Because the gates have opened…

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I suppose it’s time I give you my side of the story.

If you’ve been a reader for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that the amount of posts I’ve been publishing has drastically decreased. In the beginning, I was hyped about the games launch and looked forward to WAR being the game to bring MMOs into a new light for me. High hopes? No doubt but I certainly wasn’t alone. I was posting every day, if not multiple times a day.

Now, I look back on the site and notice that it’s been about four days since I’ve written anything substantial about WAR. Why is this? Well, to be honest, I’m feeling a little burnt out. As many others have said, I’m not feeling enough reward for the time I’ve invested. Tome unlocks are great, sure, but somehow they equate to a pebble being tossed into the ocean; it will make a ripple but not much of a splash. Everything started to feel a little grindy to me, especially trying to level through PVE.

I’ve defended WARs PVE in the past (and no, I won’t rehash the post before last) because, at the time, it seemed to me that people were unhappy because it was like other games. To me, it feels like a grind because the quests within WAR are all so similar. I said once that it was the quest text that really brought it to life. At this point, I have a different perspective. The text is engaging, to be sure, but I find myself not reading it because I know the task before me will be the same as 50 other quests I’ve done, just in a different context.

I have enjoyed myself in scenarios but it’s generally only when I’m running with friends and we can actually strategize. Maybe I’ve just had a bad streak but communication in most other scenarios I’ve been in is either nil or it’s one or two people shouting orders or bitches at each other “OMFG GET THE FLAG U NUBS!”. When I first heard about WAR being an RvR game I was initially hesitant because I hated the battleground chat in WoW. I don’t play a game to be berated by some fool who thinks he knows the ultimate solutions, which then gives him the right to degrade his team mates for not kneeling before his meta-omniscient glory. In the PuG based scenarios I’ve run, it’s either that or total, disorganized, silence. One equals irritation, the other equals a frustrating loss. Neither choice is too appealing. Thankfully, my guild is usually up for some runs.

Finally, I’ll be honest and say that I want as much “world” as I do game in my MMO. WAR doesn’t have that. It gives us environments, not continents, if you catch my meaning. When I go between the tiers in WAR, even across pairings, I feel more like I’m changing levels and not going to a different part of the world. My post on fluff elaborates on this a bit and what I think can be done to help the current situation.

None of this is to say that WAR doesn’t offer a lot of good features. PQs are still really cool, when they’re completed. Open-RvR is fun, albeit a little repetitive if you’ve done it a few times. If you’re having fun with the game, I’m truly happy for you. I mean, I still have fun doing some things but the rest has me feeling a little “meh” at the moment.

A lot of the commentors on the various blogs I read have chalked a lot of these sentiments up the burn out. I don’t think that’s it. I think, more than anything, we are the casualties of the hype train. As bloggers, I think we were the more likely victims here. We followed the game in the beginning, read every new detail, looked into the press releases and saw what we perceived to be great innovations that would rejuvinate the industry. To put it short, our hopes got too high for the reality check they were destined to receive. Again, this doesn’t mean it’s a bad game.

I’m going to take up the same call as many other bloggers and give the game another 2-3 months. If things haven’t changed by then, and they could, I’ll be taking a break from WAR until several more big patches go in. I still see a lot of potential in WAR. In time, it could be all we were led to believe by the hype machine. They’ve certainly demonstrated a dedication to fixes and updates thus far.

In the meantime, I’ll still be maintaining this blog. Likewise, I’ll still be writing my column for Hammer of War. My aim is still daily updates, as I still want to love this game and, thus, have lots to write about. I can’t guarantee that though because dreary gaming does not equal engaging writing. I’m of the belief that if something is worth writing about you’ll want to write about it. If not, well then, that thing will fade away into time.

I would like to thank my fellow bloggers for their honesty. It encouraged me to share my own feelings with impunity. More than that though, it might make the devs listen. We know that Mark reads WAAAGH! so maybe he’ll check out that blog roll and hear us. So to you, my readers, no matter what blog you’re checking out, be sure to comment with your feelings. Your thoughts may get heard by the right people and make an impact on the direction of the game.

UtP: The Wisdom of the Black Guard?

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It’s Monday again, folks, and that means another edition of Upon the Pyre! I was disposed last Monday, so this will be the first article in a couple of weeks.

In this edition, I look at the implementation of the Black Guard and Knight of the Burning Sun back into the game. We’re all happy about their return, aren’t we? I mean, we knew about those classes before the game launched and many of use had our eye on them for our first character. When I first heard about it in the State of the Game address, I was initially happy. Now, I’m not so sure.

Head on over to Hammer of War and check it out. Let me know what you think – is it a good idea to bring back the Black Guard?

Read the full article here.

The Shadow Approaches…

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Mythic, I beweeve in yo’ powah to perceeve. Translation: We’re still early in the game. Don’t forget.

Wrath of the Lich looms on the horizon, my friends! And that means it’s time for Mythic to begin (continue?) packing us away like a squirrel’s nuts. And by that, of course, I mean digging their hook into us so deep that that no one will be able to escape to Northrend. Except, we won’t be swinging from any chains in the highborn towers of Hag Graef, no, we’ll be digging our hooks into the backs of other players!

Let’s face the facts, if players jump ship for the WoW expansion, it’ll be months before they’re back (presumably). That’s a good amount of time when it comes to profits. Mark’s acknowledged that some players will leave but soon return return when they’re bored again; however, there’s also the caveat that some players will leave and not come back as they get tied into the raiding treadmill again. It’s the nature of MMO launches for subscription numbers to begin with a wax and slide into a wane until an eventual levelling off. The important part of this, however, is that the levelling off point isn’t lower than the what will be profitable and also conducive to good RvR.

The last thing we want to see is server merges, right? Not too good for prospective players perceptions, so let’s get this ship in order!

The biggest thing Mythic needs to do is to nullify the population imbalance and then to publicize the heck out of it. They’re working at this right now, sure, but it’s not good enough. They have about three weeks to fix it and get the word out. I’d like to see something big happen, as this is probably the biggest issue facing the game right now and word is starting to spread about the game being “imba” and that there’s no endgame because the players “beat the game” after only a few weeks. We know the inaccuracies of these statements but it’s up to Mythic to make sure the world knows it.

Second, let’s see some flair in your PvE. Right now, it’s standard PvE fair with all the different quest types and even the nice PQ system. Despite that, RvR is still looked at like the most efficient way of levelling. In itself, I don’t mind that at all; however, the PQ system is falling to the wayside. I’ve romped through three tiers of content and after the beginning of tier 2, I haven’t seen a single PQ get to the final stage. That’s a real shame and suprising to boot.

Is it just my server? Maybe the fact that I’m not in the final tier of play yet? Perhaps, but the fact is that most people aren’t in the final tier yet. Maybe it is just my server. They’re haters. PQ haters. Word.

And dungeons too. So far, I’ve heard few calls go out over guild chat to do a dungeon run. I’ve heard none in regional chat.

Part of the reason may be that players have no way to organize instance runs. Open parties are limited by your zone, therefore greatly diminishing any utility for setting up an instance run. I’m disappointed that Mythic, after all the effort they’ve put into their dungeons, isn’t stepping up to encourage their use. We need a LFG system in conjuntion with open parties.

Following that, let’s see the world brought to life a little bit more. I don’t know about any of you but I’ve come to see the WAR world as being pretty… flat. The lack of emotes, interactable objects, and “fluff”, as Mark Jacobs derrogatorilly dubs it, does not help WAR have the “world” feeling. People have complained about a feeling of detachment with WAR not experienced in other MMOs. I’d argue that the lack of “fluff” and other small, fun things are a decent part of this. The little things make up the whole. The other portion of this issue may stem from the mindset of Paul Barnett – but I’ll get there below.

To either MBJ or GW, whoever is stuck on the idea that fluff has no place in their game, I would simply say to get off your high horse. People have fun in more ways than some preconceived notion. Is it make or break for a player’s decision to play the game? I hope not. It’s certainly not for me but I’d like to think that Mythic and GW want all kinds of players and their gaming styles to enjoy their game. That includes the fluff-ites (a condition of which, I am mildly afflicted).

Paul Barnett has said that he’s more interested in creating a game than a world but Mark has said that fluff has no place in the Warhammer world. We’re consistently told that we’re in the Warhammer universe. Riiiight. I don’t get it but, hey, it’s your game. On a related note, players expect an MMORPG to have a world-like feeling. I tend to think WAR has this but many people don’t. Why design an mmoRPG if you’re not going to try to make a mini-world to roleplay and game in? And no, I don’t mean RP as in “I shalt avenge my honour!” I mean RP as in your character being a part of a larger world. Thankfully, by bringing a little more depth into this area of play this problem can be easily solved. Interactable environments = win.

Finally, please fix crafting. It’s in an abysmal state. Drop rates are horribly slanted and the rewards for levelling your crafting skill are mediocre at best. Why bother buying potions when they drop from every other mob? Why bother levelling talisman making when the grind to reward ration is so small? It seems to me that crafting in WAR started out as a grand idea that fell short of it’s goal and is now languishing. Think back to the Simpsons, my friends. Remember when Homer tried to jump the Springfield gorge? Let me refresh your memory:

Homer: I’m gonna make it! I’m gonna make it! I’m king of the world! I’m aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh…. Doh! Doh! Doh!

The majority of these things haven’t been the standard “this mechanic is borked like a spring chicken” type of points. You’ve read about those on a lot of other blogs I’d imagine, so I don’t see a need to rehash them all here. The fact of the matter is that Mythic’s ability to stand up against the biggest competitor’s high point on the market will determine the level of success it will achieve within the next year. WAR is a great game but it’s go-time now. Let’s see the big guns come out. Wow us (no pun intended) and make us not even want to pick up the ooey, gooey, icy blue box with the pissed off guy in the helmet. That freaking guy is threatening us Mythic. If we get too close he might kick our asses if we don’t buy the game. So, please, shock and awe MBJ, Josh Drescher, Paul Barnett and the like. Shock and awe.

PSA: Derrogatory Comments

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They will not be tolerated on this blog. If you’d like to disagree or start a discourse, I welcome your thoughts and contributions; that’s what this is about. Things that are out of line or are an attempt to debase others will result in a ban from commenting.

The person this post is directed to will know who he is and, to him, I would say: so long and I hope you can come to think something of yourself in the future.

Everyone else has been great and I thank you for your readership.

The Melancholy Raider

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Edit: I removed the lyrics at the beginning of this post. They didn’t add anything despite the beauty of the song of which they are a part.

You know, it’s a funny thing; sometimes you have to lose something before you know how much it really means to you. It’s like that for me and a lot of big things in life right now. Unfortunately, as a result, I’ve had some extra time to play the game. At this point though, I’d never look back if some of those big things could be fixed. But you’ve gotta have some kind of escape, right?

So, I sunk in the game. Not to the detriment of anything else, no, actually disappearing for a while was probably the best thing I could do. You know what’s the real nifty thing though? I could find any solace in it at all. Nothing. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had less fun playing a game and it wasn’t at all related to Warhammer.

Which is a shame, because I did some things that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Yesterday, at about 1pm, the destructoids over on Pheonix Throne decided to go for a keep take down in Avelorn.

Let me tell you, it was epic. Or at least as epic a battle as I’ve ever taken part in. When it first went down, I was in a scenario group with some ASC friends of mine. Thanks to the new chat system, I could hear the frequent calls of the leader of a small warband, crying out for assistance; shouting where additional forces were needed.

When I got out of the instance, I beckoned my guildmates to join the battle, which they readily did. They’re a violent bunch, they are. Anyways, it started off well. We had two mostly full warbands on our side and what appeared to be a disorganized lot of less than 20 trying to stop us. We destroyed them, utterly and completely, right away and began assaulting the door. It took longer than I expected for it to go down but we eventually broke through.

That’s when all hell broke loose.

In the mad rush to get into the inner open area before the fortress, we turtled ourselves. I spent probably 20-30 seconds just trying to push through the first doors foyer as my guildmates cursed over voice chat. Then Order pinched us. Those who made their way through the door were met with stern opposition. Those stuck inside or waiting found themselves facing a full Order warband unleashing all of Hell upon them. So, we screamed and we shouted and made our way inside.

There was far less opposition inside than out, so we were able to take them. It seemed for a moment that even the forces outside had relented because, with nearly everything dead and we moving to the internal door, the storm had seemed to calm. It was not to be. In a rush, they blew through the door with a ferocity and fervor even Khaine would envy. Warrior after warrior died, myself being no exemption. When I ran back, I was able to make it inside again but, again, died in short order.

The second time I came back, I was met with members of my faction running away in disorder. I stopped for a moment, to see what type of oncoming force Order was bringing. It was massive. No less than 50 hostile players charged my way. Before I could escape, they had targeted me and snared me. Again, for the third time, I met my maker.

We reorganized our warband and was able to force them back to their fortress’s entry way but, again, they surged and we were pushed back.

It was a definite back and forth motion as our sides were fairly evenly matched.

It was the ebb and flow of a bloody sea.

Unfortunately, real life came back into play and I had to log off before the battle was seen through. I wish I could have seen how it ended as it was the most grand battle I’ve been at. We didn’t fight as well as we could have. We didn’t communicate that great either but, in the end, a war was had, long and gruesome.

And isn’t what this is all about?

I’ll touch on some of the other things I’ve done at another time. Hell, maybe I’ll even comment on some of the news that’s been flooding the ship decks lately.

Wish me luck, everyone. I’m praying that I myself don’t fall off the starboard bow.

Oh, Avelorn… where be your hobbits?

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Oh, that’s right. The Dark Elves ate their hearts. Mmmmmm, hobbit.

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the lack of articles lately. I’m hoping, like I’ve been, that I’ll have more time to write soon. I’ve been faced with a choice the past couple of times I’ve had free time: play WAR or write about WAR. Since playtime is directly related to the what I can write about, I’ve spent more time working my tendrils into the third tier of play.

A lot has happened lately. Altdorf fell again… almost. We’re up to patch 1.0.3 and all of the little goodies that small patches bring. And you know what? I’m going to run out of hats to eat soon because I’m still not seeing any sweeping class changes. I would imagine we’ll see that in a major patch to some degree but, then again, maybe I was used to the constant tweaking that happened in every patch of WoW.

I’m not going to touch on that today because, at this point, it’s already been covered. If you haven’t heard about the above yet, check out the good folks over on my blog roll. They have your back. Don’t worry, I won’t be silent on all of the big stuff that happens but I’m not a big fan of rehashing stuff that you’ve already read a dozen times already.

Besides, I have other things to ramble about! I mentioned up above that I’ve made my way into Tier 3 and, let me tell you, I couldn’t be more relieved. I was starting to get a little tired of Ellyrion. I’m in Avelorn now, a lush and beautiful forest zone. I’ve always had somewhat of a soft spot for zones filled with greenery, even the likes of STV in WoW. I have to say too, the dynamic lighting system really does wonders for the zone. The shadows the trees cast caught my eye right off the bat. I’m not too far in but I could see this becoming my new favorite zone.

And with Tier 3 comes new scenarios! Twice as many new scenarios, actually, which surprised me. So far I’ve been into Tor Anroc, Tabalec Dam, and Blackfire Pass, all of which I’ve enjoyed. I’ve also noticed that the dynamics of battle have changed a little bit as well. I’ve been hit with more knockbacks in the past two days than I’ve experienced in all of the playtime I’ve spent in previous tiers. It’s actually starting to annoy me a little bit but I’m not sure if the annoyance is legitimate or partly because I wish I had one at my rank. Unfortunately, a level 19 sorcerer isn’t gifted with the ability to send his enemies flying. In Tor Anroc, it’s especially bad because if you get blown back in the wrong place, you’re going to land squarely in lava. Not only that, you’re immobilized in the lava, so if you’re standing on orange, you’re dead. It’s a fun map, though, all the same.

Blackfire was also a lot of fun, although I felt that the players were a little too spread out. Blackfire is a scenario that lends itself more to players with mounts than those without, so keep that in mind when queuing up. I tried to keep up with my flee ability but it’s effect is so short and the map is so big that it’s only a moderate help. It makes for good incentive to get a mount though. One more level for your resident sorcerer. My guild was also kind enough to offer me whatever gold I need to buy it as soon as I’m able. I’m going to try to earn it all myself, of course, but it was an offer well appreciated anyways.

There’s been a few issues I’ve noticed though. Well, two issues and one small question mark. Since the last patch, my textures have been flashing from normal resolution to blurry a lot. It seems to happen when I’m alt-tabbing more than anything but I’ve gotten it while also zooming in and out too. Also, every time I zone in somewhere my guild heraldry disappears from my cloak. They’re both small things, to be sure, and ones I’m sure Mythic will have fixed sooner rather than later. Now, my pet peeve. Why, when I respawn in a scenario, do I always have to be facing the wrong way? It’s easy to turn around, sure, but in every new scenario so far, I’ve found myself coming out of the gate running, only to find out the battle is in the assward direction. Maybe they have a reason for this but it’s something that’s taken a little getting used to. Either that, or it’s always been like this and I’ve just been completely oblivious to it so far. Meh, either way it’s all good. It’s one of those things you only do once, anyhow.

I’ve also spotted my first pop culture reference! In Avelorn, there a Griffon Firecallers. You know, those Bright Wizardy type guys with a penchant for punk rock hair cuts? Yeah, so I’m sneaking around looking for their secret messages and out of no where I see one shout “Flame on!”. For a second, I thought he spotted me and I was about to defend my new robe. After all, it’s not my fault all I can wear are dresses, is it? Then it hit me like a bag of pink scarves: he’s saying the line from that “B” movie that came out a year ago! Haha, Mythic… you sneaky devils.

Yeah, so there you have my “Yesterday’s Exploits”! The world of WAR is ever changing so I look for the fun and humor in all I can and don’t let the small things bug me too much while I’m playing. And, in the realm of fun, WAR has the formula down pretty well. I was never a big PvP (RvR) person before this game but, here we are, and I’m RvRing my little gray (DE, you know) ass off and loving every minute. I hope you can say the same 🙂

This week in WAR…

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… for me. Or, “How Raegn got his groove back”. I’m liking these alternative titles. Fun stuff, alternates. Unless you’re talking characters. That’s not my bag, baby. Yet.

 

Greetings readers!

 

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I sure feel like it. I was updating this site every other day or more and now we’re going on a week with very little of relevance. I even missed patch 1.02! It sucks, yes, but we can blame the teachers. *shakes his fist*

 

Ah, so it goes though. Thankfully, I did get some time to play WAR yesterday. About three hours actually, which is more than usual for me. Unfortunately, my lost week got me a behind the curve in my guild. I was even able to be online during a scheduled guild event but… it was in tier three. Woe is me, woe is me. So, seeing where I precariously stood, I resolved to grind out a couple of levels.

 

Unfortunately, the “couple of” part didn’t really happen. During that three hour bout, I was able to finish off about three quarters of an experience bar doing non-stop questing in Ellyrion (this did allow me to rank up to 19). Let me just say, I’m pretty sick of killing High Elf archers, guards, and defenders. And screw their little steeds too! I know a real steed when I see one.

 

Annnyways, I was a feeling just a little burnt out. I won’t go into too much detail on that because I’m covering it in greater detail in Upon the Pyre this week, but I think I brought a little of that to the table myself. I was pretty stressed out to begin with. Again, we can blame the teachers. I do have to say though, I was a little surprised when I saw that I needed 117k experience to hit level 20 and was only getting between 1k-5k per quest (5k if I was lucky, usually between 2-3k). It just seems like a lot. If any of you are in your mid-upper 30s, or even 40, how much are you needing to hit those higher levels?

 

Another big occurrence that went uncovered this week, my guild claimed its first keep! A big congratulations go out to all of the members of Anti-Sanctus Chaotica that made it possible and to all of the opposition that made the ground soggy with gore. We appreciate your efforts but Chaos = Power. In the words of a famous Kwiki-Mart employee: “Thank you, come again”. In all seriousness, I wasn’t online when it happened but I heard it was a lot of fun and we have both enemies and allies to thank for that.

 

So, for me, it’s been a drear week. As many of you have been through similar circumstances, I’m sure you understand. And *knocks on wood* after this week, it looks to be mostly downhill so we should be back on track. Keep an eye on us, here, because I’ll be updating at the usual pace prospectively. Also be sure to check out the blogroll on the right. Between all of us, you should have enough WAR reading to satisfy the itch until you can pop in game.

 

Until next time, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!

 

(…I needed that. Who ya gonna blame? No, it’s not the Ghostbusters. *shakes his fist*…)

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