Monday, 26 April 2010

Quick thoughts on the red plague.

If you read WAR blogs you already know about the teasing of the red plague that has been passed around. Is it an expansion? Is it bringing in new player races? Skaven? Brettonians?

In my opinion, none of the above.

Going by what Mythic has done in the past with DAoC and Ultima Online, I'd actually expect this to be a summer campaign much as Land of the Dead was. Maybe no new zones, but a new live event each month with rewards, titles and random things that will go in your bank. I will put this out right now though: there will be NO new playable races.

My live event item has ran out so we're due a new live event soon, this red plague will be the start of an arcing chain, the summer campaign which will take us to different zones etc but please don't hold your breath waiting for the announcement of an expansion or new race. It's simply not viable right now with the clearing up Mythic are doing in WAR.

What it doesn't stop me from doing though is imagining a "What if..." expansion/live content....

I would see a fourth race for each realm, however this is known as "Dogs of War" (for those who don't know much about Warhammer, the dogs of war were mercenaries of various types that could ally to almost any army. The dogs of war wouldn't be shared but would feature a new playable character which doesn't fit in with the other three races. In particular they'd be mirror classes as well. So what would I have for the two classes?

Bonedancers! Erm, I mean.. multiple pet classes. Now Bonedancers in DAoC were my favourite class, being able to summon different types of skeletons for different tasks. You got a slot limit and could fill up those slots with the skeletons. Healers, warriors, archers, casters and the commander (which you had to run). I might be a little flaky on that as it's been a while since I played DAoC. So lets skip the nonsense and bring out my proposal for the "there wont be so it doesn't matter" classes. Both classes become 'unlocked' after reaching rank 40 and renown 40.

Destruction: The Skaven Pack Master
Clan Moulder is one of the four Great Clans of the Skaven. They use foul mutations induced by Warpstone to create their charges of battle. Clan Moulder armies are typically led by Master Moulders and then field Clanrats as well as Skavenslaves as the bulk of their troops. The armies then include masses of their 'experiments' such as the Rat Ogre and Giant rats. These fighting beasts are also sold to other Skaven Clans for the highest price.

Archetype: Multi Pet (5 slots of pets). Physically very weak and must rely on powerful pets
Pet Types: Giant Rat (1 slot - weak melee DPS), Skavenslaves (1 slot - weak ranged DPS (slings)), Plague Rat (2 slots - dots/debuffs), Warpstone Slave (2 slots - medium melee DPS), Rat Ogre (5 slots - Tank)

Trees: Master of Rats (buffs the giant and plague rats), Master of Slaves (buffs the slaves), Master Moulder (buffs the Rat Ogre and the Player)

Order: The Grail Knight
The Land of Bretonnia is a feudal, traditional society where the peasants serve the knights in return for protection, while the knights are bound to militarily serve their lords in return for certain rights and titles. At the top of this feudal hierarchy is the King. Beneath the Kings are the Dukes. Beneath them is another layer of nobility, the Marquess's, the Earls, the Viscount's and the Barons in respective order. The King, Dukes, Marquess, Earls, Viscounts and Barons are also each the lord of a number of Knights, who are the lesser nobles. Each Knight (including the higher nobles) has his own force of Men-at-Arms chosen from the most physically-abled peasants. In return for serving his knightly lord, each peasant is given a small tract of land for his family and can be expected to be called upon for service in times of war. The Knights' forces typically consist of the stronger Men-at-Arms and the more lowly Bowmen levies. The lands of Bretonnia are also ruled by spiritual and mystical leaders, the Fay Enchantress, her Damsels, and the Grail Knights, who are all faithful servants to the Lady of the Lake.

Archetype: Multi 'Pet' (5 slots of pets). Strong and uses weak pets to enhance abilities
Pet Types: Peasant (1 slot - very weak melee DPS), Bowmen(1 slot - very weak ranged DPS (slings)), Man-At-Arms (2 slots - melee debuffs), Squire (2 slots -buffs), Knight Errant (5 slots - Tank)

Trees: Chivalry (buffs the Man-At-Arms and Bowmen), Honour (buffs the Peasant and Squires), Nobility (buffs the Knight Errant and the Player)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Wot Arm... Blog Roll?

As you may have seen (both of you that visit the blog) I've done a mass upgrade on the blog roll. Lots of new bloggers and lots of new articles to read so updated it from what I've managed to find over the last couple of days and hopefully not missed anyone. If you're not there and run a WAR blog or gaming blog with a significant amount of WAR articles then please let me know and I'll add it in.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

A guide to Black Orcs - Part 1

"Armed and armoured to fight in the thick of melee as a warrior and tanker, the Black Orc matches physical hardiness with a down and dirty brawler’s fighting style that makes him the heart of any war band. With choppa and shield in hand, he can face down any foe unshaken. However, it is his unique approach to fighting that makes him as deadly with his fists as with either of those tools. He’ll knock you down so you can’t fight back, and then kick you while you’re down. There’s no honour among Greenskins, and there’s no such thing as a fair fight – and that’s the way he likes it!"

Black Orcs are the Greenskin army tanks. Huge, hulking and green they are an instantly recognisable sight on the battlefield and are (in my opinion, which may be biased) the best 'feeling' class in the game through looks, abilities and background. People may laugh at you if you charge in with a chosen screaming about change for the raven god as a Chosen.. People cheer when you charge in as a Black Orc screaming "WAAAAAAAAAGHHH!".

This first Black Orc guide is not about how to level up your Black Orc, or where to quest and what loot is best, that may come later on; this is simply an introduction, to give a bit of background and understanding to our class and mechanic. We are huge, lumbering Greenskins, encased in metal with spikes sticking out from our armour. We have vast amounts of hit points and toughness and although we lack the technical skills such as high levels of parry, block and reduction in being critically hit that the Chosen or Blackguard have, the raw survivability stats can make the Black Orc a formidable foe in RvR.

The Black Orc - sometimes known as a Borc or Bob (Black Orc Brawler/Boss) - has two class mechanics, Bellows and Da Plan so lets look at those first.

Bellows :

Bellows are self buffs. You get a choice of three, all of which do different things. The difference with a standard buff though and bellows is that all bellows are based on procs (when there's a chance that something will happen rather than a guarantee). Two of the bellows (Biggest and Toughest) are a 25% chance of activating when hitting something and the last (Greenest) activates when being hit (again a 25% chance). We’ll look at each type of bellow individually.

Da Biggest: This is the bellow from the brawler tree, it’s a stat stealing proc which has a 25% chance when you hit a target to steal a random stat (other than wounds) from all enemies within 30 feet of you. Since this is a steal you and your party within 100 feet gain the stat you’ve stolen for 10 seconds. This does unfortunately mean that sometimes you will steal ballistic skill from a warrior priest but other times you’ll steal strength from a slayer. Fully specced at rank 40 in Brawler and you’ll be stealing 120 points where a rank 40 without any brawler points will steal 75. This is an excellent bellow for threat as well as the de buff that the mob receives will take a decent amount of threat from you and when you’re AOE tanking a big swing can be enough to de buff multiple targets keeping them locked on you.

Best Use: Da Biggest is the RvR bellow of choice due to the de buffs and buffs provided.

Da Toughest: Toughest comes from the toughest tree and is a self heal bellow. This heals the black orc between 300 and 480 wounds (depending on how much you have in the toughest tree) when it procs. There is a 25% chance upon hitting a target that this will proc however it’s on a 10 second cooldown which means at best you will heal yourself every 10 seconds and at worse it could be every 20 seconds or so. This is commonly used in situations where you are without a healer or you need a fairly constant trickle of health. It’s not the best for PvE tanking due to the low proc rate and low health regained (and lets be honest if you need to rely on 480 health every 10 seconds then you have issues with your healers. Even in RvR tanking the heal is minimal so it adds no benefit to your war band or scenario group (providing you have healers).

Best use: Solo grinding, duels or scenarios where there’s no healer.

Da Greenest: Coming from the boss tree this is a situational bellow. It relies on you getting hit for it to proc (25% chance) and it will give you and your group within 100 ft a resist buff or armour buff for ten seconds depending on what hit you. This sounds like a great bellow other than the crucial fact that tanks are generally the last targets on the battlefield to be targeted so your bellow doesn’t help as much. Add in the fact that most people will be or are already close to hitting the soft cap on resists and the buff doesn’t add as much protection as you’d believe. It’s certainly not as useful as the biggest bellow, however it can be good for keep sieges or battlefield objective defences where you will be in the front line hopefully buffing yourself and your group as you get assaulted.

Best Use: Situational defences where tank walls are formed up or high lag situations where you can't do much other than hold the line.

So to summarise, in almost every situation it’s best to use the biggest bellow to not only buff yourself and group but also to debuff your enemies. By all accounts play with the other bellows and see if any of them fit other situations not described but you can’t go wrong with more stats!

The Plan Mechanic:

The plan mechanic is the basis of how we attack our enemies. There are three levels of plan, No Plan , Da Gud Plan and Da Best Plan. Most of our actions fit into one of these three and can only be used after the previous plan has been activated. This leads to chains of attacks which grow in power as they get to the end of the chain before resetting back to the first plan. Actions in our last plan cost no Action Points and are generally the most powerful abilities we have.

However there are downsides to the mechanic. The nature of the mechanic means you lose a lot of flexibility in your attacks - you cannot guarantee to be able to use the attack you want to use as you may be in the wrong plan, that archmage might already be out of range by the time you get to the plan which lets you snare, silence or knock him down. Although the last plan is no action point cost, it’s offset by the first two plans being higher than average costs. These two disadvantages are by design however one which is not by design and which can be critical is unfortunately lag. In high lag situations the games takes a long time to realise what plan you are in, this unfortunately can mean that in mass RvR you are stuck spamming first plan attacks until the game realises you’re in the next plan. The Black Orc can be very frustrating to play and is not an easy mechanic to understand compared to the hate of Black Guards or the auras of the Chosen, however work with it and understand the limitations and you can play the Black Orc well.


With the Black Orc you don’t have a one button killing machine, you have to deal with a complicated mechanic and rely on procs for any of your buffs. You need to plan ahead and know what you’re doing. A Black Orc has to be in control of the battlefield or at least know what will be happening in advance, he cannot react to it as quickly as other classes so you lose a lot of effectiveness. However if you master this and have confidence in your abilities to understand the battle then you can be a key piece in a warband. Think of yourself as a rock. You might not be the most flexible, but as an almost immovable object you can get the rest of the world to adjust to you.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Black Orc questions from the blogger meet

Big thanks to the bloggers who asked all the questions at the meeting. Some great info about there. I am loathe to link to one blogger over the other so I just suggest you visit Gaarawarr, Mykiel, ShadowWAR and Werit to see all the details. For now I'm going to just put the questions that were relevant to Black Orcs up and then have a small rant after each one.

Q) Is there any chance of a tank on the Order side getting a tactic where they can’t be detaunted?
A) Probably not…seeing as we just removed it from the Black Orc.

No actual reason given yet for the removal of an ability from the Black Orcs. They may have replaced it with a crappy group heal, but no-one will slot it so they have basically flat out removed an ability and given us nothing in return. Bad form Mythic, if you're going to remove tactics from a class, then you would be wise to remember that you promised to COMMUNICATE with your COMMUNITY better - currently you've not communicated with the Black Orcs since justifying the toughest bellow ├║ber nerf.

Q) Is the Black Orc mechanic going to be reworked at any point in time?
A) No, they’re not going to be totally reworked. They are a little more limiting than we originally wanted, but I don’t have an answer (other than that) for you right now.

The problem is, every Black Orc and Swordmaster knows our mechanic is broken to pieces. Mythic seems to know it's broken despite putting on the worst attempt at political speech I've seen in a while "a little more limiting". A little? A LITTLE? Do they even play these classes in any high lag situations to know how impossible it is? The concept of the mechanic is fine (there I said it) the execution of it however is not. The most effective fix barring a total reworking of it (which will not happen in the next few years lets just put it that way) is to change the locations of some abilities on the plans, at least that will stop it being a limiting factor rather than a tool to work with.

The more I read the answers to those two questions (and although one wasn't directly about Black Orcs we were rather brutally mentioned) the more I believe Mythic is completely detached from the class. The longer it goes without help from our developers the less people will play the class which in turn leads to less developer support. This is the sort of situation which makes people leave the game when they realise that all the hard work put into the character is basically a waste of time and the pleas for help are met with an apathetic or negative attitude to the class from the developers.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Wut 'appened?

Alright gitz. Not been on me thinkin' stone for a while and at one point was going to abandon the blog as I just couldn't get the motivation after a long period of busy work but the wurdz are stating to come into me noggin again!

Basically Mmmmm Gud will be back soon. Going to do a bit of redesign work on the blog, clear it up and might also shift focus to Black Orcs a bit more and what goes on and how to survive our constant nerfs.... I'm still keenly playing Warhammer, enjoy it and have managed a few accomplishments since I last posted so there will be lots to talk about. This time though there will be no promises for regular posts, just when I want to put them up rather than feeling I have to write something for the sake of it.

There WILL be a new post this week, it'll be the first part to my Black Orc guide which was actually written back in February before work got busy but never posted.

Anyway gitz.. Go forth, Waaaaaaaagh and may Gork be with yer!