City Siege Thus Far

After two weeks of “end-game” RvR on my Shaman (Rand 34 RR31) I am still somewhat mystified at the stage one city siege public quest.  The iteration seems somewhat lacking in balance and falls back on the Mythic standard of Good-Idea-Bad-Implementation.  I can certainly see what the designers were trying to do, but they seem to have left all aspects of enjoyment outside of the city at the fortress gates.


Putting a city under siege and into contested mode follows a lot of planning and RvR on the part of the attacking realm.  Locking down prior zones and capturing two out of the three open RvR fortress zones represents hours and hours of effort by hundreds of players.  It all culminates into putting your opponents city into contested mode and allowing entry for your forces into their capital city.


Upon entering the contested city you are shuffled into an instance.  If you are not in a group already, you will just be shuffled into any open spot in an ongoing struggle or placed into an unoccupied instance should no space be available.  You do have the option of joining a full one, but you will need to be invited to a group by someone already inside and then entering the queue for that particular instance.


Once you are inside you are in your factions starting area for that city.  There will be a healer and a multitude of quests involving killing players and NPCs in various areas of the city as well as several standard touch-the-thing or use-the-thing-here style of quests that we apparently cannot escape from.  You will also see the city wide public quest that is ongoing.  Each side needs to hold both battlefield objectives, kill 150 of the opposing side, and start/extinguish 50 fires. 


As soon as this is completed stage two of the public quest will start.  An enemy lord mob will spawn just outside of the opposing faction’s starting area with four hero level guards.  These will need to all be tanked and killed for the public quest to complete.  Here is where the bad design and balance sets in.  I have been in six attacks on Altdorf on my Shaman.  I have only seen the PQ completed by either side in ONE of the SIX TWO-HOUR-LONG play sessions.


The PQ is balanced to make it interesting and challenging assuming that there are no enemy players around trying to fight you along side their heroes and lord.  Several patches ago, players could view the populations in each of the ongoing city instances and select one to join.  Many players, who were after the gear offered by the city public quests, would simply join the instance most favorable to their side and farm the public quest for the duration of the siege.  Now that has been changed and players are simply assigned to one of the city instances as they pass through the city gates.


In that one winning instance, there were no enemy players.  Nada.  It was entirely an RvE (realms versus environment) encounter.  We were able to complete the PQ over and over and over again and simply farmed it for the entire two hours with little actual interaction with the opposing realm.  Occasionally some poor souls would trickle in and quickly be zerged down.  They would soon leave and go and find a better-balanced, population wise at least, city instance to play in.


In the other five instances we were able to complete the first phase of the public quest several times.  However, the presence of an equal number of opposing faction players ensured that we would never even come close to taking out the PQ boss and getting a shot at the loot he rewarded.  EVERY SINGLE TIME that we would pull the lord boss the Order players would zerg out of their warcamp and support their NPC fighters.  Many times they would just focus fire our tanks from ranged, sending the lord and his hero rank defenders rampaging through our healers and ranged DPS, who would die in one or two hits from these mobs.  Pulling the PQ boss also activates the “terror” debuff, which prevents players from bringing fallen comrades back to life and quickly sending them back into the fight.


 Clearly the boss needs to be toned down in equally balanced population instances.  Some controls need to be put into place that allow for players to complete the PQ in the presence of opposing faction players.   Now I am not saying that it is impossible to complete the PQ if there are other players around.  I AM SAYING that the level of coordination and cooperation needed to complete this task is well beyond what you will find in a typical PUG environment.  Certainly a highly motivated and well-organized group using voice communication will be able to handle this task.  The ~60 random players that I end up grouped with, encompassing players from a dozen guilds are not up to the challenge.


I do not feel that the city public quests should be steamrolled and farmed.  I do think that at least once side should be able to complete them in a given city instance accounting for enemy interference.  It is rather back-asswards that you will receive a higher chance at a reward for finding an unopposed instance than in participating in the large scale RvR slugfests that you will find in the population balanced city instances.  I haven’t given up on the end-game of Warhammer Online just yet. Open RvR and scenarios continue to be enjoyable.  The game still has potential if they can shape out the bad-implementation.


~ by Centuri on May 4, 2009.

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