Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year

So I decided to end 2011 with a bit of the plague.  Ok, I can't be sure that's what it is exactly, but it sure felt like it.  It might have been the worst I have ever felt.  The thought of even sitting down at a computer made me sick.  It takes quite a bit to keep me from my electronic addiction.

Today I am feeling better, maybe around 60%.  Thankfully, this week is pretty useless in most industries so it wasn't a huge deal.  Hopefully by the time the 1st rolls around I'll be fully recovered and start out the new year right.

As for New Years Eve, we have young kids, which means I doubt we'll even see 12am. I hope those of you that have something to do and can actually stay awake, have a great time.  See you next year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Try before you buy

As I have mentioned before, Custom items are one of my favorite aspects of SWTOR.  Like an appearance tab, they allow you to control the look of your character.  What they do better than an appearance tab is keep the items a part of your gameplay instead of setting and forgetting.

Since Custom items are all about looks, it's important to know what look like before you buy them.  To do this, just CTRL Left Click on an item and viola, a dressing room window.  This can be done on vendors, your inventory and the Auction House.  Also, you can check out companion appearances this way too.

Here I am trying on a new helmet, Commando's Helmet, which is cratfable by an Armortech.  You can also see what it looks like on your companion.  There are no class restrictions in the dressing room either.  So try on those Consular Robes if you want.  You can rotate the model in this view as well.

Sadly, you cannot seem to see what a weapon looks like in this view.  I hope they add that feature soon, as choosing the right looking gun is very important for a fledgling Trooper.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Recap

I hope everyone out there had a good Christmas or holiday.  I know I did.  Besides a nice visit with family, Santa ended up being pretty good to me.  I have a pretty big family, so we end up with too many presents.  This is especially true for my kids since everyone likes to buy them stuff.  So what interesting presents did you get?

Here are some of mine...

Star Wars.  I ended up with two Star Wars gifts.  The first I did ask for.  The second was a surprise.  I know they added some 'controversial' stuff to this edition, but how can I resist Blu Ray?

This book was a nice surprise, Star Wars Year by Year:  A Visual Chronicle.   I think it'd be a great coffee table book, the wife does not agree.

Xbox 360.  I got Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: MW3 and Saints Row: The Third. I know, I'm a little late to the party on all three of these.  They will likely last me until next Christmas though.

Lord of the Rings.  This gift was a nice surprise and will have a place on my bookshelf.  Who doesn't love Pez?

Back to the Future.  When I saw these model DeLorean's I just have to have them.  All three will be going up on my bookshelf!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

Wow, Christmas got here really quickly this year.  December used to feel like the longest month of the year.  While it may not be as exciting for me anymore, it is sure fun to watch my kids start to enjoy the holidays.  This year I leave you with two versions of a Christmas carol.  One somewhat traditional, the other not so much.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

TOR Nexus Updates

While most of my free time has been playing games for the last two weeks, I did make some TOR Nexus changes recently.  The TOR Nexus is a portal to SWTOR community content, official news and videos.  It could also be described as a rss and video aggregator focused on Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Tabs.  This is probably the most most noticeable change.  I've move all of the data into tabs based on topic.  This makes the site much easier to navigate and cleaner.

Blog.  I've added BioWare's new community blog to the front page.

PvE.  There is now a PvE section which includes tabs for Flashpoints, Operations, World Bosses and Crew Skills.

Moderation.  I now have the ability to remove links from a topic.  It's made the information which gets displayed much more relevant.

Blue Cross. You will see a blue cross after some links.  If you click on it, it will expand and show more information.  Currently, it shows embedded videos.

You can find the TOR Nexus at:

Let me know if you have any problems or ideas, thanks!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WAR for the Holidays

Sadly, we found out yesterday that the upcoming 1.4.5 patch will not be on the PTS in time for the impeding holidays.  It seems they had some technical issues on their internal servers which forced them to hold off for now.  That doesn't mean there is nothing happening to tide us over for the break.  Be sure to read the rest of James' update.

So what are we getting?

Bonus RP.  For as long as Keg's End runs run there will be a holiday bonus to RP and XP.

Dev Discussion.  They will post some of the details involving relics and forts later this week.

Scenario Update.  The new scenario lineup will be pushed out prior to the holiday break.  This includes two 6 vs 6 scenarios:  Gates of Ekrund and Caledor Woods.

One community member had this idea:

One thing that would be very WELCOMED would be unlocking Eternal Citadel during IC siege and unlocking College of Corruption (6v6) during Altdorf siege.

Sounds good to me, and James also said: "I can look at that for the future as something to do, sure."

While it is disappointing that 1.4.5 did not make it to the PTS, these things happen.  Luckily there is plenty to keep me busy ( Holidays, SWTOR, Skyrim ) in the mean time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Since it's launch day

This feels appropriate, and will pass a small part of the queue time away.

Drinking from the XP Fire Hose

One of the small frustrations I have with Star Wars: The Old Republic is the amount of XP you gain, at least early in the game.  By doing all of the quests given to me, I have started to really outpace the content.  On Coruscant it was especially bad.

By the time I was dealing with the Justicar's, I was already 2+ levels ahead of the content.  At that point I started to skip quests which didn't seem important, same goes for Heroic's and Bonus Missions.  By skipping content, I managed to arrive at Taris only 1.5 levels ahead of the content (17.5).  The next planet, Nar Shadaa, starts at level 20, so I am going to have to skip missions on Taris too.

The fact I am being flooded by XP also makes me reluctant to do Warzones and Space Missions, since they also reward XP.  I could really go for an XP off switch at this point.  I've heard the XP situation improves in the later levels, so we'll see what happens.

I really dislike skipping content.  One reason is I might miss out on Custom item rewards.  The SWTOR item databases available have not tied item rewards to missions yet, and TOR missions do not tell you the rewards ahead of time.  I could always go back and do them later, but that just doesn't feel right.

Another reason is that some of the quests are fun and interesting.  I'd really hate to miss the start of a quest chain just because I need to limit my XP intake.  I've also been avoiding Cantina's so I don't build up any bonus XP.

In the near term, there really isn't much that can be done.  I doubt I'll see an XP off option, or a change to the XP rewards in time to be useful to this character.


Monday, December 19, 2011

SWTOR Custom Items

One of my favorite features in Star Wars: The Old Republic is item modifications and custom items.  If you want to read in depth about the system, check out this developer post.  I'll give you a very short version.  Custom items are shells, which you can add mods too all the way through the end game.

That means if you like the look of an item, you can keep it indefinitely.  Custom items (labeled orange) can also be used by your companions.  So you are able to customize their look as well.  This weekend, I did just that and purchased matching A-405 Wraith Projector Assault Cannons for myself and my companion, Aric Jorgen.

I took Armstech as a crew skill, so I was able to upgrade the Barrel on both weapons.  The A-405 cost 14 Coruscant Commendations a piece, but I had plenty.  It looks decent, but I'm sure I'll find something better down the line.

Here is me and Aric with our new toys. 

I love being able to customize equipment for myself and my team.  In fact, I've started to collect Custom gear for companions I may get in the future.  I have a Lightsaber and Blaster from the Esseles Flashpoint, along with some Plasteel pants.

Friday, December 16, 2011

TOR Datacron: And We're Off!

Early Access began this week for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  From my experience, it could not have gone better.  I've had no problems at all, which is a first for a major MMO launch.  BioWare has been busy during this time, so they will be the focus of this datacron.


What's Next?  In a blog post, James Ohlen talks about what we can expect from SWTOR in the near future. I like what I read.  Most of all, I want to see a continuing commitment to solo non-repeatable content.  PvP would be a close second.

Grace Period.  BioWare has relented and given a two day Grace Period.  That means you'll be able to play for up to 48 hours after the game officially launches before you must enter a game code.  This isn't a huge deal for a lot of people since retailers are shipping hard copies early.

Downtime.  It may be a new MMO, but SWTOR still needs scheduled maintenance. In the coming week, they have scheduled several blocks of downtime.  Luckily, a lot of it is being done very early (EST).

Peaks and Valleys.   Invites are still going out for EGA, but today they will start to cover smaller swaths of time.  Back when pre-orders started there was a lot, and now closer to launch there are a lot.  Last i saw, they were getting closer to December, so the end is near!


Jedi Gambit.  Pages four and five are out for the webcomic, Jedi Gambit.  Drop by and take a look!

Gungans. Funny comic from swtor-life, involving those always popular Gungans.  I'm afraid it's not far from the truth.  In a recent Q&A, BioWare mentioned the possibility of Ewoks.  Please, no Ewoks, unless they can be killed.


Ilum.  Torwars has a nice post up with screenshots of Ilum.  This planet looks exteremly well done and I can't wait to get there and check it out for myself.

Security Key.  To help encourage players to use an Authenticator, BioWare has made special items available to those that do.

For more TOR news, stop by the TOR Nexus.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On the Second Day of TOR

BioWare gave to me... two big guns...

That's me and my new companion Aric Jorgen.  Can you ever have too many huge guns?  The answer is no, you can not.  Apparently, Aric is voiced by the same guy who is Carlton on Psych.  Thought it sounded familiar.

Oh, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Tobias and Rockgut

Beta 4 of Wrath of Heroes will include two brand new heroes.  One you might expect, the other is not really a traditional player class in Warhammer Online.  When Mythic mentioned Tobias, I guessed a Witch Hunter.  I was wrong.

Tobias is a Knight of the Blazing Sun.  He prefers a large 2-handed sword to a shield.  And much like his WAR Live counterpart, he enhances his allies.  No word on what the Blessing of Myrmidia does, but we'll find out soon.

Rockgut is the second hero, a Troll!  Not of the Internet forum variety, but pretty nasty none the less. This guy is a melee healer with some regeneration.  He also likes to burp and throw up.  A classy kind of guy.

It's nice to see a hero from outside the career lineup of Warhammer Online.  There is so much potential in the Warhammer lore, we are barely scratching the surface.

The next Beta session starts this week!

Beta 4 comes with a new version of WoH and will start Friday, December 16 at 11am EST (4pm GMT). The servers will be online non-stop until Tuesday, December 20 at 11am EST (4pm GMT).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day Two of SWTOR

The first day of Early Game Access for Star Wars: The Old Republic has passed.  From my perspective, it was flawless.  Of course, I did get in during the first wave which makes me more positive about the whole situation. I encountered no lag, bugs or server issues at all.  I think that is a first for a MMO 'launch.'

Most of the unhappiness around the community stems from BioWare's staggered invites.  Instead of just opening the doors to 1 million plus pre-orders, they are letting people in a little at a time.  It's all based on when you redeemed your pre-order code, as has been known for a long time.  Those waiting are a bit upset, but from a server stability standpoint: so far so good.

I had a lot of fun on my Trooper, Quentin.  I am really enjoying the story and the atmosphere of Ord Mantell.  The Trooper feels entirely different from his mirror (Bounty Hunter) and all of the other classes I played in beta.  Each story feeling different is certainly one of the games strengths.

Today I plan on finishing up Ord Mantell then starting Coruscant. I currently feel a bit like one of the guys in Die Hard 2, we'll see how it goes with this final mission.  Here is a look at my Trooper at the end of day one:

Just picked up his first Custom grade weapon:  Republic Command Carbine. I could upgrade this bad boy indefinitely, but I won't be using it once I go Commando.  Then I get a mean Assault Blaster!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Here we go!

Early Access for SWTOR has finally arrived.  When I got up this morning and checked my mail I was a little disappointed.  It was past 7am and nothing from BioWare.  I did redeem my pre-order code the morning that they went on sale, so I was pretty sure I'd get access this morning.

I tried to log into the game and the Play button was good to go!  About 15 minutes later I got my e-mail from BioWare.

I created my character on the Sanctum of the Exalted server ( RP-PVE ).  I do not like PvP servers, but that is a post on its own.  Maybe later this week I'll get to that.  This is the server the Multiplayer crew was assigned to, so I figured if I wanted to guild up, it'd be good to be on a server where I know some folks.

Introducing Sergeant Quentin of the Republic Army...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Server Merges Incoming

Late last week, Mythic announced that they will be offering Free Server Transfers for Warhammer Online.  This means another round of server merges is coming soon.  Actually, they will be starting this Wednesday, December 14th.

It will involve four servers:

Gorfang -> Badlands

Karak Azgal -> Karak Norn

This will leave WAR with a total of four servers: 1 US, 1 EU-English, 1 EU-German, and 1 Russian.

I don't think these come as much of a surprise to anyone, especially considering the launch of SWTOR this week (Early Access).  It's not all bad news though.   Merges give the remaining servers a new burst of life which is pretty important when it comes to PvP.  It'll also be nice to play with the folks on Gorfang since I am on Badlands.

This is just in time for the 1.4.5 patch which will bring back Fortresses.  Still no word on when that will be hitting the PTS, but I expect soon.

Being down to four servers is a little depressing, considering where WAR started.  I've had fun for over 3 years though, so I really can't be that down about it.  That's a long time to be playing a game.

Friday, December 9, 2011

TOR Datacron: Early Access is when?

Well, it's been quite a week for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  We found out that Early Access (for those that pre-ordered) will begin on the 13th instead of the 15th.  How often do MMO's start ahead of schedule?    Then we found out there is no grace period to account for shipping delays.  That's a bit odd, as I remember most MMO's having one.


Factions.  Darth Hater had an interesting lore post about different factional conflicts going on in the TOR universe.  These are areas ripe for new content.  I'd love to be able to pick sides and experience a story in the Czerka vs Wookie conflict.

Healers.  Laura from the Force Junkies gives us a breakdown of the different healers in SWTOR.  Since a number of classes can spec healing, it's good to know what each brings to the table.

Early Access.  Syp discusses the whole Early Access situation.  I am pretty happy about getting in potentially two days early.  As for the grace period, not sure it'll affect me.  I'd certainly like a day or two to be sure though.

Tanking 101.  Elicas, also from Force Junkies, put up a guide discussing the basics of tanking in SWTOR. It's a good place to start if you are planning on taking that role.  I will be going DPS or Healer on my main.

Preferences.  Swtor Life has a comprehensive guide to the preferences in SWTOR.  It goes over, in detail, what every option does, pretty helpful if you are not sure.  You can find Part 2 here.


Million Credit Mount.  Well, 1.5 million to be exact. This is a video of a mount which you can purchase from a vendor in the VIP lounge.  It is pretty sweet, if not a little big.

Outlaw's Den.  Check out this video of TOR's Free for All area, the Outlaw's Den.  There are no other players around, so it is more of a tour.

Ilum.  A video of Ilum, TOR's objective based PvP area.  How awesome is that Troopers robot companion?

Subject Alpha.  The Guardians of Peace took a video of their battle with Subject Alpha, a world boss on the planet Taris.

TOR Datacron links and video gathered from the TOR Nexus.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wrath of Heroes Progress

What's this, a post not about SWTOR?  I figured I'd switch things up a bit today and check in with Wrath of Heroes.  WoH is currently in between beta sessions, but seems to be progressing very nicely.  Let's take a look at what's been happening.

New Web Page.  The team over at BioWare Mythic improved the Wrath of Heroes web page, now it has content!  Be sure to stop by and read the latest news.  I'm very glad to see them not just using Facebook.

Progression.  During the last beta, the patch notes mentioned the addition of Mastery levels once you reach 40.  Sadly, that's all we really know about them.  In this news article, they also mention a new progression system.  I can't wait to see what it is all about.  WoH felt like it lacked depth, and this might help.

Black Fire Pass.  A new map was introduced called Black Fire Pass.  You can watch a video of it here.

New Hero.  A new Hero is on his way, his name is Tobias.

Gold.  There is now an in-game currency!  This opens up a lot of possibilities and means we will likely be able to buy some things without using real money.

Reward Spinner.  Another new feature is the Reward Spinner.  When a match is over, you play a slot machine to determine your reward. How many spinners you unlock depends on your performance.

No news on when the next beta is, but I am looking forward to checking it out.  Each session makes large strides from the one before it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Crafting Choice

The crafting (or crew skills) system in Star Wars: The Old Republic is pretty interesting.  While it is based off of the run of mill MMO crafting system, it's more broad.  What I like best about it is that you can send your companions out on missions to retrieve crafting materials.  So while I am fighting in a Warzone, I can still be making crafting progress!

As you probably know, my first character will be a Trooper/Commando.  He wears heavy armor and carries a very big gun.  It's time to decide which crew skills I will take.  I like to start with the actual crafting skill, which I've narrowed down to two choices.

Armortech.  This crew skill focuses on making armor (surprise!), which includes heavy.  I've used this in beta with my Bounty Hunter and it produced some nice pieces.  Unlike the next crew skill, I make use of a number of armor items.

Another positive of Armortech is that it makes use of Underworld Trading as a mission skill.  According to this dev post, UT will be able to get Custom schematics.  These are basically shell items you can mod all the way to the end game if you like the look.

Arsmtech.  This crew skill makes weapons, including heavy blaster rifles.  The Commando is all about his gun, so being able to craft the best would be beneficial.  On the downside, my companions and I can only use a limited amount compared to armor.

Despite no need for Underworld Trading, I am still leaning toward Armstech.  The allure of crafting weapons for my Commando is just too much.  Hopefully, BioWare either spreads about the Custom schematics around the rest of the crafting skills, or they are rather common on the GTN (auction house).

For more info on SWTOR crafting, try the TOR Nexus PvE page.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Playing on launch day

It's that time of year again, the launch of a new MMO!  Oh, and it's the holiday season.  In around 9 days, Star Wars: The Old Republic opens up for head start.  I should be able to play on the 15th, but will I?  Absolutely. I'll try to in any case.

A lot of people will tell you to avoid launch day.  Odds are it won't be a smooth experience.  If the servers manage to stay up, you'll just end up staring at a queue indicator.  And even if you get into the game, the starting areas will be jam packed and little progress will be made.  It's hard to argue with those reasons, as they are all true.

I will not be deterred though.  The launch of a new MMO is just a fun and exciting time, despite all of the potential issues.  I think I have been a part of 3 MMO launches:  Warhammer Online, Aion and Rift.  Even though I didn't stay long in the last two, their launches were fun.

I think SWTOR will do pretty well in terms of stability when its doors open.  They have had some pretty big stress tests the last couple of weeks.  During the Thanksgiving Holiday they had 725,000 unique testers log in and play.  I don't think they will have that many on their first day of head start... so they should be able to deal with the traffic.

Sadly, there is no real way to avoid queues.  Some servers are just more popular than others. If you are unattached, you can choose to create a character on that lonely server in the corner.  Still, as BioWare walks the fine line between too many servers and too few there will be queues.

While I do plan on playing when the game launches, I won't be taking any days off from work.  A few hours?  Sure.  That's all part of the fun :)

Need TOR news?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bounty Hunter PvP

Sadly, the SWTOR beta has come to an end.  I was in it for a couple of months and had a great time.  Luckily, the launch of the game is only 10 days away!  A week or so ago I made a video of my level 15 Bounty Hunter Mercenary in the Alderaan warzone.  PvP is better than I thought it would be in The Old Republic, not perfect, but pretty fun.

As you can see from the video, I am doing some healing.  That is one nice thing about the classes in this game, they are all hybrids.  While all Mercenaries can heal, I've been concentrating on the Bodyguard tree which enhances healing.

Once of the interesting abilities Mercenaries get is Combat Support Cylinder.  When active, it changes your spammable attack (pistol shots in my case).  When targeted at an enemy it does damage as you would expect. When an ally is targeted, it will heal them.  It's a small heal, but does not build up an Heat so you can always be using it.

The Bounty Hunter is a fun class and very versatile.  So it comes as no surprise that warzones were crawling with them (and Sorcerers).  Can't go wrong with fun combat and a good story.

Want more SWTOR PvP?  Stop by the TOR Nexus PvP page.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Nexus Datacron: First

In the fine tradition of the News from the Front posts comes the Nexus Datacron.  These posts will basically showcase some of the interesting community content for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I will, of course, be counting on the TOR Nexus to help find these gems.  That's enough intro, let's get to the good stuff.


Bantha PooDoo.  The latest issue of the Jedi Gambit is up!  Rackham, who also made the awesome banner for this site, continues his excellent web comic series.

Advanced Respecs.  Torwars has a post discussing the latest news about respecs of your Advanced Class.  Spoiler: no respecs at this time.  I'm not surprised, Advanced Classes are really just classes.

Accessories.  Scary Worlds let us know that in order to get the 'full SWTOR experience' you may need to shell out around $1,000.  This includes all those custom accessories that razor is putting out.

What's my name?  Syp has some concerns about the recently announced Legacy system.  Specifically when it comes to choosing a surname or title.  I'd have to agree with him,  I really don't want to feel rushed to go claim my name.

Patch Notes.  Darth hater posted a copy of the latest beta Patch Notes.  Nothing too major in there, just a lot of bug fixes and polishing.

Data Mining.  Darth hater also posted the results of their data mining the latest patch.  Looks like a ton of items and recipes were added, but not really mentioned in the patch notes.


Easter Egg.  SWTOR does indeed have some Easter Eggs.    This one is pretty awesome and has to do with Night at the Roxbury.

Legacy.  Speaking of the Legacy system, MattOwen07 posted a video showing how it works.

Ilum.  Wondering what SWTOR's PvP planet, Ilum, looks like?  Here is a video tour of the battlefield.

Space.  A look at one of the space combat missions you'll be able to do.  Sure, it's not X-Wing... but it does look cool.

Big Boss.  A video of a lower level Trooper, but includes a look at one of the World Bosses you might find in your travels.  It is beta, so do ignore that invisible assault cannon ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Look at WAR

We all know WAR is great for PvP, which mostly involves looking for an enemy, then killing said enemy.  It also has some spectacular scenery. You can get a bit of tunnel vision when on the hunt for renown and miss it.  It also doesn't help that a large part of the game, geographically, is not used in normal PvP activities.

Some of the environments in Warhammer Online are very well done.  Etaew, a blogger, has been taking the time to document some of these great views.  In a series of posts, he provides a number of screenshots from all over the game.

In today's post, he covers Mount Bloodhorn from a Greenskins perspective.  Don't worry Dwarfs, there is one from your perspective too.

Be sure to take a look around his site to see the other zones he has done.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Introducing the TOR Nexus

Lately, I've been having trouble keeping up with all the the Star Wars: The Old Republic news and content being generated by the community.  I needed a better (and quicker) way of dealing with them, so the TOR Nexus was born.

What is it?  The TOR Nexus is basically an aggregator, but takes in a bunch of different sources.  Currently, it looks for TOR content at a number of blogs, fansites, BioWare, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Live Streams.  My goal for the project is to keep it simple, quick and useful.

As a blogger, I really don't want to take any views away from someones site.  That's why the TOR Nexus is mostly focused on providing links.  At most a few sentences from an article will be shown.  The goal here is to drive visitors to the content creators.

Main Page.  On the front page, you will the see latest news from nearly all of the sources the nexus uses.

Class Pages.  Each class in TOR gets its own page.  Here you will find the latest community posts, videos and forum threads having to do with the class. For example, check out the Troopers page.

Live Feed.  This page will show you content as it comes into the TOR Nexus.  It automatically updates, so no need to refresh.  Right now this also will show SWTOR related youtube videos as they are uploaded.

You can find the TOR Nexus here:

Please let me know if you have any problems, ideas or questions about the new site.  I still have a bunch more to add, but I hope it proves useful.  A link for the TOR nexus can also be found on my menu bar above.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SWTOR Story Impressions

There are no spoilers in this post.  Ever since BioWare announced Star Wars: the Old Republic it has made a big deal about the fourth pillar of the MMO being the story.  It's pretty clear this is a driving force behind the game, and it may be what makes or breaks it.  So just how good is the story?

First a little background.  I've played 3 classes ( Sith Inquisitor, Jedi Consular and Bounty Hunter ) into their teens.  That means I have only seen a small part of the story, since 50 is the level cap.

The story aspect of the game mostly refers to the class story.  This long arc pretty much covers the entire leveling experience.  It is the first thing you are introduced to when you create a new character.  So far, I do think the class stories are very well done.  I like all three which I've started and am looking forward to seeing how they turn out someday.

The stories have been pretty unique so far.  Playing a Bounty Hunter feels like a different game (story wise) compared to the Sith Inquisitor even though they are on the same side.  It also cranks the immersion factor up well beyond your typical MMO.  Leveling is not just about getting to 50, it is a journey through the story.

So yeah, I think the class stories are pretty awesome and deserving of the hype.  The side quests on the other hand, are not really up to the same standard.   You cannot level through your class story quests alone, that means you need to get experience elsewhere.  One option is the side quests.

These quests are generally one shots, in that there is a single step.  They are also shared between classes of the same faction, albeit with some different dialog.  It's worth mentioning that there seems to be some planet quest arcs later on which I've heard good things about.   Doing the side quests is not as fun as the class stories, since they are a bit more run of the mill.

In conclusion, I really enjoy the class stories, but am not a big fan of the side quests but am likely to do them once.   Luckily, Warzones award XP so that is another option to use for leveling.

Below is a picture of my Bounty Hunter's newly acquired ship.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Fire Pass

One of the big features of last weekends beta sessions for Wrath of Heroes was a new scenario:  Black Fire Pass.   This brings the total count up to three ( Mourkain Temple and the Arena ).  Basically, you want to capture 3 runes and have them all secured at your base.  When you do, your side gets points.

It was a fun scenario, once I figured out what was going on.  There is a bit more running around than in The Arena, but the runes add a tactical element.  The setting is also nice, with plenty of walls and obstacles which can be used to break line of sight.

I did make a video of my first BFP match, which you can see below.  This was my first video since I got a new monitor, so I finally joined the 1920 x 1080 video club :)

Want to see a behind the scenes look at Black Fire Pass?  Head over to Stratics.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WAR 1.4.5 Q&A

With Warhammer Online's 1.4.5 patch drawing ever closer, it is time for another Q&A with the development team.  Last Q&A, we talked about Fortresses.  This time around, I wanted to cover what else we might be seeing with the patch.  Also, more Fortress details!

1)  Grovod Caverns has been talked about for a while now, will we see its return soon?

Yes, the final polish is being put on now and we hope to have it as planned in 1.4.5

2)  It's Skaven themed, can you please elaborate on how it will work compared to a normal scenario?

Players will begin as their choice of skaven. Fighting will center around control of a single Bomb, which is intended to be used to destroy the skaven machinations of the enemy in the caverns.  High points are awarded for the destruction of enemy machinations.

3)  Will there be any notable combat and career changes coming in 1.4.5?

There will be some changes and fixes, but the primary focus of 1.4.5 is the relics and fortresses, with a side of Grovod.

4)  In the last Q&A, it was mentioned that Guilds and Alliances may be able to claim Fortresses.  High level, how will this work and what's in it for the claimer? 

Correct, similar to the old system, an alliance can claim a fortress and bring more defense to bear for their realm.  Other guilds in the alliance can also spot fortify the fortress with a new mechanic being introduced.

In addition to adding physical defenses to the Fortress, claiming these spots will reward Alliance members with various buffs to help them in their defense of the Fortress. These buffs are localized to the Fortress area where they are gained, and are not the same as any buffs or bonuses gained by controlling relics.

5)  Another aspect of Forts will be the ability to assume the role of a Fort Lord or his guards. Can you give us any details about how and why a player would do this?

The option will be there to allow the Generals (the new replacement for the Lord and guards) to defend on their own.  However, if a brave soul wants to assume responsibility and take on that mantle they will become the General and use that granted power to actively respond to an attack.

There are two reasons someone might do this.  One, it’s fun.  Two, players will always outplay an NPC. There will be four (4) Generals available (Healer, Tank, Ranged DPS, and Melee DPS). They will only be available once the Fortress has been claimed by an Alliance. Additionally, the opportunity to assume the role of a General will only be available while the NPC is not in combat.

6)  Will a realm be limited in the amount of relics they can have claimed?  For example, can Order claim and hold all three indefinitely?

There is no limit on the relics.  Currently there is no time limit either.

7)  Tier 7 Armor Sets, anything you can tell us about how we will obtain them?

At this point no.  The only hint I can give is that they will have a way to earn access that ties into the fortress and relics.

8)  When can players expect to see 1.4.5 on the PTS?

Right now our plan is to get up the initial version of the relic/fortress for testing on PTS in December.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Farewell Lydia

Something interesting happened to me in Skyrim this week. My faithful housecarl from Whiterun, Lydia, died in a fight with a dragon.  This seems to be a somewhat popular topic this week, but I assure you that you will find no interesting uses of her corpse here.

There we were, taking on a dragon.  I generally use a 1h sword and Flames, so I need to be up close and personal. Lydia was using a Warhammer, so she was right up there with me.  I guess she took too much damage and went into her 'don't hurt me' stance.  Since the dragon does AoE,  it didn't save her.

Before that encounter, I purchased the Breezehouse house for a cool 5,000 gold.  Since Lydia is my housecarl she also lives there. After the fight with the dragon, I returned home to store its bones and scales.  I happened to notice Lydia's room was empty but somewhat decorated. It did looked lived in. She won't be coming back.

It's not often that I have that kind of realization in a video game.  Something as simple as an empty room can do it.  I briefly thought about reverting my save to just before the fight, but resisted the urge.  I think that would do a disservice to the game and possibly my memories of it once I've stopped playing.

A Dwarf and an Elf walk into a bar

And they both join Wrath of Heroes.  Yeah, that's the best I could come up with.  PC Gamer brings us news of two new Heroes coming to WoH.  Both of which will be present in this weeks beta test.  I'm always happy to see another Dwarf join the fray. The Elf.... well at least she carries a big axe.

Aessa the White Lion

Read more over at the PC Gamer site.

Gromki the Rune Priest

No video for this guy, but here is some text from the article...
Gromki, the Dwarf Rune Priest, was conceived as a non-healing support Hero, but he’s changed a lot over multiple iterations. While he still has no healing abilities, he’s now moved into the role of a damage dealer with utility. Unlike other Heroes, his available debuffs don’t have durations, and are instead limited to only affecting one target at a time. Our intent was to create a Hero that’s almost a walking debuff, one that you dispel with damage.

Monday, November 21, 2011

SWTOR Atmosphere

As you have probably heard, the NDA for Star Wars: The Old Republic has been dropped.  The game officially launches in a little less than a month, so that gives us plenty of time to talk.  Since TOR is such a huge topic, I'm going to break up my impressions about it into several posts.  This one is about the games atmosphere.

What do I mean by atmosphere?  Mostly, how much does the world feel like Star Wars.  Did they just slap Star Wars on some generic stuff and call it a day?  I can honestly say, no way.  The atmosphere of this game is just amazing.  Instead of writing about it, lets look at some pictures.

Here we have a cantina on Hutta.  A Wookie has just played a now arm-less droid in a game of something.  I'm guessing the Wookie lost.

This screenshot was taken in a hanger bay located in the Imperial Fleet.  In the background you can see Imperial ships moving around.  Two soldiers are discussing something while looking at a hologram.

This is just a random computer terminal I saw in the Imperial Intelligence HQ.  I love this kind of sci-fi stuff.

A view of the Citadel on Drumund Kaas.  This world is always covered in storms, and you can see lightning crashes.  You can also see ship traffic flying around.

This was just a small sampling of the views I've seen over the past couple of months.  I'm constantly saying, "wow, that's cool" to myself when exploring the world.  I am a fan of Star Wars in general though, so that may just be me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Stratics returns to WAR

It isn't often a 3+ year old game gets renewed interest from a large gaming site.  Stratics, which is still the place to go talk about Ultima Online, has revamped their Warhammer Online site.  This is mostly do to its new editor, our very own Mykiel.

And they are also on twitter:!/WAR_Stratics

He's got a lot of plans for the site, and it is coming along nicely.  Stop by for a visit.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Out with the old nemesis

My journey through Skyrim is going well, albeit slowly.  There is just so much to explore in this game.  I intended to make my way to the Greybeards yesterday, but got sidetracked several times en route.  I did manage to complete one goal though, defeating the Hagraven and obtain Nettlebane.

Her massive fireball was causing me serious trouble.  I ended up using Raise Zombie on one of the witches I had slain earlier.  The key part was to do this while in-combat, so she would go over and attack the Hagraven. This bought me enough time to get close.  Turns out, she doesn't cast when you are in melee range.

Thinking back on it, an invisibility potion would have been a lot easier.  Live (or die many times) and learn I guess.

Mages are still wrecking me though.  If there is more than one, I'm usually done for.  I did discover a cheesy way to beat some difficult enemies.  If they are inside and near a door you can just hop in out, heal (sleep), then go back inside.  I've found they do not regain health during your rest.

I also learned heavy armor does NOT mitigate magical damage.  Looks like I am going to have to start really looking into enchanting my current armor with magic resists and building up a stockpile of potions.

I also have a new nemesis, Spriggans. These suckers are just tough, and they can heal themselves.  I can defeat one, with some potion guzzling   Sadly, the ones I need to kill are not alone.  Not sure a companion will be of much help with this many.


Starting on Thanksgiving (November 24th), Wrath of Heroes will be back for another beta session.  This one looks like it'll be quick, as it ends that Sunday (November 27th) but will run 24 hours a day.  It's a time to be with friends, give thanks and then dominate your fellow man online.

So far, we don't know what has changed for this beta session.  What we do know is that we will be able to choose from 17 heroes.

Everyone's favorite Goblin returns, should be interesting to see him with Conrad the Warrior Priest.  Speaking of Conrad, looks like he will be getting some improvements.

Want to talk about Wrath of Heroes?  Head over to

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Choosing a Class

One of the first steps into a new MMO is to decide on a class to play.  I will often see questions from new players asking which is needed or which is the best.  This is something I've never been able to relate to, as those thoughts have never come up.  My criteria for a class is a bit different.

It really comes down to the idea behind the class and the look for me.  A few years ago when I first started to read up on Warhammer Online, I took a look at the career list.  I was perusing the careers... Dwarf, guns, turret... SOLD!  That's all it took and I never looked back.

The same applies to The Old Republic.  I could trape around in a bathrobe (or curtains for an old movie reference) or I could wear heavy armor and carry a gigantic gun.  Hmmmm, yeah I'll go with the Trooper.  That's just my style.  In fact, I plan on playing all of the non-Force using classes first.  They just are much more appealing.

The power of the class has no bearing on my enjoyment, as evidenced by the Engineer I've played since launch.  The Archmage could be the strongest and most needed class in WAR, but I wouldn't respect myself in the morning if I played one.  No offense to you AM players of course ;)

So how do you go about picking a class?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Skyrim So far

I've been spending most of my gaming time playing Skyrim the last few days.  It's a pretty fun game.  I'm not sure if it a game of the year kind of game, but it is quality none the less.  The atmosphere is fantastic, especially with the mountains.

Here are some interesting things I have found, no story spoilers.  My character is currently Level 8 and I've only done the Whiterun part of the main quest.

Mining.  I've got my smithing up to 24, thanks to being better at spotting ore.  I've found that veins can by in caves, mines or just on rocks laying about.  If you want some precise locations for all types of ore, check out this thread.

Lunar Forge.  I found a forge in some ruins which had special weapons.  Basically they do extra damage when the moons are out.  You can disenchant these to get access to that effect.  You can find the forge near Whiterun, a quest there will actually take you directly to it.

Hagraven.  These, things, are giving me a pretty good beating at the moment.  They toss these huge fireballs at you which do AoE damage.  I'm not sure if they are just at a higher level than me, or if they are always a pain.  I think I am going to look into Resist Fire gear and potions.  Or maybe I'll just come back after I get a few more levels.

Fort Neugrad.  I found this fort while exploring near Helgen.  It had a treasure map, which are always fun to do.

Witches be trippin.  Magic damage seems to hurt a lot.  I'm using Heavy Armor (with several perks) and they just tear me up with their fire and lightning combo.  I end up guzzling potions and eating all of my food just to take them down.

Stray Dog.  While exploring, I came across a Stray Dog.  That was his name.  He started to follow me around and fight with me.  Sadly, he was killed by a bandit during a fight.  I hate having dogs in games, just because I'd rather them not die.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trooper is the answer

The question is, who would win in a fight?  On Friday, BioWare released a new video discussing the Sith Inquisitor and the Trooper.  I do like these Choose Your Side videos, although I expect some players to take them a bit too seriously.

Sure the SI can shoot lightning out of his or her hands and manipulates the world using the Force.  That's all well and good.  But come on, they wear bath robes.  The Assassin (SI advanced class) can also stealth and get's a double bladed light saber. Yippie...

Have you seen the gun that the Trooper (Commando) hauls around?  It's enormous! They also get to wear cool armor, not something you'd find in a hotel room.  Did I mention rockets and grenades?  The Trooper gets them too.

Ok, I may be a little bit biased.  Sure, I don't think we ever saw a Trooper take on a force user 1 vs 1 in the movies.  They tended to just be fodder, although they did take out almost all of the Jedi in Episode 3.  When it comes to a game, Coolness counts heavily in my opinion.  That is what seals the Troopers victory.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mining in Skyrim

Did you know you can mine ore in Skyrim?  It took me a bit to realize it, but you can!  It's pretty easy...

First, you need a pick axe in your inventory.  Various merchants sell them, or you can find them in mines.

Next you need to find some Ore to mine.  You can try Embershard Mine, which is near Riverwood.  Someone made a video to help find it...

Once in the mine, look around for some ore veins.  It can be on the ground, walls or ceiling, it'll treat it like an object when your target reticle goes over it.  On the 360, the texture is not very obvious.  You'll just have to hit the button and he'll (or she'll) mine the ore until the vein is finished.

Note:  You can get gems when mining too.  Reminds me of a certain MMO...

Having Ore is nice, but to craft we'll need to make an ingot.  For this you will need a Smelter.  Riverwood does not have one, so you should take the ore to Whiterun.

Skyrim Black Falls Barrow Tip

When I was adventuring in Black Falls Barrow, I came across a little problem when trying to use The Golden Claw to enter the Inner Sanctum.  None of the 3 rings were able to be interacted with and the door would not open.

To solve this, I left zone (not the whole dungeon, just the previous loading screen) and came back.  After that, it worked fine.  This was on the 360 version, not sure if it applies to the PC or PS3.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Skyrim Plan

Today marks the much anticipated release of the latest in the Elder Scrolls series: Skyrim.  It just so happens today is a holiday for some of us in the US (Veterans Day), so much gaming should be had.  Well, probably not by me.  I ordered the 360 version and will be waiting for UPS.

Why not Digital Download the PC version?  I really just enjoy playing those games on my 360.  Plus, when I am at my computer I want to be playing other games.  So I have been thinking about what kind of character I will make in Skyrim.

Race.  You can toss out all of the Elf races cause that isn't going to happen. Imperial looks like the choice for me, I know... pretty plain choice.  But they have a skill bonus I am interested in.

Speaking of skills, in Skyrim you can get them all to 100.  The customization comes in the form of Perks, which you only have so many your able to choose.

Heavy Armor.  Maybe it is my Dwarven tendencies, but I can't resist Heavy Armor.  I think it is usually much more interesting looking than lighter armor, and just plain cooler.

Smithing.  If I am going Heavy Armor, then it makes since to have a way to forge the pieces.  Hopefully crafting isn't too tedious in the game.  Usually it does not interest me much when it comes to single player games.

Conjuration.  So this skill (and perks) let you summon creatures and raise the dead.  Yeah, that sounds like something I want to do.

So those are 3 main areas I am looking at for Skyrim.  I guess that makes me into a Battle Mage.  We'll see how it plays out when I finally get my hands on the game.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 6

It's time for another look at some of the upcoming armor sets for Warhammer Online.  We still don't know how we can get our grubby hands on these, but I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.  My money is still on them being a reward for successfully capturing a relic in the upcoming fortress revamp.


Ah, the Magus.  My arch-enemy.  This guy actually looks decent without his flying surf board.  I think it is the white which makes it stand out to me.

White Lion

Ok, settle down.  The White Lion is not becoming a dual wield career.  I don't know why the picture shows him as such, just one of those things.

Rune Priest

I just don't like the armor sets where the backpack puts something over their head.  I know there is only so much room to work with on a Dwarf, but it just doesn't appeal to me.

Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 1 - Bright Wizard, Chosen, Engineer
Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 2 - Disciple of Khain, Knight of the Blazing Sun, Slayer, Witch Elf
Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 3 - Marauder, Squig Herder, Shadow Warrior
Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 4 - With Hunter, Zealot, Blackguard
Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 5 - Archmage, Black Orc, Ironbreaker
Tier 7 Armor Sets - Round 6 - Magus, White Lion, Rune Priest

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


This week, the SWTOR team at BioWare Austin invited a number of fansites down to check out the latest and greatest.  One of the big ticket items they got to see was PvP on Ilum.  This is the only announced world area dedicated to PvP.  Unless you roll on a PvP server, then you can get it on almost anywhere you want.

For the full details, head on over to Ask a Jedi.

Quick Summary. Basically, Ilum has a large RvR lake (in WAR terms).  There are 2 bases: one Republic, one Empire.  In between there will be 3 objectives to be captured. Capture them all and your faction wins.

Reward.  What do you get for winning?  It seems like a faction-wide buff to Valor gain.  Valor is basically Renown.  It is said that the buff stacks, so multiple captures increase the buff.  The lake will also contains rare crafting materials.

Cool Stuff.  The battlefield has Walkers (AT-AT kinda stuff), Bombers, Rocket launchers and who knows what else.  We saw some of it in a video they released a short while ago.

Thoughts.  It's nice that TOR is attempting to put some interesting PvP into the game.  I'm certainly going to check it out once I reach 50, I want to shoot some Walkers!  The rare crafting materials also seems like a great reason to visit the zone.

Overall, I'm not sure how well it will work.  One area to fight in will get old fast for a lot of people.  They say that the zone does not reset (like Wintergrasp) which is a good thing, but then we get to the problem of unbalanced populations.

If the Republic is just more active (or more coordinated) they will gear up faster and be even stronger.  I'm not sure there is anyway to really solve this, especially with 2 sides and limited places to fight.

We still don't know all of the details, so I'll keep an open mind.  In the end, I'm playing TOR for the story so I am not very concerned with the PvP side of the game.  If it turns out to be good, it's a nice bonus.    Who am I kidding, I can't resist PvP.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Lately, I have just been overloaded with games to play and fun stuff to do.  It wouldn't be so bad if work insisted that I, well, work to get paid.  But they do, so that takes a big chunk of time that could be spent goofing off.  Here is what I have going on this month and next.

New Vegas.  I've had Fallout 3: New Vegas for close to a year now and am finally playing through it.  I like it quite a bit, but it is pretty lengthy.  Luckily, it is open enough that I can forge my own way to the end without doing every quest thrown at me.  For example, lets take the Boomers.  I ended up just wiping them out for that artillery nonsense.  Now I am loaded up with grenades :)

Skyrim.  This Friday, Skyrim is set to be unleashed upon the world.  I expect it to suck up a pretty good amount of time in the coming weeks.  I'll be getting it on the 360, although I'm tempted to go Steam just so I can have it when I wake up.

Revan.  The third Old Republic novel comes out on November 15th.  I've read Fatal Alliances and Deceived, so I'm pretty excited about this one.  If you have not read the Darth Bane books, also by Drew Karpyshyn, you should, they are awesome.

EVE Online.  I'm currently working on my goal of turning 250 million Isk into 1 billion.  Researching Planetary Interaction at the moment to see how profitable it can be.

Betas.  I'm in the SWTOR Beta, which I play sparingly just so I keep things fresh for launch.  Wrath of Heroes is currently between sessions, but I expect that to resume soon.

Fortresses.  Warhammer Online is set to bring back Forts pretty soon.  I hope to see them on PTS in the next few weeks.  It's a big feature, so who knows when we'll actually see it live.  I'd prefer they get it right rather than rush it.

The Old Republic.  In a little over a month, Star Wars: The Old Republic will launch.  Hopefully that will be December 15th for me, since I did get my pre-order in on the day it was available.

I left a few games off of the list, like League of Legends and Sword of the Stars 2.  I try to play those when the stuff above is not tickling my fancy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Money, Money, Money

This weekend turned out to be rather interesting.  I had to spend some money, which was not planned.  I also re-subbed to a game so I could make some money (virtual, sadly).  In both cases, I had some fun as a result.  Lets start with the spending.

I got up Saturday morning to find that my monitor no longer worked.  I had it for over three years, so I was sad to see it go. On the positive side, it means I get a new monitor!  A quick trip to Best Buy and I had an Acer S232.  It's a 23" LED monitor that has a resolution of 1920 x 1068.  Both stats are an improvement for me.  It also only cost ~$169.  It's cheap enough that I can still get a new monitor when I upgrade my system next year.

On Friday I re-subscribed to EVE Online.  I blame Social Media (twitter, blogs) pressure for my return to the game.  The main reason I did it was because I was in the mood for a challenge.  Specifically, I wanted to have to think and plan.  I also found out that my ship was no longer stranded in a wormhole.  I guess it gets moved if your account is inactive long enough.

I'm not sure how much time I'll spend in EVE, what with TOR coming out next month.  It was only $10 for the month, so I think I'll get my monies worth. So now the question is, what to do?

I have $250 million Isk in my bank account at the moment.  My Drake is T2 shield fitted, so has about 33,000 effective HP.  It was meant to take some abuse from Sleepers, and is probably just a bit overkill for my Level 2 Agent missions.I really don;t feel like grinding missions to get to Level 3.

My goal is to turn that 250 million into 1 billion Isk.  I have pretty good Manufacturing and Trading skills, so I'm leaning towards using those to accomplish my goal. I'm open to ideas though.  It should be pretty fun, I'm currently researching trade route and products to sell.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fallen Earth Brings the PvP

Fallen Earth is a game I have not played in a while, ever since they gutted a lot of their staff.  Recently, they have a couple things going on that makes me think about trying it out again.  First is the fact that they are now a Free to Play game.  By itself though, it is not enough to bring me back.

Secondly, and the really tempting reason, is their latest dev blog about PvP.  Here's a blurb...

The Territory Control area has 13 control points that Factions can hold. These control points work a lot like the existing Faction Control system, but with some nice additions. Six of the points are out in the open and will be harder to defend and maintain control of. The other seven points are actually inside of keeps (including one bad-ass huge keep in the middle of the area) that will provide much better defense, as well as some other nice perks.

If I remember correctly, there are 6 factions in fallen Earth, that's even better than 3 :)  Stuff to fight over is an important part of any PvP system.  Now the question is why...

If your faction holds any of the 13 control points in the area, you'll get a nice buff that will improve based on the number of points you control. That improvement will max out at 4 control points. The buff will increase death toll, faction, and experience earnings and will also give a nice boost to the major offensive combat skills.
And then there's what you're all really fighting over: resources. When you control a point, you'll have the ability to create and place your own harvesters that will generate some nice resource nodes in the area surrounding your control point.

So you can get buffs and resource nodes, the latter of which is pretty important to crafting.  The control points themselves sound pretty varied.  There are some keep mechanics with some of them that have destructible doors and walls.

So yeah, that all sounds pretty good to me.

Last Call for Beta 2

According to the Wrath of Heroes Facebook page, this weekends will be the last for this stage of the beta.  It went pretty quick, but a lot of progress was made between this stage and the last.  I really enjoy the new record keeping, tactics and heroes.  I wonder what beta 3 will have in store for us?

Time for this weekends test:
  • Thursday, November 3rd – 4pm-8pm EDT (8pm-12am GMT)
  • Friday, November 4th – 10am-10pm EDT (2pm-2am GMT)
  • Saturday, November 5th – 12pm-6pm EDT (4pm-10pm GMT)
As far as I can tell, not much has changed between this weekends test and the last.  Zathis and Conrad are still around to be tried out.  

New Fansite.  For those of you that speak Portuguese (or use Google Translate), there is a new Wrath of Heroes Fansite.  It has forums, videos and a Mumble server.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Zathis and Conrad

During last weekends Wrath of Heroes beta test, we got to play two new Heroes. Zathis is a Dark Elf Assassin while Conrad is a Warrior Priest. These additions do bring some interesting abilities to the party.  I whipped up a short video to show off some of what they can do.

Zathis.  The Dark Elf Assassin is able to stealth for an unlimited amount of time.  However, he moves VERY slow while stealthed, I mean really really slow.  So you best wait to stealth until you get close to your enemy.  To go along with that ability, he is able to teleport to a target.  That was actually a lot of fun!

Conrad.  The Warrior priest is basically a melee healer.  When he hits with two of his abilities, the group (within range) gets healed.  It's nice to have an alternative to Glowgob the Shaman.  He also has a powerful silence ability which seemed very useful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fortress Dev Discussion

Late last week, WAR Producer James Casey created a new Developer Discussion thread.  This time it is to discuss the re-introduction of fortresses and their effect on the overall campaign.  This is a follow-up to the Fortress Q&A which I posted a couple of weeks ago.

First up is how Fortresses will fit in T4.  Our goal is that they are an alternate way to RvR and help in the WAR.  However, by opening up those areas again and making them active, despite them not being gated by the campaign, there will still be some effect on the campaign.    

Currently thoughts are to make the relic raid require you to go through the front gate(s), then the front door, and then take out the lords to capture the relic; at which point you'd high tail it out of there.  The questions I have for this discussion is this. 

1. What positive effect for the campaign can you envision from having this alternate RvR up all the time? 

It seems to me it would give smaller groups an objective, for both attack and defense.  It really depends on implementation, it could end up just moving all the players there instead of the Keeps.

2. Is there a negative effect for the campaign that you can envision from having this alternate RvR up all the time?

Midnight and Early morning attacks would seem to be a negative, but again it provides something for players to do during off hours.

There is also the risk of the stronger realm just dominating all of the forts.  Keeping the battles smaller would be key in preventing this from happening.

3. Are there ways to mitigate said negative effect or a way to accentuate the positives that you'd like to suggest.  

I think that the Guild/Alliance claiming of Forts couple help keep the battle small, depending on the benefits of ownership. Allowing owners only quicker access (teleport) to the forts might help encourage them to come to its defense instead of the whole realm.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sword of the Stars 2: First Look

I just can't help myself when it comes to 4x strategy games.  My plan was to wait for one of those crazy Steam sales to purchase Sword of the Stars 2, instead I bought it when it was released.  I deceided to make a First Look video, which shows my first 15 minutes with the game plus commentary.

Sadly, the launch of the game had some problems.  It is still playable (as the video shows) and they are working hard to fix the issues.

Friday, October 28, 2011

News from the Front: Trick or Treat

Sadly, I'm all out of candy.  Instead, I'll be giving out some links!  With the drop of the Wrath of Heroes NDA, articles and videos of the game have started to appear.  A number are these are by WAR blogger types and other players.  Let's get down to business!  While there may not be an official forum for Wrath of Heroes, Garaawarr has started up his own community site.  It's in beta this weekend, so head on over to and check it out.

The Arena.  Mykiel put together a video of some action in The Arena.

BETA Gameplay.  Yours truly also did a video, with the added bonus (or burden) of some commentary.  I mostly play Felicia and talk about what Wrath of Heroes is.

Zathis.  Mykiel has been busy.  In this video he shows off one of the new heroes, Zathis the Dark Elf Assassin.    There is also a lot of other interesting info about the hero.

Skins. put together all of the available skin options for heroes.  Customize the look of your hero!  This is still beta, so this might not be all of the options.

WoH at GDC. has an article from GDC up about Wrath of Heroes.

More Video!  Some nice quality video from youtube during yesterday's beta session.  Features Zathis and Conrad the Warrior Priest.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wrath of Heroes Adds Two Heroes

It's almost time for the next block of Wrath of Heroes beta testing.  That means news about what is coming up for the weekend.  Two new heroes have been added, and some are taking time off.  The new beta schedule is out as well, read on for more details.

As usual, check out the Wrath of Heroes Facebook page for the original.

Zathis.  He is a Dark Elf Assassin, who seems like he will be the first Hero with stealth abilities.  This is not to be confused with the Dodgy With Elf already in the game.  Not sure how I feel about more Elves in the game...

Conrad.  That's right, a new Hero with some Healing abilities!  Conrad is a Warrior Priest.  Finally Glowgob can take some time off after carrying every team on his back.  I'm guessing Conrad will do his healing through melee attacks, but we should know for sure tomorrow.

Glowgob and Felicia will not be in this weeks lineup.  Sounds like they want to make sure some other classes get tested well.

Testing times:
  • Thursday, October 27 – 4pm-8pm EDT (8pm-12am UTC)
  • Friday, October 28 – 10am-10pm EDT (2pm-2am UTC)
  • Saturday, October 29 – 12pm-6pm EDT (4pm-10pm UTC)
See you there!  In the mean time, you can watch some beta gameplay footage.

Scarecrow and Mr. Werit

Last month, Warhammer Online turned three years old.  As a part of the celebration, all players who have been subscribed for three years received some special gifts.  These are given out around the time you are first billed, so they have started to arrive in players Account Entitlements window.  I checked mine and there they were waiting for me.

I went with the Yellow Jack O' Lantern pet (out of 4 choices).  The scarecrow has a nice laughing idle animation. 

I also used my Box of Endless Dye: Blazing Orange and Chaos Black to make some Dye's to get in the Halloween mood.  The Demon Mood Rising Live Event is currently going on, so I could have added a nice mask too.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wrath of Heroes Gameplay Video

During last weekends beta test, I recorded a match of Wrath of Heroes.  I figured it would make a good introduction to the game, so I also gave it some commentary.  I drone on about what Wrath of Heroes is and give a little play by play of what is going on.  The match itself takes place in the Arena, which is a team deathmatch scenario.

I am playing Felicia the Flamekissed most of the time since I had a good amount of experience with her and wanted to look decent for the video.

Hope you enjoyed it.  The NDA for WoH is down, so if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Monday, October 24, 2011

There can be only one

Last week, I read an interesting post over at TAGN.  It turns out, EA is making a pretty big change to their Play 4 Free games.  Currently, each of them has its own currency system, after the change there will be only one.  Instead of paying dollars for an item, you instead purchase points.  The new currency will be known as Play4Free Funds and are shared between all of the games.

Why does this matter?  Wrath of Heroes is slated to be a Play 4 Free game.  So far we have not heard much about how the store will work, but it seems likely that it will use the new currency as well.

I hope that is the case.  The thought of buying items for dollars in the Origin store did not sit very well with me.  Using a new currency allows for a lot more flexibility.  Lets take Warhammer Online for example.  There are no plans to make that a Play 4 Free game, but it might be possible to award Play4Free Funds to subscribers so they can spend it on Wrath of Heroes.

BioWare Mythic has said they do want to give some bonus to those who subscribe, but so far we don't have any solid details.  I'd be happy if we received X amount of Play4Free Funds a month.  I'd be even happier if Warhammer Online was made into a Play 4 Free game, but that is a topic for another time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stat Tracking and Wrath of Heroes

With the return of the Wrath of Heroes beta, I received permission to post about the game.  I've been pretty anxious to write about it since I do find it to be an enjoyable experience.  This post talks about a new feature introduced in this weeks build, record keeping 

Note:  This information is from the Wrath of Heroes beta version and is subject to change. 

This is a feature I've wanted since the first time I played WoH.  Keeping track of your best scores adds a nice personal meta game aspect.  The game records stats from your best performances in categories like damage, kills, healing, objective captures and more.

It is very similar to how Team Fortress 2 does their stat tracking.  I've always enjoyed that aspect of TF2, so I'm glad to see it here as well.  The stats above are for a single life, rather than a whole match.  As you can see, Durrig the Engineer managed the most damage and kills.  I played Felicia the Bright Wizard a bit last night as well, so she claimed the other records.

Note: Beta Gameplay Video

The support stat is especially interesting.  Tracking things like Kills, damage and healing tends to leave support oriented classes out in the cold.  With this new stat, it seems they want to try and quantify contributions such as buffs, debuffs and crowd control.  We'll see how it goes.

Reminder:  There is another beta session today (10/21) from 10am to 10pm EDT.