Tobold's Blog
Thursday, October 02, 2008
 
WAR is over, Destruction won, thank you for participating

Ten days after release Destruction captured Altdorf on the most populated European server. So much for the epic endgame of Warhammer Online. Apparently the feat was performed with a mix of devious strategy and exploiting some bugs. The most prominent bug was that Destruction could enter an Order keep by using the back door, instead of having to break down the front door. The devious strategy was doing the raid at night when Order was sleeping. I'm sure the bug will be fixed. I'm not sure anyone can do much about 3 am raids.

I've already noticed the same in the simple tier 2 keep raids I've done. If there are a good number of defenders in a keep, a keep battle is a long affair, and quite a lot of fun. Even if you lose in the end, you've seen a lot of fun action, and gathered some xp and renown points. But if the keep is undefended, a keep raid is kind of boring. NPCs aren't well known for their brilliant tactics, and WAR mobs are even more stupid than WoW mobs. The keep lord is tough, but strictly tank and spank. There are public quests that are harder and more varied than a keep raid with no human defenders. Even if you turned the keep lord into a proper raid boss, a keep raid against NPCs is always going to be easier than one against player defenders.

Thus if some group is only interested in taking the keep, and not interested in the fun battle, all they have to do is to attack when there are no defenders anywhere near. Nobody is going to organize a keep defence watch 24/7, because when there are no attackers, guarding a keep is extremely boring and doesn't give any rewards at all. Organizing a 3 am keep raid is a certain way to easy victory, and as the current example shows, you can even take the enemy capital like that.

One possible solution, seen in other games, is making keep warfare consentual. Destruction sends a friendly letter to Order, asking them if it was okay if they attacked Altdorf next Tuesday at 8 pm, RSVP. Of course that sounds extremely silly, and not like a war at all. But at least there would be a battle involving many players from both sides, instead of one guild fighting only NPCs in the middle of the night. Alternatively there could be predetermined keep attack time windows, only during prime time. Keeps can be attacked every evening from 6 pm to midnight, plus on afternoons during the weekends and public holidays. Again, that has nothing to do with simulating a war, and everything to do with playability. But would that be so bad? In real wars people don't respawn after being killed, and real keep guards might be asleep, but never "offline". Maybe limiting the virtual war to the times where most players are online is not such a bad compromise.
Comments:
For a bit more realism / a bit less predictability, you could instead allow keep assaults depending on the current population: Altdorf can only be attacked if there are, say, 100+ Order online (or were online within the last 15 minutes, to give Destruction a few minutes to get organized and prevent two or three Order from logging out to spoil their attack). Perhaps exponentially smaller thresholds for lower-value or lower-tier targets.
 
Right now they have two simple fixes to this, remove the back door bug and tweak the guard patrols and numbers.

I don't see any reason to change the game such that anyone who plays at odd hours is automagically excluded from participating in the end game. Most of this will work itself out as people level. Still adding a bolster to 38, for defenders only, during capitol city fights might solve it right now. But implementing a system that actively bars people from playing the game seems like a crap way to treat your customers.
 
This is the same thing that killed Pirates of the Burning Sea. That game was all about taking other nations ports rather than keeps.

Once one Nation realised that it could field much bigger fleets at 3am than the other Nations the game on at least there biggest server died.

Why bother spending all day fighting to win one port when that night the nation with the night team will take it back along with 5 of your ports.
 
These 3AM raids were anticipated i believe, and not much can or should be done about it, apart from some obvious tweaks (such as getting a better lock on that backdoor...).

Btw, I played on this realm until i found the constant q's just too much for my laidback extremely casual playstyle (yesterday i checked and it had an 500+ q with a 2h wait...). Its mostly populated by large fairly hardcore guilds.
 
What about a night-debuff? All attackers from 2am to 10am do 50% less damage? That would stop smaller groups of night raiders.
 
I wonder if there can be a RvR battlefield chain that is epic, fun, and bring a sense of accomplishment. I can understand that when group of friends/guild/alliance works hard and eventually reaches their objective (like conquering castle in castle siege of Lineage 2), they can feel great. But how can huge meatgrind called RvR battlefield chain be epic, fund AND endgame? Yes, for a while it may be fun, but building the whole game around oversized AV played in PUGs seems not fun to me. But then, I'm pro-sandbox, long burned from themepark MMOs so maybe I should just shut up.
 
Using your argument that only certain times be available for keep and city attacks is ludicrous. Why not just shut the servers down. Prime time is certainly not the only time, and if my ability to enjoy ALL parts of the game are restricted because of my play time, then my money will quickly go to another company. The game is not even a month old. These situations are bound to occur, will continue to occur, and will eventually even themselves out.
 
I may be misremembering, but I seem to recall from history at school that many Middle Ages battles were indeed organised in terms of time and place by mutual consent between the generals. Not as silly an idea as it sounds.
 
One fix for off hour would be to have NPC power is reverse proportion to the number of player defenders in the area. Things like respawn rate, class(normal, champ, hero etc...). I'm also surprised that keep sieges are not some sort of duel-side public quest similar to the ones in the orc/dwarf parings.
 
I'm very interested to see what the fallout is from losing a capital.

If Order is now royally screwed for a week or so then I think that's a good thing and that once they firm up defences and fix bugs it will be a very interesting endgame

I like the idea of player-determined windows, worked well in SWG

If on the other hand losing a war doesn't really effect anyone then it will become like faction boss killing in WoW. A wasted opportunity.

It will be quite brave to punish Order players for letting their capital get sacked though, I wonder if they'll have the courage to do it.
 
@Nomad

Not only that, I understand that football supporters still regularly do the same thing.

All Mythic needs to do, in other words, is add iron bars and epic football shirt gear and people will feel right at home. ;)
 
EVE has some clever systems to deal with this very problem...

Essentially, attacking factions have ways of triggering a delayed siege, and the defenders (via the resources they have stockpiled in the system) have some control over the length of time between the initial siege trigger, and the beginning of the battle itself.

It basically amounts to defenders being granted some time to mount a defence, and in the meantime the target location is effectively invulnerable.
 
@Nick

I also thought about EVEs system. Very clever and shouldn't be _that_ hard to implement. Something like: When two of the Fortresses are taken, the big city will be in a "sieged" state, and there will be NPCs bashing the doors, rolling up towers, digging sappeur-ditches under the walls etc etc. Include a timer, visible for boths sides, that says "X hours to breakthrough". That way both sides have a good poosibility of gathering fighters before the brawl. Higher rank cities will be slower to breakthrough.
 
This is the danger of having special euro/pacific/usa servers.

theese raids were the norm in the begining of daoc.

A real solution is to have more npc's at night, and have a time delay on how how long untill you can siege a capital.

But we dont need to dum this game down, if one side wants to wake up at 5am. and play vid game mad props.

it fuels the anger, and realm pride.
 
I was thinking about making the npcs more powerful if there were fewer defending PCs, but that would only provide a disincentive to defend.

Instead, as Kirth mentioned a public quest for defending would draw people there. Provide an incentive to go fight them off.

Also worldwide messages when a keep is under attack (and fix the "crying wolf" bug) would help draw more people, even at 3am, at least you'd know hey it's under attack, and if I go defend I get a reward!
 
Having your city sacked and your king killed resets your city back to rank 1. There is a post about it somewhere.

I am sure it will be retuned. Perhaps they need to tweak the point values a bit to stretch it out and discourage the 3am city grabbing. For example if an instance spawns for every 48vs48 and there are only enough players to spawn one instance then it would take 8-10 hours of steady play for one side to reach enough points to either sack the city or defeat the attackers.

If there are several hundred players and there are 3-4 instances running at a time then the entire affair would be done in 2-3 hours.

Off hours players can still participate. They can still take keeps and fortresses. They can even put the city into the initial attack phase. But even if they bring 200 players and there are only 30 order on to defend at 3am then the attackers have an 8 hour grind ahead of them assuming the number of defenders doesn’t increase.
 
@Oscar

Not only that, I understand that football supporters still regularly do the same thing.

hmm, not football supporters no...idiotic thugs that happen to use a football match as an excuse to fight, this giving all football fans a bad name :(
 
I was thinking about making the npcs more powerful if there were fewer defending PCs, but that would only provide a disincentive to defend.

Not necessarily, the NPCs would be more powerful, but still not have tactics, and there would still be the same number, as human players. The power increase just has ot be enough that enemies won't be able to just walk into a keep and capture it when no humans are there.
 
Keeps are too easy to defend during prime time, especially the Tier 4 section, if the faction defending actually cares. 3AM raids are really the only way to win and that's probably why Mythic didn't put time limits in.
 
I just started playing WAR this week so I'm nowhere near the endgame yet, but of course I will still offer my opinions. :)

while not easy to pull off, I think some sort of dynamic spawning of NPCs would likely help. For example, maybe half as many Order players are in the area so they get a buff to NPCs (more of them or stronger NPCs).

Also, clearly simply fixing some of the bugs would go a long way in balancing this.

Time restrictions would be a horrible idea. I spend 'prime time' with my family so almost all of my game time is during off-peak hours. Believe me, it's not like I'm the only player logged in when I do play.
 
You might be seeing a temporary imbalance of 40s; the servers are pop capped but not level capped, and so you'd see a higher level of 40s on destro side. That+ people willing to exploit bugs,etc. If a small group of defenders can't hold off a 3am raid in a tier 4 keep... they just need to buff the defenses.

I'm going to chalk this one up to exploits.
 
Tobold, I'm just curious about this claim:

"WAR mobs are even more stupid than WoW mobs"

How so? They both use fundamentally the same behavioral routines. WAR mobs are certainly AS STUPID as WoW mobs, but I don't see how they're more stupid.
 
Well the server call outs have already started on my server Tower of Doom.

"Calling out all T3 Destruction!

Paranor, along with members from our Alliance are planning a large scaled Keep take and are looking for some competition. Currently we plan to set out 7:00 pm Central, and have not yet decided which keep we will take first. If you think you have the bawls to take us, lets hear it!

The raids will be recorded and edited into one large video, we would like someone to do the same on Destruction side if it is possible.

Meet you on the battlefield!"
 
I am not familiar with EVEs system but what you describe sounds very interesting. I like the idea of being able to stock pile defensive resources for your side. Great way for folks to contribute to defense during off hours. I also like the idea of a large scale siege against the city gates taking time. It also might be good to throttle how fast the lines can be moved in on the battlefields. Should you be able to take the neutral zone, their frontier, their fortress and then their city in a single night? just a few hours? I would think it more dramatic if it took several days or a week to pull it off. Perhaps a 1 day delay to unlock the next zone in tier 4. That would give people time to realize that their city could come under threat in the next day or two. I also like the idea of it taking an almost unreasonable number of hours for a single warband to generate the victory points needed for capturing the city. That idea should probably also extend to taking control of the fortresses as well. The more people on, and working at it the faster it goes, but more people on also means that more defenders are on.

I also don't like the idea of arbitrarily limiting sieges to a certain time but taking certain targets, such as the fortresses and the city should require the effort of lots of people. This is Realm vs Realm after all, not sneaky guild vs game design. I would say make the npc defensive strength scale inversely to the amount of enemy action going on though out the pairing. When it is quiet, it should be easy for the king to mount an all but impassible defense. On the other hand, when resources are being diverted to other fronts throughout the pairing then it will be harder to reinforce the home defenses. Basically, as the flux of victory point generation though out the pairing increases for one side, the tier 4 keeps and fortress npc defenses will weaken or at least not be reinforced. This way a siege during off hours, while possible would be insanely difficult unless you could talk your entire realm into logging on and working it at 3am. This system would also give lowbies a more direct sense of contributing to the siege that others are currently bringing to the enemy. Everyone would get much more of a sense of having to "push at the same time" to topple the enemy capital.

One warband should not ever be able to pull of a city capture alone. Period. It should take a Realm to defeat a Realm.
 
oh god, please don't implement requests for keep takings.

i'd rather that order captured the inevitable city while i slept, than be informed three weeks advance of the surprise party they had planned for me.
 
simple solution apart from the bug fixes... Adjust the number and power of NPC's guarding each capital city depending on the amount of current players online for that faction. I don't see why this would be so difficult to do. Anyone who reads this, it would be great if you made this suggestion to mythic via feedback. peace.
 
I'm surprised no one's discussed DAOC's approach to this. Considering Mythic built both games, it stands to reason they've thought of this.

From what I recall of my time playing DAOC (been over 4 years since I quit, but it was a lot of fun), most of the larger guilds on each server (or alliances) would claim keeps on the frontier and organize defenses pretty quickly. If a large group of attackers started tagging multiple keeps or rolling through an entire frontier claiming them, someone in the alliance would start screaming in chat and we'd have a defense organized in minutes.

Most of the time, if people want to RVR, they're happy enough to find a reason to - and keep/city defenses are a great reason.

WAR is pretty young, still, and many of the folks just getting into RVR now may not be familiar with how things worked in WAR's spiritual predecessor, but I bet a lot of the same tactics will come into play.

Exploits aside, I wouldn't worry about it much. And implementing any kind of limitations on late-night raiding is just a stupid, knee-jerk reaction. Let things settle down and the guilds and alliances will figure things out themselves. People play at varying hours, not just prime time Eastern.
 
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