Tiers from the Moon
November 10, 2010 2 Comments
Above and beyond all the skaven news that we’ve been getting pummeled with of late, Mythic released some new information via a post on the official forums by Andy that told us all about a restructuring of the various tiers throughout the game, and other plans to help account for the upcoming power gap that will be coming in the picanic basket of Verminous Horde. The post, as a part of Mythic’s continued series of In-Development threads, is titled “Addressing the Power Gap”. The reason for this is most telling by a statement in the preamble that reads:
…we’d like to take a moment to address some concerns that the community has around some of the benefits that the pack offers to those who purchase it and the impact that it will have on WAR in general.
What I find compelling about this, is that it touches on a few topics at once. It lets the reader know that the developers are attentive to the customer. It conveys a sense of careful consideration of concerns carried by the player base. Finally, it is an example that developing an MMO is not some linear progression where things have a minimal impact. Creating and maintaining a game like this requires thinking geometrically to really consider the varied and many outcomes every change can leave upon the world you create.
The first, and maybe most extensive, proposal to lessen the sting of vertical expansion is increasing the brackets of levels allowed to participate within each Tier. I like this move on a couple of levels, one, it provides options, and (say it with me class) “Options are good!”. What is being done, specifically, is that each tier is having the upper limit extended, so that a player can remain in a bracket for a longer period of time. This allows completionists to collect all of the influence rewards for a tier, it gives PAYING players in tier 1 a way to pound free-trial twinks into dust in righteous retribution, it gives a larger incentive for those
mooches *ahem* “potential customers” to open up the pocket-book and get the real game, and it helps players who aren’t the level cap to stay out-of-the-way of RR100s that will be running around.
The tier 4 change might be the biggest coddler of the player base, especially at times when the Skaven dungeon opens up. What you’ll see (hopefully) is a Tier 4 lake that is filled with players that are level 40 and only up to RR65, as everyone who is able will be running off to try to get the new warpforged gear. So the lake will be overflowing with players who are more or less on pretty equal footing. My only concern, is that instead of those players remaining in the lake, they’ll just log out in a sense of futility, as the campaign doesn’t advance while the Skaven are in play.
Beyond the tier match, they’re introducing a matchmaking system (as I’ve talked about), reducing the restriction of lower tier gear, and creating a system that lets player opt out of gold bags. If you’re similar to me and my guildies, you’ll appreciate that last bit, a lot of us have both full sets of sovereign gear, and really just want the purple weapons from the city. It was always a strange thing to see people get upset over winning, and while I would have liked to see the weapon be available in the gold bags as a solution, this rule implementation can work as well, and is applicable to an entire system.
As for the skaven thing, I’ll keep it short: I’m not too happy about the changes. I really liked the idea of the skaven being low-damage, CC machines that helped to define a battlefield by their impact on ability of opposition as opposed to being killers of the enemy directly. Now, I say that not having had a chance to play them in the slightest (damn dogmatic Wednesday night testing), so it’s very likely that my vision of how they worked in a live environment was nowhere near the reality, and that’s what precipitated these changes.
More than the specifics of these changes, or the potential impact it will have on our game, more than the opinions of myself and other game-pundits, I think the biggest thing to take out of the last few months, is that Mythic listens. We may not like what they do at times, or the speed at which it is done, but I think only the most obtuse of naysayers can say their communication is laking. A near constant stream of in-development posts, regular testing sessions, and access to developers to put questions is a level of access that I’ve never had in a game before. Throw into the mix that they also have a group of regular players (that I am privledged to be a part of) that provide initial feedback and testing is a huge nod to the important of the player base.