Friday, January 30, 2009

Classes and Scenarios and Expansions, Oh My!

As one of the unfortunate souls who has a full time job (wait, maybe that's fortunate in this economy...) I've been counting down the hours till I could rush home and share my thoughts on all the new content announcements rolling out of Mythic today [er, yesterday now]. We've got lots to get through, so let's get started, shall we?

Going off of the Call To Arms list, it looks like Mythic decided to wrap a lot of the new stuff they've been hinting at into one set of content patches that they are calling a Live Expansion. Regis was wondering if the Live Expansion designation means that Mythic is going to eschew the traditional expansion pack release. My take on it is that these live expansions are going to be a different animal from the traditional expansion. Here we have a set of content patches that they are packaging together with the Live Expansion designation. I'll be expecting a lot more from a true expansion, like a new racial pairing, classes, and the like. Call to Arms seems to have a more narrow scope.

Now, down to business. First off, we've got the official announcement that Choppa and Slayer will be the last two classes added to the Armies of WAR. This is great news, and I must take my hat off to Mythic for the way that they engaged the blogs and online media. The gift hints were an especially nice touch, generating buzz and excitement leading up to the official announcement. As for me, I'm more excited that these classes are being added than about playing the class itself. I'm finding that I put a higher emphasis on durability than raw damage/healing output. I'll probably roll one up and give it a try, and I won't mind being pleasantly surprised. But for now I'm content to know that this is going to really energize some people

Of course, we can't talk about the new classes without talking about the new live event to qualify for early access. Similar to Heavy Metal, Mythic is giving us the chance to earn these new engines of war a week early by earning influence during the Bitter Rivals live event. I say, "Smart move, Mythic." Heavy Metal was straight-up excellent. The daily task list had a variety of things to do and a new scenario to do it in. Hopefully they will be able to build on that success, especially with the new Twisting Tower scenario. And while I know that some people felt that unlocking the task list half-way through was too easy, I think they should follow the same pattern they did in Heavy Metal and allow people to have a chance to finish the whole list even if they miss a day. Perhaps they can remove the XP rewards for the daily tasks after the day it was released, but leave the influence in place. It helps the casual players keep up.

I know that I'm jumping over the Night of Murder live event, but I plan on examining that separate of the Call to Arms content. Short reaction: "Oh, sweet!"

Next we've got two more live events. Beyond the Sands (April) and Rise of the Tomb Kings (May) will continue the once a month schedule live event schedule. We don't have a lot of information about what Beyond the Sands is going to involve, but Rise of the Tombs will kick off the race to control the new Land of the Dead dungeon (more on that later). This is great, as the constant unveiling of new content has been very satisfying for me to see. 

And the final announcement involved in Call to Arms is the new dungeon, Land of the Dead. We are told that this is the spiritual successor to Dark Age of Camelot's Darkness Falls dungeon. Since I'm not a DAoC alum, I'm not sure what this means except that everyone I've heard talk about it says it was awesome. Just looking at the mechanics that they've revealed so far, it sounds like it will be a ton of fun, as well as a great challenge to hang on to and control. I'm looking forward to trying it out, especially if it is able to pull off the wedding of high-quality, polished dungeon with RvR combat.

Personally, I feel like I'm watching a content throwdown. By the time that we get the Tomb Kings dungeon, Mythic will have put out 7 live events, 2 customized scenarios, 4 classes, a new major dungeon, and 2-3 class balance patches all in 8-9 months. Considering that I'm coming from a game where you had to buy the new campaign to get just 2 new classes, this is an awesome amount of content to have added in. It also firmly establishes the road map for the next 4 months. WAR is here, and it's here to stay, to grow, and to thrive.

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