Thursday, March 29, 2012

SWTOR Side Quests

If there is one area I would say that BioWare dropped the ball with Star Wars: The Old Republic, it would have to do with side quests.  Overall, I really enjoy questing in the game.  That's saying something since I generally do not care for PvE in games.

SWTOR's questing really shines with their Class Story and Planetary quest chains.  Speaking of the latter, I think they need to point the planetary quests out to the player more.  For example, the one on Tatooine is excellent and provides a great narrative for your stay on the planet.  Then there are other planets which don't seem to have a cohesive chain, so it makes me wonder if I missed them.

Then there are side quests.  These are usually just single step quests which don't really advance a narrative or give you more lore information.  It's nice that they are fully voiced, but in the end it doesn't really make them more interesting.  I skipped a lot of them on my Trooper since I was PvPing.

I wish the team had put more emphasis on quest chains rather than one off side quests.  With multiple steps, it is much easier to tell an interesting story.  Of course, this makes it more difficult to fill out the leveling curve and other mundane MMO mechanics, but it should be about quality over quantity.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1.4.6 Update

Warhammer developer Keaven Freeman hit the forums yesterday with a quick update about the 1.4.6 patch.  If you remember, this patch is mainly focused on bug fixing and other quality of life issues.  It looks like they are making some good progress.

The following items have passed testing on our internal servers:

  • Remove outdated entries from the Guild Calendar
  • Increase scenario startup timers to 2 minutes
  • Eliminate ST Siege ram-cripple
  • Change the way rams get repaired
  • Change the booster pets to periodically recalculate the buff it applies
  • Change non-attackable items, spawned through player abilities, so they cannot be targeted

The following items are currently in testing:

  • Increase the maximum stack size for merchant purchases
  • Add more titles for "Important Monsters"
  • Change the way the MiniMap receives updates for monster name changes
  • Remove flight animations when using Flight Masters
  • Check all scenario guards, swapping out stationary ones for those that chase into the playing field
  • Check Mourkain Temple's chickening, updating areas as needed to make sure both Order and Destruction are equal
  • Add Relic Barriers all the way around the Dark Elf Fortress
  • Check the way Cloud of Corruption applies Inoculation
  • Increase the interact time for stealing a Relic
  • Check Skeetk's combat AI
  • Check how Throt reacts to out-of-range taunts

So far there is no indication of when 1.4.6 might hit the PTS, but they seem pretty busy fixing stuff.  I'm still looking forward to seeing what they can do with tier 4 bolstering and scenario brackets.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First Hero Bought

Over the weekend I was able to play some more beta Wrath of Heroes.  As I mentioned before, their store is now live, which made things a bit more interesting.  Going in I had no intention of spending any money but in the end I bought some Gems.

Purchasing the currency was very easy.  Since I had an active WAR account tied to the same address, all of my payment information was already there.  I could have also used Paypal and a couple of other methods as well.  Everything took place inside the game with the method I chose.

The main reason I bought gems was so I could buy my first hero, Ilanya Darkwind (Sorceress).  Since it is still a beta test, the selection was rather limited so I was playing her a lot.  I really wanted to be able to customize her, which requires that you own the hero... so I bought her.

Heroes can also be purchased with Gold, the in-game currency.  I actually had 30,000 gold when the beta started, but I accidentally bought two Wooden Chests.  These random boxes yielded me 2 new tactics, which were decent enough.  That left me far short of the Gold I needed for Ilanya.

Speaking of Gold, right now you gain it way too slow, or items cost way too much.  Let's say you make, on average, 100 gold per match which is a good amount especially if you are soloing.  That means it will take 300 matches to get 30,000 gold.  10 minutes per match average and it'll take you 50 hours.  That seems rather high to me.  This is still beta though, so hopefully it will change.

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Mass Effect - Spoilers

Over the weekend I finally finished Mass Effect 3.  It took me around 30 hours, which is a pretty good chunk of my free time for the month.  Overall, I am very satisfied with the series and how it ended.  I think I've put at least 100 hours into the trilogy and it was well worth it.

I've accepted the fact that Shepard would die at the end of the series for a while now.  It just made sense in terms of how I played him, a renegade.  He killed a lot of people over the course of 3 games.  Some might even be considered murders.  Either way, he was all about getting the job done.

My Shepard is also partly responsible for the extinction (or close to it) of the Quarians.  I do think they did it to themselves though, and I never liked them anyway.  So yeah, Shepard contributed to a lot of death.  It's only fair that the same fate awaited him.

Then there is this quote from General Patton:

There's only one proper way for a professional soldier to die: the last bullet of the last battle of the last war. 

I think that's very appropriate in this case.  Shepard was all about the war.  He even died once already, but was brought back to finish the fight.   I just can't see my Shepard growing old somewhere.  Going out in a blaze of glory was the only fair option.

In the end, I chose the Synthesis option over destruction and control.  Destryong all synthetic life (including myself and may others) seemed silly.  Trying to control all Synthetic life seemed foolish, and frankly was not very appealing for my character.  So merging organic and synthetic life it was.

It was also the only true way to end the cycle of violence.  Now I've seem some say that this option is really just killing a huge amount of people due to the destruction of the Mass Relay's (starvation etc).   I don't really agree here, since I just created a new type of life.  Who is to say they have the same dietary needs or intelligence, or life span of organic life?

I'm pretty glad it ended this way.  If BioWare had chosen to allow us to fail, or ended it without closure, I would have been pretty miffed.  I didn't play this epic series over the span of several years just to fail or not know what happened.

So where does the Mass Effect universe go from here?  I'm thinking we might see a multi-player / PvP game at some point.  I'd much prefer a new RPG series though.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wrath of Heroes goes Psuedo-Live

This weekend marks the latest beta test for Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes.  While WoH is technically still in beta, the latest build pretty much makes it a live game.  The store is now open and players can purchase Gems which can be used to obtain a number of items.

It is important to note that these Gems will remain tied to the account in the event of a database wipe, so players will not really lose anything.  Anything purchased will also be refunded.
There are a number of other changes, so stop by to check out the patch notes.

There are two big ticket items, besides the opening of the store.  The first is the UI which looks very slick.  Here are some pictures...

The second item would be the addition of achievements.  These are not just fluff.  When you unlock one, you can redeem it to activate another spinner which results in more rewards.

A quick peek at the store...

Right now the hero selection is still pretty limited because of it being a beta test and all.  I'm looking forward to getting a bit more variety back in the game.  It was still pretty fun to play last night though.  I really like that there is now stuff to buy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


It has been a rough week or so around the Werit household.  We just can't seem to shake some illness, which accounts for my lack of posts lately.  I have been meaning to post about the SWTOR legacy announcements ever since their guild summit.

I have not talked much about SWTOR lately, as I have not really been playing it.  Most of my time has been going into Mass Effect 3 and WAR.  ME3 will soon be finished, so that's when I'll play more SWTOR.  I'm actually looking forward to it, been a while!  Coincidentally, it is looking like I'll pick it up again near when 1.2 hits.

Overall, I really liked what I heard in regards to the legacy system.  For me, it'll be all about alts since I have no aspirations of raiding or even end game ranked pvp (who knows though, maybe I'll get into it).  So I was very excited that leveling alts unlocks special abilities for all the characters in your legacy.  You'll need to finish Chapter 3 in order to get this unlock

Sure, these abilities are on a long cooldown and can only be used with a companion.  They sounds pretty awesome though.  Getting Access to Force Choke and Orbital Bombardment?  Yes please.  Not everything has to be about min maxing so those abilities look pretty fun.

You can also unlock your class buff for all of your characters by completing Chapter 2.  While small, it will be a nice touch for those of us who enjoy soloing content, especially heroic and Flashpoints.

Check out a more complete post about the legacy system here:

Monday, March 19, 2012

End of the Road

I don't mean the Boyz II Men song, although that was pretty good and a common school dance song.  I am referring to Star Trek Online.  Even though it has gone free to play, my only interest in the game has been their Featured Episodes.  Up until The 2800, they were very interesting and what Star Trek is all about to me.

After the first episode in this series, I wrote a post about being disappointed.  I figured I'd let the rest play out before I gave my impressions again.  Sadly, I can't say it got better.   I am very disappointed with the effort Cryptic put into The 2800.  Enough so that this it has pretty much killed my interest in the game.

Where to start?  The voice acting was very bad.  If you are not going to do it right, don't do it at all.  I appreciate the effort that their staff put in for it, and it is not their fault.  Professionals should have been hired.   As for the story, I found it to be pretty bland and uninteresting.  Part of that is because it involved Bajor, which I never liked anyway.

I will say that the Deep Space 9 space walk was pretty neat.  That's about it though.  All of the other action was uninspired and pretty buggy to me.  I had to force myself to finish the last episode of the series.  During the last space flight, when ever I'd spawn I would be mass targeted by Dominion ships and destroyed.  Took be ~8 lives to finish.

The fact that Cryptic is really pumping out the c-store offerings is also annoying.  I don't mind them making money, but why should I buy anything when there is only sub-par content to use it on?  If they released decent content at a faster pace, I'd be more inclined to purchase items.

I don't know, maybe I have just been spoiled by the quality content in SWTOR.  I don't think that's the case though,  the Cloaked Intentions featured Episode seemed a lot better than the 2800.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fixing Thanquol's Incursion

Recently, WAR Dev Keaven started up a new thread to discuss a pesky bug with one of the bosses in Thanquol's Incursion.  Specifically, it has to do with the Cloud of Corruption.  It's an interesting bug, you can read all about it here if you want.
Inevitably the topic shifted to how to improve the RvR dungeon itself.  The original intention of TI was to have PvP fights with a few PvE obstacles, it just never worked out that way.  Instead players bail at the first sign of competition in the hopes of getting an empty instance.  Winning in these instances provide some of the best gear in the game.

Keaven did toss out one idea, which should be taken lightly as it was not a promise.  

I feel this fails as an RvR doungeon more becuase people instance hop intil they have no opposition, leaving anyone who *does* want to have an honest fight left with an empty instance as well. I'm currently thinking of limiting TI to just one, 48v48, instance. I dunno... we'll see. 

My opinion is that Thanquol's Incursion cannot be fixed.  Forcing players to fight, in anything longer than a scenario, just does not work.  Even in a scenario, if the players are outmatched they will just sit in their spawn.  I would much rather see the TI rewards be moved to Open RvR and the instance closed. 

As for Keaven's idea, I guess it is worth a shot.  I still would not go into TI though.  There are also some other possible problems.  If there is only a single instance, players may race to get to it.  It would also likely lead to realm strife based on who gets in.  It still might be an improvement over what we have now though.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lane Pressure

I managed to get in a game of League of Legends yesterday, which turned out to be pretty interesting.  I, as usual, chose Soraka.  This was a blind pick game, and I was teamed with a Teemo, Viktor, Fiora and Maokai.  Teemo and I took the bottom lane.

Our opponents on the bottom lane were Maokai and Zilean.   This proved to be one of the most challenging lanes I have been in.  Maokai's Sapling Toss, combined with Zilean's Time Bomb proved very effective in pushing our lane.  Teemo did not help the cause much either.

An aside about Teemo.  What is the deal with people who play him?  It seems that every game I am paired with a Teemo, they AFK in the bottom bush for a couple of minutes.  It's not that they are working up an ambush.  They will eventually come running back to the tower, through both opponents while causing no actual damage.  It never fails.

Anyway, back to us huddling under the tower.  Trying to avoid the saplings and the aoe damage of the bomb means we just can't get anything going.  I've managed to keep us alive, but eventually I return to base.  I give notice and leave in view of Teemo.  he of course does not alter his play and dies immediately.

Have someone gank you say?  Sadly, Viktor who went middle has died a number of times to Ezreal... so there will be no help coming for us.  Oddly enough, we won the game.  Two of the opposing players went afk or disconnected.  I went 1/2/15 overall and reached level 25.

Even though it was a pretty bad game,  it was a good learning experience.  I'm not sure if I would have done anything different though, going heavy on potions early allowed me to stay in lane longer.  Sometimes you just need to hold on and hope for the best.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Organic RPG

Don't worry, there will not be any spoilers in this post.  Most of my game time lately has been sunk into Mass Effect 3.  I think I am around the 12 hour mark and have been very impressed with the game.  One of the things I like to most is how organic (or natural) everything seems to flow.

One example of this organic feel would be when you overhear two parties talking and you can choose to support one or the other. They just become select-able when you get near them, and you choose the one you want to support.  You say some lines, then they do.  The entire event takes place without any screen change or other jarring methods.

Previous Mass Effect games have assigned you quests by just overhearing conversations and the third installment is no different.  There is no quest dialog boxes or things to click, just listen and you'll be notified that your journal was updated.  It's simple and immersive.

Another aspect I have been impressed with is the seamless transition between cut scenes and the action. It looks amazing, especially if you compare it to other BioWare efforts like Star Wars:  the Old Republic.  I understand why they can't do that in SWTOR (far less control), but it is still pretty neat in ME3.

They have really outdone themselves with removing some of the more obtrusive aspects of a RPG.  It does feel like a movie, but without losing the feeling of control.

Friday, March 9, 2012

WAR's New Home

Something quite unexpected happened yesterday.  Mythic announced a website maintenance, and when the servers came up there was a brand new webpage for Warhammer Online.  We were told about the new webpage before, but it was a long time ago.  So it was pretty shocking to see it happen.

With the birth of its sibling, Wrath of Heroes, the main site of now points to both games.  WoH on the left and Age of Reckoning on the right.  You can find the WAR page at:

I like the website, it's simple and clean.  The best part about it is that the Mythic community team can now easily update it.  The old site was rarely ever updated due to what sounded like bureaucratic issues.  Much like the DAoC site, it should feel much more alive.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

1.4.5a Guide

As mentioned yesterday, the Advanced War Report is a new UI element included with Warhammer Online's 1.4.5 patch.  This nice window tells you about the status of all the relics and fortresses.  Now it is very easy to know who has what, and if it is claimed.  Let's take a look at 1.4.5a!

See the new medal icon above the WAR report?  Click that to bring up the Advanced WAR Report.

Here we have the new Fortress and Relic tracker.  As you can see, Destruction currently controls both pieces of the relic.  Their Fortress is claimed, but no one has taken over the sub-areas yet.

Check out the snazzy looking barriers at the top of the Fortress.  These will drop when the Relic Guardian is killed, allowing access to the relic.  There is also a Choppa corpse here, guess he was testing it out.

The Augment Alliance icon will show any buffs you are receiving from the Fortress being claimed.  In this example, we just have claimed the Fortress itself, giving us a Renown buff.  If subareas were claimed, it would list more.

If your realm is currently receiving a relic bonus, a medal will appear next to your portrait.  As you can see, Destruction currently has two relics and is reaping some benefits, including the sweet new Insignia bonus loot.

One thing I was not able to get a picture of was the fact that Hybrid (Blue) seeds now drop from the Relic Guardian!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

1.4.5a Arrives

Today, Mythic will push Warhammer Online's 1.4.5a patch to the live servers.  Even though this is considered a 'sub-patch', I am pretty excited about what it brings to the table.  Sadly, we did not get a chance to see it on the PTS.  So my coverage of what is in the patch will begin tomorrow.

You can see the full patch notes here.  What am I excited about?  I'm glad you aksed...

Fortress Tracker.  The Advanced War Report window will now show this expanded information in a convenient window.  This includes the current location of the Relic, Claim status for the Fortress and sub-areas, etc.

The Advanced War Report can be accessed via the /adwar command or via a new icon on the mini-map.

Right now, Fortresses and Relics are kind of out of sight, out of mind.  With the addition of the UI, I expect things to get a bit more heated.

A new ribbon icon will appear around Character Portraits to indicate currently active Relic Bonuses, if any.

"Augment Alliance" buff will now appear on players inside Fortress areas when they are part of the controlling alliance. This will identify which of the Fortress Buffs are active on you, and which control point they came from.
To go along with the above point, players will now get icons to see what bonuses they are receiving from captured relics.

There are now magical barriers up near the Fortress Guardian that will stay up until the guardian has been defeated.

No more relic ninja-ing.  The Relic Guardian now has a real purpose.  Kill him to get to the relic.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

SWTOR PvP Update

Yesterday was SWTOR's Guild Summit.  There were a number of sessions, one of which involved the game's PvP content.  I had to check this one out of course, but my expectations were pretty low.  I don't play SWTOR for PvP and probably never will.

For once, I wish a developer would just come out and say, "This is not that kind of game."  Instead they answer questions in a way to keep players on the hook even though they will probably never get what they truly want.  Feels like High School/College all over again.

Ilum.  They pretty much said they didn't like the state of Ilum and were going back to the drawing board.  Of course, they also had no information to give about how they were actually going to fix it. Doesn't look like much will change in the near future.

Ranked Warzones.  I have nothing against rated pvp, but these tend to be very team oriented .  I prefer more solo options since I just don't have the time to be a part of a team anymore.  Will solo be a viable and fun path?  We'll see.  These ranked warzones also give a new tier of gear, which I'm not sure how I feel about.

Medals.  Now on to something more positive.  I do like the medal system in SWTOR's warzones.  They provide a fine grained way to reward players as opposed to just kills or winning the match.  They will soon be adding 18 more medals which sounds great.

Several of the medals will be for finishing the scenario early.  get the medal for the earliest finish and you get all of the time based medals.  It should provide incentive to win instead of farm.  They are also adding a medal (Valor) cap, to go along with the idea of winning and not farming.

New Warzone.  There will be a new warzone coming up in 1.4, which should put the number up to 4. Still well behind WAR in terms of variety, but getting there.  It will suppost same faction battles.  In fact, they said all warzones will be made to support same faction fighting.

While I like that Huttball allowed for same faction fighting, making every warzone support that does not sit well.   You can justify it through the lore by making it a 'training simulation', but in the end it just waters down the 'us versus them' aspect of the game.

Overall, I was not too thrilled with this presentation. The Legacy presentation, on the other hand, was awesome. More on that later this week.

Monday, March 5, 2012

SWTOR Monday

Ah Monday, the scourge of people everywhere.  Usually there is not too much to look forward to on this day of the week, especially with it not being Football season.  Today, however, there is!  BioWare is holding its first ever Guild Summit for Star Wars:  The Old Republic.

A large number of guild representatives have made their way to Austin to be a part of the summit.  Good for them, but what does that means for us saps who are at work today?  BioWare has decided to live stream pretty much the whole day.

You can check out the full schedule here:

The fun starts at 11am EST and wraps up sometime after 7.  That's a lot of streaming.

Even though I have not written much about SWTOR lately, I am still subscribed.  I've just been in a PvP mood lately and that means my time goes into WAR and League of Legends.  Lately though, I've been itching to get back into the game.  Of course, Mass Effect 3 comes out tomorrow so I don't know when I'll actually be able to play more.

No matter what the game, I love this kind of stuff about MMO's.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

WAR Rank Beta 2

I'm happy to say that one of my projects, WAR Rank, is ready to be tested by a larger group of people.  What is WAR Rank?  It is a scenario ranking and record keeping system for Warhammer Online.  Players use an add-on to save scenario results, then upload them to the website.

For ranking performance, an ELO system is used.  I've also added a bonus system which can give players and teams extra points if they perform particularly well.

To get started, head on over to and sign in.  At that point, you should see a link to download the add-on.  Install and enable it as you would any other WAR add-on.  When you are finished playing go back to the WAR Rank website and upload the file, which is called ArsenalRank.log in your logs directory.

Notes:  When you start WAR, the log file will be cleared.  If you quit WAR by killing the process, or use the X button to quit (windowed mode) the file may also be cleared.

WAR rank is still in beta, so the database will eventually be wiped.  I will also be fiddling with it behind the scenes as the need arises.

Server stats:
Player stats: (the stats may take a few seconds to load)

Please let me know of any problems you encounter or ideas you have.  Thanks!