Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mr. Jacobs, tear down this NDA!

Now that pre-order gate is winding down, lets get back to the real issue.

General Manager Jacobs, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for EA and Mythic, if you seek popularization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Jacobs, open this gate! Mr. Jacobs, tear down this NDA!

Worked for Ronnie...

Newsletter delayed, Dwarf dismayed

I am not sure what is going on with Mythic as of late. Did the CEO pass down a directive that only bad news can be released? The two things that stand out in my mind now are the feature 'adjustments' and now the delayed newsletter. They really have not given us anything of note information wise lately.

With the release date getting close, which they have neither confirmed or denied, it is an odd strategy. No more beta invites have been given out this week... after the extravaganza last week. That could be either good or bad. I was thinking good since the newsletter was due out this week, but now I am not so sure.

The information flow is looking like my lawn, brown and dying. Please water it :)

UPDATE: _heartless got this from gamestop:

"Open Beta Access: Be one of the first players to experience the glory of battle and the thrill of WAR! Open Beta will run from September 3, 2008 at 10am EST until September 12, 2008 at 10am EST."

Why do we get more information from Gamestop than we do from Mythic? Either squash this or admit it! It isn't just a site posting a shipping date anymore that is easily ignored as a rumor.

Werit is going through a phase.

No, not puberty.

I am talking about leveling characters via PvE grinds ( i.e. quests ). I cannot stand it any longer! It has become so repetitive and boring that I would rather do nothing than level my character that way. Recently, I played some City of Villains with Ardua. It is actually a very good game, however the thought of climbing the leveling mountain just destroys any enthusiasm.

I have lost the will to level any alts in WoW. The same issue killed my interest in Age of Conan. Maybe it is just the summer doldrums, maybe it is permanent?

My enthusiasm for WAR has not been affected by this phase, thanks to PvP leveling. There are a few reasons for this:
  • It may still be a grind, but it is much more dynamic.
  • It matters.
  • Realm pride.
  • As I learned in LotRO, it is just plain fun.
  • My vendetta against Snafzg!
So basically, that is all I feel like doing in the MMO universe right now. Of course, I cannot due to the Mythic NDA (No Dwarves Allowed) policy in their beta. Until then, I have some obsessive refreshing to do.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WAR: Sept 18th wrong... Sept 16th right?

It is now getting ridiculous... EB Games is showing that WAR will ship on Sept 16th.... LINK.

I'm starting to wonder, is WAR actually out now? Is everyone playing it but me?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

WAR: Sept 23rd wrong.. Sept 18th right?

This is the 2nd time I have heard September 18th as a release date...


It isn't just the ship date, it specifically says: "Servers will not go live until 9/18/08 at 10 AM EST"

Could that be the head start date? Maybe, but it is listed on the normal edition, not the CE.

I have a hard time believing it... but still :)

Quest: Gaming Monitor

I am using an old monitor, you can see it here. I recently upgraded my computer to a Quad core with a GeForce 8800 GT. So I am running games at 1280 x 1024... it would seem to me that I am not getting the most out of my system with my 6 year old monitor. Am I wrong?

The challenge is getting a new monitor purchase passed the wife, considering I have a nice new computer by me. Anyone have any suggestions on a good wife-friendly cost monitor?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Boldly go where others have gone before?

Cryptic has announced, to the surprise of no one, that they are developing Star Trek Online. I freely admit it, I like Star Trek. Mostly, I am a fan of The Next Generation (TNG). Deep Space Nine (DS9) was ok... and it just went downhill from there. The Original Series (TOS) was alright, just a bit before my time though.

Star Trek is a tough theme to make into a MMO. The old Diku (EQ, WoW) formula will not work with this IP since it is about much more than combat. Star Trek is about exploration, decisions, characters, politics, space ships and some combat.

I can see it now, a Starfleet officer with an exclamation point over his head telling me to go down to a planet and kill 15 tribbles. I beam on down and start to Phaser tribbles. Ding I level up, yay! On a tribble's fluffy corpse, I find a new Phaser that does .3 more DPS. I then use that phaser to incinerate myself.

If there is ever a time for a sandbox game, this is that opportunity. Please Cryptic, take a chance. I know it is risky, but without risk there is little reward. Make this game something different. I know you will at least get one Collectors Edition pre-order from me if you do. You can feed your families on that right?

Friday, July 25, 2008

WAR: PvP leveling and gear

As I have mentioned, I like the idea of PvP leveling. It does raise the question of how gear will work if you want to take this path. Normally, when you level via PvE you end up doing a lot of quests. These quests often give useful gear rewards. In other games, they have been how I end up gearing myself.

In WAR, if you level by Scenarios and open world RvR, you will likely do very few quests. There will no doubt be some PvP quests or Public Quests, but will there be enough to keep up with your leveling?

Another possibility is that when you defeat another player, you can loot them. The loot isn't actually their equipment, but they get a level appropriate loot table. I think this is in game, but am not 100% sure. With this method, you are left to the mercy of the RNG.

Renown points could also be spent on new equipment. From what I have read, I got the impression that they would be used for big items, rather than leveling items. Again, I don't really have concrete information.

Anyone know if Mythic has addressed this publicly? I am sure they have in the game, but it is still a question for me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

WAR: Lull in the action

The past couple weeks have not been very exciting as far as MMO's go. E3 did not really have any great MMO information. The last big WAR information we got was pretty much a downer. In the coming week, there are a few things to look forward to:
  • WAR newsletter should be out soon
    • Not sure what happened to 'News from the Front' this month
  • Cryptic is expected to announce Star Trek Online, the counter keeps on ticking
  • More WAR beta invites being sent out seems like a good bet
    • Not to me of course, I heard Mythic doesn't want me scaring off their players with my engineer skills
      • Who I heard it from is not important
        • I like bullet points
  • WAR is at Comic Con, maybe we will get some good videos from it?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

WAR: Prediction...


Whoops, wrong movie.

A possible timeline for WAR:

  • Present - Mid August: Werit continues not to receive a Beta invite.
  • Mid August: NDA drops
  • Early September: Open beta begins
  • Mid September: Open Beta Ends, launch preparations
  • End of September: Head Start, Launch
  • Early October: Werit defeats Chaos so soundly that the game itself surrenders
  • Mid October: Mythic begins Warhammer Online: Age of Werit

Sunday, July 20, 2008

MMO's are not investments

Syp recently posted an article that made some interesting points. I do not really agree with him, but one thing he said really stood out to me.

"After all, from the player’s point of view, MMOs are a serious investment."

MMO's are entertainment, not an investment. You invest in something to get future returns. Since a MMO may go away or change, there may be no future return. Many MMO's are subscription based, so you pay X amount of money for a month. There are other payment options, but this is the heart of the subscription model.

That month of play should stand on its own and be fun. If it is not, why are you paying it? After that, the MMO company and I are even. They do not owe me anything beyond that, no returns. If I am still having fun I pay for another month and the cycle repeats. If they change the game in a way I do not like, I cancel my subscription. I have not lost anything. I had fun for the months I had played, which is all I expected.

Some players develop attachments to their characters and get quite upset when changes are made. Does this somehow take away all the fun you had and paid for in all the time prior? I know for me it doesn't, as I don't consider time spent an investment.

Others get attached to a game due to the social bonds made, which is perfectly understandable. Luckily, we have many options to keep up communications with these people over the Internet. There was a time when very few options existed. Social connections are really starting to transcend individual MMO's.

"You do the grind now to invest in a better character for the future, when you’ll need it."

I play the game for now, not the future. If the now is not fun, why would I bother with this form of entertainment? Thinking about a MMO as an investment is a recipe for disappointment. Take it for what it is, entertainment. If the time you are spending in the game is not fun for you, then it ceases to become entertainment. If the time you spent up was fun, then you got what you paid for.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Star Wars: Wet blanket activated

You have no doubt heard the story that the EA CEO confirmed that Bioware was making a Knights of the Old Republic MMO. Almost every gaming site is talking about the story. I, as I often do, will attempt to rain on the parade.

  • This has not been announced in an official capacity.
  • Why would the CEO of EA make this announcement to You would think a big gaming conference was going on where they had TV time... oh wait, there is!
  • The article does not quote the question the interviewer asked, just the response.
  • In fact, the web post looks like it is basing its news off of another source and not directly.
There is plenty of circumstantial evidence to support that Bioware is making a SW game. The recent trademark filings by Lucas Arts are pretty convincing. When you add the two up, it does make it a likely scenario, but NOT FACT.

Even if it is true, many MMO fans are already setting themselves up for disappointment. The game Bioware is making will not be the game of your dreams. Just accept that right now. It will not be SWG Pre-CU, CU or NGE. It will be take elements from other popular games (i.e. WoW) that you may not like. A MMO should be judged by the sum of its parts, not any partiular piece. It will be a long time until we get that picture.

The game is likely years away, if it even exists, so go easy on expectations. I plan on seeing how things go without really expecting anything. Sure, there are things I would like to see included (i.e. SWG housing and crafting), but I could really do without too. A new MMO is always an exciting time, I wonder what Bioware can do with the opportunity.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Do Dwarves wear capes?

City of Heroes/City of Villains, Champions Online and DC Universe Online

The Superhero MMO market is going to get crowded in the near future. I have played City of Villains before, it was an interesting game. I really liked the character customization options. Both the look and the power set combinations made it very engaging. When I played, things got busy so I never really got very far.

During this pre-WAR lull, I started to think about re-activating my CoV account, but these 2 new Superhero MMO's on the horizon have dampened my enthusiasm. Champions Online seems like it will be CoX++, as cryptic developed both of them. They seem to be the developer of choice for character customization, which is something I really enjoy.

There is not much information on DC Universe, but it involved Superman and Batman, so what more is there to know?

With these options, I may have to find a way to add a Superhero MMO to my roster soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

WAR: Guilds and City Capture

The Greenskin got me thinking more about the new city capture mechanics. More specifically that the Guilds will be the real wildcard in the whole mechanic. Guilds have a vested interest in every high tier zone due to wanting to capture a keep or wanting to defend them. So we have the overall goal of RvR being capturing the opposing realms city and the guild goal of capturing keeps.

If one realm is making a push towards the city, will the guilds defend the city or direct their attention to the keeps? Each provides rewards and a sense of pride. Although, the keep is a more visible indicator of your guild. I could easily see guilds using the city capture as a chance to grab keeps.

There has been a lot of talk about the Elf and Dwarf\Greenskin being pointless now. The city capture mechanic really does not affect Guilds and their quest for keeps. This *should* keep higher tiers pretty active, even if there is no city at the end. Add in the fact that a realm needs to hold 2 out of the 3 fronts before sieging the city and RvR will be alive on all fronts.

Guilds and Guild alliances will have a big part to play in how the coming RvR campaigns work out. Right now it is tough to tell which way they will go, so they are just another variable until Open Beta/Launch comes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Why I am not worried

"Everyone should also please keep in mind what I've been saying for years, look at when a developer lifts the NDA before launch to see how much faith they have in the game's success. If we don't lift ours before well before launch, hell, I wouldn't buy our game either or at least I'd wait till the reviews came out. This policy has never failed me."

-Mark Jacobs

I am very flexible with Warhammer. The individual features and classes do not concern me too much. The overall game experience is what I am interested in. Getting wrapped up in the details is a recipe for disappointment.

Comments like Marks give me confidence that the overall game experience will be good. And if they they don't release the NDA, or feedback is bad I really have not lost anything.

Friday, July 11, 2008

WAR: 4 capitol cities wiped off the map!

" has learned that a decision has been made to reduce the number of Capital Cities at launch from six down to two. Altdorf (Empire) and Inevitable City (Chaos) will stand at launch as the Capitals not only of their race, but of their faction as well."

- From here.

The decision to cut 4 cities is a big one. Thinking back on what we have known about the state of the game, it really isn't a shock. The writing was on the wall. I am not too disappointed as Quality is better than quantity. They better be QUALITY Mythic.

My real question is, what is the point of the Dwarf/Greenskin and Elf RvR? There is no capitol city to sack at the end. There are keeps to capture, but those are for guilds. Why would any solo/small guild even bother with those areas? The only front that really matters is the Empire and Chaos...


"Capital cities require you to capture 2 of the 3 campaigns. We'll have a much more informative explanation of how city capture works but it's now even more challenging and requires the cooperation of the entire realm to march to the gates of your enemies city and conquer their king, which in the end was always our goal." - Mythic

I wish Dwarves were good at art

Recently, Curt Schilling (who was better on the Phillies) gave an 'interview' about his company's 38 Studios, new MMO project to Jace Hall. There was really no good information given, but I did find some of the video interesting. They showed some of their artists hard at work using these touch screen type monitors. I don't think they were working on in game graphics, as it was more like art. What they were doing looked very nice though. I did not know such equipment existed for artists. I wish Dwarves were good at art.

This was also the first time I have seen the Jace Hall Show and it was actually pretty funny. It is not very long, so give it a watch.

WARNING: Not safe for work due to language.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Who is Werit?

I am just about 100% sure of what I will be doing upon my first login to WAR. It wasn't really a difficult choice for me, as I knew what I wanted to play as soon as I read about the class. It seems to be an unwritten rule that a MMO game blog has to go into what they will play, so here goes.

Order. I will play on the Order side for my first server. There is a decent chance I will be on another server so I can play destruction at some point, but to start it will be Order. My opinion is that both Order and Destruction are pretty cool. Order seems to be falling into the 'good and pretty' side in most internet talk, but they are not really that good. Good vs Evil here is not as simple as other games.

Dwarf. Big surprise, I know! Tough, stubborn and mean, what is not to like? I have always liked the Dwarf style and architecture. The tinkering that dwarves do in WAR is also pretty neat. I know the gyrocopter has caused some controversy, but I like it.

Engineer. This was a pretty easy choice for me. For one, guns and explosives... enough said. I also like the defensive style of gameplay and this class should encourage me to play that way. Dropping turrets, barbed wire, some aoe... making life difficult for the enemy, all sounds great.

Due to PvP leveling, I will most certainly have an alt. I am currently leaning towards either a healer or the witch hunter. We will see, I will try to star focused on my engineer as long as possible.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ultima Online was not the first!

Often on internet forums, Ultima Online (UO) is made out to be the first graphical MMO. In the context of the forums, it is usually mentioned to show how 'hardcore' or knowledgeable a person is. So in the interest of correctness, Ultima Online was not the first commercial graphical MMO.

That honor belongs to Neverwinter Nights (NWN). (As far as I know)

No, this is not the Bioware game. NWN started up in 1991 and ran on AOL. I was fortunate enough to play this game for a bit. Luckily, I came along when there was no extra cost to play, as it used to be $6 an hour! Instead, I was given a whole 5 hours a month to be online. Needles to say, extra usage charges applied many months.

Check out these graphics!

Some features:
  • PvP, including ladders and tournaments
  • Guilds, sanctioned and unsanctioned
    • Sanctioned status gave message boards hosted by AOL
  • In-game events
  • Multi/Dual classes
    • Yay Clam! (Cleric and Magic-user)
  • D&D
One thing that sticks out in my mind is the guild system. Your NWN character name was your AOL screenname. So, many of the sanctioned guild players had the guild name abbreviated in front of their name. For example, a member of the Knights of the Eternal Flame would look like: 'KEF SomeName'. This is significant because, if you want to join one of these guilds, you had to create a new AOL screenname. Remember, this is when you had 5 hours a month. So you had to level this new character to max. That was a big barrier of entry to me.

NWN went downhill when AOL started to offer unlimited time. Too many people with too much time ends up making things less fun, who knew? ;)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


While reading a post, I started to think about a game I used to play...


* Hemlock MUSH truly is like nothing you've ever seen. Set in the
year 3005, the human race has evolved into it's own subraces while
encountering many others. From the wolf-like Drakaan to the psionic
Salix, this MUSH features everything you'd ever want or need in a MU*:

- An almost unlimited selection of characters to play. Be everything
from a cocky pilot to a wise shaman.

- One of the most complex 3 dimensional space systems on the net with
ships designed for fast and multi-scale scenarios.

- A helpful and experienced staff of Wizards.

- Original plots and interactions between Families.

- A dynamically wonderful economic simulation that is bound to blow
your mind.

* So pre-register for one of the best MU*s around. Registration IS in effect.
* Send registration to ...
* Include: Real name, char name, char pass, and email"

Hemlock was a MUSH (text-based game) that I played in the mid 90's. Actually, I played Hemlock 2, but the above description was all that was left. This wasn't the first MMO type game I had played, but still ranks as my favorite.

The game world was made up of 3 empires, several planets each and a neutral zone. To get around the universe, there was a unique space system. You hopped in a ship and flew to your destination. You could also fight other people in space. The system was called HSpace and was a lot of fun.

There was a basic economy that allowed for folks to trade by hauling cargo. It was simple yet effective. Mostly you earned money via paycheck from the people/government you worked for.

There were NO levels, skills or experience points. The only thing that made your character different was the description , race and how you played him. The goals were whatever you wanted to do.

There was a simple combat system (when not in space) and weapons you could buy. However, if you died, that was it, your character was dead and you would have to create a new one. This limited combat, but it still happened.

My first character, after a stint in a governments navy, moved to the neutral zone and joined a corporation. The corporation had goals of turning the neutral zone into a 4th faction. The other governments did not look too kindly on this development. In the end, I was gunned down by an assassin.

My second character rose to lead a faction of one of the governments, after its previous leader was executed by another faction. As head of the faction I also controlled one of the planets. This lead to a bit of a civil war with the more powerful faction. I ended up allying myself with an enemy empire and attempted to sell the planet to them.

In the mean time I had moved to the neutral zone, for logistics reasons. There I was a ship builder. the space system allowed for player built and designed ships. So I made ships for my new ally and others who needed them to use against my enemies.

Sadly, the rest of the details are a bit fuzzy as it was over a decade ago. Was a great game and a lot of fun. It is amazing what the imagination can do with text.

Monday, July 7, 2008

CCG for Warhammer?

Recently a new Collectible Card Game (CCG), Champions of the Force, was announced for Star Wars Galaxies (SWG). It is a virtual card game which is played online, both in and outside of the SWG client (much like Legends of Norrath). World of Warcraft also has a CCG. It is a bit different than SOE's offerings in that it is played offline, but has loot cards with codes that can be redeemed for in-game items.

Since this trend seems to be growing, I would like to see Warhammer have a CCG. Not everyone seems to like them though. The SWG forums, which are always a joy, had some interesting negative opinions on the new feature.
  • 'Waste of time, should be working on something else.'
    • The ol 'what I want is obviously the correct path for everyone else'
    • It is a different set of CCG focused developers working on that aspect, so it is not taking time away from the game.
  • 'Isn't this just RMT?'
    • Not really. All accounts get 5 free booster packs per month so there is no extra cost.
    • SOE's implementation does give loot cards which can be redeemed for useful in-game items, which can lead to the perception of RMT. I do not like the idea of combat useful items given through a CCG.
    • Booster packs contain random cards, so if you are buying them for the loot, you are buying a chance. However, you currently do this with your subscription fee since there are random drops within the game.
  • 'They are just copying WoW again...'
    • No, they are copying Legends of Norrath.
    • WoW's CCG is nothing like what they are implementing.
  • 'It's stupid!'
    • It is the SWG boards...
Those are the primary arguments against the CCG, which seem generally weak to me. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks:
  • A Game within a game
    • A completely different style of game that can be played within the game client (or outside of it).
  • More money for the game
    • The more profit, the more that can be spent on the game.
  • More things to do
    • Card collecting can be fun, whether they be baseball cards or Magic.
  • Everyone can play
    • So long as they follow the SOE model of giving free packs to paying customers.
I would really like to see a CCG game in WAR which follows the SOE model. As we know, Warhammer has a rich lore to draw from, so there would be no shortage of possible cards. Being able to play a more strategic/tactical game would be a nice change of pace from the MMO combat sometimes.

As for the ever popular loot cards. A WAR CCG should only give items that have no effect on game mechanics. The cards could give things like: Mounts, Trophies, Dye's, Guild standards, character model changes and Squig/White Lion customization options.

Now if they could combine their Tabletop game with a CCG and an online client... it would be even better.

Friday, July 4, 2008

WAR: I want more instancing

Let's be honest, MMO quests suck. They are boring and tedious. The reason they are is why they exist. Quests in a MMO are primarily there to give a player experience points and rewards. Usually they consist of killing X amount of things, getting Y amount of things pieces or delivering said pieces to Z. Zzzzzzzzzz

Single player RPG's are generally full of quests and yet, are fun. Why is this? The goal of a quest in those games are usually to advance the story. rarely will you see MMO type quest goals in a single player RPG but still they manage to suck up a pretty good amount of time. Of course it isn't near enough time when MMO leveling is a big part of the game.

MMO's open world presents challenges when making quests due to the multiplayer aspect.
  • There could be any number of players present.
    • How do you tune difficulty in an open world to any number of players?
  • The whole re-spawn system changes the quest dynamic
    • As other players have to be considered, your work is quickly erased and replaced.
  • The focus on loot encourages repeat killings
    • Dungeons and other small instances are run over and over, taking any quest significance there out.
  • Puzzles are difficult in the open world
    • For example, a locked door that requires you to solve a puzzle. If someone else who happens to be there does it...
Instancing is one way to solve these issues. I know it is a multiplayer game, so I am not proposing everything be instanced. I would just like more 1 or 2 player content in your own personal instance. AoC tried this with Tortage and as far as I can tell, it was popular. LoTRO also has attempted this with their Epic quest line. However they usually require 4 other people which can be a pain.

So here is what I propose:
  • Private ( 1 or 2 player ) instance locations spread throughout the world.
    • Difficulty dynamically changed to allow a 2nd player should be doable.
  • These instances are persistent to the player who enters first.
  • Instances would contain full quest lines containing cut-scenes and voice acting.
  • No Kill/collect quests or re-spawns
  • Story focused rather than reward.
I don't really expect this to actually happen, as I suspect it would not be very popular amongst the general MMO population.

Hopefully someday, questing in a MMO will be as interesting as in single player games.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dwarves in Spaaaaace!

Well no, not really.

Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) is a game I have been playing on and off since it launched in 2003. Recently my interest in playing again has been raised. Regardless of the past, there are some interesting developments happening over there.

  • Canceled accounts have been re-activated for free!
    • Thats right, if you have an old account there, go login and play. They activated all old accounts for their 5th anniversary. It is only temporary of course. No need to setup a subscription or anything.
  • A new Star Wars collectible card game has been announced, Champions of the Force.
    • A virtual in-game CCG like EQ's Legends of Norrath, with loot cards.
    • Due out this summer.
    • All subscriptions get free booster packs monthly.
  • New midlevel theme park.
    • As someone with a mid-level character, a new theme-park is new content. reviews of it have been pretty good too.
  • Housing System
    • I am a huge fan of SWG's housing system. It is always one of the features that brings me back to the game.
  • Sci-Fi
    • Need a sci-fi fix every so often.
  • Hoth is coming soon!
    • Hoth, a new PvE instance is being worked on. Should be unlike anything they have done previously.
  • It is Star wars....
    • Star Wars! Although many parts of not Star Warsy enough, it is what we have.

The main reason I do not play on a regular basis is that I do not have anyone to play with. I have never actually made any friends over there. Playing solo gets a bit boring after a while.

I am quite tempted at the moment to go back to playing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

WAR: White Lion footage - weak?

The White Lion is one of the newer classes to come to light. In fact, it is set to debut in the current closed beta. As you can see below, its implementation is a bit strange to me. I guess Mythic knows what they are doing. They don't look very tough. Footage seems to be official. And what is with the hair?

White Lion