Wednesday, 21 January 2009

The Battle for Battle Objectives.

Regis arbitrary and Syp have all been writing about about the future of battle objectives recently, and Regis and Arbitary have both come out as strong advocates that villages may be the answer.

Now while these are all great bloggers i have to say that this time i feel in the words of Ned Flanders they are "wrong didley wrong"

There are to me at least allot of reason why this wont work but im going to stick to what i think are the two biggest( mainly since these are the ones which need the most explanation otherwise id just but a quick note on them in a comment).
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The flow of the campaign.

One of the great strengths of mythics RvR system is that it has a clear end objective and that flow that encourages more and more RvR.
Your aim is to take the other realms capital everything between that is just a speed bump to be overcome.
Once a army looses it sense of common purpose it will start to fragment.
Currently the biggest interruption of this flow is the time it takes to turn over a zone, but i would suggest that the new zone domination mechanic should end this.
This sort of fast paced war with constantly moving fronts makes for a interesting meta game. One problem the current slow state of RvR doesn't lead people to consider is that while maintaining the flow of a 'offensive' is good allowing a blitzkrieg is bad (at least in terms of making a fun game).

The reason allot of people dislike BO's currently is that they feel they discourage actual RvR fighting. There really is no reason to defend a BO unless you are very close to locking a zone.
What will often happen is that outnumbered side will typically take up residence in one keep while to offensive force captures the undefended Bo's(On Karak-Hirn the most commonly used capture sequence ive seen is Keep BO BO BO Keep BO).

One way of looking at BO's real function is took consider what would happen if they didn't exist.
Currently BO's act as time sinks, they buy defenders time to get into a keep or to return to a zone before it is locked. remove that and the meta RvR just becomes a case of who can get the biggest zerg up and destroy keeps the fastest before someone can react.
Because of their simplicity there is really no difference between a 6man group or a warband group in the overall speed that a BO is taken.

I guess what im trying to say is that defenders need the breaks in fighting that capping a BO provides in order to mount a proper defense.

Arbitary talks about how RvR doesn't currently teach people the skills needed, but essential capital cities in a contested state rely upon the exact same things (BO 's and SC's) to quote the herald
"You fight for control over the City just like regular open world zones. A City Scenario is available to join from anywhere in tier 4 as well as within the City. Capture the Objectives in the City to earn Victory points over time and remember to always kill the enemy players you come across as it all contributes to Zone Control in the City."

the only difference is the chronology of when public quests play a part.

Tactical Justification?
To pick off where i started on a comment on W&W
Keeps are built to protect villages, villages don't protect keeps.
It really is that simple.If a village was attacked its populace would typically retreat to the keep. In fact allot of medieval villages were built just outside castle walls.
If you look at real medieval warfare forces would basically never fight in the open unless there numbers were roughly even. In some cases if there was a area with good natural defensive quality's (like a valley or hill) sometimes a force would make a stand but generally the simple rule was castle and keeps exist for one reason and one reason alone: Somewhere to retreat to when you can't win a open battle.

So is wrong to pillage a village?
Well people want to pillage and that's understandable and to me at least a good thing to be aiming for in your game design. Anyone who has play WoWs Wrath of the Lich King expansion will tell you that the one great innovation blizzard introduced has been phasing. They way that the world changed about you anchored you in the narrative in ways that most mmos including WAR fail at miserably.I think the desire for villages is at heart a desire for this sort of feeling of impacting the world which is atm lacking from war before the city siege stage.
What i would dearly love on one level is the same to happen as when a city is locked down, that when a zone becomes locked the entire opposing factions half of the map is taken by the victors and new variation on the public quest which had been active in that area spawn as players of the defeated faction being unable to enter or respawn in it.the problem with this is that it just doesn't work with the way fortress battles are fought. What use is this sort of transformation if it can be reversed less than 1hr, equally the 24 hour duration of the capital siege is completely unusable.

But there is one area which had no use outside RvR
that generally have a unique look and which could easily be made into a interesting fight.

and that is warcamps.

Let say when u cap a zone the defeated realms warcamp becomes a PQ with a 15-20min timer on it. There is a 3 min timer on the flight master before he despawns. Player from the defeated realm cannot enter the RVR area, and if they die do not respawn.

This would work as a reward for the winners in the form of getting to loot & burn the opponents base, and at the same time allow the defenders some time to regroup before the next zone is assaulted. Participation in the PQ could contribute influence to players RvR influence pool. And since there would only be 1 PQ it would lead to far less fragmentation than happens currently.

Soooo long story short. Regis you had it right 1st time. Warcamps good. Villages bad. At least in my opinion anyways :D

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