Wednesday, February 29, 2012

1.4.6 Detailed

With Warhammer Online's 1.4.5a patch due out next week, Mythic went ahead and posted their plan for the 1.4.6 patch.  If you remember, this patch will be focused on bug fixing.  While that may sound a bit boring, their plan shows some very important changes in the mix.

You can check out the full list here.  Here are a few of the changes which stand out to me...

Change Tier 4 lakes to bolster to 45
This one is a pretty big change.  The levels above 40 are considered hidden, in that only the combat formulas know about them.  By increasing the bolster, you will put all Tier 4 players on an even playing field as far as these levels are concerned.  Gear and renown points will still matter, but this should bring a closer balance.

Change scenarios to bracket by RR rather than CR

This is another interesting change.  By using RR to determine who fights who, it could bring a lot better balance to scenarios.  It's not clear how this will affect queue times yet, but it is definitely something worth looking in to.  

Player-damageable Keep/Fortress doors

This is always an interesting topic.  Before the RvR overhaul players did not really like whacking on the door.  Now that it is gone, a lot of them want it back.  I guess Cinderella was right (the band).

Change the way decay timers function on talismans

I was never a big fan of decay timers, but they do serve an important purpose when use on powerful items.  There are some bugs with LoTD talismans which this should address.

Change the way rams get repaired

The ram is an important part of RvR and has been known to get a little buggy when a lot of people are beating on it.  Personally, I don't like that the ram and siege equipment can repair itself (with player interaction).  I'd much rather see heals come from player abilities or consumables.

Remove flight animations when using Flight Masters

Turns out, these cut scenes are just fluff.  they never really bothered me, but I won't be sorry to see them go either.

This is just a small sample of what was in the list, so do go read the rest.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tip of the Spear

My time in League of Legends has been going pretty well lately.  In my last 10 matches I am 8 - 2 with Soraka.  I know that mentioning it will send me on a losing streak of epic proportions, but losses can be a good learning experience.

Generally, Soraka ends up in the bottom lane with a carry champion.  It's my job to keep us alive and the carry fed with last hits. Depending on who your opponents are, that is easier said than done.  This was especially true in one of my recent games.

My lane mate ended up being Nasus, which is a bit unusual. Our opponents were Shyvana and Nidalee.  It was actually one of the most challenging lanes I have been in.  The challenge came almost completely from Nidalee's Javelin Toss attack.  This long ranges spear throw does a good bit of damage when the game starts.

The Javelin Toss is a skill shot, so it can be avoided.  The problem was my lane mate did not get that memo and liked to stand still.  As a result, I had to spend a lot of mana to keep him at a reasonable health, and every so often I'd take a spear (to the knee) as well.  Pretty quickly we were pushed back to our tower.

One of Nidalee's favorite tactics was to throw spears while hidden in the bottom bush, and it was effective.  When we did manage to push them back a little, I took the opportunity to ward the bottom bush.  This let us know where she was at all times.

More importantly, it let our jungler know where she was at all times.  Thankfully, he was alert and came to gank our lane.  With the ward in place, Nidalee really did not have a chance.  A couple of successful ganks put an end to their control of the lane.

Lesson learned:  Use wards and have someone gank your aggressive opponents.  Luckily ours did it on his own.

Monday, February 27, 2012

1.4.5a Update

On Friday, Warhammer Online developer Keaven Freeman hit the forums with an update on the upcoming 1.4.5a patch.  If you remember, 1.4.5 brought us Relics and the revamped Fortresses.  This next patch improves upon what was added and fixes some bugs.

The ETA for 1.4.5 is currently next week (week of March 5th).  You can check out the full post here.  Here are some of the changes we can expect...

“Augment Alliance,” fortress buff indicator, detailing which buffs are active on you and which point they came from

Glad to see this addition.  Feedback is an import part of any game system.

Chance to earn Insignia Clusters of player kills when your realm controls both GvD relics

Better stuff from player kills?  Sign me up!

Barriers have been added to the top of the fortresses, preventing access to the relic(s). These barriers are linked to the Relic Guardian, who must be killed in order to bring the barriers down

This will effectively end the ability to ninja relics.  That's both good and bad, but I'm satisfied with this solution.

A new UI window, allowing you to track: who owns a fortress and its various sub points; for the pairing you’re in, a relic tracker to show you which zone the relic is in right now (for the two pairings you’re not in, the relic tracker simply reports the relic’s location is “distant”); which relics are under your realms control and which are under the enemies control

Yay!  The UI will make the relics much more visible to the player-base and should increase the action.

A Relic Bonus indicator on the character portrait to alert you to what bonuses you have due to relic control

Much like the 1st change, it is import for players to know what is affecting them.

There are a bunch of other good changes coming up in this 'mini' patch, including a number of Tome of Knowledge unlock fixes.  Looking forward to seeing this live next week!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dominus Stress Test

The game formerly known as Prime Battle for Dominus, now just Dominus, held a stress test event last night.  This was the first time I, and many other people got to check out this upcoming PvP focused MMO.  It wasn't a beta (yet) as it was tightly focused on stressing their servers.

The screenshots below are just for fun and should not be taken as the state of the game.  As I mentioned, this doesn't even qualify as a beta session and we were using stripped down clients.

Here is a picture of one of the first loading screens, some nice concept art.  Please let us be that big battle mech as some sort of Play as monster or Session Play.

Out of the 3 factions, I chose Humans.  The Salient and Rodon seem sorta uppity to me and need to be put in their place.  Speaking of Rodon, I better see a guild named the Ro-Don Armada. In another shocking move, I chose the Engineer class.  Crazy right?

From what I can tell, the stress test was successful.  The Dominus login server went down a number of times and they managed to fix it.  Hopefully the true beta will start up soon, I could use some 3 faction PvP.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

WAR Rank Plans

For the last week or so, I have been working on the next version of WAR Rank.  The previous version was pretty basic, and just concentrated on the ELO scoring.  The new version will have a lot of bells and whistles.  here is a bit of what I am planning.

More Rankings. Top 25 for each career, weekly/monthly rankings, stat rankings.

Career and Server Rankings. For several stats, players will be able to view where they rank on their server and also for their career on the server.

Flags. Used to make a scenario standout, so maybe if it is a High-Elo match, or big upset or some other criteria.  This will let you check out matches from the front page or search.

Bonuses. For example, if an underdog team puts up a good fight they could get a few bonus rating points.  other bonuses might be career specific.  Bonus rating points could be awarded to an Engineer who gets 10 DB's, or a Bright Wizard who gets 20.  Careers in WAR are generally capable of different things, so they'd get their own specific bonuses.

Friends and Enemies. An automatically generated list of common teammates or enemies with some stats.

Trophy System. Sort of like an achievment system, players can get a trophy for winning a weekly contests or or other feats.

Teaming. I'd like for players to be able to group themselves together as a team.  This would be aimed at pre-made competitions.

So far, I've got a lot of work done on the rankings and bonuses.  I'm hoping to move it over to the live system soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GW2 and WAR

With an NDA drop this week, a ton of Guild Wars 2 information has become public knowledge.  I am, of course, only really interested in one thing and that's PvP.  There are 2 types:  Structured PvP (scenarios) and World vs World vs World (WvWvW or 3W) which is similar to Open RvR.

First, let me say that GW2 and WAR are fundamentally different games.  There is no campaign or city siege as a goal in GW2, among other major differences.  This post is to highlight some of the ways that they are similar.

Attacking the Door.  The keep siege videos I watched mostly consisted of players trying to beat on a door.  They also used siege weapons on the door.  It was very reminiscent of pre-1.4 WAR.  I've been told that there are destructible walls, but they were not shown in the videos.  Also, some keeps don't have walls.  Instead, they use geographic obstacles like cliffs.

Golems.  In one of the videos, a GW2 player became a Golem and went to attack the door.  This is pretty much the same thing as WAR's Play as Monster system where you can become a Skaven Rat Ogre.  What I did like was that this Golem was built in the field.  Can I get a Steam Tank?

Supplies.  In GW2, small objectives, when captured, generate supplies which are then transported to the keep via NPC (Supply Caravans).  Once there, they are used to build siege weapons, strengthen defenses and repair things like the door.  This is how WAR works right now with objectives and resource carriers.  GW2 does seem to take it a bit further and allow players to carry supplies as well.

Area Buffs.  Guilds can claim keeps and provide buffs to friendly forces in the area.  This is similiar to how Fortresses work in WAR at present.  It also reminds me of how keep claiming and banners worked in WAR prior to 1.4.

Guards.  Keeps in GW2 are defended by NPC guards, very much like they were in pre-1.4 WAR.  One complaint often heard was about having PvE in PvP, so those guards were eventually laid off.

These are some of the ways GW2 3W is similar to WAR RvR.  There are a number of ways in which it is different too, but that deserves its own post.

I think it goes without saying:  I'll buy and give GW2 a shot as soon as I can :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Scenario Mechanics

Last week, a new Developer Discussion thread was created.  This time, it was to discuss ideas for new scenario mechanics.  The original reason for the thread was previous talks about shortening some scenarios like 6 vs 6 Caledor Woods.   The only topic that wasn't on the table was separate queues for pugs vs premades.

Other than the separation of premades and pickups, what other suggestions and ideas do you guys have to help make scenarios a more fast-paced, exciting experience?

As much as I hate to say it, my idea would be for a Surrender mechanic.  I hate to surrender and would much rather fight to the death but sometimes it just makes sense.  If you are out-geared, out-renowned and out-teamworked there really is not much you can do.  That way, everyone can move on with their lives and do something more enjoyable other than being camped.

It should work similar to how it does in League of legends.  No option to surrender for X amount of time ( 5 minutes ).  When you can surrender, it will take maybe 75% of the players to approve it.  The losers should get next to nothing as far as rewards go.  The winners should get a max-point award ( 500 usually ).

How feasible is this suggestion?  I'm not sure.  I have a feeling it would be a pretty big change since it would involve a voting mechanic which I don't think exists in the game.

Monday, February 20, 2012

LoL Support

I've been playing a bit of League of Legends lately, I guess the competitive mood has taken over for the time being.  Currently, I'm midway through level 21 and inching closer to the cap of 30.  Even with XP boosts, it is quite a climb.  Nearly all of my time has been playing a support Champion, Soraka.

She is pretty much the heal bot Champion of LoL.  I have 3 heals, 1 mana heal, and and 1 silence.  Not many people fear an offensive Soraka, but it has happened.  My job is really just to keep my lane mate alive and fed, then try to keep my team alive and silence people when I can.  It's pretty relaxing.

I ended up having a good weekend in LoL.  Twice I had players want me to play with them the next game.  Here is a screenshot from one of my games yesterday.  I think it went pretty well.  By the end of the match, I was pretty much a tank.

As much as I like Soraka, I really need to branch out into other support characters.  If I ever do get to ranked matches, there is a chance Soraka will either be picked by someone else or banned.  in that case, I need a backup.

The problem is, I really dislike the theme of the other support Characters.  Sona, Janna and Taric to be precise.  Alistar isn't too bad, I just don't really like melee support.  If only Riot would make a support Champion that was kind of cool.  I may have to just bite the bullet and play some Sona though, she seems pretty powerful.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Help Wanted

This one goes out to my international readers.  I am in need of some assistance in order to test the WAR Rank Add-On.

1)  If you are using a non-English client, what kind of special characters can you place in a player name?  For example:  À, Ä and so on.

2)  If you have any special characters in your name, or can make a character who does, I'd love to get some add-on results.  This also goes for WAR Russia, since I can't even make a character on that server.  If interested, please send me an e-mail.  Address is on the right hand side of the page.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The 2800 Let Down

Featured Episodes are my favorite aspect of Star Trek Online.  In the past, they have provided high quality content in small chunks over a period of several weeks.  In addition to great storytelling, they included some interesting effects and rewards.  Sadly, the latest Featured Episode, The 2800, did not continue that trend.

There will be some minor spoilers, but really, there is not much to spoil.

Voice Acting.  The quality of the voice acting in the 2800 was sub-par, especially compared to previous episodes.  It sounded like they used people from around the office, which just did not work well.  There is one exception, the Gorn voice over was very well done.  Overall, it had a negative impact on immersion for me.

Tasks.  This episode mostly consisted of me running errands for delegates.  I mean actual errands, "Can you go reserve me a holodeck time slot?", "Can you get me a bottle of wine?" and so on.  Do you think Kirk or Picard would be doing any of that?  I don't.

Combat.  Maybe it was just me, but the ground combat seemed glitchy.  I think I had phantom Jem-Hedar running around.  Took me a while to finish that part of the mission, as my science officer is not really a ground power-house on his own.  The space combat portion was decent enough, nothing to really praise though.

I really hope the rest of the episodes are an improvement over this one.  It just didn't feel like it had the same quality of the others.

In other STO news, they will likely make my wallet a little lighter this week.  A DS9 Bundle goes on sale today, which includes a new bridge, ship interior, special duty officers, a shuttle, weapons and costumes.  I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff, so it will be mine.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February Producers Letter

Yesterday we got a bit of a surprise.  A new Producers Letter was posted for Warhammer Online.  We had not had one for a while in favor of less formal communication.  I was very pleased to see it though, especially since it has some interesting information inside.
You can find the full letter here.  

1.4.6.  The letter confirms that 1.4.6 will be primarily about fixing bugs.  A number of important ones have already been fixed in the 1.4.5 cycle, so I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do with some dedicated time. 

1.4.7.  Here is where we get some new information.  One of the primary features of this patch will be something called Dynamic Objectives.  
This system is designed to provide objectives that will tie into the campaign based on dynamic variables. An example of this would be that as forces draw together and engage in the lake, a new objective will spawn that will provide resources or rewards to the warring parties. The goal is to give more fun and rewarding things to do that revolve around small to medium scale skirmishes.
It really is not much to go on, but it does sound interesting.  Smaller fights are always a plus, especially since they tend to lead to larger engagements.  I kind of wish this was not pushed back to 1.4.7 now that I know about it.  Bug fixing is good though.

Live Event.  The letter also talks about a new live event.  Not much is said about it, but the way it is worded makes me wonder.
As well, we have a new Live Event type encounter in the works that will pop up in a later patch and evolve over time. We’ll have more information about this as we move forward, but the operative word here is demons.
What does 'evolve over time' mean?

Names.  Turns out they are looking into giving players a way to claim an inactive name.   That is very interesting, could Tirew go back to being Werit?

Store.  They did make a quick mention about items for the store.  Please, give me a way to purchase very basic level 40 characters.  I just want to start in Tier 4.

Overall, it was a decent letter.  Nothing too crazy is being hinted at, which is to be expected.  Dynamic Objectives are something to look forward to, hopefully we'll get more information about them soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bringing ELO to WAR

One things I have learned from games such as League of legends is that a good amount of players enjoy a competitive meta game.  Working to improve yourself, especially when there is a rating feedback, can be an enjoyable experience.  This is especially true when you start to involve team play.

In my opinion, Warhammer Online still has the best MMORPG style PvP.  I started to wonder what it would be like with an ELO rating system for scenarios.  WAR players are competitive for sure, but there really is no way to quantify it.

Ideally, such a system would be built into the game.  Sadly this is not the case with WAR.  That doesn't mean it is impossible though, so I've been working on adding it myself for the last couple of weeks.  It's called WAR Rank and is a part of the Arsenal of WAR.

Top 25 on Badlands:

So far, it is still in a Beta state.  I've had a handful of submitters from Badlands who have been helping me work out the scoring and log-in systems. There are certainly some challenges since it is all add-on based but it just might work out.  I will be talking about the system more in upcoming posts.

Monday, February 13, 2012

LoL Milestone

I've recently returned to playing League of Legends, instead of just watching it.  I've been in a competitive mood the last few weeks, and it is a great outlet for that kind of thing.  On Saturday, I reached a milestone: Level 20.

Sadly, that is not the level cap. I still have 10 more to go before I get there.  However, at level 20 I can start purchasing Greater Runes.  These stat modifiers are bought with influence points, which I have been saving up for a while thanks to advice from people on twitter.

I've been playing Soraka pretty much exclusively.  I really do enjoy the support role, and Soraka does seem to help the team out.  Between my 3 heals and the silence, I have some fun.  Sadly, she will see a nerf in the upcoming patch but I'm not too worried about it.

Mana management is an area where I can adjust and learn, so I am confident it will not hurt my Soraka play much at all.  Since I am just buying Runes, I may as well add a few mana regen ones as well.  Other than that, not much will change.  Once team fights start, I try and save Infuse for its silence anyway.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I guess it is a sport

Until recently, I have never really been on board with the idea of an e-sport.  For most of my life, my idea of en e-sport came from the movie The Wizard.  The one where the kids were playing Super Mario Brothers 3 and Lucas had the Power Glove.  Times are changing though.

I find myself watching a lot of League of Legends streams, especially during competitions.  Much like a real sport, I prefer watching than playing.  Don't get me wrong, Werit can play some basketball.  I just end up watching much more of it than playing.

The reason I watch more LoL than play really comes down to the community.  Games have a tendency of being more stressful than fun.  That's not a problem when watching a live stream game.  I know just enough about how to play to make it interesting.

My team of choice would be Counter Logic Gaming (CLG), mainly because of their constant streaming.  They also can be pretty entertaining, especially since they have a US team and I can understand what they are saying.    During the first week of March, the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship takes place and have $100,000 up for grabs.  It should be pretty interesting.

Sadly, I cannot say the same about Starcraft 2 as an e-sport.  Besides the fact that all of the clicking and jumping around the map makes me feel sick, I just don't enjoy watching the games.  It does seem to have a pretty big e-sport following though.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Repairing Fortress Doors

On this episode of This Olde Fort, we're going to show you how to fix up a Fortress door after your enemies have torn it down.  Fortress doors do not behave the same way Keep doors do.  They must be built and repaired by the players.

If your Fort is missing a door, the first thing you need to do is make sure the Fortress is claimed by an alliance.  Once it is claimed, a member guild will need to lay claim to a Gatehouse (above the door).  Once this subarea is claimed, a merchant will spawn near the claiming flag.

Heavy Wood is used to repair a door.  It will take more than one, so load up.  If the door is missing, you'll need to purchase a Fortress Door Field Kit.  It costs 150 Ordinance (yes, a reason to have those!).  Now that you have a field kit, go over to the open Fort door, click on it, then click on the Field kit.  Your door should be closed now.

Some tips:
  • Field Kits and Heavy Wood are not Fortress or Gatehouse specific.  So you can buy them anywhere and use them on any Fortress.
  • They do not decay, so you may one to carry around some just in case you need them.
  • We might see another merchant spawn in the inner Fortress. This would remove the requirement of a 2nd claim to purchase repair materials. 
  • The Fortress does not have to be claimed in order to use a Field Kit.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2800 Preparation

Starting this Saturday (Feb 11th), Star Trek Online will start its latest featured Episode series, called The 2800.  These are undoubtedly my favorite aspect of STO.  They provide high quality and interesting stories, along with some nice themed rewards.

In a recent blog post Stephen mentioned that to get some background on the lore, players could check out some Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes.  That sounds like a great idea to me, any excuse to watch Star Trek.
To catch up on your history of events, find a copy of the Deep Space Nine season 6's episode “Sacrifice of Angels”, or explore further by also watching the season 5 finale and the 5 episodes in season 6 that precede the momentous events in “Sacrifice of Angels”.
Sadly, I do not own any of the DS9 seasons.  It's 2012, so I figured there has got to be a way to stream them. A few options came up.

Netflix.  It looks like Netflix has all of the DS9 seasons for rent and Instant Streaming.

Hulu.  Sadly, Hulu does not seem to have them available anymore.

Blockbuster Online.  They only seen to have the physical dvd's available for rent.

Amazon Instant Video.  Amazon has them all available for streaming (US).  More importantly, they are free to Amazon Prime members, which I am!

I will definitely be watching some of the recommended episodes to get in the proper mood for the upcoming Featured Episode series.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

1.4.5a Planned Changes

Last week, we learned a bit more about what the future holds for WAR with 1.4.6.  That is not the next patch though, the team is currently working on Fortress/relic improvements which will be released in a few weeks.  there are some very interesting changes coming our way.

For a full list, head over to the forums.

Adding Insignia Clusters to the GvD Relic Bonus - When your realm holds both relics in GvD, in addition to the bonus to coin, there will be a small chance for player kills to drop Insignia Clusters. These Clusters have a 48 hour decay timer, at which point they turn into unusable hunks of metal. When used before they decay, you will be presented with a dialog box allowing you to choose one Fused Insignia of your choice (Conqueror, Invader, Warlord, Royal, Doomflayer, Warpforged). This Fused Insignia can then be used, as any other Fused Insignia, to gain 1-3 Insignias.

I'm pretty excited about this change.  Currently, the Dwarf vs Greenskin paring gives 200% gold, which is a bit lackluster.  This added bonus gives players a chance at scenario currency (Insignia's) when they kill a player.  It should be a good incentive to take the relic, as the only other way to obtain these is through scenarios.

Adding the Advanced Realm War (working title) UI element - This new UI element will show the status of Fortresses and Relic locations. This will make it easier to coordinate your realm's efforts to thwart would be relic thieves! This UI element will also display which Relic Bonuses are currently active for your Realm, if any.

Yay! Right now the whole relic system is lacking in feedback.  These UI elements should make the system much easier to use, and as a result cause more action.  I wish this was included in the last patch, but I can wait a few weeks.

Addition of Relic Barriers - Relic Guardians have been upgraded, and are now able to generate barriers, preventing access to any relics at their location. These barriers are constructs of their will, meaning you will be forced to dispatch the Guardians in order to bring these barriers down.

One issue, which not everyone agrees on, is that relics can be taken without killing the Guardian.  These barriers will force players to have to kill the big guy before they can obtain the relic.  I like the change, but I do understand players would like an alternative means of getting by the Guardian.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A House Divided

This weekend, most of my game time was spent playing the new expansion pack for Victoria 2, A House Divided.  The title mainly refers to a new scenario which centers on the US Civil War.  This is actually only a small part of what was included, and I found the other features much more compelling.

To start the game, I chose the Ottoman Empire in 1836.  They start out as one of the Great powers, and are in a prime location for conflict.  Austria and Russia on one side, and a lot of smaller unaffiliated nations on the other.

Sphere's of Influence play a major role in the game, and its expansion.  By adding countries to your SoI, you improve your economy, your possible alliances and your Prestige.  You also are the protector of anyone in your sphere, so if they are attacked you can go to war.

In my game,  I aggressively wen after North African nations like Tunis, Tripoli and Algeria, using my military to add them to my SoI.  In the case of Tunis, I installed a puppet government as well.  The expansion provides a nice way of declaring war called: War Justification.  Basically, I can manufacture a reason to fight over time.  If discovered, I'll get Infamy.  If not, I'll just get a casus belli allowing me to declare war with no penalty.

On the western side of the empire, I am taking a more peaceful approach.  Through Diplomacy, I've added Persia and Abu Dhabi to my sphere.  My goal is to be the protector of the entire Middle East, while keeping the traditional colonial powers out.   You can see my SoI in green.

Egypt will be a bit more challenging to bring under control.  I plan on retaking much of what was lost to Egypt soon, now that I can call my entire Sphere to help.  Luckily, Egypt has no allies.  While I may control a lot of land, my military is pretty weak compared to the European powers.

Enjoying the game quite a bit, nice change from MMO's.  I'm still playing them of course, but you know what they say about variety.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Space Stallions

I saw this on twitter this morning, thought I'd pass it along.  It brings three thoughts to mind:  Thundercats, Transformers: The Movie (cartoon) and Wyld Stallions!  And yes, the music is available...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Upcoming WAR Changes

Warhammer Online's 1.4.5 patch may be out, but the team is not finished with fortresses and relics.  Keaven Freeman, lead developer, took to the forums and gave us a glimpse of WAR's near future.  Here is what he had to say:

Admittedly, patch 1.4.5 did not deploy as smoothly as we had anticipated. In response to player feedback given here in the forums, as well as in the last days of PTS testing, we will be shifting our development schedule a bit.

We are adding a smaller 1.4.5a patch, to be released in a few weeks, which will address some issues brought out with the current release, as well as implement Fortress and Relic elements suggested by players. This would include, but is not limited to, UI elements for Relic Bonuses, Relic control indicators, and additional rewards for GvD Relic control.

Original plans for 1.4.6 are being pushed out to 1.4.7, and we're making 1.4.6 now exclusively a BugFix Patch. There have been numerous suggestions from the community that we take time to focus exclusively on some long running bugs, and now's the time to do it.

I am very happy to see they will expose the new relic system to the UI.  As it stands now, if you didn't know about the system, only some limited zone announcement messages would tell you it existed. Proper UI elements will make it much more engaging.

Currently, the Relic Bonus for holding both from the Dwarf and Greenskin pairing is 200% gold.  While it is somewhat useful, it could be more interesting.  I'm looking forward to hearing what he has in mind, lots of potential.

The announcement of 1.4.6 being a bug fixing patch is also welcome news.  Sure, I wish I knew what they had plans for prior to the change, but bugs do need fixing.    In fact, Keaven has already started that by fixing a much hated LoTD Absorb talisman bug.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wrath of Heroes Beta Update

This past weekend saw the 5th beta session for Wrath of Heroes.  I have not posted about it for a while because I have just been swamped with other games to play.  Star Wars: The Old republic has been chief among the time suckers.  I did manage to break away and test out the new version.

In short, I was pretty impressed with the state of the game.  They have made some significant changes, which can be seen in the patch notes.  Here are some things that stood out to me.

Hero Masteries.  Each hero in WoH will have multiple mastery 9or talent if you prefer) trees.  I think the number is two at the moment.  As a player levels their account, they can assign points and gain access to new tactics, alternate abilities and perks.

While they are not the most complex trees I've seen, they do add some much needed depth to the game.  You can only equip a hero with a limited amount of tactics, skills and perks.

As you can see in the picture above, I have three of my new options equipped.  The Steam Turret (which is awesome) replaces my standard Bombardment Turret ability.  I also have a 10% Crit Chance tactic equipped and one that adds a short snare to my Gun Blast ability.

Here is where things get more interesting.  L'il Helper here will trigger if I get a Kill Streak of 10.  Sadly, I was unable to get that streak while I had this ability equipped.  I did manage a Kill Streak of 11, without it, grrrr.  I would like to see a separate slot for these perks, since it is hard to justify passing up a sweet alternate ability for something that may rarely happen.

Store.  They have to pay the bills somehow, so the store is now operational (but not using real money yet).  Only Heroes and Skins are for sale, and I didn't see anything to indicate other types of products yet.  The most important aspect of the store is you can use in-game currency and not just real money.

Hero Synergy.  Another interesting feature they added was Hero Synergies.  In WAR terms, these are like the old Renown tactics, where players would get bonuses based on group composition or target race.  Seems that they are really trying to encourage cooperation, which is always a good thing.