Recently I was wondering why people who played WAR in beta are now frustrated from the game (e.g. Snafzg). I have still no good conclusion on that, but reading Tobold writing on betas I just want to do some brainstorming and let myself get surprised by what I write. ;)
No plan for a battle survives the first contact with the enemy.
As Tobold pointed out playing a beta is different to the live game as the players have different goals. That is a very important difference especially in WAR. WAR has a dynamic world which in many aspects heavily relies on player actions.
a) General problem with low pop: ORvR needs a critical mass in terms of population. With too low population the players spread too much and can’t really fight against each other, scenarios don’t pop and people get bored because there is no action.. No war going on. War is everywhere..*echo* War is everywhere…war is everywhere?
Damn those vegetarians! aka Gimme a carrot!
b) This is another important difference between a beta and the actual game. In beta, you lose you char so you test that bit and on another occasion something completely different for no other reason than to test it or have fun. In a live game some people always feel that “let me reach the level cap and start with the game”… So two worlds collide. In beta everyone seeks actions because of fun/action, therefore such a critical mass which is needed for ORvR is reached quiet fast and many fights evolve. This leads to fun, to what every one will agree who had some nice ORvR action (yes..even in the live game ORvR is fun ;) ).
In beta the carrot is the mere existence of an enemy. In the live game many people hunger for more than just a pat on a shoulder, calling out for bounty, glory and fame. This is the point where I’m starting to get confused.
ORvR is really fun (even without any award for doing it). It’s nice to get a bonus for having fun, but I’m puzzled as people seem to define most of their fun on numbers and need more incentives to participate in anything outside of a scenario. There are many numbers in every MMO, stats, XP, renown, rank/level, … belly size.. This is where i think/feel like the players failed. Mythic delivered a game where you can have fun right from rank1 on. You don’t need to level up to level-cap to start having fun and exciting fights and the majority of players doesn’t seem to see this. They are just an old horse that doesn’t want to learn new tricks ;)
Mythic could have done more to motivate people to enter that RvR lakes, as they seemed to overestimate the desire for fights. On the other hand, in beta things were different. People wanted to fight and reported to Mythic that ORvR and scenarios are fun, PQ’s worked (beyond the first part) well..everything was fine. So Tobold is right, you can’t test everything in beta. The motivation of the players is different and so is the experience they have playing the game.
This dilemma shows the advantages and (more clearly) the dangers of a dynamic world. It relies on the players choice of actions and if they don’t get kicked in the butt they behave strange and farm/grind things, moaning and wailing that they have to farm things instead of doing just something different that is more fun. The options are there, but people have to chose them.
Mythic strengthened this grinding by making a strange (drastically slowing) leveling curve and not providing enough PvE quests to steadily quest, ORvR and do scenarios up to level-cap. They try to correct at least that quest gap and I’m curious how this evolves. ORvR will still suffer from too few participants and it seems that Mythic has to poke those players until they enter ORvR and not Tor Anroc for the 8493849348th time in a row. They have to be forced to have fun! Strange but true ;)
To further complicate things .. I just want to remind everyone that the overall experience/problems differ from server to server as the population is quiet different, not only in numbers but also in behavior. How to handle this?! Something that works on server A might not work with server B and people will still complain and ask you to do something to correct that borked game..
Hum..enough brain-storming. I hope that you enjoyed it a bit ;)