I’m a little late to the party with this piece because of our forced downtime this month, but still wanted to get a few thoughts out on the Summer Festival’s Sahha feature. It’s at least better than having it saved as draft for another year… Also it’s not really a topic directly related to the festival itself, but more events and general game management. Because over everything else, Sahha certainly feels like those wasted, not enough maintained, features that you can find all over the game.
When introduced a couple years back, I was actually legitimately excited about having a competitive sports game in Neverwinter. I believe mini games within games work. They give players a completely different dimension of stuff to do. You know, like playing a Volleyball/Soccer hybrid in a fantasy world! Even if that doesn’t sound too enticing to you personally as a concept, you can probably think about something else that you would enjoy. Puzzles, racing, classic RTS elements? Why the hell not if it’s something you can entirely choose to do and don’t have to.
Sahha Is Not Quite Polished
So why isn’t Sahha more popular and hasn’t grown into a “thing” that you can do once per year? Well, first of all, it’s not quite polished. Two of four Sahha skills are more or less useless and the whole gameplay feels clunky. I think I’ve already talked about this in one of my earlier Summer Festival reviews, but the “out of bounds” mechanic pretty much kills the whole dynamic. The ball should just stay in bounds (think Rocket League for example). Also it wouldn’t hurt to enlarge the field slightly and add a true competitive environment like a league system.
Otherwise Sahha’s fate is not only irrelevance, but even annoyance. Since you have to at least play it once on new characters to be able to participate in ball parties, most simply sit out the ten minutes a game lasts. It’s a pain for those that are trying to actually have some fun out there. Sahha right now is just an afk battle.
Here Are Some Changes
So what does have to change? In terms of gameplay I would replace two powers. The original volley skill and the one that let’s you tackle an opponent are great. But then I’d like to see some sort of speed skill at least. Spiking also doesn’t seem to fill a true purpose to be honest. I guess it was meant for situations in which you don’t want to risk punting too high with your normal volley skill. But I hardly ever use it. Maybe you could give it an “unblockable” feature and significant downtime to make it more meaningful?
Like mentioned he “out of bounds” mechanic also has to go. Just let the ball bounce off the sidelines and call it a day. This whole setting up again is a pain. The game should really only stop on goals scored.
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More than a fluid gameplay however the mode needs a competitive environment. I already mentioned some sort of league system above, but really anything will do. Give guys statistics to compare each other, a leaderboard, elo rating, matchmaking, titles, achievement, and yes, an annual tournament that hands our some nice stuff. Sahha could really develop into something with the proper foundation.
Currently it’s just a very annoying tutorial quest that players do once on each character and never come back to. Congrats for adding another “Theft of the Crown” I guess?
There Might Not Be Sufficient Resources
Now who’s going to take care of what I suggested? Well, I don’t know. Julia recently said events are still getting the short end of the stick. So despite some minor reward updates (and apparently some bigger changes to the Halloween event, we’ll see), we shouldn’t expect too much. The dev power to tackle these things is just not there.
It’s still something I think the game has to look into long-term. They’ve tried the “mini-game” approach multiple times, and failed miserably each time due to bad execution or lack of maintaining the features. Imagine a functional Stronghold MOBA, Sahha tournaments in the summer and sled racing competitions in the winter. Woo-hoo!
It’s really no rocket science. People enjoy side activities and taking a break from their dailies. It’s no coincidence that Battlefronts in WoW’s Battle for Azeroth might turn into the most anticipated feature. RTS for an MMO? There you go! I’m not saying Sahha could become equally big, but it’s about time the devs start thinking features through more thoroughly, build them for the future, and not just rush them out there to have “content” short term.
What’s your take on Sahha? Can it be saved and improved or has that ship long sailed? Share your thoughts and experience on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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