Europe triumphs (again)

On Easter Monday, the brave Order players of Eltharion showed that they’re no slackers when it comes to capturing cities and ‘kings’ and in another world first, Tchar’zanek was defeated. Guilds involved included Exodus, Death Watch, The Black Hand Order and Death Company and it’s made the GOA front page, naturally. A few screenshots are up in the official forums, but many more will probably surface soon!

You can also read the Warhammer Alliance take on the story here, and on their forums also. Screenshots and a list of all the players involved can be found on WHA along with comments from those involved.

It’s great to see the endgame playing out in WAR, and hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of these stories across the world.

A Joke Post

To all of those surprised the World First(!!!!) capture of Karl Franz hasn’t made Mythic’s homepage or the Herald, I have simply one thing to say:

Mythic hate Europe!

(and yes, I did feel the need to openly say this was comedic in intent, even if it’s a phrase I’ve repeated many many times in seriousness)

NB: You can read GOA’s write-up on the event here, along with some screenshots.

What are YOU doing on 9th May?

We (ie. me & Spinks), along with some of our friends, will be at the Cittie of Yorke pub in Holborn, London, having drinks and discussing WAR and probably all sorts of related things. And we’d love it if you could come along, with friends, guildies, forum friends, anyone at all who’d like to join a get-together of London WAR players, friends and family!

The address of the pub is 22 Holborn, WC1V 8BN and we’ve booked the front room for 4pm onwards. Nearest Tube stations are Chancery Lane, Holborn and Farringdon and you can see what the pub looks like and get an idea of its location and reviews, etc from the Beer in the Evening website. The Transport for London Journey Planner can help you get info about how to get to Holborn from anywhere else in London and is a really useful tool.

It’s a good weekend to be in London anyway, since Star Trek is released on 8th May!!  We picked the weekend especially, but also because it avoids bank holidays, when travel is always more expensive.

Anyway, would be great to get as big a turn-out as possible, so I’d be grateful if you could spread the word on the forums and guild channels that you use on a regular basis. If it’s successful, who knows, there could be many more such fan get-togethers which could eventually form the basis for something a little more official. That being said, I know the gang from GOA are hoping to send people along, so it’s a chance to hang out, talk WAR, and drink (naturally!).

I would now make a reference to London as the Inevitable City but I’m kind of tired, so you’ll have to wait to see me in person for my razor-sharp wit!

(and for the record, a few of us are hoping to see Star Trek at the IMAX the night before, but it might get complicated to organise for too many people – but if you are there, I’m sure we could say hello in true British fashion  – ie. with a drink).

Death (well Capture) of the Emperor

Congrats to the Third Realm Alliance for taking down Karl Franz on Karak Eight Peaks.

For those interested, they’ve posted a pic of the loot here, but more importantly, there’s also a video up:.

And, finally – a picture of the poor old boy captured in the Inevitable City.

Even though I’m an Order gal through and through, am mightily impressed at this awesome European feat, and hope for many more!

Inevitable City attacked on Eltharion

That’s right folks, in a European first, Eltharion has seen its first attack on the Inevitable City and you can read all about it at Bugmans Best. It’s worth reading all the posts relating to the attack, especially if you’ve not seen one yourself yet (as I haven’t, perhaps due to an untimely server crash – but hey, we know they’re working on the stability). Anyway, really happy for all the players on the server – both attackers and defenders and will be watching with interest.

Oh, and they made the GOA front page too. It’s good to see such a quick reaction from GOA, who we’ve criticised in the past for being slow with exactly this kind of information.

Edit: Go over to Ninjagon’s blog also and check out some screenshots from the invasion force!

Silly rituals

My Rune Priest hit 40 yesterday, finally. After being 39 for a couple of days and participating in open RvR instead of questing hard. I have yet to do a chapter 21 or 22 quest, so I have plenty to do if I ever feel like it, questwise. But I don’t. I was in a smallish warband capturing keeps back from Destruction and the xp/renown was constant if not huge. We even had some skirmishes which helped. We ended the morning session in Thunder Mountain – the map mostly blue and able to allow us the chance to eat. I was at 97% to 40. I spotted a red blob on the Thunder Mountain map.

“Hurrah”, say I – “I have a quest to hand in”. So off I hovver to go do that, and it nudges the xp bar up a little. Which is when one of my friends on Teamspeak suggests handing in the banner scrap quests in Altdorf. I port back to the city and head up to Karl Franz. After that is handed in I’m even closer to 40 so I head to the side room to speak to the Elf and Dwarf rulers. I look and think for a moment about what’s about to happen, and choose to speak to the Elf first –  not 40 yet. And then I turn to my Dwarf ruler, hand in a Greenskin banner scrap and get to 40. Yes, I decided what order to hand them in so the Dwarf would get me to 40. Silly? Perhaps.

In each MMO it’s been hard not to feel I should celebrate getting to the level cap. Usually I make sure I’m in a small group with people I want to share a celebratory moment with and we go pick a mob I want to kill. Can’t remember what it was in DAoC, except that it was extremely carefully planned. WoW, a little less so, and LotRO I think I did plan on doing it, but ended up in an instance or something.

So it was kind of nice to be presented with an opportunity to decide which NPC could get me to 40 purely by what order I handed in the quest.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d do something like that – really?

Anyway, first thing I then did was sort out tactics, masteries, and then went for a tasty lunch – followed by more open RvR later!

In WAR news (since I can’t post much today and everyone else is busy too), 1.05 will go live on the US servers today, but without the Ironbreaker or healer ‘nerfs’ or the sorc/BW DoT ‘buff’. Those career issues will stay in testing and become 1.06, which will also introduce the Knight of the Blazing Sun and the Black Guard to the Public Test Server for US players to enjoy.

Inside the guild officers’ room

For those who can’t get into the Officers’ Room in Sigmar’s Hammer, here’s a couple of pics of what you’re missing:

As you can see, it’s kind of nice, with a raised chair on a plinth and plenty of food/wine and many stuffed animals. Um, not that we’ve used it for a meeting yet, but I can imagine a time when we might!

Urban Destruction for Fun and Profit

As I poke my nose further into open RvR in Tier 4, I’m really impressed by the design of the open RvR areas. They may not work as a cohesive ‘world’ but there are some incredible landscapes and terrains for us to fight in and around. I am also  noticing that although I was a initially frustrated at trying to navigate my way through zones like Dragonwake, I’m now much better able to pick out the good shortcuts and get my Archmage promptly to where she’s supposed to be going.

Or in other words, I’m learning the map. This appeals to the explorer in me. The more time you spend running around, the better you learn the route. Dragonwake in particular is a maze of breathtaking mountain ridges, fragile gorgeous bridge spans, and tiered waterfalls that will drive you nuts until you have found your footing. But it is also very beautiful and I’ve grown to like it a good deal. And no discussion of the artwork would be complete without a nod to the dwarvish keep in Thunder Mountain which took our breaths away the first time we saw it.

But however beautiful, twisted, atmospheric, or crazy the landscape the open RvR zones are still basic random fantasy terrain. All except one.

Praag steps it up a notch. We’re running around a proper city, complete with  buildings, bridges, barricades, towers, and boulevards and town squares that would make Baron Haussman proud. All it lacks is a good hardware store where we could stock up on instruments of urban warfare and it would be perfect (although there is a war profiteering elf in the Order war camp who has some siege weapons of mass destruction for our pleasure).

I’m not sure quite why racing around a city and killing stuff is such a gleeful experience. But it is! It feels like we get to play in one of those army urban combat mockups, or the sort of cool paintballing places  we used to go on work trips during the internet boom where everyone tries to snipe their bosses boss.

For me it is as if there is an instinctive ‘omg urban playground’ instinct that kicks in when faced with a cityscape in a game. And funnily enough, the only other MMO I know which had a city based zone that wasn’t peaceful was DaoC (Avalon City, if anyone remembers, which was a PvE zone) and we loved that too.

The only sad thing for me is that Praag was so insanely busy during beta and yet somehow people prefer fighting in the other zones now that the game is live. We’ve had some good fights there, but not on the same scale as the beta craziness. But hey, give it time.

Witching Night Post-Mortem

So, Witching Night is over now, the Winds of Shyish have blown cold and all we have left to remember it by is a couple of exquisitely rendered masks and several internet whine threads.

I think it was a great success with a few caveats. The genius of the event was only having it last for a few days. That’s long enough for people to poke around and investigate, fight randomly while doing so, work out an optimum strategy that takes a lot of fun out of the event, initiate whine mode and then … presto, it’s gone again. With the bonus of playing for pure fluff (masks, cloaks and titles) and not anything that would actually affect gameplay. Business back to usual until the next one. In many ways it’s the perfect PvP game style of event – I’m excited that Mythic were able to try it out when the game’s still so new and looking forwards to seeing what they have learned from it.

The way the event ran for us (mostly going with Tier 4 because it’s what I saw myself): On the first day, there was a lot of Open World RvR around the PQ areas. People were curious and wanted to go and see what it was all about. I heard lots of comments on guild and chat about how much people were enjoying all the mass RvR. There was some chest camping by whichever side had lost the PQ which meant that the winning team couldn’t pick up their rewards. On the second day, there will still lots of Open RvR going on even when the PQ wasn’t up, plus the warbands were more active in Objective and Keep Taking also. But by this time, people had worked out the mechanics of the event in larger numbers so teams were more cautious about where they fought, and giving kills to the enemy. By the third day it was much quieter. People still occasionally checked on the PQ area but the constant mass battles were over. However it was the weekend so there was plenty of Open RvR going on in its place. By the fourth day, people were mostly bored of it.

The cauldrons were quite tough to find in PvE so I think a lot of people who would have happily ground out influence there weren’t able to do so. Having said that, we found a couple and it does reward the explorer types with some pretty fluff if they’re willing to spend a few hours grinding.

Suggested Improvements

I think the RvR PQ would work better if each side had resources to fight over (aka the Lighthouse in Nordenwatch) and got points/ influence for the longer they were able to hold it, or items to gather in the PQ area. It will never be exciting to stand around in one place wondering if anything is going to happen but if you could get some influence for doing it, there is more of an incentive.

Open RvR by its nature always favours the more populated side. There is pretty much no counter to this other than special event scenarios which are fun (and I’m very much looking forwards to the Reikland Steamtank Factory) but miss the point. However, having one of the PQs in a keep (which possibly could change randomly) would encourage people to focus on that. And keep defense is one of the places where an outnumbered side can hold their own.

More PvE cauldrons or having them more thematically placed with better clues as to where to find them (ie. in graveyards? In ruins? Just something to give the less lucky explorers some pointers) would have kept people less frustrated who really did want the cool masks.

The PQ and PvE event itself wasn’t overly-exciting, but the geek in me enjoyed seeing the influence guy in Altdorf in his full Amethyst Order regalia. More story would be nice next time.

But for now, I think the event was a qualified success. Mythic hotfixed the PQ reward chest fairly quickly (so hopefully have learned from that), we did get a lot more Open RvR while the event was running until people got very cagey about giving kills, the masks are simply gorgeous, and  I think that as long as it’s only for a short time and with fluff rewards, letting people figure out how to ‘game’ an event is not the worst thing in the world.

Mostly, I had fun and now I want to see more!

[arbitrary: event extended in Europe to 5th November but the above points still stand!]

They call me MISTER Poppet!

Wotcha everyone,

Yes, it’s another part of my ongoing random musing about names.  Particularly on Role-Playing servers, seeing as that is my server type of choice, and at the moment, I’m musing about second names.  Surnames.  This one’s particularly rambly, so you might want to get a brew in and relax.  And enjoy the journey.  Sorry.

So, here I am at level 20.  I get me a horse and a surname.  It’s almost like a coming of age ceremony, similar to your first legal beer, or your provisional driving license.  Just with less fanfare from your parents.

And seeing as I was in Altdorf sorting horse (no, I haven’t named it.  I make it a policy never to name something I might one day eat.  And there’s good eating on a horse) and surname, I decided to do my bit for Altdorf, and finish off some of the quests sitting in my Tome of Knowledge.  No, it wasn’t about clearing some space in there, and it wasn’t about getting some easy cash and quest xp.  No.  Honest.

Booting down doors, taking names.  Investigating corpses floating in rivers, and generally being seconded to the Altdorf Rozzers.  Quite fun, really.  And within I few minutes, I’ve got the line; “They call me MISTER Poppet!” running around in the Movie-In-My-Head(tm).  Lots of fun, really, and as mentioned earlier, the side effect of helping Altdorf out left me with a warm feeling in my tummy.

It was only later that I started checking out other people’s surnames.  Sometimes things are just going too quickly to take note of *any* names, never mind two for the same set of pixels that I’m chasing around a battlefield.  And I’m visually lazy.  I spend a lot of time at work having to be very accurate about what I’m reading, so on my own time I slack.

But every so often, a name registers in my subconscious, and batters through the wall to my… umm… very conscious.  Sometimes it’s a really nice name, one that makes me immediately hate the owner for having a better imagination than me.  Hates them!  Really hates them!  Whilst congratulating them!  And others, I read a name that makes me wince.  Anyone that thinks the name “Shadowbladedeathdancer” is ok for a name, or even worse chose it because “It’s cool” deserves to have their internet rights removed.  I apologise if there actually is a “Shadowbladedeathdancer” out there.  It’s a name I chose at random, and I wasn’t singling you out for scorn.  Even if you deserve it, for having a name like that.  It’s not cool.  It’s not a name.  It’s words stuck together!

In between the two extremes we get the “comedy” names.  Sometimes it’s an innocuous enough name, whose comedy is only released at level 20 with the addition of the surname.  Sometimes not.  Either way, the question of whether or not comedy names are acceptable is not something that will be resolved in this rambling pondering; I first encountered the “issue” of comedy names in a forum post shortly after I started playing Everquest.  It’s going to be going for a long, long while.

The issue here is that, just like World of Warcraft, comedy is a part of the world.  And therefore, part of the lore.  So when the self-appointed Lore-Police start screaming about names, and comedy names at that, they don’t have a leg to stand on.  When the NPCs have comedy names, how can reporting comedy player character names be enforced.  It gets worse; the original Intellectual Property evolved over many years, and there are scary amounts of incidental and obvious humour;  One of the early army lists for 1st edition was called “The Insane Conjurations of the Necromancer Colin”, or some such.  And one of the 2nd edition Regiments of Renown, whose name I cannot remember despite getting all het up about it, was a regiment of sea-elves tasked with guarding ports.  Their usual challenge (in Elven, of course) was “Elo cailor, gotda leit?”  Even when I first read it, I groaned.  [I await anyone who has the original information who can correct my shoddy failing memory.  I was about 15 when I first encountered Warhammer, so it’s been a while since I have seen the original.  If you could correct it, well done.  Not only do you get 25 Hawley-points, but you’ll be making the inner child in me happy for getting some of it’s history back accurately.]

No, you don’t need to ask me, I will happily volunteer the information:  Yes, I am considering starting to greet Elves with that phrase in game.  It’s part of the lore, after all…  I just need the correction/confirmation to arrive, and I’m away.

So when the self-appointed Lore-Police report your comedy name, do you get to report the Van-Rentls of Marienburg for their comedy name?  Yes, another old piece of the world, there.

And I suppose the other question is this;  Do game designers get a “Get out of jail, free” card from what some people might refer to as the “Lore-Wielding Assassins of Joy”?  No, I don’t use that term.  Never.  But the point is that we don’t get to even comment on NPC names, so why do they get to change ours?

Personally, I hate to see an obvious gag name.  With a passion.  But I understand that they are a part of the world, so I turn a blind eye.  Of course, that blind eye means I won’t be healing them and won’t be helping them.  Swings and roundabouts, really.  With a comedy name, you need to be able to duck and weave…  But I respect them enough to not start reaching for the “report” button whenever someone with a comedy name batters me into the ground.  Again.

Cheers,
Hawley.