Tales from the Frontline: Defence Quest

My play last night began with hearing a lot of chatter over ts. Directions and reports going back and forth between guildies, our glorious leader as well as another commander in the same borderland. We had a tenuous hold on hills, and an unupgraded keep that we were adamant the enemy was not getting a hold of.

Unfortunately they had just broken through the outer wall on the cliff side and a fight had ensued. I ran as quickly as I could from our spawn point, not even stopping as I threw a couple of marks down on an enemy thief harassing a comrade. Then it was up the stairs and straight into the large fight in front of me… Balls deep as the expression goes (which I actually only got now as I was typing)

It was so much fun holding back the Sanctum of Rall zerg at the breach point so that the tide could not come through to pillage our defensive siege littered throughout. Enemy warriors and guardians plunged forward to make a gap and then falling back, our own making similar manouvres as an attempt to win by attrition. And there I was, laying down my own blend of condition based carnage, as well as the occasional well timed putrid mark, well of darkness (which are well suited to these contained points), and the occasional fear to punt people of the cliff as support.

SoR made their move and surged forward dramatically, cutting the few squishy people not as aware of their surroundings down and made a move towards the wall. But the gap was closed on them, many sor were left behind. The fight ensued for mere moments afterwards while the remnants of an enemy zerg were cleared.

Then the essentials began of repairing the damage and once again getting ready for the next wave of red tags, they had the larger force so for now we needed to be focused on the defensive. Most began running supply between the two closest supply camps and the wall was getting repaired fairly quickly. On the second trip down to vale I spotted a decent sized havoc group creeping in through the waterway. Any guildies nearby flocked to the call of the defense, as well as a few randoms as losing our fully upgraded right now would hurt… a lot.

And what a fight it was… a few brave souls going in before anyone else to contest the cap, stragglers getting focused by this well coordinated group, but slowly as our little group arrived together and as nummbers got more equal they were slowly cut down. it was such an amazing fight that I honestly wish I’d frapsed. In the moment the thrill and exhilaration took over so that I was entirely in the moment rather then thinking about external things.

Then there main force hit north gate and I had so much fun with the coordinated attacks we were doing. At first the enemy was a mass at the gate, our force began quick hit and run tactics out of the gate, smash and retreat, smash and retreat. Sor retreated to the steps but we continued, smash and retreat..alternating sides to hit as well as occasionally splitting forces. What was left of theirs fall back all the way to the lake and we went about once again repairing for the next time. And then they went after the spawn tower, a call was made to form up to defend but by the time the main force had got there the tower had flipped.. yes that quickly even though we were coordinated and very mobile.

That end part actually made me a little deflated. There was just such a huge contrast in the event types, one required two sides to occur, is active and a lot of fun and the other merely a passive act that requires little thought. Why would the enemy keep fighting our force and losing when it is far easy to rush somewhere undefended. Camps should be relatively quick to take, towers and keeps no as they are where some of the best combat and emergent play revolves around. Many different strategies for defence and offence, and interplay of strategies together that then evolves into pure blissful battlefield carnage. I love every second of it, but there often feels like there is so much done to avoid it.

Just the other day a rather prominent guild (no not FoO) was just encouraging people to follow them from borderland to borderland capturing as much as they could before the enemy arrived and then switching again. It was a constant focus on capturing points and never defending them.. such a thing just feels so wrong in many ways. I never played and witnessed what happened to wars RvR and what ended up into a circle jerk but i can imagine that people having these sort of ideals and playstyles was a part of it. I have to question now if the rewards are enough to make it any worse, karma was enough before will the progression part make it worse.

In this regards I really would like defence to get rewarded more appropriately to maybe begin making it all so much more interesting for both sides. Taking an empty keep isn’t enjoyable, just as losing one isn’t either. The Tales of Tyria podcast in their last episode a little bit ago said that playing to win in Wuv Wuv is not actually fun and i tend to agree in many ways. I heard tell that in NA we are more about “gaming” the system, figuring out and working with the mechanics in the best possible way in a way to win. This usually means gameplay focusing around the capture points in order to make more points which is very much seen in the prevalence of  stealth keep capture, and falling back from open area fights into a defensible position. In EU there is apparently a lot more of those large open world engagements that are just so much more enjoyable.. they’re much rarer here and in the absence of that keep defense is the next best thing.

It really is a magnitude better then getting on the karma Wex Pee train but unfortunately most just prefer to zerg around taking undefended keeps and go where the rewards are. Even in a keep defence situation I see a lot of people just leaving early on and even when you do get the all out for it many don’t bother to respond. It’s isn’t just the lack of rewards but the way in which it seems it is defene is far more difficult then need be so people don’t bother. Defensive siege is often easy to destroy and when in the right position hard to aim. Targeting people below is near impossible at times due to obstructed issues and that not only will the entire wall be covered in aoe but your likely to be pulled to your death.

That is if you even get to enact a defense. If you hold an unupgraded keep or tower a couple of rams can get through that in under a minute, and a superior to that and the time drops dramatically. Even when it is upgraded several golems can punch through before people even notice. A lot of time, money and effort from individuals and groups goes into these structures at times. Just last week our guild would capture and fully upgrade our home borderlands garrison each night for a few days as well as make it well sieged only to have it taken the next day.

Wuv Wuv really needs to start addressing this fundamental flaw and move away from the ease of capturing and onto the betterment of defence. One thing I thought for now is that there needs to be some sort of collision detection for siege pieces including golems. Also attacking from walls needs to be viable, maybe with protection and stability. I just want the fun of defense to be a part of the meta far more then it is…hmm maybe adding points for every enemy killed in a defence situation. Zerging is much more enjoyable when they are combating each other rather then avoiding at all costs and I would really love if it was made more important.

See you on the battlefield, and raining down conditions from the ramparts

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