Archive for January 2009
Normally I don’t comment on those big announcements, but I have to admit that the announcements from Mythic yesterday made me go “oh ..wow..aah.. great..oooh”.
I won’t work off the whole announcement from yesterday, but after reading it I was somehow excited. It’s a decent road-map for the next months and I’m sure that the game will be getting better and better. It gets even better when I read Mark Jacobs’ post a VN Boards. (Source)
So not only those big stuff is worked on like missing careers and Land of the dead (Darkness Falls 2.0), but also the important stuff like career balance, fluff, performance issues, etc..
Just as an example from the post:
5) Changes to “quality of WAR” such as new armor and mount color diversity for high-level guilds, flight masters added to every zone that doesn’t have one, ability to attach multiple items to mail system, improvements to the Guild and Warband UI, and improvements to our Guild Reward systems.
This shows that Mythic is aware of the stuff thats going on at the player-base even without any form of official forums (which is getting added anyways now, but I won’t set a foot into it)
I’m sure those melee dps careers will have an effect on RvR in a positive way. The Land of the dead and related stuff will surely have an impact on ORvR, but it’s too early to say in which way (good or bad).
So there is many good stuff coming towards us and this should make us all positively optimistic in getting an even better game than WAR is today.
There is much excitement and speculations going on about the announcement from Mythic today and the Valentine’s day cards which has been send to some bloggers.. (None of them being in the EU from what I’ve seen..humhum)
As usual I’m not hopping on that train and so write about something completely different. There are many good blogs out there which cover those topics and I have no good things to add.
Now I want to welcome you to our AA group meeting. Here AA stands for Anonymous Alt-a-holics. Sit down, take a cup of coffee and relax. There is nothing wrong with suffering from Altohism in WAR. It’s perfectly ok.
As long as I can think back I’m susceptible to Altohism. In Pen&Paper RPG’s to a lesser degree than in computer games, but looking back at the online games I’ve played, I had always a couple of chars I’ve played. The gaming experience is just so different when you play certain classes/careers/races and it’s fun to test all those aspects of a game. So it was no surprise to me that I have many alts in WAR.
A funny thing that I’ve noticed lately.. (that might be because so many blogs popped up during the Age of Blogging.. just wanted to say hello to them all ;) )… many blog writers confessed that they got altoholics in WAR.
So what happened? Looking from min/maxing or gear-grind’s point of view it’s most of the time very ineffective to play an alt as you can’t grind specific items/points for your main and therefore it’s often titled as not being good to play an alt. Some people feel sort of guilty when playing an alt or it’s just to ineffective/not fun to grind (which by definition is defined as being not fun) the same content for more than one char when it’s not fun in the first place.
WAR changed that. At least in my point of view the grind-aspect is nearly non existent (though it comes back when looking at sets (wards) you need for special encounters..). You can mix your play-time just as you like. Sometimes it’s fun to just do stage1 stuff from PQ’s solo or the whole PQ in a group..sometimes it’s fun to do scenarios and quests..sometimes just ORvR. Maybe you play the same content more than one time, but it’s still fun and at least until the end of the tier it doesn’t get to repetitive.
The most important aspect in getting an Altaholic in WAR is that the career-design is just..great. I’ve played to some extent: Runepriest, Ironbreaker, Warrior Priest, Engineer, Magus, Bright Wizard, Witch Hunter, Shaman and in OB I tested Sorceress, Zealot and Swordmaster.. Every career has some special feeling to it and it just works well. Though the concept of mirror careers may seem a lazy designers choice at first glance, Mythic did a great job so that even mirror careers feel different. Every career is just fun to play and this makes alting so easy. You just check in which mood you are and log in such a char. Every Archetype has different flavors leaving you even more choices and twists on fulfilling that particular role. Of course there are some balancing issues, but that is inevitable and imo not lessening the fun you have in playing any career.
I could go on and talk about how I like the Dwarf/Greenskin and the Empire/Chaos designs which enhances re-playability.. but as this is already a wall of text I better stop here. So lets see what will be announced later today ;)
As my boss is on a conference and I have to hold the lecture I’m kinda busy this week..
So just a small image.. More NPCs trying a nude tome unlock.
Maybe I should start a quiz asking where those Nudists are located ;)
Remember Paul Barnett saying what a really good invention/design is? His genius test involves the statement from one self saying: “It’s so obvious that I should have thought of that!”
Well.. for me WAR offers a genius feature which I as a healer especially like: Dual targeting
No matter what kind of healer I play, this feature allows me a good control of healing and damage without too much confusion what I’m currently targeting. I couldn’t play without this feature! Especially as a Warrior Priest things get really hectic as I’m Grace specced and most of the time right beside the tanks and other melee fighters. Right there you are thankful, that you can easily have two targets at one time.
What about the other classes? Well..even they can profit from dual-targeting (though much less due to the main assist feature). Especially as a ranged dps career dual targeting works well. You target a friend and hit the /assist-macro-button, which you should have made right after character-creation. ;) So you would not really need a Main Assist as you can keep that friendly player as a target and still switch hostile targets at your will, being able to switch back to assist by just one button press.
Now I’m drifting away a little bit (so if you don’t want me see using the “grumble and mutter”-skill you are free to save your precious time and stop reading at this point ;)) because there is a feature that I don’t like, but many loud voices demanded back in October and then got it. It’s the Main-Assist (MA) feature. I never liked the idea of having a MA in WAR. For me it just kills the personal skill involved.
When you play a ranged dps career, gaming is rather …simple. With a somewhat effective actionbar-configuration you just press/click 1 2 3 4 5 and repeat it until the enemy is dead. This loop is not even a programming practice you would give a 5th grade student in school ;) This configuration of the actionbar is done out of combat..you have time to think about what feels comfortable and is effective.. It’s some sort of skill, but nothing too special.
Now lets mix it up a little bit and increase the pressure on your decisions by having not only to decide what skill you use, but also on what target! Now things get really complicated when there are many targets around to choose from.. If you waste time it means that your team doesn’t deal damage to the same target and this might lead to a loss because the enemy might not waste time, focus firing and taking your team mates out one at a time. So you could argue that the enemy team is more skilled.. if there wouldn’t be that little “MA” feature. Now you assign one MA and every ranged dps career just hits the MA-button and then 1 2 3 4 5. .. no need for any further thinking. The MA decides what you should do.. you hand out a difficult portion of mastering your career to another person.
I’m no friend of assist-trains in this automated manner. I really don’t like it that there is an /assist-function hidden and having an official MA doesn’t make it any better. I know that assist is effective and necessary especially when there is a large number of enemies packed in a small area (as it is impossible to select a target there in any effective way), but nonetheless I don’t like it not choose my target by myself.
People coming from WoW are used to having such things as a MA … I think that many people don’t want to learn new tricks, which is a problem when you design new stuff. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, people have to feel comfortable with it right from the beginning. If they are not, they will complain and mutter like they did with the absence/need of the MA-function.
In my opinion it would have been enough to give the players the /assist-function as a button right from the beginning of the game..just like the flee-button, so that it’s obvious and everyone knows how to assist. MA could be cut as there is then no need for it.
I know that it’s technically both the same, but having to target your friend and then assisting him feels more like “I decide” than “Someone else decides”. It even makes it more natural to switch the friendly targets you assist, which is something I tend to do. Shame on me..I switch targets.. ;)
So..enough babbling about a feature/problem no one cares about… See you all on the battlefield.
I rediscovered a fun part in WAR. Public Quests…
In the last couple of weeks they degenerated for me into a grind of stage 1 in every PQ I attended. Most of the time it was because there where not many players around or when I played low-ranked alts rank40 chars helped friends and I didn’t want to be pulled through all stages in that way.
In the last days the situation changed a bit. We did some PQ’s with our rank 30-34 members because we wanted to contribute some VP’s in Kadrin valley and scenario’s aren’t a good way in this rank-range (*). It’s fun to see that a Witch elf doesn’t even have to stop when she kills my Runepriest..I felt like a victim in a drive-by-shooting ;)
So we cleared some PQs and it was really fun. Yesterday I did some PQ’s in chapter 17 with an Ironbreaker from my guild and I had really a fun time doing them.
So what changed? It was still a large amount of mobs in stage 1, stage 2 consists of harder mobs and stage 3 had a hero which had no great skills other than an insane amount of damage when he’s hp were around 30% and an annoying amount of mobs around who we aggro’ed because of our low rank. It was just an insane slaughter of NPCs..and it was fun! ;)
PQs are a really fun part if you run through all stages. They get a grind-like feeling when you have to stop at stage 1 or stage2 because no ones around so that you can complete them.
(*) To all those “let just keeps contribute”: This is something that I think is an important aspect of Victory points. You can help your realm in many ways. It’s not PvP and I think it’s nice that you can contribute to your realm’s victory over the enemy realm by PvE. The only problem I see is that it’s atm not balanced enough. The focus should be keeps and RvR-lake action. PQ’s and especially scenarios count imho too much, but that’s another discussion and subject to change when the “Zone domination” is being implemented and explained.
This floats around in my mind because I recently encountered in a scenario the “you are a healing class ..HEAL”-yells at a shaman.. It’s always nice if you are getting told how you should play your char ;)
There is this well-know trinity of tank-healer-dps in most MMOs and everyone is used to this division of classes/careers. In WAR the careers are to some degree different than the normal healing-classes known from other games and therefore I think that some folks out there should get used to the fact that the healer is doing more than just keeping you alive.
Out of the six healing classes only the Runepriest and Zealot have no mechanics-overlay on their healing ability, leaving them to the role of the traditional healer-career. They keep standing back, watch at the health bars of their mates and move around to be able to heal everyone. Because of the lack of any mechanic you can play them as healbots, with the only allowed form of existence is that they heal.
The other four careers have additional mechanics which allow different play styles. Of course they allow healbotting if rightly specced, but it’s not the only possibility. Lets take a closer look.
Warrior Priest (side note: I think it’s quiet funny that this is translated in the German version as “Sigmar Priester” = Sigmar Priest) and Disciple of Khaine need to hit someone to be get Righteous fury/Blood essence. (Because I’m lazy I will now only refer to the WP. I hope that you DoK’s aren’t offended too much ; )) This RF is the fuel for the heals: No RF = No heal. Easy, eh? It get complicated when you are out there trying to hit stuff as this means that you aren’t back there in the more or less safety of the caster camp. If you stand back there, you’ll have to equip a book to get a bit of RF/s regen, but still need to stop healing from time to time as you need to convert AP into RF. Standing right beside the tanks or in the enemy caster camp is really fun, but also a great stress moment. You don’t only have to follow what is happening around you (and with all those melee fights around you, there is much action), but you have also to heal, select you offensive target and survive if getting focused by the enemy casters as they think of you as an easy target… This is no easy task and many players have to get used to it.. So be patient with them, especially when someone is new in the tier.
I’m drifting a bit away.. The point is, WP’s can be specced to dps more .. So don’t expect them to just healbot. This is their choice of how they want to play the game. On the other hand even a dps-skilled healer has to adjust his tactics. Getting in the thick of the fight and smashing foes is ok when there are additional healers around, so that this all works together. If there is no other healer around, the play style has to be altered as you will be prime target for the enemy. So even someone who’s dps-specced can get into the situation of healbotting. If this is a situation where the WP has to change the play style is not your decision, but his/hers. You can make the WP aware of the lack of other healers, but there is no need of a great amount of capital letters or too many exclamation marks.. with too many being more than one ;)
I focused on WP because I play one. In principle the same applies to Archmages and Shamans. There is just one point you have to take care of when playing a healer who is specced on dps.
If you choose to spec on dps, than do it! Like I’m used to say “Dead enemies don’t do any damage!”, but if you aren’t able to do a good amount of damage, then there is something going wrong. Either it’s your play style, class-balance, problem with gear, etc.. You have to adjust to it as doing not much damage and not much healing is counter-productive in two ways. That hurts more than just a dps-career which fails to do its part. Don’t stick on a label given by others or even yourself. Adapt to the situations (especially in RvR) and you can be effective as a dps-specced healer, because you do damage and additionally some amount of healing.
Why do both realms have elves?
Because everyone likes to beat them up .. So that not everyone chooses the realm that fights against elves, it was necessary for pop balance that both realms have elves.
And as a small bonus (video made by the Lords of Destruction-guild. Just a video someone from my guild stumbled upon):