Links! Is it links you’re looking for?

The timer is ticking and people are starting to think about their plans for guilds. There are a couple of guilds connected with bloggers (and blog readers), both US based. So check out Casualties of War for a Core RvR based guild, or Keen’s Happy Fun Guyz guild for an Open RvR one.

Twist-It Logic ponders why the majority of people on the Casualties of War forum have a preference for Order, a change from previous polls on other forums.

The Cogworks is thinking up some mottos for the different classes. Wizards and Wenches has a few suggestions also.

Syp@Waaagh discusses how people choose between Core or Open servers, and why there’s so much name-calling involved. Snafzg@The Greenskin is still deciding – or, has decided!

Waaagh also has some suggestions for new WAR bloggers.

Sales Predictions are another big topic. Tobold kicks it off with a guess of between 1-2 million sales this year. /random explains why he goes for the lower bound of 1 million sales. Syncaine guesses higher at 1.5 million. Stropp gives a detailed explanation of why he estimates between 1.5-2.6mil sold by the end of 2008. Fuel for you guys, Paul says there’s been 130k pre-orders (and that the game is going gold next week!)

Elsewhere, Iain C makes us jealous with his notes and pics from Campus Party in Valencia, Spain. I note the availability ot T-shirts, and consider this a moment. I love T-shirts!

And the info continues to trickle in from websites given the opportunity to report before the NDA is lifted. Here’s Massively on the first Dark Elf quest (spoiler alert). And Ten Ton Hammer on Rune Priest masteries (no new info) and the Squig Herder ones (I don’t think this is very new either, sadly). However, Ten Ton Hammer has written a short update on Ekrund, the dwarf starting zone which is more interesting than the class overviews.

Warhammer Herald news – North Americans and the Oceanic people (not from Lost!) can now go enter their codes. It seems not only the CE people there, but also the first 50,000 SE people can get access to the preview weekend, of which we’ve heard a little. I’m wondering if Mythic realises how confused some of this has been, and when we’ll hear from GOA what’s up with our codes and stuff. Ah yes, they do realise it’s confusing!

And talking of news from official sites – if you’re in Europe (well, UK, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden)and you get MTV, you might catch some teasers of the new Warhammer cinematic. Here’s dates and times. Or you can wait until after Leipzig’s Game Convention and see the whole thing!

More on the Simon Parkin/Paul Barnett conversation that we linked to in our last links, less of a war of words now, more an exchange of ideas. Always good to read Paul’s thoughts though.

And, finally, we’ve all read about the Blizzcon ticketing nightmare (too many people wanted tickets, the site couldn’t handle it, it was a bit of a PR mess), well.. wasn’t going to mention it, but Joystiq’s use of the Wrath of the Ticke-Ting deserves a mention!. Oh, and while on the subject of World of Warcraft – was it hacked?

moar links!!!111!!!!

The Brainy Gamer wonders why industry keeps making so many shoot-em-up games.

Mark Jacobs comments on current plans for server types. Open RvR servers will be present as well as Core.

Classy Gamer explores the decision to remove some of the tanking classes from the game and pleas for their return.

Ten Ton Hammer talks to Erik Mogensen, Licensing and Acquisitions Manager for Games Workshop about the future of tabletop gaming in an MMO world, and Warhammer in particular.

Iain C, Community Manager for WAR in Europe ponders whether MMOs are more like massively single player games these days and looks at the importance of soloing as well as group play.

Keen’s interview with Mark Jacobs can be read in full over at the Vault.

So the Mythos Beta has been shut down. Not really a surprise, but it was a fun little game and we hope it returns someday.

At The Vault, RagingMarauder has a thread for people to make their predictions for launch. I see lots of predictions of people taking a day off sick! And Linuxx has some good advice on that:

never waste a sick day on a never is worth it…maybe in a day or so after launch then get sick.

Coffee-lovers check out Oliver Shwaner-Albrights New York Times coffee blog. In an interview on the Mr and Mrs Smith blog, he discusses where to get the best coffee in London.

Massively’s latest articles on Warhammer Online are all grouped together here. They include articles about UI customisation, open groupings and RvR.

Josh Drescher mentions the upcoming appearance at Comic-con, while Paul Barnett goes a step further and lists a few events he has on his schedule, including Comic-con, Develop Brighton and PAX. We’re, meanwhile, still preparing for our trip to Games Day UK!

At Warhammer Conflict, they have a Focus Discussion: Solution to Gold Farmers

Another week, another set of guild highlights on both official pages, and features profiled guilds and some info about guild advancement. Here’s a link to the EU one.

Do we really need different server rulesets?

One of the questions asked at the Q&A session at Games Day Baltimore was about different server types:

Q: “We all know that there are, uh, PvE areas and RvR areas in every zone, but given that war is everywhere are there any plans to have server rulesets where there are no PvE areas and everything is an RvR area?”

Jeff: “Not at launch.”

Stepping carefully through the floods of tears of the guys who have convinced themselves that this means their dark elves will have to engage in winsome country dances with dwarf lasses when they should be murdering each other, this news makes me very happy.

All it means is that there won’t be open free for all PvP in every zone all the time. In particular, people will be able to choose when they PvP. Starting areas won’t be constantly camped. You might even be able to get to your trainer without dying 17 times.

But it’s a game about WAR and that means you want to kill the other side, not quest alongside them.

What does the (current) community have to say about this?

Opinions are mixed. In general, the people who played DaoC or EVE are in favour of the single server type. The people who mostly played WoW are not.

James (Community Coordinator from Mythic), drops into the Vault to note that server type plans aren’t finalised yet.

On WHA, a lot of players are concerned that separate rulesets would fracture the community.

Epicone@WHA also started a thread to discuss Core Ruleset doesn’t equal Carebear

The Appeal of Open PvP

It’s exciting to level in an environment where you have to watch out for other players all the time. But in a game where it’s possible to level purely via PvP, the people who want to do that can already do it. I’ll be amazed if there aren’t quests and PvE type content out in the PvP zones also.

But it is key to the idea of open-PvP that it isn’t optional. It can happen any time, any place, anywhere. There is no safe area. If you know where the other realm’s favourite questing spots are, you can go and attack them there. You can jump on people who aren’t trying to PvP. In practice, on WoW’s PvP servers, this has made some favourite levelling spots into no-go areas.

But if world PvP is readily available and the game is fun and lots of other hardcore PvP players are around, how many people would find it a total showstopper to not have the option of an open-PvP server? It will be a small minority. The vast majority will settle for the single ruleset.

That doesn’t sound great – why should anyone have to ‘settle’ for anything? Because splitting up the community is worse. And in the long run, keeping the community vibrant and non-segregated is the best way for the game to grow.

How about RP servers?

I’ve enjoyed playing on RP servers. I’m not a hardcore RP type, but I like to be able to charge into battle yelling “For the Horde!” from time to time without having my own realm fall around laughing at me. I like being able to walk through a city and hear RPed conversations, it makes the place feel more ‘alive’. I like not having to see character names that are wildly out of place in the setting. Plus RP servers tend to get a more mature playerbase, for whatever reason.

Although this can split the community, the RP community does need to stay together because they need people to roleplay with. But they don’t need a different ruleset.

So it’s fine for these guys to just designate a RP server and let the playerbase decide if they want to play there or not.

A Single Server Ruleset

WoW made the mistake of splitting up the player base pretty hard on this issue. They compounded it when they introduced server transfers by saying that you can never move from a PvP to a PvE server. Players saw this and were nervous of having their choices limited … so a lot of people play on PvP servers who don’t enjoy it but wanted to be with their friends, or didn’t want to get stuck on a server type that might limit their options for raiding guilds.

A single server type keeps the community together. Yes, there will be hardcore PvP guys who will leap enthusiastically on any fight that’s going. Yes, there will be cautious players who don’t seek out PvP so enthusiastically or wait until they have friends around. But they will all be playing on the same team, may even be in the same guilds/armies, and will all be playing the same game.

That means that if a player nervously heads out to the PvP zone and is ganked, they’ll be able to call on the more hardcore PvPers in their own realm to come help them take out the gankers. It’s not like being ganked on a PvE server (or having your quest giver NPCs ganked, more likely) where you already know most players don’t prefer PvP because if they did, they wouldn’t be there. So the PvPers get their fun fight, the original player gets some payback, the gankers also get their fun fight, it’s a win-win scenario.

This isn’t purely theoretical, it’s how PvP and the single server type worked in DaoC. (Yes, they later introduced open PvP, and fully PvE servers but they weren’t particularly successful.) Personally, given the choice I might have picked a PvE server, but I would have missed out on some of the most fun gaming experiences I’ve had in a MMORPG.

Warhammer is all about building server communities out of different types of players. Public quests and huge PvP battles all encourage the hardcore and the less hardcore to play side by side. I hope people don’t feel forced to play on a server type they hate just to be with their friends. I hope Mythic have the guts to stick with the single server ruleset. Anything else would be selling the community short.

Does it matter whether the decision is made before launch?

It matters a lot. Theoretically, of course Mythic could decide later to launch an open-PvP server or three and all the players who really wanted a wild-gankfest would go there. In practice, people like to stay with their friends, guilds, and communities. Communities on the servers will start to form as soon as the servers go live and early access begins. (Players are always at their most sociable when no one knows anyone and few cliques have formed.) So some players would go to the new servers, but the majority wouldn’t make it their new home.

If Mythic do decide to go with a single ruleset, they need to make it very clear that this is the case and there are no plans for alternatives. Otherwise people may wait for the open RvR servers before they buy the game.

So watch out for more news from Mythic on this as we get closer to launch.