The service offered to us by ANY MMO is this. We pay monthly to “level” up our characters. We may also enjoy time with others, long walks on beaches (of dead orcs and goblins mind you), and romantic getaways (a brush with cybersex in Stormwind for example; seems to be a veritable norm for some).
Barring all this…when does the romance die? When do relationships end in our MMO lives?
My breaking up point came very close this weekend while enjoying my current game of choice, Warhammer Online.
Discrepancies abound when you reach that “end game”. WAR has provided something different than most MMO’s, in that Raids are not the norm. Well, that is, teaming up and hitting PvE godlike critters with stats that abound, bugginess that ensues on a regular basis and gear for all. WAR offers a very good PvP end game with their Realm vs. Realm feature. You take over keeps, fight the other side (two faction system here), and attempt to finally overrun the opponents city. All great fun in love and WAR. You fight to earn your keep.
This weekend brought to a head the huge issue with how you are rewarded for doing what should be the games main focus; RvR.
First off, changes came about in a recent patch which changed how you receive the Medallions needed to get yourself geared for the fight. Whether Mythic believed it was just too easy, I do not know. But, now it has progressed to a beyond difficult stage. Especially if you want RvR to be your focus (seems you can get some goodies via PvE routes still). Medallions were dropping very rarely, and if anything, there were times I walked out of a fight with NONE. I calculated that over a 16 hour period of RvR combat, I went from have 93 medallions to holding 109. Roughly 16 medallions (interesting). So, one drop per hour. Now, using this chart, I am looking to save up for the Invader gear. If you read, the boots and gloves drop from players, so I will not need to buy those. But, for the rest, I will need roughly 1001 medallions. On average, 41 FULL days of playing. We all know we cannot play that much. Now, lets say I play around 4 hours a day..I only have to play 250 days to get all of my pieces. That is, of course, if I have not outleveled that set.
Which I will.
So, how about overall leveling as a whole. Getting to where I need to be? Lets look at my other focus on doing a straight PvE character through WAR. I have had fun, as I share the duties with my family members. We have noted SEVERAL discrepancies here, which could hurt the game with it’s new RvR focused push. For one, the gear, as you reach higher levels, comparatively to the lower, is terribly awry. Stats start to not make sense. Certain pieces offer attributes that are not the main focus of the class. It is almost like they are forcing your character to take different routes than you have chosen. So, trying to get better pieces is sometimes difficult. Doing Public Quests and finishing “Normals” or better rated PQ’s should offer us gold bags. But, there are times they just will not drop. We eventually outlevel that area, and thus, we lose access to the better gear. And who wants to run the same thing over 100 times for one piece of loot when we are ready to progress?
My second concern in PvE was presented when after playing that 16 hours of RvR, I noted a 4% increase in our Guild rank. Guilds gain levels just like players. XP contributes a percentage to getting that Guild upgraded to better banners and other specialties you may have for RvR in WAR . Now, why was the 4% bad? After 4 hours of PvE, we had gained almost 12%. So, triple the amount of XP gained, in less time played. Really…who would want to RvR when all I keep feeling is like I am being punished everywhere?
So, in Ranking Up, there just feels to be a huge chasm between what the game WANTS you to play, compared to what you MUST play to survive and progress. Want to level your Guild to gain better function within RvR? Better not RvR. Want better gear in PvE? Better RvR. Want better gear in RvR? Better PvE.
I am now confused.
Seems WAR is not alone in this issue with gear and earning rewards. Age of Conan has had concerns over their new factions system being too grind oriented, and gear has had issues since launch. These of course happen to be the two games that launched at about the same time. Note, Everquest 2 has a GREAT gear upgrade system (which includes well done crafted goods) as well as Guild functionality that works. Of course PvP is not a main focus, but an addition. Is it strictly a PvP issue, seeing both WAR and AoC’s main focus was PvP? Well, then I could point at Guild Wars which does PvP well. They offer a straight path to just PvP without PvE, and offer a skill over gear mentality.
Are these just shortcomings then in games that had supposedly shoddy launches, and are still trying to learn how to be good MMO’s? Like I said, I love WAR, but man oh man…she let me down this weekend, and I may have to send her a “terse” love letter.