Blogstorm and forumstorms galore. Whether it got sacked on Averheim or not (and I don’t recall seeing Our Beloved Emperor’s head on a pole), the attempt was made and by all accounts it was a very well-organised attempt. Good for them.
I have no issues with dead-of-night raids — that’s only good common sense, catching the enemy when they’re asleep. I have no issues with Altdorf falling — Destruction outnumber Order on 9 out of 10 servers if not more, and they seem hungrier, in the main, for the whole “I am leet I did some phat emperor killing, yo” side of the game. Again, good for them.
What does bother me a little was how disconnected I felt from it all when I did encounter it. I logged in on Sunday morning and my character was, in fact, in Altdorf, which I’d forgotten because I got kicked to desktop the previous evening while flying there and just decided to call it a night. And if someone on guild chat hadn’t told me the city was under attack, I’m not sure I would even have noticed.
At the very least, I would have hoped for NPCs running around shrieking about the end of the world, cats and dogs howling, the odd building on fire — you know, stuff that might indicate that your great capital is under assault? What there is, apparently, is the occasional flash of red message on-screen — which, if you have to go to the bathroom or get more coffee or happen to be looking away for 2 seconds, you won’t even see. Why does this stuff not appear in the chat window? I have to read all about every last coin I loot and how much is going to my guild, but there’s not even a line regarding RvR events? That’s weaksauce. Now, if it’s there but in the combat tab (why? why use the combat tab for ANYTHING other than stuff that happens when you’re actually, you know, IN combat?), I guess I can move it around. But again, it points to Mythic’s weird idea of what players know and don’t know and what players see and don’t see. We’re not telepathic, guys — help us get along with the UI, mkay?
It’s very likely that in a few months I’ll be familiar enough with the campaign to know all the keep names and it’ll be a lot easier to keep up with what’s going on in the tiers. Right now, however, the whole city siege thing remains a bit of a mystery. I’ve read the explanations, so intellectually I understand the process — but I still don’t feel connected to it. Being told that under R32 there isn’t much anyone can do to help anyway is exclusionary and disheartening, though as it turns out it may also not be entirely true.
In any case it brings up a niggle I’ve had with WAR ever since beta. Some things are s p e l l e d o u t for you very carefully — usually things you’d figure out on your own anyway — and others are shrouded in mystery. Not because they’re mysterious, I don’t think, but (I’m speculating) because the designers and whoever know it all down to their fingertips and make the mistake all IT people end up making: they assume the user knows as much as they do. I’m not talking about hand-holding, I’m talking about taking the time to figure out what is and isn’t “easy” to figure out, and maybe putting in some pointers. In the game. Not on some website outside the game, especially in a game that really doesn’t much like to be minimised or tabbed out of.
Here’s what I’d like to see. In the Tome of Knowledge, there should be a section on Capital City sieges. I don’t care how they present it — story, orders from High Command, divine revelation — but it should be there. I should be able to read about it, well before I hit R40 — say, when I first go to Altdorf or the IC? — and while reading about it, I should learn a) what actually needs to happen for a city siege and b) what I can do about it, if anything. For whatever idiosyncratic reason it bothers me immensely that I have to check forums and stuff out of game to find out something that is so central to the game itself.