Thursday, 2 September 2010

The 1.3.6, the best patch WAR has ever had?

This patch has not by any means been perfect; there are things it introduced that are (or were) a problem. Some of these problems have been relatively quick to fix and others are a bit more of a headache. However the bad has, in my humble opinion, been FAR outweighed by the good, including one new addition in particular that is the best thing to happen to WAR since launch. And it’s such a good change that I want to be sure this post ends on a high, so I’ll get the bad out of the way first.
Performance and graphics bugs
The game performance has got worse, not consistently as everything can be fine for big chunks of time, but then sometimes (with varying regularity) you’ll start getting those performance hits and freezes that fit the vague term gamers use of “server lag”. On a few occasions it has become barely playable and at one point it did lead to most of my guild (myself included) logging off to play something else. However, Mythic have been doing server maintenance almost every other day and performance has dramatically improved since the patch went live. As such it shouldn’t be too long before this becomes a non-issue. Actually, the last couple of days I haven’t had any performance problems at all.
Graphics bugs… there was this strange thing happening occasionally where the game’s textures flashed grey for a couple of seconds, but thankfully Mythic hotfixed it earlier this week and it’s now resolved.
Sovereign Armour
This is both good and bad. Good for people that are renown rank 80 and can equip as much sovereign as they wish, but bad for everyone else. Prior to this patch the gear gulf between the 80s and everyone else was something I always thought was rather over-hyped, unfortunately that’s no longer the case. It’s more noticeable with some careers than others, but for those in the “more noticeable” category it’s more than a little bit over the top. Certainly there are some recognised bad RR80 players that have suddenly become a lot more dangerous or hard to kill purely based on the numbers and abilities associated to their armour, combined with the armour’s new synergy to their career. It’s a pretty harsh world out there for a new level 40 right now.
I think the problem here is not so much that the Sovereign armour was changed, but more that the other armour wasn’t. Sovereign armour was improved and made more sensible in the way it worked, but that still leaves everyone else mixing and matching armour sets that often have bonuses / stats that simply do not work or make sense anywhere near as well as the new Sovereign armour does. I would really like to see Mythic roll out changes for the other armour sets akin to the new Sovereign. I do think there should be a noticeable reward for reaching RR80 and I do really like the way Sovereign has been changed, it’s just that this change has moved RR80s quite far forward while leaving everyone else standing.
Auction House
The watered down auction house is not great, it’s very basic and some things are too hard to search for if you don’t know the name. Not that this is much different to how it was before, as it’s never been particularly good. WAR’s auction house and mail system are rather limited and clunky, there’s definitely room for improvement here. I would highly recommend Mythic have a long hard look at EVE to see how it should be done.
And now the good stuff…
The new appearance system is bloody marvellous; I love the fact that people actually look different now. I’ve seen some really inventive use of the “bugged” armour pieces and it’s been great hearing this whole new topic of discussion as people try and find unusual armour from quests, drops, etc. By the way Mythic, it would be nice if there were a way for us to get influence rewards again somehow, just for the graphics really. There’s some really nice influence reward armour and weapon graphics that many of us can’t get because we sold the armour to a vendor in 2008!
Most Career changes
I could do a break down of all the good things that have happened for careers, but it would takes ages, so I’ll just pick a couple of paired examples...
Stealth was fixed for Witch Elves and Witch Hunters, which is absolutely bloody brilliant and about time too! Previously it would break at stupid ranges and for all sorts of silly reasons, like being buffed, guard being applied, etc, etc. I was already enjoying playing my Witch Elf and this has made it even more satisfying to play.
Shadow Warriors got the buffs they’ve needed since launch. I’m really pleased about this even though I don’t play Order, because prior to this almost all Shadow Warriors were free renown. Sure there were a few exceptional individuals that made it a little bit more effort, but even against them I always had an edge purely because they were playing with the deadweight of a gimped career. That’s just not fair on them and not particularly satisfying for me when killing them. Now however it’s an entirely different kettle of fish and those good players are as utterly lethal as they should have been before! As a knock on effect Squig herders received similar changes and for the first time ever I have more than 2 combinations of tactics to consider as viable options.
Oh I should also mention Zealots and Rune Priests..
Since the patch went live Mythic have made further changes to the revised Harbinger of Doom/Healing mechanic. All told I think the changes for Zealots and Runies will need some time to bed in before we really know how good or bad it was. I’ve heard very mixed views on this and I haven’t had enough time on my Zealot to be able to tell. I do know that it has boosted my stats considerably and when playing pure healer it has been buff, but I’m not so sure about DPS zealots. At a glance it looks like they loose a lot of survivability, but perhaps they will play more like WoW’s Shadow Priests?
There’s been a lot of career changes and in general “is niiiccce” as Borat would say.
Oi! Leechers! In your face you slaaaaaags!
No more leeching in the warcamp, no more guarding the mailbox, now you have to be in the RvR lakes to get any renown. Yes some people have been finding places to hide in the RvR lakes to leech their zone locks, but that in turn has just supplied us with a new and amusing game of hunt the leechers. I’ve found some AFK toerags hidden in some quite cunning places, which on occasion required a bit of effort to get to, but in each case so far I have managed to exchange their AFK leeching wankerdom for a smack in the face and have then taken delivery of their renown to myself. I thank you.
There was an amusing moment the other day when I noticed a chain of combat log death spam as a well know Witch Hunter killed 13 AFK Destruction hiding in the Wilhelm’s Fist keep… made me chuckle.
Here’s a tip for you folks, if you are doing solo or small scale roaming and you go to a new zone that has the Against All Odds bonus in your favour, but for some reason you can’t find any enemies in the zone, just go hunting. It will quite likely be a group or two of AFKers hiding somewhere and it would be terribly rude of you to not butcher the lot of them and earn their oh so sweet AAO buffed renown points. That said, this seems to be happening less because of AAO itself, which leads me to…
Against All Odds
Oh Mythic, Mythic, Mythic! You pulled off a bloody marvel with this one! I love AAO. This was the bit I referred to at the start of this post as “the best thing to happen to WAR since launch”. Just in case you don’t know what it does: AAO is a buff that kicks in if you in a RvR lake and are outnumbered by a certain (unknown) amount of enemies. The buff increases how much renown you earn and caps at a 400% increase, yes 400%! What this has done is encourage people to spread out around the different zones and not just zerg all the time. That doesn’t mean it has eliminated zerging or blobbing. Since there are times when a zerg is required, there are some guilds/alliances and players that like to zerg and there are also some people that at times just want an easy life. I’m sure we’ve all surfed the zerg when online but not paying full attention due to a distraction from real life.
What AAO has done though is give a reward and incentive for people to fight away from their own faction’s zerg. And the reward is considerable… If I recall correctly the most I’ve had so far for a single kill was 7.8k renown, but I’ve heard of people getting a quite a lot more. With the big renown boost it means charging a small, organised group into zergs can actually pay off quite well if you get just a few kills and if you start capturing objectives too, it can really punch your renown upwards.
After this patch I find myself really looking forward to 1.4 and the RvR Packs. The combination of the upcoming revised campaign system and Against All Odds has potential for awesomeness. AAO is a huge step in the right direction.


  1. You my sir..are too positive about this patch.

    I think that this is a horrible a series of not so good patches. So it fits? ;)

    I was away two weeks and there are still some horrible bugs out there which make the game nearly unplayable for my Runepriest. I don't even start to talk about that nonsense mechanic ;)


  2. Nah you are tainted by your career changes. ;) for guild like mine this patch has been a revelation.

  3. Yea, I thought 1.3.5 was the best patch. Now I'm not so sure, 1.3.6 has been great. AAO and T2/T3 being active may have it beat.

  4. AAO + Being low renown rank is FANTASTIC. I took a rr25 SM to rr32 in a matter of hours on AAO buffs, simply by grouping with higher rank guildies and picking people off.

  5. I'm not tainted by the career changes solely.. I don't like the whole package.

    My main gripe is the performance of the game (server/client-lag). It took a deep bump downwards, at least on my machine. The game is in a state were I prefer PvE over RvR, because in PvP-action the client just won't do the things I want. It's really a pain if you don't know what your character is doing, because the cast bar is disappearing, some animations don't work and you get a confirmation/error message up to 5s after the spell fired off.. Even in PvE this is annoying but I can live with that.
    In RvR this means just that I die without contributing anything as a healer. Those problems are less apparent when I play as a slayer, but for my riflemen-specced Engineer and Runepriest it's killing the fun in playing them.

    AAO..*shrug* I couldn't care less. Renown is irrelevant to me..I want good fights and the amount of good fights didn't increase because of AAO..some of the groups evade populated zones, but that doesn't necessarily lead to significant more small scale action as far as I experienced it in the few days after the patch were I did some RvR roaming with my guild.

    The changes to lotd and therefore to T2/T3 are good.. the appearance system is nice, but that doesn't qualify that patch as the best patch ever.

  6. 1.3.6 probably looks good to you because of several factors. You play in an organised guild (I see a lot of KF groups around) so AAO does a lot for you. And tbh, playing on Norn, I can't say I've seen AAO change anything. If people spread to other zones it's because they've always did that. There were always some people trying to PvE the keeps for whatever reason. The zerg still rolls at primetime (either side) and random players still run away from zones where they are outnumbered. Not much of a change there. The only ones really capitilising on AAO is solo or small group ganking.

    Then there were some disasterous career balance changes. Choppas getting double heal debuffs, magi/engi/maras being ignored, RP/zealots getting even more pigeon-holed in their specs (with not a much of an increase in dmg aswell),... Sure some careers got love but not all of them. And it was supposed to be a C&C balance patch (1.3.5 and 1.3.6).

    Sure we got the appearance system, which works well, but now we need to work for the armor redesign? I thought that the shoddy armor design was the designers fault not ours? Add to that the pain of getting old influence rewards through tickets and it's really disappointing.

    If I had to pick the best patch this year, I'd say it was the one where they introduced the revamped city sieges (1.3.5?). I was really disappointed with 1.3.6, mainly because this was supposed to be the last patch to address career balance before the expansions. It looks like the gimped careers will stay gimped until after it.

  7. I'll have to completly disagree with AAO not changing anything. While it is true that purely renown gain wise it probarly favours organised guilds more. The real deal comes from the moral boost unorganised people get. Since the patch hit, most pug's I've seen have goon from running when outnumbered 1-1,2 (aussmeing the other side gets first blood) to fighting to the bitter end, even while being completly screwed. This means that I can suddenly assume that people I don't know will watch my back/buy me time, and I suddenly have a reason to watch their backs or buy them time. (nothing worse then hitting 3 warbands in the back with your two groups, only to see your own 3 warbands fighting in the front turn tail and run)

    granted the other bugs have had me playing alot more starcraft then war lately, but i do doubt that i'm lucky enough to only log on when morale is high :)

  8. I completely agree with Lilrys on this and the difference AAO has made is very visible to me and well everyone I talk to. Admitedly everyone I talk to is in KF or our alliance :P

    We will each only get the game experience that comes with our style of play, the guilds we're in and the times we get to play WAR at.

    Zewar - Regarding the career changes, the Choppa double heal debuff is no big deal. Slayers have a spamable one too, so its on all the time regardless. Choppas having two doesnt make any difference, as there's no cooldowns. Sure it means more Choppa specs can have a heal debuff, but then the Slayer wound debuff that stacks with other ones is just as horrible and looked at with envious eyes by Destro.

    Magus and Engineer both had numerous improvements in 1.3.6, not as many as needed, but they were not ignored. I'm liking the changes with my Magus so far.

    I do agree that Marauders should not have been ignored and Mythic need to look at their brutality mastery in particular ASAP.

    Personally, flame bait as this maybe, as someone that is almost at a full account of level 40s I think the cries of terrible career balance are extremely overstated. The only seriously overpowered careers are Warrior Priests and Disciples of Khaine.

    The rest are certainly not perfect and there are things that need improving, but it's really not as bad as often made out and is a load of "grass is greener on the othe side" thinking. People didn't like it when Paul Barnett said it, but he was right about the whole "Everyone that kills me is overpowered or cheating" thing. Not that I'm saying you think like that, but if people are at all influenced by what others say, a lot of people do think like that.

  9. I agree with Zewar, AAO does nothing for a player who isn't in a premade guild situation or a ganker. The zerg completely rolls over the smaller enemy side making it hard to get any RR. Not only that, now that PvE requirements are removed it sometimes makes it harder for the smaller pop side to get enough skirmish to flip a zone.

    They must fix imbalance. The incentive angles don't work.

  10. QQers
    The answer = join a proper guild and stop being puggie randoms y/n?

    U not thikn Bright Wizzies + Sorcs are still OP?

  11. Igleoo just disqualified yourself ;)
    You have no idea of the style I and my guild are playing..and have therefore no right to write such..things (I try my best to be polite ;) )

    On the career balance thing.. I think that Mythic has done a quiet good job there, even though I think that DoK/WP and Sorc/BW are still overpowered, but overall realms and careers are quiet balanced.

  12. Igleoo - Don't be a tool mate. While I agree with the basic sentiment that people will get more out of WAR if they join a more organised guild (note... "organised" not hardcore), you shouldn't assume the people posting comments are not in organised guilds. There's more to it than that.

    Everyone has different experiences in-game based on a wide range of factors. The people I play with are seeing a big impact from AAO, but that doesn't mean everyone else will get the same experience. I can only write about what I see or personally talk with people about. Like Obi-wan everything I said is true, from a certain point of view.

    I do agree that Sorcs and BWs are too powerful in group and warband situations. 1v1 they are not any better to anyone else, but its a group game and yes, they are far ahead of the other ranged DPS in overall potency.

  13. @Igleoo: Just because I'm not in an organised guild atm doesn't mean I haven't experienced organised group play.

    And you misunderstood: I'm not complaining that AAO does more for organised groups then it does for PuGies, I'm complaining that it doesn't work as it's supposed to (distributing the zerg, incentivising fighting when outnumbered). If you are suddenly seeing that happening, ask yourself if it isn't maybe because it was happening before aswell, not because AAO was introduced.

    From personal experience, it doesn't affect the aforementioned aspects of RvR enough to make AAO worthwhile, or 1.3.6 a good patch.

    @Bootae: I'm afraid you aren't familiar with the last Choppa change. They have an outgoing and incoming heal debuffs. They stack for a total of 75% healing mitigated on a healer healing himself or a heal debuffed target. And while Slayers do have an incoming heal debuff (not spammable) they don't have an outgoing one. Playing a healer I realise just how potent outgoing heal debuffs are, and not to be ignored

    On the subject of wounds debuff, yes Slayers do have one but destro has a few more than order (KotBS and Slayer vs Chosen, Marauder and BG). Which isn't a whine, I'm just stating a fact.

    I do agree that WP/DoK (healing ones) and Sorc/BW are overpowered, and I would add Slayer and Choppa along with them. Those 2 careers have absolutely tons of utility that would need to be redistributed, not to mention their insane damage. But being mdps they don't stand out that much.

    And if you want to play the R40ies game, I do have 7 40ies with a RR72 main (WP lol). Admittedly, I don't play them all regularly, but I would say I have a basic grasp of career balance. :P

  14. Hah wasn't meant as a competition, was just a general comment on career balance and confirming I'm not making it up at random. But I beat you in your game by 1 RR, same number of 40s though for a week or so ;)

    Ah choppa, I admit I hadn't noticed that. I've not specced for both on mine though, only got cant stop da chop... at the moment :P

    Wound debuffs, do the destro ones stack? I didn't think so, but I'm not sure. I'm being told that the Slayer one is stacking with something else. True or player's making crap up?

  15. I still stand by it though, balance in WAR right now is not really that bad and certainly no worse than most other MMOs. Certainly compared with the well known names like WoW, AoC, Aion, blah blah.

  16. Damn, baited and beaten, that burns. :P

    No, destro wound debuffs don't stack. The highest one applies, that is at least for the Chosen, Mara and BG one. I really have no idea about the Slayer one.

    Anyone that has a choppa and isn't specced in both heal debuffs and the cooldown increaser is seriously missing out on group utility. I'd go as far as to say that right now, you only really need a BG and a Choppa in a group and you've got yourself loads of utility. Between them, they have every possible debuff out there (powerful ones anyway). Not to mention some cool buffs.

    So much for career balance. But as always, the concept of balance is of completely subjective nature and I don't believe anyone is fit to judge it - not even the devs (maybe devs the least of all, because it's hard to distance yourself from your own game). So I guess we'll agree to disagree here. :)

  17. Zones are harder to flip now and I find myself waiting around for domination timers.

    I also really dislike the Auction House changes. They're sloppy and not well thought through, in my opinion. Why the need for tabs? Also, why on earth would they allow you to search for Chaos careers from the Altdorf AH (and vice versa from IC)?


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