Thursday, October 02, 2008

Warhammer Online: Defender's Dilemma

I was playing Warhammer Online with my Witch Elf the other night. I was doing the Tier 1 Elf scenario Khaine's Embrace.

Khaine's Embrace is pretty neat. There are two standards. If your team captures both standards, a horn sounds, and there is a giant explosion, killing everyone in a large radius around the standards. Then your team gets 75 points, and the standards reset. I like the map, though possibly mostly for the horn sound and explosion graphics.

Anyways, it's early in the match, Order has their standards, but we're pressing them hard. All of a sudden, our standard gets captured, and we fall behind. It turns out not a single person is defending, so a lone Order player was able to sneak by and cap.

So I start defending. It's terribly boring, but I do kill several Order players who try the sneak again. Our flag is never captured again, and we win handily.

The problem is that I ended up getting the lowest renown and rewards from that fight. And that has really soured me on WAR. I'll be honest, I basically won that map for my side. The zerg didn't accomplish anything, but they got to rack up kills and renown.

This is the problem with systems that try and track contribution, and hand out rewards based on contribution. Sometimes contribution is very hard to track. Defense in particular is hard to judge. Not to mention that it's far more boring than being on the attack with the front line.

Edit: Not to mention that you can apparently leave your Scenario group and not share any Renown/XP with the other players. Ahh, Mythic, did you not learn anything from WoW?


  1. sounds kind of like a typical WSG match in WoW that gives you less bonus honor or marks if you don't get enough kills. Now THAT would ensure that no one defends ANYTHING!

    Seems kinda broken to me.

  2. I've been debating all day on making this comment, but here goes...

    Offense gets the glory, but defense wins the game. That's the biggest con of automatic contribution calculation without any way to factor in the intangibles.

    In a strange, convoluted way, WoW implemented it partially in various battlegrounds (while yes, this is highly abused).

    In WSG, the best way to get honor is to get the flags as quickly as possible. Any kind of stalling by either side reduces the efficiency. Not very obvious, but it's there.

    AV, on the other hand, is not only more obvious, but also more punishing against quicky teams. If one of the sides focuses on killing the general ASAP, while the other focuses on the field objectives, the quicky team will most likely win the match, and get 3 tokens and 100 honor points at best. The other team will get 1 token and around 500 honor points. And it makes sense: generals are (usually) replaceable, while resources, like food, mines and bunkers, aren't.

    Neither system is perfect because it has to work with numbers. It doesn't account for other activities that don't show up in a log file.

    @matt: It's not broken. Otherwise, we wouldn't have ESPN. :-)

  3. Its is pretty simple, its not about winning otherwise the incentive to even pvp would have diminished returns. Go for the glory as a good offense typically is a the best defense.

    Some classes are built for defensive and supportive gameplay and some are more straightforward offensive. Witchhunter, thats interesting your defending... as taht class straight up rips down any non tank target on order with ease.

    I play a Engineer and I can toss up a turrent by a flag to see if anyone is attacking it even if im not there. This is a huge defensive advantage for order and lets me go on the offensive while still having a defensive role.


  4. Also, you have to be careful how you encourage defenders as nobody likes a turtled map. WSG wasted countless hours of peoples time because some dev thought it would be great if the loser could turn the tides by allowing turtling.


  5. Some classes are built for defensive and supportive gameplay and some are more straightforward offensive. Witchhunter, thats interesting your defending... as taht class straight up rips down any non tank target on order with ease.

    I know, I shouldn't be defending. But no one else is.

    As for turtles, all maps have a built-in timer. So even strong defense doesn't really matter.

  6. DPS wins the fame.
    Healers win the game.

  7. It sounds like a BG, but without any zone-wide honor or tokens. In my experience WoW is sometimes the reverse of the usual offense getting all the kills. Some AV games I've seen the Horde offense hit almost no one while the defense is busy holding back the entire Alliance offense. The offense ends up winning the game but doesn't get a ton of honor.

    There should be a balance between rewarding defense and encouraging turtling.