Friday, August 29, 2008

Site Feedback

Recently, I have reached some milestones with this blog. A big thank you to all the readers. So I figured now would be a good time to take a look at the blog and see if I need to make any adjustments.

One adjustment I have been thinking about is the layout. In order to display more text on the page, I made the area where posts are displayed wider. I know there are some reasons to have it the default size. What do you guys think? Wider or more narrow?

The label section on the sidebar is a bit unwieldy, so I am thinking of dropping it.

I have very little artistic skill or design talent, so I did not even try to make a very nice looking site. Instead I went for a simple and clean look. Recently, I have started to add some more images to my posts which seem to make them a bit more interesting to look at at least. Does the clean and simple look work or would you rather see things become a bit fancier?

I will be updating my blogroll very soon, as I have let it slip a bit. Blogger added a load of new gadgets that can be used, so I am going to have to go through them and see if I can find anything useful.

Any other feedback, good or bad, is appreciated. Thanks!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I've got the power

"It's gettin' it's gettin' it's gettin' kinda hectic" - The Power, Snap

I do not play play City of Heroe's/City of Villains much (Ardua does though!). I really like the concept of the game, but I just cannot bring myself to do the PvE grind to the level cap. Not the games fault, just a phase I am going through.

I could not help take interest in the upcoming content release, Issue 13: Architect. The gist of it is:

"Using an intuitive interface similar to the game’s detailed Character Creator, players can create missions from the ground up. Players will determine details ranging from environments, mission objectives, and enemies, to written fiction and character dialogue, giving their stories nearly infinite depth and personalisation."

It is basically player made quests. It is one of the most awesome things I have seen go into a major MMO. There are many creative folks who play MMO's who will take this kind of tool and run with it.

This only other similar system I know of was the SWG Storyteller system. It is very neat in its own right, but was not friendly towards other people participating as quests. This looks like a leap ahead, which is great to hear. Hopefully this will advance user-created content in the MMO industry.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So bright, I gotta wear shades

"Needless to say, I was a little despondent about the meltdown." - Chris Knight, Real Genius

During the preview weekend, I decided to play a Bright Wizard. A bright wizard is a DPS focused caster class and also a pyro. I took him up to Rank 10 before the weekend was over. Yea I know, only Rank 10... I had some other things to do. Anything I say below only applies to Rank 10 and below.

This first thing I did on my bright Wizard was the first starter quest, so I could get enough coin to afford a ride over to Ekrund. I have done almost all of my playing in the T1 Dwarf area, so the rest of the world will be new when the game launches.

When I arrived in Ekrund, I immediately queued up for the scenario. My first scenario went very well even though I was Rank 2. I only had a few abilities to use: Ignite, Fireball, Sear and Meltdown. Bright Wizards have a combustion mechanic which enhances their power but also has side effects.

Combustion is basically a meter that fills up as you use skills. As it goes up your critical hit chance goes up as does the damage each critical hit does. The side effect is the chance that the attack could cause damage to the caster goes up as well. When that combustion meter is full, there is a 50% chance the next spell will cause an explosion.

Back to the scenario. I was pretty surprised at the amount of damage I was doing. Of course, I was coming from my Engineer which may have helped. I was just hammering people, even with my basic skills. What I would eventually learn, is this was due to the team at the time, not some crazy 'skillz' on my part or an overpowered class.

Bright Wizards are very fragile, it feels like it only takes a couple hits from a Black Orc before we are down. Over the next few ranks I did get some defensive help in the form of: Shield Of Aqshy (I see Shield Of Squishy for some reason) and Smoke Screen (yea Spy Hunter!).

Smoke Screen was especially effective. It is a detaunt (what a novel idea!) that will reduce the damage a target does against you. it really shines when you have a teammate. I can recall a time in Open World RvR that I was with an engineer and we came across a Black Orc. Of course, he went right after me, so I cast Smoke Screen and just started to run around. The Orc kept on me as the Engineer chipped away at his HP. We eventually won without me losing too much HP. It should be noted Bright Wizards usually have to stand still to cast spells (other than DoTs) at this Rank.

The next really fun skill I got was Fiery Blast. Area of Effect fireball + explosion. You can't really go wrong with that. It is not nearly as powerful as it looks though. The last skill I obtained before the weekend came to a close was Fire Cage. An AoE root can save a casters life, so it is nice to have and looks pretty cool too.

There has been a lot of talk about the Bright Wizard being too powerful. At this Rank I do not believe that to be true. It is true they can cause some high damage. They do have the following drawbacks:
  • Must stand still for most skills
  • Cast time for most skills
  • Causes damage to themselves often
  • Very squishy
I ended up killing myself a number of times due to the combustion/explosion mechanic. If a healer is paying attention to you, they are not paying attention to someone else. I mentioned before that my first scenario's went very well. A number of others did not, even when we had 3+ Bright Wizards. Once melee get to us, we go down very quickly, so a balanced team is a must.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vegas... Vegas... Vegas...

So I says to him, I said "Get your own monkey! hehehehehe" - Rusty, Vegas Vacation

WAR introduced a new looting system, dubbed the Vegas Loot system for use in their Public Quests (PQ). For a more detailed explanation of Public Quests, see this. This new looting system has caused a bit of controversy.

When a public quest is completed, everyone who has participated gets a chance to win a loot bag. Who wins the loot bag is determined by an random roll and their contribution to the public quest. The Random roll is roughly 2.5 times greater the the contribution score. So basically, everyone has a shot at winning a loot bag, but those who contributed more have a better chance.

One segment of the WAR population feels that the top contributors should have an even better chance at, if not just guaranteed a loot bag. This is a shortsighted view. It should be noted, that everyone who participates still gets XP and influence points, so it is never a waste of time. The influence rewards are usually very nice.

If the system were changed to only give the rewards (loot bags) to the top contributors, it would kill the whole concept of the PQ. The PQ's reward structure encourages participation at any stage. I know I will often pass by a public quest in the second stage and help out. If I had no chance (or very little) at the good rewards, I may think twice. Fighting along with my fellow random players often gives me a feeling of community and reinforces the fact we are actually all on the same team.

There are bound to be classes that just can't do as well on the contribution scale as others. This system will ensure that the good loot bags get distributed more widely, instead of just to a few choice classes. Remember, we are all on the same team. Everything we do contributed to winning the tier for our side. You may be fighting some Greenskin someday and be quite thankful those other folks fighting by your side got some loot bags.

It all will even out in the end. There have been times I was the #1 contributor and got squat. Another time I was #14, and got the best loot bag. The Random Number generator (RNG) does not have a personal vendetta against you, even if it feels like it does. You'll eventually (most likely) get yours.

The rolling system is just fun too. There is a reason Vegas pulls in billions a year. People do like games of chance. I do not want to see the system changed, stay strong Mythic!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Gripe: Nerf-herders

The first recorded call for a nerf in a video game came in 1972, with the debut of Pong. After the game, the losing player wrote a letter, on his typewriter, to Atari. The letter demanded that Atari shorten Player 1's paddle, as it was giving Player 1 an unfair advantage.

Ok, I made that up. This weekend was WAR's preview weekend, which allowed at least 50,000 players to get a taste of the game. Soon after the the servers were brought up, the call for nerf's began.

It seems that at least half of the classes in the game have been called overpowered already. The majority of the classes mentioned have been on the Order side. One possibility for this is that many players have this impression: Order == WoW Alliance == kids & new players == less skilled. This tends to give some Destruction players (not all) a superiority complex.

When they (Order too) lose a battle, they can not fathom that they may have just been beaten by a better player, better strategy or just plain luck. So the call for nerf's go out, often times not even mentioning the classes mirror on their side (Order or Destruction). It is always the other side, not theirs.

All that being said, there are imbalances. Judging a classes power is not an easy thing to do though, especially in WAR. Some classes, like Engineer, have a power curve that only starts to get high in the later ranks. Classes like Bright Wizard have a power curve which starts getting higher earlier. The whole balance may shift in the subsequent ranks. WAR is also a team game. It is not and should not be balanced based on 1 vs 1 combat.

Be careful when crying nerf as it can have some unintended consequences. Star Wars: Galaxies, back before NGE, had all sorts of balancing issues. Players were constantly making pushes for nerfs and powering up of their own classes. This lead to a Flavor of the Month issue since the devs did try to appease the player base and eventually lead to NGE.* So please, keep in mind the overall health of the game before taking to the forums demanding a change.

*NOTE: I am not saying players are fully to blame for SWG, only partly. A better initial design would have gone a long way. NGE also had many other reasons ; class balance was just one contributing issue.

Friday, August 22, 2008

HowTo: Get Ventrilo to work with WAR on Vista

Today I had issues getting Push To Talk to work with Ventrilo and Vista. When in the game, the keypress I designated would not trigger Ventrilo to talk. After some thinking, I figured out what the issue is.

The WAR client needs to run with Admin privileges, so when Ventrilo does its hooking/keypress message catching thing, it isn't allowed to since it is at a lower privilege level,

The solution: Run the both as Admin, or both as non-Admins.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How-to get WARdb tooltips

As you can see in this post, you can have your links show a tooltip (from WARdb) if someone puts their mouse over the link. I always found this useful in WoW (WoWhead), so I integrated it into this blog. It is pretty simple to do, all you need is this in your html code:

<script src=''/>

In Blogger, I placed it in my template right after the Body element. As you may notice, the tooltips don't look perfect yet, but so long as they don't change the file name or path you should be good to go once it is fixed.

Once that is in, any links to items in WARdb should show a nice informative tooltip.

Life of an Engineer

Coming into the Warhammer Online Beta, the Engineer class was the one I was most interested in. I even debated saving it for launch, but I could not resist. I took the Engineer up to Rank 11. Anything more and I felt I would be seeing too much. Please keep in mind that it is very difficult to make judgments on the entire class at this low rank. Anything I say only applies to Rank 11 and below.

The early life of an engineer is not an easy or glamorous one. It is important to know what you are getting into with this class choice. We are not the highest DPS, nor do we heal or have the ability to tank. Engineers are a hybrid DPS and utility class with a defensive mindset. Luckily, that appeals to me. The fact we probably can't solo anyone does not really bother me. We are team players.

Most of my playtime consisted of Public Quests, Scenario's and Open World RvR in the Dwarf T1 zone. In the Public Quests, I did not have much trouble being in the upper half of the contribution lists. I was rarely in the top few spots, but luckily the Vegas system still lets me win loot.

The primary attack you will use as an Engineer is your Gun Blast. It does some good damage, but has a 2s cast time. We also eventually get Incendiary Rounds, which help our with our DPS. Once the enemy gets close you have some melee attacks, like Spanner Swipe and Friction Burn. However, it is usually a good idea to not let them get too close.

When an enemy gets too close, or we just want to trap a squad of Orcs we can toss out some Barbed Wire. I like the animation for this one, nothing too fancy. It works well and I am sure is annoying to those melee fighters.

One of the hallmarks of the Engineer class is the turret. there are three kinds of turrets: Gun, Bombardment and Flame. There are different times to use each one. For example, the Gun turret has a longer range, so it may be better for open field engagements. Their DPS improves as you rank up and also depending on which mastery you decide to put points into. Sadly, their DPS is a bit disappointing and they don't really strike fear into the enemy. It is rumored that they are getting a buff before release.

We get 2 types of grenades (by Rank 11): Flashbang and Acid. I am not sure how useful Flashbang is due to the cast time and the fact it is not AoE. I tend to toss these at those nasty little goblin healers. The Acid grenade is pretty nice to use on those Chosen and Black Orcs that are so popular.

The most fun I have had with my Engineer is using the Point Blank morale skill. in the Gates of Ekrund scenario, Destruction casters and Squig Herders like to get on the side of the walls. So when I see them up there and have the right angle, I fire off Point Blank and they go sailing off the wall down to the ground. The fall may not kill them, but putting a healer out of the battle for 20 seconds can make a huge difference. Is it just me who finds knockback just plain fun?

After playing to Rank 11, I am still sold on Engineer being my main's class.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Better Late than Never

I am speaking of my Warhammer Online Beta impressions of course! There are numerous postings for you all to read, so I will keep this one short and somewhat sweet. I have been in the CE beta for about a week now. I went into the game hoping for the following:
  • Fun and varied classes
  • Alternative to the traditional quest grind
  • Meaningful PvP
  • No need to reach end game to feel useful
  • Re-playability
I have NOT been disappointed. WAR succeeds on every point for me. Is the game perfect? No, but nothing is. The points I mentioned above are the core of the game for me, so as long as those hold true I will be happy. The forest is looking great. I am not worried about each individual tree.

More details coming soon! Below is a screenshot of me watching for Greenskin infiltrators in the Tier 1 Dwarf RvR area. Click it for a better view.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Gripe: Trash

Monday, we meet again. You are the bane of the working mans existence. A perfectly pleasant weekend, ended by your arrival. Much like onions in my cheesesteak, you are not welcome. You have inspired a new Werit segment, where I will complain and moan about certain topics.

Today's topic is trash. I am not talking about this kind of trash. I am speaking of the worthless, frustrating, crap enemies that game developers put in their dungeons prior to boss fights.

The reason I most often see for including these poor souls is for 'pacing'. What that really means is 'How can we waste your time even more?' I don't mind trash, the first time. When you make players run dungeons multiple times (raid treadmill) it ceases to become fun.

They don't drop anything useful usually, and if they do it will likely not be useful to anyone. They are not challenging beyond the first time. It adds nothing to the immersion, because they don't matter. The only reason we are doing them is to get to the bosses. If we could skip them, I am sure we would. Although, there are plenty of sadistic individuals who would want to kill them for the rep grind (which is likely the subject of another gripe).

I find it hard to believe that the developers can find that the trash adds fun to repeated dungeon runs. I know it has killed a lot of my interest in raiding. Boss fights are fun, trash fights are not. Please, share your hate of trash, misery loves company.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sega and the Lost Room of Games

Much like a Hot Chicks room, I think we all could use a room like this in our homes. The folks over at Sega apparently stumbled upon a huge game archive, and I do mean huge. This 1 picture below does not do it justice. Be sure to check out the rest.

See more here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

STO: Echoes From the Past

All the talk about Star Trek Online got my thinking about some of the past Star Trek games. One of my favorites was Star Trek The Next Generation: Echoes From the Past. It's name could be a bit shorter I suppose. It was a console game available on the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. Hopefully most readers of this will remember those ancient and mysterious consoles.

Echoes was an adventure game that put you in the Captains chair. Your mission was to find a missing artifact and save the galaxy. Normal fare for a Starfleet Captain.

It is difficult to put Echoes into any singular category of gaming, as it had many different aspects. I think it reproduced the feeling of the being a captain in the TV shows very well. There was a decent amount of text dialog and conversation choices, especially for 1994 on a console. Diplomacy was always a big part of the series and that translated well into the game.

When Diplomacy breaks down, the fun begins. Starship combat was handled in a tactical overview way. This was pretty good as it added depth, since there was no way they could do cinematic type space battles justice. You also had control over ship systems, so you could indeed increase power to shields.

Away missions and ground combat also play a part of the game. You could beam down to planets, explore a bit and use your phaser on any enemies that may be there. There was some control (if I remember correctly) about which bridge members you could bring down with you. So if you brought Crusher ( hot ) down with you, she could heal. Data could also do some special things.

Often times on away missions there were puzzles to solve. these are a welcome change from fighting all the time and actually made you think about what you were doing. Back then there was no easy way to go look up the answer. So you either figured it out, waited for your Nintendo Power to tell you or called a tip line. I never did the last one of those. My Mom would have gotten really angry if I paid $$$ for a video game tip!

Exploration is a big part of Star Trek and it was also in Echoes. There were a large amount of star systems you could visit and not all of them had to do with the story line. That is one of the best things I remember about the game. I would just fly around, checking out these unexplored places.

Now that I think about it, there seems to be a lot of similiaties between Echoes and what Cryptic is planning with STO. I liked Echoes, so I guess that is a good thing. In fact, I liked it so much I bought an old cartridge off of ebay (or Amazon). Always nice to have it around in case I get the Star Trek itch.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I can't play female characters

I am a man in my late 20's and have been playing games for close to 20 years now. In all that time, I can't remember playing a female character (except for Metroid of course). In fact, I do not even read books when they are told from a female characters perspective. When creating a MMO character, I will always create a male character. If the class only offers female characters I will not play it.

Often times I will see guys posting things like "If I am going to look at this character all day, I want it to be a chick." That thought had never occurred to me as I do not think of my characters in a sexual way. So I have never really thought I was looking at a dude all the time and I still don't. If that sorta thing gets you going, more power to you :)

So why am I like this? Could I be sexist? Maybe... but I don't think that is the issue. When playing a game or reading a book I will try to put myself in the place of the character. If the character is a female I can't seem to do that. To support this idea, I used to have the same trouble creating non-human characters. I still will usually go with the Human option. In WAR I will likely be a Dwarf, which is really just a small human.

There is nothing right or wrong with the characters we chose. To each his (or her) own. Am I the only one like this?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Werit is a Casualty of WAR

Recently, I have started to look around for a guild to join. When it comes to joining a group I am pretty picky. I consider becoming a member of a guild to be a big decision and responsibility. Guild hopping is not my thing, so I want to make sure it is a good fit for me and the guild.

I used to be a solo player. This is partly due to my personality and partly do to real life. I do not want the game to become more responsibility than fun. Sure responsibility can be fun, but not when it starts pulling at you the same time real life does.

In Warhammer, Guilds are more than just a chat channel and tabard. They have their own levels and rewards, which makes it another facet of the game. The whole Banner and standard system adds another benefit to being in a guild. So I want to check that all out.

First step is figuring out what I want in a guild.
  • Stress-free, Drama-Free.
  • Mature members that understand real life obligations
  • Folks with a sense of humor
  • A guild where the goal is fun play, rather then some end game objective
The last bullet is especially important. In WoW, many guilds are aimed at raiding. There is nothing wrong with that, as raiding is fun, and the only way to reallt go about it is with a guild. However raiding leads to schedules, class/player rules, stress and drama. I'm sure there are exceptions, but probably not many.

I started to see mention of the guild Casualties of WAR (CoW) come up on several blogs. CoW is a guild, started by various WAR blog writers. I thought to myself, "Hey I have a blog, and I like their blogs, maybe I should check it out." So I went read the charter, which pretty much is in line with what I want in a guild. CoW is a Core RvR ruleset, which is what I wanted. Another nice feature of CoW is that we will have both Order and Destruction branches. So whatever mood you are in, you should have folks to play with.

I put in an application, was accepted and here we are. the guild is growing and is not just for bloggers. So check it out. If you are interested in a Open RvR ruleset (non-consensual PvP), check out Keen and Graev's guild.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


First, a poem:

Here I sit, brokenhearted
I have gotten into closed beta
But am told I can only play lata

I know, I know, I'm a dwarf and it is early. No Shakespeare here.

So yes, I have gotten into closed beta due to my CE pre-order. That made yesterday pretty exciting. Sadly it only lasted a little bit. The first sign of trouble was the lack of forum information that was supposed to be given. The forums are the only place to get answers to any problems due to the NDA.

Then the long download begins. I check back later and still no forum information. I hope I am all setup right. Fast Forward... I am all ready to go! Hmm, doesn't seem to be any way to play yet. Better check the forums, no info yet.

Then I see Mark made some dev posts and I find these bits of info:

"5) Our beta forums are currently full, we will not be inviting new players into the forums at the present time. We already have 32K people who have access to them and we have no intention of upping that number right now. Given the imminent lifting of the NDA, it isn't worthwhile to take the time, effort, additional staff and cost it will take to handle potentially a 60K+ hit to the forums especially since we just did an upgrade so it could handle 32K. Once the NDA is lifted, the WAR Herald will come online."

Well, that explains the forums.

"3) Our Oceanic servers are not yet live, we hope to have them up at the same time we are putting up the new servers for the newly invited CE customers. Hopefully, both the Oceanic and CE servers will be up by the middle of next week, no promises though."

So we *may* have servers to log into next week. No promises of course. Is that no promises it will be next week or just the middle of next week? By next week, I hope he really means this week (he posted in on Sunday).

That's all well and good, as he did say originally that we would be allowed into closed beta this week. It would be nice if this information was given out with the instructions or even the Herald announcement.

"6) I won't commit to exact dates for the Preview Weekend or any part of the testing schedule as things may change. The PW will come before the Head Start and it is supposed to begin before the wider Open Beta."

This almost confirms my timeline. Although it is starting to seem that closed beta (for CE customers) will only be a week or so.

So yes, I am in beta... sorta.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Question: Blogging and Character Name

This one goes out to all you bloggers out there:

Will you play a character with the same name as your blogging handle?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Warhammer, PhysX , and you

A while ago, Mythic announced that it would be using the Nvidia PhsyX middleware suite. PhsyX is really a set of software tools designed to enhance and streamline physics, allowing for a more fun and immersive experience.

PhysX can use 3 hardware tools to accomplish this:
  • Special PhsyX hardware
  • Software (CPU)
  • Video Card (GPU)
Now most people do not have a dedicated PhysX card, so that excludes a lot of people. In benchmarks, it has been shown the using the main CPU (or cores) is not optimal either and leads to a low fps (frames per second).

That leaves us with using the video card. Next week Nvidia will be releasing a new set of drivers for its GeForce 8, GeForce 9 and GeForce GTX 200 series of cards that will allow the PhsyX library to harness the GPU. It is not clear, but I imagine you can turn this functionality on or off, depending on your tolerance. Also, since Nvidia owns PhysX now, ATI cards are not supported.

Games, such as Unreal Tournament 3, have had special effects for PhysX enabled system. Weather is a popular one, as it destructible environments. So how has Mythic used PhysX? It will likely not alter gameplay, but could give a much more immersive environment. Of course, since the announcement is a bit old, it may be that Mythic has not added anything that would take advantage.

Next week, Nvidia card users can go grab the drivers and see how it goes!

(There is a beta version up now if you are courageous)

More info

The last peaceful weekend

With the announcement of Collector Edition pre-orders getting into Closed Beta, this could be the last WAR'less weekend for myself and others. Lets take a look at the dates:

  • Aug 9-10: Nothing, maybe closed beta download
  • Aug 16-17: Closed Beta, Open Beta downloads begin
  • Aug 23-24: Preview weekend
  • Aug 30-31: Open Beta
  • Sept 6-7: Open Beta
  • Sept 13-14: Head Start (might start Sunday for CE and Monday for rest)
  • Sept 18: Official launch
I think this looks pretty realistic, don't you?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

WAR: Bad news for Greenskins

Looks like next week I will make a closed beta appearance!

"5) Regarding the pre-order, Collector’s Edition and the Standard Edition, we are pleased to announce that we will also be inviting our pre-order CE buyers into our Closed Beta test starting next week."


New toy has arrived

Destruction players may wonder: "Werit, what kind of monitor are you using when you are WTF PWNing us?" Wonder no more, for my quest is now over! Behold...

I went with the 22" Samsung 2253BW from Newegg. It came out to $249, after a mail in rebate. I ordered it Saturday and it arrived Monday afternoon, with their free 3 day shipping. I did spring for rush delivery, which added $2.99 I think. Not sure if that actually got it here faster though. No complaints with Newegg, in fact I will likely use them again.

Thanks go to Snafzg for the recommendation.

The resolution of the monitor is 1680 x 1050 and 16:9. My previous monitor was 1280 x 1024 and 4:3. I must say, this monitor seems freakin huge! I was close to getting a 24" monitor that could do 1900 x 1200, but now I know, it would have been way too big. Some people will say, it can never be too big! Sometimes they are right, but when it is 2.5 feet away from your face size can be an issue. Hrm, that didn't really sound right.

The first thing I noticed with the monitor is how bright it was. I don't know if it was actually bright, or my old monitor was just dim. I had a tough time even looking directly at it. I debated making one of those cardboard eclipse viewing devices we made in school, but deceided to lower the brightness instead.

The Samsung has a bunch of named setting for brightness, called MagicBright, and a 1-100 scale... which I am guessing is the named setting 'Custom.' I am using the 'Movie' setting, which is less bright than game and their 'Dynamic Contrast.'

DynamicContrast is one of the features of the monitor. It allows for an 8000:1 contrast ratio (read: better blacks) while the normal setting is 1000:1. I tried this out, but it seems much too bright. I hate not to use a big feature of the monitor, so I will have to go back and try it again sometime.

Since Mythic is being stingy with the beta invites, I fired up WoW to try out the new monitor. I was quite impressed with how much better the world looked with the higher resolution and wider screen. With my old monitor, I was running everything at High, but the monitor did make a big difference. I don't know how I got by with an 18" 4:3 now.

So far I am quite happy with my purchase, especially for the price. On the other hand. Desctruction players are put at yet another disadvantage. I await cries of "Nerf Werits monitor!"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

WAR: More delays


A quick update:

1) NDA lift is indeed coming very soon but not this week. We've still got a few things to knock off the "Must do before lift" list before I lift the NDA. But it is going to be sooner, rather than later. Still plenty of time to go before launch.

2) Lots of news coming this week (hopefully). It should be tomorrow but when you are part of a big corporation and have lots of partners, sometimes things can take a little longer than you would like. I have no doubt though that the news will be worth the wait.

So, I think the rest of the week is going to be a very good and very interesting one for WAR fans.


- source

Sadly, without an NDA lift or beta access. It will NOT be very good or interesting. It really seems like Mythic is doing their best to hamper any enthusiasm.

News that is neither 'very good' or 'very interesting':
  • Fileplanet getting Open beta Access
  • Road to War
  • Another standard newsletter
  • What else will be in the CE
  • The SE pre-order program
  • Mythic game-pass, ala SOE
All in all, not a big surprise since it is becoming common place for this type of news.


" We've got an important improvement going into the game next week we hope and if it works out the way we hope, I want to make sure that it's talked about by the current beta testers. We hoped it could go in this week but it couldn't so I'm continuing to hold up the NDA lift till its in and a couple of other things are done as well." - Mark

So that means there will likely not be an NDA drop next week. That puts us at the 3rd week of August... a month or less from the supposed release date (which has still yet to be confirmed or denied).

Do any of us have the guts to actually do what Mark suggested in regards to NDA dropping and getting the game?

WAR: RvR for all levels

In WoW, Battlegrounds are separated by level brackets, for example: 20-29, 30-39. It seems like a reasonable breakdown, not too broad and not too narrow. However in practice it does not work very well. What ends up happening is only players near the top of their level bracket end up playing. This is due to the fact they have superior stats, health, mana, skills and equipment. Players lower in the bracket actually end up being liabilities since they take up a slot.

WAR has taken a similar, but different apprach to their RvR. RvR and Scenarios are broken up into tiers (which are separated by level brackets). Where they diverge from WoW is that they introduced Battle Ranks. Not much is known about Battle Ranks, except what has been seen in videos. Battle Ranks seem to adjust stats, health and such.

When you enter a RvR area (or scenario), all players get a temporary increase in their Battle Rank to the ceiling for that tier. It will only last while in an RvR area and all exp/renown is based on your Battle Rank. You do not get any additional skills from this temporary increase, but you will be on par with everybody else as far as things like attributes.

This seems like a great solution to the problems that level brackets introduce. A Level 2 player should be able to compete in a scenario with Level 9's. They will lack skills and some equipment, but it should still be an enjoyable experience for the player. No longer will folks groan, "It's over, we have 3 Level 22's and the enemy is all level 29!"

I look forward to hearing if it works as good as it sounds once the NDA drops!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Warhammer Card Game

About a month ago, I said that WAR should have a CCG. Last week brought news of the Standard Edition Pre-Order, which included, a deck of Warhammer cards. Coincidence? I don't think so but Destruction will say, "Werit, there is no way they saw your post, developed the idea, printed the cards and distributed them all within a months time!" Lies and false propaganda, I say.

So what is the story behind these cards?
  • Made by Fantasy Flight Games. Part of the Universal Fighting System (UFS).
  • Not playable online.
  • Not a real CCG deck: "Included in the Warhammer Online special edition is a one-off UFS Warhammer theme deck. This is not a new license. It is a fun promotion for UFS's former parent company, Games Workshop. This cards are not and will not ever be TOURNAMENT LEGAL." - source
So this seems to just be a fun extra they are including, rather than an actual CCG. Maybe they will expand on it in the future? Who knows.

The real disappointment is that they are not taking note from SOE and integrating the CCG with their online game. There is zero chance of me every playing an offline CCG. If it was online, I would likely play and even buy booster packs. Hopefully that is the road they will take.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

WAR: Marketing Failure?

While reading a thread over on WHA about a video released by gamespot, it occurred to me that the video marketing for WAR is awful. Nearly every 'official' video from Mythic or its blessed reviewers (i.e. Gamespot/IGN) is usually uninspiring and crappy. They actually make things worse for Mythic.

The good video's, like the one here, are taken by fans at public events. I will also say that videos on youtube, which are likely beta leaks, have done far more to get me excited about the game than any Mythic released footage. And of course Mythic and some ardent fans are quick to destroy any such footage. I understand the reasoning behind this, but there is a middle ground.

Mythic needs to actually release decent gameplay footage. I know that they are worried about people making judgements on a game in beta, but this is some of the best advertising you can get. The official gameplay videos being released are not helping. You can only talk/write so much about a game, it needs to be seen.

So Mythic, fire up fraps (or your recorder of choice), get playing on your 1900 x 1200 monitor, and show us what WAR is all about.

Friday, August 1, 2008

WAR: Great gameplay video

Check it out, 10 minutes of quality footage:

Be sure to watch in High Quality. You get to see a myriad of skill descriptions. Some of them are VERY interesting. Also footage of the Giant PQ transitioning stages. My excitement meter is maxed out... again.

Seen here.

Book: The Name of the Wind

When not on the computer, refreshing various websites for news that never comes, I enjoy reading. One book I recently finished was 'The Name of the Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss. My favorite book genre, by far, is Science Fiction. This time I decided to branch out into some fantasy.

Spoiler-free thoughts:
  • Original setting, no elves to be found here.
  • Magic is very low key and difficult requiring much training.
  • Characters are interesting, nothing really cookie-cutter or cliche.
  • Author is developing a rich world in terms of history and lore.
  • Adult themes, but nothing very explicit or gruesome (read: This is not Harry Potter)
  • First book of a larger series (trilogy?)
  • Now that I have finished, I am eagerly awaiting the next volume.
  • Writing style was smooth and easy to read.
As I mentioned, I do not read many fantasy books, but I quite enjoyed this one. Engaging story and interesting characters set in a dark and original world. I recommend it. I am not sure of this kind of review format is actually useful, so let me know what you think.

Author's Blog