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Thread: Ancient Wardstone System: A Blunt Review

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    Sword of Telara Furienify's Avatar
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    Unhappy Ancient Wardstone System: A Blunt Review

    I don't expect anyone but a really patient developer to read through all this; but feedback is welcome, I guess.

    Short story: Three of five stars, not as polished as the rest of the game, many mechanics are unwieldy and even self-hindering. If you consider how friendly the Public Group system is to Rifts, Invasions, etc. - this system is nowhere near as polished and will never be accomplished by a casual group of people in its current state. It requires a dedicated, organized team and either impeccable accuracy or several hours of invested time to pull off. It is, simply put, not worth the hassle unless it gets some serious tweaking. Loads of frustrating effort for minimal reward. It has the potential to be good, but it hasn't reached it.

    Long story: We recently finished the Ancient Wardstone quests on my server and got the server first downing of Calydon, the boss in Scarwood Reach. It became apparent as we spent several hours orchestrating this that this feature was not as polished as the rest of the game. A lot of it was counterintuitive and the implementation was, in general, flawed; it was fun in that it gave us world PvP and a sense of achievement for creating and enacting a strategy to do the whole thing, it was agonizing in that the wardstone mechanics are either buggy or flawed. Calydon, the boss fight, also bugged on us too; his claim/tap was reset in the middle of the fight after one of his random teleports, and another group got the credit for the kill, rather than the people that actually, you know, spent four hours fighting Guardians to bring him out. Only one person got the achievement, too, unlike other invasion bosses. The list goes on. Like the list below.

    A list of flawed mechanics and suggestions to improve them

    1. Planar Charges are required but extremely cumbersome. You can only hold 3 charges at once; these can only be regenerated by doing rifts. In a conflict where you have to watch all ten wardstones at one time, with a very limited amount of people (face it - this is a feature almost nobody knows or gives a damn about) you either have to get it right the first time or spend countless hours on it, as you're forced to close rifts to regain charges while simultaneously maintaining control and surveillance of all your wardstones. Alternate means of charge-gaining would go a long way; defeating invasions, footholds, or doing Wardstone quests themselves.

    2. Wardstones suck at defending themselves. A lot. With this, it should also be noted that upgrading Wardstones is pointless. Turret defenses, while strong, won't stop a quick person from killing the stone and undoing all your work. This problem is compounded by how inefficient it is to restore Planar Charge and how difficult it is to get anyone interested in this massive endeavour to begin with. To illustrate how badly Wardstones defend themselves, if you attack the wardstone from a distance while remaining out of its guards' aggro range, the guards will not defend it. They can just be sniped at a distance with no problem and no NPC defense.

    3. As an extension of the above: with the current condition of Wardstone defenses, planar invasions down them without trouble. And Rifts will spawn these things all. the. time., directed at the wardstones you control. You have to control ten of these bastards while fighting the enemy just to unlock a boss that drops purple sourcestone. It's no wonder hardly anyone wants to do it to begin with.

    4. Turret defenses fire through walls, even when you move out of their defense radius, and continue firing on enemies even when the wardstone itself is dead. Extremely obnoxious and extremely buggy, makes capping certain wardstones such as the one atop the Auld Warden very frustrating.

    5. A bugged map system makes strategizing nearly impossible. In the situation where we did this, markers that indicated allies would just move in one direction until they moved off the map entirely. It was impossible to tell who was where, going where and guarding what unless you asked them.

    6. Allied or Neutral wardstones aren't shown on the map. This is, by far, the biggest dealbreaker for me. To compound the problem, enemy Ancient Wardstones are displayed as '[faction] Foothold', making them indistinguishable from towns or regularly-spawned invasion footholds. I can't even begin to express how counterintuitive this is. We can see the enemy (maybe) but we can't tell where neutral or allied places are unless we have someone watching each of them at all times? What is this?

    7. No alerts for wardstones under attack by PCs or NPCs. In addition, the invasion alerts for NPC invasions on ancient wardstones come far too late. Unless you have someone doing 24/7 surveillance, again, you can't traverse the entire map (dodging faction towns, npcs, aggro ranges etc) and get there in time to save it from its own pitiful defences.

    8. The reset timer for Wardstones screws up over-time efforts. The reset timer ought to be either lengthened or removed; as it stands, if a wardstone resets and your guard doesn't have any charges on them, you've just tacked another 15 minutes onto the amount of time you'll be spending doing this whole mess.

    9. Wardstone quests randomly hinder everyone involved from completing the end objective of summoning the raid boss. On the Defiant side I can name a few examples: the Infested Range spiderlings, the Summoned Planars in Scarlet Gorge, and the rampaging boars in Granitewood Haunt. All of the summoned, aggressive NPCs are surrounding the territory near the wardstone in question; making travel, defense and offense all the more hindered due to the game's bad Exposed mechanic, short respawn times and expansive aggro radii. These npcs really need to be changed to be Neutral to make this system less of a headache.

    10. No respawn spots in enemy territory makes capturing wardstones beyond your borders even more difficult. A good example of this is in the north part of Scarlet Gorge; there are at least two Wardstones there, extremely close to Guardian towns, but in order for a Defiant to get back they have to run through Rock Ridge, Golden Maw-infested roads and Goblin forest groves. And then to make an example of the above; they have to trip over several Summoned Planar quest NPCs just to reach their own wardstone. If they die? They have to run through all. that. again.

    11. When the raid boss is summoned, neither side knows its location. There's no boss marker on the map. This is good and bad, but it's arbitrarily hindering to the almost-victorious side.

    12. Only one person gets the achievement for downing the boss, rather than everyone that participated in the fight. All that hours of work just for one person to get it? Did anyone actually test this before release? It contrasts so jarringly with the rest of the raid boss achievements I'm inclined to think otherwise.

    13. The group that worked on the wardstones doesn't get any credit for the boss fight or overall endeavour. There's no reward for working all night to lock down all ten stones at once. Some members, if they're either slow or unlucky (ganked by terrible Exposed mechanic on the wayback), won't even get credit at all if they can't make it back into their own territory for the boss in time.

    14. The rewards are mediocre. Purple shard, planarite and chance for blues. Not proportional with the work involved.

    15. Wardstones are at the arse-end of nowhere and extremely out of the way. Hello, 'East of Shatterbone Canyon'. Really?

    16. Calydon boss fight is bugged. He has a chance to untap during his teleports. Speaking of teleports; don't your local Riftstalkers have something to tell you about teleports and dropping through the world? How's that working for them? How do you think people that have spent 4 hours doing this would feel when their prize pig dropped through the map? Oops.

    That's all I've got. Biggest problems are the allied/neutral map icons, alerts, buggy map, turrets and self-hindering Wardstone quest spawns. Hopefully this thread doesn't die so fast that no developer sees it.
    Last edited by Furienify; 03-08-2011 at 01:51 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Player0ne View Post
    This thread screams, " I'm glad healing is getting nerfed..now please dont quit healing us."

  2. #2
    Soulwalker Asheron's Avatar
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    I feel the need to bump this because it sums up how I feel about the current system perfectly. Outside of a well coordinated guild group no one is ever going to see the 'epic' invasions in contested zones thanks to this system.

  3. #3
    Plane Touched
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    This looks like a well thought out / presented thread. I have experienced a couple of these myself, in particular destroying a guarded wardstone from a distance (guards were there but did not aggro).. and the teleport/fear under the world bug.

    (I remember in EQ you could fall under the world and get hit for 20,000 damage ... which i think they fixed eventually.,)

  4. #4
    Champion of Telara
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    but why in pvp forum?
    This must be Gersh.
    Stop trolling.
    Die. Just die.

  5. #5
    Rift Disciple
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    Quote Originally Posted by pechkin View Post
    but why in pvp forum?
    Because it's effectively a PvPvE system - an opposing player attacking your Ancient Wardstone is immediately flagged, and some of the Ancient Wardstone quests require you to kill opposing faction players (which many times means you have to come up with creative ways of getting people flagged if you're on a PvE server), or allow the opposing faction to interfere at the cost of becoming flagged.

    Furienify, thanks for this. I was really interested in the system when they announced it in beta, but never got a chance to get enough people to mess with it... Now it sounds like I shouldn't even waste my time (not saying this in a disparaging way).

    Hopefully Trion will come around and fine tune it, as it really only got added towards the end of beta (as I saw it) and clearly didn't get the needed testing time devoted to it.
    Last edited by Arvelen; 03-23-2011 at 01:10 AM.

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    Soulwalker Asheron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pechkin View Post
    but why in pvp forum?
    Yeah I agree, even though its a pvp topic it probably should have been posted in general.
    Last edited by Asheron; 03-23-2011 at 05:46 AM.

  7. #7
    Rift Disciple ShadowRam's Avatar
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    Good write up.

    Its terrible that you and your group had to alpha test this. Here's a system that could bring some good to the open world pvp everyone wants, and its broken/impossible.

    Heck, there isn't even any information on what/how its suppose to work.

  8. #8
    Ascendant
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    How does the Ancient Wardstone quest work? I've heard mention of it on and off but not familiar with the steps that need to be taken from beginning to end.

  9. #9
    Soulwalker Asheron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vydor View Post
    How does the Ancient Wardstone quest work? I've heard mention of it on and off but not familiar with the steps that need to be taken from beginning to end.
    What do you mean? When you capture an ancient wardstone it offers a daily. If your side controls all the stones in the zone it will summon an encounter that drops purple tokens (the kind with voice overs).

  10. #10
    Telaran
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    Well thought out thread! Something that should be looked into as I feel open world bosses are the best way an MMO can go... Instanced stuff just feels like I am playing a single player game in co-op mode with some friends...

    *sneak bump*

  11. #11
    Telaran
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    I dont know about the scarwood one as i havent even attempted it yet but after a recent server reset i went to scarlet gorge and actually quite easilly activated every ancient wardstone for guardians and summoned Uthura. There was also a death invasion that started while i was doing it so between that and the recent server reset there werent many people around and those that were around were mostly busy with the death invasion. All these factors made it quite easy to summon Uthura but i can easilly see how under normal circumstances it could be quite difficult without a large grp of players coordinating to activate and defend each one and thus your assesment altogether seems pretty valid to me.

    Only discrepancy i saw in regards to your notes was that when we downed her all of us who took part did get the achievement. Not only that but we all got epic sourcestones and a LOT of us got lvl30 boe epics. I'd assume if only one of you got credit for scarwood its bugged and hopefully fixed soon.

    Altogether i had fun doing it but like I said, between the reset and death invasion, it was quite easy for me to activate em all alone. With the addition of ancient wardstones and another boss coming to Droughtlands in 1.1 I do hope they review their current system and make some imporvements. Zone alerts to when a wardstone is under attack (by players AND NPCs) alone would help but defensively maybe something like the current footholds would help. A few defending npc's at the wardstone, one of which is either elite or just more buff that you have to defeat to lower the shield around the stone and thus making it attackable, rather than being able to just run up and incinerate it in 3sec.

  12. #12
    Plane Walker Rockgod99's Avatar
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    I completely forgot about this mechanic.

    Honestly I think Trion needs to review the mechanic. Make it the focus of the zone and show the damn stones and who has control over them on the map.

    The patch notes say one in droughtlands is being released hopefully it won't be as bad.

  13. #13
    Ascendant
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    Maybe also post it in General or another area too.

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    Telaran Drakone's Avatar
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    The guild I am in has successfully done both zones of these several times and generally only takes about 20 or so minutes to achieve. It is more about organization then anything.


    1. Planar Charges - this really is not that big of deal it is a mechanic learn how to properly use this mechanic.

    2. Wardstones suck at defending themselves. Learn the first one and you'll figure out why this doesn't matter.

    4. Turret defenses fire through walls. - Haven't had an issue with this yet.

    5. A bugged map system makes strategizing nearly impossible. - Never had a problem with the map.

    6. Allied or Neutral wardstones aren't shown on the map. If you already know where they are then a foothold shows up there. same thing if the enemy owns one. you will see the opposing faction foothold. Only time a AW's is not shown is when it has not been activated.

    7. No alerts for wardstones under attack by PCs or NPCs. - They actually do inform you if they are being attack, just not zone wide same as other footholds. If your near rock ridge it will say Rock ridge is getting attacked; But you will not see any notice for the lift stone.

    8. The reset timer for Wardstones screws up over-time efforts. - Never been an issue.

    9. Wardstone quests randomly hinder everyone- No need to complete the quest to summon the boss, skip the quest.

    10. No respawn spots in enemy territory makes capturing wardstones. - Learn the mechanics.

    11. When the raid boss is summoned, neither side knows its location- Devs already stated that which ever faction activates all the stones; the Boss will spawn next to their Portal town.

    12. Only one person gets the achievement for downing the boss. - Bugged for you cause we all got it.

    13. The group that worked on the wardstones doesn't get any credit for the boss fight. use binds and soul recalls.

    14. The rewards are mediocre - You get Purple BOE gear as well as the shards and essences.

    15. Wardstones are at the arse-end of nowhere and extremely out of the way. - It is to give a challenge.

    16. Calydon boss fight is bugged - didn't experience the bug it may of been a one time thing.

  15. #15
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    I'm sure that the entire ancient wardstone system will see its fair share of tweaks and adjustments as time goes on. I just think that the OP sat down and decided to list out every single little minor detail that irritated them about the entire process. Maybe they'd be so kind as to come back and highlight the top three frustrations with the ordeal.

    A lot of the complaints (specifically mobs around wardstones, invasions thumping wardstones, etc.)...ehhh. All the people who cry for open world PvP objectives and all that they entails and then they get it and they want an isolated little bubble where nothing other than other players can thwart their plans. They already have those kinds of things in Rift. They're called warfronts.

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