1.7 Cycle Conclusion
Today we look back at the 1.7 patch cycle and how it fits into the progressive expansion mentality. The 1.7 patch cycle consisted of the first portion of what is deemed medium-scale content injections. The 1.7 patch cycle consisted of 5 Live Events, with four of these ushering in subsequent patches of new content, for a total of 9 patches.
The 1.7 patch cycle began with 1.7.0a, the Arms Race. This live event both introduced new content, laid the ground for subsequent new content to be revealed, and most importantly ushered in a storyline of a weapons-struggle between the two realms. Key to the Arms Race were two new scenarios taken from the familiar depths of Ekrund and Mount Gunbad, and a new survival-mode instance with different rewards for each stage survived, rewards which would unlock new content. In terms of storyline, the Arms Race laid the groundwork for a new struggle between the two realms to field new armies, but before any army can be fielded, materials need to be harvested to compile the arms and armaments. 1.7.0 was concluded with 1.7.0b ‘Forged in WAR’ which was a patch that launched the unlocks players could achieve by participating in the survival-mode instance ‘Halls of Ekrund’. These unlocks consisted of a pair of new tier 1 dungeons, a new trade which incorporated all existing trades, and new forms of siege weaponry to revolutionize Open RvR.
1.7.1 consisted of the Soldiers of WAR live event. This live event continued the story from the Arms Race, and while this live event took place entirely in old scenery, it included a new scenario within the bounds of Saphery – the Maze of Saphery. Most importantly the Soldiers of WAR live event introduced players to the concept of a new archetype, the ‘Heavy DPS’ which was meant to fill in a role of a melee anti-tank class. Thus far the 1.7 patch cycle had utilized primarily old content cast in a new light, with the exception of the new aerial siege weaponry.
1.7.2 began the three part process of introducing the three pairs of HDPS. With 1.7.2a we were faced with the Dusk of Ulthuan and the Dark Elf plot to take advantage of the situation which arose from the Soldiers of WAR live event. Players were thrown into a pairing-wide quest line that took them from the shores of the Blighted Isle to the gates of the enemy fortresses as they sought to play a role in coming struggle. Also introduced in this patch was the new scenario ‘Shrine of Asuryan’, and players got to revisit an old scenario with a specific spotlight – Tor Anroc. 1.7.2b conclude the High Elf v. Dark Elf saga by launching the Battle for the Phoenix Flame as the silent Phoenix Guard were called to battle the deadly Executioners of Har Ganeth on the shores of Ulthuan.
1.7.3 took the struggle to the mountains of the Old World as players descended into the Night of the Crooked Moon. This live event followed the foot-steps of the High Elf v. Dark Elf model with its quest line as players sought to gather more supplies to face the coming struggle as the night goblins were mobilized to join the Bloody Sun Boyz. As the dwarves mobilize to counter this threat they launch preemptive strikes which take them to the new scenario locations ‘Halls of Silverspear’ and ‘Crooked Moon Pass’. 1.7.3b finishes the Dwarf v. Greenskin struggle as players begin the War for Karak Ankor and welcome to their ranks the powerful Hammerers and the Night Goblin Fanatics.
1.7.4 addresses the last of the pairs as players embark on the final journey with the Dawn of Destruction. Here players first confront each other at Salzenmund in Nordland, in Troll Country, and in Ostland as both quest-lines parallel each other to promote conflict. With this storyline players attempt to track or hide the Raven Hosts movements in the mountains along the Empire’s eastern frontier. Also in this struggle players are taken to two new scenarios: ‘The Streets of the Damned’ and ‘The Beacons of the Frontier’. The struggle culminates in 1.7.4b with the Sea of Swords which reveals the Raven Host’s plan of attack and draws forth the mighty Greatswords of Carroburg to confront the newest threat from the Lord of Change – the Harbingers of Tzeentch.
The 1.7 patch cycle focuses almost exclusively on creating a storyline and weaving it together, a storyline which ushers in 6 new classes consisting of some long-time favorites in the world of Warhammer, and perhaps a new face. Some of the earlier scenarios and PvE locations are carved directly from old unused PvE content. The five new scenarios associated with the HDPS storylines are new material, however they are on a smaller scale. Arguably the greatest introduction in this patch cycle consists of the HDPS classes themselves. Because these 5 scenarios and 6 new classes are tacked onto existing armies, and are smaller-scale development, they are considered ‘medium-scale’ content change. However, the saga of improving Warhammer Online does not end here. The Age of Reckoning continues with future patch-cycles!