A thought crossed my mind, what if WAR broke loose, and all six factions split apart into a free-for-all struggle?
Ah, roll that around in your skullcase for a minute, while I illuminate the possibilities…
I know some people are going to say “Well there goes Grimnir… Someone grab the sedatives and strap him back into his rocker, he’s lost his mind again.” and that’s fine. I get visions like these on occasion, and they do cause my brain to flail about like a fresh Slayer dropped into a pile of greenskins. There’s a handful of GamesWorkshop purists out there that would take a huge offense to the lore of the game being violated as well I suppose, but isn’t the Age of Reckoning a new chapter in the lore? Can the game not move forward from the past and assert itself as a true addition to the IP itself? Well, perhaps not, but if it could a breakdown in alliances would be one hell of a fight.
It’s all there too, go through some of the quests in the game, particularly a few of the epics, and you’ll see the mistrust and control issues that just about every single race has with each other. I could fork over a dozen different scenarios where one race gets the impressions that another race is just using them, or stockpiling weapons, or getting its soldiers killed unnecessarily. Sure, there’s supposed to be some sort of unity tying them all together, the forces of “Order” and “Destruction”, but that’s pretty flimsy to me. The elves are fighting over their island, the Dwarves and Greenies are fighting over holes in the ground, and Chaos apparently lost it’s mind when they tried yet again to invade the Empire. There’s no real interconnection between these conflicts, just a common situation being that they’re all conflicts and some ancient treaties I suppose. Elves bring the magic, Dwarves bring the technology, Empire has the expansive civilization, Greenskins are shock troops, and Chaos is insanity given form.
To be honest, in an all-out 6-way war, no single faction would hold the cards necessary to dominate the other 5 armies. This is what breeds a truly endless WAR. Pushing forward on two fronts, then being flanked by three others. Constantly looking behind you while pushing ahead as fast as you possibly can, desperately hoping that the other factions are dealing with each other instead of sneaking up behind you. I really think they could pull it off too. We would be starting off with the standard 4 classes to choose from with each faction, but this can be expanded upon with another archtype that’s been missing for far too long. The controller/mezzer CC master! Oh man, that’s a whole other post right there. Essentially stripping the more powerful forms of CC from each class and granting them to a CC-based class. Leave Tanks with a perma-snare and disarm, MDPS with their CC-break/charge and a KD, RDPS with a long-punt and silence, and Healers with a PBAoE-stagger and absorb shields. Then allow the mezzer all the AoE snares, roots, staggers, a variety of punts, KDs, disarms, and silences. Each class would have a very limited amount of CC on the normal cooldown timers, where the mezzer would have all the crazy CC on slightly reduced cooldown timers. Also as a 6th class it would be a stealther for the Greenskins, High Elves, Chaos, and Dwarves. Then a medium armor MDPS for Order and Dark Elf.
Ok, ok. Time to calm down a little bit. Adding a 5th archetype to the game WOULD be a little crazy I’ll admit, but what’s wrong with being a little crazy? I think my point is getting across one way or another. With smaller factions comes smaller more focused battles. Gone would be the days of epic 100v100 battles, as it’d be more like 20v20 battles, and maybe another 20 on the side, with another 20 stalking them while another 20 are stealing your babies from an undefended keep off yonder… Yeah, that’d be awfully tough with only two keeps available in a pairing to be taken at a time. Even tougher if one faction has to own both keeps to force a pairing eh? Well, throw out them silly ass rules then! Most of em. You see, in my world, each pairing would have warcamps for their respective races, and 4 invasion points for the other factions. Essentially a mini-camp in the RvR lake somewhere. All 6 factions would have access to all 9 zones at any given time. Unless a zone gets locked… hehe.
But Grim! You just told us to throw out those silly ass rules!! Ah yeah, suppose I did. Well, they’d be changing. Instead of locking the RvR lake when a faction controls a certain amount of “Victory” points, they would have to capture every objective in the zone (including their opposing factions warcamp) which would total 1 Warcamp, 2 Keeps, and 4 Faction Camps. Wait, what? Faction camps? Well yeah, you thought I wanted the stupid Battle Objectives to stick around? Seriously… hehe. Convert each of the Battle Objectives into an unwalled spawn point for the opposing factions that aren’t conflicted in the pairing. Would there be ganking? Most likely, yes. Would that stop people from fighting? Well, hell no. I know this from experience. Where there is ganking, there is conflict. Conflict breeds hate. Hate fuels fires and fighting. One Witch Hunter ganks your ass when you spawn into the camp, then you bring four buddies and show him what hole his pistol belongs in.
Now, with a zone locked down for a single faction this would block every other faction from even being able to spawn into the zone at all. All the chapter hubs would be shut-down and destroyed with the delicate touches of whatever faction did the deed. All the flightmasters and healers would go missing (preferably in bloody pieces strewn across an open field, or orphanage). A zone lock would add to a reserve of points to accumulate towards a city siege, something like gathering your forces for a march across the RvR lake, burn through the fortress, and siege the city walls with a few battalions of Champion, Hero, and Lord mobs trudging along with you the entire way in a wake of merciless killing frenzy. It’d be like a parade of death and dismemberment. The opposing faction could end the fighting premature by taking out a couple key Lords and Heroes while they procession is in transit, but them you have 4 other factions that might want to watch, and hinder the defenders instead.
City sieges need to be epic! Not the three-times-daily nonsense that we have now! I get it though, in the mind of bosses at Mythic there simply weren’t enough people seeing the “true” endgame of WAR, and they felt it was getting an unjustified bad rap about it. Was it? Was it really? Well, this could lead to a wholly different rant, but to be blunt. No. The end game in WAR is fighting in RvR zergs with a vague semblance of organization until stage 2 comes around. At that point its a warband PvE affair all the way home. Just the CONCEPT sounds bad for WAR, let alone the poorly scripted execution ridden with bugs and gamebreaking flaws. The number of times I’ve been at the Sacellum in stage 2 to have one of the giants bug out untargetable or the self-replicating Lord reset to full hp after the umpteenth kill is just disturbing. I don’t play the game for massive raids. I do it to kill people. Lots of them. Endlessly. Take the end-game out of the city and make it a parade of death OR take the PvE out of the endgame and make it an objective based scenario style final encounter.
Point made, but the application to a 6-faction war would make things a bit more interesting. You see as the entire pairing locks down and all the non-pairing factions are locked out due to lack of flightmasters and healers, it would be one of the few times where paired factions would be able to face off against each other. Any of the remaining factions left milling about in the pairing would be free to watch, engage, or gank as they see fit, but without a healer or flightmaster it’d be a one-way ticket home if the
y were taken out. Also, with a single pairing locked down, it wouldn’t kick the remaining four factions out of doing scenarios! Just the ones tied to that pairing. Genius!
Right, so the standard T4 experience would consist of 9 open zones and 12 scenarios available at pretty much any given time. Zones no longer lock, but pairings do when there’s a city assault marching across the land. PvE would be scaled back significantly as you could only do your racial quests, but I think the PQ’s could be spared provided it’s not your pairing enemy territory. Land of the Dead would be the free-for-all I’ve always dreamed about, although it would need an expansion on the east and west to hold an additional 4 warcamps. Luckily these areas have been left rather open and blocked only by a perpetual sandstorm. This would open up a ton of conflict within the desert and invasions into the Vulture Lord would become rather frequent. Also, considering the size of these factions, guild leaders would have the option to allow members access to a faction chat similar to the T4 RvR chat, or failing that a default faction guild similar to the T1-T2 starter guild. This would get together all of the separate races regardless of what previous guilds they were in to reorganize and form new guilds once again.
I guess this brings up the logistics of instituting what would basically be a vastly new ruleset. Essentially, you start a new server, and restrict it to T4+LotD. Entirely remove the T1-T3 experience from the game. Reason being, this server would be one that you could do a free character copy (not transfer) similar to the PTS. However, it would strip you of all your worldly possessions and start you off on a more-or-less clean slate gearwise for fairer competition. You keep your rank, renown, unlocks, crafting skill, and start with a default set of green gear. Of course the minimum level to copy over to the server would be at least R28 as that’s the low end for running T4 scenarios, but this late in the game I’d imagine most people have closer to 7 viable alts if needed.
So what about the other 7 toons you leave behind? Allow them to copy over to the new server as well, but put a 4 hour lockout for changing your faction to prevent people from abusing the system to a degree. Simple faction caps will help to balance out populations as well, a check made when entering the character select screen to see which faction in particular has the most and least players online at the moment. The highest population would be locked out (although the desperate can queue for it), and the lowest would grant a 10% bonus to renown/xp/inf. If you only have a single faction (non-alt-rolling purists?), then you would never be denied the chance to log in regardless of high faction population. These sort of checks and balances would go a LONG way in making sure the battlefields are somewhat balanced and chaotic as ever. You simply don’t bring a 200pt army to a 500pt match.
Auctionhouse. In it’s current format the viability of the AH would be utterly destroyed by separating the factions from each other. Seriously, who would want to sell their enemies weapons, armor, potions, and talismans? There are some things that can be changed on the back-end of the AH to make things seamless. Albeit a technical pain in the ass, essentially each item can be translated in the the race/class specific item when using the AH for trade. For example, a Squig Herder helm goes on the auctionhouse, only Destruction classes can add it and buy it. It wouldn’t make any sense for Order to see it. With a split in the factions, you’ve got 66% less traffic, why not take the open road and make it 100% more traffic instead? That SH Helmet enters the AH and is converted into a Light Armor Helmet. When a player from ANY faction takes a peek, they see it as their factions Light Armor helmet equivalent instead. The only way that you could know what faction was selling said helmet was if you’re particularly familiar with all the factions in the game, and possibly the naming scheme.
In essence you would still be selling gear to your enemies, but the gear would be much more plentiful being sorted out as it’s type and converted into it’s race upon viewing and purchasing. This system is partially in place already with all sorts of repairable gear. Notably in T1 where the Prudent and Worthy gear are exactly the same for both sides. No race requirements at all, the item just adjusts to your class to fit as it should. This isn’t to say that these items would appear as repairables on the AH, if a SH puts up a spear or a bow, it won’t show up as a light weapon for a choppa. It’d still be a spear and a bow. The conversion would only happen when a different faction is viewing it, and only at the AH. 6 factions, one WAR, tons of crap for everyone to blow their money on!
Were’t there supposed to be 6 capital cities in this game? Oh yea… That might be pretty damn awesome too…
Am I on the right track here or have I gone completely batshit crazy? Ah well. It was a good ramble. =D