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WAR’s 12 Days of Christmas – Day 5

December 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Thanquol’s Incursion
Ok, so Mythic promised us this fantastic Skaven-themed zone with 1.4, a zone which would not detract from the campaign but add to it. For my Christmas wish list I would like to see Thanquol’s redone. Let’s break down Thanquol’s Incursion (TI) and shine some light on how it can be improved.

Going back to my previous 8 course meal I used for Dungeon Analysis – Read more…

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Eka’s “Supreme Ward” Dungeon Introduction

October 9, 2010 7 comments

Before I dive into today’s post I’ll just do my ‘brief’ other-stuff talk. So once again as with the three campaigns threads I posted earlier, I do not intend to break my chain of threads. I have no doubt that should anything grand be announced my fellow bloggers (that list off to the right –>) will no doubt catch wind of it and post it. Some may be flower wielding Mythic fan-boi’s and for this we forgive them, and some may be torch wielding fanatics. Mythic no doubt lumps my blog in the latter category and would pay me to shut down my blog if they only had enough money to do so (they offered me checks, but the sums were ‘endless snot green dye’ and ‘a free renown rank usable only RR1-10’ so I turned them down). Actually I doubt my blogs made it onto Mythic’s radar, because if it had they would have sent me nasty emails to stow the subversive banter. Irregardless for news regarding Warhammer Online I direct you to my fellow bloggers. For the next month Eka’s entering the Hypothetical realm…

So this is what it’s all been boiling down to, how I would design my dungeon… Buckle up ladies and gents because Eka’s mind is a crazy place!

When you look at the forums and pry apart all the different requests and gimme-gimme’s what is it most players want and have wanted since Beta? Female Mauraders, barber shops, skaven, player housing, pet monkeys. Well there you have it! I have heard your pleas and have designed a dungeon full of crab-clawed women ready to cut your hair in your own private home – pet monkey in the yard, but alas it is besieged by evil skaven! Hazah all things accomplished! Wait… no… no, that’s not actually what I had in mind. Oh my gosh I’m terribly sorry. Can I start over? I didn’t mean to lead you on… Can we still be friends? Fantastic! Lets start over! Read more…

Categories: Dungeons

Dungeon Analysis Conclusion

October 8, 2010 2 comments

So I wrap up my dungeon analysis today, and you’re probably going ‘Ok Eka, we read a week of posts about PvE and dungeons we’ve been doing for over a year or two… what’s your point?’ I assure you there is a point! Before you jump at my throat and wonder if I’m going to theory-craft about the Skaven dungeon, I’m not. Today I shall briefly do an overarching analysis of the seven different dishes I discussed for each dungeon: Time Commitment, Layout, Design, Boss Mechanics, Loot Mechanics, Lockouts, and Lore.

Time Commitment – The popular dungeons are ones with a shorter time commitment. WAR is a game based around RvR and purple numbers, players don’t want to be locked up in a dungeon and dream of the purple numbers slipping away. This slightly breaks off into two different components as well: 1)Dungeons that allow you to achieve your goal in a short amount of time (more on this next) and 2)Dungeons that don’t require pre-existing conditions to be met (i.e. zone domination/resource farming). Point 2 already seems to be going down the crapper for the new Skaven dungeon as Carrie said it would ‘randomly become available’. Wow that certainly is a great mechanic – ‘OMG guys the skaven hole is available lets go!’ ‘I can’t I got a date in 30m’ ‘Yeah I’ve got to get to work early tomorrow’ ‘But the Colbert Report is on in 12 minutes…’ ‘What if my water breaks in the next hour?!’. If you can’t fit a dungeon in your schedule… random unlocking smells stinky. So what I would vote is a good dungeon Time Commitment is a dungeon that doesn’t depend on random events in the RvR scheme of things to unlock, and one that is broken up enough so you can do a chunk in the time window that works best for you. In my mind a dungeon should take no more than 6 hours, 4 hours would be just right.

Layout – I’ll say it loud and clear – Linear dungeons blow. If I want just one thing, I do not want to have to kill 5 million mobs before hand just to get there. Winged dungeons are clearly preferred because they allow you to access the content you want to do. A linear dungeon is a mandatory crawl through content you’ve already explored and have no desire to do. By dividing up a dungeon you offer players outlets to do a ‘quick’ chunk of PvE. Additionally too many trash mobs also kill a dungeon. Dungeon difficulty is not based on its trash mobs, but rather on its boss mechanics. Tons of trash is just a time sink and no fun.

Design – Warband/Realm-Instanced dungeons do not work. Warhammer (at least on my server) does not support the population for long hours to field a warband interested in doing PvE. Six-mans allow for tight knit guild/alliance groups to go in and do their own thing. I know this takes away from the realm spirit which I am a proponent of, but at the same time I dread the idea of depending on 18 other people for the success of the mission. Imagine doing buggy ass VL with 24 people, and the mobs were scaled accordingly up to be on par for 24 players beating on them. There is a lot more room for error when you have more variables in the equation. In RvR, sure more people makes it a blast, but in PvE where the coding is already out of whack and prone to bug out and holding a 6-man together is hard enough, I would really prefer to keep it to a smaller scale.

Boss Mechanics – This is clearly a very wide window of discussion. There are dozens of different bosses in Warhammer Online with different mechanics. From personal experience the only ones which I find truly stupid are bosses whose mechanic involves randomly breaking and resetting aggro (I’m looking at you Kaarn), and multiple bosses with multiple buffs that need juggling (Scorpion Brothers in VL). Some of the more fun bosses in Warhammer are the ones with different phases requiring a shift of momentum, fights that keep you on your toes. On the other end of the spectrum are bosses that are ‘simple tank and spanks’ with no real interesting mechanic – these get dry and dull really fast, and as easy as banging on a boss for 6 minutes is, it’s not something I want to do.

Loot Mechanics – Repairable gear is fantastic. Multiple drops of class specific gear is ok. One piece of class specific gear is horrible. Gunbad, Bastion Stair, and the two city dungeons in cities with less than five stars (That’s all the dungeons from T2-RR45) fail for the latter reason because you only get one piece, making the gear farming ever more daunting and unappealing. The ideal situation would be repairable gear with a higher drop rate, higher than the 0/8 Tyrant pieces in Vulture Lord at any rate.

Lockouts – Too long is not good because it makes the gear grind that much longer, too short also isn’t good. I think ToVL got this one right with the three day lockout. You have just enough time to beat the dungeon if you split it up into two days, a day of rest and if you want you’re ready to go back in. Anything less than three days and you’re being forced to do that dungeon as fast as possible or your lockout might reset. Anything longer and you’re stuck tapping your fingers on your desk waiting for the timer to click down.

Lore – Obviously a dungeon that works with the lore of Warhammer is preferred. There are dozens of locations left in the world of Warhammer that would make epic dungeons, truly epic dungeons. My only caution with this direction is if you’re choosing a new exotic location, make sure you do not eliminate all hope of that army becoming playable in Warhammer because when LoTD came out a good chunk of the playerbase left when they learned all they were getting was PvE content and the Tomb Kings would never become a playable army.

So you wonder what this is all leading to you ask? Well the master plan has been laid out. Naturally analysis of dungeons on a blog that relates to the hypothetical possibilities of Warhammer can only lead to one thing, a dungeon! Rather to be more exact a series of dungeons. What I intend to do is propose dungeons which try to obey my rules and visions for a dungeon (hopefully satisfying the different 7 aspects I have outlined).

The goal:

  • A dungeon requiring Excelsior wards strictly, and I mean strictly. I am tired of hearing people brag about their sorcerer which has 5 piece Tyrant and is renown rank 28, and they don’t lie, I look them up. In its current state an underwarded/nonwarded player can by carried through a dungeon with guard and properly geared tanks and healers. I am proposing a new ward mechanic: for every ward missing you generate 100% unmitigated aggro and you suffer a uncleansable debuff of 10% armor loss; so a person with 0/5 wards generates 500% aggro and is effectively running at 50% armor. You’re probably thinking – so if a tank guards this person they don’t need menace since they’ll have 250% aggro, well no, guard would only take 50% of the first 100%, and no additional amount of aggro. This way a player isn’t penalized for being 4/5 wards but any more and they’re a group liability.
  • A dungeon offering a PvE equivalent of Sovereign gear
  • A dungeon that does not take away from RvR but rather promotes it without having mechanics that require farming of resources or PvP in the dungeon.
  • A dungeon that does not feel like a grind. I don’t want thousands of trash mobs to kill or loot that takes ages to acquire. I want a dungeon that you want to go to, hell even if you’re done with your set.
  • A dungeon that is alive (sound weird? More on this tomorrow =P) This may sound likes its going against the point above but hopefully what I produce works with both points.
  • A dungeon that is engaging and has a fun dynamic – this is indeed my hardest task. Warhammer being my first and only MMO, I have no knowledge of other games PvE instances so I’m working solely on what WAR has provided. Working with the classes/archtypes and mechanics of the game and what is achievable and within our means, I aim to try and add ‘fun’ twists to my dungeons. I fear it is here that I shall fail, but try I will, and I know if I do fail people will not hesitate to tell me =P
  • A dungeon that utilizes the forgotten and neglected renown abilities.
  • Challenging boss mechanics, but not overbearing or bland. I don’t want a tank and spank, but I also don’t want a Mario jumping on pillars around three scorpions.
  • And finally, to present a possibility so vividly that you see what I see, and that you see how achievable it is. I’m not sending you to the moon to steal Khaine’s teeth. This is doable by Mythic.

I only apologize in advance for my low-tech approach. I am by no means a computer savvy person. I use whats on hand, but hopefully this will not detract from my vision. As always any feedback, comments and offers to help are always appreciated. As to where I take you for the next month… drool on my friend. Tomorrow is a new day =D

Categories: Dungeons

“Excelsior Ward Dungeon” – The Tomb of the Vulture Lord

October 7, 2010 5 comments

Hazah! Last dungeon analysis post, ye need read no more of stuff you know after today! So for today I write about ToVL, and I put the wards in quotes because the truth is that you do not get any wards from Tyrant gear and in fact the dungeon requires Greater Wards (the same as Lost Vale). However, I personally do not believe that a six man of people wearing Conqueror/Sentinel gear could beat this dungeon – I really believe its ward requirements should be upped to Superior required, and the gear offers Excelsior wards. Why is the gear unwarded you ask? Well back in olden days when the King instance actually required wards (sorta…) Mythic did not want players to potentially PvE their way to Sovereign gear, meaning you could do Bastion Stairs to ToVL and get the wards required for the King instance, meaning you would never have to RvR. This was to force people to participate in the city siege and therefore RvR in order to acquire the wards for the King instance. Oddly enough the Warlord fights were… PvE anyway, so technically someone could just sit outside the city until it hit stage 2 and then go PvE the Warlord instances. Now that the cities are changed and a warband of RR0 players could probably kill the King (assuming there is no opposition) I see no reason for Tyrant gear to not be given the wards it is due. And if you’re wondering why I arbitrarily give it Excelsior wards, its due to the stat similarities with Warlord gear; Darkpromise is to Invader as Tyrant is to Warlord. Make sense? Ok!

Before I jump into my post on ToVL I would like to ‘briefly’ throw around some sites for you to clicky on.

  • First off we have the changes being made to tanks and the new armor sets thread. Several points here – first off I like the changes being made to guard requiring a shield, this is a good step for tanks and will truly force players to choose between tanking and dpsing. Secondly we have the fortitude stat which I am none too fond of. I know Mythic is trying to up the TTK, but on tanks? Really? They’re hard enough to kill as is, why make them harder? Last off we have the two new armor sets Doomflayer and Warpforged, presumably the former is RR81-90 and the latter RR91-100. My only beef with this is why is practically every armor set in the game Destruction themed? Redeye – Goblin tribe; Bloodlord – Khorne, Chaos God of Blood; Darkpromise – Slaanesh, also Chaos God; Carnage, Havoc, Mayhem, Ruin are all just synonyms of Destruction; Decimator, Obliterator, Devastator, Annihilator are all just forms of Destruction; and arguably considering that all the campaigns take place predominately on Order territory ergo they are defensive campaigns then one can assume that Conqueror, Invader, and Warlord are Destruction conquering and invading Ulthuan/The Empire/The Dwarf lands. I guess Order has the Keeper set, we are Keepers of peace -shrugs-. Its clear that Mythic has a fascination with¬† Destruction.
  • Next up we have the PTS feedback thread. Now I did not attend because it was not in my time-frame, but from what I heard from people attending and what I have read thus far it seems that the zerg will prevail once again. I heard of nothing but being camped in keeps, making it impossible to protect resource carries to upgrade keeps. On the forum it would seem predominantly Destruction loved the changes (since they were the ones on the offense) and Order which was outnumbered and on the defensive disliked the changes. Personally I find respawning in the keeps a plain stupid idea. You want people to go to the keeps instantly? Then put a quest giver in the warcamp that teleports people to the keep so long as the doors are up (like the mirror in the LoTD warcamps). At least when you were spawn-camped in warcamps you had multiple avenues of entering the RvR lake, now you’re just stuck in a keep with 5x wounds debuffs.
  • Finally Waaagh.de has some screenies of new mounts. Interestingly enough the concept art for these mounts existed in like 2007 so I am guessing Mythic is starting to dig up old stuff that was never implemented instead of actually crankin’ the brain machines and making up new stuff.

Ok onto the Turkey-fight!

RR 60-70

Tomb of the Vulture Lord (ToVL)

ToVL was released during the Rise of the Tomb Kings live event in June of 2009 along with the Land of the Dead new PvPvE zone, making it among the newest content in Warhammer (the only thing newer is Hunter’s Vale). It is clear that a lot of thought and innovation went into designing this dungeon; however, clearly it was never fully thought out as it is littered with bugs, and I’m not talking about the scarabs. Once again apologies for the lack of screenies. Read more…

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Superior Ward Dungeon – Lost Vale

October 6, 2010 3 comments

Lost Vale is technically speaking the last dungeon in Warhammer that offers a warded set, and in many ways despite its bugs it is among the best designed dungeons.

RR50-59

The Lost Vale (LV)

I apologize in advance for the pictures – my computer wiped so I lost all my screenies and had to do an impromptu run today but only got through two wings so had to steal pictures of someone else’s middle wing.¬† Also I tank on an Ironbreaker so my angling on the screenies is even worse =\.

Read more…

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Greater Ward Dungeon – Sigmar’s Crypts and The Warpblade Tunnels

October 5, 2010 4 comments

So with this pair of dungeons I begin the T4 break-down by wards the gear provides (not wards the dungeon requires) since this is more or less how to judge the divisions of the further dungeons. Once again I apologize for not writing about the Destruction counterparts because although I have done them in the old city when you could do the enemy instances, I am by no means an expert and defer that write up/analysis to someone more qualified. I may briefly allude to them, but by no means do I intend to go in depth regarding the Destruction equivalents.

RR40-49

Sigmar’s Crypts & The Warpblade Tunnels (Sigs & WBT)

Now it is important to realize that these are in fact three different dungeons – Sigmar’s Crypts, and two different sets of Warpblade Tunnels full of Skaven to kill (so after wards you can go play one wearing your new Sent Gear). Read more…

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T4 Dungeon – Bastion Stair

October 4, 2010 4 comments

We return to the wonderful world of dungeons in Warhammer Online. Today we descend/ascend the stairs of Bastion Stair (its not called that for any reason, its got tons of stairs…). This dungeon strikes a particular chord in my heart as I spent probably more hours here farming my Bloodlord gear than the guy who made the dungeon. In many cases Bastion Stair is like Mount Gunbad, but more like its neglected step-sister, which I shall prove in my 8-step analysis.

T4 – RR32-39

Bastion Stair

Like Mount Gunbad I shall mess around with the order of today’s menu for easier digestion. Unfortunately I’m low on boss pictures because my hard-drive wiped and goodbye screenies =( Read more…

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