My LOVE/hate relationship with WAR PvP

I mentioned in an earlier post how I had finished off one of the T1 influence bars for my bright wizard alt. Filling that little teal bar, while slightly grindy at times, was a very enjoyable experience. I am so pleased that RvR influence has caused T1 open RvR to come alive and be an exciting and rewarding alternative to questing and the scenario grind.

After spending all this time doing ORvR over the weekend, I’ve started to come to terms with what I really like and dislike about WAR PvP so far at a more base level. That is, at the T1 level there are no keeps to worry about and only a few BOs – it is basically unstructured PvP at the basest form possible, at least on a core server.

So I’ve listed a few items below on what I like/dislike. You’ll notice in the title of this post “love” is capitalized, while “hate” is normal. This is because, while there are parts that I find annoying, the good far outweighs the bad. With that, we’ll start with the dislikes.

I dislike:
Cloth-wearer survivability:When things are going well with my BW, everything is great and I’m chucking fire at the unwary with explosive consequences for them (and occasionally me). When things go less well, however, I’m getting routinely smoked by an endless wave of blackguards. Honestly, I think this has more to do with 1) a ton of new tanks at low levels and 2) a lack of healers, because they’re all playing tanks. The one or two healers per warband are either concentrating on the smorgasboard of tanks to heal or healing themselves, as they are the only target on the field attacked before a bright wizard. It’s not really a balance issue with the game, just a byproduct of the new classes that will soon pass. But that doesn’t make me feel any better when spawning next to the healer again.

Disappearing healer: Speaking of which, is there a way to make the NPC healer be the first NPC to repopulate in the world? I am so tired of waiting five or more seconds so I can pay a trivial amount of money before I run back into the fray.  It seems like a stupid, nit-picky complaint, but after you get smacked down in battle the last thing you want to do is stare impatiently at the area you know the healer should be.  I have yelled at my computer for this very reason; my wife thinks I need help.

No penalty for getting killed:This may seem at odds with the preceding point, but I wish there was more of a penalty for getting killed in RvR.  What is the point of spawning right next to a healer and paying a paltry sum of money?  I realize it is to encourage ORvR play so that people aren’t afraid to get into the action.  But the penalty is so small it’s not even worth having in my opinion.  I would prefer they institute an armor damage system similar to what is in WoW, where the armor slowly wears down.  Then spawn the player away from the merchant (or whatever NPC) where they can get their stuff repaired.  So then you have a decision of wasting a minute or so on repairing armor or immediately running back into battle.  The way it is now, I just don’t see the point.  There may as well be no penalty and bypass the frustration of waiting for the healer to populate.

I LIKE:

Tank survivability– Even though it’s often an exercise in frustration trying to bring them down, I believe that tanks generally being able to absorb an insane amount of damage is a good thing. This is because of the Zerg nature of how a lot of the ORvR battles play out (check out an interesting post on that subject I read recently at Six Months Subscription). While I don’t have anything against Zegring per se, if one side gathers a few players strategically together it is possible to break the Zerg, Red-Rover style. The best way to do this is to send a couple tanks to the front and break the opponents’ ranks. Assuming they’re being healed properly, and assuming the DPS classes follow up with the hurt, Zerg warfare can be a fun experience as opposed to a boring standoff. But it requires teamwork, and it certainly requires tanks that can take some hits.

All the classes feel useful:My main the archmage is a healing, DoTing, rezzing machine – all very useful. My engineer, witch hunter, and warrior priest (though all currently low-level) seem to have their place. And when my bright wizard isn’t being chased by angry dark elves, he is melting Destro face. As long as you know your role and adhere at least loosely to it, you can contribute. This is great for beginners, and should help the game’s longevity.

Teamwork is fun and rewarding:  As alluded to above, there is no substitute for good teamwork.  A smaller, more organized team will often have the edge against larger groups running willy-nilly over the landscape.  And the feeling of contributing to a well-oiled machine of  an RvR (or scenario) group is severe fun.  It feels like what the game was meant to be, on a small scale.  And then you throw three or four warbands together and take out a fortress.

Rewards now feel appropriate for the amount of effort:  I’m speaking specifically here about ORvR versus scenarios.  Based on my own experiences, a well-populated ORvR session will give comparable XP, most likely more renown (if taking objectives), and better loot than scenarios.  This makes sense, because well-populated and active ORvR is harder to organize than a scenario, which can be entered from anywhere in the world and automatches the participants.  No gold loot bags dropping in scenarios, folks.

So that’s my PvP impression from my new BW lowbie after the addition of RvR influence.  Things are indeed looking up.  This is the most excited I’ve been about WAR since the launch.

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