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.