Postcard from Praag. Wish you were here?

Wotcha everyone,

Burning Tower?  Check.  Open Space?  Check.  People fighting?  Check!

Burning Tower? Check. Open Space? Check. People fighting? Check!

For those who have not seen it previously, welcome to Martyr Square, in Praag.  It’s hard to get in one screenshot, but it’s about the largest single space in Praag, and is almost slap bang in the middle of the zone slap bang in the middle of Tier 4.  For all you lore/role-playing fans. not only is it a city in Kislev, but at times it felt like battling in a medieval Leningrad.  Cool.

I took this picture when it was “quiet”.  I could have taken it when there was about 300 people fighting hard, with bodies flying everywhere, but there will no doubt be plenty of those on the interwebnet soon enough.

No, I wanted to check out what it was like on a Sunday morning.  This Sunday happened to be just before the end of Closed Beta, and Order must have been busy little beavers overnight, because every Tier 4 zone clear to the Inevitable City had been locked for Order.

Now that was rare enough as it was.

But what surprised me was to discover that my sneaking suspicion was right; there were people fighting at Martyr’s Square.

Now, I’m not going to start shouting “Njubs!” in my best “leet speek” (that’s about all the “leet speek” I know.  “Njubs”, “leet” and “speek”.  Someone should shout “Get with the times, grand-dad!” at me.  In “leet speek”, of course) at them.  They’re PvPing, they’re having fun, and they’re ideally placed when the front makes it’s way back to Praag.  It has become *the* place to go if you can’t find RvR anywhere else.

Personally, I’d want to follow the front, be it attacking or defending where appropriate.  But I do think it’s entertaining that whilst the marketing men might be wrong that “War is everywhere!”, it’s comforting to know that it will always be at Martyr Square.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Directions needed

After a long discussion with my LotRO guildmates over the female sense of direction yesterday, it particularly pleased me when a member of my WAR guild pointed me at this remarkable Atlas of WAR.

I like maps, I especially like that you can turn off all the points of interest so if you don’t want things spoiled other than the basic map overview you can have that too. I love that they have scenario maps too – overall it’s really useful and I’ve added it to our ‘tools’ category.

But seriously, I won’t go in the right direction even with a map…

A week in IM chats

Starting what might become a regular insight into our lives and conversations, I bring you a summary of some of our IM chats over the past couple of weeks. It’s only from two separate days, so hopefully in the future there will be more diversity!

(6:16:32 AM) Spinks: btw, can you talk to tupp when you come down and explain that pillows are not for cats
(6:16:46 AM) Arbitrary: but but.. they are!
(6:17:02 AM) Spinks: bad influence!

(6:36:36 AM) Spinks: yeah, you saw my draft?
(6:37:09 AM) Arbitrary: I saw there WAS a draft ;p

(7:02:16 AM) Arbitrary: might have to make level 31 chars, strip them and screenshot their breasts. For sunday, ofc.
(7:03:37 AM) Spinks: I have a screenie of my level 1 engineer with her bodice if that helps
(7:04:23 AM) Arbitrary: I have that one I think, but if I do 1 at level 1 – I need to do them all at that :-/
(7:06:26 AM) Spinks: depends if you want to do a proper comparison or just ‘hey, look at these boobs!’ 🙂

(7:49:23 AM) Arbitrary: what should I have as a header for Wardb?
(7:49:55 AM) Arbitrary: i have ‘useful stuff’
(7:49:55 AM) Spinks: Um, maybe tools?
(7:50:00 AM) Arbitrary: ah, that’s better ;p

(8:17:37 AM) Spinks: Can you check mamma mia post?
(8:21:58 AM) Arbitrary: I just wonder if the title fully suits it
(8:22:59 AM) Arbitrary: From ABBA to WAR?
(8:23:06 AM) Spinks: Haha, I like that one
(8:23:17 AM) Arbitrary: I feel bad picking on the title, tbh 🙂
(8:23:50 AM) Arbitrary: *goes back to screenshotting breasts*

(9:38:18 AM) Arbitrary: Ha ha, I was originally going to call it ‘final days of freedom’ 🙂 You were just pondering the trez vs freebies ;p
(9:39:16 AM) Hawley: I thought that was a lovely point to raise. I am still wondering which is better. The warm glow of epixxx, or the warming sensation in my tummy that only a blagged t-shirt can provide…
(9:39:42 AM) Arbitrary: best would be a FREE bit of trez, ofc
(9:39:56 AM) Hawley: Or a Trez T-shirt?
(9:40:29 AM) Arbitrary: I would love a T-shirt that said ‘Broken armour, repairs into the following item – 1 T -shirt’

(10:07:47 AM) Hawley: I worked there for three years on commute, so it’s not a bad place, and not scary.
(10:08:01 AM) Arbitrary: not TOO scary 🙂 Everywhere is scary
(10:08:59 AM) Hawley: Nah, as long as you know where *not* to go…
(10:09:16 AM) Arbitrary: out the house!

(6:25:51 AM) Arbitrary: I didn’t even look at macros in WAR. I guess I will. Oh, you’ll be amused.. I found a thread whining that AM’s were better healers than RPs 🙂
(6:26:16 AM) Arbitrary: Have therefore decided all number crunching is horrible and players whine a lot!
(6:26:26 AM) Spinks: I really think no one honestly knows. But everyone feels a bit defensive.
(6:26:40 AM) Arbitrary: yeah, I can see why, but there’s so many variables with tactics and masteries
(6:26:41 AM) Spinks: So much whining that RPs do more damage though. But all based on theory.

(6:30:46 AM) Spinks: One of the big difficulties with comparisons is figuring out how to work the mechanic in too.
(6:31:07 AM) Spinks: I do think that AM damage isn’t really high enough. The dps tree felt like the most useless to me.
(6:31:12 AM) Arbitrary: yeah, I just don’t like the comparisons. To me the only thing we need to know about a healing class is – can they solo heal a group

(7:14:23 AM) Arbitrary: Larky licking my toast plate. No food on it, she just wanted to lick it
(7:14:41 AM) Spinks: tupp sulking cos of not being fed yet
(7:15:32 AM) Arbitrary: she just attacked Paul Barnett and won
(7:15:37 AM) Spinks: Awww

(9:32:34 AM) Arbitrary: why do people even have to consider ‘hardest/easiest classes to play’ – just the thread title depresses me
(9:33:19 AM) Arbitrary: yay RP is easy apparently 🙂
(9:33:25 AM) Spinks: :p
(9:33:55 AM) Spinks: Actually, I think I prefer that to ‘which is the best healer’. Cos if you have a friend or partner who wants to play you might want to know which the easier classes are
(9:34:12 AM) Spinks: (And as we all know, the best healer is the one who actually heals you !)

(9:36:10 AM) Arbitrary: Well, just read a thread that said AM and RP are best together 🙂
(9:36:23 AM) Spinks: works for me

(10:06:13 AM) Arbitrary: cappucino twix. YUM!
(10:06:39 AM) Spinks: oo, sounds nice!

(10:36:33 AM) Spinks: http://www.consupport.com/genconuk2008/eagleheights.asp
(10:36:47 AM) Spinks: is it bad if I want my photo taken with a bird of prey?
(10:36:59 AM) Arbitrary: No!
(10:37:07 AM) Arbitrary: it’s imperative
(10:37:18 AM) Spinks: Thats the best thing EVER! I love falcons, but will need a camera

(10:52:50 AM) Arbitrary: husband watching vids on how to make a jetpack!
(10:53:33 AM) Spinks: woah
(10:54:13 AM) Arbitrary: I worry sometimes
(10:54:43 AM) Spinks: Worry when he starts testing a cat size version
(10:56:23 AM) Arbitrary: ha ha
(10:56:40 AM) Arbitrary: I’m so copying this conversation

Tinker, Tailor, Shaman … Witch Hunter?

Wotcha everyone,

Just so you all know, I’m just having a lovely brew, and having a cogitate about what to do in the open beta phase.

Should I just use Open Beta as a dry run for release?  Should I create a Warrior Priest and level up?

Should I create a class I wouldn’t normally have, such as an Ironbreaker, and see how other classes play?

Or should I ignore Order completely, and play Destruction for a week?

All three have their benefits, and their penalties.

Playing a Warrior Priest means I’ll be playing the early levels for a third time at release, and maybe that’s one time too many for it to be classed as fun.  But it does mean I’ll have practiced it enough to get out of the early levels with a minimum of fuss and bother, hopefully meaning I can out-pace the masses through the starter areas…

Playing Destruction will mean I can try out that Shaman I’ve had my eye on (skull as hat!), or follow a slinky, well-formed Witch Elf bottom around for a week (for testing purposes only, of course), but also means that the “mystique” of my enemies will be lessened.  I will understand a little more about their skills, quests, and items.  It will make them less…  alien.

So I think I’m going to choose what’s in the box.  I shall hold an audition of sorts, for my initial alts.  I generally try and get two or three characters up to maximum level, and usually have a number of other alts at varying levels.  I find it gives me more options regarding grouping up and doing stuff in game.

I already know that I want a Warrior Priest, an Engineer, and an Archmage.  So now is the time to find out what else is cool.  I’m thinking Witch Hunter (because I’m shallow, and they look great), and Swordmaster (because I do, at times, enjoy tanking, and the Swordmaster seems to have a cool mechanic).

Brew’s over.  Time to get the kettle on again.  God bless tea!  But hey, if anyone has a reason to try another class out, just shout it out…  😉

Cheers,
Hawley.

Have HMV got it all wrong?

We spent a while in the early days of the blog pondering when Play.com would send out their CE pre-order codes, and kind of wishing we’d gone to an HMV store and picked up the pre-order box there.

It now seems that HMV are having issues with the way they handled the pre-order programme. Right from the start people had conflicting reports about whether HMV staff were asking for their details to reserve them a copy of the Collector’s Edition when it came into the store. Some were being asked, some weren’t.

Now, over at Freddyshouse, there’s a worrying thread which goes into quite a few details of people being told by various sources at HMV that they might not have enough CEs to cover the pre-orders they took. As they were haphazard about recording people’s details – this could be of major concern to people who went this route to the CE pre-order.

Our advice:

  • Check with the manager at the HMV store where you bought your pre-order box
  • Email HMV (consumer-power!)
  • Check over at Freddyshouse, since obviously quite a number of UK buyers there with similar problems, post your experiences so that everyone can benefit from any information gleaned
  • Hope that HMV can come up with a solution to this

Links labours lost

The Economist reckons that Google’s Lively was a flop. I know I haven’t been back to it after the first excitement of playing with virtual lava lamps, there are easier ways to chat. Bruce Everiss also comments on this and discusses other ways Google could extend its business model.

The sixth guild highlights is now up on the GOA site and discusses keep taking, it also highlights the Humberton Blackguard, another guild we know of from our Dark Age of Camelot time.

It may not have escaped your notice this week that there’s some small controversy about Mythic not crediting developers that no longer work for them. The complaint was made anonymously by an ex-Mythic developer that had put in some work on Warhammer Online. The International Games Developers Association call this ‘disrespectful’. Mark Jacobs spoke to MTV Multiplayer and had the following to say:

If you really think that we’re doing something wrong, at least have the balls to stand up and go ‘Hi, my name is so-and-so…[Leaving the person out of the credits] could be a mistake. I’m not saying it’s not happening. I just don’t know who the heck this person is. So come out, stop hiding behind the anonymity of the internet and the legal shield of ‘I’m going to sue EA.’

Scott over at the Broken Toys blog adds that it’s not him. Apparently he’s been asked a lot!

Kotaku points out some of the vagaries of multi-million dollar AI systems. If you happen to be shopping in a Target (US store) and you wanted to buy World of Warcraft but find they’ve sold out, you’ll apparently be pointed to Paws & Claws Pet Vet as an alternative!

Did you miss the Spore links? We did, here’s some more news about it. Spore is out for the iPod.

New iPhone comes loaded with pictures of the girl who made it. Who knew that working on a factory line could be such fun?

Blogger xntrek writes an open letter to Mythic from Gamenesty International about the end of the closed beta.

Dev blogs – Justin Webb has posted a bunch of vids from Leipzig on his blog. Go watch them; WAR tattoos, Leipzig ladies, T-shirt delivery (did I mention I love free T-shirts!?) and Warhammer Online winning the Best Online Game title. Iain C also posts about Leipzig and mentions T -shirts all too teasingly – check out his pics from the event – they’re really good. And Josh says something about PAX, something about it being the last time WAR gets shown off before the launch.. hrrm, forgetting Games Day UK, obviously but I’ll forgive him. Oh look, Jeff Hickman said the same at the start of his exclusive PAX blogs for Ten Ton Hammer. As if it’s not bad enough that the CE headstart starts during Games Day UK!

Massively also have been talking to Mythic at PAX about the content of the next patch with lots of new features for the open beta (auction houses, graphical improvements, pathing fixes etc). They’re planning to breadcrumb their interview over several articles as per usual so keep checking back.

Mark Jacobs stops by Warhammer Alliance to give an update on the work they’re doing post-preview weekend.

Steve Jobs is still alive (cue song) despite Bloomberg publishing his obituary. Oops.

And finally, a last minute welcome to Warhammer Tank, a blog devoted to.. well, you guess!

Headstarts dated & other answers

Collector’s Edition pre-order – 14th September (during Games Day *coff*)

Standard Edition pre-order  – 15th September

You can read all the details on GOA’s website. How we love saying that last sentence!

And, as if that’s not enough, there’s also some answers to technical questions (like using your own torrent client, the file size) and when we can enter our codes (next week apparently).

The Ballad of Breakin’ Iron

An axe as big as her head

An axe as big as her head

I was reading Snafzg’s excellent summary of the latest what-class-do-you-want-to-play poll at WHA (currently almost 5000 people have voted which gives a pretty awesome poll size).

What really stood out for me were how the numbers had changed since the last time they did a career poll. One of the big differences between this career poll and the last one is that a lot of the people playing have now had a chance to play either closed beta or the preview weekend. So more of the choices are now based on having actually tried the class.

On the Order side, the classes which were originally the most popular were the Warrior Priest (For SIgmar! Bollocks!) and the White Lion (Grawwwrrr!!). But in this poll, both of them have been completely overtaken by a stubborn little beardy/braidy outsider with a honking big axe (or shield). (NB. White Lion unpopularity is likely due to pet pathing issues which have been acknowledged and should be resolved by launch.)

Meet the Ironbreaker, small but perfectly formed avatar of teh awesome! I played one up to about level 9 in closed beta so I’m not the expert by any means, but it was terrific fun and I’m definitely planning on picking one up as an alt.

Probably more similar to the WoW warrior than any of the other tanks in the game, the Ironbreaker’s abilities depend not only on Action Points but also on Grudges, and she gets more Grudges every time either she or her Oathfriend take more damage. Some abilities also give more Grudge. The Oathfriend is a cool mechanic by which you pick out one of your party to be your Oathfriend. Some of the Ironbreaker abilities grant a buff to both Ironbreaker and her Oathfriend and you can switch your Oathfriend around in combat if you need to (ie. to whoever is currently getting hit, to grab more Grudge). Some of the Ironbreaker abilities do more damage depending on how much Grudge you have. Not all of them actually use up Grudge to do so.

This means that once an Ironbreaker builds up 100 Grudge, she can put out some major hurt, especially if specced to do so. I didn’t play one with a level 31 template but my guildies who did were very happy with the class.

Like every tank in Warhammer, the Ironbreaker also gets the ability to guard someone in their group and take half of their damage. Guard can also be swapped round in combat and is a great way to keep your favourite healer (read: the one who actually heals you) out of harm’s way.

Wolf Slayer

Wolf Slayer

I did locate a shield and try tanking some low level public quests with my gal and she was a rocking little tank. I had no trouble grabbing aggro or keeping it and was happily poking the toenails of big monstery things and yelling dwarfy taunts at them while the rest of the group killed them. (As an aside, one of the funniest things I have seen in game is my husband playing a tank because he actually does yell at the monsters when he hits taunt, so I keep hearing comments like ‘Oi! Titface!’ coming from across the room.)

I’m still not sure how PQ contribution is calculated but I had no trouble topping the list as a tank when I’d been tanking everything for the whole 3 phases so I think there’s a fairly heavy bias towards tanking.

I played her a bit in Scenarios and also found that a lot of fun. Tanks in this game are made for people who have a talent for being in the way. I did pretty well by spotting where Destruction was charging towards our squishies and wandering into the way. Collision detection is very fun for tanks. And having tried one, I’m not surprised that they are all so popular in the polls.

Bye bye freedom

So Warhammer Online has gone gold, and the open beta will be with us on 7th Sept – the client is up and ready for download!. That gives me.. a couple of weeks left of ‘freedom’, and I don’t know about you, but I actually have a plan this time on how to get things ready in my life.

The Practical

  • Gain some husband rep by doing dishes, cooking, generally hanging out and watching DVDs
  • Ensure laundry is done and up-to-date
  • Make and freeze some meals so husband doesn’t have to do all the cooking! (he’s unbearably good at feeding me when I’m caught up in gaming)
  • Get plenty of rest, seriously, plenty!
  • Catch up on all my recorded TV on the PVR – making sure I’m on top of things, and reminding myself that leisure time doesn’t have to be in front of a PC
  • Organisation – sort out bills, medical appts, etc
  • Give lots of quality cat-cuddling time, so they don’t feel too unloved and fall asleep on keyboard or mouse when they want attention
  • Work out my autumn TV schedule and set it all up on the PVR. Yes, I am a bit of a TV fan, but I like to think I only watch decent stuff ;p
  • Read more of the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R R Martin. Just finished book 1
  • Make sure vidcam works before Games Day trip, and that I have any idea how to get data off it

The Philosophical

Ponder the following:

  • What is better; Trez or Freebies?
  • Why is it called ChaosCast if they’re all playing Greenskins?
  • Which am I looking forward to more; Lost or Battlestar Galactica?

Game-related

  • Look at Rune Priest masteries, have a vague idea how I might spec
  • Finalise list of character names I actually like – double-check that I like them
  • Decide on an alt (more naming hell)
  • Decide if I even want a Destruction alt on another server
  • Build up my post count on guild forums, which I’ve not been that active on because of blogging or gaming!
  • Make sure I’m up-to-date with all my LotRO stuff and do stuff with LotRO guild before my play-time there scales back radically (yay for lifetime subs)
  • Discuss some BoG plans with Hawley and Spinks – maaaybe look at design, and then ignore it ;p
  • Get nervous about Games Day, try not to worry about missing out on some headstart because of travelling to and from Games Day and seeing my family at the same time

I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking I need to get things in order before the game releases. So what are you all planning to do before life gets… really busy?

Open Beta Download available for EU

Farewell, closed beta loading screen

Farewell, closed beta loading screen

Yup, the open beta download is available via the EU website. Closed Beta testers don’t need to re-download the client, we can just patch our installs up as per normal.

Set all phasers to lag. And thanks Fiale for the heads up.