Postcard from Praag. Wish you were here?

Wotcha everyone,

Burning Tower?  Check.  Open Space?  Check.  People fighting?  Check!

Burning Tower? Check. Open Space? Check. People fighting? Check!

For those who have not seen it previously, welcome to Martyr Square, in Praag.  It’s hard to get in one screenshot, but it’s about the largest single space in Praag, and is almost slap bang in the middle of the zone slap bang in the middle of Tier 4.  For all you lore/role-playing fans. not only is it a city in Kislev, but at times it felt like battling in a medieval Leningrad.  Cool.

I took this picture when it was “quiet”.  I could have taken it when there was about 300 people fighting hard, with bodies flying everywhere, but there will no doubt be plenty of those on the interwebnet soon enough.

No, I wanted to check out what it was like on a Sunday morning.  This Sunday happened to be just before the end of Closed Beta, and Order must have been busy little beavers overnight, because every Tier 4 zone clear to the Inevitable City had been locked for Order.

Now that was rare enough as it was.

But what surprised me was to discover that my sneaking suspicion was right; there were people fighting at Martyr’s Square.

Now, I’m not going to start shouting “Njubs!” in my best “leet speek” (that’s about all the “leet speek” I know.  “Njubs”, “leet” and “speek”.  Someone should shout “Get with the times, grand-dad!” at me.  In “leet speek”, of course) at them.  They’re PvPing, they’re having fun, and they’re ideally placed when the front makes it’s way back to Praag.  It has become *the* place to go if you can’t find RvR anywhere else.

Personally, I’d want to follow the front, be it attacking or defending where appropriate.  But I do think it’s entertaining that whilst the marketing men might be wrong that “War is everywhere!”, it’s comforting to know that it will always be at Martyr Square.

Cheers,
Hawley.

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Sir Links-a-lot

Leipzig Links

The Games Convention blog gets to GOA. It’s in German, I haven’t asked my husband to translate yet.. but I currently am in love with the line:

Wir haben es getan. “WAAAAAAAAGH!!!!” Es soll dann auch T-Shirts geben. Jippie!.

(Note to all GOA/Mythic types going to Games Day – we love T-shirts – arbitrary ;p)

Here’s a cool video from Leipzig about living cities, showing a Bright WIzard running around Altdorf. Oh, and Josh Drescher gives a commentary!

If you’re going to dress up, pick a cool class to dress up as. Here’s a good example from Leipzig.

What’s the future for Warhammer Online after September 2008? Paul speaks at Leipzig and says there’s a 3-year plan currently in place.

Sterntaler (one of the german CMs) posts some video of the GOA/Warhammer stand in Liepzig. (He mentions T-Shirts and free stuff prominently, which I know Arbitrary will find intriguing!)

Sausage and Sauerkraut – lunch is good at the Games Convention it seems. Lunch is important. More photos from Leipzig can be seen here (incl. Age of Conan booth babes – because I’m good to you – arbitrary).

Player vs Developer compares the WAR trailer to the WoW one, both released at Liepzig. Rock, Paper, Shotgun also mentions them in the same breath, but gets to use the word ‘phwoarhammer’ – we’re depressed we didn’t think to use that one, so credit where it’s due. Is it just us though, or was that a handful of Order chars taking on an entire Destruction army. Nerf!!

And, of course, Warhammer Online wins Best Online Game of the show.

General Links

Neurotic women are more likely to blog. No comment. Actually, that reminds me, there’s a new livejournal community for WAR-ladies.

Gnomeo and Juliet. No comment. Actually, sounds awesome ;p

Ablegamer takes a look at Warhammer Online from a different perspective – what does it have to cater for the disabled player.

This is my current favourite review of Warhammer Online – it covers a lot of ground, while not being too in-depth, and it sounds like a group of friends honestly discussing the game. This I like.

We loved the gamespy pre-NDA impressions of WAR, here’s their actual beta review.

MMORPG.com has an interview from GenCon Indy with Robert Mull, Community Relations Director for Mythic. There’s a short intro here, and then a longer video.

Useful tools for Warhammer Online. WarDb (basically Thottbot for Warhammer Online) if you want all the info/spoilers broken down, and the combat parser (though if I am going to use that kind of thing I’d rather have one on my desktop than have to go through a website).

This is Massively’s collection of videos showing the /special emotes for each race. They’re what WAR has instead of /dance to give you something amusing to do while you’re waiting for people to run back from the graveyard.

Olympic Link: Matt Slater (a BBC commentator) claims that Beach Volleyball is a great sport in its own right, and he doesn’t just watch it for the girls in bikinis — he may be the only one 😛

Ok, this may be down right now but it’s supposed to be back online today so I’ll link it anyway. Tiny Adventures is a D&D Facebook app – it lets you create a char, equip them and set them off on an adventure. Sounds fun to me!

Newsletter on its way, honest guv!

Some of my friends have had theirs, mine hasn’t arrived yet, but in the meantime you can read some bits of it over at GOA’s site.

  • More on capital cities with Jeff Skalski, RvR Team Lead, in a handy podcast
  • Scenarios 101: Episode 7 (covering two tier 4 scenarios from the Greenskin vs Dwarf areas)
  • Raglek’s beta journal
  • Meet the team: Magnus K (Community Manager) and Gary Astleford (sole writer on the Elf team)
  • and the fun one – Paul’s video phone blog (I’ve seen a couple of them and laughed!)

More as I get around to reading through it and receiving my own copy of it.

Interview with.. err.. us (and quick update on FAQ)

Warhammer Alliance have us featured under their community spotlight at the moment and you can go read the interview here.

And in other quick news, the Warhammer Herald has now posted the FAQ on capital cities in the light of recent announcements.

Taking a step back

Spinks suggested that I take a look around the web at more general gaming sites and forums to see what their responses to the big announcements were. Initially I reacted badly, I didn’t even want to think about the stupid announcements until monday when I could have my head straight again.. and I was sure it’d all be ‘WAR sucks, WoW rocks’. But, that’s not quite what I found.

I started over at Kotaku, where I personally go for a lot of general gaming news. Here’s their story on the news. They admit the news is shocking, they say it’s bad news, and they quote Mark Jacobs and they end on ‘all is not lost’. And then I steeled myself and went to check the comments. There’s a really good mix and these are some of my favourites:

I think I would have been more mad if I had leveled one of the cut classes to 40 (max level) just to find out it isn’t fun or useful.

That’s the spirit! If at first you don’t succeed, give up!

The so called wow killer is releasing half a product and expecting to compete?

Mythic is so awesome for always being forthcoming with good and bad changes to the game, and the way they treat the community is top-notch.

Wouldn’t have EA have pushed them to release broken classes and cities in hopes that it would entice poeple, instead of forcing them to do a quality check?.

I haven’t picked ones I agree with necessarily, I’m trying to give an overall picture of the comments. They’re more reasoned than I expected and they come at it without the invested interest we have.

So then I hopped on over to Rock, Paper, Shotgun which I’ve been following for a while and read their story on the cuts. The article takes the approach that it’s just really really hard to come up with a fully-featured polished MMO that goes the world-creating, mass production route and for other studios to take heed. So, hopping on over to the comments, here goes:

Eh. Still looks awesome.

I think Mythic will make an excellent game, but it’s interesting to see the ambition being rolled back so drastically.

I think this is what was happening in WAR – and the fact that they realized that these were, at the moment, superfluous classes that really wouldn’t be fun to play is a very good sign.

I’ve been very positive about WAR, but this has me worried.

I actually kind of more want to play this, now. It’s either a sign that it’s going to poops, or that they’re taking time to do it right. I can’t wait to find out.

Slashdot is more like I expected elsewhere, so I’ll just quote a few to give you the feel for it. I’m sure there are plenty of places around the net that have this kind of reaction..

It seems to me Warhammer is effectively castrating themselves.

Yes, it may be frustrating to people waiting for a Blizzard game, but at least they don’t pull this crap

I do not trust Mythic and especially not Mark Jacobs with my money before I have seen the final product work.

The entire MMO market is saturated right now, with WoW. Those who want to play other MMOs, such as Age of Conan or Warhammer Online will wait indefinitely for one simple reason: they are dissatisfied with Blizzard for one reason or another, and these are the people who are not only just dissatisfied, but will also remain dissatisfied indefinitely.

And that was about all I managed this morning. Did it put things into perspective? Well.. I’m not sure, I’m still formulating my own thoughts really. It was just a nice change to go read comments that weren’t from a Warhammer forum or site (am I allowed to say that? don’t get offended anyone, I love you all!!!). And it gave me a little distance to look at the announcements from.

Interview with MBJ – and FAQ on the Mythic site

Mythic have an FAQ about the new changes up on the main site.

Tentonhammer also has a two part interview with Mark Jacobs, here’s a link to the first part on the effects of going live with two capital cities.

Here he’s discussing the advantages of focussing RvR on one city per side. And perhaps letting slip that there will be more RvR focussed servers and more PvE (or at least less PvP) ones.

So if we had a server, which had a higher number of people who really don’t like RvR, and just want to play for the PvE. Maybe they occasionally RvR, with three cities, with a more distracted player base, I think the city sieges would be happening less often than we had hoped. Now, even on those servers where you don’t have as much of an RvR base, you will still be able to work together to take one city. I honestly do believe this is the right decision, even if we had three more years to work on it.

He adds, on the timescales:

Let’s say no one cared when this game came out. I don’t know if I would have changed this decision. I cannot say that about the classes, but I can say it about this. Even if we had an unlimited amount of time, I think having the player base focused on one city at a time for capture is a really, really good thing.

Sounds to me from this as though the class cutting was based on looming deadlines. We’ll see what tomorrow’s interview segment about classes brings!

(I do believe that I am getting quite hyped out with all these interview and comments spread across loads of different sites.)

The sky has not fallen — yet

We wanted to present different points of view on the news yesterday. It’s not that one is right and one is wrong.

So Mark dropped a bombshell on the community yesterday evening and when I went to sleep last night, I already had seen the initial reactions. We’re going through the typical shock that people have when they get bad news. When I saw all the waves of empathy towards those who had planned to play one of the cut classes, it was as if someone had died. Well, no one died. No one’s dog died. Even my annoying cat didn’t die (just kidding!).

Seriously. The game is in beta, that means that things are getting tested and if they don’t work then they either get fixed or cut. And if it looks as though the initial scope was impractical, then the scope gets changed, and that’s what we saw yesterday. So sure, I’m shocked, but it’s still in beta dammit.

What are the alternatives really? Delay, go with something half-arsed, or cut what isn’t working. The last thing I want to see is another delay — it’s been long enough already, we know the game is playable, and it’s in the nature of MMORPGs that content will be added continually through the lifetime of the game. Even if the content that was cut now doesn’t get added later, there will be more and different things instead.

And by the way, what’s with making these announcements in a random interview and comments on random boards? Surely if anything justified a video blog or explanation on the main site, this would be it? I see GOA still haven’t caught up — can you guys not just get a feed from Mythic’s site, then add your own news in underneath??

Changing the Scope

Going to two cities instead of six changes the scope of the war. I don’t know by how much, I haven’t played the game yet, but it takes some choices away from the players. It’s not necessarily a bad thing in itself, letting people focus on one objective will end up with more people working together. But the game feels smaller now and the scope a bit less epic.

I expect to see these cities sometime. But from the comments about rotating in and out of RvR (I guess that means that there will be one objective for the tier 4 campaign, just it may change), it doesn’t sound as though they want us to be able to choose where we attack. That means that no in-game bait and switch tactics with a fake assault to draw out the defenders. It means that the scope of the RvR has gotten smaller.

Effects on the IP

The Warhammer fans that Mythic was hoping to capture want to see their basic orcs and their empire knights. For some people, that’s non-negotiable. But the thing is, there’s no alternative game that provides those. If they want the MMORPG experience with the Warhammer IP and RvR, this is the only option. When people cool down, they’ll just have to decide if it’s a critical for them. I’m not going to try to talk anyone out of this, if it’s a deal breaker then it’s a deal breaker.

I think Mythic will lose some customers over it. But not as many as if they’d gone live with broken classes.

Changing Expectations

For me this is the big thing. To justify cutting this much content, I now expect that game to be pretty spot-on when it gets released. There’s no more goodwill towards the company, no more making allowances for MMORPGs not being perfect when they first go live. If any of the other classes are broken on release, I’ll be wondering what was so bad about these ones that they couldn’t have patched something in.

I feel like we’ve been told that these things have been cut so that the game can be spectacular. It better deliver on that.