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My Annoyance With Players and Rift's War Fronts

Introduction

I like to play PvP in games a lot, because I love the challenge and being competitive. One of the things that drew me in to Rift: Planes of Telara was the aspect of war fronts, which are instanced PvP dungeons where anywhere from five to twenty people are on a team against one another (depending on the map and how many people are queued up to play). What turns me off about this, though, is how people treat the system.

Winners and Losers Are Rewarded

It is hard to really say if this is a good or a bad thing, but both teams are rewarded pretty well for taking part in the war fronts. While the winners will get slightly more of a bonus, when it really comes down to it, it is not enough to matter. This is awesome because it means if you are put on a bad team time after time you are still progressing, but it is also bad because it makes people stop caring if they win or lose. This is likely a huge part of why people do not like to do the objectives, and instead just wander around like they have no idea what is even going on.

Of course the alternative probably is not good either. Having one team win and the other get nothing would really push people out of even giving it a chance, since there would be a ton of wasted time whereas you could be more productive elsewhere. I guess what I am trying to get at here is that we can consider the reward system as being a necessary evil, in that both options are really not that great. If it is made too easy to progress people will care less and will spend more time sitting around, and if you make it too difficult people will quit messing with the PvP altogether. Either way it is a loss.

Rewards From Kills Are Shared With Everyone

I think this is a part that can be changed. If you are on a war front map and someone is killed, it does not matter where the kill happened, or even if you or someone in your group was taking part in it, as you will still get experience, Favor, Prestige (if you are a high enough level), gold and drops. I am sure this plays a major part in whether or not people care about assisting in the match, because they are going to get rewards off any kills you make regardless as to whether or not they help. This is a flawed look, though, and now we are going to look at why.

When we are out and about in a war front fighting enemies, an important thing to think about is that the more kills that are made, the more rewards are earned. This means that by helping your team, you are contributing to the entire team getting more rewards, therefore also benefiting yourself in the process. Some people like to look at it another way, though, which is that if they do nothing at all they are not getting nearly as many rewards, but that they are not having to work for them either and so in a sense they are all “free.” This is a big part of what causes more and more people to stop caring about what happens in the war fronts, and causes people to go off on their own to just mess around instead of taking them seriously.

To fix this, rewards would need to be based on who all helped. Even if all you had to do was simply tag someone to get credit for the kill once someone finished them off, at least then everyone who wanted rewards would have to be taking part one way or the other. If they have to go out in to the wild to help hunt down players for their one hit, the chances are they are going to stick around and try their best to help kill everyone they can.

The down side to this idea is that healers would be getting the shaft. Since they do not attack people, it would be pretty hard to determine how much contribution they were actually doing in each fight, so choosing which kills they should be rewarded on and which ones they should not get rewards on would be tough. Not to mention we would then get in to another issue when you consider single target healers versus those that are constantly healing their team with each attack, such as with the Chloromancer or the Bards.

In any case, the system as it is now is somewhat broken and needs some thought on how to get it repaired so that we can get rid of those leaches and pull in people who actually want to try to win. It is really disheartening to see people who just do not care on your team, especially when they will sit there the entire time just chatting and wasting everyone's time.

There Are Leader Boards

This, by far, has got to be the worst part of the war front system. During and after each match a leader board is shown that ranks people based on the criteria you choose. For example, the highest number of kills, the highest damage done, etc. What happens with these leader boards is that people love to go for the highest damage so they can show off their powerful skills. While you may think that the most damage would be a good thing, when it comes to the leader boards it is not. The people that usually get on to these are the ones that spam their AoE skills that do not really do that much damage or help out very much in the match, but because they are hitting so many people they rack up a lot of quick damage. So while it can easily get someone up to the top of the damage charts, it does not mean they are actually doing anything. I have heard some people try to argue against this before, so here is a way to look at it. You have ten enemies with three thousand health. You have one person that can do two thousand damage per second and another that can do five thousand, with the difference being that the first can only hit one target and the second can hit all ten. The first hits someone twice and they die. The second spams their AoE's and is only doing a fourth of the damage of the first guy, so their team is able to use their AoE heals to get through the damage without any problems. In this scenario, the person with the lower amount of damage was actually contributing the most towards getting a kill since the second person could not even do enough damage to get through their healing. And this is why leader boards are a bad idea.

If anything, leader boards should be showing the things that matter the most. Since each of the war fronts has its own goals that need to be achieved, those objectives should be what the leader boards focus on. For example, for The Black Garden they should be focused on who picks up the Fang of Regulos the most times or holds it the longest. Instead of caring about damage, then, people would more than likely shift their focus over to picking up the Fang so they can get on the leader board and boost their ego. This is exactly what we want, because at least then people are contributing to a winning match, rather than leaching while not really helping out near as much as they may think they are.

Players Are Afraid of Death

This is something that I still can not grasp the concept of. In a war front, dying has no penalty other than having to spawn again. Even while dead, you still get rewards off each kill that is made by your team, and you also get any rewards earned if the match happens to end while you are dead. So when you die, you are losing one thing and one thing only: a small amount of time. As soon as the timer is up, you are back in to the game slicing and dicing.

For some reason, though, it appears as if people are afraid that by dying in the match something much worse is going to happen to them. They are afraid to pick up the Fang of Regulos. They are afraid to pick up the Rune Vessels over in Library of the Runemasters. They are afraid to pick up the flag in Whitefall Steppes, etc. It makes absolutely no sense because there is no reason to be afraid of any of these. While you have any of the things listed above, you are helping contribute points towards your team winning the match. If you happen to die while holding it, you can consider that as you “taking one for the team.” The only thing that I can see as being why people do not want to do any of this is because they are trying to maximize their damage for the leader boards. Past this, there is really no reason not to do objectives.

The Game Needs Tutorial Videos

There are some small tutorials on the war front listing, helping to understand how each one of them works. They are easily missed, though, and because of this there are tons of questions in the matches themselves, which takes away from time we could be spending actually fighting. Adding a simple tutorial video that gives a really quick run through of each war front, prior to being able to enter it, would go a long way with answering all of these questions ahead of time and ensuring that each person knows what is going on before they even enter. It may be annoying for people who already understand how they work, but it would solve a lot of problems we are currently facing as a result of the rush of new players since Rift has gone free to play. With each match, the rules have to be explained to at least one person that does not understand, and while we are taking the time to explain it we are not really able to help out our team with trying to win.

People Get Disheartened

This has happened to me more times than I can possibly count, so I fully understand that this happens, and I do not fault anyone for it. People, like myself, end up getting disheartened (this is actually why I am writing this article to begin with) by how the war front matches go and start giving up on even trying to win. In most matches a single person, or a couple or a few people can easily sway the match from losing to winning. The problem with this, though, is that as you keep doing this you end up hitting the point where you just think “why am I even doing this? Why am I going through all this work so that others can benefit when they do not care about it enough to even help out?” Once you hit this point, you end up on the same team, more or less letting whatever happens happen and not really trying to win the matches anymore. When this happens to me, what breaks me out of it is either taking a break from the game for a while (to relieve the stress that has built up because of it) or getting a team that actually has people who want to work together. Even if it is only a few people out of the entire raid group that wants to win, it is better than feeling like I am the only one.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I love PvP and I enjoy war fronts, but I really do not like how players treat them. Too often you will end up with groups that just do not care, and you end up feeling like you are wasting time even joining because of it. This is something that can be changed with some adaptations, and Rift should really consider trying to make them happen so that the war fronts are played more often and more people will actually try to win. As it is right now, they are used as a way to get gear and really nothing else. Due to the lack of people wanting to actually try, neither team feels any true challenge and the lack of challenge kills the competitiveness of them.

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