This is not backpedaling, actually it’s realizing how significant are becoming the potential flaws I was pointing out.
I’ve been playing some more these days and experienced concretely those problems. And I think these problems are crippling. I said long term, now I think I was optimistic.
My “fun” has been spotty. The game has a HUGE potential, as the huge potential was always there if PvP was done right. In Warhammer it is done right, but only occasionally realized and well executed. Too many variables affecting the fun, and this means that it’s not consistent and most time the game isn’t fun at all.
1- The client doesn’t have a good performance. It has serious problems with memory management, and even more in video memory management and caching. On new systems these flaws are much less noticeable and the gameplay is smooth, but over a number of different configurations there are PLENTY of players who report a lot of problems. This doesn’t seem a priority issue, but it is. Mass market means that your game HAS to work flawlessly on a wide range of configurations. Conservative graphic doesn’t guarantee good performance. It helps, but the really high number of little and major problems in the game client risks to cripple the sales and subscriptions in a substantial way. Those who can’t play well rarely spend weeks hunting for “magic” trick on the forums or sending feedback, they go back to play WoW, where technical execution comes above everything else.
2- Terrible flow. This basically summarizes all kind of critical problems. The fact that the “fun” is spotty. The zones have too much wasted space. Too much traveling without shortcuts. The death penalty may be trivial but here there are HUGE downtimes due to traveling, waiting for scenarios to pop or running aimlessly for half an hour or more around huge open PvP areas without meeting a single other player. In the last days I’ve been having serious problems to find even ONE open party for Public Quests. Even during prime time. This also gives a very bad perception. I have no idea how successful is the game, but the world feels empty and lonely as if I joined two years after launch. Instead how long is it? Two weeks? It’s all wasted, all those open PvP areas with all sort of objectives. Carefully designed to hold zerg of players. And there’s NO ONE. If you are lucky you see a tumbleweed in the distance. Developer time completely WASTED. Money wasted. And fun crippled.
So what were Warhammer strengths? The variety of gameplay alternatives it offered: normal questing, PQs, Scenarios and open RvR.
Pragmatically, which one of these alternatives are really viable if I decide to log in now? Normal questing and Scenarios when they pop. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, a PQ party that holds for ten minutes only to be wiped at the third phase because it was badly designed and it’s not doable with a single group, escalating difficulty in the worst way possible (from trivial but slow -kill 120 level 10 zombies- to impossible -five linked level 12 heroes-).
I don’t like PvE questing much. So what? Just scenarios, and they grow old after a while, same as WoW.
So that’s the downward spiral. Some deathmatches for shit and giggles and some boring PvE to slog through. Not exactly a masterpiece of game. Not even the WAAAAGH they were claiming it was going to be. You read on the forum a lot of similar feedback, players that try to explain how great was the battle they had yesterday. Sure, it was, but it’s inconstant. You have fun once every few days, when all the celestial bodies align properly. And Mythic’s design doesn’t help it.
I’m back feeling like when I was playing DAoC. Feeling bad because the game is THIS close to *be* a masterpiece.
What if Mythic planned the server structure form the start not as this prehistoric shard/server division, but a dynamical system where characters are an autonomous entity and where a new zone instance is only spawned when the previous reaches the cap? Think if, no matter when you decide to log in, no matter the server you picked, the zones always had players running around, with lots of activity, where all the PQs have players, where instances pop frequently and where open RvR is active at all time, where faction and population balance are more even than how they are currently. Utopia? Not. It’s vision, careful observation and experience. It’s knowing the right thing to do. It’s about knowing what the game needs to work well and to plan ahead with that in mind. It was possible by just planning the server structure in the way I was suggesting.
What if they actually designed the zones so that the three campaigns had ONE open PvP area for each tier (excluding endgame), like a convergence, instead all that ridiculous wasted space?
What if there was a de-levelling system so that all those PvP spaces were more consistently alive, and more consistently counted in the overall campaign? While also allowing PvE junkies to hunt down their Tome of Knowledge tricks without the fear of outlevelling the zones.
Well, it’s useless to repeat it again, but I was pointing all this out years ago when Warhammer didn’t even exist as a project. Trying to be as loud as possible but obtaining once again no result beside the evidence I was right.
I don’t fucking care if I was right. If it does not make a difference, it’s of no use to be right.
So, since I’m powerless, someone out there PLEASE WAKE UP.
But instead I’m talking to a deaf wall. No matter if I’m loud or not, in the best case I’m seen just as an arrogant idiot, or a troll, or a fraud who is accused of re-dating and rewriting his posts to claim undeserved wit.
I repeat myself I can’t start another of those useless crusades, no matter how much I think I’m right. Maybe I’m not? They say I’m not. So I wait the probable: Mythic to repeat the same mistakes, announcing soon all kind of fancy bonuses to encourage players to reroll on specific servers, obtaining no tangible difference, and later an expansion with some new classes, races and brand new zones to dilute what is already too diluted and wasted.
‘No, it comes with living long enough to appreciate the value of the time you’ve got left. Long enough to recognize the fallacy of a crusade when you’re called to one. Hoiran’s teeth, Gil, you’re the last person I should need to be telling this to. Have you forgotten what they did with your victory?’
I truly admire who did art direction for Warhammer. Stylistically I love it, more than WoW. But what the fuck was he thinking about all those white, textureless cloaks? Or the utter lack of variety in the graphic of items?
Of course with the time these issues will vanish, but probably only at the level cap as more shit is added. And this doesn’t make a good game at all. It just leaves a sour taste.