Movin' on up...

T’was a sad day yesterday, for it was the day I finally had to say goodbye to Tier 1 and move on up into T2. I guess now I’m going to have to get used to being flattened in oRvR and scenarios a lot more often, but at least I can get involved in some keep takes, I’ve been looking forward to those for a while!

Athekkhar is currently Lv 13 RR 12, since reaching T2 I’ve been doing some PQ’s and questing to get his level up a bit before I start going all out RvR. Reflecting on Tier 1, it seemed pretty balanced between order and destro, in both scenarios and oRvR. Scenario wise we would occasionally steamroll order, sometimes they’d steamroll us, or we would reach a stalemate and it would finish with both scores quite low but very close.

RvR in the Empire has been great. Every night there was at least 1 WB each side fighting over the BO’s, with each side having the upper hand for a while before loosing it to a well timed push from the other side. Like with the scenarios, sometimes we would be able to hold all the BO’s, sometimes order would. The other racial pairings seemed a lot quieter oRvR wise; the few times I went to the HE/DE pairing it was in a smaller group of 6 or so players and if there was any order about it was usually another small group which actually made a nice change from the more zerg-like empire areas. The one time I ventured into the Ork lands for some RvR there was 2 parties of us and we didn’t see any order at all. I didn’t really bother going back again, I’m not one for the PvE of BO capping with no opposition. I’ll have to get a better feel for that pairing when I level my choppa up (yeah, I gave into the temptation and rolled another alt).

The only thing that I can really complain about in T1 was that the PQ’s in the dark elf lands rarely had people doing them, so maxing the influence bar involved a lot of just completing the first stage of the easier ones. It’s not too hard to do this in T1, but is kind of annoying just for the fact that you don’t get no “phat lewt bag”.

Towards the end of the tier I decided to forcibly make myself read the text for every quest I took, and to my surprise, I’ve started reading it because I want to instead. The text is actually very well written and I enjoy getting a bit of background and following the general story of WAR, it seems to give the quests purpose. The Salzenmund quests were probably some of the best so far, I love how you’re sent not just to slaughter all the defenders/women/children etc. but you’re asked to subvert and manipulate some of the characters of the town in true Chaos style, I thought that was great.

Farewell for now Tier 1, I bid you an emotional adieu. Here’s to T2.

The tragic story of robot and mouse...

Nothing WAR related here, but I thought I'd share this video that a friend of a friend knocked together the other day, it put a smile on my face. its a slightly odd short animation of a robot and his pet mouse..... enjoy....

Non Gaming Girlfriend

Havent been on WAR for the last couple of days due to spending some time with the better half. I've been contemplating whether it's a good or bad thing that she has pretty much no interest in gaming at all.

On the one hand it does give me time away from PC's and forces me back into 'RL', but I've always wondered how different it would be if we both shared an interest in MMO's.

I did once get her to try WoW, back in the days I used to play it. After about 20 minutes killing wolves in the human starting area she quite confidently declared " this game is sooo boring, why the hell do you play it!?". Que me then trying (without succeeding) to explain that you have to develop your character to progress and most of the fun stuff came at higher levels.

"so why dont you just start at a higher level?"

Good question. And looks like one that Blizzard have asked themselves, and decided that it needs addressing with the DK starting at Lv.55. Guild wars previously took it even further by having the option to start a character that was already at level cap, but could only be used for PvP.

WAR has gone the opposite way to solve this, by making scenarios and RvR available almost immediately after you start the game. Bringing the content to the character, not the character to the content as it were. I much prefer it that way 'cause I'm admittedly a sucker for starting off having nothing and no skills and the feeling that you get when, say, you find your first shoulder armour and now your character looks 10 times harder!

So, she saw me playing WAR when she came round the other day and actually seemed to take an interest in it (one of here complaints about WoW was 'you can't kill the other people!'). She even went as far as to ask that if she installed it at her house, would we be able to play together over the internet?

Fingers crossed, 2 years of subtly trying to spark an interest in gaming may finally be coming to fruition. Oh happy days!

The Silent Leaders

After reading an couple of interesting articles on leading a war band over at Waaagh and Knights of the Featherd Hats, I thought I would share my own experiences on the subject. Granted, I've never led a WB outside of T1, and even then not done it that often but my over-riding expence was that no one actually seems to listen to you. I'll use one incident to illustrate this:

Fighting in the Empire RvR zone I was leading a PUG group of 3 parties, we had just capped festenplatz and were fighting order around that area. I decided to go and scout the docks which was just about up for taking and found that it was undefended. Another DoK was already there killing the guards. I helped them finish off the champion and before I could say anything s/he had scampered off to claim the BO. I immediately asked the WB to come down to the docks to defend it untill it was secured. No replys. Looked at the map, they were all still at festnplatz fighting around an objective we'd already taken, even the returning players were running straight from the warcamp to the rest of the WB. I asked again. Again no response, no movement. By this time an Order Engineer was just off the docks, most likely telling his WB that there was only 2 DoK's defending the BO. By this time I was slightly annoyed and thinking we were about to get a whole WB pile in on us to re-take the objective, so I tried again, this time trying to make it sound a bit more like an order- "everybody down to the dock now or we're gonna loose it!"


Fortunately the order WB never did turn up and me my fellow DoK capped it ourselves, but I left the group pretty much straight away. What the hell's the point? It's like trying to organise a drunken rabble in a brewery. I know I'm not a natural leader and I've got a way to go before I would class myself even as a good leader, but I'm reasonably intellegent. Enough to see an opportunity and decide what needs to be done, but communicating that to 20 other players and getting them all to act on it sometimes seems like an exercise in futility, which kind of leads me on to my next point:

Leaders that just dont talk. I used to get frustrated when the WB leader was utterly silent, the WB needs direction and some form of strategy otherwise its just a huge brawl with the winner being the side who's players don't get bored first. When I did find myself in one of these PUG's i used to try and suggest stuff without seeming like I was usurping them:

"Lagoon's up for capping, send someone to scout it?"

Most of the time I never even got a response though, the guy just keeps swapping people into different groups to keep balance but doesnt do anything else.

I can understand now why people may not want to try, but if you're not going to, please, give the role of leader to someone who will. You never know you might be in one of the WB's where some people actually do listen, and that makes it more fun for everyone. Don't get me wrong, I know its T1 and people are new to the game or learning a new class, and I've been in several PUG's that have been organised with a good leader and they've been tremendous fun! (I'm going to have to add some of these guys to my friends list!). I'm also sure that in T2 it will get better as people realise the inportance of working as a team, and I'm looking forward to it.

So, things everyone should remember:

  • Listen to the WB leader (been said before, but it can't be stressed enough)
  • If you are the leader and dont want to give out orders, find someone else who will.

Here endeth the first lesson.

10 days well spent!

Well my trial of WAR is coming to an end tomorrow, I thought I would let you all know what I've been up to and what I think of the game as it is now. Here's the characters I've been levelling:

Athekkhar – Lv 10 RR 10 Chosen

Masanith – Lv 10 RR 10 DoK

These have become my 2 main characters, initially I just planned on levelling athekkhar but out of all the alts I made the DoK was the one that I enjoyed playing the most. I also levelled up a Shaman, Choppa, Zealot, Warrior priest, Iron breaker and Sorcerer to between 5 – 8.

Tier 1 has been bustling the past 10 days and I've loved every second of playing. There's usually enough people around to do PQ's, plenty of RvR going off and scenario's popping regularly. I spent almost 4 hours in the RvR zone in Nordland tonight; BO's were changing hands, both sides were pushing forwards, eventually to be pushed back. We started with order keeping us just outside the warcamp before we managed to gradually push them right back to their own, and so it went back and forth most of the night. I think at its peak there were 2 war bands of about 15-20 players on each side. The battle raged and great fun was had by all.

The PvE side of the game, apart from the PQ's is still a bit lacklustre. The background to the quests is quite good, but the AI and pathing still seem a little off, much better then just after launch but still not quite right. The PQ's are excellent though now they have different difficulty levels, the fact that I could solo one in each area if I played at some god forsaken hour in the morning meant there was actually something to do while no one was about!

Frankly though, I don't really give a monkeys whether the questing system is shiny and polished, I want WAR! Brutal, bloody and intense WAR! Please Mythic, do something, anything, to reduce the lag and increase the performance (though for me it's not as bad as I hear other people making out) and I will give you cookies. Cookies for the, um..... cookie monster? (Paul, perhaps? )

I'll be buying the game tomorrow and starting on my conquest of tier 2. I've joined a nice friendly guild: Alpha Legion. They seem like a good bunch of players who focus mainly on RvR, hopefully I'll be chronicling our exploits against order in the not too distant future. Expect to hear more from this WARrior.

How to force Anti-aliasing in WAR..

I found an interesting little thing for people with Nvidia graphics cards tonight, I thought I'd share incase anyone doesnt know this already. Of course it could just be me being behind the times but hey, here goes.

I've read a few complaints about there not being any anti aliasing in WAR, but if you use an Nvidia card you can force anti aliasing using Nvidias managment programme. If you go onto Control Panel >> Nvidia Control Panel. Go onto Manage 3D settings on the menu on the left and then the programme settings tab. You should see a list of options like this (click for larger image):

First go to Add, then find the EXE file for your WAR install. Then on the list of options, under Antialiasing - Mode, select 'overide any application settings' and then your preferred mode from Antialiasing - Settings.

Click apply and your done, WAR now has its own graphics profile that forces AA! Easy as that :)

I tested it out tonight on 8x AA, and it looks a lot easier on the eye. There was a drop from 40-60 FPS to 20-40 FPS during PvE and around quest hubs, the most noticable difference was
in RvR (in about a 12 vs 12 fight). The FPS dropped to around a constant 12-15 FPS when in the thick of it. usually its around 30+ without AA. Its is a noticable difference but definately playable at the framerate. Large scale keep sieges may be a different matter though.

I 'm running a 9500GT with Dual core 3.16 Ghz processor so i dont know wether it would be playabe with forced AA on a lower end machine but hey, give it a try, it does look great with it on!

Happy Clappers R us

Before I write this post I should explain a bit about myself. I am an optimist. A hopelessly positive optimist. I will always look for the good in any situation and concentrate on the things that I like in almost everything I do. That goes from following football (the real football, or soccer to some folks), where my kind is known as a ‘happy clapper’, to my work. OK, so now I’ve admitted that I can start.

I just finished reading the transcript of the EU Dev chat that Regis has posted over at Wizards and Wenches, and I have to say it has given me a lot of hope about where Mythic are taking the game.

My Experience in T1 so far is that Mythic have vastly improved the game since launch (I only played the open beta and for about a week after), they have got rid of a huge amount of bugs, combat feels smoother and the abilities more responsive. Apothecary and cultivating are much improved (I even find them quite fun!) and in the dev chat they mentioned they will be looking at talisman making next. What’s more is that I haven’t had one, not one crash to desktop yet! Even in the Sea of Claws last night with a full WB, fighting around Festenplatz against at least 1 order WB I hardly experienced any stutter, only a small dip in FPS. It was a blast!

I think the game now is really where it should have been at launch. I guess Mythic probably didn’t have full control over the release date with EA looking over their shoulder, so I’m not going to blame them. Even though I’m still in T1 and most of the stuff doesn’t apply to me (yet) I am quite excited about several things mentioned in the dev chat:

Making the city sieges more RvR centric and less like PvE with enemy players harassing you.

Making the first city siege PQ Lord’s difficulty vary depending on how many defenders there is.

Balancing the AoE of BW/Sorc. This may take a few attempts for them to get right but from what I hear it needs to be done.

Improving the chance of getting a useable drop in RvR

More things to craft!

Lots of hints at making Keep sieges more fun & dynamic such as alternate entrances, moveable siege weapons etc.

And by ‘hint’ this is what I mean:

“Zeiden asked: Do you plan on implementing new ways of capturing a keep such as for example Choppa throwing catapults or breaking the walls instead of only the door or maybe moving Siege weapons?
osh_Mythic answers: Maybe. :)

Come on guys! The smiley face just gives it away! And makes me really want to know what they’ve got planned!
I know me and a lot of other new/returning players are having a blast in the lower tiers, I hear people commenting all the time in region chat that they’ve just upgraded their trial account or how much fun they’re having (as well as the odd stereotypical WoW player asking silly questions).

I’m confident that Mythic can and will get the issues with end game RvR fixed but its not going to happen overnight. For all the people complaining about it roll an alt and come have fun with us in T1 till then :).

How many quests?!

I've been thinking about the point Syp raised about questing over at Waaagh. I completely agree that something should be done to encourage people to read the text when picking up a quest. The Warhammer IP is one of the best developed (save maybe Lord of the Rings) around and its got some fantastic history and background storeys in it, seems a shame that no-one really reads the stuff.

While I do think that Wizards & Wenches idea of having one epic quest chain in an area, with fewer quests that grant more XP each would be great, I think this definitely wont be done any time soon (if at all). I really cant see Mythic rewriting and changing a huge part of the game when there are other more pressing issues to fix. Dont at blame the healer also came up with a good Idea of adding some pictures to the ToK to make reading the text easier on the eye, which would help but I don't think it would solve the problem. Perhaps the idea of having different options at each stage of the quest chain would make reading the details more important though (see the blog for stick-man awesomeness!).

So, I came up with an idea for a simple aid to help. It wont solve the problem entirely but I think it would help somewhat. I reckon the main thing that puts players (or me anyway) off reading the quest text is when you enter a new area, particularly a war camp, the mini map is covered with the green quest dots- there can easily be 7 or 8 that crowd everything else out, and a player just arriving at the quest hub's probably going to think “whooa, holy crap, its gonna take ages to read through all them” it's much quicker to run round the whole camp, get every one a quick as possible and then work your way round the red blobs on the map.

Now a few of these quests will be RvR or the repeatable scenario quests (especially in warcamps), and if these were given a different icon, say a red skull or crossed swords, it would make the mini map a lot less cluttered when you first reach the zone. Instead of being a blob of green quest markers there would be about several less, and the rest the Scenario/RvR markers. If you wanted to carry on questing when you reached the zone you could go straight for the PvE quests, and when you wanted to do some RvR you could go back to the appropriate quest giver and pick them up. I think every player wants to be as efficient as possible and reading quest text, as well as getiing tiring after the 4th ot 5th one, is time that could be better spent getting XP.

I'm not sure whether I've explained this too well, it made sense in my head! I think it would help in some way until Mythic can get round to tidying the quest system up, if not then it'd just look better :).

I have a cunning plan

I had a moment of insight last night. Not the usually good kind mind you.

I realised that I don’t really have any idea about my goals or objectives for this here blog, I’m just sort of going with the flow at the minute. So, in a rare moment of forward thinking I have decided on the following:

• 2 Posts per week: While I could probably write a post everyday, it does take up a surprisingly large amount of time that would otherwise be spent actually playing the game. Hopefully it will stop me burning out and running out of Ideas. These posts will probably be on Wednesday and Saturday/Sunday.

• Blog about more stuff: I’ve been enjoying using the blog as a place where I can write down and organise my thoughts on various subjects, it’s kind of therapeutic. Hence, I’m going to be blogging about things other then Tanking and PvP in WAR. It will, however, remain generally Warhammer related.

• Make it look nicer: It’s been an ambition of mine to learn HTML and possibly XHTML for a while now. I did learn some very basic HTML several years ago (enough to create a simple web page using notepad) but I’m going to have to start over now. I can use this blog to experiment with, and hopefully make it look a lot better by doing so.

So, next post this weekend, and time for me to dig out my ‘Teach yourself HTML’ book I never finished reading!

On the other hand....

It seems as if just to remind me that as well as being fantastic healers keeping you alive in WAR, theres also the ones who don't seem to quite grasp what 'healing' actually means.

I decided to have a brief look round the Inevitable City after my unusually successful Khaines Embrace scenario. I took a few of the easy quests, went to the AH and took in the sights of a Lv 5 capitol city. Having noticed that the low level public quest was active (the one where you kill tormented and horrified souls), and seeing as I had to kill them anyway, I decided to participate. It was just me and 2 healers, a Disciple of Khaine and a Shaman. Throughout the PQ I only recieved one (yes ONE) heal which I actually had to ASK FOR!!

This was on the final stage where you kill the champion mob that spawns, I was doing my best to keep the aggro on me. It wasnt untill I was nearly dead that I noticed I wasn't being healed at all. What's more annoying is that both the DoK and Shammy were, quite literally, stood right next to me. All I got was a HoT after I'd asked "can someone heal me pls" but when that ran out.......nothing. No more heals for me, and was shortly followed by a long walk back the the PQ.

I guess coming top of the loot roll was a small consolation, even if it was just a green bag. Damn though, some healers just should have rolled WE's.

Blood for the blood god!

Had a fun evening doing some PQ's and RvR tonight in the Chaos T1, I ended up dying a hell of a lot in oRvR but it was fun for a while. I ran a couple of Khanies Embrace scenarios, and second time around I decided not to play tactically and just see how much damage I could lay down.

So, the blood lust consuming me, I hunted down all the squishy players I could find (and there was lots!). Rather to my surprise this is how I'd done in the end:

And he looked at the bleeding bodys strewn across the battlefield and was pleased.....

To be honest though, I think without Kogoma and Shoe pumping out the healing juice I never would ave lived long enough to dish out that amount of punishment. Props to you two, if I ever see you in game again you'll have my thanks 'in person' :)

Just goes to show, good healing is essential for the team, even though we did loose in the end as we left out alter totally undefended for order to sneak a capture in.

Next time..... next time.....

The low level tank and PvP

Well I'm at work and nothing much is happening at the minute so I thought I'd share my experience of scenarios and RvR from my first 8 levels at a tank. Overall I've been enjoying getting the good old adrenaline rush of proper PvP, and the fact that the Chosen doesn't die nearly as often as the marauder I played during open beta is rather enjoyable. My only gripe is that it seems tremendously hard to kill anything apart from squishy RDPS and odd MDPS. If theres a healer around Im pretty much screwed as it seems to be impossible for me to out DPS their healing.

It's this apparent lack of DPS ability in T1 that's led me to try to find some other roles that the tank can fulfill, here's what I've found so far:

Auras: whenever I'm in the thick of it with plenty of enemy players and my party members close I usually focus on cycling through the various auras so that (ideally) all 3 of them are active at all times, I'll usually use the more group oriented abilities as well. This seems to be more usefull when it gets crowded than trying to straight DPS, even if it means less kills and killing blows. Oh well, I'm an altruistic team player, I dont mind!

Disrupting the Backline (i.e. suicide): This one seems to work best on the Nordenwatch scenario, but is applicable anywhere where you have a melee scrum in the middle with each sides RDPS and Healers further back on each side. DPS classes might be good for getting in and quickly taking down a healer or Bright Wizard but they get killed almost straight away (I got this alot as a marauder in the open beta) and then the healers are straight back to healing and the BW's back to BBQ'in Destro. Hence occasionally, when I see an opportunity like this, I will sneak (yeah, Chosen can sneak) roundthe side, quaff a HoT potion and charge recklessly into their back line and go for a healer. Usually panic will ensue as the healers focus on keeping the one you're targeting alive and the RDPS will try to take you down a.s.a.p!. The object of this tactic isnt to get easy kills, its to try and distract their damage dealers and Healers long enough for your team mates in the big scrum in the middle to chew through the opposition. That 15 or so seconds that the healers are more concerned with me then healing their team mates is sometimes enough to swing the skirmish in our favour. This works even better if there's another tank that comes along, or if you manage to get some resto from a friendly healer.

Leading the charge: Seems that most of the softer DPS classes, when there's two large groups facing off against each other, are reluctant to take the risk of making the charge into the enemy ranks. Quite rightly so, chances are if they're at the front they will be dead before they get to do much damage. Usually to galvanise the troops into action it'll take a tank to make that initial push and draw some of the fire while the MDPS classes pile in behind you. If you've got a decent healer or two in your party its not too bad as they will generally out-heal the damage you're taking untill the enemy players start switching to targets that go down easier. Of course, good healers are in high demand and sometimes it doesnt work out as you'd hope!

If anyone has stumbled onto this blog already, welcome :) and what are your thoughts on tanks and their role in low level scenarios?


Greetings and salutations!
Welcome to Tank Wall, this is my fist attempt at one of these new fangled blog things so you'll have to excuse me if I don't seem to know what I'm doing at first but bear with me, I'll get the hang of it eventually!

So I should probably introduce myself to all you folks out there in the WAR blogosphere, I'm Athekkhar, a prodigal player returning to the fray after an absence of 6 months. I jumped ship from WoW (dont hold it against me) at the start of the open beta but decided to put off buying the game for a few months untill most of the problems such as server stability, RvR balance and zone control had been addressed and sorted by Mythic. I've still been following how the game's progressed on the great blogs that got me interested in Warhammer in the first place, namely
Book of Grudges, the greenskin and Waaagh.

It was with much anticipation and excitement that I decided to download the 10 day trial, and after much struggling with GOA's frankly still broken registration pages, I finally returned in a blaze of triumphant glory to once more wreak death and destruction on the word of Warhammer!

Enter Athekkhar- my new main toon, complete with mohawk (like me :D) and 'devil eyes' (not like me). I've always enjoyed playing tanks and with them being able to, albeit debateably, hold their own in PvP I decided to go for the tough stuff. For me it had to be a Chosen 'cos they are just the coolest, most badass ones in the game IMO. Currently he's level 8 and smashing his way through scenarios and oRvR if theres any available

In the not-too-distant future posts I will be sharing my experiences on being a tank and *trying* to be fairly successful in PvP, also thoughts on how WAR has changed it the 6 months I've been gone (that's going to be a long one), gear, stats and builds as I progress and my over abundant use of parenthesis (don't worry, I'm seeking help for it).