no risk involved, so the last part needs to be risky. I don’t expect every summon would end in the summoner getting credit, more like 20% of them. That’s why:
- Note that even if the summoning item disappears without the player completing the quest, he can still complete it by getting the credit for the kill from another player’s summon. So in effect, you could finish the quest any time after doing all the PQs by joining a group with an active summoning item.
- Players would always go for the path of least resistance, meaning they would always do the PQs that are the fastest and easiest to complete. I have no solution to that, short of changing the quest objectives to every specific PQ in each pairing, which would be kind of silly.
This is what I envision would be the effect of implementing all this (after all the novelty hype wears off): Along with all the usual RvR and dungeon running you’d have groups looking for members and doing PQs in all zones, all three pairings. A competent group could rush through them, while other players would take it more slowly, doing a few PQs a day. You would have groups trying to sneak a summon and a quick boss kill in less active zones, but gankers and small groups would always be prowling. On the other hand, you would have people sneakily summoning bosses in active zones and having the zerg burst them down, for an easy armor piece. Every once in a while, a world boss would be spawned. This would prompt both sides to rush into the lake. The side that summoned him would be looking for easy renown, while their opponents trying to steal it from them.
The bosses could be a hydra for High Elfs, sun dragon for Dark Elfs, a huge demon for Empire, an ogre mercenary for Chaos, an orc boss on a wywern for Dwarfs and a steam tank for Greenskins. All of these mobs would be enlarged to give them a real world boss look, and make them easier to spot and target.
Now, I have no idea if this would actually work as I imagined it. It might all fall apart due to tiny details, a miscalculation on what kind of reward would players find valuable enough, or a loop-hole that could be exploited. But, if all this should work:
- you would have previously abandoned PQs active all the time, which would increase the interest in questing and exploration,
- RvR would be a bit more spontaneous and interesting,
- players would have an additional, not so random, source of Annihilator and Conqueror armor, which wouldn’t be a purely PvE source, but not a purely PvP one either,
- the parts of the WAR world that the developers worked hard on, and was previously ignored, would come into play.
Of course, a fast sweep over the PQs by the Q&A team would be required before this was implemented, to make sure all PQs are of approximately the same difficulty and length, and that all of them work as designed.
Also, buffing of influence rewards and PvE sets, such as Mr. Meh described here, would really fit in with the changes outlined above.
As always, comments and criticism are welcome.