Big world, small world, open RvR, scenarios

Scenarios have been one of the most wildly successful parts of Warhammer Online since the game went live. I love them too. I love that I can queue for a Scenario from anywhere in the game world and have 15 minute soundbites of PvP fun to break up my exploring and questing. It’s an absolutely brilliant mechanic. It’s also perfect for players who simply don’t have hours of time to play at a stretch, may have to afk from time to time (as long as it isn’t in a scenario), or like to get straight into a guaranteed skirmish with no muss or fuss. And it is still, and always will be, brilliant that you can queue for scenarios as soon as you create your character.

And yet, in so many of the developer comments, we see signs that they would like to prod people out of their scenarios and get them into open world RvR.

I enjoy both. But I have noticed something strange recently with my ventures into Tier 4 lands. In Tiers 2 and 3, Open World RvR is quite active on Burlok. Keeps often change hands. There are often people on alliance channels or the custom ‘Order’ channel recruiting for Tier 2/3 raids. They did this before there was any extra xp involved at all. They’re still doing it. I ran weekly raids myself.  But in Tier 4 …. silence. And since Order owns all the keeps and has done for days (yes we are bizarro server), I’m not sure there’s much point in me scheduling anything right now either. Guild nature ramble through Tier 4 Open RvR areas just doesn’t sound as enticing as an actual fight.

So far, Mythic have been offering increasing xp bonuses for fighting in Open RvR, but will it work? Well, to know that, we need to think about why it’s been so quiet. Some of this may be server specific — we have one pretty hardcore guild on Order side so maybe Destruction on our server is … nervous? Waiting for more people to get to 40? I think they still outnumber us but it’s hard to know by how much.

I think a lot of this comes down to the painful levelling curve in Tier 4. If you thought Tier 3 xp was slow, it gets worse. My experience with leading is that people love Open RvR but don’t look to it for levelling. It’s fun, but more of a fun diversion than an xp fest. It’s the nature of the beast that you can never predict where the enemy will be, or in what numbers. It will never be as predictable as Scenarios or PvE for offering xp opportunities.

However, for the game to really rock, Open RvR needs to be active most nights. At least during prime time. I don’t think the xp bonus will hurt but I also don’t think it will get people out of Scenarios right now while they’re so focussed on levelling. It intrigues me that they didn’t offer increased renown for Open RvR, which I suspect may need to happen also. They may be concerned about how quickly people could get to max renown, which is a reasonable concern but renown is the best way to get level 40s out there.

What I think Mythic needs to do is increase non-scenario xp across the board. Boost xp from Public Quests in particular. Once people are happier with their levelling speed, they’ll be more interested in Tier 4 PvP. This sounds non-intuitive but I’m convinced that the main reason Tier 4 is stuck in scenario grind is because everyone just wants to get all their talent points and abilities by reaching rank 40 and … it’s so slow otherwise. It isn’t because people hate Open RvR.

They also need to look at ways to entice the losing side into the Open RvR areas to retake objectives and keeps — better rewards for keep capture would keep (sic) them moving. In addition, better rewards for a guild that is claiming a T4 keep would encourage more guilds to go and do it. The keeps are expensive to hold, so a good but temporary guild bonus would work fine.

For small group RvR to flourish, there needs to be small group PvE content in the RvR zones. Mobs which have an increased drop rate on desirable items would encourage brave soloers into the RvR areas too. Praag already has Public Quests, and that’s my personal next plan for an open RvR raid, as at least if Destruction doesn’t turn up we can kill mobs.

But at the end of the day, it takes players to organise raids. I see a lot of bored level 40s complaining that there’s never any action but I don’t see them organising stuff or helping anyone else to level. So they’ll just have to wait till we’re done. Sorry guys, we just were having too much fun taking keeps in Tier 3 to hurry along. But we’ll get there.

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