Tobold's Blog
Monday, October 06, 2008
Do queues make Destruction more hardcore?

If you want to log into a MMORPG and find yourself in a long waiting queue, there are three possible things you can do: Give up and don't play at all, yield and play somewhere without queues, or persevere and wait in the queue until you are in. It appears pretty obvious that the more hardcore players are more likely to persevere, while the more casual players are more likely to give up or yield. Waiting half an hour in line out of only having one hour to play is not a good idea. But if you plan to play for several hours, and you care very much about the progress of your guild on that particular faction and server, waiting half an hour is not so bad.

In Warhammer Online queues happen almost exclusively on the Destruction side. Thus a casual player who chose Destruction is likely to give up or switch to Order, while the hardcore players remain on the Destruction side. And I can't help but wonder what effect that will have on realm balance in the long run. Will Destruction become the side of the hardcore player, and Order be the side that mostly have casual players? With casual players being least likely to stage 3 am raids etc., this might have as big an influence on the outcome of RvR as the numerical differences.

The one thing that balances this a bit are scenarios. Order have much shorter waiting time for scenarios, and thus play them a lot more often. I do get the impression that due to having more experience in doing them, Order wins scenarios more often than Destruction. Or maybe I'm just not lucky and always get into the Destruction group that has difficulties of grasping the concept of "capture the flag". But in open world RvR, when our guild alliance is trying to find some RvR action for the evening, the question is often "is there any of the 6 keeps of our tier held by Order?". When there is, it is only one out of 6, and sometimes they don't hold any. MMORPGs being big Skinner Boxes, training people by giving them rewards for specific behavior, Order is currently being trained to prefer scenarios to open world RvR. That is somewhat counterproductive for the overall RvR game of WAR. What if there was a war and nobody from the Order side showed up? At least in the lower tiers that happens often enough already.

I wonder what else Mythic can do to make Order more popular. My first reaction to seening the collector's edition reward "heads" was "Mythic favors Destruction". Order gets blindfolds or dwarves disguised as a St. Bernard, while Destruction gets cool chaos faces, metal headplates, or the brilliant evil grin for the goblins. Some people say that Mythic looked at Alliance being more popular than Horde in WoW, and tried to compensate that by making Destruction more cool, but ended up overcompensating. Now Order needs a push to increase their popularity, especially with the hardcore players.

So I'm starting the special "Tobold WAR challenge" to all hardcore guilds: I will dismiss as trivial any achievements a guild attained while on the Destruction side. If you want your heroic deeds to count on this blog, you'll have to do them while playing Order. Burning down Altdorf is too easy, it's burning down the Inevitable City that is the real challenge. Everyone can win by playing on the stronger side, so if you want to stand out, go Order!
Do you think the enforcement that you cannot roll both an Order and Destruction character on the same server makes the situation worse? If you were able to roll both characters and interact with between them freely, then I would assume more Destruction players would play Order characters when the queues and pvp situation was bad.

For those who chose to play for the pvp aspect, I can imagine the Destruction pvp situation is quite frustrating. You want to capture keeps, but there just isn't any competition. And then people don't want to play Order on some other server, because 'all my friends are here' etc.
One of the most prominent Destruction guilds on my server just rerolled Order. They were all around rank 30. That's quite a lot of work to throw away in developing their toons, but they're already having way more fun with the near instant queues on my server for Order side. My guild rolled Order from the very beginning because we wanted "hardmode." We definitely got it.
I think your basic assumption that the hardcore are more prepared to accept queues might be flawed. If anything the true hardcore are probably less tolerant of waiting times since it cuts directly into farming or rading times. If you look at WoW's hardcore raiders they often seem more inclined to switch to servers with a more attractive raiding environment, compared to more casual player.

It doesn't seem inconcievable that hardcore players in Warhammer operate in the same manner and switch to order to avoid queues and maximise playing time while more casual players, who choose sides more due to social reasons, to play with friends, or a preference for chaos lore and feel, would be more prepared to put up with waiting times and have less to lose than the hardcore.
Still think that having only two sides wasn't a fatal flaw?
Waiting even 5 minutes would be too much for me.
The Order/Destruction imbalance should have been sorted out way before this game went public. Market research ftw?

With all the problems WoW has had with its Alliance/Horde imbalance, they should have been ready for this.
30 minute wait to play? You're having a laugh.
I don't know what other servers are like but I'm sure mine, Averheim, is not an exception. We have a very well balanced server.

Here's a link to some exceptionally good analysis that someone from "Bash and Brew" put together over on the Order side (guess those hippies are good for something after all)
Tell them to go Order on Thorgrim!
This is my first MMO jaunt, so I accept that I know very little. However, my experience of WAR so far (started in the open beta), playing as order (boo evil, boo), is that destruction are generally more hardcore than order.

Yes destruction always seem to have every keep (nightmare to get to renown trainers/merchants), but even in scenarious, they are more daring and better coordinated. I get very frustrated that my side do not have the guts to go and get a flag or point, but cower somewhere safe, whereas destruction appear to work more as a team and are bolder than a sigmar priest ;) Destruction win most of the scenarios on Burlok IMO. Tobold's reflections are interesting given my experiences.
What quite a few people seem to forget these days is that WoW had exactly the same problem with queues at release. And there it only mattered which server you chose, not which faction in regards to if you would get a queue or not.
If players were allowed to roll Destruction and Order players on the same server you'd see the casual players switch to the winning side in RvR so that they can experience the end-game content. The losing side would be in a deeper hole. That would ruin the game and shorten it's lifespan.
Alliance had to deal with long ques for bgs and whatnot for years.

Did that make them more hardcore? Doubtful. And hardcore types are probably less patient with delays than anyone else.

The que time issue is really calming down imo. On Skull Throne we've gone from 500 person waits (on Order) down to 150 during primetime. It's getting a lot better.
You would need some kind of a timelimit, so you could not switch sides back and forth just on a whim.

In the situation that the keeps are constantly in Destruction hands and everytime Order tries anything, they get completely overwhelmed by superior forces, then sooner or later most Order players just quit trying. If Destruction players could switch sides sometimes, balance the situation and capture keeps for Order, that could provide Order with the moral boost they need to keep going and give those Destruction players the pvp they long for.
Waiting in a queue is just crazy. I would choose another server and/or side instantly. I pay to PLAY a game. I don't have the play time to waste in a queue.

But anyway, I started out as Destruction and got sick of the long scenario queue times so I switched to Order. I'm so glad that I did! I never wait more than a few minutes for a scenario.

Also, I think you folks on Destruction who think you are hardcore because you are on the 'bad' side have it all wrong. The hardcore should choose the more challenging side, which is currently the outnumbered Order.

*Destruction is the new Alliance*
simple fix, slightly overpower one or a few of the classes on order side. People will move over because they're sick of getting worked by "omgOP!". This happened with warlocks in wow. Blizzard knew at release it wouldn't be a popular class so they gave them the unique class mounts. When that didn't work, they made them pvp gods. After people started to migrate to the class...boom, they nerfed them.
Order for life, here.

I wasn't sure about it at first, because yes... Destruction classes and models are far cooler, especially the Greenskins.

But once I saw how outnumbered Order was, I knew I picked the right side. I like being the underdog. It makes our wins feel that much more special.

Now if only I could settle on a class. I'm thinking my White Lion's days are over, because like you say the blindfold is just ridiculous. Wish I never put it on the poor guy. I might be able to stomach the HEs lanky and thin nature, if only he didn't have the blindfold!
The interesting thing to me is when I play on the destruction side, everyone complains that order always wins. When I play on the order side, everyone complains that destruction always wins.

As to ques, I haven't noticed terribly long ques for anything on either side. In fact this last Saturday night on the destruction side there was no que at all to get in to tier two scenarios. The scenarios "popped" up so quickly that I often didn't have the time to cross the warcamp in turn in the quest before the same scenario began again.

Julie Whitefeather
Thankfully, I haven't experienced any wait queues so far. Since I don't play with a (former?) guild, I wasn't that determined to play on a certain server or not. As a result, I'm on a medium population one.

And regards to scenarios, for me, I think the win/loss rate has been pretty even, although there will be the occasional day where one side is doing all of the winning or losing. It usually swings back the other way the next day.
In my opinion, hardcore players allways starts to play on weaker, loosing side. In this case - Order :)
I don't see much disparity between winning losing in Scenarios, but I've been part of some smaller Keep raids where we were steamrolled by a large Destro force.

That's what worries me more.

Then again, we were able to call on other Order guilds, and we zerged them right back and they never tried to take it from us the rest of the night.

So it depends on who brings more guns to the fight I guess, and I think it's for that reason that City Sieges have instances set at 45 v 45 or whatever it is.
You sir, are devious!

I agree, especially roll order on Thorgrim if you're US! Destruction have it too easy there, those wimps! Teach them a lesson!
You might want to change the title to, "Do queues make Destruction players more likely to quit the game and just wait until WotLK?"

That seems to be the norm amongst the majority of the WoW players I coaxed into playing. The majority of the complaints I have heard concerned lack of RvR and not wanting to roll order.
It kind of surprises me how many people seem dead set on playing destruction, but I may just be underestimating the amount of guild groups that fixed people's decisions, and the coolness factor (I don't think of the non-blood elf horde as significantly uglier than the alliance, and may see less of the "coolness" of destruction in a similar way.)
I was just thinking RvR could be made to work despite pop imbalances, if it is set up such that dominating a realm via PvP only unlocks PvE content and rewards, while if you are the ones being dominated then extra PvP quests and rewards are made available.

Thus setting up a negative feedback loop, a teeter-totter balance.

Why do MMOG designers keep building positive feedback loops?
"Evil is easier than good. Creativity is harder than destructiveness.",9171,973134-4,00.html
All of this promotion to play Order... whatever happened to promoting players to chose their character of choice, period.

Having to compromise on racial & class choices just stinks honestly. The game mechanics should just balance better.
Your comment about order winning more scenarios (and des. downing the keeps most of the time) is completely true.

However i feel that your concern about this is drawn from WoW pvp and how horde dominate everything today (except av) both in sheer number of players and gear.

However i dont think this will be the case in Warhammer because WAR is more "skilled" based then "gear" based then WoW. Sure it sucks now for order but i give it a few months, when most of the players are lvl 40 and order players will probaby have more lvl 80 renown gear, and play experience then your typical des. player.
Mythic has a pretty big problem on their hands and I am not sure they realize it yet.

They made Destro way too attractive. I'm playing on Volkmar, which is one of the "best balanced" in terms of Order to Destro ratios, supposedly. We have some hard core Order guilds on Volkmar, too, folks who raced to 40 and are supposedly all about the end game.

And yet - and yet - Destro owns everything. All of tier 3 keeps. All tier 4 keeps. Altdorf has been under siege and unavailable to Order<30 players recently (til the timer ran down and reset it overnight).

Order can't even gather enough people to retake keeps. Order is having trouble even getting Altdorf leveled up.

People from my guild are quitting the game because they already perceive it to be completely imbalanced in favor of Destro. We have both a Destro chapter and an Order chapter (on diff servers of course), and the Destro players are bored because none of the Order on their server RvR, and the Order players are discouraged because they can't summon sufficient numbers or interest to do anything beyond farm scenarios.

People are faced with leveling a Destro and ending up bored because they owning all RvR objectives through the end game, or leveling an Order and soloing scenarios to 40 then quitting because there's not enough people to siege Inevitable.

I knew when I saw that cinematic that they had gone too far with making Destro badass. They should've had the opposite - Order sieging Inevitable with Karl flyin' in on his bird.

All this imbalance on top of the client bugs that make playing occasionally quite frustrating are driving quite a few of our guild away. Sad, really, because WAR had a lot of potential.

At this point all they can do is rework it and try to pull people back with a huge 'we retrofitted the game' patch and media blast. High elves need a full artwork redo - my swordmaster has been wearing the same stupid dress for 30 levels (no lie - the artwork never changes, heh!). And sad to say it, but they are going to have to do some hard things to get people to switch over: nerf Destro, buff the Order classes.
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