Launch server lists are up!

Posted in General with tags , on September 11, 2008 by Ullric

If you want to see which servers are going to be there for the live game headstart, head on over to the herald and take a look! Apparently, we are getting 4 server types: Core, Open RVR, RP, and Rp/Open RVR.

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My one and only balance concern: Tanks.

Posted in General with tags , , , , on September 11, 2008 by Ullric

Most of you know by now that two tanks were cut from release, The Knight of the Burning Sun(Empire) and the Blackguard(Dark Elf). While this change does not affect Destruction balance because they have two very cool tanks in the Chosen and Black Orc, Order definately gets the shaft.

While the Ironbreaker and Swordmaster are both very viable, useful, and downright fun classes to play, they just lack a certain coolness about them that is hurting Order. I’ve played countless scenarios in every pairing, and while a few of them contained a fair number of Order tanks, most of the time Order had at most 1. This has led to Order losing almost every scenario i’ve been a part of. The scenarios Order won all had one thing in common: at least 2-3 ironbreakers or swordmasters were present.

Most of you will say that my opinion on the coolness factor of the Ironbreaker and Swordmaster isn’t necessarily held by most people, but from what I’ve observed so far, I’m not far off the truth. This is certainly concerning, at least until KOTBS is put back into the game. MMO players want a large, plate wearing, shield bearing monster and Dwarfs and Elves do not satisfy this.

Mythic is I’m sure aware of this, so I’m just basically pointing out this fact to all of the Order guilds out there. Definately make sure at least some of your players are going IB/SM so that your keep sieges and scenarios don’t end in frustration.

Massively’s World of Warcraft player’s guide to Warhammer: For those of you waffling between the two.

Posted in General with tags , , , , on September 10, 2008 by Ullric

Massively has written a very excellent article basically comparing World of Warcraft to Warhammer and judging by the tone of the article, Warhammer comes off looking great. I definitely agree with most of what they said about the two games and the similarities they share. I also feel that they were right to spend the most time on PVP and point out the fact that this is Warhammer’s big advantage over WoW.

Definately head on over to Massively and check this article out.

The War Reporter: Interview with Snafzg of The Greenskin

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on September 9, 2008 by Ullric

    Recently i sat down with Snafzg of The Greenskin to get his take on a few of the PVP issues facing Warhammer players as they prepare for the launch of the game.

Ullric: Ok Snafzg, the big question right off the bat. I would like your thoughts on the Open RVR ruleset.

Snafzg: I’m quite torn on Open-RvR right now to be honest. I sway back and forth daily! I like the concept of being able to kill people anywhere, anytime but Mythic hasn’t been very forthcoming with the specific details of how they plan to deal with the all the potential issues people are bringing up (and there are quite a few). I can’t get into any specific details around this due to the NDA, but I’m starting to fall into the camp of those who believe the game was designed for the Core ruleset and the Open-RvR concept was an afterthought.I think we have so much fun because we’re so easily amused. My niece could be entertained by an empty water bottle for hours when she was an infant. Give us a snotling to kick around and we’ll remain happily occupied just the same.

Time will tell I though! I only have a few more days to decide.

Ullric: Do you agree that people should be chickened in lower tier zones if they are higher level? Basically, what is your stance on ganking “lowbies?”

Snafzg: I would say that I don’t think people should be chickenized when entering lower level zones except for one huge reason: keeps. If highbies weren’t chickenized for entering lowbize zones, they’ll end up dominating the lower tiered keeps and battlefield objectives. Can you imagine trying to take a T2 keep as a bunch of 12-21 people with only a few level 40s defending it? You’d have no chance. Levels in WAR make a huge difference and for a game that is designed around zone control for the purpose of unlocking cities for siege, highbies overtaking lowbie RvR lakes will make open-world RvR meaningless unless you’re at max rank to feel competitive. It will basically mean the only place you can find remotely balanced RvR will be scenarios… and that will turn the game into WoW.
 
Ullric: Do you feel that Warhammer has captured what PVPERS really want in a game?

Snafzg: Well, you’ll never please everyone but I think the average PvPer will have a great time in WAR. You can find arena/battleground-style matches in the form of scenarios if you queue up with friends or guildmates. You can compete in meaningful open-world RvR. Your guild can actually claim things and you can boost your ego by gaining notoriety as dominant forces in PvP (statues in cities and competing against other guild groups). Everyone who loved DAOC should be an instant fan of this game.

The only type of PvPer who may not like WAR is the soloer. You might find the odd 1v1, but because of the lengthy time-to-kill (some fights are upward of 90 seconds) theres a good chance someone will spoil your fun. If you’re a soloer, I suggest playing a Witch Elf/Witch Hunter with their semi-stealth and rolling on an Open-RvR server so you can seek out 1v1 fights in enemy PvE zones (hump major travel routes and quest spots).
 
Ullric: I know most of us want to feel part of epic battles, do you see that happening on a regular basis in Warhammer?

Snafzg: If you consider zerg vs. zerg to be epic, you’ll find no shortage of epic battles in WAR. If you consider 6-20 man guild groups/warbands vs. other 6-20 man guild groups/warbands to be epic, you’ll find no shortage of epic battles in WAR. If you consider 12-18 vs. 12-18 goal-oriented RvR scenarios to be epic… You get the idea.
 
Ullric: Do you believe that Mythic should open scenarios such as Khaine’s Embrace to ALL levels? Why or why not.

Snafzg: I see pros and cons. The biggest pro is that you can always experience your favorite scenarios even if you outlevel them. The biggest con is that the queues will take much longer to pop if the scenario-hungry population is spread out over more scenarios. Also, I think the scenarios will lose their exclusivity and it would stymie alt creation if you could always play your favorite T1 scenario at rank 40. I guess my answer would be no.
 
Ullric: Should combat be slow and very tactical like it feels now, or fast paced and almost fps-like? Strategy vs. twitch and your thoughts on the matter.

Snafzg: Sometimes, I feel like the 1v1 battles are too slow because people tend to ruin the fun by adding, but overall I’m a fan of the increased TTK (time to kill). There are several other MMORPGs or FPS games you can play if you’re looking for fast-paced PvP. Let WAR stand out from the crowd imho. It’s also worth mentioning that you can still bring in a bit of twitch play by using the environment to your advantage and remaining mobile while attacking.
 
Ullric: Ultimately, how do you see Warhammer succeeding as a game catered toward pvpers.

Snafzg: I think the PvP in many other games lacks purpose. RvR in WAR is more than just PvP. In WAR RvR, even the PvE plays a big part.  It’s the sum of everything your realm does vs. the sum of everything else your enemy does. The hardcore PvPers in WAR will be able to play alongside the PvEers without looking down their noses at each other because they’re both working toward the same ultimate goal and neither can accomplish it by themselves.

In terms of PvP combat mechanics, I think people will find many similarities and differences between WAR and other MMORPGs of the genre. For me personally, I think they kept all the good parts and got rid of all the bad ones. Also, the  PvP in WAR isn’t only about killing enemies. It’s also about capturing their control points, taking and claiming their keeps, and eventually sacking their city. What’s not to like about that? I call it PvP with depth.
 
Ullric: Mythic says that population imbalances will not be an issue. Can you give me your reasons why you agree or disagree?

Snafzg: If their realm queues work as intended, population imbalance won’t affect the gameplay much, however, it will affect how many people can actually get in to play the game. Do you want to be on the more popular side and sit in a queue for 5, 10, or 20 minutes? Realm caps are a way to deal with imbalance issues but they don’t resolve the issue. For that, Mythic needs to market the heck out of whichever side needs a population boost.

This can’t be done before launch because you never really know how the numbers will play out, however, once the dust settles after launch, they need to figure out which realm needs a boost and promote it like crazy.
 
Ullric: Some community members are worried that balance issues will affect the game negatively. Do you believe the game will have balance issues? If so, which archetypes will offer the most problems.

Snafzg: Theoretically, career balance in the game should level out if everyone mixes the way Mythic is hoping they will. By that I mean, allied melee DPS should run to both the Greenskin and Dwarf starting areas to provide that missing archetype. Surplus tanks should also run to the Dark Elf and Empire lands to lend a hand.

I find it really hard to call out individual career balance issues in beta because things are constantly shifting. I guess all I can say is this: take a smart tank and a smart healer and send them at a group of somewhat decent, but not as skilled player enemies and watch how long they stay alive. I’ve seen a Runepriest and Ironbreaker take on tons of enemies without ever worrying about getting killed. The IB will rush in and gain the aggro of several enemies and if the Runepriest is unaccosted, the IB will stay alive forever. No joke. I think this is an archetype issue, so I guess it would be the same for any of the healers and tanks who partner up. If the enemy was smart, they would CC the tank (root, snare, knockdown, knockback, etc.) and focus fire the healer. Even if that happens, a good healer will prove to be quite durable as well.
 
Ullric: Whew, almost done Snafzg. One more question, and it’s a big one. Do greenskins get to have all the fun?

Snafzg: I think we have so much fun because we’re so easily amused. My niece could be entertained by an empty water bottle for hours when she was an infant. Give us a snotling to kick around and we’ll remain happily occupied just the same.

When I started my blog, it was one of the very first and I really did feel like I was having all the fun. Now that the game is so close to launch, new blogs are sprouting up like watered seeds in a cultivator’s pot, so I’m happy to see that fun being shared with a wider audience. The community is growing daily and it’s nice to see all the new excitement they’re bringing with them.

Ullric: Well thank you Snafzg for your time and I hope we get this opportunity again some day.

Apparently Mark Jacobs agrees with me on the GOA situation.

Posted in General with tags , , , , on September 8, 2008 by Ullric

Here are a few excerpts from Mr. Jacobs’ blog about IainC from GOA: “I have read IainC’s post on the situation and I have just communicated to GOA my thoughts on it.  I’ll simply say this, I do not agree with what he said, I do not support what he said and his comments were, in my opinion, way out of line.”

Mark, I’m totally with you on the fact that a customer service rep should never, ever, no matter what the situation, call out a customer on any wrongdoing. That stuff can be taken care of through a different avenue, like forum mods. What IanC wrote was unprofessional in the highest sense of the meaning. His post has basically taken what was a crappy situation and turned into the biggest flame post I’ve ever witnessed in all of my time on any forum in history.

Now I’m not defending any of the death threats, racial epithets, or downright mean posts; but there are just better ways to take care of forum trolls.

In case you were wondering, here is a link to IainC’s post in its entirety.

GOA: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Posted in General with tags , , , , on September 8, 2008 by Ullric

Well, I could pretty much see this coming from a mile away. Never expect something to work when 200,000+ people are trying their hardest to use it. GOA dropped the ball pretty far considering their European fanbase predicted this exact situation for weeks and GOA did nothing about it.

Their arrogance over the situation is what is causing all the anger and frustration. Saying that you “know that your servers can handle this” and that”open beta is our game launch day so we are going to make sure everything turns out great” then not delivering is a bigtime customer service fiasko.

Some of the posts on the Warhammer Alliance forums were quite in the heat of the moment, and not a lot of human beings are rational under such situations. That’s the reason some states have crimes of passion laws. MMO gamers are a different breed. We put our hearts and souls into the games we play, and its at least forseeable that some people could react very negatively to such utter arrogance on the part of GOA.

And then things took on a whole other level of incompetence from the cms at GOA: ” A lot of what was said yesterday here and on other forums was entirely out of line. Of course you were disappointed and criticism is certainly warranted but frankly many of the posts made about the situation were borderline sociopathic. If having delayed access to a beta test really drives you to such depths of anger and fury that you felt compelled to make the death threats, racial slurs and other deeply unpleasant posts then – and there is no polite way to put this – there is something wrong with you.”

I’m sorry, but no matter what a PAYING CUSTOMER says on a forum, you do not call them out for it. GOA, you are not going to win in this matter. Just shut up, and do your jobs. I really feel for my European Warhammer buddies that are going to have to put up with this over the course of the entire lifespan of Warhammer. It’s almost as if Warhammer – NA and Warhammer – EU are different games.

Mythic may need to seriously rethink their relationship with GOA going forward. If blizzard can self publish in Europe, why can’t (EA)Mythic?

The WAR resource system.

Posted in General with tags , , , , on September 5, 2008 by Ullric

Warhammer’s resource system is by far one of the biggest changes that I will experience coming from WOW. Mana in that game, and to a larger extent in most games is a non-renewable resource as far as combat is concerned. Action points on the other hand are like the hydrogen fuel cell of MMOs.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say many people will be shocked at how fun combat can be when you are not worried about running out of something. Combat in Warhammer just makes me feel powerful no matter what class I am playing.

As far as pvp is concerned, this could lead to very entertaining protracted keep sieges because none of the healers are going to be running out of a finite resource. It’s going to take skill and forethought to dislodge a realm from a keep, and I for one am looking forward to tackling this.

Anyone feel different? I would love your comments.