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.

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.

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.

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.

First Pics of the Slayer!!!

Oh come on now, you all (by now) know I like a challenge, and so I bring you the Slayer, Book of Grudges style:

[ps. for the record I think what the owner of this dog did is pretty bleh and don’t condone it at all]

[pps. I call him Regis]

Preparing for the New Classes

We can guesstimate we have a month-six weeks before the new classes find their way onto our servers. It’s time (as they used to say on Pipkins), to get ready!

  1. Create blog about new class (come on, Age of Blogging* only just over, slip in a Choppa blog and a Slayer blog!)
  2. Pick a name and grab it before anyone else
  3. Place bets on how many variations of Gotrek there will be on your server (on the Order side, naturally)
  4. Learn the Greenskin/Dwarf starting area, read up on the tome unlocks and scenarios (as if we don’t all know Nordenwatch in our sleep/nightmares)
  5. Place bets on how long before one class is considered ‘overpowered’ or ‘nerfed’
  6. Run a sweepstake in your guild or on your blog for how long before the new class/es are called ‘overpowered’, ‘fotm’ (can’t be spelled out), or before a hotfixed nerf is put in
  7. Sort out your social life so you have some time with your new creation!
  8. Sort out any other games you play so you can take a break from them
  9. Be nice to husband/wife/partner so they truly understand why you NEED extra online time, or persuade them to come duo with you!

ps. Patch 1.1.1 is on its way this week.

*rest of the blogs to be added to Book of Grudges blogroll by the end of this week, I promise! (arbitrary)

Newsletter is out and about

Got mine last night, but quite late, when I was already considering bed. And the links didn’t ‘exactly’ work. They still don’t, but I went over to the Warhammer US site and pulled up the newsletter page. [Edit: Euro newsletter can be found here, with link to Book of Grudges and mentioning our Dublin get-together!]

It’s as expected, and follows on from the announcement with some more info on all topics.

  • Keep an eye on the  Call to Arms expansion pages for info on the schedule and events, the new classes and the Land of the Dead.
  • There’s a brief overview of both Slayers and Choppas with some artwork.
  • Paul and Josh introduce the new classes in their latest podcast. Hrrm, didn’t I copyright ‘they’re short, they’re round, they bounce along the ground’? Damn, I was pretty close!!
  • More details on the Bitter Rivals event, including the Twisting Tower battleground – but really, we get to /swear at one another. Awesome!
  • Overview of the Valentine’s event – The Night of Murder. Not as interested in this one, so am sticking to the link.
  • Visit WAR at NY Comic Con – if you’re in the US and can make it, it’ll be an awesome event now with ADDED WAR. I love the Big Apple trophy. Seriously. I know it won’t work in Europe, but still… there’s also a sidebar link to upcoming events, including various Games Days.
  • Shorter items about the launch in Russia and the making of the WAR trailer we all loved
  • Scenarios 101 on Temple of Isha and Tor Anroc
  • Concept art of Choppa and Slayer weapons
  • Excerpts from the soundtrack
  • Paul’s videophone blog and his presentation from Korea
  • New gear available at the Mythic store (including the books that came in the collector’s edition!)
  • Fan art, featuring the Choppa v Slayer webcomic from Tome of Knowledge creator (hurrah)
  • The Grab Bag, Meet the Developer, Wallpapers
  • and some other stuff!

Guessing at the announcement

There’s a dev chat scheduled on Tentonhammer later today at 7pm EST, at which it’s very likely that the developers will be chatting to all comers about today’s announcements.

7pm EST is midnight round where we live, so on the off-chance that we don’t hear anything before then, here’s some of our guesses at what Mythic may plan to announce.

  1. Slayers, Choppas, and a new event to introduce them. Despite Girl IRLs (can we stop pretending that no girls play these games yet?) best efforts, I remain unconvinced about female slayers 🙂
  2. A St Valentine’s Day massacre-style holiday.
  3. Official bulletin boards
  4. Revamps for some of the missing cities (if anyone was around for beta you may remember that the original idea was to have a full city for each race, rather than fortresses).
  5. New hats for High Elves!
  6. Pets. First ones available will be a groupie for dark elves and a walking beer keg for dwarves.
  7. New tradeskill: Topiary
  8. Mail revamp to allow multiple mails (Earendur)
  9. Paul and Josh returning to the mothership (Melmoth)
  10. Stunty Stew for dinner! Nom nom … (Warboss)
  11. Horse trousers and Naval Combat (Zoso, and I want some of what he’s been smoking)

Feel free to add your suggestions, we’ll add them to the end of the list.