Monthly Archives: October 2009

Warhammer Alliance Podcast

Last week I was invited to appear on the Warhammer Alliance Podcast as the fourth host. We recorded on Sunday, and it was put online last night.

The whole experience was a blast. We discussed the next patch, which included the Underdog System, as well as the Gates of Ekrund scenario and the Dev Diary on game performance.

The WAP gang – Frank, Martin, Kristen and the silent producer Amber – were absolutely hilarious and incredibly easy to speak with. It was great to have an open conversation about the positive and negative aspects of the game.

In the beginning of the podcast I gave a shout-out to not only my guild, but also to my alliance. Due to some recent reorganizing, the alliance had changed its name and I couldn’t remember it offhand. Just for the record, The Murder Junkies and I are in the Chaotica Infinitum Alliance.

Also, I mentioned that Serpent Cross, one of our allied guilds, had exciting things planned for the Halloween weekend. They are hosting Spook-Fest, with such fun events as zombie chickens in Chrace (I sure love those chickens) and hide-and-seek with pie.

I hope everyone enjoys the podcast and has a happy Halloween!

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Thoughts on 1.3.2

It’s been a month or so since I wrote about the 1.3.2 patch, and it’s been almost two weeks since it went live. I’ve had some time to tinker around with the changes, and I’m pretty happy overall with Mythic’s decisions. There were a few things that definitely stuck out to me.

Advice Channel

I thought the advice channel sounded like a great idea, and it works as intended. Sort of.

When someone asks a question, they usually get an answer rather quickly. But the rest of the time the channel is filled up with miscellaneous chatter which used to be commonplace in Region chat. The advice channel eventually got so annoying that I switched it off,  as did some other people I know.

A player on the official forums even started a thread in the New Player Discussion area on the topic, requesting moderation for the channel.

AP Regeneration

Action Point regeneration was addressed in a set of hot fix notes that went live five days after the patch. A few bugs in the system after 1.3.1 had been causing users, including myself, to have virtually unlimited AP.

Combat & Careers Team Lead Nate Levy also went over the fixes and explained that the regeneration is now working as intended at 25 AP per second.

I’m glad they fixed this, even though I’m back to seeing “Not Enough Action Points” flash across my screen. Kudos to the Combat & Careers team!

Fortresses

The removal of fortresses was meant to increase city sieges since players would only need to control two of the three pairings to access their enemies’ capital. I had never been to Altdorf, so I was pretty excited.

Unfortunately, multiple city sieges a day has definitely caused the excitement to quickly wear off.

Sure, Tier 4 Open RvR is really hopping on Volkmar, but city sieges are meant to be big things, and that awesomeness is drastically scaled down when a capital is attacked so often.

No joke, here’s what conversations have looked like in my guild:

Player 1: “Oh look, Altdorf is open again.”

Player 2: “Eh, really?”

Player 1: “Yeah. Want to go run a dungeon?”

Player 2: “Sure.”

Player 3: “Count me in too.”

We’re supposed to be pumped up to attack our enemies, but instead we’re just tired of seeing the same thing over and over.

Performance

WAR’s performance has been kicked up a notch with 1.3.2 and it is very noticeable. Technical Director Chad Robertson clarified what changes occurred in a Dev Diary published the day after the patch.

While my computer has handled the game amazingly (I had a copy of the system requirements on hand when I bought it), I used to experience lag in huge combat situations, which was understandable.

However, since the patch went live, I have seen no lag on my end whatsoever. It was smooth sailing even through an awesome battle to lock a zone. I took screenshots of the amount of Destruction that turned out to demonstrate what the game was handling:

So, while not all of patch 1.3.2 makes me want to shout with joy, I consider it a wonderful step forward for WAR. I’ve even noticed the number of my guild members on at the same time has increased, which my guild leader had us document at one point with a commemorative screenshot.

The Murder Junkies

The Murder Junkies (I'm standing behind Schlarpy!)

 

 

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The WoW Factor

Warhammer Online was my first MMO, and it’s the only one I play. I feel I was lucky to enter the game without any real expectations, except that I would get to kill things with my friends.

However, whenever I bring up the topic of WAR to people, gamers and non-gamers alike, World of Warcraft inevitably enters the conversation. They try to understand WAR through their experiences with WoW, and you see the same thing reflected in posts on the official forums. Often, new players ask about content and careers by referencing those of WoW.

It’s understandable, and I would do it too if I was in their shoes. But really, the two games are like apples and oranges.

I was briefly exposed to WoW by the same people I started playing WAR with. I made a character on my fiancé’s WoW account and, while I enjoyed cannibalizing NPCs, WoW really wasn’t the game for me. We just didn’t click.

WAR works for me, providing more than enough PvP and just the right amount of PvE. It’s not just that though. I’ve tried to put my finger on why I’ve stuck with Warhammer for a year after all my friends left, my career was weakened and my servers died and were merged.

Then Monday I came upon Nick Halme’s new blog post at Gamasutra.

He says he finally figured out the reason he likes WAR so much is because “WAR is the small town to WoW’s big city.”

Whereas in WoW I would get to the top floor only to see they’ve constructed more floors for me to run up, I feel like WAR with it’s conservative level cap of 40 (as opposed to 80) gives me a world I can fit in my pocket, and that makes me comfortable.  It doesn’t have the population of a city-state and I can see the top of the building from where I’m standing.

Halme’s post reminded me of something my fiancé used to tell me when he played WAR, after months of WoW. He enjoyed being able to log in, do public quests, scenarios, RvR, whatever he wanted. And then he could log off.

WAR was something he could walk away from. He didn’t have that addiction to the game that WoW cultivated, and that was a good thing.

And according to Halme, it’s this lessening of intensity that is WAR’s selling point.

Trying to build your skyscraper next to Blizzard’s is not a good idea, because that thing is only getting bigger.  Build a hamlet for the veterans to retire to, though, and you have yourself some market share.

It’s not just the WoW veterans. There are actually people like me who never seriously played WoW and never will. Together we make up a pretty dedicated group of players supporting WAR.

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Armor Redesign: The Last Batch

I’ve been pretty busy the past several days, so it almost escaped my notice that Mythic put up the third and final installment of armor redesigns on Friday.

However, I stand by my previous statement that Order’s armor designs are rather underwhelming. Sure, they’re the “good” guys, and they’re not going to be covered in all sorts of spiky, stabby bits, but they should still look epic.

The Destruction careers that I see in high-rank gear really stand out from the crowd. Order, not so much, at least from what these redesigns are showing me.

So, without further ado, here are the remaining armor changes:

Order

Ironbreaker

Rune Priest

Shadow Warrior

Warrior Priest

Destruction

Black Orc

Disciple of Khaine

Magus

Sorceress

If you tally these eight with the other 14 careers I previously posted, you might notice that two careers are conspicuously absent.

To be honest, I didn’t even realize the Slayer and Choppa weren’t included until I checked out the armor redesign thread on the official forums.

Nate LaMartina, the character systems lead, explained in the thread that the Slayer and Choppa “armor progressions were already very close to what we envisioned.” He linked to two other threads where he discussed intent of the armor redesigns, as well as future changes to Choppas.

LaMartina also said that he will be writing a developer diary for the Herald, so I’m looking forward to gaining more insight into their redesign process.

Exciting stuff, folks!

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Chickens

The tiny flapping wings. The teeny little talons. The hollowed-out chest cavities.

I love Warhammer chickens.

Back when I played on Praag, I was in an alliance that organized a “chicken run.” Several of us gathered in Nordland and transformed into rotting, freaky looking fowls.

Praag Chicken Run
Praag Chicken Run

One interesting thing I noticed was what happens when a Magus is chickened. Normally, they float around on their discs, but chickens are all about the running, jumping and flailing wings.

Thus, Magus chickens get a nice spotlight beneath them to represent their discs, as shown in the picture on the right.

But anyway, the chicken run was a blast. We all had fun flapping around and reading the confusion of nearby low-level players in region chat. That was really what we had intended all along.

So, I was absolutely delighted when I saw a post on the WAR forums a few weeks ago about organizing a chicken battle.

When a player is chickened by entering an RvR area too far below their rank, their abilities become unusable and the majority of their health is taken away. All you can do is auto-attack and bawk at your opponents.

A chicken versus chicken showdown was new to me, and I was incredibly excited.

Plans were made and the bird bash occurred Sept. 30. Only a few Order showed up, and I was the only Destruction player as far as I know.

We pecked at each other the best we could, but sometimes the auto-attack wouldn’t work and we resorted to waving our wings in each other’s faces or simply staring each other down.

Chicken Staring Contest
Chicken Staring Contest

Soon, low-level players showed up to actually use the RvR lake, so I tried to help Destruction take down Order as much as I could.

All in all, the turnout was less than I had hoped for, but I had a great time and made an Order friend. I also got a screenshot of myself next to a dead Knight of the Blazing Sun.

Chicken Triumph!
Chicken Triumph!

And that’s just awesome in my book.

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