Archive for September, 2008

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Engineer: Epic Fail Is Part Of The Plan

September 28, 2008

In a recent post, somebody asked me if I could share tips and stylish winning strategies for playing an Engineer. I was drinking a carbonated beverage at the time, and I had to stop reading for a second to deal with the blinding pain of Diet Pepsi shooting through my sinuses. This wasn’t because I have an odd fetish for nose bubbles, but because that’s like asking Gargamel how to thwart the Smurf menace.

Anyone who’s played with me knows a couple things about my Engineer: (1) that I am fearless in RvR, and (2) most of that fearless nature comes from lying on my back, dead. If there is a way to die, I’ve found it, and at times my avatar seems to rebel against the wishes of my keyboard and simply fling herself onto the sword of any oncoming Destructoid. But still, if you ask, I’ll share what I’ve learned, and perhaps you’ll do the exact opposite and become the Scotty to my Doc Brown.

The first thing you should do is get over to WHA and read Givianti’s excellent post, “So You Wanna Be A Dwarf Engineer, Do Ya?” Loads of great info, and I’m not just saying this because Giv is the GM of our guild. But it is true that his mere touch will fix any machine and eliminate DRM and make your heart so pure that unicorns frolic in your presence.

If you need any other advice from a guy who’s — just like you — trying to figure out the ropes of this surprisingly complicated class (in terms of how to wield them properly), here’s a few thoughts I jotted down:

  • One of the hard, brutal lessons that an Engineer must first learn is how fragile we are. Flimsy. Delicate. Squishy. Lightweight. With only light armor at our disposal — cool-looking though it may be — our only other reliable form of protection comes from Flak Jacket, an armor-boosting skill that doesn’t scale with gear, has 20 charges and a 2-second cast timer. Although Flak Jacket goes down incredibly fast, it’s imperative to keep recasting it every time you have a small break in the action. Against PvE, I’ve noticed a difference in survivability; in PvP, I have no idea.
  • Barbed Wire is just about the greatest thing in the world. It’s an AOE, instant-cast root that works wonders in tripping up the enemy if following you (or following someone else you’re trying to protect), or if you need to reestablish a bit of range. It does wear off or break pretty quickly, and the 20 second cooldown means that you should save it for an important occasion, like rooting the Pope.
  • Flame Turret — no matter what actual damage our turrets do, I find that enemy players just hate these things. The flame one in particular is annoying, since it does so much AOE damage and graphically lights up the place. Stand on top of one of these, and a melee opponent has to decide if it’s worth closing range on you for the beatdown. Later on, add Lightning Rod (tinkerer path) and Land Mine for close-quarters protection.
  • Blow Up Turrets — I haven’t gotten this ability yet, but it’s one of the most powerful in our arsenal. You can trigger a turret to self-destruct, which causes AOE damage and (best of all) a five-second knock-down. Five seconds is a short eternity in PvP, and you can use it for a quick getaway.
  • Bombardment Turret – I don’t use these as much, although the explodey grenades are somewhat disconcerting to enemies.
  • Gun Turret — The weakest turret overall, the gun turret has a useful place on the battlefield with its armor-reducing debuff and long range. I like putting these in hard-to-spot areas and letting them act as sentries (versus close-quarters defense like the other two turrets).
  • You can also snare people by putting a Hex on them (which comes from various abilities in your skillset) and then Spanner Swiping them. I don’t do this too often, but it’s a viable option.
  • Unless you specialize in the rifle mastery path, don’t expect to be Mr. or Mrs. Sniper, carving off huge chunks of health from waaaaay accross the battlefield. Instead, think of your gun as an excellent opener, to be followed up with a slew of DOTs.
  • You have to discern when’s the time to create a defensible position (with turrets, land mines and barbed wire) and when you should be running and sniping and acting like a guerrilla fighter. I do the former only when I have teammates backing me up.
  • Acid Bomb is da bomb. I love it more than life itself and I keep it up on whole groups of enemies as often as I can.
  • Engineers shine when the attention is focused away from them so we can help support teammates with tricks and dps. Don’t be afraid to run when attention comes your way.

I wish I had more to share, but as I said, I’m still just figuring this all out and fiddling with attack order. It is frustrating not being able to really pump out the ranged dps like I thought, but that might change in future levels. Any current engineers are welcome to leave comments with their own suggestions.

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Curl Up And Dye

September 27, 2008

Since we all play Virtual Dollhouse — with grown men not appreciating the irony of going “Ooh! I got a new hat! It looks so cool!” — we’ve become affectionate of Warhammer Online’s quirky little dye system. It’s by no means a new or revolutionary feature, but for players who have been blinded by mismatching clown gear in other MMOs, the choice to color-coordinate your outfit is a Godsend. I mean, I don’t even color-coordinate my outfits in real life, so my online counterpart has that on me.

With Warhammer, however, dyeing has a special link to the tabletop (TT) game. In the TT, you buy blank figurines that need to be painted before you send them off to battle — and people take dozens of hours to paint up their armies just so. There’s a lot of pride in how your TT Warhammer army looks, particularly in the color selection (primary and secondary picks). WAR’s dye system isn’t just an homage to the TT game, it’s a blood relative.

For non-TT players like myself, you may wonder why the dyes have colorful names (like “Warlock Purple” or “Graveyard Brown” or “Snot Green”), or why different races have access to different basic palettes at the dye vendor. This all stems from the Citadel Color paints, which Games Workshop has offered since the early 1990′s. For a quick overview, you can check out their Mega Paint Set, which claims to have all 73 paints that the company offers.

Obviously, there’s more than 73 color selections in WAR (around 114 or so), and some of the more cherished (like Blood Red or Chaos Black) will be the toughest to obtain in the game. Back in March, Justin Webb did a video for TTH outlining their scope of the dye system and design of it. Not all gear is dyeable, however, and even gear that can be dyed will still retain some colors or patterns to keep it looking proper. Races have a color scheme to themselves, so that dwarfs with basic dyes will share a theme, just as dark elves will with their basic dyes.

If you want to make your own dyes, consider picking up Cultivating and Apothecary as your gathering/crafting skills — and prepare for a difficult challenge! Otherwise, you can go for the cheap (yet less-than-visually-thrilling options) at the dye vendors, or pick up dyes from RR vendors, drops, bosses and the auction house.

The genius of dyes, of course, is that even if you shared the same exact set of gear as your friend, your choice of dyes can give you a unique (or uniquish) look all your own. Even if my gear doesn’t end up being a thrillhouse in the visual department, at least it looks like it belongs together with dyes — and I can’t wait for higher levels and the opportunities to really make Syp stand out visually!

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A Good Haul.

September 26, 2008

I haven’t been fretting too much about gear in WAR just yet… it’s kind of nice to take things one day at a time without stressing out over what “must have” items I gotta kill myself over. So a combination of PQ influence rewards, quest rewards and random drops have been suiting Syp just fine — but some nights are better than others, and tonight was a doozy.

I don’t know what it was, but the Chapter 9 Dwarf PQ was THE place to be. I did the one just south of the quest hub in Marshes of Madness, taking out zombie-whatevers at a decent clip. Before long, I realized that these guys were just piñatas of joy waiting to be burst open. One of the first mobs I killed dropped a blue White Lion axe, which I saved for a future alt. Then I proceeded to get a nice green helmet (upgrade!), tons of potions, one Warlock Purple dye, and two influence rewards: shoulder and hammer upgrades for level 18 (I’m 17.5).

That’s not the whole fun: I received my very first purple drop since starting WAR: a Slaughterer’s Cape (the link here is to the Destruction version, but mine is statistically identical)! I gave a manly “huzzah!” over vent, followed by “purplepurplepurplepurple!” Strange what a mere color will do to one.

Oh, and today I got about — I kid you not — 15 new titles. It was absolutely insane. I’m Syp the Showoff (insert ironic joke here) for the time being.

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Loose Lips Sink Syps

September 26, 2008

A couple days ago I asked y’all to spill your secrets — what little surprises, unlocks, titles and whatnot have you discovered in your initial week or so of exploring Warhammer? After all, this is a game that prides itself on turning the game world into a massive scavenger hunt, where mini-dungeons (lairs) are tucked away and potential Tome treasures reward the diligent explorer. Sure, in a year (or, hey, month) this might all be commonplace, but if you’re anything like me, you’re eager to read about a few good little juicy secrets to add to your character’s achievements.

WAAAGH! readers heeded the call and left the following to share:

  • There’s a pretty neat tome unlock in the Destruction(ftw) area of Troll Country. There’s a bridge with a bridge troll under it. Kill the bridge troll and you unlock a crock of stinky food that you can carry in your pocket. I think the unlock is titled It Takes a Toll, but I could be misremembering. (Risset)
  • In Dark Elf Chapter 2, there’s a hill with some wolves on it. If you walk along the edge of the cliff behind them you’ll unlock The Howler title. (Risset)
  • At Battlefield Objectives, you can click on the Sergeant for buffs. (Werit)
  • Title Unlock: The DawnBringer. Found from clicking on a tomb in Marsh of Madness (NW of an NPC called Lamprecht, he’s located in the SE part of the zone S of Oathhold). (Mitch)
  • AHHHHHHHHHHHH title unlock. Kill yourself 25 times from fall damage. (Mitch)
  • I picked up the title “Doom Bringer” last night, which I think is a pretty cool title. However, I just checked hammerwiki and it looks like it’s already there (although it says it’s a Destruction only title and I’m a runepriest). I was running around some cliffs in Barak Varr when I noticed a huge dwarven iron ship in a bay below. Took me a few minutes to find my way down (without dying) and I found 4 or 5 tome unlocks in and around the ship. One of them being the title and another being a great story of how these dwarven “Pirates” came to be. Was tons of fun. So far I’m loving the easter eggs in this game. (Sc0rp10n)
  • I stumbled upon a plunger in Dwarf Tier 1 Chapter 1 at the bottom of the valley that you cross over after you leave the Dwarf Mountain you start in. (Illian)
  • I’ve found a couple of lairs: 1. Blighted Isle RvR area, right in the middle up north, and 2. just outside the Chaos T1 RvR area, through the tunnel at the back of the objective in the cave. (Thor)
  • Got a title and tome unlock for opening a bag of dog food in Nordland. The tome unlock is for discovering what the hounds eat. The title is related to hounds or hunting (can’t remember exactly what).  The bag was near a camp of huntsmen with hounds. It was along the mountains on the right hand side of the map, north of smuggler’s tunnel entrance to Salzemund. (Leper)
  • I can’t remember the exact area…I believe it was at the top of a hill near the Dark Elf chapter 2 quest hub. You go to this hill a few times to kill shadow warriors and a named Lieutenant or something. Anyways, if you go up past the 3man camp near the named mob, you can hop around a rock to keep climbing the hill. At the very top will be a lone Pink Horror. I had to use my one ranged ability to knock it down from it’s perch, and then I killed it. Not till much later did I realize I had gotten a tome unlock for it, and I was able to get a reward from a Librarian in the Inevitable City. My reward? Morphing Ooze that does nothing but sit in my pocket. Statistically worthless, but I’m proud nonetheless. (Tigaj)
  • I found a few lairs, but one that isn’t listed in the atlas, Gutslime I think it was, in the Orc starting land. But it has a level 40 inside of it. (ScytheNoire)
  • I got the title The Lumberjack from clicking on a dryad corpse in Dark Elf, Tier 1. (JRW)
  • In the Human Ch1 starting area, there is an area with Chaos human mobs, and at the back of it is a tiny portal. You can climb the hill behind this portal and get to an area of the map that is not really done in terms of terrain and stuff. If you go to the coast from there and travel north I believe, you eventually find a lair full of lvl 40 wolves in it. Some cool wolf is at the end I’m sure. (Lucivar)
  • Click on yourself naked 1,000 times and you get “Egomaniac” (Sc0rp10n).
  • On a pool of water east of the PQ “Empire Chapter 4: Pit of the Forsaken”, a Lord type boss will appear if you kill a series of increasingly difficult monsters. (Lord is higher than Hero) (Hirebrand)

Awesome tips, thanks all!  I have a few to add from yesterday’s journeys, which culminated in a group tour around some of the fun little secrets of the Blighted Isle, courtesy of one of our leaders, Tirin.

  • I got the “Denier of Disease” title from clicking on a corpse in Barak Varr at 54231,49971.
  • Another title, “The Crusher”, was give for clicking on an Ogre at 49152,57917 in Barak Varr.
  • If you find the Sea Anvil — a large dwarf ironclad in Barak Varr — be sure to speak to the captain for a “Man” Tome Tactic: 11059,44728.
  • Heading over to the Blighted Isle, you can get the title “The Peculiar” (how cool is that?) by clicking on a rock at 48742,48415, which then squashes a cowering snotling.
  • There are some tainted crystals (with unlocks) and a lair on the BI at 35881,16466.
  • Get the title “The Scorpion Squisher” by killing Bone Claw at 2867,62751.
  • I have coordinates for two of the unlocks mentioned earlier: The Howler (5161,49316) and the Horror/Pocket Ooze guy (20726,35799).

If you know of any others, let us know!

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I’m Sending An SOS To The World (of Warhammer)

September 26, 2008

First of all — half a mil players! Not a bad first week, not bad at all!

Like many of you, when I slip into Warhammer, I usually boot up a second program: Ventrillo. Maybe for you it’s Teamspeak or another third-party voice chat program. Personally, I can’t imagine playing without having the option to talk to friends, guildies and groupies (er, I mean people I’m grouped with, not the scary naked-High-Elf-stalker girl who keeps following me around in game asking for a piece of clothing to remember me by).

Voice chat in MMOs offers so much, doesn’t it? It’s quick, easy communication that doesn’t require you to stop whatever you’re doing. It offers on-the-fly group coordination during battles, which is invaluable when you don’t have time to type “HEAL ME FOR THE LOVE OF SIGMAR IT BURRRRRRRNS!” Instead, you can just scream it into the ear of a wincing healer who will never, ever toss you a heal for as long as they are partially deaf.

More than just ease of grouping and coordination, I find that voice chat really aids bonding and relationship forming in guilds.  You link a voice to the avatar in the game, you start to get a feel for their personality and bizarre natures, and they’re always there no matter where you are in the game.  I don’t ever feel like I’m “soloing”, even when I’m off alone in the game world, if a friendly voice is right at the end of my headset.  We crack jokes, share victories, discuss weighty social issues, and sling good-natured insults to each other in that age-old ritual of putting down people to show that you like them.

Funny thing was, I used to be dead-set against voice chat.  That probably came from habit — voice chat wasn’t really possible over a dial-up line while you were trying to play a MMO, and even after the internet got faster and cheaper, I wasn’t involved in a guild that talked outside of text chat.  I got used to text chat and appreciated it; still do, actually.  For all that I now love voice chat, I wonder if we’re starting to lose some of the unique fun of communicating through typing.

Text chat is easier to sort out when multiple people are trying to talk, for one.  And you never have to wonder who is saying what, as is often the case when you’re not completely familiar with whose-voice-is-that situations on vent.  In some games, text chat lets you quickly link items, skills, and even quests, which help to overcome frequently asked questions.   Not to mention that wordplay and wit are sometimes cherished more over text chat than voice.

Our guild uses both, although we’re more tied to Vent for the most part.  It’s nice to have text to fall back on, particularly if someone is dominating the conversation in vent or trying to explain something — that way, you’re not trying to interrupt them, but you can still pass along a thought or two.

So what about you guys — are you in a guild that is hooked on voice chat, or are you pretty much text monkeys?

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I is 16

September 25, 2008

Some (like, two people) have asked to see the Tracker armor set, so here goes:

I dyed it brown to go with a leather theme (gee golly willikers, dyes are fun!).  I definitely like the main armor piece a lot better than the corsets/frilly barmaid outfits that I got almost exclusively for the first 12 levels.

Also notice: double-barreled shotgun.  Huzzah!

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Keep Trying

September 25, 2008

Miracle Max: Bye bye boys! Have fun stormin’ da castle!

Valerie: Think it’ll work?

Miracle Max: It would take a miracle. Bye bye!

After a long hard day at work, it’s a twisted thing to come home and immediately enlist in a grueling, bloody campaign to conquer a near-impenetrable fortress. “We’re storming the castle, Syp!” my guildies said. “Come! We need a battering ram!”

“I don’t have a…” I paused. “Is this because my helmet is made out of steel?”

I was thrilled. All a-quiver. Neck hairs standing up — finally, I would be able to partake in some down-and-dirty keep sieging for the first time (my previous experience was more of a mass battle at the side of a keep, but we never entered it) — I joined a warband and made my way down to Ostland/Troll Country, where two keeps and a slew of Battlefield Objectives, or “BO’s”, awaited.

Yes, it was an unfortunate acronym: “Hey, get a load of that BO!” “This BO feels right at home.” “I can’t wait until we’re done with this BO.”

I forget the name of the keep we first attacked, but it was a gorgeous-looking castle squatting in the twilight, and prime for plucking, as no serious Destruction defense was present. We charged in through the front doors, screaming like banshees, and then stumbled back to avoid picking up aggro from the NPC defenders. “MEDIC!” someone screamed. Another person merely sobbed for their mama as the battle heated up.

I discovered that, as you may have noticed, it’s somewhat of a futile exercise to take screenshots of people fighting in a keep battle. Sure, it seems all dramatic and Braveheartish, but it’s like you’re thrown into a rave full of highly armored dancers who have giant neon signs above their head announcing who they are and what their nickname is. Being a dwarf, most of my view was kneecaps anyway, so I tried to stay out of the way, lay down turrets, and blindly toss grenades onto whatever red name I’d targeted.

Soon enough we had the keep under our command, but since our guild is only rank 11, we couldn’t claim it as our own and start throwing futons down everywhere.  We did manage to get a few screenies of our victory:

All high on success, we linked hands and skipped merrily to our next conquest, another keep in the area that was home to all manner of dirty elves and crusty chaoses and gross greenies.  The attack this time around was more brutal — as we set up a battering ram, the defenders rained down death, insults and a very tasty pudding that I like to describe as “vanilla strawberry” upon our heads.  I quickly learned that ranged attackers and defenders are important to this stage in a siege — the defenders, because they can obviously try to whittle our ranks down somewhat, and for us attackers, because it keeps the bad guys at bay.  I couldn’t count the number of times I fired a couple rounds into an enemy on the parapet, only to have them duck away quickly.  Hey, anything that keeps them from attacking us is a plus sign in my book.

Once inside, our luck quickly turned.  Defenders obviously have the advantage, with powerful NPCs aiding them in the fight.  It’s hard to decide where to allocate attention — do you take out the NPCs first, letting the enemy players have a free hand in slapping you around, or do you take your punishment from the NPCs while you push back the baddies, or do you try to deal with both?  Mass panic and confusion were the order of the night, after two failed attempts to surge in and reach the second floor, we resigned ourselves to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen with the numbers at our command.  So off to more BOs and yummy renown we went!

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