Imperial Inquisition – Browncoat of Warhammer AllianceApril 29, 2008
This week, we put a WAR forum moderator to the question — “Browncoat” of the Warhammer Alliance Forums. Or the Firefly forums. Or the dapper Victorian outfitters society forums.
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.
BROWNCOAT: I’m a bit guarded about my personal information, but I’ll tease you with a few tidbits! ^_-
Browncoat is a handle that has obvious connotations to Firefly and it was more of an off-the-cuff thing than anything. I’m in my 20’s, and when I’m not helping administer the WHA forums, I’m an IT professional, a Sysadmin to be specific, although that’s more like another way of saying “person who fixes everything”.
I started out with MMOs with old school MUDs like Gemstone III and the rather unforgiving nature of the early graphical MMOs like pre-Trammel Ultima Online and Everquest. Death meant something in these games, something decidedly missing from today’s MMO market, and killing and being killed was the order of the day.
After cutting my teeth on those I’ve played a variety of MMOs, like Dark Age of Camelot, Final Fantasy XI, City of Heroes/Villains, and, like everyone else, a stint in World of Warcraft, where I was a raid leader and senior officer. After being burned out, I’ve pretty much been MMO free, and like many others, I’m eagerly anticipating WAR.
My play style is a mix of PvE and PvP. I like doing dungeon crawls, learning and beating an encounter, and getting treasure, but I also like wrecking someone’s face in and taking another notch onto my kills. I lean more towards the latter, and the prankster in me has a tendency to have a little fun at someone’s expense – especially if they deserve 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?[/quote]
WAAAGH!: What motivated you to get involved with the WAR community and how did you go about doing it?
BROWNCOAT: After burning out on WoW, I sought to find an MMO that had fun gameplay and not have an obligation to play 16+ hours a week in what amounts to a second job. The pain of beating Naxxramas encounters, WoW’s most difficult dungeon at the time of my leaving, was taxing. I realized I wanted a game that let me dictate what I wanted to do and how to spend my time rather than the other way around. -_-;
It was at this time that I found videos about Warhammer Online. The very first video I ever watched depicted Paul Barnett’s 6 minute presentation about what made WAR great. I was hooked – especially after seeing the immense amount of community face time EA Mythic was giving. Here was a company that despite its own flaws and the warzone that a gaming community can become, that was wading in unafraid to take questions, post interviews, and talk to its users. It was a far cry from the aloof attitude I had seen from development in other games.
In return for this, I wanted to do my part to make the community great, worthy, and productive of such attention, to give them as much to work with as they gave us. This is why when Warhammer Alliance’s Archangel, Garthilk, and Kilrogg offered me a chance to do this, I was immediately on board. My motivation, as someone who has had to go through the pain of forums filled with unproductive content, is to create a place where we establish the same standards you’d expect if talking to someone face to face. If people said half the things they said on the Internet to someone they were actually talking to, they’d end up beaten down in an alleyway naked with their cash stolen for good measure. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good laugh and if you ever actually meet me, I’m as laid back as can be. But “on the job”, I’ve got an obligation to create good community. It’d be interesting to do this for an actual living.
WAAAGH!: What are some of the more notable trends you’ve observed in the WAR community since you’ve been active in it?
BROWNCOAT: There’s definitely a trend that smacks of “wanting something new and awesome”. Let’s not mince words here – most people have played one of the “big” MMOs in the last couple of years, like WoW, or EQ2, or whatever, and they just want something new. Some MMOs have tried and failed with this, and all the other companies with MMOs coming out – Funcom, Bioware, EA Mythic – they’re now taking a more guarded, cautious approach to releasing their content. As a result though, the community is starving for something. It’s like having hamburgers every day (or worse yet, dieting) while you sit and drool over the fried chicken place that is slowly being put up across the street.
Another trend is fear. I don’t blame people for this most of the time, but people are afraid that the things that stopped them from playing their favorite MMOs in the first place will be present in WAR. When people hear about a mechanic, or a feature, or something working a certain way, people make this leap that it’s going to suddenly be a problem because they think it’s more of the same. Hey, I have these fears too – but I’m confident enough that they will listen to feedback (presented the right way!) and put out the best product they can. If it doesn’t work out for me, that’s fine – that’s the way the cookie crumbles. That’s why there are alternatives.
But the biggest trend I’m seeing is still excitement over RvR. Those people who don’t know how great the RvR system is are in for a treat. The things that WAR is doing with regards to its RvR system are really things which excite a lot of players in the community, and I don’t blame them! I truly hope that the RvR that you saw in DAoC translates over to WAR in some fashion.
WAAAGH!: Did you play Dark Age of Camelot (or do you still), and what did you like/hate about it?
BROWNCOAT: I played. I’ll start with what I hated. The botting and multiboxing was a terrible trend. It turned a fair fight into one that was unwinnable and awful. And like others, I cringed at the release of the ToA expansion, whgich was a departure from the original design of the game that made it so great.
Like many former DAoC players, RvR was the best part of the game for me. I’m going to go on a hype fest here, but it’s only because I had such a good time. Those people who have never had a taste of RvR will be pleasantly surprised if it makes a good transition into WAR. People keep talking about “Realm Pride”. Realm Pride wasn’t some concept about winning or losing. It was about contributing to your faction, and your faction’s goals. It was about holding that keep, stopping that relic raid, standing your ground and skirmishing not because you were going to win or lose, but your whole faction was going to win or lose based upon how you did. It wasn’t about trash talking – anyone can trash talk their opponent – but it was about stomping an opponent into the ground, for your realm, and not saying “I beat you” but rather “The Hibs beat you today, cursed Alb/Mid scumbags”. In short, Realm pride was team-based, group-based, not rewards-based. You didn’t attack that keep or do an alarm clock raid at 3am because you got cool loot. You did it so that your realm could gain victory and the right to call yourselves the very best. I really can’t get into it more than that.
WAAAGH!: What PvP experience do you have, and what are your general feelings on it?
BROWNCOAT: I played plenty of PvP in the games that offered it. I’m not really the best PvP player, but I’m decent when it comes down to it. I like PvP and being competitive. What I don’t like is when people take it too far. People who purposefully go out of their way to ruin someone’s gameplay experience instead of simply just defeating them are just ridiculous. I’m not so naive to expect some kind of honor on the battlefield, but really, at the end of the day, it’s a game and people play the game to have fun. The people who actively sit down in front of their game and say “I’m out to wreck someone’s playtime until they log out” are the same kinds of people who would end up beaten down in aforementioned alley were they to behave the same kind of way outside of the game. Those people suck, and give competitive PvP players a bad name.
WAAAGH!: What faction (order/chaos) do you plan siding with when the game releases, and why?
BROWNCOAT: The guild I’m currently affiliated with is going Destruction. But even if I wasn’t in a guild, I’d be going Destruction anyway. I’ve always wussed out and played what are perceived to be the “good” races. I need a change of pace, and Destruction is where it’s at. ^_^
WAAAGH!: What class(es) currently appeal to you the most, and are they similar or different to classes you typically play in other MMOs?
BROWNCOAT: I’ve always been a support player first and a DPS’er second. The fact that WAR plans on marrying these concepts in a hybridized way is hugely appealing to me. The Shaman and Disciple are great, and the Warrior Priest is shaping up to be one of the most popular classes to play. I’ve always been the passive healer because I enjoy doing it, but I always wished I could at least defend myself or do some kind of perceived damage. This is why my alts are typically damage dealers. With WAR, it’s looking like I won’t have to alt out, although many of the classes are very tempting – the Witch Elf, the Sorceress, and the Engineer all look great.
WAAAGH!: What features of WAR have you the most excited to experience?
BROWNCOAT: It’s no surprise that it’s the RvR system for me. But more specifically than that, it’s the campaign of taking keeps, controlling zones, and eventually sieging the city and taking it. That’s going to be great.
WAAAGH!: Did you apply for the beta, did you get into the beta, and have you pre-ordered the CE?
BROWNCOAT: I’ve always been coy about this, but I’m fortunate enough to say the answer is yes on all counts. Hehe.
WAAAGH!: What concerns do you have for WAR’s gameplay and future?
BROWNCOAT: Today’s MMO audience is broader, and with that comes a sort of dilution to the community when it comes to the very basic concepts of playing well with others. I’m pretty cynical and hope that the stupidity that we currently see among the most extreme examples of MMO communities doesn’t translate (too much) to WAR. As far as gameplay goes, I’m hoping that the experience is fun – not just for me, but for the friends I play with. It’s not fun to play an MMO by yourself – I like to talk, laugh, and have a good time with people, both in games and out of games. I’m really concerned about that one aspect of gameplay that will make the experience not-so-fun for me, but I’ll honestly cross that bridge when I get to it. I’m really hopeful that Mythic continues its huge community presence well into release.
WAAAGH!: What will you be doing with your gaming time between now and WAR’s release?
BROWNCOAT: What else? Moderating the forums of course. I’ve probably missed a few things typing the answers to this stuff. ^_-