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Archive for September, 2011

Quoted for Posterity

September 26, 2011 9 comments

Mythic PR at it’s best from my friend Sakurra, who helped film the Escalation of WAR series, and is also the author of the The History of WAR.

The time has come for Mythic to be called out for some of their 1.4 memorable quotes. I can only let so much slide past me before I get upset, and the recent 1.4 Booster-Pets tipped me over the edge. So lets look at some quotes brought to us by our Mythic staff in various media and bring them out into the light.

A Year of Great Expectations
First up hailing from January of 2011, after the launch of 1.4 and the disappearance of then-writer of the Producer’s Letters Ms. Carrie, we had our first Producer’s Letter written by James Casey. One particular portion I’d like to pull out of this letter is –

We have eight Live Events planned for this year. Some of these are returning favorites (like the recently completed Keg End) and the forthcoming Night of Murder in February. Others are new ones we have planned to fill in some of the calendar gaps.

Now I was gifted with eight fingers (that’s four more than my nemesis Fourfingers) and I can count up to eight. If you take the annual Keg End, Night of Murder, Wild Hunt, and Daemon Moon into account, you’ve still got room for 4 new live events. Sigmartide was one. Where are the other three? There’s still time for 3 more, but its going to be a tight crunch to fit them in the remaining 3 months of the year with the Daemon Moon and Keg End taking up spots in October and December. Plans much have changed quite a bit for 75% of the new live events to disappear.

It’s in the Animations
This time I’m turning my lazy-eye at Mr. Steven Engle. During the Blogger visit on July 6th of this year we had a chance to talk with the Devs about several points, this discussion was transcribed by Gaarawarr. At one point career balance was brought up, in particular RDPS. I brought up removing stance restrictions from some Shadow Warrior abilities, such as Acid Arrow, to bring our flexibility more in line with the Squig Herder; the response –

That, again, depends on the animations with the cast time…it just depends on the what kind of cast time and animation it’s using. It’s on a point-by-point basis on whether or not we can change it.

Now I don’t know the complexities of the game-code of Warhammer (apparently doing things like changing mail-box graphics breaks ToVL so I’m not alone), but this excuse of animations didn’t sit well with me. The animation wouldn’t change by removing the stance restriction, it would remain the same; and if the animation is tied to the stance… well Acid Arrow works in Scout and Assault, so why not Skirmish? Acid Arrow takes 1.5s to cast in Scout, Assault, and Skirmish… wheres the change in cast time? No where. Mainly what got under my skin with this excuse was that 1.4.3 was launched a week before our visit, and in this lovely act of class balance, the Witch Elf was given ranged finishers, but the animations weren’t changed… So now a WE flails her daggers in front of her and… Bob dies 30 feet away. Boomerang Daggers.

Boring Crap
This one really got the community riled up. Our dearly beloved Paul Barnett, head creative designer for Mythic, is pretty much the guy who was the face of WAR before launch. He then got shoved into a closet and re-emerged recently with the beta-launch of WoH. In a panel-discussion for WoH at the 11 minute mark Mr. Barnett said,

I think basically we went, ‘You know what, you can play the MMO, you can get all this equipment as you adventure, and you know its a neat thing to do… let’s just get rid of the boring crap.’

Wow… so you’re the guy who was in charge of designing WAR, and in part responsible for said ‘boring crap’ and now you’re taking pot-shots at WAR to promote WoH? How exactly are you still employed? O.o I’ll admit no one does the PvE anymore, but damn… unacceptable.

Milking the Player-Base
Taking a step back into the days preceding 1.4, I want to bring into the light the biggest thing that gets under my skin. In the video pod-cast about 1.4, Ms. Carrie Gouskos said –

Account Entitlements – these are items we’re making available to all players on the EA Store, but they have no impact on game balance.

You don’t say! Yet 1.4 brought out the Snotling Herald which gave players a 3% speed boost. So if you didn’t buy the Snotling Herald, you couldn’t outrun your enemy who had one. And speaking of 1.4, that brought about RR81-100 – you’re going to tell someone who doesn’t buy the Progression Pack and is stuck at rr80 fighting RR100s that there is no impact on game balance? You go roll an RR80 and fight rr100s – enjoy your game balance. It would be one thing if RR90+ was separated into its own bracket, but its not.

These things most people let slide… and then the Stat Booster Pets came out… again those who have no qualms spending more on this game buy those and reap the rewards, and they tell you ‘5% is nothing, stop your crying’. Since Mythic doesn’t take surveys of the crap they release, we turn to the lovely Charlotte of Warhammer Alliance to do Mythic’s work for them with this poll. As someone who researches and studies the psychological and sociological steps that lead to the dehumanization which allows for genocides to occur, it is easy for me to draw a correlation between the two psychological processes. Abridged version – the powers-that-be take baby steps in pushing forward their agenda and psychologically winning over the population. ‘Ah its only a 3% speed boost. Ah its only a 5% stat boost.’ ‘Ah its only name calling. Ah its only segregation. Ah its only politically approved violence.’ Slippery slope, and I don’t like slippery slopes. We let Mythic get away with selling little things like this, which apparently “have no impact on game balance,” and they’ll just keep milking the player-base for all the money they can get introducing more powerful items players need to buy to keep up with the curve.

Oh and Carrie, the High Elves know you don’t like them; that’s why they named a weed after you in Eataine. From Wikipedia

A weed in a general sense is a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance, and normally applied to unwanted plants in human-controlled settings… More specifically, the term is often used to describe any plants that grow and reproduce aggressively.Generally, a weed is a plant in an undesired place.

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Categories: Uncategorized

1.4.4 & A Patch-History of WAR

September 23, 2011 1 comment

Back in June I did a little segment called “A Patch-History of WAR”, which consisted of the Golden Age, The Age of the Tortoise’s Progress, The Age of Many Ages, and finally the Age of Aratmetic.  With 1.4.3 going live on June 21, 2011 (the the launch of the Sigmartide Live Event), the WAR community had to wait quite some time for the next patch. The typical 2-month-cycle was offset with 1.4.4 which launched September 13, 2011. Hopefully this will not be a new trend, and 1.4.5 will come out soon enough (my guess is it will launch with the Demon Moon Rising Live Event).

1.4.4 September 13, 2011
Return of the Wild Hunt Live Event
Scenario Shake-up
Numerous PvE/Tome bug fixes
Introduction of Keep Defensive ‘wins’
Career balance for Shadow Warriors, Engineers, Squig Herders, and Magi
New stat-booster pets

Like 1.4.3, 1.4.4 doesn’t really fit the Age of Aratmetic, but because they are such small patches, its hard to find a new title for them. In general it seems like these patches are focusing more on C&C and ORvR, yet at a much smaller scale than patches like 1.2 or others with grand changes for C&C. 1.4.3 however seemed to take a backwards step at addressing Witch Elves finishers. While the changes to the Magus, Engi, and Squig Herder made sense, the range finisher extension for the Witch Elves just made no sense. If you don’t want to take it from me, then go ahead and read it on Taransula’s blog. If one of the best Witch Elves on Gorfang says these changes are ‘OP’ then there’s a lot of weight behind those words.

1.4.4 however took a more balanced approach to addressing the physical rangeDPS classes. Most importantly however, 1.4.4 gave the defenders of keeps a chance to ‘win’, which at least on Gorfang has done a bit to revitalize ORvR and motivate people to defend keeps.

1.4.5 has quite a bit slated for it with forts, Grovod Cavern’s return, and possibly the new T7 armor (with forts?), so that’ll be exciting, but even then unless there are other changes made to C&C, it wont fit with 1.4.3 and 1.4.4 Oh the woes of a historian… Perhaps 1.4.3 has begun the age of Tiny Patches with big implications…

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WAR’s Population – Then & Now

September 22, 2011 5 comments

As Warhammer Online turns the page in the third chapter of its existence, we can take a step back to see where the game has been thus far. The chief measure people use to gauge the success of an MMO is generally population, which in turn equals revenue; by this measure it has certainly been a bumpy road for WAR. How many people can proudly claim the badge of having been subbed [and playing] WAR for 3 years? How many people can proudly boast of having been on the same server since launch? The list of people who have been with WAR and been ‘actively’ playing since launch seems rather meager. What’s WAR left with? The ‘hardcores’, as we’ve been christened. Read more…

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Shift in Focus

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Good tidings one and all! While many of my readers were expecting a continuation with my project today, alas I must announce that there shall be a brief interlude. Writing every day is really taxing. My fingers bleed from all the typing and my brain is frazzled from all the pondering. My friend who has been doing all the art for my project likewise is suffering multiple symptoms of abuse – bleeding eyes, twisted fingers, schizophrenia, etc. So for the sake of our sanity I’ve decided to throw in a brief break in the Hypothetical universe [Mythic breaths a sigh of relief] and briefly return to a more analytical/critical view of the goings-on of WAR [Mythic groans in agony]. Coincidentally with the timing of WAR’s 3rd year anniversary worked well with the end of my 3rd hypothetical patch-cycle, so pausing at this moment works well. Over the next few days while my creative juices replenish and my friends fingers and eyes return to normality I shall discuss the WAR of then and now, not the WAR that can be. Don’t fret, it won’t be a long break and soon enough I’ll dive into my 1.8.x patch cycle.

Categories: Uncategorized

Warhammer Online Is 3!

September 20, 2011 1 comment

Yes, the day has come that Warhammer Online has turned 3 years old, a day which many nay-sayers said would never come. Two days ago, on September 18th Warhammer celebrated its 3rd year anniversary with a weekend renown/exp bonus. For those who missed it we have our official announcement on the Herald. While I am slightly saddened that there is no triple aegis to fuel my renown-hunger, Mythic did toss in some other toys for the loyal few. First off we have our bottomless black and orange dyes. While these colors have less to do with Warhammer than they do with Halloween, I’m going on wishful thinking here saying ‘wouldn’t skull white make more sense for Halloween? I mean there are ghosts and skeletons…’ My dye-whore-alt has like 60 Blazing Orange dyes… why would I want a bottomless one? Anyway, we also are to receive a Jack o Lantern pet. I have yet to receive any of my toys and am hoping the mailman is just late and Mythic isn’t spiting me…

Also included in the Herald post are two teasers which you can grasp at however you like.

The sounds of celebration and battle can be heard throughout the Old World. Fireworks, cheers and the roar of battle rings in the ears of combatants from both Realms…but there are murmurs across the land of ancient powers being called forth and resources being gathered for the frontlines closest to the capital cities..
and
After looking at the past and the present, let’s take a quick look at the future to conclude this note. End of next month the demon moon will rise again and Fortresses are looming on the horizon. And next year we are about encounter bloodlust in an additional way.

From the first paragraph the sentence to pull out is ‘but there are murmurs across thel and of ancient powers being called forth and resources being gathered for the frontiers closets to the capital cities…’ Naturally those frontiers are the fortresses which are due to return with 1.4.5, but resource gathering? God I hope not. LotD’s resource harvest and TI’s random-o-meter are frustrating enough to deal with. And ancient powers? Dunno where Mythic is going with that.

In the second paragraph the main phrase which has caught people’s attention is ‘next year we are about [to] encounter bloodlust in an additional way’ (does anyone proofread these things?). Like I said, this is the phrase sparking wishful thinking… most people tie ‘bloodlust’ with ‘vampires’, much like they tied ‘red plague’ with ‘skaven’. I’d say this is a likely possibility as there are Slyvania assets in the game which were never implemented, but honestly I sincerely hope this is not the case. Unless you like the ‘skaven’ we got with 1.4, I do not foresee a different emergence of the ‘vampires’. Vampires as monster-play will probably be the last straw for many remaining players. Slyvania as a LotD unlock-zone or a randomass-pop mechanic like TI will go down poorly. Lets hope this bloodlust is less ambitious…

With that I am happy to see WAR into its 3rd year, and here’s to an… interesting 4th.

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1.7 Cycle Conclusion

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Today we look back at the 1.7 patch cycle and how it fits into the progressive expansion mentality. The 1.7 patch cycle consisted of the first portion of what is deemed medium-scale content injections. The 1.7 patch cycle consisted of 5 Live Events, with four of these ushering in subsequent patches of new content, for a total of 9 patches.

The 1.7 patch cycle began with 1.7.0a, the Arms Race. This live event both introduced new content, laid the ground for subsequent new content to be revealed, and most importantly ushered in a storyline of a weapons-struggle between the two realms. Key to the Arms Race were two new scenarios taken from the familiar depths of Ekrund and Mount Gunbad, and a new survival-mode instance with different rewards for each stage survived, rewards which would unlock new content. In terms of storyline, the Arms Race laid the groundwork for a new struggle between the two realms to field new armies, but before any army can be fielded, materials need to be harvested to compile the arms and armaments. 1.7.0 was concluded with 1.7.0b ‘Forged in WAR’ which was a patch that launched the unlocks players could achieve by participating in the survival-mode instance ‘Halls of Ekrund’. These  unlocks consisted of a pair of new tier 1 dungeons, a new trade which incorporated all existing trades, and new forms of siege weaponry to revolutionize Open RvR.

1.7.1 consisted of the Soldiers of WAR live event. This live event continued the story from the Arms Race, and while this live event took place entirely in old scenery, it included a new scenario within the bounds of Saphery – the Maze of Saphery. Most importantly the Soldiers of WAR live event introduced players to the concept of a new archetype, the ‘Heavy DPS’ which was meant to fill in a role of a melee anti-tank class. Thus far the 1.7 patch cycle had utilized primarily old content cast in a new light, with the exception of the new aerial siege weaponry.

1.7.2 began the three part process of introducing the three pairs of HDPS. With 1.7.2a we were faced with the Dusk of Ulthuan and the Dark Elf plot to take advantage of the situation which arose from the Soldiers of WAR live event. Players were thrown into a pairing-wide quest line that took them from the shores of the Blighted Isle to the gates of the enemy fortresses as they sought to play a role in coming struggle. Also introduced in this patch was the new scenario ‘Shrine of Asuryan’, and players got to revisit an old scenario with a specific spotlight – Tor Anroc. 1.7.2b conclude the High Elf v. Dark Elf saga by launching the Battle for the Phoenix Flame as the silent Phoenix Guard were called to battle the deadly Executioners of Har Ganeth on the shores of Ulthuan.

1.7.3 took the struggle to the mountains of the Old World as players descended into the Night of the Crooked Moon. This live event followed the foot-steps of the High Elf v. Dark Elf model with its quest line as players sought to gather more supplies to face the coming struggle as the night goblins were mobilized to join the Bloody Sun Boyz. As the dwarves mobilize to counter this threat they launch preemptive strikes which take them to the new scenario locations ‘Halls of Silverspear’ and ‘Crooked Moon Pass’. 1.7.3b finishes the Dwarf v. Greenskin struggle as players begin the War for Karak Ankor and welcome to their ranks the powerful Hammerers and the Night Goblin Fanatics.

1.7.4 addresses the last of the pairs as players embark on the final journey with the Dawn of Destruction. Here players first confront each other at Salzenmund in Nordland, in Troll Country, and in Ostland as both quest-lines parallel each other to promote conflict. With this storyline players attempt to track or hide the Raven Hosts movements in the mountains along the Empire’s eastern frontier. Also in this struggle players are taken to two new scenarios: ‘The Streets of the Damned’ and ‘The Beacons of the Frontier’. The struggle culminates in 1.7.4b with the Sea of Swords which reveals the Raven Host’s plan of attack and draws forth the mighty Greatswords of Carroburg to confront the newest threat from the Lord of Change – the Harbingers of Tzeentch.

The 1.7 patch cycle focuses almost exclusively on creating a storyline and weaving it together, a storyline which ushers in 6 new classes consisting of some long-time favorites in the world of Warhammer, and perhaps a new face. Some of the earlier scenarios and PvE locations are carved directly from old unused PvE content. The five new scenarios associated with the HDPS storylines are new material, however they are on a smaller scale. Arguably the greatest introduction in this patch cycle consists of the HDPS classes themselves. Because these 5 scenarios and 6 new classes are tacked onto existing armies, and are smaller-scale development, they are considered ‘medium-scale’ content change. However, the saga of improving Warhammer Online does not end here. The Age of Reckoning continues with future patch-cycles!

Categories: 1.7.x

Sea of Swords – Harbinger of Tzeentch

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

“Come forth men of the mountains, come answer Tzeentch’s call. Sheep-herds no more, now you shall be slayers of men. Embrace the Wind of Change that courses through your body and go forth in the name of Tzeentch to conquer all who would dare stand against you. You, child of Change, shall usher in a new era for the hosts of Chaos.”

~ Tzeentch’s Night-whisper to the men of Norsca’s mountains.

Harbinger of Tzeentch

Archtype – Heavy DPS

Armor – Heavy Splint

Weapon – Spear-staff

Mechanic – Aspects of Tzeentch

  • You assume different Aspects of the Lord of Change enhancing one facet of your combat style while weakening another. You can change your Aspects of Tzeentch in combat to better suit the situation.

Mastery Trees

  • Collapse – A focus on destroying the enemy forces’ heavy armor units.
  • Ruin – A focus on dealing wide-spread damage.
  • Demise – A focus on weakening your enemy. Read more…
Categories: 1.7.x, HDPS Tags: