In my last post, where I ranted about things Mythic needs to fix, I put separating the RR80+ crowd from the rest as a top priority. I also mentioned I’ll be fleshing out an idea that achieves that. As you correctly assumed from the title, it takes the form of a new tier. Now before you get up from your chair and start shouting at the monitor I should tell you that it’s not a regular tier. Just calm down and read on.
First, for some goal setting. While this idea is quite fleshed out and, in my opinion, wouldn’t take that much work to implement, Mythic might want to take just the basics and put their own twist to it. Which is fine. But here is the gist of the matter, the goals they should strive to achieve aswell:
1. Separate the RR80+ crowd from the >RR81 crowd.
I’ve talked about this in my previous post quite extensively. The power gap is too big and warrants separating the two groups.
2. Open the new tier to players of all ranks and allow both crowds to access both tiers.
The goal is not to completely wall off any player that dings 81, but rather to give those players a chance to fight against someone their own size in an area where they won’t feel bad about attacking anyone that passes by, on the account of him being a lowbie. Which means that this zone could be seen as more of a funzone, a tier 4.5 so to speak, and not a full tier. It wouldn’t have any impact on the progression of the overall campaign, it would just be somewhere higher ranks can hang out amidst their own.
If they feel like it, they can still return to other zones and PvP there and players below RR81 can PvP in the new zone if they want, but not without some drawbacks.
3. Reward the higher ranked players for playing in the new tier.
The best thing to motivate those trying to rank up is giving them renown. In this case, bonus renown. I was thinking of a anywhere between 20-50% permanent renown bonus while in the zone. This is enough to encourage players to PvP in the new zone, while having them work for their renown as usual. This would also lessen the grind to RR100 a bit so the players don’t burn out as easily (which is frankly, their own fault). All the normal renown modifications would apply, such as Against All Odds and of course the anti-afk measure would be in effect.
Anyone not over RR80 would not get any kind of a renown bonus. But at the same time, anyone lower than RR81 wanting to play in the new zone would have to be quite presistent, since there wouldn’t be any advantage to doing that, more of a disadvantage with most of the players in the zone outranking you and therefore being harder to kill. I can’t envision players wanting to play in the new tier after the novelty factor wears off and the zone start getting dominated by the higher ranked players.
There are a number of problems with this brilliant idea, the first being that not everyone wants to fight honorably and wants to go against players of their rank. It’s not a terrible stretch to claim that a lot of the population will take two easy kills over a hard one of the same value any day of the week. For them it’s not about the challenge, but about the grind. Fair enough, we’ll just have to encourage those players to fight in the new tier by rewarding them.
Second problem is that if you reward players for fighting in that zone, everyone regardless of rank will want to fight there. The clever bit is that you simply don’t reward them. RR81+ get rewarded, anyone else doesn’t. Simple as.
The third problem is that separating the two crowds like that might give rise to even more elitism that we see now. The higher ranked players will see themselves priviledged to have their own tier and might not even want to help with the overall campaign anymore, or something of the sort. But I honestly can’t see elitism hurting the game more than the power gap. It might divide the community a bit and make it less friendly, but how can not having a community be better than having a crap one? Also, we should have some faith in the players. Of which I have none, so this is very likely to happen.
As an aside I’d like to address the worries that this might spread out the population too much to be viable. It’s true that any kind of a new tier will spread the population, but if you give players free passage between the tiers it will only do that when there is enough population to spread. If there’s no one to fight in the new area the higher ranked players can just PvP in the regular zones, and the other way around. “But if that’s true then this measure won’t be very effective at getting RR81+ players out of the zones and into their new tier on the servers with low population”, I hear you say. That’s correct, you can’t have non-existant players battling it out in the new tier. We’ll just have to trust Mythic to balance the server population or suffer the power gap, but at least this idea gives us the choice of separating the two groups.
Those are the basics. And now for a practical implementation.
Isle of the Dead
I tried to incorporate the idea of a tier 4.5 with the need for new content, together with keeping in mind that Mythic is working at a heavily reduced team size. The perfect solution is a zone not many people have seen that would only require a few additions and terrain changes, without having to design a completely new zone. I chose Isle of the Dead because it’s one of the more isolated and therefore less travelled zones. And because it’s one of the more awesome zones and terribly underrated, it would be a shame not to give such a zone exposure it deserves.
Isle of the dead is a small island near Uluthan and a place of great power. In the past, greatest High Elf mages gathered here under the command of Caledor the Dragontamer to summon a Vortex of magical energies in order to combat the unstoppable chaos horde. Now it is a place of great importance to both factions because the huge amounts of power gathered here remain.
The zone is big enough to hold a warband or two, but small enough for enemies to find each other easily. Granted, if you’d stick more than two warbands there it might get crowded, but it should never get to that with all the other zones having their own pull.
The zone overhaul would involve wiping all of the NPCs there and creating two small warcamps. Nothing fancy, a vendor, a flightmaster, an expedition quartermaster, a influence NPC (with a book bind) and a couple of guards. The access to the island would need to be made easier, as currently you can only access it by entering a portal in the middle of nowhere, which is a place in Dragonwake (I assume it’s the same for destruction).
The big divide you see on the map is currently impassable, the only way around is swimming. Two bridges on each side would solve that problem, totalling in four bridges just so you can’t easily camp them and deny access to the other side. Besides implementing my RvR mechanic idea (down below), there isn’t much to be done in the zone design and art wise. An art make-over would be nice, especially to the core of the Vortex which is currently very plain looking for such a terrifying source of power (maybe even allow access almost to the centre itself), but otherwise I guess the zone could pass as it is.
The ORvR mechanic
To keep players entertained in the zone in the absence of any keeps or battlefield objectives, I’ve thought of implementing some other kind of a RvR large-scale goal system. In my version there are three capture points on the island. All three can be captured by interacting with a nearby flag/stone/thingy, they basically act like BOs. Only that when captured they charge the Vortex. When all three nodes have chagred the Vortex to the maximum amount its power is either harnessed by destruction or repressed by order, depending on who manages to capture it. If a node gets captured by the other side the charge doesn’t simply disappear, it first has to dissipate, which takes a long as it takes for it to build up. Only then can the capturing side start building their own charge.
In theory, one side could go and capture all nodes and just let the charge build to capture the Vortex, if they had no opposition. That would be somewhat thwarted by the long charge time (say 30 min for one node).
When the Vortex’ power would be secured by one side, they would get a renown and influence reward. A 5000 net renown reward would be sufficient, in my opinion. It may be possible to abuse the mechanic by chain capturing it, but with the time it takes and the less-than-awesome reward I don’t think that would be really feasible. The nodes and the system is just something to act as a focal point for any action, spice up the RvR and give players something to fight over.
Against All Odds would apply to this zone aswell and the Vortex capturing mechanic could be affected by the underdog system, taking longer the more consecutive captures one side managed, or alternatively just have the capturing speed be affected by the AAO amount one side has.
I realise the node locations are out in the open with very little strategic value and don’t really facilitate awesome fights, but there aren’t any buildings on the island, mostly just ruins and rocks. A few derelict buildings thrown on top or near the nodes wouldn’t go amiss and would really make for some great tactical possibilities.
The island would act as one of the PvP chapters and have an influence bar with influence rewards. They could possibly be some jewelry and cloak pieces for both RR90 and 100 (a usable healing cloak for WPs/DoKs and similar things currently missing from the game). Kills and capturing of the Vortex would award influence.
None of the variables provided here are set in stone, the charge time on the nodes, the charge required, the number of the nodes and their location. Hell, even the mechanic itself could be swapped for something more interesting. This is just an example of something that is easy to do and doesn’t require an excessive amount of manpower or time. As long as the primary goals stay the same as those above when designing such a zone it will be a good addition to the game.
And to answer something I know will come up: this technically isn’t new content, like most of the newly implemented things Mythic are calling new content. But I think that recycling an already existing zone in this way, especially if it was a rarely travelled or even seen zone, is a good thing and will be a welcome addition to the game.
PS: For more and more fleshed out ideas on new content check Hypothetical WAR. Well worth a read.