To the Lighthouse!

There’s one thing Mythic are good at, listening to their players. It doesn’t always mean they can change things at the pace some would like, but they do pay attention. Since the game launched people have been arguing about the interest levels of the endgame, saying that the early levels are more fun (they just are, less skills to deal with etc etc) and waxing on with nostalgia about their days in Nordenwatch (when it was the only T1 scenario to pop).

And so Mythic give us the Nordenwatch Weekend, when all players, all tiers can go participate in Nordenwatch. Go. Play it. You KNOW you want to. I will be (tomorrow, since I work today). It runs through the bank holiday in the UK, so until 9am CEST on Tuesday. It’s great news and just the kind of mini-event that can be run for any scenario at any time. Definitely a good thing. And how much do I want to play Mourkain Temple with my rank 40 Rune Priest? A lot, make it the next one!! (then Tor Anroc, of course!).

We’re all a bit down on WAR at the moment, or the majority are. I have a lot of posts I’ve set to one side to comment on further here. But rather than go through things in order, I’ve stepped up to publicise a mini-event I think will be a ton of fun.

What are you still reading this for? Go grab the Fortress, and for heaven’s sake – fight BY the flag…

I’m feeling all Bitter, and Rivally

So 1.2 hit Europe yesterday and seemingly the patch went fairly smoothly, though there is more maintenance today to apply some stability hotfixes. I don’t mind that so much, mostly because I’m at work today (ah, enlightened self-interest!).

I didn’t get to do much with 1.2 yet, but I did sneak on last night and get to the Twisting Tower. Really, any incident of flying is a good one. I enjoyed it a lot – and I don’t even like ramps. Ok, so I may have thrown some pies instead of actually healing my group, but people were nice enough not to mention it. And then I got down to healing and it was actually a pretty fun session with some decent realm points.

I do hope Mythic continue to bring in some new scenarios, whether part of events or not. It seems a good way of inserting new content fairly seemlessly and changing it out if feedback is bad. I liked the Reikland Factory too, perhaps because it was new and different, but each new scenario builds on the lessons of what’s come before so is also benefitting from a ton of feedback we’re all giving on forums and stuff.

Missed the twitter-fest of codes last night, am sure some of them are apparent on the RSS feeds on the right-hand side here. Is a cool way to use twitter at least, so I approve -despite it being US-only, of course.

Lots of work coming up, so updates might be a bit patchy here! Thanks for continuing to read…

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.

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.

Cross-Server Scenarios?! No thanks.

I haven’t read up on this one on the forums, so excuse me if there’s tons of good links on the topic. I’ll endeavour to add some later if I find them. It’s just something that came up in an instant messenger chat with someone about WAR. Are cross-server scenarios a solution to lower-populated servers?

I can see how the idea would be appealing. It’s working on World of Warcraft to populate the battlegrounds, as far as I know (wow, how many times can I ask people to correct me in one post!). But, would I like to see it in Warhammer Online? I have to say it’s a resounding ‘NO’ from me on this.

Scenarios are great fun, but open RvR is the core of the game, and it’s something people learn as they progress through the game, in my experience. It may be frustrating at the moment to get as far as you can in the open world and not quite succeed in the end goal, but running scenarios over and over – well, it might get the xp and rp ticking up, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of the game.

Most importantly though, I think cross-server scenarios would be a short-term solution for some lower populations that want access to more regular scenarios. In its  turn I feel it would seriously damage server community. And, for me, server community is a lot more of an important part of the happiness equation. If I log on to my server and go out into a scenario, I like that I get to group with a variety of the people on my server, it forces us to mix, to get to know one another and to rely on one another – valuable lessons for when we bump into each other in the open field and are defending a keep or attacking a fortress. I like seeing the same names over and over again and slowly knowing they’re getting to know my name too, seeing that I actually stop to heal or res them in whatever situation. And I think any cross-server stuff could quickly erode some of this server spirit.

So I really hope this doesn’t come to Warhammer Online, but am prepared to listen to counter-arguments!!

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!

Ultimate cassock devastation

Wotcha everyone,

I am beginning to wonder if my shiny Devastator Cassock is *actually* made of albatross feathers, and should be worn principally around the neck…  Let me explain…

I went on a Tier 3 Open RvR jolly a couple of weeks ago.  I was barely level 19, and went along expecting fun and frivolity whilst mooching a bit of renown for my poor, underappreciated Renown Rank.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I manage to win a purple bag after we’ve all given a Keep Lord a good drubbing.  At the same time as imagining myself with a “Gosh!” face on, you might also want to spare a moment to imagine the gnashing of teeth from all those people who felt they contributed a lot more than I did.

Fear not, teeth-gnashers.  Your revenge started the moment I took possession of that bag.  For inside it was the Devastator Cassock.  It’s got lovely stats.  It might even look good when worn, and dyed yellow.

It’s also Rank 27, and Renown Rank 26.

At the time, Hawley was Rank 19, and Renown Rank 16.

Now, I had been thinking of raising Hawley’s Renown Rank, but 10 levels seemed a bit…  daunting.  In a “grinding Renown” sort of way.  And, as anyone would, I’d like to be able to wear the item at the start of Rank 27, so I can get the most out of it.

The solution is simple, I’m sure.  Run scenarios.  It’s supposed to be the optimal way to level anyway, but the annoying thing is that I like variety.  It’s the Lemon Pepper of life, after all.  I enjoy doing quests.  The random nature of running about, following the bullet points to trez and xp (reading quests is for njubs, grandma!) is quite appealing.  I can switch my brain off and watch tv at the same time.  It’s relaxing.

But it only gives xp, not renown, and I need the renown far more than the xp.  In point of fact, it’s quite a novel situation; I have a levelling character that is running *away* from xp.

Open RvR isn’t so much of an option, seeing as most of the people I usually group with are now Tier 4.  And I’m too old, grumpy, and unsociable to go pugging for open RvR.  I get cranky having to watch my language around people who may well be a third of my age, and should be discovering such language for themselves (and probably thinking that they’re inventing swearing).

So scenarios it is.  Now, I generally enjoy scenarios.  They’re fun, they’re fast, and they’re frenetic.  They’re great to do whilst…  Yeah, whilst questing.  Being sat there twiddling my thumbs whilst waiting for the next scenario to pop is beginning to grate.  It’s taken a fun thing to be involved in, and turned it into a grind.

I hate feeling like I *have* to grind.  I play to have fun, and grinding isn’t fun.  I don’t want to come home from work and continue working (just without the prospect of real, filthy lucre).  I want to go and do things that take my mind *away* from the daily grind.

So I’m sat here, giggling.  The irony of it all overwhelms me.  I have a fantastic piece of kit, that I will probably never wear.  That would have done someone else far more use, as they would have happily ground their Renown Rank high enough, if it wasn’t already.

Heheh.  Heheh.  Heheheh.

Ah, don’t worry.  I’ll suck it up, and do more scenarios.  And stop being so whiny about it all.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Some Test Server changes coming sooner rather than later

As we all know, patch 1.05 is still on the Public Test Server, and if you go to any WAR forums, you’ll be sure to read lots of comments about how its affected various classes and archetypes. We’re all mostly interested in our own classes, but still – there were a bunch of interesting changes we have been wishing would be added sooner, rather than languishing on the test server to iron out the wrinkles. Lo and behold, patch 1.04b has been born and is due to go to the US servers today (also the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War, by the way).

It really does have everything in that we’ve been talking about wanting before we get the rest of 1.05, so good call Mythic! (I imagine Europeans will get it on 12th, if usual patterns apply). Anyway, here’s the highlights:

When conquered, Keeps will always provide three gold loot bags and Fortresses will now offer six guaranteed gold loot bags as part of the chest loot.

Rally Masters have been added to all warcamps. Now, players can set their rally point in a warcamp in the same manner as binding in a chapter hub.

To promote population balance among the various scenarios, we have added a feature that reduces the number of times a specific scenario can launch in a short period of time. This will give scenarios which are launched less frequently an opportunity to catch up in the queue population and launch more often.

It also contains the changes to Chaotic Rift/Electromagnet which we look forward to seeing in the variety of scenarios we hope to be able to play now, not just Serpent’s Passage/Tor Anroc/Mourkain Temple/Nordenwatch, depending on your tier.

Expectations

Quick warning, this may be my first wall of text for a while and it’s very much based on my own personal journey…

I got very down about Tier 4 when I was new to it, my class kind of sucked at soloing from 31-33 (more than normal), and that was a big shock to the system. Plus, I don’t want to have to choose a levelling specline or have to choose gear for various purposes – I’m stubborn like that. And open RvR was quiet, Serpent’s Passage hurts my eyes after the 3rd consecutive run, etc etc. And I read around the place that others were having similar ‘fun’ problems. And then I had an enforced 5-day break. And I thought about it quite a lot, especially when chatting to my sisters and to a WoW gamer I spent some time with.

I got out of my funk. I love the game, I really do. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish open RvR was a bit more perky – but honestly, on our server there is open action in Tier 4 every day. It may not be at the perfect time for me, and some of it might mean taking empty keeps and waiting for defence and then scooting around to try and nudge control in various zones while many want a big fight… but it’s there. And that comforts me.

Then, at 33, my Rune Priest (not specced for Rune of Burning!) got better at soloing. Not great, but good enough for a primary healer. Which satisfies me there. In fact, my biggest concern is finding people to group up with to quest and do PQs (PQs are a bit pointless for influence rewards, but I see them as socialising with some free xp attached!). Even that is changing, I’m changing, I’m asking for help more. And trying to make myself more sociable and willing to help also. It’s a process, neither slow nor fast, but one that depends on mood.

So what really struck me about Warhammer Online while I was away? It’s a very different game to those I’m used to playing (DAoC, WoW, LotRO). And I asked myself the following:

  • How did I play my last MMO? (ie. level fast, solo/grouped, etc)
  • How many hours per day did I grind traits/influence/reputation/gear?
  • How many hours did I raid per week?
  • How many hours did I PvP?

WAR is a totally different kettle of fish for me, and for everyone. There’s a certain levelling ‘grind’ but I say it in inverted commas, cos it’s nothing like the grind I had in other games (I played WoW before they upped the lower level xp, I left before Burning Crusade). I have been known to play 12h straight in Dark Age of Camelot, whether in Caer Sidi or tree groups! All day is and has been pretty common for LotRO. And yet, when I try it in WAR I get a bit edgy and miserable.

Why, then? Well, the best I can do at describing it is that I’m finding WAR a completely different kettle of fish as an MMO. It’s the kind I like to dip in and out of, which is something I’ve never done before. And one of the reasons I’ve never had two MMOs at the same time before now. To me, MMO has always been a bit like a part-time job, occupying all hours to get all the things I want and need for my character while grouping up with friends to complete some fairly hefty challenges, or to just hang out and have some fun. Now we have WAR, where in a few hours I can take two or three keeps, or jump into scenarios while questing. For me, anyway, it’s not a game I want to spend 12h straight – and that’s the big difference.

Since coming back, and recognising this, I’ve been a much happier bunny. I log off when I’m tired or when I want to go watch TV or hang out with the cats or my husband. I play less, but I enjoy it more. I’ve reached rank 35 and renown rank 32 (well, I’m 95% there, and will be by the time this is published). I have titles for taking keeps and for restoring keeps. I am beginning to help people with their quests more and have recently seen Bastion Stair for the first time. All of this has been more fun than a couple of weeks ago, when I hit the Tier 4 doldrums.

I think the game still needs tweaks at the high levels, the influence rewards for PQs are lousy after ch16 and this has led to a desertion – one that makes questing where there are PQs quite tricky. Going back to help lower level characters has giving me a sense that my character is powerful and also, it’s more relaxing than trying to solo stuff. When these guys catch me up, we’ll all group and do ch18+ together. So I’m kind of fixing it myself, and the levelling curve is flattening all-round.

No solution to Serpent’s Passage Syndrome yet but I have faith Mythic will work something out. They’ve been very responsive and let’s face it, they know they have a problem with Tier 4 at the moment, you can’t fail to notice the threads and blog posts about it. But it’s not all down to the game company, we do have our own responsibility to do what’s fun for us.

For me, it’s to dip in and out of PvE, RvR, scenarios and dungeons and not to try and play WAR as if it’s LotRO/DAoC/WoW.

[And, as Syp said in a comment recently ‘great minds think alike’ – it would be remiss of me to leave out a link to Stylish Corpse whose words on the same topic I greatly enjoyed and who I totally agree with!]

Big November Event! Daily quests, new scenario, preview of new classes!

Arrgh, as usual, just after we wrote some other post Mythic make a big announcement! *shakes fist at timezones*

So, we have an announcement about the November Live Event, dubbed “Heavy Metal”.

When the Heavy Metal live event begins on November 17th, players who log into WAR will see a new tab in the Tome of Knowledge. Clicking on this tab will open the Live Events page, where each day we’ll place a new daily task. Completing these daily tasks earns influence, just like you’d earn in a public quest. There are rewards for Basic, Advanced and Elite influence, culminating in the ultimate prize: the chance to play WAR’s new classes a full week before they’re released to the public! This last reward won’t be easy to earn, and players who want to get to the Elite level will need to log in each day and complete on the daily event.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a special live event scenario that will be available to all tiers for the duration. And it grants extra renown to players.

I’m hyped, Mythic sound as though they’d taken out all the stops here! I love daily quests and scenarios. And now it’s going to be harder than ever to decide which game to play in November. Game is very much ON.

Edit: Nov 18th for European players