Are we stupid?

A while ago Mythic devs wrote a small blurb on the state of RvR in the game. You can read it here. I was planning on posting my response to it but managed to forget. Read my (belated) thoughts below.

I have three issues with the dev’s thoughts.

1.) They talk mostly about things they’ve changed in the past. I guess it’s a way of reminding players that Mythic is capable of pinpointing problem areas in the game and fixing them. Which is usually fine, if a bit unnecessary. But in a game where most of the real issues the community wants resolved are stubbornly ignored, new features are introduced very later or not at all (compared to similar games) and the changes made rarely fix the intended problems, it comes across as self-back patting. I don’t think a developer on a game that has had mediocre sales, then plummeted in subs and stayed there, can be proud of their product. I know I wouldn’t be. It seems as if Mythic is saying: “Look wankers, stop whining about the development. We’ve been fixing the game for the last few years, we obviously know what we’re doing.” Which is a bit of an oxymoron. If you’ve been fixing the game for the last few years, surely it would have been a marvelous MMO by now?

2.) Nowhere in that text can any admittance of guilt be seen. It’s as if Mythic got this screwed up game and have been trying to turn it around for the past few years, and doing that successfully. While in reality, they’ve been trying to fix their own screwups and introducing a few more during the repairs. I guess that taking a stance of “everything in the game is working as intended, but we’re still polishing” works from a marketing point of view, but when your playerbase has first-hand experience of the results of said polishing, you just come across as ignorant and insincere.

3.) There’s very little talk of future changes. There is a small but crucial blurb about how they’re looking at power scaling past RR80, which is one of the bigger problems WAR has right now. But there is nothing about fixing the biggest problem that will potentially kill the game: no new content. The game is becoming extremely stagnant and no implementation of new dungeons, ORvR revamps or any other smaller changes will reinvigorate the game and bring back old players. WAR needs a full-blown expansion with new areas and new things to do. You can only kill so many players in the same 9 zones before it gets boring (there are very few people playing non-stop since launch for that reason).

Now I realise that the latter two complaints could be swept away simply by saying “that wasn’t within the intended scope of the original text, the dev’s thoughts only concerned the past changes, state of RvR and balance”. But honestly, considering how little information regarding the game’s future players get (most of Mythic’s communication is limited to small short-term changes), it’s only to be expected that they scrutinise whatever information Mythic does release and complain if it gives away nothing of the future plans.

I also find it funny how shortsighted and ignorant the two dev’s seem to be. Citing the “great AoE blanket nerf” that gutted some of the careers and was full of silly nerfs (nerfed range on AoE detaunts and buffs) as one of their successful changes and saying how WAR is perfectly balanced around 6v6. The latter might be true to some extent (ask Magi or Engineers), but the scope of the game is and always has been warband vs warband gameplay, in which some careers are absolutely useless. Boasting that the game does smallscale well isn’t saying much when its focus is on largescale. But I guess if you’re talking about balance in small organised groups and larger PuG warbands, I guess the things are balanced. It really doesn’t matter what composition a random unorganised warband has, as the numbers are the only factor. You are trying to blow smoke up our asses if you’re saying that the game is perfectly balanced in organised largescale play though. Bad habit, that.

Keaven Freeman talks about how the ORvR system is set up to allow freedom in choosing where and when to fight, while he clearly states that “The campaign leads you down this path…”. I’d put it even stronger, the campaign forces you down a path. You really don’t have much of a choice when trying to further the campaign. The game funnels players into a few hotspots where the action is. You want to go into a less crowded zone and help the war effort there? Sure, but running around an empty zone setting off resource carriers is fucking boring. You want to roam with your small party? Well that’s a shame, because you’ll get roflstomped by big zergs or be forced into empty zones. Yeah, there is a choice. It’s a choice between laggy, zergy action and smug “at least I’m not zerging” boredom. When the game sets you a few nearly identical goals that you can either try to accomplish or fuck off, there is clearly very little choice involved.

Developers writing that little retrospective/advertisement was probably pointless. It serves no purpose, hidden away in the herald, and will potentially anger or demoralise the playerbase even more. It seems that Mythic is blissfully unaware of not only the game’s problems, but of the communities needs as well. Any smart developer would find the time after almost two and a half years to write a reassuring letter, instead of boasting how good they are doing and pulling off an obvious market ploy.

Lastly, let me emphasize something. I have nothing against the two developers that wrote the post in question. I have nothing against any developer that has worked on WAR. I’m just responding to what I consider stupidity by Mythic as a whole. I’m blaming the ones responsible who don’t (and didn’t in the past) go: “This won’t work, it’s shit. We can’t release this and expect people to be happy with it.”. I’m fairly certain that the paragraphs were written as an order from (and under supervision of) the marketing department and/or EA.

Frankly, I’m probably overreacting in posting this. It seems very few people care at this point.

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13 thoughts on “Are we stupid?

  1. At this point, it’s not that I don’t care, but I have come to have such low expectations that it just doesn’t get me worked up anymore. I am one of those few who have continually played since launch (actually Beta), but the only reason that is true is because I never stay in T4 long. Early in the game, when the first tiers were still populated with new players, I played there. When I filled up my Order character slots with 40’s, I played in T4 a bit (during the time T2 & T3 were barren), but got bored and rolled Destro on a new server. Luckily, with the tier changes and server merges, T2 and T3 are now busy again, and I’m still having fun. But, I’m still bored with T4, and when I hit 40 they stop getting played. I have no desire to run around in conqueror (or maybe Invader/Warlord now) against people in DF/WF (the removal of the renown cap does nothing for my stable of 9 R40/RR30-60 characters I already have). I still have quite a few slots left on Destro to keep me occupied for a bit, and if I can hit RR70 before I ding 40 on my new characters, maybe I’ll end up playing them in T4. If all else fails, I can always re-roll some of my Order toons that I haven’t played in a year.

    Anyway, the point of that ramble is that I agree with you, but I just avoid the problems as best I can and try to play in the areas I still have fun. While I hope and pray that the T4 issues get fixed, and some engaging content/mechanics are employed, I’m still having fun roaming around in the lower tiers.

    • I too, had a lot of fun in lower tiers in the past, that’s why I have 7 R40 characters. But the non-sensical tier bracket rejiggling that was implemented a few patches ago (and didn’t fix anything) really deprived me of any desire to play in lower tiers. Because of the bigger gap it’s more common to meet people that outrank/outgear you that you just can’t kill. Not to mention that the whole tier system and dynamic is now totally borked (how does having a R31RR31 facing a R39RR60 player make T3 any different from T4?). I’ve talked about this before, I really hate losing/winning simply because of the gear/level difference. With lower tiers being just as bad as T4 now, I really don’t see what’s left for me in WAR.

      Maybe if Mythic manages to balance DF/WF and introduce some fresh content (and stop raving about how great their ORvR design is, cause it’s not), they can entice me to reactivate. We’ll see.

      • Honestly the difference between Devastator (what you enter T3 with now), and Invader (what you finish), is less than Warlord to DF, or Sov to WF (especially when you consider bolster, which goes away at R40). And when my alternative is Conq vs DF/WF, it’s a no brainer for me. Do I come across people I can’t kill? Of course, that is par for the course around a PvP game as diverse as WAR.

      • That may be true, but there’s also the level difference that gets you more skills/mastery points. Bolster does nothing about that.

        If I had to choose between dealing with unsurmountable odds in T3, with rerolling everytime I level out of it, and T4 where most of my friends play (and arguably sees more action), I’d go for T4.

        Though the fact that I already have 2 characters in Sov and a guild there contributes to that decision. So I can see why would a new player (or one that has never bothered to level over the Invader stage) prefer lower tiers over T4.

        Just a matter of personal preference. Though it’s clear that WAR has way too big of a power disparity for a PvP game. It could all be solved by implementing a proper T5 instead of stretching the existing tiers to accomodate lower RR players.

  2. I’m not sure if I want new content..first of all I would be happy if the game would actually show me were my opponents are, i.e. melee being melee and not hitting me from 93904389 ft away. In addition to this I want to know what my character is doing..when it get’s hectic my Runepriests starts to cast spells I activated 5s ago (without having latency problems..so this is just wonky behavior of the client) and sometimes the client just doesn’t react, because of debuffs (hello marauders and chosen ;) )..or just because of focus fire.

    If Mythic could program the servers and clients to actually withstand the “pressure of a fight”.. we could talk about new stuff to implement ;)

    I think that many people would welcome if Mythic would just expand the RvR lakes. There would be no need for huge amount of new coding and the campaign could look different..if Mythic Dev’s would start to realize that the keep fights are the most boring stuff right now in the game and BO’s lose their importance after a while and the whole content can and therefore will be zerged. Btw. I don’t play in warbands ;)..Therefore I’m a little bit biased about small groups vs warbands..

    I’m not sure if the campaign would be more fun if you could lose resources ..which would give BO’s more importance *shrug* Maybe I will theorycraft about it ;)

    To the Dev-Post in general.. it is so wrong and blindsided on so many levels that I didn’t want to comemnt on it in the first place. The post shows that Mythic has no idea what is going on and where the problems of this game really are. How can you fix something without having a clue of the problem which you want to solve?

    • I’m pretty sure that the issues you describe are rooted in the game engine and the code fundaments. I doubt Mythic would be able to change the positional system or the casting bugs without significantly reworking the code. Just can’t see that happening any time soon, if at all.

      And yes, Mythic seems to have no idea how WAR actually plays. It can be a great game if you only intend to play an hour or so a few days a week, since that way it doesn’t get repetitive and dull. But for organised competitive players, the bread and butter of any PvP game, WAR is simply stale beyond words. I wish Mythic could see that.

  3. No no man, you got it all wrong. It’s not that they haven’t been fixing the game for the last few years, it’s just that they’ve broken it even more for the last few years. :)

    • Lately I’ve been whining about WAR a lot. Really should stop, or I’ll keep attracting trolls like you! :P

      How are you Spuxy, what are you playing these days?

  4. Even though I don’t play WAR anymore, I still read the articles and updates just to see.

    I thought just as you did, what’s the point of the history lesson? That it took you 2 years to make the needed improvements? Or that it only took you one bad patch to almost kill the game? What’s the future, and what’s your point?

    When reading the intro about ‘we realize our game is about RvR’ I got all giddy and thought, holy sigmar that are finally going to kill the useless PVE content and make everything just giant RVR. But no. Sad face.

    By the time I got done reading the article, I realized the point of them taking that long to basically say nothing. The point of the Herald post wasn’t to talk to the current WAR subscriptions, it was talking to the gone subscriptions. The devs obviously play other games. And most likely, not the one they work on anymore. They are in RIFT, just like the multitude of subscriptions they lost went.

    And what they realized wasn’t so much that WAR was based on RVR (big revelation) so much as they realized that RIFT wasn’t. It had the system for PVP and in BETA made it sound like a competitor. But in the end game, its PVP is fairly shallow. When I read that post by Keaven and Stephen, all I read was “Yeah, when you done with RIFT PVP, we will be right here.”

    Stephen’s angle on the CC control and AOE nerf aren’t brought up because they weren’t so much key moments in PVP changes to WAR as much it’s mostly that those 2 elements are the noticible problems in RIFT. “Oh you don’t like that AOE and CC. Yeah, we made that mistake too. But we fixed it. Ready to come back?” You can tell that’s his angle by the depth of explination in the stances they took on the CCs. Like a WAR player needs to be taught these items with sock puppets.

    “…some “stuns” with staggers (mesmerize).” Notice Steven purposely qoutes Stuns and not Staggers. Take a guess at which CC is the problem in RIFT right now.

    What the first sentence of the post is lacking is the fact it wasn’t a brainstorming session between the devs about WAR. It was clearly that what they didn’t like about their play time in RIFT, and why this strengthens WAR’s stance in the PVP arena. However, they lack that simple statement because they don’t want to say outloud to the current loyal player base, ‘hey we know lost some subs to this game.’

    Re-read the post and then put the PVP woes of RIFT in perspective and then everything they say makes perfect sense.

    Or maybe I have the Rift too much on the brain. Anyways, hoping for good things for WAR. If nothing else, I’ll see again when it goes F2P.

    • Because I’m not that familiar with Rift I would have never made the connection. What you say does make sense though, if you imagine the post being about Mythic saying we’ve got stuff Rift doesn’t, then it makes an otherwise pointless post somewhat meaningful.

      If that was Mythic’s intent, then they need to act to get players who are/will be disappointed with Rift back. Managing the power divide is the first step, the second should be something only Mythic hasn’t realised by now, new friggin textures! ><

      I really hope WAR doesn't go F2P, we've all seen what EA can and will do with that model (yay more useless pets). Although I guess the game can't lose more players as it is.

      Thanks for your insight.

      • Well, if no new content ever happens (likely scenario) then a subscription is uncalled for. If they go F2P and want to just sell pets, I’m definitely cool with that.

        I would love to play WAR. I’m just not dishing out $15 a month for something that easily frustrates me now.

      • Ah but then you’d create a whole boatload of new problems. The biggest of which is that, while Mythic may have dropped the ball a bit on optimising their code for huge amounts of players in one small area (it’s up to the point where they’ve probably done all they can with that code now), I don’t think Trion even thought about that many players (talking about upwards of 50 people). I have no idea how Rift would do at the numbers you can get these days in some T4 keep sieges, but I suspect that not very well.

        And there’s the issue of Rift having no collision coded in (afaik). That’s a pretty huge deal.

        It’s funny though, both games are using the same game engine. But as you said, the quality of coding that Trion did seems quite superior to Mythic’s. Still, I wouldn’t swap the code for a PvE/instanced PvP game for the code of a large scale PvP game (even if the latter is a bit sucky). :)

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