Monday, November 24, 2008

War goes on (Heavy Metal Step 6)

Last night and today there was plenty of RvR action in WAR. It is a credit to Mythic that some of their work has paid off, finally. The Heavy Metal Step 6 was to kill 15 players in RvR, so players took advantage of it.

I was in a full warband (24 players) last night in one of the best keep sieges I have ever participated in. Order held a keep in Avelorn that was being attacked by Destro, so I joined the warband.

At first, I attacked from behind and made some dents in the siege, but I died repeatedly, then sneaked into the fortress area to help the defense. The door to the outer wall soon fell, then Destro started on the inner door. As the inner door crumbled, we stood on the top of the stairs to the second floor, with me and the rest of the tanks blocking in front. I found using the Swordmaster skill "Hold the Line" handy for blocking, along with the morale blocking skills. We held Destro off until the inner door repaired itself, essentially trapping them inside. A great strategy, because as they died inside, they could not return to their posts. Most of the tanks were gone when we scattered the remainder on the first floor, then chased the rest back to their camp.

Our victory was short lived, as it must be in a video game, because they started pushing us back. I took a break for a few hours, and when I returned they were still at it! So I joined again. This time we were able to block them in the narrow passage of the outer doorway, and routed them back outside.

The narrow passages are definitely Thermopoli all over again. All in good fun on both sides.

Heavy Metal Step 5

Step 5 was to go to a Capital City. Not very challenging or interesting. I tried to catch up my T2 Shadow Warrior, but I was unable to complete three stages of a PQ because of a lack of players to do PQs. That was disappointing.

LOTR maybe?

The Ancient Gaming Noob mentioned the MMO Report on LOTR: Mines of Moria, so I took a look at this G4 video. The expansion for LOTR does introduce some interesting possibilities, so I may look into them. The new classes, the Rune-Keeper and Warden look like very good characters. The Rune-Keeper is a caster class that combines healing and damage methods, and the Warden is a melee damage-dealer with a combo system.

I did a trial version of LOTR a long time ago, but I was not very impressed with it. The problem was partly that I do not understand the lore well. In fact, I don't care to follow the lore too closely. I tried reading the Hobbit in the 1960s and did not care for the book. The movie series is very excellent, but wading through the books does not appeal to me. Hobbits and Dwarves are not my favorite character types. I do like the Elves and Humans.

In the trial, I started an Elf hunter, but I died doing some quests and ended up in a city with grumpy Dwarves, so I was very unhappy. But another player explained that it is part of the lore. The Elves lose their home and dwell with the Dwarves for a time. I don't remember that being explained, so I guess you just have to fill in the blanks. Shrug.

The crafting is better developed in LOTR than in WAR. The WAR crafting system is terrible. There are only 2 crafts, and they don't really help the characters that much. One can make potions. The other can make armor and weapon enhancements called talismans. In LOTR, there are several crafting options. I was reading that minstrels are a big hit, with players making up songs and playing them.

I was reading that LOTR has an option where players can assume the roles of monsters. I hadn't heard of that before. Apparently, players can battle one another in arenas that way.

LOTR does sound interesting, and may be worth a try sometime.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Heavy Metal Step 4

I did Step 4 in the Heavy Metal event in WAR. It was to find the sand castle in the factory scenario. I tried to find it on my own, but I could not the first time, so a guildie pointed out where it was. It is easy to find. Often I get frustrated with games that do not have any hints as to where something is, but I am trying to get used to it. I guess the first person to find it has to tell others until everyone knows where it is. No spoilers here, so ask someone.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Aureus Knights guild moves

A while back, Aureus Knights moved to Red Eye Mountain server in WAR. The logistics of that move were handled very well by the leadership. I have to commend their ability to keep track of about 200 members and make the transition to a new server so smooth. And REM seems to be a good server, with several guilds I recognize by name, such as Grudge Guild. The leadership negotiated with the other guilds to see where they were moving and made the decision with our alliance in mind. Overall, very well done.

Some of my characters changed their names as a result, and I have updated my character list here. I guilded my Shadow Warrior because I found that character to be very interesting. I still like my Warrior Priest and Witch Hunter, though.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Heavy Metal Step 3

The Heavy Metal event in WAR goes on. I did 3 of the daily quests so far. The last one was a quest within the Reikland Factory scenario. Apparently, the quest was put there for this event only, and will be removed after the event is over. Each daily quest is not revealed until the day you can do it, making it a bit exciting and challenging. No one is supposed to have foreknowledge of the daily quest, so everyone starts on the same footing. And you can do past quests at any time. A player could conceivably do all the quests on the last day of the event.

Mythic also announced that the series of dailies for the holidays will be announced at once, so everyone can spend time with their families and not be under pressure to do a quest every day. It is probably because they want their own employees to get their holidays off. Nonetheless, it is a nice gesture.

An odd thing happened while I was doing the daily quest in the factory. My character completely disappeared! That was very disconcerting, and an odd bug to happen. I have never seen (or not seen) that before. I saw experience and damage coming off my addon, but there was no character to be seen. I played a bit, wondering if my friends and enemies could see me at all. It would be great if my enemies did not see me coming. Thankfully, my character reappeared after the scenario was over.

Dracon Verilas is born

I created a new character in Guild Wars called Dracon Verilas, a Mesmer, in an attempt to get the Defender of Ascalon and Legendary Defender of Ascalon titles. This is a rather long-term project, especially because I will be playing other games, like WAR, at the same time. So far, the character is doing well. I got my baby Mesmer up to level 3, using experience mostly from killing monsters. I did a few quests, like the Gwen's flute quest and the early Mesmer skills quests. I think those are still legal, although doing too many quests may prevent the character from reaching the proper level.Dracon Verilas I have figured out that if you do too many quests, then by the time you reach the level limit on gaining experience from monsters, you will not gain enough experience to level. There is a limit on the monster levels that are found Pre-Searing, and you can't gain experience from monsters that are 5 or more levels below you. The idea is to get to the max level from killing monsters, around 14, then gain a level or two to 16 by doing quests. Then you get the Defender of Ascalon title. If you want Legendary Defender, then you have to level monsters by multiple suicides. That is something I didn't even know was possible. Monsters actually gain levels by characters dying. It makes sense in some weird way, but I trust most players don't know that. The technique is to lure one or more monsters to a resurrection shrine, then stand there and let them kill you, and when they level two or three times, you kill them for experience. It is a tough way to get experience, I have to admit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guild Wars title

I looked up an interesting title, Defender of Ascalon or Legendary Defender of Ascalon, on GuildWiki. That article describes the rather complicated way to get to level 20 in Pre-Searing in the original Prophecies campaign. That may be worth a try. I have to delete a character to try it because all 9 of my character slots are full, and you need a level 1 to attempt it. This quest is for experienced players only. Do not try this if you are a noob!

Warhammer patch 1.05

After writing that pessimistic post below, I was thinking that the Heavy Metal event is starting for Warhammer Online, so I got on last night to check it out. I really was curious to see if the first quest for the event was either too hard or too easy, and to see if I really can complete the series to get a week's preview of the new character Knight of the Blazing Sun. I do want to try that character because I enjoy playing tanks, and the KBS promises to be the uber tank of Order, maybe.

I was not disappointed, I must say, because the first quest for Heavy Metal was easy, but not too easy. All I had to do is participate in the new scenario, the Reikland Factory. I didn't have to win it, just participate. The Factory is a good scenario because it is similar to Nordenwatch, but it has one more capture point, for a total of four. Order won the scenario I was in, so I was satisfied and happy. I am just afraid that the scenario is going to be the one everyone plays over and over until boredom takes over.

It is important to note that Mythic is trying to encourage more play in the RvR lakes, so they are giving more reputation and experience for capturing Battle Objectives and Keeps, as well as player kills. And they are giving less experience and rep for scenarios. I am not sure that will have the intended effect, but it may work. The effect may be that players will crowd the RvR lakes and it will become boring after a while.

I also ran around dabbling in various quests after doing that one scenario. I met up with a few others who were doing a Public Quest. That was fun because I have been bored with the scenarios and was complaining that there were not enough PQs going on. The exp for PQs may have been increased also, but I am not sure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No more Scenarios!

I have been bored with Warhammer of late. I was getting tired of the Scenario play. I think in each tier there is one Scenario that players do, and rarely any others. Playing Tier 1 involves playing Nordenwatch over and over and over, for instance. In Tier 3, it is Tor Anroc, with its delightful lava kills! You throw someone into the lava and they disintigrate themselves. It is fun, but after the 10th time of throwing someone in the lava, it gets a little tiring.

Today, I was reading some of the articles on, like this one. It points out the things that Mythic has to do to improve the game. I agree with a lot of what he is saying.

The RvR does not exist for the most part. The questing is silly and boring. Questing is either too easy or too hard, depending on what monsters you meet. No one is doing Public Quests at all. So I am left doing Scenarios over and over. And I can't do Scenarios on a low-population server because there are not enough players to do them. When the server is at medium population, there is a chance of doing it. Most servers I see are not at high population at all any more.

Then there is the Altdorf problem. I might as well call it that. Whenever I visit Altdorf (the big Order city), I get a "memory leak." I am not sure that it is a "memory leak" because I am not a techie, but that is what I call it. My computer's RAM fills up to 99%, and it starts hitching and the frame rate goes to anywhere from 0 fps to 3 fps. Then it freezes and gets stuck at 0 fps. The only way out of the problem is to force quit Warhammer, which takes about 10 minutes because of the full memory. Then I have to restart the computer to clear the memory, because naturally a force quit does not clear the memory. I need a "clear memory" button or something.

In the old days, I used to get a CTD (crash to desktop) whenever visiting the big city. But Mythic fixed that. Woopie! Now I get a frozen computer! Big improvement! Ah, I wish for the old days now. Much easier to recover from a CTD than a "memory leak."

The solution, oddly enough, is to transport myself using the guild recall scroll, then buy my PvP gear and not use the trainers outside the guild inn area, but transport myself out using my tome of recall and find trainers elsewhere. I can usually use the bank and renown trainers with no problem. The problem is mostly with walking or riding to the career trainers. But do I always remember to do all that? No.

Anyway, Mythic has got to do population rebalancing on a huge scale because too many players are leaving Warhammer to play other games, and I am afraid not enough are going to come back soon. I have to commend Mythic for trying to make a game that would actually have a chance against WoW. But I am afraid I may have to go back to WoW and reorder Wrath of the Lich King, possibly when the price goes down.

I have been playing Guild Wars in the meantime. I am surprised at how smoothly that game plays. And I do wonder why I ever left that game. But that game is mostly just doing idiotic quests for titles and glitz that has no strategy. The strategy is taken out of that game by having only 8 skills to use at once. The only strategy is what 8 skills you use in your build, and how they can be used to defeat players or monsters. And what heroes (NPCs) do you use to play the game. There are only a few areas that are done without heroes. I fail to see why guilds are necessary in that game because most players just solo with heroes. So I may get Eye of the North (EotN or GWEN) before WotLK. EotN is now cheaper.

I dropped out of the Westmarch Brigade in GW. I have received some obnoxious tells about joining guilds because I am guildless, but I have not replied to them. The tells were all in the PvP areas, oddly enough, not in any PvE areas. In the PvE areas, players just send obnoxious spam to join this or that guild or alliance all the time. I am thinking of starting my own guild so all my characters can be in a guild by themselves, but I don't think you can start a guild by yourself.

I also disbanded the Holy Knights of Westmarch guild on Xfire. No one cares about that. It was just something I created.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Name change again

I changed the name of my blog again. I think I am giving personal impressions of gaming, rather than doing a diatribe on various builds or character classes. I have yet to understand how to focus this blog, but maybe I will understand that some day.

Rethinking the Swordmaster

I have been revising my way of building a Swordmaster, which is still a viable tanking character. I was trying for a damage-dealing character in my previous post. Then I revised that to more of a balanced build, emphasizing both Strength for offense and Toughness for defense.

Now I have further revised my thinking into a very defensive build, emphasizing Toughness, which mitigates against melee damage, and Initiative, which reduces the chance of being hit by critical damage. I am not sure whether Initiative only affects melee damage or spell and ranged damage as well. My inkling is that it is against melee damage only, but I am frankly not sure.

An obvious weakness is against ranged and spell damage, but that is generally true of all tank classes.

I am also thinking that Warhammer is unlike other games (WoW in particular), where a tanking class can switch to melee DPS by using a 2-hand weapon. The Swordmaster is best suited to sword and board, adding the extra blocking, and using the protection tree in the build. The problem with using the Greatsword (2-hander) is that I was dying too often. With the protection build, I am not dying as often in RvR. The problem was not as bad in Tier 2, but when I reached Tier 3, the problem became very obvious, expecially as I was pitted against higher-level characters.

Population balancing again

Mythic is offering transfers from low-population servers to higher-population servers to correct imbalances in populations. My feeling is that these transfers are for the purpose of eventually closing or ignoring those low-population servers because the list of low-population servers is rather long, and the list of high-population servers is very short. It is obvious that Mythic is anticipating that the population in general will fall off, or is falling off after the first month of gameplay.

I transferred Dracon, renamed Draconiantus, to Magnus and Erroleorl, renamed Erolleor, to Gorfang from Tor Achere. I am disappointed because Tor Achere was my first server, and the one I was first offered when starting the game. I think there was a mass exodus from Tor Achere that started soon after the game was released. I saw posts in forums saying that guilds were leaving to start new characters elsewhere. Some of the posts blamed "bugs" in the RvR scenario queues, even though there were none. The scenarios didn't come up because there weren't enough players, that's all. It is hard to understand why it happened. But it really doesn't matter. I have plenty of other characters.