Archive for October, 2008


Heavy Metal or How Mythic Is Making It Very Hard For Me To Post Pre-Written Articles When They Keep Announcing New Stuff

October 29, 2008

And hey, I didn’t even talk about 1.04’s patch notes (which to my eyes aren’t anything special outside of Witching Night)!

In a most excellent, most triumphant counterswing to Wrath of the Lich King’s November 13th debut, Warhammer Online is coming out swinging on November 17th with its anticipated major content addition: the Heavy Metal live event, leading up to Patch 1.1.

Two live events in as many months is pretty impressive, in my opinion, and Heavy Metal comes as a surprise, as we all more or less assumed the Blackguard and Knight of the Blazing Sun would just be rolled out in a 1.1 patch all of the sudden. Not so! No, we get a week’s worth of a live event leading up to the two careers being re-added back into WAR. Here’s some of the highlights:

  • We get a new Live Events tab in the Tome of Knowledge that will point us toward daily tasks (WoW, you don’t mind WAR borrowing daily quests, do you?).
  • Daily tasks contribute toward a special influence bar with basic, advanced and elite rewards, just like PQs.
  • The elite reward will be the chance to play one of the two new tanks a full week before they’re officially released!
  • New scenario just for one week only: Reikland Factory, which players of all tiers can participate in, with a 10% bump to renown gain.

Wow. Color me stunned (it’s a rare Crayola color, look for it sometime). A full week’s head start on one of the new tank classes will be an awfully huge carrot to dangle in front of players’ faces, and I won’t doubt that quite a few people will kill themselves to get that reward.

There’s a lot we aren’t told here, which presumably will come with the November newsletter, such as better details on the Blackguard and KotBS (although the concept art still looks full of feathers for that last one), what the timeline looks like after the Heavy Metal event ends (will it instantly start the one-week preview for the tanks or will that come later?) and when 1.1 will be released. Hopefully, we’ll know soon.

P.S. – James Nichols confirms, “Both careers can have both Male and Female avatars.”


My Name Is Syp, and I Am Dwarf!

October 29, 2008

Paul Barnett, to TTH:

“I have to give a hearty ‘Well done!’ to people that play Dwarfs. I have a very simple theory about the people that play Dwarfs. Dwarfs are generally played by people who have come to terms with who they are. Most of the people I’ve met who like Dwarfs basically look like Dwarfs. Where as people that play Witch Elves don’t look like Witch Elves. There’s more of a reality mask with the Dwarfs. These folks go ‘I’m short. I’m bearded. I like beer. I think I’m going to be a Dwarf.’ And then they get into the game and have this dense gravitational field around them that draws people in.”

Am I short? 5’6″ baby. Bearded? Yup. Like beer? Not so much (out of game). Dense gravitational field? I do seem to attract nutters…


More Stats Than You Can Shake A Dead Monkey At

October 29, 2008

Upon a guildie’s suggestion, I’ve been plowing through a cool little site called Waralytics, which purportedly tracks all sorts of stats pertaining to Warhammer Online’s population and class makeup. (From their FAQ: “All data is pulled from the Realm War site. Right now there is a major problem with the Herald not updating regularly. Also, it appears that it updates some guilds on each server, but not others. These statistics are drawn only from GUILDED players. From my observation, there is <5% error for tier 3 and tier 4 data, but lower tiers, especially tier 1 are more inaccurate due to the large number of unguilded characters.”

So this should all be taken with a huge grain of salt-substitute. Check it out for yourself, but here’s a few interesting numbers that I noted:

  • Total population (of characters, I assume): 464,874, presenting a 1.3:1 faction imbalance in favor of Destruction.
  • Feel like everyone’s outleveled you? Think again: Tier 2 holds the most players out of all of the tiers, with T1 the next-most populated.
  • Ranged DPS is the most popular archtype on Order (32%) with Tank and Melee DPS tied for the least (19% each). With Destruction, HEALERS are the most popular archtype (30%) with Melee DPS the least (20%).
  • Most popular Order career is Bright Wizard (14%) and the least is the White Lion (6%). It’s interesting to note that all three of the Empire careers are all over 10% each, which makes Empire account for 37% of the total Order population (Dwarfs have 25% and High Elves 31%).
  • Most popular Destruction career is Sorcerer (12%) and the least is Magus (6%). Greenskins account for 27% of the population, Chaos 36% and Dark Elves 31%.
  • The Magus (6%) and Engineer (7%) careers, which have been seen as somewhat underpowered, are underrepresented as a mirrored pair. Same with Squig Herder (7%) and White Lion (6%).
  • Most populated server is Skull Throne (20K), least is Tor Achere (1.2K).
  • I’m pretty pleased with my server, Phoenix Throne, which not only has a high population (19.5K) but a fairly balanced population (49% Order, 51% Destruction). <Tome Raiders>, my guild, is the 19th highest guild in terms of Renown, and 19th highest in terms of members (157 characters). Our first rank 40 character was a Witch Hunter.

Political Entry #1

October 28, 2008

So are all game blogs taking a leave of focus to diverge into political blogging?  Because today’s been a heap of “Hur?” as I’ve made my rounds.  I guess I should start drumming for the TRUE underdog, the REAL candidate for change, the RADICAL maverick, the lipstick KING: Syp.  Nevermind that I’m not 35, on any ballot, interested in politics, or affiliated with either of the two major parties (which, let’s be honest here, are BOTH borked beyond belief and need nerfs all around).  Syp!  The progressive candidate!  My platform will be XP boosts for all!  Also, a time machine in the garage of every American.  Because if we’re not giving our children the opportunity to kill Hitler as a baby, then what are we leaving as our legacy?


Witching Night! Witching Night!

October 28, 2008

So today we got a few more details about Warhammer Online’s first “live event” (you’ve been playing the dead events, I guess), Witching Night.  You can read about it here and here, but for the Cliff Notes version, here’s the salient details:

  • Witching Night will come with Game Update 1.04
  • It will last from Wednesday (that’s tomorrow!) Oct 29 through Sunday, November 2 — five days total.
  • There will be four new PQs, one for each tier (Chrace, Troll Country, Black Fire Pass and Caledor).
  • The PQs will be located in the middle of the RvR lakes and will reset much slower than normal PQs.
  • You can kill ghosts in the game world for cool loot.
  • Same with witches and their nasty cauldrons, which will be situated around the game world.
  • There are four unique face masks to attain, one through PQ influence (presumably the RvR PQs) and three from random drops.
  • Other loot includes cloaks, trinkets, potions and a new title.

There’s a few things to deduce — like the craftsy Sherlock Holmes that I am — from these features.  The first is that all of the Witching Night events will take place in the regular game world, which should draw people out of instances and scenarios.  The second is that the RvR PQs should prove to be an interesting incentive to get people into those areas and engage in a little BO or keep taking between the PQ resets.  Finally, it seems that no matter what rank you are, you can participate in pretty much all of this, which is very applause-worthy.

Five days.  Will that be enough time?  Syp wants a mask, so it better be!


A Four-Letter Word: Sets

October 28, 2008

With last week’s Grab Bag #3 highlighting Warhammer Online’s myriad of gear sets, Mythic’s opened a huge window into WAR’s city siege end game. Basically, there’s going to be several end-game sets, each of which you have to obtain (or at least have a few of the pieces) to survive and contribute to the various stages of city siege and capture. Snafzg expressed some fretful hand-wringing over the news, but I’ll back him up by adding this: I hate armor sets.



Hate them.

Syp no like.

The concept of gear sets are almost intriguing: a suit of armor that has a uniform (and unique) look, as well as offering the player increasing bonuses depending on the number of pieces he or she or it has obtained. We as humans like collecting — and here’s sponsored in-game collecting of a meaningful, useful resource. What’s not to love?

Yet I loathe them, ever since delving into the end game of vanilla WoW in 2005. Up to that point, finding and equipping armor was a joyous, ever-changing experience. I felt more unique in my gear loadout in comparison to others, and I often carried around various types of extra armor that I could equip to boost certain abilities or stats if needed. Yet once you hit the end-game wall… BOOM. The choices for gear are whittled down from a huge field of thousands into a meager handful of sets. Sets that require an incredible investment of time and skill and energy to attain. Sets that you MUST collect to progress in content. Sets that, once you have them, makes you look like EVERYBODY ELSE. Sets that, once you start collecting them, offer nothing in terms of future surprises, just a grueling inevitability.  Sets even devolve the sexiness of gear into the most dry, technical terms possible; instead of crowing about finding the “Death-Gloves of Keizer Soze”, we just burp “Hey I got my T4 hands” to guildies. And it’s hard to fight that pull, because the whole design of armor sets is that you’ll feel inadequate compared to others and unprepared compared to the content if you decide not to pursue them.

Armor sets are one of those MMO staples that I wish would’ve died stillborn in the mind of whoever thought them up first, and barring that, that some courageous developer would come forward and say, “You know what? We’re not doing them. They’re grindy, restrictive and cater to old school hardcore insanity. Enough is enough.” But I guess that day is not here.

Armor sets in WAR worry me greatly. When I hit 40, I want to be able to contribute to city capture or defense in a meaningful way whether I have blues or purples or whatever. I don’t want a raid leader to bark out, “Okay, whoever doesn’t have four pieces of Sovereign on them, bail out of the group now. The rest of us are going on to kill the king.”

Of course, gear in WAR has surprisingly been at the bottom of my excitement meter for a good long while now. I get a blue from maxing out a PQ influence bar? Eh, it’s cool but usually not itemized right or will be replaced in a couple levels by a green. Maybe when I get to the end game I’ll find the armor sets a lot more attractive and hopefully not as restrictive for content as it looks from this Grab Bag. I don’t want the end game of WAR to be a sign that measures e-peen height and goes “If you are not THIS decked out, you cannot to on this ride.” That might just be a dealbreaker for me.

A couple things might sway me over from extreme grumpiness.  The first is if Mythic instituted a quick gear-swapping template, where you could switch different suits of armor on the fly (because, hey, isn’t that why they’re putting in so many different sets of armor, for various situations?).  The second is if gear sets would offer more bonuses than just stat bumps — what if, once you’ve collected all six pieces or whatever, you would unlock a special skill that could be usable only if you wore that set?  It’s sorta been done before, pretty inconsistently tho, yet that would be a way to continue to gain skills after 40.

(By the way, I’m just a mite bit concerned that FEMALE dwarf characters look like they’re going to be saddled with helmets that have a simulated MOUSTACHE. Just sayin’.)


50 Small Attractions of WAR

October 28, 2008

Because sometimes the smallest detail can overwhelm the hardest heart.

  1. You don’t have to run around getting “flight points” to use the flight master.
  2. You can fly to your capital city at rank 1.
  3. Arrows on the circle around your character that point you to your group members.
  4. City Buff — whenever your city ranks up, you get a hefty bump to your xp, influence, renown and money.
  5. You can resize and move the UI anywhere you’d like it to be on the screen.
  6. There’s a separate bag for quest items — no more sorting through full bags to find them!
  7. Your characters swear and mutter when hurt.
  8. Using siege engines to blow away bad guys from across the playing field.
  9. Trophies — because we like frivolous fluff!
  10. Being able to queue up for scenarios from anywhere in the world.
  11. Getting xp AND renown AND loot in world/scenario PvP.
  12. The thrill of watching the PQ loot roll.
  13. Mythic devs actually talk to the players.
  14. Mirrored classes — so you don’t have to fret too much about choosing the “wrong” faction in terms of careers.
  15. Hoverboards! Er… Magus discs!
  16. Guild recall scrolls for a quick port to your capital city (once your guild hits 17, that is).
  17. There’s actually combat in capital cities — dungeons, PQs, even Skaven! — instead of just another vendor/quest hub.
  18. Explodey barrels in Altdorf.
  19. Bragging rights from the Tome — impress your friends with how often you’ve died!
  20. /special
  21. Secrets littered across the world, waiting to be discovered.
  22. PvP that matters. PvP that’s at the core of the game.
  23. Renown ranks that give you a feeling of progression even after you’ve hit rank 40.
  24. Being able to torch houses. Lots of houses. Yay!
  25. Taking a ride on a Greenskin catapult.
  26. Queuing up for scenarios from anywhere in the world.
  27. Right-clicking on your character to hear them crack jokes and say quirky phrases.
  28. Dual-targeting (one foe, one friendly)!
  29. Being able to play in a scenario at rank 1.
  30. An evil faction that is actually, y’know, evil — not just “misunderstood”.
  31. Having scores of titles to pick from.
  32. Large buildings that make you go “Oh wow…”, like the beautifully-designed keeps.
  33. Raining down boiling oil on an enemy force at your gates.
  34. Actually caring about your guild leveling and your city leveling or being attacked.
  35. Riding gyrocopters and dinosaurs!
  36. Nurglings: disgusting but cute.
  37. Snotlings: cute but disgusting.
  38. Standards: immersive, cool-looking and useful.
  39. Things that “age” with levels: War Lions, Magus’ discs, Marauder’s mutations.
  40. Character collision during PvP.
  41. Beer that heals you (props to my Engineer buds!).
  42. Spinning your character around on the character selection screen makes them dizzy.
  43. Not being forced into just one type of gameplay to level, but having several.
  44. Lots of ugly and deformed (scars) facial options.
  45. Knockbacks. Admit it — they’re fun.
  46. Healers that have more options than just heal-heal-heal… they can fight, too.
  47. Dyes, dyes, dyes.
  48. A more mature in-game community (cross fingers).
  49. Awesome ambient sounds, especially for creepy places.
  50. You can play alongside the legendary Syp! And probably die as I do!

P.S. – Two of these are the same!  That’s a secret game for you to play!  Yeah, I meant it that way!  Really!