Sunday 28 February 2010

First impressions of 1.3.4 are good, but there is one epic problem…

It has a bug where every time you zone it turns off the check box for displaying your helm. This would be a minor inconvenience if it wasn’t for the fact that I really screwed up my character’s look on launch day :P

Damn I’m so fugly!

In other news, the Scurvy Dogs weekend live event and it's scenario "The Ironclad" are great.

Friday 26 February 2010

Warhammer books, where to start?

A bunch of us were chatting on vent last night about Warhammer novels. Amongst it’s player base WAR has a lot of people that have played the tabletop games, read the books and know the whole Gamesworkshop empire very well. However since not everyone playing WAR has been exposed to such uber geekery and should they fancy reading some ripping yarns about psychotic hirsute gingers of diminutive stature, they won’t know what’s worth a look.
Quite a few Warhammer books are to be honest a bit crap and best avoided. They basically go like this:
A brief moment of tiresome and unrealistic dialogue.
A brief moment of tiresome and unrealistic dialogue.
Problem for me with those books is they do nothing much to give you a feel for the world they’re set in. It’s just a dubious story being used as a platform for lots of fighting. There are others though that actually have, you know, proper plots… That said, they are all very violent and feature a lot of scrapping, treachery and gothic darkness; it is Warhammer after all. Also there are some that follow the above pattern, but swap the crap dialogue with some decent and often humorous writing.
So to help out the Warhammer newbies out there, I figured I’d post now and again with some suggested reading. I’ll list books from both the Fantasy world that WAR is set in and the futuristic Warhammer 40,000 setting. There are some great fantasy books, but to be honest the best Gamesworkshop books are the 40,000 ones.
First off, an author recommendation: Dan Abnett. He is the best author currently writing for the Black Library (Gamesworkshop’s publishing house/thing) by a country mile and is the only one I know of that people who have zero interest in Warhammer still really like reading. Everything he has written has been thoroughly enjoyable, but there are of course highlights. The first of which would be…
The Eisenhorn trilogy
(Xenos, Malleus, Hereticus – also available in omnibusformat which includes extra short stories)
Setting: 40,000

Generally recognised as the best Warhammer books ever, this classic trilogy follows the career of Gregor Eisenhorn a member of the most dreaded organisation in the galaxy; the Inquisition. The Inquisition hunts down the heretics, traitors, aliens and chaos worshiper lurking amongst every day society. Essentially it’s a tale of morale dilemmas and asking if the ends justify the means, but wrapped up in a kind of spy thriller. Of all the Warhammer books out there, its this series that really gives you an insight into what it would actually be like to live in the dark future of the year 40,000.
The Gotrek and Felix ever growing series
(Trollslayer, Skavenslayer, Dragonslayer, Vampireslayer… oh you get the idea. The link above is to the first compilation with about 3 of the books in)
Setting: Fantasy

The Gotrek series by William King are absolute Warhammer classics. These books do conform to the Warhammer talk/fight/talk/fight format, but are nicely written and most importantly are funny.
Gotrek is a dwarf that has committed some terrible crime (by dwarf standards…) and as a result has taken the Slayer oath. This oath entails shaving all your hair into a ginger mohican and going off (in just your pants) to find the most spectacular way to die in battle. Gotrek, alas, is probably the world’s most unsuccessful Slayer. I say unsuccessful because he’s hard as bloody nails and keeps killing everything he meets, which is a problem when seeking a honourable death. He’s also very grumpy, prejudiced, psychotic and an all round mentalist… Felix on the other hand is a human who stupidly got drunk with Gotrek and then while out of his head on beer, he promised to follow Gotrek and record his tale. Now that Felix has sobered up, he’s kind of regretting that promise.
Oh and you’ll meet a character called Snorri, who totally rules. Snorri is a slayer, but has even bigger problems, in dwarf terms. Baldness! This means he can’t grow the required haircut, but Snorri is even more insane than Gotrek and solved the problem by hammering a line of rusty nails across his head.
Both of these books will be well know to the veteran gamer, but for those new to Warhammer, they’re probably the best place to start reading.

Thursday 25 February 2010

New WAR Producer's letter which of course means a new producer :p

So here we have a new producers letter from Carrie Gouskos, who has taken over from Bruce MacLean as WAR’s new Franchise Producer. Apparently Carrie’s job, alongside Jeff Hickman, is no less than planning the future and vision of WAR. One must ask why the job seems to have a revolving door, as it seems like Mythic do a management churn every other month… Anyway, good luck to Carrie and now onto this latest producer’s letter…
It’s a mixed start for Carrie. Whilst I like the style of the letter, the background she’s put in and the way it’s written, the problem is that once again it doesn’t tell us much that we’ve not already known for months. Considering the length of the letter I’m a little surprised to see so much of the same old stuff being said. Also despite attempts to do the opposite, it includes a comment that really sticks in the mind, giving off the hideous stench of maintenance mode:
“It’s also important to keep game play fresh. As such we’re finding ways to maximize our content.”
Note that’s not add new content to freshen things up, it’s “maximize our content”, which reads as the existing and old content. Now whilst that “maximising” is actually a good thing, the problem is that WAR gamers desperately want to hear that Mythic will be adding new content to properly freshen things up. Mythic may accuse me of over-analysing their maximise statement, but what do they expect when we’re still not being given any information on anything other than tweaks to existing content and not a single word on anything actually new.
However I don’t want that negative point to dominate this post, nor do I wish to slaughter Carrie’s first letter as she has also given us insight into some cool sounding things that their maximised content will bring.
So what in this letter is actually news?
“The WAR Asia team has been looking at the game with a different and fresh perspective, and we hope to bring that perspective to the live game. This doesn’t mean everything being developed for Asia will be released in the other markets (it doesn’t all translate), but the good news is that nothing is too precious for us to re-examine…carefully!”
Other than the different cutesy character models which I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole, I have no idea what’s different for the Asian version of the game. Anyone have any ideas?

”As I said, we want to give you greater insight into the development process. This already happens with dev diaries and videos to an extent, but we’re going to step it up a notch with even more outlets for communication. To start with, you should absolutely expect to hear from me at least once a month via the producer’s letter.”
I’m really pleased to hear this. Reliable and regular information from Mythic is desperately needed, as long as they actually tell us something new! Though Carrie, please keep in mind “we’re making cities more RvR!” is not news now, nor was it news any time Mythic uttered that same thing during the last 6 months. Proper news please.
”We’re also interested in letting you guys have more active participation in the game through some fun contests with unconventional prizes. Not just titles and vanity items, but your own ideas and input into the game with full credit granted. To start with, we’d like to introduce the Loading Screen Tip Contest. We challenge our players to come up with their best Loading Screen help tips (whether genuine or just plain silly). Your tip will be added to the loading screens and immortalized for all eternity.”
Hah! This could be most amusing! I’d love to see items in game that are named after characters. Bootae’s Bloody Bludgeon please :P

”…Weekend Warfronts, a rotating weekend Scenario schedule, featuring a different Scenario each weekend. This might be an old favorite that was removed from the permanent rotation so that we could better concentrate populations, or it might be a new spin on a scenario with improved rule sets. Perhaps it will be something completely silly for a bit of entertainment. “
The Weekend Warfronts is not news of course, but Mythic tinkering with rule sets and adding silly stuff is. I like the sound of this, as not only will it provide some amusement, but it will also give Mythic the ability experiment in a live environment. You never know, this could lead to some excellent improvements or additions to the game.

”… in 1.3.5 we’re going to be giving you new options to increase your inventory space by opening up more bank room for each character and adding another tab to the guild vault. You will have to purchase this additional bank space with in-game currency, but we think they’re worth the cost! Players below Rank 40 will no longer have inventory space grow with leveling, but will be able to purchase the space as soon as they have the money to do so. “
Good news for a horder like me. Too much armour, not enough space.
”Additionally, we’ve added a little boon for guilds; officers with the permission to edit the guild heraldry and/or tactics will now have the ability reset them as well.”
So we can change our guild heraldry? Hmm ours is fine with our uber fist of doom, but I imagine this will be popular.
”And finally, there’s 1.3.6 and even though the minutiae is not yet finalized, one aspect that we’re considering improving is the auction house. We want to foster player-driven interaction and trade, especially as we introduce more and better items to the game, and you can’t do that with an auctionhouse that doesn’t function as it should.”
New improved auction house. Ok, not high on my list of requirements… actually it’s not on my list at all. But maybe this will be popular with others.
Also, by 1.3.6 we will make a decision, one way or another, on the armor set redesign. We’re going to maximize the effectiveness of the armor changes for the most players, without taking development time away from the systems that are most important. 
/sigh… This has been dragging on for ages. The graphics for the new sets were posted by Mythic, we got all excited and then nothing. And it’s still not sodding decided?? Much like the fortress debacle this, without the game breaking results of course, but it was something many people were looking forward to. Just implement the bloody thing.
So in summary… It’s not a bad letter, but it’s lacking body. Mythic are still completely refusing to give us information about proper new content, are doing nothing to reassure us of genuine investment in the game’s future and not even acknowledging this. However on the positive side there are a few small but interesting things coming our way.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Gone in 30 minutes

Over the last month or so Karak Norn has seen a bit more life in the Land of the Dead. The tedium of city sieges has driven players into the swirling desert sands. This has been visible not only in game, but also by an increasing number of LotD related threads on our Karak Norn server forum (the WHA forum obviously, the official forum isn’t used because of the dodgy GOA website). Most of the forum threads have been taunting vanquished foes or people complaining about being killed, usual forum banter really, but there has been two consistent gripes from both factions with a bit more merit. I’ve complained about them before, but recent events mean they must once more rear their oh so fugly head...

Solo and ghost bloody purges.

A solo player can invade a full groups instance, which to the outsider may seem as perfectly acceptable, they get butchered and all is well, right? Wrong! The problem is that what normally happens is the attacking solo player (who can release and resurrect inside the dungeon) gets killed a couple of times and then buggers off, but the purge’s public quest timer continues. That timer lasts 30 minutes and if your defending group wipes whilst it’s running, the group gets teleported back to the main city. Which of course means starting a boss fight is very risky and most groups will spend the remainder of the timer’s duration just sitting around bored.

That’s bad enough, but then there are “ghost” purges… A purge starts, you appear to have been invaded, but there’s nobody there. Presumably they entered, sat around for a bit waiting to see if you wiped on a boss to give them free loot and then they left. In this situation the defending team has nothing to do for the full 30 minutes each time. A mild irritation as a one off, but when you get 4 ghost purges in a row, that’s 2 hours of boredom.

All Mythic need to do is make it so that if the attackers leave the instance, the time automatically ends. Simple no?

On another subject and as you’ve no doubt already heard, it is patch day tomorrow. As ever I’m hoping for the best, but it’s a tough one to call this patch. It really depends on how each server’s community responds to it. I’ll comment on the patch’s impact on my server once it’s had a bit of time to bed in.

Monday 22 February 2010

Ubisoft punishes purchasers and promote piracy

Like anyone that actually buys their computer games, I loathe Digit Rights Management (DRM) software. It’s invasive, insulting and irritating. It also does nothing to prevent software piracy, as it’s always possible for clever people to break software. This is evidenced by every single game being available for a dodgy download at most a day or two after a launch. However those of us that, for whatever reason, like to own originals will normally tolerate the DRM software’s intrusions and buy the game anyway. Particularly as after a day or two, should the DRM prove to be a real pain in the arse, we can download a cracked exe file to use on our legitimately purchased software and get rid of the annoyance of DRM. Ironic really.

I used to think people just whinged about DRM and that it wasn’t so bad, but then after a previous Ubisoft title (using infamously bad DRM software) killed 3 of my DVD drives by spinning the discs to buggery, I realised actually yes, these DRM people are indeed tossers. So imagine my immense annoyance to discover that Silent Hunter 5 is not only using DRM, but using the single most awkward, pile of horse turd software to ever curse PC gaming.

Check out their DRM FAQ.

Here are the key points:

What are the key elements of this platform for PC gamers?
Although a permanent online connection is required, this means that a CD/DVD is not required to play the game after installation. The protected game can be installed as many times and on as many computers as you like. Saved games are also synchronized online so the user can continue playing from any location with the game installed.

Uhm… so Ubisoft are selling this as a benefit, as long as you have multiple gaming PCs scattered around the world. So as a normal 1 PC person, the benefit is what exactly? Loading saved games from he internet is NOT a benefit, quite the opposite in fact.

What will happen if I lose my Internet connection when I play the game?
If you lose your Internet connection the game will pause while it tries to reconnect. If the Internet Connection is unable to resume you can continue the game from where you left off or from the last saved game.

Will I need to be online the whole time when I play the game? Including for single player?
Yes. You will need to have an active Internet connection to play the game, for all game modes.

Hang on a minute… If my internet connection drops, my game pauses? And then if it doesn’t return I get to continue, but as the saved games are online, I can’t save the game… I have to be online the WHOLE time? But this is a single player game. And if my internet connection is down, I can’t actually play the game at all!

What about people on dial up connection, or low bandwidth, or without internet at all...?

Will this system be available for every Ubisoft game?
Most upcoming Ubisoft PC games will make use of this system.

Well there you go folks, consider yourselves warned. Don’t buy Ubisoft games. They will be much easier to set up, play and just all round “user friendly” if you pirate them. I won’t be buying Silent Hunter 5 until a cracked exe is available; no way I’m putting up with that DRM crap, so I will have to crack my purchased copy of the game. Of course I’ve read on their official forums that a cracked copy of the entire game is already available for download. LOL! So that DRM solution worked well! Must be tempting to just download it and not go through the hassle eh?

This is completely insane.

Sunday 21 February 2010

Viddy well, little brother. Viddy well.

Been away for a few days with the missus and sprog, which meant no MMO gaming for me... ugh the perils of having a real life! Though there are of course many benefits. Like not having to keep an emergency pee pee bottle next to the PC. Anyways since I've not had any gaming to do and no time to write anything else up, here's a couple of WAR vids that are doing the rounds on Karak Norn. Big scraps showing the improved game performance, with a vid each from Destruction and Order:

Moonlapse vs the Blob

Crimson blowing things up

/wave to both Moonlapse and Crimson :)

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Blogger Challenge: The Results Show

3 of the WAR community's top bloggers took up my challenge and posted their thoughts for WAR's future. A hypothetical future where they had control of Mythic and no limitations.

Mr Meh delivers an incredibly detailed post with all manner of dramatic, but also feasible, improvements for WAR. Amongst them is the very interesting idea of a new anti-tank career type. As a Chosen this disturbs me :p but damn it I would make one of his Ed Shrink’r Orcs faster than Katie Price eats men.

Heartless gamer goes on a very different path with WAR adopting a free to play model. However this is a bit different to the usual F2P stuff and includes a most intriguing "tax" system. Though my heartless friend when you ask "who calls it Autumn?", I must point out it is Autumn, not Fall. Well... at least for us Brits and any others still blessed with the Queen's English :) Back on topic, please do check his post out, it's well worth a read and certainly contains some of the most revolutionary ideas for WAR I've seen. 

Werit has big plans for a live expansion. An expansion that is far bigger than the Land of the Dead and would give us something really meaty to get stuck in to. He's also cottoned onto the fact that our currency loot bags are packed with bloody officer medallions and maybe we should have something to spend them on. A very, very good point and one I hope Mythic are considering.

A big thank you to the guys for accepting the challenge! It's been really interesting to see the different routes we would take. Of course the question now is will any of us see our ideas matched by Mythic?

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Uh... trudging. You know trudging?

To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.

Its strange, I’ve been playing MMOs since 1997 and as I think back over the various games, I’m struggling to think of one where there wasn’t a section of levelling that felt too bloody slow. There’s nearly always a big chunk of levels where it just feels like your trudging through treacle. I’m not sure why developers always spray this gooey muck somewhere, perhaps it’s insanely difficult to get right. Which is unfortunate because it’s an issue that can easily ruin people’s perception of a game and become an unassailable barrier. Take my current two active MMOs: Warhammer Online and Star Trek Online…

WAR’s journey to level 40 is split into milestones by its tiering system, progressing to a new tier brings major changes in your game experience and the locations you fight in. Tier 1 (level 1-11) and tier 2 (12-21) are perfectly paced, with just the right amount of time spent in each. I’ve put 6 characters fully through those tiers and it’s been a joy every time. However of those I’ve only got 4 to max level, leaving two lost souls in tier 3 and I have another 4 characters spread throughout tier 1 & 2. I’m not rushing to get those into tier 3 either, simply because it is WAR’s trudge in the treacle. It takes too long and is to be frank, boring. The fighting in the RvR lakes and scenarios is erratic and the PvE has worn thin at this point. Once you get out of tier 3 and into the final tier, life gets more interesting as you’re now playing with the big boys. The PvE remains meh, but I’ve never found tier 4 a hardship to reach level 40 in, mainly because I just do RvR. That and I guess psychologically I’m on the home straight with the end game in sight. Problem though is that many people didn’t make it through tier 3, as it burnt them out. They wrote WAR off as rubbish and took themselves to pastures new. Which is a shame because despite WAR's much whinged about problems, it does provide some great RvR fighting in tier 4 that you just can't find elsewhere.

Star Trek Online’s pacing is a completely different kettle of fish, yet has the same problem in a different place. Like WAR it is split into tiers, in this case 5 of them which are defined by your character’s rank and ship class options. After completing the tutorial you’ll be at Lieutenant rank and have a light cruiser to fly and it then takes 11 grades (levels) to reach the first major promotion to Lieutenant Commander. This is the point where you get a choice of ship class: Cruiser, Escort or Science ship. It’s a huge milestone in the game, as this is the moment where you choose how you want to play space combat. In fact it’s a more important choice than when choosing your officer class during character creation. It’s also at this point that the game really takes off, with each new tier having progressively better storyline missions, epic space battles and a lot of fun. I’m up to Captain grade 6 so far (tier 4) and it’s been an utter joy since getting my first science ship. It’s PvE whoring for sure, but damn it’s good fun and I’ve not felt any grind at all.

The problem is that it takes far, far too long to reach that first all-important Lieutenant Commander rank. I’ve seen a LOT of people at Lieutenant rank complaining that it takes too long to level in STO. If you combine that with the more basic missions in that first tier, you wouldn’t be surprised to see people write the game off at that point. Certainly it was this tier 1 trudge during beta that led to me expecting just another Cryptic game where I run out of steam before even reaching the mid levels. Whilst it turns out quite the opposite has happened and I will definitely be taking my character to max level, it could easily have gone the other way and that tier 1 trudge send me into rage quit mode.

Both STO and WAR are lucky in that they have their IP to fall back on. Many people will be a bit more forgiving about the treacle trudge when they have the sound of phasers melting faces or a witch elf’s buttocks to get mesmerised by (though WAR’s tier 3 really did push that forgiveness to the limit). Other games don’t have the luxury of good IP. The awful pacing of Aion in it’s early levels turned me off the game very quickly and as I had no interest in the dodgy fairy crap storyline, I was in and out quicker than those poor sods Pele pushes cock pills for. And yes I did just sneak an erectile disfunction gag into post about MMO gaming.

Even the “perfection” of World of Warcraft has suffered from this problem. How many people look back at sodding Desolace with a smile? Not bloody many I’d wager. I can’t think of any of my past MMOs where there wasn’t a long slog somewhere… Dark Age of Camelot, Asheron’s Call, Everquest, Anarchy Online, Age of Conan, etc, etc. They’ve all had it, for me at least anyway. Actually I’ve thought of one. Ultima Online… But then that wasn’t level based and to be honest the way we played MMOs then were different, so it doesn’t really count.

So what about you lot, is there an MMO you thought was perfectly paced or an absolutely tedious nightmare?

Monday 15 February 2010

Gaming tangent time - SH5

Silent Hunter 5 is fast approaching and if you're one of those odd people (like me) that loves submarine games, then you'll be more than a little excited about it.

Check out the official site for screenshots and videos. The video on the main page is well worth a look, the game's graphics are looking a bit posh.

Saturday 13 February 2010

Revised scenario structure revealed

Check out Andy's post here:

In the post Andy explains their reasoning for the changes and clarifies a few things, like the weekend special scenarios, how all scenarios are active for all zones all the time and how everything counts towards the campaign.

The new scenario list looks like this:

First impressions... this could work out quite well, but having been burnt by posting before thinking recently, I'm going to have a ponder on it before getting off the fence.

Friday 12 February 2010

Changing the landscape of WAR

There’s this friend of mine who is not only an MMO player, but is also the proud owner of a most spectacular beard... And as everyone knows, a man with a beard is a man worth listening to. Has history ever given us a greater symbol of wisdom? Sigmund Freud, Alan Sugar, Abraham Lincoln, Gandalf, Socrates, the Chuckle Brothers, Albert Trotter, the list of hirsute heroes goes on and on.
Now then, this is relevant to WAR because in a moment of true bearded genius, my hairy friend had the following idea…
Why can’t WAR’s landscape change dependent on which faction is dominant? Not change in any huge physical way, nothing requiring masses of complicated new models and effectively whole new zones, but change the textures used. Have the colours and feel of the zone adapt to the theme of the owning faction. So when you kill the enemy king, not only do you get some shiney orange pixels in your loot bag, you also get to see the fruits of your labour made real in the game world. As the city rebuilds it also triggers your game client to access different texture files… How hard can it be?
Imagine a corrupted Eataine. Once a land of rolling hills covered in vibrant green grass, now reduced to a rotting and decayed realm of filth. The sleek Elven buildings covered in chaotic symbols daubed in Elf blood. The sky itself smouldering with purple fire, rivers red with blood.  Or the city of Praag, fires doused and replaced with a tranquil snow covered city, snowflakes drifting through the streets, but be wary, this is just the calm before the storm…
And the landscape retains the controlling faction’s theme until you manage to siege the enemy city and kill their king. Your action defines the whole character of the game world.
Just a visual change perhaps and probably far more complicated to implement than my Top Gear “how hard can it be” style post suggests, but man, think about it. Wouldn’t it be better to have a truly changing landscape?

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Blogger challenge – If you were Mythic what would you do in 2010?

A challenge for my fellow bloggers!
First take the assumption that the game isn’t in the alleged maintenance mode and there’s not only money for new content, but you have access to new content that’s been in development over the last year. So we’re writing this in a happy place. Now then, if you had control of Mythic what would be your plan for WAR in 2010?
Broken down into Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, what would be your strategy for changes, improvements and expansions to the game?
Here’s mine…
In case this is not completely clear … Everything that follows is completely made up by me and most probably has no bearing on reality. Of course if by strange coincidence any of it turns out to be true, then clearly Mythic are very sensible people and should be commended, well... apart from whoever is in charge of their marketing/advertising/promotional/thingy strategy these days, as they need dragging through a hedge infested with angry Squirrels. Bring back the teasers, clues and hype please. It may have led to false expectations, but at least it was interesting and gave us positive ammunition. Aaaaaaanyways, here goes:
With the first major patch in a long time, Mythic unleash a cunning plan. A plan that will make realm pride a factor once again. The patch will change the way the campaign works, with simultaneous locking of all 3 zones within a racial pairing required to lock the area and count towards a city siege. Combat is spread across the zones, individual guilds and warbands become more important than one single zone crashing zerg, the game lags less and WAR makes a huge step towards having a truly epic campaign. In tier 4 no longer do you have a maximum of 1-3 active zones to fight in, oh no sir, now you have 3-9! Not including Land of the Dead! Once more it becomes difficult to actually siege a city, making city sieges something that actually feels like an achievement. Plus roaming world PvP and genuine strategic play return.
Then in late Spring, the Fortresses make a triumphant return. Ex-DAoC players get what they wanted; Relic raids… Each fortress can be attacked and a relic stolen from the central keep, the player carrying the relic then has to be escorted all the way through that pairing’s RvR zones to their own fortress. Owning a relic provides a small realm wide buff. The more relics you have, the greater the buff. To stop fortresses getting in the way of accessing a city, when a pairing is locked in the new improved campaign, the fortress is left open, the relic unavailable.
Leaping out of the shadows like a ‘shroom fueled goblin in a ninja suit, Mythic deliver the first of two new live expansions. The 4 cities removed before launch are coming back baby! This live expansion introduces the Dwarf and Orc cities. Each racial pairing now has a city for each faction and control of the 3 RvR zones provides access to siege the relevant city. But new cities bring new risk and reward… Now if a king is killed, there’s a proper downside as that city is unavailable for 24 hours. If a faction loses all of it’s cities, then sorry chaps you’re based in warcamps for a day. Risk and reward... now go find that realm pride we’re missing.
And it’s the next live expansion, that naturally follows on from the Summer of Orcy fun. This one bringing in cities for the tree huggers and emo-kid pointy eared elf gits. This now means WAR has 9 RvR zones and 6 cities. WAR is indeed everywhere.
The main event… Winter and with a Christmas release, will see the WAR’s first paid expansion. It will introduce Skaven and Lizardmen as playable races for Destruction and Order respectively. The campaign will be expanded to include the south American themed land of Lustria, home to the Lizardmen and also a segment of the Skaven’s secret underground empire. New zones for each tier and of course 3 new tier 4 RvR zones, 2 more cities. WAR now has 12 RvR zones and 8 Cities.
I’d love a third faction as regular readers will know, but I’m starting to think it’s just not feasible at all. So the above is what I’d do, assuming I had the money and the backing. How about you?

Monday 8 February 2010

My week in WAR

Day 1
Log in to one of my tier 4 characters.
City siege…
I log off and go play a tier 3 alt.
Day 2
Log in to one of my tier 4 characters.
City siege…
I log off and go play a tier 3 alt.
Day 3
Log in to one of my tier 4 characters.
City siege…
I log off, but I’m a bit bored of tier 3 and go play Star Trek Online.
Day 4
Log in to one of my tier 4 characters.
City siege…
I log off and go play Star Trek Online.
Day 5
I log in to Star Trek Online.
Day 6
I log in to Star Trek Online.
Day 7
Log in to one of my tier 4 characters.
City siege…
I log off and go play Star Trek Online.
I am so sick of city sieges. I’m not interested in the loot or the buggy/boring PvE. I’m not interested in the empty instances and I’m sure as hell not interested in the instances where a chain of players are quitting rather than fight full premade warbands, which of course leaves those of us that stay in with no chance at all.
The next patch might mean when the city is captured I can go find some oRvR, but as most sieges don’t go beyond the contested stage, most times I log in there will still be an hour and half of tedious crap. I’m utterly bored of it now.
Frustrating thing for me is the week before I was having a really good time in WAR, but this week has been hideous.

Saturday 6 February 2010

Mythic respond to player concerns regarding scenario changes

Here's the link. And by the power of copy/paste, here's what Andy Belford has said:

First off, thanks to everyone for their continued constructive feedback. We appreciate all of our players who involve themselves in the testing process, both on the PTS and in the forums.

Based on the feedback we've received, both here on the North American forums and on the official EU Forums and through feedback submitted using the in-game tool, we are going to be reevaluating and adjusting our current plans for Scenario structure in 1.3.4. While the plan is still to streamline the Scenario system we are going to go back to the whiteboard on how we accomplish this.

Our intent is still to remove some of the less utilized, lesser played and downright less enjoyable Scenarios and to make room for some of the more played Scenarios from lower tiers. We'll speak more to our plans sometime early next week and be sure to preview what we've come up with at a Mass PTS Playtest as well (be sure to keep your eyes on the Herald for more details regarding that )

So thank you for your continued feedback, thank you for caring so much about WAR and rest assured that your voice is being heard, loud and clear.


Andy Belford
Community Coordinator
Mythic Entertainment
Nerf Lizards
Good reply. Proof will be in the pudding of course, so now we wait and see what they do.

Thursday 4 February 2010

Inside information from the WAR Bureau - Black Orcs to remain ickle

OK it's not exactly devestating news, but it's a shame to hear Black Orcs won't be getting made bigger :(

It's a shame why? Well, if you're a Warhammer Lore Whore™ like me, then you'll know that Black Orcs are meant to be the biggest, meanest Orcs about. Certainly bigger than mere Choppas... Which just isn't the case in Warhammer Online. If Blorcs also looked like the big nasty buggers they're meant to be, perhaps more people would still be playing them. Actually, maybe that and if their mechanic didn't suck so badly that the class becomes unplayable with even the slighest bit of lag...

Annnnyways, this isn't something that's high on my personal "what Mythic should be doing" priority list, but it's a pity none the less.

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Gaarawarr has pics of the new weapons

He's quick of the mark that one. Go check out his post here.

Some of the weps look very nice indeed...

Tuesday 2 February 2010

WAR's 1.3.4 patch notes and a request for Mythic (updated post)

[updated... ]

Hang on a minute! Its only on seeing Grimnirs post that it actually sunk in quite how much has been removed.
75% of the scenarios gone... Bloody hell. For some reason I was only thinking it was a handfull.
OK. That is mental, bonkers, waaaay too far and I can't defend or be positive about that. Wish I'd pondered on this more before posting tbh, because this post looks stupid now, but hey, such is life. Consider everything highlighted in orange, as dubious opinion that I should have thought about more, because I was clearly talking utter bollocks. Everything else still stands mind you.

PS doh and sorry for editing a post after someone commented, bad form.

Mythic have released the 1.3.4 patch notes which you can read here.

There's not really much we didn't know about already, other than a few tweaks and the final verdict on what scenarios got removed. The bolster changes are sensible, the campaign changes mean I will actually have something to do when a city gets captured and I like the scenarios we're getting in Tier 4. Plus with the new items to earn through scenarios, there's a new carrot for many players to chase after. So all in all, I'm pretty happy with this patch, though as I’ve said before I don’t think we’ll see the real impact until it goes live.


Whilst I believe this patch will be a good one for those of us still playing the game, it also provides large calibre ammunition for the people that want to slag WAR off.

Simply because this patch is removing a lot of content, yet not (to the outsider at least) introducing much in return. When you combine this with Mythic’s complete failure to give us any teasers or news of any serious new content (sorry Mythic, but the Scurvy Dogs scenario barely qualifies), it’s easy for people to suggest the game is stagnating, pottering along and merely tinkering with existing content.

I, like many people playing the game, will understand and appreciate why Mythic are removing this content, as it will focus us into the better and more enjoyable scenarios. Problem is, if Mythic continue this silence regarding true new content, i.e. live or paid expansions, and we still keep getting patches that just tinker with, or remove, existing conent, then even people like me will start to lose the faith.

For some bizarre reason I still believe Mythic have major new content in the pipeline, but right now they are giving me absolutely zero to base that belief on. Which to be honest is making me feel a touch uncomfortable. If I want to post about WAR's future I have to quite literally make crap up. Vague twitter comments once in a blue moon are rubbish. Seriously chaps, I have nothing to go on.

So OI MYTHIC! Stop buggering about and give us bloggers something interesting to chew on. Your game’s community need more than just blind hope.

Monday 1 February 2010

STO - Star Trek Offline

Beta is over. It's headstart time, but it seems Cryptic just simply aren't prepared. At first I wasn't that bothered about the fact they did a server maintenance in the middle of the day at the weekend, it's a US game so their timezones will get preference, 'tis the nature of things. However since the server also goes down without any warning for hours all the bloody time, it's a tad annoying. If your decision to pre-order was influenced by getting a headstart code, it would be nice if it was actually possible to play the game with any reliability during said headstart .

Of course the MMO veteran in me says "Oh what shock horror! A MMO having shitty server stability at launch". But seriously, we've been cutting developers slack because it's an MMO for years now. It's wearing a bit thin.

  • Will any MMO developer ever learn from the past?
  • Did Cryptic really not understand how popular an MMO with the Star Trek IP would be?
  • Do they not actually know how many headstart codes they created?
  • We've had queues to log in, many server crashes, restarts and emergency maintenances just during the headstart. Do Cryptic really think they can sort this out before this week's launch?
Which leads me to ask...
Q) Is there any chance of a smooth retail launch?
A) None what so ever. Which is a shame considering it's a pretty solid game.

 However, when the game is actually online, it's been a generally enjoyable experience. Improving dramatically as you get your first proper ship choice. I've gone with a Science ship, sorta debuff/healy/buff/funky thing.

Oh... and I heard millions of Role Players suddenly cry out in terror. Only to be suddenly silenced by uberness. Doh wrong IP... Anyway, the chap below amused me. You could almost hear the intake of breath from the RPers (of which STO has many).

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