Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Warhammer Online: Realm Vs. Realm Guide

One of the more unique features of Warhammer online is it's Realm vs Realm system pitting players against each other in meaningful PvP combat. Fighting for control of territory across the entire game, each contribution adds to the whole ending in a siege of one sides capital city. If you haven't had what we'd like to call "pleasant" experiences with player vs player or are new then we are here to help. We'll examine the elements of what RvR is, what tactics you can use to keep yourself alive longer, and how you can participate in the overall fight.

What is RvR?
Realm vs Realm content is a unique form of play that has only been seen in Dark Age of Camelot before. Mythic Entertainment states the following in their FAQ:

"Realm vs. Realm, or RvR, is a term trademarked by Mythic during the development of Dark Age of Camelot. RvR is team-based Player vs. Player (PVP) game-play where each realm works together toward a common goal. Players choose a side by selecting a race and, in the case of Warhammer online, they battle it out in areas and work toward goals provided by the game, including Scenarios, Keep Siege, and City Siege. It means that a player never has to fight alone because there is always an army of allies that has his back. Players can choose to level up in RvR areas, or stay in safer, Player vs. Environment (PvE) areas until they are ready to jump into the real battles of Warhammer online."

That is a pretty good definition, but the most important component of that is this is not a one on one PvP system. There isn't a significant advantage for one player to fight on their own and in most situations that would put them in a severe disadvantage. There is strength in numbers and large groups are pushed to certain areas of the game. While there are scenarios which will put a set number of players against each other, these aren't arena fights where it's five vs five. The RvR areas are completely open combat and can contain theoretically dozens of people.

What Benefits do I get from RvR?
Ignoring that RvR combat is the cornerstone of the game and the entire purpose of your existence in Warhammer online is to participate, let's look at what RvR can do for you. First is the Renown gear made available based on your rank. Renown gear merchants are located across the land allowing players to purchase, for a nominal fee, equipment unavailable elsewhere. Now granted, early on you can work your way up through PvE and Chapter quests for comparable gear, but the level requirements are higher. The Renown gear is always available to you earlier so there is always that motivation.

It's almost important to remember that you will have 80 Renown Ranks meaning PvE gear is only going to get you so far. Mythic has stated the best gear is always available from RvR and while it won't give players an overwhelming advantage, it will be noticeable. If that isn't enough? All the cool kids will be doing it.

If you are participating in a guild, this is also a great way to increase your rank effectively. One of the major benefits of Guild rank provides a Battle Standard which can be carried on the field. This Standard can give all sorts of bonuses to things like damage and experience depending on the guild preferences.

How Does my Side Win?
Nobody likes a grind, and Warhammer online has an ultimate RvR goal for Destruction and Order players that should alleviate that. The sieging of a capital city is the end game and requires a series of victories throughout the different Tier zones. Not happening often it will require coordinated attacks that could take weeks to accomplish but provide unrivaled bragging rights to the winner.

What can you do? There are two ways you can contribute to your side as early as level 2 or 3. The first is helping take battlefield objectives on the battlefields in every Tier area. These are clearly marked on your map but are usually next to a warcamp hub. Taking all of them gives your side "control" of that area and a hefty bonus to your renown. The other is participating in scenarios which are quick 5-10 minute battles inside an instance and available from any location in the zone. You can join one by clicking the symbol next your mini map in the upper right corner.

Beginning in Tier 2, taking control of an area will require the siege of Keeps. Unoccupied Keeps have nothing more than meager enemy NPC's which guard the structure and end with a fight against the Keep Lord. Any large group can quickly break through the door and clear the building with little effort. Occupied however and siege equipment becomes available which can chew right through clumps of enemies and will provide a significantly harder fight.

Do I have to RvR All the Time?
Warhammer online has two different types of servers available for play. The first called Open, has no limitations on PvP other than the chicken system which keeps higher level players from ganking lower levels. The other called Core, provides clearly marked areas of RvR which start off small in first tier but increase as you get higher. Entering these areas will give you a brief warning then flag you for RvR meaning you can be killed by any flagged player even in safe areas. It is advisable you consider how much you want to PvP when selecting a server at launch. There will be safer areas such as cities in Open but in order to have a no gank PvP experience, you might want to choose Core.

There is only one other way you can be flagged for RvR which is by healing or assisting a flagged player. If their name is bolded in yellow carefully decide the risks in helping out as it only takes one Destruction player in hiding to punish you for being a Good Samaritan.

What do I need to know?
Now that you understand a few of the basic terms and how RvR works it's important to know just how you fit in. There are a few simple strategies and practices you can implement in your RvR gameplay that can increase your survival odds at least 300% (which is a number we just completely made up). While we can't guarantee success, all of the following are critical to playing effectively.

In traditional MMOG's we've all had "that" experience where you've been in a group so unbelievably horrible that you swore to never talk to strangers again no matter what kind of candy they had. Many of us have spent much of our time playing solo and only banding together with good friends to accomplish what we couldn't alone. While there will always be the poor groups and annoying experiences, Warhammer online is the first game in awhile to heavily encourage grouping.

Battlefield RvR is designed for large groups to duke it out over objectives. When solo, even if you are running around with others, there is a lack of cohesion inherent with disorganization. One group with a single objective can quickly route another twice it's size with little effort. This means you should certainly take every effort to join up with other people whenever possible. In areas with heavy activity you can usually find a Warband (group of 24) which is ideal for coordinating large scale assaults.

Every battlefield has certain variations setting it apart from all the others. First it is important to know the terrain. If you are playing on a core server, where are the lines that flag you for RvR? Where can you run for safety from the five people that decided to chase you? Are there mountains or rivers that will slow your progress? Where is the Warcamp that has quests, merchants, trainers, and everything else you could possibly need?

Finally, where are the objectives you need to capture? They could be in a town square that needs defense on 3 sides or in a building with only one way out. Where are the most tactical areas around them? Perhaps there is a roof you can jump on to fire down on invaders or a rock you can stand behind that obscures you a little. Knowing your way around the area is not only strategic but generally wise.

Know Your Class
This particular piece of advice cannot be stressed enough. It is of the utmost importance that you understand your class and it's role in battle. Countless groups have been torn apart because a healer charged into battle or a DPS got a little too anxious to fight. This isn't to say there won't be a learning curve as you start out, but if you hit Rank 40 and are still trying to go melee with a Bright Wizard, you might want to consider a different career choice.

Fortunately all of Warhammer online's classes fall into one of four categories: Tank, Healer, Melee DPS, and Ranged DPS. As a tank you should be on the front lines pulling attackers off your healers and making charges into the enemy lines. As a healer your role should be fairly clear, to keep everyone you possibly can alive including the casters and ranged DPS huddling around you. Melee DPS should pick their attacks carefully by hitting tanks who charge the lines or casters/healers standing off to the side. Ranged DPS is one of the most simple of all, stay back and keep shooting as long as possible.

We hope these basics have been useful to you and will provide you a with some sound advice for RvR in Warhammer online. For more advanced RvR Guides I recoment you check out mmOverload

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