Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Keep Upgrades and a PQ Proposal.

If you don't check the Herald obsessively like I do, you might have missed some juicy news bits that Mythic has released over the past few days. Namely, first details on a Keep Upgrade system and while not on the Herald, Adam Gershowitz posted in the official forums regarding a planned change to the GTAoE spell system. These changes have potentially game-changing ramifications. Let's start with the official word:

For the full release, here is the Herald link. 

One of the first new things will be the addition of a Guild Broker, who is the Upgrade Merchant. 

Here is the Upgrade window. As you can see, you can upgrade Keep Doors, spawn new NPC's and access more amenities for your keep. the quick list and explanation is below:

        • Door Hit-Point Increase: Hit Points are upgraded 20% per upgrade Rank, up to 5 Ranks.

Door Repair Merchant: An NPC that sells door-repair wood.

Guard Numbers: More guards for your Keep by 2 guards per Rank, up to 5 Ranks.

Patrol Guards Upgrade: Upgrades all patrolling guards to Champion-level guards.

Static Guards Upgrade: Upgrades all stationary guards to Champion-level guards.

Standard Merchant: An NPC that sells guild standards.

Siege Weapon Merchant: An NPC that sells Siege Weapons.

Healer: An NPC that cures death penalties.

Banker: An NPC that allows players to access their Personal Vault.

Guild Vault Keeper: An NPC that allows players to access their Guild Vault.

Skimming through the list, you can already see some tasty upgrades. The Door HP upgrade is staggering; up to 100% more HP! Combined with some other upgrades, this alone can be a huge factor in a keep defense. The Guard upgrade is nice, but warbands tear down champs pretty quickly, so the effectiveness may be debatable. However, if a smaller wb tries to attack what appears to be an undefended keep, the Champion Guards would probably slow them down enough for defense to arrive. YMMV, of course, this is just theoryhammering. 

Some of these new NPC's seem a bit dubious, though. Adding a Healer NPC that cures death penalties sounds odd. To my knowledge, in a Keep siege, when someone is resurrected by a player they don't suffer any death penalties as is, so having an NPC to do this sounds extraneous at best. Also, you can purchase Ritualist NPC's that will heal or lifetap, to aid in ground-floor defenses. I'm also mildly confused as to having bankers in the keeps. It's a convenience, sure, but using a guild recall scroll and running 10 seconds to the bank isn't that much of an inconvenience. More interesting is the Guild Bind NPC, who allows guild members to re-spawn inside the keep. This would definitely help on the defensive side, especially if in the middle of battle your healers are too busy keeping tanks up to rez you. This would save you the run back through potentially hostile territory. 

While the bulk of the upgrades seem to be geared towards the defense, Mythic is also adding a resource called Ordinance that can be used by the offense. This resource is collected and traded in for items including:

  • Rams that have double the Hit-points of standard Rams.
  • Ballista that do twice the amount of standard Ballista damage.
  • Self-only Oil Immunity potions that last 30, 60, or 90 seconds.
  • Caltrops which place a small PBAoE Snare/DoT field on the ground.
  • Dynamite that is a direct-target DD plus a knockback, which can be used against players or siege weapons (deals double damage versus siege weapons).

Some nice stuff there, I especially like the Caltrops, which I would use to catch stragglers sneaking into the defense through the postern doors. Quite often, unless you have a large group camping the posterns, it's hard to kill someone before they can make the sprint to safety, unless you outnumber them 5-1 and can insta-gib them on sight. As a melee class, I really like the potential of this. 

So far, the new content seems skewed towards defense, which arguably is already in the superior situation. Many players argue that trying to take a well-defended keep is an exercise in futility, that it only feeds the defenders free renown. I hope that we will see more news down the road that will make things slightly better for the offense. An idea I read was to implement a "tunneling PQ" for the offense. This would actually be great if implemented properly. Here's how I see it: 

   • At designated locations on the outer wall, there will be an damaged or broken Dwarf/Greenskin earthmover. Which is surrounded, either by large groups of defending mobs, or smaller groups with Champion defenders. The offense is tasked with acquiring Ordinance and using it on the broken machine, while fending off the mobs, who respawn at a regular rate.

  • The machine has to be receive a certain amount of Ordinance in a certain time limit, or else the PQ resets. The goal is to keep the mobs busy while others gather the resource and use it to "repair" the machine. Once fully repaired, the machine will tunnel for 10 seconds and when finished, the mobs despawn and there will be a clickable tunnel or cave graphic. Players can then click on the tunnel and spawn on the other side of the wall, similar to using a postern door. 

The advantage of this design is that Mythic doesn't have to redesign terrain or anything like that. They just add the broken siege engine, spawn in some mobs, and code the PQ. Afterwards, you can have a basic cave graphic to click on. Failing that, just spawn a clickable pile of rocks and earth in place of the siege engine and on the opposite side of the wall and there you have it! 

I think I'm going to write up a separate article on the AoE changes, as this is in danger of being a bit too long. In any case, what do you think about the upcoming changes?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

No Arenas, Please.

A few days ago I was reading the dev chat transcript over at Wizards and Wenches and something just jumped out at me. One of the questions was regarding implementing Arenas into WAR, to which one of the devs replied "definitely possible". More recently, Snafzg over at The Greenskin gives a rundown into what features he would like to see in a Warhammer Arena system. Yesterday, this article over at Wowinsider.com states that Arena participation is down a whopping 65% from last season! I consider myself strongly anti-arena, not because I don't like to compete, but because there is no real way to ensure balanced competition. Below, I'll go into my reasons for my stance.

• No such thing as an even playing field. The very nature of an MMO means that it is an constant state of evolution and flux. With real class balance being more of a moving target than an attainable goal, an MMO can not sustain truly "fair" competition. Every patch changes the dynamic of the game, classes rise and fall in effectiveness, etc.

• RvR in Warhammer is based around large-scale pitched battles. Of course, there is also quite a bit of smaller group pvp, but the niche that WAR ascribes to is massive pvp. Thus, the classes are usually balanced around a group role, taking in to account that they will be part of a larger force. You can't have large-scale pvp as a balance goal, then rebalance around small-scale arenas. Blizzard made this mistake with Arenas, and the repercussions are still being felt. If massive battles are the goal, don't dilute the vision by trying to be all things to all people.

• Arenas breed the "e-sport" mentality. While e-sports certainly have their place, most games that support competition at the highest levels of play, usually follow a certain design. I'll go into this more later, but one must remember that there is a reason the "pro" gamers only play certain types of games, namely FPS's, RTS's and 1-on-1fighting games. Also from a community standpoint arenas are more divisive than they are uniting. With all the posturing and e-peen comparisons already going on the community, can you imagine how much worse it's gonna get when you get inter-faction pvp? Hardly conducive to realm pride. I'm against cross-server scenarios for this reason as well.

• WAR just doesn't need another "thing to do" right now. While WAR is in great shape overall, it has its fair share of issues. Tier 4 still needs work, the players are clamoring for AoE to be toned down, ALL careers need their fair share of nerfs, buffs and tweaks. End game City sieges underwhelm many players, more polish needed in late/endgame etc.etc. Many players feel Mythic needs to work on current problems, before potentially introducing a host of new ones with an Arena system. Lets get the game to a much more stable point, before rocking the boat again.

Traditionally competitive games are based on the premise that the game rules are laid out, and static. Characters, weapons, maps etc, can all have different characteristics, but within the game, these characteristics never change. There can be a multitude of variables within a game, but these variables will be consistent. For example, let's look at Ryu from Street Fighter. He has a horizontal projectile, a leaping anti-air punch, and a spinning kick that travels across the screen. Each move has some variation, for example the projectile can be thrown at different speeds, but it never leaves the preset height at which it travels. And so the challenge is to utilize these moves with maximum effectiveness whilst minimizing their risks. Other characters have their own moves, with their own attributes. In Counterstrike, the guns all have different rates of fire, stopping power, etc. But every player has an equal chance to earn and use the different guns. In an MMO, nearly the entire game is based on modifying how the rules apply to your character. This is done by altering your stats via gear, leveling up, learning new abilities, etc. And so, short of modifying how gear and abilities work in the arena, a true balanced and fair playing ground is not possible.  Lastly, reread this article if you have to. Read the comments. That's a pretty good argument right there.

Of course, this all assumes that WAR Arenas will follow the WoW example. For all we know, it might be a casual thing where people can just try out new specs and tactics against different opponents. This type of arena I wouldn't mind at all, but I think WAR needs more issues addressed before we add something else to the mix.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Quick Reflection on Open RvR.

Yes, I know. It's yet another blogger going on about his own personal take on ORVR. Yes, I'm gonna do my own. Okay, for those of you who are still here, here's my deal.

Since rolling a Slayer, I have been more involved in ORvR than I have ever been before. Normally, I PvE first, with scenarios added into the mix. My goal has always been to hit rank 40 in the most efficient way possible. This time around, I've been playing a LOT of ORvR. I'm glad my server has a nice healthy population that can support multiple wbs going around taking keeps and BO's almost every night. I've been having great fun these past few nights running around and participating in lightning sieges or frantic defenses. The other night, in Fangbreaka Keep, my warband was involved in an epic defense, we had capped the BO's and sieged the keep as quickly as we could, but destro got into the keep just as the lord went down. What followed was an intense defense with our wb holed up in the lord room, trying to survive against what seemed to be 2-3 times our number of destro. Amazingly enough, everyone followed orders, and we blocked up the ramp with a tank wall, while Slayers and other dps cut down any who were foolish enough to try to break the tank wall. This went on for a good 20-25 minutes, constantly beating off destro assaults. In the end, we were overwhelmed, and they pushed us out of the keep, but we made them pay for every inch of ground with their blood. It was very 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. 

Enough about that, here's my observation:

ORvR is great. RvR Influence rewards are great. 

Separating the Influence by tier and having rewards bound to that particular tier you have max influence in, not so great.

My problem with this system is that unless you have a lot of time to play, you will find that during peak times, the ORvR action tends to take place within the same pairing most of the time. Which results in you getting full influence in one paring pretty quickly, while struggling to get any in certain pairings. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that by the time I max out influence in multiple pairings to get the items I may want from that pairing, I'm pretty close to leveling out of that tier, unless I start real early. My current situation is that I'm doing a lot of RvR in the Dwarf/Greenskin zones, but the elite reward is not something I particularly want. However, no one seems to want to do much in the Elf or Empire zones. 

I suggest that instead of dividing the ORvR Influence by pairing, they could either consolidate all ORvR Influence by tier. So that instead of say, Dwarf T2 Influence, you would only have Tier 2 Influence. Also, this would allow Mythic to let you pick and choose rewards from all the pairings. So instead of grinding up three different bars, you would only have to do one, which would open up all the rewards, instead of having to grind out pairings individually. To balance this, I'd let them slow the rate of influence gain a bit, perhaps by 15%. Getting inf 15% slower would be a worthwhile tradeoff for having access to the rewards from every pairing.

That way, you could gear up slightly faster and still have some ranks left to actually use your new gear before you level out of the tier entirely.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Multiple Characters with Limited Playtime.

I'm nearing 20 on my Slayer, having just hit 18 this morning. I feel sort of bad, since I haven't been playing my Shadow Warrior lately, being caught up in the Slayer mania. Usually about this time, I start to feel an itch to play an alt. Of course, this is also strongly influenced by the talk in the forums I am a regular poster on. Recently, the topic has shifted to Chosen, and how badass they are. So now, I'm itching to play a Chosen again. This cycle has already occurred several times, and each time I end up rolling another alt. This accounts for my Witch Hunter, White Lion, Shadow Warrior, Knob, and Warrior Priest. Yes, I know I have a problem. On destro, I had this happen to a much lesser extent. I only seriously tried out a Black Orc, Chosen, Blackguard and Marauder. I also quit playing characters because of weird, niggling complaints that really mess with me mentally. For example, I quit my Chosen because I didn't like the way his shield or two-hand sword clipped through his armor. Also, some of the graphical effects turned me off with how "bright" they were. Ravage, for example.

Anyway...I'm rambling again. Back to the erstwhile topic. I really want to rank up both my SW and my Slayer, but I have less time to play. I like to play my Slayer during prime time in the evenings, since the most ORvR goes on around this time. Also, scenario pops are much quicker. So it's a lot easier to get RvR in between quests. I really want to rank my Slayer up as quickly as possible, so I can play more with my guild at T4. But I also don't want my SW to fall by the wayside. From an efficiency standpoint, whichever I play, I need to play at night. I  enjoy the change of pace from melee to ranged. At the same time, I can't help but feel that I'm not getting the full experience until I hit at least rank 26 or so, when more Mastery abilities are available to me. Sometimes I wish I could skip leveling, if only so I can start trying out all those theroryhammered career builds on wardb. Alas, this can not be the case. First, I have no interested in powerleveling, and second, WAR is a game that really rewards investment in a single character. It's no accident that the character you play most ends up with the most tome unlocks, titles, gear and gold. 

I guess I'm just overanalyzing this. I should just shut up, play what I feel like, and have fun with the game. It's the min-maxer in me talking. I guess its because I have less time to play that I want to make the most efficient use of my playtime. This post has rambled enough, so I guess I'll cut it short for now. If you are still reading this, I thank you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Book Review: Dark Storm Gathering.

This is my first book review here at GnM, and as such, you may expect spoilers in the review. I may mention plot points, and I will also be comparing the book to its predecessor, Empire in Chaos. Consider this your only spoiler warning. 

Still with me? Good. The second novel based on Warhammer Online, Dark Storm Gathering (DSG) manages to surpass its predecessor, Empire in Chaos (EIC), in certain areas, while still falling short in others. DSG is written by Chris Wraight, who also penned Masters of Magic and the upcoming Iron Company for the Black Library. I'm not familiar with Mr. Wraight's writing, being more of a fan of Dan Abnett, or William King. His writing style is quite verbose, and he likes to use adjectives a lot. I counted no less than five of them in one sentence. He has a solid grasp of characterization however, and he has definite potential. To me, he comes off as trying for a pulpy, Hammer-horror movie type of feel, but he's not as good at this as C.L. Werner. However, he's a relatively new author, so this is something that will improve with time. As I said earlier, he does a good job of characterizing the heroes and villains of the piece. Bright Wizards, Witch Hunters, Chaos Chosen, Dark Elf Sorcerers and Disciples of Khaine are all present, along with a White Lion, Archmage, and Knight of the Blazing Sun. However, such a large cast means that some characters are better fleshed out than others, simply because the book is only so long. Also, like the novel Empire in Chaos before it, the character careers in DSG do not fit the game versions perfectly. Indeed, some characters are so far off from the in-game version of the class, that it seems that the author decided to hew closer to the official lore, than the game background. Ordinarily, this is not a problem, except that if you played the game before reading the book, you will wonder why certain careers are so different. It seems the author decided to try and mix content from both the original lore and the game, and I'm not sure I like the result.

The biggest example of this is the Archmage, Artheris. In the game, Archmages, or AM's, are considered pure healers that utilize a hybrid mechanic for damage and healing. They are excellent healers with adequate, if a bit underwhelming offensive abilities. In the book, Artheris is portrayed as a powerful mage, skilled in diplomacy and battle magic. No where does it mention her healing skills, if any. Elves in the Warhammer IP are usually very powerful, but the character of Artheris is exceedingly potent. At the book's climax, she is shown fighting, and ultimately defeating a Lord of Change. By herself. In sharp contrast, the AM ingame is nowhere near capable of "soloing" what is equivalent to a Lord-level spawn of Tzeentch. It's a bit jarring, especially if you have no prior experience with the Warhammer IP and are coming straight from Warhammer Online. 

Other characters fare a bit better, Annika the witch hunter uses an ornate pistol, as well as a short sword and dagger. It should have been a rapier, but I'll chalk it up to creative license. It's more accurate than Udo the witch hunter, from Empire in Chaos. Udo uses a mace and crossbow, in addition to his pistols. The Knight of the Blazing Sun in both books is described fairly accurately, with Karl from EIC being a more fleshed-out character. The Bright Wizard, Alexander, has powers that are very close to both game and original lore, and fits the role of the reluctant protagonist very well. In an interesting twist, the White Lion, Morgil, loses his war lion near the beginning of the action, and in his vengeful fury to track down the killer, he is equivalent to a White Lion character that uses the "Loner" tactic. Loner increases the damage done by a White Lion that does not have his lion with him. This may or may not be intentional on the authors' part, but it's a cool little detail that WL players may appreciate. 

On the side of Destruction, the biggest inconsistency is Kalia, the Disciple of Khaine. DoK's are melee healers ingame, they do consistent heals and have a pretty decent offense. However, Kalia is not shown to use any healing abilities, save for a potion that she uses to speed her healing after a battle. Also, she uses neither swords nor chalices. Instead she uses daggers, so it's like some weird combination of a DoK and Witch Elf. The Sorcerer, Malek, is spot-on and accurate. Now the Chosen, Jhar'zadris, is described as being immortal. Which, lore-wise makes sense. The main gripe I have is that he uses a warhammer, instead of a sword or axe. 

As far as the plot goes, it occurs a short time after the events of EIC, but before the Elves and Dwarfs have fully committed their forces. The witch hunter Annika Bohringer, accompanied by Dieter, a Knight of the Blazing Sun, is investigating the lands of Lord Grauenburg in Reikland.  They are following a trail of corruption, and believe a Chaos plot is coming together on Grauenburg soil. Alexander the Bright Wizard is tasked to deliver an important cipher by a Celestial Wizard, who is the last survivor of a Chaos attack. Meanwhile, the Elves are sending the first wave of their forces to Altdorf, led by Archmage Artheris, and her bodyguard Morgil, a White Lion. The Dark Elves are also setting their plans in motion. Kalia Uthorin is sent to assassinate Malek, the Arkaneth Sorceror, in order to eliminate Arkaneth influence in Altdorf before the Dark Elf offensive. As all this occurs, Jhar'zadris leads a Chaos vanguard south, to Grauenburg lands as Tzeentchian cultists enact rites there to bring a great daemon into the world. Somewhat predictably, all these characters eventually meet in their disparate quests in time for a desperate last battle against a great evil that has been summoned into the world. Cue the desperate battle at the book's climax.

Predictable? Yes. It is the same plot sequence that most "epic adventure" movies and books use. It is however, an effective plot, if a bit cliche. My main issue with this book, and the one before it, is that they are not Warhammer Online books. Both novels are based on the game, yet both fail to stick close enough to the game's source material. Instead, they are mishmashes of ideas from both the original IP and the game. If you are coming from the tabletop game and lore, then the books come off better. But if you are a lore novice coming from the game, then certain characters and powers in the novels make no sense. Seeing an Archmage solo a Greater Daemon of Chaos is jarring if you only played the game, where AM's can be killed by a still breeze if they aren't careful. The other Empire careers come off much better, but the DoK seems more like a better-armored Witch Elf. As someone who is familiar with both the original IP and the game, I'd much rather the author take some liberties with the content. If only so that the characters resemble the careers from the game more closely. As it is, it tries to take the middle road and in doing so pleases no one. Well, that's a bit harsh. I'd say that if you were reading the book from as a fan of Warhammer lore, you would find it to be competent, if a bit predictable. But if you're a fan of the game, and this novel is your first experience with the original Warhammer IP, you may be disappointed.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quick Slayer Impressions.

All right, just hit Rank 11 on Khazgar. Here's a few quick personal notes on the class:

1. Zomg DAMAGE! This little ball of fury really puts out the dps, whether is be dual-wield fury or with a hefty two-hander. The AoE is great too, when you get a small gang of these guys together and toss out AoE in a coordinated manner, people die. I think this aspect of the class really shines, kudos to Mythic for giving us the capability to be "linebreakers" We break the enemy line all right, we break it dead.

2. That hurt! Man I feel squishy sometimes. I understand it's the price we pay for putting out so much hurt, but I can't help but wonder is the 50% armor/resist debuff in full zerk is too much. Especially in T4. With certain specs relying on being in full zerk most of the time, I can see waves of Slayers/Choppas getting cut down by random AoE before they ever reach the battle lines. Of course, it's still early in the life of the career, and perhaps we will see an adjustment to this mechanic. Let's hope Mythic is listening.

3. I really wish some skills were not restricted to Dual-wield or 2-Hander only. For example, Deathblow. I love it. Hits like a truck, and when used after a Rank one morale it can cut down almost anything that's not a tank. However, the 30 sec cooldown is a bit long, and I wish I could use it even when dual-wielding. Also, most of the good stuff in the Skavenslayer path is DW only, while Giantslayer is 2-hander. I'd like to see a bit more synergy between the paths, I guess.

4. In general, I find the class super enjoyable. So much so that I'm considering just focusing on RvR, with PvE being my thing to do when it's slow. As a mostly solo player, I tend to play PvE more, but this guy is so fun I'm making it my goal to earn the Devastator set in T3, which requires I hit Rank 28 with 25RR. Something tells me that's easier said than done, but I might be up to it. Heh.

I should hit 12 tonight, and once I do that, I'm going to finish up the T1 Dwarf area quests before I head out to the Marshes of Madness. Once I get to 14, I'm starting the RvR drive once again. Sweet Mourkain Temple, how I've missed you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Khazgar, the Slayer.

I raced home from work last night, palms sweaty with anticipation. I wasted no time in getting online, logging on, and officially rolling my Slayer. Khazuk! Khazuk Khazuk-ha! I've been preparing for this for a long while, beginning with the name. I'm a huge fan of the lore, and so I didn't want to use some unoriginal, derivative name, like Gotreck, or something similar, heh. At the same time, I wanted to pay homage to Slayers past. The Slayer I wanted to reference was Azgar Grobkul, doomed brother of Uthor Algrimmson, both from the novel Oathbreaker. Azgar failed to prevent Skaven assassins from poisoning their father, the Lord of Karak Kadrin, as he was asleep on guard duty in a drunken stupor. I'd tell you more, but I suggest that you go ahead and purchase the book. It's a good, although bleak account of Dwarfs and oaths in the Old World. 

Anyway, I didn't want to just swipe the name, so I came up with Khazgar. A name that can stand on its own as being particularly Dwarfy, while having a small reference to earlier lore. Yes, I can be one of those pretentious d00ds that overthinks things like this. So anyway, my Slayer is Khazgar, the...um, Slayer.

In all seriousness, I had a blast in Tier one, just hit Rank 9 this morning, and I just trained Deathblow. I can't wait to find someone to uh..practice it on, heh. I've been dual-wielding most of the time, as 2-handers don't do significantly more damage as compared to dual-wield, assuming you are stacking similar amounts of strength. But still, I'm willing to give it a go again. Also keep in mind that these damage numbers were tested using tanks, switching between sword/shield and 2-handers. Melee dps careers might get different results owing to being a different archetype. 

I had a few great moments in Khaine's Embrace, in the tunnels. A group of mostly Slayers would turn the corner and run into a group of mostly Choppas and the screen just explodes! AoE flying everywhere from both sides, the sounds of battle, the screams of the dying, and the fight is over in less than three seconds. And strangely enough, when this occurred, it would be the Slayers left standing. Most of them, anyway. Maybe we just had better heals. At this point, I'm kind of torn about what to do. Should I power through the levels, getting to the next tiers as fast as possible? Or should I hang around and open RvR in Emskrank and up my RRs? In any case, I think I'm gonna be having some fun. See you guys on the front lines.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Farewell...to Destruction?

This is something that I've seen coming for a while, but it doesn't make it any easier. I think I'm going to quit playing my Destruction characters. Its a pretty long and involved story, so I'll try to keep it concise. Basically it comes down to guild and population issues. My first guild, which was formed nearly three years ago, shortly after the first announcements. We were chugging along great for a while, we were the premier Destro guild for our forum community. We hit the 300 member mark shortly after launch, when the excitement surrounding WAR was at it's peak. after the free month was up, several things started to happen. One, active numbers dropped significantly, as many players did not subscribe and were either MMO tourists, or they were going back to WoW and WotLK. We also started to see the first signs of a schism within the guild. The guild was conceived as a casual-friendly guild, which meant we had a certain number of hardcores that had already hit level cap or close to it. The hardcore crowd wanted a more serious focus for the guild, and when this did not materialize they started to leave. A common complaint was that we had few players in T4. This started a spiral in which guildies outleveled the rest, hit 40, and got sick of waiting for others to rank up, so they left. Also, since the "new MMO" crowd had mostly left, we found ourselves on a now-low population server, which obviously made RvR less easy to get into. Some weeks later, transfers were offered off our server, which we took. The bulk of the guild transferred to Red Eye Mountain from Ulthuan. However, not all our members transferred. Some simply were not playing as much, and did not frequent the forums, so they missed the news. Also, we had some members never move over, or move to different servers. 

We continued the guild on REM, with a smaller group of core players. At first, we seemed to be doing much better, but we ran into the same issues eventually. We continued to hemorrhage players, and the number of actives online concurrently continued to drop. We had a small core of regular players, but without the numbers needed to support endgame play, we hit a wall. We had a good alliance though, and many players could still get dungeon groups through the alliance. This, however, is not a substitute for having a healthy guild population in T4. And finally, the population issues we experienced on our original server began to crop up on REM. This was pretty much the last straw for many of us. I found myself logging on less and less. When the Slayer and Choppa were announced, this pretty much caused me to shelf my destro characters and just finish leveling my Ironbreaker while waiting on the new career event. Later on, transfers were offered off REM, and the guild was transferred over the Iron Rock. Aside from completing the transfer over to IR, I haven't played my Destruction characters since. 

While this was going on destro-side, I was slowly leveling up my Ironbreaker. The IB was the only Order class that I was able to stick with past Rank 25. I ended up with seven or eight alts that failed to hook me sufficiently. Currently, my only 40 has been the IB. Throughout this time, my forum community maintained an Order guild on Averheim, and is now currently on Badlands. The Order guild has maintained a healthy population, mostly casuals, centered around a devoted officer core. On further inspection, I believe this is key to the stabilty of the Order guild. Where my destro guild had a large amount of hardcores, who would race to the level cap, and end up moving to another guild when the majority failed to keep up, the Order guild had a medium size group of semi-hardcores that leveled up together. This group was mainly composed of officers, around whom the rest of the guild grew. So now, we have close to two dozen players at rank 40, with many players at all level ranges. I guess the slow-but-steady mindset worked for us. We maintain a close-knit guild, with almost no ragequits or impulse new recruits.

At this point, just before the introduction of the new careers, it looks like I will be playing Order exclusively for now. I'll be concentrating on my Slayer, and playing my Shadow Warrior and Ironbreaker on the side. Hopefully, this will not be a permanent thing, as I think I'll probably roll up a Choppa at some point. I look forward to the future of WAR, and finding my place in it. It's time to take up the axe, and take up the oath.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Well, that was quick.

So on day three of Bitter Rivals, I have completed all but four quests for the event. All I have to do now is kill 10 players in ORVR, /swear at the enemy careers, a kill quest in the Twisting Tower, and finishing a DvG PQ. I must admit I'm surprised at how fast the influence is filling up. Surprisingly, thanks to the addition of Choppa and Slayer npcs in the RvR lakes, doing the "kill 25 Greenskins/Dwarfs" quest was pretty easy. I thought that only players would count towards this quest, but hey, whatever works. The npcs also drop the "fallen weapons" needed for another task. I want to point out that I did see piles of "scavenged weapons" in different locations that you can rightclick to get quest items as well. I also picked up a Notched Choppa that gave me the "Grimnir's Own" title off one of the mobs. This is in addition to the "Doom Seeker" title that is the basic reward for the event. It's too bad I can't transfer titles to another character, as they would have been great on my Slayer. I wonder if Mythic will ever allow title transfer, as the event titles seem more appropriate for the new careers.

Some problems with the new patch though, for one the Auction House no longer accepts partial search terms like "dust" or "water". I used to be able to input just "water" and see all the different types of Apothecary Waters available. This no longer works. I have bug reported it, let's hope this gets fixed soon. Other than that, the renewal of the mail system helps tremendously. Being able to send several items at once through the mail is great.

I also vendored some stacks of leeches and ticks that I did not know I could convert. So I missed out on some possible rare dyes. Oh well, it's a perk I can live without. Still it would have been cool to have some black dyes

Tier 2 was pretty dead this morning on my server, but then again you can't expect full pops at odd hours. With any luck I'll get in on a keep siege and get my last few quests done and be ready for the Slayer early release. Wish me luck.

Update, March 7th: Got all the tasks done! Slayer time!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Event starts tomorrow!

March third baby! Time to bust out the Bitter Rivals event and get on unlocking the Slayer and Choppa early. I can't wait to see what the trials are gonna be, hopefully, not too many difficult tasks. I'm still undecided as to what character I'll be doing the tasks on. My Shadow Warrior is 17, so he's in a good spot to go through the event in T2, which may prove more doable than going through the event on my Ironbreaker at 40. In any case, I'm gonna have to get back on a more regular playing schedule starting tonight. I've been a bit lax in playing recently, since I've been waiting on the event to get my ass in gear. 

Also, many changes ought to be going live tomorrow with patch 1.2, which should launch alongside the event. We looked at some of the notes in earlier posts, and if all the changes make it live, we are looking at a great patch with many many needed tweaks and changes. 

Lastly, I apologize for still not having any artwork up for this project I've been talking about. I actually have quite a few sketeches that I need to clean up and finalize, but I guess my inexperience with online publishing is putting a damper on my output. I really need to learn more about the medium, and I have to get better at managing my time. I've had some RL stuff come up recently, and the schedule change has been tough to adjust to. Still, having a new goal ought to help me be productive and also focus on my gametime more. Thanks for sticking with me thus far.