Monday, August 31, 2009

Wild Hunt Task List

The Wild Hunt has begun! Here is the task list for the latest live event.

The one in red is pretty interesting, as you can click on it.

One thing Aion has on WAR

While nothing I have read or seen leads me to believe Aion will be a better large scale PvP game than WAR, there is one area it seems to be superior. It isn't very surprising, as players have been clamoring for it in WAR since before launch.

Small Group Content.

The Abyss is a large zone filled with PvE content. There are npc's to farm and repeatable quests to be run. All of which reward you with PvP points. WAR has the Land of the Dead, which is also a PvE zone. However it is gated, so you will never find a lot of enemies there. Also, most of the content is group (or more) oriented.

The PvE content in the abyss can be run by one or two players, which is sometimes what players like to do. This also enables the small group gankers, which is a larger population that I thought, to go out and find them. When they meet, PvP will happen.... sometimes.

While Aion suffers from zergs, it does offer this small group alternative. Right now that option is missing in WAR.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Werit at WAR 8/28

While I have not posted much about WAR lately, rest assured I still play almost daily. It was just there is a lot going on in the MMO world and it must be talked about! Anyway, back to WAR.

Most of my time has been spent on alts lately. I still like my Engineer, but I have been in the mood for smaller scale combat. The lower tiers are more likely to have that as they are less populated. Don't get me wrong, I love a good massive fight but not all of the time.

The two alts I have been playing:

Hurrik: A rank 16 Rune Priest on Badlands

Werit: A rank 13 Shaman on Iron Rock

Healing can be pretty fun. I feel like I actually make a difference as opposed to when I am the Engineer.

Let's see.... what else is going on with WAR.

Patch 1.3.1. The city invasion patch hit the servers. Sadly it caused a whole mess of stability issues. I was lucky enough not to experience any of them.

Armor Sets. They are giving armor sets (the looks) a refresh. I guess this is nice, I never had a problem with the old ones :)

Cake. The Squig Cake was featured on Ace of Cakes last night. It is on my DVR and will be watched soon. I think the Food Network may put it online sometime as well. Am I the only one who thinks of Ace of Base?

Dev Diary. The RvR Team Lead discusses the thought process behind the city sieges. Nothing is as easy as it sounds.

Live Event. The Wild Hunt Live Event starts next week. I can't wait as these are always fun.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dawntide and why you should care

Recently I saw an interview for Dawntide on Massively. This was the first I had heard of this MMO. Dawntide would classify as a sandbox MMO, as opposed to the mostly on-rails experience of WoW. There are a lot of MMO's you say? Well Dawntide is a bit different and worth keeping an eye on.

Skill Based. No experience points here, you level up skill by doing them. 50 skills and options to customize your path.

Be your own man (or woman). Want to just be a Blacksmith? Go for it. One of their tenets is to let the player be who they want to be in the game.

NDA, nah. Dawntide is in early beta, but they have decided not to use a NDA. This sort of open development gives me more confidence in their efforts.

Crafting. Finally another game is trying to make crafting as good as SWG. The type of materials you use will affect the final product.

City Livin'. Players will be able to found and develop cities (again similar to SWG). This is another great feature that has fallen by the wayside. of course, this means player housing too.

War. Territorial control will lead to conflict. To me this sounds like they will have areas similar to Eve null sec. Full looting is also planned, but there are safe areas.

Sloop John B. Player boats are in the game. Only a few games have done this (Vanguard, Darkfall?) so far.

Instancing, pass. There will be no instancing in Dawntide.

Dawntide is still in the early stages, but seems to have a lot of potential. As there is no NDA it is worth keeping your eyes on. For more reading, I suggest Keens article or the Dawntide forums.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

PlayOn Followup

In a previous post, I mentioned how I was impressed with the PlayOn media streaming software. I was lucky enough to have someone from PlayOn post in the comments with a special deal:

"Just so everyone knows we are running a special to celebrate this release. From now until the end of the month you can get PlayOn for just $29.99. Just go to and enter AUG10OFF in the coupon box to receive the special pricing.

As always you can also try us for 14 days for free. Get the trial here Hurry though, if you want the special pricing you need to buy before August 31st, 2009"

Disclaimer: While the link will have me as a reference in the url, I am not receiving anything from PlayON. I suspect it is just for tracking purposes.

PlayOn: Impressed

As usual, I am late to the PlayOn party. PlayOn is software that you put on your pc that will stream video to DLNA complaint hardware. What this means is you can watch Hulu, Youtube, netflix (others) through your Xbox 360,PS3, Wii and more.

I was skeptical at first, as these media solutions can be a pain to setup. There was a free trial of the software so I thought "Why not?" The software install was very easy and required no additional setup.

My testbed was going to be the Wii. In order to receive the PlayOn stream I needed to get the web browser. This was the hardest part of the whole process. To get the browser, you have to go into the Wii Shopping Channel, then to the Channels section. In there you will find the Internet Channel, which costs 500 points.

An Aside: I almost threw my Wii out the window when trying to buy more Wii points. Not only is entering all the credit card info a pain, if you make a mistake you have to start completely over! Who said Nintendo was user friendly?

Now that the Internet Channel is installed, I go to the main menu and open it up. Next choose a WWW site and enter That's all there is to it. My computer was discovered automatically and I was in the PlayOn menu.

Hulu is was the primary driver behind my interest, so I setup an account (free) and put some shows in the queue (Psych, Warehouse 13). On my computer, I opened up the PlayOn settings and gave it the Hulu account username and password. I walked upstairs to the Wii, navigated to (make it a favorite) and it had my Hulu queue ready to watch.

It worked very nicely. In my case, the Wii is about as far away from the router as I can get, so it did have some choppiness. I plan on moving it to a closer TV soon though.

DLNA, the protocol used for device discovery, seems to be getting popular. TV's, DVD players and DVR's all seem to be jumping on board. Cell phones are even starting to support it (Nokia N95)

The software is cheap at $40. So if you want to watch Hulu, Youtube, netflix Instant anywhere you have one of these devices you should check it out.

Progressive MMO Design

::Enable Armchair Game Designer Mode.::

Problem. The current design of many PvE MMO's is getting tired and boring. It usually goes something like this: Level to cap, Raid Treadmill, repeat. As other have said, it is essentially 2 games. It also has the side effect of mudflation and trivializing of old content.

Solution. Traditional MMO's have a progression, but it is all back-loaded in their raid treadmill. Instead, I think the progression should be dispersed throughout the game. To accomplish that, my MMO would used "staged releases."

Let's use WoW as an example. When they launched, they had 60 levels and a raid. Naturally, many wanted to get to the raid and sped through. Seems to be human nature.

What is a staged release? My design would only have the game launch with the starting areas and maybe another zone. Then, 2 - 3 weeks later another zone would open. A few weeks after that, another.

Lets say Westfall is the highest level zone at launch (for the Alliance). Deadmines would still be there, but now it would be the end game dungeon/raid for a length of time. It should be available in 5 or 10 man versions. All dungeons and raids would have their time as the end game instance.

Over a year period you would dole out the content one chunk at a time. An 'epic' story would be crafted to guide players to the new zones/frontiers. After a year, expansion pack time and you continue the trend.

As the game is released in stages, new players should be able to catch up pretty easily. A mentoring system would be required and would also help keep older instances alive. More on how to non-trivialize them later.

Pitfalls. In order to keep players from getting bored, horizontal content would be very important. The game would need Achievements, Crafting and Collections. At every stage, more of that horizontal content would be added. It should be enough to keep the 'average' person busy until the next stage.

Itemization may be an issue as the raids would be spread out and not at the level cap. My solution to that is tokens and level adjustments. All dungeons/raids would drop tokens (in addition to loot) to players of the appropriate level. These can be traded in for gear and such.

EQ2 will be introducing a level-reduction system, so you can lower yourself to make content more meaningful. That would work great here, so you can go back and run old instances and get the tokens to spend on new gear. Hopefully this will keep many of the old dungeons/raids alive for a long time.

Conclusion. Players love new content, but it is not easy to keep up with the demand. Using a Staged progression, a MMO will always seem new and dynamic as there is not long to wait for something new. Gone would be the days of sitting at the level cap running that raid treadmill. With this design you would constantly be progressing while keeping the old content useful.

::Disengage Armchair Game Designer Mode::

Well, that is my MMO design idea. I'm sure it has some flaws, but it sounds fun to me and I'm not even a big PvE person.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gametime! with Werit: Fallen Earth

Gametime! with Werit is an experiment. It can best be described as a short, one man podcast over gameplay video. I won't necessarily talk about what is going on in the video. Not sure how interesting it will end up being, so let me know.

This week on Gametime! with Werit I talk about Fallen Earth in general and show some random gameplay footage.

Direct Link.

So what do you think, does this format have potential? It could have been longer, but youtube has that 10 minute limit. It really is strange talking to yourself :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Until we meet again WoW

Recently, I had re-subscribed to WoW. I did so with some objectives in mind, but now that they are finished I have canceled. What I wanted to accomplish was:

PvP Experience. This was the main reason I came back to WoW. I wanted to see how feasible it was to level a character via PvP. It turned out that for a low level character it is not very feasible. However, once you can run Alterac Valley it becomes doable.

Level 80. I had a Level 79 Warrior and was a full level away from the cap. Using Alterac Valley I was able to get him to 80 pretty quickly. I saw a lot of mid-70's in there, so I don't think I was the only one with that idea.

450 BS. My Warrior is a Blacksmith and had his skill up to ~443. Since 450 is the max I figured I'd try and cap that too. The last 10 points are usually a pain but it turned out to be pretty easy. I had over 1,000 gold and a couple of titansteel bars. I bought what I needed for Spiked Titansteel Treads, crafted them and sold them on the AH. With the gold from the sale I crafted another and sold it. Rinse and repeat until 450.

Reaching 450 was a disappointment. I thought there would be something cool to craft, but there wasn't. It turns out all of the 450 recipes are raid drops. I don't even think I got an achievement for it.

Leveling by PvP was not very fun as my fury warrior. Maybe I am just a bad player, but I seemed to get utterly destroyed by rogues. I'd get stunned, break the stun and stunned again. It really makes me appreciate Warhammer.

There is some temptation left in WoW. As a fury warrior I use Titans Grip and my current 2h weapons are quite old so I do want to upgrade them. I have a thing for symmetry, so I want to wield 2 of the same kind. It looks awesome. The Argent Tournament has a 2 hander that is not unique... but it would take me 2 weeks at least (guess) to get them. I really don't want to do dailies over and over again.

So it is time for me to say goodbye to WoW. I suspect the next time we meet it will be in the Cataclysm expansion.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Clip Show Friday

It has been a busy week here on Werit. As such, I am going to be lazy and break out the clip show.

On Werit...

Check out the four part video series on Fallen Earth. that's right, 40 minutes of gameplay footage and me talking. Speaking of which, where's my Emmy?

We here at the Werit Broadcasting Studios would also like to announce that the Werit FE Monologues Collectors Edition DvD will hit retail stores in time for the holiday season. This Directors cut includes 12 extra seconds and commentary on the commentary.


Keen's no holds barred impressions about Champions Online stirred up quite a bee's nest. Who knew Keen was Zeus? That would make Syp Hogan I guess, as he posts about the bright side of CO.

Ysharros drops some knowledge about EQ2 crafting. I'd prefer an enchanted jock strap though.

If not blocked by your employers oppressive filter, check out the Guild Wars 2 trailer and the one for Starcraft II.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fallen Earth Walkthrough - Part 4

Part 4 of the Fallen Earth Walkthrough is up. This time we go deeper into skills and combat.

This may be the last of the videos. It is still in beta, but as I am considering purchasing the game I do not want to see too much before it even launches. Then again, I may try to check out PvP and that could be another video.

Direct Link.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fallen Earth Walkthrough - Part 3

Part 3 was uploaded and processed a bit quicker than I thought, so it is an early edition. In this video I go over some basic information about skills and crafting. There is also some crossbow action.

This video starts a bit abruptly. My intro clip was causing the video software to crash and had to be deleted. Lucky for me it crashed near the start and not near the end.

Direct Link.

Champions Online: Neither here nor there

This is a tough post to write. I have been in the Champions beta for a few months now, but have only played the game for a small amount of time. My opinion on CO is not as negative as Keens, but it also is not very positive. If it were one or the other this post would be easy to write.

As others have said, the character creator is very nice. There will be no shortage of options. I also like how you can mix and match power sets. The action RPG feel generally works for me and you have to love the variety of travel powers. I also like the fact they went with a 'serverless' architecture. No more worrying about creating your guys on the same server as friends.

On the downside, the cell shading art style really doesn't do much for me. It isn't bad, but it isn't that good either. The thing that really bugs me is that there just doesn't feel like there is a lot of content. There are a few zones with missions, rotating daily missions (UNITY) and the nemesis system. PvP is a small part of the game, as is crafting. Both of which feel like they were just added because they are on the MMO checklist.

My gut feeling is that CO will be a fine game in 6 months, after 1 or 2 content updates. I still may pre-order as there are fun elements to the game. I'm just not sure I'm ready to get a 6 month subscription... no matter how bad I want to see STO.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fallen Earth Walkthrough - Part 2

In the 2nd part of the Fallen Earth Walkthrough (Part 1) we see some more of the tutorial. It starts to get a bit more interesting as there is some fighting. Youtube is taking its time with the HD version, it should be there sometime.

Direct link.

Surprise Attack: WAR Producers Letter!

Maybe it is just me, but I was not expecting another Producers Letter already. Not that I am complaining though, the more information the better. The big news is that 1.3.1 was released today. I am looking forward to the next city siege, as they are pretty fun now.

There is a lot of good stuff about the future of WAR in this letter:

Fortresses are not required. The need to capture 2 fortresses in order to advance to a city capture is going away. As I mentioned here, I think that this is a good way to go. Jeff also says that Fortress will still have a purpose, but didn't spill the details. I am looking forward to seeing how cities will be contested.

New User experience. While it isn't as exciting as new content, this is absolutely necessary. WAR is all about the players and most of them happen to be in the later tiers. New players need an engaging experience from the start in order to make it to where the real action is.

Apprentice System. An Apprentice/mentor system should be a standard checkbox when making a new MMO. This should help WAR by keeping players together across the tiers.

Daemon Moon. What's this, a hint at upcoming content? The smart money would be on a Live Event but there is a possibility it could be about an expansion. I know they said no expansion in the near future, but that doesn't mean there is not one on the horizon. Blizzard announces their expansions well before release.

Overall it was an interesting letter. I like the direction that WAR is taking.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fallen Earth Walkthrough - Part 1

Amidst all of the other game news, Fallen Earth went into open beta today. This game has really flew under my radar to the point I know very little about it. What I do know is it is an 'indy' MMO set in a post-apocalyptic world. I was able to get an open beta key, so I figured I'd check it out.

As I went along I made up a video of the early parts of the game. It's a small preview, no real spoilers as I turned off the sound. The only thing you will hear is my voice... lucky you. Hope you enjoy this small preview of Fallen Earth.

Direct Link.

WAR's Battle Royal

On Friday night, a PTS Event was held for WAR called the Battle Royal. Originally it was supposed to be Thursday night, but it was delayed. The purpose of the event was to test the new ramps that were added to tier 4 keeps.

The event moved from zone to zone testing out every keep. Each realm would defend and attack the keep. It was organized by Mythic personnel and turned out to be pretty fun. After each zone, they handed out a special mount at random.

A lot more people showed up than I thought would. The estimates I heard put the total at 220+. The performance was actually pretty good. I had to go down to the Balanced graphic setting, but it was playable. There was some lag though.

I think that the added ramps will be both good and bad for the game. On the positive side, they will make large battles much more fun. There is more room to move around which will add an element of strategy. Sure, the 2nd ramp does not make much sense if you look at it from a real world perspective. This is a game though and sometimes things must be done for gameplay reasons.

The downside is that I think this will make defending the keep much more difficult for smaller groups. Prior to the added ramp, a smaller (but still large) group could field a tank wall and hold off a larger force. Now that same force would no longer be able to use that same tactic.

Players are very creative. I would not be surprised if smaller groups are able to use the multiple ramps to their advantage. I've been on fortress raids which were wiped by much smaller groups because they dropped off the ledge and attacked us from behind. This type of strategy may work here as well.

You should expect this change (and the city siege changes) to go live pretty soon, as the pre-patch has been up for download. It should be interesting as keep and city sieges will be quite a bit different.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Great Pre-Order Debate

September is fast approaching. Three MMO's will be launching during the month: Champions Online, Fallen Earth and Aion. CO and Aion are probably the top two contenders for the month though. I've played both of them and would gauge my interest in them to be about equal.

That brings me to the big question, which game should I pre-order? And yes, I must pre-order one... just 'cause :)

Aion has the Abyss which may provide some fun PvP. It is also a polished MMO with a lot of content. However it is Eastern themed and has wings.

Champions Online has a lot of customization options and is about super-heroes. I can also get into the Star Trek Online Beta. However it is a new MMO and will likely have all of the problems a new MMO usually does. Next week, when the NDA drops I can talk more about it.

As for Fallen Earth, I just don't know enough about the game to consider it. They are holding an open beta next week, hopefully I will get a chance to check it out.

Are you pre-ordering one, both or Fallen Earth?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Battle Royal - Tonight!

Mythic announced a new PTS event for tonight, a Tier 4 Battle Royal. This looks like they want to test out how the new keep layouts fare in battle. They will also be giving away mounts to some lucky players. While I don't really want the mount, I do want to help out.

They will have templates available for use if you don't have a Tier 4 character. The templates are decked out in Sovereign Armor, so you will at least look awesome. Although, I tried a Knight template last event and I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up just running around hitting random buttons.

As I mentioned, the big change in Tier 4 RvR are the keep layouts. They added a 2nd ramp, which is too big to be tank-walled off. It will be interesting to see how this changes the siege. The pessimistic side of me thinks that it will make defending the keep very difficult.

The most likely result is that the tank wall will be moved to the door. In my experience, a tank wall at the door never goes well due to Rank 4 Morale abilities. It is much easier for the attackers to target these at the door area compared to the ramp.

That is what tonight is for though, so get on and have some fun.

WoW PvP for fast leveling

In a previous article, I wrote that exp gains in WoW Battlegrounds was low. This is certainly true for low level characters. I had a 79 Warrior and I figured since my subscription was active I may as well get him to 80. A quick look at the exp bar and I had 1,600,000 exp to go, groan.

It turns out Alterac Valley (AV) is great for leveling. You can easily gain 100,000 - 150,000 exp in 10-15 minutes by playing that battleground. Each tower is worth about 20,000 xp as is the NPC in the middle forts. If you manage to kill the opposing general, that is another 33k worth of xp. The quests in there also give ~20k xp.

I don't find AV fun at all, but it still beats PvE. It does make me appreciate WAR's scenarios though, as that is what I did after gaining 6 or 7 bars in a short amount of time. I am tempted to make a Death Knight and see how quickly he can level via AV. I'm not sure how much longer the gravy train will last, as AV seems to be the only BG that has multiple instances at any given time. Did Blizzard intend it to be that good for leveling?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What to do about Stage 2

The first stage of the new and improved city siege is pretty good. Hold objectives and kill the enemy. When complete, stage 2 starts. The losers hero (plus bodyguards) makes an appearance and Stage 1 starts again. If the victor can defeat the hero or win stage 1 again, they win the bags and the Victory Points.

The problem is the hero, he is one tough customer. Even in an unopposed instance, an attacker may have trouble defeating him. Add in 48 defenders and it can be a near impossible task. The new stage 2 allows the attacker to just re-complete Stage 1 as an alternative. While this solution may be serviceable it doesn't seem like the best way.

Keep Hero as is. We will most likely see both sides try and win Stage 1 again, with the Hero wandering around and trouncing the opposition at the center objective every so often.

Keep Hero, but scale him. For every 12 defenders in the instance at the time of spawning, remove one of the bodyguards. The more defenders, the easier it should be to kill the Hero.

Remove Hero, extend Stage 1. Since most people will just be doing Stage 1 to get by Stage 2, just make it longer to begin with. I think players do want some variety, so this may not be the best idea.

Remove Hero, add more objectives. This would be Stage 1 plus 2 more objectives (docks, palace). These are close to the defender spawn which should give them an advantage. It would also result in more small group action as there is a need to spread out.

Anyone else have any ideas?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Is WoW for teenage girls?

Let's look at the facts:
  • You can give your character a 'makeover.'
  • There are more vanity pets than monsters.
  • You can stylize your pet (aka Druid)
  • Jewels seem to be the largest profession.
  • And coming soon: You can play a Werewolf.
I'm sorry, I guess they are called Worgen in WoW. A were...Worgen is just one step away from a Vampire. That's right, Blizzard is setting up to release a playable Vampire class. With the popularity of Twilight and the new abundance of high-school vampire shows on TV, why wouldn't Blizzard want a piece of the action?

I kid of course :)

Werit goes Green

Some of my fellow CoW's rolled Destruction characters on Iron Rock in order to play against our members there. I am always up for beating down a guildy, so I rolled a Shaman. They are close to Dwarf like I suppose. I also never played an Archmage much, so it would be a different experience.

Iron Rock turns out to be a pretty good server for me. While Badlands is still #1 for me, there is activity at different time on Iron Rock. For example, weekend mornings are a time when I get a chance to play. Badlands is not very active while Iron Rock is. This should maximize the fighting, which should be a goal for us all in WAR.

Playing Destruction is tough though. yesterday i was in a scenario and this Swordmaster ran up to me and started to attack. "What the heck is this guy doing?" I thought to myself. "Oh yeah... I'm on the other team now".

Another plus is that I was able to secure the name Werit on Iron Rock. It's been fun so far. Greenskins seem to have a lot of flavor and say some funny things.

Monday, August 10, 2009

City Siege on the right track

Over the weekend, Mythic held a PTS event to test out the revamped city siege. I was able to log on for a bit and test it out. The map consists of 3 capturable objectives which must be guarded or they will drift back to neutral. The controlling side will slowly receive points from them. Points are also generated by player kills.

It is actually really fun, as it is all about fighting the other players. Surprisingly, most of the forum feedback has been pretty good too. A lot of people say it is just like a huge Nordenwatch. Can't go wrong with that.

Stage 2 is Stage 1 + the Heroes from the old system. You can win the stage by killing the Hero OR completing Stage 1 again. This I'm not so sure about. The Hero still goes around hitting people for 30k. During the testing, nearly everyone just tried to ignore him. Sometimes you can't though, as he'll wander to an objective.

On one hand, is the Hero even necessary? I think a lot of people would prefer just to have another PvP focused stage. On the other hand, the Hero provides a goal for those in an unopposed instance. I would be for a PvP focused Stage 2, as long as it was different than Stage 1.

The engineers at Mythic have been quite busy working on performance issues and it shows. The 48 vs 48 city instances ran very smooth. Most of the forum feedback concurs. Hopefully, what they did can scale to larger battles in the open world.

And on a final note, I got a Royal Crest... on the PTS. I tried to smuggle it out (you don't want to know where) but was met by Mythic security. They are not very gentle and have cold hands.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Victory and Changes

The War with Ethiopia was over by May. Superior Italian forces captured Addis Abba without too much trouble. On the southern front the Ethiopians did manage to make some advances. In the end though, they surrendered once we reached the capital.

I had a screenshot, but it was lost in my move to a new OS. However, here is what Italian East Africa looks like now.

The next big task facing my is to re-organize the army. I have quite a large force in Ethiopia, which is probably not needed. I have the game re-calculate the theaters and it comes up with 4. 2 in Italy, 1 in Libya and 1 in Ethiopia. You can see the setup here:

Now I can tell any of these commands to do stuff without all of the micromanagement. However, I do need to transfer a large chunk of the EAC to the NAC. The bulk of my African forces should be in the North. That is where most of the action will come in the future.

I give orders for the NAC to defend points in its theater and for the EAC to defend several key provinces in Ethiopia. The are still a large amount of NAC forces in Ethiopia, so the AI takes care of loading them onto ships and getting them where they are needed.

Now back to production. The Theater commanders tell you what they need (or rather want) to get their job done. Of course there isn't enough to go around, so i have to makes some tough decisions.

One thing I did not do, is assign the EAC some transports and air support. I move over some units. All I have to do is assign them a unit in Italy, and they will send that transport out to get him.

Friday, August 7, 2009

War with Ethiopia

As we ended last time, Italy is currently at war with Ethiopia. We have made some inroads into their territory, but much remains to be done. Here is how the conflict looks now.

The East African Army (EAA) is currently resposible for our war effort there. General Grazioli currently commands the army (leaders have bonuses). He reports to African Command. I should note, that this hierarchy is all customizable. You can build them and name them how you want.

This is important because I can give orders at any level and they will filter down. This way you can have the AI deal with things you would rather not.

The EAA is currently comprised of 6 corps and a division. I also have several naval units and air wings for support.

Let's get this war going. I am going to give the orders to the EAA rather than do everything myself. Here I set up the order. I want them to take Addis Abba, the capital.

I also gave orders for my air support. They will be patrolling the blue area for targets.

And as we can see, the AI has started to take care of business. I could easily do this myself, but I thought it'd be fun to delegate.

It is a shame that my air cover cannot reach too far into Ethiopia. I think I will research plane fuel tanks next. Next time, we will see how the war went.

WoW PvP leveling

My curiosity got the best of me and I re-subscribed to WoW. It will just be for the month though. My main goal was to check out how feasible it would be to level primarily by Battlegrounds. The answer is: not very.

I had a Level 12 mage sitting around and figured he would be a perfect test subject. Warsong Gulch was queued up and in a short time I was in.

XP is low. For each flag capture my team got, I received ~225 XP. For a win I received about ~225 xp. I'm not sure if I would have gotten more if I had personally captured the flag but in any case, XP is pretty low as you don't get XP from killing players.

I estimate it would take 10 - 15 WSG matched for me to get to Level 13. You know those are rarely quick, so we are talking a significant amount of hours to get to Level 20.

Variety. WoW doles out the battlegrounds in small doses. So starting at level 10 you get WSG, at 20 you get Arathi basin, at 50 you get Alterac Valley and so on. You will be doing a huge amount of WSG or AB, which will get old quick.

Rogues. I hate them in WoW PvP. That is all.

No Bolster. In WoW, you do not get a boost in stats to help level the playing field. This can make most of the early levels pertty hard. I know at level 12 I was being 2-3 shotted by level 19's. They could have been twinks who have yet to level out though. Still, you'll be a good bit weaker than your high level opponents.

It doesn't seem realistic to think you can level a character mostly by battlegrounds. The low XP and lack of variety will make it a grind of epic proportions. Especially considering how easy most of the PvE is. It is a shame, if they added XP from player kills it may actually be fun. Then again, maybe not.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rebuilding the Roman Empire

Yesterday Hearts of Iron 3 arrived. I had long decided that my first campaign would be as Italy in 1936. Italy, for me, is a nice starting point. It is not as big as Germany, USSR and the other major players, but still matters. It also gets to participate in all facets of the war: air, land and sea.

My long term goals for Italy are to conquer much of what was the Roman Empire. Below you can see what Italy looks like in 1936.

My first order of business is to set our research priorities. There are a lot of ways to go so they should match my goals. My current budget allows me to research 3 projects. First up is:

Electronics and Mechanical Engineering. This will lead to Radar, improved communications and better industry.

Small Arms. As Italy makes wide use of infantry, they should be better equipped.

Light Tank Gun. Who doesn't like tanks? In the coming years, we are going to need better ones.

Air Frame. Air power is the future, so let's improve how our fighters are built.

Next up is production. We already have a submarine being built and a Light Cruiser. This is taking up a sizable portion of the money set aside to build. With what is left, I order 2 new infantry brigades to be created.

Intelligence is an important part of any strategy. As I have plans for Yugoslavia, I have made them a priority for my agencies. I want to know the strength and whereabouts of their military.

That was pretty much my first 30 minutes in the game. Next time we will address Italy's current war with Ethiopia.

Hello Everquest 2

In a post last week, I said farewell to Eve Online. As I mentioned, that left me with an open MMO spot (in addition to WAR). I decided to give Everquest 2 a try.

Why EQ2? For one, I had never really played it. It has always looked interesting, but I have to be in the mood for PvE.

Another reason is that it is a very mature game, but doesn't look it. It has been out for years and has several expansions. Yet the graphics still look good. There are plenty of old/mature games out there but they also feel old. Turns out, I need my MMO to look somewhat current.

EQ2 offers activities like housing, collections and better than average crafting. I like all three so it gives me more to do than just quest. The amount of PvE content is just crazy though, much more than I thought there would be. They also have an appearance tab, so my character can look how I want it to without worrying about gear.

I also didn't realize how many character customization options there were. With normal leveling choices they added Achievement Points. This is like WoW talent points, but on steroids. It is almost overwhelming.

EQ2 should fill my #2 MMO spot well enough for now. I'm not saying I will stick with it for years or even months. For the time being it is an enjoyable experience. That is partially due to the nice people in the guild I joined.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

WoW and TOR

I was reading a post and it really got me thinking. Rivs mentions that the new WoW 5 man is great for getting tokens (badges) so why would you want to raid? My response was, what is the gear for, if not to kill a boss. But WoW is not about killing bosses really, it is about progression. So if you are not a raider, what good does the latest 5 man dungeon do you? Other than the first time of course.

That got me thinking about TOR, as they say they are about the story. If that is true, I really do not want to see any large raids. If part of my story is to kill a Sith Lord, I do not want to be barred by the need for a raid. Also, having to run things multiple times to get the gear so I can advance in the story would end up killing the story.

In single player rpg's, do you have to farm bosses? No, you just have to kill them once and the story advances. I expect the same in TOR.

I do want large group activities though. They need to be dynamic and creative. Maybe a PvE battleground where there are no Bosses, just waves of enemies (NPC). They could easily make this dynamic. It would also fit, as this is Star WARS. They should be fun and fast paced. I would expect tokens from them as a reward.

Hearts of Iron III

The fine folks at Paradox Interactive released a demo for their upcoming World War 2 strategy game, Hearts of Iron 3. If you have not played previous iterations, it is a grand strategy game that focuses on the entire world at the time. The fighting is abstracted so there are no Total War 3d battles.

The strength of the series has always been it's scope. You can play any country at the time, although some might be pretty boring (i.e. Cuba). Politics, Military, Production, Logistics are all under your control. The latest entry in the series build upon it even more. Dare I say this could be the most comprehensive WW2 game ever?

For the demo I chose to play Poland. The demo starts on the first day of the war in 1939. In the full version I will start at 1936. We don't really stand a chance at this point, as Germany is about to steamroll us.

The zoomed out looks uses counters, if we zoom in close we get a different view. If you are a fan of using counters all the time, you can do that too.

There is also a full weather system in the game which effects all sorts of things like movement, logistics and combat. It has it's own map overlay. As we can see, there are some heavy storms in Italy.

The technology (research) in HoI 3 is pretty extensive and customizable. You don't research new units, you research components, like a tank gun. Then you pretty much just build your new unit so there is a lot of customization.

And lastly, a picture of combat. It may not look like much but there is a lot of detail. The terrain, technology, leadership, doctrines (strategies), weather and time of day all go into deciding the battle. When I get the full game, I will cover more of that in depth.

HoI 3 should be available in stores/online anytime now. Hopefully my copy will arrive soon. When it does you can expect a campaign report as I take control of Italy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I am a stingy gamer

It's true, when it comes to stuff in games I am stingy. Take limited use items as an example. I never use them. Instead I stuff them in the closet to be used 'someday.' In WAR I have yet to use those neat Axe siege weapons. They've been in my inventory for months, but the time has never been right. Same goes for the items I got from the Collectors Edition, never used them.

It isn't just items, the same goes for long cooldown skills. Anything more than a minute and I rarely use it. I remember in WoW, my warrior had a bunch of long cooldown skills. They were rarely ever used. It isn't like they cost me anything, I just always felt I may need them more later on.

Am I the only one suffering from this condition in games? I just hate the idea of being without these items and skills, even though I never actually use them. They say a weapon unused is a useless weapon... which sounds right. For some reason, I can't bring myself to use them.

Monday, August 3, 2009

August Gaming

August is here already. This month is really the calm before the MMO storm of September. There is plenty to look forward to though.
  • Hearts of Iron 3 storms the front on September 7th. If you like World War 2 grand strategy games, this will be for you.
  • World of Warcraft Patch 3.2 is likely due out this month as well. A new raid, battleground, PvP experience and more are apart of the patch.
  • Champions Online's open beta will start on August 17th. The NDA will be down then too, so expect plenty of chatter.
  • Warhammer Online will be having a live event, the Wild Hunt, starting on August 31st. Also, I wouldn't be surprised to see the huge bug patch, 1.3.1, be released soon too.
  • Star Wars Galaxies will be releasing a new Cybernetics system along with many new craftable droids.
  • Blizzard will be holding BlizzCon on August 21st. The expected big news is WoW's next expansion.
  • Crimecraft is due to launch on August 25th.
  • Aion is having some more beta events too.
That's what is on tap for August, I miss anything?