The Bitterest of Rivals

The Grab Bag on the next live event is up and active and makes for some fairly interesting reading for those of us who’ve been too lazy to keep on top of the news about Bitter Rivals.

The event will last a week, as opposed to the two weeks for Heavy Metal, and for those completing it and gaining early access to the Slayers and Choppas, access will start the day after the event. The event will start the same day as 1.2, so, assuming a normal pattern we’ll have it the day after the US.

Interestingly, one of the questions covers what rank you need to be to participate (any), under the pretext of asking a question from people planning to return to Warhammer… let’s hope there’s plenty of them!

Anyway, there’s lots of little details and hints about ‘awesome’ new titles (really, can a title be awesome – or just awesome until you find a better one? Especially if half the server has it!). It’s well worth the read and one of the more edifying grab bags out there.

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Quantum of Linkage

First up, this month’s WAR grab bag from Mythic. This one is a winner, it discusses zone control in detail and how zones become locked at Tier 4. They also list all the renown rank titles for every race (holy crap, these things go up to rank 100??) and have some screenshots of female Knights of the Burning Sun and Blackguards just to prove that yes, Mythic have found artists who can draw kickass female fighters in plate. Oddly enough, while male Swordmasters ARGUABLY look a bit girly, the female Blackguards look like male impersonators. And if you want to try one early, they confirm that the Heavy Metal daily quests will be soloable, quick, and available to characters at any rank.

Mark Jacobs stops by the Vault boards to update on the Public Test Server and point out some more tweaks being made (for tweaks, read buffs/nerfs depending on your archetype). Also says the PTS due to go live this weekend, update mentioned at A Wall of Text, which alerted me to it.

This is an old (but interesting) article I found on Gamasutra about design issues with hybrid classes.

Wendy Despain talks about video games that bark (a bark is the slang for the words that an NPC says randomly when you click on it.)

In the category of ‘I couldn’t make this shit up’, the US army wants to try out its AI in MMOs. As if Barrens Chat (old WoW dino joke) wasn’t bad enough.

Gary Gygax’s favourite Christian charity refuses donation from GenCon because of its association with D&D. Here’s a cartoon about it.

If you can’t beat it, tax it! China is going to impose a tax on virtual goods income (ie. gold farming, among other things).

That last link reminded me of a cool story about Michael Faraday, who explained the importance of electricity to the prime minister of the day with the insightful comment, “One day, sir, you may tax it.” Read it and other stories about famous scientists here.

Just in time for the Christmas rush, Square-Enix open a European random stuff store. So now you can have those plastic models of Sephiroth and Vincent Valentine to do funky fangirl things with at last. And if your fanfic is good enough, you might even get a job with them!

Here’s a WoW link in preparation for the expansion next week: Jame’s Guide to Death Knight Levelling (55-61). This is for people who want to do it the most efficient way possible.

Bit late for the US elections but here are a couple of links:

A funky typographic summary of this US election campaign. (nb. site is safe for work but the URL isn’t, go figure).

And another interesting typographic fact, last Wednesday was only the fourth time that the New York Times has used a 96 pt font for the front page.

Campaign gossip, courtesy of Newsweek and the Huffington Post. This one made me laugh though:

The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for the Democratic primary debates, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”

Vote for your favourite US election candidate in Spore.

For everyone who is enjoying seeing their opponents (political or otherwise) weeping sweet sweet tears, this is John Scalzi’s recipe for Schadenfreude Pie

Grab Bag and Other Links

Let’s start with the grab bag. This is a regular Q&A session on the Herald. In this edition, there’s some discussion of high level armour sets which include sets obtainable from both PvE and PvP. The highest tiers of all come from PQs in city sieges and don’t even think about attempting to slaughter the opposition’s NPC leader unless you are well kitted out. The Greenskin sees this as a WoWesque gear treadmill but I remember how hard I had to work to get my warrior geared for heroics and am just glad that I can do the vast majority of WAR endgame without any special effort at all. The Archmage in the picture has a better looking robe than mine, I have robe envy. But doubt I’ll ever see that one.

The grab bag tip is:

If you’re a healer and you want to make the most of earning Renown, heal those around you who seem to be doing the most damage. The system encourages grouping with others and/or keeping the top killers alive, so if you do so, your healing Renown will flow!

Edited to add: One word can make a difference in a statement. It’s important for healers to group, and to heal everyone in your group, not just the damage dealers. Of course we never intended to suggest ignoring everyone else!

It’s a sound tip on how to currently max your renown as a healer. You will get more renown if you focus on healing the damage dealers. Of course, your team is more likely to actually win if you heal other people too … like that friendly tank who is guarding you and punting witch elves away.


Gamepolitics reports that a women in Japan has been taken to court for ‘killing’ the avatar of a guy who jilted her. It sounds as though this is a hacking charge, and nothing to do with the character being someone’s property.

And on the same site, reports of a Japanese diet website where you can subscribe to get regularly nagged about your weight by a virtual wife. Or you could just … actually get married and be nagged by a real one.

Apparently the new Puzzle Quest AI doesn’t cheat. I didn’t personally think that the old one did!

The big MMO news this week is that Bioware have announced that they are working on a Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. Gamespot have an article summing up the main points of this week’s press releases. Rock Paper Scissors sum up my reactions too: companions sound cool, how much single player do we want in MMOs, and when did Star Wars stop being about the films? If you want to keep up with the Star Wars news, you can sign up for the newsletter here. And in case anyone was in any doubt, Bioware have said explicitly that they have WoW firmly in their sights.

Massively have an interview with some of the SW:TOR designers. They’ve split it up into several parts/ articles so that they can comment on specific pieces.

In WoW, there’s a big zombie event going on at the moment as a precursor to the upcoming expansion.

First GrabBag! How do guilds and cities level?

The Grab Bag is Mythic’s name for the monthly Q&A/FAQ which they used to produce for Dark Age of Camelot. And they’re doing the same thing for WAR. This month they are answering some questions about how guilds and cities gain levels and whether having a lot of (inactive) alts in your guild will hold you back.

There’s a copy on both the Herald (US) and the GOA site (EU) so check out the one for your region, they also include a couple of region specific Q&As to do with account details and bug reporting. I’m not sure where the Oceanic ones are covered, guessing on the US site.

And now.. the newsletter

With thanks to one of our readers, cb, who forwarded me hers to read!

  • The newsletter starts with the news about release date and pricing
  • As of 28th August, European players will be able to pre-order the regular/standard edition of Warhammer Online and receive headstart and in-game bonuses
  • Almost all of the European CEs have been reserved, but there are still some left
  • The second WAR trailer is due out on 19th August and will be shown on MTV and Game One after 5pm. After the debut it’ll be available on the European WAR website as well as at the Games Convention in Leipzig. ps. it’s over 5 mins long!
  • The Leipzig Games Convention is on 21st August and the WAR stand has 360m2 of space devoted to it. Iain C, Jeff Hickman, Paul Barnett and Mark Jacobs will be there, offering prizes for puzzles and challenges.
  • Mythic is returning to its name of Mythic Entertainment
  • Links to E3 coverage
  • Intro to Gunbad (dungeon in Badlands) with three wings, each with three PQs, as well as instanced wing bosses, as well as a big boss once you’ve completed all three wings
  • Guild beta opening and what’s being tested (all pairings through tier 2, mounts, etc)
  • Little overview of Rune Priest and Squig Herder (yay!)
  • Screenshots of some named NPCs and some more generic ones (ie. bankers)
  • Grab bag on the Magus
  • Screenshots, beta journal, podcasts, and Paul’s video phone blog as detailed below

Because it was forwarded I didn’t get to see the pics included. But that’s a quick summary for now!

July Grab Bag — The Magus

The Vault and Freddyshouse boards have been selected to get some questions for July’s Grab Bag, which’ll be all about the Magus. So if you have any burning questions on-topic, head on over and ask away!