Friday, June 19, 2009


Maybe it's just me, but is the whole healer thing really necessary? I don't mind a death penalty, but couldn't we have an autopay option? That way you don't forget to heal up when you are in a hurry to get back to a fight in progress. Sure it would mean paying to heal at times when you aren't likely to get back into battle right away. Maybe there could be a shift-Rez option like there is for auto-looting. Even without though, I'm willing to pay a lazy tax to not have to muddle through it every time I die.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"unwrapping a present" or "what's so exciting about 1.3"

I only got on for a sec to explore the talisman changes in game last night and to make sure my patch got done. Patching went fine, though all my interface settings got lost somehow, sigh.

Talisman changes look to be nice and the bag changes are quite welcome. I have a lot more room now, so much that I might not have to keep several dozen packages floating through the mailsystem anymore.

The streamlining of talimsan mats wasn't as significant as I'd hoped, with most frags and curios surviving, and only green quality dusts taking a stomping.

Didn't actually get around to making any talis, of course.

It's nice that you can easily toggle items between your bag sets and open and close bags by clicking the bag icon. Very nice that.


as for the event, I have to say I'm not that motivated. There'll be plenty of LoD for me, and anyway my contribution would be modest even if I were trying hard. No other rewards beyond the lame title? feh.

My biggest gripe really, and I knew this was coming but still, is that after all the prelude leading up to the patch when it went live we saw ... an rvr event and some modest interface and profession changes. The LoD stuff isn't open yet and the class changes all got QQ'd into submission.

So the patch day experience was for me singularly unexciting. Now I'm sure the event will be fun. They usually are and this one seems to have some nice stuff to do, but that's an event, not the prophesized patch of glory, or whatever this was supposed to be.

I guess I could always go to Gunbad ...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Incoming patch

So 1.3 and the land of the dead starts today it seems.

Should make for an exciting week of WAR playing. Here's what I'm interested to see when the patch fully hits:

What's the impact of the Land of the Dead?

Lots of new stuff to do, but in potentially short bursts. Should make for a nice change of pace, but will the constant back and forth and the randomness of control be a major frustration? (ie. You log on ... oh well, the other side just got control of the LoD, might as well go have a snack.)

How will this affect the RvR siege game? What about city dungeons/bastion stair? (I assume that BS will basically rot until it gets fixed.)

They've rolled back the AoE/caster stat changes (as I understand it) but there's still plenty of other class mechanic changes in the works, always interesting to see how those play out.

Will the new and improved gunbad be an alt-cation destination of choice when LoD is unavailable? I know I'm interested.

As mentioned before, the talisman changes should have some interesting fallout. Curious to see exactly what happens to my bank full of mats and talis. IIRC there's something about these being grandfathered in, but we'll see what that looks like.

Glad to see auto-rolling, bag/storage changes, and bag opt-out getting in the game, those things will all be well received ...if they work.

What's next ... what should be?

Jeff Hickman's post on the LoD on the herald indicated that the following would be next on the block:

1. Addressing concerns related to Crowd Control and Area of Effect abilities.
2. Continuing to improve client and server stability and performance.
3. Strengthening and improving the Tier 4 experience.
4. Improving server population distribution – both in terms of overall population and realm balance.
5. Improving itemization and the overall distribution of “carrots” (rewards) throughout the game.

Well we knew 1. would get attention, as it was supposed to be in this patch before people started QQing. 2 and 4 are Mythic's personal hell ... they're never going away and will always be important.

3 and 5 are interesting (if vague). Improving Tier 4 ... uh, can I get a "hell yeah"? Bastion Stair needs a big re-tool, PQs in the mainland need a re-tool (to make them worth doing in endgame) and the RvR game still needs to um, work? Forts aren't super fun and while city-sieges are fun, they don't really ever go anywhere for most of us.

5. Could mean anything but hopefully it means a real examination of what loot is available and how it stacks up, a real overhaul of the gear choices and what it takes to get them. It's sort of absurd right now really with some really vital gear being super-easy to get (100g will buy you a lot of engame gear) and other stuff insanely hard.

What should be done? Well I'm going to get specific. Dungeons need better ramping up ... too many of them are like boss 1=SNORE boss2=SNORE boss3=WTFPWNED. That's just goofy. We did BWE last night, my first time and the first boss was just a total joke, but the second boss completely hammered us. An experience all-too familiar from other WAR dungeons (herald of solithex in Gunbad, slaurith in BS etc.)

Some bosses will be more difficult than others, and the last boss should be harder, but it shouldn't be night and day. Group composition (eg 2x MDPS or 2x RDPS) should make some easier and some harder, not all-easier or all-harder.

One other simple thing ... tell us what's in a bag. Why do they want gear to get wasted? It's great that we can pass on a bag now, but what if say I have annhilator shoulders and chest but not helm? should I take all gold bags? (not that I'm getting any gold bags mind you.) That'll mean a lot of wasted gear.

Besides, shouldn't I be able to tell if a friggin' bag has a chestplate or a helmet in it? it's a bag for god's sake, not a black hole.

Oh, and yeah, make RvR fun to do.

See you all in the LoD.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

WAR Tier 2 v. WOW 16-30

Way back when I did a comparison of WAR Tier 1 v. WOW 1-15. I thought I'd continue the comparison now that the bloom has worn off the rose a bit. I think I stick by most of what I wrote about that stage of the games, but lets see how they stack up in tier 2. For the sake of continuity I'll use the same categories as I used before.

Zone Design -- how interesting and fun are the zones.
WAR: By Tier two you've got a pretty good grip on the aesthetics of the pairings, but tier 2 does offer some nice variation in each pairing: shadowlands, marshes of madness, and troll country all differ a bit from what you've seen in Tier one of these pairings. With the division of the zones by faction, some of these feel quite small, particularly Ostland, or circuitous (Barak Varr). Still very moody and well-designed.
WOW: Some of the best WoW zones here, and just a lot of places to visit over these 15 levels: ghostlands, silverpine forest, westfall, redridge, duskwood, the barrens, hillsbrad, the wetlands, loch modan, darkshore, bloodmyst, stonetalon, ashenvale and thousand needles. Some have great flow (westfall) some great aesthetic design (ashenvale, thousand needles), while others are awkward or unrewarding (stonetalon, I'm looking at you.)
Winner: WoW. So many zones to choose from, so many different looks and styles. WAR has a more uniform level of zone interest and better aesthetic design, but can't compete with the volume of variety that WoW offers here.

Engagement -- drawing you into the world (probably this should be called immersion).
WAR: Throws a lot of things at you to try to get you interested: epic quests, regular quests, tome of knowledge entries for a gazillion things. Frankly the world itself does the best job of drawing you in: the zones tell a story that is hard to miss (if you venture out of the RvR lakes) and they do it well. The rest of the stuff, not so much. I don't think that I'm alone in saying that even with the epic quests, I was often just looking for red blobs on my map to go to and kill stuff, and often I'd have to doublecheck what the quest even wanted.
WOW: This is where WoW really gets its claws into you. The zones all have interesting stories, large or small, told through quests primarily, that you will be interested in following to their end. The defias cycle leading up to Deadmines and The Embalmer string in duskwood are two of my favorites.
Winner: WoW. This is really WAR's weakness, and it only gets worse from this point in, I'm afraid. The choice seems to have been modularity and convenience over immersion.

Itemization -- gear options and appeal
WAR: Cloaks make their way into your gear set and helms and shoulders are plentiful. A few choices per class of design, with some odd color choices combined with the expense of premium dyes possibly driving you into somewhat bland color schemes. Still, your toon probably looks pretty cool at this point. Quite a few sets: the first quest set, the obliterator set, the sacellum set (which you'll never see) and the havok set, as well as quite a few good options from RvR renown rewards and random PQ drops.

WOW: A few dungeon sets, but only for leather wearers basically, PvP gear options, a plenty of good crafted gear. Much of this stuff is dorky looking however, and you're probably not going to see helmets until the very end of this level range. shoulders will also be at a premium. Possibly by this point to get some decent looking gear, but its not easy.
Winner: WAR complain about the lack of options if you like, but with the range of choices in sets, the aesthetic appeal of the gear, and the option to dye, WAR is for me well up.

Crafting -- interest and utility of professions
WAR: Um, well they're useful. Talismans losing their timers in 1.3 will help here a bit, but really, crafting in WAR is just not that exciting. If you are grinding it aggressively, you can get yourself a little boost, and the pots and talismans are really very useful, but it does get a bit rote.
WOW: Crafting by this point, if you are leveling it aggressively, is getting really strong. You can quest for recipes, win them as drops, and make yourself quite good items. It takes more work to keep up with your level, but the rewards are there for the taking. Engineering is particularly fun at this level.
Winner: WoW by a country mile. As I said before, some of this is intentional, but that doesn't change the score.

Group PVE -- dungeons and group-specific areas
WAR: More PQs some good, some great, some brutal, as well as some opposed PQs were both factions (Theoretically) compete in stage 1. Additionally you have the three sacellum dungeons. I've only done the first of these (east) and it was fine. More like a dungeon wing than a full dungeon. Nothing very tricky or particularly interesting in there, but a good change of pace and a nice warm up for the pacing of dungeons in WAR.
WOW: Again some of the best of WoW here. Deadmines, Black Fathom Deeps, and Wailing Caverns are all very cool and Gnomeregan is also quite interesting. They've stripped out a lot of the open area group content from WoW, which is just as well as for the most part it was just a brutal chore, but some of it remains, to give you a bit more meaningful content to do in a group. Some of the dungeons in this are less fascinating or less enjoyable (shadowfang, Razorfen kraul, stockades) but there so much variety and the quest rewards alone make them all quite worthwhile.

Winner: WoW Yeah, I love me a PQ but this is like the golden age of WoW dungeon-crawling.

PVP -- all player-vs-player-specific content
WAR: Keeps, baby! Outdoor RvR is in full-effect in tier 2 and is quite manageable at this point. It may descend into stealth keep zergs, but it still makes for an interesting experience. the BO game is less thrilling, but when they're defended that can be a good time as well. Three new and interesting scenarios are available and their quite good. Your mileage in these may vary by class (i hated mourkain as a tank, but love it as a healer and caster) but they are certainly very different from the T1 scenarios.
WOW: Battlegrounds are in full effect with both the meaty-end of the 10-19 bracket and all of 20-29 in play. Both of these are fun and reasonably rewarding in short bursts. Also, if you are interested in playing a power character, you can twink at both 19 or 29 very easily and crush other lesser foes. Not a big draw for me, but if that's your cup of tea, then it could be a big draw. World PvP is basically non-existent on non-pvp servers. on pvp servers expect to get routinely ganked as soon as you leave the safe zones. Yay?
Winner: WAR So much better. If I was into having a twink pvper, maybe i'd be miffed about my inability to stop a character at a given level. But I'm not, at all. Much richer and more lively experience. Also much more playable at non-peak-bracket levels (ie not 19,29 as in WoW).

So there you have it. I think this tier really shows how the games' design-emphasis impacts its experience. Wow is all about PvE: dungeons, crafting, questing. WAR is about aesthetics and PVP.