Of course, by mid-game I’m talking about T2 and T3, not RR60.
Having recently leveled up a handful of toons my insights to these two areas of the game are as sharp as they’ve ever been. As such, I’ve been picking at my brain thinking of ways to make the RvR flow better. T2 isn’t bad, typically 2 warbands are the minimum on each side of the field, during primetime, peaking at around 5 throughout all of the pairings. T3 is a bit more barren however, peaking 3 warbands on the best day I’ve seen so far, and occasionally going with no RvR at all. This I partially blame on Land of the Dead, although many new players returning to the game have no idea what it is. However, the other half is the self-fulfilling curse of having no players will net you no players. Rather than try and force their way through a dead tier, players are more than content to go back and enjoy T1 and T2 all over again. The other alternative is to quickly grind their way to R32 and enter T4, which is more often than not a very painful experience. I’ve seen my fair share of players wearing Obliterator early in T4.
The solution that everyone interested in a good fight would prefer, and can rarely find, is simply an active RvR lake with fighting on both sides so they can continue the action and excitement over from T2. It’s time to break out the funnel. We have something of a lack of passing time in Warhammer. There’s nothing that really notes when a day passes, it’s just constant fighting or waiting. My funnel would be to introduce an off-time for 2 pairings, and leave one pairing as the main focus until it is either captured or an arbitrary amount of time has passed before freezing the zone and moving on. Battles simply don’t last forever, and they really shouldn’t in T3. There hasn’t been a population to support 3 pairings for over a year now, maybe 2 pairings if you get lucky.
With a single pairing available, players would have little reason aside from skirmishing to be in the other pairings. However, one has to plan for expansion as 8 warbands in a zone might make things a bit unstable. Based on sustained population in the lakes (something like 15m interval checks), the battlefront would dynamically expand to open two pairings at one time instead of just one provided the population could support it. Say for example the sweet spot in T3 is 72 vs 72, or 3 warbands each, the sustained population would need to hit 150 total players for 30m (two 15m intervals) before another pairing would open up. At this point, a new pairing opens and gains it’s own timer. If the 150 players is not sustained, then the first zone would simple go inactive and the lakes would return to a single pairing at the end of it’s duration. Otherwise it would open up the third pairing and continue the rotation. Now, in the unlikely event that a tier is hosting 300+ players, all three zones would be open, and timers would be removed until it drops back down.
This is just another example of a content-free change to some rulesets that could perk up areas of the game which are under-used. It’s scalable so when the server fills up at any given time, people aren’t cramped into a sardine can. Also, it’s randomized, so you aren’t limited to the same content all the time when there’s plenty off to the side going unused. It focuses on getting people action any time of the day and driving as many players as needed into one spot. If the live pairing is Empire, you should see a surge of people getting into the Empire lake and going crazy. Empire PQ’s should start lighting up across the board. Open warbands would form and /region would spam “LFM! LFM!” at frequent intervals. It’s not crazy talk either. You know what happens to T3 when either faction gets Land of teh Durr? Anyone over R25 (that’s trying to escape T3 QUICKLY) hits up their fave flightmaster and BAM, instant-funnel to a zone. The problem being RvR quickly dies in T3 as a suffering result.
I wouldn’t mind seeing LotD being R32 or higher because of this reason…
The recent resurgence of interest in the game, post Endless Trial, brought some life back to RvR in T3. A few tweaks since there’s population to test it out would come in awfully handy. You could even apply this ruleset to T4, each pairing unlocking all three zones, while leaving the other 2 pairings locked up tight. Not to mention how incredibly effective this would be at breaking up the zerg. There’s no way you could roll through three zones in one massive blob and expect to capture the pairing, the opposition would just snag something from behind you rather easily. Of course, one would have to adjust how the VP pool works so you capture the pairing instead of individual zones. It’d give the world that connected feeling that we miss out on by using Flightmasters to get to all the battles instead of just running north and south through the zone transitions. Once you finish leveling you kinda miss out on that a bit and it breaks up the flow of the game. I would MUCH rather run through seamless transitions instead of seeing loading screens.
For example lets say that there’s less than 150 people doing RvR in T4 when you log on. Throughout the day on this pretend server Destro has been doing really well, and each pairing has gone along nearly flipped, but not quite enough. The old State of Realm addon would show you all three pairings having little activity, with T1-T3 noted below. My new mockup however would show you a single pairing, with each Keep and it’s associated BO’s for each zone in a single pairing. Also, take note of the Fortresses on each end. There’s gotta be good stuff in those! (always capture-able, but defenders can use a flightmaster to get inside if the outer doors are still standing, whoops different thought).
Mind you, the other pairings haven’t been locked, as you can tell by the percentage left on the zone. That percentage would be locked in place until the zone timer (i didn’t stick it on there, but assume one at the bottom section of each pairing, hurr durr), expired and a new zone opened up. Possibly a 5 minute downtime in between so people wrap up their fighting and get moving to the next zone?
I find it’s always therapeutic to end my brain functions with incoherent rambling. Sorry about that. I’ve intentionally left a lot of stuff out as I think it might spur YOUR mind as well. Man I love this job. =D