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!