Warhammer at the Games Com

8/17/2009 by war-europe.com
Hey Everyone,

It’s that time again for me to share my thoughts on WAR. I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer and the improvements we introduced in 1.3.0b last month. Draw your weapons and get ready for another round of action-packed goodness with our upcoming 1.3.1 patch, aka City Invasion.

One of the biggest enhancements going into this patch is the new approach we have made with our end-game city siege experience. After months of feedback from you, the players, and our own personal experience playing the game, we realised we needed to step back and reevaluate the city siege mechanic from beginning to end. Specifically, how can we make the city siege experience something players will strive for? How can we reinforce RvR in the endgame and not RvE?

Now, before diving too deep into the changes we made, I want everyone to know this is really just step one. We simplified the flow, removed barriers, and most importantly refocused the gameplay on killing your opponents. We set up the city
end-game experience so we could easily expand it down the road to make them
even more epic.

So, what exactly changed?

Right off the bat, once a capital city becomes contested and you and your Realm start to flood into the streets looking for your enemies, you’ll notice the new main city PQ. Now, each side will be in a race to see who can get to 1,000 Victory Points first. How do you gain Victory Points? It’s easy, simply kill your opponents and hold any of the three Battlefield Objectives scattered across the city. Winners will then push the PQ to Stage 2 and the race begins again, but this time with a twist. The Hero-con encounter will appear like before, but now players can complete the main city PQ by dominating their enemies. In an instance that has lots of enemies? Kill them to win. In an instance that has no opposition? Take out the Hero General and his guards to complete the PQ to help your Realm capture or reclaim the city. The option is yours, but now there is no PvE content holding you back from razing your enemies’ capital city and getting your shot at their fearless leader.

Now, should the city be pushed from contested to the next stage, several new things will occur. First, players will notice that there is no longer a pillage stage. The city will now progress from contested straight to captured. Second, the Warlord PQs open up, which are now balanced for a single warband to complete. Also, it’s worth noting that the Warlord PQs are now time-stamped and are open the whole time the city is in a captured state. Gone are the days of the one-hour time window to experience this content! Third, the King instance is immediately available! It is no longer gated by the completion of the Warlord PQs, but be warned, this encounter is still one of the most challenging in the game. Without proper gear and wards, most players won’t stand a chance.

Lastly, city defenders are never kicked out of their city during an assault! The Tier 4 campaign may be in lockdown, but the fight will carry on for 18 hours as attackers continue to try and hold the city to allow their Realm-mates enough time to complete the Warlord and King encounters. Defenders, on the other hand, will be fighting back to complete the capital city PQ to push their enemies back out of their city. For every time the defenders complete the capital city PQ, the 18-hour timer will decrease by 30 minutes, giving the defenders the opportunity to push out their enemies and reset the Tier 4 campaign at their own will.

Alright, enough about city siege, let’s talk about open-field RvR! In the last patch, we adjusted how we were incentivizing players to fight in the RvR campaign by immensely increasing XP and RP rewards around Keeps and Battlefield Objectives. This time we’re adding a little more spice into the RvR lakes with the introduction of a second ramp to all Keeps found in Tiers 2 through 4. These ramps help widen the play space and give players new tactics to leverage in both offensive and defensive positions. On top of that, we’ve added additional icons and timers to the map to better communicate the current status of the RvR campaign and specific objectives. Now, players will clearly know if a Battlefield Objective is dominated, defended, or both. In addition, players will see the timer status of city stages. All this will be viewable, at a glance, from your map screen or mini RvR tracker.

In my last letter, I mentioned social improvements and we have a dedicated team pushing forward with that initiative. Two items made it in for this patch, the Friends List and Summoning Stones, with plenty more to follow.

The Friends List is much like what you would expect from any Instant Messenger window. It gives you quick access to your friends and even suggests new friends based upon your adventuring. This is just one step to helping bridge the gap between social relationships among our players.

The second item we have in place are the new Summoning Stones. These crafted items will allow players to summon group-mates to their location from almost anywhere in the world. (Of course, not into RvR lakes. No porting in reinforcements on your crumbling Keep before it’s taken over.) ;)

So, I know you’ll enjoy those improvements, but what about bugs? What’s Mythic doing to fix the lingering bugs that some say we’re always too busy to address? Well, I’m happy to say that in this patch we’ve decided that, rather than rushing the Player Systems team, it would be better for them to catch their breath and just focus on bug fixes for 1.31. I’m not going to call out any specifics other than suggest you go take a look at our patch notes here to see all the great fixes they have in store for us.

And last but not least, what about 1.3.2?

Well, I’ll share a little bit with you, but please remember this may not be 100% in-place and ready for live in time. Stuff happens and we adjust as needed, but here are a few things the team is hard at work on.

1. Data has shown us not enough players have experienced a city assault. With the new improvements, we want to make sure that happens, so we’ve decided to decouple the Fortresses from the Tier 4 campaign. They still exist, so don’t worry—they are not disappearing, but they are also no longer required to capture in order to claim the pairing. We have other ideas for the Fortresses, but I would be showing our hand a little too early with those thoughts right now. =) It’s cool, trust me.
2. New User Journey Experience – New recruits come to WAR everyday and many of us roll alts from time to time, so we are taking a hard look at the beginning player experience and exploring how we can make that introduction experience to WAR even more memorable.
3. Apprentice/Hireling System – Wouldn’t it be cool if you could play with anyone at any time regardless of Rank? I think it would. ;)
4. Continued Crowd Control balancing! In patch 1.3.0b you saw some of our first adjustments to Crowd Control, and in 1.3.2 you'll see the next steps as we begin approaching some CC abilities directly. These changes will help to continue shifting Crowd Control to be more strategic and purposeful on the battlefield.
5. The Daemon moon will rise.

Alright that’s a lot to take in, but before I head out I just wanted to say thank you to all of our players for helping us sculpt the world of Warhammer into what it is today. It’s hard to believe that in one month WAR will hit its 1-year anniversary! We’re excited and have a lot of fun events planned for the month, and one of the biggest Live Events we’ve made to date, The Wild Hunt, which boasts a new 6-man dungeon called The Hunters Vale, to help celebrate this great milestone. The Wild Hunt will usher in the new Live Event equip slot on all characters, and is something we plan to continue to leverage for many more Live Events to come. Oh, and before I forget, enjoy the new load times getting into the game. We went from 52 seconds to almost 20 seconds! That’s at least a few extra player kills for everyone a day. ;)

I’ll see you in your city,

Jeff Skalski
WAR Producer, Mythic Entertainment
Twitter @Jeff_Skalski

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