Archive for November 7, 2010

Eka’s “Supreme Ward” Dungeon Conclusion

November 7, 2010 1 comment

On October 9th I began my second epic journey delving into the heavily-longed-for yet missing world of the other capital cities with this post. In brief I shall go over my points for those who do not like to click back into the past and recall what was said.

  • Point 1 – Mythic has stated that they have no intent of bringing in the other capital cities because they would take away from the current campaign style. My solution was to bring them into the game as PvE extensions of the end-game city siege – only by defeating the enemy king could you gain access to the other two enemy capitals. However, after first access via king-kill, further access into the cities could be purchased with currency only available in RvR (Royal Crests and Medallions).
  • Point 2 – The other capital cities would be living dungeon encounters – you would be invading the cities with an invading army. Even after defeating mobs and pressing the battle forward mobs would still spawn and engage your army, they would simply be neutral to you. This would be a full scale invasion, not a 6-man assault on a city which seems rather absurd.
  • Point 3 – Clearing the city-dungeon of hostile mobs would require advancing the battle via capturing hostile rally flags and turning them contended locations. Capturing a flag would allow your invading army to press forward to that location and secure it for you.
  • Point 4 – Party Roles would exist to aid the non-boss fight mechanics of the dungeons. Commanders would be the only ones to capture flags; Second-in-Commands would allow summoning of reinforcements; Siege-Masters would summon siege weaponry and air-units to clear enemy siege positions; and two Purifiers would have the ability to destroy scenery in order to stop enemy mob spawns or clear buildings.
  • Point 5 – The primary defense of the city would lay in siege equipment – the easiest way to counter the siege weapons would be to use the neglected renown abilities, whether it be Deflect Oil or Bypass Defenses.

With these points in mind I now go into the eight course meal I used to analyze Mythic’s dungeons and attempt to analyze my own.

Time Commitment – I approach this two ways. First of all I don’t want a dungeon whose access depends on zone availability. In my design of the capital-city dungeons their access is only limited to first time visitors, the access granted by defeating the enemy king. Once you and your party members have entered the enemy cities via the king-kill then you may enter every other time via purchasing entrance with RvR currency. In this way the dungeon can be regularly scheduled and zone domination does not work against time commitment. The dungeons themselves I would venture to say would last 4-6 hours each. Keeping in mind that each faction has two dungeons this is a total time commitment of 8-12 hours for complete clears of both. Again, this is the ultimate PvE encounter in the game so it shouldn’t be a cake-walk.

Layout – I abhor linear dungeons that force you to waste hours killing bosses you have no need for. Winged dungeons are ok, but I went a dozen steps further and designed my dungeons to be open free flowing dungeons. This means that if you only need tank shoulders, you do the tank shoulders boss. If you only need your helm, you do the helm boss. You don’t have to clear bosses you have no desire for. Being that these are cities with many avenues this wasn’t hard to do at all, in fact to attempt to do the capitals as linear or winged dungeons would have been not only incredibly challenging from the design aspect, but also a flawed approach to the concept of a city.

Design – As much as I think a large scale PvE encounter could be interesting, I kept my dungeons to six-man instances simply because given the population of the game I see this as the easiest approach. However, to counter the thought that a six-man is decioblideviannihilating a city on their own, I put the entire invading army at their back and incorporate the invading army into the dungeon. The invading army both helps push the battle forward via party roles, and helps hold positions for easier access through a living dungeon. Your six-man is but the spearhead; without the invading army acting as the shaft of the spear, you would quickly get swamped.

Boss Mechanics – This was truly the most difficult part of this project. Designing 36 different boss-fight mechanics is by no means easy, especially when you aim for something somewhat new or fresh. I really wanted to stay away from the mechanics of random breaking-of-aggro and of juggling a ridiculous amount of buffs via acrobatics. If I want acrobatics I go play a Wii, not Warhammer. Each city is defended by nine bosses: 4 representatives of the archtypes present in Warhammer, a leader of the faction’s army (Shining Guard, House Uthorin, etc), three classes that exist in the table-top yet not in WAR, and the king. My aim was to create bosses with built-in random shifts of momentum and tactics, because predictable fights get dry and boring after so long. With this random factor in mind I created the 66 MPAT to give the four archtype representatives a built-in random factor. Of course I didn’t simply leave it at ‘archtype x is a 66 MPAT’, I tried to give them other twists in the fight. The other five bosses in each city had less randomness to them, but certainly still had it to some degree. While I could have simply mirrored the bosses from Order over to Destruction, I felt this would be both bland and a cop-out; I have a brain so I used it to design different elements. Of course some mechanics from Order city bosses cross over to Destruction city bosses, but only in part. No two bosses are intended to be the same.

Loot Mechanics – Pouring all my thought into layout, design, and bosses I did not fry my brain attempting to think of clever loot statistics or what not. For lack of a better name, I labeled the armor set from the capital cities the Monarch set, which would mirror the Sovereign set. Once again, each city had nine bosses, with a total of eighteen per faction. The entire Monarch Set was available for every class dispersed among the eighteen bosses. Going back to my set up of four 66 MPATs, a faction leader, three tabletop classes, and a king I divided the gear as such: the dps 66 MPATs would drop dps Belts, Boots, Shoulders, and Gloves, and the same would apply for tank/healer 66 MPATs (the belt and boots were paired in one city, and the shoulders and gloves were paired in another); the faction leader and three tabletop classes would drop archtype specific accessory pieces (i.e. the Cape and Jewelry piece – the cape being in one city, and the Jewelry in the second); and lastly the Kings of each city would drop a universal helm or chest. All armor pieces were repairable. Additionally, each boss would drop a class-specific weapon; bosses that dropped tank/healer armor would drop dps-class weapons and bosses that dropped dps armor would drop tank/healer weapons. The intent was that everyone present had a stake in the boss fight – it wasn’t just the boss fight for the tanks or healers. I did take the effort to think of clever names for the weapons, yay me.

Lockout – If I had a say in this matter I would leave the lockout per dungeon at 3 days starting upon killing the first boss. This way you could take three days to do one city, three to do the second, and after a day of rest you could start all over!

Lore – I worked really hard to tie lore into all my cities. Where lore was present for city design or places of note I used it. Most of my lore however went into the bosses themselves. I looked high and low for named heroes or lords in the world of Warhammer to be represented in the cities – I took NO regard to who Mythic put in the storyline and killed off. Yes, I know Tullaris is a hero in a PQ or Shadowblade is a regular mob in an epic quest. It was not my concern how Mythic killed off epic people in lore. I sought to give all these characters fights fitting of their status. Also trying to tie lore into the fights, I took the time to research weapons, armors, and mounts of these noteworthy characters in lore and use these to the best of my transmutation-abilities in Warhammer. Translating effects from tabletop to WAR is difficult, and I no doubt rubbed someone the wrong way, but I tried. I am by no means an expert on lore, but I put my heart into keeping as much in tact as possible and keeping Games Workshop’s vision in mind.

Overall Rating – Why I’d give myself a 5/5 of course! Every day I wait for Mythic to beg me to work for them and design a master piece. Alas I fear they loathe me as much as I loathe pickles. They’ll probably just shamelessly steal my ideas and claim them as their own.

In my aforementioned link I set out several goals for my dungeons. Did I achieve them? I tried. I tried to design dungeons so vividly both visually and in words that you could see them as I would. I tried to make boss fights that weren’t bland tank-and-spanks but rather had dynamic roles for all those present. I tried to create a product that Games Workshop would say ‘Yes, that is Warhammer to the core’ and that Mythic would say ‘Yes, that is a PvE experience fit for WAR’. The true rating of my dungeon design lays in the hands of my readers. Would this be something you would want to do? Is this fit for WAR? Should Mythic steal my brain, preferably attached to my body?

I sadly conclude my second epic journey. Sadly because I gave life into a concept dear to many in Warhammer Online and Warhammer the tabletop. In my head I created a complete vision, yet I feel nothing will come of it. Alas this is all just hypothetical anyway… until next time!

Categories: Supreme Ward Dungeon