Posts Tagged ‘rvr’

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Your MMO, My Content

June 29, 2008

Go back a few years, and you’d see that the major MMORPG debate at the time between developers was whether it was better to provide a “sandbox” or “theme park” experience for players. Let me explain: “sandbox” MMOs (Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online) would create a world and give players tools to experience the world as they wanted — free-form gameplay, you see, without a lot of underlying structure. “Theme park” MMOs, like World of Warcraft, theorized that players wanted to be guided through the game like rides — going from zone to zone on a set course, experiencing the world the way the devs intended.

In theory, it looks as if the sandbox concept offered far more potential for vast, shifting, unlimited content. In practice, players felt like they were dumped into a world with little or no guidance, and had to stumble around feeling foolish trying to find things to do. Eve Online made the sandbox approach work, to be sure, but even after more hand-holding was programmed in, it remains a very hardcore, obscure game to this day — with massive amounts of user-created content that makes the game universe a dynamic place to explore.

WoW was the effective trump card for the theme park system. It proved that players didn’t mind having their hands held, to be guided as long as they had plenty of choices as to what “ride” they’d want to go on that day. Most MMOs post-2004 came around to this way of thinking — even SWG with its notorious NGE switch. The biggest downside of a theme park MMO is that once you’ve gone on all the rides dozens of times, there’s very little left. You can make the rides longer or harder to get on, of course. You can try to pump in some more dev-created rides, but those take a long time and are consumed incredibly fast by players. Hence, sooner or later, people arrive at the end of their theme park experience, burned out and lacking a reason to do anything else.

So both schools of thought have pretty big pros and cons associated with them. The question is, how do we move forward in this industry? The semi-obvious answer is: let’s marry the best of the sandbox system with the best of the theme park system. Players love to be included in the creative process, love unlimited content, and love being led through an experience without feeling lost.

I’ve been holding off mentioning this for fear that you’d think I’m a little crazy (but at this point, post-manatee, you already know that) — every night when I go to sleep, a little trick I use to help me fall asleep quick is to “design” something in my head. Usually it’s a game, and the fun is trying to think up game mechanics I haven’t seen before but would love to play, or to take old mechanics and use them in a fun twist. An idea I’ve always been fond of is for a MMO to provide a structured environment where players would receive tools to create their own content within the boundaries of the MMO. For instance, giving players their own dungeon, which the player can deck out with “loot” (monsters, treasures, traps) they find in the game world as they play. Then other players can come in and try to beat their dungeon.

I know it’s not an original idea, but the more I think about it, the more I take a shine to the topic. After reading a piece on Word of Shadow about user-created content, it prompted me to get my thoughts out on the subject. I sincerely believe that MMO devs who adhere to the theme park model — and yes, this includes WAR to a huge degree — have to be moving in a direction where they hand tools to the player to let them create their own content within the boundaries of that world.

WAR’s primary answer to that is to provide the broadest and most structured PvP system in the MMO landscape. PvP is user-created content — it’s always shifting, never the same, and lets the players “write the stories” instead of the devs. WAR is banking on the RvR/PvP system being the primary motivator for players to stick around long after they’ve exhausted the PvE content. It remains to be seen how compelling this content will be — and a lot of the onus is on the players for how much they participate in it.

Taking a different tack, the mostly-PvE City of Heroes/Villains has announced that they’re working on user-created missions (dungeons), a la their user-created base system, for other players to explore and conquer. As a current CoX player, this is probably one of the best pieces of news that game world ever received, and it frees the limited dev team up from making new PvE missions to working on other content.

Even World of Warcraft is slooooooowly cranking around to the idea of incorporating sandbox elements in its rigidly-structured game, with the new PvP outdoor zone. And there are probably tons of other, smaller theme park MMOs I’m not mentioning that provide a lot of user-created content as well.

I think it’s a very exciting time to be a MMO player — the games just keep on getting better!

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June PC Gamer Coverage of WAR

June 19, 2008

My wife just signed on a new doctor to the team, and went in for a physical this afternoon. Tagging along, I discovered that this place was the coolest doctor’s office in the world: they had a subscription to PC Gamer. Better yet, they had the June edition of the magazine, which is all about Warhammer — 40K, the RTS games, and our beloved WAR.

For most of us in the WAR loop, very little of the Warhammer Online coverage is new or newsworthy, but if you’re curious, here’s what’s in the magazine (Cliff’s Notes version):

  • Screenshots courtesy of the Warhammer Online website
  • “Feedback from the game’s legions of fans resulted in substantial changes to WAR’s gameplay”
  • WAR’s original RvR system was way more heavily dependent on instanced scenarios, but as most players were doing that instead of open-world PvP, they scaled back the scenarios (“halved”) and focused more on open world battles and PvE.
  • Four siege weapons: catapults, rams, burning oil, single-target ballistas
  • Paul Barnett wrote a short column entitled “Warhammer: An Introduction” giving people a quick and dirty overview of the game world.
  • Beta testers complained that all characters looked too similar at 40, so they upped the character and visual customizability.
  • They listed the three previous Warhammer fantasy computer games.
  • Brief mention of the mastery system.
  • The guild UI is the “Facebook of MMOs”, including an updated feed on your guild’s activities since you last logged on.
  • They pimped the Collector’s Edition.
  • There’s an article on “10 Indispensable Warhammer Facts” including how Warhammer is genre-gending, funny, has big guns, predated Warcraft by over 10 years (computer game-wise), draws influences from King Arthur and Aztecs (among others).
  • Finally, there’s a “Role Call” list of the major Warhammer races: Empire, Skaven, Dwarfs, Lizardmen, High Elves, Wood Elves, Dark Elves, Bretonnia, Chaos, Orcs and Goblins (Greenskins), and The Undead.
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Massively: Teh Good, Teh Bad and Teh Iffy

June 7, 2008

So to wrap up a couple dozen (hundred? thousand? I’ve lost track) of the “Massively Goes to WAR” articles, I tuned in to the “Massively Speaking #8″ podcast the other day. Michael Zenke, the writer who went to Mythic and did all these articles, gave his thoughts — for good and bad — about the game. Here’s a few salient points I walked away with:

GOOD: Mythic is very warm to the press, very inviting, and goes the extra mile in handing out the info (at least… to Massively!)

GOOD: Mythic’s devs are so incredibly enthusiastic and confident of their material — as we’ve already seen.

GOOD: Huge response to the Engineer and Shaman articles.

BAD: Zenke is concerned that the game might not be ready as fast as Mythic suggests. A lot of the areas seem unfinished, particularly capital cities, which suggests that there’s more work being done than just “iterate and polish”. Only two out of the six capital cities have been shown.

GOOD: The Tome of Knowledge is everything it’s cracked up to be — and blows the LOTRO deed log out of the water.

IFFY: Mythic will not release the game if it’s not 100% finished — even if that means another delay.

GOOD: Zenke says that Warhammer looks like, for him, to beat World of Warcraft hands-down.

BAD: WAR is going to be fighting a huge negative public perception — graphics, pvp, etc.

IFFY: We’re not really sure what the end game PvE looks like.

IFFY: Warhammer’s going to have a fight on its hands as people will certainly compare it to WoW.

What I most want to comment on, in regards to this podcast, comes from the end part, where a WoW Insider writer and another guy ask two critical questions: (1) how can WAR appeal to the person whose primary interest is in PvE, and (2) with Blizzard beefing up its PvP content in Lich King (in addition to arenas and battlegrounds), will PvPers even need to switch over to WAR to get the PvP goodness they’re craving?

The case Mythic has been making for the first question is to say, “Hey, we understand that PvP has a negative stigma in most MMOs for PvE-centric players. And we think that’s because the PvP in those games are done poorly and without a clear-cut purpose. We want to entice you into trying OUR brand of PvP to see how much more tasty it is, and if you want to play the game but don’t want to stress about fighting other players, we will ship with robust PvE content as well.”

The philosophy behind this attitude is one I never thought about much until the Mythic devs compared MMOs to other competitive sports and games. These games are simply more fun with you get to play them with and against other people — no computer AI will ever match the innovation, randomization and wily thinking that a human can. Yet there needs to be rules in place to reward players who play fair, and to punish those who want to ruin the game experience for others.

Mythic will certainly have a challenge on its hands to both differentiate itself from WoW, but also to entice and woo players from WoW into trying something other than the only MMO they’ve ever known.

The second point I have more of a problem with. The guy in the podcast gushed about how exciting and awesome the Lich King content was shaping up to be, and how Blizzard is supposedly doing all these spiffy things with PvP in their new all-PvP war zone. Okay. Listen: I have played WoW for four years now. Four years. It’s a good game, a great game, but not a perfect game. One of its biggest flaws has always been its PvP game — at first, it simply didn’t have much of one. Then they implemented an honor system that required gamers to literally give up their offline lives to viably compete in. Then they threw in the Arena system and shoehorned WoW into an “eSports” category. The PvP game in WoW has been floundering trying to find something fair and fun and balanced, and as a result, has crimped the PvE experience considerably. From class nerfs solely due to their PvP action to overpowered PvP gear that is easier to get than anything from the PvE side, it’s a flawed aspect of the game. I’m sorry, but it IS.

What’s worse is that Blizzard is just blind to how bad their PvP has been, historically, and in countless interviews and blue posts, they just reinforce the viewpoint that the players must just not understand how great their PvP is, and how they’re going to keep on going ahead with it no matter what. It doesn’t matter what Lich King creates for PvP, because it will be built around a crumbling system. When all classes and all specs are not PvP viable, then it’s a failed system. When the emphasis on PvP over PvE in fine tuning the game and class balance is too strong, then it has failed all of the players who sign on solely for PvE.

So I do not see Blizzard’s PvP as a threat to WAR at all. Yes, players may remain with WoW out of ignorance for something they refuse to try, but I think WAR is going to call Blizzard out on that aspect of their game. I don’t want WAR to be a WoW killer, but I want WAR to be a WoW challenger. If WoW challenges Mythic to make the most polished and fun game they can, and Mythic rises to the occasion, then WoW should not be so arrogant as to ignore what’s fun in their game in the pursuit of what is most profitable.

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Imperial Inquisition – Svoald of Warhammer Geek

June 3, 2008

While fishing around for heathen Warhammer bikini models, the Inquisition somehow stumbled upon Svoald, one of the two co-founders of Warhammer Geek. We threw him into a skimpy two-piece, applied the thumbscrews, and this is what we got.

WAAAGH!: Tell us a bit about yourself — your handle/screen name/real name, age, real life occupation, your previous MMO experience, and your play style.

SVOALD: Well, let’s see… My name is Kurt “Svoald” Scheuringer and I am a full-time student at the University of Central Florida studying Computer Science / Game Design. I was introduced to MMOs (and gaming in general) when I was roughly nine years old when a next door neighbor, equal-aged friend of mine always invited me over to play his Everquest character. I loved the MMO game concept and I played for days at a time at his house, but now I realize I was just his gold farming guy *haha…*. From then on it was downhill for me as I became involved in other various MMOs such as Legends of Kesmai, The Fourth Coming, Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest II, Vanguard, and now Warhammer Online. Regarding my play style, it seems to fluctuate with each month depending on time and motivation, but generally during the summer and winter months I tend to devote more time to playing and participating in some type of questing or dungeon crawl.

WAAAGH!: What type of social play do you gravitate towards: soloing, participating in small guilds/small groups, or participating in large guilds/large raids?

SVOALD: As of recently I have found myself doing a lot more soloing than ever before. I used to play with large guilds and participate weekly in decently sized raids, but if you don’t keep up with that play style, you’ll fall behind very quickly. With the recent interviews I have read about for Warhammer Online, it seems the game will cater to single groups and moderate sized guilds. This is hopefully the category I will want to slide into once the game launches. While I play I always like to be the one who explores new areas, finds new dungeons, or uncovers content which hasn’t necessarily been visited yet. Tradeskilling isn’t so much for me however every so often I’ll partake in it. RvR was a big thing for me in DAoC and hopefully it will be again in WAR.

WAAAGH!: What motivated you to get involved with the WAR community and how did you go about doing it?

SVOALD: The previous release of Dark Age of Camelot has been my motivation to come to the WAR community. I have been following Mythic’s games since they introduced DAoC and originally I came from the Imperator community or at least whatever interaction I had with it. Orlock, my partner at MMOGeek was the deciding factor when he linked me to a preview involving the feature list of WAR. Ever since September when he convinced me to come over, we had been thinking about the idea of coming up with a fansite. We had originally planned to launch in December with a standard look and backend system, but we redesigned our concept and launched on April 17th with a more unique look and functionality. Orlock and I knew each other previously from a guild within Everquest II and back in 2005 we launched a live EQ2 radio show on Online Gaming Radio which we held onto for about two years. We used our previous knowledge after our retirement from that particular radio show to create what we have today.

WAAAGH!: What are some of the more notable trends you’ve observed in the WAR community since you’ve been active in it?

SVOALD: This one will be hard to answer, but one trend that I have seen develop in this community involves combining several factors together like friendliness, event/community participation, and working together. All other MMO betas had this type of interaction to an extent but never to the ‘rank’ that this community has shown. Fansite owners here greet you to their forums, websites, and communities and offer to help you with anything you might need. Other beta communities by no means had this type of positive treatment and many people just simply became ignored on first contact. Besides that one trend, I think it’s too early to tell if there are any additional developing ones.

WAAAGH!: Did you play Dark Age of Camelot (or do you still), and what did you like/hate about it?

SVOALD: I used to play Dark Age of Camelot for about 4-5 years (starting from beta). One of the most notable aspects of the game is of course the unique concept of RvR, but if I had to name something else it would be how they implemented skills around the specialization lines. The one thing I hate, or at least wish they didn’t change, is the way the new RvR zones work. I liked the way the old zones were laid out and how there were actually decent, but risky, PvE hunting grounds out in the RvR mainland fields. Now, it’s mostly just all RvR. I believe in a game like that there should be rewarding PvE content which is located in dangerous RvR areas.

WAAAGH!: What PvP experience do you have, and what are your general feelings on it?

SVOALD: PVP directly has always been my forte, but I never seemed to voluntarily play on a PvP ruleset server on other MMOs that offered it as an additional feature. This may sound contradicting however I feel that games which were designed around PvP and automatically have it enabled for all players will be much better balanced than games that only introduced PvP later on as a bonus. I like the risk associated with hunting knowing you can be ganked at any moment because then I know that I can turn around and find somebody else to do the same thing to. The original Ultima Online (before expansions/facets) had the right system going for this and you were even able to loot your opponent if you defeated him. Awesome!

WAAAGH!: What faction (order/chaos) do you plan siding with when the game releases, and why?

SVOALD: I plan on playing the Order faction once the game goes live. Based on recent polls that I have seen, the majority of players will want to try the Greenskins and other Chaos races more so than the Order ones. Because of the reason stated in question 2, this will leave me more content to explore and discover without other people getting there first. At least this concept applies to content on the live server not counting what has been revealed on beta. Other reasons include less crowded areas and playing classes which exist less frequently.

WAAAGH!: What class(es) currently appeal to you the most, and are they similar or different to classes you typically play in other MMOs?

SVOALD: In the past I always used to play either a healing or a magic/wizard (DPS) type of class. To continue on with this trend I will most likely play an Empire Bright Wizard and a Dwarf Runepriest. I don’t know the full details behind every class yet so don’t quote me 100% on if those will be my final options. I know for sure though that my selection will remain in those two class archtypes.

WAAAGH!: What features of WAR have you the most excited to experience?

SVOALD: The RvR technology and the new Tome of Knowledge feature are where my most excitement lies. The RvR is simply on my list because I knew of the success it had in Mythic’s original game. I chose the Tome of Knowledge because it allows me now to track my adventures and exploration while suggesting to me what else I can do next. All the other features in the game are fantastic too, but I’m not reading into them on purpose so I can be marveled once it’s my turn to play.

WAAAGH!: Did you apply for the beta, did you get into the beta, and have you pre-ordered the CE?

SVOALD: I applied for beta back in November; however, I have not yet been selected to participate in any testing phase. I’m hoping that once open beta comes around that I will be selected by then. Shamefully I also have to say that I have not pre-ordered anything yet. As a college student money is hard to come by so I’m afraid I will not be able to afford anything other than the standard game copy.

WAAAGH!: What concerns do you have for WAR’s gameplay and future?

SVOALD: One major concern I have regarding Warhammer Online’s gameplay is that each class will be unique enough to have different responsibilities in diverse battle situations. From the descriptions I have read so far about the assorted classes it seems that although each class has a defined role or purpose, room for deviation does not seem to be worked into the equation. I hope though this is just due to the complex nature of each class and that the descriptions just don’t serve them well. As far as the future goes, let’s hope they have a smooth launch.

WAAAGH!: What will you be doing with your gaming time between now and WAR’s release?

SVOALD: Between now and launch I can say I will stick with playing Vanguard and occasionally swap time with Everquest II. If there is anything left over it will go towards a good FPS like Battlefield 2 or maybe a strategy game like Rome: Total War. If I get into beta though you can rest assure that my time allocation will change.

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Da Newz – May 29

May 29, 2008

Beta Ticker: 700.255 (+0 since last week)

Quote of the Week: I would rather hear William Shatner and Roseanne Barr singing a duet while having my fingernails pulled out one by one while sitting in a pool of molten lava than have Mythic’s own Official Forums for WAR. How’s that for clarity?” ~ Mark Jacobs

Story of the Week: White Lion career confirmed. As little of a surprise as it ended up being, the cat is finally out of the bag (heh) on the last High Elf class and the final revealed class of WAR: the White Lion career! GameSpot and Warhammer Alliance jumped the official gun on this by a day or so, but Mythic doesn’t seem too sore, and the official White Lion page is up. Meanwhile, GameSpot has a g-r-r-r-eat White Lion video to watch and a more fleshed-out interview to read.

In Other News:

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Imperial Inquisition – Silex of Warhammer Info

May 27, 2008

One of the elder Warhammer Online sites, Warhammer Info’s been spreading heresy far and wide — and today, that will end! We’ve tied up Silex and asked him very pointed questions as he sits on a very pointed seat.

WAAAGH!: Tell us a bit about yourself — your handle/screen name/real name, age, real life occupation, your previous MMO experience, and your play style.

SILEX: My screen name is silex. I’m 26, and I program COBOL for a living. How hot is that!? Honestly, I’m a little scared that I was contacted as a “community leader” for WAR. God have mercy on that community.

WAAAGH!: What type of social play do you gravitate towards: soloing, participating in small guilds/small groups, or participating in large guilds/large raids?

SILEX: Competitive grouping.

WAAAGH!: What motivated you to get involved with the WAR community and how did you go about doing it?

SILEX: Mythic + RvR = Good times. It’s a recipe for success.

I started out keeping some files filled with ability information turned up at GamesDay events. Figured other people might be interested, so I threw up a website. I lazilly throw in sarcasm and other junk – so far it’s going well. Or at least I haven’t been kicked off the internets yet. That’s a good sign.

WAAAGH!: What are some of the more notable trends you’ve observed in the WAR community since you’ve been active in it?

SILEX: The fanbase is very vocal and not afraid to explode in tears/complaints if we get wind of something we don’t like. Remember cross server scenario queues? How about non-segregated PvE areas? Or the recent “stealth”? …yea…

At the same time, the community is supportive of Mythic when release setbacks and the like popup.

A lot of tough love.

WAAAGH!: Did you play Dark Age of Camelot (or do you still), and what did you like/hate about it?

SILEX: Like – Emain, Glasny, and Weewolves.

Dislike – Mids, Albs, and Finlaiths.

DAOC somehow wrangled me in for 5+ years. No other MMO has come close to even half that. They’ve got the magic formula. Or they lace their game discs with cocaine. It’s definitely something.

WAAAGH!: What PvP experience do you have, and what are your general feelings on it?

SILEX: It is good.

WAAAGH!: What faction (order/chaos) do you plan siding with when the game releases, and why?

SILEX: Chaos will always triumph because good is dumb.

Ultimately, it all depends on what side the guild wants to go. I’d be happy anywhere.

WAAAGH!: What class(es) currently appeal to you the most, and are they similar or different to classes you typically play in other MMOs?

SILEX: Currently planning on the Zealot. It looks fantastic visually and its abilities sound interesting.

I love playing support classes, especially in group based PvP games. You get to observe the battle at a really high level and it always feels like your contribution to the fight makes or breaks things. And there’s the always classic:

“Hey, tank, go charge in there, I’ll keep you healed.”

“Ok.”

**20 seconds later**

“Where the hell was my heals?”

“Woops, went AFK.”

WAAAGH!: What features of WAR are you the most excited to experience?

SILEX: Getting a statue of myself built in the city. That is going to be priority one. I’ll just stand around it all day long taking screenshots of myself and shouting to the zone for people to come see how awesome I am. I’ll pay a new player to hand out pamphlets detailing my greatness. Can’t wait.

WAAAGH!: Did you apply for the beta, did you get into the beta, and have you pre-ordered the CE?

SILEX: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Where’s the fourth question in that chain where you ask if I’ve taken work off for launch day?

WAAAGH!: What concerns do you have for WAR’s gameplay and future?

SILEX: Population imbalance, gank group domination in scenarios, and expansions. We’ll see how Mythic plays those cards when we get to them.

WAAAGH!: What will you be doing with your gaming time between now and WAR’s release?

SILEX: Continuing to work on Orbs and hibernating.
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Imperial Inquisition – Mithan of VN Warhammer Forums

May 20, 2008

Another week, another cruel visit to the supposed innocent. Today, the Imperial Inquisition knocked at the door of Mithan, the sinful soul who wrangles the madness at the VN Warhammer Forums as lead admin.

WAAAGH!: Tell us a bit about yourself — your handle/screen name/real name, age, real life occupation, your previous MMO experience, and your play style.

MITHAN: My “online name” is Mithan and I have gone by that name for almost a decade online. I’ve been playing online games since as far back as 1995, when I got involved in playing Quake online. Being an Ultima fan, I hopped on the Ultima Online bandwagon when that was originally announced and I started posting on the original “UO Vault” at that time too (back in 1996 or so). I was involved in the UO Beta and then played it when it was released for a while, when I switched over to Quake 2 online in 98. Since then, I have played almost every MMO that has been released, from Everquest to DAoC to Asheron’s Call 1 and 2 to Planetside to World of Warcraft to Star Wars Galaxies to Anarchy Online to whatever else. Obviously, many of those games I played for a few months and dumped, but some of them, mainly Asheron’s Call 1, 2 and World of Warcraft, I have played for years on end and been involved in the Communities.

During most of that time, I have been involved in various websites or other projects. Back in 1999, I got a group of people together and we developed the Prisoner’s of War Mod for Quake 3. I was the Project Manager in charge of making sure everybody did what they had to do, plus I designed some levels. When we released it, we released with about 18 Maps and it was ranked in the top 10 Quake 3 Mods for about 9 months. After that was finished in 1999, I pretty much played Asheron’s Call 1 for a few years straight, during which (July of 2001) I took up a Moderating Position on the Thistledown Server Board.

In 2003, I started up http://www.AC2HQ.com as my own website because IGN was too slow to get one done on the Vault, and it quickly became the #1 AC2 fan site on the net. It was a hell of a project covering pretty much everything there was to cover in AC2, however I got bored of the website and I sold the website to IGN, after which (June of 2003), I was offered a Manager Position on the boards (basically a promotion from my existing Moderator position) and I became the Lead Board Administrator a couple months later, where I have remained since.

The first few years of the Admin Position on the VN Boards were hectic and required a lot of on the job learning, generally sucking up on average 40 hours a week, if not more and it was really stressful for a while (getting screamed at by 50 people daily always sucks). However along with some good people, I managed to revamp some processes that were broken and today we run a lot more efficiently and consistantly. Having been able to delegate a lot of my old responsabilities to people I trust and know can do the job, has also meant I can relax.

I’ve also had a few successful Guilds, such as my current WoW Guild called Keepers of the Vault, which had 250 people at its peak and is now at about 150 people. I recently resigned as Guild Master, but am still active in the Guild and will take it to Warhammer Online as a chapter of the guild when the game is released.

I’ve been involved in a few other websites as well, such as http://www.ve3d.com and I had a few of my own news sites in the past. That about sums it up without getting into too many details or covering too many other boring things, incase your already snoring.

WAAAGH!: What type of social play do you gravitate towards: soloing, participating in small guilds/small groups, or participating in large guilds/large raids?

MITHAN: I am very mixed in the types of gameplay I enjoy. Generally speaking, I love soloing because of the freedom it provides. If a game allows me to solo effectively, it means I can do whatever I want, when I want to do it, without being hampered by a group, or as I like to say it, stuck on a hillside waiting for little Johnny the Cleric to go pee. Nothing pisses me off more than people who waste my time, and since gaming is my main form of entertainment these days, I want to maximize my time, not waste it looking for groups or being part of a bad group. Likewise, the same is true in reverse because I like to alt-tab or go AFK many times in a 3 or 4 hour play session and I hate wasting my groups time.

However, groups do have a place for me as well. In World of Warcraft for example, I would do a nightly 5 Man Instance with guild friends of mine, and it was a lot of fun, primarily because I have played with these guys for years. We jump on Ventrillo, pick a 5 man to do and then go hard for an hour or two until we finish the instance and its fun.

I also enjoy doing PVP Raids, because they are generally less structured than PVE Raids. A PVP Raid usually means you can zerg some objective and have a blast doing it with your friends, but a PVE Raid usually requires a bunch of planning, perfect timing, very good play and everybody doing what they are supposed to do, and then you do it over and over and over and over and over again. I find that part boring, even if it is “fun” to be in a group of people. Of course, that is in respect to WoW, I am really hoping that Warhammer Online’s PVP Raiding is a lot more fun and more of a somewhat structured zerg or mob than some well oiled army.

Lastly, I LOVE huge guilds. As I said above, I usually go out soloing for whatever, but while I am out soloing, I love the fact that I am usually chatting with somebody in the guild. Sometimes we will get a party of 5 of us (while each person is out soloing) just to chat privately.

WAAAGH!: What motivated you to get involved with the WAR community and how did you go about doing it?

MITHAN: Being the Lead Admin for the Vault Network Boards, I have to get involved by default, since it is my job to make sure the boards get set up properly, we have the proper rules in place and to make sure it is properly staffed and moderated. Now some of that stuff I delegate, but I still need to over see it and make sure it gets done to my expectations and meets up with IGN’s overall goals. Right now, we are trying hard to make our Warhammer Online boards friendly to new and old alike, while still trying to keep the relatively free speaking atmosphere that the Vault Forums are known for, and that can be one hell of a challenge. I am hoping we can have a fairly vibrant Server Board system for the game, as we did for DAoC and Asheron’s Call, but we want to keep our main boards a little on the friendlier side than they may of been for Warhammer. Anyways, thats part of my job and part of my “inolvement” in the Warhammer Community.


Of course, the boards were only part of the reason. While I have never played the table top game, I have played most of the PC Games that are set in the Warhammer universe (and 40k universe) so that had me interested.

Lastly, learning more and more about the game, seeing the screenshots, reading the previews and yes, being in beta, etc, etc has increased my interest in the game, and since my interest is fairly high, it makes me want to do a little more. For instance, I am now going to do a Warhammer Online Chapter for my Keeper’s Of The Vault WoW Guild, as there are about 20-30 or so people in the guild currently who are thinking about checking out or moving to WAR and want to play with their friends and family, plus I have a lot of other friends who want to play with my own circle of friends.

I’ve also promised the Warhammer Vault Managers that I will try and do some guides or features, which I used to be “known for” in some circles a long time ago. A lot of this of course depends on available time, but overall, I like playing MMO’s and I like to do things that help people who are playing them, which is why I enjoy online forums, moderating and writing guides and such.

WAAAGH!: What are some of the more notable trends you’ve observed in the WAR community since you’ve been active in it?

MITHAN: Due to the way I see the Community, most of the “trends” I observe tend to revolve around moderation.

Generally speaking, most MMO’s start out with Fans of the game having the most interest, and being the only people involved in the Community, and then as it gets nearer to release, other people start to join in and before you know it, the raging masses come in with all their different opinions and the Community radically changes from what it was before. You get the Fan Boys who love everything about the game, to the point of ignoring problems with the game. You get the Haters who hate everything and bitch and whine about everything instead of just doing everybody a favor and leaving to go play a game they do like. You get the guys who are in between, pop into a forum, ask a few questions and then disappear untilt he game comes out. Basically, you get all sorts of people who come into the community at different points, as the buzz and hype builds.

Having seen that, I see two major trends:

1. The buzz has STAYED good. People are positive. Haters are only bitching and whining about little things that will probably get fixed (graphics for example). Mark Jacobs delayed the game 6 months and we didn’t see a mass revolt or deluge of “the sky is falling” threads. Hell, even the underground “NDA leak” buzz is good. The point is, the trend with Warhammer Online is of growing positiveness (if that is a word) and excitement and usually at this point, if the game was going to suck, people start to sense that and the flames start flying and negativity sucks everything down. The last time I saw that happen was for Vanguard, when 4 months before the game came out, negativity was on the rise and interest was on the decline.

2. Growing Interest. The game is gaining a lot of interest as it progresses. We are seeing a lot of new posters come to the boards to get involved in the discussions and that is a good thing for Warhammer Online. Even when playing WoW, I see people in Alterac Valley saying things like “God I cant wait until Warhammer Online comes out and I don’t have to play with you retards anymore!”.

I think there is a growing base of excitement for Warhammer. Everybody wants it to succeed, especially the WoW crowd that is looking for a new fix to move from.

The negative side of this though is that you have higher expectations to meet, which means the game needs to be more polished or you blow your expectations. Hopefully that 6 month delay accomplishes that.

WAAAGH!: Did you play Dark Age of Camelot (or do you still), and what did you like/hate about it?

MITHAN: I played DAoC in its beta and for about 2 months at release. I hated the game.
Why?

It felt like Everquest (which I also hated). Basically, I was playing a Warrior/Fighter class to about level 20 or so (I forget as I played it at release). I quit because of the forced group leveling they had in the game at the time, which I found to be rediculous. Basically, I refuse to play a MMO when they designer forces me to sit on a hill with a full group and pull Tigers for hours on end in order to level up. Dropping a hammer on my feet is more fun. That totally killed it for me and it was a bore.

I don’t know if the game is like that now (I hear it isn’t) and maybe I was just playing it wrong, but you know what? It doesn’t matter because that is the experience I had, it sucked and I quit because of it.

However, I have heard awesome things about the Realm vs Realm aspect of the game and sometimes I wish I had stuck it out long enough to get involved in that aspect of the game but it lost me way before that.

WAAAGH!: What PvP experience do you have, and what are your general feelings on it?

I wouldn’t say I have a tonne of PVP experience in MMO’s, but I have a tonne of PVP experience in online games in general. On the MMO side, I was very into PVP in Ultima Online when that game first came out and I loved the total free for all that PVP brought to the table because it added a certain dread and tension to the game that no other game has duplicated for me since. I mean, what other game had it so you could be killed and have all your gear looted off of you? Exactly, none. With the exception of WoW, I have generally stuck to PVE for all the MMO’s I have played. In WoW, I’ve done a few hundred hours of Battlegrounds, but the problem with WoW is that it is too gear dependent and it gets boring fast, since your grinding the same areas over and over and over again, and it lacks true objectives and win conditions.

Now, as far as other online games, I don’t know if you would consider Planetside, Battlefield, Unreal, Team Fortress, Quake, Call of Duty, etc, etc as PVP, but I have probably logged thousands of hours into those types of online pvp games.

Overall, I enjoy PVP, provided it is done right and competitive. However one trend that has happened with most MMO’s is that there are really no consequences to losing anymore, and that takes a little out of it.

WAAAGH!: What faction (order/chaos) do you plan siding with when the game releases, and why?

Chaos, because my brother is forcing me too ;) Actually, he is only part of the reason. After being on the “good” side for almost every MMO to date, we want to do something different so we will be taking on the Chaos side this time.

WAAAGH!: What class(es) currently appeal to you the most, and are they similar or different to classes you typically play in other MMOs?

I always play melee classes in MMO’s, either as a high DPS or Tank class. I just love the in your face combat you get from being a melee.

For Warhammer I am going to probably play (in order of most likely to least) a Witch Elf, Marauder or a Chopper. Since I find the Orc to be repungent, I probably will stick with the Witch Elf, that way I can stare at a nice elf ass all the time. Not that elves turn me on or anything.

WAAAGH!: What features of WAR have you the most excited to experience?

The Realm vs Realm Combat. On paper, it sounds fantastic. On video, it looks fantastic. In beta, it is covered by NDA!

Seriously, this part of the game is what I am the most excited about. I love WoW, but where WoW breaks down for me is in Blizzards push for PVE Raids, which bore the hell out of me. I know that RvR Raids are something that will appeal to me a hell of a lot more, in both excitement, strategy and everything else I get out of a MMO.

The other aspects of Warhammer that excite me are the simple fact that it doesn’t look (to me at least) that Mythic is screwing with ideas and gameplay mechanics that work, just to be different. I know that sounds weird, but too many MMO’s these days try to be drastically different from other MMO’s and only result in coming out with broken mechanics that totally suck. Warhammer has enough new ideas that are evolved from older ideas, tied to an overall PVP Focus, that I am excited for it.

WAAAGH!: Did you apply for the beta, did you get into the beta, and have you pre-ordered the CE?

MITHAN: I applied for the beta, got in the beta, and I have the CE on pre-order.

WAAAGH!: What concerns do you have for WAR’s gameplay and future?

I have many concerns, some of which fall into the trivial, some of which are addressed and some of which are pure speculation, but here they are:

a) I was worried about the game being released early, but that has been addressed with the delay.

b) Going off of the screenshots, I think the graphics still need to be polished and I am implying things like shader effects, texture resolution and lighting effects that are clearly visible in sceenshots. However, some of the latest screenshots seem to be addressing that aspect of the game, so hopefully they are improved over the next 6 months.

c) I am always worried about class balance in these games, just because most MMO Developers seem to over compensate when adding buffs or nerfs.

d) I worry about this game coming out directly across from Return Of the Lich King for WoW, though I do think any lost sales will eventually be realized as people get tired of Lich King.

e) I worry this game may turn into a WoW/EQ style raiding game where groups are required to have 40 different UI-Mods installed, be on Ventrilo and use pinpoint accuracy and tactics to kill stuff.

Overall though, I don’t worry about things that much. I prefer to wait to see what the release looks like and then go from there. Worrying in advance is pointless.

WAAAGH!: What will you be doing with your gaming time between now and WAR’s release?

I am currently playing WoW again, so that uses up some of my time. I also got into the WAR Beta, and have been offering some feedback on the beta, but I don’t want to over play the beta because it will kill the full release for me. I will probably pick up Age of Conan in May and dabble a bit with that in the summer, but overall, I tend to not play much in the summer time unless the weather is bad. On top of the MMO’s, I will play the odd console title here and there (GTA4, MGS4, etc).

And as usual, I will be keeping an eye on the Warhammer Vault Forums ;)

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