Monday, 31 January 2011

Healer update and Producer's letter comments

Steven Engle has posted an edited version of the healing changes. Small tweaks, but much, much better. I'm still not sure if the main heals are fast enough, but with the reduction in how fragile they are I can understand it being sensible to see how a half second cast time reduction pans out. Cleanse staying instant but having optional tactics to change it, well that works for me just fine.

BTW about the producer's letter, real life got in the way of me writing up much about it and I'm sure you will have read reviews from the other bloggers by now, so in brief...

I like that it didn't do the usual focus on recapping on what's happened and instead is looking further to the future. However I'm sure nobody is shocked to hear that I wish it had information on more substantial and desired changes to the game. The new things mentioned are unfortunately totally and utterly "meh", sure they're not bad things, but inspiring they are not.

I'm tried of vague comments like "expanding existing areas and features as well as new concepts to the Warhammer Online experience". Areas could mean anything from zones to in fact any major or minor component of the game. So for now it's an utterly meaningless statement, that in the past I would have latched onto with hope, but I've had my fingers burnt too many times to do that anymore. Hopefully of course it will be something significant and James will clarify soon.

One thing though...more pets? I mean seriously? Why bother? Do people really care about that? Or is it the start of moving towards a cash shop and F2P? Carrie's new focus yet to be revealed perhaps. I can't think of any other reason to waste time making bloody pets.

All told it wasn't a bad letter compared with the past ones, it's just that for a great many WAR players (myself included obviously) this is a really critical time and to retain their interest Mythic need to, well... say something properly interesting.

Over to you James.

Friday, 28 January 2011

The EU news

New EU community Manager announced here.

What will that really mean for WAR? No idea to be honest, not sure if this is just to cater for French/German speakers on their servers, or something further. Wait and see what happens I guess.

January Producer's letter is out

Linkage for you here.

Reading it now....

Further healing stuff

Steve Engle is putting somethings out there for discussion in the developer thread about the upcoming healing changes.

As of right now, the cleanse change is slated to go to PTS and will most likely make it there.
Now I want to just spit-ball with all of you, what if we did something like this instead?

All cleanses remain 0s build time with a 5s cooldown.

We do tactic layouts as such that modify cleanse. (please remember I haven't had time to run numbers, but want an idea of what you think conceptually.)

Archmage - tactic that adds a HoT on the defensive target (mirror Shaman version)
Runepriest/Zealot - Tactic that alters the cleanse to have no cooldown, but cost significantly more AP.
Disciple of Khaine - Tactic for Group cleanse (mirror of Warrior Priest's Cleansing Power)

I vastly prefer these options. And the key word is "options", it doesn't break any current gameplay styles and gives us alternatives should people want to play cleanse monkey. Much better.

And I like to see the developers talking and throwing ideas out, please continue :)

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Healer changes

Sorry, bit slow posting due to being busy and stuff last few days. Link for the healer changes here.

Or in summary...
1) The big single target heals get reduced by 0.5 seconds to a 2 second cast.
2) Cleanse gets its cooldown removed and gets changed to a 0.5 second cast.
3) Runepriest's morale 3 gets a nerf, Zealot's morale 3 is changed to mirror it.

My verdict...

1) Not enough and I don't see this meaning much at all, particularly if the easily set back thing still applies. It's only 20% quicker than group heals which heal EACH person for almost the same amount, do not suffer the same pushback problem and obviously heal the entire group. The extra AP cost of group heals are totally outweighed by their power. Should be 1 or 1.5 seconds for single target heals.

As it stands this change has little benefit for PvP and though it is obviously a slight improvement, I will still not use the single target big heals except when bored or dicking about. It will be better for PvE, shame there's none worth doing anymore :P

It is on the right track, but it needs to be taken further to have any real impact on what button people will press.

2) Why change cleanse? Of all the things to be wasting time thinking about... Christ on a bike guys!
Impact on warband play could be significant if people organise dedicated cleansers, but I'm guessing we won't really know until it goes live. Perhaps, but I don't know and don't care. This was so far away from being anything I give two turds about right now, that I'm totally perplexed by it.

It's a horrible nerf to a healer trying to surivive on their own for any reason, since melee range being quite, uhm, far... that any pause in movement can have a huge cost. Particularly since so many MDPS can kill things so quickly now. From a selfish perspective I really don't like this change. It hurts my Shaman for no reason that I understand right now.

If someone could explain why curse needs any time and thought put into changing it, please do explain.

3) Well I tend to use the damage morale 3 on my Zealot, so to be honest I don't care. It might be a buff, I don't really know.

It may sound like I'm suffering from a bit of apathy here, but don't think that's apathy towards WAR itself, it's just these changes aren't doing much for me and the curse one is annoying. The single target heal one would be good if it was made worthwhile.

Monday, 24 January 2011

He returns and me going off on one, again, but nicely..

Mythic's Community Manager Andy Belford is back at work after a having some time off for personal stuff, something that for some strange reason many gamers seem to find unacceptable. I presume they're not standing amongst the glass shards of their shattered homes and they don't ever have any time away from work. Unlikely one suspects. Me, I get 30 days leave a year and I'll take that whenever I like thank you very much. That said, I'm more than a little puzzled that nobody else at Mythic picked up the torch and covered things.

Tenuous link putting this tune on, but it makes me laugh, so nyah!

Anyway, Andy has posted about communication and Mythic's current ethos of not releasing news on anything until it's about to be launched. They’re trying to avoid disappointment and all the too common over-hyping of things that may not see the light of day, which is understandable, but personally I think they've tightened up too much. There is a desperate desire for solid long term positive news amongst the community, a community that is splitting apart as so many players declare they’re moving on to RIFT, WoW, etc. People are looking for reassurance that they’re not wasting their time, yet all the time the WAR haters and jaded snipe away with ever increasing calibre of ammunition and in some cases considerably more accuracy than in the past. Yet for those of us wanting to present a balanced (let alone a positive...) opinion we’re left with not much to go on. I don’t mean that to be interpreted as me saying it’s all doom and gloom, it’s just we’ve genuinely no idea what is really going on with WAR. Other than some fairly minor and very short term news anyway. This leaves those that still like the game floundering in a sea infested with hate filled pirates.

You just have to look at all the WAR bloggers that are just treading water (if they’re posting about WAR at all) because there is quite simply nothing to write about other than concerns or total flights of fancy. Those flights of fancy these days are just asking to be laughed at and it gets boring writing negative stuff; we want to have exciting things to ponder on, clues and gossip to debate. Unfortunately at the moment it’s a bit flat and the only people that can change that are Mythic.

Sure, I don’t want Mythic promising things that are unrealistic, but we do need a bit more info squeezed out than what we’re getting now. Particularly as whilst I like the proposed healing changes, unfortunately they do nothing to address the major problems it’s perceived (fairly IMHO) that 1.4 introduced regarding gear, renown, zergs and more. We need some positivity back, a sense of direction and control from Mythic, because regardless of how much they really have, the sensations of them existing are just not present in the WAR community right now.

I want to write positive stuff (it’s more interesting for a bloody start), but I can’t do that without being thrown a bone or two.

Lowbie Zealot = easymode gearing up

Been playing mostly playing my Zealot over the last few days, for no real reason other than I fancied a change and wanted to get his gear up a little bit more. So I took him from RR40 to RR45, which obviously isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but unlike most careers, with Zealots it has quite a big impact. Now most WAR players will know about this, but I figured I’d explain why for anyone that is a new starter or are looking for an alt with an easy life.

At RR45 you can equip full conqueror armour, a set that was traditionally a DPS armour set. However because of the (fairly) recent changes to the Harbinger system it’s actually a lot more flexible than it used to be. The Harbinger ability is now a toggle between DPS and healing. It does this by converting all your armour’s Willpower to Intelligence, Heal Crit to Magic Crit, Heal Power to Magic Power and vice versa. In some respects I am not a fan of this new system, the cooldown on the ability can at times be a little too restrictive, but I can live with that because of the how easy it makes getting reasonable stats for a levelling Zealot.

As a lowbie it makes a lot of sense to run as a healer rather than DPS. It is great renown and you don’t need to worry about killing high RR players. Leaving your harbinger toggle in healing mode will mean that all your Intelligence counts as Willpower, etc as mentioned above. So if you had an item with say 20 Willpower and 20 Intelligence, it would actually count as 40 Willpower, which if you’re healing is a much better stat. Since Conqueror armour (and pretty much every other set too) has both Willpower and Intelligence on it, this means that with no effort or dicking about combining sets for different bonuses you can get extremely high Willpower. This then gives you plenty of freedom to invest in other stats like wounds and widens your options when choosing renown abilities.

This all means that for Zealots it’s incredibly easy to get focussed healing (or DPS…) stats that are just not possible with other careers at that low renown rank. My Shaman is higher RR and has a load of PvE gear from the likes of Lost Vale to choose from, but he can’t get stats anywhere near my Zealot’s who’s never done any PvE.

Now I’m sure there’s far better gear combinations possible than my simple “chuck on Conqueror cos its easy” thing. In fact I bet with some thought put to it you could really make the most of this ability and end up with pretty damn good stats at a very low RR. So if you're looking for a character you can gear up quite easily and you don't mind playing a healer, then it's well worth considering a Zealot.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Mythic, this one goes out to you

The lyric at 1min 40secs says it all really :P

Friday, 21 January 2011

Guildywilldy stuffywuff

Ok I may ramble a bit as I'm writing on my lunch break and am tight on time to proof read...

If like me you’re the leader of a well established guild, it’s quite likely that at some point you will have to deal with that always delicate and tricky situation where a significant amount of your guild’s members become interested in another MMO. As guild leader they’re always going expect you to have direction and a plan for the guild, but in this situation it’s not always so straight forward as regardless of your own personal preferences you will often find guild member’s opinions very split on what they want to do.
Do you decide to stick with game A and risk losing masses of people to the next big thing, constantly having to recruit and potentially losing guild identity? Or do you retire the guild entirely from Game A and officially jump ship to game B, leaving some people behind? Yet this is risky too should Game B after a few months prove to NOT be the lauded second coming of awesome and you then see people dropping out and your new game’s guild fizzles. You could potentially return to Game A, but if you let this drag out you risk losing people before that decision gets made. Or do you take the third more complex to organise and also smothered with issues option of running the guild in both games? This of course runs the risk of spreading yourselves too thin in both games, lacking clear overall leadership and having your two communities slowly drifting apart.
I am of course talking about WAR and RIFT and it won’t be a surprise to hear that these are the decisions I’ve had to make recently. As you may know I’ve opted for the third way, Kill Frenzy will be setting up a guild in RIFT and at the same time remain active in WAR. Though I’m quite hopeful that for us it won’t prove too difficult, we’ve had a bit of practice you see.
Like many other guilds with a solid core Kill Frenzy transcends game worlds, in fact I think its fair to say that over time we’ve developed more into a gaming community than just being a WAR guild. Actually I say developed, I think really we started like that from the off, since we’re built around a selection of different core groups that had been playing online games together for years. So while we’ve always been focussed on one MMO (i.e. WAR), that doesn’t meant every KF member currently has a WAR subscription. We’ve nearly always had people playing a wide range of other games together. When people retire from WAR, they generally don’t retire from KF and will continue gaming with us or at the very least will stay in contact. From our Bloodbowl league to Battlefield Bad Company and whatever is the MMO of the moment, we’ve got people gaming together, chatting on vent and trolling the shit out of each other on our guild shoutbox. So really the fact that not everyone is playing WAR has never caused me or our members much of a headache. As such this all meant that choosing the third way of KF playing both WAR and RIFT was a no-brainer really. Besides other MMOs always prove to be flash in the pans for us…
However in recent days RIFT is presenting a bit more of a challenging situation. It has been a lot of fun on the beta and whilst most of us have concerns about the amount of PvP it will offer, there is more interest in this than any other new MMO since WAR launched. I’m not sure how much that is down to issues and people being burnt out with WAR or if it’s really based purely on the merits of RIFT itself. Certainly RIFT is looking extremely polished and enjoyable so far, but we’ve not seen the end game yet and for PvP you really don’t get a true reflection of live servers from a beta test. And let’s not forget how much a beta test can lull you into a false sense of security. The Age of Conan beta is a classic example of how a game can be exceptional for the first (beta tested) 20 levels and then turn to shite once you get past that on the live servers.
Also because of how long it’s been running and how up and down WAR has been, we’re at the point now where there are just as many people that I would classify “active KF members” that are not subscribed to WAR as there are actually playing it. The vast majority of those are going to be playing RIFT and we’ve also got a lot of our currently active WAR players also planning on trying it out, which means I’ve potentially got the situation where our RIFT guild is bigger than our WAR one. That was something I didn’t initially see coming.
So there’s a lot to think about. It will be interesting to see who settles where and how much we need to recruit to maintain viable guilds in both games. Will we actually be able to do that if RIFT grows in popularity? Will RIFT fizzle out and everyone return to WAR? What about when Star Wars, Guild Wars 2, etc arrive? What would happen if Mythic announced DAoC2 or some big and decent news for WAR?
Things are a bit woollier than I would like really, but that just comes with the territory.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Soul searching

I bet that title has already been used by someone else talking about RIFT, but meh whatever! On with the post I go... So then the problem and cause of my soul searching is the fact that I am having a huge dilemma deciding which class to play when RIFT goes live. I just can’t bloody decide and oh me oh my, it’s so wonderfully frustrating.

Personally I always think it’s a good sign for a game when I’ve got plenty of options I like the look of and I just can’t choose what to play. Re-playability for yourself with alts and diversity amongst the playerbase all stem from having different class options that appeal to players. WAR is much the same in that regard and it’s why I have so many level 40s, there are just so many cool careers in WAR. RIFT of course mixes this up considerably with the soul and role system where you can pick one class, but actually be able to dramatically change the role you fill with the click of a button. It’s a bit like dual speccing in WoW, but taken to a whole new extreme. It’s a wonderfully flexible system and something that MMO developers should be taking note of.

And as I said at the start, it has got me really torn on what to go with at launch. I was thinking of going with a Cleric as this provides the most flexibility of all classes; by swapping souls it can switch between Tank, Healer, Melee Healer, MDPS and RDPS. It also with the Shaman soul gets to wield big hammers with lightning effects and I am a sucker for melee and lightning effects. However then I played a Marksman based rogue and that was a lot of fun, plus I’ve had some very interesting ideas for my old favourite stealth archer and with the Rogue the option of playing as a Riftstalker Rogue tank is extremely interesting. But the Rogue doesn’t have much of a healer soul to use, I suppose there is the bard but that is more support based. Plus the music annoys me.

I’ve ruled out playing as a Warrior as over my long MMO playing past my main characters have almost always been Warrior plate armour types, with only a couple of stealth based ranged characters breaking things up. So I want to do something different from the Warrior archetype. I’ve never played a healer or a mage as my main and whilst I am extremely tempted by the Stormcallers lightning effects, I don’t think mage is the one for me, I think I would regret not having a melee option. So cleric or rogue it is, but which?! The incredible flexibility (and lightning!) of the cleric is battling with my concern about the class being overplayed, where as the rogue gives me less flexibility and I’m not so sure about the looks of them, but would provide my 3 long term favourite play styles; stealth archer, melee DPS and tank.

Oh decisions, decisions…

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

An injection of life

Today I'm posting something a little different. It's a comment a mate of mine made on my blog recently about what he would like to see changed in WAR. It's an excellent suggestion and something I though deserved highlighting.

Venorath writes...

If I could change only 1 thing I'd get rid of the static feeling in the various zones.

After a shot at the Rift beta I remembered how hectic and involved you feel in a zone when you get rid of the if/then scripted events and encounters. the same was valid in Tabula Rasa, even though the game itself was rubbish, you felt like you were fighting for control in whateve zone you were in.

So... I'd add in invasions of factions fitting the pairing, with a sprinkling of skaven ontop of that. Both in the RvR and PvE areas. The invasions would pretty much be a copy of the rift mechanics seen in Rift, but with a Warhammer flavor. to make sure a zone was not overrun with invasions during periods of low activity (such as night times) I'd scale the frequency and power of the invasions to the number of active players in the zone.

By making sure that there was a clear message and indicators on the map whenever an invasion started, players would be aware of the fighting going on all over the zone, and be able to jump in to defend or attack a staging area.

Add ontop of that the PQ mechanics to reward participants with rewards based on wether it was a PvP or PvE invasion.

The end result should be a more engaging PvE experience, with oppertunities for PvP, both fun and rewarding.


I think this is an excellent suggestion. Putting aside the detail of copying RIFT's dramatic improvement of the Public Quests (which is well worth considering), I think the core concept that Veno alludes to is an important one to grab hold off if WAR wants to better cater for it's playerbase. While at times we may deride some of WAR's past and present attempts at combining PvP and PvE, we must remember that at times Mythic have pulled it off rather well. For example the new city sieges are very good when you get a proper fighty instance. But the prime example is DAoC. The game that all us vets hark back to is a PvE/PvP hybrid in ALL of it's RvR frontiers, dungeons and more.

Regardless of if there are players around, DAoC always feels like a living, breathing and very much alive world. This is due to a mixture of things, but not least amongst those are the mobs everywhere. WAR just doesn't have that same sense of world within it's limited RvR lakes, it feels much more desolate. The recently added Thanquols Incursion is a prime example of this; a Skaven infested tunnel network that er... isn't infested with Skaven. Which reminds me, instead of being in the crappy dungeon why can't those bosses actually attack the RvR lakes? Think about that for a bit. Roaming skaven nasties, hordes of rats, etc.

What about something like in the city sieges where NPC heroes like Engra charge across the battlefield capturing things? Mix it up, breath some live in.

Making things more dynamic, with a greater sense of scale and most importantly, feeling more alive is something Mythic should give serious thought to. Oh and weather effects like in DAoC pls ;)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Bootae's Angry Blog?

I’m very aware that lately this has turned a bit into Bootae’s Angry Blog when talking about WAR. Yet I don’t think I’ve been unfair as of yet, I’ve always strived to remain as objective and fair as possible when writing about games and whether people like it or not, I can only write about what I see happening. Unfortunately there’s not really much hugely positive that I can write about WAR right now, other than me going off on great flights of fancy. For some reason Mythic have gone very quiet and I don’t know why. Developers forum posts are few and far between, the Herald isn’t giving anything away and Carrie has vanished from public life. Though regarding Carrie, with the rather pathetic personal abuse she gets from anonymous internet warriors… pffft who can blame her. Still, that’s part and parcel of being an MMO dev/producer/whatever and I find the lack of news disturbing.

It could be they have something up their sleeves, or it could be that they’re reeling a bit from the 1.4 backlash. Or perhaps from real knowledge of subscriber numbers perhaps it’s all a storm in a tea cup and the issues we’re seeing are just because of who is in our personal gaming circles. I find that one unlikely myself, but really I have no sodding idea what’s going on. I just know it would be good if we could get some proper future news, to spark up some new conversation and bring a bit more hope if anything. Everything is a bit flat.

That said, I’m still enjoying playing my Shaman and am experimenting with different specs a lot as I try and find a comfortable hybrid style. Thinking about dabbling with my Zealot more too, in pure DPS mode. Which will obviously piss people off for daring not to heal their over-extending psychotic backsides, but meh… I’m so past being Mr Lovely right now. :P

In other news we’re only a month away from the pre-order headstart for RIFT. I’ve had some excellent feedback regarding PvP from friends and guildies who were on the last beta test, so I will be intrigued to get some hot player action myself this time. Last test I was so absorbed with the rifts and experimenting with soul combinations that I didn’t get any time for PvP. Also I’m hoping after this beta I might actually make my mind up about what class to play, but that’s a topic for another post.

Monday, 17 January 2011

A weekend WAR report

I managed to get a fair bit of WAR in this weekend, which turned out to be a bag of rather mixed blessings. I had some great entertainment roaming around with my Shaman like some kind of deranged vigilante paramedic, as well as some glorious fights with my Chosen running with a group or 2 of Kill Frenzy.

However, this has been counter balanced by a great deal of frustration and I have logged off from the game in a rage a few times, which is not that normal for me. Problems with Thanquols Incursion (again) were an irritant, but in particular the monstrous gear divide between even those in Sovereign and the RR90+ armour set equipped people has, well to be honest, pissed me off a great deal.

Nigh on unkillable MDPS combined with RDPS and MDPS that are bordering on instant killing people is getting more and more common as the hardcore play 24/7 type people are reaching renown rank 90+. Some of the things I’ve seen RR90+ MDPS players do were just plain ridiculous. I’m told it’s the MDPS defensive set at fault, which sounds about right. Regardless of the details, it has resulted in people that pre-1.4 were merely average players, being transformed into group destroying machines of death. All because of their god mode armour. No disrespect to them of course, I’m not saying they were bad players; they were just on a par with the rest of us. Alas the new gear (and stat caps) have gone just way too far. It’s a bit like Mythic have tried to copy WoW (with levels 80, then 85) and do a dramatic restart of itemisation, but that’s just bloody dangerous in a proper PvP game.

Right now there is a massive line being drawn between those that play more than others and WAR is becoming a haven for the hardcore gamer. But not hardcore as in most skilled, organised and dedicated, oh no, it’s purely about how long you stay logged in farming renown points, because if you don’t then you’ll quickly discover that playing well is completely irrelevant when compared with time played.

I’m seriously, hugely and abso-bloody-lutely frustrated, annoyed and disappointed by this. It is genuinely ruining the game for me at the moment and every single person I’ve spoken to feels the same way. We’re losing people because of it, new players and old, hell… it’s even pushing me to the edge. This is not some random hater having a whinge, this is me, a concerned WAR player seeing a proper game changing pile of poo dumped on us. It HAS to change. And fast.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Changing things

I've been pondering on changing the look of this blog for a while and after reading Scaryboosters excellent interview with Tobold yesterday I've decided to get cracking on that. Particularly in making it a bit more "sneaky reading at work" friendly as I know from my visit stats that I get a lot of hits during the working day both from the EU and over in the US... You collection of international office slackers you :P

I've once more requestioned the talents of legendary Kill Frenzy video producer Durtbocks to design a new, slightly more discrete banner, but for now the old shouty one remains ;)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Latest hotfix

Hotfix details below

Realm vs. Realm
Open RvR
•A new version of the “Idle Hands” buff has been implemented in Open RvR. Once a player has been flagged as “Away from Keyboard” (or AFK) an invisible debuff will be applied and any Play as Skaven buff will be removed. Upon being flagged as AFK players will find that their Renown, experience and coin gain has been reduced by 100%, teleporting the player to their Realm’s Warcamp at the 5 minute mark.

As a result of these changes the global AFK flag has now been reduced to 2 minutes.

RvR Weapons
•The Emblem and Insignia cost for RvR weapons with a Renown Rank requirement of 75 and below has been significantly reduced. Please visit the Insignia Quartermaster in Altdorf or The Inevitable City to see these new lower prices.

Combat and Careers
•Trivial Blows: This Renown Ability will now function correctly, regardless of attack type.


The AFK change is ok, it won't do much against the pro AFK leecher, but then nothing ever will. Personally I don't care about this much, though I guess I should what with the effect on Against All Odds that leechers can have. Even so, I find the scenario heal leeching twats dropping out of groups more annoying really.

Cheaper RvR weapons? Good stuff for sure. Now fix the lower RR armour sets and we're really getting somewhere.

Trivial Blows. She does?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

One change to rule them all

If you could pick one thing to change in WAR, just one fairly focussed thing (so don’t say “everything” :P ) what would it be?

My first thought because of current issues was all the armour sets from Annihilator to Warlord and I’m still wavering on that being my choice. I really do think it would be of great benefit to the game to level the playing field a bit and encourage new players to stick around. It certainly would have helped that low RR White Lion we saw the other day with 48 deaths and zero kills over the couple of hours we were fighting in the same zone…

But that’s not what I’ve decided to go for, instead and probably fairly predictably for me as I often bang on about it, I’ve gone for expanding the RvR zones. It would just revolutionise the game and make it feel so much fresher, bordering on the way an expansion does. One of the main reasons I’m not playing my Chosen right now is because it’s the same grind, with less carrots and all in the same scenery. Yet if I had all that new scenery to fight in, then I believe it would provide a pretty damn major distraction and breathe new life into things.

So pretty and so wasted... reminds me of a lass I met in Luton once...

If you look at Praag for example we only fight in roughly 1/3 of the actual zone. So if it went full RvR (with more objectives, etc ofc) we are talking about tripling the size of the zone! That’s pretty immense. And the building blocks are all there, it’s just those objectives that need adding. Also remember we used to have full PvP servers, so it’s not that radical a thought really.

Yes it’s recycling old content, but then it’s content that we’ve rarely (if ever) visited. There are LOADS of the PvE areas that I have never been to and I know for sure I’m not alone there. Of course there’s also the concern that it could disperse the players too far, but then as the last changes have shown and the intensified zerg they brought, I would say it’s needed. Plus careful and considered placement and creation of Battle Objectives and Towers (DAoC players know what I mean here…) converted from the existing scenery will drive people into combat. I want this in WAR more than anything, even more than a third faction...

So what about you folks? What is the ONE thing for you?

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

RIFT WAR combo

So you can hardly have missed all the RIFT talk lately. RIFT is the latest MMO of the moment and is getting some serious hype from the MMO community right now. And to be quite honest, I would say justifiably so. From what I’ve seen on the beta myself it looks to be an exceptional well made game, incredibly good fun (once you get out of the starter zones) and has massive potential. The random rifts and invasions are brilliant and the most dynamic and interesting PvE since, well I don't know when. Is it a WoW killer? I doubt it very much, the only game that will kill WoW is the one that Blizzard make to do so, but RIFT is looking to be an extremely viable alternative. At least for people with half decent PCs, that’s something that WoW always has over new release MMOs; you can run WoW on a broken calculator.

RIFT has also been hyped by some people as a WAR killer. Certainly my WAR server of Karak Norn has already seen some major guilds declare they are quitting WAR and moving to RIFT, but it's not killing the game in reality. Karak Norn has been crazy busy recently, new guilds are stepping up and the circle continues. There were big name guilds that vanished before, others take over, tis the way of things. Of course RIFT isn't out yet, but the end is not nigh. It's just people think they're so important that them leaving means everyone else will. Plus of course some people are self justifying their own opinion and many others are just trolling for shit and giggles. Personally I don't put too much faith in forum banter and anyway, I see the games in very different lights.

In WAR every time I log in I can get into a PvP fight in seconds, I can then continue fighting other players pretty much non-stop until I decide to log off. In RIFT this is quite simply not an option. There is PvP, but it is much more like WoW’s. It has Warfronts (battlegrounds/scenarios) and it has openworld PvP, but it doesn’t direct you into PvP like WAR does. The game isn’t about PvP, it’s about PvE. And like WoW it does have PvP options, but they are very much secondary to the PvE focus. WAR is completely the other way around and for me I need to have that instant PvP option. It’s something I’ve always really liked about WAR, having a reliable fight whenever I want it.


I also need a PvE fix now and again, a change of pace and relaxing distraction. WAR used to provide this, albeit in buggy fashion, but has now lost that option and I’m missing it far more than I expected I would. I’m not going to go into the detail now, but Tomb of the Vulture Lord is broken again and actually irrelevant to anyone of RR80+ anyway, so the only thing we have is the new renown grind. Plus for those of us with a more "normal" amount of spare gaming time, the carrots we’re chasing are items that we won’t be able to equip for months. Kinda dull. Basically WAR has a lot of issues right now, the gear gulf is so terrible its beyond belief, it’s very zergy and the carrot/stick/grind balance is knackered. I’ve got quite a lot to write about what people are saying, what I think is wrong and what needs to be done, but that’s another series of posts. In short; Mythic have got a LOT of work to do to get the game back on track. BUT they CAN DO IT! Can't you. Yes you can ;)

Having said all that… That instant PvP thing in WAR is something I just can’t do without and simply can not get elsewhere. It’s just so damn “real life friendly”.Yes, the RR80 grind has put me off my Chosen and alas all my DPS alts are shelved now that they’ve all been made utterly useless by 1.4 and the gear issues. And yes, my “Having impact below level 80” post feels a little bit hollow now :/ BUT there is a redeemer! I’m enjoying playing my Shaman, since as a healer the fact that his gear is utter shite compared with the RR90+guys hitting for STUPID damage and mitigating almost everything doesn’t matter so much. I’ve not got to kill anything and I still get renown from healing.

So moving forward I will be playing RIFT and WAR. Different horses for different courses. I'm not alone in this, quite a few of my lot are going to try it out and there's a lot of old Kill Frenzy players that quit WAR who are also going to RIFT. Which in turn means I will be starting up a version of KF in RIFT, but not at the cost of WAR. The plan is to have active guilds in both games. Gonna be some interesting times ahead.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Thanquol, you are a sodding tosser

AAAGHH screw you Thanquol and your poxy incursion! Despite our group having people in the top damage done, none of us are getting even a chance to roll on loot as it says we didn't contribute enough. First two bosses just now, same thing and we've logged off. Third bloody time this has happened to me in TI and it's annoying as hell.

Man this dungeon thing needs work. Barely any Skaven in it, barely any enemy players in it (or other times far too many), barely anything to do in it and all told, just hugely disappointing. For me it’s the biggest let down with 1.4 and the RvR packs. Mythic have some changes in the pipeline for TI, but man oh man it needs to be more than just a few tweaks.

It needs to have:
  • Reasons for players to be spread around, fighting in the tunnels in EVERY stage, with points to control, activate, attack or something.
  • LOTS of Skaven NPCs running around, even if untargetable or pathetic low hitpoint ones. Without them there’s just no Skaven atmosphere.
  • A contribution system that works.
  • A queueing system that works and actually gets equal numbers of players inside.
  • A complete review of how and when we gain access to the dungeon, combined with how we are notified of it. We should be gagging to get in there. 
Lots of potential, totally wasted right now. Chop chop folks, make it good please.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Back in the WAR saddle again, falling sky, bollocks.

After a few weeks of pox and xmas misery, I have finally been able to get some decent gaming time in, most of which I have spent playing WAR on my Shaman. It was very interesting to see the reality of the situation after all the drama in the community. There’s been a LOT of doom calling going round of late, a big chunk of which has been the usual sensational forum posts when someone quits and feels they must tell EVERYONE how shit the game is that they have been playing for 2 whole years. That’s right despite them hating it, they spent 2 years playing it. Uhm… ok? Either they are utter smacktards or they’re just talking over excited bollocks.

Having said that and as I’ve pointed out in recent posts, there are quite a few sensible reasons to not to be overly happy in WAR right now. Anyone claming 1.4 was a success is deluded. The main crux of the problem is down to timing, more so than what the patch actually did. You see a patch with RvR changes like this was always going to have problems, always, no question. As such it should not be going live without a developer team able to constantly tweak things and respond quickly should any major issues arise. Unfortunately the Christmas holidays didn’t really help here. No reasonable person is going to expect Mythic to not have time off over the holidays, but MMO gamers and particularly the forum fame brigade are not reasonable people. So when things with 1.4 went badly wrong (RR84 bug I am looking at you, amongst things…) as Christmas arrived it was always going to be Santa delivering Mythic a negative hype explosion of epic proportions.

I guess everyone should have seen it coming, Mythic certainly should, but I don’t know what really drives their release schedule and the pressures on them. I can speculate of course. Nipping ahead of Cataclysm? But alas the renown rank 84 bug makes (or “made” as I believe it gets fixed in tomorrow’s maintenance?) the game unplayable for people hitting that rank, which of course means the big name hardcore guilds get hit the hardest and find the game a nightmare. Just as Cataclysm comes out to lure people away… DOH!

So as I came back after reading forum rage after rage after rage, I wasn’t sure what I would find. Apparently our server is utterly dead! OMFG!


Has it taken a knock? Yes. Is it actually OMFG BAD? No.
Is it bad enough to be concerned? I don’t think so, I've been fighting every night I've played and had a good time, but it’s hard to tell, because this time of year is always funny for MMO populations, particularly in games with older average player base. People’s play times go very strange. The server is incredibly up and down right now. The other night I was having a ball with a bunch of mates fighting between 4 and 6 Order warbands in Praag, the map was a sea of blue dots, it was mental. And then POOF! They vanished almost instantly, not to another zone, they just logged. It was probably the best coordinated withdrawal manoeuvre I’ve seen since walking in on my old mate dirty Fred having a go on another bloke’s lady... The rest of the night was fairly quiet with only a few warbands and small scale groups scattered around the pairings. Then the next night it was very quiet until late and it suddenly went ape-shit, carnage in all 3 pairings at once. And once more, all of a sudden, quiet.

Really it is too early to tell how much things will pick up to normal Norn levels or not, but the server death predicted? Nah, this is a wobble… albeit a big one. With Rift coming out in March though, Mythic need to be aware that a wobble can lead to a tumble. They seriously do need to have a solid couple of months and most importantly go FULL ON with the communication about WAR. To confirm, I said ABOUT WAR. Talk about WAR lots, bright futures, great stuff coming, give us all that hype malarkey.

Monday, 3 January 2011

What the WAR devs are working on now

From a post by Andy on the official forum:

Here's a brief summary of some of the things we're currently working on. Please keep in mind, none of this is currently finalized and some is in early design and testing:

A fix for the RR84 Respawn bug is currently in testing. We're hoping to have this pushed live this week. As such, we're delaying weekly maintenance until this fix passes testing.

- ORvR Anti AFK measures currently in testing.
- Tweaking Thanquol's Incursion boss encounters.
- Revamping the Packmaster Play As Skaven class to make it more utilitarian and globally useful.
- Potentially adjusting Battle Field Objective interact flags. Looking into possibly increasing interact time and requiring players to be out of combat to use.
- Evaluating pre RR81 RvR Weapon Costs, looking into further reducing their costs.
- Minor mirroring changes between the Warrior Priest and Disciple of Khaine
- Internal design and testing on Single Target Healing changes. Potentially reducing cast time of AM, SHA, RP and ZLT single target high value heals (long cast time), improving single target healing capabilities of WP/DoK and moving WP/DoK melee lifetap into the appropriate Mastery Paths (melee healing).

Right now the Community team is working on reporting on current individual server environments and recommendations moving forward.

Community team is also recruiting new Core Testers (please see thread here for more information:

WAR Core Testers wanted!

Check out this post by Andy and if you fancy it and can live with the NDA, why not give it a shot?

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