As the era of WAR post-1.4 comes into full bloom the battlefields are being saturated more and more fully by a class of player that is wearing Sovereign as a baseline for competition. My time in-game has been limited as there’s been a couple dozen other distractions between work, personal life, and non-WAR gaming. However, the passing moments (which are actually hours, because I’m still a rabid gamer) have given me a bit of insight to the state of the game. I even have a new-ish addon to share with you guys that will hopefully enable some informed target calling and situational awareness, it may as well be the new NerfedButtons for the amount of times it’s saved my ass so far. Sadly, while the battles are cooling off and the general mood is one of a twilight to the setting sun of WAR, there’s still some of the best PvP to be had if you have the gear to compete anyway. I can’t give a general rundown of every server in every situation as I’m not that much of a masochistic multi-server octopi hybrid gamer freak, but I can give you the two I’ve touched on lately.
First off is T3 on Iron Rock, often considered the most desolate server, if you stay in the Empire zones there is at least there’s SOME action to be had during primetime. Unfortunately, as one of my friends has found out, if you try to powerlevel your way through it, you’re just setting yourself up for disaster as a low renown ranked R40. I’ve been running around with my Marauder (Sint) lately with a friend of mine on a Witch Elf mostly ganking and occasionally infiltrating Keeps to slaughter the Order that aren’t paying much attention. During normal gaming hours 6pm EST to 2am EST you’ll typically find at least a warband running around here. With the expanded tiers there’s a much large collective of players than previously which really helps to spread out the leveling, even though you’re spending more time here.
I think however it’s causing T2 to suffer a bit. As I recall while leveling shortly after 1.4 went live, there tended to be less players even in T2 than T3. This is something I would attribute to the players who are discouraged by T4 entirely, and are happy to play in T3 all the way up until R39 before being kicked out and forced to reroll. In essence what this is doing is backloading the more casual players (the ones who aren’t interested in investing the time in T4) to the pre-T4 endgame for a wider range of XP and “leveling” even though they’re trying to avoid it. Because it takes longer to level out of T3, there’s less density of players in T2 who enjoy the early, and more balanced, RvR to be had. Even now, players that focus on RvR in T3 can hit R40 while managing to squeak out RR50 or even higher. It’s one hell of a head start compared to the R31 limit from days past. One thing that I’ve heard over and over again is to just remove the renown limitations entirely. Even if someone is uncapped the entire time they might hit RR60 at very best before R40? That’s still a VAST improvement over my powerleveled toons.
My experiences in T4 lately have been mostly on my RR73 Engineer. Playing on Volkmar means I occasionally run into fellow bloggers like Tarelther and Satsume but again, I mostly run with two or three other guys around in RvR lakes hoping not to get zerged in the face and catching scenario pops when they happen. Because of the higher density of AU Order players, primetime for Destro is typically earlier in the night, evens out around 9pm EST and favors Order until the wee hours of the morning. This has actually made the frequency of city sieges drop significantly as Destro usually has us pushed against our last couple of zones, and one tier captured by the time Order can fight back and push all the way to the other end. Scenarios on Volkmar are frequent enough, but they tend to fall flat if a zone is about to flip (which bothers me to no end). I think the most disturbing news is the vast population of RR80+ players here.
Especially since 1.4 was released, the return of people playing their mains has been mind boggling, even if expected. You can find an Addon called RenownChecker on Curse, that parses your enemy and ally for their RR Title and gives you a small range of what RR they could be from 65-74, 75-79. 80-84, and every 4 RR’s afterwards. Using this, and running around in RvR or Scenarios has really opened my eyes to the overabundance of players that are RR80+ and to be quite honest, I’m not sure if I will ever roll a fresh T4 toon on this server because of it. Even at RR73 in full Warlord + ToVL Glyphs I struggle to find appropriate targets. With this addon, or by being familiar with the various names, it’s a lot easier. For instance being able to know the names of RR90+ players, I don’t even bother focusing on them. If I don’t recognize a name, I’m more likely to attack as I can now confirm with RRChecker, they are indeed lower ranked.
So now I’m wielding a new tool that does in a way give me an unfair advantage on the battlefield. Even if I can only find two players that are sub-RR80 in a scenario, I’ll focus on those players almost exclusively because the gear gap even from Warlord to the RR81 greens is significant enough to deter me from wasting my time. On the reverse is where I would hesitate rolling a new toon. I KNOW that there’s other players with my mentality out there that will single out the lowbies for easier kills and to thin the herd a bit before trying to take a bite out of the more significant targets. If I were under RR65 and ran into myself on the battlefield, I’d run like hell to be quite honest, as I usually do when seeing someone pop up with RR90+ floating over them. It’s saved my ass, and the guys I run with, plenty of times already.
Anyways, to wrap things up for my first blog post in the past 10 days (i’ve had plenty of ranty rambly drafts in the meantime), T4 is even less friendly today to new players than it ever was in the past, and things are getting worse quickly. However the expanded brackets have done wonders for the early game, particularly with the ability to have significant overlap between tiers to allow people to bounce around where the action is, and only be restricted to a single tier for a few levels instead of 10. The side effect is that T2 has taken the biggest hit here, but you can play T1 until R16 and you can do T3 RvR from R22 (for the Bolster effect IIRC) to R39. 15 levels for T1, 17 levels for T3, and the 8 levels you’re required in T2 are some of the easier ones to PL through if necessary. With action accumulating in T3, hitting upwards of RR50 before leveling out at R40 is certainly do-able, but you’re still diving into a biiiiiiig scary pond that is T4.
Ekaslime has, as always, an overabundance of theorycrafting to alleviate the RR gap from a fresh 40 to a much more commonplace RR80+ character. I think as the game has gone quiet in the post 1.4 environment some very serious issues are being raised over how much this gap is going to effect the game. For veterans who have been playing for years, status quo will remain mostly the same, but new players are going to be taking a long hard road to viability. I fully support a tier 5, or further expansion of the brackets to remove the renown/level cap down to R22 and have T3 capped at R39/65. This would give players more than enough opportunity to get their renown up before being pushed into T4. Also, I would go so far as making R40 a quest/activation instead of a natural level gained by XP. Upon reaching R39 a piece of mail summoning you to the king to send you to the dangerous battlefields of T4 and otherwise locking you at R39 until you finish it. Or something of the sort.
I’m waiting, and quite interested in what we have in store for t
he future from Mythic leadership. Things have been quiet, and the future as of right now appears to be more along the lines of current day DAoC than the best PvP MMO on the market. I can only hope that EA opens their wallet and lets a real expansion get underway sometime soon.