Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Three Things to Keep Me Interested

In my previous post, I gave Mythic three months to get WAR straightened out. Now, I want to list the three things that MUST change in order for me to stick with WAR and not, sadly, go back to WoW.

1. Magus/Engineer "magnet" abilities removed from the game completely or limited to a single target only.

2. Open-world RvR zones populated with PvE content such as PQs and normal quest hubs.

3. Experience and renown gain reworked in scenarios. Scenarios should reward based on wins and losses ONLY, not upon how much damage or how many kills a player nets. Scenarios are fun, but due to how rewards are doled out, only the fastest-played and most-kills scenarios get played. This has to change.

Mythic already has a start on #2 with their upcoming Halloween event, but I am not impressed by their plans to have the Public Quests in open-world RvR zones respawn once every few hours instead of after two minutes like EVERY OTHER PQ IN THE GAME.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Epic Fail Mythic

Warhammer is getting on my nerves. A great game wasted by so many small, annoying bugs and inconsistencies that I won't argue with anyone who is leaving the game because of them.

This morning was a perfect example of how WAR can be a HORRIBLE MMO to play.

1. Morning kicks off with some Tier 3 scenarios. Not bad until an AOE farm group shows up and starts winning every single one 500 to 0, and on a Sunday morning, they are the only group playing.

2. Guild group forms up and heads off to take some Tier 3 objectives. No destruction show up to defend or attack back. Thanks, I'll take my free renown.

3. Guild group goes off to a lair to see if its open. It is, and we head in, but the Hero owns our group.

4. We put out a call and formed a larger warband to go back into the lair.

5. While waiting on players to form up for the lair, we do a PQ at Grimbeard station. An hour of grinding 125 slowly spawning NPCs and the damn PQ drops only green bags. Not a single item that any of us will actually use. Some because the item is too high level, others because it is absolute crap compared to the E-Z mode gear we have from renown ranks.

6. After finishing the PQ we head back to the lair, wait a few minutes for bio breaks and the like.

7. We dominate the Hero in the lair. NO LOOT DROPS.

8. So we head back to retake objectives that were taken. No destruction defending. We take the objective easily. We jam up the door to the building with the flag. Destruction shows up with just over a full group. Chaos Magus up front who magnet pulls our entire warband out of the building into a nice little pile... AOE... and our entire warband wiped out in the time it takes to kill one player.

9. I figure I can do some apothecary to up my potion supply. Unfortunately, water drops slowly and rarely, and two are required to make every potion. On top of that, my skill and materials are too high, so all the potions I make are too high level for me to use. Plus, the potions strength is WEAKER than what I was making 100 skill points ago.

10. For all this trouble, I gained approximately 20,000 experience, 2,000 renown, and 5 apothecary skill points. That is four hours of play approximately. I could of gotten that in twenty minutes from scenarios.

Mythic, I subscribed for three months. This is my formal notification that I am done after that three months unless drastic changs are made to class balance, RvR zones, and the thousand other small bugs plaguing this game.

A True RvR Zone

I died a little bit inside when I thought about posting this, but I just have to do it.

Wingergrasp, a true RvR zone.

Sadly it is not found in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Wintergrasp will be part of World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion: Wrath of the Lich King. The notes on Wintergrasp are the things I expected out of WAR's RvR areas, but sadly have not found.

Now, just because Blizzard is beating Mythic at their own game with a single zone, does not mean WoW is suddenly a RvR game. Wintergrasp will suffer the same fate in WoW that other open world PvP objectives have suffered: Wintergrasp will not be worth anyone's time compared to battleground or arena grinding.

So, Blizzard gets a +1 for open world PvP, but a -1 for letting instanced content dominate open world content. Mythic, take notes, learn, and come December; patch 1.1 better do SOMETHING to open RvR zones other than giving more experience per kill. Give us a fucking reason to be there other than the keeps.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Book Thoughts: Black Powder War (Temeraire, Book 3)

Title: Black Powder War
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Fantasy, Alternate History
Publisher: Del Rey (May 30, 2006)
Quick-Hit Thought: If you weren't sure after Book 2, don't continue. Worth reading if you've enjoyed the series.

I'm very conflicted about the third book in the Temeraire series. With a title such as Black Powder War, I thought I may finally see some dragons put to use in the massive battles of the Napoleonic era. Unfortunately, whether it be ship, sickness, cargo duty, or weather, dragons sit on the sidelines.

Once again, the strength of the book is Novik's ability to place dragons admirably into the time period. The way they operate in the military and society makes absolute sense. The difference between various countries and their dragons is well detailed and refreshing.

However, past the melding of dragons into the military and society of the time period, there isn't much to this book. Our hero and his dragon are on their way back from China (a far more interesting country in this alternate universe). They receive urgent news to detour and pick up some dragon eggs purchased from the government of Turkey. Some traveling ensues, blah, blah, blah.

Actually, there is only one thing that saved this book for me: Tharkay. Tharkay is by far the most interesting character in the book (maybe even the series) and is first introduced as a messenger delivering the orders that would eventually spur the journey into Istanbul, Turkey. Tharkay is a classic rogue character, remaining a mystery until the end of the book.

Unfortunately, the truth of Tharkay is wasted on a horribly trivial "save the day for people we don't even care about" ending. The entire end of the book is a let down. At least in Throne of Jade, the long painful journey lead up to a wonderful climatic ending. Not so in Black Powder War. I was absolutely bored by the scenario that ended up playing out, almost angered at the way Tharkay was brought back into the storyline.

Overall, the book reads as well as the first two, but is about as engaging as the paragraph noted on the back of the book. The story isn't what kept me reading through this series. It was the dragons, how they lived, and how people lived with them. However, by the third book I guess I expected some sort of story to conclude. Nothing concluded, and a true good vs. evil plot line just began to emerge. Unfortunately, not enough of one to spur me on to the next book in the series.

My honest opinion: this series is best finished at the end of Throne of Jade.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Warhammer in Decline?

Warhammer launched well. 750,000 people well. However, since that fateful announcement, various numbers have started to trickle in showing WAR may not be doing so well keeping those 750,000 logged in.

First off, Blizzard is spouting off:
While a number of World of Warcraft users dropped the widely popular MMO to play EA's recently released Warhammer Online, more than half of those gamers have already returned to Blizzard's market-leader.
Hmmmm... the market-leader downplaying the success of a competitor. Maybe we'll just throw this away.

Next, the ever-faithful Xfire provides a nice history track that shows WAR total play times declining among Xfire users. While not hard evidence that WAR may be in decline, Xfire declines were an early indicator during Age of Conan's post-launch collapse. However, some people will always try and use Xfire stats to make some noise.
The decline continues. Whether people like it or not. You can make unfounded claims all you want that Xfire is not representative but until someone cab provide empirical evidence Xfire isn't representative you're just waving your fanboi pom poms in the air.

I want WAR to succeed and I am worried about the trend line that continues its steady decline.

What is it going to take to turn this thing around?

- Scenarios have effectively destroyed open world RvR.
- The "magnet" abilities are destroying what RvR is happening.
- What meager open world RvR manages to survive the anemic number of open RvR players and magnet idiocy ends up being not worth it due to the inferior rewards for such activities.

My take?

WAR is in decline. Why? Because it is not the game MANY players expected, on both sides of the fence. WAR is a good game, just not the best game in any category. WAR is destined for a core audience that enjoys the Realm vs Realm. No one will be sticking around for the other parts (partly because everyone is in Scenarios and therefore nothing else gets touched, but thats for another blog post).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fail: Altdorf Falls on Averheim

I have been quiet for some time around here. My free time has been limited and I've chosen to spend it playing WAR. I have the basis for several blog posts regarding WAR's launch laid out in my head. I just haven't gotten to them. However, a situation on my server, Averheim, has prompted this post.

Altdorf, Order's capital city, fell into Contested at the hands of a 3 AM Sunday morning Destruction raid. In a matter of hours, Order went from sitting pretty, to completely annihilated. A feat yet to be accomplished anywhere in WAR. Sure, some other servers exploited there ways to Altdorf earlier in the week, but none had pushed to the King.

Now, Emperor Karl Franz did not fall to the Destruction zerg, but that isn't the point. The fact is, Mark Jacobs had just gotten done stating it was far too early for Altdorf to get thrown into a contested state. Mark Jacobs, as all MMO developers, underestimated the player base and was horribly wrong. There isn't an MMO out there that has proven the MMO player base wrong. Hardcore players ALWAYS finish first and ALWAYS push the end game months ahead of schedule.

I could talk about conspiracy theories as to how Destruction exploited their way through Tier 4. I could argue population imbalances until the cows come home. I could pretend I don't care, because I'm still Rank 22 on my Ironbreaker, which is a long way from being able to participate in the defense of Altdorf.

The fact is, Destruction on Averheim is down-right organized and efficient. The Alliance of guilds that took part in the attempt should be commended. It was well planned and well executed, and from all accounts, it was a damn bit easier than even they had thought. Kudos to them.

My brain hurts thinking about how easily this occurred. The majority of the attackers were not Rank 40, were definitely not geared up, and are still learning the game. Mythic should be flat out embarrassed that a group like this was able to zerg roll an entire server at 3 AM on a Sunday morning.

Saddest part, the free month isn't even up. What was originally planned to have taken a year, has occurred in weeks. Mythic is racing against the clock now. Good luck Mythic.

Fortunately, Mythic saved this from being an Epic fail. WAR's end game at least worked. Sorry Age of Conan, the Epic Fail crown is still yours to behold.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Rarely do I agree with Syncaine, but I can't help but laugh along with him on his recent post: Blizzard’s new focus for WoW, just as soon as Mythic finishes it.

PS. Sorry for my silence as of late, will hopefully get some time to post some WAR-related goodies soon.