Good choice to not shoot yourself in the foot, Mythic

The decision I’m referring to is tonight’s hotfix to remove the change made to the game in the 1.0.4b on 11/11/2008 (yesterday).  This change was a heinous, horrible, and downright stupid (sorry for being blunt but it was) change to the game that should never have, ever, seen implementation.  Here is the info from the patch:

In addition to reducing the amount of damage received from high-level encounter NPCs, each Ward on high-level armor set pieces worn will now affect the amount of damage players are able to do to those NPCs. Players not wearing any pieces of the appropriate armor set will see their damage greatly reduced. For each piece of the appropriate armor a player wears, their damage against the boss monster will increase. [Source]

Basically, if you don’t have any of the set you do 1dmg per hit to the mobs in the dungeon (100% decrease), if you had 1 set item you do 80% reduction, 2 peices a 60% reduction, etc.  (Source of these findings)  This change effectively placed Warhammer Online onto the same path that Trials of Atlantis took Dark Age of Camelot.  Essentially it was going to turn Warhammer Online ito a gear-treadmill based game just like World of Warcraft.  Instead of needing the gear to make your character’s stats and abilities better, it would simply be needed to let your character do any damage at all to the mobs.  It was forcing players to spend their time farming Dungeon A to move to dungeon B to move to dungoen C, and so on and so forth.   There’s no need for me to explain much more about why that is a horrendous form of game design since Mythic hotfixed it out.  The players spoke – and they spoke loudly.  Here’s what Mythic said tonight:

In response to player feedback we have reverted the recent change to the Ward system on high level encounters throughout the game. Players will once again do regular damage and the set bonus will only impact your resistance to the encounter’s attacks.

The ward system will continue to undergo further testing and development on our internal and public test servers. In the future we intend to introduce improvements to not only the ward system but to the item rewards tied to the system as well.

Please note if your character is currently logged in you will need to un-equip and re-equip the pieces in order for this change to take effect. [Source]

I think improving the item rewards and the dungeons themselves is the first step.  Although it feels like WAR has a lot of items, in reality the ones worth using are limited and players have already designated the “best” gear.  I want to avoid the pitfalls of having to PvE-treadmill in order to take out the Kings of a city (which would have been a likely result of the 1.0.4b change) and just have the encounter be dynamic and aided by having the gear – not required.  WAR is not a PvE game and quite honestly the PvE is lackluster (what I’ve seen so far – I still need to see Lost Vale and some city dungeons).  Forcing me to do specific dungeons/raids/etc will only cause people (myself included) to find a game that has better PvE.

So again, good call on taking this one back Mythic.  There are plenty other directions to go other than treadmills.   PS, Darkness Falls now kthx.

On a side note, Wrath of the Lich King releases tonight at midnight.  I’ll be honest and admit that I had an urge to get it and play but when I saw that the content was all 65+ (probably 70+ in reality) I became uninterested.  Vertical expansion FTL.  Tomorrow will be an interesting day for many games out there… I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of tumbleweeds.

  • I’m interested to see the future of Tabula Rasa now that Lord British has left the helm. I was going to subscribe (because the game itself costs 96 cents now) but i have a sinking feeling about it. I doubt Wrath will have a real effect on their numbers in the long run but it will hurt for a short while at least.

  • Richard Garriott leaving NCSoft sounded a lot like “ABANDON SHIP!” to me. 😉 I think his “other interests” may include, hopefully, better games. That’ll be one to watch.

  • much like funcoms guy whats his name erling?
    on a side note if i cancel my sub to war (i just dont feel like playing right now im not quitting) does that mean i just log in when i feel like playing reactivate and im good to go?

  • Wow, Lord British left NCsoft/Tabula Rasa? Even more interesting than the Warhammer change. Almost calls for its own blog entry.

  • It’s good that they rolled this back, but I’m really worried that such things made it in the game to begin with. And isn’t this set still “resist gear” for these encounters – is it effectively still a requirement due to that? (I’m asking, I really don’t know)

    I still have a lot of concerns about WAR, and being forced to engage in its lackluster PvE is prime among them.

  • I totally agree with you about the whole wards issue. Quite a lot of WAR fans already appear to be dismayed by the fact that the RvR end game ultimately involves so much PvE. Adding what would be an completely mandatory gear progression to the mix could easily push many of those players to abandon the game entirely. I really don’t get it – the whole system really seems contradictory to a lot of the design goals that made the game appeal to a lot of us in the first place, myself very much included.

  • Agree! This is looking much better. Now there should be several ways to obtain this gear (RvR rank, PvE, PQs etc). And not have it mandatory. It should be about options not requirements.

  • You gotta wonder about these guys sometimes… I’ll admit that my lazy eyes skipped over this nasty tidbit or I would have likely blown a gasket.

    Mythic needs to have one message sink into their heads about PvE:

    Make it FUN, COMPELLING, and DYNAMIC – not REQUIRED! If they pull another ToA out of their asses, I guarantee you that no-one will buy into their bullshit again. 😛

  • I keep wondering why renown gear is so crappy. If this is supposed to be a PvP game, shouldn’t the best gear come from renown rank? When they introduced this idea of the armor sets from PvE encounters, it was the beginning of the end for me. Like others have stated, if I wanted the raiding gear treadmill I’d be playing WoW.

  • The problem remains that the PvE sets are much easier to get than PvP sets. I wasn’t a fan of the wards system, but there is something wrong if in an RvR game the way you outfit yourself is through instances. There are plenty of people in full sentinel gear now while very few have even 2 pieces of conqeuror. And we’ll have to see a number of fortresses fall for this to change and likely a change to zone control mechanics.

    In my opinion the RvR gear has to be easier to get or PvE harder, make all kills of RR 40+ able to drop any piece of conqueror and make more than just the gloves BOE. If you want to make PvE more challenging just alter the difficulty level don’t require wards.

  • Hah! Dungeons, I don’t even know where dungeons are in this game or even how to find that out in game without going to a third party web site to find out.

    As for gear, I’ve yet to see a set piece, well if you want to consider the keep renown gear a set I guess I have, but nothing significant.

    This maybe because I’m lvl 20, but I find noting in the way of dungeons or gear or even PvP/RvR really pulling me toward lvl 40.

  • I don’t understand the point of the Wards in the first place. Making gear required for encounters is simply idiotic and doesn’t enhance gameplay in any way. It’s an artificial barrier of entry to end game content, and that sort of thing is NEVER popular or fun. Why bother?

    As to Richard Garriot leaving NCSoft, the implication in his statement was that he might be leaving the games industry altogether. A bit late in life for a career change, but his recent foray into orbit has changed his perspective on life (or something).

  • This change effectively placed Warhammer Online onto the same path that Trials of Atlantis took Dark Age of Camelot.

    That’s one of the things about the game industry that I always chuckle at. I think it was Steve Perry from Shiny Studios who said something to the effect of “Game development is extremely hard, otherwise everyone would be doing it.” What an egotistical statement to make. Ya and brain surgery is just difficult but doesn’t compare, right?

    What I’m getting at here is that game development is no different than the development of anything else (it’s all complex). The problem that the game industry has is that there are too many egos who don’t share their information but that’s slowly changing (i.e. Gamasutra’s Postmortems and outside speakers sharing common business practices). I mean to me the IGDA (International Game Developers Association) should be a shared knowledge base where game developers can come together to openly share what worked and what didn’t. I mean I should be able to go into a section under “MMOs” and see all the blunders that various developers made so if I’m a MMO developer, I won’t make the same mistakes.

    That Mythic is even making the same mistakes that they made in the past, as you noted with DAoC, is even worse.

    “WAR is not a PvE game and quite honestly the PvE is lackluster…”

    Glad to hear you say that, as I couldn’t agree more. Once I got to 6th level on Phoenix Throne, I stopped doing quests. I only do the occasional PQ to get some gear but I even dislike doing that.

    I’ll be honest and admit that I had an urge to get it…

    I’m going to wait and see. If their open world RVR is anything it’s cracked up to be (with Blizzard’s polish) then I’ll consider it. I have no interest in the PVE aspects of it though (been there, done that). Basically their RVR has to be 1) able to support people even at 70th level and 2) it’s replay factor has to be so high that it would be the one thing that I could continually want to play over and over again.

    As it stands now, my guild of friends is actually considering switching over to a FPS game because 1) it has no levels so new friends can join at any time and 2) most games today support a large amount of players so more than six of us could play together (even if temporarily on opposing sides).

    PS. Oh and if you’re going to write a new blog post here, I’d rather see it talk about a common trend that I see happening, that being people’s inability to tackle a well manned keep and instead just leaving it for when it’s unoccupied. I mean have people seen any excellent tactics, other than superior numbers (i.e. 30 vs 10), that can systematically drop a keep?

  • Gotta agree with others here, wondering how the hell this ever made it so far down the development line. Tip: Don’t put the crack-smoking monkey in charge!

    I could give a damn about WoW, though. Had my fun there, but I’ve got zero desire to go back and check it out again.

  • Seriously I’m back into World of Warcraft again..
    I was giving Wotlk a try, and guess what I’ve got that special feeling back!

    Blizzard have really done something awesome with Northrend, everything feels so smooth and the visuals are just STUNNING!

  • @RamGuy: As I previously posted, I was going to have a wait and see approach with WOTLK. After reading this post over at WoW Insider though, I most definitely won’t be going back to WoW. As you said, I got that “special feeling” inside when I read that post about preparing for WOTLK and I suddenly felt ill. 🙂

    Honestly, ya I’m sure the visuals and gameplay will be great but I just have no interest whatsoever in grinding for gear or thousands of gold coins as a requirement to be a part of it.

  • WotLK looks like one big nauseating treadmill the more I read about it. 🙁 I think it’s almost to the point of being stripped of its MMORPG title in my book.

  • I’ve gone back to WoW unfortunately. I really wanted WAR to work for me but they copied some of the worst aspects of WOW and failed to copy what made WOW what it is today. Mechanically sound pvp and great dungeon design. Instead Mythic gave us lackluster pvp mechanically, poor to my standards dungeon design let alone even moving players towards the dungeons/lairs or just plain and simply making entrance a puzzle that made you just say, “ok can’t get in time to go elsewhere”. If the pvp would have been well balanced and mechanically appealing I’d probably still be playing even though the end game rvr lacks alot of incentive. Oh well, WotLK is already as fun if not more fun than I had in my time in WAR and that’s from only playing it for 1 day….

    The way I see it if you’re gonna focus on pvp that much that it affects how well your pve content is, how your crafting system is, and then you go and copy WOW’s leveling questing system. The least you can do is make your pvp superior. Straight up WOW is 10x more mechanically sound than WAR is pvp wise.

    In the end WOW will bring players together in 5 mans, 10 mans and 25 mans that will dominate WAR in getting players together to interact/socialize/communicate/make friends. This defines the genre in my opinion and is what WAR failed at the most.

  • i am back in WoW also, what i have seen so far and the quests i have done in WotLK, it just blows War away, i have not had this much fun in a mmorpg in years.

    they are really trying to do something new with the quests, they do not feel like the same ol quests.

  • Maybe WoW has just seeped so far into my soul that I just can’t hate it. I see the grind yet I dive right in. But I guess I see more than the grind. I have friends that I socialize with. I enjoy the world; it’s vast and immersive. I enjoy my characters abilities; I feel like a hero…until the guy with shiny purples walks by, but that’s another story. To me this makes it even more of an MMORPG than any game out there right now. Warhammer just doesn’t have that feeling. I tried Warhammer, it felt more like a grind then WoW ever has for me. Maybe because I was all alone on a low pop server? Remember MM stands for Massive Multiplayer. There isn’t anything that seems Massive to me in Warhammer. Also the server I played on made me question the Multiplayer aspect as well. Meh to each their own.

  • The thing that puzzles me is that Mythic says they learned their lesson from TOA and yet they keep trying to ninja it in again. What is up with that?

  • I honestly can’t understand how any one can call WoWs PvP supperior to WARs RvR. WoWs PvP is and have allways been horrible, it’s all the nostalgia, spent hours and established contacts, realtions and work put in to it that still attracts, not the gameplay. Why it’s so hard to find information in WAR about armor sets, dungeons and what not compaired to WoW? Well that’s cuss in WoW every one has years of experience allready, they know it and if you don’t some one, most other, do and the information is shared quickly, with WAR almost no one knows and the game has a few months behind it, not years and years and years of collective and well distributed information among its players as WoW, but a few months.

    That said I agree that PvE could be more fun (and I have no idea what changes have been made in WoW with the sucking royalty on his chilly toiletseat), the PQs are a good start on that. I agree that gear should be more easily available to more only-RvR oriented players and the 1.1a patch is on to that (more changes will come I’m shure). All in all, WAR is no where near the pain in the ass the grind of starting a new character in WoW is the first time you do that.

    About FPSs not having levels/ranks, then you haven’t been keeping up with the times, there’s ranks/levels and abilities to be chosen and configured in FPS’s now a days and I think tehy will be makeing them selves more appearent in the future.

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