Wednesday, 29 September 2010

More thoughts on tanktics!

So I'm desperately trying to make my brain work tonight, for some reason motivation has disappeared and I'm tempted to just watch a film or some such, but I'm going to force myself to write something. Better to at least be a bit productive today even if I did sod all at work today.

So I wrote an earlier post about having changes to the taunt and challenge mechanic by adding in a tactic which improves it by speccing deeper into the tanking tree for tanks, and after speaking with Bootae earlier in the week we liked the idea of giving sword and board (or choppa 'n' blocka) tanks something more rewarding for speccing that way in RvR. To me, tactics are an easy way to look at how tanks can be improved, we have certain ones which are shared or at least are all very similar and yet we hardly have any that interact with our archetype abilities (taunt, challenge, guard and hold the line). So after my little thought about challenge/taunt being changed a bit, how about we look at Hold the Line....

Tanks have an unused tactic which is shared amongst them... Unstoppable Juggernaut. This tactic is all but useless these days with and in fact was never that great to start with, I can't see any tank justifying using up a tactic slot on it when there is so many better tactics out there. Now I don't want to make a tactic which works with Hold the Line that makes it the Uberbestomgwtfbbqpwn tactic of all time but I do want to make something which makes you think "Hmm, could I possibly slot this instead?". So after a few thoughts and simply looking at the name of the tactic I actually realised it's fairly simple.

1 Slot Career Tactic - No range - No cool down - Passive
While using Hold The Line! you also become immune to roots, snares and knockdowns, this also increases the channeling cost of Hold The Line! to 25 AP/sec

Nice isn't it? You can still be staggered and knocked back and the AP cost does go up, but it certainly helps to make tanks push forward more and gives another nice effect to having a shield. My other version of this was was to include knock backs (but not staggers) and increase the AP again to 30/sec.

Would this make a worthless tactic better? Certainly. Would it be used? I don't yet know but I can see potential for keep sieges and with WAR heading to more important sieges it could find a very nice place. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Video: Hand of Blood - Recipe for Hate

Another video from the Hand of Blood vaults (well last night). A nice epic battle against one of the top guilds on the server (if not world) and then a little show on how to clear out a blob which is camping your war camp. Epic night of kills, it was a stupid amount again, there was over 3,000 kills in the zone when we jumped to Dragonwake to break up a potential zone lock.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Taunt , Challenge and tactics - Is there wasted potential?

So I've always thought that two of the four class defining abilities that tanks have (challenge and taunt) have no actual interaction with any other tactics or abilities. The tactics in that mastery can be good but especially as a Black Orc the top tier tanking tactic is absolutely rubbish (you can check previous rants on it in older posts). I'm sure each tanking class has the same issue, a tactic in there that really, isn't all that good and would rarely if ever be slotted and you'd gladly see another one replace it.

I have a little proposal for all tanks, it's not overly thought through so potentially it might be a bit potent or underwhelming but how about this for the top tier tactic in your tanking tree:

1 Slot Career Tactic - No range - No cool down - Passive
(insert name here)
Cool down on Taunt and Challenge is reduced by 5 seconds and the effectiveness is increased by 5%

So this would put Taunt on a 10 second cool down with 35% extra damage and Challenge on a 25 second cool down with enemies doing 65% damage to all other targets. The question is, would it become an option for you to slot, something to ignore or an essential tactic?

There's other possibilities as well, such as increased range or making Taunt a cone effect like challenge. Could we also then do things with Hold the Line?

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Antiquated (Ancient) Set for Black Orcs

The Antiquated set from Land of the Deads Tomb of the Vulture Lord is a green repairable set. Once repaired it becomes Ancient (piece name). The actual set itself doesn't offer any set bonuses but does feature Strength, Toughness and Initiative as the primary stats, it's basically a T4 Surveyor set and is fairly decent to use but will quickly get replaced as it's rank 40 gear (primeval for example is much better). The set itself though replicates the Conqueror gear so it's good if you want to have some of the same appearance as it, the shoulders and helm tend to be popular. Anyway, if you want to find any of these on the Auction House, just search for "Antiquated".

Friday, 24 September 2010

Five things you didn't know about Black Orcs

Here's five things you may, or may not know about Black Orcs in Warhammer Online.

1) T'ree Hit Combo #1: It hits five times, not three. It's meant to.

2) T'ree Hit Combo: #2 It's one of the only actions that has fluff in the tool tip as well 'As Da' Big Boss would say, "Countin' is for Stuntiez" '

3) We are the only tanks that can do corporeal damage and have ailment actions

4) Our collectors edition head (the metal face plate) will be the same colour you choose for the metal bits when you create the Orc (so you can have a red or gold face plate for example)

5) We can use hammers, but none we can use actually drop from mobs or quests.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Changing da plan - A guide

So after a few weeks of 1.3.6, the biggest change to the Black Orc mechanic since launch has been used, mind you it's the only change to the Black Orc mechanic since launch so that's not saying much about the worst designed and badly implemented mechanic in the game. Thanks for throwing us a life line after nearly two years!

Anyway before I rant more about it, Mythic have mentioned in the past that they are looking at the mechanic and how it works in the future so maybe we'll see something come of it.

Well back onto "Changin' Da Plan". How does it work after testing? Overall it's not too bad, in fact it can work very well but also leads to over complication. I actually know of Rank 40 Black Orcs that haven't bothered with it as the mechanic and finger fiddling is enough for them without adding in another one. However I would recommend that all Black Orcs pick it up and use it as much as possible to learn the benefits of the new action.

Key points to remember about CDP.

+ It costs no AP
+ It's off the global cool down
+ In combination with Big Swing you can 'preload' to the third plan
+ You can step back to second plan when in our third plan

- It's not just to preload a plan
- It has a 5 second cool down which cannot be removed
- It can complicate a rotation
- Accidental use can cause problems

The act of moving up plans to second or third after using Big Swing in preparation for combat is known as Preloading. Prior to engaging in ORvR I'll often setup a big swing or knockback if near a cliff face (I still gloat to this day about my preset aoe knock back killing four order that had come out of hunters vale near a cliff in Dragonwake and slid down the side of the terrain face taking fall damage).

However talking to some fellow Black Orcs and they tend to use it to setup moves at the start but then it gets lost in the shuffle of combat. Setting a rotation in your head is potentially the best you can do rather than trying to hit it in the middle of combat without thinking ahead. You can also preload third plans by using Big Swing to move straight onto it, letting you smack a target down straight away leaving them open for the melee dps to rip them into pieces.

Rotations (and stepping back)
Rotations pre 1.3.6 were fairly standard you could easily sit spamming three different actions but now with Changing Da Plan it can complicate things and lead to more actions being used.

Two example rotations are below:

ORvR (preloaded onto plan 2) - If on healer attack duty
Big Swing - Not in Da face - CHANGE DA PLAN! - Big Swing - Shut Yer Face - Wot Armour? - Big Swing - CHANGE DA PLAN! - Big Swing - Savin Me Hide - Wot Armour?

Single Target (example in PvE)
Wot Armour - CHANGE DA PLAN! - T'ree Hit Combo - Follow my lead - Right in Da jibblies - CHANGE DA PLAN! - Trip Em Up - T'ree Hit Combo

As you can see, CDP isn't always used when it's on cool down for the simple reason that it can sometimes break a better rotation. For example in the Single target rotation we actually change off the third plan away from t'ree hit to use a snare, even in PvE. The reason for this is actually straight forward. When you reach the third plan you actually have a 1.5-2 second cool down left on T'ree Hit and using another 3rd plan ability might not add much more damage. If you change down to second plan and immediately use Trip Em Up you will be ready for T'ree Hit again straight away. One great little unintentional boost that T'ree Hit now has is that it because it's a channeled skill which takes exactly as long as the cool down on CDP.

Lag does play a part in this though, so be warned that changing plans in heavy lag can take a few seconds to register leaving you wasting cool downs. Experiment a bit in each situation you're in to find your lag level and how you feel with a long rotation. It's not about memorising one rotation for each situation, it's about using a base rotation and swapping out actions for each situation. For example you probably won't bother too much about Trip Em Up on a slayer but using big swing may prove to be efficient if you don't have action point management issues.

So in conclusion. Changing Da Plan can be a very powerful tool, though can also be used poorly causing more issues or not using it to its full potential. If you've never used it, or are unsure on using it, please take the time to play around with some low damage champion mobs to find a rotation you like. Get used to using CDP in non dangerous or crazy situations and that will get you more comfortable in using it.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

'appy second WAAAAGHday to Warhammer!

Two years old and still going.

Not bad for a game that was going to get shut down by Xmas 2008 and is dead in the water being in "Maintenance Mode".

May everyone at Bioware Mythic keep on Waaaghing for a long long time, I look forward to another two years at least of Warhammer Online. Thanks to all the devs that work and have worked on the game and to all the bloggers and twitters that keep the community going. Kudos also to everyone who just plays the game and shows support quietly by going out and enjoy it, you truly are the stars of this MMO.

Happy Birthday Warhammer.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Video: Hand of Blood - Sleepless in Praag

Another video from our epic adventures in the lakes. Well in this case it was one lake, we pretty much spent all night in Praag against all odds (literally with the buff). A sickening number of kills in total (I think we counted up to 1,200 by the time we called it a night) and one of our RR79's got 1/3rd of his renown bar during it. Awesome fun, a mix of classes and good banter all night, we wiped others and got wiped but always picked ourselves up and headed back out. Anyway, enjoy.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A proposal on how Mythic can make Black Orcs da biggest.

So I'm beating this subject to death again, only this time I will offer a solution. Adding character changes as they level up can already be done as can be seen by the Magus disk and the White Lions pet so we know this is a possibility already to put in but the question remains, that if Mythic decided to put it back in, how could they? This is where I attempt to answer that.

First of all, lets give Mythic some money out of it. There will be a WAR booster pack out which would add to all classes and races a way to customise your appearance further depending on your renown rank, this is achieved through the use of special 'dyes'. If you have the collectors edition you know about the head dyes which give you the special faces, this would act the same way, allowing you to apply a new change to the character.

For Black Orcs I would propose the following.

Upon achieving renown rank 20 you get a mail in the post from a Sneaky Git letting you know that there is an old warboss in a zone that is ready to get a good kicking and this would be a great chance to push yourself up the ranks in Grumlocks Waaaagh! So off you trot to the location, find the Orc and give him a hiding he wont forget, seeing that you're a much tougher Orc than he is, he gives you some fungus beer and a leg of ham and slips off into the distance admitting that you're much bigger than he is. This beer can be used in the special dye slot to increase the size of the Black Orc by 1% It's not a lot but still, you're not yet a tough Black Orc like Grumlock. Also the leg of ham, if used in the special dye slot will darken your skin a bit.

Once you get to RR40 another mail appears again from the Sneaky Git. This leads you to a quest to complete involving blowing up stunties, much hilarity and then defeating another bigger Orc in a headbutting contest. Upon completion of this you receive another pair of dye items to use which increases the size of the Black Orc to 3% above base size and the other will darken your skin further, also you receive quite a large trophy to proudly wear showing you're bigger than other Orcs.

This process repeats itself at RR60. A quest which sends you off to take some Elf ears and track down an Orc which has betrayed Grumlock in exchange for his own pile of shinies from the High Elfs (which in reality is just a load of shiny stones). Once this is done, you will again receive the two dye items which once used increases the size of the Black Orc to 5% of the base size and darkens the gnarly green hide of your Black Orc even more. Along side this though you are granted a Shield, this has no stats and is bound to player, in fact it's a unique skin for the appearance system, it turns the shield into a High Elf shaped/design but with Orc glyphs and no doubt some extra spiky bits attached to it. Again, this shows off you have achieved RR60 if you want to use the appearance.

Guess what happens at RR80? The sneaky git reveals himself to be Gazbag who has been watching you. Having defeated an old Warboss in the orc lands, a warboss in the stuntie lands and a warboss in the elf lands it's time to head to the Empire and lay down Grumlocks law on a warboss which has had a siege set on Praag for months now without progressing and in fact is getting fatter, lazier and his boyz are getting more and more worthless as each day progresses. So a quest is set forth to get them sorted for Grumlock until you draw the ire of the big, fat warboss. Again, once you defeat him you feel the power of the Waaagh and as all Orcs do when they defeat a bigger Orc they themselves become bigger. The dyes you receive this time increases your size to 7% of the base, make you even darker and in addition you retrieve a choppa which is in fact the Runefang which was lost to a great Waaaagh many centuries ago. Again, this is only appearance, and not effect.

Finally, when all appears to be settled down, Grumlock calls upon you at RR100. The Skaven have used some evil ratty magic to enslave one of Grumlocks trusted Black Orc bosses. You have to go down there, break the enchantment (and a few skaven skulls), upon doing this the boss wakes up and realising that the only way to redeem himself to Grumlock would be to give you a solid beating takes you on at a fight. Once/if/when you defeat the boss (it doesn't have to be easy, just a challenge for a solo player) the now beaten boss, hands over a chunk of warpstone, a cooked rat and a massive, black warpstone enchanted two handed great choppa. The warpstone will increase the size of the Black Orc to 10% over the base, the cooked rat will darken the skin further and the great choppa is a unique appearance for great weapons.

And that's that! It doesn't need to go further, it can be expanded to other races and classes (dwarves get longer beards and more gnarled looks, Bright Wizards may gain more burn marks or flames erupt around them (oooh particle effects) etc etc). You also don't have to use each item, it's simply there if you want to you might like your skin the current colour so there's no need to change it, your size might not appeal to you and you may like the appearance of other items better. Whatever your choice though it's that. A choice, you're not forced to buy it as it offers no in game advantage and even if bought if you dont like the look of being bigger and darker, well heck, you don't need to use it!

I'd pay for it for sure.

Monday, 6 September 2010

How to be Grimgor Ironhide

Grimgor Ironhide
No one knows Grimgor’s early history. He came from the east, staggering out the Blasted Wastes with an unknown number of grizzled, tired and hungry Black Orc bodyguards, now known to other Orcs as "Da Immortulz" (The Immortals). Upon entering the northern portion of the Worlds Edge Mountains he quickly took over the first tribes of Greenskins he came upon and within a month had carved out a small empire for himself. From there he set course on a campaign of destruction that the northern Worlds Edge Mountains had rarely seen in their history.

So with the new armour and weapon appearance system in place I thought it would be a fun idea to try to replicate some of the famous Orcs from lore. For my first one I decided on Grimgor Ironhide, as you can read above (and the link sends you to a Wikipedia article about him if you want to find out more).

So I did a bit of digging around on him and came across pictures of him and his miniature in the tabletop game. I decided to stick with the Games Workshop colour theme and try to replicate his armour and appearance as much as possible. Now a word of warning, it will not be 100% accurate, for once thing Lokax has a big metal plate stuck on his head so please ignore that for the sake of appearance, and the armour in game does not always equal what you see in artwork or on miniatures so it's as best as I can manage. Grimgor also appears in game at the last Greenskin hard PQ I believe, I've not used this as reference at all.

My rule of thumb for these is that all equipment should be relatively OK to put together, I want to try and avoid Sovereign and the likes so that most people can put together the same gear. Below are a couple of painted models (the first is the Games Workshop painted one so I've gone with that colour scheme) that I used for reference as well as the artwork above.

The actual armour set I came up with was easier than expected once I'd stopped trying to be absolutely perfect. For example I was looking for boots without spikes on the knees but were heavy full plate... Don't think there is any, so I had to settle on spikes. Same with the shoulders, I couldn't find any rounded shoulders that looked like Grimgors so I had to use ones with spikes on them. Oh and also, lets not mention the pose...

During my travels should I come across more armour models that will suit it better I will update the armour list. If you read the background, at one point Grimgor heads into High Pass so I placed him there for the screenshot. But in the meantime here we go...

Head: None/Hidden
Shoulders: Shouldaplate of the Fallen Explorer (green drop from Land of the Dead)
Chest: Primeval/Invader/Darkpromise
Back: None/Hidden
Gloves: Primeval/Invader/Darkpromise
Belt: Primeval/Invader/Darkpromise
Boots: Primeval/Invader/Darkpromise
Weapon: Bigchoppa of the Darkscale (from Lost Vale but the model does appear quite often)

I used Chaos Black primary dye and Ulgu grey secondary dye (ok, I used the Dye Preview addon) to get the colouring right and for the belt I used.. gah, can't remember now, but chaos black is the secondary colour. I used a knife trophy to try and simulate the choppa Grimgor has on the side and removed the other trophies.

It's easier to get the primeval pieces as there is no Renown or dungeon required. Just search for "priceless" on the auction house to find the repairable pieces.

You can also read more about Grimgor Ironhide on the official GW website here

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Video: Hand of Blood - This is how we RvR

Just a video from a night of RvR earlier in the week, it was a hugely succesful night, even going right up against the best guild on the server and kicking ass. At one point we notched up over 200 kills on the trot as we moved into the zerg and destroyed warband after warband. Our resident video maker Ecipo put together a little promo video and may be working on more! (you may even see a red coloured Black Orc at a few points.. dats me!)

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Five things from WAR's concept that we never seen

Just looking through old previews and artwork for Black Orcs (I'm gutted my closed beta screenshots have disappeared off my hard drive) and came across some fantastic little concepts that never quite made it. I'd love to see all five come back in some form to spice it up a little but well, we can't have everything and of course, things had to get cut out. Have a look, which is your favourite? (I've deliberately left out the other cities out of this)

Mythic also seems to be focusing much of its PvP efforts on a more structured manifestation of this sort of gameplay -- what it's calling Battle Zones. You can make the obvious analogy, and you'll probably be correct. These Battle Zones will be instanced matches between preset groups of players. The number of players on each side won't necessarily matter, mind you. Rather, true to Warhammer's legacy, it's all about their "point" value. A given Battle Zone scenario might have, say, a 1000 point limit. This could permit ten less-powerful players go up against five who are significantly stronger, while theoretically keeping things balanced. It works just like this in the tabletop game. Mercenary units -- belonging to the Dogs of War faction from Warhammer fiction -- will be on hand to make up for any point deficiencies.

Your character model will also evolve as your character levels up. Orcs get bigger and thicker as they level up and dwarves get longer beards. This makes it very easy to tell at a glance just how powerful an opponent is.

Social organisation is reinforced in the game design at guild level, too. Guilds level up themselves - progressing through 80 ranks - and there's a heraldry system whereby they earn banners. These can be assigned tactical buffs that play an important part in skirmishing. They're hung proudly from keeps by the owners and can be taken from defeated guilds too, their tatters displayed as a trophy. The guild interface also looks like a vast improvement on the usual fare, including a facebook-style news feed.

Death will also be handled in a truly unique way. If your character falls in combat, you'll be presented with a chance to use acquired Fate Points to resurrect yourself and continue the fight at the very same instant you died. If you don't have any Fate Points, you'll be resurrected but you'll also acquire Insanity Points and you'll temporarily suffer from various attribute penalties. The only way to rid yourself of these insanity penalties is to successfully complete PVE quests.

For example, you earn trophies for killing 100 players, 1000 players, a million players (OK, maybe I exaggerate a bit), etc. It is up to the art team to make sure the million-players-killed trophy looks much cooler that the 100-players-killed trophy. Applying this thinking to every type of trophy awarded will ensure that Badassery is accomplished.

On a personal level I'm still wishing to see Black Orcs getting bigger, but also I've been so disappointed with the trophies. Now I know that we have seen trophies and they are in game but they just seem like so much wasted potential. They could have been so damn cool but ended up being a horrible, low res blob that no-one can actually make out so it doesn't stand out at all.