I started to be interested in Warhammer Online a little bit over one year ago.
Remember, first announcements for release were fall 2007?! ;)
From then to now many things have changed. One change i really like is the strengthening of open world RvR. At the first concept Scenarios where meant to be the place where most victory points for zone control would be gained. The beta-testers complained about the focus on that instanced RvR environment and I’m really glad about it. Even in the recent interviews Scenarios are advertised as balanced RvR.. and that is the point where i strongly disagree.
Scenarios are not balanced other than number wise, but in chances, feeling.. and now I use a worn phrase there…immersion it fails to deliver a good gaming experience.
Scenarios have some benefits (I start with some positive aspects as this shouldn’t be a /rant post ;) ). They give you fast, short-term fun as it’s not complicated to get into them. No searching for enemies..just pure carnage ;) They balance the numbers as there is a fixed number of participants in that instanced Scenario.
Does this make them fair? I don’t think so.. You could argue that looking at EQ, Renown, etc..you can get some sort of sorting into it and let only roughly equal groups fight against each other, but that would imo defeat the purpose of RvR and make it more of a FPS. Doing no such sorting would make it even more unfair, because there would be groups who would specialize on certain Scenarios just to get the max-Renown out of it. So a pug has a chance of winning against them that is as high as finding an ice cube on the surface of the sun. Both of it make Scenarios less casual friendly as you don’t see the “badass”-guys (groups are sorted) or you just get rolled over by them.
It’s all connected to the “gear doesn’t matter so much”-debate. In a Scenario gear and skill get more important as the numbers are just equal. If you look at open world RvR less equipped and skilled players will be able to outnumber you. Zerg ftw? Well.. actually in non high-tech war this was a eligible tactic. Is it always fun? No! It gives RvR just this unpredictable turn that Scenarios can’t have. I hope that Zergs will not be the only way of open world RvR but ..lets be realistic..they will happen. But even Zergs can be fun if you are outnumbered.
I’m no masochist..no..really not, even though I want to play support chars ;) You have nothing to lose in RvR.. So being outnumbered is no real problem. It can be even fun if you fight against groups that are 3-4 times as large as your own. Doesn’t it give you some satisfaction if you kill half of them before you get killed? So in open world RvR skill, gear and number matter.. More parameters to balance fights..More parameters to screw fair fights, but after all i think that this is the better form of RvR than closed Scenarios.
The uncertainty of large scale fights or small group RvR in open field gives that War-feeling, that imo capture-the-flag, murderball, etc.. can’t deliver. I will certainly play some Scenarios, but I will seek more open world RvR. Scenarios are imo good for in between entertainment (though i think that they still give many victory points). The strengthening of open field RvR makes the game more diverse and that is good.