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Reader Comments (30)

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 9:43AM (Unverified) said

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I almost never comment on blogs. This post deserves a gold star. It perfectly summarized why I don't play WAR, after initially loving it. There's absolutely NO player skill involved in the game. I truly believe that. Take it with a grain of salt, of course; it's an exaggeration. But success in WAR comes only through superior numbers and the zerg. Doesn't matter how good you are if it's 5 warbands vs. 2.

So sad, cause the game has so much potential. It's too bad that the fundamental design decisions in RvR funnel player activity into PvE zergfests.

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 9:56AM (Unverified) said

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"I've come to the conclusion that WAR is not currently designed to support gank groups."

Good.

Go play Eve (or any other sandbox, open PvP game) if you want to gank.

Some people just want to play an MMO casually and don't have time to grind out gear and work out tactics required for "serious" PvP, yet they shouldn't be excluded from PvP.

If you aren't skilled or geared up in a game with ganking, PvP is no fun because you're just a victim. In WAR you can log on and jump into PvP no matter how crummy your character or your friends are and still feel like you're doing something useful - not just giving a few laughs to the gankers.

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 10:01AM (Unverified) said

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Brings a tear to my eye to read that there are others out there that miss this aspect of DAoC :)

Like the writer, I ran guild groups (and pick up groups) for several years, and it's by far the most fun I've ever had in a game. And like many others, I was extremely disappointed to find that WAR was not DAoC 2, but a game that combines some of the things that I found frustrating in DAoC, with a lot of elements from WoW (mostly good ones, luckily).

I don't think WAR will ever be a game that caters to people like us. DAoC was never designed to be a game for group vs group combat, but as it evolved, and the player culture was established, it became just about the only MMO out there that offered this (in a non-instanced environment). The world was big, and only certain classes had the highest level of speed, so well composed groups could roam freely without being too afraid of getting caught by the zerg. Crowd control was also very powerful, especially in the hands of skilled players, and a group could kill pretty much any amount of people, if they were stupid enough.

When WAR was designed, Mark Jacobs made it clear that he wanted almost no crowd control in the game, and that one of his biggest regrets with DAoC was just this. WAR was also designed with the same "everyone should be able to solo"-idea that WoW employs, thus homogenizing all the classes, making roles in PvP less defined. The final nail in the coffin for group vs group action, is that you pretty much HAVE to zerg to get anything of importance done in the game. You can't take a keep with a group, you can't win a scenario with a group, you most certainly can't attack a city with a group.. and there are few ways of finding fights outside of sieges..

All of these things make grouping very little feasible. The lack of crowd control means numbers will always matter, as you can't simply lock down a portion of the crowd while concentrating on another. The lack of roles makes finding the right group composition fairly meaningless. All you need is x healers, and fill the rest with dps. Of course, good groups will try to make use of different classes' abilities, but the variety of these is nothing compared to DAoC. Lastly, as the game is so heavily designed for zerg combat, there's no real culture for group vs group fights, and no real reason for it to develop, as the reward for such is pretty much non-existant.

So that's my rant.. I fully respect people not liking the group vs group culture, but I really wish there was a game that focused on this. Guild Wars is the only game I can think of, but the complete lack of immersion due to character development and heavy instancing makes this more of a normal multiplayer game, and less of a MMORPG for me.

Here's to hoping for a new game that makes group vs group possible and fun!

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 10:14AM (Unverified) said

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I have to say I agree. WAR has its charms but doesn't seem to capitalize on skillful pvp. Whether it's scenarios or RvR WAR pvp never truly feels like a challenge. For me I want pvp that makes me think and the best place I've always found that is in exactly what's been described here, open world gank group pvp. That's the kind of pvp that keeps players coming back, a true challenge of trying to outsmart another person. Not objective rushing or grinding a pvp instance but something actually thought provoking.

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 10:16AM (Unverified) said

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There are typically 3 factors which govern success in a PvP encounter in any MMORPG; player skill, character build and gear. The proportions of each vary from game to game but player skill is rarely the most significant factor. Many players like to believe that their victories are due to their superior skill, but once you've reached a basic level of competency it's mostly all about character build and gear. If a game system is weighted too heavily in favour of player skill it risks excluding those players who aren't highly skilled which is likely the majority of the customer base.

If you do want to reward player skill then ironically one of the best ways is to give them abilities that are highly situational, such as Crowd Control. This allows the more skilled players to shine because they can best judge when to use CC most effectively.

The author doesn't give any opinion on how he would change CC in WAR, but the obvious solution would be to extend cooldowns and immunities. The less frequently CC can be used then the more skill it takes to judge when best to use it in any given encounter.

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 10:26AM (Unverified) said

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I too, remember the great times in DAOC 8 man "gank groups" - although I don't know if this is the correct name, judging from all the confusion it generates. For those of you who didn't play DAOC during that time, people would form up at their realm's border keeps in 8 man groups, either PUG or with your guild and a set group of people, and run out to "emain" (the hibernia rvr area, which was popular on my server for rvr).

The goal was to work as a team. That was the best part of the whole experience, as you knew that your combat effectiveness exponentially got better as your teamwork improved. A team that cc'd the wrong targets, and primary targetted the wrong enemy first wouldn't get far, but a team that pulled it together and executed things right could take out 3/4 times their number with only small losses.

The best part was that skill and teamwork were way more important than button mashing.

I too, am still looking for this experience in todays "modern" mmo's....

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 10:29AM (Unverified) said

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I never played DAoC in it's prime, but this is what I wanted WAR to be like. Unfortunately its more like WoW it seems. Honestly, when I play all I feel is the grind, and the treadmill beneath my feet. No challenge of intellect, just grind, grind, grind.

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 11:18AM Abriael said

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Every time i read a post about wannabe gankers being the "elite of the elite" it brings up a smile. Sorry that's simply not the case, most of the gankers have never been up to collaborate or organize with their realm, and as such were mainly marginal to a realm's success, sometimes even detrimental (like the goons that meet with their adversaries in external communication environments like irc and give them info on where to "avoid the zerg", info that can be passed around and used by their own zerg).

Skill can be found both in gank groups and in guilds that play in large numbers. Guild is the keyword. Ventrilo and people that play a lot together. Small numbers don't necessarily mean "skill". My guild often plays in full warbands in open RvR, but when we meet a gank group in scenarios with equal numbers we very often roll over them like they were a PUG.

Point in fact, gank groups in War DO exist. They simply are mostly in their rightful place. In scenarios. You find TONS of them in there.

Mythic did the right thing putting small group warfare mainly in it's own dedicated environment, and dedicating open field to the ones more willing to work with and organize their realm. Gankers don't get interrupted in their holy war against "the zerg", people that like to play in large numbers mainly don't get bitched at for interrupting it. Everyone is happy.

It's simpy silly (and biased) to associate "skill" only with gank groups, and the ones that do, normally never managed to lead large forces successfully (probably because of their elitism and lack of social skills, which is very common in gankers or wannabe gankers).
Twytch skill and small group coordination are important in scenarios, and social skill, leadership and organization are more important in open RvR. In a realm vs realm MMORPG it's hardly logical to say that the first two skills should be more important or rewarded than the others. It's REALM vs REALM, so maybe some hardcore gankers should get over their "oh my god i'm so uber" elitism, because it's quite outdated, and normally misplaced, and actually start working with their realm-mates.

This said, there's PLENTY room for gank groups willing to work with their realm (this is the keyword, if one isn't willing to work with his realm, why should he be successful in a REALM vs REALM game?) even in the outcome of open RvR. Good premades queuing for scenarios are indispensible to flip zones fast without waiting for zone domination to come into play. They have a key role in patroling, scouting and guarding Battlefield objectives from recapture, holding onto them until the rest of their realm mates arrives to relieve them. It's simply a matter of organization.

The key to successful RvR is the COLLABORATION between premade gank groups and the "zerg" that you guys continue to despise so much.
Go on with your elitism, and you will be marginalized. If that floats your boat, who am I to argue?

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 11:49AM (Unverified) said

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"so maybe some hardcore gankers should get over their "oh my god i'm so uber" elitism, because it's quite outdated, and normally misplaced"

QFT
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Posted: Apr 28th 2009 3:19PM mysecretid said

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I agree absolutely with Abriael. I couldn't have hit the key fallacies in the original article better myself.
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Posted: Apr 28th 2009 5:26PM Nadril said

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Ugh, the fact that you mentioned SCENARIOS as the place to go for these kind of groups is exactly the thing I didn't want. Yeah, when I played WAR I ended up usually playing premades in scenarios. Only problem is that the scenarios in WAR not only are pretty poorly designed (with the exception of a few) but it is no fun playing in them. It's so much more fun playing in an open world where you may get out numbered and you aren't exactly sure what you'll go up against.


The fact that you mentioned it takes skill to zerg in huge groups is hilarious as well. It doesn't take any skill to spam AoE and I'd hope you aren't considering skill "/follow the leader". Then again I guess it does say something to have to lead around 40 'tards.
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Posted: Apr 28th 2009 11:50AM Darkmoone said

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First thing don't say premade, It's just organized guild groups. The reason there was no gank groups in WAR is simple no speed 5.

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 12:00PM (Unverified) said

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I've always felt that the whole "8-man" mentality hurt DAOC's RvR game... and was part of what drove that whole ToA "Master Ability/Artifact/Templating" fiasco.

DAOC and WAR aren't intended to be "PvP" games. They are "RvR" games with a focus on community and larger scale goals. WAR's powercurve intentionally scales more strongly with numbers than with individual classes and abilities. CC is diluted and spread to more classes. Stealth is toned down and put on a timer. All Classes deal enough DPS that you can't get away with ignoring them.

And the result I think is a better community... so far. DAOC had pretty solid "realm pride" too, back in the early days.

There actually are still "gank groups" aka "pre-mades" that tear up pretty well in scenarios, but their effect on the open battlefield is more limited. By design.

So, different strokes and all, but I think WAR's basic focus is right where it should be.

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 1:06PM (Unverified) said

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Indeed it did. Just look at DAoC now.

Still about DAoC:

Calling it "gank groups" is just abit wrong I think. In the start, these people ran around ganking everything, sure. But eventually they would meet some other "gank group".

Now the definition of "gank" is to take some player or a group of players with ease. The competition eventually hardened and the rest of the player base matured as RvR players, getting better gear and abilities and not dieing like sheep. Things got abit more organized, you even had PUGs that were formed from good players and worked very well. So the ganking aspect was gone, except in the mind of the players of course.

What you ended up with was a bunch of these 8-man groups, competing for kills against other 8-man groups. There was a sort of chivalric "honor" system, moderated by some outvoiced players, that dictated how other people should play. Before I stopped playing, after almost five years of DAoC, I was a part of this. But looking back at it, I find it quite silly.
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Posted: Apr 28th 2009 12:08PM (Unverified) said

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I don't think I will ever be able to find the same thrill I got when my skald would sweep into a mulling zerg of albs with a few of my good buddies in tow. And like you said the absolute best part was when you would see two more groups coming out of the brush in an ambush or your "sitting ducks" would prove to be way more skilled than you ever expected. Hell it was even fun when your massacre was interrupted by the rare but always troublesome hib surprise attack.
I dont think this is possible anymore. The advent of the "Angry Internet Man" and the common use of ventrillo and other VOIP services have taken a good chunk out of the fun. The AIM's will whine whine whine until every single class is perfectly vanilla and not 1dps or hps higher than any other class. And the ambush and surprise attack are somewhat neutered by the ability to scream over vent "ALBS BEHIND!". Overbalancing of classes, the need to make every single stinking spell "fair and balanced", and the fact that developers have taken up the idiotic practice of actually reading message boards has turned all pvp into random pve versus players.

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 12:55PM (Unverified) said

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Brooke,
You are working under the false impression that Mythic acknowledges ganking as a valid playstyle and therefore would care to try to cater to it. This is in fact false. People at Mythic hate(d) gank groups in DAoC and their handy work is all over Warhammer, as you have noted in your article. WAR is designed from the ground up to discourage ganking, unfortunately, from my perspective. Another factor you didn't mention is space. The RvR lakes are actually pretty tiny, and with crossed swords sprouting up on the map it's basically impossible to avoid the zerg even if you wanted to (no speed 6 to escape with either).
I think it's a shame Mythic took the best of DAoC PvP and left it behind when they made WAR. WAR is decidedly unfun in comparison.

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 2:16PM (Unverified) said

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Gank groups do exist in WAR! I actively run some. Most of them (that aren't premade scenario groups) are in-house guild or alliance groups and don't talk or communicate in region chat.

Are the groups the same 8man vs much larger numbers like the old DAoC days? Absolutely not... New game, new rules, new tactics. However, I do agree with the article and with changes small scale PvP/gank groups could see a popular resurgence.

Just know that we are out there!

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 2:31PM (Unverified) said

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Guess I'll be the one to say it:

If DAoC was the best experience of your gaming life, why aren't you playing it? The servers are still open, as far as I know.

Oh, wait ... is it because people like you made the game miserable for people who aren't like you, causing them to leave the game? Then once the victim base has trickled away, the gankers have no one left to victimize, and the game itself fades into obscurity?

Why would anyone make a game that caters to this twisted mentality? It makes no business sense. A game that's designed so that only a few "elites" are having fun at the expense of everyone else is going to have little appeal for the majority of the gaming public.

Posted: Apr 28th 2009 2:40PM brookep said

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So the answer is to bring everyone down to to the same level and make it so that smaller groups employing better tactics, teamwork, communication, coolness under pressure, and gear don't have any significant advantage? Curious...
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Posted: Apr 28th 2009 3:30PM (Unverified) said

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Actually it was the players that enforced this kind of playstyle, not the game developers. In the end, most people play the game for 8v8 encounters or the solo playstyle.

Those that didn't like RvR stuck with PvE which in my eyes was atleast as fun.

Question to the author: The picture on page 1 features some of the Celtic Fist members on the EU/Excalibur server, Hibernia realm. Were you one of them? I knew alot of CF guys from back then.
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