Mourkain Your Face

Mourkain Temple is a Tier 2 Scenario (12v12) in Warhammer Online using the murderball mechanic – where one item is held for points but increasingly damages the player holding the item.  Mourkain seems to get a bit of flak, but I really like the fast pace of the map (especially compared to the other slower paced Tier 2 Scenarios) and the focused game mechanic. The map and game mechanic is most interesting in that it truly allows a better team to rub it in the loser’s face. I’ll explain.

A basic match goes like this: (a) players rush the murderball, (b) one team gets the ball and goes defensive, while the other team tries to kill the ball holder and his support on the offensive, (c) the ball gets dropped and someone else picks it up.  Points are made for picking up the ball, holding the ball, killing the player with the ball, and killing other players.  It’s a pretty simple concept.  In most games, the team with the murderball will fall back so as to get closer to their resurrection point. This has quite a few benefits because your healers don’t have to worry about rez’ing as much when you are standing next to your rez point, your newly rez’d players can jump right back in the fray, enemy players that rez at their point have to run for ~30 seconds to get back in the fray, and your ranged players can stand on top of a ridge gaining immunity from melee enemies. Seems like a good plan to fall back.

Going back to the psychological gamesmanship, it is quite a defeat when one team can “hedgehog” so as to impenetrably defend the murderball the entire match. I saw this tactic when I started playing Mourkain’s. Now, I am seeing a different “tactic” where a heavy tank (Black Orc or Ironbreaker) will pick up the murderball and push forward.  When I first saw this (and I am a Zealot healer, so it was all the worse) I could not believe the stupidity of the Black Orc I was following. “We have the ball, fall back, and make them come to us!” However, I kept dutifully healing, and my teammates did their jobs effectively. We then handedly defeated Order with the ball in our control on their turf.

It is an interesting strategy because it shakes up the “set” tactics an armchair general might bring to the table. The team without the ball should be on the offensive, but if they are getting pushed back things get muddled. Then the DPS are unsure of who to target, and get cut under in the confusion. Healers have to spread their healing around more.  And of greatest effect of all, in my humble opinion, is the psychological one where the losing team is told “you are getting beaten so bad, we won’t even let you go on the offensive like you should.” I cannot think of another MMO PvP map/mechanic where a similar effect could take place – where you can rub their noses in their loss through gamesmanship and skill.  That, or players could just be bored with hedgehogging and turtling tactics.
–Ravious

15 thoughts on “Mourkain Your Face”

  1. I think also you get more points faster if you fight closer to the ball. I noticed this during a bunch of mourkains in a row when in one another player ran forward and we all followed. We not only won fast, but I got about double the renown than other runs when our ballholder was way in the back safe as we tried to keep them away from him.

    Not only renown but I think you get points for the scenario faster by killing. And the more aggressive and offensive you are the more killing you do usually.

    Though I do not notice Destro getting the ball more often as some think, I see Order get the ball first plenty of times. Use autorun, cut corners, run in straight lines not moving around. etc.

  2. There’s a bit of this in Arathi Basin, the WOW battleground.

    If one team is in the lead and controls three of the five nodes, the conventional strategy is to focus on defense and hold out till the inevitable win. In the most fun matches, the leading team keeps pressing for the remaining nodes, for essentially psychological reasons. There’s nothing like being guaranteed a victory with three nodes, but getting all five anyways.

    Even if I have no chance at capturing a node, I’ll throw myself at it in a suicide run. I’ll die, but it takes a couple enemies to take me down and keeps them off balance. This works well in most battlegrounds – I may be just a speed bump, but an unexpected speed bump is sometimes all it takes to grab the advantage.

  3. The mounts have had their speed reduced in scenarios, and now a white lion or a marauder with their charge skill can outrun a mounted person easily. Charge is a lv10 ability for both classes. The match can be won quite handily by one team just having superior healing and DPS. I’ve won matches where destro held the ball the whole match and we still beat them 500 to 170. There are many more ways to play Mourkain Temple than the standard ‘grab the ball and run’.

    Also, the damage from holding the ball has been buffed, it now does about 2k a tick after holding it for about 150 points.

  4. I am fond of pressing and winning after they take the ball. The guy with the ball runs back, but a few stay to fight or otherwise get strung out. Our 12 hit their 6ish, then go after the rest as the original victims trickle in a couple at a time. Who needs the ball?

    I still have the epic memory of picking up the ball and dying without taking a single enemy attack. The team’s healers just stood there and watched me die.

  5. Mourkain Temple grew on me, it’s not as simple as it first seemed and players sometimes come up with some pretty clever strategies.

    Now add lava, take away most of the places to play line-of-sight games and you get Tor Anroc in Tier 3. =)

    You really don’t want to push right up to their base in Tor Anroc, it gives them the ability to zerg.

  6. I don’t know whether it’s just the calibre of players on my server, but as Order, we lost 90% of Mourkains. In fact, we lost about 80% of scenarios in general. /sigh

    But in Mourk, Destro always seems to get to the ball first. Don’t know how. I’m always first off the line and sprinting and I always get to the temple in time to see a BO trotting away with the ball.

    And then – get this – Order ignore the ball! They play to the Destro zerg and I’m often left as the only one suicidally running behind the lines to hit the ball carrier.

    In fact, the appalling form of Order in scenarios on my server has turned me off the game of late. I don’t really enjoy questing. PQs are fun, but often hard to find a big group. RvR is cool, but hit and miss. Scenarios are guaranteed action (and xp), but losing 80% of the time makes me cry myself to sleep.

  7. That’s funny because on Averheim, I have seen Order win most Scenarios but Destro owns the Keeps. I am looking forward to Tor Amroc… almost to T3.

  8. I am enjoying the new direction in MT as well. For the record I play on Averheim too.

    In defence of my less than favorable review of Mourkain (that you linked to, thanks for the pingback!) I did that review at the time where 100% of the matches were grab ball, pull back to spawn, turtle. Admitedly that was from pre-order time for the most part, and I think it was a bad habit testers got into.

    I definitely see the new MT with active middle fighting as a ton more fun – more importantly it is refreshing to see players change the tactics to make the scenario more fun, instead of devs having to intervene!

  9. I think part of the reason Order seems ot lose a lot on a majority of the servers is a level disparity. I know in almost every single Scenario we do on Drifting Castle that we Order hardly ever seem to have a level 20 (in fact most of us are around level 14) so we get steamrolled by the Destro side which is made up of mostly 18+. Getting buffed up in level doesn’t make up for the fact your gear is worse than what you ar eifghting. Ever see a level 12 Witch Hunter try to take down a level 21 Black Orc…it’s funny

  10. I’ve seen the same effect in the various incarnations of Unreal Tournament. For example, the Assault game mode has one team defending and one attacking. And sometimes the best defense is indeed going on the offensive. If your enemies can’t even respawn in peace, they sure won’t capture whatever objective you were supposed to be guarding.

    Also, one of the standard tactics of breaking a stalemate in Capture the Flag game modes in various games is for the flag carrier to go on the offensive. He seizes the initiative and keeps the opposing team out of balance. Having many enemies scrambling to intercept him allows your scouts to sneak past the enemy lines and ambush their flag carrier.

  11. Good to know about the points system. I like it when devs do things to try and make it an offensive game (much like what ANet did to GvG in Guild Wars). Makes the game a lot more fun.

  12. The best way to rub it in their face, is to win 500 – 0 while going on the offensive with the murderball. Had a few of those games last night. Has to be so demoralizing to not only get crushed and pushed back to your respawn point, but to literally get 0 exp and 0 renown.

  13. The hedgehog tactic with the murderball was always pretty stupid because it defeats the main purpose of having the murderball – earning extra points for kills. If you focus on keeping the ball holding safe near the rez point, he’s not really getting any kills. Meanwhile, the bulk of the enemy can tear apart the remaining defenders who inevitable stray too far from the ball holder. I’ve won many MT matches where the other side had the murderball for the whole game. It doesn’t matter if you have it if you don’t use it.

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