Mar 7, 2009

My first tastes of the RvR "endgame"

Phoenix Throne saw it's first ever contested city last night and if you'd told me back in November that it would the Inevitable City that fell first I'd have called you nuts. 

We all know I'm not much of an RvRer but that I am an insane RPer. Given that, I can not think of anything more out of character and immersion breaking than not being smack dab in the middle of the front lines when things looked as dire as they did a few days ago. It started off with Fell Landing, something that always gets my dark elf behind in gear to defend (though I rarely make it before the population caps, thank you five minutes load screens of doom). So when I heard the call and I happened to be in Caledor I booked it. Fell Landing ... fell. First time Order had ever taken a fortress and I could tell just based on the numbers they were fielding and the way they were playing that chances were very good that things were going to be ugly.

We held Black Crag by the skin of our teeth for an hour or two. I will admit here also that we held it stupidly. Menkara refered to most of the defending force as "un trained rabble". There were attempts by several members of my alliance, Black Blood Pact, to organize but it was like herding cats. Again based on the numbers fielded and the way we were playing I knew things weren't likely to go well. Black Crag fell and Butcher's Pass soon after.

This it where the failure started. Incomming Pull has a run down of what happened at the city that's probably better written and less wordy than mine so feel free to skip my rambling and scamper over there. I would not blame you.

For six months now the population of Phoenix Throne has been working toward cities. From the early days of multiple weekly Destro pushes for fortresses met with zone crash after zone crash to the population shift after the Avelorn transfers leading to daily fort defenses for Destro the point has always been to see this legendary, mysterious end game.

Well I saw it. At least part of it and here is the secret ...

It's a PQ and most of it is PvE.

I know right? Blasphemy you say! I remember reading about the dynamics of city capture, of burning buildings and rampant looting of houses and thinking how freaking awesome it sounded. I had visions of pure chaos in the streets of the cities, masses of people and the feel of a city under seige. What I got was a slight change in the look of the city (The runic glowies on the walls turned from blue to red), NPCs disappeared and freaking barrels were burning as if the chaos touched hobbos of the Inevitable City had stepped out to pee and left them there. There was one central PQ taking up the Apex, Temple and Monolith, the front half of the city. Objectives including holding two flags, killing the oposite side and either making those hobo fires or putting them out depending on the side. My warband was very on and we managed to win the PQ three times but the mobs and the difficulty of the lord that needed to be killed in stage two meant that we never actually got past that stage. (Lord required Dark Promise level wards to tank, more than two at least and there was no reason for all of the invading force not to be piled on top of the lord. Said lord was also tethered and could not be fought anywhere but within a small radius.)

Here's where the bugs started. Members of my warband qued up for the scenerio tied to the city and entered when it popped. Scenerios were unablanced (24 vs 4 for example) but didn't close properly and once they finally did gave victory points to the invaders for their win. When the players exited the scenerio instead of rejoining us all in our instance of the city they ended up outside. Trying to reenter told them that all instances were full and they should join the que, which they did. With the scenerio mess up, the usual DCs and CTDs that happen in mass RvR toward the end of the two hours my warband had twindled to about one and half or two groups actually in the city. And yet dozens were standing around outside the city being told the instances were full and to wait. Why? Because apparently there's a bug that incorrectly tells you that if you happen to be grouped. Had they dropped party and tried to join solo they could have chosen their instance and hopped right back in. 

Order took the city in the end and out of the both sides two pieces of gear dropped, both on Order side and both from the PvE only PQs that they aparently have on their side that don't show up on our map. One piece also happened to go to a base rank 32. We're talking RR 50+ gear here. And after the city was locked? Order continued to PvE inside the city for several ours while we sat and twiddled our thumbs.

All in all, it was extrememly lack luster, not terribly fun and buggy. I was left feeling a bit like, if this is the end game ...what have we been working toward all these months? The daily RvR battle is a while lot more fun than the cities.  The ORvR lake PQs for the Bitter Rivals event are more fun than the one in the city. 

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