Friday, May 01, 2009

Warhammer Online: Bad Live Event, Bad Patch

Recently Mythic had the "Beyond the sands" live event, and also patched to version 1.2.1. I don't think they did a very good job with either.

First, the live event was buggy and poorly planned. Part of it required every single person to pick up 2 crates. Each tier had its own location where the crates spawn, and that location was always in "contested" ORvR territory. So far so good. But here's where the problem starts... the location is an airship crash site, and the crates you need could be anywhere in the vicinity, though there will never be more than two "spawned" at any time for the taking. That means, even if one faction masses up and invades the crash site and holds it like a fortress... they still have to squabble amongst themselves, wait in line, play "ninja grab" for the dumb boxes. Another part also involved lining up and waiting for your turn to kill a single mob in the capital city. Furthermore, the third chapter of the event's quest was bugged so many couldn't get it (though it was eventually fixed). To top it all off, the rewards for the event were completely cosmetic and largely meaningless.

WO's past live events have been much better than this. Despite the "kill 9 billion snotlings" part, I loved the Keg End event. The battlebrew backpack was a genius reward. Heavy Metal featured an excellent new Scenario, as did Bitter Rivals. The Night of Murder valentine's event featured an excellent "marked for death" quest dynamic that was lots of fun. All these events also had their downsides as well (I never want to be told I have to kill so many hero/champion ogres, for instance), but they all had something to commend themselves. This was not the case for Beyond the sands.

As for the 1.2.1 patch, it made two major mistakes: First, it increased the difficulty of attacking a claimed and upgraded keep without first addressing the fact that even unclaimed and unupgraded, the keep siege dynamic already overwhelmingly favors the defenders. Since the patch, I've seen entire warbands and more wipe on undefended keeps that were upgraded to rank 5. At least on my (ORvR) server you can move down a tier so higher levels can help, I can't imagine what those poor schmucks on core servers are going through. Second of all, it introduced "medallions" which are granted as a consolation prize for taking keeps but not winning loot and also randomly drop off of enemy players. They serve as a form of currency to acquire the rewards of keep takes (armor sets) in an alternate fashion if you're the world's unluckiest random number generator. The problem is that the "prices" are set TOO HIGH on the gear. A single piece of Devastator (the tier 2 armor set) costs 135 medallions. You get 2 medallions per keep take, and at best 6 for flipping an entire zone's control to your side. You can pretty much write off medallions dropping from enemy players, because they drop on about 1 kill per 50 and then you have to roll against your whole warband for one. By the time you've gathered even half the medallions required for one piece of gear (and let's not forget, the gloves and later the shoulders are pieces that HAVE to be bought, not won or found), you've outleveled it and need to start working on the next tier's armor set instead. The medallions also bind on pickup, so you can't even donate them to friends/guildmates or auction them off on the auction house.

Mythic has really been dropping the ball lately. It's still the best MMO out there though.

And that's the word from Bandit camp.