Thursday, February 19, 2009

Does WAR end at level 40?

Squin from Dark Crag Dispatch is musing that while many people claim that World of Warcraft *begins* at the level cap, Warhammer Online rather seems to end at level 40. In WoW, the bosses you fight in the endgame are computer controlled, so each boss can be given a completely different behavior. Naxxramas has 15 fights, no two of which are the same. In WAR you fight players in the endgame, and the locations in which you fight them are strategically identical, even if there are minor optical variations. Thus every keep attack tends to play out very similar to the last one.

Well, I have no personal experience of the WAR endgame, but I must say that in WoW PvP the attacks on Wintergrasp tend to resemble each other. There are variations due to how many people turn up (mostly depending on time of day), and minor variations of composition of the two armies. Sometimes you get an organized PvP guild, which will be far more efficient. But on average you have two mid-sized PuG raids in PvP, which tend to behave in very predictable ways. And in MMO PvP there is no such thing as being able to outflank the enemy army and using the enemies predictability in your favor. So you end up with an infinite series of battles which are all very similar. Hey, I can even predict the outcome of your next Wintergrasp battle: The attacking side wins!

It is an interesting phenomenon that while individuals behave in very unpredictable ways, crowds tend to be far more predictable. Unfortunately that makes games with a PvP endgame difficult, because sooner or later players get bored to fight the same battle over and over. And while Blizzard can patch in a new raid dungeon when WoW players get bored, Mythic patching in another keep to fight over won't add any variety to WAR.

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