Tuesday, 28 June 2011

6th July

On July 6th you should keep an eye on those of us that blog about WAR. Things are happening.
Don't get too excited, as I don't know if you should or not, but something interesting at least.
 I shall say no more, for now. ;)

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A tale of 7 alts

I’ve been flitting between my alts like a mad thing on WAR lately, so I figured I would turn it into a little experiment. Thanks to the raised renown caps in the lower tiers, new players starting WAR can get such high renown rank in Tier 3 that they can enter Tier 4 pretty well geared out. However for any returning players from WAR’s past where renown gain was much slower, there’s a good chance they will be returning with level 40 characters with a mere RR30-50. For them Tier 4 could be pretty damn harsh, you’d think anyway. As I have a load of alts that are level 40 with renown ranks in that aforementioned bracket, I’m going to continue dabbling and see which careers struggle or shine with such low renown rank in today’s more gear dominated Tier 4.

I have my Chosen as folks probably know in the 80s and my Choppa is now in Worn Sovereign/Warlord, so for both of them life isn’t too bad in WAR. But I also have this collection of L40 alts on Norn:
  • Shaman
  • Witch Elf
  • Black Orc
  • Squig Herder
  • Magus
  • Zealot
  • Disciple of Khaine
I am and will continue to experiment with all of them and write up my findings. Those of you that follow my ramblings on twitter may already know about some frustration with one of those careers, but I shall give it more time and we’ll see how things progress. Already there have been a few positive surprises with some of them, as well as some utter poo.

I’ll keep you posted…

Monday, 20 June 2011

Insert siren noises here

I didn’t play that much WAR last week, only dabbling with my Squig Herder (more on that later) and Choppa a little, not because of any issues with WAR, more because I’ve not had that much gaming time and I’ve been more than a little distracted by APB Reloaded. I said recently that I wasn’t sure about its longevity, well I’ve been playing it regularly for 3 weeks now and for a free download, that’s pretty damn good in my book.

I played APB when it first came out and I had a LOT of issues with it. Player level type stuff had a major influence on if your gunfire would hit or not, the cars didn’t handle very well, the missions felt sterile, the city wasn’t as atmospheric as GTA and the game quickly descended into a tedious and frustrating gear grind. Then of course the company making it went bust and those of us that had spent money on the game were left with nought. All told, not the greatest MMO experience.

The game has now been relaunched using a F2P (free to play) model, with the slightly tweaked title of APB Reloaded. At first I had no intention of trying it out again, even as F2P, but then I heard from a couple of people that things were improved. So I figured I’d give it a try and yup, it is indeed a much better game than before. There are 3 key changes:

Firstly, your aim is now the primary factor in determining if you hit a target. The damage your gun does varies depending on what you pick, but it’s not so much about having higher level guns, instead it is the type of weapon you choose that matters. A sniper rifle does huge damage and can one shot people, while a semi-automatic rifle does less damage but is more mobile, shotguns are lethal up close but have no range, etc, etc. It must be said that the starter gun isn’t brilliant (jack of all trades, master of none), but it takes no time at all to max standing (like influence or reputation in other games) with the tier 1 contacts which gives you access to a wide range of other guns.

Secondly, the cars handle a lot better and feel much more distinct. The starter car, which looks a bit like an Audi TT, is fast, agile and a joy to drive. This is a vast improvement on the original game as you’re instantly going to be having a good laugh while driving, which is kind of pivotal considering what this game is… The other cars you can upgrade to have a diverse range of qualities, from cliché American muscle cars with huge engines that can’t turn corners, to fragile sporty little things or jeeps and vans. There are lots of options to suit what you want from your car and with the game’s excellent customisation tools you can make something unique to you. As KF is playing Enforcers most of us have picked up the Broadwing as our first car after the starter which you can turn into a classic American style police car.

And thirdly, this game was bloody well born to be F2P. By going F2P it has taken a lot of pressure out of our expectations for the game and increased the chances of there being friends interested in playing it. There’s not that subconscious nag of needing to progress and make the most out of our paid for game time, it has become more casual play friendly and something that my friends and I are, as the internet would say, playing for the lols. APB Reloaded doesn’t have the same depth of progression, storyline or sense of place as other MMOs do, it also doesn’t ooze quality in the way of say RIFT or WoW does, it is however an awful lot of fun to play. If it were subscription based game then I would want those other factors as well as the fun, I would want a product that ticks all the boxes if I’m paying for it, but for F2P I’m not so picky. By being free it automatically lowers my expectations, so if it is also fun, then that’s all I care about and anything else is a bonus.

Get a group of you together and APB Reloaded will deliver some serious comedy value and pack your ventrilo with lols. I highly recommend it and am quite comfortable in saying that when it comes to group play it is easily the most entertaining F2P game currently available.

One heads up however… APB Reloaded has the horn for your RAM. It looks at your RAM and in its best Ron Burgandy voice says “I want to be on you”. If you have under 4gb of physical RAM installed then I wouldn’t even consider trying to play the game. If you do have enough but are on a 32bit windows operating system then your game will still crash a LOT because Windows 32 only recognises around 3.5gb of your RAM, but reserves too much of it for itself and doesn’t leave enough for APB, which eats up to 2.5gb of RAM. You can however remedy this by changing how much Windows designates to other programs. There’s a post on the APB forums that tells you what to do to sort that out, it’s the bit about the 3gb switch that you want to look at.
 linky link
I give no guarantees on this not having other implications and I’m not techy enough to know if it will or not, but I’m on Vista 32 and I’ve got it working fine. Though I did find that setting it to 3072 did impact on Window’s performance, so I changed it to using 2560 and its been absolutely fine since. Still, you do this entirely at your own risk and I accept no blame :P The best solution is to upgrade to a 64bit operation system, I’m just skint and can’t afford to.

Friday, 17 June 2011

The MMO you want to play, but choose not to

If you’ve played MMOs for a long period of time, then there’s a good chance that there will be a game that you really like, but for some reason have chosen not to play. For me, it’s EVE Online.

I’m not actually a huge fan of the game’s control system, I understand why they’ve made it the way they have and I wouldn’t say it’s terrible, but it pales in comparison with the free flight of traditional spaceflight games like the X series and for many people that will always be a mild irritation. However, it really doesn’t matter because the overall concepts that drive EVE are bloody brilliant. EVE is without doubt the most wild, dangerous and freeform mainstream Online world out there and as such the one with the most opportunity. It is the ultimate MMO for forging your own way and seeing your actions have impact on the game universe. Also I really like CCP’s stance of in the majority letting players and their Corporations be responsible for self policing their universe.

EVE is in many ways a reflection of the real world in one of its more turbulent eras, with the player run Corporations as different nations and other powerful organisations. The source of their wealth and power varies with trade, warfare, piracy and even other things like logistic services all being viable options to build your empire upon. Some battle for supremacy, others will happily enjoy the status quo, some can perhaps be trusted, others not… Some are just bloody criminals, pirates and vagabonds! And then of course there’s the major complication of alliances between Corps on a scale not seen in any other game, It has at times led to events unfolding much like the domino effect that saw the outbreak of World War 1, where an incident involving certain nations snowballs into a monstrous conflict as a chain of treaties are honoured. Albeit only involving pixel death and not human misery on a scale barely imaginable, but I’m sure you get the idea from a political view.

From the humble tradesman, to the solo pirate and all the way up to organisations requiring pretty much true corporate management, EVE does it all. So, as you can probably tell, I really like what EVE is about and would love to bury myself in its intricate world. The problem for me though is a simple one: I go AFK far too much to play it.

In EVE you are at risk of being attacked by other players and losing everything you have with you, the only time you’re ever truly safe to go AFK is when you’re docked in a space station. Now, I did play EVE before and fell in love with it, but my random AFKs led to me losing ships and so on that really I could have prevented had I been at the screen. But when my daughter is freaking out because there’s a spider stalking her or my wife (who is not a fan of gaming…) needs help with something, I will obviously go AFK straight away; it is only a game after all. And that makes EVE a little frustrating for me, as I don’t want to be limited to staying in the more secure systems. A quick log out option wouldn’t work for EVE at all, but its something I need. It must be stressed though, that it really isn’t the game’s fault, it’s just that it’s not quite compatible with my personal lifestyle, at least not with what I would want to get out of the game.

Every month since I stopped playing EVE I have been sorely tempted to reactivate it… cor blimey guv, I’m considering it right now and I’m sodding skint! But no, NO! I shall resist. EVE’s a right fetching lass and well worth a fumble, but I know my absences will be too much for both of us.

How about you lot?

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Happy yet grumbling yet happy

I know I should be focussed on my 8X RR Chosen, but I’ve been playing my L40 Choppa a lot recently, gradually taking him from RR50 to RR67 due to my sporadic gaming time. After 1.4 destroyed any viability for a casual altoholic like me, it’s been very pleasing on my return to discover that a low RR Choppa was playable again. I’m now at the point where he is able to mix the new Worn Sovereign armour with Warlord/Invader/etc and get half decent stats, so he has enough potency that I can do fairly well and feel useful. Of course at my low RR it is still pointless fighting anyone 1v1 who is RR90+ and geared appropriately. Simply because they can have such high mitigation whilst still retaining excellent damage output, that no matter what you do you will get slaughtered. Or if it’s a healer, they’re utterly unkillable.
Having said that, it’s nowhere near as bad as it was directly after 1.4 and isn’t anywhere near as bad as games like WoW are in that respect. So I wouldn’t say its game breaking anymore, just that it is disappointing that WAR has become as influenced by gear as it is now. Personally I would have much preferred to see WAR focus more on sideways progression through gaining abilities and options, instead of damage output and resilience. I think that kind of sideways growth for characters is much better for a RvR game as it puts the emphasis on a player’s skill and decision making, instead of on their time played, which is pretty much all that RR is. Thankfully due to the recent adjustments, WAR hasn’t yet gone too far the wrong way and I’m finding playing the Choppa increasingly enjoyable as I get more and more options with my Worn Sovereign, etc. Though it sounds like I’ll have to farm Tomb of the Vulture Lord to get glyphs for him, as the glyphs are better than the new accessory set coming in the next patch and I loathe (BLOODY LOATHE!) items that decay over time, so I really cba with that.
One thing that is bugging me though at the moment is the rampant use of absorb and un-defendable effects in WAR at the moment. It’s got waaaaaaaaay out of hand. All these pocket items, potions, item procs, etc when combined with class abilities are taking away from the uniqueness and role of playing careers. For example I know when playing one of my tanks, that when facing certain Slayers I actually will not count as tank at all, as they will activate items and abilities that will entirely avoid my block and parry for enough time to basically make me a squishy. Likewise, a WH emergency parry abilities become null and void when any player can get an item that negates them. Of course we could all go farm the relevant absorb, etc items for all our toons and set up the panic button instant 6 item macro thing (more than bordering on cheating imo) but I don’t like where this is going. I don’t want WAR to require WoW raiding style preparation, grinding mats or cash to get a stock of everything each week. That’s not what WAR is about for me. Hopefully Mythic will rein this in a bit and at the very least look at giving a lot more items shared cooldowns.
So yeah I’m generally happy with WAR and am having a good time playing it, but there’s still plenty to whinge about.
BTW yes I know I’ve not bothered posting the patch notes, commenting on them, etc. Basically I didn’t think it was worth it. Patch doesn’t look particularly inspiring, nor is it depressing and to be honest I didn’t really expect anything from it anyway. Bad Gas change is good, but the rest I don’t care about and that’s including the new CoC scenario I’m afraid. Sure, it might be temporary fun, but I’m just not interested in it enough to have much to say. Scenarios are very low on my /care list. Sorry chaps. I’m waiting to see more substantial WAR news, or start on my next wave of MMO beta tests. Whichever comes first…

Monday, 13 June 2011

Dust 514 is a big deal

You may know that CCP (the developers of EVE online) are working on a shooter called Dust 514, certainly I'd known about it for ages, but have been taking what was being said about it with a very large pinch of salt. It sounded too good to be true. However since E3, it seems like they may well deliver the goods and by the dark Gods... if they do, it's a big bloody deal.

If you’re reading my blog then you’re more than likely a MMO gamer and as such it may well be that you don’t really care about yet another FPS shooter. However, this time around you really should care; Dust 514 has the potential to be the biggest step forward in MMO gaming since… well, since Ultima Online.

You should know about EVE, but if you don't then check this video for an idea of what the game looks like.

EVE Online

In EVE players and their Corporations (guilds) travel the universe in their massive spaceships, in a massive ongoing campaign to control star systems and their resources. If you’ve not played EVE then I can safely say that you have no idea exactly how HUGE their campaign and universe is. These systems of course have planets, but as a spaceship based game they’ve never really done that much other than be a source of materials and so on. As Corporations take over systems you would assume that there would have to be some land based warfare going on to capture the planets, but as a space based game you’ve never seen any evidence of it. That is until now.
Dust 514 players are going to be the armies that fight these battles. Yes, they are going to be fighting the battles and taking part in the same wars that the EVE players are involved in. EVE Corporations will hire mercenaries from Dust, or even recruit Dust players into their Corporations (or the other way around!) and these armies will be transported around by the EVE spacecraft and then fight the battles planetside in Dust 514. In fact the games are going to be so linked that a Dust player can call down air strikes from EVE players in orbit around the planet they are fighting on, or even use ground based defences to return fire…
It’s going to be the same server, the same gameworld, same voice coms, same economy, the lot... It is two different games viewing a shared universe from completely different perspectives, with players from both games working together to achieve their goals.

Dust 514 and EVE

Now you could say that games like Planetside have kind of done this before. Planetside certainly does have players able to fly transport aircraft, interceptors, tanks and more, alongside people focussed on infantry and with the battles across a whole planet, its clans did have to consider the logistic of moving their players around. Yet the big difference with what CCP is doing is the linking up of two utterly different types of game play and environments. If you’re flying a plane or walking on foot in Planetside, you’re looking at the same landscape in the same way, much like say playing a Battlefield game. Where as the gameplay, the environment you’re playing in and pace of play for a Dust vs and EVE player are completely different. Also we are talking about doing this across two different platforms (Dust is PS3 only). This is a bit like linking up Silent Hunter on PC with Call of Duty on Xbox.

So it doesn’t matter if you’re interested in playing either game or not, because it’s bigger than that. You should instead be very interested in where this could lead. The MMO genre has stagnated, with everyone wanting a bit of the Warcraft cashcow, it’s like publisher and developer’s balls have shrivelled up. More and more generic MMO quest and raid farm bollocks continues to arrive.

The future potential..

Dust 514 is hope for the future, because if this works as they say, then we’ve finally moved forward. Not just another EQ/WoW clone with different graphics, something that has the community as the core feature, where players have genuine impact on the game world and isn't just some glorified chat lobby with sterile instances accessed through a dungeon finder. Think about the potential for MMOs if this was to work.. Smashing apart the borders between different types of games and melding them into these epic player driven campaign systems. Silent Hunter mixed with World of Tanks, IL2 and Medal of Honour, each game with enough room to be specialised instead of trying to merge everything into one egnine. What about traditional MMORPG games? Where could this go?

Or of course it could fail utterly, not reach it's potential, be a technical disaster and be a hugely embarrassing flop for CCP, but regardless I salute them for actually trying to drive the genre forward. I will buy the game on principal, because things like this deserve our support. Unlike most developers these days, CCP have shown themselves to have BALLS OF STEEL. Also, rather unlike the latest Duke Nukem by all accounts. Shock horror... Anyways, for more details I would recommend this post over at Massively, or click here for the official site and this fan site has a lot of info, screenshots and more video.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

WAR Dare to dream poll results

The latest poll here at BBB posed the question: Dare to dream! What would you most like to see in WAR?

I decided against making the poll multiple-choice as I figured people would just pick all of them and really I wanted to see what would be everyone’s single pick. The results are now in and came out as follows:
  1. 3rd faction 39%
  2. Expand the existing RvR areas 20%
  3. New zones 12%
  4. New races & careers 9%
  5. Missing Cities 8%
  6. DAoC style relic fortress raids 8%

Not a shock result by any means. We all know that a third faction should have been included from launch, it was a total no brainer, but one that for some strange reason Mythic decided against. If any one thing could transform the fortunes of WAR it would be the introduction of a third faction, that and some bloody advertising... Unfortunately, whilst it’s not impossible to introduce a third faction this late in the game, it’s a big task and I would imagine extremely expensive to do. Still, I did say “dare to dream”, so a glorious pipe dream wins and I must say that I 100% agree with everyone that voted for it. I would love to see a third faction introduced and as I’ve said in previous posts I’d really like to see one themed around either Nature or Disease.

What is interesting to see is the second placed choice of expanding the RvR areas. I say this not just because I’ve mentioned it many times before, but because this is one where instead of voting for new content, people are actually voting for Mythic to simply make the most of the content they’ve already got. It’s also an option that s completely viable and Mythic could actually do this, if they’re brave enough. Also as Epikk recently mentioned in a comment on a recent post I made, it’s a little surprising that they haven’t done so when you consider that with the level and renown bracket changes, people are now staying in tier 3 until they hit level 40 and are able to acquire renown items that are FAR superior to any PvE items outside of Tier 4’s LV and TotVL dungeons. So the entire Tier 4 PvE landscape is now not just unpopulated and unused, but is now completely and utterly useless. LOL it’s not PVE anymore, it’s UUUU! Unpopulated, Unused & Utterly Useless.

One of the most entertaining battles I’ve been in recently was one where it spilled out into the landscape to the west of Southern Garrison in Praag. It started with Destruction being pushed well away from the keep and turned into this huge battle that for the first time in, oh 2 years, was taking place in somewhere that was effectively entirely new surroundings… Turn some of the PQs into battle objectives, make some of the castle type buildings into DAoC style towers (mini keeps basically) simply by adding doors and TADA! A revolutionised game that has suddenly got a LOT bigger (about 3x bigger) and in effect has masses of new content, since not that many people have even looked at all the PvE landscape anyway! Yes, I know I’m going on about this a bit lately. But people keep mentioning it to me and I just can’t help but think it’s just so damn obvious to do and the effect would be a truly magnificent change.

Yet, from this poll the first choice would be the best, I have no doubt at all about that, but it’s not very likely unless Mythic really do have something awesome in the pipeline that would be a shock to almost everyone. I say almost everyone… You maybe hearing some interesting theories about WAR’s future soon from other sources… I’ll just leave that cryptic statement for you there. Anyways, if we can’t have the first choice, I’ll gladly settle for the second.

Be bold Mythic, be brave, be the company that turns their long suffering game round with an unexpected move and show your players some sodding aplomb.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I went full retard

It had been a really entertaining Inevitable City Siege, competitive and enjoyable, but then it went a bit doh.. We’d been facing an Order premade warband that was only interesting in the old bomb tactics. They moved round in one tight bunch and bombed away, something which unfortunately with the city sieges objectives is hard to win against. We beat them on kills in a big way, but when it comes to winning the actual stages themselves it is tough to stop a siege weapon from blowing up when it has 24 people bombing it to shite. First stage they won with literally 30 seconds to go, 2nd stage was a draw and the third stage they walked around in a giant bombing huddle and we were quickly down to just 1 champion, me…

As instructed I moved swiftly back to the spawn point, ready to turtle up with our healers AOE healing me through the barrier. Maybe, just maybe we could at least deny the enemy their win... Hang on! I’m not getting any heals?? WTF?



I was standing at the opposite spawn point, right next to the enemy and as far from my healers as physically possible. I didn’t last long. I had officially gone full retard.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Dark Millenium Online and Space Marine vids from E3

While everyone goes batshit crazy for the WiiU, which does look very interesting indeed, there was a couple of Warhammer 40k related game videos.

Dark Millenium Online. A touch brief this video :/

Not a bloody patch on last years E3 trailer for DMO mind you...

And Relic's single player console style Space Marine action game.

Oh and here's the WiiU controller advert thing. I like it, potential there.

Mashing my face against Mythic's wall of nowt

There is just so much I could be writing about WAR right now, yet despite having lots to say, there’s a bit of a problem… Over the years I’ve written a lot of posts about the things I see as WAR’s problems and how I think the game could be improved to the point that it starts reaching some of its potential. The problem is that everything I’ve said before still stands. Nothing has really changed and everything I’ve recommended before is just as relevant today. Everything that WAR needs is everything that I’ve been saying it needs for bloody ages, so what to do? Do I expand on those thoughts, repeating myself?

I can of course write about the good things that happen in WAR, but at the same time I don’t want to be over hyping what is an enjoyable, but deeply flawed game. Likewise, I don’t want to just write about the game’s problems, I want to be constructive and offer solutions. Those deep flaws are NOT beyond redemption. Though at the same time, to continue thinking and writing about how WAR could be moved forward, will mean all the while being stuck having to watch nothing or even the opposite happen. Which will be like banging my head against a brick wall.

I was talking to a friend the other day who quit WAR when RIFT came out and as of yet has not returned. He was saying how he’d like to play WAR again, but if he did return he’d be just fighting in exactly the same RvR lakes as he was at launch. No new zones have been added, in fact there’s not really any new content and as a result there’s nothing new to look at. Sure things have been tweaked, but nothing has actually been added, nothing has been expanded. Land of the Dead doesn’t count because of its gated entry and general irrelevance, and Skaven are such a half arsed implementation that they’re not interesting at all.

He went on to say it would be frustrating for him to return, seeing nothing but the same scenery as he did at launch, yet all the time knowing there are still huge masses of wasted landscape in the main zones (the majority of land in each zone in fact) and there’s even 4 entire Tier 4 zones that remain completely irrelevant and completely unused. Not adding new content is one thing, but wasting what you have got is unforgiveable. He then pointed out that this is all the same stuff I’ve been going on about for ages, but nothing changes. So he's staying in RIFT for now, they get new content all the time there.

And he would be right on all of that. We’ve had tweaks, lots of tweaks in fact, but nothing significant enough for an ex-WAR player to see and think “OMG! Now THAT is worth resubbing for!”. WAR fans can point at the city changes, renown levels and new armour, but we would be kidding ourselves. Nothing has ever appeared from Mythic that is bold or big enough to tempt people like him back. And he's not a MMO 1 month and leap type bloke, he stuck with WAR for 2 years, he's also far from unique, loads of people I talk to say the same things. Unfortunately the closest we’ve got to major improvements, new content and true expansion is just hot air in blog posts from the community. Thing is, we’re drying up, we’ve pretty much said it all. There’s not many bloggers writing regularly about WAR at all anymore and those that do are probably in a similar situation to me, pondering on if they should continue repeating themselves and smashing their face into Mythic’s wall of nowt.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Knowing when to step back

Initially after the appearance of doubt about us being able to run Kill Frenzy in both RIFT and WAR, things went a bit ropey. With KF-WAR down to about 3 people, I made the decision to close the guild in WAR and we focussed on RIFT. Since then as you know I have returned to WAR and KF-WAR is very much back, growing in strength and entertainment value. However the KF-RIFT guild is still extremely active. I’m only playing RIFT a little bit myself, but the guild is solid, continues to grow and the guys have started on the 10man raid scene, but are also focussed on getting everyone the Tier 2 expert gear they need to progress. As an aside, the key to success in PvE is in the preparation. Get people geared and while you should never order people to spec certain ways (unless you’re one of those prick ego guilds with no life or grip on reality) make sure that the specs/classes/roles in the raid have some synergy. Uhm, yeah… stopping this tangent before I go off on one.

The key to us keeping both guilds going was in me acknowledging that I was no longer in a position where it made sense for me to lead our KF-RIFT chapter. To progress in a PvE game you need a leader who is online a lot, is organising events and actively driving the guild forward. It takes more time and effort than I’ve got spare for RIFT. So I stepped back to my arch-overlord of the KF community role, focussed myself more on WAR and promoted an utter retard and morally suspect git called Filthiusia to guild leader of KF-RIFT, whilst giving him the support of the very keen and progress driven Lowtwo in an officer role. Of course alongside the existing KF-RIFT officers. With a bunch of old school KFers putting the time in at the helm, things are working out ok.

Giving up control can be a tough choice to make for a guild leader; you’re always worried about things drifting away from your core ideals or just the whole thing collapsing. Yet, in exactly the same way as management out in the real working world, if successful an organisation will grow to a point where it’s owner/MD/CEO/whatever’s time becomes sparse and for them to try and to run everything is to invite disaster. You have to know when and what to delegate. The when and what is often quite easy to recognise, the hardest bit is really in the act of handing things over.

Of course there is one other huge thing… who you choose to delegate to. As anyone that follows football (soccer, for those of you in hats), the result of that choice is the hardest bit to reliably predict. There are no foregone conclusions there, no matter what anyone says. That’s where as a guild leader you have to make a leap of faith.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Gratz Skreaver!

First Kill Frenzy member to hit RR100!

One of the best Marauders on Norn and a good bloke too. Gratz you slag!

Bloody Blorc

Felt like a bit of a change, again, so I’ve been playing my Black Orc the last couple of days. He’s only L40/R3X and the last time I had played he was specced for a great weapon, which sucked obviously thanks to no stats to support it. So this time I respecced for a proper tanky shield style and chucked my few renown points into defensive stats. I figured I’d be more useful if I played guardbot and got as much CC as possible, which turned out to be quite correct. I’m no big killer, but I’ve been able to make myself useful and the groups I’ve been in have worked out quite well... Apart from when facing the Order mega zergs, which apparently don’t exist! :P Yet somehow we had AAO all night in every zone yesterday, go figure…

Anyways, I think I am enjoying playing the Black Orc, they’re a pretty solid class, have some great abilities and look mean as foooooook. When it comes to fulfilling a PvP tank role, just looking at the CC options in my current spec I’ve got:
  • 2x single target knockbacks
  • AoE knockback
  • Snare
  • Morale single target root
  • AoE root
  • Knockdown
  • Silence
  • Morale AoE Silence
Then there’s a load of buffs, debuffs and more, which I must say is pretty damn good really. It is a bit of a shame though that it’s all wrapped up in the hideous plan mechanic that Blorcs and Swordmasters are lumbered with. It’s a system which will always feel like a hindrance rather than something enjoyable to use in itself. Though perhaps if the Blorc had all those abilities available all the time it would be a bit too powerful?

My Chosen in a relative spec has:
  • Knockback
  • Knockdown
  • AoE Stagger
  • Snare
  • Morale single target root
  • AoE root
Certainly it looks like the Blorc is some way ahead, even taking into account that the Chosen's AoE stagger is a particularly potent ability when used well.

Still, using the plan system frustrates me, but as the abilities go off and evil things happen, it pleases me greatly. Oh damn it Mr Blorc Designer Dev Type Person, I can’t work out if the class annoys the shit out of me or smothers me in waaaghy goodness.


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Don’t fight the lore

Before I start this, yeah I know I’ve written Dwarfs instead of Dwarves, for some reason Dwarfs is the correct spelling in Warhammer…

Mythic’s recent development post regarding the play as monster feature and their implementation of Skaven, predictably prompted some debate regarding the warhammer lore and the concept of Skaven as allies of the Order races. In general it wasn’t a popular move and is seen by many as a heinous breach of the warhammer lore, though others are quick to point out (correctly) that Gamesworkshop gave it the OK and (incorrectly) that surely it doesn’t really matter.

Firstly, while Gamesworkshop gave it the OK for Warhammer Online, they have not done the same for any of their other games. Quite the opposite in fact, as Skaven are now officially designated a Destruction race, within Gamesworkshop’s new groupings of allies. Whilst Skaven are fairly new to being grouped quite so clearly as this, prior to this latest edition of Warhammer there were races that the rules (and lore) restrict each race from allying with. From those that Skaven were restricted against allying with of particular note are the Dwarfs, who have been involved in a bitter and hate filled war with the Skaven for the small matter of, oh… over FOUR THOUSAND YEARS.

That’s right, the Dwarfs have been had four thousand years of unending war with the Skaven, but then with the Skaven being seen as responsible for the collapse of the Dwarf empire (technically it was down to a Slaan, but they don’t know that..) and the death of countless millions of Dwarfs, you can understand if the stunties are perhaps a bit miffed.. There isn’t really anyone that can beat Skaven for entries into the Dammaz Kron (Book of Grudges).  So regardless of Gamesworkshop giving it the green light, it was obviously not going to be a popular move and the fact that they haven’t put it anywhere near the proper game world speaks volumes. Oh and the Trollslayer career in WAR has a mastery path called Skavenslayer. HELLO!

Now there is a fairly valid argument against Skaven being allied with the existing WAR Destruction races, as Skaven are such treacherous gits that nobody trusts them at all. I would say that they are more suited to a third faction, though being part of WAR’s Destruction faction is not an entirely uncomfortable arrangement. But being allied with the Dwarfs is totally not an option. It’s actually less about whom the Skaven would ally with, but more the fact that the Dwarfs (and Elves for that matter) would never ever agree to it.

But it went live and that’s what we’ve got, so why does it matter?

The thing is a great many people wouldn’t have ever started playing WAR if it wasn’t for the lore. They are fans of it; they know how it works and what is wrong or right. So a developer should ensure that is cherished, protected and used in a way that keeps the players on side. If WAR wasn’t set in the warhammer universe, I wouldn’t be playing it. If WAR was some generic made up on the fly fantasy shite, then absolutely no way would I be interested, but it isn’t, it’s Warhammer and that has meaning to me and a lot of people. Likewise, if Star Trek Online wasn’t set in the Star Trek universe it would be dead in the water and have nobody playing it at all. The famous IP draws people in, then hopefully the quality of the game retains them, but if the game has issues people will leave and your left with just a few diehards and all the rest will be those that are playing because they love that IP.

As it stands we have no assurances that this won’t continue in future. What’s next a Wood Elf skin for both factions? If Skaven for both is reasonable, then so is that. What about Beastmen, Undead or Bretonnians? Why not eh? Keep going along that path and it’s not long before this isn’t Warhammer anymore. A nice logo and Gamesworkshop's approval won't help you when you're down to one dying server and even the warhammers fans have rejected the game.

Obviously it would be better if the whole thing was changed so Skaven could be a proper playable race one day, but that seems unlikely in the current climate. But surely it’s not impossible to expect a re-skin for Order’s Skaven to beeither Lizardmen or Wood Elves. Neither are perfect options, but they’re a hell of a lot better than what we’ve got now and instead of alienating a great many of WAR’s remaining players, it would be seen as Mythic seeing the grimy foul Warhammer light and actually acting on it. We would see the lore win.

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