Thursday, 30 December 2010


Thanks to a mixture of Xmas stuff and me currently having proper flu (I'm writing this slowly on an iPhone while stuck in bed) I've had absolutely no gaming time so far during the Xmas holidays. Disappointing because I'm bored shitless and very curious to see how my home server of Karak Norn is ticking along, what with the likes of the Rift beta, Cataclysm and so on. Also I've seen a few people from the less populated US servers talking about having transferred to Norn, so I wonder how close this has taken us to a 24hour active server?

I don't know what is happening to those less populated US servers, Iron Rock for example, but it doesn't sound like they're getting the new lease 
of life people had hoped for. Perhaps the jumping ship to Badlands situation that people were banging on about just went too far for it to be redeemed by anything. Maybe that's not such a bad thing though, with WAR being a population reliant game, perhaps it will be better for everyone if they are on the busy servers and we all said to hell with the quiet ones. Paid versus free transfers becomes questionable with that thinking mind you.

Reading my server forum has been rather depressing of late with a lot of quitting threads appearing. Though I asked about and apparently the server is as busy as ever, so it maybe that those quitting post are only representative of certain types of players and cliques quitting rather than anything too severe. Or it could be the sky falling of course. Forums are certainly not a reflection of a MMO's population in any real sense, so it's hard to judge and particularly so when I can't log on myself. Anyways /salute to all those moving elsewhere, hopefully we'll see your return when other greener pastures turn out to be only richer in PvE...

Anyways with people returning from holidays soonish, it would be lovely if Mythic could give us a nice nugget of spicy future news.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Oh what to do...

I find myself in a funny place with WAR right now, kind of uncertain what I want to be doing. I hit 80 on my Chosen a while back and probably the sensible thing to do is to focus purely on him, but I feel distracted and somewhat uninspired. Not with the Chosen itself, but with the whole 80-100 bit. It's a long grind with no upgrades or change between now and the new armour set at 90. I think I may be more motivated by pixel progression than I had realised; perhaps I have got used to having those carrots within comfortable reach.

Combine that with those 20 further RRs being all in the same surroundings and situations... alas it has led to logging in with my Chosen feeling a little flat. I think this is probably the biggest issue for me with the lack of Chosen motivation, more so than the pixel progression really, the campaign changes have been a start, but seriously not the great inspirational revitalisation we need to avoid a stagnant sensation. And to be honest I would say it's only fighting in new surroundings that can provide that, be it entirely new areas, the repurposing of the T4 side zones, or (my personal fave) making T4 fully RvR enabled and with purpose.

I'm not sure what else to say, as quite simply that's what the game needs right now. No doubt a huge task, even if done one pairing at a time and probably beyond reality to consider, but I don't care. That's what I want and IMHO what WAR needs.

In the meantime I need to decide on which alt is my next focus...

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The 1.4 Honeymoon is over

Sorry Mythic, I aint holding back on this one and I don’t think I can be accused of being negative, just utterly realistic to the situation a great many of us are finding ourselves in right now…

I said recently how 1.4 had some issues but also had a lot of potential. The 1.4 patch has had a fair bit of time to bed in now and I still stand by that previous statement, but I think it’s fair to say that those issues have become considerably bigger. As ever there are many little things that need sorting out, but there are two big killer issues: Zerg lag and repetition.

As soon as a keep hits rank 4 the game turns into a horrible laggy clusterfuck of zergdom. Everyone piles into the keep being attacked, funnel defences are set up, morale bomb counters are used and hundreds (and hundreds!) of players fight over a single doorway, since Rat Ogres and bombers are irrelevant in large scale fights. The game turns into a slideshow, people start crashing to character select, abilities stop working and the doom and gloom begins. So you either decide to forget the attack/defence and change zone, or you face a slow inevitable collapse as people get bored of playing a game that now runs in a frame by frame manner not unlike a comic book. First your DoKs log off because soul essence no longer recharges and they can’t do anything, then a few other people log off out of frustration and at worst then the zone crashes and everyone decides screw it lets do something else.

Other than thr zone crash (which isn't exactly rare), the rest happens pretty much every other night, in fact sometimes much more regularly and it’s getting really bloody old. This patch was meant to disperse the zerg, but it hasn’t, instead it has dramatically intensified it. Prior to a 4 star keep, when the focus is on the Battle Objectives, I love the game. On Norn we get lots of people roaming around and there’s something for everyone. However, unless it’s a quiet time of day when a keep hits 4 stars, it’s then time to consider logging off or (heaven forbid) going AFK. I don’t want to slag the game off and I always try to be as fair as possible, but there’s no two ways about it, this really bloody sucks. What really grates as well is that prior to the keep attacks I’m quite often having a great time and thinking how much of an improvement the new resource system is, only to have my happiness shattered by the zerg crap it leads to.

Then we have the repetition issue. Thanquol’s Incursion is too small, not very interesting and a huge disappointment all round. Regardless of the tunnels and things in the dungeon, it has proven to be effectively a single chamber with a boss in the middle and probably no enemies to fight inside. If there are enemies you can bet your bottom dollar that one of the sides will outnumber the other at least 4 to 1, which is just a boring and frustrating experience for all. As such this new dungeon barely registers as something to do. I can not tell you how much of an epic disappointment Thanquol’s Incursion has proven to be. It looks quite cool, the bosses look great, but why are there no other Skaven inside? Why are these rat infested tunnels, not actually rat infested? What is the point of all the tunnels? It needs a lot of work.

And as for playable Skaven… Gutter Runner and Warlock Engineer are brilliant fun, but in such limited numbers that you don’t often get to play them. The Rat Ogre is dull, ineffectual in lag, dies very easily and throwing people on walls is pointless in large scale. The Packmaster is beyond rubbish and absolutely poo to play. As such playable Skaven and the new dungeon just hasn’t freshened things up enough, it still feels too samey.

Which means we’ve got another bunch of Renown Ranks to grind through on our way to 100, but in exactly the same zones as before, with nothing new to look at and a worse than ever zerg problem. I’m sorry guys, but it’s just dull. We desperately need new content, something that makes the game feel fresh and give people that sense of wonder and excitement that comes with new toys in a MMO. Look at the other MMOs around, level cap increases are accompanied by new things to do and most importantly new things to look at. That’s what keeps things fresh and helps mask the nature of the grind.

Mythic are tight on time and resources, we know that, we understand, but most people playing the game couldn’t give two turds about that and that’s quite a fair viewpoint really. Development issues ares just not their problem. They want to enjoy the game they are paying for. Yet we have an extension of the last 2 years grind and when we look around we see the temptations of other games… WoW has a monstrous new expansion, Star Trek Online has proper new content added regularly, Age of Conan has a full expansion, Lord of the Rings Online plus Pirates of the Burning Sea have gone free to play, Guild Wars 2 is on the horizon, DC Universe Online is getting some good reports, etc, etc. There are loads of MMO things to tempt us right now, and I’m still in bloody Dragonwake.

Look at the side zones Cinderfall, West Praag, etc. Notice NOBODY playing there, now notice how cool the zones actually are, and consider what an epic waste of space, time and effort they are. Take them, make the RvR enabled, turn some of the keeps and buildings into objectives, etc. Perhaps even keep some of the PQ’s and relate winning them to resource gathering. Yes I know it’s easy for me to say and there’s probably a massive amount of work involved, but seriously folks we desperately need fresh feeling surroundings. Hell, I know I always say it, but make everything RvR enabled and give the PQ’s some kind of resource related impact.

I don’t know which of the two issues is the easiest to fix, but I do know that a combination of zerg lag and repetition will do nothing to help WAR’s future. There are lots and lots of rumblings of discontent right now.

Fix it please.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Woah that went live quick

Mythic didn't waste any time with the DoK/WP nerf/change going live. Forums are going to assplode right about... well... they have been for days.

It will be very interesting to see what the reality of this change is. My money is on the decent guilds and players adapting very quickly and not a great deal changing in the grand scheme of things, other than perhaps cloth healers getting a bit more popular. I suspect that those suggesting that the rampant AoE of doom will melt things quicker have a point, but meh, it's not like it was particularly slow before.

Any time that people get nerfed the forums go ape-shit, more often than not it proves to be players crying purely out of self interest, sometimes not of course, but until this gets played with on live we won't know how justified all the QQ has been. I'll be most intrigued to see on Karak Norn what impact (if any) it has on warband composition for the big name guilds.

Hotfix details below:


The following Hot Fixes were implemented during today's maintenance:

General Changes and Bug Fixes
•The Keg’s End Live Event has begun and lasts until January 4th, 2011!
Combat and Careers

Disciple of Khaine
•Khaine’s Embrace: The base healing value of this ability has been reduced and its cooldown has been removed.
•Khaine’s Vigor: The base healing value of this ability has been increased and its duration has been reduced.

•Chaotic Attunement: Fixed an issue which prevented this Tactic ability from reducing the Action Point cost of summoning abilities.
Warrior Priest
•Pious Restoration: The base healing value of this ability has been increased and its duration has been reduced.
•Touch of the Divine: The base healing value of this ability has been reduced and its cooldown has been removed.

Realm vs. Realm
Open RvR
•Rate Ogre: This unit’s survivability has been increased.
•Gutter Run: This Gutter Runner ability will no longer stack with other run speed buffs.

Monday, 13 December 2010

DoK and WP nerfing

Thought I would chime in with my take on the whole DoK and WP nerf and the subsequent EMO RAGE AAAAGGGHHHH on every forum, chat channel and so on.

It's really quite simple. They need nerfing and the fact that so many guilds base their entire warband healing on them says it all. However, they also need their melée healing as a viable alternative to spamming group heal when in warbands, or any situation where a true healer is required. Melée healing should be viable, end of story.

Give and take, that's what is needed.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Having impact as a player below RR80

One of the things I’ve been experimenting a bit with lately was comparing the impact of a couple of my alts versus my RR80 Chosen. I was thinking about this as I’ve quite often seen people say that characters below RR80 are now useless because of the huge gear and renown ability gulf. I think that in reality “useless” is far too strong a word and whilst they are obviously less effective, that doesn’t mean players can’t use for them in beneficial ways, particularly in a group/warband setting. Before I move on though, I will say that soloing will often not work out very well against all those high RR players. I solo roam on all my lowbie alts because I’m a glutton for punishment and I like to learn new characters in as brutal a fashion as possible, I’m not expecting to win fights, I’m learning how to survive them… If you ding 40 and start solo roaming expecting to compete with your server’s RR80+ solo roaming heroes, then unless you’re bloody awesome (or your server is crap) you’re going to end up frustrated.

Having said all of that, I really do think Mythic should urgently look at improving the armour sets below 80. I know it’s not a quick thing for them to do, but why leave it as a frustration for new players playing catch up? Now that the RvR Pack has given us high RR players some new carrots to chase, some serious thought should be given to making those below us not feel too far behind. The best way of doing that is levelling out the gear gulf a little.

Anyways, back on topic obviously better gear makes everything easier and life will be tough, but you are not useless. At low RR it’s all about being a team player, which leads me to...

The main preconception you need to throw away is the idea that being useful is defined by the number of kills you get or your personal result on scenario scoreboards. It’s not. That kind of thinking is just leaning towards the solo mindset and is asking for trouble when you’re a low renown ranked player. It’s all about the overall performance of your group and contributing to it. So if your character is lacking in damage or healing output compared with high RR players, how do you contribute?

It’s all about the decent application of buffs, debuffs and crowd control. A great many players regardless of their renown rank will build their character about being as killy as possible; they are obsessed with personal glory. Quite often they won’t concentrate on those abilities that benefit their group more than them. So why not help them get that glory by improving their potency or survivability and as a result earn a share of their renown?

Rather than go through every class I’ll just give a few examples of the sort of thing I mean.

Chopa Fasta!
It lasts 20 seconds and reduces cooldowns on your groups abilities by 5 seconds. This is incredibly potent when combined with the right abilities from other careers that with a no cooldown buff become spammable for 20 seconds.

Can’t Stop Da Chop combined with No More Helpin’
50% Debuffs for both incoming and outgoing healing. These can be used to effectively shuts down an enemy healer or ensure the groups target dies. You can even mix in Tired Already? To make life worse for them by adding 5 seconds to their ability cooldowns.

Git To Da Choppa and Wot’s Da Rush
One ability that pulls enemies in and another that AoE snares them, both a pain in the arse for the enemy and can compliment your warband’s AoE nukers.

As a lowbie Choppa you cannot compete DPS wise with the high RR players, but applying those abilities at the right time can have a massive impact.

Black Orc
Save Da Runts (Guard)
Forget killing, make yourself as tough to be killed as possible, put your guard on the right group mate (who depends on what is required), stick to them like glue and keep them alive. Now if we combine this with your other abilities to buff, debuff and crowd control the enemy…

AoE that reduces enemy damage by 30% for up to 15 seconds.

Big Slash, Down Ya Go and Where You Going?
AoE knockback, a knockdown and an AoE root provide excellent crowd control if used at the right times.

Shut yer Face
Silence that Bright Wizard or Rune Priest, stop them casting and watch them die.

Saving Me Hide
Reduces incoming magic damage by 20% on your whole group. It might only last 4 seconds, but it can be kept active quite easily.

Not in Da Face!
Like the Choppa ability “Tired Already?” this increases enemy cooldowns by 5 seconds. It also gives your group the unstoppable buff for 4 seconds making them immune to pretty much everything.

Hold the Line!
Massively increased disrupt chance to mess up enemy spells and it buffs your allies dodge and disrupt.

These are just a few examples of abilities that can have great impact regardless of what armour you are wearing. Every career has things like this. So I would suggest for any new 40, put aside concerns about your damage output and look at how you can support those around you. Being an effective teamplayer can make you of great value to your guild, regardless of your rank.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Latest WAR hotfixes

Interesting change to hardy concession. Unkillable healers have to make a choice it seems, so I think I like it.

Renown tactics? I guess those empty slots have a purpose again, though not very soon. Unless you're either unemployed, a student blag artist or a complete bloody mentalist.

General Changes and Bug Fixes

•Fixed an issue where passive bonuses from items would not properly reapply after a player died while under the affects of a Play as Skaven buff.
•The Bonus to Renown granted by the purchase of the RvR Pack for Renown Ranks 1-10 has been slightly increased.

Combat and Careers

Renown Abilities
•PLEASE NOTE: As a result of the changes being implemented during today’s maintenance, all players have had the Career Mastery and Renown Ability Points refunded. Please be sure to visit the Career and Renown trainers upon logging in.
•Hardy Concession: This Renown Ability will now reduce outgoing healing.
•New Renown Tactics are now available at Renown Ranks 90 and 100. These new Renown Tactics may be purchased through your Career Trainer in the Career Abilities Window upon reaching Renown Ranks 90 and 100.
◦Augment Vigor: Grants additional Wounds to the player and is available for purchase from your Career Trainer at Renown Rank 100.
◦Empowered Mastery: Grants 1 Mastery Level to Mastery Path 1 and is available for purchase from your Career Trainer at Renown Rank 90.
◦Eternal Mastery: Grants 1 Mastery Level to Mastery Path 2 and is available for purchase from your Career Trainer at Renown Rank 90.
◦Infinite Mastery: Grants 1 Mastery Level to Mastery Path 3 and is available for purchase from your Career Trainer at Renown Rank 90.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A spot on DoK - WP post

Can be found here. It's a most excellent guest post by @AndyBursh.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Thoughts on WAR 1.4, RvR Packs and Campaign

So I figured it’s about time I wrote down some thoughts on how I’m finding WAR since 1.4 went live. Regular readers will be expecting this, but for those new to my special strain of bollocks… I warn you now I may ramble a little bit and I doubt it will be my shortest post ever… Oh and in this post I am just going to talk a little bit about the RvR pack and then concentrate on the campaign changes. Career balance, Skaven and the new dungeon/scenario/instance thing I’ll save for another time.
If I was to sum up the impact of the 1.4 patch quickly it would be to say: It has in many ways been a big improvement, has shown massive potential, but has introduced new problems and is far from the finished article. Overall though it’s a positive step and if Mythic play it right, it bodes well for the future.
The RvR Packs
Increased renown gain rate below 81 and more renown ranks are great. New mounts, dyes, cosmetic items and so on are also all great. The lack of content compared with traditional expansions is a disappointment and I think anyone denying that is fooling themselves. It’s not something to be hugely negative about, but it’s most certainly not ideal. However the cost was low and doesn’t offend me.
One thing that needs stressing mind you is that I don’t for a second consider the RvR Packs as optional. Technically they are, but practically they are 100% not optional. As such I can totally understand why some of my friends are very annoyed about it, particularly those who have been long time MMO gamers. If you look at DAoC for example, you never paid just for more renown ranks, you paid for very large amounts of content being added. WAR hasn’t done that, instead it’s made you pay purely to remain competitive in the future (as people hit 90-100), but has given you a small amount of new content and a campaign system revamp free.
Do I find myself annoyed by it? No. Am I happy with it? I think “Pleasantly ambivalent” would describe my feelings on the matter. I like WAR and still enjoy playing, I like the people I’ve had the chance to communicate with at Mythic and in general I like the gamer community WAR has. So if paying a few quid extra as a one off helps the game progress, then I really don’t mind.
Do I want a proper full blown expansion to be released? Of course I do, but if Mythic deliver on this new content every 6 months thing properly, then actually maybe I would rather have that. But the key word was “properly”, it needs to be decent chunks of content and not just a new scenario or things that feel lightweight. And don’t be late.
The Campaign
The new system is a vast improvement in a general sense. The keeps, siege weapons and battle objectives have more importance, the campaign feels more dynamic and there is normally more for you to do at any one point in time. Groups and warbands seem to be roaming the zone much more than before and for a lot of the time it does spread people across the zone. Of course it’s not all roses.
I asked at the Q&A if keeps would degrade in rank if people stopped gathering resources, Mythic answered no and I worried my little head about it. Alas, exactly what I thought this would mean has happened. When the keeps both get to rank 4-5 the battle objectives lost ALL meaning and relevance and we were back to 2 huge zergs lagging the shit out of the whole zone. Thankfully Mythic have started to address this with the latest hotfix where if one side has the AAO underdog buff then every time their resource carrier delivers the resources it repairs their keep door.
It’s not a proper zerg fix, but is something Mythic should build on, the resources and battle objectives should be considered as a keeps supply lines and ideally they should keep some purpose at all times. This will encourage people to spread around all time, because if you have both keeps at rank 5 and both sides with even numbers (like last night for example) you just get everyone at keeps and the zerg battle again.
Big keep battles are fun. HUGE keep battles are a trial, test everyone’s patience and give credence to the negative accusations regarding WAR’s performance. Accusations that are unfair in one sense, as 300 vs 300 in one area will lag to hell in almost any game, but because of that most games don’t set us up for 300 vs 300 fights in such a small areas. By encouraging those situations WAR is just asking for trouble. Also my server has been VERY busy, so much so that it has been impossible to avoid zergs almost every night. To many of us this has highlighted that the RvR zones are too small. Once again I would suggest Mythic consider expanding the RvR into the utterly wasted PvE areas and think about utilising them towards those keep supply lines.
Siege Weapons and Keeps
Siege weapons are much improved, but not enough and there’s a related problem for keep takes. Oil is fine, single target cannons are fine, but the AoE cannons(etc) are utter crap and can’t be used in enough numbers for those being targeted to care much about them. Aerial bombers are a good addition and when several of them combine their bombs they can dish out some real hurt. Unfortunately though the changes to sieges has caused a problem for melee careers, particularly tanks; as a Chosen player at keep sieges I have regularly found myself with absolutely nothing to do.
With most keep battles involving hundreds of players, an awful lot of the time you will find the ram is fully manned, all siege weapons are being used, the aerial bombers are taken and Skaven are either not available or are already being used. And it’s all too common when Skaven are available to find no Rat Ogres left for our warband, due to random twats running around in the arse end of no where with them. So if the defenders stay inside the walls, it leaves me with absolutely nothing to do. And I mean quite literally nothing... In fact one night I just started alt tabbing to play Football Manager during keep takes. To sort this out I would suggest that either we need an increase in the numbers of siege weapons and Skaven, or my preferred choice… give us ladders.
Melee DPS careers can (sometimes) sneak through the postern doors, ranged careers can attack people on the walls, healers are obviously busy healing, but tanks are left on a limb. So I would suggest giving tanks a career ability that allows them to construct a ladder to climb the walls. Give it a reasonable cooldown or slow build time and maybe to balance things out for defenders their tanks could use the same ability to destroy ladders. This would mean much more action across the entire walls and the battles would be far more like those classic sieges you see in the films, with warriors guarding the walls. I think it would add a great extra dimension to the battle and most importantly stop tanks (and on occasion all melee) being bored shitless for a lot of keep battles.
Having said all of that about me finding keeps boring when attacking, the thing is when I have had things to do it has been MUCH more fun than the old days of RvDoor. Being thrown onto the walls, dropping bombs on the defenders and so on has added things to do. It’s just a shame those things are only available or viable in small scale sieges.
One of the things about keeps that has caused much debate is the defenders respawning in the keep. Prior to launch there was a concern that this would make well defended keeps impossible to take and we’d never see a city siege again, but as the MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of city sieges since 1.4 has clearly demonstrated that wasn’t true. Though it has certainly made it impossible to stop defenders getting into a keep and taken away the strategic element of preventing reinforcements. Which is a shame, but is another thing that could be replaced by improving the relevance of battle objectives as supply lines regardless of a keeps rank. So instead of assigning a warband to worry about reinforcements, you could have them attacking the enemy supply lines and effectively starving the defenders out. New defenders joining the zone then have to decide whether to reinforce the keep itself or protect those supply lines.
But while respawning in the keep isn’t ideal in some ways, it has been great fun as a defender. We’ve had some great times sallying forth to counter attack, without having to worry about a quick dumping to the warcamp miles away. It has made active and aggressive defences much more viable and enjoyable experiences. With a group of KF the other day I had some awesome fights in Chaos Wastes against Crimson and Champion of the Gods, as we battled around the rear postern door. Great fun. Also sieges where there is an aggressive defending force are much more fun for both attackers and defenders, as it gives everyone something to do. Unfortunately not all fights are like this.
It seems to me that Mythic have gone in the right direction with 1.4, but they need to do a lot of refinement and tweaking for it to reach its potential and be something everyone enjoys all the time. With the other game releases over the next few months it will be very important for Mythic to continue regular hotfixing, updating and tweaking the game, whilst keeping the communication levels up. They’ve picked the ball up, it’s now all about not dropping it.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Sorry sorry sorry

I am part way through writing a proper post, but I've not had much spare time lately and when I have... the renown is sooooo nice.

So here's a drunk squirrel.

I think we've all been there.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Hotfix details...

...can be found here or pasted below.

General Changes and Bug Fixes
•The new dye options available to players who have purchased the Personality Pack have been reduced in price.
•A new dye color, Badab Black, has been made available to players who have purchased the Personality Pack.
•Corrected an error with colors on some Magus Disc Mounts.
•Fixed an issue where Thanquol’s “Warp Lightning” ability would occasionally not properly display.
•Fixed an issue where players eligible for veterans reward (WAR Double Aegis) were not properly receiving their reward item in the mail.

Realm vs. Realm
Open RvR
•Siege Weapons destroyed within a Keep’s area will now grant Contribution.
•Aerial Bombers defeated within a Keep’s area will now grant Contribution.
•Various improvements have been made to Contribution earned while participating in a Keep Siege.
•The Resource pool threshold for Tier 4 RvR Keeps has been increased. Keeps will now require additional resources to increase in Rank.
•The health for Tier 4 Keep Doors has been increased.
•Fixed an issue where the Skaven ability “Running with the Pack” incorrectly had a Renown Rank restriction.
•The Skaven/Giant Rat camps in Tier’s 2&3 Empire vs. Chaos have had their levels adjusted to be more appropriate to the new Tier restrictions.
•Fixed an issue which could, in some cases, prevent additional instances of the Thanquol’s Incursion RvR Dungeon from being created.
•The Quest “Release Control” granted by the Excavated Skaven Device has been disabled. Players will now be required to exit the RvR Lake or die to remove the Play as Skaven buff.

Contested City
•Fixed an issue which could, in some cases, prevent additional instances of Contested Altdorf or The Inevitable City from being created.

•Adjustments have been made to the Scenario Matchmaking system.
•Fixed an issue where Scenarios were not properly triggering.

BTW I will be posting in the near future with some thoughts about the introduction of 1.4, its just been delayed by me not getting enough time to properly play the game and get a good enough feel for all of the changes to live.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Verminous Horde - release timing info

Can be found here. Or copied below:

"The ground beneath your feet rumbles and shakes as Skaven tunnels have appeared all over the Old World. We are proud to announce the launch of Game Update 1.4 and The Verminous Horde RvR™ Pack. We will be bringing all North American and European servers offline at 7:30 AM EST/13.30 CET. At this time we anticipate all servers to be back online no later than 12:30 PM EST/18.30 CET. As always, please be sure to check the Herald for updates regarding this downtime."

And in case you've missed them, the patch notes are here.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Balancing zones, keeps and sieges

Something I’m wondering about with 1.4 is how often will city sieges happen? I’m struggling to make any prediction I’m happy with because we quite simply do not know how the new system will play out in the end zones. Locking zones like Kadrin Valley or Black Crag are already quite different challenges strategically to say Praag and with the new campaign system I think the layout of zones is going to have even more impact than before.

Kadrin Valley is a prime example of this with the southern keep being so close to the warcamp; how will that work out with people rezzing in the keep, new people joining the zone so close by and the resource gathers arriving next door? And that’s before we start thinking about the routes that resource carriers take and any potential bottlenecks. What could happen though is perhaps we’ll actually see zones that are dramatically easier to attack or defend for certain factions, which in turn will change the way an entire faction views what zones and actions are important strategically. If for example Kadrin Valley was an easier zone for Destruction to take and hold, then it really starts to put pressure on Order to not let Destruction capture Thunder Mountain in the first place. That could actually be quite an interesting thing for us to deal with. I don't think every zone should be perfectly balanced, though the number of zones balanced different ways should be even.

Also, how hard is a fully upgraded and defended keep to take in 1.4? From what I hear it’s bloody difficult, but is that a good or bad thing? If it means less city sieges then I would say yes its good, but if it means no city sieges… that’s not so great. City sieges should be unusual and special enough events that you want to attend, but they shouldn’t be so rare that you don’t get a chance to unless you play 24/7. About the keeps though; I really think they should have a mechanism where they start to downgrade if the controlling side does not continue to gather resources. Otherwise we’ll get situations where both keeps are max level and it’s just zergs at keeps. Laggy, shitty and annoying zergs, the horrible thing this patch is trying to get away from. AND it puts even more importance on Battle Objectives, which is a good think in all respects.

Unless they already do downgrade? Please correct me if they already do.

Undoubtedly some tweaking will be required by Mythic over the coming months, the detail of what tweaking is required will only come out as we start to properly play the campaign on live servers. I think that’s actually going to be a lot of fun to play through, as potentially everything we’ve got used to is turned on its head.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Perfect Patching

When 1.4 arrives this Thursday, please don’t for a minute think there won’t be problems, because it’s a given that there will be. It’s always the way.

Most MMO patches bring with them a whole load of issues, be they lag, bugs or whatever. And with 1.4 including such a monumental change to the campaign and more, well… I’ll be amazed if it’s all smooth and perfect. As such, it’s not really worth going all emo rage and ranting if/when things go wrong and you can run the risk (if you care) of making yourself look a bit stupid as you wind yourself up over the obvious.

Now I’m sure we’ve all seen people saying “no we shouldn’t take it, we’re paying customers” and to a point that has some merit, so is it right to just accept these inevitable problems? Yes and no. Update problems happen with every MMO and that is not going to change anytime soon. Actually that’s not quite a broad enough statement, because really it happens with pretty much every type of software. Out in the real world, software upgrades are the bane of my working life and in particular I’ve learned to dread the major landmark updates. Those point zero versions that basically should be called Headache Inducing Toss 2.0, the buggers.

It would be lovely if software developers could deliver perfect, bug free software and the following patches, but with so many different pressures applying to release schedules and software being written by humans, it’s just not realistic. Also as anyone who’s ever been involved in serious software testing knows; what happens on your test system and what happens in a live environment are not always as related as you’d expect or hope. Combine that with MMOs being so damn complicated and having such large numbers of simultaneous users in much more free form environments and yikes… It sure as hell isn’t easy.

Having said whilst I’m obviously showing some sympathy towards MMO developers, I think it’s always important to ensure that the issues revealed on your test servers are properly dealt with before anything goes near live. I’ve not been able to get onto the PTS much and as such I can’t really comment on how solid 1.4 is, the feedback out there is rather mixed and some people’s opinion (both negative and positive) I find difficult to trust.

So going back to that “paying customer” bit… I would say it is unrealistic (though perhaps not unreasonable) for us to expect perfect updates on the day of release, but it IS perfectly sensible to expect any serious issues to be unforeseen ones and to be dealt with promptly after release.

Fair enough?

Saturday, 13 November 2010

1.4 and RvR Pack.... THURSDAY!!

Yup it's almost here. Check out the official herald post for confirmation if you so wish.

Can't wait :)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

New Career Builder online

Rancid has made a career builder over at war4scrubs, which with wardb dead is a great move. Check it out here.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

About those RvR packs - updated already LOL

$15 for both? That works for me, as along as we don't see (the all too regular these days) people ignoring exchange rates and doing a straight translaton to £15... It's not actually a huge life changing difference of course ($24), but at the dollar price I think Mythic have nailed it perfectly below the line where it would start to border on being a bit cheeky.

The server transfer cost of $19.99 is ok (its comparable with other games I believe), but there desperately needs to be other FREE options to salvage servers like Iron Rock.

As for all the vanity stuff, well... it's vanity stuff, so any price is fine if people will pay it, as shown by when Warcraft charged $25(IIRC) for a reskinned sparkly bloody horse and bazillions of people rushed to buy it.

In other news, yeah I'm sorta back but will be cutting down my gaming time considerably, got to be sensible and focus on other stuff. Plus my ISP is Virgin Media cable and as you can see here we've got major problems playing WAR right now. :( Which sucks royally obviously.

Oh and go read the latest developer discussion post. Huge news... HUGE. Oh ok I'll post it in here.. give me a mo...

"As we draw ever closer to the launch of the all new Verminous Horde™ RvR-Pack, we’d like to take a moment to address some concerns that the community has around some of the benefits that the pack offers to those who purchase it and the impact that it will have on WAR in general. Specifically, we would like to talk about the “power gap” and what measures we’re taking to address it.

Reading through the forums, we see your concerns about the fun factor of a R33 player going up against a R40/RR80+ player. While we want to give our players attainable goals and clear milestones by which to measure their progress in game, it is important to us to not deliver an experience that is “un-fun” for the lower level segments of our population. Simultaneously, we believe that our game is most enjoyable when the population is high, so it was not in anyone’s interest to split up the population.

RvR Tier Bracket Adjustment: We have decided to expand the brackets in Tiers 1-3, creating more of an overlap for players to remain in the lower tiers for longer if they so chose. At the same time, this alleviates issues in Tier 1 with “twinked” Endless Trial players, making it a more level playing field for active subscribers. Trial players will continue to be capped at rank 10. Of course all players will be bolstered to the max possible Rank for their tier, so as to lessen the impact of the increased cap. The proposed bracket changes are as follows:

Tier 1: Ranks 1-15
Tier 2: Ranks 12-26
Tier 3: Ranks 22-39
Tier 4: Ranks 32-40

Scenario Matchmaking: We will be introducing an all new Scenario Matchmaking system which will work to pit players of like ratings against each other when possible. Player rating is determined by skill and performance, so the better you do, the higher your rating. We’re very excited about this new system and the opportunities that it opens up to us for future development.

Ease of acquiring gear: We’re making RvR Armor sets much easier to attain. Annihilator will be sold for coin, Conqueror will be purchasable from a vendor for Officer Medallions only and Invader and Warlord will now be rewarded in ORvR from Tier 4 Keep Captures rather than only being available in the city. Sovereign armor will now be available from Stage 1 of the City Siege experience.

Gold Bag opt outs: We are introducing the option to opt out of Gold Bags only from RvR PQ’s. So if you’re still trying to get that elusive weapon or you’re in need of more 200 Talisman boxes ;), you’ll be able to still roll on those rewards while at the same time not taking loot away from players who can use them now.

Finally, players who purchase the Progression Pack will find that the rate at which they gain Renown has been increased on an ascending scale based on Renown Rank, capping out at a 300% bonus. This means that players will be converging on 80 much more quickly than the current 80s will be leveling. We believe this will condense the RVR spread in many ways.

Over the coming months we will be closely watching the RvR environment on all live servers, evaluating the impact of the Renown Rank cap to 100, the introduction of new armor sets and weapons and how the new Renown Ability revamp will affect how you play from day to day. We’re very excited about all of these changes and look forward to this and even more improvements, new features and new content as WAR continues to evolve and deliver the best RvR experience possible.

Thank you for your continued support and we’ll see you on the battlefield!"

Crikey! Need to think. Initial thoughts are ooh me like lots.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Gonna be AFK for a while

Real life has just slapped me across the face in a big way and I won't be feeling like writing much until some shit gets sorted out. Be back ASAP.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Random vid time

OK no time for a proper WAR post, so here's some carefully selected random video strangeness from the interweb.


Prince Charles represents

OK and this one... if you're a little kid, overly sensitive or don't like blood, 1) what are you doing here? and 2) don't watch this next vid pls.

Quite probably the GREATEST film ever made.

Fried Shrimp? WTF??

Monday, 1 November 2010

Order and Skaven

One of the things that is often mentioned in discussions about the way Skaven are being implemented in WAR is how it’s perceived as being wrong for Order to ally with them. Many people are quite annoyed by this and while I’m not hugely bothered, I do agree that it is very dubious and I don’t think it’s right.

There is a reference in the lore to it happening, but as far as I’m aware only once, in a Gotrek novel. However there are masses of moments in the lore where Skaven and the Order factions have had major conflicts and seriously, these were not little lover's tiffs. We’re talking LOTS of major wars and pretty much attempted genocide. So when you consider that, to then see Skaven suddenly changing to being all buddy buddy just doesn’t really wash. And the mercenaries for hire thing? For Destruction it’s plausible, but for Order races? No, no way. Empire siding with them is in absolute desperation is just about passable, but Elves and (particularly) Dwarves is really stretching it. Skaven have filled a lot of pages in the Dammaz Kron…

But, and it’s one of those big BUT moments… Gamesworkshop have been involved in developing the new Skaven for WAR and they have given this the green light. Knowing how fussy Gamesworkshop are about protecting their lore, it’s a bit odd, especially when you consider that the new warhammer rulebook not only makes it very clear that Skaven are in the Destruction grouping, but also the new boxed set is all about a bitter conflict between High Elves and Skaven. Friends, allies, mercenaries, nah sorry folks it’s just not right.

So why have they done something in WAR that is seriously wonky when compared with the tabletop? I’d guess that there was probably a load of different reasons; including a worry that Skaven would be so popular that they would have unbalanced the 2 factions if they were limited to Destruction only AND with resources tight perhaps it may not have been possible to introduce a proper Order alternative (Lizardmen, Wood Elves, etc). No doubt loads of other reasons beyond my reasoning too.

Also I suspect that Gamesworkshop recognise that the tabletop does not cleanly translate into an MMO and as such may see Warhammer Online as an alternate reality to the tabletop world, which for the sake of better gameplay perhaps they’re happy to be a bit more flexible about. Personally I do think that no matter the reasoning behind it, it is a crying shame that Lizardmen weren’t introduced as exact mirrors of the playable Skaven. It would have made this all a non-issue. So with me now blatantly ignoring any issues of time and money to make it so, I think it could have worked quite like this:

Rat Ogre = Kroxigor
Gutter Runner = Chamelon Skink
Warlock Engineer = Skink Priest
Pack Master = OK this one I’m not sure on as a direct mirror is tricky. It would need to be a Saurus somehow for character appeal… Surely something though?

Easy for me to say of course...

Anyway, regardless of any of our doubts about the lore thing, Gamesworkshop agreed it and that’s what we’re getting. GW own the lore, they can do whatever they like with it. Sure, Mythic have misjudged a bit what people really wanted and expected from Skaven, but then you know how it is. No matter what Mythic had chosen to do with Skaven, it was never going to please everyone.

So in summary, for me it is a bastardisation of the lore and I think it’s both a missed opportunity and a misunderstanding. But I’ll get over it, in fact I already did, about 5 minutes after hearing about it at Gamesday. I just felt I should post my thoughts about it. I will continue paying, playing and enjoying WAR. The single most important thing to consider about the introduction of Skaven is: will it make the game even more fun to play?

I reckon so.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

I played Skaven

Yesterday (or in fact today) I, like a fool, sat up to the early hours of the morning and tried out the playable Skaven on the PTS.

It was very interesting indeed, a lot of fun and I can safely say that Skaven are going to have a big impact on our tried and tested ways of playing WAR. First off let’s be clear, NONE of them seemed to do a great deal of damage to players. If you’re thinking you will be WTFPWNING!!! people with them, sorry folks, but that’s not going to happen. They will however influence fights through their unique abilities and in no small way too, but really from the off you should be thinking of the Skaven as support classes.

There are a few common things between the 4 Skaven classes:
  • All of them have very high hit points; I believe it ranged from 17k to 34(?)k depending on class.
  • None of them can use mounts, so you’re on foot and legging it around, slowly.
  • Rat Ogres can only be healed by the Packmasters, but other Skaven can be healed by other people. So they will require escorting by other players, but they will be worth it. (thanks Anon comment for the correction!)
  • You turn yourself into Skaven from a device in the keep and you will remain as Skaven until either you die or you leave the RvR lake.
  • When you turn into a Skaven your tool bars change to Skaven abilities, with each class having around 6 different things it can do. These abilities need to be rearranged to your preference and reset each time you change into a Skaven. A minor thing, but quite annoying, so hopefully that will get improved.
  • None of the careers have a spamable attack, everything has a cooldown of at least 2 seconds and more often 5.
  • There are limited numbers of each type of the Skaven careers available at one time, except it seems Rat Ogres which appeared to be unlimited.

Rat Ogre

The throwing people around is going to be hugely popular. It’s intended for throwing people onto walls, but it’s uses will go well beyond that. Hurling ranged onto rooftops, throwing people over obstacles for shortcuts, all sorts of things… Oh and you can only throw people in your group or warband, so the griefing concerns can be forgotten (except in PUGs…).

Other than using a ram, the only other thing that can damage doors are Rat Ogres. Keeping them alive will be interesting…

For general ORvR fighting Rat Ogres are going to have a big influence by guilds that make the most of them tactically. They have an AoE stagger for a start, but the real imposing (and hilarious) ability is their charge. You can hurtle forwards and quite literally knock enemy players flying. I ran straight through a warband and bodies went everywhere. Didn’t do much damage (if any), but it totally screwed up their postioning.


I had problems with this career. I may have been doing it wrong, but their heal seemed very underwhelming and I had a little difficulty telling when it was working or not. I was getting invalid target a lot, presumably because the Rat Ogre I was targeting already had a heal active? Not sure.

I really liked their summoning rats ability, it was just amusing to use, though how potent it was I’m not entirely sure. Oh and they can leap huge distances to the nearest Rat Ogre, which has to be the best get out of dodge ability in the game. All told I’m just uncertain on this class, I gave it a good go, but it just didn't click for me, but it could have been me being confused. I'd be very interested to hear how other people got on with it.

Gutter Runner

This little bugger is going to be very, very popular. The damage is pathetically bad, but with permanent stealth and a 60% run buff on a toggle, combined with their ability to leap up walls, these are the ultimate scouting class. For example you can easily get all the way into the inner keep and report on exactly how the enemy is setting themselves up. I spent a lot of my time running round watching stuff and it actually reminded me of my DAoC scout and being the eyes of our alliance in the old days.

They can sabotage enemy siege weapons, but I didn’t get to see the end result of that unfortunately. For general warband play they also have a quite potent AoE snare bomb type thing, which when delivered from their uber stealth could well be a right pain in the arse.

Warlock Engineer

I LOVE the look and sound effects from this class, very cool. Unfortunately I didn’t get to play it very much, but from what I saw it seems like the one class that might do some proper damage with its lightning gun and warpfire thrower. It also has some seriously good buffs . But like I said I didn’t get much time with this one, so can’t say too much.

How exactly this will all work out on live we can’t be sure, but these new classes provide some very interesting new tools for warband leaders to utilise. It looks to me like they are going to dramatically change things and we’ve got a lot of new stuff to get the hang of.

BTW sorry the screenies are low quality, was a bit of a rush job and I was tired :P

Like a Lion

I do like themed warbands and groups, they're just a good laugh to mess around with. And I'm not alone there.. Check out this video from Karak Norn's Champion of the Gods.

Order scumbags ofc ;)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Dungeon, Lair or Scenario?

I’ve not been able to test the new Skaven dungeon “Thanquol’s Incursion” yet. Unfortunately real life has clashed with PTS events and given me slim windows of opportunity to get on and when I did manage to sneak, both times there were issues that prevented me getting in the instance. Bloody sods law.

Reading the feedback on the forum from the first test events gives a rather bleak outlook on the dungeon and the direction taken. However since then I’ve also heard some feedback directly from people I know and trust that went to last night’s PTS event. Their feedback was more mixed with a generally positive outlook, but tempered by many major things that need sorting out.

I’m not going to post the details of what was said; since I’ve not got in the dungeon at all I’m bound to get things mixed up. But in general people seemed to have had a good time and are hopeful that if Mythic continue to tweak things (considerably) then it could work out to be a lot of fun.

Bit of vague post I know, but that’s what I’m left with. There’s too much blind sycophantic or mindless hatred opinion being posted for me to trust much of what’s out there right now. With luck I’ll get a chance to test it out sometime before it goes live.

I do think though that from what I’ve seen so far it doesn’t seem to be what I think of as a dungeon (big place, stuff to explore and fight over), more like a scenario with mobs in the middle, or perhaps a RvR enabled instanced Lair would be a better description? Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but I’m trying to get my head round what this place really is.

I think people will have very set ideas about what the word dungeon means, particularly when you put RvR near the word. Memories of Darkness Falls leap to the forefront of your mind and while I think much of them will be rather rose-tinted (particularly on the PvE vs PvP balance), the sense of scale associated with those memories is pretty damn epic and accurately so. The RvR dungeons in DAoC are not dungeons, they are DUNGEONS!

But then new Lair or Scenario isn’t exactly going to set the world alight and perhaps is far underselling what the new Skaven instanced thing is. Maybe its somewhere in between. I’m really not sure yet.

To be honest if it’s fun I won’t care too much and it’s important to note there are both positive and negative things being said about the PTS events, but I do wonder how much the negative stuff is being influenced by expectation related to the word dungeon. If true though I don't think that is a reason to write those negative comments off, since managing player expectation is a big part of running and evolving a MMO. You could probably find all sorts of debate over what RvR means too. Opinions... such a pain.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Solo hero warband legends

I know I should be finishing off my Chosen, but I just can’t help myself and shock shock horror, I’ve got distracted by one of my (far too many) alts. This weekend it was all about my Squig Herder. He’s level 40 and low RR, but it’s a career that can be surprisingly effective with the right choice of gear. Not a patch on a top end geared one of course and obviously you’re the underdog, but you can have an impact, get some kills and perhaps surprise yourself.
I spent most of my online Squig time roaming solo, mixed with a bit of PUG warbanding and a few scenarios. Which is how I would always recommend getting the hang of a career in T4, initially at least; put yourself in the shit and learn how to deal with it. And always remember if you lose, it’s just as much you as it is the enemy’s gear/OPness/etc.
Also and where this post is leading, is it’s good to learn and enjoy different playstyles. If you only ever play in guild warbands and perfect set ups it will just mean you suck when caught solo. And being caught on your lonesome will happen at some point, unless you’re one of those types that won’t go anywhere without an escort. There are an awful lot of big reputation players that may well be incredibly good team players, but prove to be not all that great when caught without all their group/warband crutches.
Having said that, WAR is most certainly a group game and while it’s great fun being a solo roaming hero, you’ll find it a lot harder to achieve much without finding your place in a decent warband. So while I would recommend initially learning the class by solo roaming lots, you will quite quickly need to suss out what you should be doing in a warband and how that can require totally different tactic and ability selection. Those big reputation players that disappoint when solo may well fully deserve their reputation for their understanding of group synergy and being as devastating as possible.
For example I know a few people that are incredible solo players, but are an absolute bloody nightmare in a warband; always running off at random chasing things down, not using group beneficial abilities quite so well, etc. When you have a mixed hardcore-casual guild like mine that’s just something you have to live with :P
It’s often quite amusing while browsing forums to read solo heroes and the “won’t go out without a warband” players sneering at each other’s playstyles. Yet really they’re both perfectly valid ways of playing and if you want to maximise your enjoyment of the game then you should consider learning both. Unless of course your epeen won’t let you run the risk of losing a fight, in which case you may want to reflect on what epeen is actually worth. Purely playing one style just means you miss out on more ways to enjoy your time playing WAR.

Friday, 22 October 2010

New armour sets adjusted after feedback

Mythic have just posted up adjustments to the new RR90/100 armour sets they revealed earlier this month. These changes have been made based upon the feedback people have left in the focus discussion threads, so as always if you've got an idea and/or further constructive feedback, go post on the official forum threads and you genuinely stand a chance of influencing things. You can find all the relevant threads in this section of the forums.

Here's the details posted:

Hello everybody,

We have been reading through all of your great feedback regarding the new Doomflayer and Warpforged sets. After discussing all of the feedback internally, we have come up with a number of adjustments. As always, if you choose to respond please stay on topic with comments directly related to these adjustments. Also, these are all subject to change.

General Notes
To clarify some confusion as to how these procs work (Sovereign, Doomflayer and Warpforged), they will not refresh themselves. This means that a proc cannot be triggered again while the effect is active. In addition, any proc that is higher level (e.g. Warpforged vs Doomflayer) will overwrite the lower level proc.

As evidenced by the changes below, the support careers now have 1 version of their sets with a proc that affects their entire group and 1 proc that affects themselves. This is meant to reinforce their intended purpose of being a support career.

-Chosen and Swordmaster sets will have WS replaced with Init.

-All tank procs will be set to On Being Attacked. The difference between On Being Attacked and On Being Hit is that in order for the latter to have a chance to trigger, it must not be defended. On Being Attacked will have a chance to trigger regardless of whether you successfully defend or not.

-The 4 piece proc will be replaced with the following:
--Doomflayer: On Being Attacked: 10% chance to reduce incoming damage to your group by 7% for 10 seconds.
--Warpforged: On Being Attacked: 10% chance to reduce incoming damage to your group by 10% for 10 seconds.

Ranged DPS
-The BS on the secondary defensive set will be re-allocated, with half of the stat points put into WS (71 BS, 70 WS).

Magic Healers
-The 2 piece proc will be replaced with the following:
--Doomflayer: On Heal: 10% chance to gain 66 Action Points over 3 seconds.
--Warpforged: On Heal: 10% chance to gain 75 Action Points over 3 seconds.

Melee Healers
-The Tou on the secondary melee set will be replaced with Init

-The 4 piece proc will be replaced with the following:
--Doomflayer: On Hit: 10% chance to reduce your chance to be critically hit by 7% for 10 seconds.
--Warpforged: On Hit: 10% chance to reduce your chance to be critically hit by 10% for 10 seconds.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Last nights test didn't go to plan

I couldn't go because of how late it was this side of the pond and tbh I'm glad I didn't sit up for it, as apparently things didn't quite go to plan. ;)

There werea few issues, including one where people got ported to Norsca... And as such there wasn't much time left for people to test the dungeon properly. But even so, that's one big bug discovered. Plus finding silly things like that is what testing is for and you should never go expecting things to be anywhere near perfect.

Thankfully people did at least get to have a crack at the first RvR boss event. Werit has posted a video of it which you can check out at his blog over here.

It looks like a fairly stationary boss with the emphasis more on the fighting with players, but I can't really tell what else was having to be dealt with. We'll find out soon though with the next test on Friday, which I also probably can't make due to RL commitments, but I'll gather any news I can find ASAP.

In other related news, Mythic have confirmed subscribers will NOT have to pay for the RvR Packs to enter the new dungeon. The only limitation is the RR65+ limit, but remember that doesn't mean you'll be able to access all the goodies or rewards from it without purchasing part of the RvR pack, we'll have to wait and see on that one. Also I've no idea yet if that includes access to the playable Skaven or not.

More news as it appears...

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Thanquol's Incursion, will folks stay and fight?

OK so I’m presuming everyone has read Mythic’s post on the herald with more info about the new Skaven RvR Dungeon “Thanquol's Incursion”.

I was hoping for an RvR zone more than a dungeon, though I’m not entirely sure what I had envisaged; something huge and open, perhaps akin to DAoC style zones. Yet a while back I came round to accepting that WAR will never be DAoC2 and it certainly will never be UO2 (my other dream game…), but I still enjoy it and play WAR most nights, so perhaps while I think I want a return to those games, maybe I wouldn’t be quite so happy going back. Dunno for sure. WAR does work perfectly for someone like me that is balancing a family and gaming. Being able to log out whenever without hassle is essential if you want to maintain a relationship with a non-gaming wife. WAR is wonderfully friendly to the older gamer doing the hardcore casual thing.
Anyway, part of WAR’s different style is the instanced 24vs24 City siege and it looks like Thanquol's Incursion is very much going to be a similar experience. 3 stages and a focus on RvR, mixed with NPC interaction that isn’t quite normal PvE. The city siege is still a fun experience, at least when people aren’t quitting the instance to avoid tough opposition. Though on that topic it’s a little more understandable when solo queuing and you get into a half way finished instance with your spawn being camped and barely any friendly players there. Plus despite what people’s internet personas and egos may allow them to admit, I’ve seen premade groups/warbands from every single well known guild from both factions drop out when things went bad, actually I tell a lie, there’s one exception and it’s not who Norn players would expect.

OK that’s a tangent, but it’s relevant because if Thanquol's Incursion uses the same system to join as the city, then we will most likely see similar things. Which will mean when it’s good, it’s great and when it’s not so good, it’s a bit meh. Yet, any PvP game will see things like this happen. There’s always a load of people that will always go for the path of least resistance, no matter how dull. That’s why the term leechers is so common in MMOs.

So the big questions for me for anyone that goes to tonight’s (or for me early morning) PTS Skaven event is:

Does joining the dungeon work like the city siege?
And if so how much fun will this instance be to play with erratic opposition?
Or does it work in such a way that people will stay for the fun/fight/whatever?

It’s a tricky one to balance as if you make the Bosses too involving it becomes too much PvE when you’ve got a proper fight on. Maybe Mythic have cracked it though. Mythic learnt a lot from the City siege, tonight we’ll discover how that gets applied. Alas I can’t make this first test, work tomorrow and all that, but I’m looking forward to hearing what people discover.

Other random thought, I bet Warhammer lore fans are wetting their panties about this famous pair below.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

OI! Mythic release some more Skaven dungeon details!

Just linking for now and reading :)

Does Cataclysm matter for WAR?

It can’t have escaped your notice that WAR’s RvR Pack and 1.4 are coming out around the same time as World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm expansion. This is not totally dissimilar to when Wrath of the Liche King (WotLK) arrived shortly after WAR’s launch, but this time I think the impact will be far less.

Back in 2008 loads of people from other games (presumably primarily WoW) jumped ship to try out the much hyped Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. For a range of reasons the game didn’t live up to a lot of people’s expectations and I think for a lot of people it was just too far from the WoW comfort zone they’d been living in. I remember a guildie who quit in the early days telling me he just couldn’t get used to playing a MMO where sometimes no matter what you do, you can’t win. He’d got so used to PvE encounters from other games that he expected to win, all the time. Alas for him, PvP and particularly RvR just aren’t like that.

Not that this was the only reason people left. At the other end of the scale were those people who were expecting WAR to be Dark Age of Camelot with Orcs were and that just didn’t turn out to be the case. And there was no doubt all manner of reasons in-between, so when WotLK came out there was a mass exodus from WAR back to WoW.

Since then WAR has improved dramatically. It’s far from the finished, perfect game we all want, but it is hugely different in performance, balance and general game play. As a result a while back the population stabilised and then started to grow. Yes certain servers are still struggling, but others are getting busier and while I’ve not been able to get any subscriber numbers from Mythic, they have told me the population is growing. Of course you may like to dispute that, but I can only speak about what I see on Karak Norn and Mythic’s word tallies with that. On Norn recently we’re even getting the Supply Lines function kicking in when a zone gets too busy. So where Iron Rock is struggling, other places like Karak Norn, Karak Azgal and Badlands are getting insanely busy.

Anyway I’m starting to go on a tangent and I shall now rein myself back in… The point I was getting to is the population has stabilised in a general sense. If you’re playing WAR right now its most likely because you like PvP and RvR more than PvE. Perhaps you could say WAR is now a niche game for those of us that are primarily PvPers, but don’t want to play EVE for whatever reason. So when WoW’s latest expansion comes out with its excellent PvE, but crap PvP and non-existant RvR, will many WAR players actually care? If you wanted to play a PvE focussed game, wouldn’t you already be doing that?

I know I don’t care about WoW’s expansion; I had my fingers burnt with WotLK. I went and tried it and found myself unable to hit max level due to boredom with the nonstop PvE. Not that I think WoW is a bad game, oh no. I think it’s excellent at what it is good at and is focused on, that being PvE. It’s just not for me anymore. As I talk to other people this seems a pretty common point of view.

So this time I don’t think WoW’s expansion will have that big an impact on WAR. And the same goes for the other MMOs coming out. They have different focuses to WAR and surely if that’s what you want out of your MMO, after 2 years of WAR’s crazy rollercoaster, wouldn’t you have already left?

From my friends I only know a couple of people that are talking about Cataclysm, everyone else is looking ahead to the RvR Pack. As such I suspect that this time for WAR, much like how it won't impact on EVE, the WoW expansion won't have such a cataclysmic effect.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Blog roll stuff

I've stripped out all blogs from my roll that haven't had a post for over a month. A shame to see some of those folks stop writing, but understandable if the spark went, it's a hobby not a job after all.

Also if you're a WAR blogger and not on my blog roll, then leave a comment and I'll add you to the list. As long as you're not a whinging numpty or insanely over happy fanboi who can't manage any objectivity, in which case sorry for ignoring you :P

Oh and while I say it's for WAR bloggers, it's not exclusive really. You may have noticed I'll link any MMO blog or in fact anything I find amusing or interesting, hence sites like being on there alongside some of my favourite general MMO/gaming bloggers; like Biobreak and We Fly Spitfires (best blog name ever IMHO, but I am a biased Brit. I would also fly Hurricanes and Typhoons). Though I guess being down to my interests that does rule out carebear MMOs, Tories, sports with insanely high scores and other silly things. Annnnnnnnyway...

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Chosen Mastery Guide for the new 40

As a long term Chosen player, I quite often get people that are new to the career asking me how they should spec. I’m happy to offer advice of course, but I figured it might save me regular repetition if I wrote a little guide how to spec a Chosen. There’s no single and comprehensive answer to the question, because as well as the variables that level and renown throw at you, Chosen are also quite lucky in that they have a lot of viable specs. That said, like pretty much every career in WAR there are an awful lot of abilities within each mastery line that are utterly useless and it almost offends me that my computer is wasting electricity putting their pixels on my screen. :P But I’m not going to dwell on the crap bits, since there’s an excellent selection of decent abilities to choose from.

So moving on… I’m going to write this aimed at level 40/realm rank 40 Chosen and I’m only going to post specs that I have tried out and found useful. Also due to the death of wardb I couldn’t use a career builder to post links, so I’ve nipped onto the test server (because it cost me no gold) and screenshotted a few specs.

Oh and before I get into the specs, one other thing… You will notice that for the RvR specs I ALWAYS take Quake. In my opinion any Chosen not taking Quake for RvR is gimped. It is our single most powerful ability from an overall impact on the battlefield perspective. Yes the stagger will get broken by random AoE, but then if you’re warband is throwing down random AoE and neglecting to use staggers, then frankly it’s a crap warband. And yes, you can’t stop random PuGs breaking it, but then you shouldn’t be always playing near Puggies and if you are, well… how you spec is fairly irrelevant in general. Learn to make the most of Quake’s stagger and you will become twice as potent.

RvR Corruption/Discord (Hard as nails)
Right now I play a great weapon spec, but for the majority of the last year or so I ran with a shield and used an expanded (due to higher renown rank) version of this. It’s my all time favourite spec and without any doubt at some point I will go back to it. It works as an all round pain in the arse to kill and a bit of extra CC (Crowd Control) spec and I found it amazing for taking on multiple players at once, though it really comes into its own from RR50+ where you can get Mixed Defences too.

Key abilities:
Quake – obviously
Downfall – The extra knockdown is really handy and the ability I miss most when not specced (other than Quake)
Oppression – A personal 15% damage reduction from ALL sources and the armour increase make this better than crippling strikes for YOU, it has no effect on anyone else which is where crippling strikes is better. However in RvR Crippling Strikes works best when combined with Rending Blade and since you’ll nearly always have other Chosen nearby applying Crippling Strikes, it’s not essential for everyone.

RvR Dread/Discord (the cookie cutter)
This is probably the single most popular spec for Chosen and for good reason. It combines high damage when using great weapons, increased AoE damage, Quake’s stagger AND turns you into a Crippling Strikes AoE delivery system, which is of great benefit to your fellow Destruction players.

Key abilities:
Quake – duh
Crippling Strikes (tactic) – Anyone you crit will do 25% less damage
Oppressing Blows (tactic) – 15% increased crit chance with great weapons
Rending Blade – Every 5 seconds you can do a cone AoE which will most likely crit and apply Crippling Strikes.

RvR Dread/Discord (anti-magic)
I don’t play this spec very often, but I have tried it, it did work and I know quite a few people use it. The trick to it is combining Tzeentch’s Reflection with Hold the Line and getting your disrupt chance very high (80%+ is easy), since with Tzeentch’s Reflection active every disrupt you do will silence the enemy. Combine that further with Siphoned Energy and you can get a reasonable self heal in some situations, as well as a speed buff. What is important to remember however is because of immunity timers, the silence will not always work. This spec can work very well though as a guard for a bombing Sorcerer.

Key abilities:
Quake – yah rly
Tzeentch’s Reflection – Increased disrupt chance and silence for 10 seconds.
Siphoned Energy – Optional this really, but the aforementioned heals and speed aren’t bad.
Crippling Strikes – Don’t forget Blast Wave for AoE applications.
Dreadful Terror – Draining AP (Action Points) and giving them to your group, which is also nice for those bombing sorcerers.

PvE Dread/Corruption (Maximum Tank)
So this one is a pure PvE spec and needs little explanation. It combines Oppression and Crippling Strikes to provide a total of 40% extra damage reduction and then slaps on a 25% parry increase from Mixed Defences for 5 seconds after you block. Since in PvE you’ll block all the time, this means it’s constantly active.

Key abilities:
Crippling Strikes – Reducing damage taken.
Mixed Defences – Further reducing the damage you take.
Oppression – And yet more…
Downfall – Useful for knocking down certain mobs and for things like the Carrion Phase on boss 1 in Tomb of the Vulture Lord
Dreadful Terror – Nobody complains about extra AP in PvE.

So there you go, I hope it was helpful. These are certainly not the only ways to spec, but they are the ones that I like. Good luck and may your RAVAGE always crit ;)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

I’m not touching that with a barge pole. Well… just a little poke maybe?

You have no doubt read the whole EA Louse thing, if not I'm not going to link it as it was down at the time of writing. Basically an (unknown to us) EA Mythic employee who is getting made redundant has gone on a huge rant; slagging named individuals off, ridiculing Bioware and more. The internet community being what it is, this has been gobbled up with pure glee by those that want to hate on Mythic, EA, Starwars, Bioware, the human race, etc. Which in turn is being utterly rubbished by those who think everything in the world is wonderful.

(small edit below in italics)
This then gets a reply from someone that (possibly by accident) made it look like they were a Mythic employee, but it turns out he's merely a friend of the people being slagged off and his post is also rather ranty. Of course his post is also being acclaimed or trolled, depending on what ill informed opinion people want to try and present as reality.

Personally I don’t care about it either way. I like playing WAR and someone exploding because he lost his job isn’t going to change that. I feel sorry for anyone losing their job, but the world is in financial crisis, there are mass redundancies left, right and centre. As such almost all of us are at risk and it’s understandable that people get stressed and wound up. But washing your dirty laundry in public is bad form and lacks class, seriously, unless that’s my supposed British reserve and stiff upper lip kicking in.

I find the whole thing a bit embarrassing to read, yet at the same time I don’t really care. I’ve my own job to worry about, which incidentally I will not be posting a load of antagonistic hate about should I get made redundant. That would be childish. Oh the irony of that previous sentence in a blog about computer games.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Zone lock reward changes of OMFGness

OK some big changes are coming that will change not only the way we view controlling a zone, but also zone locks in every sense. At least it will if you're interested in renown, which of course most people will be with the new 100 renown cap.

Check out this post and this one too, or just read below..

New addition that is currently live on PTS (as are all other adjustments up until this point):
Resource Carriers now reward a Realm with Experience, Renown and Influence upon making a Resource delivery. The Reward scales based upon the distance of the path that the Resource Carrier has chosen to take. The longer a path is the more Reward that will be granted to players within the RvR lake.

It's everyone in the zone that passes a server-side requirement check - in the current case, it's anyone who would normally qualify for Zone Capture rewards. I'm continuing to investigate idle hands support punting people to the Warcamp.

So this should provide people with further reason (beyond gathering resources for keep upgrades) to keep control of Battle Objectives and ensure that Resource Carriers make it to the warcamp safely. The selfish renown-whore in all of us will see the obvious benefit.

And now the big news...
Also - since it hasn't been made very clear at this point; Resource Carriers who have further to travel carry more Resources.

As an example; a Destruction Resource Carrier coming from Hallenfurt Manor carries about 4x as many Resources as the one from Verentane's Tower.

Also - if a Resource Carrier is defeated and drops their barrel; it only contains 25% of what was being carried. It is always better to control the Battlefield Objectives for your Realm's advancement. You lose a lot of time by ignoring the Battlefield Objectives.

We're also hooking up Zone Flip Rewards in a manner where the rewards are divvied out to both the winning and losing Realm based upon how long the battle has been active. Imagine that each zone is worth 200 points and every 12 minutes, 10% of the 200 points goes to the "loser's pool". This would have the pool values at 180 to 20. This mechanic would continue until the pool values are 120 to 80; the rewards handed out would then be scaled against those values.

The intent here is that even if a Realm loses - they are appropriately rewarded for how well they did. Holding the enemy off and defending your Keep has tangible meaning in terms of reward. In the case of AAO - these rewards would be modified by that. It is feasible that, even being outnumbered 4:1, the losing Realm could actually walk away with more reward than the winners received.

Crikey... Rewards for putting up a stubborn defence? Rewards that are effected by AAO? Oh wow, this I really, really like.

Will it get leeching swines sitting in the RvR zone afk? Of course it will, but that will never, ever, EVER get fixed while there are zone wide rewards. People will always try and leech, some more than others. It also doesn't matter that much in the grand scheme of things. But what this change will mean is there will always be a reason to put up a defence. Think of those times where your group/guild/alliance/whatever put up a long, desperate and ultimately doomed defence of a zone. In the future you'll get renown rewards, rewards that are effected by AAO.

This has massive potential to change how everyone views what is worth defending or not. And that my friends is no bad thing.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Change, change, change

There are more changes coming as a result of feedback and info from the Public Test Server. You can find Michael Wyatt's post here, or just read below.

(NOTE: This is not currently live on PTS) Tweaks and Adjustments made due to feedback from October 8th, 2010 test: 
  • Deployable Siege may once again be placed in areas where mounting is not allowed.
  • Battlefield Objectives will now lockdown for 5 minutes after being successfully captured. Resources will be generated, unable to be disturbed, during this time. Resource Carriers will continue to spawn every 120 seconds as well. (NOTE: This will cause a known issue where a Battlefield Objective's Resource Generation Timer will be reset when the Battlefield Objective transitions from Locked->Unlocked. We're looking for feedback on the locking itself before investing engineering time to correct the issue. While testing, please assume that this timer is not reset.)
  • Resource Carriers will now automatically be issued orders 2 minutes after being spawned. Interacting with a Resource Carrier prior to this 2 minute timer will continue to cause them to dispatch.
  • Reduced the Resource thresholds to rank up a Keep by 25%.
  • Aerial Bomber abilities "Fire Bomb" and "Chaos Fire Bomb" have had their damage radius reduced and will no longer ignore AOE line-of-sight checks.
  • Players may now only carry one deployable Siege weapon at a time.
  • Siege weapons are once again repairable in combat but the repair duration has been increased to 45 seconds (up from 30 seconds).
  • Reduced the amount of damage reduction provided to Resource Carriers by a Rank 1 Keep to 25% (down from 50%).
  • Resource Carriers are now affected by their own version of Against All Odds. All damage received is reduced by a scaling percentage based upon the population ratios.

This backs up what I was saying yesterday about being your chance to get your feedback read and responded to. Those changes are clearly related to things being said on the Mythic forums right now. So if you cba to do it, well, do it ;)

Of particular interest from those is the 5 minute lock down time for Battle Objectives and the resource carriers automatically moving out after 5 minutes. One thing quite a few people have raised concern about is with the BOs being constantly attackable, if an outnumbered force manages to capture one, the bigger force can too easily take it back before any resources are generated. This in effect buys them some time, so sounds like a good idea to me though I wouldn't want timers much longer than that.

Resource gathers automatically moving off after a few minutes is a great move, as another sensible concern being raised was about people having to sit at a BO clicking a gatherer every few minutes. This change to that will allow defenders to mount a more mobile and less boring defence.

The more this gets tweaked, the better it sounds.

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