Equitable Differences

In competitive games, games where players are constantly vying against others for successful completion of a goal, most developers seek to attain an equilibrium in the power scales of whatever is in the player’s hand. Whether a cooperative platform where both players have equal strengths so that neither has the advantage and both can feel contributory, or in a fighting game, where powers and attacks need to be balanced in terms of speed, strength, or difficulty in handling. In MMOs this strive for balance is seen between classes in both PvE and PvP games. However, something unique to the PvP world is difficulty of objectives.

Obviously in a PvP MMO both sides have to fight the other player, so classes need to be balanced for direct conflict. Whether the balance is done for small skirmish, one on one, or large-scale needs to be decided ahead of time. If you’ve been around the MMO block long enough, you know what I’m aiming at here. WAR is obviously for large-scale, and to a lesser degree, small skirmish. One on one fights are not where Mythic decided to put the fulcrum of their see-saw they call balance. Given all that, PvP games such as WAR  have another area of balance that requires an equitable difference, PvE encounters.

Over the weekend I was able to take part in a city siege on Altdorf with my guild on my DoK. I’m sure like many other players in WAR, none of us getting particularly jazzed over PvE of any kind. Still, it’s the endgame and we lend a hand from time to time. This instance in particular, pushed the city to stage 2 and opened the warlord instances. So, being the dutiful little hamsters that I am, I chose to go ahead and give these PvE torture chambers a go. I was mostly convinced by my guildies telling me how quickly they could be completed. I had very little to zero hope of their accuracy given my own experience with stage 2 of Inevitable City.

My guild gathered up the troops, and conscripted fellow members in our city instance, and we wrangled up 3 groups of players, some sub-40 to go into the Bright Wizard college. My hopes diminished even further. It took HOURS to finish the Sacellum with a full group of 40s on vent, in the same alliance for the most part, what hope could this rag-tag crew possibly have? Oh, and did I mention I had only one superior ward, I was all but useless on this trip. Still, my guild seemed confident, and shortly, I realized why. With our three tanks, we were still able to rip through the first encounter that had 4 hero mobs. I died once.

Once.

After that, we were on the final boss of the instance. Wait, what? That quick? I don’t get it, that seemed awful fast. But maybe this is more like one of the other instances in IC that I didn’t get to do. That would make sense, I guess, maybe I just chose the absolutely most difficult non-palace PQ available. So, as my semi-warband moved on to destroy this Bright Wizard boss without wiping even once, my thoughts were that the temple would be nigh-impossible.

So about 45 minutes after entering the college, we moved on, not to Temple of Sigmar, no, we made a detour to the palace. This battle was more like I expected, after killing a set amount of NPCs, our tank pulled the hero, and we summarily proceeded to spawn rush him, which makes sense, considering the requirements of excelsior wards. Still, we dropped him, and I walked away with a royal crest, for about 30 minutes worth of play. That I can live with. There was more to palace, but we realized that we were not nearly well geared for it, or had the people to complete it. I suppose it would be more accurate to say we were shown how ill-prepared we were, thanks to the rough treatment by a female shadow warrior on stairs to the inner palace. Of course, she bugged out when we tried to spawn rush her as well, so that might have been something to do with our decision to leave…

So, our final destination ahead of us was the Temple of Sigmar. I don’t even remember the first boss, it was that easy. But the next boss proved more difficult. A high priest (warrior priest) of the church, that every 10 percent of hp loss summons two cronies that do complete heals. He also does an AoE that will do a complete wipe of the party if the tank doesn’t taunt him when given the queue. The cronies are a bit tough, but can be taken down if properly focused, and the boss isn’t too hard to tank if you are cross-guarding and have a tank doing nother other than hold the line with the his back to the main tank. We didn’t beat him, as we were down to two and a half groups and people were fading fast to PvE overload. But I couldn’t help being astounded, this was the last boss of the instance.

Not a single instance was comparable to what I experienced on my shadow warrior. There was no required spawn rush (if we had warded tanks, I’m sure the first palace boss would have been doable), not one instance had us pounding on hero’s for hours on end, no 4 stages that had us killing a combined total of nearly a dozen heros. Every instance that I went into in Altdorf seemed like a strong, working, fun PvE experience (other than the palace SW bugging out eventually). 

As a player of the game, I felt cheated and abused. I play on both realms, and I want my experiences on one to be as close as possible to the other. When there is a glaring mis-handling of the end game content that results in a giant disparity in gameplay that needs to be brought to the attention of the developers. It also needs to be addressed quickly. It should be clear to anyone that who has any familiarity with WAR, that the two situations as they stand are vastly unbalanced, and there is zero equality between the two. When you have a game of competition that results in a fierce struggle, players will look for every facet to beat out the other guy, and when a chasm such as this is created, all that results is resentment in the player base when they discover it. When the differences are inequitable, players lose the challenge, and players will quit playing. I know I haven’t logged into WAR since then. I will, as I love the game, but my enthusiasm, it’s not what it once was.

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About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

One Response to Equitable Differences

  1. zizlak says:

    On Drakenwald you get some pretty curses if you try to attack the boss in the stage1 pq. Because on order side he and his pets are bugged. He hits like a train (something like 20-50k to really well equipped tanks, though I’ve seen a tank kiting him, but that was before patch 1.3.2) and his pets move arbitrarily around and “drive-by-kill” the soft targets with no chance for the tanks to taunt them off.

    Destruction can rather tank-n-spank their hero… at least to my knowledge. It’s really frustrating when you are defending Altdorf every 3-4 hours and then can’t fight the boss, but the enemy can. This is one of the reasons why I don’t defend Altdorf any longer.

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