Let's take a look at this site and see what makes it tick. Along the way, I share commentary about the site and siege war in general, and you'll get to see which guilds are in the top bracket out of all the North American servers.
You can find the lengthy and ongoing discussion of Siege War Top 50 over on the RoM forum, but I'll try to sum it up here. Back in May, Welshde of the guild Dawntreaders (on Reni) posted the top 50 siege war guilds in a fairly simple list that ranked guilds based on score, wins, losses and ties. Since then, Welshde has been tweaking the site and adding more features that allow you to look at rankings in many different ways.
As of now, you can check the top 50 guilds, view their previous ranks, compare any two guilds, check ranks by server, or see more than just the top 50. Part of the attraction for me is that the rankings are in simple lists that quickly show all the information you need. It's like checking on grades that a teacher posted outside of a classroom. The site's creator seems to have gotten some inspiration from another MMO most of us have heard of, and I think RoM players are happy Welshde did so. And why not? Siege war is a feature that has continued to make RoM more popular than it already is.
The top 50 site isn't just a list of ranked guilds; it's a herald of what's to come. It's fairly obvious that siege war was a turning point in the direction PvP was headed in RoM. Anything is still possible, but siege war has created an exciting glimpse into the future of cooperative gameplay on a large scale. Imagine going back to the beginning of WoW and getting a glimpse into the direction and size of raiding and battlegrounds today. I think RoM is merely at the tip of the iceberg.
Siege war is a feature that's still in beta and not without problems. Welshde makes good by throwing the disclaimer that the top 50 is just a list. Lag, disconnections and exploits still exist which muddy the waters as to who is truly pushing his guild higher up the rankings due to skill and strategy, and who is falling down the list due to these problems. Even with the current problems, siege war is still the most popular feature in RoM right now.
Where do Runewaker and Frogster go from here? I wish I could sneak my way into Runewaker's inner sanctum and steal a glimpse of its itinerary for RoM. Sadly, I lack the funds and super-ninja gear to do that, but we can look to the evolution of other MMOs to speculate. What direction did WoW take in the beginning, how did it capitalize on the popularity of battlegrounds, and how did tournaments get so popular?
OK. Most of the answers are found in WoW's overwhelming success and large player population. But as the game's population increased, Blizzard started adding mixed match sizes and world-wide competitions with prizes. The global arena tournament is a big departure, with its ability to instantly create level-capped characters with insane gear, compete in qualifying matches, and climb the ladder to the global invitational championships.
Now, I'm not saying that Runewaker should copy Blizzard, but there are some great prospects for growing and expanding siege war. Adding tiered siege war tournaments with different objectives would be one of them. How fun would it be to have some higher-bracket global tournaments in which you are given characters with specific levels or handicaps? I'm getting a bit ahead of myself and wandering into dreaming territory, but speculating that RoM will get more competitively oriented content isn't much of a stretch. Other free-to-play MMOs like Atlantica Online have tournament features with high-buck prizes.
In the same way that we can look back on pre-tournament WoW and its competitive infancy, we will be looking back to today's current stage of siege war in RoM. Siege War Top 50 will be seen as the first in a line of many player made sites that helped spread the popularity and gave some concrete data to fuel our competitive nature. Regardless of what's in store for RoM's PvP-future, necessity is the mother of invention. Players will continue to create their own great content and find ways to increase their fun and meet -- or crush -- other players.
Siege War Top 50 may seem like nothing more than a simple ranking list, but it speaks to how much more could grow from the current state of siege war. RoM may not be as big as WoW -- yet -- but the top 50 shows there is plenty of desire and room for adding much more competitive content.
I'm always scouring the web for fan sites, addons, and new player-made content for RoM. If you have a great site, app or program that you think I should know about, put it in the comments or email me at the address listed below.
Each Monday, Jeremy Stratton delivers Lost Pages of Taborea, a column filled with guides, news, and opinions for Runes of Magic. Whether it's a community roundup for new players or an in-depth look at the rogue/priest combo, you'll find it all here. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.