Jaradcel writes up another in-depth guest post on Rift news. Enjoy! –Ravious
This week marks a massive riot in the world of Rift. The proverbial straw came in the form of news of another new change to PvP, one that was implemented not two days after its announcement. With only a few hours of test realm testing before it was pushed live, many feel like the choice was rushed, sloppy, and a band-aid. Is it true?
After a weekend of playing around with the new changes, it’s my opinion that Trion is attempting to continue to fix and divide PvE from PvP – which is a good thing – but the speed at which they implemented the change left much to be desired. While forum angst is far from a good judge, the far-reaching changes couldn’t have come at a worse time, with interest in Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic rising rapidly.
First, a recap on PvP in Rift. I’ve previously spoken on how Trion has worked towards separating PvP from PvE. These initially came about in the form of tweaks to abilities – Use them in PvP and they do significantly less damage, or make players drop the flag, etc. This was great for balance reasons, allowing both PvE and PvP to progress without adversely affecting the other.
There was also the introduction of Valor, a stat that reduced damage taken specifically from enemy players. At the time, players were given a good incentive to rank up and grind out prestige levels, as higher-leveled gear also gave more Valor. This increased survivability worked as a solid carrot to chase.
Cracks began to show, however, when Trion also added two new prestige ranks to grind out. The new prestige level eight gear is hands down the best gear players could earn, on the level with Hammerknell, the newest and hardest raid. Keep in mind that getting the same level of gear from the Hammerknell raid would take players months to earn, as compared to a week or two of PvP. Adding insult to injury, the set-piece bonus of rank eight gear was arguably better than most of the set-piece bonuses that would be eventually earned from Hammerknell`s own armor set. This re-meshed PvP with PvE, exactly what Trion had worked hard to avoid. It didn’t end well, with both types of players raging against the other.
Trion then rushed a new, massive change to PvP to stymie the issue last week. First, all prestige ranks would now have equal Valor. The only difference was in the other stats found on your gear. This was hoped to even out survivability. Higher prestige rank gear would hit just as hard as it did before, but now all prestige ranks could potentially survive equally due to having similar Valor. This was done to mollify low-ranked players who complained that they were completely useless in warfronts.
Next, they added another new stat to PvP – Vengeance. It works as a sort of armor penetration against players. Much as more Valor meant better survivability, more Vengeance means more damage against players. Vengeance, however, is currently found only on a few items as well as worked into set-bonuses. Previously, for example, a four-piece bonus would be 150 added to attack power. It now adds something more like 60 to attack power, and another 60 to Vengeance. Yes, the math is correct. They nerfed all the set-bonuses alongside the change.
After some playtesting, it is true that there is little actual change. Damage has gone down a little due to the nerfs and Valor change, but PvP otherwise feels intact. The hard stats on the armor pieces also remained the same, which means rank eight gear is still some of the best-in-slot pre-Hammerknell. But hard math takes a back seat to what players perceive, and players are so far only seeing nerfs.
PvE players see the nerf to set-bonuses as a slap to their hard work, essentially taking away what they had worked hard for. While arguably this wasn’t intentional design to make players PvP to prepare for PvE, giving a toy and then taking it away isn’t ever considered by the person being taken from fun nor fair.
More than that however, are the issues currently still mired within PvP. Most of these become more obvious now with Valor being equal. Previously, players blamed differences in rank as a reason, but it`s clear that isn`t the case. While the devs have made a (very) vaguely worded statement to “look at” rogues many and varied issues with regards to PvP (And, one hopes, PvE as well) there is no word on any of the other issues currently centered in the PvP scene.
For example, warriors in PvP have been running a build that allows them to teleport to players and stun them. In and of itself not an issue, nor overpowered. However, the teleport works even when they are stunned, working as a free CC-breaker. To make it worse, the cooldown on it resets on a critical hit. And warriors crit a lot. In essence, kiting a warrior (the usual manner of avoiding the raging bull) is essentially impossible. That they also pack a pile of damage, and the ability to full heal themselves every 10 minutes, just adds fuel to the fire. Other issues include the continued inability to kill clerics despite a recent nerf to their PvP heals, mages having better survivability than rogues, and so forth.
It’s difficult to see Trion`s goals because of the speed of implementation and lack of clearer communications when they put the system in. Nonetheless, it is a change that was needed in order to help clarify how the state of the game as is, is rather broken. While 1.5 is on the horizon, there isn`t much time for Rift if it hopes to keep its subscribers against the rise of upcoming MMOs.