Is it the players’ fault this time?
This post has been a very long time coming as I’ve been contemplating all the various angles of how to go about expressing my feelings on the current situation in Warhammer Online and the mmorpg industry in general. As it stands right now, at least on Wolfenburg, RvR does not exist. Let me explain. RvR is Realm vs. Realm and it means more than the face value of the words. It’s a concept of having a realm, or a group of united players, coming together to do battle against the enemy realm NOT just for the sake of doing battle but for a purpose. RvR, how I see it, does not exist. Realm Pride or the feeling of fighting for your realm simply for the glory of your realm does not exist.
Players are worried about the points. They’re trying to min/max their way to the top and it’s destroying the foundation of what Warhammer Online is supposed to be about. Instead of coming together and doing battle in one of the beautiful regions like Dragonwake or Kedrin Valley(sp?) players would rather be cooped up in Serpent’s Passage in a 12v12 controlled environment where they can get their points faster. Instead of taking advantage of the well thought out and designed areas of the game where players can use strategy and tactics to out think their opponents players would rather be able to spawn camp the other team for 15 minutes. Why?
This industry has been plagued by the “I want it, and I want it now” attitude. Yes, this was largely introduced when World of Warcraft gained popularity because, for the first time, developers started realizing that the majority of players want the ease of accessibility. What started out as a good idea – making things more accessible – turned into the near extinction of effort, achievement, and earning your reward. Many players – enough to influence game developers – decided that they would be willing to throw away their “Go out and get it” attitude in order to adopt a “Give it to me now” mindset. While I will not deny that some people enjoy having everything handed to them in a mmorpg, I personally can not fathom how anyone can derive enjoyment from not earning a darn thing they do. Where is the achievement? I’m sorry, but you’ve traded one hamster wheel for another here folks. How is queuing for the same scenario every day and just grinding out your realm ranks any different from raiding? It’s not. It’s one vice for another and in the process you’re ruining the soul of what this game is all about.
I’m speaking from experience in Elder Beta here. When we only had ~380 people on the server we had some of THE BEST RvR I’ve ever seen taking place in open-world areas like Praag and Reikland. We would have multiple fronts going on at once. Players would gather together and have big open battles against each other that weren’t even for an objective – it was simply for engaging in the battle of your realm vs theirs. THAT is RvR. I’m baffled by the playerbase’s inability to function with what they’ve been given. Mythic has made a lot of mistake with WAR but they HAVE provided players ample opportunity to take advantage of open-rvr and they’re continuing to increase the appeal – almost to the point of “give it to me now” – to lure people out of scenarios. 100% increased experience in open-world RvR. I’m getting 7500 EXP PER KILL right now – that’s half the EXP of a level 36 quest for ONE kill! Imagine if we had our armies out there fighting each other. But no. The players want to let the RvR side of teh game shrivel up and wither away into nothingness because scenarios are less work, less effort, more accesible, and more rewarding. It’s really sad.
So yes, it is the players’ fault this time. It’s the players’ fault right now, at least on Wolfenburg (and I believe other servers experiencing an open-rvr drought) that the game is drying up. This game is about RvR and if you’re going to cram yourselves into tiny hamster cages and take turns running on the wheel then I have no sympathy for you and I know without a doubt that you’ll reach level 40 RR 40 and quit the game. I hope it doesn’t take 95% of the people quitting to bring us back to that population of 380 to experience the game the real way again.
If you’ve read this far then congratulations for having high enough mitigation to survive the wall of text critting you for 18758419 damage. I want to talk about what will possibly resolve some of these issues and what Mythic SHOULD have done and what they CAN still do – and have already stated they will do – to remedy the situation.
- Continue increasing the reward for Open-rvr and lower the rewards for scenarios
- Institute a randomized scenario system where players can not choose which scenario they queue for
- Add that RvR influence system NOW – aka ASAP – and DO NOT let scenarios contribute to it.
- Make scenarios further contingent upon open-world RvR. Find some way to make them dependent on people actually going into RvR lakes and fighting.
- Make holding a keep more rewarding.
- Make the battle objectives worth taking and worth defending – they’re beautiful and some of them provide an awesome area to fight – entice people to come to them.
- Fix the balance issues, bugs, and obvious exploits.
Players, if you are one of those with the “I want it, and I want it now” attitudes I urge you to think about what that type of attitude is doing to the industry and where it will take future games if this mindset continues to be represented by the majority. If you like your dungeon bosses having half HP now and your epic loots dropping like candy from a pinata now, how far will it have to go before you stop having fun? Are you looking forward to Star Wars the Old Republic? If you’re building up this mental image of an epic Star Wars mmorpg with a big vibrant and amazing world to explore and fantastic gameplay opportunities stop and imagine it being a Guild Wars meets Hellgate London experience. That candy is starting to taste a little bitter, isn’t it?
I’m not ready to abandon the “Go out and get it” style of gaming that this industry used to provide. I’m not ready to abandon the idea that we can take the things that made WoW so popular – the accessibility and what have you – and apply it to a game that still offers the chance to achieve something and progress with player interaction and community. It starts right here and now, and it starts with you.