Thursday, 30 July 2009

Is it possible to add a third faction?

Is it too late? Probably. Would it be a bad time to try? Probably :P It would require huge redevelopment and of course would turn everything on its head. But lets live in dreamland for a moment, if Mythic were to try and add another faction are there actually any real options?

I reckon with a shit load of work, time and effort it could be done. So on to the big question....
How to adapt the campaign for a third faction?
The existing system could still work, but have a third VP scoreline and a third branch of zones from each central zone (Praag for example).
First off lets quickly make up a faction. I'm going to go with one called Nature with Lizardmen, Wood Elves and Bretonnians. Now lets attach Wood Elf zones to Praag.
If a faction locks the central zone, then both of the other factions zones become attackable and remain so until the central zone is contested again.
If either of those zones then lock (to which ever enemy faction), the fortress is then attackable.

Taking it further and sticking with one city each (boo hiss), if your faction takes 2 forts from another faction you then get to attack their city.

But what if the attack on Nature's fortress failed, Order locked Reikland and then pushed on Praag whilst Destruction was attacking Loren Forests? Uh oh! Destruction's attack has been cut off and now they face a difficult choice.

Continue their attack on Nature's fortress or risk Order locking Praag and pushing into the Chaos Wastes.
Oh my, what's this? A far less linear and more dynamic campaign? Actual options to cut off supply lines and isolate the enemy? Well, I think so anyway...

Riddled with flaws? Probably, but then maybe something like this could be fitted into WAR. Dark Age of Camelot showed us how well 3 factions works, it prevents one side dominating and keeping the campaign fresh and exciting. Those of us that played DAoC have struggled to understand why Mythic didn't do the same again here.
When Mythic starts looking at major expansions, perhaps they should start reconsidering that missing faction.

Monday, 27 July 2009

OMG! Magus protest and suicide pact!

Fair play Uroo mate, you did it :)
Watch more videos of Warhammer Online

This video was made by Caz from VOP, well done to you sir, great choice of song. It will be interesting to see what if any response this gets from Mythic. I really hope so, cos the shite state of Magus desperately needs acknowledgement from Mythic.

Classic event /salute to all involved.

Still loving the new RvR

Ok it's been over a week now and everyone I've spoken to agrees, RvR is now MUCH better. Huge step forward. Good job Mythic.

Now fix Magus, Marauders, Shadow Warriors, etc pls.

Oh and as an aside, I'm now totally converted to savage mastery for my Choppa. I was using hitta for ages, but decided to try out savage again and finally it's clicked for me.

All told, I'm having a great time in WAR right now :) Except with my Magus :P

Saturday, 25 July 2009

I predict a riot

My guild "Kill Frenzy" is in an alliance by the name of The Evil League of Evil. The guy that organises our events is a chap called Uroo (was Roo but sever merges force name changes). Roo is trying to organise something a wee bit bigger than an assault on Altdorf...

Check out his evil plan here: link

If he pulls this off it will be quite a feat, but will it make any difference? Hmmm I don't know, but if he does get something large scale happening and the gaming press report on it, then at the very least it should elicit a response from Mythic.

Worth a try IMHO.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Uhm so like woah... first impressions of the patch are good??

Ok first off I've not even logged in with my Magus, so this is putting that probable gimpfest aside.

WAR has been amazing tonight. We've been fighting in Dragonwake for hours and the combat is totally reinvigorated. I've had zero lag and this is in large scale scraps, lots and lots of warbands fighting. The bane of a melee class' life, the Out of range bug, HAS finally been fixed. The fights themselves are lasting longer and have been much more enjoyable. If this is what nerfing everyone's AoE does... bloody good move.

  • This is only after one night.
  • Bright Wizards have a new trick for insane damage. Not sure if Sorcs have the same thing.
  • And again, this is only after one night.
  • My Quake ability is bloody shite now.

No big issues so far. Hopefully I'll be still be happy after a few more days. Not counting my chickens yet mind you.

Staying positive is tricky when you have a Magus

My Magus is level 36. I was planning on getting her up to 40 soon.

Problem is its hard to motivate myself to log in with it when it would seem the latest patch has utterly destroyed the already weak class. According to this post and the initial feedback after the patch went live in the US, thing sure aint good... The class is heavily AoE based, more so than most to be honest and to make it worse Mythic has even nerfed a single target spell for no reason too? Not an overpowered ability in any way or form and since Mythic haven't communicated why they did this, we can only assume they simply did not realise it was not an AoE ability... *sigh* That's depressing on so many levels.

Come on Mythic cut out the spin doctor poo, lets see some real solid info that will help people stay positive about your balance patching. I was at an alliance meeting last night with loads of players present and I can assure you that right now there is some immense negativity building up.

Less vague comments, more solid info pls. kthxbye

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

WCPI - Stunty Stomper

Thulf's made an excellent post about what Mythic should be doing. I couldn't agree more with him tbh.

Monday, 20 July 2009

AoE nerfage

The latest WAR patch is up on the PTS at the moment, which as everyone's probably seen includes an across the board nerf to AoE.

People are already crying, most of which is a load of old cock, but is a bit more valid for others. Whilst all AoE being nerfed sorts out the Bright Wizard/Sorc/Engineer/Choppa/Slayer AoE of Doom, it also makes the weak classes even weaker. For example Magus are hit hard by this nerf, a class which is already desperately struggling for popularity. I know Marauders are extremely unhappy, not so much that their AoE got nerfed, more that their class is in need of fixing not nerfs.

However, Mythic doing this across the board AoE nerf is actually sensible. In theory it instantly sorts out the AoE mania buggering up RvR now and it gives them the ability to balance up abilities and classes that need it. They key though is for Mythic to be very clear with their player base about what's going on. Otherwise you'll continue to see people quitting because there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for their gimped class. Mythic probably think they're posting and commenting more than enough, but seriously guys the player base needs reassurance right now.

My guild is large enough to regularly have full guild only warbands, but is now down to 1 active Marauder and Magus. That says it all.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Arma 2 an old school MMO? No, but yes, but no, but yes, but no.

Huge probably rambling post inc! Just writing as it comes to me, so may go off on tangents.... You have been warned ;)

Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Arma 2, a hardcode soldier sim. Arma is one of those unforgiving, realistic, bastard games where you have to play with caution and stealth or get capped by someone you can’t see. It takes place over a 230km2 landscape of a fictional former USSR state called Chernorussia. Missions are extremely free form and fluid, it’s very much down to you to operate as you think best. A sort of sandbox game if you like. It’s also bloody awesome, though not one for those wanting a Serious Sam style shooter, this my friends is a serious game for serious people. :P You maybe wondering WTF this has to do with WAR, but let me tell you a (very shortened) story of what happened to me in Arma 2 the other day and all will be revealed…

My 4 man recon unit had been tasked with hunting down a traitorous Chernorussian officer. Intel had given me three locations where our UAVs had sighted increased activity and it was suspected these might be some of the hidden rebel camps. We’d also been advised that we may get some results from questioning the locals in the various towns and villages. I figured I’d leave the questioning until last, so I commandeered a Humvee and we drove to within a couple of klicks of the first site. It was in a forest west of a town with a name I can’t spell. I planned on us approaching on foot and carefully observing the site before moving in. However, as we disembarked from the Humvee the shit hit the fan.

One of my men called a warning as he sighted an enemy patrol emerging from the woods on the opposite side of the road. We hit the floor, crawled into cover and opened fire. In the resulting firefight we took them down without loss, but our Humvee got turned into a smouldering wreck after being introduced to some form of rocket launcher. Once I was satisfied the area was clear, we moved up to the suspected camp, but alas it was deserted. We would have to move on. I radioed in requesting immediate extraction from our supporting helicopter. As we waited in cover on the edge of forest all was quiet for ages, until I heard distant whup whup of our choppers rotors as it rushed to meet us. It turned out I should have checked out that nearby town before calling in our helicopter.

An immense volley of gunfire ripped up from the Shilka anti-aircraft tank hidden in the town, tearing the helicopter out of the sky in seconds. Once I had stopped swearing, I led my squad through the woods trying to find a place where we could get into the town without being exposed for too long. I didn’t know if we could get another helicopter transport, if not then I would have to find transport from within the town itself, but whatever the outcome I would need to deal with that bloody Shilka.

To cut the story short, we took out the Shilka, cleared out some rebel infantry in the town and I stole a crappy little car to get us on our way. Loads of other stuff happened, it was a proper adventure and I had an awesome time. Then disaster! I cocked up my saved game and I had to start the entire thing again, but the next time it was entirely different. I made different choices, went different places and had an utterly new experience.

It wasn’t scripted, it wasn’t pre-set, I made my own choices, did things and stuff just happened. This was freedom I’ve not had since God knows when. I’d say Oblivion was like this, but the way the AI works in Arma makes it seem much more alive and variable. My game time was packed with tension and excitement; this was old school exploration and adventure. I had no quest markers, spawn points or limitations. I was set loose on a game world with only a few loose objectives and I was free to go about them as I wished. It was like the feeling of playing Ultima Online circa 1997. A single player game demonstrated the thing I miss most about massively multiplayer online games, how messed up is that?

Ultima Online used to be incredible. We didn’t have quests, we didn’t have instances, we had freedom and a story that was written by the players just playing the game. You can accuse me of wearing rose tinted spectacles, but honestly in original UO it was like that. My friends and I would log in, go exploring and just see where the world took us that day. We’d hear about a PK (Player Killers murdering swines, criminal players) terrorising a town or acting like a highwayman and we’d try and hunt them down. We’d battle through dungeons fighting mobs and players alike, all sorts of drama would happen. We’d trade with people playing real crafting characters, driving a real economy. We’d escort people going mining in the wild mountainous areas and we sailed the seas, searching for treasure. We had more to do than you’d believe possible, far more to do than we’ve got in these current games and that was without quests, instances or achievements. Honestly I wish you’d all been there, it was simply brilliant.

And then it got ruined. The PvE only facet “Trammel” was introduced. Each server had 2 versions of its lands, full PvP and PvE. You could travel between each version at moongates across the world, a bit like switching instances in AoC. The developers bowed to the obsession with itemisation that Everquest had introduced and “epics” and statistic driven items appeared. The game changed. People became obsessed with numbers and grinding, the character of the game was diluted. The new players that strolled from the PvE lands into Felucca (the PvP land) were unprepared; they went from PvE safety to what they saw as a dangerous land full of ganking arseholes. Most of the old PvPers were mortified at the changes to the game, many of them insulted the new players, calling them carebears and then they got vicious. All the honour that people used to play with was gone, the land DID become full of ganking arseholes. And as it was easier to grind those new epic items in the safe PvE only lands, Felucca slowly died and with it the whole concept of players creating your story. This was the start of the end. The days of the MMORPG were over, welcome to the new era of Masssively Multiplayer Online Number Crunchers™. Then the explosion of the internet population and the massive success of World of Warcraft further established the restricted “questing by numbers” style MMOs.

Thou shalt only PvP in that small walled off area by the toilet, with no risk to yourself.
Thou shalt grind the same mobs ad infinitum in quest for epic goodness.
Thou shalt be led by the nose and lose all imagination.

There are exceptions. Eve Online is probably the closest thing we have to old school Ultima Online and because of that I’ve tried it several times. I really want to like it, but I have issues with the way the game itself plays that I just can’t get past. Plus I really do like the fantasy settings for MMOs. I do like my beards and fireballs. Dark Age of Camelot and the RvR at its core was a player led game, but this changed over time as later expansions mangled it into yet more of the same. With no decent alternatives I, like most MMO gamers, got drawn into World of Warcraft and the rat race treadmill of materialistic progression. It’s always felt hollow and every year I would reactivate my UO account and see if there was a return to days of old, alas to no avail. This year I closely watched the development of Darkfall Online. This was a game that looked like it might reproduce the legends of old. But no, it was badly implemented and has been ruined by exploiting, macroing, etc. As much as I want to go back to old style gaming, I don’t want to do it in a ropey game. I want it to be a polished, excellent product too.

So what about WAR? It’s got a shit load of the same item based, materialistic gameplay that we all became used to in WoW that’s for sure. But it does have the RvR core. It does have players driving events and making a story every time you log in. For me it is vastly more interesting than Warcraft ever was. The problem is it’s still limited in scope. We fight in restricted RvR lakes; our combat environment is controlled and rigid. There are no wild lands, no frontiers; you never quite get that mixed feeling of freedom and danger that original UO introduced us to. Perhaps if tier 4 zones were entirely PvP enabled it would bring some of that feeling back, that tension where you’ve always got to be on the ball or suffer a grisly pixel death. I was hoping Land of the Dead would bring that back, but I think the instancing prevents it. Unfortunately LotD is really not Darkness Falls 2 in that respect.

Could WAR bring me what I want? I think with some changes yes it could, and I think those changes are feasible too. But I also suspect that most of the MMO populace has grown so accustomed to living in ordered and controlled environments (both in game and in real life) that it’s too brave a move for Mythic to consider. Don’t get me wrong, I really like WAR and I still see it as my long term MMO, but it could be so much more.

I salute CCP for keeping Eve Online a player led universe; by all accounts they’ve got the balance right. Maybe one day we’ll get another genuinely great game that brings the same qualities to the fantasy genre. Alas, I think it’s more likely I’ll remain fondly remembering UO and wishing it was 1997.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Mechwarrior 5

Ok this isn't about WAR, so bite me :P

I'm a huge fan of the Mechwarrior games, in fact I still have Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries installed and am tinkering with the single player campaign again. I used to be in an excellent clan (Alpha Strike) for MW4 and played online a LOT. They really are great online shooters, these are games where team play, cooperation and cunning will beat brute force and ignorance. I can't wait for the new version :) There's a bunch of my guildies that used to play MW4, so expect to see Kill Frenzy stomping about in Mechwarrior 5 :)

I notice I'm not the only blogger interested in this, seem Rivs spotted it before me. And judging by the effect on his crotch he's as excited as me :P

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Balancing the Bomb

Bomb groups… bloody nasty things. The vast majority of WAR players will have encountered the horror of facing a bomb group, but as I know I’ve a bunch of readers that aren’t playing right now, I shall first explain what these terrors are.

Bright Wizards and Sorcerers have very powerful PBAoE (Point Blank Area of Effect) nuke spells, the damage is quite simply insane and is going to get the crap nerfed out of it, but for now it’s live and bloody dangerous. A bomb group uses these spells to maximum effect by having a tank using guard on the PBAoE spell caster combined with a team heal spamming healer. The casters and tanks open with AoE stuns/disables/etc to stop their targets escaping and then they spam the PBAoE to kill all the targets in seconds. It’s brutally effective.

Order and Destruction can both make use of this tactic, with each faction having slightly different advantages. Order has Bright Wizards that do a bit more damage than Sorcerers and they also have the Knight of the Blazing Sun, a tank whose AoE stun makes it almost impossible to escape once you’re in the bomb radius. Where as Destruction can use a Rift specced Magus to pull people from range into the bomb radius, then use the (less reliable) pet detonation stun and lay the smack down with the Magus’ considerable PBAoE. The Order groups are harder to escape from and the Destruction one has more control.

If the group is built with these abilities in mind, I don’t think either side has an too much of an edge. Typical Bomb groups will look something like this:

Knight of the Blazing Sun
Knight of the Blazing Sun
Bright Wizard
Bright Wizard
Warrior Priest
Warrior Priest

Magus (Rift specced)
Disciple of Khaine

I think it’s fair to say that a well-played bomb group is top of the pile and has a huge advantage in WAR. If you’re in a more mixed up group that’s not using bomb tactics, then against an equally skilled and organised bomb group… well… basically you’re buggered.

Bomb groups capitalise on the current prevalence of Crowd Control and AoE in WAR and there’s nothing wrong with that, people are just playing to their strengths. The problem is that this creates cookie cutter groups and risks isolating and annoying people that either don’t want to, or don’t have the option of, running in a bomb group.

I was running a group in Praag a few days ago, it wasn’t an uber group, far from it. I had some mates that had returned to the game and me and a couple of others were showing them round Praag. Our group consisted of my level 40 Chosen, a 28 Zealot, 35 DoK, 35 Shaman and a 40 Sorcerer. Hardly ideal, but they’re all good MMO players and we’d been holding our own against groups full of 40s. Then we walked round a corner and into one of our server’s Forum Ego Monkeys™ and his pet bomb group. It was a Knight of the Blazing Sun, 2 Wizards, a Warrior Priest and someone else that I don’t remember.

We died in seconds, a full wipe in a handful of bloody seconds. Not because the enemy was particularly good, just because we instantly had no control over our characters due to CC and their PBAoE damage output was so high that it killed all of us before the first unbreakable stun had worn off. It was impossible for us to have done anything. Now, I’m not complaining about them doing this at all. That would be hugely hypocritical since I regularly run in a Rift-Bomb group myself, yet I do think it demonstrates how these groups make a mockery of other set ups. Yes my group was a weak one, but regardless it should not be possible to wipe any viable Tier 4 group faster than the duration of unbreakable CC. Otherwise you’re just left with early DAoC style “who CC first wins”, wild accusations of being OP, claims of balancing being fooked and also risk players leveling in tier 4 feeling they can’t join in oRvR (it's not like they dont get shit already for daring to do scenarios).

Amusingly with the above incident, the Order players felt the need to laugh at our corpses and taunt us. Ironic considering not only was most of my group lowbies, but also a day or two before when I was in a more hardcore guild group doing scenarios, we ran into the same Forum Ego Monkey™ and farmed the crap out of them. :P Perhaps that’s another problem with bomb groups, it gives people delusions of grandeur… :D Not that I suffer from that at all, ehem.

Another example… I mentioned recently about us doing particularly well in Praag a few days back. We had a guild warband of two and a half groups and went up against (no exaggeration) 3 times our number of Order that were heading towards our warcamp. By using calm and coordinated Rift Bomb pulls, we cut our way through them, wiping the bloody lot and ending up at Martyrs. It wasn’t a one off either, when they resumed their attack we did it again, though we had another group or so of Destruction with us for the second fight so I won’t claim too much glory there. But then how much glory is there to claim? Yes we wiped 3 times our number, yes we were very organised on ventrilo and OMFG did we earn a lot of invader, etc as loot, but would it have even been possible to without us working as an oversized Rift-bomb group? I’m confident we would have done well, that batch of enemies can’t have been properly organised for this to have happened, but surely their numbers should have eventually taken us down? I mean 3-1 mannnnnnn....

Clearly bombing is over powered and I think it’s hard to argue that it’s anything but bad for the game. Will I stop running in our rift-bomb groups? Hell no. We have to be competitive or enemies will have our city on farm status, there’s no third faction for underdogs to work with in WAR. Once you’re on the back foot you’re in bloody trouble. Whilst it would be nice to be all sweetness and light, we can’t afford to drop certain abilities and/or tactics because they’re overpowered. No quarter given, blah, blah…

It’s down to Mythic to give us more diversity in powerful play styles and escape from “who CCs first wins”. Thankfully their next collection of patches is going to be all about balancing our characters. We know that AoE is getting nerfed and that CC is going to be seriously looked at. Assuming this spells the end of bombing, will we get an even playing field? No doubt us devious players will discover the next over powered combo, but can Mythic make it so that in future we have at worst only slightly overpowered options, rather than the (almost) auto-win groups of doom that we have now?

With 2 factions and a total of 24 classes, it’s an unenviable task.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Land of the Dead review – first follow up comments

There has been a most definite RvR resurgence on Karak-Norn. Since I wrote my first review of LotD I’ve seen a steady increase in activity outside of LotD, which includes people that have gained access to LotD staying to fight in Tier 4 instead of running for the flightmaster.


Recently my guild had some epic battles in Praag against much greater numbers of Order and I have to say we performed amazingly well. We only had 2 and a half groups in our warband, but we managed to repeatedly wipe 3 times our number outside the Destruction warcamp in Praag. The old Rift bot / Chosen / various AoE combo was in full effect and resulted in an insane amount of loot :D After a while Order wised up and started sending large numbers around to flank us, which got a bit hairy as warbands hit us from multiple directions. We refused to run and fought to the death :D Great fun. Also I have to salute all the Order we fought in Praag that night, when they gained LotD access they stayed put and kept fighting. We had a great couple of hours fighting and I’m really looking forward to more.


Moments like this becoming more regular again bodes well for LotD’s long term impact on WAR. I can see it settling in as a nice alternative optional thing to do, rather than being the entire end game in a zone. It’s been particularly pleasing to see Order (and to a limited extent Destruction) gain LotD access but still go on a big T4 RvR offensive, instead of just vanishing into the desert. I’ve taken part in some decent sized fortress battles, which actually ran pretty well too. Possibly this is a side effect of players being spread out across the game world more and the zones not being so stretched, Mythic would have to confirm that, but whatever it was a refreshing change.


Unfortunately due to a bunch of our healers being on holiday/stuff I’ve barely got to the Tomb of the Vulture Lord again. The one time recently that I did get in there we had a bit of a sods law moment, which demonstrated another thing with the Invasion system that I think could do with some tweaking. Order invaded the instance seconds before we wiped on the boss, which meant we couldn’t respawn. That’s a bit poor really, if we get invaded I’d like to at least have a chance to fight the Order. I’ve no problem at all with being purged and kicked out of the zone by the Order killing us, but being booted out purely by Order entering the instance is frustrating. Perhaps if we get invaded during a boss fight, we could have a one off respawn somewhere near the boss. Then we’d actually get a fight. A minor gripe perhaps, it’s not going to happen all the time or anything, but a frustration none the less.


Anyways, things seem to be settling down with LotD, which is all good. For me the only thing I'm really interested in with LotD is the Tomb of the Vulture Lord and the odd skirmish, but should I fancy popping into some Lairs or doing a few PQs, then it is nice to have more options.

Oh and one more thing... MYTHIC! FIX GUILD CHAT

Friday, 3 July 2009

What is next, a Zippy mount?

Anyone else noticed that the special Manticore mounts look remarkably like Bungle from Rainbow?

Durtbocks from Kill Frenzy submitted this photo evidence:

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