Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Watch the WAR podcasts!

Several of my readers gave me an advice I'd like to pass on to those who didn't read it in the comments section: Watch the Warhammer Online video podcasts! Especially number 3, 5, and 7, which explain a lot about the game. And I have to say, I like what I see, and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

On the other hand I'm not holding my breath. I don't trust the release date, which already slipped, so it could be another year before WAR comes out. And whatever nice features the game has, at its core WAR is a PvP game, and I don't believe in PvP. Watch the video podcast on battlefronts and tell me this isn't going to be annoying if for some reason twice as many people play dwarves than play greenskins. DAoC was a great PvP game, but it was never perfectly balanced; on most servers Midgard was the strongest realm and Hibernia the weakest (back in the days when I played it, of course that might have changed since). In WAR only the "scenarios", which resemble WoW battlegrounds are more or less balanced. In all other forms of PvP the superior numbers will most likely win. And I don't think EA mythic has any more clue what makes players choose one race over another. They have no way to make sure opposing factions are numerically balanced, and I don't think playing on the smaller side will be much fun in RvR.

I also don't believe that in any MMORPG classes can be perfectly balanced in both PvE and PvP. This is so because of the fundamental problem of mobs being artificially stupid. Group PvE is all about aggro control. But aggro control can't possibly work in PvP, because you can't force another player to attack a specific target instead of e.g. the healer he wants to kill. Also PvP inherently involves more movement than PvE, where mobs often just stand still until dead. This inherently changes the relative value of melee damage vs. ranged damage vs. AoE damage in PvP as compared to PvE. A tank, a healer, and a damage dealer might be balanced to be equally valuable in a PvE group, but they'll never be equally good in PvP. I think Warhammer Online's attempt to make a game with equal PvE and PvP parts is inherently flawed.

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