First, who I am. I have level capped freep of every class except LM and RK, and have played Moors on all of them, solo and grouped. I have ranked creep of every class, though only 3 r9 and above (the rest at least r6). Have played freepside and creepside on two different servers, spending about equal time on both sides, though heaver creepside last 6 months or so. I am VIP, so I, too, pay to be in the Moors on both sides. I have used store items on both sides, and still do sometimes, if heavily outmatched in an RvR situation by people doing same. I prefer grouped to solo play. I think I am better on heals than dps, so play healers more whichever side I'm on. So use those filters to judge me, if you need to.
After a couple of days of everybody flailing around, last night in BW Moors, out came a freep raid. They had no scaled players (obvious ones at least, or if there were, I think they probably had ranked freeps of other classes so had a clue). They had taken a bit of time to gear up better (like, couple of days), think about virtues and tactics, and how to build a group to counter decent freep heals and dps. We engaged. We fought intensely. There were deaths on both sides. We tried strategies that worked and wiped them. They came back and reengaged with different tactics, and wiped us. Regroup, lather, rinse repeat--wiped us again. Next time we wiped them.
The fights were long, but not absurdly long. Both sides got a load of points. It required thought, planning, tactics, attack, counterattack. My supposedly god-mode defiler went down repeatedly when focused with burst dps and debuffs (even with me self-healing, other defilers healing, WL heals)--just like a freep healing class, and utterly unlike the previously broken Captains. I could not be suddenly and easily taken down by one burg, just like most freep healers can't be suddenly and easily be taken down by one warg in an RvR with cross-healing. Freeps had to blow cooldowns and use debuffs and think through what they did. So did we. If we had 18 and they had 24, we lost. If they had 18 and we had 24, they lost. Rank mattered on a target in terms of difficulty taking it down. It wasn't faceroll for either side. Numbers had to be close to equal, tactics became very important. Outposts really mattered in the fight, so secondary battles between various groups broke out to claim those. If somebody managed to get the upper hand there during the fight, the fight usually turned in the direction of who had the outposts--so it required communication all across the Moors on both sides, a little cooperation--not just one raid vs. one raid and everyone else left out.
It was war. We did this for couple of hours. It was among the most fun nights I've had in Moors. It's what I thought Moors would be when I started playing. The groups were not mirrored, but were generally equal--IF the raid leaders came up with good tactics and made good decisions in the fight. If not, we wiped, and tried again with different ideas and strategies.
As somebody who played Defiler when they weren't cool and were very weak, it is nice to be able to go from point A to point B without knowing for certain I will die if I see a single freep. It makes me more willing to duo and small-group. I stay heal-traited because I don't 1v1, but if I came across a solo freep, I gave it a try alone, even though my dps was low (300ish per hit, up to 2k with a crit). Hunters, I usually won even with no self-heal, or only one big self-heal if hunter bubbled. A good burg could take me down with burst dps and bleeds (from, I assume, good weps, because the one who did and the one who almost did were higher rank, or equal rank to me). Low rank burgs had no chance against me--again, as it should be. Rank should mean something. An r2 burg who jumps an r11 defiler gets what they ask for, just like if my warg tried to jump a healing class 9 levels above me. Captain pretty even fight, half the time I won, half the time they did (with both of us healing). Guard, same. Didn't fight any healing classes, figured that would take a week if we both healed--ha. These were not scheduled 1v1, but encounters on landscape as we were both trying to get back to RvR fight.
So, for once, I feel even. I feel like I can compete. I feel like I matter in a raid, because a couple of my debuffs can make a difference in a focus fire against a tough target, and my hots actually fire fast enough and tick high enough to save somebody getting moderately focused--at least for a few seconds (I don't tfh, a lot of my buddies don't, so we have to react when focus fire shifts--sometimes we make it, sometimes we don't). Also because I do matter, there are fewer WL's in the raid, so fewer in-combat rezzes, more balanced out with what freeps seem to have--so again, the fights were more even, and timing and strategy of rezzing mattered.
After last night's experience, I'm pretty convinced if I meet a freep with Moors-level gear (full aud, second or first age weps, esp. first age), and they are equal or higher rank, I'm going to have a fight, and if they are better than me at thinking fast and using strategies, I'll get fried. Because, like them, I have full aud, all of my best skills, all the latest pots, and decent traits--but I'll probably fry more than most due to heal build rather than dps build, and a belief I should only self-heal and use pots if they do during the fight. If I meet lower rank but close, I'll have the upper hand, but still could get fried if they have good bursts and debuffs. If I meet a much lower rank, I'll run by because I know what it feels like to be weak and have no chance--unless they attack me first, then it's on and I'll flatten them.
So again, I don't get it. I don't see how this is so horrible, this update. I don't know why people aren't giving it a few weeks for freeps to be geared, for leaders to come back out and start trying strategies, for everybody to realize it's an actual fight and not a zergfest now for either side. It's different. It feels even to me finally. I think it could work out very well, though admittedly I don't know how it'll affect the 1v1 scene, because I dislike the whole 1v1 thing as a rule and don't do it much. I'll have to let those players weigh in. Which I hope they will do, after they are Moors-geared, and have a chance to rethink tactics and strategies.
I wish for once that instead of nerfing anything on a subsequent update, the developers would only fix what is obviously broken, like the damage done by npcs, the ease with which keeps can be taken and the fact friendly npcs mean nothing right now. Just do that, and fix clearly broken or not WAI skills. Give it some time, let the first-agers and gold recipes get out into the Moors, let people practice. Then rescale, if needed, but let rank and class keep mattering, let RvR still require thought and tactics. That's my hope.
Thanks for reading.