Mark, you are out of your fucking mind, go sit down and relax


DO NOT FUCKING LOCK THREADS ON THE VAULT. Why Mark Jacobs is allowed to bash me freely and I’m not allowed to defend myself?

This is what I was trying to post before the thread was locked.

Haha, what amuses me is that no matter if I post under HRose or Abalieno, people still misspell my name ;)

he spent years attacking me personally whenever he could.

Oh please, you know it is false and my “attacks” have always been motivated. I’ve criticized your work, often harshly and inappropriately, sure, but not to bash the man outside his public role. I don’t know you personally and I don’t judge you personally.

He also had a tendency to create new accounts and post where I posted (like WHA in the beginning).

This is UTTERLY false. There isn’t one case you can name.

I post on three forums in total if you include this one (the Valut). F13 and Quarter To Three are the other two, and in both cases I was there before you (on F13 you registered first because developers were invited before the forums opened to everyone else, and I was there all along since Waterthread).


If with WHA you intend Warhammer Alliance then either you’re lying or mistaking me for someone else as I never had an account over there.

Really, I don’t know whether you’re trolling me (only to then accuse me of trolling you) or truly believe what you said. I have absolutely nothing personal against you nor I care on which forums you post. Recently I’ve bashed in a much harsher way Kalgan from Blizzard. Not because once again I have personal issues with him but solely because of game design. You don’t get special treatment, I only happen to play your game and so have something to write about it. In my usual style.

If I was fanatically egocentric then I’d think that *YOU* chase and stalk me around. But instead I’m not and simply think that you misunderstand what I write, as it often happens.

Think again if you think I’m obsessed with your persona. I’m just a passionate player who once had game design aspirations.

Nothing else.

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This is not 2001

I noticed this comment from Mark Jacobs:

No successful MMORPG hit its peak within the first year, let alone the first month and that’s the approach we’re taking with WAR.

Age of Conan hit its peak within the first month.

This is not 2001, the market radically changed and the same for the players’ trends. Subscription numbers are much more fluid now and “loyal” fans much rarer. Things happen more quickly. You need to be ready of losing substantial numbers as to see them coming back.

I’ll point to this 2007 quote for something more up-to-date:

In online games beyond the boutique scale, you are #1 or you are Everyone Else.

“#1” obeys certain rules that I won’t get into, but stability-to-growth becomes easier and you’re far more protected from loss, barring extreme triggers.

For “Everyone Else,” the converse is true: You are generally in a net state of subtraction over time. It’s just a matter of the rate. It takes extreme triggers to cause stability or gain.

For an MMO in the Everyone Else category, overall stability is actually a significant victory.

With WotLK coming next month stability for Warhammer would be already an impressive achievement. If they expect a growth between now and December then I believe they are set for a harsh surprise.

The real match starts with the next year. Who will succeed is the one who reacts more promptly and effectively. Blizzard has a history of being really slow. Mythic has the resources and skills to become a serious competitor but it is crucial that they arrive at that point with a game that is in the best shape as possible. And this implies not being scared of addressing problems at the root. It is going to be like a fencing duel with plenty of back and forth. The steady and slow growth or decline? Is a thing of the past.

WotLK is a storm that will happen soon but that will also pass. The same “window” that opened in September for the potential success of Warhammer, will likely open again with the next year, when the players will start to lose some interest in the other game.

It remains to be seen in what state Warhammer will be at that point.

EDIT: This one explains it better:

so far, they’re showing that they have no idea how to apply the right kinds of bandaid fixes. They’re undershooting everything with the understanding that some time in the future they can add another fix, whereas they really need to be overshooting their solutions because WotLK is almost here and they really need to cement their player base. The fact of the matter is, with a MMO a large part of it is getting the start right. If your grindy, imbalanced, life-sucking game gets a bad rep (ala Vanguard) no one will want anything to do with it. The key for WAR is to be clearly better than WoW at some stuff (which it is, RvR) and not much worse than WoW at other stuff (everything else, which sadly it isn’t). Otherwise your game gets a clownshoes rep, a la AoC. Who of us is playing that one atm? Hmm?

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My trust in Mythic just went down by a lot

For Mark Jacobs I’ll likely be in the trolls group but at least I’ll motivate my reaction.

I’m unimpressed and a bit deluded by his state of the game. It’s purely marketing and not even good at it.

I’m a cynic and expected very little, but this doesn’t mean that I don’t always hope to be disproved.

What I hoped from Mythic: an honest overall look at the game, admitting all the main problems and issues the game is presenting and explain, along with an approximate time table, what they are doing to address them. I wanted this and nothing else.

What I got: a bleached proclaim of success and self-praise that gave me the impression that they are again out of touch with the game. And the announce of more content.

Why this is wrong: you can’t announce new content when the majority of content you ALREADY have is either broken or ignored.

That’s it. That’s what originates all that is wrong in that letter.

Did you see any mention of Public Quests not working as intended and them doing something at the root? Did you see a mention of tweaks and changes to the Scenarios to make them more playable and equally rewarding? Did you see anything concrete and convincing about what they want to do with Open RvR? Did you see mention of a gentler leveling curve? Did you see mention of adding the required NPCs the all the hubs and improving the horrid travel time sinks?

Nope, but we got the announce of new classes, dungeons, quests. Adding a myriad of new problems on top of those we have already. The only positive point is that they are working on performance, that, I agree, should be their very top priority effort as they are way behind.

My opinion is that all the main problems that Warhammer has at the moment are structural and systemic. All the changes MJ announced are just layers added on top of a weak foundation. This is how you build another castle of cards.

We need mention of what they concretely want to do about Open RvR. I don’t know what’s the point of adding an “influence” system for gear as renown gear already has that function in the game. Things in RvR needs unification, not being duplicated and dispersed. Between city-raids, keeps, keeps lords, PvE raids, renown gear and armor sets unlocks there are PLENTY of ways to get gear. Adding more systems that overlap each other only makes the game more confusing.

So I wait. A month passed and Open RvR, admittedly the core of the game, is dead, Public Quests are only good for grinding influence, the level curve is painfully slow and nothing is being done to improve the gameplay in the Scenarios.

This 1.1 patch will take two months to make.

GODDAMNIT. If you wanted to announce new content at least you could have announced some decent textures for those white cloaks, or more visual variety for the gear in the first tiers.

Or a better wharf mount in place of that good-on-paper but horridly executed helicopter that glides unrealistically one inch above the ground.

Please stop working on new shit and fix what you already have. There’s PLENTY to keep everyone busy. Programmers, artists, designers, sound engineers, server programmers and whatever else fits in.

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Warhammer: post-launch state of the game

I don’t need to wait Friday to read Mark Jacobs’ own.

Putting aside client performance and stability for once, even if it should remain the very first-priority effort, I’ll focus on the gameplay. Class balance is also an argument on its own that I won’t comment here.

I said before, and repeat again, that Warhammer’s biggest strength is in the variety of gameplay it offers. This variety comes in four different flavours: straight PvE quests, Public Quests, Scenarios and Open RvR.

The game is in the best shape when these four systems are always accessible and equally rewarding (or comparably rewarding). All four of them.

Removing Scenarios doesn’t make a better game, it’s the wrong solution to a problem. Reducing the number of scenarios also doesn’t make a better game since it reduces once again the variety. The main reason why everyone says the game is an awful grind is because the game entered a dead end where there’s scenarios and just scenarios. It’s repetitive, and repetitive is “grind”. And grind means that you worship your exp bar. And worshiping your exp bar means that you aren’t having fun and just hope to reach the “promise of a different end-game”.

This is the state of the four gameplay paths coming from my personal experience in the game and what I read in other players’ feedback:

– PvE Quests yield crap experience, especially in Tier 3 and 4 (or so I read)
– PQs don’t have enough players and bag loot should be improved
– Scenarios outbalance everything else, but should be balanced between each other to be more equal in rewards
– Open PvP is non existent and with piss poor rewards

PvE Quests
I don’t have the data, but I think that the experience curve throughout all the levels should be improved. Things should scale more uniformly and quests, scenarios, PQs, direct kills, these all should scale with the levels following a smooth, predictable curve. Instead I read reports that quests yield less and less experience and something similar happens for scenarios too. The escalation of level requirements isn’t perceived as smooth, and I’m willingly to trust the feedback I read on this.

I don’t have any experience in Tier 3 so I can’t comment the details. For sure the solution is NOT to add repeatable quests to fill the gaps. If the are gaps they need to be removed entirely, not just bridged with fluff. In any case it’s a problem of boosting or decreasing the xp rewards so that even the normal quests make your experience bar move perceptibly.

Public Quests
Big issue. Problems coming from different aspects that aren’t easily fixable without significant coding efforts. Difficulty scaling, to begin with.

The real reason why Mythic is scared about making leveling faster is because the faster the players move to the cap, the quicker the tiers will depopulate. The quicker the tiers depopulate, the less fun the experience for new players. The less fun the experience of new players, the smaller the influx of new subscriptions to the game. With less players sticking, the game has no future.

Right now for Mythic is crucial that the first tiers are vibrant with activity. The band-aid they have for this is to keep the leveling so slow that people “pool” in the tiers for longer, maybe even encouraging them to create alts more than pushing to the cap.

The real problem is that no matter how slow the leveling speed, these problems will arise anyway. The depopulation of the tiers is the big thorn in the game’s side. It WILL happen. Ignoring it now will just make things worse later. It starts affecting mostly the PQs, but later will even affect Scenarios. It’s a game-breaking problem.

There’s only one effective solution, and I’ll point where I discussed it.

I believe that the Scenarios should be reworked even in level design, but I won’t go in the details. For sure they need to add lightmaps and avoid fights in the dark. Not fun, especially when it’s so easy to get stuck everywhere. For this kind of gameplay the zone design shouldn’t get in the way, it should ease the fight. Less stupid obstacles and more visibility, thanks.

Secondly, all the Scenarios in a tier need to be equally rewarding. Make an average of time each required, then compensate the differences through bigger or smaller rewards for completing one.

Open RvR
To begin with: travel sucks. Travel time-sinks have to go completely. Every hub, big or small, should have all the necessary NPCs. Then I’d add at least two flight masters for each zone, one closer to a PvE hub, the other to the RvR Lake warcamp.

Once travel between PvE and RvR Lakes is simpler, I’d go with the following plan:

– Players take a Battlefield Objective (or keep) and cap it (worth nothing for now). Guilds can put a banner on the BO and stack benefits.
– For the time the BO is being actively defended (meaning there are real players in its proximity) it “blinks” on the map for all the players in the zone, for both factions. So that all players know that there’s activity there.
– All the kills (both defenders and attackers) that happen within a decently wide radius from the BO starts to be worth more points (XP, renown). A bonus that should be slightly higher for defenders, to encourage defense.
– For all the kills that defenders manage, some points go into a “bounty pool” in the BO. The more kills, the more this pool increases. I’d also make the BO generate some of these points even if no one is around, so that if left untouched for a lot of hours it actually start to be worth something anyway.
– This means that the longer it takes to conquer the BO, the biggest is going to be the reward, as it increases with the time and makes the prize progressively juicier.
– In order to “collect” these points the attackers need to conquer the objective themselves and “cash” the reward.

This has mainly three effects:
1- The BO works like a magnet, like a natural convergence since the direct kills are worth a lot more when they are closer to the objective. This makes the players know where to go and the action is focused on a smaller area (those who played Planetside know what I mean). This reduces the problem of RvR lakes being too dispersive.
2- The bounty points increase over time, so growing to a level that will likely motivate the other faction to take action. It will also move the “hot” RvR area around instead of repeating what happened with “Emain” in DAoC. It puts variety in the system.
3- It avoids exploits and disruptive behaviors. Points in this system come from direct kills. Handing out a lot of points for just conquering a keep, instead, encourages the factions to just trade the objective instead of fighting for it. It teaches them to AVOID the fight to maximize the reward (we saw some of this in WoW). My system instead focuses on the fight itself. It motivates it and makes sure it is rewarding since it promotes and rewards the activity.

This is how I would fix Open RvR. Some of those mechanics existed in some form in DAoC, but were never implemented in a way they mattered.

Mark Jacobs says:

Look, it’s really very simple and I’ve said this more than once. This is not 2001 and we are not going to blithely make changes to our game just because some people think that we are wrong before they even get a chance to see the changes in action or worse, just because we are getting yelled at by a very vocal minority. We’ll gather the data, look at all the feedback and then make a decision. If we’re wrong, we’ll correct the decision but at least this time we have all the data we need to make the right call and we are not getting swayed either by just the loud voices or a few wrong-headed individuals. So, if you feel the need to talk about canceling in these threads, of course you have that right. Just don’t think that we are going to react to it the same way we might have at times back in 2001, we need to be smarter and react more carefully than that.

Mark Jacobs apparently believes that these complaints about Open RvR are due to “loud voices or a few wrong-headed individuals”.

To what did they overreact in 2001 that made them so scared today? Class issues, maybe. Doing nothing in regards to huge unbalances for a long time, keeping specs completely broken. And then suddenly turning things on their heads. This happened. Right now there are no signs of change. Class issues are still unaddressed and no one knows if when the changes will come they will be searing.

Class issues aside, what I remember from Mythic is not overreacting, but doing very little, too late and never at the root of the problem. How is this different today? As with ToA, they risk to fix things when it’s too late, or never in a radical way. Even at that time Mythic believed that the complaints against ToA came from a “vocal minority” and it take them a long time to acknowledge that this “vocal minority” spoke in regards of the majority. When they did, it was too late.

History repeats, no matter how hard they try to persuade players of the contrary. No matter how much I hope something really changed.

DAoC with the time became more and more a game just about specialized 8vs8 or arranged matches between guilds. The keep battles and sieges became a rarity. For a very long time I was part of the “vocal minority” who pleaded Mythic to bring the “real” RvR back to when the realm was fighting together and the battles pivoted around keeps instead of away from them to avoid interferences.

They did nothing for a long time and when they started adding some rewards to conquering a keep, these rewards were ridiculously low. Does it sound familiar? This is way too similar to what is happening now in regards to Scenarios and Open RvR.

The same happened again with the “Catacombs” expansion. They added private instances that were merely a corridor populated with a row of skeletons. It was STUPID. Ridiculously pointless and dull.

But everyone continued to do them and just them. Over and over and over. Why? Because they gave by far the most experience points.

Mythic had other instanced dungeons that provided a lot more variety and depth of gameplay, also more linked to the various zones. They were completely deserted. No players at all. Why? Because they couldn’t even compare to the fast rewards of the private instances. For a long time I tried to persuade Mythic to make these other dungeons comparably attractive. They never did.

History repeats.

I know I sound like the stereotypical soured player, but I’ve seen these things happening. Over and over. And now I don’t see any sign that they actually learned from mistakes. They say they did, but this isn’t reflected by their actions. I continue to see the same mistakes repeated. The exact same mistakes.

I remember reading an old post from Ubiq who described similar patterns:

In Star Wars Galaxies, I remember, the rewards for killing the flying bat things were better than for everything else (probably had something to do with me being a Master Armorsmith). So because I could choose my own randomly generated quests, I chose the flying bat thing quests every time. Man, I got so sick of killing those, but all of the other content may as well not have existed.

It bears pointing out that most MMOs, rather inadvertently, end up shrinking their own content down in some way. Players are incredibly efficient at finding the fastest way to advance, and designers sometimes accidentally make design and balance decisions that help this along.

What Ubiq describes here is what it happens with Warhammer today. Players do scenarios and just scenarios, everything else may as well not exist at all. They shrunk their game to just repetitive deathmatches. This is what originated the “grind” the players are feeling. The repetition. The dullness.

Bringing back the variety I talked at the beginning would already help to substantially reduce the “grind” even without touching the levelling curve. But Mythic is scared even to touch the smallest thing, because their “metrics” tell them how much fun players are having in Scenarios. The same metrics that told them how fun were the 8vs8 matches or those stupid task dungeons in DAoC.

Mark Jacobs continues to repeat that they’ll only listen their metrics and not those “loud voices and few wrong-headed individuals” I’m sure he would put me in.

The metrics on my account will tell Mythic that when I log in I sit in a warcamp and do exclusively Scenarios. But those metrics don’t know that I’m PISSED, DEAD BORED about them. Mythic instead will take those metrics and see the evidence of how much I obviously love Scenarios since all my play time goes there.

How much I love Mourkain Temple, especially, since I do mostly that one. But those metrics don’t know that I think that whoever designed the Scenario terrain should better move on another job. Plenty of time I get stuck somewhere while moving, the textures are so dark that I see jack shit, and there’s a total absence of lightmaps that makes all this even worse. It’s terrible, but I continue to do it because it’s the most rewarding.

Metrics are dumb. Their “evidence” is a lie.

So I really don’t know what message I should send Mythic instead. Because if I play Scenarios they’ll think I love Scenarios. If I do Open RvR they’ll think it’s ok that Open RvR yields no rewards. Next time they’ll write that they see some more activity in the RvR Lakes because some idiots are trying desperately even if the system is so punishing. Do I boycott them? Do I cancel my account? Canceling my account would tell them that I don’t believe in Mythic, the potential of the game, or that a PvP MMO could be successful. Whatever I do sends the wrong message.

Whatever I do sends the wrong message because on the other side there should be a game designer that UNDERSTANDS players. That is in touch with them. That plays the game himself and sees where the problems are. That plans and fix things for the long term, and not through band-aids. At the root of the problems, and not inadequately.

Instead we rely on “metrics” and whatever twisted, biased use is made of them. To prove “evidence” where there’s only wronged partiality.

The disgruntled player…

…usually has a point.

I’ll quote randomly what I read on the forums:

How we made pvp more boring than WoW by replacing RvR with dumbass scenarios used for xp grinding – a staggering achievement!
How we tried to make a ghostland of every quest, pq, and town on every server before an expansion pack using scenarios.
How we made an unbalanced game for the future by making too many servers, a completely laughable race of High Elves, and overpowered casters (as usual).
How we will change the game’s name to ScenarioWars for Guilds.

I’ve been Mythic fan for years. I hated WoW with a passion. But, I just cannot believe how badly things are turning out for this game.

I think the devs severely overrated their own scenarios. I mean fuck, at the current rate of EXP reward and requirements for T4 levels, i think it’ll take me almost 70-90 scenario wins just to level from RvR. It’s not healthy, I tell ya. Even my friend whom I introduced to the game went bonkers after finishing T1 doing nothing but Nordenwatch. He gave PQ a try and told me it reminded him of grinding (we cant’ finish it with just two of us anyway, what’s the point?) , he tried questing and found it dull (It’s like a shitty WoW, dude!) since he got no mount. So we login, me on my runepriest and he’s on bright wizard. We just sat at the warcamp, picking our noses while waiting for Morkaine to pop. That’s all there to it.

I was thinking this game was robot jesus after the end of t1. That’s probably because all the pqs and open rvr were actually, you know, populated.

The turning point for me was when I hit level 12 and still had tonnes of teir one quests to do, and that was just in the one race area, I hadn’t even barely touched the other two except to explore the rvr areas and battlecamps. Not being able to do scenarios while questing just made the pve seem so much worse than it probably is. So I skipped the rest of the quests and the completist/questor in me switched off. Now I have no connection to the lore and the land and I’m wondering why the hell this is really a MMO and not just a lobby and scenario deal only with the keep areas being implemented as some type of long running scenario.

I love the quests that take you to the PQ.

I hate finding those PQs completely empty.

RvR on my server is very weird: it comes to life for brief periods of intensity and then it dies again. Because WAR isn’t a world and has such a narrow base of satisfying gameplay, if things are popping either in the world RvR or in scenarios, that’s somewhat fun. If that’s not happening, it’s boring as hell.

Huge increases in gear drop rates and xp/rp gains in world rvr would go a long way to provide variety. Sport pvp is fun in small doses, but not enough to keep people interested. The pvp scenarios quickly feel like any other xp grind in the game after you’ve done them enough. It’s really a problem.

These mostly come from F13 and they reflect the way I feel as well.

I’m not canceling my subscription, absolutely not. I canceled my WoW sub instead, when Warhammer launched. I don’t expect even to be back for WotLK. Warhammer is much closer to the game I want to play, and I see its huge potential. I’m also one who gives too much importance to that potential, and not enough to what the game offers now.

Honestly and brutally, for me the game was fun up to level 10. A blast. The most fun I had in a MMO in a long time. But my main now is only 15 and feels like a chore. I try to log in every day so that I feel like I’m making some progress.

The game stopped to be fun, and now I play only because either I wait and hope them to fix stuff, or hoping to eventually reach the endgame and see if it is what I want.

I’m enduring to try to reach the level cap. From this perspective it feels like DAoC all over again. It’s a different grind, but also a similar one.


For the same reasons I explained in my first “review” of the game, that people mocked because I wrote it just a few hours into the game. The “fun” depends too much on variables outside the control of the game. I thought this was going to be a HUGE problem as the months passed, instead it is a HUGE problem right now. And it can only get worse and worse.

If I’m not having fun is not due to personal issues, or that I like to just bash Mythic, or that I don’t want the game to succeed (If Mark Jacobs is the first, I’m a close second who wants it to). If I’m not having fun is because the variety of gameplay I praised till day one is now crippled.

I enjoy scenarios to an extent, but when I’m doing JUST them they get incredibly boring and dull. A chore. I play while watching TV because if I don’t I won’t even endure to play two in a row. At level 15 I’m already completely bored of Tier 2. And the (understandable) reason is because I’ve already ran the scenarios of choice 40+ times if not more.

I’ve tried, really tried to explore all possibilities. I’ve ran a number of PQs, did some normal quests. Wandered alone and in group in the RvR lakes. But I’m still level 15. I feel like I’ve basically saw everything I wanted to see in the whole tier, but I have still five levels before I can move on the next. And now it’s a chore. The novelty of this tier is over for me.

I consider all this, and then consider also that players aren’t complaining about tier 2, they complain about tier 3. And I wonder how I’ll feel at that point if the game feels a chore already for me at tier 2.

The real big flaw outside the lack of players activity is that the Scenarios are the only option that makes you notice a tangible progress on your exp bar. And when things start to become a chore because you think you have already seen everything, then the exp bar is ALL YOU SEE.

You worship your exp bar. And the best way to worship it is to run Mourakin over and over. And over.

This isn’t a problem of Scenarios being too rewarding, because what triggers the process of worship is boredom. The boredom kicks in BEFORE you start the worshiping. What is lacking is the novelty.

I think I’ve gone through a patter that is common to many players. I started the game with a completist attitude. Do all quests, complete all PQs at least once. Then, at some point, I discovered that I played a whole lot, accomplished a while lot, but made very little progress overall. I feel like the content had outlevelled me, and I now have half a tier of grind so I can move onto something that feels new. And, by level 22, I’m pretty sure I’ll be bored even of tier 3.

The problem is twofold. First, they really, really need to speed up things. Because the big risk isn’t that players are bored at the cap, the risk is that players will play WotLK LONG BEFORE they reach the cap.

Levelling fast isn’t a tabu. Mythic, don’t be scared to speed up things. Don’t be scared to move players quickly to the endgame. Let them have a blast. It’s much more important that the game is consistently fun, than its longevity right now. Right now and later.

Do not dilute, do not water down. Consolidate instead. Trim. Cut.

Normal PvE and PQs need a huge boost. All the various gameplay possibilities need to be balanced against each other. Scenarios, PQs, open RvR. For “x” minutes spent in one of them the reward should be comparable to “x” minutes spent in another. INCLUDING DOWNTIMES. For PQs it would include the traveling, searching for an open party, organizing. For open RvR it should include its unpredictability.

I know Mark Jacobs says they have all sort of tools to monitor the situation and get statistics. Well, as with the interview with Jeff Hickman, THEY ARE COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE COMMUNITY.

I don’t need to study ANY metrics to see where the problems of this game lay. They are glaring, glowing obvious.

You say you don’t want to repeat the same mistakes of ToA for DAoC. You are repeating them under a new form. Baby steps didn’t fix ToA. Baby steps didn’t prevent ToA becoming a fire brand and stain Mythic reputation for a long time.

Once the players form an opinion, it’s then hard to dismantle it. Right now Warhammer is Scenarios and then Scenarios. Open RvR is dead or insubstantial even after that timid 50% boost to kills. PQs are deserted. The world feels empty. The community seems dead. Either you act quickly, and firmly, or there won’t be much to save later.

Yesterday I logged in and fifteen seconds I was in a RvR warband. This is what I saw, to all those who claim that players don’t talk in Warhammer. My chat box was swarmed:

Players talk, if only those parts where the community has a role actually existed in the game. Open RvR has that role, but open RvR right now is non existent. The flaw of the game isn’t of not supporting the community. The flaw is that it isn’t using its potential. In Scenarios you don’t need to chat, because what you have to do is pretty obvious. It’s linear. Discussions are superfluous. Open RvR is instead where the moving parts are more unpredictable, where coordination comes to play, and the sense of community builds up.

Warhammer has this. It has this much, much, much more than every other MMO out there. Problem is that right now Warhammer is only Scenarios Online and not much else.

You know what’s the problem? The problem is that half an hour later I was in that warband, my experience bar didn’t budge. And the warband disbanded since it was accomplishing nothing.

8 minutes later I had one bubble an half, made out of Scenarios.

When the RvR warband disbanded I was reading how much fun people had trying, but how pointless it felt.

I’ve read PLENTY of very valid solutions to open RvR issues. Including my own.

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How to unlearn all the lessons.

If you try WAR alone, it’ll feel lonelier than some other MMOs.

grouping requires less communication, which enhances play time but lessens bonding or memory of other players.

Because WAR gives you multiple paths to level your characters, there’s no urgency to find someone you can rely on for a specific task

The path to glory is still heavily shaped by the game design, but it makes players feel like they have more control due to the abundance of options and the ease with which a person rotates among those options. More control means less submission to imposed standards, which means less cohesive socialization.

The text in this game is non-intrusive and there are fewer breaks in the game.

The game never stops you; only you do.

There simply isn’t any reason to sit around and chat because of boredom, economics, or forced breaks due to game design.

No really?


Anthropologist my ass. Go play EverQuest. And make sure to not come back.

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Another Warhammer quibble

I was reading Tobold, who finally acknowledge how Warhammer strengths are also its weaknesses.

Nothing new, but it kinda fueled some fancy thoughts:

I suspect that one part of the solution is technical: More players per server. The current numbers worked great when all of us were in tier 1. But now half of the players are in tier 3, and the other half distributed over tiers 1, 2, and 4. With 6 races, 20 chapters per race, and several PQs per chapter, there simply aren’t enough players around to man the PQs. It is really crazy to first have to queue, and then have an underpopulation problem. I can only assume the limit is hardware related, not game design related.

Yes, the limit is technical because, as in DAoC, if you go above the 3000 cap the server will crash.

But I was thinking that, abstractly, Warhammer doesn’t behave the same way of DAoC, and the solution to all this may be technically plausible. If all the players are in scenarios, why you can’t rise the population cap on the world zones?

IF the great majority of players, like everyone is repeating, is just playing into instances, then you can “virtualize” the server structure. They aren’t crowding the same game area, they are instead just playing inside private rooms. So, abstractly, you can separate these private rooms from the rest of the game world. This would allow to increase the population cap per server, since very few players actually play “together”.

The fancy idea would be “clustering” the scenarios between servers the same way Blizzard did with Battlegroups, so that you make sure you never run out of players and that the faction balance is more even. While also increasing the population caps on the world server, since most of players run scenarios anyway and so do not keep it busy.

Split the scenarios servers from world servers so that you can then increase the cap significantly on the world servers. It is plausible, but then it depends on how Mythic is organized and how long it would take to rework things this way.

Then, if you’re willingly to go through this significant change, you may as well take the ball and run with it. Because you can surely increase the cap per server and make tiers 1, 2 and 3 more alive, but you also continue to risk to blow everything up when all those more players crowd the endgame, it’s just a bigger and less predictable unbalance, like a time bomb. The risks increase since you cannot regulate the way the players behave. It may well work 99% of the times when all of them sit in the scenarios, and then blow up the day they all decide to join a big siege.

The other idea is: Virtualize all the server structure like I’ve been suggesting for a long time. Make the population caps zone-specific, like Guild Wars, so that a new instance of the zone only opens up when the previous is full.

Sure, both for clustering and this other, more radical, idea you would also need to rework a lot of things on the design side since the “campaign” needs a degree of persistence. I’m not forgetting this aspect, but I think it can be all worked out.

The drawback is how you bring a revolution to the server structure without fucking everything up. This kind of migration wouldn’t be easy. You can’t bring the servers down and then, a few hours later, everything is different. Or maybe you can.

What if instead of recoding the current servers, you develop the new server structure as an independent cluster. Like a wholly different game. When the work is done, you start migrating some characters accounts on the new cluster, same way they did with the “cloning”. Basically you develop the new cluster, then only copy over, progressively, the accounts. This means that the “old” server structure is unaffected and may as well continue to run, while you can start testing the new game, and progressively migrate to it without the risk of disrupting the players experience.

Fancy, but plausible.

And worth the big programmers’ headache.

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We live in a pretty, dream world

Bad interview with Jeff Hickman.

Where he says how they “talked about all this stuff” for two years without coming out with anything at all. Pretty clever.

Everyone with a minimal experience with MMOs knows how the concept of PQs is flawed without an adaptable system. Everyone knows that low level zones WILL have serious population issues. Moreover just everyone can experience those problems simply by logging in and playing: things are working correctly on a MINORITY of the cases. That is on high/full populated servers during prime time. If you’re lucky.

That’s NOT how you design a game. You don’t design it so it’s fun only “sometimes”, or only if picked the right server, or only if you play at a set hour.

Two years that you work on the concept of Public Quests and open RvR. Outside the idea itself, the implementation is deeply flawed. And it required two years of talking and figuring out.

“What we found,” he continued, “in Dark Age of Camelot and Ultima Online (these are games that are old, old, old games) there are still people in the low level areas. New people, people re-rolling, people coming through the game, so for months and years to come, we will have a constant stream of players rolling and going up through the ranks. What you’ll find is that you go into an area and there’ll be some people there… multiple people generally, doing PQs. Yes, some of the time you’re going to run into a PQ and there won’t be anyone there. Run to another one.”

That goes without commenting as it’s pure bullshit.

Outside the comments about DAoC that right now has a bazillion of clustered servers that together don’t make 1/5 of what is required to make a single server playable, it’s false that “some of the time” you run into a PQ and find it empty (and let’s not even talk about open RvR). It’s true that MOST OF THE TIMES it happens. If you’re lucky you find a couple of players to farm the first two phases and then get slaughtered at the last. Or that you find a decent group somewhere deep in the zone through Open Parties. But sometimes to rarely. And we are two weeks from launch and things can ONLY get worse.

In the meantime Mark Jacobs talks about open RvR being essential for the success of the game, as well as population balance. And that they’ll approach this with baby steps, because they don’t want to overreact.

Nothing really wrong with being careful, but I’m not sure if the players will be still there when you’re done with the talking and considering. Especially when it took two years to come out with… no solution.

The rest of the interview isn’t better, especially when he says that players aren’t participating in open RvR because they don’t know the best loot is there. Huh? Maybe that’s why Blizzard put raids only at the level cap? When you are leveling up you do not care where the best shiny piece of loot is. You care about moving up as faster as possible, and gear isn’t a problem there. That’s why it’s becoming “Scenarios Online” and not Warhammer.

Jeff told me that in the end, this really comes down to players not yet having discovered en masse that these things exist (in fact, knowing this, it actually somewhat addresses the issue of fewer people participating in open world RvR thinking that the rewards aren’t great enough).

If the players have not yet discovered “en masse that these things exist”, it’s because you’ve done a crappy work directing them.

Don’t put the blame on your players if you are bad at game design.

Who the fuck wrote that interview? By way of answering this question, Jeff told me… What the fuck?

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To add to the reading list

I was reading Pat’s blog and found an excerpt from K. J. Parker first standalone novel, The Company.

When you have no idea what a book is about, reading the first few pages and some reviews could help. But reading online is the suck and I get distracted or tired rather quickly.

This time I was intrigued instead and almost made to the middle part ;)

Mysterious female writer, probably under a pseudonym. Even the wikipedia has no clue.

Anyway, I really liked this description of an house:

Then, before he was ready, he was standing at the top of the yard, looking down the slope. Directly in front of him was the old cider house, which had finally collapsed. One wall had peeled away, and the unsupported roof had slumped sideways, the roof-tree and rafters gradually torn apart by the unsupportable weight of the slates; it put him in mind of the stripped carcass of a chicken, after the meal is over. A dense tangle of briars slopped out over the stub of the broken wall, and a young ash was growing aggressively between the stones. It must have happened so slowly, he thought; neglect, the danger dimly perceived but never quite scrambling high enough up the pyramid of priorities until it was too late, no longer worth the prodigious effort needed to put it right. There would have been a morning when they all came out of the house to find it lying there, having gently pulled itself apart in the night. They’d have sworn a bit, shaken their heads, accepted the inconvenience and carried on as before.

I like a lot the introspective, tight kind of prose. It seems that no line is outside a precise purpose. Short, precise sentences that perfectly define not just the character’s thoughts, but even the perception, mood, awareness. Carefully selected and measured words.

That’s an example of perfect characterization (I mean the whole part I read, not just this quote). Precise, insightful and yet not overwritten or unrealistically explicit.

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