Warhammer Online: Whooops, how’d that happen?

I am trying to figure out what I want to do in WAR. I have my 70WP, but I’m in an inactive guild and I’m not sure that I’m going to find the right home in Badlands on Order. I’m also not looking forward to the gear for the WP as Salvation. Way too much mix to specialize properly. So lately I have just been PuGing Scenarios and doing my Emblem grind. And there are a lot more healers PuGing then I would have expected the past week.

So last night I got bored with not being the primary healer, I logged on my second Warrior Priest, who is Grace (Heal Melee) Spec’d. He could atleast use Conqueror Items. He needs the Emblems and the RR, so might as well take advantage of the heavy healer base we have been having. Overall, I was doing great, until about 3 times in a row we ran into either a well made 12 man premade or just awesomely focused PuGs. They were composed of multiple DoKs and toe to toe, I could not even come close. WP might have the better backline heal, but in melee, I don’t see how we are even mirrors.

Then I started to think, it was RR and gear. So I logged back in big Nich, dusted off the Invader gear, suited up the 24 strength talismans, pulled out my good old Lightbearer Great Hammer, and respeced my renown and my mastery. It might not be the best gear, but this is as good as you can get. Let’s see how I do.

Owned. Owned. Owned. Not even close. Pwned. Arrggghhh.

Then I go back and think about my Dual Wield post made just a couple of days ago. Ultimately I can’t build a Warrior Priest that is the DoK, but technically I could have one (again).

I used to have a full Dark Elf army on the table top. Why fight it?

It’s been so long since I played in the lower tiers and took it seriously. I made a DoK and a Black Guard, mainly just to be the magical salvager for talisman making for my DoK. This should be interesting starting from scratch again. It’s different from just starting a new toon on your existing server. You don’t have those ‘gifts’ to send them. No awesome purples too low for them to use. I mean a 14 Willpower Talisman means nothing in T4, but it’s a little unfair in T2. Not to mention your main can just go to the Auction House and buy you all your Mythic gear for you.

I did this kind of late night, so he is only rank 5. But I’m sure he’ll be rank 20 a little too quick. And 40 before I could think of it. I think I would rather see T4 sooner than later. I chose Gorfang, just because so many of my favorite bloggers are there.

So, hi Gorfang, please don’t suck. I would like to find a good home to stay in.

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Pink for Tink

I really never never ever expected to be hit on the Warherald Roll Call. Mainly due to my tone and possibly my overwhelming obviousness. However, I guess if you going to make a quick blog post on a good thing, I guess one should expect a thumbs up.

I do have to say, I am a little more than embarrassed for my own post. It was lack luster and not really containing anything. It almost looks like a cheap post to get hits. I feel as though I have let Tinkerhell and the survivor community down without even trying. It really is a pathetic post. So as follow-up, there were a couple of things I wanted to do. One of course was to remember to pick-up that sweet sweet pink dye, and to stop by the last name vendor, but most importantly, I wanted to add something my underarmor running shirt.

Clearly a horrible MS Paint rendition. None the less, on the way up to see my god son this weekend, I’ll be stopping to get a more professional embroidering on the back and left sleeve. All in time for the Susan G. Komen run I will be doing the next weekend. Not to mention every run and every race I do till this shirt falls apart.

Sure, no one will know what the hell that means, and sure, it kind of sounds a little dirty, but that’s just the kind of nut job I am. I’ll be sure to get a buddy to take a pic or two, show the readers my ugly mug.

Star Wars Online: EA’s Biggest Spend Yet

While at lunch yesterday I read an interesting article by Gamasutra.com. Not that I was surprised. It was quite clear that EA’s objectives would be moved  to this project (BioWare’s SWTOR), and any hopes in revitalizing or expanding WAR just wasn’t in the future. We saw that last year, when EA announced that Mythic would be top managed by BioWare and they starting pulling people to help that effort.

WAR was a lesson learned to EA. It set bars that have never been seen, it proved what a modern made fantasy MMO could do well, that RvR is still the perfect MMO PvP, and most importantly, it made a good amount of money, despite its constant taunting for being called a failure or flop. It seems to me, any MMO towards a release, and even WoW when it was released, had the goal to be with 300K in subs.  EA is seemingly interested in far surpassing its previous numbers with EA Mythic’s WAR, which was slightly under a million at release. And really with the prestige alone, TOR should have no problem breaking the million threshold.

Ultimately, WAR had a great base of customers just because of it being Warhammer. And Star Wars is going to have far beyond that, just because of the very (major emphasis on very) large fan base. I will definitely being following SWTOR closely, and it will be the MMO for me in the 2011, I have no doubts on that. The only good in EA’s ownership of both Mythic and BioWare is the fact that it will allow SWTOR to have RvR (which one could only hope to high heaven that they will). EA is a necessary evil in that marriage. It is EA’s pocket-book that these games are going/were produced, but I have no doubt that EA will also be the reason for their destruction after release. I can only hope that WAR was a needed lesson learned to make Star Wars that much better.

What are those lessons that TOR can take from WAR?

Firstly, there is more to an MMO than release. In all essence WAR was done in a backwards manner for what seasoned MMO players know. Generally, MMOs releases, and hope through expansions and community that they can grow in numbers. Who wants to play the game when it first comes out? It’s like extended Beta. Really, it normally is. Any other expectation is stupid to have.
I’m a veteran of EVE, which didn’t hit it’s height of population of 350K until about 4 years in, it is a game that just steadily grows. Possibly only in the same players making more accounts, but $15 is $15. EVE is a game that consistently adds a free expansion usually every 6 months.
DAoC is great example of another small humble start. It took multiple expansions to hold a steady sub base. And even then it took till 2003 (2 and half after release) to hit 250K.
In Everquest case, it’s release in 1999 with 200K in subs was amazing at the time, it still took them multiple expansions and 5 years to finally hit 450K. To hit unrealistic number like WoW, you first have to compete with the non-asian number. 10 million is ridiculous, it’s because of their exposure to Asia. Cut out the Asian market, you cut 5.5 million right there. Cut the international market, WoW has 2.5Mil in North America. And it definitely was not near that at release, that took years and heavy marketing to achieve.
EA’s focus has been in Madden and console systems. Work hard, market, sell, get good/bad review, run with the cash. There is no community, and even in their experience with FPS, with Battlefield, did not expose them enough to the whinny base that is MMO subs. A successful MMO is not found at release, it historically, takes years, expansions, community and ideas. An expectation to achieve the best you can just at release, limits the true possibilities that an MMO can achieve. the anger you receive for WAR is only in the disappointment of the failed possibilities, all the potential was there.  

Don’t design a game system that puts the ultimate end game at a particular level and tier. They built WAR to live and die in T4. And an expansion into T5 would mean completely overhauling the story, the maps and all of the gear. You built yourself into a dead-end. Meaning making a quick T5 to level 50 expansion to make more Cash (big point $) actually pretty difficult. Not impossible, but pitching the idea upstairs with ‘we need alot more money than we should in developement, because we designed the maps and gear in a stupid way,’ was not the best idea. Most MMOs, can easily say “crap, sales are decreasing, quickly, in the next 3 months build a shit expansion adding 10 levels and some gear.” Not so easy for WAR. The last Free Expansion (only expansion) simply could only add in some in-between content. That doesn’ t keep or bring back subscriptions. Not that we need that lecture, I’m sure that was a decent facepalm in June of 2009 when they realized it.

Don’t worry about damn game balance so hard. Ultimately, it’s just going to nerf someone, and those people are just going to un-sub. Plain English: you balance by nerf, you lose subs. And even if it’s to bring some back, you’ll lose more than you can bring. Balance should be buffing to overcome, not nerfing to make fair. If I’m the weak kid on the dodgeball court, I don’t want you to tie an arm behind the big kids, I want a giant sling shot. Buffs make people happy, debuffs don’t. You would think that was obvious, yet I have been facepalming on WAR’s behalf on every nerf made since the Iron Breaker Knockdown nerf in October of 2008.

Don’t expect the fans of the theme to be long-term subs. Yeah, WAR got 850K in subs on release. Most of which were a combination of DAoC players and Warhammer Table Top fans. The DAoC will remain, the TT players won’t be there in 3 months. Hence the very strong loss in subs within 2 months after release. 850K to 300K is massive. So as much as I want to be wow’d by the Star Wars theme in the game, it should only be the essence. Be prepared for giant skill level differences in speciality themed games with players that have never played an MMO before and the grind veteran.  A speciality theme game like WAR, encountered something that no other big selling MMO had, a giant population of non-MMO players coming in. They were the first to go too. Boredom, frustration, lack of understanding. Designing a new player guide a year after the release is stupid. Do it now. If someone’s not already on the project, they should be. The only guide to MMOs that WAR received was this half ass long read in a PDF given in our Open Beta package. The later tutorial was great, it was just way too late to matter.

Things that were done incredibly awesome, but not seeing as much of in SWTOR:

The Warhammer Online site was my go to every other day since 2006. Because once a month, even once a week, once a day, there was a podcast, concept art, articles, reviews, something keeping our eyes always on the game. One that we really didn’t even know anything about gameplay wise, until about February of 2008. I guess what SWTOR is missing is ‘the podcast.’ Dumb and almost useless, but fan service none the less. Making a 30 second camera run around harassing devs was brilliant. Nothing happens, but it keeps us glued. And maybe, having developers faces in the public was not the best thing, but us fans and opinionated people like the connection. It showed Mythic was about community, not just a product. We don’t see that in EA. When you have a consistent something for people to consistently come to your website, you are guaranteeing subs. Maybe go find Paul and move him to BioWare. We like Brits.

EA is going to spend a crapload on this game. Horay. They are also going to fire well over half of BioWare 3 months after release. And really, unless BioWare can hold on to the SW fanbois and please the dedicated MMO’ers at the same time, holding a decent sub base will be as shaky as WAR has been struggling with. I mean, really, what’s the likelihood that EA doesn’t just buy the company that lands the Harry Potter MMO deal in 2011, and then SWTOR is just the next failed WoW killer in 2012 that doesn’t have a budget for expansion, and is letting that new studio burrow devs for the Harry Potter MMO in 2012?

Not that I want to be extremely hard on a game that isn’t even close to release, but there is really nothing wrong with WAR, and a real expansion would definitely bring a crapload of subs and bring in back some decent revenue. Very little elbow grease and some attention could turn better numbers and a great game to admire for ages. EA really put a strong disdain in the mouths of WAR lovers and Mythic RvR based fans. And these measly “couple hundred thousand subscribers,” Mr. Brown, aren’t going to forget the project that EA left die after making their money. Because there should be no doubt to where all these ”couple hundred thousand subscribers” are going to be in 2011, and will be sure to let the next fan base know what’s in store for 2012.

I said it once, I’ll say it again.  In 2008 we said, don’t worry, it’s Mythic. In 2009 we quickly were reminded it’s not Mythic, it’s EA Mythic. In 2010 we said, don’t worry, it’s BioWare. In 2011 …

I hope patterns don’t have to repeat, I can only hope though. I don’t want to be back here in 2012,

Warhammer Online: Warrior Priest Dual Wield

If you were like me, you have been watching Warhammer Online’s developement since 2006. Since the announcement, our eyes have been glued to news, podcast, and one of my favorite monthly check-ups was to browse the concept art. Though this ended sometime around July last year just before the release of Hunter’s Vale, I still get the urge to once and again, click on the link and just cross my fingers that Mythic still magically had a concept and design team left.

As I logged onto my Warrior Priest and went into my bag to re-equip the Single Handed Hammer and Tome again,  (mainly due to the fact I only like the home screen animations for the 2 hander, I’m OCD like that) I realized that Mythic had updated the graphics to my Tome of Repose. Surprise. As I zoomed my camera in/out and spun around my toon, I was a little excited about a very small and almost useless to performance upgrade that Mythic had given us. It’s really the small things that can make you happy. It’s also the small things that give you a better chance of making something custom and unique.

All so long ago, when the game went to Open Beta, I was convinced I would be happy in a Witch Hunter. Then I thought more on the Sword Master. And by the end of Open Beta I was dead set on the Warrior Priest. And even funnier was at release, I ended up starting with a White Lion and a WP at the same time.

I was probably one of the first 40s on Avelorn Server. And I am sure of being the one of the very first into T4 there too. I had no job at the time, along with the Scenario queueing system broken beyond T2, and then at the same time no one venturing into the RvR Lakes; you really had nothing else to do but mission grind for XP.

I think it was the third week in and I was in Praag looking for Tome Unlocks as that became my new hobby; when /region lit up with (paraphrased, it’s been awhile) “come on people let’s go take that keep.” I think all of 12 people showed excited and bright-eyed as it would be our first keep take ever. We had levelled so fast, we missed our opportunities to do it in lower levels. We all showed up, no siege, no ideas. Just button smashing and chatting away.

To the point of this story: while taking the keep, there was another Warrior Priest there. I don’t even remember her name, but … she was holding 2 … count ’em … 2 single-handed hammers. I thought it was just in the concept art. However, she found it. What seemed like a second single hander was actually just a charm that’s art skin was simply a single hander. How simple and brilliant.

Not sure of why the art was removed from all tomes, I would guess that it had to do with the graphics and having the 2nd arm look lame and broken for having 2 weapons. I could also guess borrowing the DoK’s duel wield graphics didn’t match the warrior priest either so that was a no go. So somewhere along the way, Mythic had every intention, and even implimentation, but then did die the duel wield warrior priest, before anyone really ever got to see it.

The point is; Warrior Priest were meant to have the ability to have dual wield (graphically). The more important part is, I remembered a seemingly insignificant memory that in no turn will result in a change. Also on that note, I remember wiping on that keep hard. Looking back at the newbness we displayed compared to just instinctual movements for any player, puts a smile on my face. I can still remember being half geared in chapter influence rewards and half of Bloodlord gear. We used to be the Elites, one of the first to raid Bastion Stair. I remember us having a goal to fully understand it, so that we could help the rest of the guild get the “best” gear.

It was good times and good memories,

Warhammer Online: PinkforTink

http://warherald.warhammeronline.com/warherald/NewsArticle.war?id=1102

It’s  pretty decent sized list. Worth the read.

I especially love this piece of the Hot Fixes:

New Vendors have appeared selling a very special shade of Armor Dye for a limited time. Alda Tinkengruber has set up shop within the Market Square in Altdorf while Grobbik Big Tink can be found at the Apex in The Inevitable City.

I haven’t been online yet. But I assume I already know what colour will be waiting for us.

Pink For Tink,

After edit: Follow up post found here.

Warhammer Online: New Cities -> New Guild

Last night after my long wait, I finally got to be apart of a new city seige. And lucky enough for me, I got to ride the renown train all the way there.

Ultimately, bottom line, I will have to go there more to really get a better opinion. And along with that, find a better built premade to get into. I don’t want  to judge the new city off my one experience last night.

I can say, the old system sucked. We all knew it. However the new system just screams a Battle for Praag but bigger. That’s really all I see. Who has the better premade? They win.

Well in one hour, I got bitched at, died about 17 times and I got 2 Warlord and 1 Royal Crests. I guess if we still had the old gear prices, I might actually be excited.

But the above problem of not having the enjoyment I possibly can, comes with not being in the right group. Ultimately, the only way I will have fun again in this game, is finding a guild with an alliance that is organized and willing. Otherwise I am at a dead-end and running PUGs. There was a time when PUGs was fine and I could live with that. Not at this stage in the game. 

I guess if you yelled “RR 70 Heal Spec Warrior Priest needs new home,” there probably wouldn’t be a shortage of offers. All I want quality 6 mans for SC premades, I want to finally finish up my Tyrant set, and now with the cities, I want a guild with an alliance that can put together a WB premade properly. Perfect elitism while maintaining a great guild attitude isn’t too much to ask, right?

I should probably have a chat with the guild leader tonight. I don’t want to leave on bad terms. Whoring myself out might cause a problem.

Fat Computer Nerds were Not Built to Run Marathons

Or even a half of one.

When you spend a decade with your free time living imaginary lives and your largest amount of exercise is having to get up to go get a refill of Mountain Dew, considering the idea of running for fun in any sort, seems a bit large of a hurdle. None the less, I still took and take this somewhat seriously.

5 months and 64 pounds later, I ran my first ‘big’ event. Yesterday, I completed my first ever half marathon, and in no way can say I feel good about it. It’s hard to explain, especially to those around the office, how it the world it can’t feel like an accomplishment.

Just starting the race was beyond intimidating. I have done a couple of 5Ks, 8Ks and even a 10K. At each one, you can tell just from glance, who is a racer, who is a runner and who are just kidding themselves. Obviously I know I am kidding myself, but it was always nice to see those that I knew were kidding themselves too. You look around and say to yourself, “I can beat that one; that one too; I bet I can keep pace with those guys.” It’s actually a horrible thought process to have. But it’s not indifferent to gaming. When a scenario starts, you can look around and tell by gear and classes involved how things are going to turn out.

FYI, just because someone is missing a limb, doesn’t mean you can beat them. Actually, just so you know, they are going to kick your ass. They have bionics…BIONICS!!! As my shin just started to cry on mile 10 after running up a mile and half hill, I was flirting with the idea of purposely crushing my legs, just to get bionics for the Chicago Marathon. I think it’s about the only way I’m going to finish that thing after having that reality check yesterday.

So looking around at the beginning, I was unable to find the normal herd of ‘green’ gear wearing runners. My lowbie buddies were no where in sight. It took my a couple of minutes, but just before starting I looked at my friend I was running with and said “we are screwed. Look around, we are going to be last. These people are runners.” It only takes one glance at me and my pale blueish skin from the monitor glow to know that I definitely don’t belong. My friend could at least pass as an older fatter version of someone who could run. But me, it’s clear that I have the posture and muscle tone of a vampire with a part-time professional job as a Doritos flavor tester. Basically the comic book guy from Simpsons. I had no business being there, and the ‘runners’ knew it. The race had a superior ward threshold, and I was going in with 4/5ths Lesser.

Here is a couple of things that I can share in retrospect:

Look at the damn course and run it through an elevation map before signing up. A mile long hill is not a big deal. I mile long hill at a 7.8 incline is a big fucking deal. The use of the word ‘fucking’ is on purpose and not for emphasis. 7.8 will fuck you, like a tax evasion accountant’s first day in federal prison.

Don’t go out buy ‘Blue’ gear to run in. Properly fitted shoes are all that matters. Spend your money on those. Run in cut off sweat pants, and a beat up old tee-shirt. Make it very clear to everyone that you have no idea what you are doing. You’ll receive sympathy that way.

Be prepared to see a lot of erect nipples. Though this sounds really fun now, keep in mind yours will too. Body wax is really awesome, because hot water on nipples with tips shaved off is not.
Also, she knows her nipples are hard, she knows exactly what you are looking at, you creep. Buy some sunglasses.

Overall, I would say running is a nice hobby. Running marathons is stupid, however it does yield a nice ‘purple’ drop:

This fat kid loves wearing bling. Better yet, having people look at it and then me, and then thinking to themselves, ‘bullshit.’