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wcpi #8 (omg we missed it again)

April 17, 2009
tags:

Wow, we’ve gotten bad at this. Real life sucks almost as much as my saving throw for being an airhead randomly.

So, huzzah, I found something which has probably been promoted already… but needs it again. Why? This is epic as hell. It’s also amazingly long, which gives it some extra bonus marks of approval. Way to go Gaarawarr and company. I’m not even going to talk about it. Go read it and be amazed. This is what having fun is all about.

pancakez

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scenarios a la carte

April 16, 2009

It’s been months since I reviewed T1 and T2 scenarios. In fact, that was one of the first posts on our blog! My how we’ve come along. Or, you know, not so much… It’s finally time though: T3 scenario reviews. That’s right, tier 3, land of Lava Golf. Like my other reviews the scores here are not cumulative, but the individual scores do have weight. Here’s an overview of the scoring system:

Strategy: This is the amount of coordination is required. A 0 means the scenario requires no strategy outside of PVP talent. A 10 means that heavy group micromanagement must be performed across the map and coordinated well to see success.

Fun: This is simply how enjoyable I find the scenario. How often do you look up at the time remaining, or score and sigh. How often do you find yourself, or your team waiting around. This is a simple 0-10, with 0 being a dentist visit without Novocaine and a 10 being a swimming pool full of chocolate and marshmallows with life guards from Baywatch.

Time: This score is the relation between the time the scenario takes and the rewards it yields. Scenarios that rarely finish before the fifteen minute time-up get much lower scores because the victory condition reward is rarely gained. Very fast scenarios score much higher. This score is very dependent on the timer which is forced on scenarios — something I find much too short for most maps, many of which would be better suited to half-hour timers.

First a quick update on T1 and T2 reviews post-1.2:

Tier 1-
Nordenwatch (unchanged)
Strategy- 6
Fun- 7
Time- 7
Overall: 8 ½

Gates of Ekrund
Strategy- 0 (was 1)
Fun- 5 (was 7)
Time- 10 (was 8 )
Overall: 6 (was 7 ½ – introduction of Slayer and Choppa has brought this down a peg due to AOE spam.)

Khaine’s Embrace (unchanged)
Strategy- 9
Fun- 6
Time- 1
Overall- 4

Tier 2-

Stonetroll Crossing (unchanged)
Strategy- 4
Fun- 3
Time- 2
Overall- 3

Phoenix Gate (unchanged)
Strategy- 8
Fun- 8
Time- 3
Overall- 5

Mourkain Temple
Strategy- 0
Fun- 6 (was 9)
Time- 10
Overall- 5 (was 9 – AOE spam has ruined the fun here despite speeding up the games even more)

Now on to T3! There was much blood lost and/or burned on both sides to bring you these reviews. Lots of blood.

Tier 3-

Black Fire Basin

Black Fire Basin is a capture-the-flag scenario. The map’s center is a large frozen lake, which is cropped by two valleys. This gives three routes for players to take when attacking the opponents flag spawn, or running the flag back. The center is very wide and open, but the flag spawns and side valleys are cramped. Each base is also guarded by a gate with a wall that defenders can stand on. Most matches consist of turtling due to the massive size and reliable defenses. Like Phoenix Gate before it the scoring system is heavily lacking, which makes the scenario difficult to win.

Strategy- 7
Fun- 3
Time – 1

Overall: I want to love Black Fire Basin, but it has too many faults. The scoring system is abysmal and the map layout spreads out combat much too far for 12v12 to handle. This scenario should be 18v18, or greatly reduced in size. Long matches with low renown turn this diamond in the rough into a jagged and worthless rock. I give Black Fire Basin a painful four out of ten.

Doomfist Crater

Doomfist Crater is a combination murder ball and king-of-the-hill scenario. Combat takes place primarily on tight platforms that force players into one another. Games are fast and bloody and the small size can lead to camping, but smart teams will break the mold using the multiple attack directions to get back into the game. Sadly because of the many line-of-sight issues and the cramped quarters this scenario is dominated by AOE, much like Mourkain Temple before it. This map is also symmetrical, offering no advantage to either side.

Strategy- 5
Fun- 7
Time- 9

Overall: Doomfist Crater is an acquired taste – if you have a lot of AOE, you acquire it. Everyone else will find this scenario painful, but quick. When I gave Mourkain a nine out of ten AOE was not as out of hand as it is now, a score it would not warrant post-1.2. Were this not the case, Doomfist would also gain a nine. However, as we live in a post-1.2 world, Doomfist Crater is AOE’d down to a six out of ten.

High Pass Cemetery

High Pass Cemetery uses a double king-of-the-hill mechanic, but unlike Khaine’s Embrace there is no fiery death explosion. The map is small and open, but presents a lot of angles to hide behind. Unlike previous failures Mythic has stepped up here and most matches do end before time-up. Much of this is due to the simple map lay out facilitating a deathmatch style of game play. This is another symmetrical map.

Strategy- 7
Fun- 8
Time- 7

Overall: High Pass Cemetery does have some time-up games, but they aren’t frequent. The map encourages PVP and both sides have equal opportunity at each capture point leading to fewer turtle games than in many other scenarios. It may not be perfect, but High Pass Cemetery gets a solid eight out of ten.

Lost Temple of Isha

Lost Temple of Isha is another king-of-the-hill/murder ball game. It’s almost Doomfist Crater in reverse. Instead of taking place on platforms, the main combat in Lost Temple is either in the open field in front of the capture point, or in the ancient walled temple. Again this allows heavy exploitation of AOE, but being more open it is not quite as punishing. This is yet another symmetrical map as well, almost always a good thing. The flag here is also highly defensible when compared to most king-of-the-hill objectives.

Strategy- 7
Fun- 7
Time- 7

Overall: Lost Temple of Isha is one step above Doomfist Crater, getting an acceptable seven out of ten. While it does have more time-up games, it is also less exploitable and offers more varied combat. One major concern is the distance from combat one must go to access the murder ball, meaning it rarely if ever comes into play, often killing its carrier before they reach combat.

Talabec Dam

Talabec Dam is a dual bombing run scenario. The map is primarily open field, with some bottlenecks. The goal is to destroy the dam (Order), or the windmill (Destruction) using a bomb found in the center of the map. Sadly this map is not symmetrical: Destruction side tends to turtle often here as the dam is very easy to defend, while Order has much more difficulty. The scoring system once again fails and even when a team is being farmed often the game will go the full fifteen minutes.

Strategy- 8
Fun- 3
Time- 3

Overall: Talabec Dam should be fun and compelling, but as with many maps it suffers from a poor scoring system. This leads to long matches with low rewards. Strategy is a fine point here, but the map is simply not fun to play on and the matches drag out for far too long. Talabec Dam gets a disappointing three out of ten.

Tor Anroc

Tor Anroc is a mini-game in WAR involving a golf game played by tanks. Who’s the ball? You! Just kidding (mostly). Tor Anroc is a murder ball game. The map is played within a volcano on the narrow passageways between the lava and the ball is located on a hill in the center. The problem is the game is played in a volcano on the narrow passageways between the lava and the ball is located on a hill in the center. Battles are cramped and environmental damage is obscene. Any played with some limited skill and a knockback can instantly kill other players. Rough.

Strategy- Lava Golf
Fun- 8
Time- 10

Overall: You’re going to get put in the lava. You’re going to burn and die horribly. The good news? Win or lose it’s over pretty fast. It’s close quarters and can be a great bloody time, but AOE and knockbacks spoil any sense of strategy. Order has a distinct advantage in having wide-area AOE knockbacks at this level as well. Still, it’s fun, people die a lot and the renown is good. Given the other options in T3, I have to give Tor Anroc a seven out of ten.

My overall impression of T3 scenarios is a bit mixed. Several are highly exploitable with AOE and… well, Lava Golf… On the other hand the general quality and mix of scenarios is very well done. It’s definitely a step above T1 and T2 in terms of map design and goal, but it must also be said that T3 characters themselves are much less balanced than in T2 which makes PVP a bit harder to swallow. While in T2 AOE spam was around, it wasn’t quite at this level yet. I can honestly recommend that anyone looking for a good PVP experience should look towards T2, or late T1 for a competitive environment. The time-to-kill is much less frustrating and players have a good stable mix of options. This is particularly true of T2, where EXP is slow enough that characters begin to be well geared. Definitely a big thumbs-up to balance in T2, though I will admit the scenarios in T3 are just plain better than in lower tiers.

So until next time.. and next tier… have fun pwnzoring nubs. Or… at least knocking them into pools of lava.

pancakez

10 Probing Questions

April 14, 2009

Yet another meme is floating about, and breakfast at war got tagged by Grimnir. Seeing that I don’t have eggs yet to do my omelette post, I might as well do this for the time being.

1. What is your current main character’s name (or names, if you play multiple games)? Explain how you chose the name.
You would like to know, would you? She’s named after one of my favorite drinks. Have fun guessing.

2. What was the name of your very first character in an MMO? Explain how you chose that name.
My first character was named Roxindrith back in FFXI. It was the name of a character I created for a short story I wrote back in high school, so I just carried it into the MMO due to lack of ideas.

3. Have you kept a specific name through various games, or do you tend to change your naming habits based on the individual game?
My usernames are pretty consistent, but the character names really aren’t. The only name that is consistent is Maurynna, a name I give to any ranger type character I make. It’s a homage to my epic Ranger I had in D&D for a while.

4. Do you ever reserve names, planning to use them for characters that you might play later? If so, what are they and why do you hold on them?
Only time I held a name like that was back in WoW before Burning Crusade, and that was Illumanati. Sadly, the correct spelling was taken.

5. Of the three common archetypes in MMOs — tank, healer, DPS — which is your current main character?
Tank.

6. What archetype was your very first character in an MMO? Why did you choose it?
Melee DPS. If you read my post on tanking woes, I explain that I’ve always had an affinity towards rogue characters.

7. Are you usually attracted to one archetype over another, or do you play them equally? Why?
I’m attracted to bad ass-ness. I’m usually sold if the concept art is awesome. Though it truly depends on my mood, but I have to say that WAR is the only MMO where I feel pretty passionate about tanking.

8. What is your favorite feature from an MMO you no longer play?
Arenas in WoW. No, I didn’t like the way loot was distributed. Yes, I loved kicking ass.

9. Is there an MMO that you would play if it was free? Which and why?
Not really. Most free MMOs are pretty out of whack and not something I would want to spend a lot of devoted time to.

10. How do you measure the success of a character in an MMO (total kills, titles accumulated, wealth, rare items collected, level reached, etc.)?
By the amount of people who run in the opposite direction of me when I show up.

And you’re suppose to tag people so they can do it, blah blah blah. You know what? Screw that noise. That’s retarded. Awesome way to single people out. If you want to do this, then slap it on your blog. Everyone’s it now.

omelettez

rvr remodeling

April 14, 2009
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I posted yesterday detailing how I felt WAR’s lack of focus was hurting the game along with some ideas of how to save it. After reading through it early this morning I really felt like I didn’t put out how exactly I wanted things changed, so I’m going to make this more concise. First here are my goals for improving RVR:

  • Remove PVE.
  • Limit zergging.
  • Encourage PVP.
  • Make RVR lakes fun.
  • Allow war camps to be destroyed.

Here are my steps to fixing RVR:

  1. Remove the ability to form warbands within RVR lakes.
  2. Remove all Hero and Champion mobs from RVR lakes.
  3. Remove EXP/Renown/Influence gain from BO captures.
  4. Implement a buff which grants massive Renown/Influence gains to the party which captures a BO as well as anyone defending them.
  5. Remove all lockout timers.
  6. Change the Keep system into a scenario system (24v24 — no NPCs).
  7. Replace high rank mobs from War Camps and chapter hubs with similar defenders to BO’s and keeps.
  8. Turn rally masters into PQ bosses with the same rewards as current keep captures.
  9. Introduce ‘kill collector’ and other PVP-only objective quests to gain PVP gear sets.
  10. Add true objectives (steal/plant flags, run bombs, murder-ball) to RVR lakes.
  11. Replace zone dominance with realm morale.

The idea is to first remove the zerg, then to remove PVE entirely within RVR zones. Next is to allow war camps and chapter hubs to be attacked and destroyed. No more groups of 4-8 Heros and rank 55 Champions. The war camp rally masters replace keep lords as PQ objectives — a necessary PVE evil, but one properly set outside of RVR lakes.

Next we have to replace the vegas loot system with an attainable reward system. Kill playersto collect ears, fingers, etc. These are then rewarded with PVP gear. If you don’t actually perform PVP you do not get gear.

Then we spice up RVR a little. Add capture-the-flag, bombing run and other ‘fun’ objectives. Take the murder-ball and your group gets double renown, but the carrier takes constant damage. Take a flag and cover it in blood, then plant it for a large chunk of renown. No matter what, there should be no reward if PVP has not taken place. Carrying the ball does not grant renown, only a renown bonus. Planting a flag does nothing unless you’ve killed an acceptable number of players while your group is carrying it.

The last one is actually very simple: Your faction gains morale for taking objectives and killing players. High morale gives a boost to renown gain, but it also makes players worth more renown themselves. Low morale does not reduce renown gain, but makes players worth much less renown. These would not be directly linked — both sides can have maximum morale simultaneously as long as they are both killing one another. This is purely to promote competitive battles. Farming players would yeild very low renown, while fighting back would give large rewards to the losing side.

Because of the implications of this new PVP focus classes could no longer be balanced by the ludicrous idea of paper-rock-scissors. It is not and never has been a successful balancing model in an MMO. Using it as an excuse for poor balance is unacceptable and if RVR was changed in this way it could not persist. A good Sorceress should beat a mediocre Witch Hunter. A good Archmage should beat a poorly played Choppa.

That’s my solution. That’s how I would remodel RVR. I’m tired of having PVE raids hidden inside a supposed PVP area. I’m sick of the lack of skill. I guess unlike Frank I actually am grumpy… and I certainly feel old. Get off my lawn.

pancakez

little big war

April 13, 2009
tags: ,

One of the boldest statements that can be made about something is stating that it needs to be saved. Suggesting that something needs to be saved can be taken as harsh and condescending at times, while at others it merely implies that something great needs help to prevent its collapse. Many generals and politicians tried to save Rome from its collapse. This was not because they thought Rome was beyond hope, but instead because they believed in Rome and what was represented by the Republic and later the Empire. WAR is not as important globally as the Roman Empire, but for those who believe in it the thought of saving it from collapse is not for the sake of its failings. Rather, those who see the immense successes within the game are desperate to prevent its shortcomings from dooming something wonderful. The more difficult issue is figuring out what precisely is holding WAR back from the success it ought to be enjoying.

The problem certainly isn’t AOE, which is something that can be analyzed and processed and rebalanced. AOE is out of hand, but it is not the central problem WAR is experiencing. The persistent problems with rebalancing the assortment of available classes also isn’t the central problem either. It is important to maintain balance, but what is telling about class balance is that even the weakest classes within WAR are being played and enjoyed. Client and server instabilities definitely need ongoing attention, but Mythic has shown excellent control in improving performance since release. No, what’s threatening to destroy WAR isn’t any of those things; It’s focus. Read more…

I tried to drive all through the night

April 13, 2009

Ok, seriously guys.

Am I the only person who wants to get in a car and drive like a maniac with this blaring whenever I think of Troll Country?

And yes, there ARE bats in Troll Country.

omelettez

Tanking woes

April 12, 2009

I have always been fond of rogue characters in all sorts of games. In tabletops, I always played the sneaky, badass character and even preferred them in both console and PC games. In Final Fantasy XI played a thief and in RO I was an assassin. WoW was the first MMO where I broke out from my shell and began taking on the role as a caster, both DPS and healing. With all of this history of mine, I find it extremely odd that I’m enjoying tanking as a Blackguard in WAR.

I am by no means a pro at tanking, at least I don’t feel like I am. Pancakez has way more experience in that department than I do, but I can still toss in my two cents now and then. He might get into the hard mechanics of a tank, like the numbers behind aggro management, but I’m more about the experiences I have had and how I learn and improve from them. And then there are some experiences that I simply cannot better myself from due to how some things work out in WAR. I guess you could call them pet peeves or grudges of mine, but I would like to think I’m not the only tank out there having these issues, or whatever you want to call them.

And on that note, let’s dive straight into this mess. Read more…