Shout-out.. Pro Alt!   Leave a comment


I’m in the mood for a shout-out .. maybe another movement? Though I have to make a warning.. Wall of text incoming ;)

Short version: I wanted to write about the gear grind treadmill and how this system discourages alt-a-hism in a game which by career design seems to be made for testing and playing it in many different ways. So you are offered a plate full of delicious stuff and may only pick one.. meh. It got a wall of text because I drifted away into general reasons why I think that gear progression is the wrong way of giving incentives to fight in a RvR-centric game.

This time it’s inspired by Nazgum and Snafzg. Their posts are about the grind WAR gets towards the end of rank-progression.. It’s just from one treadmill to the next, aka. gear-grind. Snafzg mentions that this approach from Mythic makes the game alt-unfriendly and I must agree there.

I like many careers in WAR and there is a great variety in mechanics, so it’s possible to experience the game in very different ways, but I’m getting punished for it by the grind in the game. Renown, gear, influence, wards etc…

Wards are no real problem as at least sentinel gear is somewhat ok to gain..but that is the PvE-way. In RvR it’s as Nazgum’s already said too difficult to obtain any gear. All my Annihilator gear I obtained either at the vendor (as the token system was not there) or by 4-man attacks on a keep. There’s nothing I got on bigger fights… Actually..I don’t see a reason to restrict the equipment ..or the ease of getting it in so many ways. You have Renown-Rank-restriction..and still you need a ton of luck to get anything. Not speaking of stuff you’ll get from the city siege experience..

Every time I log on my Rune Priest I have some sort of mixed feelings when I’m not in the mood for playing him. I am in some sort of getting punished, when I’m more in the mood for the Witch Hunter, Ironbreaker, etc… Ok, there is again the low pop problem on Huss which disencourages me in playing my alts there, but the problem remains. Every point of renown, medal’s gained, etc.. you make with your alt is taken away from your main.

Influence and tokens are imo no way of making a sort of goal in a game. Let’s asume a perfect (RvR) world..

Everybody wants to fight and careers are balanced, so that tactics, strategy and knowlege of the careers are the determining factors in RvR. In this world, there would be no need to force gear grind as an incentive to fight (and get RvR gear). People fight because it’s fun to fight. No matter if they get any new equipment.

Now let’s shift back again to reality.. There is something missing and people want incentives to fight against each other, others than just see them with the face in the mud. Some people don’t want to fight against each other..they only want to win over another player. Gimme the iwin-Button (will Apple now sue me? ;) )

So there are two problems.. How to motivate the player to fight each other, when some (vocal ones) don’t even want to fight, but just want new shiny equipment and the ability to more easily dominate lesser good equiped (not lesser skilled) enemies? How can you discriminate between those who want to play the game and the ones who just want to dominate and in principal fight the game itself and not the enemy players?

Is gear-grind a good solution? It silences some moaners and whiners, but it’s just a short-term incentive to them and lessens for a longer time period the  fun for the more casual gamers..or the ones who like to experience more facets of a game, aka. the alt-a-holics.

I must admit that I have no real solution to this problem of incentives to fight the enemy, as I enjoy it straight away without the need for influence, tokens, etc.. though I don’t throw them away if I get them ;) This is a hard task for game designers and it’s getting worse when you start to make better equipment the sole incentive for fights.

The fight as itself should be the fun, the equipment you get should be just the cherry topping it.. ;) One thing that might help is de-bottle-necking.. One thing I saw in the last couple of months is that WAR tries to bottle-neck everything. Be it keep design, fortress design (not only the actual architecture, but also the philosophy behind it) ..zone domination and rewards for locking it. So by design you encourage the players to meet in large battles (which the system doesn’t support performance-wise).. Are they epic? No! Are they fun? No, as they are mindless aoe-spamming. Are they the way of least resistance? Most likely yes, as you don’t need to train your ae-skills.. Encourage the players to fight small scale fights..maybe trying to make strategy more important than the zergs rushing over every BO until one side is fed up and leaves. One step in the right direction is the Zone domination system where at least some warbands defend stuff and it’s not just one mindless thing roaming around..but it’s just a baby-step.

I have no problem when the PvE part doesn’t get better aka. you don’t obtain the gear faster, though the 3 day lockout for instances is..ridiculous. The RvR equipment should be better distributed as it’s in no way a status symbol or sign for player skills, it’s just a sign that you have lady luck on your side when the dices roll. ;)

The current gear grind in WAR is a good example for bad design meets bad player habits. Both should be changed.. though I think that some parts are easier changed than others.. ;)

Posted May 4, 2009 by Karic in General, WAR

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