Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The WAR RvR Pack Spectaculare *Updated

 If you don't give a shit about any of this, don't read it. If you are interested, this is just me summarizing Andy's RvR Q+A in the forums.


Q: Skaven?
Andy:  They will not be a NPC "Third Realm" and they will have a direct effect on ORvR. More details will come over time.

The things I can say about the New Skaven themed RvR Area is that it is
  • RvR Focused
  • Building on what we've accomplished with the Redesigned City Siege
  • A part of the Tier 4 campaign and will not take away from it
  • The new Skaven RvR Area will not be T5
(Things he can't talk about yet:
  • The specific levels intended for playing in the new Skaven Zone, or the size / layout of the area. 
  • Will not elaborate on whether the area is broken into smaller, separate zone "pairings" or not.
  • Specifics on Playable Skaven archetypes, progression or skills
  •  Where / How the Playable Skaven are limited to playing
  •  Whether there are any similarities between Skaven Play and LOTRO's Monster Play
  • Whether playing Skaven requires the use of additional character slots
Spider sez: "Skaven Play" may not not necessarily require additional character slots. If you've played LOTRO's Monster Play, that had an entirely separate, in-game Monster Character Selection Screen. Regardless, additional character slots would be swell.)

*UPDATE: Female Skaven wearing large pink bows on their heads CONFIRMED.

Q: Can we expect other races coming with Skaven, such as Wood Elves or Vampire Counts?
Andy: Not with this RvR pack

Speculative Spider: The tease here is that it's possible that other, later Packs could introduce other playable races and zones. A Vampire Count RvR Pack next summer could even be possible, potentially. *UPDATE: I asked a follow-up if they were setting themselves up to continue adding new RvR zones & playable races in the same vein as this Skaven Pack, Andy's answer was that they would not "confirm future content" but wanted to "deliver on RvR packs more frequently" than the traditional expansion schedule (~1 yr). Krosuss asked specifically if other new races would be included in the same manner as Skaven, Andy says "Anything is possible."
Q: Can we expect a "RvR pack" every 6 months?
Andy: In a purely hypothetical situation, I wouldn't say that every 6-8 months is out of the question.


Q: Pricing?
Andy: Pricing is still under discussion and has not been set in stone. The general sentiment is that yes, players purchasing all 3 parts of the RvR Pack will receive a discount.

Q: Timing?
A: Roughly, before Christmas.
* Testing will be announced well in advance, and there will be a significant amount of testing.

Q:  Will it be available in CD/DVD form or prepaid card form?
Andy: All of the details for how the RvR Pack will be purchased are not hashed out yet, however we can say with confidence that it will be available via downloadable purchase.

Q: What will the 3 different "Packs" contain?
Andy:  We're not ready to go into specifics on this yet, however you can infer from the titles (power, progression and personality). For example, Personality will probably have more to do with cosmetic things.
* unlocking RR81-100 is confirmed as requiring a Pack purchase. Possibly "Progression".

Andy: The RvR pack is mostly aimed at our current playerbase, regardless of the RR. There will certainly be goodies for new players and returning players will find a lot of it very rewarding, however I personally believe that the folks who have stuck with WAR through thick and thin will find there's a lot of features and cool improvements that will enhance the game.

Spider: "Goodies" in this context just sounds ominous to me. *Update: I didn't get any question on whether they want to give out advantages in combat to players who pay more. Probably wasn't worded in the most diplomatic fashion, but, inquiring minds want to know.
Andy:  There will certainly be strong incentive to purchase the RvR Pack, all three parts of it, however the intent is not to make it so overwhelming, especially in the lower tiers, that someone who choses note to immediately make a purchase will be "left in the dust". That being said, for higher RR players, the RvR packs will be very desirable.

Q: Will there be new playable content made available in the new Packs?
Andy: There is more than just items and the ability to progress to RR 100 included in the various packs.

 Speculating Spider: Skaven Play is technically new playable content, and that may be included in the Personality Pack (?) I wouldn't be surprised if the Power Pack actually unlocked access to the new gear by allowing you to play in a Skaven City Instance where that stuff drops. So, new 'city' = new content.
 Q: Can we expect any major surprises?
Andy: I think there's more than a few things that will take the community by surprise coming out of the RvR Packs (in a good way).

Q: Is there a name for the Package Bundle, Like Warhammer: Age of Even More Reckoning - The Skaven Pajama Party?
Andy: We have one... we just haven't told you guys yet


Q: Will there be more dynamics to keep battles, rather than simply breaking down doors? If so can you go into details?
Andy:  Yes. No.
* The intent is to make ORvR a more immersive experience than "omghitmoardoorz". That being said, it will probably take longer than it currently does to take a keep... undefended or not.
*  [Currently] City Sieges happen too quickly, ORvR progresses too fast. We wish to slow this down to provide a more engaging and immersive ORvR experience.
* Locking zones will take longer. Confirmed.

Q: Any plans on getting players away from mindless mobs of the "Zerg"?
Andy: Design decisions being made now are with the mindset of dispersing the zerg. How we're accomplishing this, we're not quite ready to discuss.
* We will continue to build upon the success of systems like AAO.

Q: Will the ORvR redesign feature an unlocking of zones so you can fight in any zone?
Andy: We're not yet discussing the details of the redesigned ORvR Experience. More details will be coming soon though.
* "Changes being made to ORvR have a focus on encouraging the zerg to spread out."

Q: Any effort to focus on one pairing at a time so people can't run away from a fight to an empty zone?
Andy: This is a very sticky wicket here...there is a fine line between encouraging action into one zone and putting things so entirely on rails that there is no opportunity for dynamic gameplay. Mike Wyatt is much more qualified to answer this question than I am, however I can say it is a consideration.

Spider: How do you spread things out enough so that a zerg isn't just constantly raping your face and also resolve the issue of players just running off to different, undefended maps? I still say the answer is Monster Trucks and a Zerg-Eating Dragon.

Q: Are new ORvR mechanics going to be similar to city sieges?
Andy: A lot of our design philosophy these days stems from the changes we made to the City Siege experience. We want to make the encounters active, exciting, RvR driven experiences. We want to move away from Waithammer and to make things over as painlessly as possible in the unfortunate event that you have no opposition (sadly, an unavoidable circumstance sometimes). In the sense that we want to build upon the success of the city, yes, they will be similar.

Speculating Spider: One could assume that each zone could work like the different stages of a City Siege: you would have to unlock specific points (BOs?) to progress to the next stage (Keeps?). I want to picture warbands escorting massive siege weapons while smaller groups of allies fend off desperate attempts to retake BOs. Who knows.
Q: Will zone locks still be required in order to progress towards the city/forts, or will it be based on "keep" control a la DAOC?
Andy: Not going into that level of detail regarding the changes yet.

Q: With Zone Domination being removed and victory points changing, what will determine who locks a zone based on the other realm not showing up to the fight?
Andy: All I can say in regards to how the zones lock is that it is being simplified.

Q: Do you plan to do anything with forts and keeps, and even BOs?
Andy: I cannot go into specifics regarding each of those individual components to ORVR, however I can state that some of the things you're asking about will not be present in the same manner you've been used to for the previous 2 years.
* "We're not yet discussing the fate of Fortresses."

Q: Will Battle Field Objectives be redesigned?
Andy: In what way? Art? Probably not. Gameplay? Yes.

Q: Are siege weapons being tweaked?
Andy: Most certainly. We want for siege to play a much more important role in ORvR than it currently does.
*  We're taking lessons learned and a lot of inspiration from our experience with Camelot, however it is important to note that WAR will never be an exact mirror of DAoC.

Q: Any plans for mobile siege weaponry?
Andy: Yep.

Q: Can we have catapults?
Andy: Be careful what you ask for...

Q: Do I have to pay to see the changes in ORvR?
Andy: The changes to the ORvR Zones will be global and anyone will be able to participate, regardless of whether or not they've purchased the RvR Pack. However, certain aspects of the changes may only be available to those whom have purchased parts of or the entire RvR Pack.

Speculating Spider: Again, I believe Skaven Play and the Skaven "Siege" Instance will require separate Pack purchases.

Q:  Which tiers will see changes to ORvR?
Andy: Changes to ORvR will be made across tiers 2-4.

Q: Does the new zone empty out the current RvR Lakes?
Andy: We will be building upon the current world and not siphoning everyone off to some new landmass that will leave the current campaign "left behind" so to speak.

Q: Are the current City Sieges still considered the penultimate 'Endgame'?
Andy: Cities are currently set to remain the culmination of the Tier 4 campaign

Q:  Can you make the current RvR areas bigger?
Andy: At this time we do not plan on drastically adjusting the size or layout of the existing RvR Lakes.

Q: Relics?
Andy: While we like the idea of Relics, it goes counter to our current philosophy of not introducing anything in the campaign that makes the strong side stronger. The challenge we face with implementing a "Relic" system is finding a way to introduce them without overpowering one side over the other.

Q: Will the other (Elf, Dwarf, Greenskin) Capital Cities come into play?
Andy: No

Spider: LOL.
Q: Will there be new Live Events?
Andy: I don't have an answer for that.
*"That is not yet determined. "

Q: Duels? Maybe an Arena?
Andy: Not at this time

Q: How about a 'Reverse Bolster' handicap that allows higher level players to fight in lower tiers?
Andy: At this time we don't plan on revisiting the debolstering mechanic.


Q: Any plans to help separate higher RR players from Lowbie Scum?
Andy: We are investigating other possible solutions to group higher RR player in situations such as Scenarios, however ORvR will remain, as Nate called it in the last Vent Q+A, "The Wild West".

Q: Do you plan to add new scenarios with the RvR pack?
Andy: No comment.

Spider: You'd hope there would be at least 1 new Skaven-theme scen but, they don't want to make any promises.

Andy: We are very interested in a cross server Scenario queue, however that feature isn't planned for the RvR Pack. We will be investigating other matchmaking possibilities, however nothing we can comment on at this time.
Andy: No to cross server Scenarios.


Q: Will the level cap raise from 40?
Andy: At this point, we're not interested in increasing the Rank Cap.

Q: Will the RR ranks of 80-100 require the purchase of one of the RvR Packs?
Andy: Yes

Q: Are levels 81-100 going to take fucking forever?
Andy: It ain't gonna be easy...

Spider: No shit.

Q: Do I get credit for renown I've earned since I hit 80?
Andy: Renown gained now will not be applied retroactively.

Q: Are the Renown Rank bonuses going to be reworked?
Andy: We're not yet prepared to go into specifics about the RR bonuses (specifically the bonuses).

Q: How are Renown Abilities being reworked?
Andy: As we've previously stated, we're seeking to remove the restrictive nature of the current RA system and instead move to something that takes inspiration from the DAOC RA system. Yes we are considering more "active abilities" being part of this redesign, however we're not quite prepared to discuss what those abilities will be. The one thing I can say about the abilities is that we intend for them to be compelling and unique, much like we want for the new armor set bonuses to be.
*We're not considering reworking the Respec functionality (of Renown Abilities).

Q: Are you planning alternate methods of gaining Renown Points?
Andy: At this point, I don't know that we're adding any new means of gaining renown points. But the devs could very well prove me wrong and introduce alternate methods such as quests or something along those lines.
 Spider: Doubtful, unnecessary. 
Q: Class balancing?
 Andy: Whether or not specific Careers will be receiving balance in the RvR pack is not yet finalized.
* Yes, normal needed Career balance changes are still taking place (as you'll see this Tuesday) as well as Bug Fixing. Both are a constant part of development.

Q: Will mastery trees be extended?
Andy: Currently, we do not plan on adding any new Career Mastery Path Abilities.

Q: Will there be additional Mastery Points awarded with the added ranks?
Grumpybear Andy: [No answer.]

Spider: LOL.

Q: Any chance of turning off your XP gain to Twink out and stay in a lower tier?
Andy: We're not too keen on a "XP" off feature as is implemented in DAOC as we feel it stagnates development. That being said, we're investigating possible alternative solutions for folks that wish to remain in Tiers 2 and 3. We're not yet ready to discuss these ideas.

Q: Will any stats be reworked, like toughness being tweaked or defensive bonus stats being added?
Andy: At this point, nothing major.

Q: Will caster's weapon damage factor into spells?
Andy: This specific change is not planned to be introduced at this time.

Q: Will White Lions be able to use Hammers?
Andy: Not planned at this time.

Spider: Seriously? Really. That's what we're asking these guys? White Lion Hammers?


Q: Do you want to slow down the acquisition of ORvR gear, or just the ORvR Campaign?
Andy: Both.

Spider: My question. It's a tricky thing to deal with... players are already complaining about not being able to complete the mid-range RvR armor sets. Yet, on the other hand, King Killer armor has been randomly handed out like free samples at a supermarket. Regardless, it'll be getting grindier across the board, for better or worse.
Spider: There has been talk of the possibility of spending gold to buy certain gear from vendors in-game. If it's gone beyond a hypothetical 'what if', I am unaware. *UPDATE: Asked Andy this question, he replied that any sort of Item Shop wasn't currently on the table, but "some armor" being "purchasable by gold" could be "possibly" added.

Q: How will gear be reworked for the addition of twenty renown ranks? ...Will Sovereign be upgradable?
Andy: Carrie has already confirmed that there will be new (higher RR) armor sets introduced with the RvR Pack. The rest of your question we are not prepared to go into details about at this time.
* Sov gear will not be made immediately obsolete by any means. Remember, we're working dillegently to slow the campaign down, so gear progression at the high end will most likely be slowed drastically as well.
*At this time we have no plans to utilize Supreme Wards.

Q: Will new gear come in Offensive / Defensive sets?
Andy: We're generally pleased with how the designs for the new Sov sets/RvR weapons worked out, so I can see us continuing in this mindset.

Q: Will future sets follow the 8 piece format or continue to take more slots?
Andy: Most likely no, although that is not yet finalized

Q: Will there be new RvR reward jewelry / accessory sets similar to the PvE bullshit from Land of the Dead?
Andy:  Not yet ready to discuss accessory items and how they will play into the RvR Pack Content

Q: Is the new gear going to continually Overpowerify higher RR players?
A: We've said this in the past, but we feel that making sets with easily obtained bonuses was probably not the best decision. Future sets will be desirable when compared to current armor sets such as Sov, however we're aiming to encourage players to wear the entire set. Additionally, we're trying to steer away from "boring" percentile bonuses or "push button, do moar dmg" type bonuses. We're trying to devise bonuses that will be compelling, interesting and exciting.

Speculating Spider: Compelled, interested and excited all at the same time?
Triple Hyperbole Bomb crits you for 500000 Disappointment Points.

Q: Expanded Influence Rewards?
Andy: At this point, this isn't something we're looking into.

Q: Any new currencies?
Andy: As Nate has said in many Dev Q+A's, we plan on expanding the current currency systems to offer more things for you to use to spend what you earn on. Whether or not we'll be adding another tier onto the existing currency is something that we're not prepared to discuss at this time.
* We do not currently have, nor do we plan to introduce, a system to upconvert Tier 4 currency.

Q: Will there be new gear for low-RR people?
Andy: There is discussion about improvements to lower Rank items, however the extent of this is not determined.

Andy: I'm not 100% certain that UI improvements are within the scope. At the very least, it's not something we're prepared to discuss right now if it is.

Q: Any plans to combat gold spam in chat, like muting free trial accounts?
Andy: We have another course of action which will be introduced very soon, it's just undergoing it's last bit of testing.


Q: Will we be able to make some kind of income if we only do RvR?
Andy: This is going to be a vague answer: There are things slated to be introduced in the RvR pack which are designed to have a secondary effect of improving the in game economy and giving those who like to play the market something to do.

Spider: Yeah, money would be nice, I guess. Bumming for spare change like some pathetic derelict just so you can catch a flight to the fighting is a tad lame. Seriously, I've had to do horrible, horrible things just to afford single respecs. Horrible things.

Q: Will new potions and talismans be introduced?
Andy: We're not yet prepared to discuss potential crafting changes
There are garbled rumors of a possible new crafting profession, which I don't care about at all so I haven't looked into it more. If they did something gay like create a 'Pet Wrangler' job, I would be all over it, I would be Captain Crafting. I would wrangle baby hydra all day. But that's not happening. I could picture maybe trinket or accessory crafting or even something terrible like siege crafting. We'll see.  They probably shouldn't even bother, unless the crafting mats came exclusively from ORvR or something.
 Q: Any chance respec costs could be lowered? They are expensive and we hate it.
Andy: No. We're not interested in removing economy sinks.

Spider: LOL. Well at least they're being honest about it. "No, we need you to need to throw money away  otherwise the money becomes worthless." Economy sinks are too big to fail.


Q: Server Transfers?
Andy: We've already discussed that we will be offering paid services such as server transfers in the future, along the same timeline as the RvR Pack.

Spider: They're clearly looking into ways to make more money, and you may see a "Store" of Services like, say, Blizzard has -  Server Transfers, Name Changes, perhaps even a Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Appointment. The Witness Protection Program.

They've repeatedly have said NO to going "Free-to-Play" or Nickel-and-Dime Cash Store.


Note: Andy did not talk about pets or mounts at all, despite 46 different stupid questions about pet dildosaurs and flying monkeys that you can ride in Fantasyland.

Quote Andy: "We like mounts..."
Quote Andy: "We like pets..."

Spider: Well, there you go, kids. Zombie Andy says we're going to have turtle mounts and pets.

Q: Housing?
Andy: No to housing. I think I can safely state that housing will never be considered for WAR.

Spider: But I want to crock on your endtable.
Q: Guild Halls?
Andy: Most likely no, at least not in the RvR Pack.

Q: Will there be new Titles or Unlocks
Andy: If I have my way...


Q: Will Black Orcs be made bigger?
Andy: I've been trying to convince the Art/Production team to do this for over a year now. I'll keep hammering away at them.

Q: Can Shadow Warriors get some sort of stealth?
Andy: I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the chances of Shadow Warrior's getting stealth of any type are slim.


Q: Will you be including epic world bosses in the new zone?
Andy: We are not interested in adding more PVE encounters to the game with the new RvR Pack. Anything and everything we do will be focused on RvR. Remember, we're iterating on the success of the new RvR City Siege, so any type of NPC encounter would be in that spirit.
*Repeated:  "We are not adding new PVE focused content to the RvR pack."

Q: Any reworking of rewards of old PvE content such as PQs, Lairs and Bastion Stairs?
Andy: Not at this time.


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