One Man’s WAR

So the bloom is coming off the rose a bit in WAR as folks are starting to discover and “little e” exploit errors, inconsistencies and perhaps unintended consequences of game mechanics. Roll file footage of folks hiding in the chimney near the barracks or floating high overhead in the air at the lighthouse in Nordenwatch.

Overall, I think WAR has done a great job of taking an otherwise generally self-interested MMO population and largely convinced them that WAR is a team sport. Scenarios, PQs, open grouping, open world RvR, bolstering all act to reduce the barriers for collaborative action. That said, I’m starting to see the selfish gene rear its ugly head more and more which is probably to be expected. I’m a cynic, but I can dream that for just one hour of just one day all the world is a shiny fun happy place.

Mythic seems to either be conflicted or to have dropped the ball on a number of things though. I already mentioned the need/greed scenario loot roll problems– not the least of which is popping up dialogs in the middle of a pitched battle [Update: I see in the 1.0.2 patch notes this has been tweaked a bit]. It also seems that warbands aren’t really working right in PvE (not sharing loot and xp between groups in the warband).

And, more problematically, it seems that the Scenario Soloist is becoming a very bad phenomenon. I don’t do this because I’m generally not a selfish asshole when I play as a member of a team (even a PUG team, even a really BAD PUG team), but apparently, if you’re a DPSer or a healer and a min maxing selfish asshole, you should join a scenario then leave the default group into which the game places you and “go it alone” in your own group so you don’t have to “share” XP and renown among any other groupmates. The Soloist gets all that wicked mad XP and renown for kills and healing all to themselves. Because they “earned it” on their own.

(Spare me the “they designed it that way” comments…This is critical commentary. Its anathema to Mythic’s group-centric design philosophy whether its intended or not.)

I’m sincerely hoping that this is an unintended consequence and is quickly addressed by Mythic. Peeps have already been complaining from Day One as to why scenario groups aren’t automatically dropped into a scenario warband so you can share buffs, see health bars, etc.

Gosh, it only took WoW a few years to figure that one out with the BGs. Why not a default warband? If there are only 12 slots in a scenario, then why are there even any extra slots?

Ski lifts seem to have figured out a way to put everybody on the same damned ski lift by combining solos and groups… It just can’t be that hard.

But seriously, one reason WAR’s collaboration has been generally successful to date is the fact that player’s interests are generally aligned and more importantly not opposed to that of other players. The winning side in a scenario gets much more xp and renown that the losing side. Even in a close battle, winning is significantly better for all than losing. The contribution system is supposed to try to take in to account differing contributions to the overall effort.

This creates all of the wrong incentives and pisses in the pool of happy fun killing collaboration. Some folks say, “hey, you in the solo group, no heals for you” or “let him die, he’s solo” and much less nice things too. Not that I disagree with that sentiment on some level, but when the game mechanic leaves us fighting among ourselves, we are lost. There is no way to wage a one man war.

Mythic needs to fix this ASAP.

20 thoughts on “One Man’s WAR”

  1. You are on a roll this month. Seriously though, with the way they ARE fixing things at this rate, they will address this I am sure.

    Still only 2 WEEKS IN. Give it a month or so. How many bloggers can stick with a single game for once? I know I will try. Since I stopped raiding in WoW and took my life back, it has been hard. Luckily this game is out now and it gives us some hope toward casual and social play

  2. Ah, so that’s why they do it. I’ve seen this happen before but never gave it a second thought. In fact, If I find myself in a group by myself and see another group with an open spot, I’ll move myself into that group to maximize my group heals.

    Hopefully, Mythic will make this a priority fix.

  3. @Hud: If I didn’t literally have 10 alts going (that should give you a good idea of what I really think of the game), I probably wouldn’t notice this stuff so much, but I’m in the damned low level scenarios so often it starts getting in your face.

    To be fair, though, Mythic is knocking some of these down pretty quickly. I had to update my need greed comment based on today’s patch notes… GJ Mythic. I hope they do it quickly enough so the playerbase doesn’t develop all the bad habits that are epidemic in the WoW BGs. They’ve got a real opportunity to change the player mindset as long as they don’t let it slip by.

    And, like I posted on Darren’s site, it might be a rougher ride right now than we’d ideally want, but I’m afraid the experience will be much different when the pop curve is all capped. I wouldn’t want to miss this.

    @Thallian: I hope so! I hope it gets fixed quick!

    @WN: But then again, aren’t you the guy that would actually give loot items you can’t use to others in the scenario? What a game it would be if people played liked you…

  4. Ouch, I had no idea why people were moving into a me-only group. That really sucks. And the need/greed shit is annoying. Who has time to review items during those heated battles anyway. I just escape (cancel) out of them. When I’m doing PVP/RVR those particular loot drops aren’t the reason. I’ve yet to succumb to the “I’ll roll need because everyone else is” even when I see something I want, unless it’s a BIG upgrade for me. They need to turn it off completely in all RVR as well as PQs and just distribute the loot on a rotating basis. It really pisses me off to see those boxes coming up meaning that people are looting while we’re getting creamed on.

    I’m in T3 scenarios now and don’t see any need for the separate groups in order to form strategic teams. It won’t happen in a PUG and real teams don’t need it anyway. You know you’re role and are communicating on Vent. Nix the whole group mechanic across the board except for instanced PVE – single warband. Even in large scale RVR I dont think people will be forming fixed groups inside of the warbands.

  5. I agree, scenario loots rolls have to go. It just doesn’t work. Either someone is looting while you’re in battle or your gameplay is getting screwed up by someone who may be on the other side of the scenario and think it safe to loot.

    Replace the whole thing with a PQ like loot bag at the end. That’ll help nix the AFKers or low contributors too.

  6. Yeah I wondered why they didn’t do the loot bag deal in Scenarios. I guess it’s a matter of; do you reward only the winning team with loot? (I still say everyone gets XP and reknown for playing as it is)

    Personally, I say why not?

    They could even create sets of gear and drive collectors/achievers into the RVR scenarios. Of course, I think they should have bags for taking objectives too… maybe not with gear like you get from the keep… but still… a couple of green bags would be cool.

  7. Ooooh, very interesting discussion going on here. :)

    I totally agree that for a game designed around group-friendliness, warband XP-share and the ability to solo in scenarios to reap greater rewards are quite contradictory. I don’t think they were intended, so here’s hoping they get fixed soon.

  8. They need to turn it off completely in all RVR as well as PQs and just distribute the loot on a rotating basis.

    After playing CoX for a few months I don’t know why all games don’t follow that model. Let the computer randomly determine who gets an item. People have an opportunity to be generous if they want by just looking at what landed in their bags and giving it out.

  9. Welcome to over a week ago. Although I do hope Mythic fix the solo grouping problem, I like the idea of getting the renown you earned. Prevents people from leeching. I realize that some classes are better at earning renown than others, but that’s a game design problem. The people that solo group aren’t selfish, they’re smart.

    Mythic needs to take the scenario contribution system back to the drawing board because it clearly isn’t working.

  10. And one day, I hope to welcome you to adulthood. You think its smart, I think a) its not working as intended and b) its a fundamental manifestation of self interested assholism in a group centric activity.

    I fail to see how you can consider it “smart” and “not an exploit” and simultaneously think it needs to be fixed though you are finally getting the renown you “worked for.” When you can solo a scenario against a group of 12, you’ve earned it. Until then, whatever renown you might earn is inextricably bound up in and a result in part of the efforts of others. You might want to stop and reread that slowly.

    Whether that effort is rewarded equitably (as it is in PQs more or less) is the point.

    Might want to have that moral compass adjusted.

  11. Lol. Maybe I deserved that, maybe I didn’t. I agree with you that Mythic needs to fix the problem. Solo grouping is bad. Getting the renown you earned isn’t. What annoys me more than solo groupers is leechers. The only way leechers can operate is within a group. They can suck the renown off players that work hard for it, without needing to contribute to the scenario at all.

    whatever renown you might earn is inextricably bound up in and a result in part of the efforts of others

    True, but what incentive is there to work harder than other people? Why should I work my ass off in a scenario as a healer keeping everyone alive, only to finish somewhere near the bottom of the renown gained charts? The game needs to reward people for individual effort as well as team activity.

    Might want to have that moral compass adjusted

    My moral compass is fine, it’s the WAR contribution system that needs adjustment.

  12. The incentive is pretty simple. Help your team win and you all get more. I’ve never had much of a problem pegging out xp/renown as a healer in scenarios (at least for my faction– the winning side usually got more in general, but not always).

    As soon as individual effort is rewarded at the expense of the group, the grouping incentive is gone and the RvR game is dead.

    There’s more to building community than simply “that which is not prohibited is permitted and that which is permitted is required.”

    I agree it needs fixing, but I don’t think its wise or contributes to building the kind of community we would all like to see to condone or little e exploit the situation until there’s a fix.

    I hope its fixed soon.

  13. Your solution poses a bigger problem and an even bigger exploit: leeching. If you can solve the leeching problem and still provide group incentives, then we might have a deal.

    As soon as individual effort is rewarded at the expense of the group

    You need to reward both. eg: When you do a kill you get 75 RP and everyone else in your team gets 15RP. If you split everything 5 ways, there is no incentive to do well. It would absolutely suck being placed on a team with 4 low level PUGS that are lucky to get a kill between them and having to share all your hard earned rewards with them. Watch how fast the hardcore PvPers leave WAR when that happens.

  14. Well Crim, all arguments are reduced to their axioms upon which the proponents will likely never agree.

    In essence you believe that if you “do a kill” you earned all the renown and apparently that any kind of sharing is “leeching.”

    I don’t believe your premise is correct that you in fact “earned” all of this RP which then must be shared with others.

    My view is that you would not have been able to accomplish that without the presence of others in the scenario whether they are healing you, guarding flags, merely harrassing other players, rooting, snaring or even just standing there like punching bags or zerging around like noobs acting like pinatas and occupying one or more opponent’s attention.

    The scenario you describe of getting stuck in a lowbie group I addressed in the original post– default scenario warbands with a unified contribution system. Not going to get better than that I’m afraid. You need to value damage inflicted, damage absorbed and healing as well as contributing to capturing or defending objectives (like open world RvR).

    If that bugs hard core pvpers, so be it. Mythic’s not going to make any money off of 5% of the MMO population and probably wont shed a tear if they stay away in droves. After all, its not a PvP game. Its an RvR game which makes it a team sport. In the mean time, if you don’t like your grouping, get 5 friends and join as a party. “Leeching” problem solved.

    We’re not going to agree on this.

    Not to reignite a dying thread, but it earning renown really that hard? Of my 10 toons (1/2 of them spread across Tier 2), I don’t think any of them are more than 1/2 a level of renown behind realm rank and I’ve never “soloed” a scenario.

    Lets just hope Mythic gets it done soon before too many people piss in the pool.

  15. Why are there 10 parties available in a scenario that has a maximum of 3 parties worth of people?

    Why does the system award XP/RP on a party-by-party basis instead of to the whole team?

    You say that Mythic did not “intend” for it to work that way and so clearly it’s an exploit… but there’s no evidence to point towards that conclusion. In fact, any evidence would seem to support the opposite viewpoint. So calling people assholes for simply trying to expedite the level grind seems a tad extreme to me.

    However I do agree in general that the issue needs to be fixed, but not that everyone should be rewarded equally. Seriously, I can’t count the number of tardfests I’ve seen in scenarios where people are having “duels” on the opposite side of the map from the objective they’re supposed to be working towards (Stone Troll Crossing anyone?). I should not have to share squat with them for my hard work. I’d probably actually have more fun being involved in their mindless battle, but I put in the hard work to win the scenario for the team. If other people choose not to, why should they receive the same reward?

    It’s the exact same logic behind the PQ and Keep Siege contribution system, it’s clearly a well established part of Mythic’s vision for the game.

    Solution: Divide all XP and RP between the entire scenario group, but don’t divide it equally. Give more of it to those who are close to relevant objective points. Also, award points for capturing objectives.

  16. Exactly Melf. It seems like just making the scenario a warband by default and putting everybody in it would be the simple, short term solution. Even Blizzard seemed to have learned that lesson. The last time I did AV, the game just threw everybody in a raid group together.

  17. Exactly as I mentioned in the original post and my comments. Default warband, reward contribution (contribution |= equal distribution). The PQ paradigm is a good one as I mentioned. Not perfect, but a damned site better than the current situation.

    @Melf: “So calling people assholes for simply trying to expedite the level grind seems a tad extreme to me.”

    So be it. I stand by the characterization and its not limited to this “mechanical” issue. Acting in a way that values or favors individual achievement at the expense of others in a definitionally collective, collaborative enterprise like scenarios fall into the assholism category in my book.

    Its not AV, this is actually a team sport. There is no “I” in team.

    I’d throw those duelists in that category too for the most part, even though there is a strategic benefit to the overall scenario to taking and keeping another opponent out of the action.

    Probably not significant in the situation Melf described, but engaging and harrassing healers (and whomever might be protecting them) wherever they are means they’re less able to support the flag carrier making them more susceptible to focus fire, etc.

    Again, the PQ contribution system, while far from perfect, goes a long way to addressing these inequities.

  18. It’s true that sometimes engaging someone who is not very close to an objective may be useful. However, most of the time it’s not going to be. As with anything you need to look at the percentage of times the change would be helpful and the percentage that it’s going to slap someone in the face who’s doing the right thing. I believe if they choose the “radius of goodness” wisely, it will serve us well 95% of the time. I don’t think simply using the PQ contribution system would work well, because it makes duelling unimportant people more rewarding than winning the scenario for your team.

    In fact, the PQ contribution system itself is somewhat borked anyway. Is there info anywhere on how exactly this works? I’ve stumbled across PQ’s in the final stage before, contributed very little and received the top ranking. The other day I came across a Keep Siege when the group (full warband) was at the keep lord (I had not contributed to the siege at all). I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off while activating “hold the line” as much as possible, and received the #2 spot.

    As for assholism, well, it’s all subjective. If there was a button that could be pushed at the beginning of every scenario that said “Each of your allies receive 5% less XP/RP during this scenario, while you receive 5% more”…. would you push it? Does the answer about whether or not you’d push it depend on whether the action was anonymous? What about if it was 10% for you? 20%? 100%?

    I have a feeling from your posts you would not push such a button. But, I wonder what percentage of people would push the button if given anonymity…. my guess is the vast majority.

    Guess we must be playing with a massive collection of assholes then. Welcome to the internet my friend!

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