Yesterday, just a day before this morning's announcement of the 1.1a patch to Warhammer Online, we had the chance to speak with some of the leading lights in the Warhammer development process. Adam Gershowitz, Associate Producer Josh Drescher, and Designer Brian Wheeler laid out the ins and outs of Realm vs. Realm changes in our discussion.

Said Josh Drescher, "The core philosophy for 1.1 as regards RvR is to guarantee you a rewarding time in open field combat. It should be just as rewarding as spending an hour anywhere else in the game. We want to address the problem where players would want to participate in open RvR, but had limited time and felt they would be better rewarded in a Scenario. We were specifically addressing that in this update this time around."

Read on below the cut for our full discussion.

"During the Halloween event we put the PQs out in oRvR, and during Heavy Metal we put specific goals in there: go kill 15 players in open RvR. We found a lot of players responded to that."

There have been a number of tweaks to the RvR game since launch. What can you speak to as far as a tone or perspective in RvR that wasn't in the game at launch that you're now patching in?

Brian Wheeler: What we're looking at doing is making sure open field gets a lot more attention in terms of traffic and use. There are a lot of really cool things you can do in terms of keep sieges, battlefield objectives, and the overall experience we want to have.

We found after launch that players love to do the Scenarios because it was instant action. They clicked a button and were whisked away to a magic land of killing anybody and everybody. The gameplay was a lot of fun, we had lots of driven goals for them to accomplish. You get out into open field and – yeah, there are keeps and objectives – but there was no directed action. Some of the events we've run so far were directly aimed at providing some of that direction.

During the Halloween event we put the PQs out in oRvR, and during Heavy Metal we put specific goals in there: go kill 15 players in open RvR. We found a lot of players responded to that better than "here's a sandbox go have fun." What we're trying to do with the influence system going in with 1.1 is proving a little more guidance for players. If you do 'these things' in open RvR you'll be rewarded.

It's a system they're already familiar with thanks to Public Quests. We're letting players advance their itemization via open RvR if they want to. That's the first of many steps we're working on. A lot of what we're working on right now is based on what we've seen live and in the game. When players have goals or instant action they seem to reply to things a lot better than just 'use the sandbox.'

We can't give details in terms of what exactly we're doing, but we've been looking at all the feedback from players, taking that into account for future content.

"Patch 1.1 is the first of many steps we're taking to incentivize open RvR."

Are you planning to focus players on a daily or weekly basis around open RvR? Providing some sort of extra incentive for open RvR in this zone, that sort of thing?

Brian: There have been talks about doing things like that. We're also talking about focusing on which objectives to take on a nightly basis to a degree, depending how the war is going. We're still trying to work out what will be the best way to go about this. We don't want to just offer a checklist of do this, do that, and the zone is yours.

We want to allow a lot of what I call 'backhacking'; letting players figure out how to flip a zone in a clever way. Right now players are looking at the objectives, looking at the keeps and thinking "We hold everything, why isn't the zone ours?" We want to give the players more guidance and more focus. That's on the table, but we're not looking to be too restrictive.

Josh: Everything is on the table!

Adam: Short version is that patch 1.1 is the first of many steps we're taking to incentivize open RvR. Like Brian was saying there are about eight zillion ideas on the table. Some have come from inside the company, some from the playerbase, and we're considering all of them. You're going to hear a lot more of them over the next month or two as we continue to progress the game into a more mature state.

Josh: The core philosophy for 1.1 as regards RvR is to guarantee you a rewarding time in open field combat. It should be just as rewarding as spending an hour anywhere else in the game. We want to address the problem where players would want to participate in open RvR, but had limited time and felt they would be better rewarded in a Scenario. We were specifically addressing that in this update this time around.

If there's one thing to take away from 1.1 for explicit goals, making open RvR more enjoyable is it.

"It's not about choosing a Ferrari or a Ford, it's about choosing between a red or a blue Ferrari."


As a last question, then, does that mean you are looking to disincentivize people from participating in Scenarios? What role do you want them to play?

Josh: We're never looking to drive people away from content. Always the carrot, never the stick. We want to attract you to open RvR, not drive people who just want to play Scenarios away from that content.

Adam: It's not about choosing a Ferrari or a Ford, it's about choosing between a red or a blue Ferrari.

Excellent. Thank you for your time, gentlemen.
Warhammer Online Coverage WAR has gone 1.1! Check out our full coverage of the 1.1a patch, along with our interviews exploring upcoming content and the open RvR changes. Plus, don't miss any of our ongoing coverage as Massively goes to WAR!

This article was originally published on Massively.