Friday, December 31, 2010

Change Is In the Air

And so it is. The New Year is just around the corner and tonight is traditionally a time for anticipation, celebration, and fun. If you're one of the many people who view this as an opportunity to make long-overdue changes in your life, I wish you the best. I resolved to give up resolutions one New Year's Eve and have successfully held to it so I won't be joining you. I don't need the unobtainable, unrealistic expectations of my tormented inner psyche to add to that of the world around me thank-you very much.

I will not burden you with a gaming blog on tonight, of all nights. There will be some changes in the next week or so as I tinker with my layout and focus. I figure now is the time since I only have a handful of (potentially) fickle readers I might anger with my radical changes. Insert happy face emote.

Whether you are alone tonight, or with friends, or feeling alone with your friends, I wish you a Happy New Year. Many of us find the holiday season to be stressful, or downright lonely so I would like to leave you with this bit of wisdom I have managed to acquire throughout my travels both real and imagined:

You can't be unhappy, lonely, or sad, nor can you refuse to dance when there exists in the world........... Daft Punk

Have fun everyone and be safe!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lordy, Lordy, Guess Who's 40?

I finally got bored with the smug feeling of anticipation and decided to use that pretty little war tract sitting in my back pack. My beloved Engineer is now 40. I have a few rr levels to go before he’s 40/40 but I feel like I have managed to accomplish a great deal. This particular toon started his life as my first order character on a long-defunct ORVR server I can't actually remember the name of anymore. He made the virtual trek/transfer to Eltharion (where the que times were up to an hour at prime time) and was soon neglected after they nerfed the aoe capabilities of the Engineers- specifically the land mine.

Land mine was one nasty little skill when it used to cause knockdowns! Oh, sorry, you’ve been knocked down? Let me just chuck on a Napalm Grenade there for you. Oh, you’re back up? Okay, hows about I leave this Barbed Wire here for you? Broke free? Okay, I guess I’ll destruct my turret and, gosh, sorry, you’ve fallen down again, haven’t you? Oh well, good thing my Napalm Grenade bomb is ready again.

It wasn’t that effective, obviously, with immunities and what not, but I had fun. Now the land mine is a mere shadow of its former glory. It staggers your opponent but then what? If he’s damaged, of course, the spell is broken, and more often than not the turret is firing away, or you’ve already pasted him with an acid bomb, so on they come.

Once my engineer turned 40 I (quite predictably) shelved him and turned my attention elsewhere. The problem with being a committed altoholic is that there is always something, or someone else you could be doing (that may have come out wrong). I can’t stop my mind from wandering to all my other toons. Surely they must be lonely, or bored? Maybe just an hour with them, I say, then back to business! It ultimately keeps me from making a commitment to any one class, server, or guild for that matter (though I am still only in one). That perhaps says more about me personally than I’d like to reveal (or acknowledge without heaps of therapy for support).

I’ve been thinking a lot since I started this blog on my altoholism (but not my alcoholism which I am perfectly comfortable with). Why is it I have so many toons? Today I was thinking of re-subbing my old Destro account on Gorfang (I miss you Tankosaurus!). I will remind you that it has only been a few short weeks since I ‘retired’ him and re-rolled on Badlands. That’s insane, isn’t it? It’s all the bloody levelling. Taking the same class through all the same steps to get him to where the other one was..... it’s disheartening. I’ve tried it a few times and have never quite succeeded. That is actually the reason I re-subbed my order account.

In spite of these tier 1 (and 2.....and 3) blues I have, after much consideration, reached the conclusion that there isn’t anything wrong with me. I like rolling alts. I did the same in Guild Wars as well (Axe Handle Annie, Sword Pommel Sally, Daft Munk. and Roos With Lurchers among the best). What’s more I feel that Warhammer, as a whole, does not provide an engrossing, challenging game environment to occupy my oft-distracted mind. The fact I still play it, and can have fun doing so, is a great example of Doublethink. George would be proud of me I singly-think.

Ultimately I think Warhammer is a game best enjoyed on a casual basis but that is something I am not able to do. It is my main source of entertainment and the game I play the most. As I have said previously whenever I try to take Warhammer seriously, disappointment is sure to follow. I started Warhammer because I wanted to take a break from competitive pvp and just relax. I had been heavy into Guild Wars pvp and decided that I would give it up (my headset included) and just chill out. Warhammer filled that need, but now I’m getting the itch to be more competitive.

Is it possible to ‘get serious’ about a game which, and let’s be honest, relies not on the clever selection and utilization of skills, nor coordinated teamwork, nor an in-depth knowledge of your enemies capabilities but simply on the formula: numbers + gear = win. I know this may seem like a simplistic view, and I do realize that there are some very coordinated, capable teams out there (Crimson for Order on Karak Norn to name one), but overall? It’s about the gear and the zerg. The fact that Warhammer is the only interesting game out there with significant pvp content keeps me hooked (but if I’m wrong, and you know of a great pvp game for the love of God, let me know!).

I do test out other games now and again, and at the moment I am closely following the developments and discussions of RIFT.  Apparently a pve-focussed game without any groundbreaking features to call its own the reviews are none-the-less coming in fairly positively in the blogging community. The current beta (3) for which I hope to buy, beg, steal, or forge an invite for, is including pvp for the first time. It may be a game which succeeds because it’s in the right place at the right time. An okay game in today’s market which takes and refines the best bits from other games whose veteran players have grown tired of playing may very well succeed. At any rate I understand there will be pvp-servers and even in a pve-game this creates the perfect environment for........ the gank :)

With no release date yet announced, and the game I am currently testing (I promise, in the new year, I will provide a proper review) quickly losing my interest however, Warhammer remains the only game around in a one-game (pvp) town. Enjoy my $15 bucks a month while you can Mythic.....or maybe my $30 if I decide to re-sub my other account.....and then another $15 for the rvr pack......damn you Mythic! Just like a drug dealer the first two weeks were free and now I gotsta pay.

And now, back to the Days of (Gaming) Christmas.

And On The 4th Day Of (Gaming) Christmas My True Love Gave To Me: Intellivision

I distinctly remember having the white Intellivision console with the Intellivoice add-on (the ancient version of the RVR pack) so I am going to have to go with Wiki on this one and say the year was 1983. I remember Space Spartans because of the voice (OMG can you imagine a game with voices), and of course Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: the beginning of my love affair with fantasy role-playing games that would continue to haunt me like a bad crack-habit for the rest of my days. Or still does, I should say, as the rest of my days are not over yet. Or are they? Hmmmmm...if I’m a brain in a vat and all life’s experiences are being programmed for me how would I know.........oops, never mind. Slight slip back into philosophy 101 there. My bad (and a shout out to my man Plato for that little number).

So once again I found myself sitting cross-legged on the floor (it was so long ago chairs hadn’t been invented yet apparently) playing games on a massive television (and not in the good way that televisions are massive today) while my mother would ask (yell) “Haven’t you played that game long enough”? That would all stop only to be replaced over 30 years later by She Who Is To Be Named Later saying much the same thing. Such is the circle of life.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's All About The Anticipation

The best part about standing in line is when you're next. Waiting is no fun, and once it's actually your turn you too busy doing whatever it is you were waiting to do to think about anything else. When your next, however, there is no better feeling. You want to look at all those suckers behind you and say "Look at me, I'm next!" You feel special.

I can't recall the name of the comedian I stole that from. I want to say Dennis Leary, but I may be wrong. I can properly reference The Simpsons for this one though:

"Better than the memory, better than the deed, the moment........ of anticipation."

My beloved Engineer- my very first alt (the second toon I ever rolled)- is now 39. Huzzah!

Last night I was online quite late (for EU) and there was very little to do. I thought briefly about taking 'ole Tankosauruss for a spin on Badlands but decided, in the end, to do some grinding. Yes, after numerous blogs, and many chat-posts about how much I hate grinding, and how much I hate players doing rats when the keep is being attacked- I ground rats....or did I grind them?.....or was I grinding?.....or were they being ground....?

To be fair it was between 6:00 am and 8:00 am GMT so it was very quiet. I had decided since coming back that I would try to focus on my Engineer and at the very least get him to 40/40. Previous grinding spots include The Land of the Dead (why did no one tell me this is pointless now as the rats give more experience?). I did make a brief appearance there and was jumped by a Magus. I thought about blanking is name out of the picture below (as I've seen others do in their blogs) but decided, in the end, that it sucks to be him. I was minding my own business after all, so here it is: Winner- me! Huzzah!

So after the ding I did the usual and went to Nordland, Chapter 4, and began to unleash hell on the unsuspecting pve pixals. I was in such a good mood that I turned myself into a chicken and let a poor, lonely rank 6 Choppa slay me for whatever experience and rr I might provide. I hope it was a lot- I feel I'm worth it.

I am assuming, by now, everyone knows there is a free war tract available in Empire Chapter 4. You only have to fill 2 bars of influence and you are granted the 'Mentioned in Dispatches' quest in Altdorph. If not, here it is:

Once I had said war-tract in my sweaty grasp I found a nice corner and made ready for the screen shot. Then I though about T4 and how painful it was going to be at rr37. Then I remembered how painful T3 is, generally speaking, and how boring it is to pug there (my guildies are all T4-focused). Ultimately I've decided I will use the war tract....soonish.....but for just a little while I would sit back and enjoy the anticipation of what was to come.

Now, back to the Gaming Days of Christmas.

On the third day of (gaming) Christmas my true love gave to me: The Arcade

We weren’t exactly cutting edge where I grew up so there was a 1-2 year delay in the release of the home-based consoles (mentioned last blog) until the time we got a chance to play them. As with everything prices started out very high ($1,000 for the first VCR’s I recall) then came down. We waited until they were down. Way down. During those intervening years between the release of Video Console Systems and our getting our grubby gaming hands on them there was the Arcade.

I spent many a quarter and quite a few hours (days) in the arcades of my youth. The three games I remember most are Asteroids, Galaga, and Q*bert. Not only are these classic games (and were loads of fun to play at the time) but they actually sat side by side, in the order listed, in my home-town arcade. Next to the juke box. Wow, how's that for old. I also remember listening to Split Enz’s Six Months In A Leaky Boat (ad nauseam) while playing. This makes it 1982. Much to my amusement you can find online versions of these games here and here. The heart-beat 'soundtrack' of Asteroids still fills me with excitement! For my younger readers, all I can offer as way of an explanation is that we were more easily amused back in those days- “I’m gonna push a hoop with a stick down a dirt road.” Free beer for anyone who can place that quote*

*Note: the free beer offered in this competition may not actually be free, nor beer, nor free beer. Winners will have to answer a handwritten, 20-page, skill-testing question on the origin of organized religion among early farmers as evidenced in burial practices of the Irish Early Bronze Age. Successful applicants are responsible for conducting their own field-work.

I am no longer responsible for the bad-taste of my youth nor the tragedy that was the 80's.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pass the Gin. Warhammer's Getting Annoying.

I was reading one of the blogs I follow and it got me to thinking. Yesterday I had a bit of a tantrum which resulted in my taking the night off from WAR. The more I think about it the more I see that I have a Warhammer cycle. Lets call it my Warcycle. After returning from a break I am yearning for some pvp-action and head out full of joy and hope. I enjoy familiarizing myself with my long-lost alts, seeing what's been happening, and checking in with the community. Do a few sc's, take some keeps, grab some new gear, and have a laugh. All good fun. After some time I begin to have the desire to take Warhammer 'seriously' or become more competitive and this is when I begin to get frustrated with it. I want more organization, I want more people playing in T3, I want more to do, I want to be more competitive in T4, I want to level quicker....I want, I want, I want. This endless cycle, er Warcycle, has played out numerous over my two-year history with the game. I also think that perhaps this is quite natural because there are, in fairness, few games that have managed to hold my attention for such a long period of time. Think of the non-MMO games you have played. Two years is a long time, and as has been discussed on the forums and blogs of late, there really is little new to do.

This does not mean I am quitting Warhammer so take your finger off the 'delete this blog now' button. I will continue to play, as I do, because I still do enjoy it. It may mean I change my focus for a bit (hellllllooooo new alts) or perhaps get involved with a different guild- please don't tell my guild, oh god, I love her (name that Simpson's episode)! But enough of that. Now its time for the Second Day of (Gaming) Christmas!

On the second day of (gaming) Christmas my true love gave to me: Video Console Systems.

Much to my shame I never owned the Atari VCS or any of the Atari home-based systems to follow. These things were new and none of these fledgling companies had any kind of reputation (who the hell wants Apple Inc. at $22 per share?) There were a few choices and at the time we had no way of telling what would become the ‘classic’. They were simply the ancient version of The Next Big Thing. Who could know that Atari was the one to side with so in years to come you could stand tall, feel cool and casually say: Sure, I had mates around to play Pitfall on my Atari. It was no big thing, ya. (I feel somewhat vindicated because we bet heavily on VHS and came up the winner against Betamax. Huzzah!)

So it was I found myself at a friend’s house, cross-legged on the floor playing Pitfall on the Atari. I know he had a stack of games there (because I remember he had to show me how to change cartridges ) but I couldn’t tell you what they were. I only remember playing pitfall. We weren’t exactly cutting edge where I grew up so there was a 1-2 year delay in the release of these consoles until the time we got them. 

Honestly: take a look at that and then complain to me about the lag during a keep take because 100 players are being funneled at the door by 100 more. This is what I had. A dude on a rope jumping over a black pit with a scorpion running underneath him. Oh, and don't forget the rolling logs! They were something, weren't they? I'll take the lag, thanks. And come to think of it..... maybe Warhammer isn't so bad after all. Perhaps I'll check in on 'ole Tankosauruss or go down to T1 with my RP and heal the crap out of some newbies. It might just be that their boundless joy for the newness of the game will infect me with the spirit of Warhammer. Or is it Christmas? Ah well, at least by then I may be slightly drunk and the game will seem a whole lot better.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


So I've been banned from Warhammer. No, not by Mythic, but by She Who Will Be Named Later. And rightly so. Unfortunately for her, she came in at the exact time I was rage-logging. I have been frustrated with the game over the last 24 hours or so- ever since I had decided to bring out my Engineer and finally get him up to 40. I'm very close to 38, in any case, which is close to 39 and add in the war tract from chapter 4 and presto! I'm 40.

I was playing in T4 last night and, as I would expect, getting facerolled by wandering WE's, solo DoK's and angry BO's. I even tried the Skaven classes and still, no joy. This morning I decided to leave T4 to the big boys and play in T3 where I'd have a chance. T3 has always been a wasteland of ineptitude, disorganization and low-populations. I'm happy to report that nothing has changed. Destro was running rampant in Empire while groups of players, much-needed healers included- did the champ rats. The final indignity came when I zoned in from a scenario close to my camp to be jumped by a party of three destro. Running, not because I am a coward but to deny them the satisfaction, back to my camp, I came within inches of the camp guards and died at their feet. And as I waited for them to unleash an unholy rage against my killers..... nothing. Absolutely nothing. Insert multiple expletives here. Really? Destro can come right up to our guards and nothing? I lose it, snap! Flury of punches to the solar plexis (background on that particular gem here). I post my rage-quit in guild chat and log. And this is when She Who Will Be Named Later comes onto the scene.

I explain, very calmly I'm quite sure (though I may be mistaken on that) that I am a wee bit frustrated with the game to which she (sensibly) asks: "Why not stop playing if its frustrating you." Good advice, really, but if everyone did that Warhammer would collapse beneath the weight of canceled subs. "You don't understand," I say (whine), "this game could be so good!" In any case we have agreed (or rather I have agreed- she has stipulated) to a 1-day ban for the good of the house-hold and my own peace of mind.

Which is okay because it gives me a chance to focus on the fact that Christmas is just around the corner. If you're anything like me you absolutely can’t wait until the whole gift-giving, tinselly affair is over.

Cash registers ring, are you listening?
In the lane, cars are honking.  
A terrible sight, we're broke tonight, 
Spending in the winter wonderland.

My bah-humbug attitude started a very long time ago and despite the best efforts of She Who Will Be Named Later to infect me with her love of the Christmas season I remain, at best, ambivalent. Or drunk. Or both. Drunken ambivalence ftw! I no longer loathe the season so I guess that means a victory of sorts for her. Huzzah! Pass the Pints of Gin and wave the tonic at them threateningly.

My personal feelings toward the Christmas season aside, it has always been a time of reminiscing. With the new year looming tantalizingly close a series of count-downs, best-of-all-times, and other fun, but meaningless look-backs at what was begins (a little ironic actually). I’ve decided to wade in on the side of foolishness and present, for you lucky readers, a look back at my own gaming history. Before you click that little x in the top right of your window (I would if I was you) you may want to consider that it could just possibly be less boring than you think (especially if you too are drinking your way through the season). It can’t be worse than T3 could it? 

I don’t plan on listing the best computer games I have ever played (Civilization), nor what I think are the most influential of all time (Civilization), nor the ones I have been most addicted to (Civilization), nor the ones that have disappointed me the most (Civilization V). That would be boring both to me and Sid Meir. He knows what he’s done and I'm sure he's sorry.

What I will do is cover some key aspects of the development of video-gaming as I remember it. Granted, my memory may be a little foggy given my advanced age, but we’ll do our best to muddle through. I think it will be fun (which is, as we know, all that really matters), and it will give my blog a focus through the next couple weeks when I may be too drunk, too hung-over, too full, too cranky, too drunk (ooops, said that already), or too frustrated with Warhammer to do any game-specific blogging. So without further adieu:

On the 1st Day of (Gaming) Christmas My True Love Gave to Me: 


That’s right, Pong. The first video game eva! (and the reason Atari should always be worshiped like a god). In 1975 a home edition was released, and installed in my friends basement. The television it was hooked up to was approximately 20' by 20' by 20' in size (with a 2" screen of course) and black and white, but there it was: Pong. And I have to say it was boring as hell. That’s right, boring. Have you ever played it? Not a lot going on, but it was new, it was cool, and we did play it a lot in that semi-finished, damp basement, and we likely enjoyed it. Who can remember (I was actually quite young at the time) exactly what we thought but it was the first and so it makes its appearance here at the beginning.

I will continue this gaming-look back later. Now I have to wade back into the War, and by that I mean the traffic that awaits me as I fight my home-town, down-town traffic to the pub. Its okay, I've seen Road Warrior tons of times. I know just what to do.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Carebears Cometh

The more online gaming I do the more I realize that the MMO world really is split into two. The marked difference between pvp-orientated payers and pve-focussed ones can sometimes be overlooked in a game like Warhammer. After all we are pvp-ing almost exclusively and after 2 years those of us who are veterans obviously like it. When you stray from the safe, comforting pvp-arms of Warhammer you can have some interesting encounters. I admit I remain baffled and somewhat confused by people’s reactions to pvp but there you go. Different strokes and all that.

Last night I was levelling Tankosauruss (14) and, as often happens with the new RVR pack, I manage to cap my RR. What’s a poor Black Orc to do? Uggg. You guessed it, grind some mobs. I mean I’m 70% there so a few quests, a few dead stationary pixels and there we are. Ready for the next keep take.

Now because I have just left the lake I am, of course, still flagged for RVR. Most of the time I don’t even think about it. On this particular occasion, as I’m happily bashing some flagellants I note a WH (21) gallop in, dismount, and disappear. Gosh, I wonder what’s going to happen next? As the proud owner of my very own WH (32) I can honestly say I have been in this guy’s position literally hundreds of times. I know exactly what’s to come but what can you do? Back yourself up against a rock, get ready for the Sudden Accusation and try to make a bit of a show (I was only rank 13 after all). He appears, he attacks, I defend, I die. Game over. No big deal, I re-spawn, cash in my quests, get my level, and life goes on.

Now fast forward an hour or so later to the Beta Test Game I am currently playing. There is a PVE server and an open-world PVP server. No tiers mind you, just a free-for-all. I will sheepishly admit I did roll a toon on the PVE server, just to see, and it was, well....boring. Not so much boring, really, but bewildering (I will comment on this in a few weeks when I begin to blog properly about it and reveal the mystery game!).
So I’m running around with a fairly new addition to my MMO family, Gankalicious (yes I like the name). At level 6 there isn’t a lot of trouble I can get into but the Gank Gods must be with me because I quickly come across a level 5 enemy and we get to it. Winner- me!


I continue on my way and do a bit of questing, exploring, and some good ‘ole fashion mob-bashing. It isn’t long before I come across the highlight of my gaming day, and the point of this particular blog: an AFK enemy. I know he’s AFK because in this game they handily put a big, blue ‘AFK’ above your head when you flag yourself away from the keyboard. Nice. I do what (in my mind) anyone would do and gank him. Yes, he dies, and yes I’m pleased. Why not, after all? Its an open world pvp server and I’d certainly expect the same.

Not him, apparently. This game has the wonderful feature (just added by developers who listen to players feedback) of being able to talk to your opponents in the ‘Versus’ channel. God. I. Love.
That. The gankee is unhappy when he returns from fixing himself a pink cocktail (I meant that to be an insult to his manhood but I believe, at the time, I was drinking a slow-gin and tonic which was, coincidentally, pink-ish in colour) and finds himself dead. Oh nooos. I am both bemused and bewildered at the conversation that followed:

<Versus><GuyIJustKilled> lol, I guess I can’t check my inventory in the middle of the street or I’ll end up killed.
<Versus><Gankalicous> Err, this is the pvp server, remember?
<Versus><GuyIJustKilled> Ya, but that’s not really fair. I as afk.
<Versus><Randomperson> There is a PVE server you know.
<Versus><GuyIJustKilled> Whatever. I keep getting ganked by high level *&^%&*(@. This is stupid. They are camping the mission area. How am I supposed to do my missions?

Now, in all fairness, what can you say to people like this? Waaaaaa, stfu, and l2p come to mind but I almost always refrain from that sort of behaviour. It’s simply not becoming of a professional ganker in my opinion. Besides, everyone is (despite what I really think) entitled to their opinion. I will ask, however (whilst pulling my hair out): Why would you join a pvp server and complain about being attacked by other players? I don’t spend my time on pve-servers standing next to my opposing factions players saying: "God I wish I could attack you right now! This is so unfair."

I don’t like being killed, and especially not if I’ve gone afk, but if I’m sitting at a BO checking my inventory, crafting, or reading blogs and I get ganked, who’s at fault? I guess I’m just a player vs player kinda guy at heart. I like the anticipation of the hunt and the thrill of the fight. I prefer the action of open-world pvp be I the ganker, or the gankee. Given the failure of Warhammer’s ORVR servers (in what is essentially a pvp-only game I remind you) it may be that I am in the minority. Until they shut down that pvp server, however, I will be ganking.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What's With All the Running?

I've always wondered this and its one of the things that really irks me about 'PVE'. Run here, run there, do this, do that, come back when done, then go again. Blah, blah, blah. Its boring. I commute to The Tanning Pit every day in real life. Back and forth, to and fro. Go shopping, get this, buy that, blah, blah, blah. Do I really, at the end of a long day, covered in dog-poo and smelling like urine, want to log into my fantasy world and want to do the same? No, I do not. Get, as they say, bent.

Normally I wouldn't bother to complain (this statement will become funny the more you get to know me) because in almost every game I have ever played there is a travel component. I get it. We need something to do. Time Sinks and all that. Unfortunately my eyes have been opened to the possibility of a world without endless, pointless, monotonous travel. A world where the travel isn't mundane and you travel neither to, nor fro, unless it is necessary (or you damn well feel like it). I have had a gaming epiphany and things may never be the same.

What the hell am I talking about? What foolish ramblings are these? I have just started beta testing for a soon-to-be-released MMO (which I will post on later this week after some more exhausting research, or as some may call it, 'playing') with a fun solution to this problem. Upon completion of your quest/mission in this particular game you are able to open your log and select 'complete'. That's it. Done. Experience and items awarded instantly and any follow up quests assigned as well. Gained a level? No worries, just select your new skills now! How brilliant is that? Now I can carry on with other things (like beating the crap out of enemies real and imagined) rather than running all the way back to a quest-giving stationary pixel collection just to be awarded the second portion of the quest which will invariably take me back to said area again. Or, Tzeentch forbid, I have gained a level and now have to zone into (and then out of) the capital cities (and run to the Career Master in said city) before I am allowed to continue playing.

I guess I've always felt that my play time was better spent playing rather that walking or riding. Others must surely feel this way. The immense popularity of Empire T1 is in no small part due to its compact, close quarters offerings. There is free renown to be had in Dwarf and Elf but they remain deserted.

I remember playing an RPG a very long time ago where you actually had to buy new shoes after a certain amount of miles travelled or you'd start to take damage (more micromanagement than your local tax agency there). Maybe this idea of travel is interwoven into RPG games. I have always disliked it but have rarely questioned it. I know that a degree of travel is of course necessary and the world is there to explore and all that but it does get rather tedious, doesn't it? Maybe its just me but a beautiful, compact game world with fluid, continuous play soothes my jangled gaming-soul more thoroughly than commuting to and from quests. This isn't real-life after all, it's supposed to be interesting :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Heart 1.40

I have said, I'm sure many times, that the 1.4 patch got me back. "You had me at restructured tier level caps Mr. McGuire!" I know that as we settle into it there are those who are unhappy and I will happily admit that there is a lot more to do and many of the 1.4 activities are, indeed, boring. These discussion are making the rounds and I do agree with most of them. I will say that pre 1.4 I would not have been able to play my beloved Norn toons at 5-7am Europe time -I know, I know there are various time zones and they all likely have there very own name but now that I'm back in North America its all EU time to me. I don't' even know what my own time zone is called so don't take it personally. After moving 20 times in 7 years over 5 countries you lose track, trust me.

Anyway, back to Norn! Or is it Narnia.....whichever. 1.4 allows smaller numbers of payers to have fun, win zones and do battle. I started in T3 hunting for destro in Empire as I always do on the off chance there is someone to gank and/or fight. As with the other night when I ran into Mr. Choppa, I was in luck!

Winner- me! Huzzah!

Ganking has it rewards. Do you have the new Ganking Miles Master Card?

That's a nice little payday for one tiny Squig Herder. What I am unable to show you, unfortunately, is the amount of renown, experience, and influence the Shaman (who mopped the floor with me three times) earned. Can't win em all.

The other great thing I am now able to do is leech renown, experience, and influence in T4 while....wait for it......NOT sitting the warcamp guarding the mailbox. Look at my rank and rr in the photo below.....Honestly, I'm no good to anyone in T4 at this rank but with the introduction of the Skaven classes I can actually make a contribution. I managed to get a few kills, or assist in some at any rate, hang with my guildies, and earn some much needed renown. As the gutter runner, at the very least, you can hide from the big, scary rr80+ toons while alerting the others to where they are and what they are doing.

If by playing you mean hiding while others bash down the door.

It was good fun, and I did manage to get 26% of a renown level just for that one keep take. Brilliant. All in all I am happy with the direction the game is taking. I do know, however, that more needs to be done. Its because I have a variety of toons on the go, and that I am still playing catch up that I am more tolerant of the obvious- that this won't be enough to keep the upper tiered players happy and subbed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Guild Warshammer Online? Sounds Catchy.

As I made my blog rounds this morning I was particularly interested in Bootaes post and the discussion that followed. You will excuse me if I ignore the other hot topic, the melee healer debate/nerf/re-balance. I’m just not that invested as I don’t have a high ranking WP or DoK. I freely admit that my DoK (14) was a fotm roll because my RP (43) was insanely jealous of the massive healing numbers these classes posted in scenarios. I also like healing and it’s the only Destro healer I haven’t tried.

I especially like his point about portions of the game world which look very nice but are completely unused. I remember the ‘fotm’ complaint ‘aways back was that there wasn’t enough people in the RVR lakes! If you’ll remember (or not if you’re new) it is why they doubled the amount of RR and experience awarded for kills in the lakes. Now there are too many. Will we ever be happy? Will I ever stay on topic?

Its no secret (especially to me as I am privy to most of my secrets) that I miss the defunct ORVR servers. I realize why they failed- no one likes to get ganked- but I think that Mythic missed an opportunity to keep them going. The level cap in the RVR lakes ensures that there is some balance, and competitiveness and that could have easily been extended to cover the entire area of any given tier. I admit that I was likely a contributor to the frustration of players tired of getting ganked in the lower tiers (was that my rank 25 Witch Hunter at Thane’s Defence) but I always bought into the concept that Order and Destro were bitter enemies and that they should naturally want to fight wherever they may find each other. Even when I was the gankee.

I don’t really miss the frenzied massacre of lower-level toons so much as I miss the opportunity to find some fun wherever you may be. I hate grinding. I can’t say that enough. When I was at a PQ and a group of Destro would roll in all of a sudden and spoil our chance to complete, it was, I have to say, fun! It made playing in the pve area simply seem like an extension of the PVP game because the enemy could appear at any time. It was true rvr and it would have worked if it had been just a little more competitive and renown-rewarding.

As it stands we have the game separated in to two distinct areas and neither of them seem to be making any of the long-term players overly happy. The PVE area is, we can all agree, a sad sideshow. I will give credit where it is due and say that the PQ idea is Warhammer’s greatest contribution to the MMO world. The ability to jump in, participate, and get a bag is great. I find most PVE futile and dull (what’s the point, I think, as I know I will eventually outwit this oh-so-clever lair boss who stays in the same spot always and never has anyone else to help him out), but I don’t think any PVE lover would say Warhammer has anything to offer them they can’t find in elsewhere either now (fishing anyone) or in the future (Rift anyone).

Warhammer is about PVP and since release the developers have struggled to keep its player base alive and happy. Not an easy task in any MMO I don’t imagine (but yet one game seems to succeed...archaeology anyone?). Think of how massively disappointing a game has to be to lose 800,000 subscribers after the first few months. I base this on the reported sale of 1 million copies of WAR and reports of only 200k subs after 3 months. I can’t remember where I read that so it may be crap but it's my blog so I can make stuff up if I like :) (Edit: See here, I'm not crazy after all). I believe the developers tried to make a game with universal appeal only to find it universally unappealing to the two ‘factions’ in the MMO world.

Who plays Warhammer for the PVE? Seriously. I know there are a lot players who ‘grind’ their levels to reach the end-game quicker but does anyone enjoy it, honestly? Would rvr enabling the PQ’s make the game better? I don’t know but I think it would give us a bit more variety and choice in game-play and since it has already been done it shouldn’t be a programming nightmare.

WAR will ultimately have to make more changes if it wants to grow (or perhaps survive) and as quickly as possible. As Bootae pointed out there are a host of MMO games free-to-play, and some much-anticipated MMO’s soon to come. Its frustrating that the developers have obviously borrowed elements from The Game That Shall Not Be Mentioned but have ignored great PVP features from others. The orvr servers failed, as I stated above, because no one likes to get facreolled. The game as it stands, however, will always ensure that someone is massively overpowered compared to someone else. 60rr toons vs. 40 rr toons? No chance. 100rr toons vs. 40rr toons? Red mist.

So, do I have to say it, here in a Warhammer blog of all places? Do I? I’d rather not, but in case it isn’t painfully obvious to everyone, here it is: The PVP in Guild Wars kicks this games ass. Really. Honest.

Not in looks, not in art, not in the coolness of the game world, but in its simple and effective regulation of its competitiveness. Everyone is on an equal playing field because you can roll a top-ranked PVP-only toon of any class and try them out instantly. No grinding, no gearing up. Just play. I’m not suggesting WAR become GW (or am I.......?) but they could borrow a few elements to make things a lot more fun:

1. Cross-server scenarios (already suggested in numerous blogs and forum posts). I liked playing with the Germans (no, not really, but the Swedes were cool) in Guild Wars’ Alliance Battles. It would ensure pops happen quick and give some relief to those population-starved servers (cough-Iron Rock-cough) stuck queuing.

2. Dedicated arena-style (scenario) combat area which could accommodate pugs (GW’s random arenas) and a separate one for pre-mades (GW’s team arenas) which has already been wished for here).

3. Micro-transaction gear and/or toon store (ZOMG, they’ll kill you for saying that! How dare you sir!). Yes, I said it. I have more money than time and I hate grinding...did I mention that yet?

If you read this blog long enough you will eventually realize that I am, indeed, Guild Wars biassed and it’s because of its simplistic complexity (and the fact it was my first MMO ever). Would I love to roll a 80rr sorc right now and go melt some faces in a scenario? You bet! How about a 40rr BO just to see what my beloved Tankosauruss will be capable of one day (should he ever reach that lofty goal)? Absolutely! Would I buy a pvp-only pack to gain access to this wondrous land of competitive equaility. Huzzah! Do I want to grind rats, sc’s, and zone flips for 6 months to reach a high enough level just to be worthy of being 3-shotted by a 100rr toon? No, thank you, I do not.

My solution: mimic Guild Wars’ option of instantly accessible 40/40 toons in an arena only area. Those who want to rank up to 100rr and do keeps, zone flips, or PVE are more than welcome. Those of us who want to instantly PVP with a variety of toons (and are, quite frankly, willing to pay for it) would be happy. Not everyone wants or needs the carrot of rank-progression to enjoy gaming. Killing my enemies (or crappy allies even) is enough for me.

At the moment I see WAR as a fun, visually rewarding, and oft-engrossing game that I’d quite happily drop like a dirty sack of rotting rats for a grind-free game which rewards skill, tactics, and teamwork. Oh, and it has to be pretty because I’m shallow that way. And it needs a flashy name. And all the cool kids have to be there. Oh, and there has to be free cake. I like cake. Now pass the cookies.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On Finding a Guild

So its time, once again, to find a guild. Now, now, don’t assume by that I mean to say I am a guild-hopping madman. I am not, but I seem to have an aversion to guilds and find myself soloing an awful lot. If you take a trip back in time (last week) and look at my first post you will be reminded that I hate people. In fact, my favourite quote (made by me) is that “MMO’s would be a lot of fun if it wasn’t for all the people”. Also remember that at the very least I find myself funny.

I don’t think my self-proclaimed aversion to others is the reason I have a hard time finding a guild. I do want to be in a good guild because I know from experience that it makes a huge difference to the enjoyment of a game. I think I was spoiled by my first (and only) PVP guild in Guild Wars (No Goats, No Glory). It was a great bunch of guys who really took the game seriously but had loads of fun at the same time. We’d log in, talk tactics, talk about what we were all drinking that night (did someone actually once say “Pints of Gin and Tonic” and was that person, perhaps, me) and then we’d PVP.

Since Warhammer’s release I have only been in a handful of guilds. Less than that actually- perhaps only a palm-full or maybe a finger or two’s worth. I was in a guild called Hollywood on Eltharion for quite some time but left and went solo due to a lack of any organization in T1-3. I was quickly outpaced by others in my guild (due to my insatiable alt-habit) and once they hit 40 they were busy enjoying (or not as the case was in the early days) the end-game. I was having more fun roaming, ganking, and experimenting with different classes. Eltharion was ORVR so there was always some trouble to get into. Thane’s Defence PQ (Ch.7 I believe) in Dwarf was a classic spot for some great ORVR battles and some significant feats of gankage by yours truly.

It was at one of these ganking sessions a Thanes’ Defence I met an RP with whom I would later team up with. I ran my RP as a DPS (such as it is) and he was the healer. We’d duo quests, scenarios and orvr. It was good fun. We joined a Swedish guild (can’t remember the name, sorry lads) and he eventually went on to join Bad Karma at about the same time I had to pack up and say good-bye to my computer as I made an international move. Gutted! I would have loved to play with those guys.

I returned to Warhammer six months later to find Eltharion (and all the ORVR servers) to be ghost-towns. On the upside I wasn’t in the mood to focus so I used the peace and quiet to level my RP to 40 in the (new to me) Land of the Dead (thank god order had won access before everyone left). Once I hit 40 I transferred all my Eltharion toons to their new home on Karak Norn. I joined Bane of Chaos and had a blast! Finally played the end-game properly for the first time with an organized, pre-made warband and loved it.

Wow, that was a lot of boring background information wasn’t it? Still reading? Fools! I mean, very good, carry on.

So, back to guilds! How do we choose them?

My new search is for a Destro guild on Badlands. My order toons are happy in their new guild-though I was somewhat hurt when the remnants of my old guild told me they were ‘closed to recruiting’ when I contacted be fair, doesn’t that just mean they collectively thought I sucked? (Cries to himself in the corner while typing lol with happy face to hide his pain from the world).

I am flirting with the idea of trying out a role-playing guild. It is something I have never tried and this is, after all, a role-playing game. What better place to try? Another part of me, however, craves that organization and that competitive play (even if I do suck at it, thank you very much Guild Who Will Remain Nameless Who Used To Called Be Bane of Chaos). “Push into them! Push, push! Bomb the shit out of them!” I guess now it would be changed to “Morale dump the shit out of them” but you see what I mean.

I am also sick to death of levelling solo. I know that I bring it on myself (I do have 25 alts after all) but it would be great to level up with a group of guys and hit the end-game together. It’s hard to join an established crew who know one another, and their play styles, so well. I have to minimize the game and check on vent who’s who in my new guild as they talk!

So to summarize (yes there really was a point to all this) how do you choose a guild? I hate to guild-hopping so I don’t want to ‘try out’ a few and then leave. I guess I have enough alts I could join multiple guilds at the same time, but that just seems a bit dishonest, even for me. (This isn’t Eve Online, after all). The forums aren’t always a great source of information either so what’s a guild-less tier 1 toon to do? I’d love to hear your guild experiences and/or comments. For now, back to the grind. Baby Tankosauruss has a ways to go before he can fill the Annihilator Darkboots of Tankosaurus (retired).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Good-Bye Old Friend

So its with great sadness I have decided to say good-bye to one of my favorite toons ever- Tankosaurus (32). I don't really know why I liked playing him so much but I did. I hadn't played a tank before and I found something about it very calming and a whole lot of fun. Bash, buff, buff, debuff, bash, taunt, buff. Very rythymic, very orderly. I also think they are one of the coolest looking toons in the game. I tried the Iron Breaker, and the Swordmaster but just couldn't get into their mechanic.   

I started Tank on a separate account because, way back before GOA went under (who could have seen that coming with the exceptional service they provided huh?) you couldn't play on the NA servers from a European account (more on that another time). At the time I was, lets say, employmentally-challenged and had a lot of time on my hands. During the day (evening in Europe) there was no problems playing my order mains on Norn. By the time evening rolled around (3am in the EU zones) it was a ghost-town. Good for grinding LOTD but not much else. So I subbed another account (She Who Is To Be Named Later handily landing a job to support my habit) and played destro-by-night :)   

And so Tank was born. Wade in, bash shit, hope for heals, and away we go! Now, however, there is no limitation to which sever you can play on so I can keep my Order mains on Norn (for early evenings and weekends), and play on NA servers, should I choose. All from one account. Very civilized. Now to be completely honest, I never really got into Gorfang as a server. I can't say why, really, but I just found it (from the Destro point of view) quiet.....and unorganized. 

To be fair I didn't join a guild (PUGGED it) and there are some really great players there (Thehealeroftru, for one, though I don't remember him from a year ago) but it wasn't for me.  So I logged in today to say goodbye and get a screen shot for the blog before my account expires in a few days. Then I got to thinking. I wonder if the name 'Tankosaurus' is taken in The Badlands (my new destro home). Then I thought, well maybe I'll just roll a BO and see. And then I thought, why not just take him for a bit of a spin.....and thus goes the life of an altoholic. So, Tankosaurus is dead, but Tankosaurss is born! Huzzah!

Now I know what you're thinking, but this is really the last alt I'm gonna roll. Honest. Now, that said I did really want to try a Magus at some point. And the Marauders have gotten a bit of a boost, haven't they? And I really miss old Sorcerlicious- poor thing, trapped on that account I'm not going to re-sub. Hmmm.... I wonder if 'Sorcerlicious' is taken on The Badlands yet.........

Saturday, December 11, 2010

And Now He Won't Shut Up

So I've started a blog and now I won't shut up. I'm guessing, however, that this is the point of a blog. I imagine it will begin with a 'posting frenzy' because it is all new and wonderful, and then it will slide to a 'posting craze' as the gloss wears off, to be followed by a 'posting glut' where you read multiple (boring) posts about how busy my RL has become and how sorry I am I haven't been posting. Until then, however, read on good sir(s)!    

So I come in last night from the Christmas party, hosted by my overseers at the Lime Quarry where I toil weekly (coughing as the caustic lime dust eats away at my lungs), a bit drunk. Not, OMG he-told-the-boss-to-go-****-himself-drunk, or OMG his-wife-is-going-to-kill-him-for-being-such-an-ass-drunk, but definitely, we-need-to-leave-before-you-drink-anymore-drunk. And of course I sit down to play Warhammer. And I had fun.    

Dissapointed? Expecting a rage-quitting, or at the very least a heated argument in local (or the dreaded...... advice channel........)? The advice channel is like the online equivalent of the boogey-man: Stop that right now or the Advice Channel will get you!  Mom! I think the Advice Channel is hiding under my bed! Ahhh, but I digress (the important thing to remember in these situations is that I find myself funny and no amount of criticism will make me stop). No rants in any advice channel, just some good 'ole fashion fun. 

I logged my 32 WH Gankalicious and headed to T3 Empire in the hopes there might the chance, well, to gank. Remember that its around 5-6 am for most of the people who would normally use the Karak Norn server (ie Europe) so I wasn't expecting a lot. I did, to my great joy, run across a 35 Choppa grinding renown by busying his little resource carriers to and fro. And so, fun ensued.  

I have no illusions as to my god-like playing ability (even when drunk) so the point of this isn't to brag about how I 'wtf pwnd' him. I actually wish I could remember his name so I could 'tip my hat' as it were, but in any case our encounters ended with a 3-1 score for me. The winner. Huzzzah!   

But back to the point (yes, there actually is one). I wish there was a global chat, region or otherwise, where you could talk to the other side.Gasp, cough, huh? Madness you say! Imagine the conversations: I pwned you! Dessie sucks! Order is ghey! Why cnt I spll? Etc.Maybe, but it works in Guild Wars, and I miss it. Again: gasp, cough, huh? Guild Wars? What the hell? This is a blog about Warhammer, you say. Yes, well, Guild Wars is the only other MMO I have ever played for longer than a trial period (thats right, I said it) so my comparisons will always be to it.  

Guild Wars had some awesome features that I really miss and being able to chat to everyone in the game is one of them. Now I know we're 'enemies' and all that, but it would be nice. Yes there would be the baiting, trolling, and bragging that one would expect, but it would be nice to be able to say "gg" once in a while to a worthy opponent. There are times I wish I could kill my own allies for some of the stupid shit they say in chat so what would the difference be? I realize the tactical nature of the ORVR would preclude such a chat channel but it would be fun, perhaps in sc's to be able to bait, taunt, brag, moan, and just once in a while, tip your hat and say "gg".  And so I end this with a what I would have said (drunk at 5 am) to the Choppa who assisted me in having a bit of fun last night had such a channel existed.  

[Global][Gankalicous]: gg mate, I've got to crash. A bit drunk from the Xmas party lol.   

[Global][Choppa]: gg. Glad I got to kill you that last time.    

[Global][Gankalicous]: aye, almost had me every time tbh. Down to 10% each time.     

[Global][Choppa]: Next time.     

[Global][Gankalicous]: time I'd remember I specced that death-blow renown thingy and it woulda been 4-0 ;)   


Thursday, December 9, 2010

And so it begins.

If you share the (compulsive) desire to ensure everything is as perfect as it can be before embarking on any new endeavor you will appreciate the monumental leap this beginning represents. Everything is not just so and my (compulsive) nature is not happy. In fact I hear it weeping in the (recently cleaned) corner of my mind. I will, as time goes on, be adjusting the look (and possibly direction) of this blog but you will be stuck with what you read. 

My style. My tone. My cerebral flights of fancy. There is no adjusting that I’m afraid. 
I think this may actually be a good introduction because I often start out in the middle of any manner of random topics that have been swirling around inside my head for some time with the self-absorbed and oft narcissistic belief that those around me will have been privy to these musings. It will be good practice for what’s to come.   

I will, for the sake of this first, inaugural post reign in the thought threads that are rapidly sailing away and start at the beginning....No, not really! That's way too boring (especially for me as I 've heard it all a million times before).  

So I've started a blog and no-one, not even me, understands why. Well, that may not actually be entirely true. I have some idea as to why: I love gaming. That's it really. I love gaming and I hate people. Oops. Was that out loud? Ahh sure, it's out there now. Can't take it back so its best to move on. 

I really do love gaming and rarely have the opportunity to talk about it. I'd like to tell you that I'm just too busy to check in with my friends to have these desired, engrossing, game-related discussions but I think if you were to refer back to the "......hate people" statement above you would realize that that, good sir, is a  bold-faced lie. I am a people-hating, job-having, married, adult (according to my chronological age- break out the dendochronology kits and count the rings if you dare) with few RL friends. Circumstance and choice (mainly choice- possibly theirs). Take the entire population of everyone I know and divide that by the general proportion of people who like games and the numbers plummet rather quickly........all the way to 1 (very close to the damage my RP does when specced for DPS). 

I have 1 actual RL friend who is as passionate about gaming as me. In fact I still have the "3rd on the A-side" Dungeons and Dragons (Advanced, thank you very much) plaque we won in 1984 (we've already established I'm old, so its best to accept it and move on). Unfortunately this RL friend has the audacity, after 26-years of my loyal friendship and superb company to have gone and got himself married (14 years ago). And have a child (now 14- can you do the math?). And open a business. And absolutely refuse, refuse mind you, to relocate to the city in which I live. Indeed. How very dare he.
In any case I had the opportunity to catch up with him last summer whilst slaving away under his brutal, totalitarian regime (in said business for mere pennies a day) and it was (despite the brutal work load and unbearably long hours) great. I realized I loooooved talking about games. Games we played. Games we used to play. Games we wanted to play. Games we thought should be made. Do you see a pattern?

And so it began......

And so it begins.

So what’s in it for me, you ask? Why should I read this blog of yours? I couldn’t, even should I want to, answer that. I’ve given up mind-reading (for now). I know what’s in it for me however and I hope that in satisfying my vain, selfish need to talk about games and the things that make life fun that you too will find something interesting here. I am a gamer and the game-de-jour is Warhammer Online.

I am a proud Warhammer Online Veteran and I will not bother to complain, excuse, or revisit why I stopped playing for a year and why I have only one rank 40-toon (revisit altoholic’ and see Toon Count for your answer). We, the last stubborn, abused survivors of the one million (yes million) people who purchased the game, all sweaty with anticipation (only to have ample opportunity to dry off while we spent two hours queing to get on the server) know and understand. We /nodknowingly to each other. Complete sentences are not required.. Mumbled, barely audible snippets of oft-repeated phrases will do: “fortress, lag, server-population, server-merges, GOA, GOA....GOA...”(did I mention....GOA?) ettttt....cettttt....errrrr....aaaa. 

Bottom line- the game is still fun and I continue to amuse myself across a multitude of severs on various toons. I enjoy reading and discussing online, and other games, and have found that the forums do not provide the outlet I am looking for. I have recently, thanks to The One Who Will Be Named Later, discovered blogs, and now you have found mine. Thanks for stopping by, but I don’t recommend you turn you back as you leave.