Thursday 28 October 2010

I played Skaven

Yesterday (or in fact today) I, like a fool, sat up to the early hours of the morning and tried out the playable Skaven on the PTS.

It was very interesting indeed, a lot of fun and I can safely say that Skaven are going to have a big impact on our tried and tested ways of playing WAR. First off let’s be clear, NONE of them seemed to do a great deal of damage to players. If you’re thinking you will be WTFPWNING!!! people with them, sorry folks, but that’s not going to happen. They will however influence fights through their unique abilities and in no small way too, but really from the off you should be thinking of the Skaven as support classes.

There are a few common things between the 4 Skaven classes:
  • All of them have very high hit points; I believe it ranged from 17k to 34(?)k depending on class.
  • None of them can use mounts, so you’re on foot and legging it around, slowly.
  • Rat Ogres can only be healed by the Packmasters, but other Skaven can be healed by other people. So they will require escorting by other players, but they will be worth it. (thanks Anon comment for the correction!)
  • You turn yourself into Skaven from a device in the keep and you will remain as Skaven until either you die or you leave the RvR lake.
  • When you turn into a Skaven your tool bars change to Skaven abilities, with each class having around 6 different things it can do. These abilities need to be rearranged to your preference and reset each time you change into a Skaven. A minor thing, but quite annoying, so hopefully that will get improved.
  • None of the careers have a spamable attack, everything has a cooldown of at least 2 seconds and more often 5.
  • There are limited numbers of each type of the Skaven careers available at one time, except it seems Rat Ogres which appeared to be unlimited.

Rat Ogre

The throwing people around is going to be hugely popular. It’s intended for throwing people onto walls, but it’s uses will go well beyond that. Hurling ranged onto rooftops, throwing people over obstacles for shortcuts, all sorts of things… Oh and you can only throw people in your group or warband, so the griefing concerns can be forgotten (except in PUGs…).

Other than using a ram, the only other thing that can damage doors are Rat Ogres. Keeping them alive will be interesting…

For general ORvR fighting Rat Ogres are going to have a big influence by guilds that make the most of them tactically. They have an AoE stagger for a start, but the real imposing (and hilarious) ability is their charge. You can hurtle forwards and quite literally knock enemy players flying. I ran straight through a warband and bodies went everywhere. Didn’t do much damage (if any), but it totally screwed up their postioning.


I had problems with this career. I may have been doing it wrong, but their heal seemed very underwhelming and I had a little difficulty telling when it was working or not. I was getting invalid target a lot, presumably because the Rat Ogre I was targeting already had a heal active? Not sure.

I really liked their summoning rats ability, it was just amusing to use, though how potent it was I’m not entirely sure. Oh and they can leap huge distances to the nearest Rat Ogre, which has to be the best get out of dodge ability in the game. All told I’m just uncertain on this class, I gave it a good go, but it just didn't click for me, but it could have been me being confused. I'd be very interested to hear how other people got on with it.

Gutter Runner

This little bugger is going to be very, very popular. The damage is pathetically bad, but with permanent stealth and a 60% run buff on a toggle, combined with their ability to leap up walls, these are the ultimate scouting class. For example you can easily get all the way into the inner keep and report on exactly how the enemy is setting themselves up. I spent a lot of my time running round watching stuff and it actually reminded me of my DAoC scout and being the eyes of our alliance in the old days.

They can sabotage enemy siege weapons, but I didn’t get to see the end result of that unfortunately. For general warband play they also have a quite potent AoE snare bomb type thing, which when delivered from their uber stealth could well be a right pain in the arse.

Warlock Engineer

I LOVE the look and sound effects from this class, very cool. Unfortunately I didn’t get to play it very much, but from what I saw it seems like the one class that might do some proper damage with its lightning gun and warpfire thrower. It also has some seriously good buffs . But like I said I didn’t get much time with this one, so can’t say too much.

How exactly this will all work out on live we can’t be sure, but these new classes provide some very interesting new tools for warband leaders to utilise. It looks to me like they are going to dramatically change things and we’ve got a lot of new stuff to get the hang of.

BTW sorry the screenies are low quality, was a bit of a rush job and I was tired :P

Like a Lion

I do like themed warbands and groups, they're just a good laugh to mess around with. And I'm not alone there.. Check out this video from Karak Norn's Champion of the Gods.

Order scumbags ofc ;)

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Dungeon, Lair or Scenario?

I’ve not been able to test the new Skaven dungeon “Thanquol’s Incursion” yet. Unfortunately real life has clashed with PTS events and given me slim windows of opportunity to get on and when I did manage to sneak, both times there were issues that prevented me getting in the instance. Bloody sods law.

Reading the feedback on the forum from the first test events gives a rather bleak outlook on the dungeon and the direction taken. However since then I’ve also heard some feedback directly from people I know and trust that went to last night’s PTS event. Their feedback was more mixed with a generally positive outlook, but tempered by many major things that need sorting out.

I’m not going to post the details of what was said; since I’ve not got in the dungeon at all I’m bound to get things mixed up. But in general people seemed to have had a good time and are hopeful that if Mythic continue to tweak things (considerably) then it could work out to be a lot of fun.

Bit of vague post I know, but that’s what I’m left with. There’s too much blind sycophantic or mindless hatred opinion being posted for me to trust much of what’s out there right now. With luck I’ll get a chance to test it out sometime before it goes live.

I do think though that from what I’ve seen so far it doesn’t seem to be what I think of as a dungeon (big place, stuff to explore and fight over), more like a scenario with mobs in the middle, or perhaps a RvR enabled instanced Lair would be a better description? Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but I’m trying to get my head round what this place really is.

I think people will have very set ideas about what the word dungeon means, particularly when you put RvR near the word. Memories of Darkness Falls leap to the forefront of your mind and while I think much of them will be rather rose-tinted (particularly on the PvE vs PvP balance), the sense of scale associated with those memories is pretty damn epic and accurately so. The RvR dungeons in DAoC are not dungeons, they are DUNGEONS!

But then new Lair or Scenario isn’t exactly going to set the world alight and perhaps is far underselling what the new Skaven instanced thing is. Maybe its somewhere in between. I’m really not sure yet.

To be honest if it’s fun I won’t care too much and it’s important to note there are both positive and negative things being said about the PTS events, but I do wonder how much the negative stuff is being influenced by expectation related to the word dungeon. If true though I don't think that is a reason to write those negative comments off, since managing player expectation is a big part of running and evolving a MMO. You could probably find all sorts of debate over what RvR means too. Opinions... such a pain.

Monday 25 October 2010

Solo hero warband legends

I know I should be finishing off my Chosen, but I just can’t help myself and shock shock horror, I’ve got distracted by one of my (far too many) alts. This weekend it was all about my Squig Herder. He’s level 40 and low RR, but it’s a career that can be surprisingly effective with the right choice of gear. Not a patch on a top end geared one of course and obviously you’re the underdog, but you can have an impact, get some kills and perhaps surprise yourself.
I spent most of my online Squig time roaming solo, mixed with a bit of PUG warbanding and a few scenarios. Which is how I would always recommend getting the hang of a career in T4, initially at least; put yourself in the shit and learn how to deal with it. And always remember if you lose, it’s just as much you as it is the enemy’s gear/OPness/etc.
Also and where this post is leading, is it’s good to learn and enjoy different playstyles. If you only ever play in guild warbands and perfect set ups it will just mean you suck when caught solo. And being caught on your lonesome will happen at some point, unless you’re one of those types that won’t go anywhere without an escort. There are an awful lot of big reputation players that may well be incredibly good team players, but prove to be not all that great when caught without all their group/warband crutches.
Having said that, WAR is most certainly a group game and while it’s great fun being a solo roaming hero, you’ll find it a lot harder to achieve much without finding your place in a decent warband. So while I would recommend initially learning the class by solo roaming lots, you will quite quickly need to suss out what you should be doing in a warband and how that can require totally different tactic and ability selection. Those big reputation players that disappoint when solo may well fully deserve their reputation for their understanding of group synergy and being as devastating as possible.
For example I know a few people that are incredible solo players, but are an absolute bloody nightmare in a warband; always running off at random chasing things down, not using group beneficial abilities quite so well, etc. When you have a mixed hardcore-casual guild like mine that’s just something you have to live with :P
It’s often quite amusing while browsing forums to read solo heroes and the “won’t go out without a warband” players sneering at each other’s playstyles. Yet really they’re both perfectly valid ways of playing and if you want to maximise your enjoyment of the game then you should consider learning both. Unless of course your epeen won’t let you run the risk of losing a fight, in which case you may want to reflect on what epeen is actually worth. Purely playing one style just means you miss out on more ways to enjoy your time playing WAR.

Friday 22 October 2010

New armour sets adjusted after feedback

Mythic have just posted up adjustments to the new RR90/100 armour sets they revealed earlier this month. These changes have been made based upon the feedback people have left in the focus discussion threads, so as always if you've got an idea and/or further constructive feedback, go post on the official forum threads and you genuinely stand a chance of influencing things. You can find all the relevant threads in this section of the forums.

Here's the details posted:

Hello everybody,

We have been reading through all of your great feedback regarding the new Doomflayer and Warpforged sets. After discussing all of the feedback internally, we have come up with a number of adjustments. As always, if you choose to respond please stay on topic with comments directly related to these adjustments. Also, these are all subject to change.

General Notes
To clarify some confusion as to how these procs work (Sovereign, Doomflayer and Warpforged), they will not refresh themselves. This means that a proc cannot be triggered again while the effect is active. In addition, any proc that is higher level (e.g. Warpforged vs Doomflayer) will overwrite the lower level proc.

As evidenced by the changes below, the support careers now have 1 version of their sets with a proc that affects their entire group and 1 proc that affects themselves. This is meant to reinforce their intended purpose of being a support career.

-Chosen and Swordmaster sets will have WS replaced with Init.

-All tank procs will be set to On Being Attacked. The difference between On Being Attacked and On Being Hit is that in order for the latter to have a chance to trigger, it must not be defended. On Being Attacked will have a chance to trigger regardless of whether you successfully defend or not.

-The 4 piece proc will be replaced with the following:
--Doomflayer: On Being Attacked: 10% chance to reduce incoming damage to your group by 7% for 10 seconds.
--Warpforged: On Being Attacked: 10% chance to reduce incoming damage to your group by 10% for 10 seconds.

Ranged DPS
-The BS on the secondary defensive set will be re-allocated, with half of the stat points put into WS (71 BS, 70 WS).

Magic Healers
-The 2 piece proc will be replaced with the following:
--Doomflayer: On Heal: 10% chance to gain 66 Action Points over 3 seconds.
--Warpforged: On Heal: 10% chance to gain 75 Action Points over 3 seconds.

Melee Healers
-The Tou on the secondary melee set will be replaced with Init

-The 4 piece proc will be replaced with the following:
--Doomflayer: On Hit: 10% chance to reduce your chance to be critically hit by 7% for 10 seconds.
--Warpforged: On Hit: 10% chance to reduce your chance to be critically hit by 10% for 10 seconds.

Thursday 21 October 2010

Last nights test didn't go to plan

I couldn't go because of how late it was this side of the pond and tbh I'm glad I didn't sit up for it, as apparently things didn't quite go to plan. ;)

There werea few issues, including one where people got ported to Norsca... And as such there wasn't much time left for people to test the dungeon properly. But even so, that's one big bug discovered. Plus finding silly things like that is what testing is for and you should never go expecting things to be anywhere near perfect.

Thankfully people did at least get to have a crack at the first RvR boss event. Werit has posted a video of it which you can check out at his blog over here.

It looks like a fairly stationary boss with the emphasis more on the fighting with players, but I can't really tell what else was having to be dealt with. We'll find out soon though with the next test on Friday, which I also probably can't make due to RL commitments, but I'll gather any news I can find ASAP.

In other related news, Mythic have confirmed subscribers will NOT have to pay for the RvR Packs to enter the new dungeon. The only limitation is the RR65+ limit, but remember that doesn't mean you'll be able to access all the goodies or rewards from it without purchasing part of the RvR pack, we'll have to wait and see on that one. Also I've no idea yet if that includes access to the playable Skaven or not.

More news as it appears...

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Thanquol's Incursion, will folks stay and fight?

OK so I’m presuming everyone has read Mythic’s post on the herald with more info about the new Skaven RvR Dungeon “Thanquol's Incursion”.

I was hoping for an RvR zone more than a dungeon, though I’m not entirely sure what I had envisaged; something huge and open, perhaps akin to DAoC style zones. Yet a while back I came round to accepting that WAR will never be DAoC2 and it certainly will never be UO2 (my other dream game…), but I still enjoy it and play WAR most nights, so perhaps while I think I want a return to those games, maybe I wouldn’t be quite so happy going back. Dunno for sure. WAR does work perfectly for someone like me that is balancing a family and gaming. Being able to log out whenever without hassle is essential if you want to maintain a relationship with a non-gaming wife. WAR is wonderfully friendly to the older gamer doing the hardcore casual thing.
Anyway, part of WAR’s different style is the instanced 24vs24 City siege and it looks like Thanquol's Incursion is very much going to be a similar experience. 3 stages and a focus on RvR, mixed with NPC interaction that isn’t quite normal PvE. The city siege is still a fun experience, at least when people aren’t quitting the instance to avoid tough opposition. Though on that topic it’s a little more understandable when solo queuing and you get into a half way finished instance with your spawn being camped and barely any friendly players there. Plus despite what people’s internet personas and egos may allow them to admit, I’ve seen premade groups/warbands from every single well known guild from both factions drop out when things went bad, actually I tell a lie, there’s one exception and it’s not who Norn players would expect.

OK that’s a tangent, but it’s relevant because if Thanquol's Incursion uses the same system to join as the city, then we will most likely see similar things. Which will mean when it’s good, it’s great and when it’s not so good, it’s a bit meh. Yet, any PvP game will see things like this happen. There’s always a load of people that will always go for the path of least resistance, no matter how dull. That’s why the term leechers is so common in MMOs.

So the big questions for me for anyone that goes to tonight’s (or for me early morning) PTS Skaven event is:

Does joining the dungeon work like the city siege?
And if so how much fun will this instance be to play with erratic opposition?
Or does it work in such a way that people will stay for the fun/fight/whatever?

It’s a tricky one to balance as if you make the Bosses too involving it becomes too much PvE when you’ve got a proper fight on. Maybe Mythic have cracked it though. Mythic learnt a lot from the City siege, tonight we’ll discover how that gets applied. Alas I can’t make this first test, work tomorrow and all that, but I’m looking forward to hearing what people discover.

Other random thought, I bet Warhammer lore fans are wetting their panties about this famous pair below.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

OI! Mythic release some more Skaven dungeon details!

Just linking for now and reading :)

Does Cataclysm matter for WAR?

It can’t have escaped your notice that WAR’s RvR Pack and 1.4 are coming out around the same time as World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm expansion. This is not totally dissimilar to when Wrath of the Liche King (WotLK) arrived shortly after WAR’s launch, but this time I think the impact will be far less.

Back in 2008 loads of people from other games (presumably primarily WoW) jumped ship to try out the much hyped Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. For a range of reasons the game didn’t live up to a lot of people’s expectations and I think for a lot of people it was just too far from the WoW comfort zone they’d been living in. I remember a guildie who quit in the early days telling me he just couldn’t get used to playing a MMO where sometimes no matter what you do, you can’t win. He’d got so used to PvE encounters from other games that he expected to win, all the time. Alas for him, PvP and particularly RvR just aren’t like that.

Not that this was the only reason people left. At the other end of the scale were those people who were expecting WAR to be Dark Age of Camelot with Orcs were and that just didn’t turn out to be the case. And there was no doubt all manner of reasons in-between, so when WotLK came out there was a mass exodus from WAR back to WoW.

Since then WAR has improved dramatically. It’s far from the finished, perfect game we all want, but it is hugely different in performance, balance and general game play. As a result a while back the population stabilised and then started to grow. Yes certain servers are still struggling, but others are getting busier and while I’ve not been able to get any subscriber numbers from Mythic, they have told me the population is growing. Of course you may like to dispute that, but I can only speak about what I see on Karak Norn and Mythic’s word tallies with that. On Norn recently we’re even getting the Supply Lines function kicking in when a zone gets too busy. So where Iron Rock is struggling, other places like Karak Norn, Karak Azgal and Badlands are getting insanely busy.

Anyway I’m starting to go on a tangent and I shall now rein myself back in… The point I was getting to is the population has stabilised in a general sense. If you’re playing WAR right now its most likely because you like PvP and RvR more than PvE. Perhaps you could say WAR is now a niche game for those of us that are primarily PvPers, but don’t want to play EVE for whatever reason. So when WoW’s latest expansion comes out with its excellent PvE, but crap PvP and non-existant RvR, will many WAR players actually care? If you wanted to play a PvE focussed game, wouldn’t you already be doing that?

I know I don’t care about WoW’s expansion; I had my fingers burnt with WotLK. I went and tried it and found myself unable to hit max level due to boredom with the nonstop PvE. Not that I think WoW is a bad game, oh no. I think it’s excellent at what it is good at and is focused on, that being PvE. It’s just not for me anymore. As I talk to other people this seems a pretty common point of view.

So this time I don’t think WoW’s expansion will have that big an impact on WAR. And the same goes for the other MMOs coming out. They have different focuses to WAR and surely if that’s what you want out of your MMO, after 2 years of WAR’s crazy rollercoaster, wouldn’t you have already left?

From my friends I only know a couple of people that are talking about Cataclysm, everyone else is looking ahead to the RvR Pack. As such I suspect that this time for WAR, much like how it won't impact on EVE, the WoW expansion won't have such a cataclysmic effect.

Monday 18 October 2010

Blog roll stuff

I've stripped out all blogs from my roll that haven't had a post for over a month. A shame to see some of those folks stop writing, but understandable if the spark went, it's a hobby not a job after all.

Also if you're a WAR blogger and not on my blog roll, then leave a comment and I'll add you to the list. As long as you're not a whinging numpty or insanely over happy fanboi who can't manage any objectivity, in which case sorry for ignoring you :P

Oh and while I say it's for WAR bloggers, it's not exclusive really. You may have noticed I'll link any MMO blog or in fact anything I find amusing or interesting, hence sites like being on there alongside some of my favourite general MMO/gaming bloggers; like Biobreak and We Fly Spitfires (best blog name ever IMHO, but I am a biased Brit. I would also fly Hurricanes and Typhoons). Though I guess being down to my interests that does rule out carebear MMOs, Tories, sports with insanely high scores and other silly things. Annnnnnnnyway...

Saturday 16 October 2010

Chosen Mastery Guide for the new 40

As a long term Chosen player, I quite often get people that are new to the career asking me how they should spec. I’m happy to offer advice of course, but I figured it might save me regular repetition if I wrote a little guide how to spec a Chosen. There’s no single and comprehensive answer to the question, because as well as the variables that level and renown throw at you, Chosen are also quite lucky in that they have a lot of viable specs. That said, like pretty much every career in WAR there are an awful lot of abilities within each mastery line that are utterly useless and it almost offends me that my computer is wasting electricity putting their pixels on my screen. :P But I’m not going to dwell on the crap bits, since there’s an excellent selection of decent abilities to choose from.

So moving on… I’m going to write this aimed at level 40/realm rank 40 Chosen and I’m only going to post specs that I have tried out and found useful. Also due to the death of wardb I couldn’t use a career builder to post links, so I’ve nipped onto the test server (because it cost me no gold) and screenshotted a few specs.

Oh and before I get into the specs, one other thing… You will notice that for the RvR specs I ALWAYS take Quake. In my opinion any Chosen not taking Quake for RvR is gimped. It is our single most powerful ability from an overall impact on the battlefield perspective. Yes the stagger will get broken by random AoE, but then if you’re warband is throwing down random AoE and neglecting to use staggers, then frankly it’s a crap warband. And yes, you can’t stop random PuGs breaking it, but then you shouldn’t be always playing near Puggies and if you are, well… how you spec is fairly irrelevant in general. Learn to make the most of Quake’s stagger and you will become twice as potent.

RvR Corruption/Discord (Hard as nails)
Right now I play a great weapon spec, but for the majority of the last year or so I ran with a shield and used an expanded (due to higher renown rank) version of this. It’s my all time favourite spec and without any doubt at some point I will go back to it. It works as an all round pain in the arse to kill and a bit of extra CC (Crowd Control) spec and I found it amazing for taking on multiple players at once, though it really comes into its own from RR50+ where you can get Mixed Defences too.

Key abilities:
Quake – obviously
Downfall – The extra knockdown is really handy and the ability I miss most when not specced (other than Quake)
Oppression – A personal 15% damage reduction from ALL sources and the armour increase make this better than crippling strikes for YOU, it has no effect on anyone else which is where crippling strikes is better. However in RvR Crippling Strikes works best when combined with Rending Blade and since you’ll nearly always have other Chosen nearby applying Crippling Strikes, it’s not essential for everyone.

RvR Dread/Discord (the cookie cutter)
This is probably the single most popular spec for Chosen and for good reason. It combines high damage when using great weapons, increased AoE damage, Quake’s stagger AND turns you into a Crippling Strikes AoE delivery system, which is of great benefit to your fellow Destruction players.

Key abilities:
Quake – duh
Crippling Strikes (tactic) – Anyone you crit will do 25% less damage
Oppressing Blows (tactic) – 15% increased crit chance with great weapons
Rending Blade – Every 5 seconds you can do a cone AoE which will most likely crit and apply Crippling Strikes.

RvR Dread/Discord (anti-magic)
I don’t play this spec very often, but I have tried it, it did work and I know quite a few people use it. The trick to it is combining Tzeentch’s Reflection with Hold the Line and getting your disrupt chance very high (80%+ is easy), since with Tzeentch’s Reflection active every disrupt you do will silence the enemy. Combine that further with Siphoned Energy and you can get a reasonable self heal in some situations, as well as a speed buff. What is important to remember however is because of immunity timers, the silence will not always work. This spec can work very well though as a guard for a bombing Sorcerer.

Key abilities:
Quake – yah rly
Tzeentch’s Reflection – Increased disrupt chance and silence for 10 seconds.
Siphoned Energy – Optional this really, but the aforementioned heals and speed aren’t bad.
Crippling Strikes – Don’t forget Blast Wave for AoE applications.
Dreadful Terror – Draining AP (Action Points) and giving them to your group, which is also nice for those bombing sorcerers.

PvE Dread/Corruption (Maximum Tank)
So this one is a pure PvE spec and needs little explanation. It combines Oppression and Crippling Strikes to provide a total of 40% extra damage reduction and then slaps on a 25% parry increase from Mixed Defences for 5 seconds after you block. Since in PvE you’ll block all the time, this means it’s constantly active.

Key abilities:
Crippling Strikes – Reducing damage taken.
Mixed Defences – Further reducing the damage you take.
Oppression – And yet more…
Downfall – Useful for knocking down certain mobs and for things like the Carrion Phase on boss 1 in Tomb of the Vulture Lord
Dreadful Terror – Nobody complains about extra AP in PvE.

So there you go, I hope it was helpful. These are certainly not the only ways to spec, but they are the ones that I like. Good luck and may your RAVAGE always crit ;)

Thursday 14 October 2010

I’m not touching that with a barge pole. Well… just a little poke maybe?

You have no doubt read the whole EA Louse thing, if not I'm not going to link it as it was down at the time of writing. Basically an (unknown to us) EA Mythic employee who is getting made redundant has gone on a huge rant; slagging named individuals off, ridiculing Bioware and more. The internet community being what it is, this has been gobbled up with pure glee by those that want to hate on Mythic, EA, Starwars, Bioware, the human race, etc. Which in turn is being utterly rubbished by those who think everything in the world is wonderful.

(small edit below in italics)
This then gets a reply from someone that (possibly by accident) made it look like they were a Mythic employee, but it turns out he's merely a friend of the people being slagged off and his post is also rather ranty. Of course his post is also being acclaimed or trolled, depending on what ill informed opinion people want to try and present as reality.

Personally I don’t care about it either way. I like playing WAR and someone exploding because he lost his job isn’t going to change that. I feel sorry for anyone losing their job, but the world is in financial crisis, there are mass redundancies left, right and centre. As such almost all of us are at risk and it’s understandable that people get stressed and wound up. But washing your dirty laundry in public is bad form and lacks class, seriously, unless that’s my supposed British reserve and stiff upper lip kicking in.

I find the whole thing a bit embarrassing to read, yet at the same time I don’t really care. I’ve my own job to worry about, which incidentally I will not be posting a load of antagonistic hate about should I get made redundant. That would be childish. Oh the irony of that previous sentence in a blog about computer games.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Zone lock reward changes of OMFGness

OK some big changes are coming that will change not only the way we view controlling a zone, but also zone locks in every sense. At least it will if you're interested in renown, which of course most people will be with the new 100 renown cap.

Check out this post and this one too, or just read below..

New addition that is currently live on PTS (as are all other adjustments up until this point):
Resource Carriers now reward a Realm with Experience, Renown and Influence upon making a Resource delivery. The Reward scales based upon the distance of the path that the Resource Carrier has chosen to take. The longer a path is the more Reward that will be granted to players within the RvR lake.

It's everyone in the zone that passes a server-side requirement check - in the current case, it's anyone who would normally qualify for Zone Capture rewards. I'm continuing to investigate idle hands support punting people to the Warcamp.

So this should provide people with further reason (beyond gathering resources for keep upgrades) to keep control of Battle Objectives and ensure that Resource Carriers make it to the warcamp safely. The selfish renown-whore in all of us will see the obvious benefit.

And now the big news...
Also - since it hasn't been made very clear at this point; Resource Carriers who have further to travel carry more Resources.

As an example; a Destruction Resource Carrier coming from Hallenfurt Manor carries about 4x as many Resources as the one from Verentane's Tower.

Also - if a Resource Carrier is defeated and drops their barrel; it only contains 25% of what was being carried. It is always better to control the Battlefield Objectives for your Realm's advancement. You lose a lot of time by ignoring the Battlefield Objectives.

We're also hooking up Zone Flip Rewards in a manner where the rewards are divvied out to both the winning and losing Realm based upon how long the battle has been active. Imagine that each zone is worth 200 points and every 12 minutes, 10% of the 200 points goes to the "loser's pool". This would have the pool values at 180 to 20. This mechanic would continue until the pool values are 120 to 80; the rewards handed out would then be scaled against those values.

The intent here is that even if a Realm loses - they are appropriately rewarded for how well they did. Holding the enemy off and defending your Keep has tangible meaning in terms of reward. In the case of AAO - these rewards would be modified by that. It is feasible that, even being outnumbered 4:1, the losing Realm could actually walk away with more reward than the winners received.

Crikey... Rewards for putting up a stubborn defence? Rewards that are effected by AAO? Oh wow, this I really, really like.

Will it get leeching swines sitting in the RvR zone afk? Of course it will, but that will never, ever, EVER get fixed while there are zone wide rewards. People will always try and leech, some more than others. It also doesn't matter that much in the grand scheme of things. But what this change will mean is there will always be a reason to put up a defence. Think of those times where your group/guild/alliance/whatever put up a long, desperate and ultimately doomed defence of a zone. In the future you'll get renown rewards, rewards that are effected by AAO.

This has massive potential to change how everyone views what is worth defending or not. And that my friends is no bad thing.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Change, change, change

There are more changes coming as a result of feedback and info from the Public Test Server. You can find Michael Wyatt's post here, or just read below.

(NOTE: This is not currently live on PTS) Tweaks and Adjustments made due to feedback from October 8th, 2010 test: 
  • Deployable Siege may once again be placed in areas where mounting is not allowed.
  • Battlefield Objectives will now lockdown for 5 minutes after being successfully captured. Resources will be generated, unable to be disturbed, during this time. Resource Carriers will continue to spawn every 120 seconds as well. (NOTE: This will cause a known issue where a Battlefield Objective's Resource Generation Timer will be reset when the Battlefield Objective transitions from Locked->Unlocked. We're looking for feedback on the locking itself before investing engineering time to correct the issue. While testing, please assume that this timer is not reset.)
  • Resource Carriers will now automatically be issued orders 2 minutes after being spawned. Interacting with a Resource Carrier prior to this 2 minute timer will continue to cause them to dispatch.
  • Reduced the Resource thresholds to rank up a Keep by 25%.
  • Aerial Bomber abilities "Fire Bomb" and "Chaos Fire Bomb" have had their damage radius reduced and will no longer ignore AOE line-of-sight checks.
  • Players may now only carry one deployable Siege weapon at a time.
  • Siege weapons are once again repairable in combat but the repair duration has been increased to 45 seconds (up from 30 seconds).
  • Reduced the amount of damage reduction provided to Resource Carriers by a Rank 1 Keep to 25% (down from 50%).
  • Resource Carriers are now affected by their own version of Against All Odds. All damage received is reduced by a scaling percentage based upon the population ratios.

This backs up what I was saying yesterday about being your chance to get your feedback read and responded to. Those changes are clearly related to things being said on the Mythic forums right now. So if you cba to do it, well, do it ;)

Of particular interest from those is the 5 minute lock down time for Battle Objectives and the resource carriers automatically moving out after 5 minutes. One thing quite a few people have raised concern about is with the BOs being constantly attackable, if an outnumbered force manages to capture one, the bigger force can too easily take it back before any resources are generated. This in effect buys them some time, so sounds like a good idea to me though I wouldn't want timers much longer than that.

Resource gathers automatically moving off after a few minutes is a great move, as another sensible concern being raised was about people having to sit at a BO clicking a gatherer every few minutes. This change to that will allow defenders to mount a more mobile and less boring defence.

The more this gets tweaked, the better it sounds.

Monday 11 October 2010

PTS ponderings (updated, again.. with some video)

My chances of doing a write up about last week’s testing events were scuppered by a clash with previously arranged real life events. However I did manage to go on to the PTS at other times and tried out for the new campaign system in a small scale roaming situation. I was part of a group and a half of Kill Frenzy playing Destruction against about the same number of Order (by their movement also guild groups), with both sides trying to get control of the battle objectives and resources. It worked very well actually, as we leapt from attack to defence and back, as Order and Destruction tried to outwit each other.

One of the things that happens at the moment on live servers is when you get into a zone you look at the map and more often than not the timers decide what you can do. Whereas on the PTS we quickly discovered we had far more options of where to go, as every single Battle Objective was attackable by someone and then there was the resource carriers to think about too. This got everyone quite stoked up in a good way and we had some awesome fighting for an hour or so before time got the better of us. I didn’t get to properly attack a keep mind you.

From reading the feedback and talking to people about the PTS events last week it seems like there’s a very mixed opinion about it all. I’m not sure how much that is due to genuine issues, different play styles or people not adapting. I suspect a mixture and/or combination of all three. If you’re someone that for whatever reason tends to follow the PuG zergs then these changes maybe a little overwhelming, as I just don’t think that play style is going to work out very well in future. Guilds and alliances that can reliably send a group there, a warband here, a guild there and so on will become dramatically more effective. The spread out barely controlled zerg will struggle to achieve much and will find itself milling around dazed and confused, as the more organised set ups take them apart and control the zone.

As an aside to this; I would certainly recommend that all guild leaders start thinking about how their guild and alliance will operate in the futur. I really do think the ORvR changes will drive people towards more organised places and it could mean some guilds suffer from members jumping ship. Just remember you don’t have to run the place like some kind of anally retentive dictator, but when you are doing RvR as a guild, do make sure your groups know their role and are moving together promptly at all times. Voice comms really do make all the difference for this. And make sure that you ARE doing ORvR as a guild... In future, far more than ever before, if people are in a guild but always have to PuG they will start to question what the point of being in that guild is.

Back on topic… From what I heard the first PTS events didn’t necessarily see that many people move independently. Many still tried to zerg, others sat queueing to try out the new toys (aerial bombers!) and it didn’t really represent a true zone lock battle on live.

Yet, a load of people from my guild went along to the EU PTS event and their feedback was mainly very positive about the overall concept. Of course they also had a range of comments and suggestions on things that need changing, but the overall feeling is good and despite the rather unrealistic situation they could see the potential. These changes suit us though, we’ve always tried (where possible) to move away from the zergs and do our own thing. So I’m not sure exactly how the PUG warbands will fare in the future, perhaps if they learn to coordinate things will work out ok for them, but certainly moving in one giant zerg is dead and buried. You’ll lose all resources and end up sat in a low rank keep being battered to buggery. That is as long as having the higher ranked keep works out as significant advantage enough, from what I’ve read and heard so far I’m not sure.

What is absolutely key to all of this though is making sure we get our feedback to Mythic. If you’ve been following the developer forums you will have seen they have already made changes based upon the PTS. So remember right now this is an evolving system and your feedback WILL be considered. Obviously not everything that everyone wants will happen, but if you don’t provide those wants to Mythic then you’re relying on someone else to say the same thing. If you’ve got a good idea, go post it on the suggestions forum or in the focussed discussion threads.


OK I just saw these awesome videos by Oberheim from the PTS event.


Now get over to his blog, there's plenty of other WAR videos there and I would highly recommend bookmarking it for future updates!

Oh and one other thing, this is funny as fook....

lol :)

Sunday 10 October 2010

Loads of WAR stuff to write about, but...

Real life has got in the way, so instead of a WAR post I shall provide some random distraction for you people.
I suspect this Robot wasn't quite as good as they made out...

And as for this, well.. I'm straight off to Amazon after posting.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Werit has posted a PTS video

Go check it out the video from last night's Public Test Server event on his blog (which you should have bookmarked anyway ofc) or for higher def version, directly on youtube.

If you've not played WAR for a while you maybe rather surprised at how well its running, which this video in turn demonstrates rather well.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Goodbye guard or hello shield?

One of the things that went live on the PTS last night was a change to the Guard ability on tank careers; it now requires a shield to work. This has kicked off a lot of debate and after reading lots of it, I think it's fair to say that the change appears to be popular with most people, but unsurprisingly is not so much with great weapon wielding Tank players.

I think it’s an excellent change. It further defines the purpose of sword and shield tanks, making those players feel a bit more worthwhile and as Guard is an incredibly powerful ability, it now comes with a restriction to partly compensate for that power. I 100% think this is a good idea.

However, I do think there should be something to balance out the fact that Great Weapon tanks are losing an important ability. Because if things stay as they are, then without Guard all great weapon specced tanks are going to be pressured into using shields when grouped in any form. You just know that people will get flamed and ridiculed for using great weapons, instead of guarding Player X, Y or Z. It will cause rifts, arguments and lead to everyone using shields.

In my head at least, ideally a group should want both a Shield using guard tank AND a great weapon one. There should be purpose to the great weapon tank beyond just extra DPS, but I totally agree it should not be guard, it just feels right for that to be associated to a heavily armoured bugger with a bloody huge shield. So perhaps something buff or crowd control related?

Swordmasters and Blackguards SHOULD be using great weapons, just go look at the miniatures on the Gamesworkshop site and you’ll see that’s what they use. I can understand why their players in particular might not like this change, as it is forcing them into a different play style that isn’t quite what they’re meant to be.

With my Chosen I’m great weapon specced at the moment and I’m really enjoying it, so will I change back to shield spec? Probably, I really enjoy playing shield spec too, so it’s not a hardship. But I do have DPS sovereign and my best wep is a great weapon, so maybe I’d rather stick with the big stick. All told, I’m not screwing about the change at all, it is a good one and is needed, but I do think it should have something that goes alongside it to keep both playstyles as viable options.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

New Tank Armour sets

You can find the in development post here. Or because I'm quite nice really, read on...

With the upcoming RvR pack, we will be introducing 2 brand new sets of armor. These sets will be above and beyond Sovereign, requiring Renown Rank 90 (Doomflayer) and 100 (Warpforged). Much like the changes to Sovereign that were implemented in 1.3.6, there will be 2 version of each of these sets.

The new sets will consist of 5 pieces of armor. The goal of having 5-piece armor sets is to encourage players to acquire items from multiple sources, giving players more flexibility without having to sacrifice set bonuses by removing pieces from a 6+ piece set. Due to the combination of this change and the increase in item power, we have also removed set bonuses of a single stat to make each individual non-set piece more impactful.

In addition to these new sets, we are also introducing a brand new stat. The stat is called Fortitude and is effectively "Toughness Power." It works with the same relationship as Melee Power/Str, Ranged Power/BS, Heal Power/Wil and Magic Power/Int.

Below is the stat allocation and set bonus information for Doomflayer (RR90) and Warpforged (RR100) for Tanks. As always, please keep this thread on topic with providing feedback to the set stats and bonuses.

Doomflayer (Defensive)
Tou - 289
Wou - 182
Init - 170
Str - 141
7% reduced chance to be crit
5% block
80 hit points every 4 seconds
4 AP per second
4% reduced armor penetration
80 fortitude
Set Bonuses
2 piece - On Being Hit: 10% chance to increase Fortitude by 238 for 10 seconds.
4 piece - On Being Hit: 10% chance to Heal yourself for 1030 health over the next 5 seconds.

Warpforged (Defensive)
Tou - 374
Wou - 228
Init - 212
Str - 178
9% reduced chance to be crit
7% block
120 hit points every 4 seconds
5 AP per second
6% reduced armor penetration
120 fortitude
Set Bonuses
2 piece - On Being Hit: 10% chance to increase Fortitude by 308 for 10 seconds.
4 piece - On Being Hit: 10% chance to Heal yourself for 1325 health over the next 5 seconds.
5 piece - 2m cooldown - Your group becomes immune to Stagger, Knockdown, Root and Knockback effects for 5 seconds.

Doomflayer (Offensive)
Str - 289
WS - 182
Tou - 170
Wou - 141
6% melee crit chance
80 melee power
5% reduced chance to be parried
4 AP per second
5% parry
6% critical damage
Set Bonuses
2 piece - On Hit: 10% chance to reduce the next two heals on the target within 10 seconds by 516.
4 piece - On Hit: 10% chance to increase Melee Power by 238 for 10 seconds.

Warpforged (Offensive)
Str - 374
WS - 228
Tou - 212
Wou - 178
8% melee crit chance
120 melee power
8% reduced chance to be parried
4 AP per second
6% parry
10% critical damage
Set Bonuses
2 piece - On Hit: 10% chance to reduce the next two heals on the target within 10 seconds by 662.
4 piece - On Hit: 10% chance to increase Melee Power by 308 for 10 seconds.
5 piece - 2m cooldown - Nearby allies have their movement speed increased by 60% for 10 seconds.

 Hmmm interesting. I like the idea of armour sets only being 5 parts in future.

LOVE the new Fortitude stat. Great idea to improve the defensive side of tanks, which just doesn't work correctly with toughness as it is right now.

Obviously this armour is quite potent in its power, but with everything changing and renown 1-80 being greatly accelerated, I suspect that won't be too much of an issue. Hopefully... hmmm. I do wish at least Invader and Warlord could be improved too.

If you like Warhammer this mod is one to watch

You might not have heard of Mount & Blade: Warband and if you have, well... I wouldn’t be shocked if you had written it off because of the fairly basic graphics (by modern standards) and the fact that it’s not by some big name developer. And even if you have tried it, you might have found it a little inaccessible and not bothered further. The thing is, if you stick with it past the initial WTF moments you will discover an incredibly deep game with an excellent campaign system and the best melee combat system ever. When I say the best I mean it, seriously it absolutely dumps over everything else from a great height.

The combat system is fully directional, as in; you direct the swing of your weapons, parry direction and the blocking with shields. Also it’s not sloppy like Oblivion for example, this is very slick. No hotbars or button spamming, it’s a very fluid and deep system, yet one that is quite easy to pick up the basics of. An absolute bitch to master mind you… Watch the video below to see how it works:

So what has this to do with Warhammer?

There’s a mod being made by the name of Grim Age and it's a full warhammer conversion for Mount & Blade. This has the potential to be amazing. All new campaign map, factions, races, weapons, UI enhancements, everything…. I don't know if it has multiplayer too, but if so... :) [edit] Yes it will have multiplayer :) [/edit]

Here's a link for you, check out the screenshots. Keep an eye on this one folks.

Oh and if you fancy trying out Mount & Blade, it’s free to download and try a few levels in single player mode. I've been playing this game a lot for months now and I highly recommend it.

Monday 4 October 2010

UPDATED WITH PTS INFO! Pondering on this new Skaven zone/dungeon/area/thing

As my ridiculous number of hits for a Sunday suggests, you’ve most likely heard about Carrie’s announcement at the weekend. However, if not then please check this post where I explained what was said and then get your cute little buttocks back here.

Ok, so now we’re all on the same page, I shall have a little ramble about my thoughts regarding this news.

My initial thought on this was “ooh interesting” but tarnished by a coating of bitter tasting disappointment. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting of the Skaven zone, but I think the clue was in the word “zone”. As in a large area that could be explored with freedom, regardless of if I am solo or grouped. I was thinking about tunnels linking up all the zones, sneaking around, battling rats and scrapping with players.

And then as I was pondering on why we’re instead getting an instanced dungeon, I realised I was letting my UO and DAoC roots influence me too far. In WAR there’s no point or use for tunnels linking zones or in fact any of the DAoC style underground stuff. It’s all made completely irrelevant by flight masters and PvE lands around the RvR lakes, there’s no need to sneak through tunnels. It would be too damn slow, provide no benefit and be a total waste of time.

So with that type of zone ruled out, it leaves us with a Land of the Dead style area and if we’re honest while LotD has seen a bit of a resurgence in popularity, it’s not exactly packed with people queuing to get in. Whereas the new city siege is very popular and when it’s available there’s always plenty of fighting to be found. That’s not to say it doesn’t have issues, like anything from every MMO ever, nothing is perfect, but it is pretty good and in general people like it. Certainly I think with the city siege Mythic cracked the PvPvE combination and the potential for taking this further is huge, which is obviously what they are trying to do with the new Skaven dungeon.

The new Skaven zone/dungeon/area/thing
And now I’ve changed to a feeling of positive curiosity. There is a lot of potential here and it could turn out to be extremely compelling. I’m not leaping up and down with excitement yet, my doubts are not written off, but I am intrigued in a good way. Not to the same level as the campaign changes mind you, which I can’t bloody wait for and think will be abso-sodding-lutely awesome.

Now some people are making a lot of assumptions about this Skaven dungeon news, both positive and negative, but seriously folks all we have is a rough outline. I’ve seen a few people likening it to just a scenario, I’m not entirely sure why. It sounds more like the new city to me and keep in mind Carrie has only described “ONE of the bosses”, that implies more than just some a single scenario thing. So please don’t get too het up in either direction just yet, particularly since the new stuff goes to the PTS (Public Test Server) this month and we will discover the truth of it all soon.

The key questions for me, at least as I think about it right now with limited knowledge of the details, are:

The biggest annoyance with the city siege is people chain quitting instances and not staying to fight. Will this have the same system to get in and if so how will the problem be avoided? This really needs sorting out somehow.

On a grand scale. Like Tori Amos said; “it’s gotta be big”.

How often and what prompts the Skaven area becoming accessible? I’m pondering on things like when doing ORvR with a warband, do we suddenly drop out and leave the people under RR65 to fight alone in the normal campaign? Or will people have notice and time to prepare and split warbands by RR? That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’m just curious about how it will work.

The city siege is supposedly remaining as the big deal, final battle of uberness. How do the new armour sets relate to City and Skaven instances? What items are available, if any, in the Skaven dungeon area?

Ahh I could go on, there’s so much to wonder about… I suspect these PTS events will be a wee bit busier than normal.

Yes that was... PTS details announced! AND IT IS THIS WEEK!
Starting with T3... should be a great laugh ;)


We're very excited to announce the first phase of Mass Play-test events surrounding the upcoming changes to Open Realm vs. Realm combat!

We're inviting our entire Community out to the Warpstone Public Test Server this Wednesday, October 6th 2010, to put the new ORvR mechanic through it's paces. We'll be kicking things off at 8:00 PM EDT/02.00 CET, so be sure to log in early to get set up! Tier 3 templates will be provided, as we'll be testing the night away in the Tier 3 EvC Lake.

A second (European friendly) test will be hosted this Friday, October 8th 2010 at 21.00 CET/3:00 PM EDT with a final test occurring Tuesday, October 12th 2010 at 8:00 PM EDT/02.00 CET.

For instructions on how to access the Warpstone PTS, please read

So come on out to Warpstone and see the future of ORvR!

We'll see you on the battlefield!


Sunday 3 October 2010

Skaven zone news - Instanced RvR Dungeon

Carrie Gouskos was on the Tentonhammer podcast tonight and with me being a dedicated WAR reporter, I sat through what was a really fucking painful experience (the bloke hosting was a character) at stupid O’clock to get the scoop. So without further ado, here’s the news:

The new playable area is an instanced RvR enabled Skaven dungeon. A fully RvR experience. It’s an offshoot of the campaign and it sounded like it will not always be accessible. When it is you need to be RR65 or higher to get in. The instance is a 24 vs 24 huge scrap, but also includes some legendary Skaven bosses. A mixed player and mob RvR experience, presumably quite a bit like the new city siege. Which was then clarified further with an example…

Carrie described one of these bosses: Throt the Unclean. Whichever side gets the kill (not confirmed if last hit, more damage or what is required) wins. However Throt turns up with 2 big rat ogres… One of these Rat Ogres goes for Order and the other for Destruction. Now if you get the Rat Ogres health below a certain point he gets disorientated and goes for the other realm, who will then have to deal with BOTH Rat Ogres. Giving you an easier the chance to hurt the boss. The thing is though, remember you’re going to be dealing with Throt, the Rat Ogre AND the enemy players all at once.

Your success in the dungeon is what determines you then getting access to the Skaven classes and being able to go back up to the main campaign as Skaven.

Friday 1 October 2010

Gamesday UK Presentation is up in video form!

Check it out here.

If you read blogs like mine then you'll probably know all this, but hey this time you get pictures.

Furry (possibly feathered) siege towers and ladders

One of the things I asked Andy about while having drinks after Gamesday UK was about the new siege weapons, my question specifically was would we be getting siege towers and/or ladders? The answer (paraphrased) was not in 1.4 & RvR Pack and whilst that of course doesn’t mean never ever, certainly not in the immediate future. Now, I really want to see those brought in one day, but I guess that with 1.4 the role those weapons would have provided will actually be met in game by Rat Ogres, Gutter Runners and the Aerial Siege weapons.

The role is providing attackers with multiple access points into a keep, which in turn provides the defenders with more things to defend and gives everyone more to do than huddle round a single doorway. It’s all about spreading people around and making keep battles more dynamic.

With the future changes:

1- Rat Ogres can throw allies onto the walls.
2- Gutter Runners can leap onto the walls.
3- Aerial siege weapons can parachute players into the keep

That’s three new ways of getting inside, so in effect we are getting the impact that introducing siege towers or ladders would have made. Combine this with the removal of fixed siege pads, which means attackers being able to place siege weapons where ever they like, and you can start to see how an organised attack could focus an attack on a particular side of the keep, or even multiple areas at once.

So like I said at the start of this, whilst I still want to see siege towers, now it’s only for the look and feel of them, because it would appear the associated gameplay enhancement IS going to happen.

PTS in October is going to be bloody fascinating to see how this all play out.

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