Here are my goals for re-evaluating tier four on Phoenix Throne. I say it in the present tense because I was unable to check off every item from this list. Some of these items will carry over into next week. My primary goal is to get a general feeling for what's changed since I originally stopped playing. I also want to experience a city siege and the new Land of the Dead zone. I also want to find an fun active guild, top up my RvR influence bar(s), and gain a fourth piece for my Sentinel set. Finally, I just want to have fun playing and slaying.
To be honest with you, I didn't actually make a whole lot of progress with that list this past week, even after putting in roughly 12 hours of play time. You really need a guild to get much accomplished in WAR, and while I made finding one a top priority, it hasn't happened yet.
I left the guild I was originally in because no-one had logged in for months. After doing so, I was presented with a pretty cool guild search interface. By selecting various criteria like guild size, guild rank, amount of players online, etc., you're presented with a list of recruiting guilds. I found a couple that looked interesting and started grouping with them when I was online. I'm not in a new guild yet, but I hope to be soon after getting to know several cool people. On a positive note, my tier two Shaman on Iron Rock did find a guild. I haven't been able to play much with them though due to focusing more on my Squig Herder.
WAR is still a game that can provide bursts of RvR fun in small doses if you don't have a lot of time to play. Scenarios were popping quickly and I always found people to fight in the RvR lakes. Unfortunately, getting to the city siege stage of the campaign is all about one of three things: timing, realm balance, or effort (on the realm scale).
If you only have a couple hours to play per night, you're really going to have to rely on lucky timing if you want to experience a city siege because there's simply no way to push the campaign toward the city in that short amount of time. I'm not saying that's a bad thing -- city sieges should be epic and somewhat rare -- but for the purpose of this experiment, it's a bit of a hindrance.
Realm balance is also a huge factor. Based on what I've seen so far on Phoenix Throne, Destruction seems more active during the day and Order seems more active at night. The result so far has been that Destruction locks most of the zones leading up to prime time and then Order logs on and pushes them all back. It's a see-saw -- a tug-of-war -- which is good to instill that sense of struggle but again, it isn't going to result in a nightly city siege. For a siege to happen, you really need one side dominating the other in terms of skill, coordination, and ultimately, population.
Finally, there's effort. You really need your entire realm focused on a city siege. On paper that seems like a good design, but in practice you have many competing personalities, interests, and time management issues. Given the length of time it takes to really push for a city (anywhere from 4-8 hours just to get to the city gates) a cohesive realm effort is rare indeed. It usually only shows up on the weekends when people know they have a lot of time to commit. This doesn't seem to have changed from before.