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Altdorf Falls, Players Freak, Mark Responds, Trolls Abound

October 13, 2008

An actual, successful city capture is not something I really wanted to tackle first thing this week — it’s Monday morning, I’ve yet to down a single cup of coffee, and my workload is ramping up.  But since it’ll look kind of weird if I don’t talk about what everyone else is buzzing about… here goes nothing!

So yesterday (Sunday) a large group of Destructoids got together (I’ve heard anything from 300-700 players) to take the two fortresses and then besiege Altdorf on the Averheim server (US).  You can read a pretty good writeup at Stunty Stomper here.  Unlike the faux-siege of a week or so prior, this appears to be completely legit without any exploits, and took around 7 hours to complete.

From what I can tell, the player base seems divided on this news.  On the “cool!” side, people admire the effort it took, the coordination, the timing and the world (game) first.  Seven hours doesn’t make this a “pushover” event, and players who participated (against virtually no defenders) had an incredibly tough go of it.  The king did not fall, as the players lacked the gear to get in there and get the job done.

On the “bogus!” side, however, the feeling is that this major centerpiece of the RvR system in WAR came far too soon, did not offer much of a chance for Order players to respond at those early hours, and represents a failing on Mythic’s part.  There’s been many discussions over the past year how long it would take for the first city siege to happen, and now I guess we know the answer.  The more extreme voices on the forums are crying that it’s the end of the game as we know it, and everything from here on out will just be reheated grilled cheese sandwiches.

Mark responded, and I’ll repost his entire reply here:

Folks,

*Assuming* that no exploits were used and that destruction didn’t take advantage of any of the things that will be fixed/tweaked in the next patch, then they deserve congratulations for the first taking of a city. I’ll get the full scoop on this this week.

Now, as to the whole 2AM thing, well, if you want to play an RvR game, there will be times where one side will have a numbers advantage and they will use that advantage. The fact that this is the only city that has been taken out of our 55 servers means that the system is certainly not broken, borked or really messed up. If this had already happened on just our high pop servers, well, then maybe we’d be a little worried but we are 3 weeks since the game’s launch and a city has been taken on only one server. From what I’ve heard, destruction got real organized and did what a large organized force would do against a non-organized (not disorganized since there is no inherent overall organization unless the players make it so) force, they defeated that force. We will look at all the data, look at what’s going in 1.0.3 and if we need to make some new tweaks, we certainly will do so but again, a city has only been taken on one server so far in 3 weeks.

What amuses me about some of the stuff people have been saying is that on one hand, people say “Gimme more open RvR!” but on the other hand *some* people are saying “But it’s not fair, they had more people than us!” and at the same time some people are saying “We hate scenarios!” If you want a true open RvR game then you should not complain about numerical or time-of-day advantages in terms of “Mythic FIX!” This is why it is quite difficult, if not impossible, to satisfy all the different needs/wants of the players. We can’t make sure that all realms have the exact same population no matter what we do even if we were draconian in our efforts. No MMORPG of this type (DAoC, WoW, etc.) has ever had an exact 50/50 split and I doubt any will. We can’t force the players to all log on to the game at the same time. If we were to say that city sieges could only happen during a certain time then we would still have people complaining, saying “It’s our time Mythic, let us attack it when we damn well want to!!!” or “Our alliance can’t get things going until late at night and Mythic is stopping us from attacking!!!!” and if we buffed up the defenses like crazy, people would say “OMG, now nobody has to defend the city, this isn’t fair. This isn’t an RvR game!” etc. People have been saying “Where’s the war in WAR Mythic????” and now that a very organized group has taken a city without exploiting (apparently), now some people are saying “OMG, you mean we could lose because they were more organized and willing to fight? That sucks!”

Again, I’m not saying that the taking of Altdorf was perfect, done beautifully, working as intended, etc. since I don’t have all that data yet. I’m also not saying that after looking at the data we aren’t going to tweak things. However, I will say that if destruction did everything they needed to do lead up to the siege *properly* and then took it over a 7 hour period, that was a pretty special event. And in the coming weeks as we add more rewards and incentives for defending a city as well as the disincentives, I hope that people will more readily leap to the defense of their cities if they come under siege.

As to the whole “But we didn’t know about city being under siege thing” well, I’ll talk to the team this week and make sure that the notification systems that are in the game currently are working as they should be and even if they are, I’ll do a review and see if they need to be buffed up some more. However, if people don’t want to leave what they are currently doing in order to defend their cities, that is their choice not ours. We’ll provide the incentives/disincentives for participating in the defense of a city but it is, as always, up to the players to make their own choices about this aspect of the game.

Mark

Perhaps it’s because I lack a cup of coffee in me yet, but I’m just not in a tizzy about all this as some folks are.  If this was a legit capture, then I say “kudos” to the players who did it, and I’ll go back to playing the game happily later on today.  The fact that the city was captured doesn’t spell the end of anything; city captures were going to happen — the game is built for that.  It doesn’t offer the players a permanent impact on the world, but it does make for a tremendous event, dole out special rewards, and reshape the battlefield.  Eventually, the pieces will reset and the game begin anew.  If anyone has a problem with this in WAR then they have a problem with pretty much all MMOs except for a small handful — there is no permanence in these games, it’s all an illusion to buy into to have fun and play something on a grand scale.

However, the valid concern that most people have here is that this just seems too soon for a game that hasn’t yet reached its launch-plus-one-month mark.  I’m amazed there’s that many rank 40 players (or at least upper-T4), although I have no idea what their gear looks like or what RR they’ve attained.  I have no doubt that Mythic will be examining this event very carefully to see if they’ve overlooked any gaping holes in their RvR pyramid, or if everything came together for these players like a perfect storm and allowed them to take over a city legitimately yet with minimum opposition.

Coffee.  Coffee now!

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29 comments

  1. Nice post, I like your take.

    The wow mindset of “buff me, nurf them” is absolutely stupid and I hope it doesn’t come to this game. Anyone that wants to win every time and play easy mode should grow up or go play a console and use cheat codes.

    Every time I read a statement from Mark, I’m more impressed by him. It finale seems like I’m playing a game that the devs actually play and enjoy themselves and I’m really looking forward to the future of WAR.


  2. I don’t want to sound too ignorant, because I’m still in T2 and my guild doesn’t really have T4 players yet, but I would assume that city sieges are equivalent to what Molten Core was when WoW launched. Now, I forget how long it took people to get through MC at first, but I know it wasn’t long before people started getting into it. And with MC, you basically had to clear certaing bosses many times to get the gear for all the team for the next boss. It sounds like these city sieges are similar in that aspect.

    I’m of the “it’s cool” aspect. I have no idea how Mythic designed the city siege mechanic. Maybe it’s meant to be that a well organized group can win the day every time, or maybe they still need tweaking. Either way, I know I have plenty of time before I get to that point, because I just don’t play like a race to the end kind of person. I like to take my tie and enjoy the process.

    Personally, I think the whole thing is a big mountain out of mole hill situation.


  3. I think the capital cities need to have more incentives to be defended. Unless I’m rank 40 already, there might not be a reason for me to go help out if I’m doing other things like questing/scenarios. The whole mentality of “oh someone else is going to defend it” might kick in or just people will get lazy if it doesn’t affect them directly.

    They could perhaps temporarily suspend scenarios during a city attack to give people a reason to go there and defend? Not sure if that would be effective though as I’m sure many will complain. Maybe add more flight masters so travel to the city is easier or at least just a flight master that goes to the capital cities and no where else.

    I wish the guild recall scrolls were lower rank though, maybe 10 instead of 17.


  4. Can’t see what the fuss is about either. Seems to me too many people are used to other MMOs who make you grind gear and jump through hoops before you can do interesting end game stuff. 300-700 organised people taking an undefended city seems to say “working as intended” to me.


  5. I’m amazed and surprised at the number of people who flat out pedal-to-the-metal power-gamed their way to rank 40 in such a short amount of time. One of the end-game guilds on my server is already running multiple Bastion Stair groups regularly and is kicking people in their high 20s for leveling too slowly.

    Mark had some pretty good views on the whole thing. If you have 500+ organized players of high enough levels then there is nothing preventing them from capping the keeps required to gain access to the enemy’s city.


  6. Here’s the thing. I’ll believe the system is working if the Inevitable City falls to Order at some point in the near future.

    However, I don’t think it will. I think the destruction numbers are too great. Even if order could organize the number of people required to take the Inevitable City, you need a far smaller percentage of participation on the destruction side to defend the attack. Since there are so many more destruction characters, less of them (as a percentage) need to participate in the defense to make it successful.

    However, on the order side, I could see most of the server population of order needing to participate to successfully defend an attack like that.

    If in a few months you have most servers being wholly destruction controlled, I would think the game should be considered broken.

    Now… that said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with Altdorf falling as it did. I just think it remains to be seen whether or not that becomes the norm, or is an exception.


  7. I remember in early WoW Onyxia and complete MC took months. They were big deals when it happened too.

    Since then though all content gets completed very quickly.

    The only way to slow content progression down is artificially. Obtaining special gear, timed events, or complete an objective a certain amount of times. But this slows down the “power” gamers a little and slows down the majority a lot. The latter being the group new MMOs want to appease.


  8. Alls fair in love and WAR!. Am I the only one who remembers ole DAOC 3am relic keep raids. Alot of old DAOC’ers play on Averheim, so they are probably use to that. I think WoW made people soft. Prepare for WAR!


  9. I’m not too concerned. They weren’t able to defeat the King, so there’s still that to be done. Plus there is the promise of the other capital cities being implemented in the future. There will still be things to do at the level cap a year from now.

    As for the Order side of things, it may be a little while longer, but I know my Alliance is getting into the T4 stuff now and we may not have hundreds of players yet, we will be starting to fight for this stuff ourselves.

    Ultimately I think there needs to be more incentive and knowledge of when a keep is being taken. The text in the chat box is too easy to miss sometimes.

    For most guilds, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get to Altdorf, since at GR17 you get the recall scroll, so that should help get defenders there.


  10. The only real legitimate concern that seems to stem from all of this is the inability of lower rank players to actively and effectively participate in the defense of the city. They really should add some lower level only content to the city defense. Perhaps some siege weapons that are very strategically placed but can only be operated by players under rank 25 (below the lowest bolster rank is for T4 content). Or maybe in defense they throw those limitations out the window and everyone gets the boltster effect as a defensive effort.


  11. good for them,

    But I don’t think Mythic should be too concerned. This was bound to happen a few times. I wouldnt get too worried unless its still happening frequently 5-6 months from now when there are more people to defend.


  12. I have to agree that this worked as intended and give a “thumbs up” to Destruction for organizing 700 people all at once. I can’t imagine the structure it took for 300+ people on vent.

    I’m still in T2, but await the opportunity to “whoop-up-on” destruction when i get to T4.


  13. This is no biggy — I assume that the new capital cities which are getting put back in will be increasingly tougher.

    And if that wasn’t the plan last week, I bet it’s the plan this week.


  14. After reading your article and all the responses, I’m still in shock that a group of 300-700 players, at a low-peak time of day, couldn’t, at least, -zerg- down the king!

    300 – 700 players people!!!

    Obviously, complete city sieges are working as intended and are meant to be massive events.

    Someone posted above that “WoW softened people up” or something. I couldn’t agree more.


  15. If it really did take 300-700 Destruction players, then I say “it was working as intended”. We saw right from release that Destruction got the major influx of the more hard-core players (hmm….sound familiar to WoW?) and it was only a matter of time.
    This does not really affect the game. Yes the city got sieged (if legit). And like you said, the pieces reset and the game goes on.
    I play Order on Averheim and I gotta say I see small Order groups take Keeps and other significant captures. Yes Destruction got the first siege. It will only be a matter of time for Order to do the same. Maybe on Averheim, maybe on another server? That’s the beauty of this game.


  16. Most of the major QQ I saw on the subject was that Destro made their major push starting at 2 AM when most order players had logged for the night, then when they got up in the morning Altdorf was in flames and locked down for 12 hours until the campaign reset.

    Basically people are upset that because a large organized force can push to the city and ransack it so quickly in a late night zerg people who have “normal” sleep schedules or other things to do will have all their hard work undone in a late night blitz that they can’t defend against.

    They’re afraid these late night capitol rushes will become the “norm” or a popular tactic, in which case they will have to put the game before real life staying up into the wee hours to defend or wake up in the morning every few days to find their capitol in ruins.

    It’s a touchy subject and I’m not really sure what a good solution would be.


  17. Grats to them! Now there’s a war on Averheim. Man Order must be pissed. You guys go and get them back!


  18. The raid didn’t have 700 T4 players.

    It was at the peak 300 players, and at least half were T3, not T4. There was only one warbands worth of RR40s.


  19. Well from what I’ve read it doesn’t seem like a giant deal. I haven’t been able to play WAR yet, getting ready to return from a deployment. But I am a long time DAoC player. When talking about 300+ players at a time attacking it seems very fair. It took 7 hours with an overwhelming force to siege the city!

    I always thought it would be cool if an MMO encompassed an email notification to let people know that their city was in despair and in need of support. Although if this happened at 2 AM I’m not sure what kind of help they were expecting.


  20. To answer Anon, up above Order can do the same thing, get organized at the early morning hours, and take a capital city, but can they?


  21. The problem is simple. If a focused raid can flip the tide of war that fast ‘overnight’, that will end up becoming a standard tactic since the only way to prevent it is to have people staying up late on the CHANCE that they choose to rush that night.

    Attacker has initiative, Defender does not.

    I think what it really is, more than anything, was the thought that driving the campaign would be an all out slugfest, not something even a force of determined people could simply do overnight. That’s what a LOT of people were looking forward to, and right now it doesn’t seem like that’s the truth, so there you have it.


  22. The biggest problem I see with this is without any sort of scheduling window, the defending side is always going to be taken by surprise. It’s always going to be a “sneak attack” per se and that will put defence at a disadvantage.

    If players feel like there is never any point to defending, the result will not be war or RvR at all, but just sieges against NPCs.

    It ~is~ Mythic’s responsibility to get both sides fighting. It’s their balance, their game.


  23. I’m not sure if there were as many as 300-700 players, but on my server, Volkmar, this same thing happened. The Destruction rallied up in the middle of the night while everyone was sleeping and began to take the T4 zones in order to siege Altdorf.

    I called my friend friday afternoon to recieve the news that Destruction was currently sieging Altdorf.Fortunately Altdorf was safe and was not reset.


  24. “Most of the major QQ I saw on the subject was that Destro made their major push starting at 2 AM when most order players had logged for the night, then when they got up in the morning Altdorf was in flames and locked down for 12 hours until the campaign reset.”

    Except that isn’t true. Everything I read says the attack started at 7 am PST.

    I do know that, as an Order player on Averheim, I wasn’t inconvenienced by this event. Altdorf was open when I logged in and didn’t lose ranks or amenities. I’ve heard it was locked down for 2 hours. I know for a fact that it wasn’t locked down for 12 hours.

    And you can’t compare this to Molten Core or Onyxia or any other WOW raid because the NPC defense in a WOW raid is always the same. The difficulty of attacking a city is going to ebb and flow based on what the defenders do. As Order by and large seems to be lagging behind Destruction on Averheim, taking the city is going to get harder and harder, at least for a while.

    I see this as No Big Deal and am kind of disgusted by the amount of whining about it on the boards and such.


  25. Stompy Time!!!!!!


  26. What a resounding victory for Mythic. Everyone is up in arms (pun intended) over a well organized group that was able to push through the Order defense.

    Why is this a success?

    1. No one is complaining of client instability and such even with the numbers of players that have been mentioned

    2. The content seems to functioning as intended and large numbers of players were able to tip Altdorf over to contested.

    3. Players were unable to take down any of main content in Altdorf and will require more gear/levels (remember that there are 80RR ranks that offer a lot of bonuses – everyone seems to think the Rank 40 is the level cap.)

    Also, for those complaining of ‘early morning raids’, particularly those in the US, you might want to check your history and read up about about the Battle of Cedar Creek. Confederate forces caught a lot of Union soldiers still in their bed clothes, rather than complain, they rallied, fought back and effectively crushed the confederate forces.

    If you realm doesn’t have enough pride to go and defend your city once it is under attack, then it deserves to be burnt to the ground.


  27. This weekend on Badlands server, Order pushed their way into the Maw, basically almost at the gates of IC. Unfortunately, I don’t think they released they also needed to capture another zone fortress, which they were working on in the Elf zone. But Destruction rallied and pushed them back, at least out of the Maw.

    Those who play Order and whine need to look at Badlands and see that it’s not the realm or classes, it’s the players. Order wins more than they lose on our server, and if you asked most Destruction players on Badlands, they’d say Order was definitely overpowered and favored over Destruction. I’d have to agree.

    But lots from T3 came up and were taking part in T4 Keep sieges this past weekend, since they are still useful manning the siege weapons and adding in their help. You don’t need to be 40 to participate, lots in their 20’s were there too.


  28. I woke up, and was pretty surprised this happened. I was on our alliance vent, when one of the Destro guys came in. He said it was about 300 players (not sure where 700 came from). They spent an hour questing and prepping the zones, and then rolled the keeps. From my understanding, there was exactly 1 lvl 40 defender… he didn’t stand a chance.

    The organization to pull this off, sounds amazing, though. They had a vent server set up JUST for this. They got a bunch of people together on vauge promises, at the appointed time, then gave out the vent location, to get everyone on board. Destro did an amazing job pulling off this action. I DO think that from what I have read, the attacking came too quickly. Sacking the city was an inconvienece, especially on a weekend. It is all great and wonderful it happend… but it DID adversly other people experiences.


  29. “but it DID adversly other people experiences”

    Of course it did! Your capital city was under attack, that why you need to defend it.



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