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!

Keeping faith with the warhammer lore

Using an established setting/IP has worked brilliantly for MMORPG manufacturers. Star Wars Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan, World of Warcraft — all of them have invited people to come play in a world which they already know from books, films, or other games. And rumour has it there’s another Star Wars MMO in the pipeline from Lucasarts/Bioware also.

Warhammer is an amazing IP. Mythic hit the ball out of the park (note: american idiom cos I is so cosmopolitan) when they cosied up with Games Workshop on the deal. It’s long-established, well-supported and the demographic is teenage boys, a lot of whom have gone on to play computer games but remember the setting fondly. It was designed for RPGs and wargames and provides lots of atmosphere and opportunity for player conflict. Or in other words, the main point of warhammer is to give flimsy excuses for large armies to fight each other. Warhammer and PvP were made for each other.

Working with an existing IP isn’t easy though. Everything you write has to be checked and OKed by the guys who own the setting. Everything takes a bit longer. Sometimes they will step in and say no. Sometimes they will surprise you by saying yes or making suggestions you hadn’t thought would fly. The games manufacturer needs a close relationship with the IP owner. They need lore nerds on the development staff! (I remember reading that Turbine had at least one staffer who spoke fluent elvish!!)

And sometimes, you have to go and ask nicely if the lore can be bent or twisted just a little bit. Why would you do it? Well, sometimes your players will want to do stuff that isn’t a big issue in the original media. In this case, the demographic for MMORPGs is different from the warhammer playerbase — it’s older, there are more women. Mythic also wanted more keep sieges and PvP set ups which would be difficult to reproduce on a tabletop.

So female dwarfs go in, and all over the community forums, you’ll see threads asking for more female options (I bet Games Workshop can count on one hand the number of times they’ve been asked for more female models). Keep sieges go in.

We need the lore nerds to keep us honest and tell us all about the amazing setting that we’re getting to go play in. But we need the developers to be listening to what the community wants and knowing when to stretch the old lore too.