Care Bear STARE!August 12, 2008
As people scurry to and fro, preparing themselves for the September 18 “Day of Pudding”, there are vital decisions to be made. Which guild will I join? Which side: Destruction or Order? Will I be the one tank on our entire server? How can I take time off in the middle of the week and justify it to the boss/wife/husband/parents without coming across as justifiably insane? And, of course, the crucial decision of rolling on a Core or Open server.
For some, they won’t have a choice. They’re already allied with a guild that’s made that decision for them, unless they disagree and want to up and quit the guild for greenskin pastures. For others, it represents the critical philosophy behind their playstyle. And, if past MMOs with similar rulesets are of any indication, this will become a point of honor for some, and a launchpad for put-downs, arguments and disparaging remarks for many.
While we don’t know all the details, we do know that the “Core” ruleset will have both RvR (PvP) areas in the game world, as well as non-RvR sections where players can PvE in relative peace, knowing that they’re not about to be ganked by a level 40 Shadow Warrior. The “Open” ruleset says “forget that!” and essentially turns the entire world into a PvP playground. Or nightmare, depending on your perspective.
Now, I am overwhelmingly drawn to the Core ruleset for WAR. Although the Open people will claim otherwise, this isn’t because I’m against PvPing, or because I’m so terrified of non-predictive combat that I need to retreat to my “happy place” as a stereotypical Care Bear. I like the idea for the ruleset first of all because it is “Core”. It’s the way the game was first envisioned and designed by Mythic, the way that they see most players using. I don’t care if you call me weak or noobsauce or whatever for rolling on that type of server, I just need some time in my gameplay to be PvE oriented. Seeing as how Warhammer Online does have a very strong, solid PvE experience, why would I want to try to put a huge dent into that with the possibility that some 12-year-old Chaos Marauder will lurk in the trees behind me, wait until I’m at half health, and then finish me off as another notch goes on his Pokémon belt?
I see it a bit like how horror movies function. There’s a definite pattern to most horror movies, a rise and fall of tension and scares. Directors know that the audience needs to have breathers to calm down a bit in order to stick it out to the end credits, so they throw in humor and more peaceful scenes and whatnot. Then they pop in a scare and make the viewers wet themselves. Some horror filmmakers, however, don’t buy this theory, and choose instead to make their film constantly unrelenting, a string of horrific, gory peaks that only link to each other and never look back down. Some people like unrelenting tension in their entertainment. Some like a bit of relenting. And as such, I see how the Core/Open thing will appeal to different types of players. Some will like unrelenting gameplay that’s tension-filled, start to finish. Some will need to know they can take a break from getting beatdown by the enemy once in a while.
For others, the Open ruleset appeals because they are going into WAR with 0% interest in playing the PvE game. The idea that you can level entirely to 40 through PvP and spend all of your time thereafter engaging player-controlled enemies is a selling point to PvP freaks, like Snafzg. Yet on a Core server, players will always have a choice, and one of the choices can be entirely leveling to 40 through nothing but PvE — quests, grinding, PQs and dungeons. Mythic is banking on most players choosing to do a mix — a little RvR here, a little PvE there — and is facing a difficult struggle on multiple fronts to win people in the extreme regions to experience the other side a bit.
My only issue with all of this is the inevitable name-calling that comes with any style of play that’s seen as more hardcore or elite than others. It’s here I get a bit sick of people in general, because there’s a nasty undercurrent of “I’m better than you and this proves it!” that just keeps growing and swelling to obnoxious volume. What’s worse is that it generally just goes in one direction: Raiders against Casuals, PvPers against PvE “Care Bears”, Monkeys against Kittens. My only response to that is that just because you’ve deliberately made something more difficult doesn’t mean that you’re better for having dealt with it. Maybe so but probably not. It just means you’re a bit masochistic. And if that’s enjoyable for you, so be it — but I better not see any nose hairs as you look down on me for not doing the same thing.