How many sets of gear?

I sometimes wonder if I have more sets of gear in games than I do in real life. Sure, I have stacks of clothes but a lot of them are interchangeable. Or rather, I can use a lot of the same base gear in my work/casual/smart sets. Plus who wears gloves and hats these days, seriously? Where’s my scarf slot in game?

But in games, somehow I end up toting a lot of very specific gear in my bags. It comes down to stats and the fact that different game stats are more effective at different parts of the game. This isn’t a WAR specific issue, it often happens to support classes, or in games which have both PvP and PvE sides. So if you can be bothered to carry lots of clothing around and keep switching gear on your toon, you can be measurably better at whichever thing you are currently doing.

So I have a PvP/RvR set which is all about survivability. On this one I try to get as much wounds and toughness as possible. Willpower is nice (since I heal in RvR) but not such a priority. I have to switch into it every time I join a scenario. — *open bag* click click click click click click *click to swap tactics*

I have a soloing set to make solo questing less painful. This one is all about Intelligence, since that improves my dps. — *open bag* click click click click click click *click to swap tactics*

I don’t have a full PvE healing set with Willpower but I have a couple of pieces with high Will that I swap in if I need to be main healing in PvE. — *open bag* click click *click to swap tactics*

Aside from having half my bag full of staves, that’s a lot of clicking. Plus every time an item drops which I can use, it’s a lot of comparing with existing items to decide if I should take it. Addons can help with the gear switching, I don’t use one right now, but it should be possible to find one that can do it in one macro if you take some time to set it up. But the sheer hassle of carrying multiple sets around got old for me in WoW and I wish I didn’t have to do it.

Or rather, I don’t have to do it. But I survive so much better in PvP with my wounds/toughness gear, and kill faster in PvE with my int gear – it makes the game more fun for me to have the benefit of the different stats as needed. I’m pretty sure that with a dps class or tank I could get by with fewer gear swaps, and that does make those alts look more tempting. But for all that, I hate having to do it. I wish I could perform better in all facets of the game with one set of gear or do like in real life … use the same base gear, just dress it up with a few accessories/tactics to suit the occasion.

How do you manage your wardrobe in WAR?

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Destruction Eye for the Order Guy

Wotcha everyone,

I have always been somewhat bemused by the vaguaries of fashion.  It’s something that happens to other people, and to be perfectly honest, if I walk down the street and people don’t point and laugh at what I’m wearing, I take that as a “win”.

So I’m constantly surprised at how much I care about how my online characters look.  Lord of the Rings Online may have had (to my taste) some really duff clothing, but the cosmetic system was really, really well implemented.  And I loved being able to go and get a shave and a haircut whenever I fancied.  Similar to the amazing level of detail in Star Wars Galaxies, with cosmetic surgery added to the mix.

And yes, I do have a habit of continuing to wear something “out-grown” when the replacement looks rubbish.  Even in World of Warcraft, where it’s *all* about the stats.

Now, I don’t really have a “look” that I prefer in my gaming.  I tend to go with whatever I think makes the character look cool.  Or, in Warhammer Online’s case, “Cool” and “Yellow”.

Which looks like this:

Does my Fury look big in this?

Does my Fury look big in this?

One thing I’ve been constantly impressed by is the look of Warhammer Online.  I like the way that it references the models of the Games Workshop range, whilst making sure that each and every class has a distinctive, easily recognisable silhouette on the battlefield.  Even Dark Elf spotting is easy (for this hobby, you will need a pad, a pencil, and a flask of weak lemon drink).

This fashion parade also serves a valuable function in that it shows the ideological differences between Order and Destruction.  You dress for your class, not just for your role.  So Ironbreakers, Black Orcs and Chosen won’t be seen at a jumble sale arguing over who put their hands on a suit of platemail first.  But more than that, the Ironbreaker wears a suit of armour that is clean, well-formed, and designed to protect his chubby frame.  The Black Orc wears a set of armour that looks cobbled together from bits of his victims, and the Chosen clanks about in a baroque, disturbing suit of metal.  Looking like he doesn’t even take it off in the shower.

It’s echoed throughout the classes.  Order might not be all sweetness and light (between a bunch of humans who are willing to murder their own to stop the encroaches of their enemies, a group of elves who have trained for war for generations, and a gang of dwarves who positively enjoy gaining fanatical hatreds, is there *any* sweetness and light?) but Destruction look far worse.  No-one can complain that “they’re just like us, really”.  There are no hippy-peaceniks around here, demanding that we all just get along, because we all have a right to live.  No-one is “misunderstood”, and no-one looks “misunderstood”.

Oh, remember that clown suit I mentioned earlier?  Well, nothing was worse than Warcraft’s ultimate example of fashion chic, the red hat, purple armour, and lime green trousers ensemble.  Whilst the tiered armour sets could and did look fantastic, most people spent their time levelling (and possibly for some time later, dependant on how much raiding they did) wearing such outfits (I always worried that they would end up burning out my monitor, as I saw them jog past).  I was even forced to wear similar crimes against colour myself, at times.

Imagine my joy, then, when I discovered that each class got its own wardrobe.  Whilst the “special snowflake” players might rebel at having to dress like everyone else in their class, I’ve got no problem.  I’m in the Warrior Priest gang, can’t you tell?  I have my individuality packaged in little pots of dye, available at all good merchants.  And the benefit is that, through the experience and good taste of generations of Warrior Priests, we have outfits that don’t make us look like idiots.

Unless we choose to.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Whose breasts are they anyway?

There’s a certain advantage in being a female blogger. It means we can bring you this overview of the breasts in the WAR universe. So, here’s a screenshot of every female char’s breasts – clothed and unclothed (and rank 31, since we’re working with templates at the moment). There’s one from a rank 1 char in there, and I think I left out 1 set of high elf ‘naked’ breasts as the racial unclothed breasts all look pretty similar – showing clothes make all the difference.

Go on, see if you can tell which class each pic is from?

Many thanks to my husband who took all the screenshots while I was out at work and then with our visitors. He managed to capture this screenshot while working on the project – it made me laugh a lot, because the other player is clearly checking out the naked dark elf!

Choosing your Poison

Small and heals

Wotcha everyone,

I’m shallow. Yes, admit it. I don’t choose my characters based on their relative strengths, or even on the power they have in comparison to other classes. I don’t give a flying fu- erm, I don’t mind at all which class is supposed to be best at dueling, or is best at PvP, or anything such as that.

I generally choose a race that appeals to me, and from there a class that looks fun. Generally, the first time I do this it’s a healer. I heal, therefore I am online, or something. After that, it’s whatever appeals to me in some way, no matter how small.

However, characters have to be created, and the first choice I was presented with was Order, or Destruction. What would I be…?

I’m a gamer (rather than a gamist). Through and through. I appreciate that this is a game, where I “play” a character. Whilst I may joke about visiting fantastic worlds, and brutally butchering the inhabitants, I don’t see *any* type of computer gaming as practice for me going out and murdering a prostitute in an alley. So I don’t worry about whether people will think I’m a bad person for choosing Destruction. It’s hardly a moral choice, is it?

But Order won through, for a good few reasons. First is my background in gaming. Back when PCs were called Spectrums and Commodore 64s, I got into tabletop Warhammer. My mates got Orcs, Goblins, Elves, Dwarfs, and no-one wanted to get a human army. “Who’d be human?” an acquaintance scornfully exclaimed when a similar conversation was held a decade or so later (the irony still makes me giggle). Well, I did. It made for variety in our battles, and meant that I was the only kid in the area with a human army. Even today, I collect Empire armies. In table-top role-playing, I generally chose human characters. In online games, human is the default choice. I am a humanist, and proud!

Second is that my guild chose Order. Being in a guild means sacrifices at times, and luckily this is not one of those times.

Third is that Empire characters get the best clothes. Warrior Priests prove that worshipping Sigmar does not mean leaving your fashion sense at the temple door. Witch-Hunters look, well, Hammer House of Horror-Tastic. And Bright Wizards? Well, ok, they are a bit too ’70s glam rock for my liking, but even so, they do have a look all of their own.

Subsequent time in game just reinforced my opinion that Order was right for me. Testing out the Elves and Dwarfs meant that I shall probably have most of my 10 allotted character slots filled before the first character even gets into the game, but Empire will always be first choice.

But. And there is a big but.

Destruction calls to me…

It fits the world, at least. Chaos is a force that calls out, seductively and incessantly, to those that must withstand it. It’s been a part of the game world for… well… *ever*.

As part of our beta testing, we held a Chaos night. From level 1, we went out and did Public Quests. I chose a Zealot, and found it to be scarily good fun. I could see the role-playing opportunities screaming out at me (for those as enjoys their online role-playing), and it was great to see that rather than being “misunderstood” (looking at you, Horde boys and girls), Destruction really *are* the bad guys. Oh, and Arbitrary’s Zealot got a fancy purple dress. I wasn’t jealous. No.

The Greenskins also have their charm. They might look like they fell out of the Ugly Tree and hit every branch on the way down, before bouncing back to the top and starting all over again, but they do have a wicked sense of humour to them. I’m not going to sit here and ruin all their gags, because that would be too mean-spirited. However, it’s worth bearing the following in mind: I find that I really don’t enjoy World of Warcraft’s humour. I endure it, more than anything else. I find most of the gags to be at the same level as Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs”. Obvious referentiality, with no real imagination, to put it posh. Cheap gags and naff puns, to be plain. Yet Warhammer Online Greenskins just seem to have fun. Their humour comes from revelling in a short, vicious life where death is plentiful, and cheap. Yes, there are referential gags in it, but at least they’re a nod to the long-term fans, as they’re from the tabletop games. And I’m constantly tempted by the shaman. Getting to wear something’s skull as a hat is… um… alluring. Strangely compelling.

As for the Dark Elves? Well, they take the term “seductive” to a whole new level. Really they are. They’re slinky, in all the right ways. And their outfits are positively scandalous at times. But entirely in keeping with the scandalously dressed miniatures. And they do have that whole “goth chic” down pat. Never mind that they really do have that whole “Evil” schtick working for them as well. They’re cruel, nasty, and vicious. Even their skill names make me wince. So that’s just *got* to be fun to play through!

So if I ever get bored of Order, I know I’ll be able to have fun with Destruction. It’s great to know that I have the option, should I wish to take it…

Cheers,
Hawley.

Is it a healer? Is it a nuker? No, it’s an Archmage!!

Glittery Archmage

Glittery Archmage

When I first read about the Archmage and her casting mechanic that was designed to make it easy for her to switch between healing and damage dealing, I thought this might be the class for me. About a minute and a half after creating my first Archmage in beta, I knew I had found my main.

I’m a committed role switcher. I love my alts. And I love my classes that can fill more than one role in a group, even if it means respecs or hanging onto spare sets of gear. And I love my healers that can nuke/ or nukers that can heal. Its great if, like me, you also have friends who play healers. Because I can say, ‘Hey, no worries, you heal this one and I’ll nuke instead.’ Options are good, mkay?

I’m going to expand more on that later but first, check out the robe and staff? Granted, it isn’t punk but doesn’t she look great? (Arbitrary and Hawley will confirm that I uploaded loads of shots of my archmage looking various degrees of ultra-awesome and won’t stop talking about it!)

There is a downside to being a glorious glittery healer with very obvious spell animations. Can you guess what it– urrrgh *gets stormed by band of Chosen and Marauders* Yup, get ready to be public enemy numero uno whenever you zone into a scenario, and I must be some kind of sucker because I LOVE that. I am always drawn to powerful but flimsy support classes who are high priority PvP targets. Staying up, keeping out of harm’s way, and delivering awesome healing, dps, and debuffs to help my realm mates is a real challenge. Although being an easy kill, the Archmage is fairly well designed as a PvP healer. She has a good mix of instant cast HoTs and DoTs, and an instant shield which can all be cast on the run, and longer cast time more powerful spells for when there is a tank or tree to hide behind.

More on that mechanic …

So the idea is that every time you cast a heal, you build up a point of Tranquility to a maximum of 5 points, which will bolster your next dps spell (if it is an instant DoT then it will tick for more damage, if it is a slow cast, it will cast more quickly). And every time you cast a damage spell, you build up a point of Force which helps your next heal in the same way.

2 points of High Magic

2 points of Tranquility

See, this is a screenshot after I’d just cast 2 HoTs on myself. On my hotbar you can see that the abilities that will benefit from the Tranquility are blazing with excitement, so you can’t miss them. As soon as you cast a spell, all the spells of the other type will light up and the flames blaze higher the more points of Force or Tranquility that you build up.

I love it. I hate seeing the fires blazing for too long without being used so it’s very natural to find ways to throw out a DoT after every few heals. And what’s even better? Some of those DoTs are also debuffs or lifedrains so even while doing damage you can still be doing some support.

So: healer who nukes or nuker who heals? I did a lot of healing regardless and the healing offered by an Archmage is great. She’s the best single target healer on the Order side, and has a group heal too. It’s not as good or as fancy as group heals that the Warrior Priest or Runepriest get but it does the job, and this is one of the things I love about the Archmage. Her healing is definitely good enough for any situation I was able to find. I tried a nuking spec too and loved that (there’s a very fun AE knockback in the Asuryan tree) — her strength here is in her DoTs, and the channelled single target damage. But the class is strongest when you do a bit of both and I find it fun to keep an eye on both my team and the enemy and figure out where I can help best.

More about lifetap

Champion the Wondermage!

Champion the Wondermage!

As an Archmage, you can spec for a variety of different spells (although not all at the same time). There’s a DoT which reduces healing received by the target by 50% that you can pretty much keep up the whole time (it lasts 9s and has a 10s cooldown). There’s a ranged AE nuke/knockback which is good fun. There’s an awesome looking AE buff/debuff at the top of the Vaul tree that I need to try sometime. And … a lifetap nuke.

Now everyone has some kind of spell that they just adore in every game. For me, it’s the lifedrain and manadrain. I love those spells that annoy the enemy and help me or my mates at the same time. And they work very very well with the offensive/defensive target system in Warhammer. You won’t outheal a zerg on your own using these lifetaps but they’re just a tool that I love having, even if it ain’t all that powerful. (I’d love to see Balance Essence get a boost of some kind, but it’s fun for me anyhow.)

Hints and Tips for New Beta Testers

These are little and sometimes embarrassing questions that were frequently asked by us, our friends and guildmates or by other beta testers on the chat channels and beta bboards. They mostly deal with small things, things other people think are blindingly obvious – so we list them here so you can learn the kind of things we did!

Q. Can you res in combat?

A. Yes.

Q. How do I make my group closed (open is the default)?

A. Click on a party member, go to party options and toggle the ‘open’ tag. If you open the commands list via the chat window (right-click on chat tab, select commands list) you’ll see the toggle for always opening closed groups – but think about it, because open groups are sociable and we’ve enjoyed them!

Q. How do I get to Altdorf/Inevitable City?

A. The warcamps have flight masters who will automatically have a route available to your capital city of choice, and to warcamps in other racial zones. Select the pairing of the place you want to fly (Empire vs Chaos in this instance) and it’ll show you where you can fly to. To fly to the capitals is quite cheap, but make sure if you’re going straight to a flight master to join friends at rank 1 that you kill enough to give you a little cash first!

Q. Does the Warrior Priest really say “Bollocks!” when s/he gets hit?

A. Yes, clearly Sigmar is cool with that.

Q. I have got some renown ranks from PvP? Where’s this gear I can buy?

A. There are sets of weapons/armour you can buy at renown rank 2/4/6/etc. Ranks 2 and 4 have a vendor in the first warcamp for each realm. For higher ranks, you’ll need to find the vendor of the second floor of a keep in the world RvR area. Yes that means your side has to hold at least one keep for you to access them.

Q. Tell me about chat channels?

A. As per WoW, use /1 <message> to access your local area chat. You can create a custom channel by using /channeljoin <channel name> and then getting your friends to use /channeljoin on the same name. These custom channels are not currently persistent (so will disappear after the last person on the channel logs out). Use /channelleave to leave a chat channel.

Q. So what is this chicken business all about?

A. As the chicken expert, I’ll take this one. The zones in Warhammer are divided into tiers from the start at tier 1 to Altdorf/realm keeps at tier 4. You need to be a certain level to access scenarios of the next tier up. For example, at level 12 you are level appropriate for tier 2. If you then go into a lower level tier and flag yourself for RvR, you will turn into a chicken until the flag is gone or you die. It’s to stop griefing. You will automatically be flagged for RvR if you venture into an area with world RvR objectives — these are all clearly marked on the map. If you go into a lower level tier and don’t flag yourself (eg. to help a guildie with public quests or somesuch) then you’re fine. Naughty guildmates will try to tempt you into lower level RvR areas, so they can laugh at the chicken.

Q. How do I know I’m in a Public Quest? How do I find them?

A. You can filter their display on your map. Open your map (use ‘m’) and there’s a range of things you can toggle on or off, public quests are one of these and they display as little chests. You’ll know you’ve entered one as you get some text flashing up and it leaves the current objective on your screen. They won’t show up on the map until you have discovered them by wandering into the area though.

Q. Is there an easy way to track my influence in an area?

A green bar to the right of your mini-map shows you your influence in the current area. When it reaches each bar you can get an influence award. If you click on the green bar, it will open up your Tome of Knowledge and with some more information about the storyline and rewards.

Q. In-game mail?

Mailboxes are often at warcamps, so try looking there first. After that, Altdorf or the Inevitable City! You can send money and/or items to other players, or to your alts.

Q. How do I take screenshots?

A. Shift+PrtScr (or just PrtScr). The screenshots end up in a directory directly under the Warhammer directory which is called ‘screenshots’. Shift+Z turns off the UI so you can get a clean shot.

Q. Can I turn off my hideous skullcap/conehead hat?

A. Why, yes you can. It may not be as obvious as in other games, but go to your character screen and by the hat should be a little tickbox. Toggle it to do away with the fashion disaster! It doesn’t always seem to work though, so beware the hats of stickiness!

Q. How do I buy mastery skills?

A. First you buy levels up to the skill you want. Then click on the skill and click on ‘train’. You should then get the skill to use as you will.

Q. How do the career mastery and renown abilities work?

A. Probably the best way to illustrate this is to go to wardb.com. Under the tools tab they have links to a career builder and a renown ability builder for each career. This pretty much mirrors what you will see in game so you can check out the abilities and try a few sample builds to see how the points pan out.

Q. How do I get all the party screens from a scenario team on my screen.

A. As you enter the scenario you’ll see the teams form. Use the tickboxes to get the party info up in the top left hand corner and then drag that to where you want it, click on the next party and do the same. It’s a bit like the WoW raidframes.

Q. How do I join an open group?

A. If someone tells you there’s an open group with X as leader, you can type /join X. Or you can use a little icon below your portrait to search for all open groups in the area and join them via that interface.

Fashion Police: the stupid hat club

It seems strangely appropriate that in the same week as Ladies Day at Ascot (as you’ll see from the link, it’s famous for people wearing stupid hats), we take a look at the latest in milinery for online games.

We don’t have many examples yet from Warhammer, but check out this dashing Knight of the Blazing Sun (known to his friends as ‘Fevvers’)

Here’s a couple from Warcraft:

Hat or Bucket, you decide

Swirly hat

Many of the fashion parade come to us from Lord of the Rings Online, a game which sets the bar for stupid hats at the moment:

How sweet, a leprechaun? No, just a hobbit in a stupid hat.

And thanks to The Silent Minority for modelling these fine specimens (it’s no big surprise that learning how to turn off the hat graphics is one of the first things players learn in LOTRO)

A bear hat

A double pointed hat

Santa Hat