Ouroboros is the tail-eating snake of legend; which when used as a symbol it usually represents cyclicality.  It should be the symbol for Open RvR in Warhammer Online, especially in regards to Keeps.  In Warhammer Online, I think the developers really wanted the two snakes (Order and Destruction) to fight head on, but I think the players looked at the eternal snake and decided that “the tail tastes better.”

The tail in this case is an undefended Keep in another racial pairing.  There are six Keeps in Tier 2 and 3, two in each racial pairing (I have not yet been to T4 to experience Open RvR, and so refrain from commenting as of yet).  I have yet to see more than two massive zergs, one Order and one Destruction, in a Tier doing open RvR.  So two snakes have their pick of Keeps to devour.  A warband could wait around and defend a Keep when they think an enemy group is coming, but humans (especially MMO players) want to go the path of least resistance.  In this case, that would be an undefended Keep in a sleepy RvR lake.

The other night a two-warband Destruction group decided to sack Keeps in T3.  There were very few defenders at any of them.  An Order group formed up to attack a Keep we had just finished sacking, moving on to greater glory thereafter.  We went back, successfully defended the Keep, and then a small bit of drama formed.  People didn’t want to stay and defend the Keep anymore.  “Why defend, let Order have it, and we can just take it back.  Rewards (renown and loot bags) seem better that way.”  We sacked four Keeps that night before I crashed.  At the very end, we came upon the Order group that was in the process of sacking one of Destruction’s undefended Keeps in another racial pairing with 1-2 warbands.  We didn’t seek them out.  It was more that our snake ate the tail of the other snake faster.

Tobold recently discussed “moving the cheese” in MMOs to get players to move around.  I honestly believe that for T2 and T3 Keeps (can’t comment on how T4 runs yet) the cheese needs to be moved so that eating the other snake’s head is worth more than just eating it’s tail all night.

11 thoughts on “WAR-oboros”

  1. Agreed. Hopefully the announced-but-not-detailed rewards for keep defense will be worthwhile enough to keep people around.

  2. So basically, the players are playing it wrong?

    Since clearly people (in both WoW and WAR) would rather avoid conflict with other players if they can get the loot without doing so, why try forcing players to play in a way they clearly don’t generally wish to play?

  3. On a related note, I wonder how a guild “claiming a keep” affects the rewards.

    In this case, while I sort of agree with the main article, defenders can’t get too much of a boost or things can get way out of balance in keep taking. As it is, it’s fairly easy to defend a keep with smaller numbers. Kill the main tank while he’s tanking a keep lord and/or the healers that are keeping him up and watch the hilarity ensue. Pretty everybody except tanks get three shot by keep lords. A coordinated group of 6 can fairly easily block a keep attempt of a full warband.

    If the defender rewards are such that defenders are going to be encouraged defend keeps in equal or nearly equal numbers, keep taking is never going to happen until even more people give up on the open rvr completely and just grind scenarios.

  4. I didn’t say anybody was doing it wrong, just that I think that Mythic envisioned a different style of play than what has come out. I just read Mark Jacob’s state of the game letter, and I do hope and believe that more carrots will be added for open RvR.

  5. The rewards for defending are low, although you do get free siege weapons to help you earn those rewards. The rewards for attacking are moderate, although you are either fighting entirely NPCs or fighting a difficult battle against PCs supported by large NPCs.

    I still want to hit the enemy tank with a -100% healing debuff while he has the keep lord. Then again, if I am playing Order, Destruction has another 7 tanks in that warband to pick up the slack.

  6. They aren’t playing the way they “wish’ to play, they are playing according to the incentives laid out by Mythic. If you change the incentives, players will decide to play differently.

    It’s not so much as adding new incentives, as much as changing the ones that already exist that are affecting player behavior. Every game has incentives built in that will cause players to behave a certian way, there is no escaping that. Just like everything a government does, or a business does, or our spouses do, affects our behavior. Evertying affects us and provides incentives and disincentives.

    This is the very basis of phrases like “unintended consequences” or “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” – when we accidentally provide incentives to do something contrary to what we hope people will do.

    So to make a better game, or economy, or business environment, you just need to try to intelligently take advantage of that fact, and remove the disincentives towards your goals or provide incentives.

    It’s about making people happy with a better game. Taking pve keeps makes WAR a lousy version of PvE WoW.

  7. Well, I don’t think that Mythic 100% knew where to move the cheese and carrots, but I agree that taking PvE Keeps is pretty lousy. Some fights work very well where the mob mentality of both sides is to pitch in for a 2 hour battle. But, I think this is when PUGs are fighting on both sides. Smarter groups that are led… I think go where the better rewards are.

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  9. I don’t think this will be as much of a problem once people understand how zone control works. If you’re trying to take the zone and get access to your enemy’s zone, the War-oborous is not good strategy. It’s a short-term tactic to increase your stats, but eventually people are going to start to want that ultimate prize… city sieges.

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