Thursday, December 25, 2008

Well what else would I post today?

Merry Christmas one and all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tis The Season.

That's right folks, it's the season to be merry fa la la la la and so so onnn.

Offline, well work has been busy. Life has been busy and there's all that stuff next month.
Yeep I haven't gotten any gifts or put up the tree. Lazy I know. Fortunately (in a very odd sense) my laziness includes the interwebs. Not only do I have to still do proper Christmas out in the real world, granted I have been listening to Phil Spectors Christmas Albumn, I have to poke my head in on the two events around in my games.

City of Heroes brings the Winter EVent with the now traditional Ski Chalet and Warhammer Online brings beer, booms and boasts with Kegs End.

Winter in City of Heroes means a few things.
There are presents everywhere that when opened could have something good or a bunch of snowmen. Naughty or Nice, opening 200 presents gets the Toy Collector Badge.
Never again will I grind that. Once was enough.
The snowmen are annoying, but every so often you can get the Giant Monster class Winter Lord. Thar be a badge there as well and as Shannon has discovered, two merits per kill. Granted I've not looked at the Merit system but I don't think that's a particularly impressive haul. The right team and he's down faster than a catgirl in Atlas.
Candy Canes! Oh yes. Oh yes indeed. There are various temporary power rewards for the candy canes. They're a clever bit of work. Previously if you missed an event and it's badges, they were gone. Badge whores abhor such things. Candy canes however were introduced...last year I think? With them you can get the temp powers, but you can also get badges that you may have missed from earlier Winter Events (y'know, by not being there or not working for 'em) that are otherwise no longer available. This year they've also thrown in a Halo aura. Naughty or nice, you can now complete the Angel or Devil look.

I'm tempted to put it on my possibly Holy powered, certainly wing sporting Dual Blades Tanker just to annoy people and further confuse the whole "She is not an Angel stop asking" issue.

Mostly though I bet they'll be used in Pocket D to signal being cyberbait. That's just me being cynical.

The only thing that has got my attention at the moment (and yes I am glossing over other details like the Winter Event only Universal Travel IO set, in game roleplay events and the hideous looking Baby New Year in his own mission from Father Time) is the redesign to the Ski Chalet.I say now that I am not interested in the badges, I claim that the Tome Of Knowledge has now moved into that obsessive centre of my brain/heart and reigns supreme but... well there's a giant snow slide with a time challenge. Going to have to give that a go.

Warhammer Online is bringing in the Kegs End, or rather by the time I post this it is live. I've not heard much about it myself having been busy lately. However I caught some highlights thanks to the Herald mostly and Massively in general.

Heres what I learned.
1) Beer, explosions and /boast.I mostly play Dwarfs, so all three are fantastic. (In a moment of subverting Paul Barnett, while I adore Dwarfs, I don't drink, I am 6'6'' and I'm not that hairy. I do however love tunnels.)

/Boast is something that I think is good. Sure making fun of people you whomp in PvP or RvR can go either way. Sometimes it's in the spirit of the thing (What won't Goblins/Orcs laugh at?) and sometimes it's clear that the guys clustered around your corpse are wishing for a /teabag.Still in the interests of fostering rivalries (not discord) being able to boast over the broken bodies of foes who had previously been laughing their greenie faces off appeals to me.

Bloody grobi.

2) Rewards.Live Events have thus far always given me something worth having. It may not be the basic reward (Though the title and see through effect of the Witching potion was fun), it may not be the advanced (though the capes from both events are wonderful with interesting bits) but by the Elite I've had something well worth having.

This time around?I can get a Trophy. They're always good to have. In fact I want more trophys and pocket items.
I can get a title, The Drunkard. Norri tends to be either sozzled or convinced he's a master scout. Sounds like they've got the title for him.I can get a recall spell. No idea if it has limited uses, but the ability to zap myself all the way back to a City Pub? Fantastic! Especially if you're after the Auction House.

3) Last bits.
There'll be mobs, there'll be things occuring. There will be interesting effects and new sights to see. Third live event they've had and they are still pulling out new things. I love this.

The two last sticky out in memory bits then.
The Golden Stein? Well... on that I am ambivalent. I don't know if it's something everyone can have, and even if they can, I have Furds Bottomless Mug already. Still..if it's goin' beggin'...

The Keg backpack?
Two words. DO WANT!

City of Heroes, I still enjoy you and I will come to play in the snow, but if anyone wants me and I'm not on the slide, I'm in the Warhammer world chasing down a Beerpack or two. It'll be a blast.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Knight, a Cop and a Centurion...

..walk into an instanced mission and no one bats an eye.

Issue 13 recently hit for City of Heroes and there are some fun bits in it. Granted alot of people are looking forward to the Mission Architect in I14 and the big carrot on a stick that is I15 (Will the 5th be back back back?!).

There are a few things in Issue 13 that I am enjoying but they're hardly stellar. That said, let's go through 'em. (Clarification : There are more aspects to I13 than those below, these are just the ones I am currently interested in/affected by)

Dual Builds
Now in City of Heroes you can have dual builds. You can't change AT, primary or secondary powersets or side. You can however pick powers and slots in a new order. The idea is you could have a grouping build and a soloing build.
I'm sure some people will love that, especially the "I have one attack" Empaths. It doesn't do a whole lot for me. Mostly because I pick what I am going to do and stick to it. My Bubbler doesn't need a pvp spec or a soloing spec because he has teammates for that.
However I am using it on my VEAT (villain epic at) as they branch down two different paths and this allows my Crab Spider VEAT to hit a button and become a Bane Spider. From a Pet-ish Blaster-ish tough guy (well robot) into a mace wielding blastery Stalker.

In those situations, sure it makes sense and is useful even. The thing is... I like my Crab Spider. That's why I chose Crab Spider. Being able to swap is nice but I survived without before. Mostly I think that whole thing is for PvP.

Levelling pact
I'm doing this one with Shannon right now. Duos, trios and superteams are a feature of City Of Heroes. Moving in levelstep is something you do. I have a lvl 46 controller with a good friend of mine (my God I must make time for her and get us to 50) and they've been the same level and played at the same time all the way up the ladder. Without Stamina either.
Anyway I am still a little unclear on all the ins and outs of levelling pact. Since CoH redesigned its site and patcher and whatnot, they seem to have gone to shorthand. I don't know about other people, but I love pages of patch notes. It's nice to see all the little tweaks. Seeing that 1.06 stretched over two pages on the Herald made me grin like a loon. Sure most of it wasnt applicable to things I played, but it shows what they've worked hard for.

Anyway. Levelling pact. Your exp is shared. If I play 100 hours and Shannon plays 10, we'll still be the same level. It keeps us level and rewards playing with a particular player. At the moment the pact is only open below level 5 and only for two people at a time. I do see it being expanded and wait for the day that a Supergroup is started, hardcores and casuals together all linked in a pact.
Given how much bigger the Plume of Awesome is at 50, I'd pay to see 8 simultaneous dings at 50.

Day Jobs
I don't like 'em. The Tome Of Knowledge has cured my badge whoring in City of Heroes. Badges have nothing on the Tome. So I wont grind them out (30 days offline in a particular location per badge) on people. If they introduced it several issues ago when I had few alts and a hard time picking who to play, I'd have been all for it. The rewards, while nice, are just that. Nice. It is an incentive to make alts and to not play all your characters. Neglect some, then come back to goodies. Make alts and grind out rewards for later use. I see it more as a cynical means of extending the games lifespan by rewarding players for not playing but still paying.

The Patrol XP (Rest xp basically) is tasty though. You can get one bar of 1.5xp per day logged out. So even over night you'll get a little boost when you start playing. If you've had a busy week and no play, come back to a faster levelling. This I approve of.

Sooo many cops. This is all the art guys fault. He put a Nightstick option in for War Mace and a Riot Shield. If it's not cops, it's knights. If it's not knights, it's centurions. There do seem to be a few going for the tech options and a few going for interesting combinations, but not as many as you'd like. That's life with a new powerset. Hell that's life in a current MMO. New Class? MUST HAVE! Style and thought go out the window usually, just want to play NAO!

That said, Sheilds are very interesting. Some nice powers I like, some aspects I don't. It's essentially Super Reflexes with a dash of Willpower-style and a teleporting attack like EM's Lightning Rod (of which I am jealous). But a few of the powers, granting defense buffs and gaining your own for being close up with other players (ideally in melee) look tasty for Shield players who stick together.

Despite my complaint, I'd love to see a super team of all Centurions Phalanxing it up a notch.

Midweek I play City of. Weekends are WAR time. Let's see how long the midweek play lasts. So far, so good.
Then again I am in a Shield duo in a level pact. It pays to play.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I should blog more

It's true. I should.

However work and life oppose me at every turn.

Anyway. On with the show.

My idea mentioned below. The little get together for a small group to start a fight night...
Well as you can guess I got a little busy before I was supposed to haunt forums. So that has been put back. Add to that this little nugget from Wizards & Wenches.

Sorry to be the party-pooper here, but arranging duels like this isn’t allowed. This is so for a few reasons. To start with, it doesn’t go well with the WAR setting; Order and Destruction aren’t enemies due to mere ideological or political reasons but rather are bitter and irrevocable enemies where kill-on-sight is the the norm. There’s also the aspect of renown and victory points to consider. Although duels don’t have a large impact on zone locking mechanisms, they do contribute and again, it’s just not the way these things are meant to work.
This doesn’t mean that RvR can’t be pre-arranged. It’s perfectly fine to say “we’ll roam this-and-this zone tomorrow evening from 8pm and we’ll kill anyone entering it!”. Basically, as long as the RvR taking place make sense within the WAR setting it’s fine.
Currently, players cought participating in what is clearly arranged duels risk being penalized for this.

I will argue one point. The Non RP servers outnumber the RP servers. There are by definition more people not concerned with the setting than there are those who are. That's not an absolute garuntee, but there are likely players on other servers who haven't a clue who Sigmar is or what the whole WAAAGH thing is about.

Even with that little warning in mind, the idea of an Ostermark fight night will move ahead. If I am quick about it, I'll be able to entice the second round of Knights and Blackguards to participate as they come up the ranks.

They admit it's borked
Colin gets one back

That's all that needs to be said there. Sure some people thought it was in poor taste, but I saw what they were trying to say and enjoyed the video. The second one is similarly amusing.

Last WAR bit
All in all, I do need to blog more. With any luck I shall be. Certainly I got to spend some decent time in WAR lately. Keep watching.
Oh and My friend Seph has also started blogging. If he can bother me, I can advertise him :P

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

You gotta fight for your right to party

On City of Heroes there have been a few fight night type things organised. Tanker Tuesdays on Champion, Golden Giza nights on Virtue, Supergroup clashes (iirc) on Test server. The community which has had years to grow pulls together in various different ways to play together.

At the moment in WAR, people are pointing out a lack of cohesion thus far. Guilds are taking care of their own sure (Or at least one hopes they are and that Oathkeepers Legacy isn't an abberation). The realms have a rough identity as well.

However it seems that a good stand up scrap is elusive. Werit has lamented the lack of non primetime action. Snaffy over on the Greenskin also talks about how many MMOs suffer from a lack of critical numbers at other times of the day. I, myself, have commented many times on Ostermark servers seeming tendancy towards early bird Order and night owl Destruction, with the zone control swinging after some seemingly invisible watershed time.

Another good point from Snaf is that there are no current "go to" areas. Or if there are, we either don't all know about them, or I just don't because Im in the bottom end of T3 and haven't played much recently (due to Girlfriend rather than lack of desire).

We can lament the fact that the roleplaying on Roleplay servers seems not be as prevalent as some other games, but I won't because I prefer roleplay lite. We could decry the fact that late afternoon/early evening EST isn't primetime but being on GMT myself I've long since accepted the fact.
We could hope that once the server gets enough of a mature population (in the sense of levels rather than maturity) that the campaign will coalese along the lines laid out for us and the fight will begin in earnest.

Many things could be hoped or said or wished for. I, however, am going to try an experiment.

God willing my fickle attention span will hold out long enough to see it to fruition and that I will put as much energy into its dawn as I used to into the blog.

I want to organise a completely out of character fight night on Ostermark.
In my own teeny opinion, nothing will bring a server together better than having rivals. While the other realm is a faceless mass seemingly bent on opposing us and taking the best bits of geography (Bregel has much to say on this, but rightly so) there's no real sense of connection. We already can't talk to one another except by going outside the game. The seeming solution is to then forge a connection. For the first few attempts, I am going to try organise a well behaved and informal fight night. People or teams will sign up. There may be themed battles (I've a few bad puns for that).

Basically until we get to know one another, we can't really get to rival one another.
When Norri, my engineer, came up through T2 I ran alot of Mourkain Temple scenarios. Not because I was grinding xp/money/rp but because I genuinely enjoyed the experience. In doing so I started to recognise names. Maybe they were grinding, maybe they were just enjoying the play. Maybe they prefer scenarios. At any rate, I could have my own rivalry. I could yell "That guy, I know him, let's kill him". The war became personal, but still fun.

Hopefully Fight Night will get off the ground and hopefully it will do the same for a few people that scenarios did for me. So expect me to try to infiltrate forums and blogs this coming weekend.

I'm not looking to hate the other side, but I am looking to get to know people so caving their heads in will be that bit more personal and fun. A friendly rivalry now is tomorrows guild on guild keep battle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ardy Proudly Presents a Blog Entry

When was the last time you were proud of an achievement? When was the last time that it wasn't just a tick on a list, but rather a crowning moment in your game?

Or even better, when was the last time someone was proud of what they've given you to play?

We all have different definitions of a defining moment. However nowadays people are less interested in having the crowning moment of awesome than they are in ticking all the boxes in the checklist of their game. Have to win... have to complete everything... have to get ready for the next hurdle and pointless task. Not because it's fun, but because we're compelled to.

We all have different cherished memories in life, games and everything else besides. One strong memory for me was the change in my own thinking between Command and Conquer Red Alert and Red Alert 2.

I've always had many gaps in my geekery so to speak. I've never, for example, played a Blizzard game barring a five minute attempt at WoW. I haven't ever developed a taste for anime like many of my friends. There are books and comics and the other media that seem to be woven into the concept of "geek" that I just have never had the pleasure of nor bothered with (Watchmen, I'm looking at you).

My first experience with RTS games was with Settlers, way way back and played on an Amiga. After that I didn't come back to them till the Playstation. Command and Conquer mind you, not Dune.
Fortunately I could rent alot of Playstation games, and I came across Red Alert. It was fun, it was an RTS and I enjoyed it. Beyond that, I don't remember much. It just didn't impact me the way some games do (though I did love the Chronotank and missed it in later installments). I played the expansion in the same manner, fiddling with the Playstation controller and being paranoid that my brother on a borrowed and linked Playstation was looking over my shoulder to see what I was doing.

Roll on RA2. Man was it a different beast entirely. This time, this time I was on the PC. I was comfortable with computing. I was expecting a mere game.
I got an experience.

The Premier was plotting. America would be his. The Kirovs cast shadows on skyscrapers as the sound of jackboots revved up. The Hell March kicked in and man did it kick ass. Fantastic music, a sense of story and in the middle of it all... Westwood Proudly Presents. This was their baby and they were proud to show it to me, to let me play with the game and to enjoy the movie that came between missions.
I was hooked. Yuri’s Revenge? Same thing all over again. An experience. A cherished memory.

There was a Penny Arcade strip that in a nutshell dealt with EA. When they mass produced crap, they made money hand over fist. Since trying for smart, clever or just simply good games? They make a loss.

I'm supporting them during this loss with my copies of Warhammer and Red Alert 3. This is not EA fanboyism though. This is something else besides. It's something visceral.

The Empire delivered their ultimatum. One lone man on the cliffs saw the ships approaching... and in the middle of the opening of Hell March 3. EA proudly presented.

Everything I do in that game isn't just a tick on a list. It's a proper achievement, hard fought and hard won.

I am proud.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'm not quitting

Everyone in Warblogosphere has commented by now. Some are staying, some are going. Some have clever plans to reignite the fun. Others have defined expectations of fun and others have found their center.
Me? I'm still plugging away. Being an infrequent writer (I have excuses, some of them are even good) and frequent player.

The world is no less beautiful than it was when I first logged in. In fact it is more so as I never could look above the horizon on my specs during beta, but that all changed for live.
The flavour of the world is still Warhammer.
The fun is what you make it, and me? I'm making it as best I can.

So... completely pointless entry of the month here. I'm not quitting WAR. I see no reason to leave somewhere I am enjoying still, despite a slowdown personally in tier 2, despite population questions and for the simple fact that some of the complaints bandied about can only ever be fixed by staying.

So folks. Ostermark is the place. Orrekai and Norri are the names.
I'm still there, why don't you drop by an open party? We'll make some fun. It'll be a blast.

Upcoming : Badlands on Orrekai and running around RvR lakes, causing trouble, on Norri.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Zomg nudies!

On Virtue server in City of Heroes, the cyber crowd is easy to spot.Either a) their profile has the little tag "Erp" or b) they're in Pocket D. I know that is a broad generalisation but more often than not it is accurate. Even dawdling in the D can sometimes be dangerous to your sense of squick. One time I was playing one of my female toons (gasp!) and a friend was playing one as well. They were roleplayed as sisters and were having a harmless chat in the Tiki Lounge.
Along came a chap and he sent me a tell. "Mrp?". I asked what he was on about and eventually got the blunt answer of "I'm asking if you two are mrping, if so I want to join". Eww.

Such is life on Virtue. The leather clad succubi and hyperactive nearly naked catgirls are possibly the most harmless of the crowd.
I'm sure that most other games where there are roleplay servers will eventually encounter the problem of digital nookie.The thing is ... I can't tell if it's going on in Warhammer or not (granted, do I really want to know?).

Allow me to set the scene. Myself and a friend have rolled up Witch Hunters for the purposes of eventually causing mayhem at keep sieges and defense. Edelmann and Katrine had joined up with a Bright Wizard friend (whose name I've forgotten, sorry Sare) to enjoy Nordland.
That's when I came across the pair. A male Warrior Priest standing in a field, with a naked Bright Wizard lady standing in front of him. A little unusual I thought, but I wrote it off as someone going for nude unlocks. After all the Tome rewards you running around in your skivvies so...

But then doubt set it. We were fighting at the beaches and as is my habit, I got more aggro than I could manage and had to trudge back from the Grey Lady twice. Both times, they're still standing in that field...

So we did as amused and nosey players would. Edelmann and Katrine, Witch Hunters both, ran up and demanded an explanation for the possibly heretical behaviour. Can't trust those Wizards you know, they have truck with magic and that way madness and Chaos lies.

The response to our in character accusation? An emoted eyebrow raise and then a run for the border. Cue the Benny Hill add-on (Seriously, someone should write that) and begin the chase. Shouting and hollering for the witch and heretic to stop and face Sigmars Inquisition.
Eventually they escaped through the flight master and we ourselves had no interest in chasing them further.

I'm left with a question though. Did we four have an amusing roleplayed moment? Did we confuse and chase off someone dual boxing or duoing who was after nude unlocks? Or did we actually bust a couple getting it on in the middle of a field which happens to be in the rough path between two PQ's and the Grey Lady?

You can never be sure after all.

On a final naked note, there is apparently a bug that will make someone appear as though they are nude when mounted, despite being fully armored. Kaelani, our Archmage in Oathkeepers Legacy, declared that she was Lady Godiva!I declared that I had that title.

Yes ladies and gents, summon a mount in your capital while naked and you too can be Lady Godiva.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday Monday

Man what a weekend. There's been alot for me going on in WAR and the weekend was a busy one. My Engineer hit 20 and laid claim to his beercopter, my Witch Hunter was born and there was much RvR rvred.

Our story middles with the Oathkeepers Legacy and Sephorus' climb to 20 (which as of my heading to bed around midnight gmt last night, he still needed). The beginning was the day before when I was of course up to an unreasonable hour. Sabina (OL Witch Hunter) had headed off to bed before a day of exams and I was left to amuse myself. We had been running quite alot of Mourkains Temple runs (with the standard practice of taking the quest to kill 15 in the local lake or racially appropriate scenario and the quest to do the scenario) as well as others and so our story found Norri standing in the Marshes of Madness Warcamp wondering how best to proceed.So the plan was hatched, let's take back the battlefield objectives.
It didn't go quite according to plan at the start. A brave Rune Priest whose name sadly I've forgotten and a tough and fun female Ironbreaker, Bergita, joined me. Soon we added in a duo of an Archmage (Snowblind) and a Bright Wizard (Radiant). With the little band we finally made progress on getting around the one roving Greenskin party there was and retaking the points. There wasn't enough people to make a fight of the keep, so we took what we had achieved and considered it good.
Fast forward to Monday. Sephorus needs 20. Norri is 20. Norri logs on and finds Sabina directly in front of him in Sigmars Hammer. A party is born. We head off to the Marshes for the same tactic again and maybe some PQ's.

This is where I really started to feel as though I was getting a handle on the server. All over the weekend teamspeak picked up sudden exclamations of " I know that guy, I killed that guy. Gotta kill him again". This time, Bergita was spotted on /1 talking to someone about Nebhorests Tower.

I don't know about you lot, but the Oathkeepers tried the tower and had a bit of a hard time of it. We never quite made it to the top, and having now seen what is up there, I'm not convinced we'd have survived if we had.

Well here is where the awesome that was my Monday evening was born. All that started it was a roleplaying Ironbreaker whom I recognised and a PQ I hadn't finished. We were sold. We joined the party that was already over there, filling it. Couldn't leave the Ironbreaker out though, so I somehow ended up with the Crown and started the Warband before also pulling in Dusana of the Oathkeepers. This was shaping up good. Some yelling on /1 got a few more interested parties and we had at Nebhorest.

The bloody vampire is a Lord. Secondly, he yanks out essences (we think he's doing it wrong as the text implies that he should be doing it to anyone he corpsifies) which form Champion level mobs. We got trounced.

So into the party we add Snowblind and Radiant as well as a few others. Things are looking up, I'm recognising names and getting used to balancing parties in the Warband. We head back and charge on in, merrily slaughtering our way up the tower. Just before Nebhoest we add the final Oathkeeper of the day, Nadrion. Swordmaster extrordinarie.
Commence spanking. Unfortunately Snowblind crashed, but he managed to return and was quickly picked back up before Nebby (as the wonderfully amusing Warrior Priestess Chelsea dubbed him) went down. 13 or so people, one Lord, seven GREEN bags.
Still not to be sniffed at.

Now normally when I have experienced impromptu parties, they fall apart after the supposed goal is met. Nebhorest was dead, influence gained, bags gotten. Instead someone made the golden suggestion... "Destruction owns the keep.. keep raid?"


So that's what we did. The band charged in to the lake and took the BO's before setting sights on Fangbreaka Keep. /2 wasn't much help, but /1 did get us a few more warm bodies. Channel on Ostermark : OrderRvR also proved a good place to recruit and we soon found ourselves (after a bit of a travesty of a first attempt) on the second floor and pounding the Lord for all we were worth.

First note. Swordmasters can tank.
Second note. Don't try to disrupt a warband taking a keep if there are only three or four of you unless you're really that good or pick your moment right. Those that tried us got pasted.
Third note. If an Engineer looks at you with a grin and your on a balcony without any railing...yeah..bye bye. Punting Shamans should be a national sport.

The band, supposedly led by me, sucessfully took the keep and headed on back to the Warcamp. After some polling, we decided to head on to the Shadowlands to try our hand there on the very reasonable assumption that Destruction would likely get its act together and guard Barak Varr.
Now for some reason Snowblind, either to foster some working together or very honestly, thanked me for being the voice of the warband, giving direction.

If I really was that good a leader then I impart to you my wisdom.
Leading a keep taking band consists of pointing at a target and yelling charge. Pretending like moving zone was your idea when people seem restless. Listening to the main tanks and telling everyone to do what they say. That seems to be it, certainly it's all I did.

Unfortunately at that time (but not before handing over the reigns to Nadrion and Snowblind) I crashed but managed to get back in time to help assault (a second time) the lord of Spites Reach.

I like Elven keeps in T-2. They're open and airy. They let the warband spread out a bit. They have a nice winding ramp that lets us gently get upstairs. They also have a Sorceress with alot of knockback and a nasty AoE as a Lord and a clear circle on the ground that we discovered represents the full distance of her AoE nastiness.Also, my personal favourite. The pointless sticky up pointy bits on Dark Elf buildings. That stopped me being punted off the side quite nicely thank you.
After this we seemed to be in good shape. The Lord was pummeled into submission both in Spites Reach and in the Cascades of Thunder in Ellryion. Sadly we lost Fangbreaka but that's just an example of while one warband can take a keep, it takes more to keep it and still press on with the conquest.

For such a great evening I'd like to thank the Oathkeepers Legacy : Dusana, Sephorus, Sabina, me and Nadrion.
Also thanks to Snowblind, Radiant, Chelsea, Coors, Bergita, Nolodan (who won a gold bag if memory serves in Spites Reach) and Zeonox (sp?) who despite being an explody Bright Wizard, happily brought along his guilds banner for the extra buffs it afforded us.
Thanks also to the many many others who joined in my first proper taste of Keep attacking.

Final notes.
I enjoy using the ram. It amuses me.
Also concussion grenade is the finest example of Dwarven engineering expertise a Dwarf could lob and I adore it.

It was a fun filled evening. After the keep taking, there was Witch Huntering and an odd encounter for next time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Roster

What's Ardy been doing in WAR?

Not too many things, truth be told.

My main, a Rune Priest named Orrekai, is now sitting pretty at 22. I've found myself somewhat stalled while I think of a method to catch up with my friends in the Guild or snag someone elses coattails for a bit of levelling.

My secondary is an Engineer named Norri. Drunk, confused and convinced he's a scout. To the point where he has taken to hiding in trees and shooting at people. Recently he's hit level 20 and renown 16 or 17. Grenades are fun!

My final active character at the moment is a Witch Hunter. While browsing WarDB I spotted two powers in the core abilities of Witch Hunters that caught my eye, but of course it will be some time till I get to experiment with them.

The first is Booby Trap. Like how some players can buff siege engine damage or resistances, Witch Hunters can booby trap enemy weapons causing them damage any time they're used. I don't know about you but to me that sounds like it will be as funny as using Point Blank to launch people.
The second.... Ohhh the second. It will either be epic or rubbish. Pick Lock is available at level 30. What does it do you may ask?
You bolster yourself for 30 seconds, allowing you to bypass the defenses of an
enemy keep's postern door, porting you inside.

We currently have two Witch Hunters in the Oathkeepers Legacy and now there are two more. My friend Cryo and I have a duo coming up the levels. Your doors, watch them. We're going to come in and have some fun.

Friday, October 24, 2008

El stuff and my return

How's it going folks?

I've been rather quiet as of late. Partially due to a personal funk and partially due to a lack of inspiration.

So in the meantime, some bits and pieces.
GOA announces more jobs in Dublin. 400 more it seems.
They still didn't hire me (yes I'm still beating that dead donkey) but that's because of a snafu with Manpower Ireland and CPL. So anyone looking for a job there, hit the main site or google CPL.

I'm up to 22 on my Rune Priest (Im the slowest leveller of the lot) and 16 on my Engineer. Personally I love the Dwarf race, story and classes and can't wait to hear what we're getting for Melee DPS. Let me go on record as saying "No Slayers please". I know how to make them work, I just don't want them to.

The Hammer of War Screenshot Competition is ongoing still. You've only a week left to enter and there's that lovely 60 day Game Time card up for grabs. Anyone yet to enter, hop on over and check it out.

Finally, a silly tidbit.
On the character select screen when you can see all the characters on your server, select one. You can then rotate the character.
Rotate him too much, too fast and they will do the dizzy drunken stupor. Completely useless yes, but it entertained me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Whose your Dawi?

I've been lax lately I know. Work has been a bit mad and there are other factors, as usual.

So for this entry, I'm going to ramble, babble and generally wander around my recent experiences in RvR Scenarios. Speaking of which Hammer of War has two of my guides up so far, with more to come as I get them done (sorry for the delay boss). Here and here.

First let's discuss reasonable expectation.

In Mourikains Temple, I tend not to follow the main path. All of this will be explained in a soon to go up guide. Suffice to say, in one of my recent runs, after getting dead I decided to try flank the main battle and make a nuisance of myself. As it happened at the same time an Ironbreaker on my team manged to kill the dude with the thing and snag it. He by some good fortune ran down the same way I was coming up. Hiding behind a wall to give myself a few seconds cover I started spamming heals. Rune of Shielding to give me some time to work while it absorbs damage. Heal over times, direct heals, an Oath Rune for extra resists.
Basically I did my job. I did what one can reasonably expect of my class.

The Ironbreaker died. Contrary to his complaint "Oh great I ran past a Rune Priest and no heals" I did heal. He died because the majority of available destruction chased him down and turned him into paste.
I'm good, but I'm not that good. Half a dozen? I'd have kept you going. More? It was always a losing proposition.

You can reasonably expect a tank to tank, a healer to heal and a Bright Wizard to cause trouble. Sometimes though, they hit the limit of what they can do. It isn't anyones fault, eventually it gets too much.

Before anyone ever yells at anyone in a scenario, think. Did they do everything you could reasonably expect? If so, bite down on the frustration.

Secondly. Short jokes.

I love playing my Dwarf. It's brought in a slight advantage for me. I can break line of sight easier. Lanky Elves are easy to spot. Manlings inevitably mark their position with fire or the favour of Sigmar. Dwarves though, Dwarves are small, unassuming and not flashy.
As a result I love Phoenix Gate (Guide coming soon).

I've captured the flag on more than one occasion and reported troop movements on many more by virtue of the fact, I can't be seen. That and people don't appear to look around much if you hold off on spamming attacks.

So to the people in that Phoenix Gate run a while back where we were stalemated. To those people who valiantly distracted the forces of Destruction while a lone Dwarf waltzed up to the flag. To those who watched my victory lap because short guys are hard to target (trust me, try pick out a Shaman in a group). I have one thing to say about my sucessful capture, the only capture that time, that won us the match.

Whose your Dawi?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Dear Pheonix Gate Players

Specifically the White Lions.

I don't know what's wrong with you. Until yesteday your lot always seemed competent.
Allow me to enlighten you. When you have captured the flag. We get points for running it back to our Shrine while we still have ours.
Running around like a twat and ignoring half the scenario screaming at you to go the other way is not good. Turn around. Go to our Shrine.
Don't shame your race by getting ganked and having an Ironbreaker have to do it. Or by being yelled at by two Rune Priests till you go where you're supposed to and then having to have one baby sit you in case you get stupid again.

It's capture the flag. Not "Look at me I'm glowy and pretty".



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I, Runepriest.

As the Warhammer community establishes itself in game and the social "rules" that will define us as a game come into being, there have been a few blog entries on the nature of healers roles, healing and so on.

I play a Rune Priest and this is my manifesto.

  • I will always try to heal you if I can. Keep in mind, I seem to be the biggest target around.
  • I will always try to dps if you seem competent and not about to die. Sudden splash damage is not my fault. I cannot mitiage future damage without a Delorean.
  • I will always always follow my Ironbreaker or whomever else I seem to have become attached to.
  • In Mourikains Temple, I will always heal the dude with the thing.
  • You want healing? You will make sure I survive the trip. Letting the Rune Priest get ganked is a sure fire way to deprive yourself of support. This is not the same as me springing a Dwarf-bush or Dwarf-coy.

As for Rune Priests in general. I am having a blast. Like Arbitrary I am going for a Grimnir/Grungi mix. I'm rather comfortable in my main skills. My new favourite power has to be the bouncy Rune of Serenity. I've a tendancy to cast that, just to watch it pass from person to person. It's fun like that.

On a slight tangent, I want to talk about the most important bit about being a healer. Death.
As I mentioned above, Orrekai seems to be unnaturally attractive to both players and PvE mobs. There have been many times where critters and guys will bypass the entire team just to stand a chance of taking a swing at me. Yes it's good tactical sense to deprive the opposing force of support, but as it also happens in PvE it's become a bit of a joke that the game seems hard coded to want me dead.
My death, or the promise of it is the most powerful tool that exsists. Winning in scenarios isn't about you dieing as little as possible. It's about ruining the other guys strategy and then killing the living daylights out of them. A disorganised team is a losing team. There have been many times in scenarios where despite being behind, Order has either closed the gap (and still lost) or stolen a win due to a few players learning to work in concert.

Two of those players are myself and my Ironbreaker buddy Bregel. I will follow that man anywhere. Into the Realm of Chaos itself if needs be. It's a wonderful symbiotic relationship. I heal him and keep him going that much longer and he guard me. He also makes tons of grudges because well, I'm me and everything wants me dead. I am happy to take the sacrifice or peel off and lead the Destruction team on a merry (if brief) chase if it means he can last a little longer or achieve whatever it is we started to do. My death is a minor and fleeting debuff. I will soon be back up and running, able to assist in any way, even if that way is making myself a massive target.

That's what a Dwarf-coy is. I don't care if someone isn't flagged in the open world. Go hide around a corner team. I'll flag myself. They will not be able to resist juicy healer Dwarf, and then they're free game for us all.

So if ever we meet on Ostermark, if ever I seem to have suicidal tendancies and instead of healing you, I've charged at the bad guys with my shield on, a HoT ticking or just spamming fire runes. Thank me. I may not be healing you, but I've just bought you time to come together, work together and wipe the floor with anyone who couldn't resist turning to engage me.

Death may be the ultimate debuff, but being a Rune Priest is the ultimate taunt.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Apothecary

I'm sure anyone who has picked up the skill already will have worked it out. Just in case, here is the quick and dirty guide to brewing potions, making gold and grounding dye.

Apothecary skill (available in Chapter 2 camps)
Container (available from the trainer and merchants)
Main ingredient.

Additional ingredients.
Supporting gathering skill - Cultivation, Butchery or Scavenging.

The nitty gritty basics.

To brew a potion, you need a thingie to put it in (Container), a thing to put in the thingie (main ingredient) and some other stuff to jazz it up a little. As you can tell, my vocabulary has been influenced by the Gamespy comic.

Main ingredients can either be bought from vendors, grown (Cultivation, which in itself needs seeds), butchered presumably or scavenged. Dont be squeamish, reach into that still warm corpse.Mousing over them will give you an idea what level you need to be to cook them and what they'll do.

Vendors will always sell the level 1 ingredients needed to make Accuracy, Strength, Healing or Intelligence potions. (I could be wrong on the fourth, the memory is shoddy and I'm in work).Other random scavenged bits I've come across are below.

Skaven Spit - Intelligence
Leeches - Healing
Ticks/Fleas - AP
Grave Dirt - Spirit resistance
Dryad Husks - Thorny Concotions

The additives at level one are Cloudy Water, Callous Gobsworth or Dusty Fusk.

The Parsley gives your brewing a chance of making more than one potion from one set of ingredients.
The mushroom gives your brewed potions effect a chance to last longer.
The water is your friend and should always be carried. It will stabilise the potion, moving that little bar from failure, through volatile (one water) to garunteed brew (generally two waters, sometimes three depending on level).

Basic prices. Used Vial and Cloudy Water - 5 bronze. Callous Gobsworth and Dusty Fusk - 25 bronze.
You can, therefore, brew up stable but short duration potions if you have a main ingredient to hand for as little as 10-15 bronze.

While stabilisers are needed to move the sucess meter into the green, a potion can be brewed while in the orange range. It will be a volatile potion as a result. This means that it may do exactly what it says on the tin, or it may backfire when you drink it and have a negative effect.

How to brew.
Open your abilities tab. Click the tab in the top right and find Apothecary. Drag it to whatever hotbar button suits you best. You can now open your little bunsen burner that way. Place a container. Place a main ingredient. Add any additional ingredients you want. It must be done in that order initially for everything to lock in. If you run out of main ingredient but have alot of the rest, you can swap other mains in as you please. Hnady for when you want to cook several items in a go. Just make sure you have enough vials, water and whatever else you wish to use.

Your basic low level potion will look something like:
Used Vial (level 1)
Shattered Bear Tooth (Level 1 - Strength)
Cloudy Water (level 1) - Cloudy Water - Callous Gobsworth

Hit the brew button and that should garuntee a nice 5-10 minute strength potion, for when you really need to smash things.

Golden cores are an important ingredient for Talisman making. Sure the tailisman guys can buy them, but you can also make them.

You will need some different kit than your potions. Specifically an Alchemical condenser, some Goldweed, some gold dust and some quicksilver.

The quicksilver and condenser are available at most vendors (though oddly, not in Altdorf from what I've seen) and you can carry a supply around if you want.

Gold Dust is obtained by scavenging. Goldweed tends to be gotten through cultivation. My advice? Make friends with someone who has whichever skill you do not. Scavengers will come across the seeds for Goldweed and cant grow them. Similarly Cultivators wont have a means of getting Gold dust except probably via auction.

To make a Gold nugget and make a Tailsman maker very happy here's how it goes.

Alchemical Condenser
-Gold Dust

Hit brew and you get your nugget. So far I've never had a failure and I don't know if it can fail.The level of the nugget depends on the level of the Goldweed and the gold dust.

No Mr Bond, I want you to DYE

I've not had much experience with making dyes, if only because I've not come across the raw material. Likely it's either from cultivation or butchering. However, whatever the main ingredient, it is much like Gold in that you have a Pestle and Mortar and some Alum.

Pestle And Mortar
Main Ingredient

Out comes a dye which you can then use or sell on as you please.

In the Field.
I always carry at least three vials of appropriate level (the next ones appear in tier two and are level 10 iirc) and 3 times as many water. Apothecary can be done on the fly and takes seconds. I keep the containers around because sometimes it's just worth brewing up in the field, especially if there's a new ingredient taking up room in your bag, begging to be tried. I also carry as many condensers and quicksilver balls as I have gold dust scavenged. I rely on others to give me the weed so I can make gold, and it's always a good idea to have them to hand just in case. Figure out what works for you. Maybe you dont like carrying materials you may or may not use until back in a town. They're reasonably cheap so there is no harm in stocking up only when you need to. I hope this quick mash up was helpful and that you enjoy giving people bottles of leeches or skaven spit and telling them with a straight face that it is indeed good for them.

As Pete mentioned in the comments, I had some of my names mixed up. They've been fixed and any other corrections are welcome :)

Catching Up.

Binge and Purge

My computer imploded the other day. I know it was my fault and it may very well have been Warhammer that caused the problem. Never abort installs half way through because you're tired and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Of course from Friday to Sunday evening (and then into the night) there was much Warhammering. I am by no means the most efficient leveller, so I have gone from l12r10 to l15r12 over the weekend.

The bad!
Altdorf broke over the weekend. Friday I think it was. At any rate Ostermark's Altdorf hit level 2 and presumably the immense rush of people to it crashed the zone. Anyone trying to enter from our party eventually was punted out of the game and had to log back in. They were greeted by the Altdorf loading screen, only to find themselves back at the original flight master. Annoying to be sure, but hardly cripling.

The good!
Altdorf, once we could access it, proved good fun. Another sewer opened up and inside we made many corpses of Skaven.Ickly, Skaven spit is a main ingredient for intelligence potions. So all you Bright Wizards and other ranged dps guys, wanna swallow some spitbrew?

I also participated in a keep siege. More on that below.

The unusual!
Bregel got his tracker gear, and as a result, the stout Ironbreaker is now green. I do have the amusing mental image of a green and brown bedecked Ironbreaker, unseen in the undergrowth, and then heard across several miles as he clanks furiously towards his target.

Open relationships.

As I mentioned previously, I participated in a keep siege this weekend. Bregel and myself were in our normal party of friends but decided to drop to join whatever warband it was taking back Barak Varr. He got invited in short order, I did not. It was not a matter of room, there were but two groups in said warband. Bregel crashed to desktop and in the time it took him to return, I only just, after some choice yelling on /1, got into the warband and he was reinvited promptly.
One person in the band, after seeing my irritation on /1 said that they were sorry for the delay as things were a bit hectic in the keep. That I can accept.

My irritation spawned from two things.

1) The leader of the Warband died almost as often as I did and had to ride past me at least three times on his horse to rejoin the fight. I am not expecting you to drop everything in the middle of a siege just to invite one noisy Rune Priest, but when you repeatedly have to dash back from the Warcamp PAST said Rune Priest, what excuse have you? You're not locked in combat. I've sent you tells so you know who I am.

2) Open the bloody band. OPEN IT! If a guild wants to take a keep by themselves and hang their heraldry and be all fantastic, I can understand them filling a warband, keeping it closed and having a go at it. When it's a rabble of random Order folks who just want to get stuck in and help out, leave the band open so everyone who is there with you or looking to join can actually pitch in and be helpful.

I'm not the best healer. I'm not the servers star anything. But in a game so social and with a design that lets everyone come together easily for large goals, stop bloody locking people out for no good reason. Even the worst player shouldn't have to be yelling for a group.

Lady Thanatos, in our regular group, tends to close the group. That's understandable as there's just a handful of us and we'll fill our own party more often than not. I, however, tend to leave it open on the basis that, if we're doing a PQ or someone crashes to desktop, I want to make it easy for anyone to hop in (again) and get to it.

Hammer of War Online

The folks over at the Hammer of War have been very good with my whole computer dead thing. So I know I'm late with it, but expect a bunch of articles from myself to join the good folks over there already.

Casualties of War

I've been busy. I'll be back. Ardy the Warrior Priest has hammer, will travel.

A final thought.

While I get back into the swing of blogging and catch up all the ones I read, a thought on WAR gameplay.
Don't just learn what you can do, learn what your friends can. Learn who you work best with and when to trust that they'll cover whatever slack there is in the group.

Snafzg is a git

And I can prove it!

It's always fun to see familiar faces, and also a pity that you can't talk to the opposing side sometimes.

Granted Teamspeak was a little confused

Ardy (Orrekai) : Holy Crap it's Snaf!
Bregel : Who?
Ardy : SNAF! The Greenskin blog!
Bregel : ?
Ardy : I have got to get a screenshot

I may also have singed him at some point. However as you can see by the score, Destruction spanked us in that run.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm back!

Ok I had to install my Vista Upgrade to do it.

But I'm back! Bring on the WAR! The Blogging! The other stuff I do on here.
Good thing I'm back, I finished EVE The Empyrean Age

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Quick WAR Stuff

Thing the first!
Gold, gold sellers, gold buyers and how tos.

I loved Marks post on the banning. I enjoyed the idea of the pop up bannings, but seeing as I've not experienced any yet (computer is still broken) I've no idea how trying they get. The Book of Grudges also has a good post on how to make gold, and that's where the thrust of this first point is.

The best tool for dealing with RMT services is to render them obsolete. Not by offering them yourself or similar ideas, but by making it easy to earn. Orrekai before my computer imploded was at level 12 and has five or more gold. I've not even tried to earn it. Sooner or later it will filter into peoples minds, especially with the fact that renown gear needs renown levels as well as regular levels, that buying bucket loads of money in at the start in no way improves your game experience.
You'll still have buckets of cash at the end of your levelling and have bought everything you wanted on the various stops along the way.

Thing the second.
Ok maybe it's because I don't meet many (read: any) Irish MMO players, though I'm told they exsist. Apparently there are alot in WoW. I will continue to harbour the vague unsettling sense that anyone who plays an "irish" inspired character or uses gaelige in their guild/character naming is in fact an American with a dictionary and a vauge idea.
Still, GOA is in Dublin here. I've seen two things which may be attributed to either a) the growing popularity of MMO's or b) the fact that the EA marketing budget is immense and effective when applied.

The first thing I saw was earlier in the week. Some random lady on the bus, who looked like every other random city worker, was reading the WAR manual. I wanted to throw my arms in the air and shout woo! Unfortunately upstairs on the bus is small and I am tall, so that would have hurt.

The second thing and the more important one, leading back into the first, was that we have alot of free newspapers here in Dublin. They tend to be run by some of the other papers and are morning editions only. The two big ones would be Herald AM and Metro. They're always on the bus and the DART and handed out by people at intersections. On a commute into the city, lots of people (even schoolkids at times) are reading them.
Today, the back page of the Metro was plastered with a full page advertisement for WAR.

Way back when I started with Earth and Beyond, EA had just taken over Westwood. They didn't really push the game, advertising wise. As a result this probably contrbuted to the declining numbers of subscriptions and eventual sunset of the game. It's really really good to see the supposed "EA: Cancel Everything" machine marketing WAR (Or maybe GOA took out the ad, either way). WoW got huge numbers because it pulled a Halo. Halo made gaming cool for people who didn't console game. WoW made MMO's easy and accesible to a huge audience.

Hopefully more ads like that are coming and with them more people for the battlefield.
(Also there are no Irish people on Ostermark thus far. I've been checking. And Guild Róisín Dubh, that doesn't mean black rose, it's a girls name Goddamnit)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Virtual worlds on paper.

I'm sure everyone knows about the Bartle Test.
Now I've taken said test twice and scored the same both times, ESAK. Of course it's a painfully transparent test so it'd be incredibly easy to take it and make everyone think I'm all about the player killing. Still it does give a good idea of how I view games. I take great pleasure in knowing the universe we're playing in, I enjoy finding things and seeing the sights. I won't simply sit around and gawk, if you tell me I need X to get into Y to see something new, I'll go do that too.

But that's a tangent for another time. Recently I reviewed, if you can call it that, the novel Empire in Chaos. It's the Warhammer Age of Reckoning tie in and it has put me back to thinking about virtual worlds, the why of them and how to affect them.

When I was out picking up Empire In Chaos, I gave into the urge and also picked up EVE The Empyrean Age. For those who know me, yes I am a sucker for expanding universes. I have some of the Warcraft novels (despite never playing the game), all the Halo books, the two City of Heroes novels, a great deal of Black Library material (Warhammer) and other game/novel tie ins.

It was asked on Massively and probably every other MMO blog ever before, what would you do if your online world was about to end? I'm wondering how would an online world benefit by continuing, in and out of game and with the same story telling, to grow and to be a part of more than just our computer time. People mentioned before that if the Star Trek Online game was based around the same time as a show or during a shows run, that it would be a huge thing if people could win or through other merit earn a mention on the show. Of course such a thing, in my opinion only, would be unworkable but the idea has some merit. Most games have leaderboards of some description showing who is the best healer etc. Wouldn't it be lovely if in an ongoing series of novels tied to the games we play you could earn even a tiny mention for your efforts to change your online world. Should WAR close tomorrow for some bizzare reason, I'd love to see a book explaining how the Age of Reckoning ended. Should WAR continue for many years to come, I'd love a shot at immortalising my efforts for Order during that age.

I'm far too lazy to actually set up a poll widget, despite the fact that it is likely not much trouble to do so. Instead I call for comments. Wherever you fall on the Bartle scale, explorer, achiever, killer or socialiser, what do you think of continuous novel tie ins with an ongoing MMO?

Monday, September 22, 2008


My computer is having a bit of a breakdown (read: it's broke)

So any blogging I do here or for Hammer of War Online (go check 'em out) will have to be done during work. So if I'm scarce around the comments or here at least you know why.

Hopefully I'll be back up and running soon.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I joked about Heisenbergs uncertainty principle as it applies to packages before.

I've been dealing with them all day. My Warhammer Collectors Edition started its journey two or three days ago. This morning I had a wonderful email. My package had survived Braved Delaware and Philly. Broke through into the airport. Managed not to fall out of the sky and landed in Dublin.
At 10.50am DHL couriers had my pack and were en route.
At 1.30pm I rang and they said it'd be with me within an hour.
At 4.30pm I rang and apparently their van had "broke" and the driver was "stuck somewhere waiting for the AA".


So tomorrow morning, I'm up bright and early. I've a bus or two to catch as I make my way out to the airport and claim my package a day later than promised.
Also Mythic announced that anyone without a key entered since this morning doesn't get to play today. So DHL have single handedly screwed up a simple delivery and borked my evening.

Ah well. Tomorrow, there shall be a reckoning and a bit of a glaring.

Edit! : Update on the Grace Period

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Empire In Chaos : The WAR Tie-In Novel

This isn't your typical book review.

Mostly a) because I've not reviewed a book before, b) because we're looking at how it represents the game and c) because I'm rubbish at this.

Classes represented.
No mention : Bright Wizard, Rune Priest, White Lion, Zealot (see Magus for possible confusion), most of the Dark Elf race.
Passing mentions : Hammerers, Archmage (possible), Sword Masters (possible)
Decent mentions : Shaman, Black Orc, Chosen, Maurauder, Magus (sans disc), Disciple of Khaine (maybe), Engineers, Squig Herders.
Repeated mentions : Ironbreaker, Warrior Priest, Shadow Warrior, Witch Huner aaaaand Knight of the Blazing Sun.

That's right folks, the KoBS and Hammerers make it into the book. Granted the Hammerer gets only a descriptive sentence whereas the KoBS is actually a main character.

Secondly, the book itself.

As pictures and previous entries here and on the Book of Grudges will show, there are certain authors more popular than others in the Black Library. There is His Most Benificent Danness. Graham McNeill (he wrote about Necrons, so I love him. Oh there may have been Space Marines involved) is way up there. Sandy Mitchell seems to get alot of attention. Then the books of William King (and continued by Nathan Long for Fantasy and Lee Lightner(?) for Space Wolves) are really popular.

Anthony Reynolds is ... not one of those guys. His only other Warhammer credit is another Computer Game/Novel tie-in, Warhammer : Mark of Chaos.

That's not to say that the book is bad. It's just ... constrained shall we say by the material. It works very well as a scene setter for the opening stages of the war we will fight virtually, but even then it doesn't quite match what we've seen in WAR. Destruction and Order mingle amongst themselves around warcamps. Here we had one main Dwarf and one main Elf. The Elf can't talk to anyone and the Dwarf is like all good Dawi, a grumpy bastard.

Personally I enjoyed the book but found it suffering from being too familiar with the game. There are literary equivalents of the in game mechanics (Shadow Warrior stances, Ironbreaker Grudges, Witch Hunter accusations etc) and for a player of the game first and reader of the book second, I found it mildly distracting and annoying.
If nothing else, having to try pin the heroic feats of the main characters not on martial skill but on the game mechanic you will experience means that the battle scenes suffer a little.

Still it's not a bad book and is worth a read if you fancy picking it up. I personally think game tie-in novels can be better. A good example would be the Halo novels.

Also, man. Knights of the Blazing Sun suck.

Now Reading : Cain's Last Stand (signed copy wheeee)
Next up : EVE The Empyrean Age

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Launch stuff

The obligatory Blogger "zomg the game is on" launch post.

As I'm about to start work and still half asleep, we're going to go back to our old friend, Mr Bullet Point.

  • Destruction sleeps alot. Honestly, Order had Ekrund and Mount Bloodhorn completely in the bag and uncontested up until "evening" in America. No complaints here, the minor vendor buffs were handy and let me get some good levels in Apothecary.
  • Gates of Ekrun Scenario is unloved. May be related to the Destruction love of sleep.
  • This explains the WAR. Someone woke the various faction leaders up too early and so now we have an invasion.
  • I crashed to desktop twice, but I can alt tab (windowed mode) with impunity.
  • I have rolled up Orrekai on Ostermark for those wanting to come RP and Ardua on Avenheim to abuse and annoy the Casualties of War. Rune Priest and Warrior Priest.
  • I'm just shy of level 10 having played a quick catch up to my friends.
  • PvPQs are amusing.
The final thing is a quick note. This is the third time I've brought Orrekai to 10ish. PW I got to 11 and Open beta I got to 11.
Despite being in the same zones, with the same quests and the same paths three times, I'm not bored of it. Perhaps it's the MMO equivalent of new car smell. Maybe it's the fact that the world is just so so much bigger than City of Heroes and presents other options for levelling.

Or maybe it's the simplest two factors. I left the heavy exploring off till live. I keep finding lovely new things (there's a way to Barak Varr from Redhammer Station by wandering into the Greenskin Chapter four area and taking a mountain path). Secondly, there is alot to do. Every time I've been to Altdorf, depsite combing the place, there is another something to be doing. It's amazing.

This week you'll likely find me clearing up Tome stuff in Dwarf Chapters 1-4 or praising Sigmar with my serious hammer. Leave a comment if you want to get in touch and run around.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cost of a Hobby

Oh just a random aside from all the Games Day coverage.

Years ago, from the very first blister pack on the White Dwarf, I followed, loved and collected the Necron 40k army.

I even had a respectable small raiding force. Through various life things I no longer have the original metal models nor the plastic raiding force that was released and that I never got around to putting together.

I've not rebuilt my army because Warhammer is an expensive hobby. It is rewarding, believe me, but costly.

If ever there was another army I'd consider, it'd be the Tau. I spotted a model in the Forge World catalouge. It's a Tau Manta dropship. It holds a commander, four units of warriors, two troop carriers, two heavy support tanks and eight battlesuits. Basically it's a full army in a drop ship.

Money no object I'd buy it. Hell if I won the lottery, I'd relocate my Necrons and then start on the Tau with this model.

Money however is an object. It costs £895/€1,129.14 /US$1,598.84
Expensive hobby.

Photoblog - Games Day

Arbitrary has posted the photos from Games Day, so keep an eye out for more.

Of course the "me" ones are as follows.
Manhandling GOA staff (Poor chap didn't see the attacking hand till a moment later :P)
Who is a cuddly wuddly Chosen?
The Audience for His Dan-ness
Aforementioned "Corsetgirl" (Oddly, I don't think this was posed as they were discussing some unit move on the table, and Corsetgirl ended up setting Fingerpointerguy straight. So Cosplayer and knew more about the army)
The initial cause of "Whoa girl in a corset"
My own photo of what we think is Barak Varr

Almost all photos by Spinks and Arbitrary from Book of Grudges and thank you to them for letting me post a few.

Also good Lord I'm huge.

The Non Mythic Games Day Bit

Arb & Spinks do a really good job at summing up what we did at Games Day yesterday.
Don't forget to also check their Twitter for the trip.

So to sum up a few things from Games Day myself.

Who is braver?
The willing/grudging girlfriend/wife who goes with the guy to Games Day despite no interest.
The girl who goes and is a fan.
The girl who goes, is a fan, and is cosplaying.

I think #3 myself. If you're a girl, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that you're used to in gaming hobbies, be they computer or tabletop, being outnumbered by the guys and thus looked at with fascination.
It's a whole other thing to know you're the minority and then go get dressed up. Ask Arb & Spinks about "Corset girl".

Second. Sandy Mitchell, Graham MacNeill and Dan Abnett apparently make up the bulk of the Black Library's awesome if relative queue sizes are any indication. I will admit that they do also happen to be my three preferred authors.
If. IF! If I had stayed inside the NEC on arrival, I would have stood a chance at getting into Games Day in the first one or two hundred people. I could have had Dan Abnett sign a few things. Instead because I decided that I honestly didn't care, his queue hit a point where the average wait time was 60-90 minutes. Bugger that for a game of soldiers.

Also in the interest of being confusing, I got my Black Library stuff first before making a beeline for Mythic on the basis that if I was going to meet the ladies anywhere, it'd be there. It worked out for the best.

Sandy Mitchell is lovely but talks too much. Really I just wanted the autograph and to go to the bathroom, but he was doing his duty and talking to the fans one on one. Great guy, just next time, bathroom first.

Also, a little tip for Games Day. If at all possible, talk to Red shirts. I got in to the signing area on the basis of "No I don't want to go near Dan". When Arb and Spinks wanted to visit Gav Thorpe, the HiVisJacketBrigade barred entry to everyone. Redshirt was off to the side "talking" to a blonde girl. He'd have let them in if they promised to stay away from his Danness.

Still to come.
i) The Mythic Games Day bit with footage and photos from Book of Grudges and footage from Dervish from Covenant of Zak and Flimgoblin from Humberton Blackguard and their party.
ii) Other associated random memories.
iii) The sounding board for ArbArdySpinksEuroBloggerGamerpalooza
iv) Who plays Warhammer? Social breakdown of the fans.

The Travel Bit

First of my series of posts on the Games Day experience.

Naturally being first, that means it'll be at the bottom, but we'll fix that later.

So without further farting about. FLY AER LINGUS.
Really, I only took the Ryanair flight initially because I didn't know any better. Moments after confirming my booking someone then told me Aer Lingus do service Birmingham and it turned out the flight times were comparable ( 6.30/6.30 departures 7.25/7.35 return) as was the price.
You may think, so what?
All the GOA lads were on the Aer Lingus flight back. I could have been harassing the daylights out of them. That and Ryanair was naturally late, and also naturally neglected to mention that, so despite a 10 minute lead (which I was sure I'd make up while they get their bags) I ended up arriving in Dublin some 40 minutes later than GOA and missed the bus I wanted.
It worked out, I went and got Chinese food.

I don't regret getting up at stupid o'clock (3am, after 4 hours in bed) and making my way to Games Day. Being there a day early would likely have bred complacency or laziness. This way I was up, I was awake and I was at Games Day on time! Unless we put into action the Arb/Ardy/Spinks Eurobloggergamerwarhammerpalooza idea, I think a day trip suits me well.

Also a travel advisory.
Arb and Spinks were fantastic. In return for Butlers Irish Chocolate I got 4 liters of Cherry Coke. You just can't get the stuff in Ireland. It was heaven!
Then...about 40 minutes before my flight I remembered. I had only used carry on. You can only have 100ml of fluids going through security. I was carrying 4000ml.

Ryanair wanted £16 for me to check my bag. As much as I loved the coke, it wasn't worth that. But it was a gift and one does not let gifts go to waste.
So the reason I was up until 4 this morning may be the fact that I proceeded to mill my way through the coke.

Sadly Im not as young as I used to be so I couldnt manage 4 liters, but it didn't go to waste.
It was however delicious, so thanks again you two.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Blogger ated my post. Then I found it. It's below.

I survived the trip and had a fantastic time at Games Day with Arb & Spinks of the Book of Grudges.

The first blog on return

Edit It seems the post which I thought lost...wasn't. So in it goes. Despite repetition

I have survived!

I have survived death by Ryanair, death by delays, death by Coke (self induced) and death by sleep deprivation (staved off by the former).

Ryanair. If ever you needed more reasons to not travel with them, the GOA people all used Aer Lingus. So for the same price and comparable flight times, I could have been harassing the lads all the way home. They escaped.

More on the flights later.

Cherry coke. The Book of Grudges girls Arb and Spinks were fantastic to meet. Again it's all something I'll blog tomorrow. They very nicely got me 4 litres of Cherry Coke. <3

40 minutes before my flight I realised I was carrying 4000ml of coke, hand luggage may only contain 100ml.

And it was £16 to check the bag.

Suffice to say I chugged what I could, but Im not a teen anymore and could not manage all 4 litres. Letting it go to waste was not an option :P

So now I'm back home and about to log on to the NA servers to game a bit. 24 hours ago I went to bed. 21 hours ago I got up.

It's been a long but fantastic day.

Also Operation : Manhandle was a bust for reasons, you guessed it, to follow.

Games Day - Part 1

I have awoken RAWRGH!

It's 3am, and I'm unusually a) awake b) hyperactive and c) not grumpy.

Phase 1 - Wake - Complete
Phase 2 - Go - In Progress

So if anyone wants to see if I've survived and doesn't want to wait for the blog later on, head over to the Book of Grudges and keep an eye on their twitter stuff. I may steal Arbitrarys phone to yell. See you all shortly.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's up! (Hammer of War)

My first article is up over on Hammer of War Online.

Not bad for a first shot but I have learned my lesson. Don't write during work :P

Pop over, check it out and leave some comments (even a You suck, go this other way is welcome).

Also points go to Joey in charge over there for the title.
The Art of War

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Operation :Manhandle

From Pauls Blog

I am off to Europe, to games day on Sunday the 14th of September in Birmingham.
I will be there all day to wave and say hello.
Also in Paris around the 26th
of September for the Paris computer show.
Also in Birmingham the evening of
the 27th for PC Gamers LAN show.

So he will be at Games Day! Now the mission. First secure Arb and Spinks from the Book of Grudges a few teeshirts.

Second, manhandle Paul Barnett for a photo.
Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Orrekai in Altdorf

Excuse me.... Yes sir, if I may have a word? I'm from the Altdorf Merchants commission on trade and tourism. We just have a few questions if we may?

Sure lad, sure. Jus' make it quick. I've a flight back to that bloody Blighted Isle in a bit. Kin versus kin there. Very sad. Still have to find a wayward Ironbreaker. Gets around a bit. Apparently he owes some hood wearing Elfling a favour.

I see sir...So, if I may what brought you to Altdorf?

Ye blind lad? *cocks a thumb over his shoulder* Good solid Dwarven engineering. What else?...Oh ye mean why I'm here. Sure it was on the way and I thought I'd see how you manlings are getting on here. I heard there were some sights worth a moment.

Have you had the chance to sample any local cuisine?

Sure I did. Some young lass down the Market Square has a shop and wanted me t'give her a review. S'crap is what it is. No offence to her, but Raven in a Pie? That's not a dish, thats a picnic accident. An' don't get me started on that sausage vendor. Pah, wouldn't know good rat if one up and bit 'im.

Uhh.. I see. And...erm. Transport! Yes.. how did you find the transport methods in Altdorf? Good for trade?

Y'know laddie, it's a telling thing. The best way in an' out? Gyrocopters. Ye got the right idea lettin the Engineers Guild in fer that. But the rest? Some Elfling boat is in the way of a good solid Ironclad in the river. No one over this side of the city can board her and see how ship buildin is done. Still maybe some of your brave lads will make it to Barak Varr. The Port has to be seen to be believed. Not like the docks ye have here. One thing in it's favour is the Screamin Cat. Any ale good enough for Gurnisson is good enough for me. I hear the Slayer still shows up there every so often. Just... make sure your "tuurists" don't go lookin for him for a fight right?

Okay..No sir. We're not advertising ...unsavouries.

Watch your tone lad.

Sorry sir. Can you tell me anything else you think new arrivals in Altdorf should see or be made aware of?

That I can do. Now you make sure to ge this all down, I'll be checkin next time I pass. Manlings do a reasonable city. Anyone new here should talk to that shouting body down a ways in the square. He's got some pointers and things to see, even if he does leave the ears ringin. Also be careful. I saw some barrels layin around and thought to myself I'd crack one open. Could have been relevant y'know? Or ale. Anyway one of those deep dark livin, underhanded, conniving bastard of a Skav-

--THANK you sir. That will be all. Altdorf Merchants commission thanks you for your help.

Why the shoutin lad I'm only tellin where are ye going?... Bloody manlings. Here Flight Master, when's my bloody harness ready? These manlings are all loony.

Sunday Sunday ahhh ahhh ahh ah ahhh

Yes I know the song is about Monday.


  • FreddysHouse Key? Check!
  • Intarwebnets? Check!
  • Go to GOA? Check!
  • They Told you so? Oh so much check.

Ah well. Maybe later on today? Ha!
Ask Shannon, she's experienced it. Sunday in Ireland means the country is all but closed, please try back tomorrow. God help European service when it comes to the October bank holiday weekend. I know GOA is hiring people to fill the chairs 24/7 in the customer support (I applied after all) buuuuuut yeah. I forsee difficulty with staff turnover.

Friday, September 05, 2008

News from the Front and slightly to the Left

It seems that Open Beta is going up two days early for all Preview weekend people.

Pro : I get two more days to fart about doing silly things.
Con : There may still be that graphic error.

Pro : I can get stuff for a Hammer of War Article
Con : It's American only.

So for this weekend you will find me on the Open Beta in the US, but for the rest of the week I will more than likely be harassing the Book Of Grudges, Wizards and Wenches and all the other euros like myself thanks to the Freddyshouse Open Beta key I got.

Expect lunatic tales to come.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hammer of War Online

Rawr folks!

I've been given a chance to ramble incoherently to a larger audience. A lovely husband and wife team have started up Hammer of War Online and asked me to be a columnist. So I'll be joining the likes of Jo Bildo and very soon, once a week inflicting what passes for a thought process for me on their audience as well as my normal schtick here. Head on over to Hammer of War, sign up for the forums and keep an eye out for me there soon.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Cost of Risk

Let's do some sums!

And by that I mean I will. So bear with me.

From the Wiki on Lord of The Rings Online.

In North America, players who pre-ordered the game were offered a special founder's offer, a lifetime subscription for $199 or reduced cost of $9.99 per month. Standard monthly fee is $14.99 with three, six, twelve month, and lifetime discounts available. European players had a similar program from Codemasters. A Holiday subscription was available in December of 07 and January of 08 for $9.99/month for a 3 month commitment. A one year anniversary addition includes a $9.99/month subscription or a $199.99 Lifetime subscription.

So! Assume about $50 for the game box. $250 for all the LOTRO you want, forever more. But assumuing I am reading that right, that's up front. You had to preorder or drop by at the anniversary to get it.

Now City of Heroes.
I have my 39 month badge which means I have played for 39 months. Normally that'd mean paid for 38, but I'm an odd one.
So City of Heroes.

$50+$30+$0*+($14.99x36)+$10+$10 = $639.34
*=I got a CoV collectors edition code free from a lovely friend. Also the $10's refer to the GvE edition pack and the Wedding pack.

So then... Warhammer is coming. I've pre-ordered my collectors edition quite some time ago. That was $80. I had to get priority international shipping because Amazon are mean like that, plus import fees. $120. We can safely say I really want the game and am willing to spend money on it.

This isn't a blog about how the subscription model is flawed or fantastic or broken or whatever.
Simply this is a matter of math.

If I had betad (is that a word?) Lord of the Rings Online and enjoyed it and had the cash on hand I'd be able to play it for pretty much the rest of its operable life for $250.
If I had been with City Of Heroes at launch (Issue 2 I came in) and had the cash. I'd have saved myself, ohh lets call it, $400 over the last four years.

So then that's the cost of the risk of an MMO. My first MMO Earth & Beyond was shut down after two years. It was only operating as a pay to play for about 75% of that. It's last few months being a long sunset to let subs time out.

If you have the cash around and a game looks like it will go the distance and most importantly it's offered. Well... I think we'd all be fool not to take up such offers in the future.

Sure it's expensive and sure it's a risk. $199 pays for itself in 13 months.

To be the Devils Economist for a second though, that's why Turbine will never stop offering this lifetime deal. They get $200 for every guy who buys the sub and who may leave after a few months. Even if they do, they still will count on spreadsheets to investors as subscribers, possibly making Turbine more money. Not every game in the MMO market will make it big, or even big enough to keep going. Those that do though, they'll always find a way to charge.

$199 may pay for itself in 13 months, but there'll be expansions.

I've paid $640 for my game so far, but it has had 12 free issues so far. I also got a run of a free comic for a long time mailed to me.

Which would you prefer? Give your game a boost of money now, or let them draw on you for as long as you play?

(Ardy doesn't have the cash at the moment to pay for a $199 lifetime sub to WAR so I'm pretty much holding out hope that I don't miss such a deal if one does surface somewhere)

Blogging Contest from WnW

Regis over at the fantastic Wizards & Wenches is holding a blog contest. This isn't a contest limited to current bloggers. It appears to be open for all comers.

So! If you're considering a move from one platform to another, or if you're looking for a start in the WAR blogging community without all the hassle of a start up, here's a shot.

From the man himself.

This is what's in the pot:

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Horny

Consider for a moment one of the types of people who plays MMOs.

Let's call him Bob. Bob is a roleplayer. So too is xXxDrthVad3rxXx and LoliLilith.

Part of the endearing sucess of MMOs is of course the ability to lose yourself in your avatar and in your world. Doesn't matter if you're a serious roleplayer who has taken the time to craft a long backstory, mannerisms and personality or a casual guy like me who pulls a concept out of his nethers about two minutes before hitting the newbie zone. What makes the games for us is the people we meet, the experiences we have and share and the world in which we all "lived".

Roleplaying brings that to a new level. You get story writers, artists, those of a musical or machinima bent and so on creating scores of people based off this one shared setting.

You're going to run into LoliLilith probably within five minutes. Reduce that to 40 seconds if you play destruction generally and Dark Elves specifically. After all come on, the base model for an undressed Dark Elf is black, presumably leather, lingerie.
You know that things will go a certain direction sooner or later.

You are garunteed to meet whateverhisfacewas. The guy who thinks pop culture references rendered in leet make him a roleplayer. Or his slightly more eloquent counterpart who is still a rubbish roleplayer and will set your teeth on edge, but at least managed to make a coherent name.

That leaves Bob. Bob is going into a world of warfare. A world where there is always something happening, someone fighting and something worth fighting for. Bob has access to public quests, open groups, scenarios that will pluck him from the world at the press of a button and much more besides. Bob has more warfronts than he can shake his pointy stick/axe/hammer/other at.

So if you come across Bob, say hey. Make him feel welcome. Help him along. Get him the bronze needed to back away from the warfront. Bob is going to the Capital. Bob and all his friends are likely going to end up in the square, possibly recounting battles, perhaps marvelling at a friends statue or otherwise living up the world they're in.

If Bob doesn't get to do that, the extra trappings of a world made alive by its inhabitants will take that much longer to come about. I am not implying that RP servers are going to have two full capital cities of poem slingers and precious little in the way of war. All I am saying is one of the crowning moments of awesome for me in WAR from my sampler was waking up Orrekai and being right smack beside a canon emplacement. It was war all the way to the flight master.

When the game goes live, I want to see people socialising in the cities. I want to see keeps filled with singers and fighters. I want to see a community grow that will bring with it the machinima makers, the artists like and the story writers that we've seen so far.
It isn't enough to see the game succeed. I want to see it be alive and be loved by those who live there.

The bad are catered for. The horny have options. Lets make sure the good find their place to rest, to play and to be.

That and I just don't want to be tripping over people when I go looking for lairs and other fun bits. Sod off you smelly roleplayers, even if I am usually one of you.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tears in my eyes

The link is best summed up thusly.

Ardy: How was Lotro?
arbitrary: Not bad, we totally sucked, and I have to go raid with the guild tonight.. but was an interesting new instance
Ardy: Ah at least you enjoyed yourself Ive been near to tears laughing at
arbitrary: yeah, it wasn't too bad. Gives us a challenge. uh oh! ha ha!
Ardy: It just keeps going :P
arbitrary: that page is sucking your soul
Ardy: Yes. Yes it does :P
arbitrary: ha ha, affably evil. tv tropes is a work of art. 'Can't argue with elves'
Ardy: Hehehe. "Our Orcs Are Different (Traditional fantasy Orcs meet football hooligan stereotypes meet a whole lot of dakka. It says a lot about just how horrible the Warhammer 40000 universe is that these crazed, violent lunatics, whose societies revolve around killing or brutalising anyone and everyone - including each other - are the comic relief race.)"
arbitrary: its awesome. Utopia justifies the means you need to blog this ;p
Ardy: I think I shall :P
arbitrary: I think I just lost my tomorrow

With one more exerpt for people.

Squick (The Dark Eldar basically live on it. Slaanesh was literally created by it.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Permanence in Persistent World

City of Heroes has just recently announced the eye candy features of Issue 13.

Included in this shortlist of the big stuff is the idea of day jobs. The idea whereby if you log out at a hospital, your character does EMT work, and thus will gain badges and buffs for when you log back in. There are various different buffs and rewards for the various jobs and locations.
Though as an aside, there is only one University in the City of Villains, so expect the top of Cap Au Diable University to be camped by all sorts.

Massively have asked the question, are rewards for offline time a good idea?

I counter with, what the hell has my character been doing while I slept?

In EVE, skills are trained offline in real time. There is the immersive sense that your character, no matter what they are doing in New Eden is at all times doing something. So countering the question with a question is more an exercise in wondering, how persistent should the worlds we play in be?

Time is fluid in MMOs. Certainly in City Of, the sun shoots across the sky at a great rate of knots and as such the day/night cycle is artificial. This is a rather good thing as I rarely am up so late that I'd be playing in EST "night time" if the cycle was realtime. Given that the days we count are our real time days, the in game distinction between night and day is meaningless, what happens to our alternate selves in the dead time?

If the world is to reflect the real, some form of buff or reward for the time spent not playing may well be acceptable. I cannot believe that when Bregel and Orrekai take a break from opposing the forces of Chaos they both, a) do not assist the war effort in some way, b) do not get rested up or c) do not do anything at all.

Rewards like WoW's rested xp gain or AoC's fresh kills are a good thing. They add that extra layer of the real to our virtual worlds.
I'm refreshed, I'm on top of my game, I have that little edge when going beheading.

What I disagree with is the way City of Heroes is approaching it.
"Lads, we have a task force tomorrow and extra regen is a much, everyone log for 24 hours on the hospital"
"Actually we're going to go badge hunting, we'll need extra damage, log out over Vanguard for a damage buff"

While I do think our characters should get a little something for doing whatever it is they do when we arent there to animate them, they shouldn't be able to do it all.
Virtual heroes, space pilots or warriors, everyone real or imagined needs a break from the working world.

Monday, August 25, 2008

More thoughts from Preview Weekend

Well.. it's Monday and work is light at the moment, so I can blog more. Ha!

First, my public service announcement.

Ladies, Gents and Greenskins.
If you are considering WAR, on the fence about it, or even mildly curious. Do yourself the biggest favour imaginable. Bring a friend with. The joy factor is that much more because of it. More on this below.


The Downside of Open Grouping
There are many people celebrating open grouping, and really it should be celebrated. I found one slight problem though, which mostly I am ascribing to newbie shell shock (You are dumped into a war after all) and the quirks of a preview weekend. All the closed beta folks knew what they wanted to achieve. All the Preview weekend guys like me wanted to find out what was going on.
Open grouping does help. Filter by range and hey you know if people in your general vicinity are doing things you may also be doing or interested in.
The problem I found was this. No one talks.
It actually took a trip to the High Elf starting zone to get a chatty pq/open group.

People came and went. Hell I did too. There was a certain sense of disconnection. However I am hopeful. As I progressed through the chapters people became more talkative and would speak to one another. Heck, one errant Dark Elf in an RvR zone stopped to bow to me (he wasn't flagged otherwise he'd have gotten a staff in the skull).

So yes the open grouping is much vaunted and talked about. If your first experience is a bit silent and akward, don't worry. Everyones head is likely spinning as much as yours. Go with it and you'll make friends in no time.

Related note Terry (Bregel from here on) is/was in Closed Beta and was surprised by something in the Preview weekend. This is an upside of open grouping. Myself (Orrekai), Bregel and Zylasharr (did I get it right T?) were in a public quest. There was another team also there. Both of us were below maximum strentgh so one or two clicks and the teams were seamlessly merged. Instead of two sub par teams running hither and yon, suddenly we were a full one. Sadly we didnt get into any trouble or areas (barring Scenarios) that would have required us to Warband it up a notch, but that little tool was a welcome surprise.
Also due to my having to close the game several times, open groups meant I could hop back in without harassing them (much) on teamspeak for an invite.

For the cheap cheap fare of 50 bronze, Bregel, Zyla and I beercoptered into Altdorf. Well... not Zyla, she was on a Rune Priest as well our first time, but you get the idea.
Altdorf is huge. Really huge. I could spend most of a day rather than the hour or two that I did exploring that place. I am not even sure that it was completely opened up despite being at 5 stars. In fact thinking about it, the city shot up the ranks, so it was likely bumped up.
Some pointers to Altdorf.
There are screaming cats. Get used to them.
Barrels are not toys.
Swirly glowy green things are very enticing to certain Dwarfs.
I met Gotrek and Felix, you should too.
The Steam Tank PQ is really rather clever.

We also came across some randomly and oddly naked Dwarfs. There were representatives of the three armies working out in this square. All were targetable but you couldnt attack them. That is, except for the level one naturalist dwarfs. I singed one or two to teach them a lesson about the value of britches.

Many more things occured there, but I'll keep them for another post.

Just my second PSA here. When you go to start your guild, it only takes a little cash and a party of six. Don't rush the process though. I know you all want to level up your characters and your guilds and get out there and smash heads in. Take some time though. Set aside an hour or two for you all to drop into Altdorf and gawk like tourists. Take in the sights, get the tome unlocks, examine weird swirly green things.
Honestly, don't miss it because you're in a rush or "will do it later". Enjoy your first foray into the living city of Altdorf.

Tome Unlocks
These things are everywhere. EVERYWHERE!
The quick guide to collecting.

If it moves or highlights? Click it.
If it doesn't move? Mouse over just incase.
If it has legs and cons blue? Talk to it.
If it moves and cons red? Kill it.
If it looks interesting? Run over to it and gawk.

Also don't be afraid to die. Don't be afraid to die in RvR. Don't be afraid to run around in circles healing yourself or others as fast as you can buttonmash. It's all a blast.

In City of Heroes I have the very well deserved nickname of Lemming. Heck on Teamspeak and Vent, there is even a song for when I have one of my "moments". Where angels fear to tread, there Ardy is, likely nomming floor.
In WAR, this name took on a whole new meaning. Seriously, watch your step. I don't know how many times I fell off cliffs while having a gander. It was funny every time. Especially the one time I fell off as a Sorceress, hugged the wall on the way down and ended up having a lesuirely swim back around the coast. It didn't matter that I fell, funny though it was, I was having a great time exploring and there was also the novelty of surviving.
I then did get into the bad habit of casting Heal over time runes on myself and jumping off some places just to see if I could.
So please, do watch your step. But if you end up flailing your way into the grave, don't worry. It's funny and death just means you'll get moved to the nearest rally point.

That said, future guildmates? I'm sorry. If the shortest distance between me and where we're going is a barely (if at all) survivable drop of a cliff. Well... I'm going to go get my base jumping tome unlock.

It is my lot in life to die. Doesn't matter if I've taken a stroll off Everest, found a playmate (you'd be surprised how often I run into hero/champion mobs and set fire to them on reflex), or RvR'd. I am doomed to die. I have come to accept it, and even find something worth laughing about in it.

Two examples.
1) Bregel and I were in Altdorf. There was a barrel. Thanks to Hawley at the Book of Grudges, we knew that this could only mean one thing. Pain a la Skaven.
Did that stop us? Hell no.

Bregel was, if memory serves, at the time 7. I was 8. Ironbreaker and Runepriest against a level 20 Skaven.
And we were winning! Not quickly mind you, but we were certainly winning. The healing and the runes were keeping Bregel going and we got the Ratman to 50%.
Then he turned around and stabbed me in the face. So ended that fight.

2) Bregel, Zyla and I were in the Khaines Embrace scenario. As usual, despite teamspeak, the two members of the Elder Race gave the keen eyed long limbed Shadow Warrior the slip and went off to wreak havoc as only Dwarfs can. During said havoc, Bregel suffered a graphic glitch and was unable to see. He was still there, but the player himself couldn't see a damn thing and was going to have to restart.
Around that time an entire party of Destruction showed up.
At first, I was able to heal the damage. Only a few of them were paying attention to me and the rest seemed to be considering options. Then they all decided that the Runepriest must go!

Commence backpedalling. But! I had a plan! Surely if I trained this mob over the Ironbreaker whose life I have preserved so often... an Ironbreaker who is only going to exit anyway... surely that is a fair trade? He can lay down his life for me in payment for all the times when I preserved it.
Ohhhh no. They were having none of that. The entire party ran past the otherwise idle Ironbreaker, turned me into mush and then bizzarely kept running. They completely ignored someone who could then capture a point. Bregel was toasted shortly thereafter by Khaines Embrace.

So my final PSA.
Budding Generals and clever guilds. If someone is going to storm a keep or try storm yours. Destroy their battle plan in one easy step. Mount an Archmage or Runepriest on a stick and wave him off to the left. While they fall over themselves in an orgy of destruction, feel free to put the fear of Grungi, Grimnir and Valaya into them.

More later if I remember anything else!