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.

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Gorked Out on Cataclysm

Posted in General MMO with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by krosuss

NOT a reference to the Orc gods Gork or Mork!

That other MMO some of you may have heard of launched its big expansion last week. It’s called Cataclysm and the gist is that the world of Azeroth has been devastated by some ancient, all-powerful dragon (Deathwing … very original name) leaving the world torn asunder and forever changed. The business model is to sucker fans into dropping another $40 plus the monthly subscription to replay the same game over again from the beginning in a newly graphically devastated world. The cinematic trailer is quite nice, actually it’s pretty awesome. There is so much hype and talk about WoW that a lifetime gamer such as myself can’t possibly avoid playing this thing … can he? You bet.

A part of me did consider giving WoW the 10-day free trial try. However as I’ve learned the past two years, one MMO is more than enough for anyone to keep busy. I had zero clue what MMOs were or what the gaming experience would be. I’ve been an avid console gamer for decades and never spent time playing online. As I’ve mentioned previously, WAR only drew my attention because of an interest in GamesWorkshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe.

Since starting I have been a devoted subscriber but have cheated on WAR. I’ve given Champions Online a go. It has an interesting art style but the gameplay is like other MMOs. Heavy on PvE players can duel if they want PvP. I’ve found that my opinion feels PvP > PvE. I never made it to Level 10 on any of the zillion toons I rolled. That’s the most fun in this game (and I assume the same for City of Heroes and the soon to be released DC Universe Online) is creating your character(s). It’s a lot of fun with near infinite possibilities. I even created one that resembled an obscure DC Comics character, Dr. Midnight.

I also gave Aion a brief try and like many others have commented, it was a grind. That grindiness and lack of PvP saw me again abandoning before I reached double-digit levels. The game looks stunning … it’s amazing! Visually it blows all other MMOs away. Grinding mobs made me stop and think of the time and effort I placed into my toons in WAR. MMOs steal a ton of time from your life all while you’re having fun. Your characters grow, advance, power up, acquire gear. None of that is handed to you. Players have to invest the time. I realized that I don’t have that kind of time to further a super-hero or Final Fantasy-like emo in addition to defending Altdorf. And that definitely means I don’t have time to dive into the World of Warcraft, which is better than the best dessert you’ve ever eaten and delivers the biggest gaming orgasm, period. Not as good as Doritos.

I’ve learned a lot about this genre and many MMO vets say that the true MMO experience has long since faded with EverQuest and Dark Age of Camelot. From what I’ve read those were real MMO worlds with all the immersion, depth, and newness that defined the genre. WoW came along afterwards and “improved” on these by taking the MMO to a broader audience. The 12 million subscribers it has can’t be wrong, can they? Depends upon who you ask.

I tend to feel all MMOs are graphically lacking and solely in place as social spheres for like-minded gamers to come together and play with or against one another in some capacity to have fun. WAR is not the best game I’ve ever played. And despite the legion of WoW-hards it isn’t the best game either. There are far better games that I’ve played at one point or another in my life. The social-gaming universe is a relatively new one that started niche and has exploded into a phenomenon. And don’t look now but WoW has already been passed by the likes of Farmville. You think 12 million players is king? Try 80+ million! Despite the sheer number of people who play or love them, those games themselves aren’t that great (and many even contend their status as games). It’s a matter of how much a slice of escape you’re willing to let into your life and the amount of fun perceived.

I’ve never written a WoW post but the game has always intrigued me. I mean, doesn’t every MMO blogger have at least one “WoW is Jizztastic” or “WoW Sucks” post in them? This is neither. Many others know more about it, have played it, or have better insights into it. But getting a good look at it now I am left wondering why it is this unparalleled maitreya. WoW reached people that weren’t hardcore gamers. That’s its magic and still is to this day while alluring a significant chunk of hardcore gamers. The old-school MMOer will say WoW dumbed things down, made things too easy to achieve, and you can dance. In today’s world we have so little time to enjoy the fun things in life. The casual gamer isn’t willing to work long and hard to achieve something a true gamer would. WoW wouldn’t be king if it didn’t make major concessions. That’s difficult to swallow for the hardcore as those not so hardcore encroach upon their turf.

As I scan gaming blogs to read those writing about the Cataclysm it is interesting to see the differing opinions on the highly anticipated expansion since it released …

  • Some are nostalgic at the game they spent so much time in and are inspired to go back to play yet again. The world has been “redone” … remade. It will be different this time. It’s a chance to see old friends, to explore lands you once walked before, now changed. It’s a chance to do the things that were fun in a game that changed gaming.
  • Some sound like the mistreated girlfriend who finally left to date other men only to be disappointed time after time until realizing the mistreatment wasn’t so bad as to go back and believe it will be different this time.
  • The gear-minded are realizing that their once noble grind for epics in the last expansion are now gimp compared to greens that drop in Cataclysm. Thanks for the time you spent getting uber only to be chumped one level into the new expansion.
  • While others are simply so sugared up at the pure awesome that not a single thing is wrong in WoWville. It’s as incredible as they remember with the most innovative quests and the most immersive lore and story.
  • Some already say they are close to completing the new content. Really? It just freaking came out but you know it’s coming. The hardcore hardies will play non-stop and breeze through the new stuff thus crushing their own enjoyment by prematurely cataclysmalating after the long tease waiting for it to come out in the first place.
  • Lastly, people talk about how active the zones are now but in a few months they will be barren as players return to the cities to chat, craft, and wait for raids. Is that really what WoW is? That’s the best game ever?

It appears WoW is like the Kaiser Soze of gaming. It’s difficult to explain, extremely intricate, and is difficult to truly put your finger on what it is that makes it so incredibly interesting, different, (and dangerous) … right in front of your face but poof … gone. I don’t understand, yet I do. Damn Kevin Spacey.

As a gamer I like when my hobby of choice thrives even when it’s due to a game I don’t play. For you youngsters, there was a point where gaming almost died. Honest. Gaming hit big in the late 70’s/early 80’s. There were places called “arcades” where us kids would go waste quarters in these stand-up boxes blasting alien invaders or jumping barrels to save princesses. I have no idea how much money I wasted but I loved every single minute of it. I remember when Space Invaders came out. I remember eating dots as Pac Man. I remember the first time I heard that heroic music as Mario grabbed the hammer on his way up the ramps in Donkey Kong.

And when gaming came home via Atari … it didn’t matter that the graphics weren’t as good as what was in the arcade. You were at home playing! Block-graphics never looked so great. That continued with other systems but then suddenly things started to flop. Arcades weren’t doing so well and people weren’t buying games like before. Were we over the fad waking one morning all grown up?

It took the Nintendo Entertainment System with its improved graphics plus flagship characters to turn things around. Through a series of new systems, new gaming concepts, and a semi-resurgence in arcades, gaming stayed alive to grow and thrive into the multi-billion dollar beast it is today. Games keep getting better and keep evolving. No one bats an eye at seeing game commercials during prime time television and even grandma can play the Wii!

This brings me back to WoW and what I’ve written previously about those who like to shit on things for shitting’s sake. It’s not relegated to gaming but we find everyone in life wants to defend what they like and criticize what they don’t. Why do I hate the New York Yankees? I could write a huge post why. Why does Twilight suck? Ditto. Why do I look at WoW as an outsider and simply do not get it?

I think visually, it’s lame. As I viewed videos of the new Cataclysm gameplay to see what it’s all about (and even ponder trying it), the game was as if I was watching a better Banjo Kazooie or a little known game called Vexx. It’s cutsie, cartoony, and goofy. Everyone seems to sport Popeye deformed forearms. I find that it’s a little too Disneyesque for me. And the faithful tout the new look of the game as amazing. Really? This is the visual improvement that took Blizzard years to complete?

There’s 3500 new quests that are more detailed, more immersive than before. They look like every other PvE quest I’ve seen in my limited MMO life. You still have to stop, click the NPC, and read the quest text. You still get hints on your map where to go. You still have to find X item or kill X things. That’s immersion? That’s awesome?

There are goblin hotrods, disco parties, swimming pools, girl gobbos with pigtails. WTF?!? That super slick game trailer up top … it’s the classic bait-and-switch for MMOs. If WoW looked like the trailer I’d be in there playing. But it’s not. It still looks like a really well done PlayStation 2 game. And the fans eat it up.

Star Wars: The Old Republic does the same thing with its trailer versus actual gameplay. Granted, its in-game art is better than WoW. And I understand that going with simpler graphics enables better, smoother gameplay online. But it amazes me at what so many will accept and annoint as awesome. I can admit that WAR did the same with its trailer … however its in game graphics at least come closer to the trailer than others.

That’s the WoW appeal, I suppose. It has fun baked in with the funny look, whacky NPC names, and casualness that doesn’t seem to take itself overly serious. That’s what makes the non-hardcore love it, right? It also seems to have everything in there to appeal to just about everyone. Blizzard really does have it figured out and people are playing and having fun. That’s the bottom line. Games are supposed to be fun but we dissect them and analyze them every which way we can. I can definitely see some fun in WoW … but I’m not biting. As if Blizzard is missing this lone gamer.

So the big dog did their thing but is this truly the pinnacle of MMO gaming? Subpar graphics, goofy toons, borrowing mechanics and pop-culture references from other games and places in a world that envelops millions of people around the globe? What’s next? Are there no more innovations to this market? Is it one big gorilla and a bunch of niche monkeys that will continue to make up the MMO universe churning out the same old same old? I guess as long as the fans are willing to settle.

There’s already grumblings about what’s coming down the pike. BioWare is catching flack for using voiceovers to relay quest content in Star Wars: TOR. Guild Wars 2 and SWTOR are being attacked for seemingly catering towards a single-player RPG style. Please school me if I’m wrong … other than raids in WoW, is there really a reason to group up? Can’t most quests be completed on your own? Aren’t some WoW-hards complaining at how single-player WoW has become? Is the new awesome playing a game over again with slightly improved graphics, new races, in a destroyed environment really it? I’m thinking more my problem is the MMO genre in general than any of the current offerings available.

Warhammer 40K Dark Millennium Online recently announced no action bars … no “Kill 10 Rats” quests. They want people to look at the game on-screen and not know it’s an MMO. Will it be as simple as shooting a gun or swinging a sword hitting buttons a la some fighting or shooting game? Is that the future? Maybe it is … a return to doing it yourself with a little help from your friends when needed to enter some dungeon.

I’m not meant to get WoW completely at this point. I missed the boat. But I am happy for its fans despite all the differing opinions from their community. These games are all about what we make of them and how we experience them. Depending what MMO grabbed you and enthralled you first will likely determine how you feel about other games and the industry. Had my first MMO been WoW, how would I be looking at other games? Take any MMO and there are people who love it, defend it, and play it all the time. I just criticized the “best” MMO ever for its success and new expansion while playing a game whose only “expansion” was 20 new levels, fluff, and new armor. Case in point.

Right now I think we’ve plateaued until someone wants to really take a chance. Innovation doesn’t always take hold and can summarily get squashed even when it’s worthwhile. Will it be Blizzard who takes that chance or will they continue a sure thing: 10 more levels, more loot, more quests, more raids, so-so graphics? The safe road. I read an article that claimed WoW could be sustained this way for another 20 years. Really? Our expectations are that low.

Comments are welcomed. Help me to understand this and why we are all so easy to please. We’re all friends here.

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.

65,000

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , on December 9, 2010 by krosuss

That’s the amount of renown I earned in a city siege last night.

It’s no secret that city sieges have not stalled since the rollout of 1.4. In some cases they seem to have accelerated. On Iron Rock this is the case, as I logged in last night Destro was in Altdorf. And later to close the bookend of the evening we pushed to the Inevitable City.

I’ve been rolling in renown and am at 40% into my 79th rank. RR80 looms and I anticipate hitting that mark either by or slightly before the weekend if things continue at this pace. It’s frantic and the amount of purple numbers flying across the screen is intoxicating. Each night this week I’ve been up later than intended because the renown spigot has been spurting purple all over us (sorry, that sounded kind of gross unless you’re into that sort of thing). The next morning I tell myself “I’m going to bed early tonight … I’m not going to login”. Then what do I do? I login and stay up too late.

If you stumble into an empty city instance it’s possible to parlay that into three instances where you’ve just gained a ton of purple and if you’re lucky, some Sovereign, Doomflayer, and Warpforged. Last night was no exception.

The Inquisition
Patch 1.4 has breathed new life into my guild. Every night we easily field half a warband and many times more. We have an assortment of hardcore players sprinkled with some casuals and a bunch of us in betweens. My definition of hardcore is “playing all day everyday (or close thereto)”.

These hardcore guys are racing each other to RR100. It’s a friendly competition and keeps them all motivated and engaged. It also makes for some lively chatter in the vent. Some of them check the rankings to see where they stand on Iron Rock and across all servers. Many of these players aren’t simply renown sponges … they are very good players. You want them in your premade, you want them as main assist, you want them healing you.

Since virtually none of them read my blog or even know I blog, I’ll give them an anonymous shout-out. I’m proud to call these folks guildies. As of today on Winkl’s, here’s where they stand against all other Order players (on all active servers):

5.   Kliest, Warrior Priest
13. Nistin, Witch Hunter
21. Fare, Witch Hunter
31. Abissmal, Witch Hunter

The rest of us are pathetic slackers. I think that’s pretty impressive for one guild’s roster. I won’t be joining that race even after I hit 80. I’ll just clip along at my own pace … sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly.

Siegefest
Now back to that 65k city siege. The sieges are happening so often it’s not uncommon to zone into an empty instance. We flip Black Crag locking Dwarf/Greenskin and rush through the portal behind Butcher’s Pass enroute to the Maw. We enter the gates and there sits one lone Chosen in our instance.

A tactic many guilds like to employ is sending scouts into instances to gauge the competition. Was this Chosen a scout or some pug who wanted to run about the city? We’re not sure but soon Destro flooded into our instance. We were outnumbered 2-to-1 and anticipated getting an ass whooping. We held our own but were soon overwhelmed. To our benefit, another premade warband came to our rescue and filled in the remaining Order slots. We had a DPS advantage but were extremely squishie. There were many recognizable Destro names that we knew would make this a really good fight.

Stage I
Instead of BO farming, the sudden flood of players made this an enjoyable and highly contested city siege. After taking the Slaanesh Chambers we made for the center to try and cap the Emissary of the Changer. The center becomes that crucial hub in city sieges that either holds back attackers or opens the way for further incursion.

We’re unsure if Destro knew we gained reinforcements or not as we swarmed into the middle and eventually took the point. The next battle ensued at the Outcrop. Taking the point we then held off Destro at the Temple of the Damned which sealed Stage I’s fate for Order. We fought it out at the Citadel gates and eventually busted down the door. Winning the stage I received a cool purple staff to add to my collection.

Stage II
Sometimes you know you’ve lost and Destro knew Stage I was going to us after we swept most of the points successfully. Stage II is always a new start and as both sides quickly sought to down Warlords we found ourselves at a stalemate with the stage ending in a draw. Do you burn down a Warlord or escort your own? Do you split your forces or run as a zerg? So many strategies to ponder.

Stage III
You can get your butt kicked in Stages I and II but then come storming back in Stage III for the win. This is team PvP at its best when you have two equal forces squaring off against one another as the Kings go toe-to-toe. It truly is a huge improvement from the old.

I’ve been a champion a few times, as typically there are other DPS with more Sovereign. I’ve been steadily gaining in renown rank and as I’ve ascended I’ve been putting on my Sov. To my surprise I was annointed Champion. Don’t choke.

Fortunately, I was matched with some fine players and we worked well as a team. Despite the chaos around me I was instrumental in burning down my RDPS adversary and helped bring down their Champ healer before falling myself. Destro knew they needed to burn my uber toon down or they wouldn’t stand a chance. HA! It was quite a brawl and in the end we came out on top. When it was all said and done I had accrued well over 65,000 renown. Amazing.

Seeing Purple
Getting to RR80 isn’t the steep climb it once was. As I’ve read on the forums, someone posted that RR80 is the new RR60. They may be right. I’ve gone from RR76 to the cusp of 80 in just about two weeks through moderate play. The RvR Progression Pack has lived up to its name and has been worth the money. I’m going to enjoy the boost while it lasts. I’ve been told that after RR81 the crawl begins anew, as it probably should.

Is it wrong to be able to fly through the ranks? Some may say ‘yes’ … I’m going to say ‘no’. In a PvP game where higher level equals more power it is important to keep the playing field as level as possible, within reason of course. There’s always that balance between those who play more than others and the perception that it’s now too easy and allows the more casual to be nearly as strong.

A debate for another time as I can understand both sides of this argument. For now … I’m going to enjoy this purple rain.

The Tyrant

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , on December 8, 2010 by krosuss

I don’t typically post about my in-game accomplishments. I’m not “leet” in any form or fashion. I’m a moderately decent player who has good nights and bad but moreso just enjoys playing WAR.

The other night I finally completed my Tyrant set! It’s the first PvE dungeon set I’ve finished. The number of times I’ve run Sigmar’s Crypt, Lost Vale, and Tomb of the Vulture Lord it would seem that I should’ve finished at least one by now. Nope. And that shows the sheer luck involved with getting PvE gear in WAR. (Or in my case bad luck.)

I know that PvE isn’t for everyone, especially in a PvP-centric game. PvE is what it is and once the mechanics and boss behaviors are figured out … the dungeon becomes easily farmable. And unless you’re one lucky bastard, you’ll need to go farming … a lot. I guess that’s the point.

RvR gear may be straightforward in its acquisition but it takes time to grind those medallions/crests to make the purchase (or more luck on loot bags). For some pieces of gear it can take a looooong time. So the chance to get gear quickly via PvE is enticing and with an experienced group who knows what they’re doing, it can make getting gear a much better experience.

THE LONG ROAD
My guild spends time in RvR and running scenario premades. We always make time to run dungeons whether for mains, ALTs, or to help fellow guildies. Our main tank is a real trooper. I have no idea how many runs he’s been on but he’s very patient and knows the ins-and-outs of each dungeon like the back of his hand. Our guild leader has also logged a ton of runs on his toons to help guildies get their’s. Our guild officers (myself included) also sacrifice time to go on runs and will often pass on gear so others can get a small slice of PvE happiness. We have a good group of people in The Inquisition and I think that’s why we’ve survived while many guilds have not.

Our core TOVL group participants fluctuate and I’ve been a part of runs many times going back to when we couldn’t beat Boss 7 (changing color auras anyone? you’re dead). TOVL can be a big time commitment that can span a few days. If the instance is being “nice”, the bugs will be few and one can proceed at a fairly quick clip. And if no one invades your instance that makes it even better.

We took our lumps, vented frustrations, but finally figured out what works to beat the damn thing. So then it all boils down to luck. Killing each boss yields a 50% chance a Tyrant piece will drop. The good news here is that drops are archetype- and race-specific rather than class specific (e.g., if DPS Boots drop … any DPS can roll on them, repair them, and use them). The drops are like so:

Boss 1 – DPS Boots
Boss 2 – Healer/Tank Boots
Boss 3 – Dwarf/Greenskin Shoulders
Boss 4 – Empire/Chaos Shoulders
Boss 5 – High Elf/Dark Elf Shoulders
Boss 6 – Healer/Tank Helm
Boss 7 – DPS Helm
Boss 8 – Chest and Class-specific Backpiece

This would be a welcomed addition to the other dungeons in game.

PECKING ORDER
All groups employ their own loot rules while some groups don’t care. With TOVL we have a loose set of guidelines to follow when taking people through:

Is this your first run?
Newbies are given PQ bags to accumulate golden cartouches to purchase the glyph and cape set at the Land of the Dead warcamp. If they are the only representative of their archetype/race present, open rolls on set pieces (boots, shoulders, helm), glyphs, and backpiece.

Next time …
As players begin to accrue more Tyrant, we defer rolls to those who will be getting their third piece or more. We master loot Boss 8 bags to players so they can gain Funerary Masks to buy the belt and gloves.

About that chest …
The toughest piece to get and of course the most coveted. We typically see who has enough Tyrant pieces that warrant rolling. On my early runs, even when I had a number of pieces, I’d opt out for someone who had made more runs or was closer to completing their set. They paid their dues. I’d get mine some other time, fair is fair.

KRO ON DECK
I’ve gone on many a TOVL run where nothing would drop … at least nothing anyone could use. Despite 50/50 odds we would be on the wrong end of that virtual coin flip. I’ve been on many runs where I didn’t roll at all. It’s a part of paying your dues, helping others, and waiting your turn. Well … it became my turn.

I had everything else … all the other Tyrant pieces, the backpiece, all the glyphs. The run takes a little longer than expected and we lose one of our healers to the sandman. Checking the Guild roster we find one of our Rune Priests online who joins.

Loot rules are explained with the promise of Funerary Masks. “If the chest drops … Pass.” This was the first time this RP ever set foot in TOVL. After two quick wipes, we got our collective act together and success. Loot the boss! Loot the boss! The Chest! And two backpieces! SWEET!!!

As I clicked ‘Need’ I sat there with a sense of relief at finishing the set and feeling appreciative of my guildies helping me. Why hasn’t it landed in my bag yet? Not everyone hit ‘Pass’ … they are slow … no worries. A really long pause goes by … no … no … NO!!!!! The RP botched the loot roll even after it was explained to them … ‘Needing’ on the chest while unbelievably ‘Passing’ on the RP backpiece. WTF?!?! Not a bad haul for their first foot in the dungeon: belt and gloves plus the chest!

Needless to say I was upset. I logged out in disbelief at what just happened. The RP rarely plays anymore but their member note states the Tyrant pieces they still need. LOL When any Tyrant item drops, it appears to be for your class. It shows a familiar icon and text that makes it look all yours. So it’s easy to understand someone clicking for it. So I don’t blame them for the mistake. The anger faded as I came to my senses that this is just a game … get the hell over it. And I did.

LET’S TRY THIS AGAIN
It takes a few weeks but I got back on the TOVL horse. We try more runs and alas, no chest drops. I’m online one night putzing around when I get a tell. “Want to run Boss 8.” You’re on Boss 8? I get to avoid the rest of the dungeon? Heck yeah!

I join my guildies plus one alliance member. After my arrival our group leader goes over the loot rules. “If the chest drops PASS on it … Kro gets the chest tonight. Okay? Okay.” The fight goes well, down goes the Vulture Lord, and OMG! The chest! It dropped again! This is it! Finally! NEED!

Who cares what happened last time? We all know what’s what and look, other cool stuff dropped again. More backpieces! I can’t wait to run my full Tyrant. Wait for it … wait for it … check your bag …

No …

Not again …

No …

((( rage … growing … blood … boiling … )))

You’ve got to be kidding me! Let me check chat … NO!!!!!!! … yes … again. Our alliance mate ‘Needed’ and my shitty roll ensured I would be thwarted on that Tyrant chest yet again in the same exact fashion. My guildies were in as much disbelief as I was. Surprisingly this time … I wasn’t as mad. Schleprock is as Schleprock does. Fortunately this player, who inadvertendly swiped my Tyrant chest, plays more and I like them (I’m indifferent to the RP from before). So it’s going to good use. While my inner asshole raged.

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM!
Much time went by before we really got into that misbegotten dungeon again. Patch 1.4 and the RvR Packs were dominating our time. A TOVL run gets posted on the calendar and we pull together an assorted cast of characters.

We get a good group together and after we wipe a bunch on the first mobs it’s found that we’re running the wrong tactics. The run proves fruitless for the most part as jack shit wants to drop. Having started a bit later than planned, it was getting late. Boss 8 wasn’t being as cooperative as usual and we wiped a lot. One more try … if not, let’s finish tomorrow. No dice.

I don’t like picking things up the next day. With LOTD’s locking mechanism and when people decide to be on, it’s easy to get subbed out of a run in favor of finishing it. That wasn’t going to happen! I login a bit earlier than usual, RvRing and running scenarios. I get a tell that we’re going to finish. Off to LOTD.

We picked up a few new folks to help us wrap things up. Honestly, at this point I figured the chest won’t be dropping any time soon. One shot we drop Amenemhetum. We all stand around waiting for someone to loot the body. Someone? Anyone?

And there it was … and this time everyone involved knew the procedure and what button to click. ‘Need’ and finally … success.

It’s the little things that sometimes make your day. Who knew that winning some computer pixels with numeric stats on them to complete a set of pixels would make mine. I guess that’s what MMO’s are about. Little or big milestones out there online that your toon chases. Sometimes you reach them and sometimes you don’t.

I have more little achievements to strive for. I’ll continue running TOVL to help my guildies get their Tyrant and that “Mummy’s Boy” title needs to be added to my Tome. RR80 is around the corner, a Royal scenario weapon, full Doomflayer. There’s plenty more to keep me going.

Hope this story gave you a chuckle … it’s easier to look back at it now and makes the achievement a whole lot sweeter plus I got a new title.

Not Quite As Expected … or Was It?

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , , , on December 4, 2010 by krosuss

I was on vacation for Thanksgiving week so I was lounging in luxury … thus no posts. It’s hard work writing these things. Not really, but I took the week off to relax, visit friends and family, and oh yeah, play some WAR.

I didn’t play WAR non stop, there were some nights I didn’t play at all. I played some right after 1.4 went live and as many others have commented, the city sieges were happening far too often and flipping zones was way too easy. But the renownz!

Things appear to have stabilized and Mythic has implemented some fixes. The past few days the experience has been pleasant.

Siege, Siege, Siege
The biggest gripe for most right after 1.4 was the non-stop city sieges. While players were wandering around not knowing how the new campaign worked, they would blob up into a zergball and just bum rush zones. With no keep NPCs and a larger force on your side, flipping zones was child’s play. And even if there was some resistance, a small group could go to a less active zone and lock it with somewhat ease.

The complaints prior to 1.4 were the amount of city sieges. This patch was to fix that. In the short term, it did not. The city can be fun and with the new loot pecking order (Sovereign, Doomflayer, Warpforged) there was reason for people to take part (and advantage) of the increased frequency. The allure of getting a purple weapon and some new high-end gear are all it takes for people to flood in. Not even one full day since 1.4 launched, there were players who had upwards of 3 pieces of the new gear (from the city and Thanquol’s Incursion).

Mythic jumped on this fairly quickly, upping the amounts of resources needed to rank up keeps. This has helped. I can’t speak for what happens during the day (I’m at work), but in the evening there has been a decline in us going to the city. I expect there to be a back-and-forth of no sieges to too many sieges depending on population. More on how to curb that in a future post.

This item has gone not quite as expected.

Campaign Evolution
It’s amazing how many morphs the RvR campaign has gone through since WAR launched. Each update has improved the game and our much of our feedback has been implemented. RvR had gone extremely stagnant there for a while and Mythic knew something drastic was needed. People weren’t actively taking part and RvE isn’t nearly as fun.

Patch 1.4 has definitely breathed new life into the campaign. When you enter an active zone, before running out to join the fray, pull up the map. More times than not there will be hotspots all over the place. That’s exciting. You’ll still come across a zerg here or there but you’ll also encounter a lot more small groups. The fight has been spread around the zone nicely.

I’m not seeing as much BO defending as I thought we’d see. Since BO’s only have a 5 minute lockdown it’s more common to see a BO flip and then a group will swarm in to take it right back with the time traveled to get there enough for the lock to expire. So rather than a dire need to hold Martyr’s Square it becomes a take it and run somewhere else, leaving the BO undefended until the next time the enemy appears to be capping it.

The fighting has been quite good and it’s refreshing to see people defending and keeps. Being able to respawn inside makes defenders braver to go out and mix it up. And the battle fatigue debuff stacks which helps level the field for attackers. Since 1.4 has gone live, I’ve taken part many a good keep battle. Good times!

Other than the BO issue this item is as expected.

Scenario Matchmaking
People were running scenarios? The times I played the pops were not abundant. It seemed as though people were content to mix it up in the RvR lakes. Then I learned the new matchmaking system was borked. I guess that explains some of it.

Throwing us a bone, we were given 5 days of the Eternal Citadel to make up for the issue. Everyone’s favorite, right? If you run a melee train, sure … but for us squishie ranged guys it can prove a nightmare. No cover. Nowhere to run. Dead. You’re typically not going to garner a ton of renown as the scenario ends so quickly. That’s a blessing I suppose. The main draw for this scenario is the ability to quickly gain scenario emblems. I gained over 50 and wasn’t playing hardcore at all this past weekend.

I’m a slacker so someone tell me … did they fix the matchmaking system yet?

This item is not quite as expected.

Thanquol’s Insursion
It’s difficult for me to comment on this new RvR dungeon. I’ve only entered it twice. The first time there were only two of us on the Order side and half a warband for Destruction. There were other Order players listed which leads me to believe they entered … and then subsequently left.

Last night was my second foray and I only knew it was available because guildies were mentioning it in Vent. Shouldn’t there have been some sort of “LOTD” foghorn Skaven bell sounding thing that rattles my speakers? I got in there and it was the opposite of my first experience: a half warband of us and two or so Destro. I didn’t win any worthwhile items but gladly took the new crests.

It seems as though this would be cool and fun with equal numbers. Having to be “Johnny on the Spot” to get in and the window of opportunity when it’s available needs to be looked at. Last night’s example was a good one. Half of us in Vent had zero clue it was open. We weren’t AFK third-floor keep squatting, we were out fighting in Eataine.

The Skaven instance was meant to stall/slow the campaign … cause a diversion to prevent zone flips and city sieges. We left to do the dungeon meanwhile the campaign didn’t stall. Destro flipped Eataine.

This item does not appear to be as expected.

Color Me Bad … Really Bad
I love player customization as I think many players do. The standard dyes that we’ve had since launch are meh … so-so … passable. You can get by with them for the most part but they truly lack a lot of the punch players want. There’s a “red” but it really doesn’t punch like a red. And there’s a couple “yellows” but they are not vibrant like yellow. The same can be said for the rest of the color palette players have at their mouse clicks. Yes, I just spent the last paragraph discussing colors.

To give us more choice and better options, dyes drop off mobs out there in the world. Whether you get a Snot Green or Scab Red these are slightly better colors than the ones at vendors. Some are more accessible than others with Chaos Black and Skull White being the rarest (until the billing snafu that had Mythic giving these away to those affected).

When I learned new colors would be coming in the RvR Personality Pack it was sure to be a welcome thing amongst the community. After 1.4 there were some glitches with some colors not being available and the overly expensive price for them. Really, 2g for colors I just paid for through the RvR Packs? Eventually the pricing was reduced and all the new colors were rolled out.

So what of these new colors? Some are nice while some are well … not. To each their own but the neon colors now present some hideous combinations. Not sure if my Guild Leader reads my blog but his WH is quite clownlike and ridiculous with his current color ensemble … up until he kills you. So Mint Chocolate Chip Green will not be making an appearance on any of my toons. The new “better” Black as it were, is a detail killer unless you enjoy a high-gloss look.

I’m guessing these are as expected.

They’ll Make Great Pets … and Mounts
From the number of players I see running around with the new vanity pets, I’m assuming they are a big hit. I still have yet to select which ones I want. Some make sense for us Order players but I wonder how I can explain walking around with a two-headed dog. Won’t I draw the attention of more than a few Witch Hunters? “Nah, it’s not a chaos mutation … I swear it was born that way. You know, pure bred dogs, all the inbreeding. That’s all.”

The new mounts looks sweet and I appreciate the quicker speed and greater chance of not being dismounted. Some goof Marauder tried his stupid “pull” thing on me and I just ran away. I hate that thing. I selected the “Steel” mount but was given the “Silver” one. A new hotfix has gone in that will allow players to swap the color of their mount and pets whenever they now choose.

These appear to be as expected.

Overall Thoughts
Even though 1.4 had a slightly rough start it appears to be settling in quite nicely. I’ve really been enjoying RvR more than I have in quite some time. WAR was always supposed to be about largescale fights and for the most part, we are getting those. There is reason to get involved and the renown is sweet. I’ll finally be able to reach RR80 (the slacker I am). My guess is that this patch is going as expected but some of the issues have been prominent enough to require a reassessment. Mythic has already made some adjustments and I imagine more will be on the way.

Getting anywhere from 10k-20k renown for flipping a zone is quite nice. But my RR81+ friends tell me the drag hits you after reaching that bellweather rank. I’ve been fortunate to have gotten some nice new items along the way. In two city sieges I’ve gotten a nice fill-in belt to go with the Doomflayer set when I one day complete it. I received a sick endgame staff from a purple bag in Stage III. Shame it will take me about two years to reach RR98 and use it.

And lastly I just got my first piece of new gear … Warpforged Gloves.

I’m enjoying where we’re headed but hope more substantive things are on the horizon. In 6-8 months from now, what kind of new RvR Pack can we expect? What else can be added to a PvP-centric game so quickly? We’ll discuss that soon enough.

Night 1 … Patch 1.4

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , on November 19, 2010 by krosuss

By the time I got home, purchased the RvR Packs, downloaded the patch … it was dinner time. (mmmmmm … spaghetti and meat sauce … raaaryhhgjjgmmmm) Then I had brought some work home so my time in game was brief with me resetting my Mastery points and picking new Renown Abilities. I also opened all my mail. You get quite a few things when you buy the packs and they were all waiting there for me. Still need to select my new mount, some trophies, and which pet(s) I want. Fun stuff.

I logged, did some work, and then logged back in around 10 p.m. Destro was in Altdorf. Wha?!?! So much for slowing down the campaign. Some guildies got a chance to try Thanquol’s Incursion and said they had a lot of fun. And it seemed as though there was a lot of RvR. One guildie received 20k renown on a Praag flip. There appeared to be a few little hiccups as some zones flipped when they weren’t supposed to.

I dabbled with the new dyes … wondering which one was the “better” black they mentioned during the Q&A the other night. There were some interesting additions including a green that will make you stand out even in the sooty haze of Thunder Mountain. Over to Gorfang to play around with my Destro toons and Order was in the Inevitable City. Wha?!?! Just how many city sieges were there yesterday?

My hope is that I’ll be able to corner some time over the weekend to really get settled in and have some fun.