Back to the Tier 1

Me and Spinks launched ourselves into Norsca with a Magus/Zealot combo and puttered around with some of the early quests. As with the last time I tinkered in Destruction lands, I had an overwhelming feeling that there was more.. character than in the Order lands (and I happen to think both Empire and Dwarf lands have a fair amount of character). So it made me wonder if it was just because it was something so new to me.

I was also fairly impressed at Karak-Azgal and the lack of waiting times for scenarios. And found myself quickly at Rank 5. We also started a normal public quest and rapidly a full open group formed up around us, making it fairly easy for us to complete. It was a totally different experience even to the Warrior Priest I created recently, though that was a little over-run with Slayers.

The lesson from all of this, it’s worth trying something new, and perhaps on a different server even. I’ll never turn my back on my Rune Priest, but it’s definitely re-energised my WAR time for the moment. I think the Rune Priest is kind of waiting for the Land of the Dead, because I’m finding it hard to find a place for myself when I log in with her at the moment, it all seems a bit distant, and that’s completely my fault.

Tier 1 is fun because there’s a lack of crowd control and everyone is finding their feet. Also because Mythic throw us straight into everything we can do later in the game (barring keep taking and city sieges, but there is open RvR) and don’t make us mess about too much. We had at least one amusing moment where I admired Spinks’ shoulder tattoo and to investigate my shoulder I stripped off and discovered that my Magus had worrying skin-coloured underwear. I can do a VERY good impression of being naked (let’s put it that way).

The Destruction thing will eventually settle to being 1 night a week for us, but at the moment we’re grabbing an hour here and there as we can.  I’m still an Order gal at heart, but it’s nice to take a walk on the wild side.

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Me and My Disc…

Ailil the Magus has been born on Karak-Azgal. Spinks made a char too. We’re going to tootle and learn all the secrets of the enemy and then um.. chat about them.

And then I might really sit down and try and work out how I feel about the 1.2 and 1.2.1 changes and what they mean for the game. Apologies for the all-but-absence, but head is clearing and game is firmly in my sights again!

The Dark(er) Side

Have decided to start a Destruction alt, finally, after all this time. These are my top choices, based on what I like and what I’d like to experiment with. So pick me a class and if you have suggestions of non-Burlok servers for me to go to, let me know those too (in comments). Oh, and if you want to join me for a night a week of alting in Destruction, also let me know!

The Archmage Reloaded

Mythic have done a lot of unusual things for WAR players since the game was released. There have been new classes within the first few months, live events right off the bat, revamps of the PvP system, new event scenarios, and mass class tweaks.

But have they taken it a step too far this time?

Lost among the 1.2 patch notes, Mythic also presented a roadmap for changes to the Archmage/ Shaman which practically mean reworking the classes from the ground up. It is a long set of posts, and they are also asking for feedback. They emphasis that this is not set in stone, it is still early stage.

So I’ll go through the proposed changes and give my feedback right here!

What’s the goal?

The goal for the adjustment is to allow the Shaman / Archmages to become viable healers and nukers, but not necessarily be able to excel at both at the same time, because to do so would make them entirely too powerful in comparison to the other RDPS or healing careers. In addition, we wanted to work in a way for the AM / SH careers to generally be a bit more survivable, but they will have to sacrifice a little DPS or HPS to do so.

So, question is, what’s wrong with them at the moment. I’ll talk about Archmages because it is the class I have played.

My AM is a good healer. But she has some issues. She’s nowhere near as strong a healer or as survivable as a Warrior Priest, and although she is closer to the Rune Priest, she is still less survivable and doesn’t have as useful buffs (she has good debuffs but they are all very short and it’s difficult to see if they have much effect). Her HoTs aren’t really strong enough to be reliable, even though she has quite good mobility.

My AM is not a good damage dealer. When I have specced Asuryan for damage, I’ve had a lot of fun playing her but it was never a patch on what an actual dps class could throw out. And frankly, if I choose to play her as a dps caster with some emergency heals, there’s no reason for her to be so far behind. The price of versatility has been way too high for Archmages, and the same punishing ‘thou shalt not be as good as a dps’ does not seem to apply to the melee healers.

Survivability is going to be shot as long as Archmages are tall glowy elves who are easily picked out of the crowd. Only a disguise skill could help with that. Shamans absolutely do not have that issue, because they are short and look like Squig Herders.

Having to sacrifice dps or heals to be more survivable seems out of line with how the other healers play, but I’d expect my Archmage to be significantly more survivable even if it’s just over short periods if I’m asked to make that sacrifice. If it’s just a ‘bit’ more survivable then I don’t see the need to sacrifice anything.

I am on board with the notion that being able to excel at both healing and damage at the same time would put them out of whack. But the mission statement says ‘viable’ heals and damage and we don’t know what that means to Mythic. It does sound as though there is to be some penalty for versatility — they’ll not be quite as good as pure healers or pure dps.

But the raw numbers aren’t the end of the story. What I hope to see is better survivability for the AM via lifetaps. And maybe even a healing style that’s just a bit different from the Runepriest.

In Just 3 Stages, I can build you a new class

In any case, the revamp will take three stages.

  • 1.2.1 Minor tweaks, base adjustments to damage.
  • 1.3 Changing the Mastery Paths
  • 1.3.1 Changing the Mechanic

As I said, big sweeping changes. Whether or not it will even feel like the same class at the end, who knows?

And although I say minor tweaks, they are talking about a 25% increase in damage across the board to all abilities. That in itself is a large change and should make a big difference to how the classes play.

It is also a sad reflection on how far behind their damage really is, and how it has been left so long when a simple tweak like this could have fixed it.  I remember saying (with all the other Archmages) for some while that we needed more damage.

Mastery Changes

The current three mastery lines are heals/dps/debuffs.

The plan is to change this, to redistribute the buffs and debuffs and to end up with three mastery lines that are closer to: heals/ dps/ lifetaps

I had always thought that a lifetap was both a heal and a nuke (it’s a type of nuke that gives the caster some of the damage done back as health), but now you’ll have to choose which types of spells to specialise in. I predict that groups will not be overly excited to have a lifetap AM when they could have had a good healer or nuker, even though it’s probably the most fun spec to play.

The proposed mastery paths are currently in first draft form. It’s mostly the same spells as now, just shuffled around. The main thing I noted is that Cleansing Flare (the AE nuke/ knockback) makes an appearance at 5 points into Asuryan (ie. EVERYONE will take it) and Scatter the Winds (the heal debuff) is in the Asuryan tree also.

So Asuryan looks by far the strongest tree at the moment, it got assigned the strongest debuffs.

Vaul loses its identity as a debuffing tree and becomes a sort of lifetap tree instead, but gets the Shield of Saphery as well, and Law of Gold (the AE toughness reducing debuff). Those lifetaps would have to get very good indeed to get anyone to spec this over one of the other trees.

Isha looks in reasonable shape. It picks up Mistress of the Marsh (not a great debuff because of being ground targetted but it is an AE snare) and all the usual healing spells. Plus Isha AMs would be able to pick up Cleansing Flare as well. That would be a fun build to play.

And .. the Mechanic Revamp

This is pretty much a complete 180. Instead of your heals reducing the casting time of nukes and vice versa, your heals will increase the power of your heals. So there’s to be a meter which swings between max heal buffs and max damage buffs. Every time you heal it moves towards the max heal. Every time you nuke it moves towards max damage. And every time you cast some kind of lifetap/ debuff it moves towards the centre.

It should make it easier for the AM to play as a dedicated healer or nuker. To encourage players to use the mechanic, base heals/ damage would be reduced when this came in. With the idea that if you were maxed out on heals/damage it would be better than it is now, and if you weren’t it would be similar or worse.

The intention is very much that players NOT be able to switch quickly from heals to damage, at least not without losing some effectiveness. So this is looking quite similar to the LOTRO Runekeeper but without the emergency switching ability.

And this is the part of the change which is least set in stone. A complete mechanic revamp is very similar to making a new class.

Will it blend?

Don’t know. People who are interested will have to try it out and see how it goes. It’s clear that nuking AMs will lose the ability to throw an emergency instant heal.

It is also clear that Mythic worry far too much about appeasing other classes.

Question: Are you considering how these changes affect other classes and that it may make them obsolete? And if so, will you be altering these other classes in the same cycle to compensate?

Answer: In short we are most definitely considering this. We have no intention to Obsolete any other career in favor of a newly revamped one. That being said please keep in mind if we go with the more dramatic mechanic changes the AM/SH will likely have their base healing reduced. Giving many of the existing healers a good solid head start in burst or instantaneous healing.

You’re trying to fix a class that is notably behind the others. Do not start by saying that they’ll never  be allowed to do anything better if you want to encourage people to keep playing them.

Everyone wants to feel that they have a niche. Saying ‘We’ll revamp your class but please don’t worry everyone else, it’s never gonna be allowed to get too good,’ is not really encouraging. And like, maybe we’ll give you a bit more survivability but it probably won’t be as good as the other healers and you’ll have to sacrifice heals/damage to get it …. again, not really setting the world on fire.

Survivability in a PvP game should be baked into healers. If one class  has to sacrifice heals for survivability then they should be able to become a freaking cockroach on the battlefields every minute or so!

Big Day Today

Here come the Slayers/Choppas! The new classes should be available to those who completed the Bitter Rivals event later today after the servers come down. But that’s not the only reason it’s a big day. There’s also a bunch of server moves happening to help players get to experience better RvR through more targets:

All characters on servers from which we have previously offered transfers will be moved to more lively servers…

…Here’s the full list of automatic transfers
Dragonback Mountains, Mount Silverspear, Sea Of Dreams, Tiranoc and Finuval Plain to Eltharion
Karak Ungor, Clar Karond and Karak-Vlag to Karak-Azgal
Karak-Hirn, Karaz-a-Karak, TorAnroc and Yvresse to Karak-Norn
Zhufbar, Worlds Edge Mountains, Axe Bite Pass, Karag Dron and Karag Orrud to Karak Eight Peaks
Makaisson, Ellyrion and Alarielle to Burlok

It’s quite a big deal and a couple of European bloggers have been talking about their experiences moving from Karak-Hirn to Karak-Norn. The server moves, along with the 10-day free trial available through WAR Europe and the return of players to see the new classes mean we should be getting some stellar play in over the next days and weeks, breathing new life into RvR and PvE (yes, time to get those hard PQs done). It’s quite a big deal to welcome new players to your server, especially when you’re used to the same old names – but give it a go, I intend to on Burlok and I’m not a naturally friendly person ;p! (btw, if you’re coming to Burlok as either Order or Destruction, I’ll be playing Idris the Warrior Priest, feel free to say hi or to kill me and report it here!).

And I know you’re all waiting for stuff about the Dublin trip, so here’s a quick overview:

  • lots of GOA, not so many players – we intend to change this at a London get-together (maybe check 9th May in your calendars…more on that soon)
  • GOA were really friendly, their offices all bright and decorated WAR-style
  • T-shirts rock 🙂
  • So do female Rune Priest birthday presents (thanks to Nic and Magnus for this, it has pride of place away from ALL cats!!!)
  • Go bother Tuffmudda to start the ‘recipes for MMO players’ meme. I reckon we can get at least one recipe out of every WAR blogger

I guess what I took away from it the most is that the individuals at GOA who work with WAR are incredibly enthusiastic and joyful about their work. Many of them are dedicated Warhammer junkies and however much we all love the game and the community, they do too. They just get to see all the other sides of it! And yes, there will be pictures and an interview with Nic and Magnus for quieter days!

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.