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.