Where will Kaja go?

Burlok is dead, its remains smouldering in ashes. Kaja the dwarven Rune Priest stands ‘tall’ and looks around. She has a choice of new homes, aside from Karak-Azgal where the evil Ailil bounces on her disk.

Ok, I’ll prob move her to Karak Eight Peaks on monday. No idea what the new guild is doing, but these days I’m more of a soloer. And it sounded like a fun server on saturday.

RP server closures are sad to me, because they offer something that you just don’t find elsewhere. But WAR demands on numbers, and equality. And the numbers are so LOW on the RP servers, that these moves are inevitable. And wherever I go, I’ll be using Flimgoblin’s awesome new RP addon.

Hrrm, the move is on the same day my 6-month sub runs out. I was going to take a few weeks break from the game and then continue playing and move any new WAR commentary to my more general blog: Nerf the Cat. Yes folks, after a new breath of life for the Age of Blogging, the Book of Grudges is most definitely coming to an end.

It shows how things have progressed in 7  months. I’ve gone from uber-excited about every announcement, to slightly cynical and needing proof of things. I gave up on end-game and enjoyed the simplicity of tiers 1 and 2, and could play those all the time! I look forward to the Land of the Dead ‘expansion’ stuff. But I miss my guild, my friends, my server – and let’s face it, Book of Grudges is in no way as good as it was when I shared duties with Spinks and Hawley.

I am determined to keep an eye on WAR, I hope I enjoy my new server when I get back to playing there. It’s going to be a bit weird to make sure my friends (whose subs have run out) get to the same server. I’m not even sure it’s possible, so that will be seriously upsetting for all of us. I even got some great ideas for WAR blog posts at the pub gathering over the weekend. Those posts will be on Nerf the Cat, however. Not here.

Thanks to all for reading, commenting, visiting and keeping us in the feed-reader! It’s definitely appreciated.

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.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to…

Wotcha everyone,

Spinks put up a link to this story from Gamespot, but here is the BBC’s version.

God bless the BBC.  Instead of the usual tabloid shocker of “Online Gamer in mass serial murder with ritualistic cannibalism!”, they put this lovely little cautionary tale of the perils of the online quicky divorce.

Now, this is still all part of the whole “Online Gamers being a bit strange” theme, but…  Well, I giggled.  It’s bad of me, because I am taking delight in not just one but two people’s misfortunes, but the strangeness of the situation almost demands it.  Obsessive behaviour in any way shape or form is bad for all involved, but to my mind Online Gamers are always far more interesting and zany when compared to other obsessives.

Aaaaanyway.  Back to the divorce.  Which got me thinking about Role-Playing relationships.  Personally, I don’t do it.  I did once try out the wedding thing in the original Fable.  I really got into Fable.  It may have been short, it may have had it’s flaws.  But I loved the story, and did find myself shouting “Oi!  Fuckface!  You killed my mam!” when it came to the final showdown with the bad guy.  Just before he got many arrows to the face, in fact.

Ahem.

So, even though I was that emotionally involved in the story, I still didn’t do the “your character can get married” thing.  I did the side quest where you get to put various silly haircuts and beards/moustachios on your character, and whilst doing it did the “flirt” emote at the lady hairdresser.  To the extent that she fell in love with my little fella (no, not that, you filthy lot!) and I did do the marriage thing (okay, so I’ve done the marriage thing once.  But read on.  And it was a single player game anyway, so it doesn’t count).  Hey, wife with a career, good for a bit of extra cash, I thought.  No, no such luck.  She retired, I had a change of mind about the haircut, so back a-reloadin’ we went, and the wedding was off.  Yes, I am the last of the (not) romantics.

I’ve never even dared to go anywhere near a “relationship” in an online game.  I’ll happily role-play about most things, but I run like a startled bunny when that sort of topic rears it’s head.  Does this make me a bad role-player?  Maybe it’s because some things are easy to draw the line with, but I’m worried that my emotions might run away with me, and I think there’s more to it than there really is.

Or even worse, the other person thinks there’s more to it.  Real life relationships are enough of a minefield, how does one navigate a pretend one?  And anyway, this is WAR now.  Do we have time to get all lovey-dovey when there’s zealots to chase around a scenario map?

Oh, wait, can Warrior Priests officiate at a wedding?  Or would you be better off getting in a Rune Priest?

Cheers,
Hawley.

What I didn’t do yesterday in game

I wasn’t around too much yesterday because of visiting friends (and sisters!) up in London, so I didn’t take part in a lot of these events myself. But the guild was chatting about them happily when I logged on in the evening to play my Ironbreaker gal for an hour or two before turning in.

1. Tier 4 RvR. Apparently it had gotten quite lively with warbands from both sides raging pitched battles up and down Thunder Mountain. Order eventually retreated after being outnumbered 4:1. I wasn’t there so can’t report in person on what it was actually like but it all sounded quite fun. And all the chatter on the realm boards is about people wanting more of the same. We always thought it would just take a little time for the community to settle out in Tier 4 — I think this is the first sign of a lot more to come. (Thunder Valley wins my award for worst T4 scenario though.)

2. Roleplay. Apparently we had a witch trial and witch burning in Altdorf yesterday. I know some of the guild Witch Hunters went along and got involved and enjoyed it a lot. On the Destruction side, they were organising some big Cult of Slaanesh type RP that we mock because it involved lots of sleazy semi naked elves. But so does everything in Destruction, it seems.

3. Tier 2/3 RvR. Has been very active on our server for weeks. Continued to be active yesterday.

4. Tier 1 RvR. This is the bit I actually did myself! So I was messing around with my little Ironbreaker and doing a quest that led me to a PQ area in Mount Bloodhorn. And there were a couple of other dwarf players there, an Ironbreaker and a Runepriest. So one thing led to another, then a foolish sleazy semi-clad (and flagged) witch elf showed up and took a pop at our healer so we killed it. More people turned up and we moved off to take all the Dwarf Tier 1 objectives as a group with some scenario queueing on the side. There was some light roleplaying.

I like this game 😉

Updates upon updates

We don’t talk that much about what we’re doing in-game, we think other bloggers have that pretty well-covered and we’re in that kind of crazy first month of running around madly and trying to fit in work, life, TV and gaming all in one messy pot. I’ll write a little more about how it’s affecting me personally this weekend, I think.

But here’s a quick rundown.

Hawley’s offline (boo!), he’s got himself a fancy new job which meant relocating, and thanks to a certain big company not being very .. good, he’s delayed getting back online. We miss him.

Me and Spinks are still playing Archmage and Rune Priest as our mains and enjoying them, finding ways through the Tier 3 slowdown. Spinks has been organising some guild keep takes/defences, while I’ve been knuckling down and getting to grips with mastery specs. If you can bear angst, I might talk more about that also. We’ve also got alts of various levels that might enter the blog at some point.

Guild is going well, it’s big and we’re currently on closed status, but am sure eventually it’ll open. Getting some more officers for what is likely to be an interesting November. I’ll definitely be spending time on Moria, and obviously Lich King will take some people’s attention away from WAR for awhile. So anyway, that’s behind-the-scenes guild stuff. Generally we’re all pretty happy with the guild I think! We’ve got a great bunch of people and there’s always something going on (often spontaneous, sometimes organised).

We’ve run some small roleplay events, claimed our first keep (thankfully the server reset it before we went bankrupt), a little chicken run to explore some areas, a couple of runs through bits of Gunbad with either groups or warbands and many many sets of PQs and scenario groups. Oh, and we’re part of an Alliance!

Order on our server is getting to know one another, and becoming more organised, we have channels set up to discuss open field RvR and it appears to be effective. There’s a roleplay event set up for saturday for guilds to meet up and chat.

Last night I spoke to Zizlak online too, he moonlighted as Order to come say hi. Though we were in the boss fight of a Gunbad wing, so I think I was a bit lame in my responses. Sorry Ziz!

About last night (with tips!)

About scenario queuing, if you haven’t read it already all over the WAR blogs, and some of my guildmates hadn’t last night. You can now queue for all scenarios across a tier from anywhere in that tier. Simply open the queuing button and use arrows at the top to select which scenarios to queue for. Or all of them. (NB: There’s also an addon out there that will auto-queue you for all available scenarios, but be warned I think it only queues you solo and also flags you for RvR)

We used it last night to select only our favourite ones from the Tier 3 melange, and that was fairly successful. I suppose because Order are in a minority (do we have a server yet where Order outnumbers Destruction?) we get to be a bit picky with our scenarios. I think I’m mad cos I actually like some of the ones that seem to favour Destruction, but last night we stuck with a couple and I finally got to play the Cemetery. It’s not bad at all, but at the end of the evening, scenario healing definitely gets harder.

What else did we do? Ah yes, discovered that open field RvR might not be the best thing to do in-between queuing for scenarios. And had a starter roleplay event for the guild in Altdorf, which started at Sigmar’s Hammer (yay, Burlok’s Altdorf got to rank 2 at the weekend) and moved to the Blowhole so we could start a real live barroom brawl (a few times, as it happens).

Was a nice mix of an evening, the roleplay reminded me I enjoy being in-character even though I don’t do accents and assume everyone can inject Northernness to my phrasing (kind of dumb, since I lived in Yorkshire for 5 years so could manage the dialect just fine if I stopped to think about it), but I prefer to get my message across. So with the promise of more roleplay, we went our separate ways. Good times.

And because I mentioned Sigmar’s Hammer and this started with a tip, I’ll end with a tip. Go to Sigmar’s Hammer, head to Quartermaster and buy a scroll of recall (whatever it’s called). Go upstairs and check the flightmaster – you can fly to anywhere from Sigmar’s and you can now port to Sigmar’s from anywhere for 30 brass. Just remember the scroll disappears when used and doesn’t stack (though you can buy more than one) so buy one everytime you port there.

Life in the RP Lane

We decided one of the ways to give you all a glimpse into the Roleplay server was to keep some anecdotes of RP episodes we’d enjoyed. Not giving conversations, but moments when we realised we were very happy with our server choice. So, here’s a few quick clips into life on the Roleplay server.


Today I had my first roleplaying encounter in game. I was up early and was polishing off a quest that needed me to kill some NPC witch elves in a Public Quest area. I saw another Archmage there too, so we teamed up. And when she joined the group, she greeted me with, “Hello, sister.” (No, it wasn’t Arbitrary.) We had a brief in character (IC) chat and then got on with the business of killing witch elves. It was going well so we went on to duo the second stage of that PQ before parting ways.

Fortunately it’s easy to RP a High Elf. Just be vaguely polite to other HElves, vaguely snotty to everyone else (to some of us this comes naturally), and no one minds if you use cheesy fantasy expressions and say ‘Aye’ instead of yes.


A couple of us hardy dwarf lasses were out fighting in Mount Bloodhorn, slaying Dog Soldiers left and right while scavenging their corpses and butchering their hounds. We were staying fairly in-character, except for me noting on guild chat that we looked like a pair of mini-Valkyries. But we did.

Along came a lone male dwarf a couple of ranks lower than us. He was bravely slaying bandits on his own, so with a hearty ‘hello’, we invited him to join in and participated in a little Dwarf Roleplay, mostly to do with death, destruction, gold and beer. I enjoyed it. It was just enough for me to feel part of the setting, but it didn’t stunt my ability to say I didn’t think we could do stage 2 of the PQ we were in. In fact, I just didn’t say it. And we got very very close to doing the stage!


Another time, a group from the guild decided to tackle some Public Quests in Troll Country and we quickly got together a group to do so. As we started slaying the undead with great righteousness, we spotted another group. They hailed us in Sigmar’s name, and we quickly slipped into roleplay mode, from our usual chit-chat in-party. After rather easily completing the quest, the other group suggested we merge and go attack the local Destruction-held Keep. All in roleplay terms. In fact, just when a couple of us were asking privately how to describe some aspect in a roleplay way, one of the other group would manage it perfectly. Phrases that will stick in my mind for the next time I want to inject some in-character-ness to my RvR.

Initial thoughts and stuff

So, we’ve had the game for a few days now, all our headstart people have been in since Monday, and we await the influx on Thursday. Here’s a few points on how it’s been:

GOA’s done a good job

There was a slight delay to the Collectors Edition Headstart, a couple of hours. Standard Edition headstart went well with people getting in smoothly. Queues haven’t been horrible (we’ve had none, but we’re Order and Core-RP), just haven’t seen too many complaints. And everyone who got an email back from a GM was very happy with it. Just Thursday to go and signs are positive! Also, there is nothing about it in the gaming news – which means it’s going well. (Obviously there are stories that the game is launching, but strictly they’re focusing on Thursday).

EA problems with keys an exercise in why to order elsewhere

I really feel for people who went with EAStore, because hey, it’s EA and they promised all sorts of goodies and for a while they were the only Standard Edition seller (soon joined by Direct 2 Drive) who said they were offering the headstart. Sending out the wrong keys was a cock-up, I hope everyone is in now and it wasn’t too painful. Having problems with manufacturing so that not all CEs have been sent out on time isn’t great either. On another note, looks like Play.com has some CE copies left. (This may be out-of-date when you get to read it).

Standard Edition Headstart

Because of Games Day, I started playing a few hours before the Standard Edition people came online. I was out of the starting area and at the first Dwarf PQ. Had to ask in-guild for some help finishing it and someone headed back to help (yay, guild). By the time we got to Stage 3 it became apparent the Standard Edition had come online as suddenly a whole gang of people entered the PQ, meaning we stormed it. Was a great sight and feeling. So enjoy that today America!

Guild

We have a separate post coming with names, screenshots, guild details – just making sure of Hawley’s first. But quickly, would just like to pause for a moment to say the guild is great. We’ve done a few things together and lots of things in smaller groups. Chat levels high, as is excitement. The guild is full of people we haven’t yet met, and Teamspeak is full of unfamiliar voices, but it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun learning about and meeting them all.

The Game

The game remains insanely fun, with a few collywobbles as I realised this character isn’t getting deleted so I better take it a bit more seriously. Scenarios have been plentiful (more so at night), open groups have invited me along, rather than waiting for me to invite myself, have done a bit of exploring in the mornings – but I intend to do more. I’m not sure why, but it feels better than either beta. I have a suspicion it’s the number of players and general level of excitement. Good stuff!

European server list announced!

English servers listed in full:

Core

Axe Bite Pass
Karag Dron
Karag Orrud
Karak Eight Peaks
Karak Ungor
Karak-Azgal
Karak-Hirn
Karak-Izor
Karak-Norn
Karak-Vlag
Karaz-a-Karak

Open RvR

Dragonback Mountains
Eltharion
Finuval Plain
Mount Silverspear
Sea of Dreams
Shifting Isles
Tiranoc

Role-Play

Burlok
Makaisson

Open RvR Role Play

Alarielle
Ellyrion

The full list of European servers can be found listed here, including all the foreign-language servers.

And a bit of further explanation from Magnus, which made me laugh…

So the German servers are based upon the Empire, the Italian based upon Tilea, the French based upon Bretonnia, the Spanish based upon Estalia. We were considering basing the English servers on Albion, but we soon realised that having dozens of servers which in one way or another relate to fog and rain would be quite depressing, so we went with Dwarf and Elf names instead.

Personally, I like the notion of being able to see which language community a server belong to just by its name. Regarding the many Karak- based names, I think we will soon grow to learn these names by heart, and I further doubt that the first half of the name will be mentioned in every-day conversations. Gamers are renown for their ability to abbreviate pretty much anything.

Roleplaying Servers: Good Sides and Bad Sides

Wotcha everyone,

At game launch I, along with the rest of my guild, will be looking to play on a Role-Playing server.  However, my reasons for creating characters, and playing on, a Role-Playing server may well be different to yours…

I’m a real world role-player.  I have been playing table-top roleplaying game for two thirds of my life.  I’ve been a live role-player for over half my life.  Hey, it’s my hobby, and I love it.  But I have problems role-playing online, and I think most of them stem from that lack of actual personal contact.

An avatar is just a dolly, really.  It’s incapable of facial expression, and emotes just cannot portray the range of facial expressions that we all use and read during our daily lives, never mind when we’re pretending to be someone or something else.  Just like speech.  We are social animals, and we use our voices for communication, not just words.

All of my memorable characters have had their own favoured facial expressions, and voices.

When those two tools are taken away from me, I have problems maintaining anything approaching a viable character.  Oh, there are all sorts of things I can do with just text and emotes, but they’re not the same, they’re not as immediate, and they’re not as… visceral… as they could be.

So why a role-playing server?  Well, the closed beta reminded me.  We all play online games for our own reasons, and for me it’s to relax, have fun, and generally be fabulous wherever, and whenever possible.  But to be honest, the attitude of many online gamers annoys me.  When I mess up, I don’t need the handy advice of; “Noob!” being offered to me.  And I definately don’t need that attitude from someone called “Pwnzjoo”.  I exaggerate only to try and reinforce my point.  I realise I cannot escape this completely on a role-playing server, but at least it’s rarer, and the names are, on the whole, less likely to be an insult to other players.

However, being on a role-playing server has it’s own little ways of annoying me.  Yes, I have been known to get tetchy about…  Incorrect channel usage!  If it’s in “/say”, your character says it.  Whichever monkey decided that double brackets means out of character is an idiot.  Do not follow his monkey-like ways!  Following his example ((Makes you dead to me)).  As well as being bad punctuation.  There are plenty of channels to use – so use the right one at the right time.  Please?

I also wonder at the broadcast-thinkers.  I’m pretty sure emotes are for displaying emotion and action that the game does not automatically.  Not for broadcasting your innermost thoughts to everyone within 50 feet.  Please, some of us might be eating whilst you go on shouting your thoughts out; at the very least, you might be ruining my brew.

But, now that I’ve finished moaning, I must say I’ve had some fabulous times role-playing in online games.  And role-playing servers do attract some really, really cool people.  So I think it’s more than worth the odd moment of irrational anger to play on the super-geek servers.

Cheers,
Hawley.