WCPI (again)

I’ve been remiss in my linking. I know that, this blog hasn’t always been at the forefront of my mind. But I do still read up everything people are contributing about WAR, and the various forums, and for that reason my WCPI contribution for this ‘period’ can only be Warhammer Alliance.

I’ve had some issues with Warhammer Alliance in the past, I don’t think we need to go into those. But, the site has truly become a fan haven, and has gone from strength to strength in terms of community involvement, and producing original content that truly worth reading. It’s become an information hub more than a series of forums.  And its front page is now one of my primary stops on the net, and I read all the articles before I even consider heading to the forums.

More to read, crack on!

PhoenixRed has done us proud, and in the spirit of the WCPI, I want to bring attention to his post over at Warhammer Alliance. The article touches on the history of GOA and Mythic working together on Warhammer Online, when Mythic have made changes and GOA haven’t been able to do much except play catch-up and opens up a dialogue with WHA readers about the whole EU/US split. Now, you know this has been on our minds since the game first opened, and we’ve certainly not been shy about how we feel about it. But it’s nice to see it brought to a wider audience.  So I fully suggest going to read it and commenting, so everyone can gauge the importance of this to those of us in Europe.

Another post that caught my attention recently was over at CDN Dragoon, and takes a moment to sit back and examine the game, and to list pros and cons. It’s a worthwhile exercise we should all really carry out. Better to whine as well as recognising the good things about the game than just sit and criticise.

You have till monday night to join Bugman’s starting-over group over at Karak-Hirn (EU). I’m tempted, but I suck at commitment and I’ve promised my time to a couple of psycho Slayers!!

About the WAR Community Promotion Initiative

The WAR Community Promotion Initiative, or WCPI for short, is a player-wide effort for WAR fansites, blogs, forums, and other WAR community efforts to cross-promote and expose content to everyone who visits them. Members of the WCPI regularly promote each other on a regular basis through links, spotlights, and other features. If you have a WAR site and you’d like to join, check out the WCPI thread or PM PhoenixRed over at Warhammer Alliance.

It’s fun to be in the W.C.P.I.

The Warhammer Community Promotion Initiative was recently set up by those crazy folks over at Warhammer Alliance. It’s a natural progression from the Age of Blogging and helps WAR community sites and bloggers by exposing them to a wider, or different audience, with the help of a little cross-promotion. I’ll add the category WCPI to the blog, so you’ll be fairly clear when there is a WCPI post. But truthfully, I’ll only be focusing on things I’d probably have linked to anyway in one of my little linky updates!

So, to kick it all off, what do I want to bring to your attention this week?

Well, I thought I’d start with a blog I’ve literally just discovered: Grace of Sigmar.

Ahisma plays a T3 (soon to be T4) Warrior Priest on the Praag server, and only started blogging this month, so totally deserves a bit of a spotlight for only just missing the Age of Blogging. Of recent articles, I found his thoughts on scenarios made me think, because I haven’t done that many scenarios for a while. And I agree, joining ‘in progress’ scenarios truly sucks.

Head on over and give him a big welcome to the Warhammer community! I’ll put a link in here also. And keep an eye out for all WCPI blogs and community sites. It’s a fun and inclusive initiative and always on the lookout for more members (if interested, check out WHA, or leave a comment here).

Changes and reading

Ok, first – changes to the sidebar. I’ve taken out the RSS feed from the Warhammer Herald in the US and replaced it with a bunch of WAR-related twitter feeds. You can now check out the latest from Andy, James, the WAR Herald, Josh and Paul on the right-hand sidebar. Go me! (Also means I can un-follow them, sneaky, huh?).

Secondly, GOA have posted another guide in their series. This time to being a guild leader. It’s a sore topic for me at the moment, but I enjoyed reading the guide – go read it and let me know what you think. I like the idea and I like that they’re adding these guides, it’s a bit of extra content that people seem to be overlooking a little. Yes, we all feel we know these things, but still, not everyone is as old and jaded as some of us (thankfully!).

Thirdly, Phoenix Red over at Warhammer Alliance is undergoing a fab experiment. To play Warhammer Online using the community to determine things. They’ve already voted for a class to play, server type to play on, how to xp (ie. scenario, PQ, oRvR) and he’s got his first report on the game up now. The speedy levelling and variety of Warhammer allow these kinds of player-run achievements (which is what I think is really going on here). It’s a bit like Syp‘s challenge to level in RvR only. Maybe we’re getting a bit stir-crazy and looking for ways to make things more fun by giving ourselves some limitations… but it’s definitely something worth reading over at Warhammer Alliance.

Fourthly (do we ever go to fourthly), Nic has put a little update on how things are going on the European Test Server on the Freddyshouse forums. Head over there to read it in its entirety, but this bit made me laugh:

Other things that were popular are the new /sit /lie and other new emotes, but this was probably more due to the fact that there is currently no way to get up again after doing them, they’re also still possible while mounted. Hilarity ensued. Hey it’s called a TEST server for a reason .

New York, New York

Didn’t make it to New York Comic Con? No need to fret, as Ariwyn has put up her experiences over at Warhammer Alliance

Also, keep an eye on Ten Ton Hammer, as they were there getting exclusives also.

Brief notes include: advanced mounts, news on Land of the Dead, Slayer/Choppa info and footage, and lots of comments from Jeff, Paul and the rest of the team.

Crazy Sunday. Where do we go from here?

Yesterday was a disaster for GOA. The Patcher was down; the Authentication front end went down; the Authentication back-end database fell over; the Connection between the front and back-end was dodgy; Communication for most of the day was dire to non-existent. And even if they get it working today, they’ve lost the confidence of most of the fans who were hyped enough about the game to want to try the Open Beta in Europe. It’s not good enough and everyone knows it. The fact that the US side had been running relatively smoothly is only going to make people here feel even more like second class citizens (I hate that phrase but expect to hear it even more now).

It is true that the game servers have been running smoothly in the EU, for those (mostly CB testers) who were able to access them. This is A Good Thing. Just it doesn’t tell us much about how they will run under a higher load. Hopefully we’ll know more about that by the end of the week.

Make no mistake, the people who decide to give EU WAR a miss based on that experience will not mostly be buying US versions. It’s a hassle to do that from here. They’ll just go play something else. Some will let other people be the guinea-pigs for the first couple of months and then decide, others won’t look back. I don’t have the heart for a full-scale rant, like Arbitrary I’m just very disappointed.

WHA also comes out of this very badly indeed. Aside from being hammered into near-oblivion, it became such a hotbed of teh crazy yesterday that even MJ commented on the general level of nerd rage and I think we know where he was reading it from.  I know I’m not going back to WHA unless I have no choice now, Freddyshouse was a relative beacon of civilisation in comparison. And much as I love the guys there, that isn’t a phrase I ever expected to use in anger. I would advise everyone who found WHA to be a madhouse to check out other forums — there are perfectly viable alternatives.

So:

1/ GOA screwed up. Their current latest update from their CEO (see previous post) says that the authentication database issue still isn’t solved. There was a note from the team earlier that they planned to let the DB chunter through the backlog and then close it down for maintenance with a plan to be running again late Monday morning. We’ll see.

2/ If you don’t like the tone of one forum, pick another. News will get around.

3/ Game servers are running fine if you can get authentication sorted out. We will have to see how they run under a heavier load.

4/ There’s a full week of Open Beta left to run. It’s not over until it’s over. If they can fix this and prove that they fixed it, it’s not an unrecoverable situation.

5/ Try primal scream therapy. It’s free.

6/ If you read down to the bottom, you deserve a tip. War Lions can now be named. It’s /petname <name>

Post-Preview

Mark Jacobs has been speaking about the Preview Weekend experience, mostly to disuss the problems that came out of it and what they’re doing to fix them. They include: client crashes, pathing issues, pet responsiveness and global cooldown as well as some other stuff.

In addition, Josh Drescher has taken part in a Q&A over at Warhammer Alliance which answers some recent questions:

  • Auctions houses and final trade skills are planned to go in before release and are being worked on internerally
  • Stability is one of the main things being worked on
  • Performance is more important than the graphics
  • Open RvR ruleset being worked on with the Elder testers, including the chicken mechanic on such servces
  • Estimated wait times for scenarios is being tested now
  • More character customisation options being worked on
  • For launch, there will be around 40 unique trophies per career

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.

Moderation issues at Warhammer Alliance

WHA is a great site and probably the most popular community site for Warhammer Online, but it’s had some real issues lately, just at a time when all the communities are looking forward and thinking about the influx of people they expect when the game goes live. In the aftermath of several long and very flamey threads (not to mention bannings, thread nukings, arguments with various devs, and opinion pieces that read more like personal blog rants than community representation) at Warhammer Alliance, Garthilk lays it out in a state of the nation address at WHA.

Previously it had been announced that the forum rules on this site were going to loosen in some areas and tighten in others. I want to make the expectation perfectly clear however, that after closer review, the largest majority of change has to do with the tightening of the forum rules. The volunteers and moderators of Warhammer Alliance are going to be more closely examining the content of posts and their value in the community. This invariably means that a few people will soon find themselves unable to post at Warhammer Alliance.

I’m sure we’ll all be interested to see what he and his team come up with as rules for their moderators and forums.

It’s an interesting balance to try to keep. On the one hand, you want to encourage posters to share their thoughts. On the other, you want to stop people from causing pointless fights and making the atmosphere in your community uncomfortable for other posters. Plus you want to keep a lid on wild and unsubstantiated rumours. And also you want to try to stay on good terms with the official representatives of the game/s you discuss.

The only answer to this is clear rules, and sensible mature mods who understand the community they are moderating. It may be true that:

The forum rules at this site are rather unique in that they are based on a foundation of principles.

Perhaps rules based on principles are not what you need to run a service for this many people, from so many different cultures. I can’t really comment on whether they are unique since I’ve never read the forum rules for any forum I have ever posted on. But the point is not that the posters have to read the rules, it’s that the moderators do…

confused.war

There’s some confusion currently about the Collector’s Edition (CE) vs Standard Edition (SE) benefits with respect to access to open beta and headstart. Fans are getting hot under the collar, especially in long incendiary threads at WHA, at the idea that pre-orders of the standard edition will have access to open beta and headstart because many had expected those would be CE exclusives.

Being centered around European Warhammer Online (which sounds as though it isn’t planning to give SE pre-orders access to open beta), I’ve looked through the thread trying to clear any confusion for us. Mark Jacobs lays it out pretty clearly (PO = pre-order).

7) In Europe, the plan is for the OB to invite the CE POs customers but the SE POs will not get a special invitation.

Then in answer to further questions about the EU situation (his answer is in non-italics):

Hold on? Eu players who Pre-order the Standard Edition WONT get into the OB and Headstart?

They will get into the HS but not a guaranteed slot in the OB as far as I know.

Well, we need to hear from the GOA guys for a definitive answer. And there’s time for people to cancel their pre-orders or switch from a CE to a SE if this new information changes their minds. I did assume that only the CE would get the open beta and headstart and that was an incentive for me to want it (um, though I’m actually getting it as a delayed birthday present, so maybe I’m not feeling it as keenly as others). I think it was confusing but am glad Mark Jacobs has stepped in, taken the flak and let people know what the deal is.

Do I mind a short open beta? Not immensely, I think it might protect people from getting too invested in beta chars or from seeing too much. LotRO’s open beta was pretty short too, but enough to get me hooked to buy it! So if WAR’s is short, that’s actually cool with me (I bet they’re relieved to hear that!).

The headstart thing? I’ll live if all pre-orders get it, whether collector’s or not. Might make some of our earlier posts a bit out of date, but still means those initial servers will be full of people who’ve been waiting to play this particular game enough to pre-order it at all. And it does mean at least one good thing, not everyone in on the headstart will be wearing the same collector’s edition head!