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.



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...


*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 -
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...

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Five things I wish Warhammer had...

There's a lot of good features and ideas out there in various games, some are just 'fluffy' some are truly great for adding depth to a game. I'm going to look at five things that I have seen in games and would be good in WAR. This list is in no particular order, just a oooh that's gud!

1) Weather effects. (see Oblivion)
I've already touched on this subject before and still would like to see it. The world can feel quite static with no sense of weather or natural events happening. Would a downpour of rain be that hard to put in? A flurry of snow in Kadrin Valley or the dust storms in the land of the dead... Even Ultima Online from over 10 years ago had the weather changing...

2) Epic Encounters. (see DAoC Dragons)
Yes.. yes.. It's an RvR game... But still, 200 people raids on Dragons and other monsters are just epic.. Seriously, imagine a Daemon Prince or Emperor Dragon on an instance that takes an alliance to kill, drops a couple of bits of epic loot and of course is within reach of the other side so you have to risk going into say Order lands to take it on. one eye on the dragon.. one eye on the approaching Order...

3) Improvable Banks (see World of Warcraft)
Oh to have a smaller bank space on start.. BUT to be allowed to purchase more spaces for the gold we save up. I'm a cultivator, apothecary and tank.. I have multiple sets of armour (rvr, dps in pve and tanking) so my bank is full of stuff, not to mention tokens, trophies and bits and bobs from live events. I seriously need more bank space and I hate making bank alts... Gief more space!

4) Truly destroyable and upgradable keeps (see Medieval: Total War 2)
There is one point of attack at keep in WAR.. The door. That's it.. Nothing else, no strategy involved in assaulting a keep. Just zerg it until you break down the door or give up because the defence is too heavy. Let us truly siege the keeps, break down walls and towers and give us multiple choices in what we do. Though to counter this, give the defenders more upgrades, more powerful siege weapons and towers that would protect them from aoe and snipey ranged DPS. Finally, when you take the keep, whoever claims it has to rebuild it depending on the damage done. So if you destroyed all the towers then let the claiming guild repair them or leave them as basic platforms on the walls. A keep which is taken with the minimum of fuss (IE, through the doors with no damage done to the walls) would only need the doors to be repaired and upgraded as the claiming guild could then keep the existing upgrades (barring NPC's of course). Speaking of NPC's, how about allowing us to purchase wall defenders that can shoot arrows down rather than just trashy NPC's that disappear in the aoe. Don't punish guilds after they have upgraded and taken a keep, make the initial cost expensive but the maintenance lower, and once a zone is captured then there is no cost for maintenance.

5) Quick Start (see Star Wars Galaxies / DAoC)
Can't find a picture of this and have to admit it's been a long time since I played SWG but I'm pretty sure they had the quick start option as well (know for sure DAoC did). Quick start basically gave you the option on the login screen to go straight to your character. You have your username and password, then you just pick the character you want to go to and it would immediately load you into that character. No loading up the full character select screen, or anymore rubbish you don't actually want. I only play one character so I know who I want to play when I login, I don't want to 'make sure' by having to hit play once I've logged in.. Just let me log straight in and smush stunties!


So that was my five things from games I'd love to see in WAR, how about yours?

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

I enjoy Warhammer

There. I said it...

For all the time I sit there wanting to go in a sulk, or turn the game off. I come back or find something else in WAR to do. I think too many people focus on just the RvR Zerg and get sick of it, thus burning out on it.

I'd rather be in a small guild warband, roaming the streets of Praag, using Snikkit the gobbo as bait to lure groups to us before smushing them. Jumping around, finding sneaky paths (nothing cheaty) to have a bit of fun. Polishing my RvR skills (you can polish a turd.. but it's still a turd) in single combat or hunting small groups. Jumping into some premade scenarios with guild mates and running instances no matter how buggy or boring they are. Getting tokens for gear (it's a step closer). Checking out new lairs or live event stuff.

Yes, the game still needs quite a bit of work done on server stability, class balance and squishing dem bugs but I'm enjoying it still. I feel I have a choice in what to do (though I'd like a bit more...) and as the servers mature and communities strengthen the game will bond the players together more (or that's cause someone put a Sticky Squig on me thinking stone). More rivalries will come together, the nemesis system will make players stick in your mind more.

There is still a huge amount of untapped potential in WAR and I hope EA gives it the long term support it needs to really grab a chunk of the market. No, I don't think WAR will ever top 1m subs, the chance has now gone, but I do think that we can reach 500k and stick to that, but we have to stick with the game.

Sure, it's shitty having to put up with server crashes and lag, it's incredibly frustrating to play sometimes with the constant crowd control locking you out, but yet, most of us, stand up, dust ourselves off and get stuck back in.

WAR will only improve over time, it will get better and more playable if given the chance. No game is a shiny beacon of perfection, WoW's Lake Wintergrasp PvP zone is a laggy turd ball if you ever play it at peak time, it IS worse than forts with less people in it so we're moving the right direction. But I think at this stage the crucial thing is for people to not burn out and hate the game. There's no harm in taking the odd day or two off, sneak on for a few hours each week if you like. WAR has that instant fix about it. It allows you to grab a few quick scenarios and log off without waiting for a 1 hour Warsong Gulch to finish because sides are turtling.

I look forward to seeing what's coming after the Tomb Kings and what changes will be made. We still have missing cities to go, plus who knows what else... Maybe a trip to Lustria or Athel Lorn. Whatever happens, I still see WAR raging on for years to come...

Sunday, 3 May 2009

World of... Fight? / Warhammer: Age of... Fight?

Over on the Asian continent a major event happened with Blizzard stopping partnership with The9, its Chinese operators of Warcraft and moving it to someone else. By the looks of it, The9 aren't going down without a fight and could be trying to launch their own version of WoW with this recently launched website apparently promoting "World of Fight", which has a very familiar looking font *cough* Warcraft *cough*...

Now this is where it gets really interesting. Take a step back, re look at the picture in the background. Does it look familiar to anyone? Might do for say.. Chosen, Marauders, Zealots and Magi... Still unsure?

Co-incidence? Well WAR already has it's Chinese operators in GigaMedia, so we know it's nothing to do with a change of operators, but the second interesting part of this story comes now. Electronic Arts (Owner of Mythic Entertainment) actually own substantial shares in The9 apparently (couldn't find the exact details but you can see on the website they also operate Fifa Online (an EA license) ).

So what does this all mean? Possibly a bait and switch coming as the place holder website leads onto Warhammer Online China.. Possibly just art theft.. Maybe The9 will be ripping the WoW code, mixing it with Warhammer and making one hell of a mess?

Could be interesting to see what happens...