This is not what I originally had down for todays blog entry, but overnight Mythic made a post on the herald, which is going to ruffle a few feathers. What I had intended to blog about, was on the relationship between BOs and Keeps. This does have a direct bearing on the reason for Mythic’s announcement, but that will need to be held back till later. I apologise for posting the full text, but I didn’t grab the link when at home and I can’t get to it at the moment.
So without further ado a Wall Of Text inc.
Sometimes epic warfare is halted by the powerful forces of server instability. The Mythic team is fighting a WAR of our own against these Fortress Siege stability issues and is now prepared to take the next step towards the long-term goal of providing our players with a truly epic Tier 4 Campaign. We will be implementing more improvements in the coming weeks however this initial change will allow more players to experience the Tier 4 campaign to its fullest.
Players on the Phoenix Throne, Dark Crag, Vortex, and Darklands servers (with a planned deployment to all live servers to follow in the coming days) will immediately notice a change to the way that the Tier 4 Racial Pairing Fortress sieges function. We will be implementing a hard cap on the total number of players that are able to occupy the Fortress area during a siege. The purpose of this change is twofold: to improve server stability, and allow even more players to participate in, and benefit from, capital city sieges.
When the Fortress population reaches certain population thresholds, players who are attempting to enter the area of the besieged Fortress that are Rank 35 and below will be teleported to the warcamp for the region they are in. When the next area population threshold has been met, players that are Rank 37 and below will be teleported to the warcamp. The final population threshold applies to players that are Rank 39 and below. Once the total population cap has been met for the area surrounding the Fortress, all players that attempt to enter the area will be teleported back to the region’s warcamp.
It’s very important to note that the majority our players’ Fortress siege experience should not be noticeably affected by this change. Hundreds of players will still be able to participate in taking the Fortress from their enemies. This measure will help to ensure that players are able to experience these epic battles in a more reliable manner.
Because of the strategic advantage that players will always have when defending a Keep, the attacking forces will have a numeric advantage when attempting to wrest control of a Keep from the opposing realm.
Regardless of whether you are happy or not with the change, it has to be acknowledged that this is effectively an admission of failure on Mythics part, harsh I know. I don’t think there is anyone in the beta who could say this segment of the game was adequately tested and again points to launching to early. Maybe they entertained the hope they could knock off the rough edges when live.
We must also recognise that rolling these changes out to specific live servers, has moved those servers and their populations into a beta testing roll (Thanks for your new role, I hope you will get a new title and tome unlock for your efforts). This is not the first time this has happened with these servers. It indicates that Mythic don’t have the tools to emulate a massive keep raid. If they did and they were that confident, then these changes would be rolled out to all servers world wide.
Now if these changes work as intended, then keep/server crashes should be brought under control. The player cap will be probably set at 75%/80% of the current crash player numbers. This will hopefully allow the tier 4 campaign to move forward without being susceptible to the keep crashes (which could be brought on by design of the defending force). So I think there is a definite positive there. This will allow Mythic more time to improve there network, LOS, Spell Damage calculations or whatever on the server side. This is a piece of buffer code, its creating a safe stable zone for the players, where more radical coding changes can be undertaken.
Now as they further optimise the code and data, that player cap can be raised without the player populations knowledge. Maybe just maybe we will be discussing in a years time, this change which to most of us, was the change that never was, since it never directly impacted us.
The questions I have, concern the designated boundary areas around these keeps/fortresses. Since these are not instances, then you can still engage in a conflict across the boundary(Teleport) wall. So if I have a group of order players who know they can’t cross the boundary, since they are <= to 35 and you have a bunch of destruction players, then destruction can raid over the boundary line to attack the order players. However when you try to run back in, you find your spot has been taken while you were outside and you are now ported back to your warcamp. Oh how I would laugh. Though I admit there is some potential for some funny stuff. Now is this a physical movement over the boundary or can both sides stand on either side of the boundary and perform ranged dps.
Now this one confused me.
The purpose of this change is twofold: to improve server stability, and allow even more players to participate in, and benefit from, capital city sieges.
Server stability I can understand . What I am struggling with, is the bit about allowing more players to participate in capital city seiges. If they mean, it doesn’t blow up in your face every time you try, then fair enough. Otherwise I am stumped.
A grumble I have and it may end up being more than a grumble, though it does depend on how the change impacts me, is simple. Tier 4 is 32 – 40, that’s when I am officially within the tiers level range. But we may end up with a 2 tier population (pun intended), the 40’s and sub 40’s. If you are sub 40, then you may be allowed to play with the big boys, but that’s only if you understand you are there to make up the numbers. It’s like all those raids, where you ended up getting kicked when a more opted person came along. I have seen suggested a position retention policy, where if you die in the fortress and release back to the warcamp, your position is held in limbo for a time period, to allow a return to the fray.
It’s good to see the commumity come forward with suggestions on how to make the keep take status as transparent as possible. My personal suggestion, would be a level number in a bubble over the fort on the map, indicating the current level restriction if any, that is being enforced.
This capping may prove to be an inspired change from Mythic, but I honestly wouldn’t know which way to call it at this time. It may just buy them enough working space to make some more optimisations. Hell it beats turning keep takes into a full blooded instances.
EDIT: Did the removal of the additional capital cities, end up creating a rolling zerg situation, where the zerg flowed from one tier 4 zone to next, building up momentum and size to open up the one capital city.
The original model gave us 3 tier 4 warzones plus capitials. This would have given 3 distinctly separate zones (Server wise very important), where the level 32 – 40’s would have been spread out. The very problem that has caused Mythic so much grief internally and externally was a result of cutting the capital cities and therefore changing the initial end game design. You have to admit there is a certain irony there.