Return of the WAR

As I think the majority of readers here knows, I took a bit of a break from WAR and have recently returned to playing more regularly with my little Warrior Priest (who dies a LOT thanks to a sea of Choppas, and contrary to popular belief!). Was talking with Spinks this morning about just how many positive things WAR had going for it, and rather than writing about it on Nerf the Cat, I thought I’d list some of  them here.

Not waiting around for looting (bags, choices, etc)

We were discussing how one of the problems I have with raiding in other games is the stopping and starting for loot, whatever choice of loot distribution the raid uses, and that’s when we realised that WAR really doesn’t have this problem because of the loot bags in PQs, dungeons, oRvR, etc and the way the need/greed system works. It’s so much better to have loot selections on offer, and to also have stuff that’s directly relevant to your class. I don’t think I realised how much I like the system, because previously I’ve focused on just how crappy my rolls have been, or how unfair 1 gold bag per keep used to be, and stuff like that. In the end it allows for some seamless play where looting doesn’t get in the way of the experience. It’s certainly not perfect, but it fits in well with the frenetic pace of  Warhammer Online.

Variety

Ok, a lot of this is due to the Slayers/Choppas and server merges, but for whatever reason, the server feels pretty damn busy at the moment across all tiers. I hear of fortress and city stuff going on via guild chat (merged guild, so new faces to learn and get used to also), while someone also mentioned Tier 3 is very busy and I know for myself that Tier 1 and 2 are. The general number of people and the spread have highlighted the variety of things to do in WAR, and I’m omitting crafting because I don’t feel any urge to do it at all!

But with public quests, scenarios, normal questing, capital city quests – there’s a lot to do to get from A to B, levelwise. Spinks and I spent a good portion of today doing PQs while waiting for scenarios to pop in Tier 2, and once the afternoon kicked in, we barely had time to hand in the scenario quests before another one popped. It was this variety that appealed from the start, and it’s great to see it there and being shown off so nicely. I hope this continues, though I fear it’s inevitable that the action eventually move firmly to Tiers 3 & 4.

Scenarios

In and of themselves, scenarios are great fun. Though, it interesting that people seem to like whichever the latest one is. I know I really enjoyed Reikland Factory and the Twisting Tower, but maybe just because they were new and fresh and after a while the others can get a bit frustratingly samey. But, having said that, something that takes you out of the normal run of the game and transports you into a fun 15-minute mini-game is to be applauded. It’s a bit like the solo instances in LotRO, something I can do that adds to my experience but doesn’t take too long. Of course, scenarios are desperately dependent on other people signing up… so they have a bit of a downside. But overall, still loving them and the concept of them!

Casual Hardcore

One thing that I’m enjoying about my return to WAR in contrast to other games, is that everything is pretty fancy-free and unstressful. If I want to try and get a group together to do something, I can give it a go. If not, I can toddle around doing random quests via red blobs, and just exploring the world and the game. Dying means very little to me, it’s too quick and easy to die when the odds are against you. It might be a pain during a dungeon, but in every other situation, I just shrug, get up and get on with things. The game is quick to pick up and also to put down, so it can be treated as more of a pastime and less of a chore. Of course, if I cared enough about the endgame, the ward armour, completing all the content or collecting every title, I might not feel this way, but at the moment, it’s a perfect game for me to decide on a daily basis if I want to be casual or hardcore or a mix of the two.

Questing

The normal quests are often shrugged off as being a sideshow to the main attraction (the RvR, which we all know and mostly enjoy!). But actually, they’re not half bad at all. The red blobs might make questing fast and easy-ish (location-wise), but the areas have great flavour and interesting storylines to follow through, so that even when blasting through you get a good sense of them. I quite enjoy WAR questing as another fairly unstressy way of enjoying the game.

Anyway, a quick overview of things we were discussing today, and of my very basic feelings after not playing very seriously for a while. Feel free to add others, or disagree at will!

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Having too much fun to post!

Tier 1, when full of players, is incredible fun. The free trials, the Slayers and the Choppas and server consolidation have all meant for a return to the feeling of release week. And it’s too much fun to stop and post (especially when I’m supposed to be packing to go see Spinks and rest of family). Again, playing the game takes priority over blogging. Bad me :-p

So instead, here’s a picture of how I’d like my office decorated, showed off by Magnus:

qa1

Annnd, in lieu of any pics of the crazy pub-ness, here’s a pic of the lovely little FEMALE RUNE PRIEST miniature Magnus and Nic put together to give me for my birthday. It’s pretty awesome, and I meant to post it before now, but as I said before, time constraints. It now has pride of place where the cats can’t attack it!

bog-helga-copy

(the Book of Grudges she’s holding even has blood splatter on it! Rar!!)

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!

You shall not pass!

[I dedicate this blog post title to my Dwarf-in-Arms, Gorak, who was desperate to yell it last night!]

So last night a couple of friends re-subbed to get ready for the Bitter Rivals event. I was peacefully planning an evening of web-browsing and twitter-trouble, when I realised they were both playing their level-capped dwarfs and hanging around in the dodgier neighbourhoods of Praag. Time for their little Rune Priest to go out and help. And we ran around in a smallish group, following a smallish warband for the rest of the evening. We did RvR around the city of Praag, including taking both keeps and most of the battlefield objectives before moving on to Black Crag and continuing the rampage. It wasn’t really a rampage though, many of the keeps had some defense from Destruction, just not quite enough. I didn’t stay long enough to really see them try and push a zone, but we were very close to flipping Caledor and Black Crag before we logged off. It was a fun and nostalgic night and reminded me it’s all about good company and good fights.

There was one thing that amused and annoyed me equally. And it’s something that’s cropped up recently on the Vault boards and received a response from Mark Jacobs. Do we want to be able to pass on loot bags? Hell yes. It’s slightly counter-intuitive to me, and at first I was against it. But last night I won 2 gold bags and 1 blue bag from 4 keep takes. I have full Annihilator set, so it was all pretty pointless and I begrudged winning them, after the initial excitement of getting some awesome rolls!

I’d like either the option to pass on bag rolls, or the option to get a token instead that could be collected and exchanged for better gear (the next set up, I guess). I don’t really mind which. I’d do the keep takes anyway, but to take a gold bag from someone else through a random rolling procedure and then to take the cash… that’s miserable. Tokens would make it a fair reward for all, but I don’t know how many tokens you’d have to have to get the better gear and I don’t know how accessible they want the gear to be. I think it’d be workable. But I want one of the two systems in place, because right now winning two gold bags put a damper on my evening (even though others would be delighted to win even one!).

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.

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!

Awww, there is some Choppa love too

Snafzg over at The Greenskin has got his package from Mythic, and it heavily hints at the Choppa class. So go read up on it over at his blog.

Have heard there’s quite a few bloggers being asked for their addresses, and we heartily approve of such freebie marketing (we love freebies, whoever is getting them!). Go get ’em Mythic!