Oh noes!..

My subscription ran out yesterday, and I won't be renewing it. "Oh no!" I hear you cry (all 3 of you) "not another blogger leaving WAR!"

Have no fear though, it's not because I'm fed up with the endgame or anything else, and it won't be for too long. I've got a lot of stuff happening IRL at the moment and the weather's getting nice so the social life I claim to have will start kicking up a gear. Plus our band is playing its first show in 2 weeks so we need to get our heads down and actually finish off the songs we've been writing. I'm hoping to be back just before Land of the dead is released so I can see what that's all about, but untill then I won't be around much.

Have fun in WAR!

70 posts? how do you find the time?!

I only left google reader for 2 days and now there's 70 unread posts! seriously guys, how do you find the time to write all these things? I guess I've got a lot o' reading to do........



After all those keep takes, I somehow managed to get first in the contribution and still come third after the 'vegas roll'. Finally completed the Obliterator set, even though I've got a better chest piece now :).

The live event has definately improved the ORvR (in the Marshes of Madness anway). Lots of skirmishes and 1v1's happening around there tonight. To tell you the truth it's great fun as well. For a bit of an update on how I'm progressing in the game, Athekkhar dinged Lv 21, RR 19 tonight, and my other Character Gazgreb (a Shaman) is now Lv. 15 RR 15. Above is a nice picture of Athekkhar in his Obliterator set and all colour coordinated gear. Don't he look 'ard eh?

I joined a guild on Karak-Norn called Hosemen of the Apocalypse (HoA). They're a nice friendly bunch focused on oRvR (which sits perfectly with me), but do some organised alliance instances as well. If you play on Karak-Norn and love the thrill of oRvR look us up on the new fangled guild UI thinga-ma-bobby.

Brainwave: Keep Sieges!

Just an idea I had to make keep takes more interesting and less of a stalemate dependant on numbers. I mentioned before that there needs to be other ways to get to the Lords room so that defending players can't swamp the stairs and make taking it impossible. The problem with this is balancing it so that when there aren't many players defending they can still put up some reasonable defence, but gives less advantage to the use of far superior numbers.

This one's a bit of a puzzler. Any advantage that you give to the attackers will inevitably make it a hell of a lot harder for a small (say 2 parties) force on the defensive. The fairest way to work this would be for the server to monitor the number of defenders in the lords room and the number of attackers and alter the keep accordingly.

For example, if there was 2+ WB defending the keep and only 1 attacking, extra siege pads for towers to be placed on would spawn or Maybe the level of the champion guards would be lowered. This would stop the keep being an almost insurmountable challenge for the attackers, and hopefully they would stick around for longer. I've no idea wether this would be possible to implement or how it would affect game performance but it seems like the most logical option to me. Obviously though, it could be abused. I'm sure you'd hear some arsehole WB leader telling people to "GTFO or the attackers get another siege tower!!". On second thoughts perhaps not then.

Failing that, how about different options open up after a period of time. Say the door takes 20 minutes to respawn once its broken. After 10 minutes, if the keep hasn't been captured, two siege towers can be constructed. If after another 5 minutes the keep still isnt taken then a third siege tower (or maybe some other option- like an orcapult!) becomes available. Hopefully this would encourage attacking WB's to stay the duration instead of sodding off as soon as they see a mass of tanks and healers at the top of the ramp. This still would mean making alot of changes to the game, I hope that mythic are working on something like this but I've got a feeling it might be a while before we see it.

Finally, the easiest change to make to help break into a well defended lord room would be a battle standard like the ones I suggested for capping keeps in this post. Perhaps there would be one available to buy at the rally master that granted the carrier, and only the carrier, a large bonus to toughness and resists. It would also have an ability on a long cooldown (say 60 sec) that was just a massive AoE knockback. Get this guy up the stairs and take apart the tank wall then everyone else can leg it up and wreak havoc. Then it would be up to the defenders to really defend.

Just some random thoughts that were going round my head today. feel free to comment on them.

1.2.1 Firsst Impressions

Ok, I know I’m a bit late to the party. Last night was the fist time I’ve been able to sit down and have a good session on WAR since patch 1.2.1 went live and I thought I would share my thoughts on it. Seemingly I’ve found it rather different to most of the other bloggers- looks like the problems are mainly in the T4 areas. I was only doing RvR when I played, and as it is my main focus, I'll write my impressions in relation to it.

Combat Responsiveness:
Seemed a definite improvement, there is still some slight lag before abilities fire, but that’s probably the server lag that comes with oRvR. I didn’t get any of the crazily long pauses before the odd ability would go off, all in all a good improvement.

Great idea but not sure about the drop rate for these, or the fact that the ones from enemy players are rolled for. I was playing for close to 3 hours last night and I ended up with 12 medallions, which doesn’t seem very many at all considering how much the phat gear costs. Most of those (or possibly all) I got from locking down 2 zones and keep captures. Definitely a good idea though. I don’t feel nearly as hard done by for not getting loot bags because, even if it isn’t much, I’m still getting something at least.

oRvR focus:
The RvR lakes were buzzing last night. The reduction in renown and influence from keep/BfO capture looks like it has shifted the focus more on flipping zones. It’s still pretty pointless trying to take a keep when it’s being defended by 2 Warbands though, as we tried to do at the start of the night. It did mean that when we went to try and flip other zones order actually followed us and tried to stop it happening. Compare this to pre 1.2.1 where order would be happy just sitting in Mandreds Hold farming us for renown and then follow us round re-capping stuff as we left.

Last night was different. Last night actually felt like a conflict. After wiping several times trying to take mandreds we went to help out another WB defend Dok Karaz. There weren’t many order attacking and after sending them packing we decided to try and lock down the Orc/Dwarf pairing. It was the first time I’ve ever actually had to fight over a BfO! Order kept turning up, harassing us as we tried to take down the guards. We managed to hold them off and get the cap but props to them for putting up a fight. It was definitely the most fun I’ve had in oRvR.

Eventually over the time I was playing we managed to cap both the Orc/Dwarf and HE/DE pairings. I wasn’t actually in the HE/DE pairing when it flipped so I don’t think I got the ren/inf bonus which is annoying but just from the other pairing I earned a nice amount of both.

Order seemed to be concentrating on locking down the Empire pairing but we left a WB there just to try and stop them and I don’t think they quite managed it. If they had sent a few more people to defend the orc lands they could have done the same to us.

Overall for the lower tiers this patch seems to have done the world of good for oRvR. I’ve not had chance to check out how any of the PvE content’s changed (if at all) but ill probably write up some more thoughts after I’ve had a bit more time to experience it.

Mythic sure seem to be taking baby-steps in fixing issues with each patch but (discounting the reports of T4 players and the problems they’re having) I would say that it’s going in the right direction. I think I recall Paul B (but it could have been Mark Jacobs) saying they wont be doing knee-jerk reaction “FIX EVERYTHING NOW!!” patches. I agree. If you introduce too many changes in one patch, and something breaks or doesn’t work as intended you have a much tougher time figuring out where the problem lies. Was it A, or B…… or perhaps A and a bit of B (but I could just be C, or D, or E?). see what I mean?

Definitely a thumbs up from me, seeing as the instability and lag issues in the top tiers don’t seem to be affecting me at present. Now I just think there really, REALLY, needs to be alternative entry points into heavily defended keeps (more on that later).

Patch day blues...

But not for me!

Fist time I'm glad I'm at work, hopefully by the time I get back It should be sort-of sorted out.

Fingers crossed.

I aint seen any posts on how the EU patching proccess is going, lets hope GOA have managed to prevent or already fix some of the problems that cropped up on the NA servers.

Saving oRvR: My turn!

There are quite a few people who are putting forwards their suggestions for improving the oRvR in WAR at the moment. I’ve been slowly developing my thoughts on this over the last week or so. One thing I’ve definitely noticed is that while it’s easy to decide what you don’t like about certain aspects of the game, developing a workable solution that may actually be possible to implement is a hell of a lot harder!

Here is what several sessions (read: 20 minutes) of deep and profound thinking has come to so far. Some of these have been mentioned many times before on other blogs but I agree that they are essential to improving RvR:

None or very little renown from capturing BO’s/Keeps. Also Increased renown/inf from killing enemy players.
This is the main reason why it is so much more rewarding to “RvE” empty keeps and undefended BO’s. Last night 2 destro warbands spent close to 30 minutes trying to take Mandreds. Half an hour of killing enemy players and it was hardly noticeable that my renown and influence bars had moved. So we went and took Stonetroll which was undefended and in 10 minutes had earned more inf & renown from essentially PvE. This only encourages players to take the path of least resistance and avoid long drawn out fights that are going to be difficult to win.

Holding BO’s increases renown gain from killing enemys.
I think the capture mechanic should be changed as well. BO’s shouldn’t be defended by NPC’s. Instead if a realm wanted to keep hold of one they would have to have a few people on hand to defend it. The lockout timer for recapturing them should either be reduced to around 5 minutes or got rid of, and the time taken to capture it increased to 5 minutes to allow the defenders enough time to get there.

Reduce the size of Warbands to either 12 or 18.
This would hopefully help reduce zerging somewhat while remaining useful for healers to see other players health and buffs etc. and keep people organised. Smaller groups would be able to defend/assault separate objectives with cohesion as a unit, but more units means (hopefully) more objectives will be fought over at any time.

Keep Capture Changes.

  • No keep lord/champion NPC’s.
  • Renown merchants relocated to keep lords room and are the top rank for the tier (eg. 21 for tier 2). These NPC’s will fight attackers but not unbalance the fight in the defenders favour.
  • Keeps must be taken by planting a battle standard on the very top floor of the keep. These can be bought at rally masters and are automatically equipped once purchased, however they can be put down, and picked up by a different player.
  • If they are put down or dropped they can be destroyed.
  • Battle standards give a small buff and renown/influence gains to the warband of the carrier, battle standards with different buffs can be bought. If put down it gives a buff to all nearby friendly players (but can be destroyed). Once it is used to claim a keep it no longer gives the buff.
  • Siege towers/ramps (which can be destroyed like oil etc.) or other ways to get directly onto the second floor. Being on the wrong end of a tank wall, as much as I love them, is extremely frustrating. Giving a couple of different options that don’t involve trying to fight through one heavily defended bottle neck would be nice and make the fights more dynamic.
  • Guilds can still capture keeps by planting their standard at the top. They can add some champion level guards and upgrade keeps as proposed in 1.2.1, a guild that claims a keep would get increased renown/influence gains in that region (more so then other player not of that guild).
  • A transport scroll similar to the one for the guild tavern can be purchased from a vendor in a guilds keep that gives instant travel to the keep lords room. (not sure if anything like this exists already)

Get rid of loot bags.
The current system of loot bags and Vegas rolls is such a random system it’s bordering on being unfair. I’ve never got above 17th place in any roll, even after coming 3rd in the contribution rankings. Our WB leader (a chopper) last night was saying how he’s already won 7 gold loot bags by level 17. Having one part of the best T2 PvP set only being in a gold loot bag means a large proportion of people will never complete it. I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that I will probably never get it. Unless we got a bonus to the roll that increased with every keep you are involved in and didn’t get a bag, and was saved even after you log out , eventually you should get something for your effort. I cant see rolling for loot bags being a fair way of attaining gear without it.

Attackable Warcamps.
I do agree with Pancakez as far as warcamps should not be like a huge roadblock that stops a warband in its tracks, and provides a completely safe haven the other side. If the NPC’s at the edge were brought down to the top level for the tier it would make it possible for a side that was being beat badly to fall back to the warcamp and use the NPC’s to help them out. It wouldn’t however provide a completely safe shelter where no one could get you. If the enemy force was big enough they could take out all the guards and run into the camp and still kill you.

The rally masters should become like the keep lords here and be hero level, and the other quest givers and merchants Champion level; It would be a huge undertaking to kill all the NPC’s, chapions and Rally master. If a rally master is killed the zone would be locked down by that side, however anyone of that faction in the area would be worth twice as much renown for an hour.

I also agree that attacking the war camps and objectives could be made more fun, like murderball fun. How about having a big explosive device in your warcamp. (‘da bomb’), someone can pick it up and you then have to try and carry it into the other sides war camp and detonate it to lock down the zone? Or perhaps that could just net you a nice amount of influence and renown. Little quirks like that would add a lot to of life of oRvR IMO.

The changes I’ve outlined above are mainly aimed at making it harder for a large group to defend keeps. At the moment I feel it’s far to easy for a full war band to keep attackers out of the lords room, and if there was only a small force defending from a much larger one there wouldn’t be much in it for the attackers, but the defenders should get a reasonable amount of ren/inf.

If anyone’s got any thoughts on my thoughts feel free to post a comment (if anyone actually reads this that is!)

*Edit* I completely forgot about the token system coming out in patch 1.2.1. I'm looking forward to being able to work towards a reward from oRvR, I just hope that everything you can get in the loot bags is available to purchase with them. Also they are reducing renown/inf gain from keep/BO capture by 50%, which is a good start to encouraging engaging the enemy players and holding a zone untill it gets locked. I really hope this will encourage the two sides to engage in battle and not shy away from a long, drawn out fight. I guess we'll soon see :)

(Possibly) my first WCPI promotion thread

I thought this week it would be a good idea to become part of the community promotion initiative. At least I think I am now. I've still not had any confirmation off PhoenixRed at the WHA forums but what the hell I'll do it anyway, it'll give me an opportunity to write down my thoughts or add my point to what other bloggers have been saying.

I'll start off with 3 posts that have made me contemplate how I feel on certain subjects. I'm sure I'll be broaching these with my own posts in the not too distant future but for now you can read up on what these guys have to say.

So here goes:

Breakfast at WAR: RvR remodelling: Pancakez has posted some inspired suggestions for making RvR more rewarding for actually engaging the enemy players. While I broadly agree with many of the points he raises, some I think may not work as intended. It's been far too many times I've heard people calling "there's too many defending, lets go to a different keep", a 'different keep', I think meaning one that’s undefended. This post really got me thinking about changes I'd like to see in oRvR, hopefully will be posting those later in the week.

Bootae's Bloody Blog: Siege Warfare: While were on the subject of RvR, we definitely need different ways of attacking the keep in oRvR. The fact that there is only 1 entrance and 1 way into the lords room means its pretty biased in the defenders favour and makes it almost impossible to take a keep if there is an equal or superior number of defenders. Stuff like siege towers and destructible walls would keep the defenders on their toes and give the attacking side more of a chance.

Way of the Chosen: Know your role: Some more musings from a fellow Chosen, Rivs is trying to work out what our role is as tanks after the resistance nerf, and the upcoming rending blade nerf. Also our lack of an effective class mechanic (hopefully will be posting my thoughts on this soon too) means we seem to be a bit lost amongst the other tanks at the minute. I'm with him in wanting more survivability rather then DPS. Like he says, if I had wanted to play a good DPS'er I'd have rolled a choppa. (P.S Rivs: yes our job is to put on our aura and we do look good!).

Too much to do, too little time....

Unfortunately due to work and social type stuff taking up a lot of my time, the fact that it’s the end of the football (soccer) season and there are a lot of games being shown on TV, I’ve not managed to find much time for any proper sessions on WAR. Thankfully the due to the fairly casual friendliness of the game I’ve been able to log on most nights just for a scenario or two or some PQ’s. It’s still been fun even if I’m only on for half an hour or so, my only annoyance is that playing oRVR for such a short amount of time is pretty pointless and as much as I’d love to crush some order skulls, half an hour just isn’t long enough to really get into it.

Athekkhar dinged Lvl 17, RR 15 (half way to 16) last night, the rate it’s going is definitely slowing down, I’m not too bothered though. Tier 2 has been good so far and I’ve heard that in T3 the AoE spammage really starts and it’s pretty tough as a melee character at the moment.

Fortunately for me it’s bank holiday weekend, and after working some overtime today, watching the Wolves (yay!) play Southampton (boo!), then seeing the other half tomorrow I should have 4 days in which I can spend a disgustingly large proportion of my time playing WAR.


*update* Wolves beat Southampton 3-0, oh the sweet success :D

Why 14 hours is casual friendly.

First off I have to congratulate Destruction on Karak Eight-peaks for the massive accomplishment of the worlds first city capture! Great work you lot!

It seems that there's mixed feelings pervading the blogosphere about this- relief that the pinnacle of WAR endgame isn't completely broken and is possible with enough coordination. Also there's a lot of what I can only describe as disbelief that it took over 14 hours. Wall of text and Rainbow MMO seem to put these points across quite eloquently, while Incoming Pull has posted a good rebuttal to some of the concerns.

While I think there are valid points on both sides of the fence, I don't really believe that an undertaking of this magnitude taking so long is a bad thing at all. This is the ultimate goal of the game, and it should be something that everyone on the server can take a part in. If it only took as much time as an endgame raid in other MMO's lots of players may be at work or have other commitments that prevent them taking part at all. At least with something this long, even if it starts when you're busy (or not) at work you'll still get back in time to help out. Going for a meal with your partner? Doesn't matter, it'll probably still be going when you get back (If you don't mind missing out on the 'after dinner treat'). Putting the kids to bed? Its OK, missing an hour doesn't matter all that much.

It's in this respect I disagree with most of the other bloggers view of 14 hours being just for the uber elite, or the super dedicated. I think due to the nature of being able to drop in and out of the action when you need, and it not really affecting your sides chances of winning, makes it more casual friendly then many other MMO endgames.

Instead of players moaning that they never seem to be on line when the king falls, at least they can say 'I helped take keep X, I did my bit to help out'. And yes, most players will miss out on the 'phat lewt' the king drops, but surely being able to say 'I was there, I took part' is better then missing the whole thing completely.

Does what it sez on th tin guv'

Ahh, the Joy of a good tank wall. This was taken in mandreds hold tonight, it was the last keep in T2 that destruction owned. 2 WB's of us made a stand against the hoards of order and managed to cut them down on the stairs before any of them could get to the keep lord. After their initial push, which broke like water against our wall of steel, they seemed somewhat reluctant to try it again and ended up buggering off before the the keep doors had closed! We were on a roll after that, went and took Stonetroll keep in about 15 minutes and then all the BO's before I had to call it a night. How I wish I didnt have work tomorrow!

P.S thats me with the blue pauldrons. Still not got any new ones even though we took 3 keeps over the night, I must be the unluckiest roller on the server.

LFM Healers pls. K thx bye

Last night was a frustrating (but still pretty fun) night in Empire T2. A full destro WB was running round trying to take keeps, a full warband with 4 healers in total. Thats 2 DoK's, a shammy and a zealot who left early on in the night. I didn't realise before how much of a difference it makes to have a good amount of healers, we tried for close to an hour to take mandreds hold. The oil and door went down fairly quickly but once we were inside we just couldn't clear the lords room of their WB+ of players. I counted at least 3 Archmages, 3 or more Warrior Priests and a couple of Runepriests. As fast as we could kill them they were being healed or rez'd. Our healers, who did a grand job considering how few of them there were, just couldn't keep up and many of us ended up having to run back from the warcamp.

With so many healers up there I knew there wouldn't be any point in going 2 handed, even the minor increase in damage output would still have easily been out-healed. I just stuck with S'n'B, kept guard up on the real DPS'ers and kept on twisting my auras. 15 minutes or so of fruitless hacking and it was obious that we weren't making any headway, every time we pushed there was still as many order on the second floor so we decided to take a couple of the BO's and see if that helped us any.

Then came the order counter attack. As soon as the door of Mandreds was back up the all piled up to Stontroll, by the time the noble defenders had started arriving the door was nearly at 50%.
It wasn't long before it was us defending the keep lord and we managed to hold them off for a while but they just kept rezing and coming at us. Our poor healers were having a hard time keeping the people still fighting alive so most of us ended up having to run back from the WC, which is a hell of a long way. Inevitably we were eventually cleared out of the second floor and most of the players just gave up and went their own way.

It's a shame that something like an unbalanced number of healers on each side of the fight can have a massive effect on how easy or hard it is to take an objective. It's also a shame that healers seem to be quite rare for Destro in oRvR, perhaps healing is too noble a proffesion for any self respecting Destro player? Well, I went and played my shaman after the WB fell apart, hopefully if I get him into T2 and we're in the same situation again I'll go log him in and see if it helps.

Chosen unite! time to get this put onto the live servers!

After the final comment on my last post bemoaning the lack of attention given to the Chosen career recently, it would seem that Mythic obvioulsy read my blog and do whatever I suggest. They are planning on introducing a pretty interesting change to the test server, the full details of which are here but for those of you who have ADHD, the attention span of a goldfish or are just plain lazy I'll summarise it here:


This is great. In fact its more then great. Its so great I nearly stood up and cheered when I read it at work (ok, maybe not quite that good). It's definately made me excited about playing my chosen in RvR in future. I've had a growing feeling of not being very useful in RvR and keep takes since I hit T2. It seems that a tanks life consists of:

  • Spamming 'hold the line' while the Rdps take out the oil and enemy players on the keep walls.

  • Battering an inanimate object untill it breaks (with a few respawns in the proccess).

  • Then, once the fun bit starts not being able to do enough damage to be that usefull (and even more runs back to the keep).

This change to health regen will mean the higher toughness that is inherrantly present with tanks will increase our survivability, hopefully by a noticable amount. Because we have a low damage output we need a longer time to bash away at enemy players and need to last as long as possible to maximise the pain! I really hope this will mean Tanks can last longer in PvP, 'cos that would mean we can fulfill our roles more effectively.

I cant envision this majorly unbalancing the game. DPS specced tanks will stack mainly strength, so they still have a higher damage output and wont benefit nearly as much from the toughness regeneration, but will have lower chance to be critically hit with the weapons skill changes. Obviously this will help, but only marginally. It would be nice to see a small improvement to the damage of a 2H weilding DPS spec chosen but I'm not expecting it to happen.

The sword n' board tanks will last longer in PvP, as well as PvE (handy for tanking those Champs/Heros) and will be able to spend longer harassing the enemy healers or playing guardian to MDPS'ers in RvR and Scenarios.

Im definately going to get onto the test server when these go onto it to see how much of an effect it has, in the meantime all you fellow tanks out there should let mthic know if you think its a good idea. My first thoughts on this are very positive, as you can tell.

Healers Rejoice! but wheres the love for the Chosen?

There's a thread over here on WHA that's trying to garner some player feedback about some possible major changes to the Shaman/Archmage careers, it's a lot to read but there's some pretty interesting ideas on there. Obviously the fist thing these healers will notice is that the SH/AM base damage is being increased by about 25% in the next patch! While I know from my limited experience it takes a long time to kill PvE mobs as a Shaman so the extra damage will be a nice change, I'm not quite sure what the fallout will be RvR wise.

Now the major plan for these classes is a complete overhaul of the class mechanic. For those that didn't read all the post on WA, it will be changing from the current system where casting a spell of one type will add a point to the other types charge, with a maximum of 5 points of one type. They are thinkinig of moving to a scale from 3 to -3. Casting, say, a healing spell will add one to the scale. Damage spells will move it towards -3, and buff/debuff spells will move it closer to 0.

At +3 the healer will recieve a bonus to healing spells and make damage spells less effective, -3 will give a bonus to damage and make healing less effective and 0 will give a bonus to buff/debuffs but the damage & healing spells wil be at normal power.

I think this is a great move, it will allow healer that focus purely on healing to put out some great healing at the expense of not being able to quickly switch to high damage output. This is a much better mechanic compared to an average healing output, with every 5th spell being a fairly powerful quick fire damage dealer. In oRVR and scenarios most of your time (in my experiance) is spent looking at the boxes on squared and healing party members. It's very rare that I would switch to damage spells unless we outnumbered the opposition, so it's not often that I have any points in the one that buffs healing spells making the healing output pretty mediocre.

Adam (at least I think it was him) mentioned possibly having some sort of ability that has a long cool down but allows a quick switch between healing and DD'ing. I personally believe that a better option would be to have an ability with a slightly shorter cooldown that reset your points to zero. Instead of having a 60 s cooldown on a spell that instantly inverts where you are on the scale (eg. -3 would become 3, 2 would become -2) there would be one on a 20s cooldown that just put it to 0. This would still enable a faser switch to damage dealing but would still require a small time to build up to max, but would also be good for a pure healer or DD as they could use the ability to put some quick buffs/debuffs on people and then go back into what they were doing before (again, with some build up).

I dont know if anyone on WHA has already posted something like that, I may have to put it up just in case, I didnt comment on the new top level morale ability they may be adding as I only played the lower levels as a Shaman but its nice to know that they are having a real good look at the classes and trying to address players concerns about them. +1 to Mythic!

Now wheres the Chosen love eh??

In other news Thulf over at Stunty Stomper has discoved a stange new part of the world, but what could it be? New area under development, a testing area for new content, a hangout spot for the GM's? apparently it includes Troglagobs as well. Go check it out now!