Thursday, 31 December 2009

The servers behind WAR

Not sure what to make of this article on Gamasutra, it IS an Intel sponsored article so it's biased towards the server technology but there's bits and pieces of interest here and there and it's a time filler if you're sitting bored for the bells to ring in the new year.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4229/sponsored_feature_restless_.php

But until next year folks, I'm off to celebrate Waaaghmanay! So here's to another year.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

A look ahead to Mmmmm Gud in 2010

Well not been smushing at all over the last few days since Christmas has been all busy and the few days here and there at either side of it, so not a whole lot going on in the Warhammer world for me right now but will be back smushing tonight (assuming the guild are online of course). So lets have a side step for a moment and look at what I'm planning for 2010...

There's a few articles I want to write up, I've started some, planning others and the rest are getting moldy in my fungal brain cavity. I'm aiming to start writing some Black Orc guides to help prospective, existing and maybe even veteran Black Orcs. I'm certainly not the best Black Orc on my server, let alone an even decent one, but since playing a Black Orc since the early start week I've got a few things to share. I'll be aiming for one every few weeks with the beginners guide to a Black Orc coming in January.

Also on my rock is Mini Lokax, who is glued together and... that's about it sadly. Just not had the drive to get doing much with the cold and dark weather hampering my light in the cave so he's on the back shelf right now, but I'll at least get the next step pictures up in the next couple of weeks and maybe that'll be enough to kick start some painting frenzy!

Lots of little topics I am writing about as well, with thoughts on zones, the new year and what not. I even have my own Warhammer Online expansion ideas on what I'd like to see :)

Aiming to get a more consistent number of posts for the blog as well, summer was far too enjoyable for me as I spent a fair chunk clambering over the Scottish Highlands and weather dependent will be doing the same this year, so I doubt I'll get another 30 post month, but I'm aiming for a minimum of one post every three days. Sound fair?

Of course, lots of things can change due to changes in Warhammer, while some may be saying that this is WAR's last year, I doubt that's the case. WAR is starting to form it's own core community and this is what the game needs, the MMO tourists will start to wonder over in the next couple of months as WoW waits it's cataclysm (the final WoW content patch has just been pushed out but they're opening up the instances stages at a time.. milking the raiders pennies dry). We'll see what changes come in the next few months but I'll be here for the foreseeable future that's for sure!

WAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The obligatory look over the producers letter

Well almost obligatory as I had completely forgotten to actually write this... Eek... Anywhos, lets have a look at what Mr Bruce Maclean our new producer has to say (Gaarawarr had an interview with Bruce back in September so check it out). I'm going to be honest though and advise you well in advance I'm skipping everything apart from the last paragraph for no good reason other than it's a look over the last year and you can just read the archives for my views on it (meh.. laaaaaaaazy).

Looking back at past accomplishments is all well and good, but we’re not resting on our bloodied laurels here in the land of WAR! Next year is going to be an exciting one, and I am looking forward to sharing more of our plans during the frigid days and long winter nights of January. We’ll have exciting new Live Events, new weapons and cloaks earned by spilling the blood of your enemies in RvR, a new Scenario structure, economy and loot drop improvements, adjustments to the King and Warlord encounters to convert them to RvR-only battles, UI customization enhancements, Tier 4 RvR campaign improvements, daily quests and so much more - and that’s just our near term plans for 2010. Farther into the year we’ll see…oh but you’ve heard me ramble enough! It’s time for that drink, battle, and crying enemies!


I have to admit, there must be something in the water at Mythic's HQ as they seem to be able to just say enough to tease you into thinking "Oooh ok, lets just wait and see what they do". So lets go ahead and break it down:

new Live Events
Live events have always been a very strong part of WAR, very engaging and enjoyable and I'm sure Mythic use them to test bed new ideas as well (waiting on the spin offs from the Daemon Moon masks). Will this mean new ones? (Scurvy Dogs) or just repeats of the old ones (Night of Murder), either way, as the game matures so do the events.

new weapons and cloaks earned by spilling the blood of your enemies in RvR
Mmmmm gud! Would love to see an offensive shield for Black Orcs and some upgrades for my weapons (8th Warlord PQ and still no higher than a blue bag.. once) interestingly as I write this I've realise that outside the dungeon instances the two weapon upgrades are reliant on a PQ system, yay for lucky rollers :/ Either way though it's been a long time coming and a natural progression of the token and influence systems. Though I would still like to see more accessories.

new Scenario structure
6v6 scenarios plz. Nothing worse than facing off against a good team only to find that the other party you are working with are rank 29 tanks with no healers. Open more up from prior tiers to fight in each weekend and maybe include a scenario influence system.. Oooh that's an idea. Would also be nice and as horrible as it sounds to have rank 40 only scenarios so your team doesn't get gimped by having low rank players against full 4o.. The bolster system works to an extent and I've seen some excellent lower rank players (particularly healers) but the majority just can't compete against the much better geared players and rank 39/40 gear level.

economy
Don't see how the economy can be fixed in WAR, not enough gold sinks and it's far too easy to earn gold anyway, there needs to be a way to force all the gold out the game and people are sitting on 20k+ gold piles already

loot drop improvements
Yeah and the last loot drop improvements meant you nerfed my blog you gits :( Improved loot, or would that be itemisation? Hard to tell with a comment like this, it's very open to interpretation on what they will improve, more grey trash drops, more crappy greens, higher token drop rates, fancy shiny pants dropping off N'Kari... (if he.. she... it.. wears any) Who knows, so will reserve comment on this until we hear more.

Adjustments to the King and Warlord encounters to convert them to RvR-only battles
Well this WILL be very interesting, also very tricky to implement correctly, the current rumour is that the encounters will be"purgable" (is that even a word?) which would be a dreadful idea (24 people with PvE tactics, gear and spec vs. 24 people with RvR tactics, gear and spec... not gud), alternatively it might be a battle against other players to defeat the kings but you never get to fight the king... but then what about the off peak lockers (oh dear, what a shame) how do they kill the king when there's no-one to defend him at 3am? (again.. oh dear, what a shame). Looking at this with a sense of dread but intrigue at the same time, it's been a long time coming and lets be honest about it, Warcraft would be a bit dodgy with a capture the flag scenario against other players as it's end game, so why does an RvR game have a PvE encounter as its endgame?

UI customization enhancements
I'm a tinkerer.. not a week goes past where I don't mess around with my UI to some extent, I'm a minimalist but want all my information at my fingertips. With add on writers slowly disappearing having more ability to change my UI without having to rely on an add on is most welcome.

Tier 4 RvR campaign improvements
Improvements eh? Well not a lot to speculate on here but I get the feeling it will be about battlefield objectives and VP's... who really knows.. Though I've just come up with a possible idea to bring back forts, slow down the campaign but give a sense of attack and defence. Random thought really.. Instead of two pairings to lock to hit the city you need all three, however you can unlock an enemy captured pairing by taking down the fortress lord, doing this resets it back one step (so it'd go from the Maw back to Chaos Wastes). The upside to this is that smaller forces can still hold out but have to be on guard for huge numbers (drop the supply line limit or massively increase it to allow for larger scale sieges again) though any force which sends a zerg to a pairing or to take out a fort being held would risk a pairing they have locked being vulnerable to a counter attack... Possible idea... I dunno...

daily quests
Mmmmm, not convinced here, is this just a way to force people to hit one scenario, or capture one BO or keep each day? The rewards should be for fighting and earning your kills through battles and sieges, not from doing a single quest each day. WAR is everywhere is the tag line, not WAR is 5 daily quests each day. I remain to be convinced but I'll listen to the ideas they bring.

So that was my rather epic post which has taken me one hour, two keeps and a zone lock to write. Lets see what Mythic bring to the table in 2010...

Monday, 21 December 2009

Mythic nerfed my blog

So there I was a month or so back looking for something in my bank that I keep as a memento, only to realise I must have accidentally trashed or sold it. Touch annoying but oh well it's easy to grab another one. So off I trotted (I assume boars trot, having trotters) to a rebel Orc place in Black Crag, for I was looking for the item that inspired the title of this blog "Mmmmm Gud".

As I waded through the corpses of the Orcs I was getting a lot of "Dem Bonez" and the occasional skull but no Mmmmm Gud. Not thinking too much about it I gave up for the day and tried a few days later at another spot. Same result. Then another spot, same result. Over the last month I've popped to various locations with Greenskins I can smush (not easy being a Greenskin myself) but no more Mmmmm Gud.

Now I may be looking in the wrong places (but some of those I KNOW dropped Mmmmm Gud before, or Mythic removed it from the loot table a few patches back when they did the trash drop changes (more likely). Either way though, Lokax is a sad Black Orc right now though and respectfully requests that Mythic bring back Mmmmm Gud if it's been removed (or tell me where to find the bloody stuff if not!)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Why the Underdog system is already being abused

Well it's only been what, a week since 1.3.3? And already realms are working out how to break the Underdog system and bend it to an unitended advantage. Certainly on Karak-Norn the most effective Order guilds are letting Destruction push the campaign during the day and logging the big guns on when it hits Altdorf and bomb the crap out of a couple of instances giving them enough VP's to prevent the city being locked and logging off again. Doing this it builds up Orders underdog points nicely.

Rinse and repeat a couple of times and when it comes to 2-3am, said Order guilds will properly logon, and push the campaign easily towards IC due to :
1) Lack of opposition to worry about and...
2) Easier to lock the zones (and city I think) due to the underdog points

Then, down goes the Destruction King for the 40th time, because you know.. Order is an Underdog with the multiple RR80 players in full Sovereign that are killing the king up to 8 times a night (sadly I kid ye not) while Destruction have killed Mr Franz... Once.

And then the cycle begins again as Destruction wake up, try to push the campaign only for one or two instances to be bombed which means it's impossible to lock the city down in the time given (you halve the city timers and PQ points, but keep the Generals on full hit points and the PQ reset timers the same as the two hour version....)

So basically Mythic there's two things here... You need to make a king kill count as a large number of underdog points for a longer duration than 24 hours or you need to stop having pushes to a city count as an underdog point, at least wait until it's locked to stage 2 first.

Or you know.. Nerf bombing (from both sides).

Monday, 14 December 2009

Looking over the next few weeks

Things in WAR will no doubt slow down over the inevitable winter festivities. Mythic will be heading home for some well deserved rest. Guilds will go quiet as people remember the little Snotlings they need to pay attention to and all those Dwarfs get fatter as they gorge themselves on Turkey and beer (mmmmm) and can't move off the sofa.

So what do we have to look forward to in WAR over the next month or so?

Will the most important thing is KEG END our traditional winter festivities (and I must have a gobbo bar back) It went down a storm last year, partly I believe due to the grindy nature of the event so that when the war front was quiet, there was plenty to do.

Looking further ahead we should be expecting 1.3.4 (unless they shift it to 1.4 if it's fairly major changes) I'd guess around the end of February. If this comes with the expected class balances (amusingly we had a scenario last night where 4 classes represented all 12 Order. Slayer, Warrior Priest, Bright Wizard and Knight, which also seems to represent the vast majority of classes in an order warband as well. I'm hoping to Gork as well that they add in the extra influence rewards or other weapon drops etc as well to RvR to give a bit more drive to get to the lakes.

Somewhere floating around Keg End and the Night of Murder live events we should find Scurvy Dogs as well, I'd expect it to be after the Night of Murder but if it's between and with a possibility of 1.3.4 in the first couple of months we could have a VERY busy new year !

Of course, my predictions aren't exactly known to be very accurate

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

WAR Chri...Gorkmas List

Over at Werits lovely little blog he posted his WAR Christmas List, so since it's the season of smushing and all, I figured I'd jump onto a good idea and post my WAR Gorkmas List. As with Werits, this will be fairly reasonable list.


Oi Gork,

Dis year, I been gud at smushin Stunties, Oomies and dem Pointy Earz. I set fires all over dat big city place and went to the big dusty place an' also wrote lots of wurdz to say how gud you are. So wud yer be a gud Gork and gies me dis stuff? Or do I 'ave to bash yer 'ead in and go 'n' yell at Mork instead?

1) Nemesis System: Quite a bit was mentioned about this a while ago but nothing ever came of it. Having a few nemesis players (almost like an enemy list instead of friends list) which would give you rewards and what not upon helping to defeat them on the field of battle. Guessing it's one of those things that was shelved due to being difficult to implement but I was really looking forward to it.

2) Expanded ORvR Influence Rewards: Give us a reason to fight in Thundercrap Mountain (this zone is always ignored on Norn, only Elf and Human pairings are ever pushed unless both are capped). The high end renown tokens drop so rarely that it's more luck than effort to get them, give us an expanded system reaching into high renown ranks so we have more to aim for.

3) Fixing Stupid Terrain: Starting to get annoying getting stuck on fences, falling into inescapable holes and riding down Dragonwake towards Ember only to lose 75% health because of THAT STUPID GRADIENT OF THE RAMP WHICH SENDS YOU FLYING TO YOUR NEAR DEATH EVERY BLOODY TIME

4) State of the Class: Lets do a state of each class and it's mirror, speak with the players about concerns over the class, bugs, broken mechanics and what the devs think of the class currently. Invite players to submit feedback on the classes and sit down and speak with them, there's a great community forming for WAR, it's time to tap into that knowledge

5) Revisit the land of the dead: Because it's almost a dead zone already. 6 months or so down the line and barring the odd venture in to check on a Colossus spawn or to venture into Tomb of the Bug Lord. I'd actually love to see the high end RvR influence rewards be in this zone, get more high renown players to fight here, bonus influence for purging and defending of course! But it's time to see what can be done to stop the place being a PvE and levelling zone.

Thunks!

Lokax

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Whatever happened to sieges?

From the towering Wilhelms Fist to the underground Badmoon Hole, keeps are impressive pieces in the lakes, surrounded by the battlefield objectives and are central to taking control of the zone. So what happened to them? Where did the siege warfare go? I cannot speak for each server, but certainly over in Karak Norn (EU) the keeps are simply a time sink for the attacking force. Very little actual warfare takes place over them now. Before the addition of the extra ramp you could defend a keep at the lords room with a wall of tanks, now with the addition of an extra huge ramp up to the key, vital, heart of the keep (yeah, because it makes sense to have your local architects design that) a tank wall is all but useless due to it being stretched so thin and a mass of players will just rip through a keep without the chance of a smaller force being able to hold back the mass tide the keeps fall quickly now and without much incident.

Siege weapons have remained an absolute joke for the last year. Sod all damage, too expensive and completely ineffective at contributing anything meaningful to a siege (rams not included). The guards, even as champions are nothing more than a passing thought as they disappear in the aoe. Rewards for defending the keeps are pretty much pointless as you gain more tokens from general RvR than a slim chance of defending a keep and getting a reward bag, not to mention getting the part you actually need.

The battling over a keep which would have me on the edge of my seat as I sat in the tank wall waiting for the surge, or the breaking down of the final door to charge in to meet my fate or find my glory has gone, keeps right now seem to be nothing more than a time sink. What once was a possibility of a small force holding out against massed ranks has now descended into a glorified battlefield objective.

It's not about rewarding people for taking or defending keeps. It's about making the sieges enjoyable yet tense, defendable with smaller numbers but takable with the correct tactics and having players feel they are contributing to the siege on an impressive structure rather than standing about in a flimsy cardboard box.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

1.3.3 Notes and a look beyond to 1.3.4

Well first of all, we're still waiting on the server going live in Europe so this is only a look over the notes without any first hand experience.

1.3.3...

Underdog System: Looks good so far, might need a bit of tweaking but I think it's all but impossible to tell how it will pan out until it's on unbalanced servers. Only point I would like to see is that it seems to favour sides who can push to stage one of the city no problems but never lock it down. Does that make a server unbalanced enough to warrant being included in an underdog system?

Ooooh Shiny: One for those who have imba PC's, I'm sure mine can run it nicely, but not in mass scale RvR, but with a new PC on it's way in the summer (saving my shinies up) I'll be looking forward to trying this out a lot. (Will be sure to take some nice screenshots in full on shiny mode)

WAR Report: Ooooh nice idea, brilliant for those who are looking for some instant action as it saves the (not all that much really) hassle of getting to the war front when you first log in. I can actually see a variance of this being implemented in other games as I think it's a cracking idea. Though I have to admit, I'm not sure how much I'll use it for the simple reason that where there is a lot of action I'll be going with the guild, so wont be instantly as I log in, where I would instantly go for some quick smushin' I'd go to a quieter area to roam about on my own. Still, love the idea

Balance Changes: Meh, nothing here or there of any use much past bug fixes, but as I said before, I wasn't expecting any major class changes this patch (and this close to the winter holidays), there is still a lot of work to be done on classes (NO class should do more close combat damage than close combat characters for example *cough* bomb *cough*)

Sovereign Jewel Drops: Mmmm, more shinies to collect, sell and eventually chuck out my backpack when I have no more room. Still at least they're dropping again.

Player Armour Parts: Sadly I don't think this means I'll be able to make armour from dead stunties :(

Armour Set Changes: Nice to see some fixes to the warlord set but a shame the Borc Warlord set is still absolutely pish past the 5% extra block.

1.3.4...

Ooooh well, for who haven't seen. There was a chat on the US PTS from the devs about some aspects of the game but all I'm focused of right now is a little bit of text...

"More high-end weapons and trinkets are on their way and will be achievable via RvR. They may potentially make it in the 1.3.4 patch notes.

Andy clarifies with: "More to the point we're listening to the feedback provided by players who want more RvR item rewards and are looking at the ways we can deliver those. Aside from that, we're not divulging any specifics regarding this, however we are hearing what the players are saying regarding this loud and clear.""

Yuuuuuuuuuusssssssss!!!! *does the Waaaagh dance!*

Monday, 30 November 2009

Ok, so no patch notes last week...

But with the PTS event tomorrow on the US to test out the Bloom and HDR (seriously, you need an event to test someones graphic settings?) there's a good chance we'll see the notes today. I don't expect anything for the careers other than minor bug fixes so I think this will be a fairly low key patch release. But still gives us something to moan about right?

Now where's our nemesis system, increased RvR influence rewards and Black Orcs getting bigger as they progress in renown....

Thursday, 26 November 2009

And now time to make Lokax

It's something that's been brewing in the dark, stinky and fungsy recesses of my mind for a while.. A Warhammer model of Lokax. Now back in my younger days I loved Warhammer and enjoyed painting. Although I never played the tabletop game more than a couple of times with a friend I loved Blood Bowl and played and painted a lot of models for it so i still have the odd paint and bits and pieces from left over projects stashed in my cupboards which have moved house with me.

So it was back in the summer I noticed a hobby store opening near me and picked up a pack of plastic Black Orcs (who knew that moulded plastic could be so expensive) and it's now that I've actually decided to do something with it. So to force me along this project I'll try and get an update to it every week, if not for anyone else, then for me.

So the idea is to turn these:Into this...


Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

1.3.3 Patch notes are a coming!

Another one of these posts you find on that Twitter malarky. This time from Andy at Mythic (he's the guy that does the stuff... you know.. stuff... posts.. n stuff.. I dunno, I'm a European we don't get Mythic interaction) Anyway, he just posted this last night so (I'm guessing) we should see the patch notes by the end of the week: Andy_Mythic's Twitter:

"Just finished my first edit of the 1.3.3 WAR Patch Notes.

Monday, 23 November 2009

"Secret Stuff"

Found this on Josh Dreschers twitter

"Over the past few weeks, I've been writing 10+ pages of STUFF* nearly every day. My hands are tired. *"Stuff" is code for "secret goodies".

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Get to da Choppette ?

This was a piece of artwork (well texture and possibly model) of a Female Choppa done by one of the recently laid off artists by EA in his spare time at Mythic (good luck, and best wishes in the future). Always love seeing the little extras and creativity that never make it into a game.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Maintenance mode? Absolutely incorrect.

Future Plans for WAR?


Meztli wrote:
It can be understod as this game is now in maintenance mode as well. But okey, lets not be too pessimistic. :)
Absolutly incorrect, WAR is not in mainetance mode and developement is continuing in all areas


Yeah, it might 'just be a European CM' but you have to believe they know more than what's been thrown about by the plebians (including me) recently.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

I've just realised what kills WARs enjoyment for me sometimes.


Helplessness.

When your realm is out numbered on the battlefield, out geared and out skilled you CANNOT do anything against it. Your only counter is to try and get more numbers to zerg but when the numbers in tier 4 seem to be dwindling as each city siege and king kill happens and when you don't want to be or can't be in a zone with 500 people fighting (the other night we had reports of a keep being attacked by 253 order) then what can you do?

I can admit my own failings, I can admit when we messed up a fight we should have won, but trying to fight a force which is simply beyond your capabilities is stupid.

Warhammer is a game which is in the hands of your opponents not you. It's based on RvR and when one side dominates to an extent that people reroll on another server you know the parity between sides has gone. In Warcraft I knew that it was me and 24 other people against a raid boss, we knew it was our fault if something went wrong and we worked it out and dealt with it, but the key thing was.. It was US at fault. In Warhammer we have no control over the skill level, gear level and numbers of our enemy in RvR.

Would a third realm have helped this? Indeed. But for that it's too late now, I cannot even see a third realm being added in an expansion due to the total rewrite of the game which would be required (imagine the art needed... done by the art team which basically doesn't exist anymore).

So at the moment we're stuck looking at PvE and making a quick zone hop whenever the zerg appears (you can literally see the lag spikes as the mass of players arrives in a zone). I await the details of the underdog system with bated breath but I don't think it will recognise skill and gear that we're faced against....

Thursday, 12 November 2009

DAoC in the Crysis engine

Noticed this little gem while browsing through a WAR blog I'd never seen before (That's Skar with a K) and thought I'd share it as well. It's Dark Age of Camelot (well parts of) re imagined through a modern game engine (in this case Crysis), it's nice to see what could have been....

http://mharjula.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Jeff Hickman speaks... Let the speculation end

But we know it won't... Every little word and phrase will be digested, picked apart and used now... No matter what Jeff would say he was in a no win situation with the doom sayers. But still, sod 'em.. I'm happy in WAR and will continue to support it for years to come as it's a gud (if amazingly frustrating at times) game!

http://herald.warhammeronline.com/warherald/NewsArticle.war?id=980

".... At Mythic, we remain committed to our games and the passionate people who play them – we’re going to continue to deliver the content and service that keeps you playing. We want to assure our community that we will maintain the same high level of customer support you’ve come to expect and continue to improve our games with an exciting schedule of patches, live events and new content.

...
-Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning has had a solid first year despite some issues that we’re working to address every day. We’ve seen a great response to 1.3.2, which introduced tremendous performance improvements. A flood of new players are discovering the game every day thanks to the recently released Endless Trial and New User Journey. Moving forward we remain committed to releasing more great patches, continued performance improvements, and changes based upon your valuable feedback!..."

The day after....

I have to admit, I was expecting to wake up to some sort of post apocalyptic MMO world this morning. As I sat in work first thing (the joys of being the only one in the office at 7am) I hit a few websites and forums to see if there had been any response, any news, perhaps a sign of the end times or a pulse of life. Instead all I found was the world moving on, Destructions king had been killed again at silly AM, the odd website had made mention of the layoffs but things seemed to be moving along with no change.

It's only a day after the news broke, but I honestly feel that if we were at panic stations for WAR then it would have been noticeable by now, not just from the layoffs at Mythic but in general. I still see more and more people returning from Aion or from elsewhere to visit the old world.

A days thought about it makes me believe that EA might be putting Mythic on 'maintenance mode' but this doesn't mean a halt to production, simply that the game is focused on how it stands rather than adding more to it and at this point it's what WAR needs. A good solid focus on removing those pesky bugs and working out performance issues.

There's many games out there with less subscribers that are surviving fine, many are planning expansions and are staying afloat nicely. Yes, WAR has lost subs, but it is in no way a non profitable game, EA wants to make money. You don't get rid of something which is making money, no matter what the profit margins.

Personally, I'm looking at it as stage 2 of the Mythic/Bioware team. I can see Mythic being fully Incorporated into Bioware over the next few months with Ultima and DAoC also coming under the Biowa(aaagh)re banner.

The Waaaagh might be quieter right now, but the green tide is rising...

Monday, 9 November 2009

Warhammer has weathered the storm... But losing its creative arm?

http://bitemyreview.com/2009/11/warhammer-online-effectively-dead-in-the-water/

From the above article...

"Word of mouth has 80 people being laid off from EA Mythic today. The information started coming out on Friday, and folks officially got the axe today.

Our insiders tell us that EA corporate may be laying off up to 1000 people worldwide, and that the Mythic properties themselves are going into “maintenance mode”. Seeing as most of the folks laid off were in the creative departments at Mythic, this makes sense — you can’t be producing a new expansion or writing new content if all of your writers are gone."


I'm sure we'll find out more over the next week or two if this is not only true, but what the future holds for WAR.

Update: Seems to be confirmed now from a few different sources. Wishing all those who have lost employment the best in the future and hopefully a quick return to work, good luck folks and thank you for your time and effort put to our community.

As a side note, the numbers will be spread no doubt over WAR, Dark Age of Camelot and Ultima Online so to stem the inevitable "the sky is falling" posts, by all accounts WAR might not be seeing any lay offs at all.... maybe....

Broken Blockas & Cracked Choppas

My Blocka o' da Doombull and Choppa of da Chieftain are starting to look a little battle worn and run down these days. The Blocka has been in use since the middle of February and the only upgrade for it comes from Land of the Dead after killing the Colossus a gazillion times (funnily enough a PvE thing). The Chieftains choppa has an upgrade, in the Warlord PQ (good luck getting there on Karak Norn) but the better two are a Sandstorm (from land of the dead grinding) drop or from... again... the Colossus.

See the theme here?

Barring the tier 4 RvR influence rewards there's no real way to get weaponry in RvR. And those weapons are quickly replaced by PvE weapons.

The two logical choices would be to expand the influence rewards or allow weaponry to be purchased with all those tokens starting to build up in people inventories. I'm in favour of the influence system, it's guaranteed that you will get them if you work towards it rather than waiting on lucky drops.

Start a new influence bar... Basic influence you can only gain if you are renown rank 50 or above, advance influence only gains when you are RR60 and elite influence you can gain from RR70. The reason for this is to stop people being all influenced out before they can even wear conqueror to help the sense of progression. Keep a renown requirement on them so you have a dual goal, your rank and influence then let people go smush!

The same can be done for jewellery items, barring the dreadful Warlord and Sovereign pieces (seriously, who thinks +8 will power is of ANY use to a tank?) all other jewellery pieces come from PvE.

Let us gear up and progress in RvR, not stare at the same items for almost a year because there's nothing left to get other than rare PvE drops...

Friday, 6 November 2009

It was something else...

D'oh...

Hello Testers,

You may have noticed by now but those of you who attended the Keep Reward System tests on the Monday 5th of October between 20:00 CEST and 22:00 CEST have been rewarded for your participation with the Face of Condemnation.

This item is sure to make you stand out in a crowd. We'd love to see some screenshots of you wearing it so please feel free to post them here!

Thanks once again for your contribution!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Slann are watching?

Could our next 'destination' be Lustria, the realm of the Lizardmen and Slaan... Or is it just part of the halloween event? Or something else entirely....

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

For Gorks sake.. give us something to do other than sieges!

Well as the Hand of Blood wait around for another siege to end we're at a loss... No ORvR... No scenarios... A lot of guilds just seem to log out now if it's not going to look like a lock.

We NEED RvR to do during this time if the city instances are empty and dont give us that horrible city scenario we had before please.

My thoughts? Open up The Twisted Tower and the Maw of Madness if IC is under siege and Reikland Hills and Reikland Factory if Altdorf is under attack. When Highpass Cemetery was on as the event scenario I've never seen scens pop so fast, you would be going straight into them after wards... People would rather fight than stare at empty instances.

I don't know what the average play session is but I'd say no more than three hours for the casual WAR player.. if two and a half hours of this are taken up by a city siege which is half empty then it's not productive to the game. The novelty has worn off already and the grumblings are starting again...

Monday, 26 October 2009

Updating the Blog roll.

Cleared it out a bit and added a couple of Blogs in there that for some reason (and I have no idea why since I check them regularly) never got added. If you're a Warhammer Blogger or have been with a new blog that looks at gaming in general (sorry, not interested in people now posting about another game entirely) then leave a comment here and I'll add you to the blog roll..

WAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaghhhhhhhhhh

There's life yet in Warhammer

Oh my Gork! I'm not allowed to say that am I? I'm not foretelling the death of War or that it's lost millions of subscriptions and there's only five people still playing it.

In fact, I think people are returning to WAR and new people are discovering it...

Aion (for a few folks) wasn't the best thing since sliced bread that some made it out to be and a fair few players are already returning from it. Mortal Online although still in beta seems to have people already walking out of it (which is a shame since it does look prety decent). The rinse and repeat formula is starting to grow thing for those playing WoW (well at least until Icecrown raids and then Cataclysm) and they're starting to become tourists again. Champions Online seems to have stalled but will keep a solid core of players.

So a year on for a lot of people and they're starting to check out WAR again. I've heard a lot of positive comments from people regarding the performance of the game, balance and content. We're now starting to get tasters of the end game loot and gear (for those who don't know Karak Norn has never had a king kill from either side yet). WAR needs to tidy up a few things here and there (for the love of Gork fix some of those graphic bugs that have plagued us since closed beta) but if they can keep pushing at it, keep the flow of content and if WE the players have faith then more shall return. WAR will never be a 500k-1m sub game anymore, it's lost the momentum. I can see it sitting steady around the 200-300k mark for a long time especially if EA sorts out online payment packages for it's four games when it releases The Old Republic. I also think that Mythic needs to start talking about it's first expansion soon as that should start to generate some more hype, though I get the feeling they're holding off until they can avoid an announcement conflict with WoW regarding either Icecrown or more Cataclysm news.

WAR has a bright future, it might be dimmer than it was a year ago but I'm still going by my 5 years at least life span on it.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Freehammer: Age of Microtransactions


With the recent announcements that Dungeons & Dragons Online has gained a 40% increase in subscriptions despite making it free to play and with rumours that Turbine will follow this up by making Lord of the Rings free to play is it going to become more common for MMO's to follow this business model?

Could WAR go free to play?

For those who maybe don't know what a F2P business model means, it's basically to strip down your game, drop maximum levels and gear, lock off some of the content and offer what's left as free for anyone to play. Basically an infinite demo mode. To get the 'full game' you spend real life money to get points/tokens/currency which is used either online in the game or through a web based store to buy goods. These goods range from healing potions and an extra character slot to an increase in level cap and whole new areas to quest and explore.

This is great for the casual player who wants to pop down five (insert currency of choice) and play the game for a while, they can get some stuff (some permanent, some not so permanent) and play it fine. Heck they don't even need to pay anything and still contribute to the community by making the servers busier and helping other players out by grouping with them.

Those players who decide to go for a paid subscription get pretty much all the goodies with in game priorities (server queues, first to play expansions and new classes/races and subscriber only perks and benefits in game) so those who continue don't feel they've missed anything out.

Could this work in WAR? I'm hesitant to say "Yes" or "No" for a few points.

One of the key reasons this has worked well in DDO is that the game is totally based on PvE and subsequently you're not competing with anyone other than yourself and group mates. As soon as you start adding in someones credit card into a PvP game you lose a lot of the skill where everyone before was on an even footing. You can just buy "Deff Choppa of da 'Kax" instead of grinding out medallions from player kills to get it. Would you be happy if the player with the Tyrant armour set waded in and crushed you because half of it was bought and the other half he got after a week or two of doing Vulture Tomb in Land of the Dead (which he just bought as well).

While I'm tempted to say "Yeah it would suck to be bested by someone who had better gear because they bought it" I remind myself that individuals can easily disappear in WAR when the zergs start rolling in and a player with full Sovereign right now still gets crushed as quickly as an Annihilator set player when a group of 6 or more appears around the corner screaming "WAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!". The game isn't based on duels or skirmish combat. I could certainly see premade scenario groups with bought high end gear crushing pugs, but then it's no different from now.

The best way to look at it would be the following... Everyone spends (for the sake of argument) $10/month on WAR. If you can't play for a couple of months would you feel so far behind the power curve that you're unable to compete? What difference would it make to you if Warhammer went free to play and you decided not to pay to keep up with the power curve? Would you be ground into the dirt anytime a paying player rode past you? Probably not. A good player is still a good player no matter what.

IF WAR ever went F2P (and I honestly don't see it happening with a year old game.. just yet) then I could see a limit on the renown rank at 40 and access to only the Empire & Chaos tier and races. You can raise the renown cap by paying for every 10 levels but you still need to earn the renown to use the gear you want to get (or buy). Special scenarios can be offered to paying players, the live events will be cut back for non paying (but paying get full benefits). Free respecs for paying players and cosmetic changes (Goblins on spider mounts, Orcs on Wyverns and Dark Elves on dark steeds for example). There has to be a 'need' to spend the equivalent of $10/month to make the change worthwhile but it must be done in a way as to not break the campaign and to make sure that the player who spend the cash will feel they are getting a good deal for the money.

It's certainly not outwith the realms of possibility and I wouldn't run away screaming (I've seen the change it has made to DDO) but I think right now EA would rather wait and see how things go with the Western F2P market with Turbines MMO's before making any major upheavals to the library they have.

Mind you, I also see the best way for EA in a years time would be to offer an "EA Online Subscription" which grants access to Knights of the Old Republic, WAR, Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot for say $20/month. That way they can mask true subscriber numbers and I'd be tempted to pick a sub up like that (being a former player of UO and DAoC)...

Sunday, 11 October 2009

So the Warhammer expansion news starts leaking...


So is this the first leak of the first Warhammer expansion? What's the deal with the PTS client (I couldn't see anything on my European PTS client) and are we going to see some major changes, races or mechanic changes? Mythic might just be starting to dangle the carrot in front of us now...

Gitz

Monday, 24 August 2009

Who says Black Orcs can't do damage with a sword and shield?

Mua ha ha ha ha!

(click for better pic)

Still playing and enjoying WAR, just been horribly neglecting the blaaagh :( Still I'll get back into the swing of things soon enough :)

Keep the WAAAAAGHHHHH going!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

An Area of Effect AoE Nerf....

So Mythic have finally decided that enough is enough. AoE is far too potent in WAR and needs to be reduced a bit. And I do agree, group heals, aoe spam is all too potent. The problem is, they've taken every class and applied the same rules to it.

Take the Black Orc. We have a tree which is based on AoE (Da Boss) and with the blanket nerf hitting this, it's reducing the damage by 30-40% of the abilities and reduced the range on a few more (but they increased the range on one). In all honest I've NEVER heard of anyone ever complaining that the Black Orc AoE is too good or needs to be nerfed so why destroy a tree leaving Black Orcs with one semi decent tree (brawler).

So I dropped out my aoe tree (I loved my little WAAAAAGHHH!!! skill) and gone back to single target and accepted that for Gork knows how many patches (I think since 1.1) we've not had a buff to our abilities, but instead a constant stream of nerfs.

At least I can say we're not a fotm class and not over powered. I like being da underdogs... Means we can bite dere bellies! (bonus points if you get the quote).

But seriously, I just wonder that with Mythic trying to open up communication more they seem to be lumping all classes as equals and mass nerfing where nerfs are not needed.

So Mythic.. Whens the tank patch coming?

Monday, 20 July 2009

Still living!

Not quit WAR, not quit blogging. Just been busy with real life, WAR and a myriad of other gubbins. Will get a couple of posts up this week... I promise ;)

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Mark Jacobs leaves the building...


And Bioware join the team, it's looking to be interesting times in the future for sure.

http://herald.warhammeronline.com/warherald/NewsArticle.war?id=841

This WILL change the development of WAR without a doubt, it's just all in the air. I'm sure no harm will come to WAR, but what of the good?

Hmm, interesting times lie ahead, and I'll be commenting more on this later on...

Monday, 22 June 2009

Ermmm... Maybe not.

So decided to try out a parry build, didn't bother with the renown points in parry nor did I get all the tactics I wanted (just the flat +parry from big choppin'), end result was 30% parry which wasn't too bad and weapon skill was at 487. Then I realised my initiative was crap low at 151 (23% chance of being critted), strength was at 518, wounds at 911 but toughness at 411... Urgh... (elemental resist was nice at 911 as well though).

Yes we can stack parry, but realistically Black Orcs will be totally gimping most other stats. Looks like the +Parry on the Tyrant set is totally worthless after all :(

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Take one Lair Run, add booze, stir and let simmer...


And you have one hell of a great laugh over Vent.

I always say this but its the community and the people you share your time with in game that make your enjoyment so much more. When everyone can just hook up, and have a great night chatting into the wee hours and of course, getting utterly pissed but keeping a smile and a laugh going it doesn't matter if your class is bugged, nerfed, OP or just plain broken. Order hitting IC? Break out the rum! Bomb squad murdering you in scenarios? Crack open a beer...

Do something just a little different, there's no need to focus on the same RvR and scenarios each night.

Enjoy the GAME

Friday, 19 June 2009

The dust settles on 1.3

So with 1.3 out there appears to be few bugs lurking around. It's expected, but still baffles me as to why things that haven't been touched in the patch notes should all of a sudden not work properly (or at all). What Mythic and GOA are at least doing this time though is openly posting bugs they know about and what is fixed, what is due to be fixed and what they're looking into.

THIS. IS. GUD.

This is making the bug fix process much more visible and does give more confidence than before (even though I knew they were fixing bugs, I couldn't see them do it...)

So what else in 1.3 then? They fixed the dismounting in IC (yay!), more talismans (yay!), crafting and currency bags (yay-yay!). So far I like it and have no direct grumps regarding it, they may also be looking into actually fixing WAAAAGH! for Black Orcs.

The live event is a bit... meh... Not really getting into it and don't feel any sense of personal achievement in it, they should have stuck to the influence system for it.

Overall though, it's a major step up and with the number of bugs that slipped into the patch I'm glad the combat and career changes didn't take place as well. Now we just have to sit back and see what happens...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Sometimes you get little plans


From a gud plan, to da bestest plan... Or maybe not.

So after looking at the +5 parry that Borcs get in the Tyrant set I decided to try and work out if it's possible to make a Parry set for tanking. it looks rough but it might just be manageable on the lower end instances. Key advantage would be not having to respec for RvR/grinding (and looking cool) while the disadvantage would be that in high end instances I'd be an offtank.

Worked out the following so far:

8% base parry
+7% from conqueror set and glove bonus
+5% From gud at big choppin tactic
+0/5/10% from Less Stabbin me (combined with the jump to best plan upon parry tactic I should always be on at least 5%)
+6% from renown
+8% from jewels
And then I can get my morale 1 to pop every 60 seconds for a 30 second 10% parry buff.

So that'll be around 34-44% which isn't great (certainly lower that you'd like for two handed tanking) and with a likely significant drop in wounds. Still it's something different from the cookie cutter mould, so I'll give it a shot. Just need some victims from the Hand of Blood to try this out with *evil grin*

Monday, 15 June 2009

Feedback I gave...

Figured I'd just pop some of the feedback I gave GOA over the official European forums. Don't read if you don't want basic spoilers (I didn't go far as I didn't want to spoil it for myself)

------------------------------

Due to wanting to have some surprises and not wanting to discover everything I've focussed on the opening area at this time. I also have no idea how GOA want's the feedback done, I submitted a load of ingame feedback and bug reports but also noticed they mentioned putting the feedback here.. So they have it twice I guess :)

There were large numbers of people at each area, so the PQ's were easier than intended, I have taken this into account.

PQ's
Sedjhet Temple

Nice little introduction PQ. Runs fairly quickly and appears to be easily takable with even a small group (laying down the AoE just obliterates the sand worms). It's designed for a group so I would have increased the numbers and spawn rate of the worms to make it a challenge away from AoE massacre. Collecting the urns appears to be a bit of a bore and spread out so I can't see the temple being a quick farmable PQ especially with the forced defence on a 3m timer. The boss looked a basic tank and spank. (2 out of 3)

Aerie of Death

A unique console style PQ. A lot of jumping about on ridges (which confused me to start with as I ran around looking for the eggs). The jumping stage favours the quick reaction players who can play Tomb Raider in there sleep, but it's no competition, just a bit annoying to have to wait out a few minutes. I can see this becoming a relatively unpopular as well due to the scattered nature of the stages.(2 out of 3)

Obelisk of Judgement

My favourite so far. It's contained PQ in a small area, nice constant spawn of mobs which aren't a challenge until you add in the "pewpew lasers of death (tm)". This aspect makes the PQ infinetly much more enjoyable and is a unique touch. The stages are easily grindable and I got a nice 8 hour epic talisman of one of the trash mobs which was unexpected. The boss appears straight forward however it is a little buggy. Your abilities on the action bar remain red to indicate you cannot use them on the boss however if you click/press the key they fire off as normal.(3 out of 3)

Assault on Nekh Ahket

I was unable to find/start this PQ at the time, the area shows up but I guess it must be on a timer? Regardless I explored the area but never came across the PQ update on screen.

Bugs
(Artwork)
Zandri Lion: The debilitating wound debuff does not have an icon, simply a "No Icon/Art" image instead.
Carrion in the Tome of Knowledge: The entry shows a walking, humanoid skeleton. I guess it should be carrion bird instead.
Great Hammers on Black Orcs: Our right hand goes straight through the head of the hammers, poking through the other side. There appears to be missing animations as well (t'ree hit combo for example has some rough shoulder swinging animations but the weapon remains firmly in hand)

(Other)
Obelisk of Judgement: Some of the mobs upon dying in stage 2 came up on the screen as "You have slain a Invis Placeholder"
PQ contribution lists are broken: It doesn't tell you what your contribution score is nor where you placed on the text box

General Feedback
Map Sound: Please allow us to turn off the new sound that occurs when opening a map. It was never missed when it wasn't there and adds nothing to the feel of the game other than a minor distraction if you open it a few times in a row if you've misclicked or needing to recheck the map. Allow us to turn this off.
Epic Soul Talisman thingies: After getting one on a trash mob in a PQ I got a couple more drops off level 37 mobs in the area. Not sure if I as just lucky at getting them or whether they do drop frequently. If they do drop that frequently then I would maybe lower the duration on the drops as no-one will pay the price for them from the talisman vendors

--------------------------------------------------

Feedback on the NEW Tyrant Black Orc set
Naturally I can only see two pieces so have no idea what the other parts are like but lets have a look at the two pieces you can see. Gloves and Belt.

Gloves:
33 toughness
13 wounds
19 weapon skill
3% reduction in being critted
(talisman slot)

Nice upgrade over invader since it's a tanking piece. Wouldn't bother with it however if building a DPS/RvR set.

Belt:
28 Strength
21 Toughness
21 Weapon Skill
59 Spirit resist
167 Elemental resist
47 Corp resist

Great belt and a massive upgrade from the rubbish we've had the last few sets (+willpower? urgh...). No complaints over this and it makes a part of a nice RvR set as well if you can slot it in.

Set bonuses:
2) +76 wounds
3) +76 toughness
4) +5% parry
5) Reactionary: On being hit, 25% chance of increasing evade, parry and disrupt by 10% for 10 seconds
6) +76 hit points every 4 seconds

The first two set bonuses you certainly cannot complain about, + wounds and + toughness are always good, especially with the inevitable combat changes coming along, however this is where it ends and the head scratching starts...

+5% parry?

This is where I now believe we have a copy of the swordmaster gear (which it is..) all other tanks get +block for the 4 piece set. Swordmasters and Borcs get +parry. The problem is... Black Orcs can't parry, we have no natural parry abilities to make use of them (SW's get "wall of darting steel" which grants them +50 parry with great weapons, we get "cant hit me", which we have to spec high for, gives us block and only works with shields). We also have no +parry weapons. An over sight possibly in having mirror careers but Black Orcs in the current format cannot parry very well and we certainly wouldn't tank end game bosses with a great weapon. I'd like to try a parry build for sure and hope this is a sign of black orcs getting parry buffs but as it stands it's pretty much pointless.

Reactionary is nice, gives a solid little boost but I wonder how truly effective it will be as when tanking, the whole point is not to actually get hit... So this makes you want to get hit to increase your chance of not being hit? I'd rather just not be hit in the first place....

+76 health per 4 seconds: Nice little extra but again it's very little and when tanking you tend to be taking large amounts of damage so having a small health tick is meaningless as it will not save you.

Overall it seems a solid 3 piece set, but dissapointing afterwards. This may change if black orcs are being adjusted in 1.3x when the combat changes come out, but as it stands stick with the belt and two other pieces of your choice for a tanking set. No initiative on the two pieces I've seen nor in the set will not stop you being critted by mobs.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Sneaky testing...

Well I decided to pop onto the PTS tonight to do a bit of testing (and c'mon, there's a chance to get the shroud thingy and a manticore mount) and I have to admit it's looking not too shabby. I forced myself to do nothing more than the opening area and the PQ's and they are quite fun. Yes there's bugs (reported) and some feedback needing done (written and submitted) but I think LotD will be a lot of fun and a good way to pass the time over the summer months while the game settles itself back down and the classes become balanced.

My only real concern is that I fear it will drive a lot out of the regular tier four zones and into one dustbowl making the whole area fairly laggy, but we'll see.

Overall though, it's looking good from my little excursion.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Treasure hunt - WAR style.


So there's a treasure hunt going on throughout this new fangled interwebs. With codes, pictures and lots of other gubbins to be had. Solve the puzzle and you can earn yourself a title or perhaps a swarm of scarabs to crawl around behind you.. Sounds fun and I have to admit it's a cool concept. Glad to see both Mythic and GOA involving the community again (very important for GOA to be seen doing things as well), gives us a reason to stretch our wings out to new sites we may have not ordinarily visited.

Downside though is that it won't take long for the solution to be posted online for all to see (once it's spread to the solvers buddies and guild) and those who are browsing the forums at that time will be able to nab all the codes.. Booooo.

Still, hope to see more things like this from GOA soon, even if I suck at puzzle solving (I'm an Orc, I just hit stuff).

Monday, 8 June 2009

Bloody bomb squads...


Good run of scenarios last night, though the only times we were beaten was when we were up against a bomb squad. For those who have never had the misfortune of facing one, it's basically a guarded and mass healed bright wizard with Ruin and Destruction followed by PBAoE as the rest of the group devestate/debuffs/CC's the area.

It's a sound tactic (others claim it's cheap) and one that I'm totally stumped with how to counter or prevent. RDPS can stay away but us melee classes have to stack up to take out targets so we're easy fodder for the bomb. A mass zerg works through sheer weight of numbers, silence doesn't stop the morale (but go figure how my morale silence gets stopped by the unstoppable buff).

In a 6v6 environment, how would you prevent the bomb?

So out goes combat and career changes. In goes focus testing on Land of the Dead.

Gud job ladz!

As time wore on and we realised that there was a lot of testing still to be done and with the deadline fast approaching it was only right to pull the C&C changes out and focus on LotD. This was the best choice and a much welcomed one by the community. You're starting to earn our trust again Mythic, keep it up and ensure you keep those channels of communication open with us general rabble.

So what's next for WAR? Well we have LotD coming in a couple of weeks and I'm guessing the release will be the 24th/25th June. It's looking good I have to admit. I spent maybe 30 minutes looking around on the test server but purposely didn't test much due to the fact I'm an explorer (and really I am in games). This of course puts me in a nasty position where I'd love to give feedback and test it out to try and scrape a Manticore mount but I want to get the "Ooooh" feeling when I explore LotD with my guildies. Still, maybe there's another chance to get one later down the line.

Well with the recent neglect of the site I owe it to everyone to at least try and get some updates going again. I hate this once a week post rate I have just now, so I'm going to try and drop a few lines of text when I can rather than feeling that I have to write a novel each time I post. A lot of WAR blogs have gone quiet recently, some have just disappeared and so long as I'm playing the game I'll try to post. I'm more than willing to have people contribute articles as well if they want, just drop me a mail (address is over there on the right.. no right.. up a bit.. top bit. No, not that top. Down... Up.. there we go). Also in my personal challenge is to respond to comments more as I tend to leave them a bit :(

So here we go folks, over the next couple of weeks we're going to welcome in a new era of WAR. One that features the cast of The Mummy crossed with Indiana Jones..

Can't wait!

Monday, 1 June 2009

The crystal ball of Lokax (ok it's a shiny rock)


So was thinking about the future of WAR. Specifically how WAR would be able to handle an expansion considering the end game is already set in stone. Got me thinking about what we could see in the future of WAR. So here's my predictions, I'll have to revisit this over the next few months as well :)

Summer 2009: Land of the Dead is released, adds quite a lot to the game and after a few initial hiccups and totally broken encounters a few patches make it a valuable aspect of the game.

September 2009: Mythic announce work on the first paid expansion which will focus on revitalising the end game, including completely redesigned cities and fourth tiers. During this period Mythic do not release any content patches but focus on server stability, bug fixes and class balance.

Winter 2009: More details are released about the expansion and a closed beta is announced for Spring.

Summer 2010: The expansion is released bringing a lot of new players in as well as causing a few people to quit due to major tier 4 changes, people don't like change. It scares them. The level cap is upped to 50 and renown rank to 100. This works due to a total redesign of Altdorf and IC... The other cities basically quietly forgotten about and brushed away and don't even show on the map anymore

Winter 2010: The second live expansion is released adding customisable guild keeps which can be sieged.

2011: The second paid expansion is announced bringing a third realm into the mix. Mythic have been planning this since 2009 and it fits in nicely to the redesigned fourth tiers. Also added are Mythic Levels which go from 1-5 (check out the champion levels for DAoC). Another live expansion is released focusing on siege warfare.

2012: The second expansion is released, no live expansion is released this year due to focus on releasing it however we get some minor content to tide us over.

2013:WAR keeps it's core players, it never makes it's 1m subs but it's got healthy enough numbers to keep going for many years to come. Another live expansion comes out as we usher in five years of WAR.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

This r not srs business

Sometimes... You have to just go out and enjoy the fact that this is a GAME... Or in our case, strip off and run the RvR for the night completely, stark naked (and win a lot of fights somehow!)

Huge thanks to all the Hand of Bloods that joined me for our naked romp, was some of the best fun I've had in a long time and with the hilarity on vent, I hope you guys enjoyed it as well :)

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

He said.. She said... Sod it. Kill the git.


So last week after Destruction managed a run on three keeps in one night, two of which we conquered to get into Altdorf, it didn't take long before the whines started from both sides about cheating, exploiting and the usual finger pointing regarding the flavour of the month moan fest... Damaging Auras.

It all started off a few weeks back, someone, somewhere, and completely by accident kills a few people or nails them for hideous amounts of damage during a laggy keep attack. It's written off by the few people it affected as a glitch. Never mind. Carry On.

Only it happens again. In a more high profile fight such as a fortress attack or defence and causes the final result of the battle. This gets grumped at on the forums, people bitch and moan about it and do the usual whine fest when things don't go there way. People apologise, accept that shit happens and get over it.

But it happens again. Then again. And within a few weeks people are so pissed off that it's happening that the whine fest on the forums escalates to a crescendo of nabiness incarnate that both sides are blaming each other for starting something which no-one knows how it started.

People will bitch and moan, even those who have no first hand experience of it, but then it moves in such a way that people end up spending more time bitching and complain on forums than doing anything constructive about it.

Back in my day when I was but a grot... We took matters into our own hands rather than using these new fangled forums. Some reds at Vesper graveyard killing the noobs and probably using UOE? Lets round up a force and hunt them down. Unattended macroer? Lets lure some mobs over to them or kill 'em. Fighting fire with fire doesn't work contrary to popular belief. It just results in more stuff burning and a funny smell of chicken on your burnt stumps. You fight with an extinguisher. You gear up, you speak with guildmates, friends and alliance and you make them kill on sight. Make them pay for whatever transgression they committed. If they get ressed? target them again, make them first to die each and every time you see them.

Which leads me nicely onto the following... Every time I fire up some server forums, or browse through some sites I generally read the same whines. People can't take being beaten these days.

In this culture of the second generation* MMO's which was birthed by WoW and lay forth the foundation for the casual MMO player, everyone is at fault apart from themselves. Lag killed me. A bug killed me. An exploiter killed me. A player using a hack program killed me. An imbalanced class killed me.

NO.

YOU WERE JUST CRAP.

When I die it's 99% of the time because I was plainly out played, smushed and generally had seven shades of green beaten out of me by whomever. When I defend a keep and order take it from us 99% of the time it was because they were more skilled. Same with us attacking and them defending. The other 1% of the time where I feel it was unjust? Well I'll just keep a note of the player and add them to my kill list. Some people (in all games, not just WAR) are so very quick to lay the blame on anything and everyone else (and of course, generally post a whine thread on forums) before they accept there own failings. They will never learn, nor ever become truly great because they are already 'doing it right'.

I am no god of RvR, I dont think I'm even particularly good. I have beaten down on some people and had my head handed to me on a grubby platter by a fair few. But I refuse to sit there on a forum, posting that XYZ is imbalanced, exploting, buggy, laggy etc. You pick yourself up, you dust yourself down and you get back in there. Learn from your mistakes, learn to focus down those people who have wronged you and get back in the fight.

And to quote myself 'ere...

"LESS DRAMA.. MORE HAMMA!!"

*I classify most MMO's from 2004 onwards as second gen MMO's. Much more casual friendly, less risk vs reward and generally simplified mechanics (which is no bad thing)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Morale Threes and the Imbalance of Doom

Morales eh? Pretty good concept and very potent if used in combination with other warband/party members. A 6 man party with rank 4 morale bomb going off can inflict devastating damage to unprepared warbands and have been known to wipe three or four times the number.

The problem is.. Not all morales are equal, and in fact. Some are just absolute junk.

All tanks have the following rank 3 morale.

Distracting Bellow
A loud shout that startles your target and all enemies within 30 feet of them, reducing their damage by 50% for 10 seconds.

But not lets look at the career specific ones.

Black Orc - Walk it off!
Everyone in your group gains 120 Toughness for 15 seconds.

Blackguard -
Armor Of Eternal Servitude
The magic infusing your armor springs to life, further increasing your armor by 990 and restoring 2400 health over 20 seconds.

Chosen -
Sprout Carapace
In a chaotic surge of growth, everyone in the group's skin hardens, increasing Armor by 1320 and all Resists by 504 for 30 seconds. Everyone receives 100 AP as well.

Ironbreaker - Gromril Plating (I'm sure this got changed recently, but can't find the notes)
Everyone in your group becomes protected by a barrier which will absorb up to 7200 damage for 20 seconds.

Knight of the Fluffy Hat -
Emperor's Champion
Increases your Strength, Toughness, and Wounds by 240 for 30 seconds.

Swordmaster -
Bladeshield
You become protected by a magical shell for a few moments which will strike back at any attacker for 600 damage and absorb up to 3600 damage for up to 10 seconds.

Now lets compare the Black Orc rank 3 morale with the Swordmaster rank 1 morale.

Black Orc - Walk it off!
Everyone in your group gains 120 Toughness for 15 seconds.
Swordmaster -
Guard Of Steel
Protective magic increases your group's Toughness by 120 for 10 seconds.

So let me get this straight. Our rank 3 morale is equal to the Swordmaster rank 1 morale, just with 5 seconds longer duration? I'm smelling a grubby snotling 'ere...

I'd like to change it, so here's two ideas I had for it...

Black Orc - Walk it off!
Everyone in your group gains 300 Toughness for 30 seconds.

Black Orc - Walk it off!
Your group breaks any crowd control affecting them and gains temporary immunity to all crowd control effects for 15 seconds.

The downside to these two is that they are both RvR focuses, there's no real use for them in a PvE environment, but then it IS an RvR game.

So to summarise. Black Orc rank 3 Morale = Not gud. Fix it plz.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

'aving a look at 1.3 (aka - All tanks secretly get nerfed)


So 1.3 is incoming for the middle to the end of June and with it comes changes.. Oh yes, more changes to our little game. So, let's take an Orcy look at all these wordy notes.

Land of the Dead
Can't wait, though I only have reservations regarding the 30 minute timer, it doesn't leave a lot of time to get into the dungeon before the inevitable zerg hits and rolls through the place, and by that time, the other zerg will have formed and be ready to hit back. Repeat the cycle and I wonder how many will actually get far to start with. No big deal though, I'm sure it wont be a death every 30 minutes as it will take time and the content should last us. So far, it's looking good.

Sigils replacing wards
Oh thank Gork... The ward system was silly broken forcing you to use certain gear, at least now we have a choice and can work around our set bonuses rather than being pigeonholed. I'm not sure how this will work with getting new wards though I've never had too much of an issue in having to run an instance to basically attune yourself for it. I wonder what sort of wards.. err Sigils we'll be needing in LoD and where they'll start to cross over from tiers... Again, this is a good change though.

PQ Opt outs
Pretty decent again though I'm not sure if I will be passing to be perfectly honest. If we take a keep and I would have won a bag but elect to opt out the roll, do I still get my token since I would have received it in the bag? With the new LoD PQ's though, there will be more getting done. I do love the Bastion Stair system of two or three PQ's to complete before the boss and would have loved to have seen this extended into Lost Vale (to the extent of changing some of the minor bosses to PQ bosses instead). I cant see anyway to cheat the system nor anyway this is bad, so here's hoping it doesn't cause problems for invader PQ's or fort captures...

Enhanced Siege Weapons and 'deadbolts'
Making sieges more like a.. well.. siege rather than a zerg on a door is a good step up from what we currently have. I'm always in favour of making WAR more about battles on keeps and forts than mindless. Though I have to admit, I'd rather have seen deadbolts be a tank RvR ability to replace the now worthless Bulwark, make posterns immune to being bypassed for 15 minutes or some such and simply remove the ability to bypass the posterns on the inner doors.

Instance Lockout changes.
Yes. Yes. Yes. About time they changed it to make it more like other games. This will allow so much more flexibility with guilds who may have members that are a bit more casual or have people who need something from one boss. Glad they finally implemented this to work as other games do.

Action Bar changes
Well I have an addon that does this, so I guess it's one less thing to worry about if it will come as standard.

Inventory slots for crafting
Good yeah I like it... Shame they didn't use the chance to dump a gold sink into the game with it though.

Combat & Careers
Ok, the AoE changes (damage drop and size reduction is good) but why on earth then buff the single target dps up? We're more than capable of taking targets down with the existing STDPS that we have. This starts to come back to the arms race I'm worried about from a previous article. Is it a case that Mythic doesn't want to see cries of NERF so they have to add in a boost? It's all fine and well adding in more damage but when will tanks see the reactive update? By this I mean if we see more and more updates buffing damage output then where is our ability to soak up the damage, not only for ourselves but for our groups?

It's fine saying

"Moving forward, offensive stats will increase all damage by a flat percentage. This will result in high base value damage abilities gaining more benefit from offensive stats. Players should expect to see the damage on single target and positional abilities increase, while multi-target abilities will be reduced in effectiveness."


But what about our shitty little 450 damage absorb shields we have? Do we get a reactive buff to make sure the absorb and mitigation affects are not subsequently weakened? Do we hell.

This in fact turns into a global nerf for tanks, no matter what one you are. Sure you can do a bit more damage now but I don't exactly think too many folks rolled tank careers to do DPS.. But to protect and guard our fellows, to control the flow of battle and to be able to take a beating in order to distract our enemy. Simply by buffing single target DPS now, we lose more of our mitigation and absorb abilities. Our guards will cause us to take more damage and thus be harder to maintain as we'll require more healing. We still (and rightly so) lack the burst and damage output of any DPS classes, but since our survivability has not been increased to match increase in damage our role on the field of battle diminishes a bit more.

We're basically, just weak melee DPS right now. I could rant a lot about tanks and the role in WAR but it's for another day.

----

So that's a basic run down, despite my hesitation towards the combat changes and the subsequent affect it will have on Tanks, it needs to be done, well at least the AoE part of it does. Overall this is a very promising patch, the combat changes will need to be tested a lot though and I hope they are open to pushing back the patch if it looks like there's an imbalance. Somehow though, with the fact they've said that LoD is out in June means that regardless of what feedback we give on the PTS, very little will be done, most of it will already have been done by the core testers (and we know how 1.2 turned out...). So lets hope they will listen to feedback on the open PTS more.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Intuitive Icons

ICON: Computers. a picture or symbol that appears on a monitor and is used to represent a command, as a file drawer to represent filing.

If that's the case, then what on earth do all my Black Orc icons actually mean? I haven't bothered to look at other classes but I'm guessing a lot of them are the same. The icons we have are small, fairly detailed pictures.. Maybe.. I'm not sure.. They're shrunk so much and are so 'busy' that it's pretty hard to tell what they actually stand for if you don't know the class.

I'm going to have a little game here. I'll give six Black Orc icons and seven ability names. Match them up and see if you can tell what they are.



Clobber (high threat attack), Hold The Line (shield wall), Savin' me hide (toughness buff and magic supression), Shatter Enchantment (buff remover), Shut yer face (silence), Skull Thumper (damage on any crits), Tuffer n' nails (armour buff)

I'll tell you what, put your guesses (they must be guesses, if you know, don't be sneaky and answer) in the comments section. Would be interesting to actually see from an outsiders view.

--------- Highlight below to reveal answers --------
(from left to right)
Hold the Line -- Savin' me hide -- Shut yer face -- Tuffer n' nails -- Skull Thumper -- Clobber & Shatter Enchantment (yup, we have two abilities sharing the exact same icon :( )
----------------------------------------------------

So as you can see, they're not exactly straight forward or all too logical. Those were picked at random and there are some icons that do look like they represent the ability (Kick to da jibblies comes straight to mind... via the nuts). For Black Orcs there's quite a few "Orc Face" icons and just as many "Orc Standing" ones, that really don't mean much. I thought an icon was meant to be a simple picture that you could tell just by looking at it what it should mean?

But this isn't just Warhammer that is bad for this, taking a quick look over the World Of Warcraft Icons shows that they have some messy ones as well, however they do look a lot simpler (there's a snake there... a hawks eye.. a water elemental) so you given a list of abilities you might find it easier to match up if you had never played WoW before.

All in all, it's an incredibly minor thing to bother about, but it does look a bit messy when you actually look at all those pictures of Orc faces on your screen and actually try to associate them with anything...