Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Patch That Broke The Game

The latest Warhammer Online patch was released back on the 15th, and like everyone else who plays the game, I've been online as much as possible to take advantage of the changes.

The most impactful change that has occurred in 1.3.2 is the removal of forts. For those of you who are not familiar with the layout of Warhammer Online, most of the gameplay is based around realm vs realm combat. Players try to capture realms by taking keeps and battle objectives while assaulting and defending against other players.

In the end game, there are three different racial territories. Each territory is broken up into four zones. The objective is to completely lock two of the three territories to gain access to assault the opposing team's main city. This is done by capturing all the zones in at least two territory. This is a huge team effort and requires hundreds of people working together to capture all the territories in a zone.

Before the patch, players were required to assault a massive fort at the end of capturing four zones in order to lock the territory. The fort sieges were so difficult to win, that more often than not, players would not even attempt the final battle after capturing four zones and just move to a different area of the world to fight.

This gave the game the feeling that there was no real goal of all the fighting, and that it all really came down to meaningless skirmishes. However, now that forts have been removed, factions are now able to lock two territories to assault cities quite frequently. Sometimes twice in a day.

Having been to several city sieges in the past few days I find myself and many others very disappointed with end game battle. For starters, when a city siege is initiated all other PVP stops for two and a half entire hours forcing everyone who wants to PVP to enter the city siege. Yes this sounds like a great way to form huge battles, but what if you don't like huge battles. What if huge battles in these kind of MMOs ruins all strategy that was previously possible in smaller scale skirmishes?

Well that's exactly what happened. City sieges simply come down to, the more numerous force always wins. Instead of being able to take out important targets on your own, battle has now broken down into throwing yourself into the mass of enemy players and hoping that they all die before you. This can look kind of cool at first but it gets old real fast. Especially when you're on the losing team, where there is literally nothing you can do to change the outcome of battle.

Now image yourself stuck in a constantly losing battle where the enemy is farming you for experience and you have no other options of gameplay open to you for the next two and a half hours. What the heck were they thinking?! Honestly this seems like a design flaw that they should have caught on the drawing board.

On top of that there are tons of broken quests in the city. Did they even have QA look this over before shoving it out the doors? There is also supposed to be a second stage to the city siege that nobody has been able to reach yet. To get to the second stage requires that all of the city siege instances on a single server are to be continuously dominated by one faction.

Does anyone see a problem with this? Mythic is trying to reward players for making one side an unstoppable force that completely dominates the entire game for two and a half hours. Image how fun that's going to be for the opposing side. You can't go anywhere for two and a half hours where you are not going to be steamrolled by enemy forces.

Some idiot designer needs to get slapped. Every player vs player game has other areas to fight when you are losing the battle at hand. In first person shooters you have the option of switching servers, changing the map, or even trying to organize your team better to sway the battle.

Mythic has cornered their players into losing battles and then forces them to stick it out to the bitter end because there is nowhere else they can go. Way to go mythic, maybe you should send your lead designers to basic game design school. Your game is broken!


  1. ouch. sounds like a suck factor that needs to change. nice article.

  2. I dont think its game breaking, i been playing since beta in summer of 08 and think Mythic just needs to find a good balance between the way it was and the way it is now. On my server it has encouraged more intelligent RvR and less zerging.

  3. It is possible to get to stage 2. Happened on Drakenwald[EU] two nights ago.
    Sucks to be the underdog (aka the less populated side) and feeling like whatever you do you just can't win by design.

  4. Hu..someone else from Drakenwald ;)

    Yes.. it happened on Drakenwald.. Stage2.. Guess what. The losing side got 6h more of the stage1 PQ. Now how much fun is that? ;)

    Completion of that pq shortened that time..but it's nowhere near fun, this whole city.."experience".

    This patch really screwed the game. It's no fun to get steamrolled all the time and this patch took away the last point of defense for the underpopulated realm. Now it's zerg-friendlier than ever.