Thursday, 29 January 2009

Another beer based event?

allot of people seem to be assuming that bitter rivals is just a very literal title for the patch but i reckon its a bit of word play which signals yet more beer themed tomfoolery
from the wiki definition of bitter
Bitter is a British term for a style of beer or pale ale. The expression first appeared in the UK in the early 19th century as part of the development and spread of pale ale.

considering the berserk nature of both classes a big piss up followed by a fight seems 100% appropriate.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Just not feeling it

With all the fuss doing the rounds currently as mythic prepare for the slayer/choppa event + whatever gonna go on on valentines day i find myself oddly uninterested.

I can't explain it, I really should be interested, im a life long meele dps player and the valentines day event looks like it may be based on the lore of the two classes i play in WaR.

But for whatever reason its all a bit 'Meh' atm.

perhaps my enthusiasm will pick up when whatever it is goes live

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Lich King Frozen

Today i froze my WoW account. Which after playing steadily since its European release means i find myself surprised to be doing so.

This made me think about what fundamentally has changed about wow which would make me want to stop playing.
As far as i can tell its all about the story.
Two types of storytelling happen in WoW the story the game tells you, and the story you create for yourself.
From 70-80 WoW excelled at telling you a story, the us of phasing really made the quests stick with you, what Syp says here i think amounts to pretty much exactly what phasing brings to the table a constant visual reminder of the quest progress .
Sadly all good things must end and after you hit 80 they pretty much do. To give them credit Blizzard tried hard producing some of the best storylines in the game in the final zone (icecrown), the problem is that these last 2-3 evenings in total at best and then the grind begins in earnest and the game stops telling you stories.

This is where in WoW the players own experiences used to take over, Raiding used to be about creating your own mythology, your own heros and villians. I can talk for hours to guildys about our raids in WoW and tbc but when i comes to Wotlk conversation dries up.

Its not that the dungeons are badly designed and i think for a 'entry level' raid they are very well tuned.
the problem is we are stuck at reception and not allowed into the rest of the building. Easy difficulty is fine if once you got past that there something else to do, but in wow atm the only thing to do is farm more gear, or try for achievements.

It was the challenge of defeating bosses which gave meaning to the my pre wotlk play in wow. We wern't the elite and we certainly didn't put in as many hours as many guilds did but that made us all the prouder when we got somewhere.
Making WoW casual friendly is fine imo, but what should go are gear check fights like Brutallus.

If Uldar had been in game when wrath launched i doubt id still be writing this.

Im sure i will go back to wow at some point(which is why the accounts frozen not canceled) but not until the endgame offers a real challenge again.

Friday, 23 January 2009


OK perhaps not death,ill take cake instead. but if we dont get a change to the RvR system as it is i expect some sort of compensation.

Paul Barnet i know that you and your swarm of underlings are out there somewhere in the great ocean of the internet swimming from site to site like some giant over enthusiastic tyranid fleet devouring all that the blogging community has to say, so hear my call!

Here's a idea for WaR which fits your famous “It’s so obvious that I should have thought of that!” criteria (although it 100% not genius).
You can solve the current keep trading problem, and encourage more fortress sieges with one incredibly simple change.

Add a quest which gives a significant amount of XP, RR and RvR influence for the capture of a zone.

The fine details don't matter much, but here they are anywaysClick to read more

Im not sure what the appropriate amount of XP or Influence would be but lets say you gave 15,000 Renown points for a zone cap.

"woooo there" i here people say "that's a helluva lot of Renown" but you can easily earn 2-3k in a SC so i think that this is a fair amount for capturing a zone.

Id also say that the quest should scale

lets say use the chaos/empire paring as a example
for destro:
Chaos wastes: 10,00 Renown
Pragg: 15,000
Reikland 20,000

with fortress current problems i feel quest to cap them would be wrong because people would be excluded. But if mythic can stop that there would be no reason not to introduce them in the future.

also a quest to 'breech the walls of aldorf' or similar would be nice but not essential.

There! Isn't that almost sickeningly simple!

I know this is far from a subtle or nuanced idea but it is 'actionable' if myhtic wanted to they could have this in place in days. most changes ive seen would take a while to bring in.

& i know i can think of 1 shockingly simple flaw >_< but since its a problem with mythics overall RvR system rather than this specific idea, so im gonna ignore it.

Note: I tried to use 'a idea' rather than my idea here because im sure someone somewhere has though of this before, its just so obvious. Nevertheless i think its a idea worth trying to champion.
(bonus points for those who spot the reference from the 1st line)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

The Battle for Battle Objectives.

Regis arbitrary and Syp have all been writing about about the future of battle objectives recently, and Regis and Arbitary have both come out as strong advocates that villages may be the answer.

Now while these are all great bloggers i have to say that this time i feel in the words of Ned Flanders they are "wrong didley wrong"

There are to me at least allot of reason why this wont work but im going to stick to what i think are the two biggest( mainly since these are the ones which need the most explanation otherwise id just but a quick note on them in a comment).
Click to read more

The flow of the campaign.

One of the great strengths of mythics RvR system is that it has a clear end objective and that flow that encourages more and more RvR.
Your aim is to take the other realms capital everything between that is just a speed bump to be overcome.
Once a army looses it sense of common purpose it will start to fragment.
Currently the biggest interruption of this flow is the time it takes to turn over a zone, but i would suggest that the new zone domination mechanic should end this.
This sort of fast paced war with constantly moving fronts makes for a interesting meta game. One problem the current slow state of RvR doesn't lead people to consider is that while maintaining the flow of a 'offensive' is good allowing a blitzkrieg is bad (at least in terms of making a fun game).

The reason allot of people dislike BO's currently is that they feel they discourage actual RvR fighting. There really is no reason to defend a BO unless you are very close to locking a zone.
What will often happen is that outnumbered side will typically take up residence in one keep while to offensive force captures the undefended Bo's(On Karak-Hirn the most commonly used capture sequence ive seen is Keep BO BO BO Keep BO).

One way of looking at BO's real function is took consider what would happen if they didn't exist.
Currently BO's act as time sinks, they buy defenders time to get into a keep or to return to a zone before it is locked. remove that and the meta RvR just becomes a case of who can get the biggest zerg up and destroy keeps the fastest before someone can react.
Because of their simplicity there is really no difference between a 6man group or a warband group in the overall speed that a BO is taken.

I guess what im trying to say is that defenders need the breaks in fighting that capping a BO provides in order to mount a proper defense.

Arbitary talks about how RvR doesn't currently teach people the skills needed, but essential capital cities in a contested state rely upon the exact same things (BO 's and SC's) to quote the herald
"You fight for control over the City just like regular open world zones. A City Scenario is available to join from anywhere in tier 4 as well as within the City. Capture the Objectives in the City to earn Victory points over time and remember to always kill the enemy players you come across as it all contributes to Zone Control in the City."

the only difference is the chronology of when public quests play a part.

Tactical Justification?
To pick off where i started on a comment on W&W
Keeps are built to protect villages, villages don't protect keeps.
It really is that simple.If a village was attacked its populace would typically retreat to the keep. In fact allot of medieval villages were built just outside castle walls.
If you look at real medieval warfare forces would basically never fight in the open unless there numbers were roughly even. In some cases if there was a area with good natural defensive quality's (like a valley or hill) sometimes a force would make a stand but generally the simple rule was castle and keeps exist for one reason and one reason alone: Somewhere to retreat to when you can't win a open battle.

So is wrong to pillage a village?
Well people want to pillage and that's understandable and to me at least a good thing to be aiming for in your game design. Anyone who has play WoWs Wrath of the Lich King expansion will tell you that the one great innovation blizzard introduced has been phasing. They way that the world changed about you anchored you in the narrative in ways that most mmos including WAR fail at miserably.I think the desire for villages is at heart a desire for this sort of feeling of impacting the world which is atm lacking from war before the city siege stage.
What i would dearly love on one level is the same to happen as when a city is locked down, that when a zone becomes locked the entire opposing factions half of the map is taken by the victors and new variation on the public quest which had been active in that area spawn as players of the defeated faction being unable to enter or respawn in it.the problem with this is that it just doesn't work with the way fortress battles are fought. What use is this sort of transformation if it can be reversed less than 1hr, equally the 24 hour duration of the capital siege is completely unusable.

But there is one area which had no use outside RvR
that generally have a unique look and which could easily be made into a interesting fight.

and that is warcamps.

Let say when u cap a zone the defeated realms warcamp becomes a PQ with a 15-20min timer on it. There is a 3 min timer on the flight master before he despawns. Player from the defeated realm cannot enter the RVR area, and if they die do not respawn.

This would work as a reward for the winners in the form of getting to loot & burn the opponents base, and at the same time allow the defenders some time to regroup before the next zone is assaulted. Participation in the PQ could contribute influence to players RvR influence pool. And since there would only be 1 PQ it would lead to far less fragmentation than happens currently.

Soooo long story short. Regis you had it right 1st time. Warcamps good. Villages bad. At least in my opinion anyways :D

Imagine If.... Wards were Talismans

Imagine If.. will be a weekly series of posts written in the style of a WaR herald post introducing a new fictional feature to the game.
Wards are here to stay like it or not. But lets look at a different way they could be implemented (which Syp quickly touched upon).

Patch IF1.0 New features: Talismans of Warding

Due to customer feedback on the ward system and the success of the introduction of RvR influence pools we have decided to introduce a new system which will allow more players access to higher levels of content.

Changes to current sets
The Superior Ward and The Excelsior Ward have been partially merged, both will reduce damage in Sub-Boss encounters and King Fights by 10% and can stack up to 5 times.
In addition The Excelsior armor sets will increase damage and healing in King encounters by 2% and can stack up to 5 times.

Talismans of Warding
From IF1.0 onwards you will be able to supplement the wards offered by Tier RvR & Dungeon set with Warding Talismans which can be slotted into any gear of your choice. All warding talismans are classed as Semi-Unique, meaning you can have maximum of 2 of the same talisman equipped in your gear at once

Ward Talismans come in 3 levels, each level is unlocked upon reaching the required renown rank. The wards are available from different vendors depending on the power level of the ward read below to find out about their locations.
Click to read more

Lesser Talisman of Warding:
Provide the lesser ward effect which will reduce damage in High Level City Dungeon and Fortress encounters by 10% and can stack up to 5 times.
Sold By: Keep Provisoner.
Keep Provioners will spawn in The Keeps of any of the Pre-Fortress Zones (ie: Chaos wastes is the order pre fortress zone for order in the empire/chaos pairing) after the zone has been locked.
Requirements:Rank 35-40 and Renown Rank 30

Greater Talisman of Warding:
Provides the Greater ward effect which will reduce damage in The Lost Vale and City Invasion PQ encounters by 10% and can stack up to 5 times. The Greater Ward effect also includes the Lesser Ward effect
Sold By: Fortress Provisoner.
Fortess Provisioners will spawn inside a enemy fortress once they have become captured.
Requirements:Rank 40 and Renown Rank 40

Superior Talisman of Warding:
Provides the Superior Ward effect will reduce damage in Sub-Boss and King encounters by 10% and can stack up to 5 times. The Superior Ward effect also includes the Lesser Ward and Greater Ward effects.
Sold By: Siege Camp Provisioner.
Siege Camp Provisioners will spawn inside Capital city Battle Objectives once they become captured.
Requirements:Rank 40 and Renown Rank 50

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The importance of staying connected

Like many WaR players i'm taking this evening off to watch Obama's inauguration on the news.

1stly a quick clarification i'm a Brit and so i have a wide blue expanse of distance both physically and emotional from these events.

I'll refrain from any political comments but suffice to say i think it was a pretty damn good speech.Instead i'll just take 2 things which perhaps our community can take to heart:

1st: "greatness is not a given it must be earned"
Forum's and blogs have a reputation for at their worst being whine fests. To often people see something they want and if they can't achieve it easily the whine begins.
People need to remember that nothing in any MMO has any intrinsic value. Even the most awesome item is nothing more than a collection of pixels and data. People need to start valuing the journey not just the destination.

2ndly "people will judge you on what you can build not what you destroy"
In a recent interview on Fires of War Paul Barnett stressed the importance of constructive criticism, as a community we need to focus not just on the bad but on the good. That when we do talk about the bad we should try and understand why these decisions have been made, that they have not been made lightly, that hindsight is a wonderful thing, and that its not always easy to fix them.

Anyways the ceremony is over im off to play a bit of WaR.

Finally Jospeh Lowery speech was great and showed one last thing, that even at the most serious of times a sense of humor is a great thing.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Just One Question

i don't know about you but i always find my mind completely blank every Monday.
but i've set myself a target of posting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and gawd dang it i'm gonna stick to it.

Thankfully occasionally inspiration sometimes arrives out of the blue or in this case the comments box.
Barnett here, always gud to know who the Orc heads are :)

The comment slightly confuses me on many levels, and have no idea if it is that Barnett bloke or not.
1. If it is him, what on gods earth is he doing looking at my little blog
2. If not him, there are better places to pretend to be him than my little blog

but for the purpose of this it matters not. Thank you whoever you are.
the topic for today shall be
"If you could ask Paul Barnett one question what would it be?"

Would you consider releasing a expansion which did not increase the level cap?
Click to read more

Why ask:
The traditional MMO model has been to expand vertically adding more and more levels and more skills. The disadvantage of this is that the older areas become more and more deserted and the skill pools become more and more bloated.
From a simple financial perspective it allows the manufacturer to sell the original game plus Xpac to anyone new who wishes to play.
The carrot & stick of leveling is such a staple of the genre to not do it would be suicide for a PvE game to release a Xpac without them.

But WaR is a RvR game what your opponents will always be humans not scripted encounters.
To me at least what will keep me interested is not 10 more levels of PvE but my increasing the variety & challenge of RvR.

Instead of 10 more levels the effort was instead put into things like a greater variety of siege weapons and destructible walls. There is also scope for work on the inner keeps and fortress's to make them more visually interesting and tactically varied.
Increasing the Renown rank cap and opening up extra skills & tactics is to me a better way than just boosting everyone's stats 10 levels.

Id personally love a system which when you captured a zone allowed you to enter the opposing player PvE areas and loot & burn there towns or similar. WoW made amazing use of the phasing system and there's no reason why it couldn't be put to work here.

Also while it didn't matter that Onyxia became Soloable in WoW but if Karl Franz becomes soloable its a whole different kettle of fish.

anyways that's my post for today now i just need to find something to write about for Wednesday >_< . Im off to get rank 30 on my DoK

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Savage Justice

While doing the rounds of the new blogs posted on Wizards & Wenches i came across this post on the possibility of Slayer coming to WaR. With this package arriving at keen and graev that possibility seems to have become a certainty.

What hasn't been given much attention is the fate of the orcs counterpart to the old hammerer class. The same exact same problems face the Choppa's that faced the hammerers. When you compare a choppa to a Black Orc basically the only real difference is weapons. Every class needs something to distinguish itself from it brethren & choppas have nothing which marks them out as cool. They are basically the more weedy less heavily armed brethren of black orcs. I honestly can't imagine anyone wanting to play them.
Click to read more

Now i know Mythic are trying to give order more appeal but i honestly feel giving one faction a class with a huge amount of interesting and evocative lore and the other is a pale imitation of existing class both lore visual style & play mechanics.

My personal opinion, hope, & hunch is that mythic wouldn't short change destruction like that.
What im hoping is that we get a class who are a true match for slayers.
What im hoping for is Savage Orcs

Mad, Covered head to toe in warpaint, with no fear. They are the perfect mirror to the Slayer.

The advantages of Savage orcs are:
-A more interesting visual style and distinct silhouette
-They originate in the area in which WaR takes place (Badlands and the southlands of the Marshes of Madness)
-There is a large amount of lore behind them.
and most importantly
-The mechanics used for slayers could be easily transferred (with a few modifications) helping maintain the balance of RvR

Also if implemented Choppas would be the only class in game based on a standard grunt infantryman. No one want to play a grunt can you imagine if Orders new class was a Empire Halberder's, High Elf Citizen Militia, (or Dwarf Hammerers for that matter >_<). The closest thing we have in the game currently is the Chaos Marauder but his mutations give him the distinctiveness needed to set him apart from a Chosen.

the only major downside is that ofc more work has to go into creating two classes than one, but due to savage orcs minimal clothing this isn't as much of a disadvantage as it could be otherwise.

I honestly think if they introduce a class like Choppas which would be a lame duck from day one it would have bad implications for the game in the long term.
anyhow ill keep my fingers crossed that come Jan the 29th mythic will do the game justice. And if i receive a can of blue paint & some bones in the mail ill let you know >_<

A question of WaR

Okies i'm a bit puzzled

lets say your playing a Seprpent's Passage SC there are 2 groups:

1st group:
3 meele dps
2 Tanks
1 single target healer

2nd group:
3 aoe healer hybrids
1 tank
2 ranged dps

one of the aoe healers offers to drop from group 2 and move to group 1 to spread the healing out.

To me there isn't i cant see any way where the 1st group would not benefit from having a aoe healer in there, and whichever player left the 1st group for the 2nd one would still be in a better situation than he was.

As you can guess this was the situation i found myself in today & my suggestions that we rearrange the groups were met with a stony silence.

Laziness, selfishness, ignorance, i don't know, it just frustrates me sometimes.
I just can't understand why

Friday, 16 January 2009

and so it begins

well we did loose but i feel i did a damn good job there, so far my experience of t4 scenarios as a low lvl healer can be summed up thus: If you play to your strengths (in my case find a full group to aoe heal)find yourself a ranged dpser to hang around to fend off WH's(or WE's if your order)and choose a full healing spec you can be more than a little useful.

The introduction of Fortress Player caps and the attendant low level bashing "all they dos is leech" has got me thinking about how the way WaR lets you enter the end tier of open RvR at barely past 60% the way to max level affects the game. I'm working on a little longer & more in depth post on this called "is 28 the new 40" which ill post in a couple of days

Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Clearout

it seems i wasn't the only one who took a hiatus from WaR & blogging, today i did what i used to do daily a opened all the links on my blogroll in a blaze of firefox tabs only to find a good60% or so have gone quiet.

I was particularly sad to find Book of Grudges had gone quite, it was one of the 1st warhammer blogs i read and they always had something interesting to say

Another i was sad to see go was Archmagery who has moved onto the world of zombies valve has created in L4D, which imo is the shape of the sort of future game which will finally take wow crown as king of PvE(but that another post entirely)

a few have quit WaR but have kept blogging like walloftext, wingednazgul, Potshot,and The Ancient Gaming N00b

looking at how much we lost i feel like i have to say a quick thanks to all the blogs who did keep active even after many of us went quiet.

so thank you:
Harcore Casual
Keen and Grev
Stunty Stomper
Stylish Corpse
Way of the Chosen
The Greenskin

and in particular a big 'Kudos to you guys' shout to
Syp and Regis for the Blog Warhammer initiative which should be providing me with many new blogs to replace those who's time has sadly gone

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Back to WaR: Part 3 Return of the Healer

So story so far...
My WaR career died a death of 1000 cuts (from bad customer service and a mass of annoying bugs)
Which sent me back to WoW which wowed me with a narrative based leveling experience which sadly came to a end on reaching the end game.
Now tempted by tales of mass bug exterminations and a rejuvenated player base i head back to WaR.

The need for Server merges, boosted leveling speeds, & greater rewards from RvR were all so obvious that its a mystery to me why they were not implemented sooner after release (or even before release).WaR's launch was reasonably smooth but if everything had been at launch as it is now perhaps percentage of those who tried out the game could have been retained.
But there no point swelling on this too much, the game seems stable now & i feel hopeful we can look forward to long term growth.

Looking at the state of the end game there are encouraging signs but also worrying ones.
The two most worrying issues are the issues surrounding fortress capture which as so succinctly another blogger put seems allot like a bad case of make do & mend.
The most promising sign overall is that there is very little sign of overall class imbalance now, both tanks & healers are well represented now. And unlike wow there is very little sign of the 'i want to be dps but ill heal for a raid spot' philosophy which ultimately leads to a huge amount of burnouts.

I've chosen to roll a Disciple of Khaine and so far the experience has been overwhelmingly positive.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Back to WaR: Part 2 Azeroth Strikes Back

Once i started writing this i realized there is going to have to be a multi-part story (although god knows how many parts in total). Anyways let us move onto part two dear reader, when i last left you a bugged career combined with lackluster customer support had driven me into the arm of my old lover WoW.

My experience of the initial release of wrath was decidedly mixed. Magetheridon EU has been my home now for almost 4 years, the last 3 of which have been spent in the same guild. Magetheridon has a few very successful PvE guilds and so attracts ALOT of wannabe's so the starting zones were hideously swamped at launch so after a day or 2 of putting up with ques of people camping spawn point for NPC's i decided to try out the new class since the feedback id been hearing from people was overwhelmingly positive.

Allot has been made of the Death Knight starting area, on paper phasing sounded pretty underwhelming but in practice it is anything but. The unchanging nature of most mmo's is always a immersion breaker, and phasing while not completely solving that problem takes a giant leap from most previous attempts. Playing through a proper storyline builds far stronger bonds with your character than doing 100's of "Kill X", "Escort Y from A to B" quests, by level 58 i was hooked. My Shaman is still 71 almost untouched since i first rolled my Death Knight.

Playing a Death Knights also help deal with the over analyzed nature fo much of WoW's PvE & PvP environments. Although many forums have started deconstructing the class in earnest it still remains a aura of mystery.

But this post is titled "Back to War" so the astute can guess that paradise could not & did not last. The Spell WoW had cast on me began to break once i hit 80 and slowly but surely the flow of new stories to explore began to dry up and the familiar grind of gearing for raiding began again. The Dungeons as always were well crafted but after one play through even the extra challenge of achievements couldn't enliven a badge grind.

Arena season didn't start until recently but long before then PvP in WoW was dead to me. Magethrion EU is unique as far as i know in that it is the only server where faction imbalance was that bad they only opened transfers away fromt he server for the horde & to the server for the alliance. For those of you who experienced the populations imbalances on some WaR servers after launch believe me this was on another scale altogether. During Leveling my Death Knight i don't think i came into contact with only 2 alliance players between 58 & 80, one lonely Dwarf Hunter in Zangarmarsh and a lone Death Knight.
So with on my server WoW attempt at RvR dead in the water the weight of expectation fall on scenario's. Vehicles are interesting novelty items at present but don't offer anything tactically. Combat itself still lack that extra little something it does in WaR.

And so just as WotLK arrived perfectly timed to take advantage of my disillusionment, so news of the implementation of Server transfers and open RvR influence lakes along with XP bonus's for leveling began to reach my ears.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Back to WaR: Part 1

So after quiting the game for a while i'm back, so it only appropriate that I cover what caused me & many others to stop(part1) & some of the reason i and other came back (part2) .

So why did I quit? I think like a lot of people there was a lot I was still enjoying about WaR but a lot of minor niggles which were making the experience a lot less enjoyable.

Witch Elves had & still have a lot of endgame issues, many people learned to play around some of the bigger issues like the continuing bugged state of pick lock by just becoming war machine operators or postern guards, but it is still a class which feels out of place in many of the bigger RvR skirmishes.
The state of RvR wasn't great either, a lot of the time id watch with despair as warbands played a strange came of keep trading.

But what tipped me over the edge was GOA handling of guild relations. I was part of a small guild which lost members after the free trial period was over one of which was our GM. GOA will not pass control of a guild until a character have been inactive for 6 weeks, so we had to endure weeks of uncertainty, slowly more people drifted away with the guild unable to form alliances or promote new officers. During that time more officers left & I ended up trying to keep people motivated best I could. I had Veteran rank so I sent a email to customer service asking if whether when the GM's account went inactive, the leadership would skip the inactive people & pass to someone active (either myself or another vet) I was reassured that it would do so.
Eventually the day arrived when the guild was due to pass from our absentee GM, and it did, to one who had been absent for 3 weeks meaning, we would have to wait again for it to pass on, which it did, to another inactive character.
At this point I was just fed up & demoralized, and there like a old friend along came Wotlk which offered me the security of my WoW guild (which I've been in for 3 years) and new content.