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.