Tobold's Blog
Monday, December 01, 2008

My priest visited the new open world PvP zone Wintergrasp for the first time at level 76 this weekend, then again at level 77 with a flying mount. Which didn't help much, as it is a no-fly zone. Anyway, besides just running around and getting my mining skill up to 450, I also participated in two keep defense battles there, and one attack. And got a strong reminder how Blizzard is making life so difficult for the competition: They "borrow" the ideas of others, and implement them better. Yeah, I know, I'll get another bunch on anonymous people accusing me of having a hidden agenda to destroy WAR. But Wintergrasp is an excellent version of PvP keep battles.

One major difference between previous versions of keep battles and the WoW version is that in Winterspring you can drive around with catapults and other moving war engines, not just fixed siege engines. And in Wintergrasp the towers and walls of the keep are destructible, not just the doors. There is even a buff for the less numerous side to avoid the outnumbered side being steamrolled! And while of course there is no RvR in WoW, the Wintergrasp keep capture gives a server-wide buff for the winning side, for +5% xp and the opportunity to gather Stone Keeper's Shards, which can then be used as currency to buy various recipes and other stuff. Winning also gives access to a raid instance, and to added monsters in the zone that can be farmed for expensive elemental tradegood drops.

It is totally possible that a keep falls at 3 am to a group of attackers with no defenders in sight. But during the day the battles are better populated: They only happen about every 3 hours, for up to half an hour. If the attacker takes the keep, the battle is over sooner, and you'll have to wait two-and-a-half hours for the next battle. As there is only one keep in the game, the people who want to do keep warfare are all concentrated at this one place, so even in the morning there is enough action in those keep battles. And for those, like me, who aren't big PvPers, the turrets and vehicles allow you to make an impact in the battle, even if you aren't a trained player killer.

World of Warcraft is not a PvP game, and it is unlikely that the addition of Wintergrasp will make a lot of people quit their more PvP-centric games to play WoW instead. But for those of us who just want a fun keep battle once in a while, with good rewards and some varied gameplay, Wintergrasp is a lot of fun. You can find a detailed description of the rules at Moonfire, and a discussion of the incentives over at Player versus Developer.

Of course you could argue that Wintergrasp is as unoriginal as a fake Rolex. But if you could get a fake Rolex with more features which actually looked better and ran better than the original, how much would originality be worth to you?
WoW should copy just 1 feature from WAR, that is allowing people to get XP from playing in BATTLEGROUNDs. That way i can just PvP with my lv1 alts up to 80 without doing any PvE quest.

Just an idea, what happen if WAR repackaged as an online multiplayer game featuring only scenarios, no leveling and no monthly fee. or even Blizzard releasing Battlefield : Warcraft.
At Blizzcon they said they plan on adding XP to battlegrounds sometime in the future.
I like the mobile siege engines, the ability to destroy walls, and the concentration of players in one area.

I dislike the limited time and the fact there's only one keep, making an epic army/conquest feel not possible.

I'm not really sure why you think the fake Rolex is better, but I'm sure you see how your one-sided portrayal of.... everything... could make people think you have a hidden agenda (hint: try critically appraising the game design decisions of Wintersgrasp to appear unbiased)
As a Warhammer player i wish we had the option to use siege engines like Goblin Chariots, Dwarven Siege Engine (all from Warhammer Fantasy Codex). One thing that keep puzzling me is HOW IN THE HECK WoW can put 40x40 pvp with lag free smoothness when an RVR game like WAR cannot ?

the day will come when WoW let players leveled up in Battlegrounds PVP and it will be sad indeed if WAR's RvR is eclipsed by WoW's RvR.
The Tenacity buff is a good idea but if you don't have enough turrets manned on the walls the defence can be over very quickly. During one game yesterday the Tenacity buff was x 18 and we didn't have enough people to defend against simultaneous attacks on both the east and west walls. But even that game was fun just from using one of the inner wall turrets turned around backwards to fire at the steps to the Fortress door to delay the inevitable defeat.

Wintergrasp is exactly what I was expecting from a Warhammer siege and is all the more amazing considering Blizzards past open world pvp failures. Warhammer has got to revamp their, "knock down one door, knock down another door and rush up one floor and if you take too long invisible pixies come along and repair the doors" keep sieges.

The only thing missing is server wide announcements/count down to the next match.

Strand of the Ancients is also a good addition and beats all the other battlegrounds hands down (except on the rare occasions when AV actually contains some PVP).

But Blizzard being Blizzard they still need to correct some of their past mistakes. Most importantly they need to reverse the change that makes Battlegrounds open for the team with the most people in the queue, instead of waiting until the side with the least amount has a full team. AV in the 71-80 bracket at the moment is regularly 40 Horde v 14 Alliance. Pre WotLK the other battlegrounds at 70 were starting with the Horde outnumbered and this change Blizzard made is just bizarre.
Melf_Himself, you're getting rather tiresome with your smart-aleck comments. Why read someone's blog if you're just going to troll?
@Cecilia - because he's trying to drum up attention to his own blog.
I too have found it to be an enjoyable experience. Most amazingly is that I have been in large fights with 30-40 players on my screen with no lag and high graphics settings. Comparatively I would have to run WAR at its absolute lowest settings and still couldn’t play in that large of a fight with no lag.

I really wish there was more to it with small mini-objective fights to battle over during the down time between matches.

The boss fight is rather easy now, but is set to be made more difficult according to blue posters. The boss drops the arena gear and is well worth your time doing.
Hmm, Blizzard's strategy with new features:

WoW is huge and extremely successful, so it's risky to change something and risk losing possibly millions of subscribers. Change is no doubt potentially nerve-rattling to the execs at Blizzard. Solution: wait until someone else proves that a specific change is desires, by attracting players. Use your superior manpower and second iteration advantage (not to mention the important critical mass of players which WoW has in abundance) to make the feature better.

Also important in this strategy is to allow other companies to come up with features first. Don't try to come up with all the ideas, or it will reduce the innovation in the genre that Blizzard itself feeds on. Blizzard is indirectly outsourcing innovation, and by not trying to stomp on new stuff first, allows companies to feel that innovation could be their edge against Blizzard. The new companies come and ago, and Blizzard absorbs the best ideas, ideally refining them if possible. Other new companies start, and the cycle repeats. Competition is good for Blizzard, because it shows them how to improve.
Here's what I don't get about WAR, I know for a fact that at least some of the things you mention WoW borrowing and improving on from WAR, namely mobile siege and destructible walls/towers were implemented quite well in Mythic's DAoC. I have no idea why they didn't include them in WAR, it definitely would have made siege more interesting.

Because it would have taken even longer ot get out the door, and EA was not going to wait. Which is why WAR is in the shape it's in in the first place.
@Random Poster

Yes, because WoW was never in the same shape as WAR at first start. Trust me, It was worst than WAR at the beginning. Things take time to improve, and WAR won't be perfect. Pretty sure everyone wasn't waiting at the site of the construction of the 16-chapel each and everyday bugging the workers.
sounds cool

But seriously, can we stop arguing about whos copying what? Both WAR and WOW "stole" ideas from other games and books, in fact almost every 3D mmorpg today has zero self-invented content. Go check out MUD's, those are text based MMORPG's that have been around for far longer than any 3D MMORPG and guess what...they got the same content as WAR and WOW. Even MUD's are rip off from books published long before the first PC.
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