And, back to English…

[first of all, a quick thanks to my husband for his Russian update! I’m sure we all want to welcome Russian players to Warhammer]

And now, I think I may have added all the new Age of Blogging blogs to the blogroll (how many times can you get blog into a sentence?). If I’ve missed you, ping me a comment.

So it’s time for another read-through with Arbitrary. Fasten your seatbelts, I hear it’s rough out there on the blogsee.

  • Did I mention? I love diagrams, they are the way to my heart. I also don’t like Khaine’s Embrace. Homunculus wins on both counts.
  • Who knew? Choppas make me go ‘awwww’.
  • Ok, I’m partial to blood splatters, I like the banner, I like the layout, I continue to read the posts over at Confessions of an RvR Player.
  • The Wide Eyed Newb is carrying on with the RvR-only levelling  challenge, set by Syp. I wish I had the stamina to try it! I think the problem really is that it confines you to primetime play, and I like to play during off-hours.
  • Iain C – how can you give me a title change just as I’ve been meddling with the blogroll, it may have to wait till next week, but glad you’re safely in Germany!
  • Just awesome.
  • High Magic makes a good point about Realm Leaders – I would hate to try and take on that mantle so I have a deep respect for anyone that does. They know who they are.
  • Valentine’s cards and rhymes at Blame the Healer made me giggle. I might send my husband the Ironbreaker one. Again, I love blood splatter.
  • I hear ya, Syp. And I don’t disagree. The lay-offs suck and added a ton of blah-ness to my day yesterday. Not least because we have a restructure going on at work too. I’m profoundly saddened for the individuals involved. Maybe without this, EA could have saved some money.

Anyway, that’s it for today, WAR fans!

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Where we’re at

First of all, thanks for all the kind words about the blog. We always had a blast writing it. So much so that we couldn’t really just let it rest. In fact, we’ve started some individual blogs that have a wider context than Warhammer Online (Spinksville and Nerf the Cat).

However, that doesn’t mean Book of Grudges is quite ready to rest its weary head yet, and that’s all to do with how many of you have kept stopping by and looking to see if we’re back and writing again. But, the focus is going to change a little.

Instead of opinion pieces, we’re intending to write a lot less regularly and concern ourselves more with the European community of Warhammer Online – where we originally intended the blog to focus, perhaps. So expect comments about what’s going on in Europe a little more, and less on the game in general (though I expect our personal blogs will be more opinion and less community stuff).

And to that end, we’d welcome any submissions, any news tidbits from guilds, recruitment stuff, bragging about oRvR – anything really that reflects what’s going on amongst the European community for Warhammer Online. Pass the message on, I’ll post on a couple of forums and let’s see if we can kick this off!

ps. if there’s anyone out there playing WAR in Europe who’d like to contribute to the writing of the blog, let us know, using the email address in contact details! We promise to check it at least every couple of days!!

pps. it’ll take a little while to do things like clearing up the blogroll and making a start on this new endeavour, so be patient 🙂

Why do I have to get my news from a fansite?

OK, so the game has gone gold and the preview weekend by all accounts has been a great success. Across the internet, a great flock of gamers has woken up and cried out for more information. Questions about the beta. Questions about what to expect in Europe. Questions about how the game plays now and what Mythic are planning to do before launch. Lots and lots of questions. But above all…

Why do we have to get our news from fansites?

It seems to me that Mark Jacobs prefers talking to random fans on bulletin boards to getting timely news updates onto his own site. GOA are the same if not worse. Oh, I understand why. You have to go through boring processes and boring other people to get a website updated. It’s a process and a hassle. With a bboard you just log in and post. And there’s an instant response from (a very very small subset of) fans either hugging you for showing up or chewing you out.

And cool as it is to have contact and feedback with developers explaining their design choices and what they’re working on at the moment, it’s no substitute for getting the news up on the site. (Yes, it is cool, and we do like reading what they have to say … but we don’t want to get our news from the fansites!)

So really, how does Mythic and GOA expect people to use their websites? We expect them to be a reliable source of news on the game. And news relevant to our respective regions. And to make it clear where to get other reliable information. I still think it’s fine not to have official forums but it’s important to be clear on where a fansite is different from an official site. A fansite is a place to talk about the game. An official site is a place to get news.

It looks sloppy and amateurish to have to trawl fansites for the news. And the vast majority of players will not read fansites!

What we expect of GOA

I’m not going to slam the site for being in flash, it’s a minor detail in the general scheme of things. But there’s no news. All they do right now is have a few fluffy articles about EU stuff. No mention of the game going gold, no mention of any of the reviews that are on the US site. (I’m not 100% myself as to whether links to reviews count as news but I’ll give it a bye since it’s interesting to visitors who don’t know much about the game. Obv would be better if they linked to our review but you can’t have everything.)

What they need is for Mythic to put their game related news on a different RSS feed from the US-specific stuff, and have it available prominently on the EU site. That would save people having to type things in twice and would ensure our news is up to date. Please do this.

Both sites also need to put links to the bigger fansites up more prominently. We who have been following the game for a long time know which the biggest forums are. A new player won’t. Do you really want to make them go through the whole list? At least put a brief description next to them. As of 18th Sept, their main job is to cater to their actual players. I’d suggest they’d be better served by a website designed to give them the news that they need.

No NDA lift.. just yet!

Ok, so Mark Jacobs has been stopping by a couple of forums to let us know the NDA lift isn’t happening just yet. You can read his words over at Warhammer Alliance and the Vault. At the Vault boards he further clarifies himself that:

Waiting sucks, I agree but after all the work we’ve put into the game, I’d rather wait just a little bit longer till we get some things taken care of before I lift the NDA. We’ve got an important improvement going into the game next week we hope and if it works out the way we hope, I want to make sure that it’s talked about by the current beta testers. We hoped it could go in this week but it couldn’t so I’m continuing to hold up the NDA lift till its in and a couple of other things are done as well. The lift of the NDA is a rather important point in the development/marketing of the game and especially in the light of some other developers either not ever lifting the beta NDA or not lifting the NDA till launch, I want to make sure that we did it at the right time.

That makes sense to me, actually. Looks like they would have liked to lift it as soon as possible, but they want to get in one last thing first.

And hey, he said lots of news this week, possibly starting tomorrow.

Taking a step back

Spinks suggested that I take a look around the web at more general gaming sites and forums to see what their responses to the big announcements were. Initially I reacted badly, I didn’t even want to think about the stupid announcements until monday when I could have my head straight again.. and I was sure it’d all be ‘WAR sucks, WoW rocks’. But, that’s not quite what I found.

I started over at Kotaku, where I personally go for a lot of general gaming news. Here’s their story on the news. They admit the news is shocking, they say it’s bad news, and they quote Mark Jacobs and they end on ‘all is not lost’. And then I steeled myself and went to check the comments. There’s a really good mix and these are some of my favourites:

I think I would have been more mad if I had leveled one of the cut classes to 40 (max level) just to find out it isn’t fun or useful.

That’s the spirit! If at first you don’t succeed, give up!

The so called wow killer is releasing half a product and expecting to compete?

Mythic is so awesome for always being forthcoming with good and bad changes to the game, and the way they treat the community is top-notch.

Wouldn’t have EA have pushed them to release broken classes and cities in hopes that it would entice poeple, instead of forcing them to do a quality check?.

I haven’t picked ones I agree with necessarily, I’m trying to give an overall picture of the comments. They’re more reasoned than I expected and they come at it without the invested interest we have.

So then I hopped on over to Rock, Paper, Shotgun which I’ve been following for a while and read their story on the cuts. The article takes the approach that it’s just really really hard to come up with a fully-featured polished MMO that goes the world-creating, mass production route and for other studios to take heed. So, hopping on over to the comments, here goes:

Eh. Still looks awesome.

I think Mythic will make an excellent game, but it’s interesting to see the ambition being rolled back so drastically.

I think this is what was happening in WAR – and the fact that they realized that these were, at the moment, superfluous classes that really wouldn’t be fun to play is a very good sign.

I’ve been very positive about WAR, but this has me worried.

I actually kind of more want to play this, now. It’s either a sign that it’s going to poops, or that they’re taking time to do it right. I can’t wait to find out.

Slashdot is more like I expected elsewhere, so I’ll just quote a few to give you the feel for it. I’m sure there are plenty of places around the net that have this kind of reaction..

It seems to me Warhammer is effectively castrating themselves.

Yes, it may be frustrating to people waiting for a Blizzard game, but at least they don’t pull this crap

I do not trust Mythic and especially not Mark Jacobs with my money before I have seen the final product work.

The entire MMO market is saturated right now, with WoW. Those who want to play other MMOs, such as Age of Conan or Warhammer Online will wait indefinitely for one simple reason: they are dissatisfied with Blizzard for one reason or another, and these are the people who are not only just dissatisfied, but will also remain dissatisfied indefinitely.

And that was about all I managed this morning. Did it put things into perspective? Well.. I’m not sure, I’m still formulating my own thoughts really. It was just a nice change to go read comments that weren’t from a Warhammer forum or site (am I allowed to say that? don’t get offended anyone, I love you all!!!). And it gave me a little distance to look at the announcements from.

Mark Jacobs announces cutting out 4 cities, 4 classes

Second part of Mark Jacob’s interview with MMORPG.com is up, and it’s a doozy.

Main points of interest:

  • There will only be 2 capital cities when the game goes live. Altdorf and the Inevitable City.
  • 4 of the classes will not be in live because of balance issues. These are: Choppa, Hammerer, Blackguard, and Knight of the Blazing Sun.
  • Mythic are working with Punkbuster to counter cheats/ hacks etc.

My view is that it’s better to leave those things out for now rather than putting them in the game in a flawed version. But that won’t be much comfort to people who had their heart set on playing one of the booted classes.

“We tried,” Jacobs said, “we tried to see if we could make them better and we just couldn’t make them great. So we had a choice. Do we put in some non-great careers just because they are iconic, or we cut them out and put them in post-launch if we can get them right, or do we not put them in at all?”

Speaking about his relationship with the community, he adds:

“We’ve always believed that it is important to go to the community with both good news and bad,” he said. “Whether it’s the state of the games, or just talking in the forums, we’re professional enough to confront bad news head on and not try to hide it and not try to play games and wait until the last minute when people have already bought the game to tell them. We will not play those kinds of games.”

This is, however, good news for a possible September release. As Massively.com said a few weeks back, one of their concerns was whether the other cities would be ready in time. Well, that concern has now been addressed.

Answer me these questions three, ere the other side you see

Over the last few weeks it feels as though we have had a deluge of news from Mythic about Warhammer Online. There have been lots of articles on Massively and tentonhammer, we’ve seen stories and interviews in PC Gamer, the forums have been buzzing with reports from people who have seen the game demonstrated at Games Days (most recently Toronto), and of course the blogs have been analysing and responding!

So what’s left for them to tell us? Here’s a roundup of the main things we still don’t know about the game, so expect announcements on any of these topics to be met with the usual feeding frenzy!

[Feel free to add to the list in comments and we can try and keep it revised!]

Dates

  • When will they drop the NDA?
  • When is the guild beta?
  • When is the ‘open’ beta?
  • When is launch?

Classes

  • News on classes which haven’t been demonstrated yet at Games Days, particularly melee dps
  • Which classes will be single gender? White Lions? WIll they change their minds on Chaos Chosen?
  • (Syp) skill lists, full mastery trees

Zones

  • News on cities we haven’t seen yet
  • News on new zones
  • More information on PvE and dungeons/instances
  • How much is left to do?
  • (Syp) Living city ranks and rewards

Servers/Launch Info

  • What server types are planned for launch?
  • Server names (this will probably be as the pre-launch happens)
  • Will there be a pre-order scheme for the non-CE version?
  • How much will it be to play?
  • Will there be family accounts?

MIscellaneous

  • How well does large scale PvP actually play?
  • Will the game have Team Leads like DAoC (and will Europe have their own)?
  • Hardware requirements (what hardware will you need to run the game)?
  • (Syp) Guild ranks (and rewards)
  • (Syp) Renown ranks (and rewards)
  • (Malavar) Game lighting
  • (Unwise) Faction balance (specifics)
  • (CoS) More about the Tome of Knowledge
  • What happens when higher levels group with lower levels?