Wednesday, 30 December 2009

AoE - Can WAR learn from WoW?

I got an email recently from CMK author of the blog, he wanted to know if I thought WoW’s latest changes to AoE could be the solution for WAR’s rampant AoE of doom. I have to say before I got the email I hadn’t heard about the AoE changes in WoW, but I think he just might be onto something…

Here's the exact text of the change:

”Area-of-Effect Damage Caps: We’ve redesigned the way area damage is capped when hitting many targets. Instead of a hard cap on total damage done, the game now caps the total damage done at a value equal
to the damage the spell would do if it hit 10 targets. In other words, if a spell does 1000 damage to each target, it would hit up to 10 targets for 1000 each, but with more than 10 targets, each target would take 1000 damage divided by the number of targets. 20 targets would be hit for 500 damage each in that example.”

Obviously those numbers are just an example, but you get the idea. Would it be enough? Unless the reduction in power is significant, when 10 Bright Wizards/Sorcerers turn on their PBAoE it’s still going to be instant death for everyone in range. Yet potentially I think it could work, with some clever number juggling it could certainly have a big positive impact on AoE in WAR.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Roll out the barrel!

Just saw this thread on WHA. These guys are on to a bloody great idea. Mythic could actually intentionally add player deployable barricades and obstacles.

As someone mentions there, this could be a great way to flesh out the "support DPS" concept of Magus and Engineers.

Potential there me thinks.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Xmas

I went looking for something Christmasy to kill, but all I could find were some White bearded dwarves playing in the Snow. The little tossers.

Have a good one all ;)

Sunday, 20 December 2009

It's not all zergy zerg zerg

I've had a few slightly funky RvR sessions over the last couple of days, almost all of which were not Zerg related!

Using my Chosen I teamed up with a Marauder from KF and we went looking for trouble in Reikland. In some ways this was a bit dumb as the zone had zergs from both sides trying to capture it, but we figured we could scrub about and maybe, just maybe get some small scale action. I was very pleased to find bloody loads of it! Sure, we also got zerged by warbands plenty, but we did get lots of fights against more manageable numbers. Was a good laugh taking on whole groups at once to see how many we could kill before their numbers won the day. Ego whore moment; we kicked much arse :D

It was also cool to see some enemy warbands and random players recognise and respect what we were doing, and letting us fight on fairer terms. Though I did have a full retard moment where I quaked a warband that was quite happily riding past me... Didn't work out so well for me that :p I blame the latest post pig pox illness slowing my feeble brain.

Then a bit later I went to Karak Norn's designated duelling area and had a few scraps, which is nothing remarkable in itself. However I had a duel with a Swordmaster that lasted over 10 minutes... I didn't note the start time alas, as it was only when I realised it was taking a while that I started watching it. So it may have been as much as like 15 minutes... I wonder what the longest fight ever has been? DoK versus WP could take a while I bet...

And then tonight there was a preorganised 1v1 roaming PvP event in Praag/Chaos Wastes. Unfotunately I could only go for an hour or so, as the wife & sprog needed me to resolve a conflict... Alas epic pixel bashing doesn't qualify as a good excuse to stay on the PC. Anyway, it was a cool event and if your server doesn't do this sort of thing, I would recommed you try it out.
As for how I did? Meh, I had a rough time. I won a few against a mixture of opponents, but I also got my arse well and truely kicked. Before tonight I had never lost to an Archmage 1v1, which led to a big shock when I was repeatedly kited to buggery :p I have a new found respect for DPS Archmages. The other people I lost to were a Bright Wizard, Ironbreaker and White Lion. They're not classes I normally struggle with 1v1 at all, but all of these guys were not only high RR but also great players and I got spanked like a cheap tart. Whilst I would have almost certainly lost against them regardless, it has highlighted to me that I need stop fucking about with my 7 regularly played alts and focus on getting Bootae's renown rank and gear up to scratch. That's not an excuse for losing, like I said I would probably have lost anyway, but I'm not doing myself any favours.

Coming up tomorrow is another server event; roaming 6v6 fighting. Not sure what my group will look like yet, as it starts a bit early for a guild like ours, but whatever we throw together it should be a good laugh.

So there's plenty of non-Zerg action out there, if you want to find it.

Friday, 18 December 2009

WAR's new Producer's Letter brings a new Producer

You can find the new Producer's letter here:

So Jeff Skalski role has changed to something else WAR related and Bruce Maclean is the new Producer. I'm not going to read much into that, it could be due to positive or negative things, or just the everyday office stuff we all have at work.

Bruce Maclean kicks off straight away with his first Producer's letter, which is a bit of a mixed bag. It spends FAR too much time dwelling on how amazing everything Mythic has brought in recently is, when tbh we all know about these changes. Of course I understand this letter is just another outlet for hyping up the game, but that's just not going to wash with WAR's embittered community. If you're reading that letter, you already know about the first 3/4 of it. Personally I'd prefer it if the Producer's letter spent more time putting up lights at the end of the tunnel.

Thankfully it's not without clues to the future...

Looking back at past accomplishments is all well and good, but we’re not resting on our bloodied laurels here in the land of WAR! Next year is going to be an exciting one, and I am looking forward to sharing more of our plans during the frigid days and long winter nights of January. We’ll have exciting new Live Events, new weapons and cloaks earned by spilling the blood of your enemies in RvR, a new Scenario structure, economy and loot drop improvements, adjustments to the King and Warlord encounters to convert them to RvR-only battles, UI customization enhancements, Tier 4 RvR campaign improvements, daily quests and so much more - and that’s just our near term plans for 2010.
 Farther into the year we’ll see…oh but you’ve heard me ramble enough! It’s time for that drink, battle, and crying enemies!

OK, brief but fairly interesting.
The RvR weapons and cloaks I presume everyone already knew about, but this is definately worth a nod to. It really can't come soon enough and I'll be most intrigued to see how it works. I'm hoping it uses the existing crests.

New scenario structure? That could mean anything... I suspect it's cross server scenarios.

Economy and loot drop improvements... Ok, if it means less utterly irrelevant green drops, that's no bad thing.

RvR-only Warlord and King battles? Now that is very interesting. Is this the end of RvE? Or will it be like the current city sieges where half the people involved are in empty instances watching a counter tick upwards? Perhaps Mythic have a cunning plan... Regardless, this is something a lot of people have been asking for and fair play to Mythic for acting on it. This will undoubtedly have a LOT of eyes on it from the community.
UI customisation... uhm ok. Not got problems with the current UI myself, but sounds good.
Tier 4 campaign improvements... Another "this could mean anything" comment. However, it's desperately needed. The current campaign is an utter farce and on my server the Underdog system has actually made it worse. It's just meant even more city sieges for BOTH factions... Real improvements can't come fast enough.
Daily quests... Err.. unless oRvR related... whatever. WoW is that way -->
Farther into the year we’ll see… Damn it! More info now pls :P


Tonight we went out for some RvR action with a two and a half group Kill Frenzy warband. Without really intending too we ended up with an almost entirely melée based warband, other than a few healers and one single target spec sorc. All told it was a frustrating experience.

Obviously against the Order puggies we cleaned house, including us delivering some brutal maiming in a busy Altdorf instance... This was despite the Destro puggies (supposedly on our side) best efforts to constantly guard pull...

It was against the Order premade guild warbands that our unintentional melée theme became annoying. Every single Order warband was bombing, and credit to them they did so effectively, but it was frustrating because there wasn't a great deal we could do. Partly our fault because not only did we lack range and bombers, but also our warband was cobbled together and didn't really have any synergy with the class balance in it. Other than just having lots of melee, there was no proper theme to givr it direction. You can make effective melée groups, in fact earlier today some of the guys were doing a 2 Chosen 4 DoK group that was brutally effective in scenarios. However tonights warband just wasnt right for facing bombers. I guess the thing is just like the best bomb groups you have to start excluding people because of the choice they made when they very first logged into WAR. Can't take more than 1 of class X... Go re-roll bitch.

A few weeks back we ran a 3 group bomb warband. Obvious results against decent opponents really, same as in the earlier days of bombing when we bombed regularly like everyone else. If we outnumbered the enemy we won, if they outnumbered us they won, if it was roughly even numbers then it's 50/50. Just depends who's bombs & CC go off first, with better gear adding an edge occasionally. Had some damn tight fights against one of my fave enemy guilds "Crimson" that night, /salute to them, but even so it was still boring as hell. I so hate bombing.

Amusingly, or perhaps it was just tragic, on that night we went up against a full Order warband that had a few tanks, a good collection of healers and ONLY Bright Wizards for DPS. Not a single other class. Got burnt by them, shock horror. 8+ Bright Wizards turning on their AoE at once has predictible results no matter what they're fighting...

Anyway not really sure where I'm going with this other than to say... Bombing is still ruining the game and for Gods sake Mythic will you please address it. I dont want to have to bomb, but it seems that all anyone does these days. Putting aside tonights lack of synergy in our set up, because I put my hands up, that was our stupid mistake, but it is bloody annoying to know we can be as effective as pretty much anyone, if we decide to play in the most boring way and bomb bomb BOMB!

PS: I don't blame bombers for bombing. It is the most effective way to win in WAR. I won't stop using Ravage because it hits hard. Which I imagine is why even when I'm solo, if I encounter Bright Wizards they bomb me :p

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Could the public test servers be more public?

I saw this post today and it got me thinking:

Why don't Mythic (and GOA) start using their Public Test Servers a bit more imaginatively?

At the moment the PTS is only used to test the next patch, which is fair enough, but it could be taken further. Use it to try out new things, not things planned for patch 1.x but things that it would just be interesting to see working (or not). Crazy ideas from both Developers and the playing community, things like that thread suggested and much more...

Making all AoE cause friendly fire.
Or remove ALL AoE entirely, heals, damage, debuffs, the lot.
Make Tier 4 full RvR with some of each zones PQs converted to Battle Objectives.
I don't know... whatever interesting thing that could be tried out with minimal effort but still providing something potentially funky.

Of course if Mythic were to do this, the hate brigade would jump on it as them showing a lack of direction or something. Pffft... I think it would show a game developer showing more interest in their players suggestions and being open to creativity.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Sorry for a brief lapse... posting. I got utterly slaughtered on Friday night through to saturday morning, then had a 2 day hangover, from which I'm still not 100% reovered and now work is mad busy. Doh.

Be warned, booze is bad. I will post again once I've regained function in what remains of my brain.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Squig Frenzy!

And one shaman...

Click for bigger pics ;)

1.3.3 first impressions

This is slightly random due to only having a brief amount of time online so far...

Bloom/HDR/Post processing whatever you want to call them effects look nice. Though I'm getting very noticeable sort of shading gradient lines in the sky, not sure what this is. Performance wise it's running well. If I max everything out its not so hot where there are large numbers of players and spells effects going off with FPS down in the 10-20 range, but that's probably down to my graphics card (GTX260) not being top of the line. Once I tweaked some things down to a bit more mid range I was back to FPS of 40+. So far I'm pleased with the graphics. My Magus' disk looks awesome.

Its a kinda irrelevant change, but I really like the new animated character select screen. It adds a bit of extra atmosphere and is just that bit more polished. Also they've changed the stance of your characters when you get your portrait up, it looks cooler now. Again irrelevant, but nice.

On the Chosen front... Ravage nerf is perfectly acceptable. Dreadfull Terror appears to now work. All is good.

From people talking in alliance chat, I gather the Action Point nerf for Sorcerers (and Wizards) is quite a big deal. Myself, I've not yet been in any bombing fights, so I'm not sure if this will be the nerf bombing needs or not. Hopefully... as long as it doesn't ruin their classes in other ways of course.

lol @ /kata

/cower gone?

Not had any bug problems yet and neither have I seen anyone complaining. So far so good.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Respect your elders

Late last night we scrabbled a group together from the dregs of us left online and decided to do a scenario or two before bed. It wasn't a bomb group or anything and our healers were both low RR alts, but we had 2 tanks, 2 healers and 2 DPS, all of which were being used by decent players. It was a solid group and I expected us to bring some pain. And we did. The first couple of scenarios went well, with us winning comfortably and kicking much arse, but then it went a bit pear shaped...

We joined Battle for Praag, sitting there full of confidence and waiting for the start timer to expire, when one of the guys looked at the player list and spoke up on vent "er.. think this won't go so well...".

He was soooo right.

We were facing some decent Order, which is no biggy, but also a premade from one of the top Order guilds that included pretty much all their big names. Not only good players, but equipped with the very best gear the game offers (including one with full Sovereign) and at Realm rank 80. How they find the time to play so much I don't know, but they've certainly made the most of that time. We lost 500-85, didn't get a single kill and I earned a single bloody renown point. I've never lost so bad :P

We were a bit random at times admittedly, but even when on the ball, we just couldn't out DPS their healing, or heal through their DPS. It was horrid... I've not got that many real life Elders in game, but this sure made me respect the potency of the renown rank version.


Monday, 7 December 2009

Loving Tier 1 right now

Credit where credit is due, Mythic have done well with their changes to Tier 1. Sure by funnelling everyone into Nordland we miss out on the other pairing’s zones, but to be honest they were always really sodding quiet anyway. Since the changes, every time I log in with a tier 1 alt I’ve found the zone to be packed with players. Constant fighting in the RvR lake, which with its 3 Battle Objectives and well arranged terrain provides plenty of good scraps. I’m a big a fan of the Nordenwatch and Ekrund scenarios, so it’s great to see those scenarios pop regularly. Obviously the Elf one doesn’t pop so much, but then it’s a bit meh compared with the others anyway, so who cares.

Other than RvR the most noticeable change is finding people are actually doing Public Quests. Rewind to almost any point before the changes and you’d have found them empty. Actually on the subject of PvE, there’s also the Hunters Vale dungeon now in Tier 1. This was a great move. I wish WAR had more dungeons like this, not too short, but most definitely not too long and rather well polished too.

Also the new tutorial pop up screens are a great idea. Really well presented.

The only thing I’d like to see changed is for Mythic to add more Battle Objectives. It works well now, but I think there’s great potential with a couple more. There’s quite a bit of RvR enabled terrain that isn’t really ventured into (also Norsca’s beaches are asking for some WAR!), which is a shame because it’s a great looking zone. But I’m nit picking, Mythic did good and it will be very interesting how many new players stick around.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Saturday night's RvR in a few pictures

Click the pics for the bigger images.

A few (318...) Order arrive.

"We bomb because we're outnumbered" doesn't quite stand up to scrutiny. :P
They bomb, we bomb, every-bloody-one bombs.

Defenders in the keep are smothered by red pixels.

A look at the map confirms; WAR is indeed everywhere.

Our group tried to slow Order getting into IC, which meant we got into IC late and had an empty instance. :( I did get a nice shot of me posing at the Apex though.

But despite my posing, the end result was always going to be Order visiting the Citadel.

And I believe they got 7 king kills. No shots of that obviously, being instanced PvE. Such a shame all the proper PvP leads to PvE. Gratz to winners tho ;)

Friday, 4 December 2009

Frank requests fog lights

Check out Frank's post on WHA:

Frank is absolutely 100% correct and that post sums up the situation perfectly. Mythic, please, PLEASE read his post and take it seriously. We need you to fit us with some fog lights.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Mythic, a tip on tooltips and patch notes

Sometimes Mythic really don't help themselves. The latest patch includes a LOT of tool tips being fixed and in the patch notes Mythic have listed every single one. Thing is, we couldn't give two shits about bloody tool tips. Yet as you browse the patch notes, hoping to see something positive for your gimped Black Orc, Shadow Warrior, etc, all you see are tool tips being fixed...

There's nothing wrong with fixing tooltips, but listing them like this, even going so far as splitting them in the career sections, it just adds insult to injury. This is not something your subscribers consider a "real" fix. You are giving people fuel for the hate fire, which is obviously not a great idea. This isn't the first time either.

Please in future just have one line in the patch notes stating that a lot of tool tips were fixed.

Despite this patch having some potentially good stuff, it's already become known as the tool tip patch.

When's 1.4 out?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Close Quarters is....

...still in the game. Why?

The biggest problem in class balance and overall RvR is the insane power of AoE. Charges are still led by Wizards and Sorcs instead of melee. Why has the latest patch once again ignored this?

I can live with the patch notes being a bit meh and uninspiring, but this apparent ignorance of WAR's longest running and most annoying balance issue is seriously doing my head in.

For God's sake Mythic sort it out. Not just tooltips :P

PS: I hear that one of the BW changes will impact on bombing. Unfortunately most of the posts I've read are by infamous trolls, so I guess we'll have to wait and see if that's true or not. Let's hope. If so I will happily eat these words.

PSS: Ravage nerfed, fine with me I'll live. AP aura buffed, great as long as it's also fixed...

Monday, 30 November 2009

Vamping it up

As I mentioned recently, I already know what I want for a Live Expansion... I want Sylvania and Drakenhof Castle.

Sylvania is the home of the Vampire Counts, specifically the Von Carsteins, warhammer's classic Dracula style vampires. Being Warhammer they are a bit more aggresive than Bram Stoker's vampire, with world domination and an eternity of night well and truely on the agenda. The land they call home is the classic European vampire setting, dark, decaying, gothic and oh so very atmospheric.

I would want 3 zones. The main countryside outdoors, the crypts and dungeons as a huge underground zone and then  Drakenhof Castle itself as the third area. All of which would be fully RvR enabled and NOT instanced. There would be boss PQs like the Colossus requiring players to work together to activate them, also lairs and other epic feeling events, but all of which would have the risk of enemy players attacking. There would also be lots of RvR themed PQs that would affect movement within the zone itself and add a further tactical element. Bridges to destroy, caves to collapse, that sort of thing.

I would suggest lots of things that could be done communally, not just with 1 group. Perhaps to activate major boss events and special RvR activities. Then the big crunch would be in Drakenhof itself, some kind of hard to reach and hard to win event that would have a positive impact on the faction that manages it. Something that would be worth the effort, but at the same time is not over powered.

The basic concept is full RvR, non-instanced zones that don't lock, are not gated and have loads of fun things to do. A place where all PvE has a risk of PvP attacks, but has rewards that merit the risk for all involved, both those trying the PvE and those attacking them. Everything organised and spread out in such a way that it promotes small group play and limits the effect of zergs.

Not exactly a new concept, but one that will do me I reckon :)

Update: I forgot to pimp Oneshard's WAR video. It does a good job of showing how much better the game runs now and if you've not played WAR before, it certainly gives you an idea of how you can PvP all the way to 40 :)


A week or so ago those nice folks over at WHA invited me to take part in their podcast. Despite copious amounts of Dutch courage and me being a dirty saaaarthen English git, somehow I managed to avoid swearing. I think anyway... Can't check it right now as I have pig pox and am writing this on my phone whilst the bloody coughing fits keep me awake. Anyways here's a link:

Friday, 27 November 2009

Complacency beats KF to death with their own shoes

My guild "Kill Frenzy" has always been pretty good in scenarios. In the past when we did regular premades it would normally result in a night of wins, with at absolute worst only a handfull  of competitively fought losses. Order publically respected our groups and I can say without ego bias that we had earnt it. 

Over the last few months we haven't been running premade scenario groups, other than a few random occasions. People got distracted by other games, or alt characters and we pretty much dropped out of the scenario scene.

This week we returned!

And we got our arses kicked really, really badly. You see, we came back thinking we're good, just cobbled some groups together and went out there all confident. On two seperate nights we had 1 healer and 3 lowbies per group, plus there was no synergy in our set ups. Yet we were surprised when we lost in horrific fashion. In other words we got cocky and extremely complacent. Unintentionally we were probably disrepecting our Order enemies and we paid the shameful price. I was bloody livid, at myself mainly for letting us get so damn slack. One doesn't simply walk into Mordor...

I guess sometimes it's easy to forget the red names are other people, people who may be just as good as (or better than) you think you are. Having had this wake up call we've decided from now on with our pre-arranged guild RvR nights we'll only do scenarios with serious groups. Though other times we'll mess about more, but no more 2 random KF groups in one scenario.

There is no place in PvP for complacency, as my sore buttocks can testify to.     

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Thorn wishes Aegis, the colours of space

The idea of a true Warhammer 40,000 MMO is one of those dream games. Travelling the galaxy as Rogue Trader exploring, fighting, trading, just trying to survive… Or perhaps as servants of the Inquisition, scouring the galaxy of heretics, xenos and worse. Or scrubbing about as a Hive Ganger, trying to score big and get out of the damned lower hive. Whatever the details, we’d be paving our own way in the brutal, uncompromising and vast 40k universe. How glorious it would be!

Shame it’s never going to bloody happen. Too many people would want to be sodding space marines or tree hugging pointy-eared space gits. Before you know it, the game would get all superhuman and any real chance of character development is stifled. When the 40k MMO currently in development arrives it’ll be something shooty, where we get to play the uber warriors of different races and don’t have to think too much. Probably something, more like Planetside, which in many ways is no bad thing, but it’s a shame we’ll never get to experience the real 40k “universe”. Within the lore itself Spacemarines, Eldar Aspect Warriors, Necrons and so on are meant to be very rare; the vast majority of imperial citizens would never see them. Obviously they’re all very appealing, full of character, awesome imagery and pew pew lasers, but they lack freedom.

A spacemarine is a spacemarine, is a spacemarine. He has a bolt gun and a knife. Some of them have other guns, but not many of them and at the end of the day it’s all very prescriptive. He doesn’t go where he likes, he has no social life or freedom, he follows orders and that’s it. Aspect Warriors? Just like spacemarines really. They train and they fight as ordered by their Farseers, nothing else. Necrons? They… uhm… stand still for millennia, wake up, shoot things, stand still for millennia, wake up, shoot things…. These characters are fine for a shooty game, but they are no good for an mmoRPG. Players of WAR with it's Warhammer Fantasy setting will know that it also has a selection of dedicated warrior types, but their lifestyles are not as restricted as those in 40k. To allow the RPG element of our characters to flourish we need to have lifestyle choices and WAR gives the RPer in us (no matter how small) at least a chance of player freedom, it wouldn't be so easy with 40k.  Not without butchering the lore and then it stops being Warhammer.

However would enough people be interested in a 40k game where we played character types with more control over their destiny? Bounty hunters, Inquisitors, savants, Arbrites, ex-Imperial Guard veterans, Rogue Traders, hive scum, etc, etc. Would people want to play a 40k MMORPG themed around those type of characters? Or would they just complain about the lack of spacemarines? Sure, I would love to run around blowing up alien scum with a bolt gun, but I’d also like something immersive, something with that sandbox MMO depth and feeling.

I’ve often pondered on a Necromunda themed MMORPG. The hive gangs and noble houses in the upper spires could make perfect player clans, there’s a monstrous range of character class options and the hive city has incredible potential for PvE and PvP. It really could make a unique and compelling sand box game. However the one I’d really love to play would be themed around the Inquisition. A galaxy spanning with different playable factions, something like the Inquisition and various chaos xenos cults. Fighting a secret war across the Imperium, heh I guess it would be the ultimate cops and robbers MMO. But it’s just that lack of damn spacemarines… both ideas are probably too niche for a developer to even consider taking a punt on.

I'm sure I'll like the 40k MMO when it arrives. It's Warhammer and I'm a sucker for that gothic goodness, but I think I'll always have that nagging feeling, it could be so much more. This is the curse of Warhammer, be it 40k or Fantasy.

1.3.3 patch notes are coming soon

I'm not really sure what to expect from it.

It's gonna have the graphic improvements, but other than that...

Will the underdog system be in place?

Big career changes?

Anything global omfg it changes everything?

Monday, 23 November 2009

Keeping the faith

Assuming all is actually well with WAR and it has a positive future, I really do think Mythic need to announce something big and exciting if we are to keep the faith.

I've been pondering what I would consider as big and exciting enough...

Third Faction
This is the obvious one, but its also by far the biggest, most difficult and probably least likely. That doesn't stop it being the best thing that could happen to WAR.

Fortress Relic Raids
This could be great, but perhaps it would need a bit of extra spice to satisfy everyone. If the forts go back exactly as they were just with the relic to steal, then it could be seen as a bit of a lazy addition. Whilst it will be a welcome distraction from the campaign mess we have now, I'm not sure how the community would react to this one. Is it enough?

Live Expansion
A second Land of the Dead sized expansion would certainly be a sign of continued growth. There are so many things that could be done, from Sylvania to the Ogre Kingdoms, the Warhammer world is rich in untapped content. But what manner of live expansion would people want? RvR based, PvE or a hybrid? I know what I want, but that's another topic to post about :)

Expansion with new races for the existing factions
Skaven and Lizardmen... New zones to fight in and new careers to play. As much as I would prefer new races in a third faction, I would still be happy with this. And there would be no arguing with it as a statement of Mythic's ongoing commitment to WAR.

It's all good and well Mythic denying the claims of maintenance mode, but for everyone to believe it they need to give us a bit more to go on. The world is an increasingly faithless place (in all respects)...

Mythic! We need a sign.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Open RvR Closed

The Eltharion server is about to go bye bye.

GOA will shortly start transfers away from the last open RvR server in Europe. Eltharion's player base has only Karak Norn and Karak Azgal left to choose from. It’s always a shame to see a server die and WAR has certainly had more than its fair share of server deaths, but this closure brings us to a very unimpressive 2 English speaking European servers. This news raises lots of questions and isn’t exactly the positive news we wanted to hear after all the Mythic lay offs.

Will this be the last transfer?
Is this a consolidation of a stable population?
Or is it only a matter of time before we have 1 European server?
Will the future see us being transferred to US servers?

I don’t know the answers, but let’s just say it’s hard to put a positive spin on this. Mythic really need to announce something big to promote confidence in the game’s long-term prospects. An expansion announcement is about the only thing that would do to be honest. Unless the fortress replacement is bloody amazing, but their last comments about forts gave the shocking impression that they’re undecided on what to do with them…

As for the here and now… I don’t know about Azgal, since my Order alts are on Eltharion, but Norn is still very busy and it will be interesting to see what effect the transferred players will have. I just hope we get more new Destruction than Order. Norn still has both cities being sieged, but Order most definitely has an edge and from recent events it would appear an advantage in active and motivated numbers. It would be tragic if our server had its balance ruined by a mass of Eltharion Order arriving. That would no doubt accelerate us towards a single European server.

Right back when WAR launched we came very close to starting our guild on a oRvR server, but people who were in beta for longer than I were saying the chicken mechanic made oRVR a joke, so we decided not to risk it. A shame really, because over time it seems it was nothing more than scare-mongering. There’s little difference between core and oRvR to be honest (other than levelling), it still has masses of wasted terrain outside of the central RVR lakes due to the lack of objectives or incentive to go there. Anyway it’s a shame it’s going, I had some fun messing around in the lower tiers with my Order alts.

All in all, another bleak few days for WAR.

[ update ] Something I'm wondering after a discussion this evening...
How many active European servers are there in total?

I'm looking at the server list now and I can see:
4 English language
4 German
1 Spanish
3 French
1 Italian

The list is odd, since it includes Karak Eight Peaks which is a dead server having had transfers off it and tbh I thought was already closed, it's certainly marked for death. Obviously it's still got Eltharion on it for now... but in reality it will very shortly be 2 servers only. So how many of those other language servers are actually active? Anyone know?

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Colossal Colossus

Couple of days ago I got my first experience of fighting the Colossus in Land of the Dead. In case you’re not familiar with this particular beastie, here’s the low down. When a group successfully clears all 8 bosses in Tomb of the Vulture Lord and the PQ outside is then completed again, it activates a special public quest that has excellent rewards. With a boom the giant statue outside the tomb collapses and its colossal upper torso hits the ground. The statue's crippled remains come alive and is very, very angry. The public quest is to kill it.

It’s quality boss fight and one that I think Mythic have got very right. The boss has a range of abilities and requires certain tactics to fight, however unlike so many boss events in MMOs, it’s arranged in such a way that you can quite quickly work out what you have to do. You probably won’t beat it first time (we didn’t anyway), but unless you are special you will at least learn the fight and be confident for the next time. It’s not even vaguely tank and spank, but there’s no need to search the interweb for obscure tactics. It really is a very well presented fight.

I’m also a big fan of it as a non-instanced, community promoting fight in an RvR enabled zone. It encourages cooperation and provides natural drama. We must have had 60-100 people there, all working together and all bloody paranoid about Order turning up. The fight itself has a 15 minute timer, so we were already a little tense, but when you add the fear of your enemy faction arriving, it really does add a wonderful extra level of tension to the event... It reminded me of the dragons in DAoC or dungeon fighting in UO’s Felucca, albeit more complex boss wise.

This style of PvE event is what I would like to see more of in WAR. There’s no need to instance everything and have us buried away in dungeons. Give us more large scale PvE bosses that feel like big events when they’re activated. Use the PQ contribution system to share out good rewards (read not like the crap on lair bosses), so these events have incentive beyond the first kill. And have them in places where we have to keep our eyes open for enemies. A healthy mix of gaming excitement and paranoia please!

And now I must temper my enthusiasm with a rant...

Do NOT link great events like this to bug ridden bloody dungeons, where clearing it is as much about sodding luck as anything else. I posted the other day about how my return to TotVL was cancelled by bugs, well… the other guild group that went that day ALSO had to stop because of bugs. Third boss was moving with his legs inside the floor, which meant the bomb animation was not visible. Then when they wiped because of this and ran back they found the door to the boss room was locked for half the group and open for the others, so that was the end of that.

When ToTVL came out, for the first few months Kill Frenzy was one of the guilds with the furthest progress (6 boss kills quite early) into ToTVL, but then we stopped going because the bugs were so annoying. Now that we decide it must have had enough time to get sorted out, we find the opposite. It’s very hard to motivate people to go when it’s generally seen as a waste of an evening. The bosses won’t drop Tyrant because of the ridiculous loot rules (I’ve seen 4 pieces drop ever) and it will bug and screw up everything anyway.

Honestly, I have to /salute the guys that are persevering night after night to get it cleared. I can’t log on that much anyway, but even if I could… fair play to you chaps. I’ll happily fight that Colossus though ;)

Monday, 16 November 2009

Rorschach you are not

Mmmm Gud hits the nail on the head with the blog post "Maintenance mode? Absolutely incorrect".

But of course the doom callers will say the post Lokax links to is just from some community manager, so what do they know eh? Random forum troll #11678 knows much more, they have secret sources in Mythic, not that they can ever reveal them or give anything to validate their expertise. Oh, you used to work on MMOs? And that one over there is a financial expert? And chugnuts in the corner, a business analyst on Wall Street? Accurate estimates? Yeah we like those!

You know bugger all. Stop making shit up and stating it as fact.

The people stumbling across the interweb screaming "the end is nigh!" are exactly like the people with placards doing the same crap on city streets.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

ToVL is STILL a buggy pain in the neck

I'm writing this while waiting for a CSR, but it's been a while so I think I'm stuffed. We wiped at the third boss and now the instance has bugged, the doors in the first room are locked and we can't back in.

It's really, really annoying. The group I'm in with tonight is mainly people that have never been here before. We were showing them how the place worked. Even after all this time, it would seem it still works "badly".

Bit like LV...

Mythic, pls give up on PvE and focus purely on RvR :P

Friday, 13 November 2009

Busy busy busy!

Been a bit slow posting this week, sorry ;)

It's all gone a bit mental trying to juggle gaming and real life, so much so that I've had little time to write anything up. Reason for this increased juggling is the quality game releases over the last few weeks. As well as WAR and EVE, I'm playing a lot of Football Manager 2010 and ofc Dragon Age Origins, both of which rock big time.

A few quick words on WAR though. After the EA layoff news, the haters have been out in force. However it's been a real pleasure to see our server staying busy and competitive, with plenty of moments this week where I got to rampage through the enemy and others where my backside was proper battered. IC and Altdorf both being sieged, still far too often, but at least it's not one side dominating.

On a slightly random tangent, I'm switching characters like a mad thing at the moment. Really enjoying Chosen, Choppa, Magus and Shaman. Shammy is my target for my 4th level 40. Everyone needs a level 40 goblin IMHO. Only problem with all these characters is I've not got an uber geared and Renown Ranked character like many folks do. The variety is cool though.

Quick update: There is a new Producer's letter out. It's a bit short, but does have a couple of goodies in it. Graphic updates, including bloom, are on there way. Not high on my priority list, but I do know people that will be very pleased about that. 3 live events over the current patch period, one of which is a new one and probably pirate themed judging by the yaarrrr...

Anyways must go, I've got Dinamo Kiev in the Champions League Quarter Finals to play.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Storm in a tea cup or turd covered fan?

Ok so what we know is:

EA have made 1500 job cuts, some of which (apparently 80) are from Mythic.

Other than that we don't know anything.

Various people who claim to have insider knowledge are saying that it's all of Mythics creative staff gone and the whole studio is now in maintenance mode. That's what they say, but there has been nothing from EA or Mythic to confirm this. They could be right, or it could be the usual shit stirring. Certainly some of the so called experts/insiders/whatever are people recognised as having an axe to grind and they've sniped at WAR with every opportunity, so whilst I'm not writing off what they say, I'm certainly not taking it as gospel either...

In fact be they good or bad, I would recommend not taking any forum "experts", bloggers or anyone stating facts seriously. Speculation and rumour, not a lot else yet.

It boils down to this: We don't know anything and will have to wait for confirmation. Not that it sounds great :P

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Friday, 6 November 2009

Mythic become attracted to Starbucks

It's waking up to that alluring coffee smell that does it...

You've probably already heard about the city changes, but if not go read this post on the official Mythic forums.

It's a decent sticky plaster fix and makes perfect sense as something they could quickly do. Long term, as Mythic themselves acknowledge in that post, they need to be (and are) doing more, but this works for me now. I liked both those scenarios and I'm very happy about the siege length reduction. Sure it doesn't fix how regular sieges are, but at least they won't be ruining my whole night anymore.

However the thing I like best about this is the simple fact that Mythic are not waiting for the 1.3.3 patch, instead they are promptly implementing much needed changes and in a considered manner. Think back a few months and there is no way we would have seen Mythic do something like this, knowing better they would have ignored player concerns, or at the very least been extremely slow to act on them.

I've stated my concern a few times lately; if the city crap was left for too long it would totally distract from the massive performance improvements in 1.3.2. It's very important that when a patch makes things go tits up that Mythic act fast and don't let the rot set in. Looks like Mythic have realised this too.

GJ chaps.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The King is dead! Long live the King!

Yesterday Karak Norn witnessed it's first king kill. Well, I say Karak Norn witnessed it, but to be honest that's a somewhat misleading use of words. It was a server first, but it was only witnessed by a very small number of people, since the kill happened at 4:40 AM. :P

As you can no doubt imagine, a lot of negative things have been said about the time it happened. I'm not sure if it was a pre-planned alarm clock raid or just one of those opportune moments that ends up dragging on and on until it's stupid O'clock. Regardless, while it's a shame more people weren't involved and it was undoubtedly easier to do at that time, the thing is people do legitmately play at those times. The morning hours are not just the domain of students poncing of society or workshy life leeching toerags, there are many people doing shift work or playing from timezones that are very different to the servers. They're all allowed to play the game just as much as the rest of us.

Plus some people with more "normal" working hours are just plain mad and will have gone to work after 2 hours sleep... It's not something I would want to do, but I'm getting too old for that nonsense and would probably need to do a Scarface to stay awake. I hope the pixels were worth it you bunch of mentalists ! :D

Aaaaaaaand it's worth saying that Destro have done early morning raids and didn't kill the Order king, so no matter how people may malign Order's kill, they still did it first.

/salute Karak Norn Order

Monday, 2 November 2009

Make it stop… please

This city sieging crap is rapidly getting painfully annoying. In my guild we’re mostly adults (at least physically) with 9-5 jobs, so we won’t get back home from work at least until 6pm, then there’s sorting out dinner, getting the kids to bed, pretend to listen to the wife, tell the Chav scum dealing pills outside to shut the feck up, dodge the bottles they throw at you, go back outside with a cricket bat, trade obscenities in the street and leg it before the old bill arrive…uhm… yeah, maybe that’s just where I live :P

Anyway, it means we can’t really arrange to meet up online until about 8pm UK time. Now, this was fine before 1.3.2, but since the patch every single time we’ve arranged a guild event we’ve logged in to find a city siege under way.
I could cope with this when it was occasional, but seriously guys… every time? And of course if we do join in, then everything’s knackered because the siege is already underway. We’ll most likely find all the good competitive instances are full and we’re stuck with either an empty instance, or one where one of the factions has a constant cycle of people quitting due to being outnumbered or bombtarded. Of course we could wait for it to finish, but generally after a city siege it seems half the server log off, too depressed by its monotony to stay on. So we’re proper buggered.

With the real life commitments many of us have, it’s not like logging in earlier is an option and nor should we have to. Please Mythic do something bloody quickly, I’m not sure I can wait for the next patch. It’s already got to the point where rather than logging straight into WAR with me all happy and full of destructive dreams, instead I first log onto ventrilo, ask what’s happening and if it’s a city I’ll probably choose to play Football Manager or EVE instead. Or smash my face repeatedly into the wall, that’s a bit more entertaining tbh.

Dragon Age Origins comes out this week. Now let me see… play epicly awesome new RPG, or get bored and depressed by WAR citycrap? Ooooh tough choice :P

PLLLLLLLLLEAAAAASE MYTHIC! Do something sharpish, because the patch’s negatives are doing a great job of ruining all the positives. Not that this was obvious or anything. Sorry for the sarcastic I told you so, but it was obvious and try playing on Karak Norn these days.. Actually Mythic posting on the EU forums would be a start.

In the meantime… Dragon Age… hmm tempted by a Dwarf, but I always pick them. Hmm.
Oh and FM2010 rocks ;)

Saturday, 31 October 2009


Kill Frenzy had a greenskin night last thursday. Any guildies that only had lowbie greens were apprenticed up and summoned... Summoned to the WAAAGHMAGEDDON!

HD version here:


GJ Durtbocks on the vid ;)

UPDATE! Another of the guys (Lotusblade) made a vid from the night's fun. This one includes some audio from our ventrilo, which includes me getting a bit sweary trying to organise Orcs :P So don't watch it if you're overly sensitive.

Comedy :)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

There and back again

City sieges are quite probably WAR’s weakest point. Which in my humble opinion makes it rather strange for Mythic to use the 1.3.2 patch to put such massive focus on them. Yes, city sieges are MUCH improved from their past (almost) pure PvE incarnation, but they’re still not exactly good.

Limited gameplay
The cities limit your gaming options far too much. Unless you’re there at the start of the siege, you’ll find yourself stuck with either PUGing the 48v48 instance (which is almost always a terrible experience), or having to log off for hours, because there’s simply nothing else to do. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the tedium of joining a guild warband that’s already inside a city and then having to sit outside alone for ages, all with the vain hope that a spot in the instance will become available… That’s not fun in anyway or form and I’m simply never doing it again, instead I’ll just log off and go to a lower tier, or play a different game. We need more things to do. Scenarios perhaps, so that if we do get online a bit too late and can’t get in our guild/alliance warbands, we will at least have a chance to do something.

The 3 BO capture, 48vs48 instance
Actually this first large scenario/PQ is quite good. The scenario’s simple objectives provide an entertaining and at times even tactical challenge. So why am I listing this as a problem? Well, continuing from the issue of limited gameplay, the problem is that it’s a bit shallow when it’s the only thing to do. The simplicity is great when you don’t do it often, since it lets you get straight into the action and it is fun, but as a regular event it lacks longevity. Same 2 cities, same 3 flags, every night… Familiarity plays the field a bit, then breeds with contempt, only to end up marrying boredom.

The stage 2 PvE raid content
It’s buggy and there’s a problem with the whole concept. As every MMO veteran knows; PvE raid bosses that require tactics to beat, also require practice and a united warband working together. On a competitive server like mine neither side gets to stage 2 often (plus the victory points are often bugged anyway), so the practice does not happen. Also because of the whole city instancing experience, by the time you get to stage 2 it’s very likely you will no longer have a full guild/alliance warband left online (if they got in with you at all). Sods law now decides that you end up with some random bastards who are determined to ruin everything.

Now Mythic, if by chance you read this, please do not see this as me saying we should get to the advanced stages of city sieges more often. We shouldn’t. It should be rare and be a big deal (more on that shortly). Likewise I don’t think the raid itself should be dumbed down. It should be challenging, but it needs to be fair, it needs to be something realistic for people that don’t farm the instance every night. Is that careful balance too much to ask for? Regardless, whatever happens it should be completely bug free. Getting to stage 2 and then have bugs ruin everything is utterly unacceptable. Plus any bugs in this part of the game are a sure way to generate bad feeling.

And further more, does it have to be PvE? When you look at all the buggy instances, PvE hasn’t exactly proven to be Mythic’s speciality. Maybe some sort of more interesting PvP based Public Quest would be better?

There and back again, and again, and again, and...
However, the biggest problem of all is not the city itself; it’s the path to getting there. WAR’s campaign system as a whole is the worst thing about cities…

A while back zone locks became much easier, which was both good and bad. Then with this latest patch and the removal of forts, the game has taken a huge step towards all sense of drama being removed. City sieges are now the norm, something you’ll get to do multiple times a day, every single day…. Getting to a city used to be an achievement, a moment that actually meant something. Alas this is no longer the case and now the whole feel of the game has changed. A friend of mine summed it up well the other day when he said, “they’ve turned the campaign into a death match”.

He’s completely right. WAR needed changes and the forts were almost universally hated, but they did add a speed bump, something that gave the campaign at least a bit of longevity. Without them and with no change to the campaign’s core system, there are no stumbling blocks. A dominant faction becomes more so and more balanced servers turn into a game of table tennis. It’s kind of like the campaign isn’t really a campaign anymore. If you think about what you expect from the very word “campaign”, it implies something long term, something that requires planning, thought and effort. Unfortunately that doesn’t quite work when we ping pong back and forth through the ENTIRE campaign structure in an afternoon. All of the “epic” has gone.

Now this post may have seemed very negative, but I’m not trying to be, I’m just trying to be realistic. In their attempts to improve the campaign experience, Mythic have actually weakened the whole concept of it. This is most definitely not what I wanted, nor is it wanted by anybody else I’ve spoken to. Perhaps that’s because of the server we’re on, but seriously, who wants to play WARlite?

Having said all of that, perhaps Mythic aren’t a million miles away from something great. With some tinkering they could slow the pace right back down, add/change a few things to provide more variety and give us the “epic” we're missing (and add a third faction! HAH Got it in there!). The game today feels small and for me this is mainly down to the small RvR enabled areas and how we blast through them so damn quickly. As I’ve said before, I really think Mythic need to expand the size of the oRvR zones and stop wasting so much space. That’s probably quite a lot of work to do, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done and there are easier to implement short-term solutions in the meantime.

The easiest and most obvious is to make it so you have to lock all 3 pairings to access a city. This can still be quickly zerged through, but it would make it a little bit more difficult at least.

A more entertaining way would be to make all zones active at once. Allowing people to attack in different places and apply some more involved strategies and tactics. Each BO and Keep would be worth a certain amount of “control points”, if you want to lock a pairing you’ll need to capture 75% of those control points in that pairing… Now that’s more like it. In fact, I think I’d be happy with this. It could even lead into a system for reintroducing the other cities, hah!

In the end
I’m glad forts are gone, they sucked royally and I have to say that the decision to remove them is not the only factor in the watering down of WAR’s campaign, but it is a big contributing factor. I’m kind of surprised to find myself saying this, but I miss the days where locking a zone took hours and getting to the enemy city would take effort over many days. I don’t miss what we actually had to do to lock them, but I do miss the feeling of zone locking being an achievement. Actually, that’s not correct. I think I’m missing any feeling of achievement in WAR’s campaign. It’s just too damn quick. All too often lately when I log in, if we’re not already in a city, it’s only an hour or so before we are. And then, the moment a city becomes available, people start logging off.

It's a real shame because right now I'm really enjoying the combat in WAR, but the campaign is total meh.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

This one goes out to people crying about Mythic fixing the AP regen bug


It was broken, it got fixed. Gameplay has gone back to people having to actually manage their action points. No more blindly spamming buttons. This is a good thing. There are reasons why people have potions, abilities, tactics and morales that effect action points... That's right, those ones you removed from your action bars ;)

Though it does suck for Black Orcs who just had their abilities costs increased, so I'll let them off :P

Not had any problems on my alt addicted wide range of characters though... Maybe people need to watch their screens instead of rolling their face across the keyboard? ;)

Saturday, 24 October 2009

A few quick comments on the latest live event

The daemon moon has risen and with it arrives the latest live event. And it's a good one too, unless you are like my missus and scared of masks. In which case you're buggered, unlike my... uhm... yeah... you get the idea. Lots of masks, LOTS!

If you cant get in game right now, take a look over at Werit for screenshots of the task list. It's great to see this is almost entirely PvP based.

The murder ball PQ is very cool when players from both factions are present. It's like a demented game of rugby/capture the flag. Not so good if no enemy are there to fight, but then that's the case for anything PvP wise and makea no sense to complain about.

The masks themselves are an amusing little distraction. Yes it nerfs your DPS/whatever, but who cares, it's just a bit of fun. I'm not so fussed about loot anyway and have to say I've not even bothered checking my event influence rewards properly yet. As for masks, I think I've got about 6 so far, each of which give you a different blessing style ability when you wear them. Rain of Squigs gets points for the best name ;)

Has to be said, I'm liking the character of this event generally. Probably my second favourite after Night of Murder.

 A HUGE plus was when IC was under siege earlier we could still do the live event scenario. Aaaaand it was popping every couple of minutes. Take that point on board pls Mythic ;)

Oh and here's me in a mask. Oh so handsome...

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Mythic comment on players concerns with 1.3.2

There's a good post on the US forums by Andy from Mythic:
I hope we'll get more of this kind of post, it's always good to hear player's concerns acknowledged, it gives us more faith that those concerns will actually get addressed. Of particular note is the Chosen bug being fixed quickly, this should further add to performance improving.

I've spotted a few people complaining about the AP regen being fixed... uhm... It seems to me just like it used to work, before it was... you know, broken. :P Helping to get rid of face rolling button spam and getting people back into the habit of using items, abilities and potions that effect AP, surely is no bad thing?

For those that cba to click the link, via the power of copy and paste here you go:

I wanted to take some time to let you know what the Community Team is currently conveying as important issues to the Dev Team and what the Dev Team is working on. Please keep in mind, this isn't a complete list, but rather a compiled list of things that we consider "Hot" issues since the launch of 1.3.2.

Our goal is to provide players a steady stream of information regarding these concerns in the coming weeks. This information may come in the form of our future/immediate plans for these concerns or informative posts/articles to help educate the community on what was changed and why we did it.

  • Tier 4 Campaign: We understand that the frequency of City Invasion is a primary concern for the community. We're accutely aware that the amount of times that cities are being cracked right now is, to put it bluntly, high. This was not an unexpected result of the removal of Fortresses, and there are positives to this, the least of which is exposing more players to WAR's endgame. That being said, we plan on having more details about the much anticipated Underdog System soon. Also, please be assured that we understand that these concerns go hand in hand with population balance concerns in general.
  • State of the City Siege experience: We hear the players concerns about the city siege experience. There's number of concerns about parts of the City Siege ranging from the Stage 1 Lord encounters to players becoming disinterested after the first hour of the City. We're actively investigating solutions to this and want to have more information to you soon. We've also been looking into player concerns about the City Siege VP, and yes, we did find some issues making the transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2 more difficult than it should be. We should have some fixes for these issues very soon.
  • AP Regen: We understand that many players right now are having a difficult time adjusting to the recent changes to AP regen. Over the coming days we plan on giving the community greater insight as to why we made this change and how we feel it will effect gameplay moving forward. For the immediate (coming weeks) future, our plan regarding these changes is to observe, report, analyze and react.

    We are not making any immediate changes nor will we make knee jerk reactions. As has been our approach with all of our recent Combat and Careers changes, we have a set plan of attack and we are sticking to it. So far, player reaction to this change has been mixed, skewing more towards a positive reception than otherwise.

    Again, please watch the forums and the Herald for more information and educational posts regarding this change.
  • Chosen Aura Bug: Watch the Herald tonight for some Hot Fix notes that include the following:
    "Fixed a bug which could occasionally prevent Chosen auras from toggling off."
  • Client crashes and data corruption amongst Trial Client users: We have identified the cause of this issue and it has been addressed on our internal test servers. This means it should be live soon, if it isn't already .
So these are just some of the issues that we've identified as areas of concern to the Community since 1.3.2 went live. As always, we're reading these forums night and day, spending time playing side by side with our players and overall enjoying all of the amazing performance enhancements introduced in 1.3.2. This patch cycle has been an exciting one and we're equally excited about what the future holds for WAR and all of it's players.

We're well on our way to making WAR everything it has the potential to be and we couldn't do it without the support of you, the players.

We'll see you on the battlefield.

Please keep conversation civil and polite. We will be heavily moderating this thread.


Andy Belford
Community Coordinator
Mythic Entertainment

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Joy! Glorious joy! (but no expansion news sorry :P)

A wave of positivity is sweeping across the WAR battlefield. And why?

Because today, bless their cotton socks, Mythic fixed the AP regen bug. This festering bug basically meant people had unlimited action points, now that may sound good, but no... It sucked royally, since it allowed people to constantly spam abilities, which only served to emphasise the AoE bombing of doom and was generally dumbing down the game.

That fix alone is not enough to bring such joy, but when combined with WAR running much, MUCH, MUCH better now and, well… we’re finally starting to see the oRvR gameplay many people hoped for.

If Mythic follow this up by quickly fixing the new bug with Chosen (and I believe KotBS) auras, where the graphics for the buff icon don’t fade and you get millions AAAAAAAAND millions (ok up to 16) icons for the same buff over and over, which then causes lag, then I predict yet more eruptions of glee and splendiferous excitement.

Also we’re seeing people returning from Aion. Not everyone returning ofc, but a fair few it seems. Grind filled bubbles bursting at just the right time for WAR. It is a good time to come back and will only get better as more bugs are squished over the next few weeks.

As for my concerns about the campaign, yes they’re still valid. It is lacking the old epic feeling and I’m bored of city sieges already. However, the game is running SO well for me, that for now I’m fairly happily distracted. That said, I’ll be getting back to what needs to change with the campaign later. The game deserves better.

But right now, the thing that was WAR player’s biggest complaint, the poor laggy performance, has actually been fixed! Apart from the chosen bug, but hey, credit where credit is due. GJ Mythic.

Now get cracking chaps, seize the moment! There is still much to do.

Fun, a ding and a Magus? Surely not...

Had some entertaining oRvR tonight and no bloody city sieges! YAY! ;) When Praag is good, it's really, really good. It's still my fave pvp zone ever, more so than the legendary Emain, which is high praise indeed.

Also dinged 40 with my 3rd character, a Magus. Yes I am indeed a glutton for punishment :P Now I've just got to get her through the renown ranks and geared up. Magus damage is pony at the best of times, but when poorly geared its very ugh... I like the class though, which is why I've stuck with it. I'm hoping for a proper buff one day ;)

Plus it's a nice challenge playing the official worst class in the game. I just have to avoid getting in any solo situations or it's a brief, hideous and bloody affair. Even so, fun to play and they do look quite cool.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Producers letter, info and stuff

Well my friends not only is the 1.3.2 patch out, but now we also have the Producer's news letter to go with it.
Lets see what's interesting in it then...

It mentions the new features like the IMHO excellent new user experience and the apprentice system, which I've not really seen much from yet, so wont comment.
Then it all goes a bit Pete Tong....
•Fortresses no longer gate ownership over a pairing. LET THE INCREASED CITY SIEGING BEGIN! Don’t worry if it’s your capital city under siege—rewards await you and your Realm for putting up a good fight.

Sweet mother of Tzeentch! A celebration of the worst thing this patch brings us! Delusional :P We wanted fortresses FIXED, or REPLACED with you know, something good... not bloody REMOVED! Ahh misery our campaign has been turned into a bloody deathmatch! To quote a friend just now, "there is now something worse than Epic Fail.. MYTHIC FAIL!" lol people sssssssure aint happy :P

Anyways, onwards...

I do have to agree , I'm delighted with the game performance improvements. GJ Mythic.

And the real highlights are clues for 1.3.3:

1) Server response time optimization (From mounting/dismounting to abilities to moving things in your inventory, all response time has been improved.)

2) Ability to walk and sit. (RP players rejoice!)
Pardon? Is this seriously in here? Surely this is just flame bait? I bet the guys on the European RP server are over the moon... oh wait..

3) Various UI fixes, such as making sure timers synchronize properly on PQs.

4) Graphical enhancements (Bloom, improved weapon trails, heat shimmer, etc…).

5) Pet and monster pathing improvements.
Good! Oh wait my pets don't move anyway. Damn :P
Where are the new forts?
“What is this Underdog System all about?” Basically, it’s a system that kicks in on any server to help aid the Realm that’s consecutively being pummeled. It’s a handicap system, so to speak, for the T4 campaign. VPs needed for zone control and domination timers will lessen for the losing side. What’s nice about this system is that it ramps up and down on the fly, thus opening up opportunities for the losing Realm to get back on its feet. In my next letter I’ll go over this in more detail.
Hmmm... Could be good, could be bad, who knows? Wait and see for more info.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

WAR 1.3.2 patch. I don't wanna say I told you so, but...

I told you so...

Log in... City siege
Log in... City siege
Log in... Not a city siege! Oh wait, 1 zone locked and the other.. oh damn :( City siege
Log in... City siege

In-game, on forums, on vent, wherever you go, people are not happy and being vocal about it. I know I'm not pleased. It's already turned into exactly what I was worried about. Maybe in a few days it will have changed, but I don't know how...

Though the game runs well now, mostly anyway. There's some kind of server lag problem in city instances. Which is a shame as that's what the majority of the game is right now.

Why Mythic thought this was what we wanted I just don't know.

Friday, 16 October 2009


So last night Praag was the place to be. Blood, murder and mayhem. At a critical moment Destro was trying to take Martyr's Square and with my 3 groups of Kill Frenzy I yelled on vent for us to stop Order reinforcements making into to our fellow Destro. Turns out Durtocks was frapsing at the time... WAAAAAGH!

Oh yeah baby. Great times :)

HD version here:

And patch day! I'm hoping for the best :) I'll post about the patch once I've had a proper go.

One quick thing... I've had a quick go on WAR and the game performance has had a vast, and I mean VAST, improvement. I cranked all the graphics up to full, put on specular lighting, etc aaaaaaaaand... It ran really well, in combat too. Looking forward to trying out some large fights.

I've read a few forum posts where people are mewing about the game crashing when they had a 300vs300 fight in a keep... Well duh :P As if anything can handle 600 players in one doorway ;) OK, perhaps we need reasons not to have everyone in one keep, but even so. I think Mythic need a bit of slack there.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Tango in the night?

Personally I prefer Rumours, but rumours are we may end up tangoing in the night anyway. A dark, vampire filled night and without an albatross in sight.

Putting my ropey Fleetwood Mac word associations aside, the rumours of an expansion have been a little, uhm, expanded upon. As you may have seen Radishlaw comment on my last post, the thing people have found is a name “The Blood Hunt Expansion” within some of the files included from the test server. Also I’ve read elsewhere that another file which zones which includes numerous zone names not currently in the game. Amongst which was Sylvania, homeland of the old world’s vampires…

First lets get this in perspective. The only things we know for sure are:

  • Some clever techy people have found a handful of words in some files.
  • Mythic have declined to comment.

That is all it is... We know nothing else. It could be the findings are from a possible live expansion or live event. Or perhaps and more likely they are just the remains of things removed during development, things never destined to see the light (much like vampires…). As such anything else that I, or anyone else, says is purely speculation and should not be taken as any more than that. But since speculation is fun and it gives me something positive to write about, here I go talking probable bollocks and making 1+1=3! :P

I suspect it’s completely real and Mythic are planning on adding the Vampire Counts as an NPC controlled third faction.

The reasons I think this are as follows:

  • Mythic have mentioned that they have some kind of realm balancing system being created. No details have been provided, but if I recall correctly when it was mentioned they implied it was something cool…
  • Aion has a NPC third faction, who I believe are meant to assist with balancing, so the idea is already out there in game developer land.
  • Warhammer Undead will not work as a playable race, but they are bloody awesome for NPCs.
  • The game desperately needs a third faction to balance things out. Ideally a playable one, but this could work too and is probably a lot easier to implement.
  • It could actually be pretty damn cool and I want to be in a happy place.

So that’s my thinking and I know I’m not the only one to have thought this. Of course I could be talking a load of old cock, or maybe, just maybe, we could be onto something…

Whatever it is or not, I imagine Mythic are happy to have a bit of a buzz going around. I hope so, because it’s got people talking a little more positively about the future.

Monday, 12 October 2009

The WAR Expansion rumour

Is there nothing in it? Are we reading too much into it, or is this the start of another Mythic viral campaign?

Throughout WAR’s life Mythic have regularly promoted rumours through the internet to hype the game. The Choppa and Slayer teasers being absolute classics; when Bloggers were posted parcels containing orange hair dye and an electric shaver, or a DVD of Predator with a note marking the time when Arnie yells “get to da choppa!”

This one though is merely 2 brief comments on their forum.
“I found that in the PTS client there’s a big accidental inclusion – information on the next expansion.
Is there anyone in specific I can contact with specifics on the issue?
Nobody wants info leaked before it’s anywhere near finalization.”
Marty (Forum Moderator)
“Guys I’m locking this as it’s not realllly something to be discussed on the forums.
Edited to add the info has been passed uphill to those who can check ‘er out ;)

This essentially says nothing at all. It could have been a misunderstanding on Fozee’s part. Having not seen what he found, we don’t know. The thing that makes this interesting is the Mythic response. It’s the first time we’ve seen them not deny the existence of an expansion and you could interpret this as confirmation. You could, maybe, perhaps… Or not. Whether there is any truth in it or not, people are still latching onto this nugget of possibility.

And as such, I will now grab hold of the nugget, fondle it lovingly and explain why I hope it’s not just a rumour based on bugger all…

With the current state of WAR we are in dire need of a big announcement. Something to spark interest, something that delivers a giant slice of hope. For a long time many people have said that Mythic should be focusing on the current core game, not adding things like Land of the Dead. To their (eventual) credit, Mythic have now started to do this, but the problem is it’s too late. By the time they get the existing game balanced and performing well, the population drop we’re all now seeing may well have gone too far. Just fixing the basic game is no longer enough. WAR needs an injection of excitement, a giant dangling carrot… WAR needs an expansion announcement.

This would draw people’s attention back to WAR, get the media hype going and give Mythic an opportunity to right the wrongs in the game’s original development. Yes, WAR now NEEDS an expansion.

But not just some new zones and additional races for the existing factions, that would do nothing to address the problem that is the root of all WAR’s issues...

 Come on, you know what's coming... it's not like I haven't said it looooooooads of times before, but reviewing Aion has blasted my brain with repetition, so sorry....

WAR desperately needs a third faction announcement. It has gone beyond just people like me wanting one for our own gaming dreams, WAR needs one to stand a long term chance. Otherwise the one side dominating thing will continue to grind down player morale and people will continue to quit. Even if the game’s finer detailed balance issues like AoE, CC and all the intricacies between careers are fixed, it doesn’t matter. The one dominating and one underdog thing doesn’t work in an MMO. When it’s 1v1, there’s always a winner and loser. People will only tolerate consistently losing for so long. However, with 1v1v1, it’s entirely different. If one faction dominates for too long, then the others combine to attack it. The game self-balances, exactly how DAoC did. The people that have left the game know all this. They won’t come back just because we get given some different textures to play in, as this would mean the core problem remains. Yet I can state with abso-bloody-lute confidence that they will come back for a new dynamic 3 way campaign.

I’ve heard people say that Mythic didn’t go with 3 (or more) factions because they didn’t want to make DAoC 2. I don’t know how true that is, but regardless, it’s worth mentioning because that concept is wrong. DAoC2 is EXACTLY what WAR should have been. I honestly think that if WAR had 3 factions then it would roar back upwards in subscription numbers and become a genuine contender. Take a moment to think about what it would mean. Imagine Mythic’s marketing machine go into overdrive promoting the arrival of an unholy alliance of Skaven, Beastmen and Nurgle. Watch your backs people, there’s a beastial horde of diseased and decay scum on their way…. Awesome eh?

However I worry that if there is an expansion, we would just get Lizardmen vs Skaven as additions to the existing factions. Nice, but not enough... It’s the easy expansion, the same old same old. As I said above, we’d get new textures and models, but have all the same problems. Do you think that would bring anyone back for more than a month or two at best? If at all?

Is adding a new faction just too damn big a task? Perhaps… but when you look at what Mythic did with DAoC’s expansions you’ll see they did pretty huge changes. For example, look at the new frontiers update. It was a truly massive change. The entire (yes all of it) oRvR landscape was ripped out and replaced. Yes, this could be one of the biggest changes to an MMO ever, but Mythic could actually pull it off, they have the history and they have the experience. I seriously have faith in their ability to do it.

The question is, do they have the balls, financial backing and sense to do so?

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Aion - hardcore or hard labour?

Just over a week ago a friend of mine gave me a copy of Aion and asked me to review it. He also challenged me to time how long it would take for me to want to log off… Never being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I agreed and began mentally preparing myself for a land of pastel colours and cutesy eastern style graphics.

I knew it was going to be grindy and having played games like Lineage and that crappy one with robots (name escapes me), from a gameplay perspective I wasn’t keen at all. But to be honest I was still somewhat intrigued by Aion, purely because of it being an oriental game. I’m very interested in far eastern culture, if you’re interested particularly Japanese history and also films by the likes of Kurosawa and Park Chan-wook. However, I like it gritty and real, not anime, or airy-fairy FF cuteness. And God no pokemon pls, but give me Sanjuro any day! So in that respect whilst the game’s setting intrigued me, I was at the same time very put off by the look of it.

Yet I was very aware that I had hated the look and lore of WoW, but I still ended up playing that for a few years. My long and sometimes arduous journey since Ultima Online has taught me that a MMO can grab your attention when you least expect it. So as I watched the installation progress bar fill up, I decided to put my preconceptions aside and give Aion a fair chance to impress.

I made it a whole 17 minutes before I first wanted to log off.

Character creation is a farce. At first I was quite impressed by the character creator with it’s many options, but then I got into the game itself. Everyone looks the same unless you are right next to them, or they’re some kind of bloody mutant from a hall of mirrors. It’s one of a few things that totally kill any immersion into the game world. It’s not good when you keep seeing people that look like a distorted reflection thing from Twin Peaks dream sequences.

I’ve seen many people talk about how this game was a cry back to the glory years of MMOs, how it brought back memories of Everquest and Asheron’s Call. Yes Aion does bring back memories, but its all the bad things from that era. It’s not dumping you in a wide dangerous world and leaving you to explore, it’s putting you in a linear grind with a ropey storyline and crap dialogue. They have taken the old grind mentality and combined it with the linear progress that WoW introduced. Honestly, the first 10 levels PvE questing experience is hideous. Run there, kill 8 of those, run back to claim bugger all, run there again, kill 10 of those, run back to claim bugger all, run there a-bloody-gain and collect 6 of these... AGGH!

Essentially all modern MMOs follow this same format with their questing, but at least they try to mask the grind, at least they try to limit the repetition. Aion makes no attempt to do so. Quite the opposite, it revels in repetition. Other than some of its imagery, the starting experience is utterly without imagination. It is a big step backwards and not in a good way. It was a truly horrible experience and very nearly stopped me from going any further at all.

Combat starts of diabolically bad. Your abilities have huge cool down timers, which means you spend the majority of your time watching your character auto attack. Obviously it gets more engaging as you level up and get more skills, but the levels and abilities do not come quickly. Combining that with the foul decision of going back to having to sit down and rest up ALL THE BLOODY TIME, and it means you spend a huge amount of time feeling like you’re logged in just to watch your character, rather than actually interacting with it. This does nothing to build any attachment to your character. Once you get to level 10 and choose your class properly, it does get better with more abilities and a bit more flavour to your character, but it’s still rather uninspiring. You’re also theoretically freer to explore, but because of issues with the flying, in reality you’re not.

The graphics are good, but not as wonderful as they are made out to be. In particular I was gobsmacked by how the skies are god awful, with completely static images ruining any feeling of being in an actual world. The game’s textures are very varied in their quality; with some being beautiful and some being total crap. It’s surprising to see a game with both moments of utter beauty and pixelated hideousness just a few yards from each other...



Animations are pretty good, particularly in combat, but running (which you will be doing a LOT) looks dodgy. However, on the whole the graphics are solid and the mobs have some very nice detail, it’s just a real shame about those bad textures and the terrible sky.

There were a lot of things I found irritating; the currency is stupid, the PvE carrot and stick balance is wrong, it’s got that stupid choose your class at level 10 crap, the dodgy cut scenes… I could go on for a while to be honest.

One thing that is a huge turn off is the in-game community. It appears to have attracted a lot of youngsters and/or people with attitude problems… Every time you log in, and this is no exaggeration, region chat will look something like this:

[ashjakiykhl] Power levelling much cheapness from 1 million gold only 300 Euros!
[kjklkjsdfsdl] Power levelling much cheapness from 1 million gold only 300 Euros!
[fdsffuuuool] Power levelling much cheapness from 1 million gold only 300 Euros!
[RandomJoe] This is like my Warlock
[RandomBob] **** OFF BACK TO WOW
[RandomJoe] I was just saying.. **** tard
[RandomTom] ***** care bear *** **** noob
[RandomJoe] ***** WoW was win! **** noob ****
[ashjakiykhl] Power levelling much cheapness from 1 million gold only 300 Euros!
[kjklkjsdfsdl] Power levelling much cheapness from 1 million gold only 300 Euros!
[fdsffuuuool] Power levelling much cheapness from 1 million gold only 300 Euros!
[RandomPat] WoW is the best you *****!11!1 m8 12 million subs you ****
[RandomTom] **** WoW **** subs can *** *** *** *********
[RandomBob] Are we angels?
[RandomJoe] ****
[RandomTom] ***** care bear *** **** noob

Now that’s not the game’s fault, but it gives you an idea of the type of people you’ll be subjected to and like it or not, that’s part of the game experience.

Where the game excels is in performance. Aion runs incredibly well. I was playing it with everything set to maximum and I was getting an average frames per second of over 100. The lowest it ever dropped was 25 (in Pandemonium, a fancy city and it was only a brief drop) and the highest it reached was 198 FPS. That is when moving around and fighting at the time too. For this I give it’s developers massive credit, the game performance is truly glorious.

Aion’s unique selling point was the winged characters. Yet for some strange reason once you get your wings you find yourself only able to fly for 1 minute. I struggle to see why they’ve done this, other than creating more grind opportunities. You’ll find this limited flight also limiting how far you feel you can explore and it makes the game feel strangely linear for something where you have wings… It’s hugely disappointing, because the flying is quite cool. It’s not amazing, but it has potential for some great PvP moments once you’re able to fly longer.

Regarding PvP… Apparently the PvP is good at 25 onwards, but I’m afraid I can’t confirm or deny that, because there’s just no way I can face levelling that far. I’d rather nail my scruttock to a door.

There are 2 key areas that an MMO developer needs to get right. Those being both the starting and end game experience. Your first hours in a new MMO need to grab you by the short and curlies, make you love the experience and drive you forwards towards the level cap. It needs to be good enough that we ignore any mid level grind, our subs happily staying active all the way until end game. Then the end game itself needs to have enough quality and variety that we still want to log in and keep our subscriptions going. Unfortunately Aion’s starting experience is so immensely dull; the idea of continuing through to the level cap is a horrible, horrible thought. It could have the best end game ever, but why go there if the journey is an epic chore?

I saw someone ranting in game how Aion is a proper hardcore MMO. What a load of old poo. Aion is not a hardcore MMO. Just because it takes ages and has costs attached to bloody breathing does not make a game or it’s players hardcore, it just means it’s a time sink. Hardcore? Hard labour is closer to the truth.

I think Aion got lucky. It’s not a bad game, it’s just an old game in new clothes, but it has come out at a convenient time. A time when many people are disappointed with WAR, where the Age of Conan shambles is in it’s death throes and a lot of folks are getting tired of WoW. Up strolls Aion covered in hype from the beta, with a different look and using a game engine that runs like a whippet whacked out of its mind on PCP. If WAR’s poor performance was pissing you off, then this alone could lure you in. Then over time as you start to notice the tedium; there are still no other major alternatives right now. You’ve already invested lots of time, so perhaps you subconsciously convince yourself it’s not dull as hell. We all do this with the products we like, for example it’s a contributing factor to people like me that are sticking with WAR. As we justify ourselves sticking with WAR that is to be honest a bug ridden, badly supported game that lacks direction (amongst things)...

Aion has demonstrated quite how well a MMO can run and is a lesson for other developers. But the game is without any doubt a dated throwback. If you played games like Everquest, Asherons Call, Anarchy Online, etc, etc, then levelling your first character in Aion feels like you’re just levelling yet another alt for one of those old games. Grinding out the same old shit, to get to the (in this case presumably) good stuff.

Maybe grinding is new to a lot of people. That’s quite possible; you only have to look at the old grinders sub numbers to see it’s mathematically impossible for all of today’s MMO subscribers to have played them. Maybe there are a lot of sado masochistic gamers out there that like paying to have their face’s sandpapered whilst listening to Vogon poetry. Or maybe it’s me? I paid my dues grinding up in the old MMOs, perhaps I’ve just burnt out on MMO grinds. There is no escaping that’s what Aion is. Whatever the reasons, I find it hard to comprehend why people are getting so pant wettingly excited about Aion.

If I were to choose two words to summarise Aion it would be: Pretty tedious. All the connotations you can get from those two words are correct.

About Me

My photo
Half man half pixel. Music obsessive, likes a drink, occasional bastard.