Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Warhammer Contribution Revisited

It seems like everything I write these days is a followup to something else. I guess this is the downside to talking so much, after a certain point you begin to repeat yourself. ;)

Anyway, a while back now, I wrote about whether Warhammer's Public Quest contribution system would reward bad behavior. (A certain someone helpfully quipped that "Only if you have proper table manners will you be able to beat all 300 PQs.") At the time, I wrote:

"WoW places the incentives for its PVP system in the wrong place. The goal of any given battleground is for the team to win, which generally requires capturing and defending strategic destinations. The problem is that the very same honor points that you get for winning the battleground are ALSO available for being alive and present for honorable kills (HK's) of enemy players. Now sure, it's nice to get the honor bonus for winning, but it's even better to be where the action is during a battle your side eventually wins so that you get BOTH the bonus honor points AND the HK honor points."

Well, Tobold has a lengthy analysis of the topic up, especially RE: tanks and contribution points, but it also mentions how Warhammer has disappointingly adopted the flaw of the "honorable kill"; the best place to be is alive, in the middle of a battle, where you can collect the most reknown for kills of enemy players. The worst is A) running back from the respawn point because all the Witch Elves killed your quishy healer self or B) standing at a flag that isn't under attack to make sure it isn't taken by a lone level 2 character from the other side (this actually happened to my side in a scenario last night). Ironically, this makes tanks better off in RVR, as the opposing team would rather NOT have to take the time to kill them, making it more likely that the tank will live to collect reknown.

Note that I don't dislike Warhammer scenarios; indeed, I'm having a decent time in them. Unfortunately, I will also concede that they do devolve into a large melee in the middle more often than not, precisely because that's where the rewards are. Guess there's nothing to be done for it now, but this is one area in which I wish Mythic had taken Warhammer further away from WoW. Perhaps they could have pooled everyone's reknown awards and doled them out according to contribution at the end, though, again, that fails to reward dead healers and lonely flag guards. It's not an easy question, which is probably why it hasn't been solved, but it does appear that the game rewards players for being in the "wrong" place, and so that is where they will go.


Xtian said...

I wonder what would happen if they made zones around important nodes that awarded a trickle of renown/XP just by standing in them. Flag guards would still get XP, and people would have more incentives to fight on the flag and not in the middle of nowhere.

Anonymous said...

In scenarios though you get a significant xp/renown bonus if your side actually wins. My experience so far has been that it really depends on the players.

Sometimes I get with a group that knows what to do and goes and tries to get the objective done. Other times i'm with a group that essentially ignores everything.

More often than not what I see happening is that if one side is winning by a large margin, the losing side just gives up trying and just goes for the kills.

What you fail to mention I think is that a lot of the objectives just revolve around controlling points on the map. The action is always going to be around those points so you're not protecting any flags or things like that. And the murder ball scenario is nice too because you're in the action constantly.

I do see a lack of people wanting to defending their flag in a CTF type scenario. They'll soon realize that winning will net much more rewards than losing.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add this point, each scenario does play slightly different but in all of them I didn't see a significant difference in renown/xp gained between being on the defensive and going on the offensive. Lose or win, you generally will get close to the same XP/Renown. So I don't think it's as bad as you portray it to be.

Green Armadillo said...

In fairness, my experience is limited so far to T1 scenarios because I keep re-rolling in search of a class I like. Also, I'm on the order side, and the local PUG's have won a single scenario out of twelve or so that I've fought. As you point out, sometimes the win/loss is apparent sooner than others, and then you'll see more fighting wherever the action is.

That aside, I can say two things from experience:

- My Rune Priest gets less reknown and exp (not counting the bonus at the end of the match) than my other characters. Maybe I just really suck at Rune Priests compared to other classes, maybe my T1 tanks don't know how to protect me, but the bottom line is that I personally get a lot less reknown, and spend a lot more time dead. The two do not look like a coincidence to me.

- In the Chaos v Empire T1 scenario in particular, I've often seen the entire Order raid run straight past the objective that is in front of our base to get to the bloodbath at the contested objective. Even if someone does notice that it's still neutral and goes into scenario chat to ask someone else (certainly not them) to leave the reknown farm and go claim it, no one stays to guard it. I once literally came upon a lone level 2 foe who had successfully flipped it to neutral.

Do these things get better in higher tiers? Perhaps they do, and I'll be glad to post about it if it happens. Then again, these behaviors are NOT new and unique to Warhammer (indeed, they're very similar to the way a WoW PUG acts, also not, IMO, a coincidence), so somehow I'm not optimistic.

Anonymous said...

Nodes should have a sort of "bubble area" around there, within which honor or contribution from healing and killing would be higher than on the paths to the nodes. The bubble should only affect the team that controls the node.
However, capturing nodes or completing objectives should give just as much overall, so that you don't get turtles.
Maybe even have the bubble around the node gradually build up potential honor for the defenders, like a jackpot, and upon killing enemy attackers this jackpot would be rewarded to the players individually based on the time they'd spent in the bubble. The jackpot would be reset.