29th January

Looks like that’s the date for whatever big announcement Mark Jacobs promised over at the Vault boards (he said end of January, which works for me). Keen and Graev have been sent orange hair dye and hair clippers, and the world is expecting some cool pictures of Slayer-style hair cuts. If you are planning a mohawk, I’ll let you in on a secret – it was my favourite hairstyle ever, and I had one hrrm…. around 3 years ago now. I’m tempted!

The community have been guessing at a Slayer since the Hammerer was delayed really, so this would count as one of the least surprising surprises – but one of the most welcome (unless you wanted to be part of a very under-played MDPS class, in which case you might be a little reticent about Slayers going in). For me personally it’s good news, because it means the MDPS classes will be announced soon and hopefully in-game sooner, and I have a friend who will be coming back to the game to play one – as his main interest in the game was originally the Hammerer.

In European news, we had some maintenance  which fixed something I hadn’t even noticed on my Knight. Sometimes, I think I’m a bit rubbish at noticing details, but in my defence she just hit rank 10.. so there wasn’t much to re-train!

Hello Slayer?

So Eurogamer got an interview with Mark Jacobs where they got to ask a bit more about the Hammerer and Choppa. And one of them ain’t coming back, Mark says:

“I can’t tell you which yet, that’s a surprise. We’re probably going to be replacing one and putting in another class in its place. But we’ll be talking about that in a few months…There will still be four going back in, it just wont be necessarily the same four.” ” 

And from Ten Ton Hammer:

Ten Ton Hammer: What are the next two classes going to be? Are you sticking with the Choppa and Hammerer?

Mark: Let me put it this way, I know what one of them is going to be, and I’m not 100% sure about the second.

Well, speculation was already high that the Hammerer might be replaced by the Slayer class.  Amongst those of us who speculate, of course. As long as Greenskins and Dwarfs get their melee DPS classes at the same time, I think things will be fine. And if Hammerers survive and Choppas mutate into something else, that’s all good too.

Let the guessing games begin!

Born to Rune

First, full acknowledgement to Terry Pratchett for the above pun (found in ‘Soul Music’ as far as I recollect).

We’re just over a couple of weeks into WAR – how’s it going for you?

Me, I made my little Rune Priest (Kaja) and I’ve been having both good and bad times stomping and kicking the enemy as well as twirling my staff as if I’m auditioning for the role of Claire Bennett in Heroes. I know I love to heal, and the Rune Priest ticks all my boxes. It’s also meant I’ve had to learn a bit about self-preservation, with the detaunts and Grimnir’s Shield (rank 21 skill), as well as the fine art of actually doing a little damage in-between healing.

Everyone who recommended I try out a Rune Priest after all my angsting, you were right. It’s just what I needs right now, and though I am tempted to still try out a Warrior Priest and I have one made and ready, I like the freedom of being mechanic-less, and I can take the lesser dps I get from that.

First – I love the dwarf look. I even like the Rune Priest robe models (and I’m no fan of dresses, believe me!). And I love the big, clompy clogs. They make me feel like I’m wearing big DMs with a girly dress, something I might have been inclined to do if I ever wore a dress, but they make the Rune Priest a little more tomboyish – again, something that appeals. I like the hefty staff, it looks like it could knock an elf out if needed, and that makes me feel more.. like I could hit something with it, even if that wouldn’t be the best idea dps-wise.

Play-wise I don’t always stand at the back. Which is something I guess all healers are a little worried about. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have said before and meant it that standing at the back gives me one of the things I feel I need in gaming – perspective. I can see what’s going on, and take a second to take it all in. And I like that. But if I feel the need to run forward, I do. I have my shield, my detaunt, my self-healing – I can last long enough to annoy the enemy. I’ve picked up the Mourkain Artifact a few times and lived quite well to talk about it, I’ve blown up Talabec Dam (with some helpful cheerleading from my group, because I was terrified of the thing). But hey, don’t get me wrong or bitch and moan about it, I get slaughtered in moments as long as I’ve been noticed. Just, when I do get slaughtered I don’t have to feel like it was something I did wrong. It happens, we all get slaughtered and we all slaughter (or help others stay alive to slaughter). I’ve just entered Tier 3, and being at the bottom of the ladder there it’s a whole new learning process on how to play best in RvR. New skills, new masteries, etc – but I enjoy the kickstart every 10 or so ranks when you go from being big fish to little fish, learning to swim all over again.

In PvE I’m finding soloing as slow as it should be for a healer. And don’t get me wrong there, I’m managing, I plod away at quests or join others or ask friends. But I like the slowness sometimes, it gives me time to think about out-of-game things. There was part of Badlands where I thought I wouldn’t survive the respawn rate, but I found a place to fight more safely and managed the quest. Then I grouped up with someone I ran into and we ploughed through a few things. I like that changing pace.

In Public Quests.. well, here we come to something I’m not sure I should even say, but perhaps the contribution is occasionally skewed too much towards healing, but I’m doing generally well in them. When I get to do them. I did chapter 8 through grinding stage 1s, I haven’t done much of chapter 9 and I organised a guild event to do chapter 10.. so my Public Quest ratio isn’t the best ever, just noting that healing seems to perform pretty well, even when part of a warband! Your mileage may vary. Some of my feelings about PQ loot could be down to some extreme good rolls – which I have been having the last few days, so I’m expecting a downturn of luck soon.

As for masteries, etc. I’m not really an expert, I’m going with my gut which has dictated a Grungni/Grimnir mix. I’m not going to post the build, because it’s changing all the time. I did just get Master Rune of Fury which is a ground-targeted Rune that gives groupmates a 20% chance to restore 50AP every time they use an ability. It can be a bit hard to lay in RvR, scenarios anyway, but we’ve found it useful in PvE. And it’s pretty good just for me!

So basically I’m still really enjoying it, not finding the need for great number-crunching, still kind of bedding-in to the character. Even going to take her out for some roleplay tomorrow night which I’m greatly looking forward to. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about her adventures as the weeks go on!

It’s the only way to fly!

They gave us some templated chars towards the end of the closed beta phases. We started at rank 31 and renown rank 25 chars, and they gave us enough gold for me to bully a guildmate *cough* (Hawley) into giving me enough to buy my ‘mount’ – a gyro-harness.

Then, I spent half an hour (literally), hovvering everywhere, listening to the whirry blades and having a whale of a time. It’s my fave mount so far in any game. Seriously.

And from the pictures and screenshots, I had no idea how fun it would be to hovver around, my little dwarfy legs all a-dangle. It’s quite fun to jump and then land on something with it too. It’s completely and utterly sold me on a dwarf char, and I actually thought it might put me off when I saw it initially.

 

I logged back on the next day and zoomed around on an empty road with it (bear in mind I wake up at crazy o’clock and there were no nasty Destruction players for me to behead with my blades – oh, if only I could. I’m a bloodthirsty gal at heart!), but I discovered a keep and a battlefield objective and all the time my full attention was on my gyro-harness.

Nice work Mythic!

[I have to admit, that 10 gold was the best “investment” I’ve ever made in an online game.  The general level of “squee!” was most definately high.  And watching Arbitrary fly about the place, buzzing everyone or everything that came near, was the highlight of the night for me – Hawley]

The Shallow Players’ Guide to Warhammer Classes

Order

Empire (Humans)

Witch Hunter: gets the coolest sounding abilities, and fab gear (arbitrary) Be the coolest kid on your street (hawley) Watch out, it’s the new romantics! (spinks)

Bright Wizard: got put off when I blew myself up at rank 2 (arbitrary) got put off when I read the list of spells, it’s all fire fire fire (spinks) Got put off by the ’70s glam rock gear (hawley)

Warrior Priest: like the baldness, like the hammer and robe stuff, but having too much fun hitting to heal (arbitrary) too much hassle to bounce around in melee in PvP and heal and try to use buffs too (spinks) Being righteously furious made me bald. If “angry” is your bag, (s)he’s in it (hawley)

High Elves

He IS more useful than you are!

Is he more useful than you are?

White Lion: elves run funny, didn’t last long, forgot I had a pet (arbitrary) The lion looks fantastic, but I got worried people would decide *it* was more useful than I was (hawley) The axe is pretty badass, but lions were meant to be kille^D^D^D^D free! (spinks)

Swordmaster: looks great, very.. stylish whirly technique – quite liked it (arbitrary) Very tempted, looks great (spinks) Loved the look of the swords and shield, but a bit too… tanky… for me (hawley)

Shadow Warrior: pew-pew ninja, very stylish and mask hides the elfy face (arbitrary) Looks great again, but didn’t grab me (spinks) One I’ll probably “explore” at release, but for now I’m just giggling at the hippy-ninjas (hawley)

Archmage: prettiness in a light-show, preferred it to shaman actually, but elves run funny (arbitrary) Best class in the game! heals! nukes! twirls staff! good robe! (spinks) They run funny because they wear slippers. Slippers! Are all probably evil, with their healy-nukey slipper-wearing ways! (hawley)

Dwarfs

Ironbreaker: What’s not to love about a cute girl dwarf with an axe as big as she is. I have this great weakness for tanking big monsters with teeny characters too (spinks) love ’em, just don’t want to be one! (arbitrary) Best thing to follow and heal (hawley)

Rune Priest: the whole package in a rune-y dress (arbitrary) Solid healer type, didn’t like the hat though. The runes look great. (spinks) Great to hang around with, when feeling furiously righteous (hawley)

Engineer: bang, splat, powiee – nothing like batman (arbitrary) We need bigger guns! (spinks) Most fun you can have with your trousers still on (hawley)

Destruction

Greenskins

Shaman: spent far too long doing /special and /cheer, maybe I should have been healing? (arbitrary) Role-playing opportunities abound. Hard to know where the “clothes” stop, and the shaman begins (hawley) It isn’t easy being green. (spinks)

Squig Herder: Spent too long being eaten by squig (arbitrary) Squigs look fantastic. Like vicious space hoppers (hawley) Loved the squigs, not so big on gobbos (spinks)

Black Orc: huuuuuuge biceps dude, bit of a grunter (arbitrary) Be the “straight man” of the greenskin races. Still impressively wide (hawley) He really looks the part (spinks)

Chaos

Zealot: Kind of sexy in a hunched over way, love the skull, preferred RP (arbitrary) You’re never alone with a skull. Class most likely to tempt me to the dark side(hawley) She’s one of those creepy goths who tells really good horror stories. (spinks)

Magus: omg, I love the disk! I kept making her jump around so that I could see the animation where she landed back on the disk and rebalanced herself. The rest seemed cool too but … it’s all about the disk. I can’t get excited about a demon called a pink horror — maybe I’ll make a spore creature that looks like it though (Spinks) disk, disk, disk, disk – didn’t try any skills, floated a lot (arbitrary) Really fun to chase after (hawley)

Chosen: see a lot of them, was a bit.. male for me (arbitrary) too many of these around already (spinks) The armour looks amazing, but is a bit too kerrazily baroque for my liking (hawley)

Marauder: if I was going to be a chaos-boy, I’d be a marauder, it’s like playing dolls with exchangeable arms (arbitrary) Must get a free “Target Hawley” button. Died to these boys *a lot* (hawley) Arrrgh, naughty tentacles! (spinks)

Dark Elves

Witch Elf, wearing first grey drop

Witch Elf, wearing first grey drop

Witch Elf: it was awesome, the first grey drop I got was EVEN SKIMPIER than her starting gear. She still has more clothes on than Gisele in this months Arena though… (spinks) Slut! hrrm, where did that witch hunter go again? (arbitrary) Surprisingly distracting in combat. Change video details to “low” when fighting them (hawley)

Sorceress: spell list sounded cool but her skirt just hangs wrong. didn’t like the look (spinks) she looked bored at me, I got annoyed, elves and me just don’t connect (arbitrary) Squishy (hawley)

Disciple of Khaine: I like the look, but she’s under-fed – seriously! no wonder she looks so mad (arbitrary) dual wield, yay! (spinks) Second most likely to tempt me to the dark side. The gear looks amazing, and you won’t catch cold in a breeze (see Witch Elf wardrobe) (hawley)

Addendum: Classes your parents would like

  • White Lion – who doesn’t love a pet cat?
  • Black Orc – he has a plan, and parents always ask what you plan to do with your life
  • Witch Elf – Your dad will play one when your mum’s out. Your mum will play one when your dad’s out
  • Warrior Priest – They’ll bond with the Righteous Fury mechanic on an instinctive level

Confessions of a Cheerleader

I love my Rune Priest. It really does feel like Mythic managed to make a class that hit all the things I like about playing a healer. I get to buff, I get to heal, I even get to do a little damage and hit things with a big staff. Sometimes I twirl my staff and it’s all glowy and pretty. Then I feel like a proper cheerleader! Save the cheerleader…

No, I’m not going to write about why I personally love the Rune Priest. Accept it, I just do. I get to be short, stout, with big braids I’d never have in real life. I get to hit things, to buff things, to zap things and well.. to heal – which is all I ever really wanted from a class. Even the rune dress/robe (when you first get one) is pretty damn cute. I hate dresses, but I would even wear one of those in real life. Not the skullcap though, it ruined my whole braidy look. Bah!

I played one to rank 17 and then one at rank 31 in beta, and both times I just felt at home with the class. It has a nice mix of heals (HoT, fast low heal, longer big heal, bouncy heal), some decent damage (including a couple of AE spells), cool rune buffs and some nice utility bits and pieces, such as an AE knockback which is hilarious in RvR and useful in PvE.

Nothing I discovered in beta changed my mind once I fell in love with the class. It’s perfect for me. I can stand where I want and either concentrate on healing, or add to the overall damage the group is doing. I can berate and nag my groupmates to use the runes I put on them – hrrm, you need an explanation? Ok, think of a rune as a buff with a trigger-able aspect. So I can buff your Strength and Intellect and then every so often, if you click on the buff, you get to do some extra free dps that doesn’t cost Action Points. Master Runes, which are gained via masteries are ground runes, which have an AE effect – I found them pretty useful and used the healing one when me ad my over-powered group were bopping skaven on the heads in the Altdorf sewers, meant I could join in the fight while the pulsing rune kept my group topped up! (of course, if we hadn’t have been so over-powered I would have needed to do some additional healing)

I also mentioned the bouncy heal back at my basic run-down. It’s quite cute. You heal someone and then the heal bounces around healing others nearby. It’s not the most useful heal in the Rune Priest arsenal, but it’s one that I was excited to get and read the description of. Because it was a bit different, not just a single heal or normal group heal. Both of which the Rune Priest has too.

Should you make one?

No idea! Do you like being a dwarf with a neat gyro-harness and dangling legs, and some nifty staff-twirling animations? Then it might be for you. It’s a healer sans mechanic, which means it may be seen by some as a little bit less interesting, but I didn’t find myself bored with it (and I have been bored by healing classes, honest – that’s why I usually play a hybrid).

We’re not as sparkly-pretty as the Archmage, nor can we do their damage. We’re not as furiously righteous as the baldies Warrior Priests, but when it comes to being short, round, and bouncing along the ground – we have it covered.

The class will, by now, already have many guides to it. I’m sure they’ll dissect the masteries and skills quite adequately – if you like numbers and have crunchy teeth, then you’ll happily pour over them and will be able to feed back some info to me. I’m terrible with numbers and I get a little funny about reading descriptions too closely.

I’m happy to answer any questions I can about my time as a Rune Priest, but I really did try and save some things for retail – including detailed opinions on every skill and mastery, until I’ve really played with them a lot.

Onto dwarfs!

We’ve had Gamespy give us some overview of their gametime, we’ve had Massively telling us about elves vs dark elves, now we have Ten Ton Hammer weighing in on the dwarfs vs greenskins, starting with an overview of the Engineer class.

I think I’ve spied the marketing plan here! Have a different site report on different aspects – and how better to do that than with some handy ‘get out of NDA free’ cards. I think it’s well-planned, and works quite well. So who gets Empire vs Chaos? We’ll see.

Of course, all the bloggers and forums will be full of much more meaty reports once the NDA is lifted, but think of these more as tasters that give you a little more info than you got before.

Book Reviews: Heldenhammer & Grudge Bearer

These reviews mark our first forays into the Black Library, novels based in the Warhammer universe. We hope to read quite a few to help us, and perhaps others, get a taste of the rich world the game draws lore from.

Heldenhammer by Graham McNeill

At the heart of the Old World lie the lands of men, ruled over by bickering tribal chieftains.

Set in the time of legends, hundreds of years before the Age of Reckoning, this is the story of Sigmar Heldenhammer, young chieftain of the Unberogen tribe. We follow the epic tale of how he fulfils his vision to unite the warring tribes of his homeland into a single empire. Yes, this is the same Sigmar who is currently worshipped as a god by the men and women of the Empire.

As well as uniting the disparate tribes by means involving diplomacy, wild sex (yes really), and monster slaying, he finds time to pick up a magic hammer from the dwarf king, acquire and lose a love interest, exchange smalltalk with his shield brother, and deal with a traitor who was once a trusted friend. Finally, in order to repel a massive greenskin assault, Sigmar must call on the sword-oaths which the other tribal leaders have sworn to him and lead the men of the Empire to fight alongside the stalwart dwarf army at the Battle of Black Fire Pass.

With all these epic adventurings, there isn’t a lot of time for character development so don’t expect anything deep here. The battle scenes are exciting and well described, and the atmosphere of the savage warring human tribes is convincing. If you’re interested in the history of the Empire and their alliance with the Dwarfs, it’s not a bad way to pass a few hours.

Grudge Bearer by Gav Thorpe

This gold Barundin had dubbed dammazgromthi-umigugalaz, which meant gold that he found particularly pleasing and beautiful because it was from the man grudge

My first foray into Warhammer literature was the book Grudge Bearer by Gav Thorpe, published in 2005. Obviously, from the title, it’s a dwarf-centric book and deals with the life and grudges of King Barundin of Zhufbar as he goes from grudge to grudge, settling each in turn as dwarf life and lore dictates so he can finally seek vengeance over his father’s betrayal.

It’s better written than I thought a game-related book would be, and it definitely gave me a ton of insight into dwarf society and got me quite excited by it all. I loved that the book was divided into grudges, and I felt that it was a great book to start with for some hearty dwarf-lore and setting. From the connection between dwarfs and gold to the strict order of carrying out grudges, and the importance of both the Engineers’ Guild and beer, I learned a lot.

Ironbreakers, Hammerers, Skaven, Greenskins and the Empire all made appearances and there was a particularly icky battle scene between Dwarfs and Skaven inside an old Dwarf mine which definitely gave a sense of what’s to come in WAR. So I’d say a damn good place to start if you fancy playing a Dwarf and want a short, easy-to-read intro into the setting.

spotlight on the engineer

In their series of articles about Warhammer Online, Massively now starts to give us some information on classes in a bit more detail, concentrating on the goblin shaman and the dwarf engineer (I know someone who co-writes this blog who will be mightily interested in the latter!). Since we’re much bigger fans of Order here, I’ll start with the Engineer and what struck me as interesting from the article.

First, backpacks instead of cloaks. Definitely a good idea. Something that many have adopted in LotRO with the cosmetic slots for back items, for some classes a backpack just works better and an Engineer is definitely one of these.

Second, turrets! Flaming turrets, gun turrets and landmines that stealth once placed. Come on, what’s not to love? It’s like having pets that don’t answer back or have pathing issues. They also get a barb-wire net which roots opponents for a few seconds, which adds some crowd control elements to their ranged dps. And best of all, a barrel of ale that has AE heal on it! Actually, come to think of it, this class is beginning to appeal even to me (and I’m terrible at playing both ranged AND dps classes, go figure!).

Ok, so the Engineer may not have the mobility of some of the other classes, since turrets etc have to be placed, but they allow quite a lot of tactics from both sides. As a skilful player, you have a chance to leap out of the way, and as a skilful Engineer you have every opportunity to turn the tide of a skirmish with your tricks.

The article then goes on to cover some of the mastery skills available to Engineers (such as the awesome sounding Snipe), it also glances briefly at the Engineer’s mirror class – the Magus who gets to summon demons instead of turrets (again, I would argue that turrets are more likely to do what you tell them!).

A horse, a horse, my kingdom..

Ah mounts and MMOs.

We all want to run faster, and hitting a level to get a mount – well, that can be a big rush in itself. Then, it’s all about getting the mount, whether it’s quests or cash, everyone needs a mount.

Racial mounts are nothing new, many fantasy MMORPGs make use of them to add to the feel of each race (LotRO being a noticeable exception because of their IP, so it’s all horses and ponies – for the moment ;p). Anyway, Warhammer is no different, and while we may not know what each of the racial mounts is, the one causing the most conversation at the moment is the newly-designed gyro-harness for dwarfs, shown off in the latest newsletter

It’s causing a lot of chat and Greg Grimsby (Art Director) has stopped by the Warhammer Alliance forums to explain the logic behind the choice. Some of it had to do with Games Workshop, some had to do with the fact that previous concepts didn’t live up to expectations lookwise. It’s great to get such an in-depth look at the design issues and personally I think the gyro-harness kind of rocks!

NB: We’re really not just interested in dwarfs here 🙂 Other racial mounts known so far, are listed in HammerWiki, the Dark Elf one was also recently announced in the May newsletter, but it doesn’t seem to have caused so much chatter. MMOLab have some concept art for other races mounts here (but shows the old dwarf one, so you can compare).