Wednesday 30 September 2009

WAR patch 1.3.2 = joy, pain or meh?

Until it gets a good testing we won’t know for sure, but from viewing the patch notes the general consensus seems to be a large dose of “meh”, spiced with a considerable amount of concern. And I have to say I agree, on paper this is a very under whelming set of patch notes and a huge disappointment.

There are good things in this patch, no doubt about it, but there are several critical things noticeable in their absence and others included that are potentially very dangerous.

First off lets look at the revamp to the starting experience.
This is the first of a few major changes in this patch and this one is a good move. If Mythic want to hold the attention of new players, then they’re first few hours in the game need to be great and full of WAAAAGH! That means they need to have other players to fight, which this change will provide. Unfortunately it does mean the much better starting area of the Orc zones will be wasted, no matter what Mythic forum posters say about flight masters, but I’m sure for a new player the overall experience will be much better. However, WAR's existing players are mostly in Tier 4 and have more than likely got their alts into higher tiers as well. So good move it may be, but it’s also an irrelevant move for what I would expect to be the majority of the existing player base.

Next up we have the Apprentice system.
 I was a bit concerned about this when I heard it would allow us to scale our characters down to play alongside lowbies, with it potentially meaning we had our high end abilities available. Thankfully Mythic have done the right thing and it scales down the number of abilities you have available to those of the appropriate level. My main worry now is actually at the other end of things, will Tier 4 become packed with “pretend” high-level characters? How will this work with renown, lag, scenarios, etc? I’m not convinced that a few weeks on a PTS (and the unrealistic environment that represents) will tell us much.

Empty Fortresses?
Uhm… So the fortresses have been decoupled from the campaign and are now sitting empty until a future unknown patch. To get to cities you now only have to lock 2 pairings zones. This is very, very worrying.

Rubbish as the forts were, they did provide a buffer that an outnumbered faction could use to prevent the enemy starting a city siege. If a server has one faction with much higher numbers during the day, will this mean by the time we get home from work, the daytime players will have locked zones and the rest of us we will now only be playing in cities? If we end up with city sieges whenever we log on, what will those of us logging in after it started have to do?

 Last night I logged in at about 8pm and there was a city siege already under way. It had been running for an hour at that point, all our guild and alliance warbands were inside and already had people that had queued for the entire hour waiting to get in. So all I could do was join solo and PUG it. Which unfortunately was in a hideous warband, in a hideous instance and was not fun in anyway or form. Since there was nothing else to do and it was physically impossible for me to join up with my friends… I logged off.

Now this now and again is fine, it was just unfortunate timing on my behalf, but what if every single time I log in after work and I all I've got is a city siege already underway? There are no scenarios to do, no other RvR options, nothing. This is very worrying indeed and I can only hope my concerns prove baseless; otherwise I’ll be forced to play something else.

The thing that puzzles me most is who is telling Mythic that we all want to do cities more? Nobody I know thinks that, quite the opposite in fact. The people I talk to all want expanded main campaign zones and a more epic feel to the game. Sieging an enemy city should be a rare and momentous occasion, not a daily event.

And it has to be said regarding this whole thing, we were really looking forward to revamped fortresses. This is a massive disappointment :(

Bye bye stun, hello stagger!
Fine, I like this change; it’s good and needed. BUT! How does this stop 10 Sorcs or Wizards instant killing masses of people with combined PBAoE? That's right, it doesn’t. This change only effects scenarios and small scale RvR, where it is indeed more than welcome, but where the bloody hell are the AoE nerfs? Once again AoE is making large scale RvR a load of boring old tosh and is driving people away.
Remove close quarters from the game and stop too much AoE stacking, just like they did with RoF/PoS. Why has this not been done? It’s bloody obvious…

Question about stagger though.. DoTs? If applying stagger doesn't clear them, or let existing ones continue without breaking, then it's pointless and will very rarely do anything.

Class changes.
I'll only comment on a few obvious ones needing comment...

Magus changes are nowhere near enough. Unless there are some serious stealth changes, this will do nothing for the class’s future.

Marauder changes look very dubious, but I hear rumours they’ve worked out well on PTS. I await confirmation.

Black Orcs and Swordmasters need their whole mechanic changed. The lag stops it working and it’s just a bit crap anyway, so where’s the fix?

Loot changes
Sovereign gear made available to the masses? Good. It makes for more realistic incentives for a LOT of players.

At the end of the day
I'm at a real loss with this patch, its just like... uhm is that it? Unless there are lots of stealth changes and my other concerns prove to be worthless, I will be gobsmacked if this does much to help the game. It's quite simply not enough.

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Random image whilst digesting patch notes

Saw this on the BBC news.

Now that's art.

1.3.2 patch notes are up

Check them out:

 Gotta crash out now and won't get near the PC until late tomorrow. Will try and post some thoughts asap.

One thing though... Fortresses have been removed from the Campaign, but NOT had their new function implemented. They're just empty. That's a real shame, but maybe it will mean when they do get patched in they will have had enough dev time...

Monday 28 September 2009

Ultramarines the Movie

Thanks to Echoes of Nonsense for bringing this to my attention!

There's bugger all on the official site so far, other than the worlds shortest pure text teaser and the following news


The moment fans have been waiting for is finally here... for the first time, the Warhammer 40,000 universe will be realised in a feature-length movie on DVD.

Ultramarines is a 70-minute sci-fi thriller that will use CGI and state-of-the-art animation production techniques. Games Workshop is delighted to be working with UK-based production company Codex Pictures, who have the momentous task of bringing the Warhammer 40,000 universe to the screen"

Also mentioned on Ardy's blog is news of Planetside 2! I played a fair bit of the original, so that's one I'll be keeping a close eye on.

Saturday 26 September 2009

WAR - More armour revamp pics

Mythic have posted on the US Herald with the some of the next armour revamps:

Obviously the most important stuff to consider are the Chosen changes :P

Interesting how they've swapped things about, as well as adding quite a few new graphics. I'm happy anyway :)

Also as an aside, I have had 2 nights of decent RvR in a row. Which has lifted my WAR spirits a bit :) Looking forward to seeing some proper patch notes.

Thursday 24 September 2009

Real men have a tache

A bunch of us at work have shaved off our collection of magnificent beards and this month have been growing Moustaches of Uberness for charity. All cash raised goes to the Everyman charity which helps fight testicular and prostate cancer. Bloody good cause tbh because people bang on about breast cancer (which is fair enough ofc!), but bugger all is said about the loads of men dying from these foul afflictions. Damned stupid insular males that we are.

If you feel like giving Nurgle a slap and sponsering us, or you just want to have a butchers at our images of hirsute wonder, please head to our Tacheback team page. I'm the handsome devil "Tache Machine".

I'll sacrfice a dwarf in the name of any kind souls donating ;)

Tuesday 22 September 2009


How this got under my radar I don't know... Thankfully over at the wall of text it's been drawn to my attention.

This is an MMO I will be watching out for. I've applied to the beta today, so fingers crossed...

Could be a bit special...

Monday 21 September 2009




Welcome to the new "improved" Karak Norn.
It's both factions and it's everywhere. For me this is not good in any way or form. Hard to stay positive right now :(
/sad panda

I'm still not in panic mode, the next patch may sort things out, but I'm not liking the new direction the server has taken. Over the last year I've already done my time being zerged or following a zerg, I've paid my dues thank you. For a long time I have tried to avoid being involved in the bloody things. If the consolidation of servers reduces WAR to nothing but zergs and all the AoE bullshit that this entails, then I'd prefer smaller server populations.

The complete death of small scale PvP has shaken my belief in WAR... From discussions I've had with a range of WAR players over the last few days, I can safely say I'm not alone in this.

Fix it Mythic pls. Quickly.

Saturday 19 September 2009

Tick Tick BOOM!

Since the transfer of players from Karak Eight Peaks, my home server of Norn has seen a massive resurgence of AoE bomb tactics. That’s not to say it wasn’t there before, undoubtedly it was, but nothing like to the same extent. With the monstrous zergs now present from both factions, at least in these early days it has become rare to see a fight not based around AoE bombing. I’ve personally been on the business end of a zerg where I counted 9 Bright Wizards at the FRONT of the charge. Amongst them were a very large number of Slayers (I didn’t manage to count them) and as a result it was literally instant death for us. Likewise I’ve seen Destruction doing exactly the same thing with Sorcerers and Choppas. There are always angry debates on forums about which side has it easiest with bombing, but I’m not going to touch that with a barge pole, as most comments I’ve read were a load of biased bollocks. Let’s just say both sides are perfectly able of running very nasty bomb groups.

I’m not a fan of bombing, particularly in large-scale zergs. The lag problems when 10 warbands collide and the sheer destructive power of overlapping AoE make tactics and skill defunct. If your healers are lagging and your 9k+ hit points get removed in under a second (even with 750+ toughness and capped resists), there’s not a lot you can do. Who lags least and bombs first, wins.

To add to my distaste for zerg bombing, Kill Frenzy is not a zerg guild. When possible our groups/warband are normally found away from the zergs and doing our own thing. We of course use the Destruction command channel and work with the other guilds, but where possible we try to avoid taking part in following the zerg. As such we often have to fight larger numbers of Order, which is cool, but becomes fairly ridiculous when outnumbered by multiple good bomb groups. In that respect with the incredibly high population on Norn right now, it looks like our way of playing the game is under threat, but that’s a different subject and it’s still early days (no need to panic yet), so back on topic I go…

In small group play bombs are not so horrific and are easier to counter, but against unprepared enemies they can still be devastating. I’ve talked before about when Kill Frenzy ran rift-bomb groups for a week or so. It was insane, we were killing literally 3 times our number in oRvR and we were pretty much unbeatable in scenarios, even utterly destroying many of Order’s best. However, we stopped running those groups. Partly because of the nerf death of Magus, but far more because most of us just don’t like bombing much. In KF we are nearly all using single target specs. Yes bombing is very effective, but it isn’t exactly challenging and most importantly it’s boring.

That doesn’t mean the people doing it are in the wrong. For sure some people do it purely because it’s easy and stupidly powerful, but others started doing it because they had no choice. Bombing is a very effective tactic against an uncontrolled zerg, so for organised guilds struggling to deal with an enemy faction that hugely outnumbers them… you could perhaps argue they were forced into bombing. As we’ve seen so many times with the 2 factions, there’s normally one of them outnumbering the other. Combine that with the small RvR zones funnelling people into enclosed areas and the whole system promoting zergs. Well, it’s an obvious choice. And from there it's not a big leap for it to become the norm for many players.

How to beat the bomb?
I’ve limited experience on countering large scale bomb zergs, so I can’t give any advice there and would welcome any suggestions on the subject. However here are a few brief (and probably obvious) tips for fighting bombers in smaller scale fights. Which as I’ve got to get my own guild back on track with dealing with bombers (it has been a while since we had to do so regularly), I figured I’d post it in case anyone finds it helpful.

Ok this is assuming you’re not too outnumbered…. If you are I hear praying is good.

Organised and controlled voice communication is a must.
Assisting on 1 target is not always ideal. If there’s 3 wizards/sorcs bombing and EVERYONE attacks one of them, then the remaining 2 unmolested wizards/sorcs will kill you all. There’s no reason why you can’t have most of your DPS assist target, but have your tanks hitting different targets to shut down every bomber.

To prevent a bomb detonating you simply need to interrupt its cast. There are lots of abilities that can be used, taunts, stuns, knockbacks, knockdowns and good old fashioned interrupt spells. Just don’t have everyone use them all at once, or you end up with everyone on cooldowns. And don’t use them too early or the enemy gets immunity timers on them before they even started casting! Timing is important.

Just as a reminder… TANKS! REMEMBER YOUR SINGLE TARGET TAUNT INTERRUPTS! It’s amazing how many don’t seem to know that.

How to kill the Invincible Nuker
You don’t! If your DPS is trying to kill a bomber and they just won’t die due to heals and guards, then keep them shutdown and hit something else, or take apart the things keeping them alive. For example the guard ability alone does not make a bombing wizard invulnerable, but guard and 3 healers will do. The guard is harder to prevent than the healing, so… you work it out ;) Flexibility and focus is the key.

I’m sure to many people I just stated the obvious and others may disagree or have better ideas. If so please feel free to share! Also I'd welcome some tips on dealing with Slayer bombs, it's something I've very rarely seen before. Since the transfer I've encountered a large enemy guild that appears to be entirely based around Slayer bombs in scenarios. Harsh...

I’ve one final big tip for coping with bombing… Sometimes you’ll be in a PUG, or for whatever reason a less organised/experienced group, and then other times you'll be outnumbered or just plain outplayed. There’s no way to avoid it, sometimes these things mean you will get bombed to crap. I know plenty of Order has seen me die to their bombs of late. Shit happens. Just try not to get too stressed, it’s not done me any favours :P

Wednesday 16 September 2009

3 is the magic number

My boundless optimism took a blow over the last week or so. GOA announced that the Karak Eight Peaks (KEP) server is being closed and its players have the choice of transferring to Karak Norn or Eltharion. This closure will leave WAR with just 3 English speaking EU servers.

I was quite shocked by this, I’m sure people will have seen me state before that whenever I look at the server list the majority of servers were med/med, including KEP. I guess this just means that was a fluke and the time of night I looked were the moments of KEP’s peak server load. It must be dropping off dramatically at others. Obviously this is not a great sign for the health of the subscriber base.

I would point out that I’ve played plenty of MMOs that only had 1 or 2 English speaking servers, but I don’t think WAR’s player limit per server is anywhere near as high as those were. We can all see that subscriber levels are falling, but perhaps at a rate closer to the hate brigade’s estimations. Whatever the reality, it’s fair to say that Mythic desperately need to liven things up. Which in turn means that once again the next patch is critical for the health of the game, but this time even more desperately so. Mythic can’t afford another shockingly bad patch day. Hang on, did I say patch “day”? I mean week…. Oh wait, no not all the bugs that patch introduced have been fixed yet, so perhaps it should be patch “month”.

Other than that there’s one thing they need to do, the obvious thing that for ages now players, bloggers and anyone with an interest has been crying out for…


It would sort out everything. Put aside the silly idea of not wanting to make DAoC 2, because DAoC 2 is exactly what WAR should and still could be.

Taking a more positive outlook, for my own personal gaming, I’m very pleased to see a lot of KEP guilds coming to join us on Karak Norn. On Norn Destruction have been the most powerful faction for a while, not to the city farming extent seen on other servers, but we’ve had the edge. It doesn’t help that many players suffer from a log off rather than risk losing syndrome, which with Norn's Order on the backfoot only makes things harder for them. Where as on KEP Order have been in an utterly dominant position and I imagine they’re coming here expecting to pick up where they left off.

Heh… Either Order or Destruction is in for a bit of a shock and if the Destro from KEP choose to support our well-established command set up, then I don’t think it’s going to be us ;) Whatever happens long term, Karak-Norn is going to see some serious fighting.

Pre posting update!

I wrote the above comments before yesterday’s transfers. Unfortunately the reality of the transfer has then stamped all over my positive dreams and demonstrated that the game still can’t handle a truly busy server. It was evidenced perfectly, when within 2 minutes of logging in I was subjected to a good old-fashioned zone crash. At which point I logged off with an arsehole on. Oh happy happy joy joy.

To be fair I have since heard there was some amazing fighting to be found and people had a really good time, but I was also warned of epic lag and the brutal death of small group skrimishing due to zergs EVERYWHERE.... Which would be a shame, but if Mythic wake up and sort the zones out then it could be solved.

Anyway, it’s early days and we’ll have to see how things go. It is however absolutely critical that GOA/Mythic get their code/servers/hamsters able to cope with so many people on Karak Norn crammed into 2 factions and the bottlenecks that this promotes. Otherwise this very high population server will do more harm than good.

Mythic & GOA, heads up folks, the pressure is on.

Call 999! I've been shot... Grinding to Valhalla.

If you've not yet encountered Randolph's excellent blog, please take the opportunity now. Grinding to Valhalla has taken on the daunting task of "Recognizing heroes of the MMO community one interview at a time…".

It was my turn the other day, which of course is probably the greatest interview known to man. Next step Hollywood baby! Ok maybe Lidl is more likely...

There's a whole load of other interviews on there and some real good reads. Check it out :)

Sunday 13 September 2009

Blogger Challenge! What is YOUR ultimate MMO group?

I had a surprising moment a while back when I was choosing which of my World of Warcraft level 70 characters I would take up to 80. My first idea was to use my old “main”, a fury DPS specced Warrior. What I discovered was directly comparing character archetypes between games, without relying on bias memory alone, can lead to large piles of MEH! I can safely say I will never, ever play that Warrior again. When compared with my Chosen and Choppa from WAR, it feels floaty and to be frank, a bit shit. There’s no feeling of connection between your weapons and your enemy, its just numbers flowing upwards and no oomph. Somehow WAR’s melee feels so much more substantial. Perhaps it’s the different pace of combat, the associated sounds, the visuals themselves, or a combination of them all. I’m not sure, but whatever the reason it came as a bit of a shock. I played that character for years; did it always feel so lacking in clout?

Anyway, before I go tangenting away even further from what this topic is meant to be about....
*/slap Bootae*
The whole episode got me wondering, if WoW's melee DPS suck compared with WAR, which MMO has the best melee DPS ever? In fact what are the best ever classes for everything? Which then got me thinking up my ultimate 6 man group, picking classes from any MMO I've played. A group made up not only of the most effective, but also the most stylish, fun to play and all round bloody cool.

So my challenge to readers and fellow bloggers is; pick your ultimate super group!

Only rules are:
1) The group must consist of 2 tanks, 2 healers and 2 DPS.
2) MMOs only
3) Give some reasons why.

Here is my group of total uberness:

Chosen (WAR)
It looks amazing, IMHO the best looking character in any MMO ever. Equally good as a main or off tank, respectable damage and auras that both buff your allies and debuff you enemies. Flexibility and awesomeness combined in spikey armour. This is up there with my very favourite classes of all time. Pure pimpdom.

Paladin (WoW)
A heavily armoured tank, that’s also hard hitting and can heal? AND has excellent buffing abilities? You still want more? OK then, one word: Bubble.

Who would have thought an entire enemy faction would tremble in fear (or frustration) from a god botherer blowing bubbles? Strange world of warcraft.

Cleric (DaoC)
They hit like a truck, could heal like buggery and for a long time were invincible killing machines. Excellent healers in both PvE and PvP and with a smite spec they could be devastating. In chain mail, nice.., One of the best healing classes ever.
Druid (WoW)
Treeform… I mean come on guys, it’s a walking tree and it can dance too! The undisputed king of HoT healing and the most fun class I’ve ever played as a pure healer.

Bright Wizard (WAR)
Insanely powerful damage, good crowd control and a crazy haircut. Without doubt they have had more impact on RvR than anything else in WAR. I hate the buggers, but there is no doubting their uberness. It’s hard to think of a DPS class anywhere near as potent. Except for the next one...
Mage Tamer (UO)
The power of a traditional nuker, but with a tamed Dragon or worse in tow? Not some little hunter pet crap, oh no, we're talking about a full on Dragon. Oh yeah baby! I can quite confidently say that if you've not played a Mage Tamer in Ultima Online, then you haven't experienced REAL power in a MMO. The single most devestating character set up ever, but one that took a lot of time, practice and persistence to suceed with. Ahh memories ;) Taming my first Nightmare... Glorious!

Now my friends, over to you!

Saturday 12 September 2009

Do you subscribe to more than one MMO?

I quite often do. I’ve always had one main game, which will take up the vast majority of my online gaming time, but I regularly have at least one other MMO active that I tinker with a little. I tend to find with my main MMO that once you reach the end game, everything needs at least an hour to do, so I like to have something else for those moments when I’ve only got 30minutes spare. Something to just dip into, where I don’t have to worry about talent specs, raid gear, organising things or answering 10 whispers from people wanting to join Kill Frenzy the moment I log in. Somewhere to be anonymous and a perhaps bit detached.

This is perhaps a bit odd. I’m effectively subscribing to extra MMOs, but I play them as single player games. Why don’t I just play a single player RPG? Why am I paying a subscription fee for something I barely play?

After doing a bit of reflection, I think the main reason is curiosity. I’ve been playing MMOs for 12 years now and as a result I’ve grown to be very interested in the genre generally. I’m not interested enough to play them full time, but I am curious to see what it is that people like about game “X” and what the game world feels like. Each MMO gamer, if they realise it or not, has contributed to the evolution of the genre. By subscribing and talking about game “A” we have impacted on the development choices made for game “B”. If we had chosen not to play WoW and it had been another MMO with the traditional few hundred thousand players, what would the latest batch of games look like? Even more dramatic, imagine if Everquest had not been successful and Ultima Online’s original harsh world had remained the benchmark... Things would be totally different (for the better! :P ). Playing a range of MMOs can give you a bit of an insight into what people are into now and as such I would think it shows where MMOs are headed, which is an interesting thing to ponder on.

Another big reason why I have multiple games active is that to enjoy an MMO you don’t have to play it full on and dedicate hours of your life to it. You can have some light hearted fun, but still get some progression for your character, albeit slow. You can just log on, explore a bit, kill a few things and log off. The difference with most single player games is while you can still slowly explore and progress a character, it is essentially a finite experience and it will come to an end. With an MMO character you’ve always got the option of much to come, what with patched new content, expansions, etc. When you’re not playing a game in full, it’s world seems to feel some much bigger.

Of course this very casual play maybe harder to do if you are a full on hardcore raider 24/7. Over the years I’ve played all manner of different types of MMOs and played them in different ways, from casual, to hardcore raider, to roleplayer, to big time PvPer, you name it. When I was in a hardcore raider phase I would only have one game active, because there simply isn’t time for more. At least not if I wanted to keep my real life marriage intact… These days I find it quite easy to juggle various games. Sure, I play WAR far, far more than anything else, but with no need to grind rep, materials or any of that crap, I don’t have to spend every waking moment logged in. I am free to dabble!

Over the last year alone I have had a wide range of MMO side projects, including Ultima Online (I activate for a while every year), Dark Age of Camelot, Eve, City of Heroes/Villains, Age of Conan, World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons Online and various betas. I’ve considered many more too. At this exact moment I have 3 MMOs active, WAR, WoW and now Champions Online. WoW is a temporary arrangement for me to get a character to 80 ready to look around Cataclysm next year. At 80 the sub gets cancelled again. Where as Champions I’ve just started toying with and will probably dip into here and there. Having played City of Heroes quite a bit I already knew how Champions would be a shallow PvE fest, but the shallows can be fun to fool about in.

Long-term WAR will most definitely remain my main MMO. The game is still fun, getting better all the time and now that Mythic have woken up, I genuinely see the future as very bright. Plus, it’s Warhammer! The Warhammer lore and artwork is vastly superior to everything else out there now (or in future), which for me is very important. However, like all my “main” MMOs before WAR, what I play alongside it will continue to chop and change.

How about you?

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Career Coaster

Many careers in WAR have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride since launch. They plummet into the foul depths of nerfdom, rocket skywards to bask in the light of an overpowered sun, only to go down faster than a skint chavette.

Right now with my Chosen I’m in sight of that overpowered sun, not quite getting a healthy tan, but I’m certainly catching enough rays to be very comfortable. I don’t think we’re overpowered yet, personal bias perhaps, but I honestly don’t think so. For me it’s more a case of paper scissors stone; Chosen are a stone and some people playing scissors seem to think that they should cut up everything easily... That and how the good players stand out and the bad ones are forgotten, with a class as popular as Chosen (they look awesome) there are plenty of good players to remember and the mass of crap ones (that’s you Mr Ravage Spammer) just meld into the nameless zerg. It’s when you fear the name of infamously bad players that you’ve got to start worrying about their career. That said, I won’t argue against those saying that a well geared and played Chosen is one of the better careers in WAR right now. However, it wasn’t always like this.

At launch we were excellent RvR Sword & Board tanks, but very poor with great weapons. Then we got nerfed in all manner of ways and combined with (at that point) many bugs, we became known as the worst tank in the game. Things changed over time and with the infamous Rending Blade buff we became overpowered killing machines. We were absolute bloody monsters for a month or two. Then it was Rending Blade’s turn to be nerfed. At the time it was a change I thought killed the spec, but to Mythic’s credit it wasn’t that long before I realised it was a sensible nerf and ate my words. Which roughly leads us to today’s Chosen. As mentioned above, with good gear, a decent spec and a good player, the Chosen is very influential on the battlefield. We can solo well, provide a wide range of group buffs and can contribute very well to both large and small scale RvR. Thing is, we should enjoy it while it lasts, because at some point the nerfbat will come swinging our way again.

Every career is on a roller coaster, but not everyone has a dramatic ride. You’d think that Bright Wizards, Warrior Priests, Sorcerers and Disciples of Khaine would be getting bored looking down at everyone by now. As far as I’m aware they’ve never been anywhere close to average, let alone sub-par. Where as many Marauders, Blackguard, Shadow Warriors and particularly Magus have already got off and strapped themselves into a new ride. Though experience tells us that what goes around, comes around. If you’re riding high, you need to be ready to fall. Look at Ironbreakers for example, still a solid class, but nothing like the invincible death machines they once were.

Every MMO I’ve played has taken us on it’s version of the nerf/buff roller coaster. From Ultima Online onwards (TankMage or MageTamer anyone?) it’s always been the same. I still have nightmares about Enchanters in DAoC... I suppose when you think about how every MMO seems to have this, perhaps its understandable that a game like WAR is not going to break the mould anytime soon. With so many careers and the focus on PvP combat, career balancing is not a job I’d fancy.

Plus we, as players, are so often blinded by the shortcomings of our own character, would we recognise a balanced game if we found one? We’d probably just whinge that everything’s too samey.

Tuesday 8 September 2009

Aion can’t come out soon enough

I’m so bored of people smothering WAR forums with their hate for WAR and telling us how we should all go play Aion. No thank you! I don’t like the fairy elf look, don’t like the game play and whilst WAR has its problems, I’m quite happy here. Now please bugger off and post your crap on Aion forums, after all you’re not playing WAR and don’t like the game, so why are you reading and posting on WAR forums? Or if you really must spew your bile then please make a blog and put it there, that way at least we have a choice to read or not, rather than stumbling into it in threads about totally unrelated topics.

People that have not played the game in months telling us how WAR is dying, how the servers are all low/low, that it will be turned off by Christmas, blah bloody blah. Bollocks mate. The server I’m on is high/high most nights, in fact in the evenings looking at the server list there’s only been a handful on low/low and some nights none. I can’t speak for others, but in my guild we’re getting as many people reactivating as we are quitting and I’m regularly meeting new people just starting the game. Plus have folks no bloody clue on MMO population numbers? It has to get insanely low before a game is turned off, simply because subs generate so much cash.

Not that WAR is blameless here, the game sold in the region of 800,000 copies at launch and I don’t know how many more afterwards, which at the last count was reduced to 300,000 subscribers in the US/EU. So that’s at least 500,000 potential haters twiddling their thumbs until Aion/Champions/whatever :P

Hopefully once Aion comes out they’ll be too busy fluttering about (well when flight works, it’s not the limitless flying you may have hoped for) and we’ll not have everything invaded by WAR hating Aion fans on some crazed self justification trip.

Monday 7 September 2009

Good Wild Hunting

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a WAR live event cause such mixed opinion. Some very vocal people have been calling it out for being a load of PvE rubbish, some have been saying it promoted great RvR around the portals and then others just loved the whole thing. I found it a bit of a mixed bag.

The Hunters Vale
The instance was good. Ok, other than the cloak there was bugger all gear relevant to me, but to be honest it would have sucked if the dungeon brought in the latest uber weapon of doom. It doesn’t have to be an arms race anytime something new arrives; sideways itemisation is no bad thing. By giving the dungeon armour from the Ruin set, moderate weapon drops and the stag cloak, it ensured that instance was relevant to everyone.

The dungeon itself looked great. It was very pretty and absolutely nailed the wood spirit theme. The mini bosses were not the most exciting ever tactic wise, but that’s fine for a live event, you don’t want to be researching tactics for an instance available for just one week. The puzzle and main boss fight (which had a bit more too it) worked perfectly, not too hard to learn, but not one everyone would instantly beat either. Also having the PQ timer to complete the instance in (or you got less loot) added a bit of spice to the dungeon as a whole. On the subject of time, Mythic got this exactly right. Depending on your group it took between 20 to 45mins to complete, which is spot on. I like mixing in PvE to my gaming, but I don’t like having to spend 4 hours in a dungeon. I’d love it if Mythic added lots of instances on a similar scale to Hunter’s Vale. Oh and I didn’t encounter a single bug in HV.

Stag chasing…
For a week Benny Hill has been alive, well and playing WAR. There were these Lord level Stags that run through the zones and if attacked they just keep running. Part of the Live Event required us to kill these 5 times, which obviously resulted in zergs of players chasing bloody Stags around everywhere trying to hit the damned thing. The zerging whilst funny to watch was dull as hell to take part in, but if you chased a stag in a quiet area it was potentially great fun. I grouped up with Khalie a sorc from Kill Frenzy and we went stag hunting in Etaine. At first there was nobody else there, but then a few Order turned up and joined in. What followed was running battles around the zone trying to not lose sight of the stag, while fighting off enemies. It was actually a brilliant laugh. Small scale combat rocks ;)

You’re the Piggy Pig!
Some of the other popular tasks were killing or being killed as “beast hexed” players. What happened here was whilst in the PQ area people could get a hex on them, they then had 20 seconds or so to pass the hex onto another player or they would turn into a pig. This could be both frustrating and fun. When in Zergland it was very hard to get credit, but in smaller scale stuff it was most amusing. It also provided the epic title “Squeals like a pig”. Alas no banjo though.

Other bits.
Other tasks were a bit meh. Kill a variety of animals, a brief PvE quest, do some elf scenarios, that sort of thing. Nothing to shout out about.

All in all, it was a fairly good event. If you got into it and ignored the “its all PvE” crying then you’d find there was something for everyone and I certainly had some quality PvP scraps out of it. The dungeon shows great potential and I really hope Mythic pick up on this. On the negative side there were too many humdrum tasks and I know some people had problems completing certain tasks because of zerging.

Not as much fun as the Night of Murder one, but it had its moments.

Saturday 5 September 2009

Stagawk? Hawag?

In a sick Chaos experiment, this week we forced a War hawk and Stag to do the wild thing. What we'll call their wierd siamese twin sprog I don't know...

Thursday 3 September 2009

Altdorf Revisited

A couple of posts back I talked about my first visit to the new Altdorf and the revamped city sieges. Since that post I’ve been back to Altdorf, but this time I was in an instance full of players from both sides. It was really, really good fun. What an amazing transformation from the previous RvE fest! Seriously, it was brilliant.

As previously stated the city siege starts off with a giant version of Nordenwatch and with a busy instance this stage was where the most fun is to be had. I was fortunate enough to be leading a warband half full of Kill Frenzy and topped up with friends from other guilds who had joined us on ventrilo. Fighting alongside was a warband made up of members from one of the other major Destruction alliances, which when combined with us lot meant Order were in for a proper scrap. The Order we were facing were not so organised and struggled to match us, but they made up for it with bloody-minded persistence. They just kept trying to zerg us, constantly… After every wipe they formed up and WAAAAGHH!! We had to play with some cunning. While the other warband held them off and used choke points to nullify their greater numbers, my warband would make flanking moves through the city’s winding streets. My favourite is a good tuna mayo sandwich (with cucumber and plenty of pepper ofc), but that night I got a taste for Order.

We might have won the battles, but there was no pause and no let up for a second. Fair play to those Order, they just kept hurling themselves at us and refused to quit. If WAR’s blood effects didn’t fade, then the streets of Altdorf would have been waist deep in blood and gore.

Eventually we got Altdorf to the new “captured” state and decided to have a crack at the recalibrated Bright Wizard College raid. After battling through those stubborn Order (which took a while, they REALLY did not want to quit) we made it into the instance. I know some people had problems/bugs with this instance, but for us it worked perfectly. We first timed it and some of the guys got some nice Warlord loot. Afterwards we went back out, battled the Order yet again and then after a bit of a kafuffle we got into the Temple of Sigmar raid instance. This didn’t go so well. I’m not entirely sure if that was down to us doing it wrong or not. I’ll not call it bugged, as that might be unfair; I think it’s more likely we just didn’t have our tactics down right. Anyway, after a couple of tries on the Grand Theogonist I had to log off. It was getting rather late and I was feeling the impact of a rather good Sicilian Merlot.

I remain unconvinced by the raid instances, they’re ok, but are a bit of an anti-climax after the massive fighting against players beforehand. That said they are a clear improvement from their previous incarnation and it wasn’t a bad experience. Also in the interview I linked to yesterday Mythic have alluded to making the Warlord and King phases involve more RvR, which can only be a good thing.

Right now, the fighting in the streets was the best stuff by miles. Whilst in theory it’s only a small change, in practice it’s been a huge step forward. You never know, maybe one day we’ll see City sieges that match the one on that oh so uber video. You know the one, it teases us everytime we start the game.

Wednesday 2 September 2009

WCPI - WHA has an interview with Jeff Skalski...

...and it's well worth a read. Bit of an insight into Mythic's current state of mind and some clues to career balance changes that we'll be seeing in the next patch.

The 4 specific points mentioned for career balancing sound very sensible. I'll be most interested to see what else those much maligned classes get.

And see the bold red bit for the key point in this comment "The first phase of our city siege revamps have occurred, making the end-game even more entertaining and action-packed."

There's more clues to what maybe in the second phase further on in the interview.

Oh and underdog system! Could be good :)

About Me

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