Disclaimer: This is just some babbling which I just had to write down .. It’s not the ultimate truth, but my opinion.
I wanted to write about this for a long time now, but only now I have found the time to do it.. Spinks is to some part responsible for it as she quoted Paul Barnett in her blog.
I’m not going for the typical hardcore vs. casual-gamer discussion. It’s been done and is imo anyway totaly wrong, though I will use the terms hardcore and casual here. Hardcore will be used as people who are totally focused on one thing, regardless of other options. Casual gamers for me can be focused too, but that’s most of the time only for a short period of time (e.g. an evening long RvR or PvE or a mix of it), but they don’t have to be and they have more wide-spread goals (in game and outside of it).
Keeping in mind what Paul Barnett often said before release of WAR and adding the rephrasing in the stuff that Spinks quoted easily shows that WAR is aimed to be a casual gamer experience with a wide array of options. You can participate in ORvR, PQ’s, Dungeons, Scenarios, .. with imo not so high entry barriers. I’m aware that other people feel different, but this is my blog here and my opinion is that what matters ;)
For example you can easily hop in and out of ORvR, PQs and Scenarios.. just to name three things who were designed for being casual friendly, i.e. players who have only a short amount of available gaming time.
Now comes something Snafzg said which describes my feelings about WAR ..
It’s an easy-acces game that you don’t need to take too seriously (if you do, you’ll be disappointed)
The game is all about easy access, so that the ones who are focused on one thing..be it RvR or PvE ..are totally disappointed and frustrated. I enjoy WAR because I like to shift between every possible option and tried many careers (every but elven careers ;) ) to experience the game from different point of views.
So let’s look at the people who are focused on PvE..Well they’ve never been attracted to WAR in the first place as the game advertised itself as RvR-centric. So no big deal if they have not the best PvE for those hardcore-PvE-gamers. I personally enjoy the PvE in WAR, especially the Dungeons.
Now comes the tricky part..RvR. What about the hardcore-RvR-games who hoped for a DaoC 2.0? They will be utterly frustrated, as the game offers no real RvR. It’s really easy to form warbands and nothing is penalizing them..so the Zerg rules. Being in such a zerg is close to difficulty level lobotomized. The design of the RvR lakes hardly allows small scale fights and this turns off those who wanted to specialize on 6vs6 and smaller fights, where individual skill matters. In a Zerg it’s just a matter of Zerg-size and the individual skill influence is nearly zero. If you are somewhat frustration-resistant (sometimes I am ;))..than you grab some friends and roam around and search for 2vs2 or something like that..This can be really fun, but sooner or later you will be crushed by a warband..or two. It’s just a matter of time.
This zerging is just natural consequence as Mythic always tried to focus the RvR-action and that is imo the wrong way. From the first moment they announced the cut of the cities and the way this fortress-system enforces the players to gather on one small spot..until now with the Land of the Dead, where nearly all rank25+ player shall gather on a map with the size of Reikland..I’ve always shook my head. This is the wrong way. The system can’t handle fortress fights and Mythic is still trying to pack the realms on even smaller places.
The way for increasing performance and game-fun is delocalizing them. Give options for meaningful small scale fights, i.e. 6vs6 or 12vs.12 with no interference from warbands and not being instanced like scenarios, maybe LotD will offer some of this by the purge-stuff, but that’s not the same thing I’m aiming for. Maybe I will make a whole post from this ,)
Back to the topic… Is it bad to be casual friendly? Of course not..I’m also not interested in hour long searches for RvR or PvE. I like the fact that you are able to hop in into several actions. I even would call myself casual (at least in my definition, but so would many do ;) ). But even casual gamers want some challenges and not only meaningless zerging… The design should not only care about accessibility. Focusing too much on being casual friendly will drive away those people who are dedicated to the game and want to spent much time with it…or talking about it.
I’ve never heard someone being excited when reporting about a 4 warband sized attack on a keep in RvE… ;)
To cut this wall of text into one sentence.. WAR is really casual-friendly .. to the point that it doesn’t offer real options for more hardcore-like gamers.
With patch 1.3 this might be irrelevant as there will be heavy modifications on single-target-stuff vs. AoE-stuff, but I wanted to write something about my experiences with different Runepriest specs.
Runepriests have the paths of Grungni, Valaya and Grimnir to choose from. I’ve added the specs I thought were quiet useful for testing..
A Mastery path focused on immediate, direct effects.
Sounds simple.. Direct effects, e.g. the large single heal Rune of Restoration and immediate effects, e.g. Protection of the Ancestors. This combined with some damage-boosts and heal-by-dealing-damage type of effects sounds like a good spec for smale scale fights and 1vs1.
My experience was that you are subpar on every term. In large scale fights you have no time or line of sight for the big heals. In small scale fights you still do not do any damage and the healing is weak and susceptible to crowd control, so that you easily die on every enemy. I had some fun when running around with an ironbreaker and/or using Rune of Binding. Such a 3s stun can be really handy ;)
Resume: Fun spec due to the combination of dealing damage and healing by it, but both are too weak to make any impact. Not good for 1vs1 or zerg vs. zerg. The spec shines when it’s 2-6 vs 2-6.
A Mastery path focused on longer-duration effects.
Dots and Hots. I really like Valaya from a RP ..erm.. not Runepriest, I mean roleplaying this time.. point of view. It’s a good spec for leveling up as it supports both dots and hots. Especially helpful is the Rune of Burning as it delivers a nice amount of damage. It’s channeled, but you have hots to keep you alive. The Valaya-tree hosts the only mastery-line moral4 that’s useful in my opinion. Even if the healing is not needed..the AP’s from that moral are helpful.
In 1vs1 situations a Valaya Priest can defend himself… Like I say in Teamspeak to my guildmates.. I eat tanks for breakfast. Tanks are no real danger for a Valaya Priest. With some luck you can kill ranged dps, too. Melee DPS just slices through you, but that’s ok. It’s really hard to beat them as a Runepriest and I think that the Valaya spec gives you the best chance to do it. Downside on the spec is that it supports only 5 skills and for some reason the hot is being taken away from Valaya and has got a career ability (I have not noticed when this happened), so the only healing spell Valaya supports is actually the worst one from all healing spells a Runepriest has. It’s Rune of Mending. I don’t count the shield spell as a healing spell, which is actually ok, not hurray but ok ;)
In large scale fights this spec is ok. Expect to throw out less healing in scenarios than AoE specced, but I think that Valaya is ok for doing the job. For a bit of flexibility I specced a little bit into Grimnir to the the Master Rune there. This is a trend I try to get at the moment. The possibility to have two Master Runes and decide what is better suited for the current fight.
Resume: Really fun spec were you trade off some healing for damage.. Don’t expect to be the hero of the day. Tricky to master, but that’s for me the fun in this spec.
A Mastery path focused on wide-area effects.
This is the.. I don’t need a brain-spec. It’s all about AoE and it’s not only the easiest spec, but also the one that heals by far the most. The healing one individual gets with the AoE-heal is not less than with the big single heal and it doesn’t not have restrictions such as line of sight.. In scenarios you heal around twice as much (same eq, same player, same teams) compared to the other specs, taking mean values. This comes not only from the fact, that you are AoE-healing, but that you are able to hide and heal from there, so that the enemy doesn’t see you. Every second you are longer alive increases your healing ;)
It’s the spec I’m currently using as the other trees just can’t compete with this one healing-wise. In every situation (with more than one target) the Grimnir stuff is by far better than the single-target stuff from the other trees. The only trade off? Forget 1vs1 .. At least I couldn’t kill a fly even if you’d strapped it to the floor so that it can’t move .
One should note that Grimnir also only supports 5 abilities. Only Grungni supports 6.. strange but true.
Resume: A spec with very few nuances, but with the best result in healing.
All three trees are fun as all support damage and healing, not pushing you too much into any direction other than your career is intended and viewed by others. You always remain flexible and can adopt to many situations (1vs1, small scale and large scale fights), though the damage you deal is not really high, but I think it’s ok.
As in the whole game, the Grimnir (AoE)-spec seems to be the strongest spec from all and it’s the easiest to play. My personal favorite is the Valaya mastery path, but I’m not sure what I will go for after patch 1.3. Let’s see if Grungni gets competitive.
I’ve just read some of the patchnotes for patch 1.3 that landed on the PTS.
There are really some nice points, though some seem too strong/harsh for having a chance to land on the live server. I don’t want to talk about the career adjustments, but on something that might seem irrelevant to most players as it doesn’t affect the end-game. It just popped up and I thought that it’s a nice idea..
For as long mankind existed..well..ok, that’s too dramatic, but since release of WAR there is a scenario which is just broken. It’s Black Fire Basin. In general the capture the flag scenarios just don’t work as good as expected.. Most of the time it’s either just zerging without caring for the scenario objectives or it’s turtleing (is that a word?) at the flag. Mythic wants to change the way this scenarios work.
If both flags are held for over a minute, players can drop the flag off at the central bridge for 25 points, resetting both flags with no Renown rewarded.
Black Fire Basin
This Scenario now functions as a shared capture-the-flag Scenario. A single flag will spawn in the middle of the Ice Lake, and this flag must be brought back to a capture location to earn Scenario points. There is one such capture point for each realm, located next to the realm’s spawn point. Captured flags will decorate the wall at the spawn area. When a flag is held, the capture locations will be highlighted by a glowing effect. The Order capture location has been replaced with a large Dwarf anvil. The guards have been rearranged to prevent the opposing realm from griefing the spawn locations.
I think this changes are great and could make both scenarios more action-loaded, but as we all know.. theory and player-behavior are two different things.. Let’s see how this works out ;)
There are many things to discuss about patch 1.3, but I just wanted to point this out as they may be overseen in the whole single-target <-> AoE-discussion.
So we moved from Huss to Drakenwald..
Server is full and Order is definitely lacking some sort of.. well.. order. Let’s see how our “generals” take over, as Order on Huss had a well defined structure and leadership who organized really good attacks. I’m still impressed by the great offensive move, when we attacked two fortresses simultaneously and had Black Crag near to a lock..just for the case that we wouldn’t succeed in the attack. Other than stated by Destruction this was not just based on outnumbering them.
But.. yes..as always there is a but.. I’m really unhappy with the name I had to chose when being transferred.
Adding further to my unhappiness is the fact, that the Realmwar page doesn’t show any Karic on Drakenwald, but my transferred Chars are already shown there. So it’s not just out of date.. but I’m not sure how well this …. (in don’t want to swear here and now ;) ).. page works.
I thought that I may chose a Wildcard to change the name, but saw on the FAQ that there will be no name change available unless it violates the naming policy. You know what? I will try it anyway.. Wish me good luck, though the GOA staff seems atm somewhat strict when handling such issues.