The only two things I’m curious about Warhammer and that haven’t been fully revealed are those at the core of the game:
– RvR character advancement
– How real RvR and instances battlegrounds are interconnected
I was kind of baffled when I read this reply of MJ (no, it’s not Mary Jane) on the forums:
Random guy: It is already going to be that way. The king fight isn’t only accessible for one group/raid. The instance is simply capped, that is it. But everyone can fight the king when they want to, once per city siege. I am really not sure why people think it is only for one raid/group when Mythic never even said this, nor hinted it.
Mark Jacobs: You are correct. That would be stupidity on a whole new scale. We’ll make mistakes over the next 6 or 7 years but none on that scale I hope.
To explain and complete the few informations I already had, Warhammer endgame RvR should be structured in a number of linked maps, probably similar to how the multiplayer worked in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.
We should have the capital cities maps at the two extremes of this imaginary segment, and in between a number of transitory maps. So the opposed factions fight to “push” the front line further toward the enemy city. In theory the map where the fighting happens is just one (as only one front line is supposed to exist), and so you move back and forth through these maps only when objectives in that map are won by one of the two factions. Then the front line either moves forward (next map) or backwards (previous map), depending on the point of view.
At a point it will happen that a faction is stronger enough to be able to push this front line/map progression all the way to the enemy capital city. And there, after a number of objectives, the last goal is supposed to be the attack to the king and the conquest of the city.
This is what I knew, assuming it is correct at least as a general scheme. The real question, as said above, is how you make all that work when you have BOTH real RvR (meaning persistence of maps and battles outcomes), AND instanced battlegrounds (meaning lack of persistence and relativity of victories).
If there’s real RvR, then a conquered keep is a conquered keep. A truth. But if the RvR is instanced then your efforts aren’t absolute and objective, but relative to that instance, then shattered through a number of other instances where other players are playing and obtaining different results.
So the legitimate question: how persistent RvR and instances are supposed to work and relate to each other?
And we came to that answer above from Mark Jacobs that baffled me. He says “you are correct”. So: the instance is capped, and everyone can spawn his own instance and go kill “his” king.
This means that the “king encounter” is a group instance, that can happen an unlimited numbers of times, but only once for each player.
You know, kinda like in WoW’s PvE, where everyone had his occasion to kill Van Cleef in the Deadmines (minus the farming).
Makes sense? Sure, but while PvE is an experience relative to yourself (personal adventure), the RvR is supposed to be a communal experience. Your realm. Where these fights are fun because they are supposed to be persistent. Fight for something as “concrete” as possible.
If Mark Jacobs confirmed that crucial events like the assault to the capital city are instanced, it means that this kind of RvR is going to work like Guild Wars. Where there’s no real war. But the results of a number of instances are charted together, then compared to the global results of the opposite faction, and then the victory mathematically deduced from that comparison. Order won 155 times, Destruction 160, so Destruction wins and the front line moves one map further toward the Order capital.
I called that “projected” PvP. As you aren’t fighting for what’s in front of you (territory warfare, as in conquest games), but you are fighting to collect “stats” on a chart, and then hope your performance is overall better than a vague idea of “enemy” that also appears on a chart.
I’m sorry but this isn’t RvR, as the war between the two factions is detached and filtered. It is just charts compared one to the other. Leader board game. Ladders.
But no RvR in the sense of persistent war and fight for territory.
So virtually identical to the PvP in WoW, and completely different from the RvR of DAoC. Assuming that the whole difference between DAoC and WoW is about the persistence itself.
Which is still a legitimate game. But it isn’t what is being advertised. It’s no RvR in the sense people expect.
And also leads to a number of problems. For example this kind of “sport PvP” (a definition that matches more closely the game) is by its nature more divisive than inclusive as it encourages the “elite” to despise their own faction as other players who aren’t on par with skills and gear become DEAD WEIGHT for the whole faction, as their losses worsen the performance of the whole realm.
The RvR existed to offer a different model. A model where every player contributed. Even if low level and with crap gear, but still better being there than not participating. That’s what built the sense of realm in DAoC , that brought everyone together to defend relics, that built the community, cohesion, motivation and longevity of the game. And that put less focus on the personal performance and phat loot.
Which is what Mythic systematically destroyed by promoting 8vs8 gank groups and that made the RvR (keeps and relic warfare) almost irrelevant and just a mild “flavor” on the background. And that consequently destroyed the unique qualities and value the game had, and dig the hole where the game now lies.
Warhammer seems to be a game with a new coat of paint over gameplay that people decided to abandon. Saving what in DAoC didn’t work, and burying what worked. We’ll see if, after the game’s launch, the players will still appreciate the game after having scratched below this new paint coat and discovered the exact same gameplay they decided to quit.