Thursday, December 24, 2009

10 Days of WAR: Day Seven (PvE)

For my seventh day of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning I did some PvE.

One of my first posts about WAR on this blog was about the importance of PvE:
WAR, without PvE, is just a mess waiting to happen.
I took a lot of flack for suggesting that WAR needed PvE.  WAR was going to be the ultimate RvR game, pitting throngs of players against each other in epic battles.  PvE was only a momentary distraction!  How wrong those people were.  It is suicide to attempt to push out a triple-A game that focuses solely on PvP-oriented conflict.  The player base is NOT there to support a game of WAR's budget size with only PvP.  Plus, with only PvP minded players, the battlefield becomes very stale, very quickly.

Ranting aside, WAR does have a good amount of cooperative PvE (I'm not talking about solo content today).  The end game features dungeons and loot progression.  The early game features a few dungeons and plenty of public quests.  Both ends of the spectrum benefit from an open grouping system that allows players to find groups on the fly in their current area.

With my time limited, I was not able to get into any dungeon groups on my rank 40 Ironbreaker.  I logged into my level 8 White Lion and journeyed to Nordland and Norsca to enjoy some public quests.

Public quests is WAR's best feature!

I can't emphasize enough what a great feature public quests are, both for community building and sheer fun.  Unfortunately, the number of PQs in WAR far outpaces its player population, limiting the success of the system.  In a more popular game, with more players per zone, a public quest system is absolutely golden. 

WAR, at launch, did have the player populations to support most public quests.  One problem that hurt the PQs though, was the fact players were using instanced scenarios to grind out their levels.  Since scenarios could be joined from anywhere within the world, players often went *poof* in the middle of a PQ.  This problem still exists today, and is very evident in tier 1.

However, PQs have been readjusted accross the zones.  Instead of most of them requiring full groups and perfect setups, several out of the way PQs are geared for small 2-3 person groups.  A quick look at the open groups screen in Nordland lead my directly to a 3 man group (slayer, archmage, white lion).  An hour later we had burned through several PQs and joined up with a larger group farming PQs in Norsca (the next zone up).

I lost track of time quickly.  Many of these PQs I had never seen and I have leveled a dozen alts through these zones.  Mythic made the right changes to PQ difficulty and with the new endless trial, the player density in tier 1 fully supports the system.  What this means in the middle tiers is unknown as I really only have characters of level <12 and level=40.  My suspicion is the player density hits rock bottom in tier 2 and 3, making PQs sort of pointless.  Tier 4 picks up, but most PQs are unrewarding for a rank 40 character, so most PQs go unused except by those leveling.

Also, as my first rant against WAR during these 10 days, there are no PQs in the RvR lakes.  This is an absolute tragedy at this point and my biggest misunderstanding of WAR prior to launch.  

Next: day eight, keep it straight!
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