If Land of the Dead is going to work then Mythic needs to make some changes!

Now that Mythic has acknowledged that they are on the same page as those of us who knew Darkness Falls was right for the game, it’s time for them to seriously consider a few changes that need to be made in order to assure that Land of the Dead will actually be successful.  First, we need to establish what made Darkness Falls so successful in DAOC and compare it to what WAR currently has and what it lacks.

Darkness Falls was successful because it had these things (it even brought some of these things when it was added to DAOC, so LotD can for WAR):

  • Grouping incentives
  • Real content: camps of mobs, large group encounters, etc
  • Itemization via tokens
  • Economic importance
  • Purpose for playing outside the zone just as much as inside
  • Meta content such as harassing the other realm while they PvE/raid, surviving when your realm loses the zone, etc

Grouping incentives are a huge problem right now in Warhammer Online.  Players are actually punished for grouping.  Influence, renown, and experience are all split when you group.  This absolutely has to change!  Groups need to be rewarded for taking the time to get together.  This was actually a huge factor for DAOC even outside of Darkness Falls because it actually nurtured and supported players coming together and looking for groups to do things.  WAR is a solo game for PvE leveling right now – you can quest, grind, PQ, and do it all solo; the game actually rewards the solo player.  The only time you would think of grouping is with guildies, a dungeon group because you have to, and maybe a PQ (although you don’t have to).   Mythic would do themselves a favor to significantly boost exp for players who join groups; the bigger the group, the bigger the exp//influence bonus.

Real content needs to be added to Land of the Dead.  Mythic needs to return to the “camp” methodology in LotD.  There needs to be camps of mobs and places where groups can form and settle down to hunt.  Right now the only time someone will sit still in Warhammer is because they’re in a PQ.   This makes the game feel flighty and unimmersive.    There also needs to be big group encounters that require players to get together and work towards; and no, this should not be a PQ.  Darkness Falls was 90% a PvE zone and LotD needs to be treated as such.  These bosses or raids (whatever you want to call them) should be difficult and rewarding.  There also needs to be content for ALL LEVELS!  Yes, level 10’s need to be able to go here and do things just like level 40’s.  Darkness Falls had room for everyone.  In a way, LotD should be a little sandbox (no pun intended).

Itemization must be done properly in LotD.  It must follow the same basic principle that Darkness Falls did with their tokens and allow for players to accumulate them to redeem for gear.  DO NOT make it a PQ system!  It will destroy this system if you do.  It needs to be a simple kill-drop system.  The tokens can be broken down into tiers:  Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond (like DF) or they can be called something else.   The bottom line here is that lowbie players will want the Emeralds and the higher level players will want the Diamonds and as players accumulate large quantities of these tokens they can get their items.  Why is this system good?  Because it allows everyone to get the gear eventually.  The hardcore players will get their’s a little quicker but the casual players will have progress they can see.  It will devalue the one thing that the “hardcore raiders” have over the “casuals”:  TIME – time to run the same instance over and over for a chance at a drop.  By devaluing time and the random nature you essentially devalue the gear.  This is a GOOD thing.  [Note:  You avoid high levels farming lower tier tokens by having grey mobs not drop tokens.]

An Economy is arguably nonexistent in WAR.  Sure, people put the greens and blues they find on the auction house and they sell salvaging materials so that the talisman makers can sell their 19 wounds gems for astronomical prices but this is hardly an economy.  Adding the token system for loot would really ignite the economy in WAR.  It would be a far cry from calling the economy complete, but it would get people actively peddling their tokens and maybe if the zone is done right there will be reason to sell more things like crafting materials and other rare drops.

Playing in the rest of the world should be just as important as playing inside of LotD.  Why?  Because if Mythic does this right then players will have to take control of other places in order to take control of LotD.   Taking control of LotD should not be as simple as conquering one zone like it was alluded to in the press release.  It needs to be more involved and it needs to be defendable.  Players inside of LotD should be able to leave LotD to defend their keeps or whatever in order to maintain control of the zone.  It should not be as simple as flipping a battle objective or taking 2 keeps in a region.  This would devalue the process of achieving ownership of the zone.   By adding LotD, Mythic has the opportunity to add extreme value to the current Realm War process.  It would be silly of them not to take advantage of how instrumental this can be for the success of the rest of their game.  But, like I said, Mythic needs to rework the realm war and such to flesh it out.

Meta content is important because it gives players something to do that isn’t directly hard coded or expected of them.  Players will want to form groups just to defend the inside of LotD when it’s going to be taken.  They’ll hide away inside somewhere so that when control flips to the other realm they’ll be able to sneak around and take out groups of people that come wandering inside.  There is also the potential for players to be on a raid when the zone changes hands and the other realm will want to stop them before they can kill the boss.  Right now there isn’t much of this type of thing in the game.  Players go about the same daily routine and fall into a rut.  If you currently play WAR then I know exactly what you do all day:  Quest, PQ, Scenario, RvR. Players can be encouraged to develop their own content by having a more open experience.

Those are the things that came to me immediately when thinking of what DAOC had with DF and what WAR currently lacks.  There might be more and I encourage you to share them with me and the other readers.  I really, really believe strongly that without these things then the LotD will be a dry experience like the rest of the PvE content.  I can’t stress it enough that Mythic needs to avoid implementing LotD like the rest of their content but with a nice sandy coat of paint and really try to capture that spark from DAOC/DF.

  • I couldn’t agree more. This is an amazing opportunity for Mythic, and lets hope they seize it!

  • Between PQs, scenarios, and dungeons, I think WAR has plenty of group content. I think LotD will continue with that, but won’t be anything major. No real change needed here imo.

    LotD will be a PQ-dungeon, just on a larger scale than MG/BS/LV. No real issue with that, I think the current setup works very well. Perhaps some of the later PQs in LotD can be scaled for a warband, like Legion. I’m not sure people really miss sitting around breaking up an NPC camp. That was incredibly boring in DAoC.

    I agree on the token system, but they will be BoP I think. I doubt it will be open to ranks below 40, don’t really see the need for that. I’m not too concerned with WAR’s economy, as it has none and it would take far too much change to really get one going. Not a high priority imo.

    Keep in mind too that the engine behind WAR is better than the one behind DAoC. That alone will make LotD something to look forward to. I agree overall though, this could make/break WAR, especially since it’s been announced so early and people will have a lot of time to think and anticipate it.

  • Re: Itemization and tokens

    I’m having a hard time understanding how this is any better than the PQ system? Aren’t the PQ renown points just tokens in disguise?

  • Good post Keen. It is confirmed that there is a token system LotD. How will if mesh with PQ’s? That is the real question.

    Did everyone get tokens when a boss was defeated in DF? Or could the tokens be in the PQ bags? You know they will have an influence system too, so players will be working towards that as well.

    @zensun: PQ’s reward bags with loot in them to a few select players.

  • @Syncaine: PQ’s and scenarios are not “group content”. I gave the nod to dungeons being group content, but they are currently serving as a treadmill and players are forced into grouping with the only true benefit of going there being the gear.

    Making the tokens BoP would be a big mistake. They need to be tradeable because, once again, it devalues the gear that they represent. Gear needs to be devalued. Remember pre-ToA in DAOC? People still wanted to get gear, went to DF and other places to get it and had it crafted/spellchanted, but the gear didn’t make a huge difference.

    I’m envisioning the place as being a big outdoor oasis. They mentioned “lairs” and “instanced dungeons” being within the Land of the Dead so that has made me think outdoorsy.

    I’m REALLY worried about it being a big PQ-dungeon or zone full of nothing but PQ’s though like their other dungeons. I’m truly started to hate the public questing system. It’s been over used and proven to hurt the game more than help it in RvR and even in PvE in my opinion.

    @Zensun: Ideally the tokens would be tradeable, randomly drop from mobs, and allow the player to choose the gear he/she wants. They differ from renown/influence because that is something you are actively raising and there isn’t much carrot there. Tokens become a carrot – something to find and seek out and gather – whereas influence is just another exp bar. I hope that makes sense.

    @Werit: Not everyone got tokens for every kill. Think of it as a drop from anything else. A token drops and group loot says whose turn it is to loot the corpse. If there’s one on it when it’s your turn then you get it. Bosses dropped stacks of tokens that could be divided up between everyone participating or randomed off to a lucky winner – it depends on the loot rules established prior to killing the boss.

    Again, if the tokens go into PQ bags I’ll be disgusted. It would be atrocious and detrimental to the whole token philosophy.

  • Werit, DF dropped seals. Seals were traded for gear. Different level of seals dropped off harder and harder content. The seals were not bound to the player, so they could be easily sold (if I remember correctly). The gear, while not the end all of gear, was very competitive and was usually a first step for a newly max level player.

    Right now, newly max level players in WAR have a horrible, luck-based grind to overcome before getting the first set of gear. If you are unlucky, like me, you’re still sitting at 2 lesser wards, unable to participate in the majority of end game encounters. I am almost to 30 keeps taken without a Gold Bag, and we’re doing BS bosses everyday and either wiping terribly or getting loot that no one in the group can use. Its a retarded system, for what should be an otherwise good feature of WAR.

  • @Heartless_: My shaman got up to 40 something keep sieges without a gold bag – I know your pain. I finally got one through luck by riding up to a keep while it was being taken and getting one for no reason. I’m still stuck on only 2 wards with him. I totally agree with you that right now newly max level players have a luck-based grind to overcome and it’s horrible.

  • Then there is me, who had a full set at rank 34.

    The PQ’s could be used for loot rewards and the bosses themselves give tokens. Of course, you then have to balance the lucky looted gear with the token gear.

    What is the difference between the influence system and the token system? You get something that you trade in for a reward when you have enough. The oRvR inf rewards have shown they can do more than 2 reward choices for each level (or amount of tokens if you will).

    One drawback is that you have to choose only 1 reward from each level. If they got rid of that, it would be much more like a token-like system.

  • Well lets not confuse the broken Keep contribution system with faulty gear. Gear in WAR is a cake to acquire. Between minimal effort keeps, BS being zerg-able, the two rank 40 city dungeons, RvR inf rewards, and chap 22 PQs, it’s far easier to get geared in WAR than in other MMOs (DAoC pre-ToA included).

    Keen: Both PQs and Scenarios are far more enjoyable in a group, and while you CAN solo them, why punish yourself? If you don’t have the community to get those groups together, that has more to do with your situation than the game itself, right? As for dungeons, I view them as a nice break from RvR that I can enjoy with some buddies. As I said above, gear imo is trivial, so it’s not so much a gear chase as it is just a change of pace.

    The problem with tradable tokens in WAR is that WAR has no economy. Gold is near-worthless, and if you add one item (tokens) that all of a sudden everyone wants, it would be disastrous (as we are seeing with the +19w talismans). If they fix the contribution system, PQs in LotD would be fine. You would still have lairs and instanced boss encounters that follow the more traditional ‘drop loot’ model. Plus the size/scale of the place would give it a much different feeling than the current dungeons, which are intended to be short bursts of content.

  • Don’t confuse gearing up easily with gear not being valuable though. WAR has placed a great deal of importance on how well you are geared; just look at a level 40 in quest greens/blues with a 40 in sentinel gear. While it may be easy for those who are lucky to gear up, and generally “easier” (that term is used loosely to time, not effort or factors out of one’s control such as luck) than most mmorpgs, the gearing up process is still extremely important in WAR – more than it should be.

    I don’t think we’re seeing eye to eye on what “group content” and “grouping incentives” means. PQ’s and Scenarios are not “group content”. I’m trying to think of how I can differentiate between grouping to do something and grouping because you have to in order to do something and have it make sense. I’ll try to think of a way later.

    WAR having no economy is the perfect reason why tokens SHOULD be tradeable. Talismans are an entirely seperate issue because they are created by the few and sold to the many. Tokens (or seals – whatever you want to call them) being tradeable would be something capable of being sold by everyone to everyone. Gold being worthless yet again an entirely separate issue that Mythic needs to fix with money sinks and a more dynamic world economy. Talismans would create another form of currency and even be a form of barter.

  • For the love of God, please make this a token system IDENTICAL to Darkness Falls in DAOC. I am with Keen 100% on this for all the same reasons.

    We have a vegas loot system and an influence system that work well enough on their own but I do not think they should bring this system into LotD.

    People are forgetting one major drawback to the influence/vegas loot BoP system: Once you have all your gear, why bother going back? At least with a token system you can keep collecting tokens for alts, the guild, or the AH.


  • @Syncaine the reason why WAR’s economy is so bad is because there aren’t enough variables (i.e. products) to help achieve stable market values for things. Price inflation will fall into a manageable place as there are more things you need to spend your money on.

    I have no problem spending 100g for a talisman knowing I don’t need to save it for anything else except keep claiming (which my guild never does anyway). However, if I want a talisman and a few tokens, there’s no way I can afford 100g. Sellers will realize this and the prices will fall.

  • @Keen

    why dont you do what my guild does and run a guild group while taking keeps and master loot the gold bag. this way most of the time people get the bags that need them and the others still get the renown and inf they need anyways besides helping out the other guildies. send me an email and i can tell you the details of how to do this.

  • I’m on the fence with this. For the most part, I like the the idea of tokens, but I also like the implementation of the PQ/Influence systems. Currently at level 36, I have four of my five annihilator pieces (missing the shoulders),and I didn’t try that hard. All the other ways that make it stupidly easy to gear up have been listed on here. So the argument that yes, there is importance place on gear, that importance isn’t really much of a burden when it’s availability is so abundant. It’s like air, it’s incredibly important for us to survive, but how often are you really worried if you have enough of it?

    As for a token system, I’d love it. I like having another outlet for progression. Was it here that I read that the more paths of progression toward an end goal the better? If not, it was somewhere, and I agree whole-heartedly. I’m all for horizontal expansions (maybe angled somewhat vertically), and if LotD can do that with tokens, more power to them.

    With the economy, I’m with Syncaine on this. Unless they release multiple systems of items that can be sold between players that is of value to the general populace, putting just one thing will not make a dent on the current economy. There needs to be multiple money sinks, if you want that kind of thing. As it stands, why do you want an economy? Currently, money has no real point to it, and as was said, if I need to drop 100g on a +19 talisman, why worry? Money’s easy to come by, and nothing else to spend it on. It seems like trying to make a game convention needlessly complicated with no real benefit.

  • Wasn’t very clear, I’m on the fence with the tokens being in bags or being dropped/BoE etc… I definitely WANT there to be tokens. Semi-stream of consciousness writing FTW.

  • thanks for the rundown on what DF’s impact was on Daoc, since the announcement i’ve read up on it in various places but they don’t really ever offer much context.

    The old Daoc community have a lot of insight on the way mythic has acted in the past the rest of us who came from other mmo’s don’t so its always good to get that persective..

  • “or zone full of nothing but PQ’s though like their other dungeons”

    You mean like a couple of their dungeons 😉 On the desto side Bilerot Burrow, Bloodwrought Enclave and Lost Vale don’t have any PQs. Those dungeons are pretty cool.

    With Destro its only Gunbad and Bastion that are PQ fests. Admittedly they are the only partially-instanced dungeons, so I presume that was the comparison you were after?

    Cos yeah they’re crap, too much of a pain anytime someone discons having to clear trash again, before considering loot systems.

    I totally agree regarding tokens. DAoC Darkness Falls token system ftw.

  • Thank you for pointing out “Grouping incentives” … Seeing how Mythic created DAOC first, I couldn’t understand why any of this wasn’t already implemented. They got a lot of things right with DAOC (advertising not one of them unfortunately as the adverts for DAOC were non-existing and at least they seemed to have corrected that stance with WAR).

    If they would have copied the classic server rules on DAOC and just ported it all to the Core server rules in WAR, then all would be set.

    DAOC was awesome fun on the classic servers. It was only the lack of players that brought it down. It’s too bad they don’t seem to have an understanding of that since as far as i’m concerned, the population for WAR is STILL too spread out.

  • Love the post.

    I dont think teirs 1&2 really need a place in this. Nobody is really unhappy with the content available in those teirs and you level out of them so fast. If the land of the dead is the same size as a normal region in WAR, space needs to be used to its best impact.

  • Grouping Incentives: I agree on fully, and I think there should be bonuses fro grouping. In Lineage 2 the more you had in a group the bigger the multiplier was for increasing xp/sp. I think would give people more reason to group other then just what we have now.

    Real Content: I agree here as well. I know other games have certain spots where people camp to hunt mobs in groups. Have some spots fitted for big groups and small groups and a range of levels.

    Itemization: I agree here as well, but would like to see it a little more in depth then just a few tokens. Maybe with a ongoing quest involved where you get the basic tokens off drops in said area, and you can trade these tokens in for premium tokens, and so on and so on. Give people a little more reason to start a party get this quest and farm some xp, drops, and tokens.

    Economy: Not sure what to think about this one. I like having no economy because it keeps gold sellers and ebayers out. Though being from Lineage 2 where everything was economy based it was nice spending an hour or so browsing items in major towns. Though farmers/ebayers are a big problem in that game.

    Rest of the World: Make those takens I mentioned above spread out throughout the land. Make certain tokens to be pvp oriented and some pve oriented.

    Meta: Anything that equals more pvp is a good thing!

  • I think a key point that’s missing from Keen’s post is that LotD should *not* be instanced like all of the other dungeons in WAR. Half the fun of being in Darkness Falls was having everyone else around you, fighting the same mobs, randomly PUGging bosses and running to the other sides of the dungeon after an ownership-swap to go gank the fresh enemies coming in. Instancing (aside from one big global per-server instance, which would be fine) it would kill all of that — it needs to be as wide-open as possible.

    -nick / reroller

  • The difference between WAR and DAoC isn’t the grouping incentives – it’s the ability to play solo.

    For all but a few classes DAoC solo was a miserable miserable experience, so people were forced to group.

    XP/etc. was still split and in a bad group you could find yourself dying so much you were losing xp from being in it…

    That aside I’m all for added bonuses for pickup groups and the like, or just tone down the anti-powerlevelling code which means grouping with anyone more than a level or two apart really sucks…