You remember that message if you had been around last year before fortresses caught the axe, you cursed it, spat on it, and wished desperately that you had gotten to the zone line mere moments before. It also made respawning a tricky thing if you managed to die either defending or attacking the forts as well, a tricky proposition indeed. Of course, back in the day Forts were the only way to gather Conqueror gear until the Crest system was introduced and Land of the Dead was released. We needed it, there was no avoiding it, and for some servers of balanced population, it was the stalemate that cock blocked city sieges.
Some of us wouldn’t mind that so much these days, but I digress.
Back in the old days you would see the ultimate coordination between alliances as they attempt to flip all three pairings at a time in an attempt to catch a Fortress undefended, putting up token assaults at one or two others while the main force rolled a third. These were the true days of the mega-alliance, and you needed it to invade Altdorf or the Inevitable City. On balanced servers anyway. Fret not, I’m slowly making my way to a point here.
There was a very brief stint that a new mechanic was going to be introduced to the lakes called the Winds of Change. Ah, yes, that gut-wrenching sensation that had the collective RvR community hurling vile commentary and bile at whatever developer came up with it, but I wonder if he was close to being onto something. Now, the Winds of Change seems perfectly silly as a mechanic, but what if it were more like supply lines combined with a tangible buff and/or debuff? Something akin to Against All Odds, something the deterred massive amounts of players in one place while encouraging less populated zones to be brought under siege. Instead of the rudely propositioned Winds of Change that forcefully ejected players from a battlefield when it got too full, a renown buff/debuff that applied to players attempting to enter a fully populated lake.
Lets say there’s some heavy fighting in Chaos Wastes, your realm already has something like 6 warbands blobbing around fudging up performance and whatnot. Supply lines being strained due to the sheer volume of players, you receive a debuff when entering RvR (and a big string of brightly colored words across your screen) putting you at -50% renown earned and removing your Field of Glory buff. So instead of getting a kill that would normally award you with 100 renown, FoG’d up to 150, it instead gives you a measly 50. Sure, you can stay in the lake and do your thing, but the buff would stay applied until the number of people in the lake drops back down to acceptable levels.
The flipside to the debuff, would be seeking out combat in a different zone. Once the debuff is on you, you can fly to another zone and have it turned on it’s ear for an additional +50% renown. This, turns that 100rr kill, FoG’d to 150rr, into 225rr. It’s a not so subtle way of stopping the greedy zerg in its tracks, what would you rather bite into, a 50rr kill or a 225rr kill? Stack this on top of a potential AAO bonus for hitting up an outnumbered zone and you have renown gains that come close to the double renown weekends. For now, there would be the issue of respawning and losing your ability to fight in the zone if you’re unlucky, but with spawning in keeps for 1.4, that particular issue could be avoided for the most part.
It’s not 100% guaranteed to work, and is thwarted by a massive coordination between alliances to push zones quickly. But for the majority of greedy purple number chasers, being in a lake with the Supply Lines debuff is going to hurt which should improve performance as the blob is stretched out across all the zones. The improvement on the prior Supply Lines and Winds of Change mechanics are obvious. More carrots and penalties for those who do and do not play along, less ultimatum and heavy handedness. Well, maybe a little heavy handed, but server performance isn’t getting any better as it stands.
The AAO mechanic, one could argue, already does this to a very slight degree. However I would argue that it does for a select group of players looking for maximum returns, but these groups are typically smaller in scope. What I perceive the AAO bonus to do, is bringing people into RvR by the handful and promoting activity over complacency. The Supply Lines buff/debuff takes a stab in a different direction which is splitting the zergs and providing stability and performance across the game as a whole. Something that communities like Karak-Norn and Badlands could desperately use these days.