EQ2: Battlegrounds 2.0

Yahoo! had this to say about EverQuest II’s new battleground system:

First off, PVP will primarily take place in an instanced arena. It’s not going to be just deathmatch, kill-or-be-killed gameplay, though; apparently, alternate game modes like capture the flag, hold the line, and seek and destroy will be included, and SOE hints at some kind of custom game mode creation as well.

GameZone gushed about it, too!

First up is that PvP (Player-versus-Player) will be finally entering the world of Norrath (in EQII, at least) with arena combat. But the arena combat is not limited only to levels of a certain level (the level cap is going up to 60). Players of any level will be able to jump in and compete, if not as their avatar, then as an arena champion of a level that is appropriate for the players participating in the fight.

Gamespot has a deeper analysis of the EQ2 Battlegrounds:

The arena is one facet of EverQuest II’s new player-versus-player combat system, which along with dueling finally brings a smattering of PvP to the realms of Norrath. Players can request duels of other players at will, and there’s even a feature that allows bystanders to wager on the outcome of the contest if they so desire. Wandering around even the lowest-level areas, we found a number of players willing to drop their quests and challenge each other to short contests of skill. The arena is a feature found only in the city of Maj’Dul, and you can walk up at any time to set up the game of your choosing. There are three game types in the arena–team deathmatch, capture the flag, and destroy the idol–and you can easily set victory conditions, time limits, and whether you want to allow spectators outside the game to watch.

GameSpot goes on to note:

It’s a grand setup, but your chances of actually participating in these mighty arena contests probably aren’t all that high unless you’ve managed to already recruit a fighting force. The arena stands large and empty much of the time, particularly on weekdays, with the occasional player trying to fire up a pick-up game that has a good chance of petering out due to lack of interest. The arena seems to be a nice, if underused, player-versus-player outlet, but it’s hard to gauge the future of PvP in EverQuest II.

Long time EQ2 players may dimly recall that battlegrounds were added to EverQuest II back in its very first expansion, the Desert of Flames. You could go in either as yourself and play various CTF, zone defense or FFA scenarios, or go in controlling an avatar, which you could buy or win in groups doing adventure content. (This expansion also added dueling).

After the first few months, hardly anyone played the arenas, even though SOE would expand the arenas to Qeynos and Freeport to make it easier for players to participate.

The DoF arenas gave out nothing but fun and bragging rights. If you won a huge number of matches, you could win small banners for your home that marked your victories. In an Achiever game, a sense of satisfaction can never be enough. When players found there was no real advantage in doing arenas, they stopped doing them.

Now SOE has gone back to the drawing board.

Instead of arenas being open to people of any level, the new arenas will be available only to character level 80 and above. Instead of using avatars in order to make battles more about skill than gear, the new arenas will pit people in the best gear and abilities against people with lesser gear and abilities, or vs classes that are tuned more for a support role.

SOE looked at the Desert of Flames arenas and decided that their failure was not being enough like World of Warcraft.

The new arenas will (like WoW) award PvP armor, and (like WoW) will point out the imbalance of certain classes in PvP. In EQ2, ranged classes will have a powerful advantage over melee, which will lead to inevitable nerfs to ranged classes that will carry over into the PvE world. Classes with crowd control capabilities can expect to find those powers scaled way back, because it’s not fun to be rooted and nuked. And so on.

PvP servers came late to EQ2; SOE has (until now) always emphasized the excellence of their PvE gameplay to distinguish the EverQuest marque from other titles. Since PvP was not baked in to the game from the beginning, it’s never really taken off as a gameplay style.

Assuming the new EQ2 arenas copy well from WoW, we can expect arena fights to consist half of mad scrambles to kill anyone they can, and half of players trying to find a quiet place to AFK so that they can win their emblem/token/shard at the end in order to earn the coveted PvP armor that is the system’s main draw.

I haven’t heard anyone get really excited about the new EQ2 arenas, but maybe I’m not attending the right marketing meetings. If arena PvP is what players have been waiting for, I can’t see why they wouldn’t already be playing WoW, or Warhammer, or Call of Duty 4, or Counterstrike, or Left4Dead, or any of the dozens of other REALLY POPULAR games built entirely around arena team combat. For all the other games mentioned, you can make your character and be in an arena in ten minutes.

EQ2 is the only one that asks you to get 80 levels through PvE first.

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Tipa

Web developer for a Connecticut-based insurance company that's over 200 years old! Also a bicycler, a blogger, a kayaker, and a hunter of bridges.

16 thoughts on “EQ2: Battlegrounds 2.0”

  1. “The new arenas will (like WoW) award PvP armor, and (like WoW) will point out the imbalance of certain classes in PvP. In EQ2, ranged classes will have a powerful advantage over melee, which will lead to inevitable nerfs to ranged classes that will carry over into the PvE world. Classes with crowd control capabilities can expect to find those powers scaled way back, because it’s not fun to be rooted and nuked. And so on.”

    Yes, those are my fears exactly. This whole battlegrounds thing really has me scratching my head as an EQ2 player. I don’t think anyone was really asking for them, and now we have a whole new wrench tossed into the balancing of 24 classes. I don’t get it. I just hope that it’s a deploy and forget type of thing, like it was in DoF. If people have fun with it, great and if not, great as well. I just hope they keep it from coloring EQ2’s pve game.

  2. I certainly remember when arenas were introduced. I spent a couple of afternoons playing in them with some friends, realized that I sucked at it, and thereafter ignored them. Which is probably what I’ll do with the new ones. I actually doubt that they will nerf CC more, because they arlready built in a PvP nerf to CC. It’s much harder to mez another player of my level than it is to mez a mob who is high yellow to me. I generally never miss them mobs, but players resist me all the time. Which is one of the reasons I don’t duel much.

  3. As someone that has played EQ2 (I hope!) you should know that they have 2 different effects for abilities in PVP and PVE. So if they do nerf abilities in PVP it will not affect PVE. So unlike WoW it shouldn’t affect those that don’t bother with PVP.

    That being said I just don’t expect much to be happening in these places. I could be wrong but people I know play EQ2 for the PVE content…

  4. I have zero interest in any sort of PvP. I just hope that “must have chaos armor” isn’t going to become the new version of “mythical required” for group zones.

  5. EQ2 needed battlegrounds about as much as DarkFall needs Trammel.

    Why waste dev time on something no one is looking for rather than focusing on what you do well (PvE in EQ2)? I mean is anyone going to leave WoW/WAR/Aion and head over for the amazing PvP of EQ2? Or, more likely, are some current EQ2 players going to move on once the taint of PvP starts to impact PvE (much like you described Tipa). Silly move by SOE, at best.

  6. It depends on how cheap it is to deploy.

    I mean, given the who design criteria of ‘endless’ that means reseaching new content. Sometimes you research in the wrong direction. Sometimes you research in a direction everyone calls wrong, but it draws crowds in the end.

    The weird thing is, as players of EQ, if your dismissing it before you play it then it has no hope of working since you wont try it. It’s a self forfilling prophesy.

  7. I wanted to say “makers”, not “markers”, but well… on to something related:

    I do not think that it ever was a good idea to restrict PvP to tiny arenas. Battlegrounds are better, more people, imbalances are not as obvious and all that.

    Now let’s take a look at Guild Wars – small arena combat got perfectioned there. But what does the majority of people? The most popular format is the more battleground like alliance battle. And 90% of the population of this PvP game play… PvE.

    They should either forget completely about this PvP stuff or make it part of the world, dammit. In this case offer PvE only servers for those who just cannot stand it. INTERESTINGLY… see Ultima Online – the PvP side (Felucca) of the world was almost devoid of any player life.

  8. “The new arenas will (like WoW) award PvP armor, and (like WoW) will point out the imbalance of certain classes in PvP. In EQ2, ranged classes will have a powerful advantage over melee, which will lead to inevitable nerfs to ranged classes that will carry over into the PvE world. Classes with crowd control capabilities can expect to find those powers scaled way back, because it’s not fun to be rooted and nuked. And so on.”

    Well PVP has existed on Nagafen for many years and its a popular server so it must work to some extent, unlike WoW abilities work just differently in PVE and PVP so there will be less problems breaking one to fix the other.

    And maybe a little class balancing isn’t such a bad thing, why is it that a SK has a ability that hits for 4k plus unmodified when a guardian’s max hit is 1.2k unmodified? If its justified due to other considerations (mitigation etc) then fine, otherwise its a glaring imbalance that should be fixed in the PVE world let alone the PVP world.

    They have copied the WoW route though on PVP armour with a PVP stat, I’m not keen about this but if its done as a way to differentiate pvp and pve armour without making PVE armour useless in PVP then I’d be all for it, otherwise if its needed to be able to compete like WoW’s resilience then its just an added grind.

    grind = boring = me not playing WoW PVP = me getting bored of just the PVE = me quitting WoW.

    “Assuming the new EQ2 arenas copy well from WoW, we can expect arena fights to consist half of mad scrambles to kill anyone they can, and half of players trying to find a quiet place to AFK so that they can win their emblem/token/shard at the end in order to earn the coveted PvP armor that is the system’s main draw.”

    Or not. WoW isn’t the only MMO out there with battlegrounds, how about WAR? I was pleasantly surprised there that even though they had the best gear available only by PVP in battlegrounds that there was none of this AFKing going on, WoW had to tone down BG rewards to reduce the problem.

    My guess here for the reason is simple, PVP in WAR is fun at all brackets because they effectively mentored people to be high enough level to compete, in WoW its not fun until you’ve ground out enough resilience stat.

    Personally I’m really keen on these battlegrounds, before the arena thing came out and resilience I used to really enjoy BG’s in WoW, they were unbalanced, I didn’t get many rewards from them, but I just enjoyed the action, especially the 40vs40 AV which was a mixture of PVE and PVP (storyline and action combined with NPCs – fantastic). Battles there would literally rage for days on end, and then some retard decided that people wanted to farm tokens faster so limited the maximum length down to what we have today – 18 minutes of zerg.

    So in short I think BG’s can be a good fun diversion, done right (no one does PVE+PVP properly now so EQ2 could stand out from others by adding storylines and NPC’s to its battlegrounds), WAR is the best I’ve experienced so far, Guildwars a close second although the gameplay was too simple. Copying WoW isn’t too bad but just so long as they don’t copy its mistakes, copying WAR is a much safer option since for PVP they haven’t made any mistakes I could see.

  9. But I have tried EQ2 Arenas, Guild Wars, and WoW battlegrounds. I even have several characters on Nagafen. All I’m saying is that people who want the PvP experience have MANY other choices, and probably are already happy doing it where they are.

    What EQ2 needs, and from what I understand has not provided in this expansion, is something that will draw new players in, something that is so compelling that Fry’s and Best Buy would want to display more than a box or two of the game on the shelves. Will PvP for max level players bring people in? It will not. If they had rolled it out for players of all levels, it might have had a chance.

    Creating content ONLY for max level characters essentially cedes the new player market to any other game — and in this genre, that means WoW. Where they have battlegrounds from level 10.

  10. They’ve already said that they will be releasing Battlegrounds for lower level brackets later on, it would be much better to have them for all levels for sure and to allow some limited levelling through them (that prevents twinking), but since they are new then maybe it also wouldn’t hurt to test and refine them a little on 80-90 first.

    And WoW is rubbish for battlegrounds, WAR does them much much better.

  11. Some thoughts as to why Battlegrounds:

    Marketing and Sales are often the drive for new features in products in any industry. They supposedly have an idea what the consumer wants, via surveys or direct contact with them, and pass those ideas along to their higher ups. Those higher ups have no clue about the products – they just manage a business. They take marketing research and whatnot and tell the senior producer of the game (Brenlo in this case) to implement some new feature, as specified by Marketing/Sales. That feature might pretty vague, like “Something like WoW Battlegrounds”. It is then up to the developer team to come up with something that fits the bill.

    Developers can come up with novel things or changes, provided it isn’t taking away from working on whatever projects have come from on high. If management likes the changes, they go in. If they don’t, they don’t, regardless of how the developer feels about it or how good it would be for the game.

    To Sony, EQ2 is not a game. It is a product for which they have an intended demographics, sales projections, expected revenues and cost estimates.

  12. I think it could have drawn in new players if it was tiered play starting at level 20 or so and provided XP. I think that could have brought players back. No one will come to EQ2 just because of max level PVP. You need to already like everything about EQ2. Where as someone like me just can’t deal with the game’s questing system, an alternative route ala WAR, level from PVE and/or PVP would have been a strong pull.

  13. As for EQ2 bringing in new players…. How about this…..
    You make the game so good for the CURRENT players, they spread the word. Other gamers come in to see whats the chat about. Like the Golden Path is a GREAT start by random loot becomes random piece for class specific of the player that took out the mob.
    Instead of forcing players to group and tussle for some meanial scrap of gear… Instead of adding the infamous research assistant to cut the cost of master spells/arts just to have the player made stuff the assistant needs move up 20-60pp.

    I would suggest groups can be done ANYWHERE in the game. And, since they wont revamp the game engine to make it smoother for us on the low end o’ the bandwidth… at least add content that drops good gear that can be solo’d. If ya lag, you cant make the raids.. no raids, no coinage. No coinage, no high end stuff. No high end stuff…. its a stupid endless grind.

  14. “make it smoother for us on the low end o’ the bandwidth… at least add content that drops good gear that can be solo’d. If ya lag, you cant make the raids.. no raids, no coinage. No coinage, no high end stuff. No high end stuff…. its a stupid endless grind.”

    If you want gear that’s of raid quality solo that’s fine by me, but the difficulty of getting it has to match the same difficulty of the raid gear with progression (actually be harder then raid gear to get since you don’t have to cooperate with 11 to 23 others to get it) and no chance of exploiting to get it. If you connection lags out so bad that you cannot raid, then this gear too would be well out of your grasp.

    Besides, if you cannot raid then don’t raid, its not the only thing to do in EQ2. I don’t myself and instead run dungeons, it took quite a long while to gear up enough to be able to take on Guk : Halls of the fallen. Again though, if your connection is crap then you won’t have a chance there either because its hard.

    In short, if you want to solo for stuff there is a lot to do in the game but for reasons above you really need to group up to get the best gear. The game is there to have a challenge, if you cannot beat the challenge then you don’t deserve to get the best gear.

    If you have a problem with that then go play WoW.

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