Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New WAR classes confirmed?

"In 2009 we are going to keep advancing with great strides. The Keg End Event is drawing to an end in the new year, but the next patch is coming soon and so is the next event. Also, the introduction of the melee DPS careers for the Dwarfs and the Greenskins is looming on the horizon."

Seems so :)

Fable 2, surprisingly good

I was not a big fan of the original Fable, so I was a bit nervous about asking for Fable 2 as a Christmas gift. With the help of other blogs, I managed to work up the confidence. So far, I am glad that I did. I have only put a few hours into Fable 2 so far, but I am really enjoying it.

After playing MMO's lately, a single player RPG is quite refreshing. Some notes:
  • Story is nice. I am a fan of a good tale of revenge.
  • Graphics are decent. Often times they do seem quite blurry to me, maybe my vision is going?
  • Combat is simple but fun. You really feel like you are laying down some smack on the fools.
  • The sandbox elements are great and do not feel tacked on at all. I am quite surprised at this, as I was not expecting to enjoy those aspects.
  • The dog works out well. I was skeptical about your companion, but it is actually a good game mechanic. No mini-map need, as the dog can provide the cue. Great idea.
  • The 'adult' elements feel quite unnecessary. This game feels like a kids (not little kids) game from the start with the Harry Potter type music. I'm not sure if there is more too it, but it feels like a gimmick.
  • The B button for Will powers is killing me with the townsfolk. B means cancel to me, so I try to use it to close the radial sometimes, but instead it activates a power and scares the townsfolk.
  • Yay for fast travel!
  • Trophies are pretty neat too.
Overall what I like about the game the most is that it is stress free. While I enjoyed Oblivion, it was almost too open. Fable is more on rails in comparison. Fallout 3 also seems much more stressful than Fable. That is not to say those games are bad, as that would be crazy... just different.

So Fable will be yet another drain on my MMO time, but only temporary as it has an end.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How WoW will help WAR

More specifically, "How Lake Wintergrasp will give War subscribers."

I used to not be a fan of PvP in MMO's. I know, you are shocked, but it is true. I grew up on single player RPG's and other single player games. When I got into MUD's and MUSH's, it was always for the role playing and other non-pvp content. When the graphical games came on the scene, I never really participated in their PvP either.

It wasn't until Lord of the Rings Online came out that I became a fan of PvP. I know that sounds strange, as LoTRO is mainly a PvE game. When I first started playing it, it was for the PvE content, but one day I thought I would try out their Monster versus Player PvP system. After that, I barely logged into my player character anymore.

I think Lake Wintergrasp will have the same effect on many WoW players as time goes on. World PvP that allows you to advance your character, has a goal and has familiar enemies is very addicting. Wintergrasp may not have all of these ingredients, but it is offering a taste of what non-battleground PvP can be like.

Once players get a taste they may find that they like it, a lot. I know I did, but I found that LoTRO's system just wasn't enough and it never would be. I went looking for a game dedicated to that type of gameplay and found WAR. The same is likely to happen with WoW, as it is a PvE game at its essence. There will never be enough to satisfy the player who wants to do Wintergrasp type activities with all of their gameplay.

Over time, I think the inclusion of Wintergrasp will actually send folks to WAR. Of course, it may be an insignificant amount, relative to WoW's base. This is one downside to WoW trying to give players everything they want, they just can't give enough.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Introducing WAR Watcher

WAR Watcher is a way for you to keep informed about the zone control (locking) changes on your server in Warhammer Online. When a zone changes hand, a post will automatically be made to a RSS feed, so you can get the latest RvR news. There are two RSS feeds for each server: One reports only on Tier 4 changes (low traffic), the other reports on all tiers (higher traffic).

Sign up for the RSS feeds at:

Some things you should know:
  • The RSS Feeds will be empty until a Zone changes hand, starting now, so do not be surprised to see an empty feed.
  • Keeps and Objectives are not tracked due to how frequently they change hands.
  • Accuracy depends on Realm War, so if that is off so will the feeds.
Please post all feedback/requests here. Thanks and I hope you enjoy this new tool!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Question: Favorite Holiday Movie

Here we are, in the holiday's hangover. I guess there still is New Years, but it really doesn't compare, now does it? One of my favorite things about this time of year is the movies. There are so many great ones.

Q: What is your favorite holiday movie?

Mine would have to be Christmas Vacation. Funny and in the spirit of the holidays.

What is yours?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Werit the Lightweight

You wish... a Dwarf lightweight, can you imagine? I wouldn't be able to show myself again in the pub. In this case, I am referring to WARs holiday event, Kegs End. Much like my fellow engineer Syp, I just am not enjoying this live event. I probably put in 5-10 hours a week in WAR and I just can't do it.

I spend all of my time doing RvR in scenarios and out in the lakes. I have barely scratched most of the quests. My influence bar is not even at the basic reward. I *might* be able to get that reward (a title) by January 5th. If I don't, oh well. The backpack is nice, but I will not go farm mobs just to get it. The influence rewards are just meh too. The Elite reward only has 15 uses... bleh.

I think this was just Mythic experimenting with content. Heavy Metal was very easy, this seems to be on the opposite side of the spectrum. I think the holiday content should fall in the middle. If Kegs End had half the requirements, I would likely take time out of my busy schedule giving Destruction their comeupins in order to complete them.

I wonder if there is a WAR equivalent to Valentines Day? If there is, I imagine it is particularly disturbing. Hopefully whatever the next event is, is not as time consuming as Kegs End.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Werit conquers The Nexus

As you will recall, I have had some trouble with completing The Nexus. Well, no more! This weekend I managed to complete it... it's a Christmas miracle! Well, maybe not, but still I am pretty happy.

I logged on in the morning and on a lark went looking for a group. I actually found a bunch of random folks willing to go and all of them level appropriate. The group was great and we had no afkers! In fact, there were only 2 deaths and both were not in combat. I was one of them... got myself stuck on a ledge and had to take a leap into the Nexus.

This was the first time I had tanked in many months. Overall I think I did decent, but there is always room for improvement. I am a keyboard user for skills, so I have found myself getting confused with my WAR key mappings. I pretty quickly fall into the tanking habit though. I see there is a built in threat meter now. I wonder if I can get that view above the mobs head (with the nameplate). Some notes:
  • Grand Magus Telestra: That Gravity Well spell is very annoying, as it playes tether ball with the party. I also found her split to be pretty annoying, as for some reason I have trouble seeing them. Maybe it is all the spell effects going off? The fun part of this is when I reflected a polymorph spell, turning one of her images into a cat.
  • Anomalus: This fight way pretty easy, although it reminded my of the Curator (without an immunity time). Just tanked him, then attacked his adds when they spawned.
  • Ormorok the Tree-Shaper: This big fella was also pretty simple. His main trick is to lay out ice spike, which will propel you into the air. There were actually a pretty good amount of spikes, so it took me a couple of trips into the air to figure it out. Just move slightly off the spikes.
  • Keristrasza: She was not very difficult for a final boss. Her trick is a nasty DoT, Intense Cold, which you can break by moving. So I just tanked her in one spot while jumping. That was pretty much it.
Overall I did like the dungeon. The atmosphere was right up my alley with it's sci-fi aspects. I was disappointed after I turned in the quests and found out nothing more of the story. it just stopped cold.

What did I walk away with?
  • The Nexus achievement.
  • A Monarch Topaz from mining Ormorok. It is worth about 70g on the AH. I think I'll hang onto it though.
  • Several greens, which I figure will amount to around 50g.
  • No loot drops. There was a single plate drop, but it was more for DPS and not tanking.
  • A Small Dream Shard, thankfully we had a DE'er with us. I'll hang on to this as well.
  • 3 Stone Keeper's Shards. Lake Wintergrasp was in Alliance control, only 197 more to go until something like this!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Keep Improvement: Door Control

It is no secret that the Keeps in WAR leave much to be desired. They do look good, but they are linear and really just boring. There is no real strategy beyond covering the postern doors and pushing your way in. There is a lot of potential here though.

Idea: When the outer keep doors come down, a location becomes available for capture. When this location is controlled by the owner realm for X amount of time, the door will respawn. If the enemy controls it, it will delay the door being rebuilt. By default, NPC guards would spawn as well. Securing the door control would be important, as your enemy could lock you in and your reinforcements out of the keep.

An alternative approach would be to have this location be able to be captured at all times. This would allow those classes that can enter through the postern door (if this is ever fixed) to be able to try and take control over the door. In this case, rather then the doors disappearing, it may just weaken them.

Benefits: Provides more incentive to split the attacking and defending forces. The battle would also be more dynamic, as it will not be centered solely on the inner keep door at this point.

Issues: The keep layout (except Fortresses and a few T4 keeps) are too small to support multiple locations. A couple of warbands could easily Swarm these locations, or respond quickly to any attack with massive force. Defending this area may be a lost cause, as you will be separated from the main defensive force in the inner keep. On the flip side, it would provide an objective for reinforcements to assault.

I am sure there are other issues for this idea, can you think of any?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

At an impasse

Recently, I have hit a bit of trouble with WoW. When we last left my 72 Protection Warrior, he was off to Coldarra. I finished up all the quests there, which were not too bad. I really like the scenery. The last thing for me to do there (and in the Borean Tundra), was to venture into the Nexus.

I have 4 quests in there to do, all of which sound kinda neat. The Dragons in WoW have always been an intriguing part of the story for me. The big quest is to rescue a friendly Dragon, who Malygos is making be his 'consort'. I guess it is kinda fair, as we lured his previous consort into a trap and killed her. There are a couple of nice rewards I can actually use too, Tundra Pauldrons and Boots of the Unbowed Protector. My first Kara epic will be replaced by the boots.

My problem is I can't seem to complete the Nexus. There are a few reasons for this.
  • During the week, I do not have chunks of time big enough for a dungeon. With WAR, only being able to play in hour chunks is fine. In WoW it is fine for questing... but a dungeon may take more than an hour.
  • When I have had time, it has been in off hours not ideal for grouping with my guild. I really like the folks in my guild, but my hours are a bit off. My prime time hours are reserved for WAR at the moment.
  • I have had a miserable time with Pugs as usual. Healers are very hard to come by so getting a full group is rare. When I have gotten a group it has fallen apart. The one time I have managed to actually get to the first boss, someone went afk for 10 minutes and the group fell apart.
I do not want to move on until I complete the Nexus. It is just the way I play, I like to have everything from the zone completed and off my Quest Log. I'm not really sure how I will get the Nexus done, unless I ask an 80 (or two) to run me through. The run through is usually my last resort, as I really want to complete it the proper way. In the mean time, I am lounging around at the inn, full of rested xp.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dark Knight

This weekend I watched Dark Knight on Blu-Ray. I had never seen it in theaters but heard a lot of good things. I was a little worried that it would not live up to the hype, but thankfully it did. This was probably one of the best movies I have seen this year, which is saying something as it has been a good year for movies.

The picture and sound were top notch. Although for movies like this, I wish I had a projector and a 100" screen. Ah well, the next iteration of my TV area will have one. Sadly, that day is years off. On the bright side, the projectors will be very nice and even more affordable by that time.

*** Spoiler Warning ***

Some random thoughts:
  • Batman's voice seems a lot more horse than in the first movie.
  • That banker keeps a shotgun in his desk... nice.
  • The joker character was very well done. I liked Nicholson's version and I think this was just as good.
  • Good to see Zeus and Anthony Michael Hall around. This movie had a lot of people in it.
  • IMDB does not show a third entry being made, but I would think they would make one.
  • Did they leave the door open for the Joker character to return? It seems he could have his own movie, although without Ledger it may not work.
  • Who could be the villain (s) in the third movie? Yet another Catwoman? A new take on the Penguin? A sick and twisted Riddler might be interesting. Maybe a brand new villain?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ballistics vs Weapon Skill

Did you know that there is a time when Weapon Skill is better to have than Ballistics? I didn't. Luckily, Papa Gwan over at The Kitchen Philosopher did. Check out a pretty indepth comparison, including charts and graphs, here. Thanks Pap Gwan for taking the time to do all that!

TOR, where's the MMO?

As you probably know, Bioware released a video documentary about their new game: Star Wars: The Old Republic. The video was ok, most of what was said could already be found here. I am not going to write about the graphics or anything, as they do not really matter. I want to know about the gameplay and what this project actually is.

The game is based on 4 pillars: combat, exploration, progression and story. To me, these have always been pillars of an RPG. Usually in a MMO story has been replaced by loot, so it will be nice to see a developer try to really focus on the story aspect. Will players at large buy in? That is a whole other issue.

What was missing from the video was anything about how other players fit into this experience. If I didn't know any better, it would seem like I was watching a video for a single player RPG. In fact, the key components to their story pillar seem to work against the MMO aspect of the game.

Class based storylines. It would seem that which class you choose will direct the overall story of your character. This almost seems like it is putting us on rails. Not really strict rails, but pointing us in a direction or as they say: tailored. This goes against the normal 'create your own path' ethos of a MMO. Of course most modern MMO's don't bother with that either. Everyone ends up doing the same content with maybe a little different quest text.

Choices. They are touting choices as a major component of the game. The choices you maybe will advance your storyline in different ways. This sounds great and is a staple of single-player rpg's. Except that there is no saving here. Choices only matter if they actually make a difference. Will they lead to the same content but different quest text?

Choices also are important if they change the world around you. This is difficult to accomplish in a MMO due to other players being involved. WoW is attempting this with their phasing system. I hope TOR has something along those lines.

Companion Characters. Much like in their hit KoTOR, they want companion characters (NPC's) to be a big part of the game. Based on choices your relationship with them will change. Will these characters adventure with you? If so, how will that work with other players? Would be strange to see duplicates of your companions.

It is not yet clear how other people will play a role in this game. They could be taking an approach more like Guild Wars (PvP and inviting other into your 'zone') or something original. I really hope they go for something original, as that is what the genre needs.

One thing is clear, this seems like it will be completely different from SWG (new or old). It actually makes sense, this way Lucas Arts can have 2 games out that won't really compete which each other.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This is my rifle

This weekend, I decided to shake things up and try something new with Tirew, who is now BR 34/RR 34. For all of his life, he had been a grenade spec Engineer. So took a trip to Altdorf and became a Rifleman. I took the full tree with the skills: Snipe, Crackshot, Hallow-Points and Phosphorous Shells.

Snipe is a very nice ability. Combined with Unshakable Focus, I managed to hit a Sorceress for ~2,600 damage in one shot. It felt good to get some payback for the huge numbers they have hit me with in the past. That isn't to say the skill is without drawbacks.

The skill description claims Snipe cannot be defended against, yet it has been dodged multiple times. Also, the range of 150 seems great at first, but we do not really have any other abilities to use at that distance. So it is most useful when when folks try and run away. Otherwise, if I didn't finish them off, I'd have to get closer after the shot.

Crackshot is also pretty nice. Being that it is a ranged disarm, I could actually help out my teammates that had a melee character on them. I have not found it too useful for me yet, as keep melee off my back is extremely rough now with my ineffective root and the plethora of disables.

Phosphorous Shells seem just marginal, I guess I am spoiled by the Grenade spec damage, but these do not seem very good for how high they are in the rifle tree. The mortar animation is nice. I do like the Hallow-Points tactic, a free DoT (non-stacking) on my gun skills. Signal Flare benefits nicely from a full rifle spec, giving damage of ~1.3k over 21 seconds.

So far, I rate the tree as marginal. I do like the burst damage potential, but other than that I feel weak and not very useful. The long cast times (3 sec on Snipe, 2 sec on Crackshot, 2 sec on Gun Blast) leave me vulnerable and make me feel very sluggish on the battlefield. Without Unshakable Focus my damage also seems weak, Snipe will hit a lightly armored target for ~700 and ~1000 crit. Forget about armored targets, as I've hit them for ~300.

I will be sticking with the spec for a bit longer, but I will soon be headed back to grenades. While the burst damage is not as good, I feel more useful and less vulnerable.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Question: WAR 1.10a

Yesterday saw the release of the much anticipated 1.10a patch for Warhammer Online. You can read about it here, here and here. So my question to you is:

Q: Now that patch 1.10a is live, what do you think about it?

Personally, I am actually disappointed. Not in the content of the patch but in the implementation. This version feels much buggier than the previous.
  • CTD's in the previous months: 0. CTD's last night: 2
  • Players going invisible has gotten much worse. It used to be just large fight, now it happens all the time even when just standing in a warcamp.
  • Buff icons (and the warband windows) like to sometimes stick around. Don't you want to go home?
  • I get a white wipe over my action bars when the global cooldown (GCD) is over.
  • Death seems to be a tad delayed now. I was running around for maybe 10 seconds with the respawn notification on my screen.
I appreciate that Mythic wants to get content out to the players quickly, but it seems like it could use a little more time in Q&A. The first 2 bugs I listed are the important ones, the latter 3 are just mildly annoying. This patch just feels rushed and unpolished. More on the actual content in another post.

Edit: Mythic did release an update late last night. I will not be able to check it out until tonight, so the problems above existed when I logged off last night.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Zone Locking in Open RvR

One idea that is being floated around the forums a lot lately is the idea that zone locking should be done based on fighting in the RvR lakes exclusively. You can read a full explanation of zone locking here. Here is the quick summary:

"In order to control a zone, players also need to win Scenarios associated with that zone, do quests, and kill players in that zone. Zone Control is all about total dominance in everything involved with a Zone. You must push on all fronts!"

The primary reason players want this system changed is that they don't want to be held up by the non-pvp aspects of the system. The opposing realm, in order to prevent zone locking could 'boycott' RvR lakes of the zone and just concentrate on PvE. Mythic has addressed the not queuing for scenario issue. I think that overall it is a valid concern.

I do not think that having Zone Locking be decided by Keeps and Objectives is a good idea either.
  • Mythic sold this game with the premise that RvR = PvP + PvE. It is one of the unique aspects of the game, everyone can help their realm reach the final goal.
  • Open RvR is very population sensitive. This system would benefit the more populated realm. The more success that realm has, the bigger the disparity will get.
  • Two Warbands, in T4, can capture all the keeps and objectives of a zone in under 10 minutes when lightly defended. That is extremely quick when zone locking is at stake. There would need to be changes to keeps in order for this system to be viable.
Would such a system increase activity in the RvR areas? Most likely. The idea should be considered but PvE players can not be left out, population balance needs to be considered and keeps need to be more difficult.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Metallica and Zombies

Metallica made a pretty cool new video for All Nightmare Long off of Death Magnetic. It involves zombies, communists and robots. It is about 9 minutes long, so get comfortable!

Edit: It occurred to me RSS folks may not get the embedded content, so here is a link.

Order goes on the offensive

Last night, Order on the Badlands server got a little organized and decided to go on the offensive. It started around 8pm est in Kadrin valley. I joined up with CoW's new alliance, Echelon, and we made a warband. I would estimate there were a total of 3 warbands (give or take a few groups) operating at that time.

Each warband had different objectives, so we quickly took the map. Destruction was being contained near their warcamp but that did not last long. Soon they had pushed us back to the keeps. Sadly, this was before we could lock the zone. Eventually the keeps fell, but most of Order had been moved to Reikwald by that time and were in the process of taking over the zone.

This is about the time I had to go. My time there was fun, but a little demoralizing due to the huge number of Destruction that we tried to defend KV against. This morning showed that Order was actually victorious! We ended up locking KV, Reikwald and Praag... giving us the upper hand in the conflict. This is the first time I can remember this happening, so there is hope.

In other news, I managed to increase my Engineer's damage quite a bit with some experimentation. I know I am late to the party on Unshakable Focus, but this really does help out the Grenade spec'd Engineer. When used with Napalm Grenade and Strafing Run, I was able to get damage close to 1,000 on my Rank 33 guy. One poor WE ended up taking damage of ~850 and then ~960 within a couple seconds.

To really test, I need to do some combat log file analysis. Has anyone made a web based tool yet?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On this episode of Wings...

My 71 Protection Warrior made his way to Fizzcrank Airstrip, as he heard they needed some help. It is a pretty cool looking facility, even if it is crawling with Gnomes. Having watched Wings years ago, I was expecting a pretty hilarious time. TV you have fooled me again! Actually it isn't so bad, but there are a lot of quests out of this airstrip.

Some notes:
  • Did Lowell ever have to search through wolf poop? I did.
  • I searched through poop and dead bodies, dressed up like an Orc, was turned into a Gnome (ack!), spent time as Exxon, killed many robots, killed some innocent creatures for their spice packs, made D.E.H.T.A. mad and got involved in a soap opera evil twin plot.
  • I was disappointed that there were no bombing missions, we had an airstrip and planes!
  • I would love to have one of those planes as my flying mount.
  • Received the achievement: Explore Borean Tundra
  • Lots of vendored quest rewards.
Overall this area was just ok. No start or continuation of any story archs, which made it kind of bland. The quests themselves were not so bad, although those robots got pretty annoying. I did like the Ultrasonic Screwdriver quest, as you could get a few robot helpers.

When I was finished at the airstrip I had reached level 72. One thing I am not really liking is I have nothing fun to do at the class trainer. I'm not sure there is anything new to learn, only more advanced ranks of what I have. I now have 2 talent points to spend too. No idea what to use them on yet.

Next stop for me is Colderaa. This is where the Nexus is located and what I hope is a pretty decent storyline.

Monday, December 8, 2008

WAR for the WoW Player

Are you a Warcraft fan and interested in the new Warhammer game? This article should serve as a primer and hopefully help you feel more at home in WAR.
  • Leveling. In WAR, levels are called Battle Ranks (BR) and there are 40 ranks. You gain experience by questing and killing monsters, just like in WoW. WAR also allows you to gain experience through PvP if you choose. As far as questing content, WAR does not have as much as WoW, but they tend to be less frustrating too.
  • Sides. There are two sides to this conflict, Order versus Destruction.
  • Races. WAR has 7 races total: 3 for Order, 4 for Destruction.
  • Classes. WAR features 22 careers to choose from. The careers are unique for each race. For example, if You want to play a Bright Wizard, you must be a Human (Empire).
  • Dungeons. WAR has dungeons, similar to WoW. There are not as many, but they do offer a small group something to do. Groups in WAR consist of 6 people.
  • Combat. The combat is very similar to WoW, so you should feel right at home (as opposed to Age of Conan).
  • Raids. WAR does not feature raids as you know them in WoW. The end game instances are in your enemies city and must be unlocked by conquering them. The fight versus the King is the end-game PvE encounter at present. It is only open for a limited amount of time, so there is no real raid farming or scheduling. It is mush more casual.
  • Crafting. Crafting in WAR is nothing like WoW. The main goal of WAR crafting is to make things that your character uses, rather than 100 swords that you will just vendor. There are no recipes to learn. You gather ingredients in order to make potions and talismans (temporary enchants). Different ingredients have different results.
  • Battlegrounds. WAR calls their Battlegrounds, scenarios. There are quite a few more than WoW has and they have a different purpose. First, they are not cross-server. You will always fight the enemy that is on your server. Second, they contribute to the overall war effort to capture your enemies city. They reward Experience and Renown. Also, you can participate at any level, as it boosts your rank temporarily so you can compete.
  • Arena. No Arena equivalent in WAR (or dueling for that matter)
  • Renown. Renown does not have an equivalent in WoW. Think of it as a seperate leveling system, which has 80 ranks. Renown ranks allow you do get and use different items and allow for further stat customization.
  • Loot. WAR uses the familiar Gray, White, Green, Blue, Purple loot system. However, Loot is not nearly as important as it is in WoW. It helps, but is not the primary factor.
  • Mounts. In WAR, you can buy your mount at rank 20. Each race can use one type of mount. At this time, there is not much in the way as variety like WoW has. Also, there are no flying mounts.
  • Money. The same basic money system can be found here. However, gold really doesn't matter much. There is no grinding to get your 5000g for an epic mount. Money never really is a worry.
  • PvP. WAR, just like the WoW PvE servers, features consensual PvP. There is only PvP in designated areas, so if you don't want to, you don't have to.
  • Guilds. Guilds in WAR have all the features that the ones in WoW do, and much more. Guilds are able to level and gain access to rewards, such as custom heraldry. There are also alliances, which allow for groupings of guilds.
  • Auction House. WAR also has an Auction House.
  • Addons. Curse has a wide selection of WAR addons.
  • Wowhead/Thotbot. If you are a fan of those site, one exists for WAR too, wardb.
  • Armory. WAR has an armory type site that also gives the status of the battle on each server. It can be found here.
Some features of WAR:
  • RvR. Realm versus Realm, the goal of the game is to defeat the opposing side by capturing their city. Almost everything you do in the game, at any level, contributes to this end goal.
  • Public Quests. A PQ is a multi-stage quest that takes place in a certain area, where every player there can participate to accomplish it, without being in a group. Often time it ends with a boss battle which requires the cooperation of the players. When it is over, everyone has a chance, based on contribution, to win rewards.
  • Influence. Influence is gained for every chapter by completing Public Quests. Compared to WoW reputation, it is easy to obtain the rewards.
  • Open Grouping. When you form a party, by default it is open for anyone else to join too. When you enter an area, you get a list of open parties and what type of activity you are doing.
  • World PvP. In each area, a part of the map is reserved for world PvP (i.e. Lake Wintergasp). Here you can fight the enemy over battlefield objectives, keeps and fortresses. Victory gains you Experience, Renown, Loot and gains victory points for your realm.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

SWG, Looking Good.

SWG is the most underrated MMO out there. With their recent Producers Note, they are looking good, in more ways than one.

Coming early in the new year is an Appearance Tab. When I was playing SWG, this was one feature I was very excited about. Much like Everquest (2 I think) and LoTRO, SWG will now allow you to make your character look like you want, rather than be at the mercy of the stat'ed armor you need.

All of the armor with the nice stats still works the same, but it doesn't show. Instead you have a new tab where you can put what you want to be visible. There are still restrictions, so no Jedi's looking like they have armor and such.

Star Wars has such iconic armor, like the Storm trooper, that this system is badly needed. Before you could get Storm Trooper armor, but eventually better armor would come along. Now you can look like a Storm Trooper or Rebel pilot for as long as you like. Awesome.

This is one system I think should start to become standard. For the PvP types it may cause some issues, if they need to make decisions based on an opponents armor. I never have had to do this, maybe it is because I am a bit slow, but I imagine some people do. LoTRO does not show the appearance tab in the PvP area, so there are options.

I am not sure how this would go over in WAR. There are some very nice armor sets, I'm sure people would still like the look of them even if they are not optimal anymore. That would have to make the art folks happy as assets will get used more. However, WAR is much more PvP oriented than the other games, worth a discussion though. I think WoW would benefit from this system. There are some cool looking armors out there, it is a shame you have to ditch the entire look to get some stats.

Friday, December 5, 2008

WAR is Too Massive! Part 2

In Part 1, I touched a little on Fortresses and the current problems. As far as I know, the crashing is still an issue. Mythic is currently making client and server improvements that will hopefully end the crashing. That is really just a symptom of the problem though.

Last night, I came to the defense of a keep in Dragonwake. Destruction was attacking it and I was able to scurry around to a postern door, as they had already breached the outer walls. There was only 2 of us defending, so defeat was ensured. I figured I would at least try to make it a slight pain for them.

I was very wrong. Once the door came down, the keep was theirs in less than 30 seconds. My guess at their numbers was a full warband, give or take a few. They did not even break a sweat, as they just massed on the Keep Lord and took him down almost immediately. Victory was theirs as it should have been, but should it be so easy even with no player defense? This is Tier 4, yet the keeps are pushovers. I digress, that is the subject of a different post.

The real problem is there is no deterrent for players massing together in a small amount of space. The Keep Lords room is small, add in 30-40 players and it is just a mess. Even if you could render all that movement perfectly, it would be very difficult to target anyone in particular.

AoE is usually pretty easy for healers to keep up with. Oil is a great example. Often in a balanced keep fight, the Oil is being healed enough that it is tough to take down, as are the players using it. The attackers below are easily healed too. So the oil is just a delaying factor at best. My Engineers AoE, even after the patch, is easily kept up with with HoT's. Siege weapon damage is shrugged off too.

This is a difficult problem due to the ever popular Health Bar mechanic of RPG's. In the real world, 1 cannon shot could kill or maim a lot of people if they were all standing near where it hit. No instant healing for them. Friendly fire is also a factor that limits massive amounts of troops in a small space. I don't think that is even possible to implement here and it probably wouldn't be fun.

Fortresses just magnify these issues, as most players want to come help defend. Even if they get it working technically, I just don't feel it will be as epic as it sounds. 300 vs 300 sounds great, but when they are all bunched together, it is not.

Positive Note: 1.1 looks great, article about that soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Werits Christmas List

I know many of you out there are wondering, "What did Werit ask for for Christmas?" Wait, Your not wondering that? Well maybe my list will give you some ideas on what to get that geek in your life.

Let's see, where to start. The PS3 I recently received was part Christmas gift from Mrs. Werit. So I needed some accessories to go with it:
  • Blu-Ray Remote: I use the PS3 to watch Blu-Ray DVD's for the most part, so a remote control would be nice than using the controller.
  • DualShock 3 Wireless Controller: The PS3 I received only came with a single controller. Sure could use a second in case someone else wants to play.
  • Resistance 2: The PS3 also plays games! I have heard good things about this one and the videos do look pretty cool. Seems like a solid first game.
I only had one item on my list for the X-Box 360 and that is Fable 2. A lot of people spoke very highly of this game when it came out. It is an rpg but has many sandbox elements. While I was not a big fan of the original Fable, I want to give this one a try.

Movies are another favorite of mine, and now that I have a Blu-ray player, I need more of them.
  • Heroes: Season 2: I am a season behind in Heroes so I must watch them on BR-DVD. I enjoyed the first season very much, hopefully the second season is as good.
  • Doctor Who: Season 2: I saw some of season two, but was unable to see the whole thing.
  • Doctor Who: Season 3: May as well get season three at the same time. I like Sci-Fi.
  • Dark City: I have only seen this movie once and I have really wanted to watch it again. It should looks great on Blu-Ray and has an interesting story too.
I have not forgotten you, PC. There is only one game I want this year and that is Colonization. I played this game a lot when it was originally released by MicroProse. Now it is back using the Civ 4 engine, how can I resist?

I think I have been a pretty good boy, and hopefully Santa has noticed. Not mentioned here are the plethora of clothes I will actually receive.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

WAR is Too Massive! Part 1

It has been a pretty busy week for Werit and the CoWs. Mythic decided to effectively shut down the Averheim server, so we all moved over to the Badlands. Their goal was to reduce the number of Medium population servers to a few High population. It seems to have worked as the activity on Badlands is pretty high.

Strangely enough, the name Werit was taken on Badlands. So I am now known as Tirew, different name, same Engineer. In addition to the name change, I reached BR 32/ RR 32 and left T3 behind. My first real T4 open RvR was quite interesting.

Destruction started to push through Reikland, so I made my way to the keep. It was my first time in the zone, so I was pretty much lost. They managed to lock the zone pretty quickly and open up the Reikland Fortress. I have never seen a fortress, but they are pretty big. There are 3 attackable gates and a 4 story inner-keep to fight through.

What happened next was good and bad. A lot of Order came to the defense... I would have to guess in the hundreds. When Destruction came, they also had 100's of people. Epic battle incoming... but the zone crashed multiple times. My system, which is pretty good, could not even draw a fraction of the Destruction players.

In a VN post, Mythic mentioned they have seen upwards of 800 people fighting in these zones. They even conceded they might not be able to support such huge battles. This is not really surprising, as the Fortresses were a late addition in the scheme of things. Remember, Capital cities (instances) were there instead of Fortresses.

More to come in part 2...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Murlocs and Torture

Over the weekend I did get some time for WoW. After my bad experience, I had a pretty good time. This time I was off to the Amber Lodge to relay thanks from a fortunate soul they saved. It seems to be occupied by the Kirin Tor, whom you get reputation with for doing quests.

There were a couple of interesting quests. One, I had to rescue Archmage Evandor, this involved riding some Drakes, which was neat. The Drakes were given by Surristraz, a rather large dragon.

The second quest was a bit surprising. I had to 'persuade' a captured prisoner to give me the location of the previously mentioned Archmage. It seems the Kirin Tor are prevented from using Torture, so they have a 3rd party (i.e. me) do it for them. To accomplish this they gave me a nice little device. Of course, the prisoner would not talk right away, so I had to use it several times.

In the end, everyone talks and he was no exception. I gave him a few more shots just to make sure he was not holding back (he did have different responses). The poor guy asked me to kill him instead... sadly it would not let me as I would have been more than happy to oblige. This is just a game, so that is all i will say about the quest.

One of the mages at the Lodge asked me to go take some readings in a cave to the North, where I came upon a Murloc village of Winterfin. I know you were hoping for some Murloc torture, who isn't?

One of those crazy D.E.H.T.A hippies has dressed up like a Murloc and became their leader. There are various quests here, one even has you dress up like a Murloc. Another one lets you have a train of baby Murlocs following you around. You also gain access to a clam vendor, which barters some useful goods for winterfin clams.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Leeches are abundant

I don't know whether it is the Badlands server or just Tier 4 in general, but XP/Renown leeches are much more common. These are the guys who go solo in the scenarios, so they don't have to share any XP or Renown with a group. It is usually two types of characters, DPS or a Healer. When their leeching is pointed out, they have two general responses:

DPS: I am doing all the damage, I deserve it. Just don't heal me then.

Healer: I am doing a lot of healing, I deserve it. Don't you want heals?

Both arguments don't really work or make any sense. Playing solo would only be legitimate if you could do as well if you were fighting the entire opposing team alone. Oh, you couldn't because everyone would be attacking you? Well I guess your teammates are doing something then aren't they?

By playing solo, you do not get any of the group buffs and healers in the parties will be less likely to heal you. This makes the entire team weaker. I know team is a hard concept to understand for some people. Losing the scenario gives the opposition Victory Points, weakening the realm. None of that really matters, so long as they get their renown or xp. Just another example of people who are not playing the game.

Mythic is to blame here as well. They have not said anything about changing the grouping in scenarios (Have they?). In fact, it seems like they planned this as a feature as there is a View Solo Players button. I am not sure why Mythic would want to encourage such behavior, as it is not good for the game.