Sneaky Peeky

Just a quick post before I head off for work, Mark Jacobs has given a sneak peek of patch 1.2 over at the Vault boards, which includes the following highlights:

1) Bugs: I’m certainly not going to list 500 bugs/issues here, but the list is rather lengthy and right now bug fixes alone are coming in at about 16 pages of notes.

2) New Careers: Two new careers have been added, the Slayer and the Choppa. For those that got a look at the Choppa during Beta, you’ll see some changes and improvements but the Slayer is all new and ready to take the field for the first time.

3) Combat and Careers Adjustments: Lots and lots of bug fixes, adjustments and tweaks to all careers. This Balance patch focuses on addressing a number of global issues identified by the players that have been affecting the overall feel and balance of the game. This includes items such as Resistance stacking, Disorient effects, and Damage Absorb shields. In addition to these more global changes, we continue to work on each individual career addressing many of the more significant balance concerns and bugs brought up by the community. This includes a focus on the following careers; Witch Elf, Witch Hunter, Chosen, Knight, Black Orc, and Swordmaster.

4) Realm vs Realm: RvR is introducing several great changes including the new Open RvR Rallying Cry, Zone Domination System, and Siege Weapon Improvements and more!

5) Items: Itemization improvements and fixes for Gunbad, Bastion Stair, Lost Vale, Fortress Raid Rewards, City Invasion Rewards, and more!

6) Crafting System Improvements: Overall improvements to the system with Apothecary being the focus of this patch. New ingredients, improved interfaces and more.

7) Public Quests: Easy PQs for Tiers two, three, and four! This completes our first pass at the Easy PQ system and we will continue to review and tweak the system as necessary. As we have already done for Tier One, we have gone through the PQs in each Tier and made sure that at least one per chapter can be completed by 1-3 people.

8. New Live Event: The Bitter Rivals event will be launching with this version as the official kick off for the anticipated introduction of the Slayer and Choppa!

9) New Scenario: The Twisting Tower Scenario will be making a special preview appearance!

10) User Interface: Lots of UI improvements for both old and new systems! These improvements cover everything from crafting to RvR.

11) Mail: Send multiple items attached to each mail! Easily one of our most requested features by the players.

12) Client Stability: Continued improvements to the client in the areas of stability performance and visual quality. Improvements to an MMO’s client, just like the server, are ongoing and these will continue now and in the future to be one of our priorities.

Head over to the Vault and participate in the discussion!

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1.05 – on its way

Mark Jacobs has stopped by the Vault boards to offer a sneak preview of patch 1.05, a seemingly bigger patch than I think any of us expected before 1.1 hits in December. It’s apparently over 17 pages long, and more news will be coming later today – US players will also get a chance to see the changes first on a preview server. I’m not even going to ask if the EU gets the same.. I think we khave a vague idea of the answer. The highlights of Mark’s post mention:

  • Public Test Server (as mentioned above)
  • Morale abilities fixed to show proper timers and fire off at the right times (glorious change, will see though!)
  • Rally points at every warcamp, soon allowing multiple bind points to make travelling to and from the action faster and less annoying (we approve of less annoying)
  • additional gold bag at all keep takes (those classes that do well at keep contribs, be happy!)
  • fixed problems with abilities or animations not firing or ending. Also fixing the ‘ability not ready’ message to synch in with global cooldown and not display if time remaining is less than GCD.
  • more solutions to afks in scenarios – which honestly, we’ve not seen so many of since the last rounds of fixes, but hey, it can never be a bad thing to stop people doing it!

And:

All classes have had some abilities buffed and some abilities have been debuffed a bit. For example, the Squig Herder has gotten 30+ adjustments to its abilities. Out of those 30+ adjustments, the phase “damage has been increased” shows up about 80% of the time. As part of this update, the team has looked at every career in the game and made adjustments. Things such as Electromagnet, Fire Cage and snares/roots in general have drawn particular attention from the team and have had numerous changes/fixes made to them. Of course, where major changes have occurred to the careers a free re-training has been offered. Tomorrow’s notes will detail all of the changes and considering that the career changes are about 14 out of those 17+ pages, I think you can say that we made a whole lot of changes.

So expect many changes, I’ll be interested to read the full notes but wanted to give a quick preview before I head off for a very very long day at work!

MJ also relents enough to give Vault readers a quick preview of what is in store for Electromagnet:


Electromagnet: The cost has been reduced significantly. The cooldown has been increased. The build time has been increased. The ability can no longer be cast on the move. The pull-in maximum number of targets has been decreased and can now be defended against.

There’s also some clarification on the Public Test Server over at Warhammer Alliance – it’ll be up for periods of time only, when big changes need to be tested by as many as possible.

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!

Renown for healing

Every healer will have noticed this week that renown for healing in scenarios has dropped since the last patch/hotfix. What used to happen was that you got some renown for any healing that you did. What happens now is that you only get renown if you heal someone who recently killed (or was involved in killing) a member of the enemy team.

In practice what I see if I mostly heal is that I get renown that’s roughly on par with what tanks get, which still doesn’t address the issue of dps being way more rewarded but isn’t as actively ‘omg mythic hates healers’ as you might be led to believe.

So the current scheme makes the optimal renown bearing strategy for healers:

  • dps as much as you can
  • get into a group with as many dps as you can and focus on healing them while they kill

It also used to be a bonus for other players to have healers in their group because it helped them earn more renown too. Now it’s better for them to have the minumum of healers in group so that they can stack dps. And hope that some of the other healers in the warband are decent chaps and chapettes who will heal out of group even if they don’t get rewarded from it.

We’re not big on optimal minmax points gaining here, we just want to play our characters and help our team to win in the best way we can. And none of this is going to make a big difference to the way we play. We’ll just be aware that people who follow more optimal strategies, even if they play empirically less well, will get better rewards. kiasa has a great post on why individual performance style rewards never work out – I think it’s truer to say that they work, but rarely as planned.

And in pursuit of that better way, Mark Jacob has a thread up on The Vault discussing the experience he’s had playng a healer this week and asking for feedback on healer issues with renown. Go fish! (He’s playing a warrior priest by the way to try out the playstyle so you could probably give feedback on that too.)

State of the Game

As promised, Mark Jacobs has made his State of the Game ‘address’ over at the Herald, meaning you no longer need use the one over at the R1ft!

Because you should really go and read it all in detail, I’m only going to quote a few highlights:

WAR is doing fabulously.We are one of, if not the, fastest selling MMORPG out of the blocks and we are also one of the most highly rated MMORPGs of all time.While the game is off to a great start, we still have a long way to go before we can declare WAR a major long-term success

I couldn’t leave out a quote that had ‘fabulously’ in, or Hawley would be mad!

Having done that, we can now move on to what we are going to do over the next couple of months, culminating with the release of patch 1.1 later this Fall.

Let’s start with what we know is some truly exciting news. ’m happy to announce that in December, the Black Guard and the Knight of the Blazing Sun will officially be part of WAR. We have very special plans around their appearance and in our next newsletter we will provide full details about that exciting and rather novel event.

Yay, that’s good news, and not entirely unexpected, but now we have a timeframe…

We will continue to enhance WAR’s mail system until it is one of the best mail systems found in any MMORPG.

Ah good, maybe time to get in my suggestion that guild invites should be able to be done via in-game mail!

In 1.1 (and beyond) we will be doing a myriad of things for our RvR players, including improving gear drops, increasing drop rates, and implementing an RvR-influence system to compliment the current PvE-influence system.

Interesting, but will reserve judgement! That said, it’s not like I won’t be RvRing, so it all helps!

Other changes for 1.1 include major additions to the chat system (item linking and more) as well as continued work on our targeting system, including adding Main Assist and Target of Target. n addition to the server balancing methods that have worked so well over the last week, we will also be offering the first server transfers to our players to continue to help even out the server populations…

Yay for main assist, I hope it gets to us before big changes in December. And yay for item linking in chat so I can show off my uber thing of thinginess! (that I got through my RvR influence, of course)!

The Combat and Careers team has spent the last month looking at the changes that they want to make with an eye towards making improvements and buffs, not removing or weakening abilities. I won’t go into details here but the vast majority of careers all have nothing but love coming their way.

Who doesn’t like love?

MJ Followup Interview with Eurogamer

Following Paul Barnett’s comments to Eurogamer earlier this week, Mark Jacob called them for a quick ‘damage control’ interview where he explains that EA is really really good at distributing games and it’s not true at all that they don’t know anything about MMOs. The EA Online Store hasn’t been doing an especially good job on distribution but we’re not inclined to argue the point since our CEs arrived in the post today.

He also discusses the launch, how Mythic expect realm populations to pan out and what sort of plans they have up their sleeves if adjustments need to be made (he mentions the idea of a renown bonus for the weaker side).

He also notes that in the first 24 hours of headstart launch, they received 0.5 pieces of feedback per server. A cynic might wonder if that meant that the feedback system wasn’t working, but actually I know it was because I reported a minor graphics bug and got an email acknowledgement.

He also predicts that it’ll be a few weeks before any capital cities get attacked. It’s a good interview, go follow the link.

Massively interview with Mark Jacobs

Not to be out-done, Massively also have an interview posted today. This one is with Mark Jacobs (Mythic VP and Lead Designer of WAR), and he talks about launch, his hopes for WAR, how DaoC influenced the RvR design in the new game, and his blog.