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Hardcore vs. Casual

January 17, 2011 9 comments

The time has come for the post about the new armor sets and the growing divide between what gamers would call ‘hardcore’ and ‘casual’ players. By my dictatorial-will we shall establish the definition of a casual player as someone who logs in a few hours a day, say 1-4 hours, maybe more, maybe less; hardcore players would be those who can clock in 8+ hours, often times complaining about how tired they are because they’ve been up for ‘x’ hours without food or drink. Casual players are the guys who get up and go eat, drink, smoke, pee, play with their dog once an hour because its draining to be at the computer – the guys for who a 2minute AFK isn’t enough and got hurt by the new measure; hardcore players consume only oxygen and pixels and their afks last seconds not minutes.

Ok so maybe that’s exaggerating, but the point is casual players log in for a few scenarios a day and don’t get hundreds of thousands of renown daily. I know people who were below RR80 before the 1.4 patch, and despite the increased renown are still below RR80. And then there are the people who are now RR90-100. Maybe without the new gear this wouldn’t be such a damning divide, but there is new gear, and the divide is growing. While the match-making system was intended to divide the higher renown ranks from the lower renown ranks, it apparently isn’t doing that or simply put there aren’t enough people of sufficiently high a rank on one realm to compete with those of the other realm.

Before the patch there was already a massive gear gap between those in full sov with their RR80 weapons and the new guys just hitting T4, the rank 32s decked out in full devastator ready to take on the world. Sure the bracket for T3 was increased to include all ranks 26-39, but the measure did little to alleviate the gap in T4. Lets assume that before someone hit T4 at about RR30 and was fighting RR80s, that’s 50 renown ranks difference; and lets assume that now someone hits T4 at about RR40 and will potentially be fighting RR100s, that’s 60 renown ranks which get exponentially stronger beyond RR70. The gap is extreme, and to compound the issue, in order to stay competitive you essentially HAVE to buy the ‘optional’ Progression Pack so your renown progresses past 80 (and so your renown grows faster to keep pace with other’s who have the pack) because lets face it – an RR80 doesn’t stand up well against an RR100. What it boils down to is that there is so very little incentive to roll alts or for new players to enter T4 because they are going to get steam-rolled for months before they can be on par with the big boys – matchmaking only works in scenarios, it doesn’t work in RvR lakes. Months before 1.4 came out when I started this blog I wrote about this, and now it is all coming to fruition.

Already servers are starting to see increasing numbers of hardcore players hitting RR90, some nearing the RR100 point, and these bands of high rank players mainly got there by taking advantage of AAO and ganking in RvR lakes, not by doing scenarios. And who are they ganking? Obviously other players, but one can assume that since their renown has sky-rocketed so much they are ganking either weaker players or out-numbered players – irregardless the fight is not a fair one, hence the term gank. Let me put it this way, I killed a rank 32 player when I had 400% AAO and I got some stupid figure like 6k renown for them. 6k renown for a rank 32? Something is not right. I never enjoy killingĀ  players who are not even rank 40 and most of the time just /wave them and move on (unless they go balls-out and try to kill me) but these players still come to T4 because T3 is largely inactive on my server,and unfortunately, they are still incredibly lucrative victims to AAO farmers. And so these RR80s began to AAO farm by ganking lowbees who they already vastly outgeared and have launched themselves into Doomflayer gear, and now they are nay unkillable.

Simply put the new armor sets are rewarding the hardcore players to a degree that is hurting the game far more than it is benefiting it. New players don’t want to come to T4. Why? Because they can’t compete. Many old players who resubbed for 1.4 (who had quit back when they were in their low RRs) have left once again because they can’t compete. Now I know some hardcore nut is going to want to tell me to ‘stfu n00b. ltp’ but its not an argument about skill. I’m still trying to compete and in most cases I think I do well, but going up against a Doomflayer-clad enemy tends to reap poor results. Already defensive Doomflayer MDPS have more survivability than tanks in pre-Doomflayer gear AND they still somehow have enough dps to kill in seconds – so while the TTK for them has gone way up, the TTK for their victims is ridiculously low. Something isn’t right. I dread to think of what will happen when these hardcore players get Warpforged gear and I’m still lah-di-dah-ing in my sovereign.

So while the numbers of RR90+s grows, the number of casual players declines. Already servers are beginning to lose casual players who are feeling that they no longer have a place in this game. And this isn’t including the people who left the game because the skaven skins were not what they thought they’d be or because they’re tired of playing in the same zones for two years. No, now the dedicated players who loved WAR despite its bumps are leaving because its not a game that a casual player can log into and compete. This isn’t to say that all casual players are leaving, but some are, and considering the population of the game any loss should be evaluated and the developers should ask themselves ‘Why did they leave?’ and ‘What could we do to get them to come back?’. The casual players with sufficient sense of humor and determination chug on. Sure there are 6 of you in Doomflayer and and you are spawn camping me and my comrades, but I’ve got scores of tentacle pies.

Whats to be done? Well as with all problems, Hypothetical War has solutions, solutions which only need catch the eye of Mythic and get implemented.

  • Step one: Look at the sets and their stats; consider how they pair up with players wearing anything from Devastator to Doomflayer. Let me help you with this – they don’t. These sets are what we call ‘stupid-OP’ and when you put them on classes which we shall call ‘stupid-OP’… say a DoK or a BW, then you’ve got a lot of ‘stupid-OP’ going on, like ‘extra-stupid-OP’ or ‘OOP’. Either scale the sets down (with matching scenario weapons) or help lower sets.
  • Step two: While I am a kind soul who lets R32s live and struggle up the mountain of renown, others are not. You can’t say ‘they should be in T3’ when that tier is perhaps dead and they want to play with other people. These players should not be victims of AAO farmers. If you want new players to keep coming to T4 you’ve got to give them a fighting chance. AAO-gankers will always exist because it is the most lucrative form of renown farming and while you may not be able to eliminate them without scrapping the AAO system (which is a good system in my opinion) you can eliminate the lucrative factor of killing a sub R40. Here’s a solution – ‘You have ganked a R35 magus in 400% AAO, you get 1 renown asswipe, and you R35 magus who was ganked by a RR93 witch hunter do not have a wounds debuff, carry on weary soul. Harsh days are ahead, but we won’t punish you for being weak.’
  • Step three: Lets face it, match-making doesn’t exist in RvR. People in Doomflayer and Warpforged will still come out and fight against guys in Devastator, Redeye, and Mayhem gear, and they will think they are the nicest smelling shit on the server because they killed 6 R32s and didn’t go below 90% health. I don’t know how many times I’ve said it, but I’ll say it again – T5 needs to exist. You can omit steps 1 and 2 simply if you institute a Tier 5. I thought a T5 should have existed before RR100, and now more than ever it NEEDS to exist. Not only do old players want new places to fight in, but new players don’t want to get steam-rolled by old players. By adding a new tier you not only add new places for old players to fight in and thus lure back old players who have left, BUT you also give the casual new players a chance to survive and enjoy the game in Tier 4 while they progress through the renown ranks until they have reached a state where they have a greater fighting chance against the high-end renown ranked players.

What this all converges on is one message – there needs to be a divide in T4, it is simply too big of a renown bracket for the low end to be competitive.

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