Sunday, 8 March 2009

Depth in WAR

So today got me thinking... How deep a game is WAR truly? In the long run, how much longer will this game hold peoples attention?

I come from an Ultima Online background, possibly the most deep MMORPG in history (it does have well over 10 years of game as well), but just the fact that there is a whole crafting system, PvP, exploration, player economy and social interaction sets it apart from the many other MMO's out there. You can literally log into UO and do anything.

Now my time in UO has long past, but my yearning to be able to just escape from the niche of a game still remains. WAR IS a PvP based game, the whole point in it is to battle one another, however you cannot expect people to always want to do this and at least you have public quests and... urm... well that's about it really. Or is it? I'll look at a few things we can do in WAR when the RvR grind gets boring or you just want a lazy day chatting to guild mates and doing random stuff.

The Tome of Knowledge
The tome of knowledge is a great idea for improving depth and giving us something to chase after, however sometimes it's more of a long slog just trailing through newbie zones looking for something (you don't know what) to give you.. well you're not sure. Now there's addons to help you discover things but I'm never a fan of 'cheat sheet' style addons to dumb down an aspect of a game. However being able to get a 'hint' ("Discover a specific item in Saphery" doesn't really cut it) by following items and quests in game as to where to get unlocks would be great.

Fantastic idea, love the idea of mini bosses just waiting to be found, but it's so disappointing to setup guild runs to go off and find some only to discover that every single one you visit has been killed and it could be 12+ hours before they respawn. Drop that respawn timer on lairs, add a few more in but more importantly, give us a reward that would be useful for anyone for killing them. Keep the basic little bits of loot, they're good, help many players and some are still useful once you're in the end game gear, but how about adding a single item that drops from each boss. Once used, it unlocks a trophy for you. Oh to have Stinkfang the Vomitous' head on my shoulders, a necromancers book bound to my belt or the claw marks of a dragon embedded into my armour to show off with. The little things help to make great ideas more appealing to the mass market.

There's just something lacking in WAR here. I know one of the main design points was not to make it Warhammer: Age of Needlework, and I agree with this, but we need more crafting to the game to give us something to do in down times, and also to give the achiever and socialiser more to do. My personal favourite idea would be to add Siege Crafting into the game based a bit on DAoCs own siege craft. Have the basic siege weaponry weakened down a bit from the Warcamps, but allow players to craft siege weapons that are much more powerful (honestly, who is wary of any siege weapons other than oil?). This is an idea I actually want to expand on and write about so I probably will get something down this week or so for it to explain further what I mean.

Ghah... Player vs. Environment... The bane of a PvP niche game. But it's what drive a lot of players to play an MMO. Everquest got good because of it's PvE aspect, as did WoW with it's raids and Ultima Online with its requirement to replenish stocks from monsters. For WAR to continue to exist and to gain more than 300,000 subscribers the game needs to appeal to those people who are bored of the raid grind in WoW but still have that itch for it. Going back to my last Dat 'Urtz I mentioned that the missing cities are making WAR miss out on content, get a focus on implementing the cities and you will have more PvE content for both sides to participate in, more loot, more stuff to do... You don't need to drag people from the RvR lakes, but you need to give those people who are bored of PvE in other games something to look at WAR for.. Six dungeons for each side doesn't cut it when two of them are for lower ranks. Get the cities in and get more PvE to show off.