Yer Links Look Lank!

We’d mostly like to welcome Stunty Stomper to the WAR blogging community, except he wants to stomp some of us.. nice site though.

New podcast alert!! Destruction Dolls brings a female perspective to the WAR-specific podcasts and is pretty damn awesome. Except for being Destruction, naturally. Go check out the first episode, either through the website or via iTunes and then go leave some feedback.

Destruction Dolls also introduced us to another new blog, detailing the journey one player is making from WoW to WAR. A lot of players will be in this position so it’s definitely worth checking out. And hell, it’s a great blog even if you stopped playing WoW a long time ago, or never played it.

And one more site to mention, even though it’s small right now. Someone has set up Euro-Hammer as a focus for European Warhammer Online. Might be tricky to capture people’s attentions right now, but worth watching.

Casualties of WAR is, in case you’ve not heard of it, a US guild formed by a bunch of WAR bloggers, general MMO bloggers and others interested. Now we in Europe get the prospect of a guild from Rock, Paper, Shotgun – one of our fave gaming sites. Sounds pretty cool, since they all seem like decent people. They’re deciding on Order or Destruction right now. Maybe this is a way guilds will be created in the future – take an already formed community and use it as the basis of a guild.

Spore link time: Famous people create Spore creatures. Pick a celeb, see the charity they selected and vote on whether you like their creature or not.

Antispore.com, real or spoof? Nah, it’s not for real of course. By far the funniest thing about it was that no one was sure

In the wake of ‘Toboldgate‘, we thought this post from Sanya@Eating Bees was interesting. She’s speaking from the PR point of view as to what they expect from a reporter after getting a freebie. (In case anyone is interested, we welcome our freebie overlords. Please send us free stuff for doing what we were going to do anyway!). As for the whole controversy, more like a dull soap opera.

Justin Webb is blogging the run-up to launch day over at Ten Ton Hammer. TTH deserve a hearty congrats for the excellent series of exclusive blogs they’ve managed to get on the site. I’ve loved every single one.

Jeff Palumbo@The Escapist posts about My Life as a Tank. What’s the thrill of getting beaten up while 24 other people look on and cheer? We admire that he added ‘maslows hierarchy of needs’ to the tag list on that post.

Mamma Mia fans will want to catch Singstar ABBA when it comes out later this year.

GameCyte discusses the Psychology of Achievements in games.

Girls and programming, something that should go together I’m sure we’d all agree. So let’s take a moment to celebrate Storytelling Alice – “a programming environment designed to motivate a broad spectrum of middle school students (particularly girls) to learn to program computers through creating short 3D animated movies.” Might go play with it myself.

And .. has the large hadron collider destroyed the world yet? If not, check out this LHC-cam.

The Shallow Players’ Guide to Warhammer Classes

Order

Empire (Humans)

Witch Hunter: gets the coolest sounding abilities, and fab gear (arbitrary) Be the coolest kid on your street (hawley) Watch out, it’s the new romantics! (spinks)

Bright Wizard: got put off when I blew myself up at rank 2 (arbitrary) got put off when I read the list of spells, it’s all fire fire fire (spinks) Got put off by the ’70s glam rock gear (hawley)

Warrior Priest: like the baldness, like the hammer and robe stuff, but having too much fun hitting to heal (arbitrary) too much hassle to bounce around in melee in PvP and heal and try to use buffs too (spinks) Being righteously furious made me bald. If “angry” is your bag, (s)he’s in it (hawley)

High Elves

He IS more useful than you are!

Is he more useful than you are?

White Lion: elves run funny, didn’t last long, forgot I had a pet (arbitrary) The lion looks fantastic, but I got worried people would decide *it* was more useful than I was (hawley) The axe is pretty badass, but lions were meant to be kille^D^D^D^D free! (spinks)

Swordmaster: looks great, very.. stylish whirly technique – quite liked it (arbitrary) Very tempted, looks great (spinks) Loved the look of the swords and shield, but a bit too… tanky… for me (hawley)

Shadow Warrior: pew-pew ninja, very stylish and mask hides the elfy face (arbitrary) Looks great again, but didn’t grab me (spinks) One I’ll probably “explore” at release, but for now I’m just giggling at the hippy-ninjas (hawley)

Archmage: prettiness in a light-show, preferred it to shaman actually, but elves run funny (arbitrary) Best class in the game! heals! nukes! twirls staff! good robe! (spinks) They run funny because they wear slippers. Slippers! Are all probably evil, with their healy-nukey slipper-wearing ways! (hawley)

Dwarfs

Ironbreaker: What’s not to love about a cute girl dwarf with an axe as big as she is. I have this great weakness for tanking big monsters with teeny characters too (spinks) love ’em, just don’t want to be one! (arbitrary) Best thing to follow and heal (hawley)

Rune Priest: the whole package in a rune-y dress (arbitrary) Solid healer type, didn’t like the hat though. The runes look great. (spinks) Great to hang around with, when feeling furiously righteous (hawley)

Engineer: bang, splat, powiee – nothing like batman (arbitrary) We need bigger guns! (spinks) Most fun you can have with your trousers still on (hawley)

Destruction

Greenskins

Shaman: spent far too long doing /special and /cheer, maybe I should have been healing? (arbitrary) Role-playing opportunities abound. Hard to know where the “clothes” stop, and the shaman begins (hawley) It isn’t easy being green. (spinks)

Squig Herder: Spent too long being eaten by squig (arbitrary) Squigs look fantastic. Like vicious space hoppers (hawley) Loved the squigs, not so big on gobbos (spinks)

Black Orc: huuuuuuge biceps dude, bit of a grunter (arbitrary) Be the “straight man” of the greenskin races. Still impressively wide (hawley) He really looks the part (spinks)

Chaos

Zealot: Kind of sexy in a hunched over way, love the skull, preferred RP (arbitrary) You’re never alone with a skull. Class most likely to tempt me to the dark side(hawley) She’s one of those creepy goths who tells really good horror stories. (spinks)

Magus: omg, I love the disk! I kept making her jump around so that I could see the animation where she landed back on the disk and rebalanced herself. The rest seemed cool too but … it’s all about the disk. I can’t get excited about a demon called a pink horror — maybe I’ll make a spore creature that looks like it though (Spinks) disk, disk, disk, disk – didn’t try any skills, floated a lot (arbitrary) Really fun to chase after (hawley)

Chosen: see a lot of them, was a bit.. male for me (arbitrary) too many of these around already (spinks) The armour looks amazing, but is a bit too kerrazily baroque for my liking (hawley)

Marauder: if I was going to be a chaos-boy, I’d be a marauder, it’s like playing dolls with exchangeable arms (arbitrary) Must get a free “Target Hawley” button. Died to these boys *a lot* (hawley) Arrrgh, naughty tentacles! (spinks)

Dark Elves

Witch Elf, wearing first grey drop

Witch Elf, wearing first grey drop

Witch Elf: it was awesome, the first grey drop I got was EVEN SKIMPIER than her starting gear. She still has more clothes on than Gisele in this months Arena though… (spinks) Slut! hrrm, where did that witch hunter go again? (arbitrary) Surprisingly distracting in combat. Change video details to “low” when fighting them (hawley)

Sorceress: spell list sounded cool but her skirt just hangs wrong. didn’t like the look (spinks) she looked bored at me, I got annoyed, elves and me just don’t connect (arbitrary) Squishy (hawley)

Disciple of Khaine: I like the look, but she’s under-fed – seriously! no wonder she looks so mad (arbitrary) dual wield, yay! (spinks) Second most likely to tempt me to the dark side. The gear looks amazing, and you won’t catch cold in a breeze (see Witch Elf wardrobe) (hawley)

Addendum: Classes your parents would like

  • White Lion – who doesn’t love a pet cat?
  • Black Orc – he has a plan, and parents always ask what you plan to do with your life
  • Witch Elf – Your dad will play one when your mum’s out. Your mum will play one when your dad’s out
  • Warrior Priest – They’ll bond with the Righteous Fury mechanic on an instinctive level

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 launch..it 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.

Tanks come from Mars, Healers come from Venus?

Tanks and healers are the two character roles in MMORPGs that don’t really exist in single player games. When it’s just one character against the world, you have to survive the damage, kill the baddies, open the locked doors, solve the puzzles and save the world all by yourself. But in these multiplayer games, you have the option to specialise in a supporting role to better benefit the group.

Even though they are both support-type roles, players have the idea that tanks are more likely to be played by men and healers/support are more likely to be played by women. I wanted to look at whether or not this was true and why people made this assumption, so I started at the motherlode of MMORPG population surveys, Nick Yee’s Daedalus Project. And most importantly, is it likely to be true in Warhammer too or are there other factors in play?

Are there more female healer characters?

There’s no real survey information on this. But my experience is that even male players who usually play male characters may select a female character for their healer. The healing role is associated with feminine characteristics — sits out of the action with a nuturing/supporting role, is often fragile, is looked after by tougher members of the group, wears a robe.

The surveys do show that many people transfer real life assumptions and stereotypes about gender into MMORPGS (eg. treating female toons differently to male toons). And especially for players who project themselves into their online avatars, picking a female toon for a more feminine role might be a natural choice. For the same reason, a lot of people do assume that most women play healers. Even if it isn’t true, healers are associated with the female role.

Actually, tanks are also associated with the male role. Heavily armoured, fighting off monsters, protecting the weaker party members and often taking leadership roles all fit in with a stereotypical male image.

Enough about the characters, what about players?

As part of a general demographics survey, Nick Yee asked players if they would prefer to have healing or damage spells, given the choice. From the link, you’ll see that he’s broken the results down by age and gender. Over all agegroups, women preferred the healing spells and the older respondents of both genders tended more towards healing than younger ones.

He also ran a survey about which players prefer hybrids and which prefer more specialised classes. Again, he found that women and older players preferred the hybrid role. (He doesn’t really define hybrid in any detailed way.) Of course, the players who preferred specialist roles could prefer specialist healers, and not all of the hybrids will be healing. But in the main, hybrids have tended to have some healing ability.

Healers also tend to sit back and take less of a leadership role, how about that?

OK, this is just my assumption. You certainly can lead a group or a raid from a healer, I have in the past, but as a general role it tends to be more reactive than proactive. You wait for people to get hurt and then heal them. You wait for other people to pull and then react. You sit at the back and watch what everyone else is doing, then decide how to best support them.

Nick Yee has an interesting survey where he first asks people if they like leadership roles and then asks if they are guild leaders. What he actually found was that men were more likely to prefer leading but women were proportionately just as likely to be guild leaders. Again, on my experience, being a guild leader is often as much about social and management skills as pure leadership. But what the survey does show is that women are less likely to take the lead when thrown into a group situation (or at least, less likely to claim to enjoy it). This would nudge them away from tanks and towards support classes.

The benefits for social players of playing a healer

Relmstein wrote a great article a few years back about why fewer people play healers. But the rarity of healers and the need for them also makes them a great choice for social players. I know that in WoW I had a very different experience of the game when I was playing a priest. I had invitations for every instance and raid I ever wanted to attend. I never had to look around for a group (this was pre-TBC), they called me! As someone who is primarily social, this was great! Because of the social side, I loved my healer.

Women, who tend to be more sociable, are drawn to healers for these social benefits.

Playing with a partner

From survey results, 60% of women play MMORPGs with a romantic partner. That’s a lot of people. Although some of them, like me, will have persuaded their boyfriends and husbands to play with them, the majority will have been persuaded by their menfolk. When this happens, it tends to be that the person who knows the game better picks their own class first and suggests a good support class to the other one. Since men don’t tend to prefer healing, there’s a good chance that for a lot of these women, the first class suggested to them will have been a healer.

So … you’re saying that women do tend to play healers then?

Well yes. Based on the surveys, more women do tend to prefer healers. But it probably isn’t by as large an amount as people normally assume. Older players of both gender are drawn to hybrids and to healers as well. People also assume without asking that female healing characters are played by female players.

Is Warhammer going to be different?

It could be different and here are a few reasons:

Many of the healing classes are designed to be dealing damage also. You don’t have to choose between one or the other.

Healers may not be in short supply, based on the WHA class survey. If that’s the case, social players may not be nudged towards them so much.

Player base is tending older and more female. More women are playing MMORPGs these days and warhammer may not be their first game. Older players also like to heal and play hybrid classes, and they are not all women.