Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Gaming Year in Review

I started off this year where I had been for the past 4 years: in World of Warcraft. My guild was close to finally killing Illidan Stormrage and moving on to Sunwell Plateau. In between hardcore raiding and mats farming, I was leveling up the 7th or 8th of my 9 level 70's. After killing Illidan and putting Black Temple on farm status, I started to feel an ennui which even tackling the new challenges of Sunwell Plateau couldn't dispel. Around May and after finally leveling the last of my level 70's, I bid my guild goodbye to seek greener gaming pastures elsewhere.

The first stop was Age of Conan, based on the positive experiences I had during the Open Beta. Unfortunately, the experience I had during Open Beta which had a level cap of 20 proved to be the shining moment for this MMO. You know that standard warning for online games where they say: Game Experience May Change During Online Play? That's exactly what happened after level 20 in AoC. It soon became clear that the title was rushed out into production before important MMO mainstays like content and polish were applied. I think I lasted until level 63 before I stopped logging on which took about a month or so.

While I was waiting on Funcom to fix their game, I downloaded the trial for Eve Online. When I found out I was having more fun with the free trial than my subscription to AoC, I knew it was time for a change. In the second week of my 21-day Steam trial, I applied for and was accepted to Eve University. This was around June and Eve consumed my playing time as I strove to learn everything I could about this complex MMO. Started reading and following the various Eve blogs which inspired me to try my hand at this here blogging thing.

Around August, intrigued by the reports of various gaming blogs of the unique features of the upcoming game, Warhammer Online, I decided to pre-order the game which allowed me access to the Open Beta. Before this, I thought I might play this title but wait until a few months had passed in order not to repeat my AoC experience. At literally the last moment, I decided to apply for Casualties of WAR and they were foolish enough to accept my application.

Events after that have been covered already on this blog so I won't go into them again. I do want to mention that I've trialed some more games recently that were on my to-do list. Among them were Vanguard, Everquest II, Lord of the Rings Online, and even Tabula Rasa. Sadly, the title that I was most impressed with turns out to be Tabula Rasa which will unplug for good in a few months. I don't think I can ever get over the art direction in Vanguard and EQII enough to actually enjoy the gameplay offered. In my younger years, I would've jumped at the chance to live in Tolkien's world but now I just yearn for a good game to play and I don't think Middle Earth can really provide that for me. But we'll see as I still have some time left in the free trial.

I can't wait to see what the next year holds for the future of WAR and other MMORPG's.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Epilogue

This concludes the blog series I started about a month ago. Of the three classes I have leveled to 40 so far, the Bright Wizard was the most painful to solo with. Yes, being a DPS class meant kills came fast and furious. But the Combustion mechanic and the inability to handle multiple mobs meant more deaths as well. I'm a big fan of the slow and steady approach and not as much of the respawn and die again method of soloing.

Mythic needs someone that actually plays their game to handle the itemization for Bright Wizards. I went through almost all the chapters in all the zones in the game and not once was there an elite influence reward that tempted me to grind for it. Intelligence is, of course, our primary stat. Our secondary stats are the various survivability ones with Wounds being the front-runner because of our Combustion mechanic. Toughness and Initiative is always welcome as well as any resists you want to throw our way. We don't want Willpower. Yes, it helps with resists but other casters are not our bane. It's those pesky melee and the other stats will help more than Willpower will.

I didn't want to offer an opinion about the nerfing this class took but I will say that we were absolute monsters on the battlefield before the various changes and fixes. I'm fine with being reeled back into the pack but they need to take another look at Combustion along with the identical Sorceress mechanic. I feel they need to dial down the damage we take from it to make the ratio of risk versus reward more appropriate in light of the changes made.

For my next trick, I'll be working on getting my Ironbreaker some renown so I can wear some of this ward gear I have laying around. After that, a melee DPS class - most likely a White Lion.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 34-37

Day 34: Christmas Day. No time to log in to my Bright Wizard today so he got a boatload of rested XP. Ended the day CR37 RR26.

Day 35: I can smell the finish line from here. Finished off the chapter 18 quests in Thunder Mountain. Went through the entire Bonds of Fellowship epic questline that had me traipsing from zone to zone. As expected, I died multiple times doing the bits in Chaos Wastes with the zombie/undead spawns of doom packed around the quest area. No good gear rewards but awesome XP. Queued for all scenarios sporadically but Serpents was the one that popped the most. Finished off all the chapter 18 quests so I moved on to chapter 19 starting with Praag and also finally finishing off the Unholy questline. After that, it was off to Dragonwake for the chapter 19 quests there and finally to Thunder Mountain. There was a bit of a bug where it was impossible to finish one quest if you turned in another. A Prod in the Right Direction has you using a zapper to weaken a Hero mob blocking your way and a bag of black powder to gain access to a hidden dwarf city and a quest NPC who gives you the Champion of the Lost Forge quest series. If you turn in the Prod quest, you lose both the zapper and the black powder bag making it impossible to return to the quest NPC and turn in the completed Champion quests. Make sure you finish all the quests from that NPC before turning in the Prod quest back in the chapter 19 town. Started on the chapter 20 quests in Black Crag. Ended the day CR39 RR27.

Day 36: Weird thing I noticed when I logged on. There was a bag of black powder in my quest items where before there wasn't. Good thing I kept that completed Champion of the Lost Forge quest in my log instead of abandoning it. No zapper, though, so I was forced to kite the hero mob while I blew the hole in the tunnel. Got that quest completed and got a travel quest to Altdorf afterwards. After that, another quest to send me back to that remote NPC. Only trouble was the bag of black powder was gone again. Sigh. I sent another bug report in. I decided to finish off all the quests in the Dwarf pairings instead of the Elf lands like I did with the last two characters. It will take me a little longer due to the unfamiliarity but I figure the new content will be more enjoyable and there's always warDB if I get stuck. I wasn't even going to try the Empire zone; Chaos Wastes undead hordes for the lose. Order managed to lock Dragonwake so we got Caledor Woods as a new scenario to queue up and no Serpents. Pretty enjoyable change of pace unless you get a scenario with seven Bright Wizards like I did. No way were we going to hold the ground needed to win with that group setup. Also found another bug with the quest, The Grudges of Karak Drazh. In the part where you have to find these books or chronicles, it seems they moved the items to new locations. The trouble is they forgot to update the map circles. Read the newest comment on warDB for the new locations. Finished off the chapter 20 and 21 quests in Black Crag and moved on to chapter 22 in the same zone. I wanted to push to 40 but just ran out of steam at 90%. Ended the day CR39 RR27.

Day 37: Finishing up the chapter 22 quests in Black Crag. Too early in the day for scenarios so none popped. With the rested XP, it didn't take me long to get the 10% I needed for rank 40. Here's the screenshot of the time it took me. I was a little more efficient this time around ingame than with my previous 2 40's according to this post. But it took about the same real time as my Ironbreaker; about 5 weeks according to this diary. No surprises there really. Ended the day CR40 RR27.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 31-33

Day 31: Started to take the Bright Wizard out for a spin but just wasn't feeling like leveling today so I put him back in Altdorf to get some more rested XP. For some reason, the holiday bonus is having the opposite effect on me that it does on others and making me less inclined to play my toon. Maybe it's because I know that I can really take advantage of it to level even faster than I usually do. This makes me feel like I have more time to goof off and still keep up my usual leveling pace. Ended the day CR36 RR26.

Day 32: I finished out the chapter 18 quests in Praag and still had that Unholy epic questline hanging around from chapter 17. But the questline had me going to the chapter 19 area of Praag so I thought I'd leave that for when I got to that chapter. So I went to Dragonwake to work on the chapter 18 quests in that zone. Remember what I said about the cyclical nature of scenarios? It seems Destro is suffering from not being able to win a scenario now for whatever reason. It's my opinion that the cyclical nature owes a lot to the fact that you can't queue scenarios as a warband and I hope Mythic never caves in to the whiners demanding such a feature. I enjoy not knowing if I am going to win or lose instead of dreading every queue like I eventually did with WoW battlegrounds and their premade groups. Ended the day CR36 RR26.

Day 33: 'Twas the day before Christmas and my Bright Wizard was burning through all the rested XP Santa Mythic had given him. I had finished off all the chapter 18 quests in Dragonwake except for the Awakening epic questline. So I headed out to Thunder Valley to start on the chapter 18 quests there. There was a good grouping of quests in Cinderfall, which is a subzone of Thunder Mountain. Unfortunately, like all the other subzones it was impossible to queue scenarios from there. I worked around this limitation by binding to the chapter 18 town and scrolling back every once in a while to fly out to a zone where queueing was possible. There were 2 groups of Keg's End NPC's right next to each other in Cinderfall so I also worked on my Live Event influence as well whenever they respawned. Ended the day CR37 RR26.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Whatever it's called and whatever faith you believe in, holidays are a wonderful time to share with friends and family. Sometimes, memories of loved ones are all that we have now so be sure to make many more with the ones that are still with us. Here's hoping that the holiday spirit lasts throughout the year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 28-30

Day 28: Didn't touch the Bright Wizard. Strictly Dungeon Runners and then logged on my Ironbreaker for some epic open RVR. Patch 1.1d had fixed an issue where the Dragonwake scenarios weren't contributing their victory points correctly, making Dragonwake impossible to lock. Tonight, Order locked it first then moved on to Caledor before being pushed back all the way to our fortress. Then I and many other Order logged on to push them all the way back to Caledor again. Good times. Ended the day CR35 RR25.

Day 29: Since the Unholy epic quests were all that remained for me to do in Praag, I turned my attention back to the rest of the chapter 17 quests in Dragonwake. This meant going back to the Isle of the Dead. I had enjoyed this zone before as one packed with quests that when completed was usually enough for a level or so. But for some reason I was having problems doing them as a Bright Wizard. It could be the island's mob density and fast respawns were not conducive to a squishy that couldn't heal themselves. Also, I don't remember the Screamer mobs being level 42 before. That seemed out of place for a zone with chapter 17 quests so I sent in a bug report for those. Whatever the reasons, I made one death run after another. After I had about enough of doing those, I decided I'd much rather be doing something else so I ported back to the Altdorf to take advantage of the increased rested XP Mythic was giving out over the Holidays. Ended the day CR35 RR25.

Day 30: Started the day creating a brand new White Lion alt to level up to 5 before parking her in Altdorf for the increased rest XP. Kimba was already taken as a name, so I went for Kimbah instead. Then some Dungeon Runners and Tabula Rasa before football came on TV. After watching my Eagles lay an egg against their rival Redskins, I turned my attention back to WAR and my Bright Wizard. Being an obstinate SOB, I gave Isle of the Dead some more tries. Managed to finish the quests there save for the one that had me killing 6 of the level 42 Screamers. It wasn't happening at my present level of 35. I then moved on to the chapter 18 town in Praag to clear off those quests. Ended the day CR36 RR26.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 25-27

Day 25: Spent most of the day playing my Guild Wars trial. But I did manage to get that out of my system as I got my guy up to level 7 and past the Sundering event. I was able to spectate a GvG match which is the GW equivalent of a keep siege. Very interesting to be able to watch any PVP match I wanted and it was pretty enjoyable but, Holy Cow, did that really just say the match has been going on for 4 hours already? Pretty hardcore, that. Unfortunately, I then installed the trial to Dungeon Runners. Ended the day CR34 RR24.

Day 26: Keg End Live Event starts today. But even that wasn't enough to tear me away from the Dungeon Runners trial. This thing can be seriously addictive. It's like Diablo crossed with Monty Python as an MMO. You know those guys that rant on MMO forums how their game would be different if they ever got around to making one? The devs are those guys. Ended the day CR34 RR24.

Day 27: Finally decided to stop my slacking and get some leveling done. But first, some Dungeon Runners. I am so gonna buy myself the retail box for an early Christmas present. I needs my Bling Gnome, yo! Had previously cleared off all chapter 17 quests in Praag with the exception of the Unholy epic series. This quest series provided me with a few 10k XP rewards. I love epic quests. Hooked up with a Warrior Priest as I headed into some Skaven caves and he was kind enough to share 2 quests I completed along with the one that sent me in there. That saved me a return trip and also was good for some additional XP I didn't have to go out of my way to get. Ended the day CR35 RR25.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trials and Tribulations

So I let my subscription to Eve Online expire yesterday. Rather than be content to have some extra cash laying around especially with the coming holidays, I found myself looking around for a possible replacement. There's a whole bunch of MMO's I've been meaning to trial but have never gotten around to for one reason or another. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to go through my mental list if only to discover if there were any hidden gems I'd been depriving myself of.

I wanted to try out LoTRO but discovered there was no way to install a free trial short of borrowing someone's install discs. Seriously? In this day and age, why is this still the only possibility? Next up was Guild Wars. The lack of a monthly fee marked it as a serious contender for a second MMO along with my current WAR subscription.

In the few days of playing the trial, I've come to the conclusion that this game would not fit in very well as a casual alternative for the times when I don't feel like logging on to WAR. It looks and runs great on my system but, to really get the most out of the game, you really need to be hardcore about the PVP. While in another place and time, I would be all over Guild War's unique gaming concepts; that time has long since passed for me I think. I will keep an eye out for Guild Wars 2 which is being developed at the moment.

While I had the NCPlay launcher open, I scanned the other offerings available. Hmmmm....Tabula Rasa, I really should try that out while I still can. Dungeon Runners, didn't know that was published by NCSoft. This was one title which had completely flown under my gaming radar. I knew almost nothing about it save its name. Even then, I thought it was a Dungeons & Dragons Online clone because of that name. Still the price to buy and play: free with more content available with a $4.95 subscription fee seemed like it wouldn't hurt to try it.

Letting the launcher download the necessary install files for Dungeon Runners, I thought I'd read a few reviews just to see what exactly it was I was getting into. After reading a few, it turned out this game was not really a DDO clone but something which had me actually impatient to get on with playing the game instead of waiting for it to download and install. The brief time I had left before it was way past time to get to bed convinced me that this game is definitely a hidden gem.

If you play MMORPG's, and why would you be reading this blog if you don't, do yourself a favor and try Dungeon Runners out. It reminds us that even with MMO's being serious business and all, a little mindless fun is never a bad thing when you play games.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 22-24

Day 22: Started on the chapter 16 quests in Eataine. The first two scenarios of the day were Howling Gorge. Got tired of Order being content to engage in a massive scrum with Destro without making any attempts to try and score or prevent them from scoring. So I decided to queue up Serpent's Passage and Dragon's Bane exclusively the rest of the day. Serpent's, while ubiquitous, was one scenario Order seemed to have a handle on. Dragon's Bane because I had never seen it pop ever. It's like my Holy Grail of scenarios now. One day I will see its loading screen at the very least. I took advantage of Order locking the Eataine, Kadrin Valley, and Reikland zones to run the RVR lake travel quests for some quick, easy XP. After finishing up the quests in Eataine, I then moved on to chapter 16 in Reikland and then on to finish Kadrin Valley. Ended the day CR33 RR24.

Day 23: The chapter 17 quests got a bit tricky. Originally, I started out in the eastern part of Dragonwake. After I quickly finished off the quests in the surrounding area, the next batch had me going north to the Isle of the Dead zone. The zone is annoying in that it is tightly packed with mobs higher than my current level and you can't queue for any scenarios from there. If you die, you respawn south in Dragonwake and have to make the run back north again. After a few untimely deaths, I went with plan B: finding a more appropriate chapter 17 zone to level in. I found it in the Dwarf zone even though it was a bit of a hassle running to the chapter 17 town from the warcamp. After clearing out all the quests there, I moved on to chapter 17 in Praag. Ended the day CR34 RR24.

Day 24: Continued clearing the chapter 17 quests in Praag. Installed an awesome new quest tracker mod called Kwestor. It provides a much clearer display of your quest progress and you can even set it to filter your quests by zone. Pretty darn cool. Was going to be time limited today so didn't even bother with scenarios. Well, I did optimistically queue up for Dragon's Bane which, of course, didn't pop. Broke early to watch the Monday Night Football game. Go Eagles! Ended the day CR34 RR24.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 19-21

Day 19: Finished off the rest of the chapter 14 quests in Badlands which left me in a quandary. I would have to move to a T4 zone to continue questing but I was loathe to queue up for T4 scenarios at my present level of 30. I had no problems starting on T4 scenarios at 30 with my Warrior Priest and Ironbreaker but for some reason I was really dreading it with my Bright Wizard. I found out that I wasn't eligible yet for all the T4 scenario quests so I decided to wait until the next level when they should be unlocked for me. In the meantime, there was much shuttling about with flight masters as I queued scenarios in Averlorn while I started questing in Eataine. Said goodbye to my awesome dragon staff as one of the last Badlands quests I did rewarded me with the typoed Surpressing Staff. I couldn't resist the combination of high Wounds and Intelligence stats on it so it was back to wielding a fiery broom of death. Order was making another push after their success yesterday in locking 3 zones so I logged over to my Warrior Priest. Ended the day CR31 RR22

Day 20: Patch day cometh. Looks like there were quite a few changes to the UI with 1.1 resulting in some broken mods. Chief among them zMailmod and AutoDismount. Found a link to a fixed zMailmod zipfile on the Curse page and a simple lua edit fix to AutoDismount on the WHA UI forums. If I can just get WindowCleaner working, I'll be in UI hog heaven once again. I tried my best to ignore the squeals of delight from my guildies on Vent and guild chat as they recounted the tales of intense RVR action that exploded in every tier it seemed on my server. The weird part was even with this open RVR-mania, the T3 and T4 scenarios I queued up seemed to pop pretty regularly. Finished the chapter 15 quests in Eataine and dipped my toe into T4 scenarios with my Bright Wizard. As I feared, it was a glut of Serpent's Passage that featured my lowbie Bright Wizard dying in a number of gruesome ways to the higher level Destro in there. Nobody seemed to be taking advantage of the new main assist button which annoyingly did not want to stay where I moved it to. Found some new quests added in Eataine which was a nice surprise. After I finished up all the Eataine chapter 15 quests, I decided to reward myself by flying to Averlorn to queue up T3 scenarios where I could lord it over the lowbies for a change. I found one of the new chicken run quests in that warcamp that had me scouting the objectives in the T1 RVR lake as a chicken. My reward was the title Bawk, Dont Run. Ended the day CR31 RR23.

Day 21: Moved on to the chapter 15 quests in Reikland. One thing I've noticed is the lack of PQ influence rewards that appeal to my Bright Wizard. It's a mixed blessing as this means I'm not tempted to solo grind the influence like I did too many times with my Warrior Priest and Ironbreaker. Looking back, it wasn't worth the time better spent leveling and getting to higher levels where better gear awaited me. Scenarios weren't too productive for me today so I decided to queue them only when I needed a break from questing. Finished the chapter 15 quests in Reikland so that left only Kadrin Valley for that particular chapter. Tried to squeeze in some T3 scenarios when I could figuring I might as well while I still qualified for them. Dinged just as I finished off the last of the chapter 15 quests in Kadrin Valley. Pretty good timing. Reluctantly, I abandoned the unfinished T3 scenario quests from my Tome for the last time. Ended the day CR32 RR23.

Friday, December 12, 2008

1.1 Patch First Impressions

The Good: The new RVR influence system seems to be igniting open RVR across all the tiers of my server yesterday. It remains to be seen if this will persist after the new shiny phase. A lot of welcome additions to this game which, while individually small things, add up to a lot more polish. Sigmar knows this game needs it. Some prime examples were the item linking and right click menus on names in chat. Renown gear got a makeover and I found out my Warrior Priest was eligible for a second piece of Annihilator's without any extra renown grinding needed. Sweet!

The Bad: Some UI mods were broken. Not a big deal if you go default but really annoying for those who like their copious mods. Even the default UI exhibited rather strange behavior like buffs that behaved like bad dinner guests and simply wouldn't go away and a main assist button that would not stay put if you decided it was better somewhere else on your screen. Mythic decided to add some more money sinks in the form of increased flight master and merchant dying fees. They have since rolled back the cost of using the flight master to their 1.06 values but it was quite a shock to find out it would cost you almost a gold if you wanted to fly anywhere.

The Ugly: The client stability and performance was a mixed bag. I suffered more CTD's than usual yesterday. Scenario performance was very good even with all effects enabled. So good I'm tempted to up them from its fastest framerate settings. I didn't participate in any open RVR so I couldn't tell you first-hand how it held up with a mass of players around. Reports on Vent were positive but reading the forums and some blogs, it looks like the client took a few steps back in regards to mass mob action. There was another fortress zone crash last night on our server after I had logged off for the night so that is still a work in progress, it seems.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 16-18

Day 16: Finishing the High Elf chapter 13 quests meant an end finally to the epic questline, Control. When a quest is labeled as epic it usually means a number of quests that send you all over the place with a rare (blue) reward at the end of it. This epic questline started in chapter 10 Averlorn and finally ended in chapter 13 Saphery. The quest reward was a very nice staff reward that had a unique look that was a change of pace from the regular fiery broom of death I've been wielding for quite some time as seen here. Didn't have much time for leveling between watching football and a guild Bastion run which I tanked with my Ironbreaker. I did finish up all the Talabecland quests except for the last 2 set in the PQ Unterbaum Castle. Wait until you get both quests to send you there so you don't have to run this crowded, fast-spawning gauntlet twice like I did with earlier characters. Ended the day CR29 RR21.

Day 17: Noticing that PVP survivability in T3 has gone down compared to T1 and T2. If melee gets to me, my only hope is Fire Cage which at this level most of them will have a counter to get rid of it. I usually don't survive long enough after to try anything else. So I have to play with my head on a swivel and get ready to start running away the second one of them looks at me funny. Finished up the Unterbaum Castle quests so that left only the Dwarf lands for the remaining T3 quests. Headed for the chapter 14 quest hub and finally won a Doomfire Crater for the first time in 4 days of trying. Huzzah! Finished a few of the chapter 14 quests in the Badlands before I dinged 30. Unlocked the flight masters to the T4 warcamps so I did the travel quests to them for quick and easy XP. It sure beats having to ride up to each of the warcamps in question. Ended the day CR30 RR22.

Day 18: Kept plugging away at the chapter 14 quests in Badlands and queueing for scenarios. The most competitive scenario for T3 Order right now is Toc Anroc and I've been having some fun with my morale ranged knockback in there. Did the Buying Time and Ancient Horror quests which sends you scampering Indiana Jones-style on elevated bridges set high over a precipitous canyon and eventually through a long, twisting cave to the bottom of said canyon. Do yourself a favor and get both quests before setting out on this lovely jaunt. I made the mistake of not doing this on a previous character and just deleted Ancient Horror rather than slog through that mess again. The call went out to Order to take some of our zones back from the grubby Destro so I logged on my Warrior Priest cutting short my leveling for the night. Ended the day CR30 RR22.

Pie in the Sky

Remember what I said about a time and place for Paul Barnett's brand of humor? Trying to place the blame of a faulty RVR contribution system on the fellow employee next to you: not really. Playing damage control so you don't come off looking like a total jerk : spot-on.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Random Thoughts

Paul Barnett's video regarding the coding goof in RVR contribution was very informative if a little squirm-worthy. After I watched it, I thought to myself: self, did I just watch what I thought I just watched? There's a time and place for Paul's brand of dry British humor, but that wasn't it I'm afraid.

Official forums most often are nothing more than a wretched hive of scum and villainy. But they are also very much needed if you want to project yourself as a grade A MMORPG. Doling out info to the masses via fansites just isn't the same thing, no matter how much spin you put on it.

My Eve subscription runs out on the 16th of this month. The 30-day pilot licenses have actually gone up in price since I bought my first one and not down as I thought they eventually would. My passive isk generation can barely cover the cost of another month so it looks like it might be time to shut down my account for a while. But I have said this before only to extend my subscription when push came to shove.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 13-15

Day 13: Dufftimers got picked up by another author and was updated for 1.06 today. Now I can get rid of these laggy, ugly default buff icons. It seems like much of the lag was due to the default buff icons and going back to Dufftimers improved my client performance in scenarios immensely. Turned all effects back on so I can spot those nasty purple puddles. Still some issues with Dufftimer not being able to just display your own debuffs on hostile targets but at least it's working again. Destro already had some lower 20's Blackguards in the T3 scenarios I queued up today. A shame I didn't see any Order KoTBS in there as well. Just what I need - another melee class to chase me around. Mopped up the rest of the quests in Averlorn including the problematic Control quest set inside a troll cave. Then I did the same thing with the chapter 12 quests in High Pass. All that was left was chapter 12 in the Dwarf Lands. This chapter town is located in Black Fire Pass, not Badlands. Chapter 13 in Dwarf tier then doubles back to Badlands again. Started on a few of the quests in there before turning in for the night. Ended the day CR27 RR19.

Day 14: T3 Order can't seem to win any scenarios whenever I queue up anymore. I think I may have won one Tor Anroc all day. Rather than blame this on class or faction imbalances, I like to think these things are cyclical. I can certainly remember stretches where it seemed Order couldn't ever lose a scenario. I can't wait for the default main assist button in scenarios coming soon in 1.1. I certainly saw some instances yesterday where our side could've benefited from having such a tool. Finally saw some low level KoTBS in the T3 scenarios. One tip for ranged DPS is a handy dandy mod that can do many things: TheSeeker. I like to set mine to look for healers as they can be hard to spot at range especially if they are bunched up. I finished up Dwarf chapter 12 in Black Fire Pass so I set out to Saphery to start on the High Elf chapter 13 quests. Finished those up so I headed south to the chapter 14 hub. Order put a call out for all able-bodied T4 players to assemble in Praag for a takeover attempt. So I logged over to my IB who needed the renown more than my WP. Ended the day CR28 RR20.

Day 15: It's becoming more apparent that this current crop of Order has no idea what it takes to win at Doomfire Crater. It's a shame as I have enjoyed this scenario in the past before on my WP and IB. But when every single time it pops the scenario quickly devolves into them camping our spawn, it's time to do something else. Like the old joke about the guy complaining to his doctor about how his arm hurts every time he does this, I'm taking the doctor's advice when he says: "Well, then don't do that." Luckily, this is easy to do with a handy mod called Join Selected Scenarios. This addon pops up an additional window at scenario select with a list of the available scenarios and checkboxes along with a Join Selected Scenarios button. Very nice when you don't feel like queuing for that really annoying scenario. Finished up the chapter 13 quests in Talabecland which cleared out all the pairings and made it time to move on to chapter 14. Now that I'm doing these diaries, I'm paying more attention to the chapter names of the quest hubs. Before, I paid about as much attention to them as I did the quest descriptions. Finishing off the current chapter in each pairing before moving on to the next chapter should result in more efficient leveling than my previous freeform strat. Destro was feeling froggy as they went and locked down Kadrin Valley and started moving on to Stonewatch Fortress. I logged out my BW and logged my IB on for some fortress defense. Afterwards, I knocked off most of the chapter 14 quests in Saphery. Ended the day CR29 RR21.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Return of The Case of the Missing T4 Scenarios

If you remember from this post, I posited that the missing T4 scenarios were not actually missing but rather locked out due to the nature of the T4 zone control system. Since our guild's move to the more populous Badlands, I've had the chance to see these normally locked zones become contested and note which scenarios are associated with them. So here is the list I have compiled so far:

Dwarf vs. Greenskins

Kadrin Valley - Gromril Crossing
Thunder Mountain - Thunder Valley & Logrin's Forge
Black Crag - Howling Gorge

Empire vs. Chaos

Chaos Wastes - Maw of Madness
Praag - Battle of Praag & Grovod's Cavern
Reikland - Hills of Reikland

Hish Elves vs. Dark Elves

Caledor - Caledor Woods
Dragonwake - Serpent's Passage & Dragon's Bane
Eataine - Blood of Blackcairne

[EDIT: 1/7/09] Since this page gets a lot of hits, I thought I'd update it with confirmation that the Caledor and Eataine scenarios are, in fact, correct. [/EDIT]

After looking at this list, there does seem to be some missing T4 scenarios, after all. Fragendorf Castle and Skaven Caverns don't seem to be associated with any zone. So I have no idea if they are actually playable or not yet their associated quests still linger on in the game.

A mystery for another day, it seems.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 10-12

Day 10: Finished up the chapter 10 and 11 quests in High Pass. Destro must be having an off day today in the T3 scenarios. Saw such oddities as a Doomfire Crater win with only a Warrior Priest as the sole healer and me ninja-ing a Highpass Cemetary cap while about 10 Destro were chasing a Witch Hunter around. Never mind the bright orange guy carrying a fiery staff. I finally get to rank 25 and get Rain of Fire which is the Bright Wizard equivalent to the Sorcerer's purple puddle. I also finally get Nova in the Incineration tree which will add some more burst damage. The one Tor Anroc I was able to get in before turning in for the night shows some promise with the new abilities I must say. Rank 25 also unlocks the warcamp travel quests so I was sure to complete those for some quick and easy XP. Ended the day CR25 RR18.

Day 11: 1.06 Patch Day. Waited for the servers to come up after work and then spent the next hour or so redoing the mastery points of my Ironbreaker and Bright Wizard. Found out I had to redo my Renown training as well as any tome tactics I had previously learned. Then had to fix and replace all the broken mods brought on by the patch. Biggest hit was DuffTimers and I had to settle for the ugly default ones for now. Everyone and their brother was out in the newbie Empire zone rolling Knights except for me, it seemed. Since I had finished off chapters 10 & 11 in both the Order and High Elf zones, I figured I'd do the same now for the Dwarf zone. The chapter 10 quests had some grey mobs that gave no XP when killed but they were easy to do so I completed them for the completion reward anyways. Moved on to the chapter 11 hub in Badlands and started on those quests. I decided to call it an early night as I was feeling a bit tired. Ended the day CR25 RR18.

Day 12: Mythic claims the new client is supposed to improve stability and reduce lag. I don't know as my experience seems to indicate the opposite. I had to set effects to self only in scenarios where before I was able to run all effects enabled. Even then, the performance of the client was still bad and my performance in the the scenarios suffered as well. Finished up the chapter 11 quests in the Badlands. Destro then locked Reikland and were marching on the Reikwald prime time. This should be an interesting test of the new client's capabilities so I switched over to my Warrior Priest. By the time I got to the fortress, Destro had already broken through the outer walls. Slideshow time...followed by the inevitable client crash; several of them as a matter of fact. I switched over to my Ironbreaker as I figured I'd be a more effective defender now that Destro was pushing into the inner keep. That was when the server decided to get in on the crashing fun and when it came back up, it seemed that Praag had reset. I can only imagine what choice curse words Destro was throwing out there as Order quickly decided to fly out to Praag and grab back the keeps and BO's. Placed 32nd in the first keep siege and 1st in the second and got a massive loot bag for my efforts. So I got my second Annihilator piece (shoulders) for my IB. Now I just need to grind up the renown to wear them. After that, I decided to get back to leveling my BW as it seemed like the open RVR was dying down. Headed back to Averlorn to finish up the chapter 12 quests there. Ended the day CR26 RR18.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

WAR 1.06 Open RVR Changes

They snuck some last-minute additions to the 1.06 patch notes that many might not be aware of. In the Realm vs. Realm section is this bit of welcome news:

Realm vs. Realm

Based on player feedback we have made some additional changes to Tier 4 Victory Point contribution. The following changes will reduce the amount of time necessary to capture a Tier 4 zone as well as place more emphasis on open field RvR:

  • Battlefield Objectives and Keep contributions have been increased.
  • PvE contribution has been decreased.
  • Prior Zone control contribution has been decreased.
  • The amount of Scenario Victory Points to take a zone has been decreased.

This will indeed place more emphasis on open field RvR. Combined with my guild just graduating a batch of 40's, this may lead to less alt leveling time for me and more play with my 40's. I will, of course, keep chronicling my Bright Wizard's progress but the updates may be fewer and far between.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 7-9

Day 7: Having hit the High Elf and Order T2 zones, I wanted to next check out the Dwarven zones. Questing in the Dwarven zones can be tricky for a number of reasons. Unlike the other zones, the chapters can ping-pong between both zones which irritates the completist in me that likes to complete one zone before moving to another so he doesn't ever have to go back to the previous one. For example, Chapters 5 & 6 are set in Marshes of Madness. Chapter 7 has you taking a brief tour of Barak Varr before you come back to Marshes of Madness again for Chapters 8 & 9. Navigation can also be tricky as suspension bridges mean going from point A to point B isn't always as simple as it looks. First thing I did was fly to Barak Varr and start walking south to head towards Marshes of Madness and check out Chapters 5 & 6. I noticed the mobs I would be killing for those quests would be grey to me so I abandoned them to make room in my log except for Eye for an Eye. This one needed me to kill 80 players so I kept that. I figured I would be able to complete that eventually without too much added fuss before I outleveled T2. So I skipped almost all of Dwarf chapter 5 & 6, finished up chapter 7 and made my way down to 8 & 9 in Marshes of Madness. I cleared out chapter 8 and got to the chapter 9 hub; now would be a great time for some Mourkain queueing as the warcamp to turn in both Mourkain quests was right next door. Dinged 20 and couldn't wait to get my mount. Finished Dwarf chapter 9 and since I had cleared all the Order and Dwarf T2 quests, all that was left was the Ellyrion zone. Destro was making a push towards locking Reikland and making a move towards the Reikwald fortress so I hopped on my Warrior Priest to help out on defense. Ended the day CR20 RR14.

Day 8: Finished up the rest of the Ellyrion quests. Noticing that as my gear improves, the chances of blowing myself up improves as well. I'm really not looking forward to going from high man of T2 to low man of the T3 totem pole. But you can't really linger on even if you want to as everything you do in this game gives you XP. Took a break from leveling to engage in some open RVR in Dragonwake with my Warrior Priest. Came back and started on T3 content with Averlorn. This proved a bit of a hassle as I had to go to a T2 zone to queue the T2 scenarios up. Also annoying was Reikland Factory now considered me a T3 player so I was forced to keep that out of the queueing selections for now. It was only appropriate that I leveled to 22 in a Stonetroll Crossing scenario. I just needed less than one percent of my XP bar to level and I wondered if I'd turn into a chicken in the scenario when it happened. To my delight, I didn't chicken out but proceeded to crank up the ownage even more as a 22 in a T2 scenario. What a great way to bid goodbye to that tier. Ended the day CR22 RR15.

Day 9: It seems like Destro just love seeing my low-level butt in their T3 scenarios as my fate is to invariably be one of the first targets to be focus-fired and chased by their bloodthirsty melee. Or it could just be I'm so used to being ignored as a WP and IB in PVP. It's really making me think about respeccing as Incineration doesn't factor in as heavily when I'm forced to move around so much. But the lure of another instant nuke in Nova is just too much for me and I doggedly hang in there for now. Finished off the chapters 10 & 11 quests in Averlorn except for the epic questline of Control. The current quest in this questline has me going into a cave that spawns melee right on top of me and is a bit problematic still at my current level. After a few failed attempts, I decided to start the quests in High pass and come back to finish this when I'm higher level. Participated in a keep defense in Averlorn and noticed that the range on the walls weren't all that great for nuking. I hope I was just doing it wrong as it would be dissapointing if this turned out to really be the case. Ended the day CR24 RR17.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 4-6

Day 4: First order of business was making up a batch of low-level potions for my BW. This entailed converting some vendor level 1 seeds with my cultivating alt then shipping the final product to my apothecary alt who then mailed the pots to my BW. Next on the agenda was the Heavy Metal event where I was able to earn enough influence to finally get the capes for my IB and WP. The rest of the tasks were opened up in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Looking at the remaining tasks, the character who stood the best chance of getting the elite reward with the least amount of fuss looked to be my BW. So I finally hopped on him to continue where I left off which was finishing the last of Chapter 6 quests in The Shadowlands. Queued up for scenarios and got Reikland Factory to pop several times finishing off the tasks in there. Moved up to the Chapter 7 quest hub and grabbed all the quests there, one of which led me the Lair of the Dead, a public quest area. Teamed up with a few folks there and we were able to do all 3 phases during which I finished off the rest of the Heavy Metal tasks (with the exception of the open RVR task) and got enough influence to unlock the elite reward. Ended the day CR15 RR9.

Day 5: Moving day for our guild to Badlands. Huge PITA with the number of auctions I have at any given time. Had to abandon an auction that had a current bid of around 3 gold that wasn't going to expire anytime soon. After transferring I, of course, had to stock the Badlands AH with my transferred wares which took some time. Noticed their AH had a better selection of gear to bid on, most likely due to the higher population. When I finally got on my BW, I decided to head back to the Lair of the Dead PQ in Shadowlands and grind up the elite influence staff reward for chapter 7. Noticed there were quite a number of others there as well and we formed a party to do all 3 phases of the PQ. Queued up for scenarios and noticed the shorter wait time as well as a better variety. It wasn't just Mourkain Temple all the time. I hope this trend continues all the way into T4. The quality of healers seemed to go up a notch as they did an awesome job of keeping this suicidal nut alive. Having healers that actually heal DPS made me look better than I actually am and had a blast tearing through Destro tonight. If you find yourself queuing up for any length of time, grab the quests that send you from one warcamp to another. It can be a quick and easy way to get XP while you wait for your scenario to pop. Ended the day CR16 RR11.

Day 6: Happy Turkey Day. Looking at my mailbox, I notice the higher population not only meant a better stocked AH, but it also meant my auctions were selling faster than on my old server. I might have to adjust my prices accordingly. I had cleared out almost all the quests in The Shadowlands so I decide to head to Ostland next as there was one lone epic quest left from The Shadowlands that led me to this Order zone. Installed a great addon called Keeptracker which lets you keep track of the state of every keep in one glance. Very handy for those who want to know where the possible action is in open RVR. I really, really want to get my horse so I can speed up my travel time so am trying to push to 20 as fast as I can. Scenarios not so productive as last night as Destro seemed to steamroll us in Mourkain so I took a break for food and football. Came back after a nap to finish off the rest of the quests in Ostland save for the later stages of Sanctified Ground. Didn't feel like making the long trip underground with my BW and it seemed as if Order was making a push to lock Praag. I couldn't resist the siren song of open RVR in Praag so I logged on my Warrior Priest. Ended the day CR18 RR12.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

From Point A to Point B

Round 7 of server transfers revealed a surprise for the inhabitants of Averheim as our server was tagged to be a source server. Coming so soon after being a former destination server and the day after Order had made its greatest advance ever, this came as a surprise to many to say the least. But if there's one thing you don't want to do when Mythic comes to your server's doorway and puts its mark on it; you don't want to hang around there for very much longer. Not if you value having a healthy server population around.

So the decision was made as a guild and alliance to pack our bags and try our luck in Badlands. Basically this is a server consolidation without having to turn off the lights on the abandoned servers. It's what we as gamers have been crying for and what Mythic has too much pride to do so early in the game. Here's hoping Averheim hangs on and experiences a rebirth later on down the line when the game gets popular enough to support having so many servers on the list.

For those of us who have had to watch as friends and foes abandoned this game for one reason or another, this is quite the morale booster to be given the opportunity to play with more people.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dear Diary

Prologue: I thought it'd be fun to document the trials and tribulations of my next character to level to 40. While not strictly a leveling guide as that's simply not my style, it's more a diary of sorts. The first tip I can give for anyone stuck at a given quest is to look it up on wardb or even allakhazam. Chances are you can find the answer to your problem in the quest comments section.

Day 1: Started with a level 4 Bright Wizard I had leveled one day to provide a mailbox storage alt. Cleared off all the chapter 1 quests. Thought there were more but probably already did them in the run from 1-4. Got to the chapter 2 town and warcamp. Learned Butchering as my last profession to level to 200 and flew to Altdorf to move stuff from the mailbox to the bank. 157 emails to clear out - wow. Picked up a guild recall scroll - these will be sure to come in handy. Queued up scenarios but only Nordenwatch ever popped. I thought Destro had rolled enough tanks by now but apparently not as there were tons of Black Orcs and Chosen and very few Order tanks to face them. Have to learn to kite and I want my Fire Cage now dammit. Not used to being so squishy in PVE and have already died many more times than with my WP and IP. Ended the day CR7 RR4.

Day 2: The rest of the quests on Order didn't appeal to me. One batch was set in a RvR lake and the rest had me going against some higher level mobs. So I decided a change of scene was in order and I flew to Chrace in the Elven lands. My rule of thumb is when questing starts pitting you against mobs 3 levels or more above you, it's time to go look elsewhere and fatten up on some lower or equal level quests. Then, after you get a few levels, you come back and try them again. One addon that I highly recommend for questing is Moth . This replacement for the default tooltip is superior in every way. The reason I recommend it is that mousing over mobs will reveal if they are needed for any quests in your log or not. Queued up for scenarios and even got Khaine's Embrace and Reikland to pop. One run of the factory was enough to backflag all the tasks needed for the Heavy Metal event on this toon. Loving the change to the Need/Greed in scenarios as I was able to score both an epic robe and a rare staff that would've been harder for me to win in an earlier time. Some lucky finds in the AH were low-level shoulders and a helm. No cape, though. Chrace was a zone I had never hit on my first 2 40's, surprisingly, so the quests were brand-new to me. When I hit 12, I bid goodbye to T1 ownage in Nordenwatch. I had cleaned out Chrace of every quest so I decided to hit Altdorf and do all the quests there. A surprising number could be found that filled my XP bar about 3/4 of the needed amount for the next level. Ended the day CR12 RR9.

Day 3: I continued the High Elf campaign into T2. The Shadowlands was next up and the scenario du jour: Mourkain Temple. I began the day doing the current Heavy Metal task on my WP and IB which had me looking for 15 enemy kills in open RVR. Since Destro can be uncooperative sometimes, it took a little longer to complete than some of the recent tasks. Starting to get the hang of playing a squishy DPS in PVE as my survivability increased. Having Fire Cage helped a lot too. PVP was a different matter, however, as being low man on the T2 totem pole meant there was some pain ahead of me for a while. Ended the day CR14 RR9.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Second 40

Yesterday, I leveled my second character to 40. Comparing the tome screenshots between Thunda and Warrender, it took me less ingame time to reach 40. Not surprising as familiarity with the game system and quests would lead to more efficient soloing. Referencing this post, it looks like it took me about 5 realtime weeks to level Thunda to 40 as opposed to only 4 weeks for Warrender. Again, not surprising either as I wasn't able to devote all my gaming time to just the one character now. Also, there were other gaming distractions vying for my attention during that time.

Next up: A Bright Wizard named Playswyth Matches.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Knight of the Blazing Sun

So Mythic had good news and bad news for me this morning. The bad news was that the servers would be taken down for maintenance thus delaying my Ironbreaker's inevitable march to 40. The good news was that tier 3 templates of the new tank classes were available to play on the test server. This was good news as hardly anyone was going to take the time to level one up that high just to test their level-appropriate abilities. According to the email, these characters would be come with the following:

• Rank 20/Renown Rank 15.
• 20 gold so that players may purchase certain necessities immediately.
• Level appropriate renown gear.

Very nice. I took this opportunity to take some screenshots of the various incarnations of the KoTBS for anyone who might be interested.

Here we see both the level 1 version as well as the endgame version with typical endgame gear. I have to say the endgame version looks quite nice and it really does look like Order finally got a tank that looks the part. The level 20 gear, however, doesn't look like it scaled that well as the theoretical midpoint between noobery and kickassery.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition indeed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Hate Snow

I really do. It's currently snowing very hard where I am right now. Thankfully, it's not sticking to the roads yet but it will be a right mess overnight if this keeps up. I can't wait to get home from work and then it can snow as much as it wants to. As long as the electricity and Internet holds out, I'll be fine for the next few days. I hope to get my Ironbreaker to 40 over the weekend. She's currently sitting at 55% towards level 39 so it shouldn't be any problem getting those 1 1/2 levels done.
I've had some guildies ask me how exactly it is that I'm able to level so fast. I'm thinking of taking notes and doing some kind of leveling guide on here as I get set to level up my next 40. As much as I'm itching to do the Destruction content, I think I'll just round out my holy trinity of Order toons with a Bright Wizard next.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Testing Tanks

Those interested in finding out how the new WAR tanks play won't have to wait until the end of the Heavy Metal event. The new patch is on the test server right now and this includes the 2 new tanks coming out next month. I got an email this morning welcoming me to the exclusive public test and the public test forums. So participation might be limited to those who had previously bothered to copy and log onto the test servers before today.

I only had a little time to level up the 2 new classes to level 2 before work today. I noticed the Black Guard didn't seem to get an Oath-Friend ability at the start like the IB did. And along with the similar strike that improved your toughness, the Black Guard also got a unique strike that reduced the enemy's toughness at level 2. I wish I could comment on the KoTBS but having never played a Chosen, I didn't have anything to compare it to.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Today's daily task for the Heavy Metal event requires that you complete 3 stages of a Public Quest.

It does not specify that it has to all be the same one or that they have to be of your appropriate tier. You can solo an easy phase 1 3 times and it will count. There is a chapter 13 PQ in the Saphery zone that requires you to click on 8 stones to complete. I had a guildmate solo a chapter 1 PQ for his daily task even though he was level 31 and it counted.

Heavy Metal First Impressions

It's your one-way ticket to midnight
Call it Heavy Metal
Higher than high - feeling just right
Call it Heavy Metal
Desperation on a red line
Call it Heavy Metal noise

Yesterday, the second Live Event for WAR hit the servers: dubbed "Heavy Metal" in honor of the two new tank classes set to return next month. It seems like Mythic has learned from their first attempt as the fun factor surrounding this event is much, much higher in my opinion.

For starters, the centerpiece is Reikland Factory. Say what you will about scenarios, but Mythic has designed some incredible examples of PVP instances and Reikland Factory is as good as it gets. The level design is a throwback to the old classic FPS maps featuring a compact zone with a variety of routes from one point to the other. There is even a basement and upstairs area in the factory for z-axis goodness. There are four flags to capture and hold for points. Three outdoor flags that give you more points over time and one indoor flag that gives the most points for the cap but less over time. Grab the outdoor flags as your first priority as the earlier you can get the points ticking for your side, the better off you are. Don't ignore the central indoor flag, however. Just grab it as the opportunity presents itself.

The rewards are of a comparable quality as the first event. You have a trophy as the basic reward, a decorative cape as your intermediate reward, and you unlock the ability to create one of the new tank classes a week before anyone else as the elite reward. What I like this time around is the addition of daily tasks which is the only way to gain influence for this event. Instead of lamely grinding PVE mobs over and over again for the influence like in the last event, you have a number of tasks which adds some needed variety to the mix. The first daily task was simply to participate in the Reikland Factory event and the future ones are still clouded in mystery for now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Random Thoughts

So I didn't let my Eve Online account lapse. I decided to take advantage of the new pilot license thingamabob that CCP put in the last update. Basically, you can take a 60-day code and split it into two 30-day pilot licenses online. These licenses can be listed on the market and traded in the usual manner which addresses two problems at the same time. The lack of payment options aside from 60 day chunks and having to rely on out-of-game resources like forums to buy and sell GTC's. It remains to be seen if I can continue to raise enough isk to continue buying 30-day licenses in the future.

I still have zero interest in WoW.

Mythic seriously needs to revamp their zone control mechanics and hopefully the next iteration won't need a roomful of spreadsheet-toting eggheads to explain. We need more fortress and city sieges and we need them ASAP.

If we are supposed to grind for needed PVP gear in PVE instances, can we make the process a tad less painful then? If not, can we at least make it more fun?

The basic reward for the Heavy Metal event is supposed to be a trophy. It better not be a belt trophy considering I have never been able to get one to correctly display on my 40 WP or my 37 IB. I'm just saying.

Downloaded and installed the 14-day trial for Vanguard after reading Ardwulf's post. I suspect that there's a lot more to this game and probably some of it I would enjoy, but it's just not hooking me in right away.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Game is Afoot

Since my last Sherlockian post about missing T4 scenarios, I logged in yesterday to conclusive evidence supporting my theory. Guild chat was buzzing about how Howling Gorge was popping instead of Serpent's Passage. Howling Gorge? That scenario wasn't even on my list of MIA scenarios. So adding this to the list would make T4 have a total of 13 possible scenarios with maybe some more that have yet to be discovered.

This is what a normal scenario queue looks like in Averheim at any given time. This is what it looked like yesterday. So what changed on our server to disable Thunder Valley and Logrin's Forge and enable Howling Gorge? It seems Order had gotten its act together overnight enough to lock down the Thunder Mountain zone and force Black Crag into contested as seen in this screenshot.

So what was Howling Gorge like? Think Talabec Dam except in a more compressed map and multiple pathways. Order didn't seem to get the hang of the new scenario as quickly as Destro did. They couldn't quite catch on to the fact that you just needed to slow down the bomb carrier for 90 seconds. The bomb will do its job for you, kill him in a spectacular fashion and reset back to the starting position. Oh well, at least it wasn't Serpent's Passage.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Case of the Missing T4 Scenarios

The first time I encountered these scenario quests on my Warrior Priest, I just assumed these were the names of T4 scenarios I just wasn't familiar with yet, especially since all that ever seemed to pop was Serpent's Passage. But now that I've had a chance to play almost all of them except for Dragon's Bane (which never pops on my server), I can truly say that these scenarios are definitely MIA.

Well, it could be these scenarios simply didn't make the cut along with the 4 classes and 4 capital cities. But, no, if that were so I think Mythic would've removed the quests for them as well from the game. No, I think these scenarios are tied to the home zones which in a normal server will be locked down by their respective side. So, in reality, T4 has 12 possible scenarios you could queue for if all the zones were contested.

If this is so, then the city capture mechanics makes these truly wasted content. Since an opposing side has a time limit to flip a home zone or else it reverts back to the control of the defenders, that means you will never see a home zone in a contested state for long. Also, I think the last thing on any attacker or defender's mind if a home zone is being contested would be to queue up for these scenarios.

Again. I'm only speculating but if this is truly the case I can't imagine Mythic would spend all that time developing these scenarios that will never see the light of day on most servers. I would really hope they tie these scenarios to the normal contested zones instead of the normal locked home zones so we can get a chance to play these scenarios.

That is, if anything other than Serpent's Passage would ever pop.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Does Your Enemy Own a Keep?

"If their guild initials are CoW, do not rest until the structure is burned and razed and its grounds salted and mixed with the blood of its defenders."

I'm thinking this was on the loading screen of every T3 capable Destro that loaded into Averheim last Saturday. The day started innocently enough. I had finally cleared out all the T3 quests in my Ironbreaker's quest log and was starting on the T4 zones when a guildie, Werit, complained that there was no oRVR to be found as Order controlled everything in T3. I suggested that we claim a keep to draw Destro out and that Avelorn would be a good one due to its proximity to the Tor Anroc scenario loiterers.

After some false alarms with the requisite Witch Elf ninja, we finally got our wish. Boy, did we ever get our wish! During this first assault, a warband quickly formed and grew and I put away all thoughts of questing. No scummy Destro was going to take over our guild keep on my watch. We joined an alliance during this time and they bolstered our meager numbers. Technical difficulties prevented CoW's from communicating in the new alliance chat but we were able to coordinate just fine in /warband.

The next few hours were amazing in that both sides were pretty evenly matched but that Order had the defensive superiority. The amazing thing was even after this was demonstrated several times with the Destro attacks breaking up and eventually being chased all the way back to their warcamp, this did not seem to faze them one bit. They just reformed and did it again. And again. And again.

So I have to give the Destruction players credit for not taking the easy way out. Yes, you can get easy XP and renown by capping undefended objectives. Yes, scenarios are an even more optimal way to get both. But they simply are not as epic as the battles that raged on as both sides seemed to fight without a seeming care for XP or renown that night. One side wanted the other's turf and the other was determined not to give it up. Simple as that. I'd like to thank all the Order players that showed up especially those from our new alliance. Thanks for having our backs, guys.

And, finally, thanks to the persistant Destro players that showed up. We couldn't have had those epic battles without you. My Ironbreaker will most likely be 32 sometime today and finally out of T3 for good. I couldn't have wished for a better sendoff than this.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

<3 Praag - The Pics

As promised, here are the pics! Enjoy!

<3 Praag

So there I was, yesterday, leveling up my Ironbreaker. Doing the questing thing and occasionally queueing up for scenarios (excuse me, I mean Tor Anroc). Let me tell you, being an Ironbreaker in Tor Anroc is an absolute blast so I don't complain too much if it's the only scenario that keeps popping up.

All this time I've been keeping tabs on the Order chat channel like I usually do. I see someone announce their guild had claimed the southern Praag keep and punch and pie were available to all who come to visit. Most days, I see some talk of action in Praag and I always promise myself to go and investigate it since that has been my favorite T4 RvR lake since the first time I set eyes on it. But, usually I go about my leveling business on my Ironbreaker content on knowing that oRvR exists on my server even if I myself am not a part of it.

But after flying back to Altdorf to empty my bags I see that I just had about an hour left until I should log off. Since I didn't think I'd be able to gain a level in that time, I thought I'd log on my 40 WP and go pay Praag a visit.

I was able to find my way to the southern keep alright but found there was absolutely no Destro around despite what the map icon was telling me. So I get the bright idea to look for any open groups and I find there is almost a full warband in this area. Quickly joining it, I still couldn't tell where everybody was from the map and, being a typical male, didn't want to ask for directions. So I decided to mosey over to the nearest Destro-controlled BO, thinking that's where I'd go if I was them.

Wouldn't you know it I run into a pack of Destro? Being the brave knight that I am, I quickly turn my mount around and hope that they're too busy doing something else to bother going after me. No such luck. A Witch Elf throws one of those annoying daggers and dismounts me so I figure I might as well try and fight back. In back of her, I see a Zealot so I already know how this fight is going to end. After I respawn, I find out the rest of my warband is at the warcamp as well. So it actually worked out for the best that I ran into those goons.

Now it was my turn to be the windshield to the Destro's bugs as the warband went from BO to BO claiming it and annihilating any and all Destro unfortunate enough to get in our way. Eventually we made our way to the northern Praag keep and claimed that as well. I wish there was more actual Destro opposition as what was there barely slowed down the warband juggernaught. But at least I was able to get in on a successful keep siege in the hour I had left to play.

So there is RvR life on some servers, after all. With the news that Averheim is a destination server for the latest free transfers, things can only get better here. I took a few screenshots and I'll see if I have enough quality ones for a photo album later on today.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No Miracles Needed

Mark Jacobs recently posted about the upcoming 1.05 patch:

Folks, Look for my new topic in a few hours. The notes are 17 pages long and still growing. And yes, this is the patch that pretty much everyone has been asking for and talking about here and elsewhere. Brought in from 1.1 to 1.05 as I hoped we could do. There's no such thing as a miracle patch, and WAR certainly doesn't need one, but it certainly is a big patch.


While we wait, I thought I'd speculate on what I'd like to actually see coming in this 1.05 patch. Mark is correct in that WAR doesn't need a miracle patch but there are a few niggling issues that have gone on for quite too long in my opinion.

Belt Trophies - Trophies are a wonderful addition to this game and it's a shame the ones you hang on your belt do not display correctly for one reason or another.

Mastiff's End as Twilight Zone - Whenever I run a character after flying into Altdorf to the nearest inn to check on the auction house, it's a 50/50 chance that he will get there. Sometimes he ends up in the basement. Sometimes, he gets stuck in some twilight zone where only a /stuck command can free him. I know clipping problems are an old issue in MMORPG's but does there have to be such an obvious zone in such a popular Order gathering spot?

Auction House Categories - Please add more in for crafting and for the repairable items.

Warrior Priest Prayer Tooltips - The tooltips for the different Warrior Priest prayers (party buffs) always say the same thing. The icons are correct but the tooltip always defaults to the description for Prayer of Devotion.

Tighter Netcode - It's okay now but we really need these to go up to eleven. So tired of thinking I'm doing my job as a tank and blocking the horrendous Destros from my squishies only to find out, several seconds later, said Destro has warped in back of me doing nasty things to the squishie and I'm standing there with my shield looking stupid.

That's about all I can think of for now. I'll look back on this list after we hear more details about patch 1.05 and see how many of my problems were addressed. How about all of you out there in blogland? Do you have any you would like to see fixed as well?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


“Happiness equals reality minus expectations”
---- Tom Magliozzi

There's a great post here by arbitrary about expectations in WAR. I wanted to post a comment on his blog but selfishly decided it merited its own space on my own.

Whenever I go into a new MMO, I have next to no expectations other than the game works on a basic level the way it's supposed to. Which is why I really haven't been disappointed in any of them with the possible exception of AoC. When I decide it's time to venture on to another MMO, this does not mean the time I spent playing the previous one was a waste or that suddenly the game is going to die a flaming death without my one subscription. I never understood what people thought they were possibly accomplishing with pathos-filled posts about EVERYTHING WRONG ABOUT THIS GAME AND WHAT THE DEVS NEED TO DO NOW IF THEY WANT TO KEEP MY SUBSCRIPTION. The reality is you can't please all of the people all of the time and if it was that simple, every MMO would have a subscription base like WoW. Of course, this would mean every human being on Earth would have to subscribe to an MMO, but logic has no place in diatribes.

For me, I don't try to diagnose why or what it is that makes me feel it's time to move on. Most of the time, it's the lure of new games and new experiences. In Planetside, it was after I spent some time in the City of Heroes Beta. In City of Heroes, it was after I spent some time in the WoW Beta. In WoW, it was after I realized that raiding night after night hoping to get that one drop for my set really wasn't fun any more. In AoC, it was after I realized this game was nowhere near ready for prime time and I was having more fun playing a trial for Eve Online. I'm currently subscribed to both Eve Online and WAR but I'm thinking of letting my Eve subscription lapse. I really don't do much in Eve anymore except log in to change skills and I really can't justify the subscription cost any more. I guess I could just keep it going indefinitely through passive income-generating and GTC's but, really, what's the point unless I plan on returning to play full-time someday?

If there is one thing I do know, it's that I do not want to go back to WoW with WoTLK. Sorry, but I really have done everything there is to do in WoW and the new content promised can't cover up the fact that it really is just the same old thing. There will come a day when I will feel the same about WAR and head for newer pastures (or maybe older ones, who knows?). But, as of right now, there are things to do still and experiences to be had and I'm not quite done with this game just yet. When that day comes, I promise there will be no pathos-filled post from me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Witching Hour Thoughts

Warhammer Online has unveiled what is the first of hopefully many Live Events in the game and it is themed in the spirit of the Halloween season. Called The Witching Hour, this event promises to ignite more open RvR and dispenses some treats to go along with the PvP tricks. I'd like to weigh in with my opinions now that it's been implemented live for a few days now.


I can't help but feel like the implementation of this event was rushed a bit. That's quite understandable given how close it was to WAR's release date. I'm sure there were a lot more important things to hammer out than what the heck they were going to do for Halloween. The first thing is the phase 1 objectives being that you must kill a certain number of the opposing realm in order to get to phase 2 and the boss spawn. Now I'm sure that when this was first drafted, it seemed like a really cool idea and, yes, I agree it is for something like a repeatable quest to get RvR influence. But for something to get holiday fluff? Not so much. Especially something that is going to last 5 days as it is. Not only must you depend on your realm to band together in enough numbers to actually make a serious attempt at the WH PQ but you must also depend on the opposing realm to do the same. And seriously, what is up with the restrictive zones in which to count kills and influence towards the PQ? Especially in T4, it felt a little like having to PvP in a closet.

But even with the negativity, I have seen it being successful in igniting open RvR in areas that are not used to seeing mass PvP in those numbers. So kudos for that, at least. I hope that Mythic sees from this experience what types of virtual carrots are needed to entice people away from scenarios and into the open RvR lakes.


The rewards for this Live Event might have been as rushed as the implementation but you would never know it from the quality. The masks look awesome, especially when you compare them to the masks given out for a similar event in WoW. There are 4 masks in all that you can collect. One is a random drop from Restless Spirits that are found outside the RvR lakes. One is an elite influence reward for capping the Witching Hour chapter influence. One is a gold bag reward for killing the boss spawn in phase 2 of the WH PQ. And the last is a random drop from looting a player's body in normal PvP. The cape and titles are a nice touch as well. In the info page on the official site, they also mention special potions and trinkets but I have yet to come across any of them in game. In total, I think the rewards were just enough for the season and the holiday itself.

For those seeking more information about this Live Event, there's a great post about it here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We are the Champions

I'm not a baseball fan. I know this in my heart. I've fallen asleep through too many Phillies games to think otherwise. I am a Philadelphia Phillies fan. The only World Series they have ever won was back in 1980 when I was still in high school. I was hip-deep in being an artsy proto-geek to care about sports back then. I was dimly aware of this event but hell if I could care less about something that seemed like only the jocks would follow.

In the years since I've developed a fondness for sport and for the Philadelphia teams in particular. In part, this was from growing up in South Jersey where Philly was just a 30 minute drive away. Since I started following the Philly teams, one thing has been a constant: the lack of championships. It didn't matter. Being a Philly fan meant that there was always a next year.

But not this year.

This year we are the champions. This year everybody else has to say there's always next year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good Grief, Sigmar Brown!

In the spirit of the season and to highlight a very funny comic made by one of our very own CoW's, I present to you this.

Also, Mother Nature really wants us Phillies fans to wait just a bit longer it seems. Boo to you, Mother Nature.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Better Living Through Chemistry

Since I had tried out talisman making with my Warrior Priest, I figured I'd see what the other crafting profession was like with my Ironbreaker. I thought the natural gathering profession to pair this with would be cultivation. Much like TM and salvaging, I foresaw cultivation providing the main ingredients for apothecary that I would need to level.

This plan worked all the way up until the level where the level 1 stabilizers failed to ensure even a slight chance of success even using the maximum of 3 per attempt. Obviously, I would need higher level stabilizers if I wanted to level up any further. The problem was, getting a steady supply would be problematic unless you had access to a scavenger or butcher. So whereas fragments were the bottleneck in TM which ensured you needed to also be a salvager to level efficiently, stabilizers were the limiting factor in apothecary. This means you need to either be a scavenger or a butcher as your gathering profession in tandem with the crafting of apothecary. I switched over to scavenging from my relatively high cultivation skill as soon as I figured this out. Luckily, I didn't need to grind in low level areas to start leveling up scavenging. In fact, it seems you can only level it through level-appropriate mobs and the drops improve as your level does and not necessarily have anything to do with mob level.

I have even found that there are apothecary main ingredients that can be scavenged or butchered. So where does this leave the gathering skill of cultivation? Well, all those seeds that find your way into your backpack will still need to be converted into ingredients via this profession. But it's the perfect alt tradeskill in that it isn't really level dependent or require you to do much travelling. Once you get to the chapter 2 town to learn the skill, you can just park by the mailbox and level from 1-200 from seeds sent to you from your other characters. I was not happy with the prospect of going through cultivation 40-50 again but there seemed to be no other choice if I wanted to level apothecary up anytime soon.

The tradeskill shares a similar interface with talisman making in that you get a crafting window where you can plug in the various vials, main ingredients, and additional ingredients you are qualified to use. After finding a mix you are happy with, you hit the brew button and depending on how stable the mix is, you will get a random result as far as potency is concerned. The main ingredients will inform you as to what the potion will untimately be but you can still get random results depending on the additional ingredients you choose to also include in the mix. A skillup is gained if you successfully brew a potion depending on your current apothecary level and the level of the main ingredient.

Is it worth it? Only if you like the idea of always being stocked with every kind of potion you might ever conceivably need. And if you just hate empty bag slots for some reason.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Questing WAR Style

Lately, there's been some discussion regarding questing in WAR. WAR is ultimately a RvR game so it should come as no surprise that the developers have streamlined this process and given us some improvements to the old way of doing things. People like to complain about how WAR questing is just the same old thing rehashed in a new package or that the quest log isn't big enough to hold 3 zones full of content. They blithely ignore stuff like big honking red circles scribbled on the map showing you in no uncertain terms where you should go or a separate bag to hold all your quest items. So I would like to counter by highlighting a couple of the new improvements that I would like to thank Mythic for.

When in Doubt, Right Click the Quest Item

It used to be you would be sent to collect 10 bear paws or whatever it was the NPC had a hankering for. After collecting the required items, you would then have to trek back through the whole zone to hand them in. Whereupon said NPC would then inform you: You know what, I need some bear guts too. Mind going back there and getting me some? As someone who likes to maximize their travel time efficiency, this used to drive me crazy. Mythic has gotten around this by saying what if you just right click on the bear paws and then you would know somehow that you then needed some bear guts as well. It's just crazy enough to actually work. And it does for the most part. Unless you are like me and you ignore the quest items and idly click on them while bored. You then realize there was a quest that needed to be advanced 2 tiers ago. They really need a big icon, maybe one that looks like the right mouse button that says Right Click on the Damn Quest Item Doofus, displayed prominently somewhere in the quest log.

Named Mobs You Need That Spawn and Home in on You

Seriously, how awesome is that? So awesome I can almost forgive Mythic for the reverse mechanic they also perversely included in the game: The named mob that looks identical to the dozens of mobs around it. Almost.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Life After 40

Yes, I'm still playing WAR. No, I haven't been grinding Renown on my Warrior Priest. I figure I'll have plenty of time to do that once the rest of my guild gets into Tier 4. I'm taking this opportunity to roll alt #1. Originally, my plan was to roll a Destruction alt to run through the Destruction content but the lack of tanks in the guild and Order in general made me reconsider. Between the Swordmaster and the Ironbreaker, the IB won out for now with its mechanics and general Dwarven cool factor. But I can see myself rolling a SM alt sometime in the future to explore its own unique gameplay.

The trouble was everyone else was rolling out their own IB alts so mine would be lost in a sea of shorties it seemed. So I decided that just like my old Dwarf Hunter in WoW, mine would be the fabled female Dwarf. So was born Thunda the Ironbreaker. So far I have been enjoying the class. I found that it's more suited to the PVP playstyle I was trying to go for with my Warrior Priest; that of harrier and defender. I find I'm able to live a lot longer and more heals go my way when I'm charging into a mess of enemies. I still find it amazing that tanks actually can make a difference in PVP after my experience in WoW.

I have also decided to remove the need to sign up for an account in order to post comments to this blog. It's one of those things you don't realize until it's pointed out to you since it's an option that's enabled by default and an account is something that I've had since day one of this blog. Since it would be impossible to even start a blog without one on this site, it never occurred to me that there might be others out there who might not want the added hassle of creating one simply to leave me their two cents worth.

A Pocket Guide to Pocket Items

It's come to my attention that there might be some of you out there that are unsure exactly what you're supposed to do with the pocket items you can get in the game. So I've decided to put together a little primer for those who might be unfamiliar with these cool little flavor gadgets.

What exactly is a pocket item? A pocket item is one category of items that can be unlocked by the Tome of Knowledge. Usually it entails killing a special named mob of some kind. Since this notification can be easily missed, a good way to check for any items you are qualified to get is to open up your ToK and click on the Rewards tab on the left side.

Then click on the items submenu to see all the items you have unlocked so far in the game. If you have not yet done so, now is the time for you to make a trip to the Lyceum in the Inevitable City or the Library in Altdorf to purchase the item itself from the appropriate vendor.

After you have bought the item, you will then need to equip it in a pocket item slot. You can only equip two pocket items at a time. I guess Mythic didn't want us to have too many of these overpowered items active at any particular time. You will also need to drag the item to a hotbar slot in order to activate it. Activating it is as simple as left clicking on the hotbar slot button itself.

All pocket items have an emote associated with it that informs you and everyone around you what happens when you activate it. Some of them even have special animations and sounds. Pointless fun and great for any collectors out there.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Life at 40

So yesterday, I was able to log in after work and finally get the 8% I needed to ding 40. I wasn't in much of a rush and actually spent a good hour first wrestling with the mail system and repopulating my auctions. During the course of which I unlocked The Regal title for earning 1000 gold. Sweet.

The nice thing about having a blog is that it records things like actual dates automatically so I don't have to burden myself with trying to remember them. According to this post, it was exactly one month to the day that I started playing my Warrior Priest. One month to level to max isn't too bad and it wasn't like I really rushed either. There were plenty of hours spent just loafing around in Altdorf leveling up my Talisman Making, trying to coax the mail system to deliver my mail, and auctioning all the crap I kept looting off mobs.

Now all that is left is just leveling up my Renown Rank up to 80. The reasons being are the additional renown training and gear available to me. Additional renown training is always nice as the additional stats I can get will come in handy. I'm not quite sold on the renown gear, however. Even the epic and mythic sets don't really excite me. They suffer from too much quantity over quality when it comes to stats. Instead of concentrating on core stats and giving us some meaty values, they insist on giving us a potpourri (Do I really need +bonus to housekeeping?) of every stat under the sun and even some they make up out of the blue and then the values of each stat is anemic because of the fact that we get so many of them.

So I will likely just RvR and scenario for the fun and not for the gear I can get out of it. Which is fine by me but I suspect it won't be for the majority of folks out there. I really hope Mythic takes another look at their endgame renown gear and comes out with some sets I wouldn't be ashamed to be caught dead in.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On the Brink

The Philadelphia Phillies are a team on the brink of accomplishing something they have only done just once before in their long franchise history. After last night's dominating NLCS victory over the LA Dodgers, they need just four more wins to win the World Series and finally lay the ghost of 1993 to rest.

Similarly, I found myself watching that game last night and simultaneously trying to get my Warrior Priest up to rank 40. I couldn't quite make it as I found myself at 92% by the time the game had ended. In my younger years, I probably would've pushed on as I probably could've dinged 40 with an hour or two more of play, but old age and the pragmatism it brings reminded me that tomorrow was another day. Besides, I was tired as heck and had to get up for work the next day. I figured I could relish the moment as much then as as I could now.

I probably would've been able to ding 40 yesterday if circumstances and server patches didn't conspire to cut into my available playing time. While waiting on the servers to come back up, I was finally able to log into Eve for more than just a skill change. With the Haiduken war over, it was now safe to pop over to Jita and buy the new ships I had qualified myself for while playing WAR. I bought the Hurricane and fitted it for salvaging but decided not to get the Retriever. While playing with possible setups in EFT in order to decide on what equipment to buy for it, I realized my current mining Rokh had a much higher output if I could just live with the faster cycle times of the Mining Laser II vs. Strip Miner. So I decided to take Fholcan's advice and hold out for the Hulk instead. I'll queue up the training for that ship as soon as I'm done training up for the Cheetah.

I was also able to check out a rather interesting game that I first heard about over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun called World of Goo. It's put out by an independent publisher, 2D Boy, and you can find a link to the demo at their site. It's Lemmings for the 21st century as imagined by Tim Burton. The game even comes with Danny Elfman-inspired musical overtones. I highly recommend it and bought it on Steam immediately after trying out the demo. You can't go wrong with subsidizing quality independent game publishers for only $19.99.