Death (well Capture) of the Emperor

Congrats to the Third Realm Alliance for taking down Karl Franz on Karak Eight Peaks.

For those interested, they’ve posted a pic of the loot here, but more importantly, there’s also a video up:.

And, finally – a picture of the poor old boy captured in the Inevitable City.

Even though I’m an Order gal through and through, am mightily impressed at this awesome European feat, and hope for many more!

My First Fortress Attempt

A prominent Order guild on my server made the call for our forces to march on Caledor and push to the fortress. It’s exciting to see all these guilds come together and really push a singular goal. The anticipation is exhilarating, and much of the reason I wanted to play MMOs in the first place. This wasn’t my first fortress push, but it was the first that I was able to see it to the end… or so I thought.

When we reached the fortress, it was relatively easy to make our way through the outer and inner doors. What first struck me is the scale of the structure. It’s massive compared to the keeps I’ve been sacking. However, I was disappointed to see that while huge, the layout is relatively the same. In fact, know that I think about it, all the keeps layouts are the same! Did the armies of Warhammer only use pre-manufactured keeps from Germany or something? Next it will be Ikea interiors!

Anyway, after blasting through the doors we made our way up the first flight of stairs. We assembled at the base of the final single staircase as we faced with “The Infamous Tankwall of Doom!” For those of you unfamiliar, defenders of keeps generally form a “U” or actually more like a lazy “J” at the top of the staircase. Then their healers and range dps sit back rain death on the attackers and love bolts to the tankwall. Because of line of sight issues, it is very difficult for the attackers to heal their front line while also attacking the defending tankwall. Tankwalls often lead to stalemates, and I find them very frustrating. While attackers shouldn’t be able to just steamroll over defenders, these situations just aren’t very fun for a video game. Mythic seems to agree and has said they are planning to add additional staircases to keeps and fortresses. However, I’m disappointed to see this most welcome change missing from the 1.2 patch notes.

Finally, the call came, “PUSH!” As I made my way toward the staircase my computer was wheezing like an old man after playing the All Priests Over 75 Indoor Five-a-Side Football Match. There were probably about 100 or so players involved in this fortress battle, but it’s pretty bad still to have 3.3Ghz Core2Duo with 4GB of RAM and a kajillion other leet hardware brought to it’s knees while on the lowest graphical settings! As I stuttered my way over to the staircase without warning something got me, and I was deaded. Unfortunately that was the end of my fortress experience.

There are many negative things I’ve read about fortresses on the forums, and I have always taken that negativity with a grain of salt up until now. Mythic really does need to do something about the performance of their game. They keep saying they are improving it, but something in their engine altogether needs to be striped out and replaced. They need to add more ways for attackers to assault keeps and fortresses. We need destructible walls, ladders, and other siege equipment to make the experience more dynamic. And the biggest issue for me, they need to make these keeps and fortresses more varied. I think they have done an excellent job making each zone varied from one another, but the keeps have fallen short of this. What if keep lords where in a basement instead of the top? What if the structure wasn’t a keep at all, but maybe a holy shrine or a den of vicious beast?

There needs to be more variety in open RvR keeps and fortresses, it must perform well on the average gamer’s computer, and their needs to be more options in battle so that gameplay doesn’t become a repetitive tankwall versus zerg. Otherwise, I think the Warhammer end-game will become boring and stale all too soon for some.

The Tortoise and the Hare

I was chatting to a friend over IM this morning (if you’re awake at 5am-8am UK time, and ever want to chat, let me know!), and he’s interested in trying out LotRO. He asked me a question I was totally unprepared for:

can you recommend a site that tells me how to power level? 

I was quite taken aback by it. Why? Because to me LotRO just isn’t a game that you ‘powerlevel’ in. The main reason I enjoy LotRO is because it’s set in Middle Earth and it’s beautiful and they’ve done a great job with it. Plus I have a fantastic guild there, and friends I’ve made through the game.

Now, I’m first to admit I have a faster levelling pace than some, but it’s never my goal to level as fast as possible (except maybe when alting!). I simply have more time than most because I only work part-time, so I tend to level a bit faster. But in LotRO I just went through quests, ground through traits I needed, did instances with friends, PuGs, guildmates however many times we all needed them for class items. I completed the epic books.. and through all that I levelled pretty fast. But I never entered the game to discover the endgame and that served me fairly well, because content at the higher levels wasn’t as great when I reached them as it is now. And there’s still not many raids or instances that are for ‘endgame’ chars. The appeal remains the world of Tolkein and the way Turbine have created it. And monster play has been a very welcome excursion that reminded me I enjoy PvP.

Back to my time in WoW. And to what I hear now about WoW. The levelling curve has been reduced massively, all the interesting stuff is happening endgame, which has led to a generation of MMO players who feel that achieving endgame is the goal, and levelling is the pesky bit in-between that you have to go through. It won’t be too long before WoW allows you to create higher level chars, I imagine (as DAoC did, though you only got to skip the first 20 levels in DAoC).

I prefer the non power-levelling model, I have to say. I like to not feel rushed to complete content, even though I know others, when playing with me, think I go at too fast a pace. I guess we’re all comfortable at different rates and we all know what it’s like to be rushed, and yet frustrated someone else is levelling faster. But that’s still not the point here. Being rushed isn’t even the same as power-levelling.

To me, power-levelling is skipping content to get to the endgame. Now currently, from all I’m reading, in WAR the endgame seems like it’s mostly RvR, open field and city sieges with the occasional dungeon and exploration. That’s a never-ending battle, as it should be. I’m sure there will be people who try and get as close to rank 40 in the headstart as they can – the advantages to that are what.. a little fame for having done something first?

And then some empty scenarios while the rest of the server catches up.

If WAR’s endgame is open field RvR, scenarios, keep takes, city sieges, dungeons – well, I can do a lot of that at rank 1 (obviously not the city sieges and dungeons), or to take a less extreme example, I can do a lot of it as I level through the game. At tier 2 we get keep takes, and that’s fairly early on in the levelling cycle. So they’re feeding us the ‘endgame’ throughout. Worth bearing in mind!

Personally, I’ll continue to play at my own pace, faster than many, slower than many too. I pay for the game, I intend to enjoy as much of every aspect of it as I can!