Archive for RvR Pack

RvR Progression Pack

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , , , , , on October 5, 2010 by krosuss

In a previous post I floated the idea of Skaven being a part of the RvR ‘Power’ Pack. As we’ve just learned, Skaven access will be granted from a new Skaven “zone” that will be an RvR dungeon accessible to RR65+ players. We can assume the purchase of one or more RvR Packs to be necessary for this access — I’m hoping my prediction pans out and the Power Pack is where this is found. For this post, I’ll discuss some thoughts I have about progression and ideas for the ‘Progression’ Pack. As things are starting to come more into focus, players might need some help progressing their toons.

Why Do We RvR?
Glory, realm pride, killing, pwnage, fun. Some or maybe all of these are on your list of reasons for jumping into the RvR lakes. But let’s be honest, it’s not all about that. List some other reasons … experience, renown, influence, gear, loot. The other side of that coin.

Despite what players say, many don’t mind chasing carrots. If you do, you’re playing the wrong kind of game. MMO’s are all about progression treadmills. Advancing your character to achieve more skill, power, and loot are a big part of the genre. In WAR, there are multiple paths to accomplish this: running scenarios, PvE questlines, but RvR should be the main channel to further your toon.

Many of us expect a little sumthin-sumthin for the effort. That’s the XP, renown, influence, weapons, gear, and loot talking. Those things make you smile and feel accomplishment for all the “hard work”. (Like how I hope to feel when I finally get my Royal weapon.) To be fair, there are those rare individuals who simply enjoy the PvP for what it is and are content to just fight.

The Greed for Renown
Who hasn’t joined a warband and rolled through a zone zerging any poor sap unlucky enough to round a corner in Black Crag. In the blink of an eye the keeps are taken, claimed, BO’s capped, and the timers going should VP’s fall short. Just think of all that RENOWN!

How much rage have you read in region chat when a group goes rogue capping BO’s before the zerg can? How many nice players ask to “hold off on that cap so everyone can get here”? The zerg must be fed and only renown will satiate its hunger. Every drop must be gained. It’s what makes you sit at a BO for not just the first, but also the second tick. It’s worth it as all the purple goes by on a zone flip for everything you’ve helped take.

How will we get renown and contribution after 1.4? How do you stem the greed? If I volunteer to guard a BO instead of moving from BO to BO, will it be worth my while? What incentive would I have to escort the Resource Carrier? What if the big renown is taking the keep? Why should I be left out to dry hump a BO? I’m hoping we see something like Skar has proposed, but will just the flip feed the need? And if we’re all lagging the shit out of the zone as Mr. Meh fears, will there ever be any actual progress?

The Endangered Armor Set
Speaking of progression … armor sets are important to making your toon better. The sets prior to Tier 4 are good but you can get by with alternatives. Annihilator is where they start to get really nice and you accrue wards (which become necessary for some end game content).

Getting gear in WAR has always been dicey with the whacky lottery system and loot bags. It appears as though the number of opportunities to win Annihilator will be halved — assuming it will still be winnable by taking keeps (although I doubt it). Take it from one of the unlucky … that doesn’t bode well for some players’ progress.

How will players fill this gap in their armor chain? Bloodlord from Bastion Stair? Guilds probably won’t be able to claim keeps anymore, so forget about the hand-me-down bags benevolent guild leaders pass to players in need. Will there be a zone-wide roll for bags thus increasing their number? Probably not and would that throw even more uncertainty into the already dubious contribution system?

Slowing the Gear(s)
Many will laugh, “Who cares about stupid Annihilator?” Oh yeah? The changes to the RvR campaign are going to do just what BioWare Mythic has wanted: to slow things down. You can scoff all you want about Annihilator’s possible limbo of accessibility but it should sink in that this will also affect access to Invader, Warlord, and Sovereign. Still laughing?

“That’s okay, we can buy gear!”

Sure, but with the inflation of price for all RvR armor buying gear is a potentially long and deflating route. Officer Medallions are the most common RvR currency so it shouldn’t be too difficult to buy Annihilator. Though as you go up the scale it gets more and more cost prohibitive.

Conqueror? Fewer zone flips means fewer Conqueror Crests and Officer Medallions, so you better run every time LOTD flips! Getting crests of any kind is a slow-go so imagine how long it’s going to take for those higher end sets. You’re definitely not laughing now.

Slower zone flips, players sucked off to fight in the Skaven “zone” … just how often will we be seeing those once numerous city sieges? That’s where you have your best shots at Invader/Warlord/Royal Crests! Even with how often they occur now, they don’t guarantee anything as Vizo explains here, here, and here. His second post is the most telling (and depressing) if you have bad luck and need to buy your Sovereign (let alone Invader or Warlord). Check his math and grimace. Those PvE dungeons aren’t sounding so bad, are they?

Progression? You Said Squat About Progression
A lot to absorb with my saying nothing about the ‘Progression’ Pack. I wanted to set the stage for the gears of progress grinding to a halt. It’s coming so get resigned to the fact that the days of rolling in riches of freenown and endless gear will be a thing of the past. The RvR changes on the horizon sound good. They sound fun. I’m looking forward to them. But with any sort of expansion, even one as unorthodox as what we have on deck, the goal is to get players to play for as long as possible.

Guess that’s where the Progression Pack comes in.

We’ve heard little bits here and there but one can assume the purchasable WAR Tracts (for one free level) will come in this pack. I also assume some sort of mechanism will be here that helps renown gain and/or influence gain. Should it stop there?

Not knowing just how slow things will get, how will players be able to get these armors if the opportunities that yield them become a thing of the past? Will we see other methods or in-game aids to getting medallions and crests? Or are we doomed to an armor recession where players out-level armor sets because it takes so long to acquire them.

And we don’t even know how the two sets beyond Sovereign will be attainable. Ponder that for a moment.

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Pseudo Playable Skaven

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2010 by krosuss

Bigtime thanks to the UK bloggers who went to Games Day UK and have posted a ton of worthwhile info (Bootae, Bruglir, Sarigs). Unlike the U.S. version of Games Day, this time around we have been treated with some concrete details. There’s a lot to process so for this post I will stick to Skaven.

Glowing Red Eyes
Soon enough, we’ll all be able to channel our inner rat. Skaven’s introduction to WAR has been a long time coming. It’s been confirmed that you won’t be able to roll a Skaven, players will be able to transform their existing toons into a rat when the time is right.

Class? Rats Have No Class
How players will transform is unknown, but we do know there will be multiple choices at our disposal. And it sounds like there will be a distinct need for each of these:

  • The Rat Ogre will be the pounding on keep doors and steamrolling the enemy beast. If you don’t have a ram … these guys will be needed.
  • The Packmaster will be close in tow as they are the only toon capable of healing Rat Ogres. Being squishie, they should stay close to their lumbering thrall for protection.
  • Warlock Engineers are integral to keeping your siege weapons operational. They will be the only ones able to repair them.
  • And lastly, Gutter Runners will be running all over the place right under our noses and straight up walls. Stealth at all times they will move at incredible speeds sabotaging enemy siege weapons.

What is not known is what “class” we’ll be able to transform into or will it be dependent upon your archetype. In my case, would I automatically transform into the Warlock Engineer (RDPS) or could I opt to bang on keep doors as a Rat Ogre (Tank)? Will players have access to play any or be restricted to one? (I have a theory discussed below.)

Other items left outstanding are the look, gear, and power level for your Skaven. Upon first creating your rat alter-ego will we be able to select fur color, teeth, eyes, scars, etc.? Will there be gear to acquire? And most importantly, will a RR40 toon who transforms into a rat be equal in power to someone who transforms their RR80?

Rats for You … Rats for Me
No one will be left out — Order and Destruction will both be able to transform into rats and help out with the campaign. In doing so, you are limited to aiding your side. Even though Andy says the Skaven are mercenary … that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to stab allies in the back. So any thoughts you had on killing that annoying guildie under the fists of a Rat Ogre probably aren’t going to be possible.

That leads me to this … it strikes me as odd that in a few months time, Order will be aided by Skaven. Meanwhile, on the other side of the battlefield, Destro will be helped out by them as well. It all just doesn’t seem right and seems very John Smith-like from Last Man Standing.

I appreciate that Andy referenced the lore and specifically called out the Skaven’s alignment with Destruction. They took that into account but presented evidence of their true nature. For a price, they will work for anyone. What exactly would so entice them?

Warpstone
Solidified dark magic, warpstone in its geologic form is much coveted by the Skaven. It is believed to be the source of mutation which brought their race into being. Skaven society uses this mineral for just about everything and they are constantly seeking its power.

After reading Bootae’s Q&A with Andy Belford, it sort of solidifies my thinking around how we’ll access Skaven. I have a feeling we’ll need to farm warpstone in the Skaven zone. If you want to be a Skaven to siege keeps and take BO’s … you’ll need to accumulate warpstone in whatever zone the Skaven call their own. And in similar fashion to LOTD vessel weapons and the souls that go in them … warpstone will eventually fade and you will need to farm more. Perhaps to access each of the archetypes, you’ll need to farm that specific kind of warpstone (tank warpstone for Rat Ogres, RDPS warpstone for Warlock Engineers, etc.).

Final Thoughts
Truly some exciting news out of the UK. There are a lot of changes on the horizon and the Skaven will play a key role. The new RvR siege mechanic make their use integral. Their mechanics sound interesting and should lend fresh new gameplay for those players looking for something a bit different.

I don’t see their addition placating the myriad fans who wanted to really “play” Skaven. Those folks wanted to start at Rank 1, customize their look, level up through the game, acquire gear, and all that other good stuff. This won’t give them that. We’ll have to wait and see the reactions.

That said, I am excited for these changes and feel it will definitely spice up RvR. More Skaven talk later.

More Games Day UK Info

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , on September 27, 2010 by krosuss

Bootae uploaded his post from the event. This is an interview he conducted with Andy Belford. Good stuff!

RvRat Pack of POWER

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , , , , , on September 20, 2010 by krosuss

The expansion direction of WAR should come as no surprise. Mythic mentioned long ago that they liked the “Live Expansion” and “DLC” methods of delivery — smaller chunks of new content released more frequently. And who wouldn’t want more, faster?

What we know as being concrete is the impending RvR Packs slated for later this year. Of which, we should expect some sort of overall theme name entailing the Red Plague. Have you so soon forgotten the little disease that started all this expansion madness? If things hold true, we’ll be able to enjoy the packs at some point in December … either soon after or coinciding with Patch 1.4 which will totally revamp the RvR campaign. (And if we’re lucky a Live Event to boot.)

What is Power? The first RvR Pack is named “Power” or at least that’s the name of its “theme” … and depending upon who you ask, their impression of what this name might entail will probably vary.

What ‘Power’ Should NOT Mean
Mythic has stated that none of these packs would enable players to buy their way to uberville. Let’s hope they mean it. I can’t imagine granting those who purchase it unlimited power or dramatically reduced cooldowns on their most lethal abilities. Although it would not surprise me if it did unlock a long path towards such goals. Meaning, no instant gratification but a grindy path towards empowering your toon. You’d still have to earn it rather than being handed it … step on the treadmill.

What I feel ‘Power’ Will Be
I feel this pack’s main goal will be granting buyers the ability to play as Skaven. The power of the limitless brood of rats is at your command. The power to derail the RvR campaign. The power to turn the tide of battle using a red-eyed chittering horde. Face it, players have been screaming for Skaven since before the game launched. Rodent fetishes aside, this should be an easy slam dunk on an 8-foot rim. Right? There are so many questions left unanswered and so many possible answers for each one. Would it have been easiest to just add the Skaven as a levelable race from Rank 1 — aligning them to the side of Destruction calling it a day?

Snippets of Fact
Andy and Carrie from Mythic have stated that Skaven:

  • Will not be ‘Monster Play’.
  • Will be available to players from both Order and Destruction.
  • Will not be playable from Rank 1 like other races.
  • Will not be available with the typical archetypes we’re accustomed.
  • Their “zone” will be a part of the Tier 4 campaign only.

That second bullet is the one that helps keep third realmers alive. How so? Since either side of the current battle can don the matted fur of the rats, this leads me to believe Skaven will be fighting everyone. And just like a rat to do so … they simply can’t be trusted. Could this be the third realm folks have been clamoring for without actually adding a full-blown third realm?

Questions That Need Answering
Still, we basically know squat when it comes to the implementation of Skaven. I could run a series of posts on how I think they will be added but when you see this list of questions I have, you’ll understand the minefield of rabbit holes one could spend time going down.

  • Will players start as a R40/RR40 Skaven?
  • Will Skaven have any rank at all?
  • Will players be able to level-up their rat?
  • Will Skaven accrue renown?
  • Will they have customizable appearances?
  • When “starting” a Skaven, will players get to select a clan (Eshin, Moulder, Pestilens, Skryre)?
  • Will there be gear they can achieve or get?
  • Will they be an option that players can play all the time or only part of the time?
  • Will they be able to lock zones?
  • Will locking zones even be a goal for Skaven?
  • Will they be limited to the RvR lakes?
  • Will they be able to take part in city sieges?
  • If not, would there be anything for Skaven to do while a city siege is taking place?
  • Can they queue for scenarios?
  • Can they be taken into instanced dungeons?
  • Will Skaven have access to Land of the Dead?
  • Will there be a reason to want to play as a Skaven all the time?

All I can say is this better be good. For the longest time I’ve thought that the Skaven were a silver bullet. They are the one trump card to be played that would bring back long lost players and draw in new ones. If put into WAR in the right way … Yatzee! If not, it could wind up being a huge facepalm moment.

In my mind, this has potential to be a hit. I’ve said it before, I don’t care if Skaven are playable … but many players do. For their sakes I hope Skaven’s addition to the game is a homerun.

August Producer’s Letter

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , , , , , on September 1, 2010 by krosuss

When the last day of the month rolls around, we know we’ll be getting Carrie’s letter. This one might have been more highly anticipated than some in the past.

I’m finding the letters to be more a general summary of information we’re getting from various other sources around the web, game mag interviews, and dev Q&A’s. I agree with Bootae that a large percentage of WAR players don’t read the blogs or other online gaming resources. Their main source of news is the WAR site and especially the Herald. Maybe us bloggers need to do a bit more advertising!

For those of us keeping track, there really isn’t a lot there for us that’s new. Even so, here are some of my thoughts on what Carrie discusses.

Free-to-Play … NOT
Many people perceive the RvR Packs to be a precursor to F2P. Mythic has been pretty clear they aren’t interested in that model. I like having choices and I’m sure many players agree. If you just want to play and have fun, not caring about how your toon looks, then not having to buy the Personality Pack is a good thing. If the RvR Packs have the right amount of substance, are priced accordingly, and do add nice value to our gaming experience, I look forward to future packs. F2P can be implemented well … LOTRO … or it can be done not so well … Allods Online. I hope WAR doesn’t ever go this route.

Skaven … Again
I’ve written so much about rats since I started blogging I should just change my blog name to “Krosuss says rats”. Carrie stresses that the new Skaven RvR zone is not meant to detract from the overall Tier 4 campaign — it will be a part of it. When Land of the Dead went live, there was a noticeable dip in RvR action to where the campaign came to a halt. I have no inside knowledge, but I keep getting a feeling that this won’t be a zone like we’re accustomed. Could the “zone” really be under all existing Tier 4 zones? That would be impressive.

As far as the rats being playable, I’m still perplexed at how this will work. With no firm details other than what we’ve been given, they still sound like ‘Monster Play’. That both Order and Destruction players will have access makes them sound akin to a Third Realm of sorts. One assumes to help turn the tide during the overall campaign. I’m forced to hold judgment until we know more but I get the feeling those crying for Skaven will be left disappointed. I hope I’m wrong.

RR100!
All I can say is ugh. The renown rank bus slows to a crawl around RR 72 or so. I know because I’m working on RR76. I can barely imagine what it will be like trying to go from RR90 to RR100. Can you? All I can say is at the end of that rainbow it better be worth it. What should give players some hope is a lessening of the grind to reach RR80. It at least gives me some solace to know I can get ALTs up there without the same life drain. I agree in Carrie’s statement that to reach RR100 it should be a challenge. What good would it be if players could attain that rank in a month or two? I never played Dark Age of Camelot so I can’t comment on this RA system referenced but it sounds like it will add some flexibility, more options, and hopefully more incentives to rank up.

Closing
So overall a nice summary of things we already knew. It sounds like we’ll be getting more info the next few weeks and I’m looking forward to see what is leaked at Games Day UK. Nice to hear some of our European bloggers plan on attending.

Mousillon … the Damned City

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , , , , on August 20, 2010 by krosuss

Getting ready for Games Day tomorrow …

More info has surfaced around the web. Thinking about this new RvR zone and how it could fit into the overall campaign. We know Domination is going kaput and the way VPs will be calculated will change and somehow this new zone will fit into the mix. Will it be a core hub or a step along the way? Unlike Land of the Dead, this zone will be solely RvR so why, oh why, will players be fighting over it?

Thinking about this zone … where could it be on the map? And what about it would be central to the Skaven?

Mousillon
A city in the kingdom of Bretonnia that was built upon swampy marshland. Each spring the rains bring floods leaving the city covered in moss, rot, and fungi. The city was the site where the Red Pox first appeared in 975 IC and with it, armies of Skaven emerged from underground. They were eventually defeated but much strangeness lingered. The plague returned causing more devastation and death. The ruler of Mousillon, Duke Jean-Luc, ordered all nobles into the city and all foreigners and traffic were prohibited entry. As the inhabitants died the royals held banquets and parties safely inside. On Geheimnisnacht a visitor garbed in red and black carrying a scythe spread the plague upon the nobles. All were found dead the next day.

Today it is known as the Damned City where its graveyards are larger than the city itself. Bodies are buried above ground in huge mounds. Evil energy emanates from unknown sources and those who still reside here are believed to be poisoned with warpstone and other foulness. Necromancers often come here to experiment, raising the Undead who haunt the city streets. Miscreants, refugees, and the deformed now inhabit Mousillon.

Well I’ll Be Damned
My initial thoughts turned to Mordheim as a compelling location … but its memory has long since been wiped from the Empire’s records. The Red Pox’s repeated appearances (Red Plague, anyone), frequent invasions by the Skaven, warpstone, Undead, disease … in the damned city of Mousillon is simply too coincidental. Sounds good to me. It’s a shot in the dark but would lay some nice groundwork for the possible inclusion of Bretonnia one day.

If this turns out to be true … you heard it here first! If not … LOOK OVER THERE! IT’S ELVIS!

Power, Progression, and Personality

Posted in Warhammer Online with tags , , , , , , , on August 20, 2010 by krosuss

What does that mean?

Some more news from GamesCom to think about … Vizo over at The Price of Wargh! has a post that shares a note from Andy Belford. Andy’s aware of how Wednesday’s “news” was received. And true enough, folks’ comments have ranged from over the top with their complaints about the “news” to meh. I use the “quotes” because rather than news … it’s been all brief mentions … nothing concrete.

Andy’s note is a good one … and it seems that most, if not all, of our questions will be answered this weekend or sometime before summer’s end. There might be a few stray items but we should know a heck of a lot more. I love WAR as much as the diehardiest diehard but I’ve also learned to keep things in perspective and to try my best to keep an even keel. I know I said I’d wait to talk more about all this until after Games Day …  but I wanted to discuss my initial thoughts on this “Power, Progression, and Personality” thing. What info we have seems to lead that this will be a tiered purchase plan giving players options for what they want to buy in an expansion. Similar to when you buy a new car, you can get the standard, luxury, or opulent options packages that not only meet your budget but also what you want in a car. If implemented the right way, this could be a good thing.

So let’s assume the packages go: Power (standard), Progression (luxury), and Personality (opulent). Rather than staring at a boxed expansion where you are purchasing everything, this tiered system would give you what you want and you feel is important. As a part of this one has to believe that your toon’s abilities, firepower, etc. would not be compromised. No one wants WAR to become a pay-to-be-uber game.

TIER 1 — Power (standard)
Power would give you all the base functionality and coolness you need to still play WAR, to compete, and to have a good time. So if you bought this option, you aren’t going to get face-stomped by those who bought one of the other packages. Making people pay to be better geared or more powerful is fail, pure and simple. Many free-to-play games have proven this. One would think that access to zones, scenarios and such would all be kit and kaboodle with this package. The goal of this is to give players new stuff and reasons to stay with WAR and access to a majority of the game, not locking them out of the things that they’ve had access. The name of the Tier says it all … POWER. That’s what you get for buying it and at the low end everyone remains equal.

TIER 2 — Progression (luxury)
As you move up … more items become available to you. So when they say that Skaven won’t be playable from Level 1 like other races, that might mean to gain access … you buy this package. Would you be excited for this expansion if all that was in it was Skaven? Sure, if you liked Skaven. But if you’re a player who could give a rat’s ass (literally), would you want to pay for it? Most likely no. So by moving up, you get all the stuff in the Tier 1 (Power) package plus you get the Skaven as a playable race from Rank 1. Makes sense? And from what we’ve learned this Skaven addition will not follow the quartet of archetypes MMO players are familiar with. Is this a move towards a skills tree or other mechanism where players can rank up their characters in different ways? Would buying this package allow players access to reimagine their existing toons? Buying this will give you a different way at PROGRESSING your characters.

TIER 3 — Personality (opulent)
This option would have everything that Tiers 1 & 2 had plus all the trimmings. As I’ve mentioned, this would not grant an “I Win” button or anything else that would give buyers an unfair advantage. This would add superficial adornments … fluff. Vanity items, vanity pets, a library of armor and weapon skins, player housing, and other “look-at-me” items that would be desirable but would not be game-changers. So those players who want to express their PERSONALITY will be able to do so.

I can hear people complaining already about being offered a tiered expansion … but how much, exactly, do you think these would cost? Boxed expansions can go for anywhere from $40 – 60. How much would these cost if there wasn’t a box? Would the price be different if it were downloadable? Either way, depending what comes in the RvR Pack will determine if the price is right. I could see a $15 or $20 per tier pricepoint. Just thinking what I’d consider paying if all the goodies are abundant enough.

All of this is me meandering and taking a stab in the dark. I’m no more in the know than you. Carrie said a full presentation will take place at Games Day … so I’m excited. Read the chat thread over at One Man Waaagh! and see all that’s been mentioned. And hang in there … one more day and we’ll all be in the know!