My First Fortress Attempt

A prominent Order guild on my server made the call for our forces to march on Caledor and push to the fortress. It’s exciting to see all these guilds come together and really push a singular goal. The anticipation is exhilarating, and much of the reason I wanted to play MMOs in the first place. This wasn’t my first fortress push, but it was the first that I was able to see it to the end… or so I thought.

When we reached the fortress, it was relatively easy to make our way through the outer and inner doors. What first struck me is the scale of the structure. It’s massive compared to the keeps I’ve been sacking. However, I was disappointed to see that while huge, the layout is relatively the same. In fact, know that I think about it, all the keeps layouts are the same! Did the armies of Warhammer only use pre-manufactured keeps from Germany or something? Next it will be Ikea interiors!

Anyway, after blasting through the doors we made our way up the first flight of stairs. We assembled at the base of the final single staircase as we faced with “The Infamous Tankwall of Doom!” For those of you unfamiliar, defenders of keeps generally form a “U” or actually more like a lazy “J” at the top of the staircase. Then their healers and range dps sit back rain death on the attackers and love bolts to the tankwall. Because of line of sight issues, it is very difficult for the attackers to heal their front line while also attacking the defending tankwall. Tankwalls often lead to stalemates, and I find them very frustrating. While attackers shouldn’t be able to just steamroll over defenders, these situations just aren’t very fun for a video game. Mythic seems to agree and has said they are planning to add additional staircases to keeps and fortresses. However, I’m disappointed to see this most welcome change missing from the 1.2 patch notes.

Finally, the call came, “PUSH!” As I made my way toward the staircase my computer was wheezing like an old man after playing the All Priests Over 75 Indoor Five-a-Side Football Match. There were probably about 100 or so players involved in this fortress battle, but it’s pretty bad still to have 3.3Ghz Core2Duo with 4GB of RAM and a kajillion other leet hardware brought to it’s knees while on the lowest graphical settings! As I stuttered my way over to the staircase without warning something got me, and I was deaded. Unfortunately that was the end of my fortress experience.

There are many negative things I’ve read about fortresses on the forums, and I have always taken that negativity with a grain of salt up until now. Mythic really does need to do something about the performance of their game. They keep saying they are improving it, but something in their engine altogether needs to be striped out and replaced. They need to add more ways for attackers to assault keeps and fortresses. We need destructible walls, ladders, and other siege equipment to make the experience more dynamic. And the biggest issue for me, they need to make these keeps and fortresses more varied. I think they have done an excellent job making each zone varied from one another, but the keeps have fallen short of this. What if keep lords where in a basement instead of the top? What if the structure wasn’t a keep at all, but maybe a holy shrine or a den of vicious beast?

There needs to be more variety in open RvR keeps and fortresses, it must perform well on the average gamer’s computer, and their needs to be more options in battle so that gameplay doesn’t become a repetitive tankwall versus zerg. Otherwise, I think the Warhammer end-game will become boring and stale all too soon for some.

Newsletters/forums compared

Thanks to Nate over at Freddyshouse for perusing the EU and US newsletters and bringing up the following:

Originally Posted by Mythic Newsletter
When you become a part of the WAR Oracles team, you’ll earn increased interaction with developers

Originally Posted by GOA Newsletter
When you become a part of the Veterans team, you’ll earn increased access to the Community Team

No great surprise for any of us I’m sure. But interesting to see the quotations compared.

March 3rd/4th, 1.2

Woohoo, just got my WAR newsletter for February, announcing the 1.2 patch will hit on 3rd March and the Bitter Rivals event lands on 4th March, nicely in time for my trip to Dublin! And after the event, for those who complete it – hello Slayers (and Choppas, naturally). Just checked US newsletter and they have the same dates so let’s timeshift a day and assume it’ll be 4th and 5th March for Europe until we hear otherwise

Official European forums are due just after 1.2, so we can get used to our new separation and see exactly how often we hear from Mythic employees over them. In fact, we could start a sweepstake!

The newsletter has a ton of info about the new classes, with their masteries listed. There’s also info about the Bitter Rivals event and especially the new scenario we’ll all soon be playing.

I’m a little absent, because Spinks is up with me on a visit, but expect more updates soon and in the meantime, look forward to your newsletter, take in all the info and look forward to the start of March!!

ps. please note I linked to the US newsletter because I couldn’t find the EU one online again. We have no recruit-a-friend deal, no offerings of loyal pets or magic wands. I want a pet doggy.

First look at the Slayer

The European PTR is up (and you can access it by running warpatch.exe, a file that you will find in your Warhammer directory), so naturally I jumped on and created a Slayer.

[Note: Thanks Earandur for pointing out that I missed a step in describing how to access the EU PTR — if testpatch.exe is there, use that. If not, use warpatch.exe.]

So just me, and every other person on the Order side! As far as looks go, everyone knows what Slayers look like and you have a decent range of mohawks and tattoos to choose from. Red hair is not optional (neither are beer bellies), but you’ll just have to guess at which of them are the natural redheads 🙂

My first impressions are good. It’s a class that does exactly what it says on the tin. You run up to things and hit them hard and hopefully they die before you do. Job done. And then you go to the pub.

Slayer Mechanics

I was too busy taking pictures of my tatts to have any screenshots of the mechanics, so I’ll just describe them instead.

Badass in more ways than one

Badass in more ways than one

There’s a speedometer-style graphic above your hotkeys. As you hit things, the meter clocks up. When you stop hitting things, it ticks down again. When the meter rises above a third of the bar, the bar changes colour (your status changes to ‘Furious’). When it rises above two-thirds, it changes colour again (your status changes to ‘Berserk’).

When you are furious or berserk, some abilities deal more damage and cause you to be more vulnerable. Both the damage and the vulnerability are greater when berserk than when furious.

So you dial up the meter by hitting things, and become more of a glass cannon (glass axe?) as time goes on.

The Slayer also has a set of standard melee style debuffs, there’s a snare and a heal debuff. The talent trees are divided between AE damage, short fast blows, and longer fights (which includes more DoTs and debuffs).

I’ve no idea why they do this because everyone will pick the tree that gives the best burst damage. This is a PvP game after all. Just sayin’

Balance on the PTR

Haha, oh how I laughed. Well, balance may or may not be screwed but everyone on the PTR is playing either a Slayer or a Choppa so we really have very little idea how balance will work out when other classes are around also. All the chat on the PTR channels was about how powerful the new classes seem. But there aren’t any of the classes around that would show up their weaknesses (tanks to stop them mullering the back ranks, anything with crowd control to stop them in their tracks, ranged dps to nuke them when they’re weak).

However, they do kill things fast.

Much has been said on forums about the balance between Choppas vs Slayers. But you have to remember that Choppa vs Slayer is the only fight in town on the PTR. So while I personally would prefer my melee to have an anti-heal debuff than an armour debuff, it’s not useful when fighting Choppas. This debate will probably continue happily unabated until the heat death of the universe.

Summary

I think that the people who have been waiting for the new melee classes will be very happy with what they’re getting. They hit things hard, kill things fast, and look great. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life …

But what we don’t know is what happens when there really are tanks and healers around. What happens to them in keep raids (stand around getting bored with the rest of the melee?)? Will they be neutered by CC in tier 4?

Also, I haven’t covered Choppas, but Keen has spent some time playing one and posts his  thoughts on the class here.

The Parody Returns

Orlock over at Warhammer Geek has got his writing pen out and created another fun-filled Warhammer parody song, along with Jethal Silverwing’s dulcet tones. This time it’s the High Elves and Crazy Elf Swordsmaster. Head on over and check it out, and if you haven’t heard the rest of the parody songs, make sure you listen to those too!

The Bitterest of Rivals

The Grab Bag on the next live event is up and active and makes for some fairly interesting reading for those of us who’ve been too lazy to keep on top of the news about Bitter Rivals.

The event will last a week, as opposed to the two weeks for Heavy Metal, and for those completing it and gaining early access to the Slayers and Choppas, access will start the day after the event. The event will start the same day as 1.2, so, assuming a normal pattern we’ll have it the day after the US.

Interestingly, one of the questions covers what rank you need to be to participate (any), under the pretext of asking a question from people planning to return to Warhammer… let’s hope there’s plenty of them!

Anyway, there’s lots of little details and hints about ‘awesome’ new titles (really, can a title be awesome – or just awesome until you find a better one? Especially if half the server has it!). It’s well worth the read and one of the more edifying grab bags out there.

It’s fun to be in the W.C.P.I.

The Warhammer Community Promotion Initiative was recently set up by those crazy folks over at Warhammer Alliance. It’s a natural progression from the Age of Blogging and helps WAR community sites and bloggers by exposing them to a wider, or different audience, with the help of a little cross-promotion. I’ll add the category WCPI to the blog, so you’ll be fairly clear when there is a WCPI post. But truthfully, I’ll only be focusing on things I’d probably have linked to anyway in one of my little linky updates!

So, to kick it all off, what do I want to bring to your attention this week?

Well, I thought I’d start with a blog I’ve literally just discovered: Grace of Sigmar.

Ahisma plays a T3 (soon to be T4) Warrior Priest on the Praag server, and only started blogging this month, so totally deserves a bit of a spotlight for only just missing the Age of Blogging. Of recent articles, I found his thoughts on scenarios made me think, because I haven’t done that many scenarios for a while. And I agree, joining ‘in progress’ scenarios truly sucks.

Head on over and give him a big welcome to the Warhammer community! I’ll put a link in here also. And keep an eye out for all WCPI blogs and community sites. It’s a fun and inclusive initiative and always on the lookout for more members (if interested, check out WHA, or leave a comment here).