Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Hiatus

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 3, 2011 by krosuss

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season and is ready for a hopefully better 2011. I’ve been on a little hiatus from WAR since before the holidays. They are a hectic time of year for me with a lot of family activities and going here, there, and everywhere. It’s a busy time of year and despite intentions, getting into game just didn’t happen.

I did check in on the blogs to see what’s going on and sadly, it sounds as if my Iron Rock home is hurting. What is troubling is the lack of formal communications from Mythic. I totally understand not getting info just before and through the holidays. Heck, I didn’t even login and missed my first Live Event since launch. I’m referring to the monthly Producer’s Letters we’ve come to expect the last day of each month. The last one we received was back in October.

With the high hopes of Patch 1.4 not panning out communication is important to let the core players know what we can expect in the future. Wherever the population of WAR is there are a diehard group of PvPers who enjoy the game and haven’t left because there really isn’t a lot of PvP competition in the MMO genre. I’m hoping they throw us a bone here soon.

The other thing that’s miffed me is the broken Realm War on the WAR website. I use that as a gauge for logging in to play. I like to see who from my guild is online and what’s going on in the zones. Without it, I’ve been blind and frankly, too lazy to login to check. LOL

I’ve heard that many North American players are rolling on European servers. Other than Badlands it seems Iron Rock, Gorfang, and Volkmar are hit or miss and we could be leading towards some sort of server consolidations. That may sound like a bad thing but for a game that is dependent upon people fighting people … you need a decent population. I would welcome this.

So hiatus is over.

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 25, 2010 by krosuss

To those that celebrate … hope you and your families have a very, merry Christmas!

PvP’s Expansion Limpness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 21, 2010 by krosuss

There are sooooooo many other things I’d like to be posting about, but it seems the expectations and hope for Patch 1.4 are a resounding clunk. I was reluctant to even post my comments on Thanquol’s Incursion but as I take a gander around the WAR blogs … I am not alone with bad feelings. Many WAR bloggers have been accused of being too happy shiny about the game so they’ve been posting items that are taking a critical look at this MMO.

And the most recent post from Bootae has hit on something I’ve been thinking for quite a bit of time … the lack of actual new content. I feel that’s the biggest problem with a PvP game. How do you give new content to a playerbase that wants to fight other players?

The big dog WoW is easily expanded as we’ve just seen. Forget that they destroyed Azeroth via the Cataclysm, forget that they did a redo and “improved” the graphics … they went in and did this:

  • Two new playable races (Goblins, Worgen).
  • Each race was given their own starting zone to get players to Level 6.
  • Expanded use of flying mounts.
  • Seven — yes 7 — new dungeons.
  • Three new raids.
  • Two previous dungeons revamped.
  • New battlegrounds and PvP zone.
  • And more …

Easy, right? PvE is much easier to add to and those who love PvE are somewhat easier to cater towards. Call them carebears or whatever, serving up new quests and dungeons is what they want, what they need. You can build a quest chain with story, some loot, and lead them all over the map finding things, talking to NPCs, and killing mobs. And if you’re WoW that could entail taxiing mobs from one side of Gobbo Land to the other. Same with new dungeons … add a portal to some underworld cavern with elaborate architecture, increasingly difficult bosses, and epic gear to be won. That particular path really doesn’t seem possible for WAR since RvR and PvP are what keeps us here. So what can be done?

Patch 1.4’s zerg-busting, RvR-stalling intentions haven’t really come to fruition. Every server is different but on the whole, the zerg still rules and getting into your opponent’s city is still a frequent occurrence. Hey, Mythic tried and what looked good on paper didn’t pan out. Where do we go from here?

If us PvPers can’t be satiated in the same way as WoWophiles, what will fit the bill? We need more territory to fight over, more zones to explore, some more scenarios to clash within, and yes … more gear of all kinds to win. That’s the easy stuff that can be added in. The “hard” stuff referenced above therein? How about new classes, races, and pairings?

Forts … Forts … Forts
They aren’t expansionworthy since they currently reside in the game as pretty scenery and they definitely better not charge us for doing something with them. These need some sprucing up to put a little speed bump in our paths to city siegedom. This post isn’t about specifics so I won’t go into ideas for how to bring these back … all I know is they are needed. Get on it.

Change Your Mind … Add Missing Capitals
When asked directly at a Q&A session, Carrie conceded that completing the missing capitals was off the table. There are other things to focus on. Fair enough but those other things better be freaking good. Going along with my theory that we need more places to fight, four new capital cities with different mechanics, Warlords, and Kings would be cool. Throw in a special set of armor only available from each of the cities all with different appearances and stats. A rotating “city to siege” would be in order rather than capturing one pairing to enter. You’d still need to lock two pairings to get in with the second one locked opening up that pairing’s cities. You wouldn’t fight to lock Dwarf/Greenskin second for a chance at the Grudge set?

More Zones, Please
As others have made mention, it is a bit stale to be fighting it out in the same zones over and over and over again. New is good and despite the hardcore who play WAR, even we are getting tired of the same old Dragonwake and the same old Chaos Wastes. Yeah! Praag again! There are four Tier 4 zones just sitting there not being used. What a waste. And I’ll bet there are players who don’t even know they are in the game.

These are West Praag (Empire/Chaos), Isle of the Dead (High Elf/Dark Elf), Cinderfall, and Deathpeak (Dwarf/Greenskin). I posted a Q&A question on the forums that Andy Belford actually answered. I asked if they considered repurposing these existing PvE-only zones for RvR? He said it was a good idea and something they would consider. Okay … do it. It’s as low a hanging fruit as you’ll find with them just sitting there waiting. Give us a reason to fight there.

Refresh the Weekend Warfronts
We have yet to cycle through all of the retired scenarios that were to be repurposed for the Weekend Warfronts. Some of these gaps can be explained with resources working on other things. But I’m also guessing some of it is a lack of knowing just what to do to make some of them better. To make my point, here are the retired scenarios that have yet to make a reappearance:

  • Gromril Crossing
  • Grovod Caverns
  • Maw of Madness
  • Reikland Hills
  • Thunder Valley

All but one of those are bottom-of-the-barrel in the fun department. Grovod’s is a Phoenix Gate clone only underground. Gromril and Thunder Valley are near clones of one another with multi-flag captures and ranked near the bottom of players’ fave scenario lists. Reikland Hills is similar with multi-cap BO’s for players to run between. The Maw of Madness really doesn’t need any rejiggering. It’s a death match that’s actually a lot of fun. Let’s bring these back some weekend, spruce up the rewards (a longstanding issue for all WWs), and perhaps surprise us with some new scenarios (War Quarters, Undercroft, Bright Wizard College, The Monolith).

Beyond the Warfronts the issue of pops also needs to be addressed. Many have thought that with scenarios removed from the campaign that cross-server matchups would soon follow. Let’s hope they do.

Easy Said …
Those are the easy things that could pump some new life into WAR. I say “easy” from my armchair but some of them are easier than creating a ton of new content from scratch. Much of what I’ve listed is there already either in game or hidden code currently hidden.

The hard stuff? Yeah, now that would take some effort but I feel that’s where the path must go despite the limited resources. You could probably hold back the dogs by simply adding in missing mirrors for the races. Mr. Meh actually listed some intriguing options. Wouldn’t it be cool if every race had a glass cannon? What about a melee-healer for all?

New races with a whole new pairing is definitely pie-in-the-sky but it’s what’s truly needed. The Skaven implementation of 1.4 has been lackluster at best. Thanquol’s Incursion is not widely embraced nor is it much fun. Talking with those who’ve actively played the new Skaven “classes” say other than the Gutter Runner and Warlock Engineer … they really are only so-so. I don’t see too many people using them.

Suck it up and finally — FINALLY — load that silver bullet into your gun and pull the trigger. I know the RvR Packs have sold pretty well by all the players I see running around with their trinkets. There’s a lot of new people playing (or some say). Take that momentum and capitalize on it. Bring Skaven to the game for real with actual classes and zones. Match them with the Lizardmen for double the win. That’s your silver bullet, trump card, sure thing. I wrote about a possible pairing before and Ekalime wrote an epic post on both of these races (and a ton more … shame on you if you don’t read his blog!). It’s right there! Go head down and do it!

Closing Thoughts
It’s a tough road ahead to say the least. Are we coming to the end of the line or is there something worthwhile on the horizon? A patch that on paper sounded fairly solid has landed on its face. Instead of slowing the campaign it’s been accelerated more than ever. The anticipated addition of Skaven has been a dud. We’re tardy on a Producer’s Letter by nearly a month. Guess there’s either nothing to say or is Carrie at a loss for words? I don’t buy that … she’s always got something useful to write. What’s going on?

I know a ton of work went into the RvR Packs and Patch 1.4. And there is some good stuff there just not as substantial to truly enthrall subscribers for longer term. Taking a step back to recover on Mythic’s part is warranted. However, with some of these glaring issues at a time of year when a good chunk of WAR’s playerbase is off from work and school, all ears are open awaiting some word on what is planned to resolve these problems and any hint of what the horizon holds.

The conspiracist in me sees the quickening of the game and the raining of gear on the playerbase as a precursor to no good. Have we been kidding ourselves the past year thinking that if we turn the corner all will be well? I don’t see WAR closing down but can it grow beyond the meager subscriber base it currently has? Where are we … 100,000 – 200,000? More? Less? Who really knows? Is it possible to take the EVE route and grow this thing slowly to where you can gain momentum or are we staring at the eventuality of a F2P model?

If you’re profitable as stated earlier this year … if you have all these “cool expansions” planned … we better see a roadmap or are you guys moonlighting on Star Wars The Old Republic. All I do know is we’re coming to a real crossroads with this game and the directions aren’t looking too rosy. I want Doomflayer and Warpforged gear but am staring at 10 tough renown ranks for each with nothing truly new in between to keep me happy or engaged. It’s just an extension of the grind that isn’t that appealing for me at this moment.

Two years in and we have no new zones … no new races … no new classes … and all the hard work and effort put in to fix the game is quickly forgotten with this recent patch. The work put into WAR to fix its innumerable wrongs does not go unnoticed but for how long can that be the excuse that holds us back? What do you think should be done?

My Xmas wish is for clarity.

Thanquol’s Incursion … Fail?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 16, 2010 by krosuss

It’s been out for about a month … is it too soon to cry ‘Fail’ on Thanquol’s Incursion?

Since it went live I’ve run the thing four times. The first time was me and a lone Warrior Priest running around trying to disrupt half a warband of Destro. That worked out as well as you can imagine.

My second journey through the Skavengate was with over half a warband of guildies as we ran around fending off less than a party of Destro while we killed the bosses. That worked out as well as you can imagine.

My third and fourth forays were roughly a warband of Order — no Destro — as we burned down all three instance bosses in what seemed record time. That worked out as well as you can imagine.

Your results may vary but so far despite the cool look and feel of the Incursion, the interesting boss mechanics, and the potential loot one can win, this new addition to the game neither slows the RvR campaign nor does it provide a new outlet for fun and competition.

Guildie 1: “Hey, wanna go do the Skaven thing?”
Guildie 2: “What, turn into a Skaven?”
Guildie 1: “No, the dungeon thingie.”
Guildie 2: “It’s open?”
Guildie 1: “Yeah.”
Guildie 2: “Ok.”

That’s how a conversation will go in my guild vent as someone happens to notice the Incursion is open since the 20 other players online didn’t even know nor seem to care.

I know I’m not always the most observant person when I’m in game, but shouldn’t there be some big announcement or billowingly obnoxious horn sound a la Land of the Dead with words on the screen to let us know the Skaven are running amok? Does that happen and I just don’t hear it because my guildies talk too much? I even recall seeing in region chat that it was active in a zone that no one was really fighting in.

I’m sure a lot of work went into the dungeon and it’s a shame to see it under used. My view is, of course, not the view of everyone but other than the occasional “yeah, it’s pretty cool”, no one is truly ZOMGing about it. And honestly, other than the chance to win some loot I really don’t yearn for it to open. And if it did, I wouldn’t know it was open anyway.

It’s easy to complain but what can be done to improve the instance?

Actually draw attention when it “appears”. Bells, whistles, huge text on screen! Just as we can’t miss when Destro has gained access to Land of the Dead, we should know that Thanquol is up to his shenanigans.

When it becomes available allow players to queue up for it rather than needing to find a portal. I know they look cool, and the thought was to place them at BO’s so one side or the other could guard them … but when they also appear in the warcamp that eliminates the need to fight your way to them.

Springboard this general concept into more. The instance is a lot like a scenario only with NPC boss monsters. So go ahead and make it a scenario. The items in there are pretty nice but ease of entry is not condusive to there being multiple successful battles. When you get 2-on-20 or 16-on-4 or 2-on-0 it really doesn’t make for a whole lot of fun. Take this mechanic and use it for new scenarios in the future that add a little spice to fighting the enemy. It’s fun to fight other players but mixing up the experience helps to keep players on their toes. Dare I even say make Forts into something like this with boss NPCs running around while players are trying to take the area.

What are the results on other servers? I’m guessing this doesn’t happen on say, Badlands. In fact, I’m sure players run to the instance to get away from the lag. Is my experience an aberration or is it the norm? I’m hoping my experience is not what others are seeing. If so, let’s hope for more of that quick Mythic magic to revamp and turn it around.

RR80

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 13, 2010 by krosuss

Yesterday afternoon during a siege of the Inevitable City … I finally dinged renown rank 80. I guess it was as proper a spot as any … we had just downed Tchar’zanak and won Stage III (I have a screenshot for my own posterity).

Definitely a nice accomplishment but understandably not as momentous as it once was. I’ve heard on the forums … RR80 is like the new RR60. That’s probably a fair statement. Those who have purchased the RvR Progression Pack will notice the significant boost to their renown gain in the upper levels. Since the release of the packs with moderate play I went from RR76 to the ripe old RR80 (78-80 was in less than a week). That’s some renown! Much depends upon your timing and contribution but catching zone flips and taking part in multiple city sieges doesn’t hurt.

Those ahead of me say I should enjoy RR80 as once RR81 comes along … the long crawl hits and those incredible renown numbers get less and less. I suppose that’s to be expected. There are many players out there grinding away and have gotten over the hump inching closer and closer to RR90. I’m not sure how quickly I’ll be achieving that.

In the siege mentioned above, I received my first piece of Doomflayer (the helm). Since the set cannot be worn until hitting RR90, I have a ton of time to try and acquire the remaining pieces. And in even more passive fashion, I’m in no hurry to add to the one piece of Warpforged I’m sitting on.

What now?

Sure, there’s those additional 20 renown ranks staring at me but what’s the hurry? I know I won’t be first to 100 but I sure won’t be last. There’s always my Royal weapon which still sits around 250 emblems away. My Warrior Priest ALT could also use some love and as other WP’s have told me renown flies even faster for healers. I could probably get him close to 80 as well.

Time of the EA Season (Layoffs)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 28, 2010 by krosuss

News from the EA front with their unfortunate ritual of letting folks go in the 4th quarter timeframe. Not the kind of post I like to make but …

I wonder how long before EA has no one on the payroll who actually does the work. All development, design, execution will be done via external studios and contractors while the only actual employees are the distribution and marketing administratum. My cousin once worked in the video game field tangentially some 5+ years ago. He said it was common for much of the work to be outsourced. Video game developers are no different than most American companies these days. But it’s all good for corporate profits and executives’ compensation plans.

No word on any BioWare Mythic layoffs but then again … EALouse mentioned November as the death knell. Hopefully he/she was wrong but we’ll know soon enough. I assume with Star War: The Old Republic in major development mode and the still needed work on the WAR RvR Packs they could squeak by … one hopes.

Best of luck to all those who were let go. Hopefully things turn around soon and jobs become more plentiful.

Sea of Swords

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 by krosuss

To all you fighting the WAR … I’m relaxing. On vacation at the sandy beaches of the Sea of Swords. Hope everyone’s doing well and will be back to the fighting this weekend.