Don’t be a cop out

Wotcha everyone,

“Let them win”.

I hate that phrase.  It’s everything I hate about online PvP, rolled into one.

When I play, I try to play as a good player.  It’s about being a good loser, as well as a good winner.  It’s about doing my utmost, even when I’m in a situation that’s beyond all hope.

It is also about being a good enemy, one who respects the players fighting against me enough to play to the limit, rather than just give up because I’m losing.

I’ll never understand the mentality of those players whose battlecry is “Let them win”.  I have only encountered it in World of Warcraft, but they seem to be a vocal minority who are so interested in the Honour Points, and only interested in the Honour Points, that they don’t care whether they win or lose, only that the Battleground is over fast, so they can get into the next one.  If a win isn’t achieved fast, they’re only interested in a fast loss.

For them, the PvP is a means to an end.  It’s a grind, a points farming exercise.  They don’t care about the players on their own side, never mind those players they’re up against.  Which is why I find it deeply ironic that they are farming points in something called “Honour”.

I have yet to hear it in Warhammer Online.  And long may that continue.  I’m really enjoying taking part in the Scenarios in Tier 1 and 2.  So far I’ve been in big losses, big wins, and results that have come right down to the wire.  Sometimes they go the full 15 minutes, sometimes they don’t get past 5 minutes.

But the attitude I have found in most is that people want to partake.  That it’s not just about farming Renown or Rank, but it’s about the fun of the game, of the fight.  It’s about taking part, and the pride taken in a win, no matter how hard fought.

So a big thankyou to both my allies and my enemies.  I hope I continue to be worthy of both of you.

Cheers,
Hawley.

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The battle at Spite’s Reach

Leading RvR raids is very different from leading PvE ones. All of your plans and goals are subject to change. Assuming that the other side come out to play, you will be keeping an eye on what they are doing and changing your plans on the fly. It is a very different proposition.

I led my first keep raid over the weekend. Well, maybe led is too strong a word. I organised the raid and called targets, and everyone else did the rest. It was great! I pretty much just had to name a keep (we were raiding tier 2 keeps) and before I knew it, everyone had run off there, the rams were down, the keep lord slaughtered, everyone posing for screenshots and then wanting to know which the next keep was!

Like any kind of raid leading, the main thing is not to panic and to stay calm. You’re coordinating a lot of people but you don’t have to do all their thinking for them. People also tend to panic if they think the group is going without them or that they don’t know where to go or are being left out. As a raid leader, you have to stay on top of that. Be prompt with invites, be clear with directions. Make sure everyone knows what the raid’s current objective is, and preferably what the plan is after that also. People will be hassling you with tells. You don’t have time for long discussions when you’re leading a raid. Deal with what you can, anything that doesn’t have to be dealt with immediately you can tell the person to come back with later.

Decide how you plan to communicate. In a guild/alliance raid, you may end up using voice chat. Is everyone in the raid on it? Or do you need to type instructions as well. It’s very easy to get flustered using several different types of communication. And people in the raid can get flustered too if they think you are ignoring them. So very important to be clear with your objectives. Even if people don’t get the full experience of you wittering about beer, they need to be happy and clear that they know what the raid is doing.

On an RvR raid, you probably want to send scouts out ahead so that you can find out if a keep is defended or not. People will usually be happy to volunteer for scouting missions. It makes sense to send people with mounts and who are familiar with the area. Keep the raid updated with where the main body of the raid is so that scouts can find their way back to you when they are done. The big decision that you need to make as the leader is to decide what your raid can reasonably achieve. We had two full warbands so didn’t bother scouting objectives other than keeps – even Destruction on a bored night won’t have 2 warbands just hanging out at the Lighthouse in Barak Varr.

And then when the scouts report, you have to decide what to do about it. There’s a difference between “I saw a zone message that the Lord of Spite’s Reach was under attack” and “I saw a warband of destruction players heading to the fort in the Marshes of Madness”. You want to give your raid some good fights if you can, and that means not sending them somewhere where nothing will happen and they’ll have to wait around pointlessly for hours. But you also don’t want to send them off to certain death. The keep lord under attack messages are very sensitive. They could just mean that someone accidentally pulled one of the keep guards. Or that someone was scouting a keep. Or that there were just in the area.

Usually I find it’s best to start with a rough plan (eg. take all tier 2 keeps and objectives) and stick to it unless you get a scout report that reliably pinpoints enemy players. It’s also wise to take the objectives in an area before you take the keep, partly because they give a defensive bonus to any defenders but also because it nets your raid some renown which is a nice bonus for people who have come along to help. But when we did get a report that one of the keeps we had taken was under attack by destruction players by a scout who’d seen the players on the move, I did change my plan and send everyone back to that keep. We were lucky (or rather, I was lucky). We got there while the destruction guys were still working on the door. So my two warbands swept in from behind and it was a slaughter. They didn’t come back.

I think in future I might experiment more with splitting the groups when we have that many. But this was my first raid and it was also the first raid we ran as an alliance, and I was probably a bit too nervous.

And then, we found a defended keep. Oh, Spite’s Reach, how I hate you! The Destruction Keep Lord at Spite’s Reach (it’s the keep in the shadowlands) is an absolute pain. She’s a caster with a very strong AE DoT that goes through walls, and apparently floors too. We’ve had trouble with this before even when there were no defenders. So when there were, it was going to be a bloodfest. Having said that, I was delighted to see that the keep was defended. People don’t come on keep raids because they like killing NPCs. They want a good fight, and I knew we would get one.

There isn’t really a good strategy for taking a defended keep. You do the same stuff that you would normally, except that there are also other players involved. And this means that once you are inside the keep, you have to somehow fight your way up the ramp. The other team will be blocking the ramp and they have a big advantage from the layout and NPCs. It doesn’t help that Destruction seem to get a lot more knockbacks than Order at Tier2 level. So keeps are designed to give a huge advantage to the defenders. This means that it doesn’t take a lot of defenders to keep out a much larger force. And add to that a keep lord with a massive AE DoT and I knew that unless we could storm up quickly, the chances were that the keep would not fall.

There’s no point complaining about this because it will work to our advantage too when we are the defenders.

The defense was very good. And clearly the word was put out because more Destruction filtered in to join them. We killed as many as we could who came in through the postern gate but as time went on it was less and less likely that we would make progress. I could have pulled my force back and taken the Ellyrion keep (by the way, it’s a nice advantage to playing Order that you can pretty much assume most keeps will be Destruction most of the time so you can plan a keep raid in the knowledge that there will be something to do), but I figured we’d had a good romp through T2 dwarf and empire so it would be good practice for people to have a knockdown fight.

And the final thing? Don’t forget to thank your raiders for showing up. You’re hoping they’ll be prepared to do it again, right? 🙂 And if you had any good fights with the other side, you can start a thread on one of the realm forums (WHA I guess is the busiest) to tell everyone else on the server that you enjoyed it and to either thank them for a good fight or jeer, depending on your style. I like the Destro guys to know that we are organised and have alliances and are getting some practice in at tier 2 so they know to expect more from us in future!

But that keep lord at Spite’s Reach needs a nerf!

Born to Rune

First, full acknowledgement to Terry Pratchett for the above pun (found in ‘Soul Music’ as far as I recollect).

We’re just over a couple of weeks into WAR – how’s it going for you?

Me, I made my little Rune Priest (Kaja) and I’ve been having both good and bad times stomping and kicking the enemy as well as twirling my staff as if I’m auditioning for the role of Claire Bennett in Heroes. I know I love to heal, and the Rune Priest ticks all my boxes. It’s also meant I’ve had to learn a bit about self-preservation, with the detaunts and Grimnir’s Shield (rank 21 skill), as well as the fine art of actually doing a little damage in-between healing.

Everyone who recommended I try out a Rune Priest after all my angsting, you were right. It’s just what I needs right now, and though I am tempted to still try out a Warrior Priest and I have one made and ready, I like the freedom of being mechanic-less, and I can take the lesser dps I get from that.

First – I love the dwarf look. I even like the Rune Priest robe models (and I’m no fan of dresses, believe me!). And I love the big, clompy clogs. They make me feel like I’m wearing big DMs with a girly dress, something I might have been inclined to do if I ever wore a dress, but they make the Rune Priest a little more tomboyish – again, something that appeals. I like the hefty staff, it looks like it could knock an elf out if needed, and that makes me feel more.. like I could hit something with it, even if that wouldn’t be the best idea dps-wise.

Play-wise I don’t always stand at the back. Which is something I guess all healers are a little worried about. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have said before and meant it that standing at the back gives me one of the things I feel I need in gaming – perspective. I can see what’s going on, and take a second to take it all in. And I like that. But if I feel the need to run forward, I do. I have my shield, my detaunt, my self-healing – I can last long enough to annoy the enemy. I’ve picked up the Mourkain Artifact a few times and lived quite well to talk about it, I’ve blown up Talabec Dam (with some helpful cheerleading from my group, because I was terrified of the thing). But hey, don’t get me wrong or bitch and moan about it, I get slaughtered in moments as long as I’ve been noticed. Just, when I do get slaughtered I don’t have to feel like it was something I did wrong. It happens, we all get slaughtered and we all slaughter (or help others stay alive to slaughter). I’ve just entered Tier 3, and being at the bottom of the ladder there it’s a whole new learning process on how to play best in RvR. New skills, new masteries, etc – but I enjoy the kickstart every 10 or so ranks when you go from being big fish to little fish, learning to swim all over again.

In PvE I’m finding soloing as slow as it should be for a healer. And don’t get me wrong there, I’m managing, I plod away at quests or join others or ask friends. But I like the slowness sometimes, it gives me time to think about out-of-game things. There was part of Badlands where I thought I wouldn’t survive the respawn rate, but I found a place to fight more safely and managed the quest. Then I grouped up with someone I ran into and we ploughed through a few things. I like that changing pace.

In Public Quests.. well, here we come to something I’m not sure I should even say, but perhaps the contribution is occasionally skewed too much towards healing, but I’m doing generally well in them. When I get to do them. I did chapter 8 through grinding stage 1s, I haven’t done much of chapter 9 and I organised a guild event to do chapter 10.. so my Public Quest ratio isn’t the best ever, just noting that healing seems to perform pretty well, even when part of a warband! Your mileage may vary. Some of my feelings about PQ loot could be down to some extreme good rolls – which I have been having the last few days, so I’m expecting a downturn of luck soon.

As for masteries, etc. I’m not really an expert, I’m going with my gut which has dictated a Grungni/Grimnir mix. I’m not going to post the build, because it’s changing all the time. I did just get Master Rune of Fury which is a ground-targeted Rune that gives groupmates a 20% chance to restore 50AP every time they use an ability. It can be a bit hard to lay in RvR, scenarios anyway, but we’ve found it useful in PvE. And it’s pretty good just for me!

So basically I’m still really enjoying it, not finding the need for great number-crunching, still kind of bedding-in to the character. Even going to take her out for some roleplay tomorrow night which I’m greatly looking forward to. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about her adventures as the weeks go on!

Sexism and Swordmasters

Swordsman in a dress?

Swordsman in a dress?

I am so tired of hearing everyone tell me that our Swordmasters are girlish. It drives me nuts.

Apparently some people have difficulty with the idea of a slender swordsman with long hair who wears a robe. Do they think martial arts Kendo practitioners look like girls too? I guess they’ve never seen pictures of Norman warriors at Hastings in their long mail coats. For a footman, the long body cover is not at all a bad design. It’s when combat moved to mounted knights that it was more important to keep the legs separately armoured. The idea of seeing a man in full plate armour wading through the mud is basically daft, it would be too heavy.

Truth is, it’s an elf in a fantasy setting. It isn’t girly, it’s an ELF. Sorry if that’s too complicated for some people.

But there is more to it than that. The ire directed on forums towards people who asked for female Chaos Chosen, the general sexism towards Swordmasters and put downs on dwarf tanks for their height. I’m sick of the attitude from the player base that tanks must be uber-macho, and the refusal to accept that a slender looking character can do the job. No one complains about their healers, casters, or melee dps not looking macho enough, so it isn’t just players who can’t handle having a non-bulky alter ego. People aren’t whining about Disciples of Kaine wearing long robes when they fight or goblins not looking sufficiently badass. What is this particular issue with tanks?

It makes me so very glad that most of the haters will have rolled destruction so I don’t need to deal with them other than via a swift eye-laser to the goolies. From behind a sold shieldwall of Swordmasters.

Detaunt-tastic!

Wotcha everyone,

I had occasion to leave my pc, and venture out into the world yesterday.  And whilst on the bus, I saw a little vignette that stuck in my memory.

There was a cat sleeping on the downstairs window-sill of a terraced house, with an old lady unsuccessfully attempting to drag off a small, yappy dog that *just* couldn’t reach the cat (still calmly sleeping outside, on the window-sill), no matter how hard it strained and jumped.  I chuckled.  It was a perfect display of the age-old battle between cat and dog.

A while later, I am reminded of this state of affairs whilst engaging in Tier 2 scenarios with guildmates.  At one point, I am standing alongside a rune-priest guildmate, when we are attacked by an enemy tank each.

Now, the only thing slower than a healer/tank fight is healer on healer, but hey, we’re having fun, so why not?  We both decided to stick it out, so I detaunt the tank attacking me, start the mutual healing that really works between Rune Priest and Warrior Priest (The Healing That Dare Not Speak Its Name), and start smacking the tank that’s attacking my dwarf compatriot.

A couple of minutes later, the tank that had been chain detaunted by the both of us for the last couple of minutes just… left us.  No doubt crying, and looking for someone he could actually hurt.  Leaving us giggling like naughty schoolboys when we finally gain our tank kill a minute later.

So, there we have it.  Give me a detaunt, and I’ll use it.  And then ignore you, up on my window-sill.  In fact, I love my detaunt.  It has saved me so many times in PvE it’s silly, and means that being attacked by two mobs is no more scary than being attacked by one.

In RvR, it means I can survive a little longer when I’m jumped by a couple of people, hopefully long enough for help to arrive.  It means that fights are more tactical, and therefore more fun.  So I applaud it.  All games should have detaunts like this one.

Cheers,
Hawley.

A talented bunch

We don’t talk too much about the guild here, it’s nice to give it a little privacy. But, there is one aspect I wanted to touch on, and that’s to give a quick shout-out to all the talented bloggers/web types we have in the guild with us. So, without further ado, here’s a list of some of them:

Snark and Fury – TV, comics, reviews, general snarkiness. It’s a great read (I’ve actually re-read the Merlin post a few times).

Warhammer Geek – Now, you may have heard of this site – I certainly hope so. News, Forums, Wiki as well as the ever-popular parodies and podcasts.

Construed – A ‘critique of modern entertainment’ this includes videogame reviews, as well as a useful WAR diary that I’m learning from.

Killed in a Smiling Accident – Better at humour than us, this blog covers a ton of stuff but is recently quite WAR-focussed. Worth checking out, I’d be surprised if it didn’t raise a smile in all.

R1ft Gaming – Covers games in general as well as Age of Conan and Warhammer Online more specifically. Also loving the ‘rants’ section.

Tier 3 Scenarios come in many flavours!

Tip for the day:

For Tier 3 each racial area has two scenarios, not just one. Go to regular WAR symbol to get yourself in queue, and you’ll see arrows at the top, so you can scroll to each of them and join both queues. Also you can queue for them from rank 20 upwards.

We’ve noticed a pattern that only the first of the pair is coming up with any form of regularity, so just doing my public service announcement to try and raise the profile of the underlooked scenarios.

Here’s the full list:

Dwarf/Greenskin: Black Fire Basin, Doomfist Crater

High Elf/Dark Elf: Temple of Isha, Tor Anroc

Empire/Chaos: High Pass Cemetery, Talabec Dam