Zone Control. Scenario Madness continues.

I wrote about this a week ago, but further information has been released in the latest Warhammer Online grab-bag from Mythic:

Zone control is based on several pools, each of which is worth a percentage. Together, these pools tally up to 100%. Every time a player is killed, a quest is finished, or a scenario is completed (win or lose), this contributes points towards zone control. Battlefield objectives (BOs) and Keeps are binary. This means that once you own a BO or a keep, you have a chunk of zone control points that don’t go away unless the enemy takes it from you.

Most everyone these days looks at the map, discovers that they own all the BOs and Keeps, and thinks that’s all that’s needed to capture a zone. This assumption is false! In order to control a zone, players also need to win Scenarios associated with that zone, do quests, and kill players in that zone. Zone Control is all about total dominance in everything involved with a Zone. You must push on all fronts!

Before anyone thinks they can get around giving the enemy points by not going to fight, we have a safeguard that grants points to the realm which is queuing, in case the other realm decides not to queue — Defend By Not Defending is what we call it. It takes longer for those points to accumulate, but if one realm decides not to queue for a Scenario in contested zones, the other Realm will get points towards zone control. This is similar to the forfeit rule in sports. Also note that points earned from queuing only gives points if you have enough players to launch 1 Scenario, not 50. This means that if Destruction has 500 players queued for a Scenario that requires 18 players to launch, they’re only getting credit for 18 players. This is to ensure that over populated Queues don’t get anything extra for having 500 in the queue or just 18.

BO’s and Keeps provide the same amount of control for both realms, in other words, if order owns a keep or BO, they get the same amount of control as Destruction does when they own them. Battlefield Objectives offer less control than Keeps. When a Keep is captured, the Zone Control bar will show much more movement than when a BO is captured.

Prior Zone control is a direct correlation to the points you get for the higher Tiers. For example, if Order owns 50% of Tier 3 in HE vs. DE, then 50% of that Prior Zone pool is carried over. If Order took over Tier 3 completely, they would not get 100% of the Prior Zone pool; they would simply get as many points as they have earned in that lower tier. The lower tiers don’t cap out at 65% either. Players can keep pumping points into the lower Tiers to get up to 90%+ ownership, which results in owning 90%+ of the Prior Zone control pool for higher Tiers.

Finally, points degrade over time in all of the pools except for the points contributed by BO and Keeps ownership simply because they are either owned or not owned by a realm. The reason that points degrade is to ensure that a stalemate doesn’t occur over long periods of point gains.

Now let’s look at a few situations:

The Zone control bar is pretty even between Order and Destruction, but Destruction owns all the BOs and Keeps in a zone. This means that Order is doing very well in Scenarios. Destruction needs to step it up in Scenarios to flip the zone.|

The Zone control bar is empty on Destruction, about half way for Order, and Order owns all the Keeps and BOs in a zone. This means that no one is fighting in Scenarios in that zone. Order needs to queue up and fight or Destruction needs to queue up and take BOs/Keeps to flip the zone.

The Zone control bar is about ¼ full for both Order and Destruction and BOs and Keeps are split 50/50. Usually this means that no one is fighting in Scenarios in that zone, or killing anyone in that zone at all.

So the long and short of it all? Fight on all fronts! Take BOs and Keeps, fight in Scenarios, kill players in open field…it all counts!

As I have mentioned before, on some servers, including my own, scenarios in the higher tiers simply do not happen. (This does mean we have a whole lot more open RvR than other servers. However, what this article seems to be saying to me is that without scenarios (or at least one side having enough people signed up to launch a scenario), that it is impossible for either side to take control of a zone. As each source of victory points has it’s own discrete cap, it just doesn’t seem possible. Without knowing the exact maths it’s hard to be certain, but that looks like what is being said.

Also this means, under the no-contest rule implemented in 1.0.4, that on servers where one side has enough to launch a scenario, and the other side does not, only the larger side can EVER take control of a zone. Doesn’t matter how good the smaller side is.

As I’ve said many times before, requiring 18 on each side for t3 scenarios is unreasonable. Reducing that requirement would go a long way to seeing scenarios launch on the lower population servers which are otherwise perfectly viable.

In any case (on servers that do have scenarios), I don’t want to have to leave to go play arena games in a pocket dimension during a pitched battle. I’m not against scenarios. They’re a lot of fun, and a great source of renown and xp. As currently implemented they should be left out of the zone control equation entirely.

Quests are another pool of victory points, but what if I’ve done them all in that zone? And anyway, why should I have to go fiddle around with PvE content in order to attain an RvR goal? If I’m doing that, I’m not in the RvR areas any more where I want to be. For the sake of pure PvE players, I am not completely against quests getting you some bonus points, but they should not be essential to gaining zone control.

Killing Players is another source of Victory points. This one is still vulnerable to the losing side withdrawing from the field to deny points. In any case, most of the time kills on both sides are not going to be vastly uneven. Sadly, the risk that my death would help the enemy get control of the zone is a discouragement to me trying to fight, unless the odds are in my favour. (We saw exactly this behaviour in the recent Witching Hours PQ.) Because of this I would remove this source of victory points altogether. We already fight for the objectives. Risk should not be deincentivised.

Prior Zone Control granting victory points is not something I have a huge problem with in theory. In practise, under the current rules, it means that there is a source of victory points for tier 3 that is entirely outside my ability to influence as Osgard. If I go to tier 2, I will turn into a chicken. If I have a tier 2 alt and load them up, that means I’m no longer available for fighting (or scenario queueing) in tier 3. It also means that I’m having to play a character other than my favourite one. Do I have to have a character in each tier in order to fully be able to affect my own tier, and do I have to keep making more characters every time one levels out of the tier?

Until higher tier characters can fight in the lower tier zones (Obviously de-powering us to the point that we’re on an equal footing with the normal residents of that tier. Or heck, make us slightly weaker than them. I’d be OK with that.), I can’t support this source of victory points. Also I’m always left wondering what happens when the lower tiers are all but deserted, and there are no longer any victory points bubbling up from below.

The only source of victory points I support at the moment (I daresay there are other ways to get points that would work that no-ones thought of yet.) is the taking and holding of objectives and keeps. It needs to be possible for Open RvR to be sufficient to take control of a zone. I would suggest that the longer you hold an objective or keep, the more points it be worth (the amount would be capped, but controlling all of them for sufficent time would lead to zone control). That simple system would do everything needed to add urgency and excitement to Open RvR.

It just feels to me like the dev team is confused as to its goals. Are there two different teams working at cross-purposes, I wonder? Either they are trying to encourage open-world RvR, or they are not. I would appreciate it if they would make up their minds, and inform us of their decision.

5 comments to Zone Control. Scenario Madness continues.

  • […] “Zone Control – Scenario Madness Continues” @ Ark’s Ark – More thoughts to complement my own on the Zone Control article in the Herald. […]

  • I keep hearing people mention taking keeps and holding them and implying that they take keeps first (which is also the case on my server). Why do they do that?

    Battlefield objectives (BOs) and Keeps are binary. This means that once you own a BO or a keep, you have a chunk of zone control points that don’t go away unless the enemy takes it from you.

    From this I get that owning a keep or BO doesn’t accumulate points over time, so why would you take Keeps and BOs first, then start doing PQs and Scenarios? There are two problems with that, 1. You have to defend the keeps and BOs or you lose the work that went into getting them. 2. You have less people doing PQs and Scenarios because they have to “defend” your keeps.

    I’ve tried to convey this to my Alliance members and have basically been brushed aside saying that when they just do PQs and Scenarios, Destro’s bar moves more than Order’s. I’ll give them the fact that I’ve not personally witnessed this, and I do know that Order on Monolith has never capped a zone. But without seeing it and just looking at the facts, I cannot justify taking keeps with the intent to control a zone before we know that taking those keeps and BOs is going to push us past the tick.

    Which server was it that order pushed to IC? I wouldn’t mind asking some questions to that community.

    And another thing I just thought of. . .why don’t they show a numeric value for VPs? And now typing that makes me think is there a numeric value for VPs that a mod might be able to uncover and display? I’m going to have to look into this. . .

    A numeric value or even just some message saying that I’m actually gaining VPs would help tremendously because then I would know that what I’m doing is helping capture the zone. Because as it stands, I can’t tell if running PQs and Scenarios really moves the bar or not.

    Sorry for the mini-rant, but when it comes down to it I agree with you. Right now taking BOs and Keeps are the only thing I know for sure contribute to VPs in anyway that’s visible.

  • I think you’re right that it would be helpful if we got some sort of notification when anything that we do grants victory points. Even with the information in the grab bag, there is still too much uncertainty surrounding the system that lies at the heart of determining who wins the WAR.


    Not made by me (seems every time I have an idea for something, someone’s already gone and done it) I have looked at the code and understand what it’s doing and it’s the best we’re going to get from the API. It’s a percentage of your VP till you cap (i.e. 50% would be your bar at the tick for the other faction’s control). It’s better than nothing and tracks all zones to boot.