Disclaimer: This is just some babbling which I just had to write down .. It’s not the ultimate truth, but my opinion.
I wanted to write about this for a long time now, but only now I have found the time to do it.. Spinks is to some part responsible for it as she quoted Paul Barnett in her blog.
I’m not going for the typical hardcore vs. casual-gamer discussion. It’s been done and is imo anyway totaly wrong, though I will use the terms hardcore and casual here. Hardcore will be used as people who are totally focused on one thing, regardless of other options. Casual gamers for me can be focused too, but that’s most of the time only for a short period of time (e.g. an evening long RvR or PvE or a mix of it), but they don’t have to be and they have more wide-spread goals (in game and outside of it).
Keeping in mind what Paul Barnett often said before release of WAR and adding the rephrasing in the stuff that Spinks quoted easily shows that WAR is aimed to be a casual gamer experience with a wide array of options. You can participate in ORvR, PQ’s, Dungeons, Scenarios, .. with imo not so high entry barriers. I’m aware that other people feel different, but this is my blog here and my opinion is that what matters ;)
For example you can easily hop in and out of ORvR, PQs and Scenarios.. just to name three things who were designed for being casual friendly, i.e. players who have only a short amount of available gaming time.
Now comes something Snafzg said which describes my feelings about WAR ..
It’s an easy-acces game that you don’t need to take too seriously (if you do, you’ll be disappointed)
The game is all about easy access, so that the ones who are focused on one thing..be it RvR or PvE ..are totally disappointed and frustrated. I enjoy WAR because I like to shift between every possible option and tried many careers (every but elven careers ;) ) to experience the game from different point of views.
So let’s look at the people who are focused on PvE..Well they’ve never been attracted to WAR in the first place as the game advertised itself as RvR-centric. So no big deal if they have not the best PvE for those hardcore-PvE-gamers. I personally enjoy the PvE in WAR, especially the Dungeons.
Now comes the tricky part..RvR. What about the hardcore-RvR-games who hoped for a DaoC 2.0? They will be utterly frustrated, as the game offers no real RvR. It’s really easy to form warbands and nothing is penalizing them..so the Zerg rules. Being in such a zerg is close to difficulty level lobotomized. The design of the RvR lakes hardly allows small scale fights and this turns off those who wanted to specialize on 6vs6 and smaller fights, where individual skill matters. In a Zerg it’s just a matter of Zerg-size and the individual skill influence is nearly zero. If you are somewhat frustration-resistant (sometimes I am ;))..than you grab some friends and roam around and search for 2vs2 or something like that..This can be really fun, but sooner or later you will be crushed by a warband..or two. It’s just a matter of time.
This zerging is just natural consequence as Mythic always tried to focus the RvR-action and that is imo the wrong way. From the first moment they announced the cut of the cities and the way this fortress-system enforces the players to gather on one small spot..until now with the Land of the Dead, where nearly all rank25+ player shall gather on a map with the size of Reikland..I’ve always shook my head. This is the wrong way. The system can’t handle fortress fights and Mythic is still trying to pack the realms on even smaller places.
The way for increasing performance and game-fun is delocalizing them. Give options for meaningful small scale fights, i.e. 6vs6 or 12vs.12 with no interference from warbands and not being instanced like scenarios, maybe LotD will offer some of this by the purge-stuff, but that’s not the same thing I’m aiming for. Maybe I will make a whole post from this ,)
Back to the topic… Is it bad to be casual friendly? Of course not..I’m also not interested in hour long searches for RvR or PvE. I like the fact that you are able to hop in into several actions. I even would call myself casual (at least in my definition, but so would many do ;) ). But even casual gamers want some challenges and not only meaningless zerging… The design should not only care about accessibility. Focusing too much on being casual friendly will drive away those people who are dedicated to the game and want to spent much time with it…or talking about it.
I’ve never heard someone being excited when reporting about a 4 warband sized attack on a keep in RvE… ;)
To cut this wall of text into one sentence.. WAR is really casual-friendly .. to the point that it doesn’t offer real options for more hardcore-like gamers.