All about the Altdorf

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.

5 thoughts on “All about the Altdorf

  1. All in all I agree with your message and your tone. But let me get this out of the way first:

    “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?”

    To be fair, there is a line in the chat box, for me on the ‘default’ tab. That’s how I found out stuff was going down last night. But it’s easy to just skim over it, since it looks the same as the “some local Keep’s lord is under attack” messages, except you get it any and everywhere (I guess, I was in a T2 warcamp when it scrolled by for me).

    So I saw something like “Rockport is under attack, Defend your city!” and I was like “Where the heck is Rockport?” (And it isn’t Rockport but I forget the dwarven approach’s name, which is another part of the problem…these zone names don’t yet ‘ring a bell’ for most of us yet.) I spent a long time trying to figure out how to get there, and never did, but happily Destruction brought the battle to me. 🙂 Reikswald is a lot easier to get to… just exit Altdorf and you’re there.

    I do think if I’d been a higher Tier I’d have a flight path unlocked in the appropriate area so finding the battle wouldn’t have been such a chore.

    But yeah, the city coming under attack is a Big Deal and they need it to be a Big Deal in the UI somehow… even if it’s just a bug somewhere on the screen that’s pulsing while a keep is under attack. Something that will definitely catch your eye but not be too intrusive while you play.

    Do toggle on the HUD for this, though. It’s on the Map, bottom right corner, a little check box gives you a ‘map’ of the conflict that is on screen at all times. It helps a bit. But we need more, absolutely agree there.

    I love the idea of NPCs running around in the city freaking out. That would be totally cool.

    Also fervently agree that all this info needs to be in the Tome somewhere, and put in front of you to read well before you need it and are frantically trying to figure out what to do.

  2. Aye, I have the map toggle on. Which brings on another minor niggle — it doesn’t STAY on past logout, meaning I have to bring it up and resize and reposition it every time… or live with the default.

    As someone else said (Syp?), it’s not pouring hate on WAR, because I like WAR. But, *because* I’m getting invested in it, some of the minor things will catch my eye, because if they remain unchanged for 3+ years (*cough* SWG *cough*) then they will be far more than minor. If that makes sense.

  3. I agree with you. I saw the notice come up shortly after logging in “(Some place you’ve never heard of) is under attack!” The only thing I could tell for sure was that it wasn’t near where I was standing (the human starter area). I suspect part of the issue is players getting familiar with the areas and mechanics involved in a siege. Mythic could tweak some of the other stuff to make it easier to find or identify the areas under attack.

    Even then, my “main” on the server is 12, so other than making myself a speed bump, there wasn’t much I could do.

  4. Agreed the the notification of a city assault is abysmal in relevance to the importance and consequence. That HUD should have been turned on by default. Even going a step further I like your idea about the NPCs in the city but that will only be visible to people actually in the city. But the fact that I was in the city and it looked like normal needs to be fixed. Many players relate that they didn’t realize what was going on both times now and felt disconnected from the event.

  5. P.S. But I’m still disappointed in so-called PVP people wanting to turn sieges into PVE events by doing it when they’re likely to encounter the least amount of actual players to err…PVP against.. Uhm yeah, still not digging that concept but oh well.

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