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.

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!


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.

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.



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.


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.


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!*