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The Digital Continuum: Beyond Warhammer Online patch 1.2

Kyle Horner

Warhammer Online players are in the midst of the Bitter Rivals live event, plus another big new patch. I'm going to guess that it probably took a lot of development muscle to get the Black Guard, Knight of the Blazing Sun, Slayer and Choppa in a fun, playable shape. Not to mention the improvements to open RvR, Scenarios, PvE and general quality of life fixes.

I have no doubt that the east coast developer has the next several patches planned out to some degree. Nonetheless, Mythic, Warhammer Online and its community are at a development crossroads -- and so today I'm going to explore a few possibilities.

Capital cities

Right now, the world conflict involves two factions, each with three armies. There are three sets of pairings, and each of those pairings have four tiers. At tiers 4, the highest tier, sit six massive fortresses that represent each race. If one faction conquers two of these fortresses, then the can attack the opposing faction's Captial city. This system has been working fine, but it's incomplete.

What I propose is that for the next set of content patches beyond the ones currently announced, Mythic should create the other two paired cities. I've got a system for this to work, but first I'm going to explain why this needs to happen.

It's actually pretty simple: The fact of the matter is that Altdorf and the Inevitable City fail to represent a fully realized Warhammer universe. I understand that WAR is Mythic's take on the setting, but because Greenskins, Dwarves, Dark Elves and High Elves are playable, the game needs to embody their struggle for effectively.

On top of that argument, there needs to more visual and mechanical variety to the endgame of WAR -- plain and simple.

The solution assumes the best solution is the path of least resistance -- one of elegance.

Remember those three pairings of massive fortresses at tier 4? Mythic added them with the argument that they focused a stream of players at one city, instead of allowing each race to play favorites with their own Capital.

I say keep them.

Mythic should -- and very well can -- create the Greenskin vs Dwarven and Dark Elf vs High Elf cities. This would give them the chance to add in re-flavored quest lines, new boss PQs, PvP PQs and Scenarios. It would also inject much-needed variety into Capital sieges via new "maps" for players to attack and defend.

Then, Mythic can simply rotate the Capital pairings open for attack on a weekly or bi-weekly basis so the flow of player bodies stays nice and strong. I'd also include unique rewards for looting each city, this way the challenges as well as rewards stay fresher.

Once all six cities are added, the game would benefit from both vast amounts of end-game variety as well as plenty of additional fluff for players who want to take up arms against (or for) other racial home cities. Everyone wins, everyone is happy.

Customization old and new

To this day I still applaud Mythic for applying more customization out of the gate than many other fantasy MMOs have. Still, I'd like to see some more focus on the subject.

Firstly, if Mythic was able to implement their scaled changes for the various races, that would probably make a big difference. Orcs getting bigger as they level, Chaos becoming further mutated, etc. I know there's a chart with ideas and math sitting somewhere in their offices, so all it would take is the time and effort.

Not everyone may agree that it's worthwhile -- that it's the biggest bang for the development buck. Personally, I think it's something that would get people talking about the game in a positive way, even people who aren't currently subscribers. And in addition, it would boost morale for players who've spent a lot of time to get their multiple rank 40 characters.

Optionally -- or additionally -- I would love to see custom epic weaponry attainable at rank 30 or 40. From what I've heard, it's been a resounding success in Lord of the Ring Online since it was added last November in the game's first expansion. Although this may be something that can only be added in paid-for content as it's a pretty extensive system. Regardless, I really hope Mythic takes it into heavy consideration, because it's a very cool way to let PvE players continue to enjoy the "ding effect" while doing every other kind of combat.

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