Imperial Inquisition – Snafzg of The GreenskinApril 22, 2008
Today’s Imperial Inquisition is with Snafzg of The Greenskin — a toothy WAR blog/webcomic! He’s in the WAR beta, and we hate him for it, oh yes we does… well, maybe not “hate” so much as “envy with an automatic pistol”.
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.
SNAFZG: Asking my a/s/l? How forward of you! My better-known handles include: Snafzg (WoW), Gex (DAOC), and Malak/Alweon (MUME). My real name is Brooke, I’ll be 28 in a few weeks, and I work in communications, marketing, and promotion for a government organization.
I started online gaming back in 1996 with a Tolkien-based MUD called MUME (Multi-Users in Middle Earth). It was and probably still is one of the more hardcore PvP MUDS because it included features like full corpse looting, big XP loss on death, and death traps (dangerous rooms that would insta-kill you, taking all your gear – like going North or South of Durin’s Bridge in Moria rather than West or East, Heh). You would gain Warpoints by killing enemies but lose them when you died. The ultimate goal is to work your way up the top 10 list of Warlords (with the most Warpoints) for your side (Orcs, Trolls, and Black Numenoreans vs. Men, Dwarves, Hobbits, Elves, and Half-Elves). I made it on the list twice in six years of play, but never higher than the 8th spot. I would say I played this game casually. In fact, I play most games casually (10-15 hours per week on average).
MUME led to Everquest because I couldn’t resist the temptation of trying out a graphical representation of the type of game I’d been playing for so long. Unfortunately, I only made it to level 10 with a Necromancer before becoming terribly bored. I hadn’t chosen a PvP server, and the idea of grinding in PvE forever did not appeal to me.
I then joined DAOC about eight months after its release on a friend’s suggestion. I’ll go into more detail on this later, but suffice it to say, I was pretty happy with this game until ToA released and WoW came out, offering a new experience.
Between DAOC and WoW I played Star Wars: Galaxies and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I played a Smuggler, which wasn’t too exciting since there wasn’t a ship/flying/cargo system in the game’s foreseeable future.
The most recent MMORPG I played was WoW, which I quit early last summer. I made it all the way to 70 on Shattered Hand as a Shadow Priest in a pretty good guild, but neither of my end-game options were viable. I wasn’t interested at all in joining my guild in raid grinding Karazan and beyond because I’m not that big a fan of PvE, nor was I able to compete in the arenas due to a lack of teammates (since my guild was a raiding guild). At least I made $400 off my account when I eBayed it! 😉
WAAAGH!: What type of social play do you gravitate towards: soloing, participating in small guilds/small groups, or participating in large guilds/large raids?
SNAFZG: I gravitate towards solo play as long as I can remain competitive because I don’t usually enjoy paying the penalty for other people’s mistakes. I don’t want to sound elitist, but when I can only put in 10-15 hours per week of play, efficient achievement is of the utmost importance. I guess you could call me “hardcore casual,” but I think someone else already coined that term.
That said, if I can get in a smart and efficient group of interesting people, I have no problem exploring the group aspects of the game. Some of my favorite MMORPG experiences came from 8-man RvR in DAOC with my old guild, Vegr.
WAAAGH!: What motivated you to get involved with the WAR community and how did you go about doing it?
SNAFZG: I dabbled in blogging back in WoW by writing several well-received posts about Shadow Priests (best PvP/PvE gear sets and play techniques). The motivation to continue writing came in the form of reader comments, asking that I update my lists from time to time.
After quitting WoW, I removed myself from the gaming scene by concentrating on RL hobbies but I was eventually drawn to WAR because of a few Games Day videos my friend took in Toronto last May. I had already been signed up for beta and did cursory research when Mythic announced they bought the IP, but it was so far off that I didn’t bother buying into the hype.
I did more thorough investigation several months before the supposed January 2008 release and found that aside from a few popular WAR forums, there weren’t (m)any focused WAR blogs. I initially examined things from a business perspective and thought that I could probably make a fair bit of money by simply writing about the game and becoming the WoW-Insider of Warhammer Online. Needless to say, my aspirations and focus have narrowed somewhat, but I’d still like to write about WAR in the future as long as I continue having fun playing it and potentially earn a bit of scratch for my efforts in the form of meaningful ad sponsors. Income isn’t the sole motivation, but it wouldn’t be a terrible consolation!
Setting up my website was as simple as buying some server space, installing WordPress, and modifying a pre-made theme. Creating the webcomic is definitely a challenge, but I think I’m getting better with each one. I just need to budget more time for its development.
WAAAGH!: What are some of the more notable trends you’ve observed in the WAR community since you’ve been active in it?
SNAFZG: While I may be a community contributor, I don’t necessarily think I’m as plugged into the community as others. I have about 20 WAR-related sites in my RSS reader for research and entertainment purposes but most of my writing on the site comes in the form of personal opinions.
Some trends I’ve noticed are the growing number of guilds recruiting, and mentally and strategically preparing themselves for WAR’s release. I’ve noticed a lot more beta leaks coinciding with the growing number of players EA Mythic is inviting into beta, even though many sites aren’t reporting them (which is smart because those sites would be blacklisted by EA Mythic). With each release push-back, the community seems less and less surprised, and more and more reasonable. Also, as time goes on, more fan sites are popping up, which is a positive sign for WAR.
Running the Greeny Awards sure opened my eyes to all the crazy WAR fans out there, and we’re still fairly far away from release!
WAAAGH!: Did you play Dark Age of Camelot (or do you still), and what did you like/hate about it?
SNAFZG: I played DAOC for nearly three years in Midgard/Nimue and had several level 50s, including a Skald, Warrior, Healer, Shadowblade, and buffbot Shaman. It was the first and arguably only MMORPG I ever immersed myself in.
- The lore and mythology of all realms, while historically imperfect, were the foundation of great immersion and conflict
- Most of RvR including battlegrounds, open-field combat, keep/tower warfare, 8-man fighting, larger multi-group battles, and the three-way war concept
- Darkness Falls is the best implantation of a dungeon I’ve ever seen. Even the concept behind the shared frontier dungeons was great.
- Class variety
- Lack of balance and shifting balance with inconsistent nerfing and buffing, especially with expansion classes
- PvE from 1-50 is horribly boring, repetitive, and slow (lack of quests) with no risk of PvP
- The original ToA loot system (such low drop rates, insanely hard and random encounters, and scrolls)
- All the additional PvE rewards that gave people an advantage in RvR versus those who would have rather just concentrated on RvR
WAAAGH!: What PvP experience do you have, and what are your general feelings on it?
SNAFZG: I much prefer PvP (and RvR) to PvE because it provides me with a living, dynamic opponent. There is little gratification in killing a scripted NPC, but I feel PvE is still necessary to provide variety in your MMORPG gaming experience. In theory, WAR should be the perfect game for me because they will allow players to progress throughout the levels, all the while attacking and defending against enemy players.
Back in 1996 they called PvP something else… PK, or player-killing. Once I got a taste of PK/PvP in MUME, I really couldn’t be completely satisfied with PvE anymore, unless there was the threat or potential of clashing with the enemy. I joined one of the top RvR guilds on my server in DAOC and wouldn’t have wished for anything else, even though the game lost its luster. In WoW, I played on PvP server because I wanted to be put back into the situation where I could be jumped at any time during PvE. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much incentive for open-world PvP, so people didn’t participate very much aside from the gankers. I spent most of my time in the battlegrounds, but they too became boring and stale after queuing up a few hundred times with 10-15 minute wait times.
WAAAGH!: What faction (order/chaos) do you plan siding with when the game releases, and why?
SNAFZG: I will obviously be playing Greenskins as a Goblin Shaman or Squig herder (Destruction). Traditionally, I’ve always picked the “dark side” in games because they were seen as the underdogs. One of my fears with WAR is that Destruction may dominate in terms of population numbers because I’d much rather win against the odds than overcome my enemy by sheer numbers. Most polls indicate Destruction being the more appealing choice for WAR fans, and if that’s the case, I truly hope EA Mythic makes good on their promise of enforced and incensed population control (manipulation).
Otherwise, I may just consider playing for Order. Yuck.
WAAAGH!: What class(es) currently appeal to you the most, and are they similar or different to classes you typically play in other MMOs?
SNAFZG: I usually play melee or melee hybrids, but this time around I’ll be trying the Shaman (ranged/dps healer) and Squig Herder (ranged/dps pet class). I think this will provide new challenges and provide a fresh approach to this MMORPG. In particular, the Shaman appeals most because they serve a dual offensive and defensive role. I think it will be fun to juggle the many abilities, making me adaptable to many situations.
WAAAGH!: What features of WAR have you the most excited to experience?
SNAFZG: Is this a trick question because I’m in beta? 😛 I’m most excited to try the novel concepts EA Mythic is bringing to WAR, including: public quests, living cities, living guilds, city siege, etc..
WAAAGH!: Did you apply for the beta, did you get into the beta, and have you pre-ordered the CE?
SNAFZG: I applied for the beta soon after it was made publicly available and I got in by winning a contest. I have pre-ordered a single copy of the CE and received my codes, however, I’m holding on to everything until I’m absolutely certain that I’ll be playing at release. The CE contents are definitely cool, but the only feature I’m truly excited about is the head start program. If it’s only a 1-day head start, I’ll either sell the CE (hopefully at a profit if the demand peaks) or give it away on my site. If it’s more, then I’ll keep it.
WAAAGH!: What concerns do you have for WAR’s gameplay and future?
SNAFZG: I have to tread carefully here because I don’t want to break the NDA. My only concerns are that they keep on track with their Q3 target for release because even a polished game will have issues competing with the new WoW expansion, that they open up the beta within the next couple months to maintain and spark new interest (also lift the NDA), and that everything is fairly balanced at release, including population dynamics.
WAAAGH!: What will you be doing with your gaming time between now and WAR’s release?
SNAFZG: I’ll be playing beta when it’s up, but honestly, my free time spent gaming since I quit WoW has diminished greatly. I’ve dabbled in Team Fortress 2 and a few console games, but nothing sustains my interest like a good, PvP/RvR MMORPG. There’s nothing currently our or even on the horizon that fits that description in my humble opinion. Aside from WAR of course.