The title (and part of the thread) must be taken with some sense of humor.
Nearly four months ago I wrote various posts on a long thread to discuss the new RvR expansion and a few critical aspects of the game, both inside and outside it. Most of them also pointed and analyzed the last year. After four months Mythic is smart enough to discover the same issues:
This is about the gap between new and old players:
Mythic realizes (?):
Finally, in any MMO, eventually there comes a time when most of the players online are experienced players and are playing characters that are mid or advanced level. This makes it much harder and tedious for a new player (or an experienced player leveling a new character) to advance their character in levels, as they cannot find other players to group with or to help them.
Now that Camelot is nearly three years old, it is becoming harder and harder for low-level players to find groups, which results in long leveling times and frustration.
A month later Mythic introduced battlegrounds from level 1 to 44.
And the population imbalances.
The hard part is the population umbalance, since you cannot force the players to go where you need them. Other solutions are more complex and less trivial and it’s about the tactical gameplay you offer. Mythic has done a little, little step in this direction with “New Frontier”.
We have made some changes in the game over the last few months to try to alleviate the problem where one Realm dominates a server. So far, these additions have not made enough of a difference
The idea here is to add “the fun” and let small groups of players to interfere without the need of a huge zerg (or many zergs). The way to allow this is to affect how the keep upgrades work. A big realm should be weaker the more it will expand. The more you go further the more you’ll loose in defence because the line grows longer and weaker.
To alleviate the situation where one Realm can dominate in RvR by taking all or most of the keeps and Relics, we plan to create a system where the more “control” one Realm has on the RvR battlefield, the harder it is for them to hold on to keeps and Relics.
My idea is to create a general “pool” for the keep’s upgrades. Like a “cap”. The less keeps you own the more you can enhance them. This gives the possibility to an underpopulated realm to build a tight and strong headquarter, very hard to take over even in the worst, most unbalanced solution.
Keep upgrade times will scale down based on the number of keeps a Realm controls. This is already in the game, but we are making it so if a Realm controls only 1 or two keeps, they get extremely fast upgrade times, and if a Realm is totally dominating (as in they control over 15 keeps), then their upgrade times will be longer.
I really believe that the only way to address the population unbalance is to make the gameplay for them more interesting. Transforming a problem in a strength.
As all of you know, there are Realm balance problems on some servers, where one Realm simply has more active players - an advantage that leads them to dominate the RvR battlefield. There is also a situation on some servers where one Realm dominates the RvR battlefield, even though they don’t physically have greater numbers. Taken to the extreme, this situation results in such demoralized opponents that the other Realms see no purpose in continuing to fight.
There’s a lot more but the other posts I wrote back in February are all lost. I still think that despite Mythic “copied” (late) my ideas, the implementation is still sub-par compared to what I wrote (you can go check). In particular when they tried to solve the “zerg rush” adding more timesinks (res sickness). My solution works better and makes the game more fun. DAoC’s players with the patience to read can confirm. And even the population imbalances reported above. Solved once again with a time-based gameplay (Mythic designers aren’t able to think anything else, it seems: timesinks, time penalites and time bonuses).
So, not only they copy, but they do it badly. :D
Now. What should I have to learn from this terribly stimulating and fascinating genre when I’m able to analize and anticipate the results, the solutions, the reactions and the consequent mistakes? What if everything becomes so obvious?
Well, this time is Mythic to answer:
So, what do these facts have to do with this letter? Plenty! No design and testing process for a game system as complicated as New Frontiers, let alone DAoC, can be completed without errors. After all, even with the heaviest and most exhaustive testing on Pendragon to date, there is nothing like a quarter of a million subscribers actually playing the game LIVE worldwide to find its flaws.
My critique goes on, despite I’m starting to feel like there’s not much left to learn and discover.