WAR’s Groaning

Enough niceness, eh?  Bloggers, and in can be assumed others in the community, are testing out other games until WAR gets fixed or until the Land of the Dead brings people back to the game.  Hell, it’s what I’m doing. I’m even sometimes choosing grinding in LotRO over what it plainly fun about WAR – Tier 1 and an alt on many nights. People are doubting their subscriptions.

And Mythic? Mythic are tied to their desks trying to fix stuff and bring in new stuff that will need fixing with their lesser numbers in QA and elsewhere. The game needs these fixes and changes, and they’ve been promised to us. A number of people I know are pretty excited about Land of the Dead but not really bothered about much before, so this ‘live expansion’ is very important to Mythic, don’t mistake that. If it all goes wrong, it might be the end of a number of subs on both sides of the pond. The community is flagging a little and could do with pepping up.

Not heard of Paul visiting many blogs recently, or even updating his own. And that’s the problem with community involvement, once you start it, people expect it to continue. I expect these luminaries of Mythic to be doing all they used to do, marketing-wise, even when it’s unfeasible from a grander scale. But I’m sure there will be a ramp-up in community chatter and involvement with the Land of the Dead, there needs to be!

I’m finding WAR quite suitable for a casual game, but that also means if something more interesting comes up, WAR gets dropped for the night. I still enjoy the game when I play it, but even that’s somewhat because I’ve disengaged myself from the endgame, I’ve heard too much about it being unsatisfying, and I know I enjoy sleeping, so I don’t go to city sieges or defences, preferring to try new characters and play them through Tiers 1 and 2, safe in the knowledge I have my preferred char at rank 40 just in case I need a top level character.

WAR needs enthusiasm. It needs to be fun. If you’re not enjoying it, try alting, or play another game and keep your eye on info about the ‘expansion’.

And come talk to us all about it on May 9th at the Cittie of York pub in Holborn, London (while arranging to meet the rest of your guild there, of course). Seriously, I think we need more people for this or we’ll get moved out of our booked room… so ask around and drum up some interest, please!

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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.

Mythic apologises to Archmages

In a post to the Archmage forum at WHA, Adam Gershowitz apologises to Archmages (archmagi?)  for not having addressed their core issues in patch 1.2. He posted to Shamans also .

But changes are coming.

Uh, yeah. As an Archmage player who has no interest in picking up the character again until I feel it has at least a fighting chance of not always feeling like the poor healing cousin of the Order side, I appreciate the heads up.

Meanwhile let’s buff Warrior Priests again because they’re bound to need it.

New York, New York

Didn’t make it to New York Comic Con? No need to fret, as Ariwyn has put up her experiences over at Warhammer Alliance

Also, keep an eye on Ten Ton Hammer, as they were there getting exclusives also.

Brief notes include: advanced mounts, news on Land of the Dead, Slayer/Choppa info and footage, and lots of comments from Jeff, Paul and the rest of the team.

And a quick waaaaaa

So if those going to NY Comic-Con get unique heads for Slayers/Choppas (which we can assume only work on US-servers anyway), what do you think you’ll get for coming to Dublin on 9th March to our little get-together – now definitely at the Bull & Castle pub, in the post-work hours?

Um.. working on it, but it’ll probably be a beer mat 🙂

Yeah yeah, I know, just another way for me to pimp the Dublin gathering. Once it’s done we’ll work on a London one, I promise!

Eurogamer speaks to WAR devs

Paul Barnett and Jeff Hickman, along with ‘an entire pack of Warhammer Online bigwigs’ spoke to Eurogamer yesterday in a live chat, where they gave snippets of information about the game events, the Land of the Dead, the new classes, and future plans for the game. I’ve copied and pasted some of the bits I found most interesting, but good ol’ Eurogamer has put the entire transcript up, so you can go read it in its entirety.

Tomb Kings or The Land of the Dead is a massive zone which is broken up into two parts – The Necropolis and the Tomb of the Vulture Lord.

It is RvR-gated. In other words, each realm must fight for ownership and the dungeon is expected to change hands nightly…

It is full of new and interesting PQs, new lairs, refreshing game mechanics, new rewards and loot and generally awesome new stuff.

Many of the great things from Darkness Falls will be built upon. Tokens, other loot methods, wide level range, and the thrill of your enemy always breathing down your back.

It is accessible from around levels 25 and up. The Tomb of the Vulture Lord is actually a super high level area designed to supplement our end game content after Lost Vale.

So we are working on multiple events as part of the Call to Arms campaign, two of which specifically revolve around eluding to or gaining access to The Land of the Dead.

What you are specifically referring to is our race for access, the main plotline behind the Rise of the Tomb Kings (Live event #3). This event represents a race to first access (limited time exclusive access) to the dungeon. This will be an Order vs. Destruction race for superiority.

CC is definitely something we talk about almost on a daily basis. We will continue to talk and then tweak the abilities to get as close to perfect as we ever can.

Euro Forums

Nic’s popped onto Freddyshouse to answer some questions about official forums in Europe that I think are worth noting:

In our new years message as well as in our January newsletter we did confirm that we will have official forums alongside Mythic’s.

To answer some other questions I can respond to now:

  • There will be three different forums, one for the US players, one for the European players and one for the Russian players.
  • The Mythic and GOA forums (not sure about the Russian one at this time (in Soviet Russia Forums host you?)) will be using the same forum software. There will be no Flash.
  • To be able to post on these forums you need an active account, currently the plan is to allow anyone to read the public sections of the forum.
  • Both forums are currently being prepared.

More information in the weeks to come.

Of course, European players’ biggest concerns over separating out forums is that we won’t have the same access to developers and Mythic’s team as the US players. Hopefully the Mythic team will prove that fear to be a false one, but I live with it on LotRO forums, I’m guessing Spinks deals with it for WoW forums… so my prediction is that we Europeans will not get the same access as the American players do.

And we will continue to cry ‘injustice’, but really… it won’t change anything. GOA will do their best to answer things and pass on comments, but it comes down to the game devs and marketing team themselves to ensure all their customers receive the same treatment.

In good news, no Flash though, as feared by some (and not just those who ponce about with iPhones!). I, for one, look forward to getting to know my fellow Euro players over the official forums.

James from Mythic stopped by the Vault to go into more detail about the EU and US split in forums. We’ll see what happens!