June 18, 2009

Warhammer Top 5

Jeff Hickman recently outlined Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning's top five issues in his recent Executive Producer's Letter.
Based heavily on that feedback, our current “Top 5” areas that we are giving significant attention to are:

1. Addressing concerns related to Crowd Control and Area of Effect abilities.
2. Continuing to improve client and server stability and performance.
3. Strengthening and improving the Tier 4 experience.
4. Improving server population distribution – both in terms of overall population and realm balance.
5. Improving itemization and the overall distribution of “carrots” (rewards) throughout the game.
My comments:

1. It's sad that Mythic didn't learn anything from Dark Ages of Camelot, which had the same exact problems. Repeating mistakes is bad.

2. Performance was great in beta, but took a nosedive after launch. During my playtime, Mythic never recovered. This was probably the number one reason casual players left the game.

3. Tier 4 sucks. Horrible game design. Laughable at best.

4. Everyone knew it was going to be an issue at launch, so not sure why they are thinking they can address it now. The basic game design makes balance impossible. Without fundamental game changes, this is a lost cause.

5. I thought the rewards were pretty well distributed until players hit the roadblock that was level 40. At 40, rewards are sparse unless players grind and even then its fairly minor in terms of upgrades. Most of the low end 40 gear should have been made accessible in the mid 30s.

5 comments:

Robert Schultz said...

Yes, in their goal to "not make a Dark Age of Camelot 2" they threw out nearly everything that people loved from there. Darkness Falls, THREE realms for better population balance, performance, etc.

Now, I don't know how or even if 3 realms would fit into the Warhammer lore, but having 3 realms in DaoC always means that the weaker two could gang up on the strongest, it was always fun having 3 realms instead of 2.

Keen said...

Considering how they made up the two realms they currently have, bs'ing 3 wouldn't have been any more difficult to explain away.

Hudson said...

Nice post

Radishlaw said...

1. from what I've read it is the exact opposite of DAoC. In DAoC the CC are long but breakable/mitigatable, while in WAR CC are short but unbreakable/unmitigatable save for a few abilities.

2. Yes, no idea what happened there. And I have to say this, so far nearly every performance improvement made it worse. It must be some kind of deep issue within the engine. This they really should learn from Asian developers, performance and accessibility is their strong suit.

3. They wanted to make the endgame focused. But in addition to quality issues (Fort crash, poor city design), funnelling everything to one path is really a bad idea - I have never seen a game so willingly push the theorial n^2 limitation of network messaging. It is like some kind of lemming mechanic.

4. They really shouldn't left out "dogs of war" system from launch. Luckily, Aion gives a usable, explainable system that Mythic can readily use. Time to start copying other MMOs guys.

5. I think this problem is more referring to people "camping" or "leeching" during RvR, completely ruining RvR, and giving us the term RvE.

In short, those aren't exactly the same mistake DAoC had, but sadly some of them are really notable - which makes me doubt if any of them actually developed more than 1 online game.

Oh well, we can always hope Asian developers, with their ultra-short dev cycle, to bring evolution and mutation to this genre and shake up the world. Healthy competiton is always a good thing.

heartlessgamer said...

@Radishlaw

1. Point being, they didn't get it right in either game. They didn't even appear to try. Actually, in my opiniong, WAR simply has different names and animations. It felt like DAOC v2.0 in regards to AOE/CC.

2. Agree.

3. Lol.

4. I agree, but then again I'm not sure if it would have helped. The death knell was having only two sides combined with horrible end game design that forced the lemming behaviour.

5. Not sure how you got that. The "leeching" in RvR is fine. Its Realm vs Realm, so there will be weaker players that need to be supported in the system.

RvE comes from the fact that its pointless to defend, or actually, impossible to defend when keeps/zones can be taken in minutes.

I wouldn't say that about Asian developers. Their short development time comes from a far more crowded market and different business models.

Innovation in the western market is going to be slow and over time. The wheels are already turning, but its not going to be night/day. What needs to happen is that developers make games that are solid mechanically before they are "feature rich".

WAR could of won the "feature war" of AAA MMOGs, but Mythic botched execution and core game mechanics which left their feature set dead in the water.