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!

My weekend away

This weekend, I dipped into City Of a few times. Some light rp with my girlfriend and some light snake whomping with my good friend Seph.

The rest of the online time was spent in the Preview weekend for Warhammer.
Man did I have a good time.

First, the bad.

Seems despite Can You Run It assuring me that, yes, yes I can run it, I have trouble. Specifically my GeForce 7300 LE appears to not be up to the job. The sky was constantly artefacted and I cannot look above the horizon without seizure inducing weirdness occuring. This also happened to me in the Tabula Rasa beta, but as I never took the game up due to various reasons, I never followed up the cause. I may need a better graphics card. We'll see.

Secondly, I have more than enough ram, yet tween the graphics issue and my normal online state which is "multitasking" I found that I cannot really alt tab. If theres alot going on and I alt tab to check an email or a post or the TS settings or what people are saying on Trillian... I come back to a black screen. The world just refuses to render. Sooo ctrl alt del, kill WAR.exe
I found that when I behaved and just closed down my browser, I could alt tab with impunity and thus save myself from being killed by she who must be obeyed/messaged.

That said, they were minor technical irritations. Similar to the pathing problem Tobold mentions over here.

What did I do? I rolled up three alts in total.

An Archmage who was .... nice. The first blast just lacks alot of oomph for me. I know you cant have it all, but still. However later on they get the prismatic shield and that is very lovely to watch cast.

A Sorceress, who despite my best attempts, I couldnt get to explode from Dark Magic. I need more abilities :P Also yes, the idea that you get skimpier on your first upgrade is well founded. On removing the starter robes (seems leather lingerie is in for Dark Elves) and wearing the loot drop, I ended up with odd sleeves, lots of leg showing and the impression that someone is cupping her breasts by way of support.
Entertaining I suppose.

My most played and indeed first rolled char was my Rune Priest Orrekai.
Man I had a good time with him. I even got up to Level 11 and Renown 6, allowing me to get my first RvR kit from Barak Varr. I was loving the class before that and promptly fell in love again on decking out my little guy with the good stuff.

I'll do a proper write up of my experiences later on, hopefully with photos. The highlights however of the weekend were

  • Meeting Gotrek and Felix
  • Exploring Altdorf (Ooo whats the swirly thing)
  • Getting pasted along with Bregel, my ever present Ironbreaker companion, by a Great Unclean One
  • Firing cannons
  • Khaines Embrace RvR scenario.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Hero of 10,000 faces

I've been following the "discussion" shall we say over at Virgin Worlds.

To sum it up for those who have not been following. Brent didn't like Warhammer. That's his right. He has admitted not being drawn in by the Warhammer world whereas he has been by AoC and so continues to dabble there, despite the fact that the blogosphere at large looks at that game like you would a car crash. An interesting event, but horrible and painful.

I am interested in the push however. The idea that WAR, despite what it is, should have for some reason been something more and thus has offended the sensibilities (or perhaps dashed the hopes) of some by not being revolutionary enough. It doesn't do this, it doesn't do that, I still have to kill 10 rats.

I mentioned previously that it is the failing of an MMO world to accurately depict what our button mashing and stats mean. You're supposed to kill those ten rats to save the towns food supply, or to supply a rat corpse fetishist with some toys, or whatever reason. They cannot yet depict (or do not, I don't know. I'm not a developer) the effect of leaving the rats be. In City of Heroes there is the tongue in cheek NPC text that points out that however much that Hellion struggles, he's never getting that purse off the lady. You, however, at level 1 are easy pickings and he's going to whomp you. Walk back by at level 10 and the struggle continues, and always will unless you choose to intervene.

The MMO worlds we inhabit at the moment are stages set. They're musicals waiting to happen. If myself and some friends go to do a raid, it'll be the same as every other raid of its type before or since. Sure someone may flubb their lines, or maybe the lead singer is sick that week so the audience gets a sub par experience. It is however entertainment bottled. Repeatable. Enjoyable. Staged.
RPG worlds are the same stage, but you are the hero. You can change the world, topple tyrants, save the damsel and interact in a story where you personally are impacting this world, your way.
You just have to remember little Timmy next door bought the same game, is playing the same story, and getting (hopefully) the same enjoyment. But because he's in his world and you yours, you're both the hero.
Thousands upon thousands of people have saved the world from the Covenant in Halo, they all have been the Master Chief. They all have single handedly changed that world. A Halo MMO? Everyone has to try and find the same sense of achievement, but if little Timmy can spend 10 more hours a day and "finish" the world, save the girl and be the hero, what happens then? The world is done, but millions of other players may have been sleeping or working and thus their shot at the story is stolen.

A revolutionary world, quite apart from a revolutionary way to interact with it, has the flaw in that it has people in it. Right now if you get up from your computer and take up a cause, you could possibly change the world. You may very well be shouted down, or possibly die without ever seeing your mark made upon the world. People are everywhere and everyone has their own story. When it's your own world, you can be anyone and do anything. When you have to share, not everyone can be the best. Not everyone gets their name in lights.
That's the entire reason I have never nor ever will play FFXI. It isn't the Fantasy for me. I personally and single handedly will never change the world. The world has to cater to all the heroes, not just me.

When the eureka moment comes and Web 2.0 or 3.0 or z.0mg delivers the revolutionary MMO people claim they want, hopefully it will be like Warhammers Public quests and open groups. Hopefully everyone will exclaim "Oh hey, why didn't we think of that?" rather than deciding this new game is too alien, or too imposing or too... unfun to bother with.

When the new ways of interacting virtually come about, hopefully they will be what Bartle, Brent and everyone besides has sought. A world apart from Earth. A world they can impact, and importantly have the impact matter and be realised on the screen for them. I rather rudely suggested people want Second life with swords when I am beginning to realise, the current call for a revolutionary MMO is more akin to feeling like you aren't the hero here on Earth. People want to push the planet and have it matter, but haven't yet been able to do it virtually, just as how the majority will never push the Earth by ourselves.

A virtual world isn't a world unless populated. A virtual community isn't "fair" unless we can all have the chance to make the impact the box promises. The biggest hurdle for revolutionary game play isn't the technology or the ideas, it is ourselves. We can't all be the hero. We can have a hero with 10,000 faces and 10,000 worlds or a single world where we can all try and be heroic, but equal in our status. When they crack the code to let everyone achieve spectacles and each one still have value, that will be their revolution.

My revolution? I'm going to take the public quests and living cities. It is a step up from what has gone before. And even if it isnt a particularly big step, I unlike some of you, may not have played every single game that preceeded this. This is my big step, my foray into a virgin world and my chance to make ever so small a mark.
Even if I have to kill 10 rats to do it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Circle Strafe the Moon

Way back a while ago there was a very clever Real Life Comics comic. Here's the link for the interested.

The joke made is a good one I thought. Given a gamers interface, well a gamer can quite probably do anything.

On a related point, Brent over at Virgin Worlds recently made a post wherein he decided he did not like WAR. He said it was not fun and proceeded to give reasons.

In the interests of fairness, linked here is the blog in reply that Brent thinks "got it".

My view? Brent didn't like WAR and thought it wasn't fun because like the pizza analogy from Serial Ganker, he didn't want to play an MMORPG.

MMO's as they stand have certain mainstays. People may not like them, others may find ways to evolve them, but without them, MMO's as we know them would be unrecognisable.
No one has ever suggested that a First Person Shooter could do with less guns and none of that shooting people lark. So why should an MMORPG be entirely stripped of RPG elements? Just because there's more than one player? Soooo what?

A very good response to Brent is as follows

'From Meridian 59 to Warhammer; From Castle Wolfenstein to Halo 3' by Theo
Submitted on 2008-08-20 19:09:46 CST What are we looking for that is
Has Halo revolutionized FPS gameplay since the days of say doom more than War does from the days of Meridian 59? Pick any genre and answer a similar question. What would suffice? Honestly, the greatest revolution in gaming is the Wii and that is because it changed the entire control scheme - yet is casual and at times ignored by hardcore gamers.
Brent, my point is this. The basis of your disappointment should not be limited to War, but every new release under the sun that has the limits of mouse, keyboard, standard bandwidth, etc. I believe you have now set for yourself a standard that should never find approval with any new release.

In a nutshell, to revolutionise an MMORPG, it needs to stop being an RPG. You're always going to have to kill ten rats. Rats are a major concern for lowbie NPCs. Without regular new guys coming by to kill ten rats, the world in theory would be over run by them.

MMORPGs are based on numbers because the numbers describe the universe.
In City of Heroes I can walk up to one of my Super Reflexes friends and try to blast them point blank in the face. I miss. The numbers calculated, I couldn't beat theirs, I miss. If the game was as real as it is in your imagination, they dodged.
We're always going to kill rats lest they breed. That's the reason. That's the world trying to be real.

If you want a revolution or if like Brent something approaching the world of Snowcrash, you don't want an MMORPG. You want a virtual world, a second exsistence. You want somewhere that has no digital rats and is limited only by the visual representation of the numbers you tweak.

Hell they want Second Life with better graphics and a sword so they can claim it's a poor clone of EQ. Just to make it feel like home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Out of Order

I blame Regis for this. (Love you mate)

I decided to upgrade the blog to take advantage of Disqus commenting.
Though this has had the effect of removing the old blogroll I had.

There will be improvements/changes over the next few days.

Update : 11.09

I'll give it this, it's easy to enter stuff in the new layouts.
Warhammer and MMO Blogroll - check
Random links - mostly check
Anything else I've forgotten - pending.

Feeds - Because some of you may be crazy enough for them.

The other white meat

WAR is coming.

It is coming in a great many ways. There is the preview weekend this weekend. There is the open beta a few weeks from now. There is the live game in under a month.

And fourty thousand years in the future, the war continues.
Dawn of War II has a new cinematic trailer. Go watch. I'll wait.


Awesome Y/N?

In related news I've another mission for Games Day. Find the tank, photograph the tank. Love the tank.

And maybe steal it if it is operable...but let's not tell them that bit is on my to do list.

WAR is everywhere, and everywhen. Grab your bolters, there's a hard fight ahead.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In before the storm

It is 9.08am Tuesday morning. The NDA goes down today for Warhammer Age of Reckoning.

There have been two very good points made so far. Tobold (Europe!) has said he'll hold back on his Beta stuff until the official green light is given.

So here I am in before the deluge of information.

Regis over on Wizards & Wenches has posted, not what he knows, but rather what he wants to hear.

Fact is, there's going to be a flurry of posts in all quarters. There will be alot of overlap, alot of repetition and despite that, still quite a few gems.
Ladies and gents, pick your three or four blogs to read first. We're about to get it all.

In related news, checking Warhammer Alliance via the Book of Grudges has given me a good thing.
Check your Mythic account page to see if you have your preview weekend access. I do!

Edit 1.27pm

I got the invite email to my Yahoo! Mail. Word of warning, the sender is and as a result, Yahoo put it in the spam folder. Anyone going to the weekend should also have word on their Account Page but if you're waiting for an email specifically, don't forget to check the junk.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fileplanet Download

For those of you watching at home, here's a quick update on the Fileplanet download.

Four hours on and I haven't even gotten as far as Matt over on Bloghammer.

I've not been able to get the file for the Download Manager to not download :P

In the morning perhaps, when America sleeps.

Edit! 7am GMT (2am EST 11pm PST) the site worked for me and I started the download. It was blazing along quite merrily when I left with an estimated completion time of 10-13 hours.
Quite a bit better than the closed beta torrent time we all heard.

Why commuting is bad.

I've made a few comments, both on the Book of Grudges and on Waaagh! as to why there is often miscommunication with regards WAR. My theory is Timezones.
GMT is 5 hours ahead of EA's East Coasty people and 8 hours ahead of Mythic in California.

EDIT : Ardy is a bit daft and has been obsessed with the idea that Mythic is in California. No idea why. As a helpful comment pointed out, they're actually in Virginia, thus EST and thus I fail. No more defending them! Bah :P

That means that at 9am Mythic Office time, it's 5pm here. Time for GOA to bugger off home.
Time for me to do so as well.

So.... for an entire hour I am out of touch while I make my way home. No fancy iPhone here. So things happen.

Here is the result.

6:21 PM
me: It's a me
arbitrary: NDA drop tomorrow ;p open beta ready to download
me: o.O
arbitrary: hrrm.. what else did you miss? UK prices reduced ;p
6:22 PM
me: *flail* Remind me to stay in work late in the future
arbitrary: :-)
me: I told you it'd all happen around five :P
arbitrary: yeah, Mark posted over at the Vault
6:23 PM
me: Aaaand now I have a problem. Do I continue my campaign of random emails to get into Closed beta and only have to patch that client, or do I download Open Beta now...
arbitrary: I'd probably download open beta
6:24 PM
me: Yeah. Likely for the best.
6:25 PM
arbitrary: I want to know from you if the download goes smoothly (unlike CB one) and when the NDA drops, you'll be able to say!
me: Ahhh good point!
6:26 PM
arbitrary: cos we know GOA won't put it up for a while
6:27 PM
me: So far, Ive had to refresh Fileplanet twice :P
6:29 PM
arbitrary: :-)
me: And back to the start
arbitrary: and so the frustration starts!
6:30 PM
me: Pardon the following french. WORK YOU BASTARD
arbitrary: ha ha
me: aha! I may be progressing to step 3 of 3
6:33 PM
me: So Fileplanet.
Step 1. Enter or create a fileplanet account.
Step 2. Enter your pre-order open beta access key. Expect delay.
Step 2 and a bit. Image code validaty thingie.
arbitrary: yay!
6:34 PM
me: Step 2 and a little more, dont forget the image thing likes Caps lock.
Step You're kidding. Site times out, press refresh and pray.
arbitrary: ha ha, you should just blog this conversation to save writing it all up again
6:35 PM
me: I think I shall
arbitrary: including the swearing, of course
me: XD

It's now 7.04 and I continue to wrestle with Fileplanet. Updates as I possibly maybe beat someone to them.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Act your shoe size

A thought occured to me a little bit after finishing my previous entry.

Maturity is a bad thing.

Sure everyone wants to play with people they can get along with and more often than not that means peers. There has always been trends in MMO guilds to require that applicants be over a certain age. I've seen them, you've seen them. Surely an older player base is a better player base. Less chance for immaturity or drama. Or at least that is the theory.

A comment made on Tobolds blog (link on the side) about FFXI got me thinking. The idea of Japanese only groups in the game. I've also listened to a friend who has played the game for a long time. In Final Fantasy, there are expectations of how you will act, how you ask for groups and behave within them.
Obviously that works for the game and the people there, but at the same time such ... expectations and required behaviour results in the type of people who will run into a brick wall for 18 hours.

Also take the current trend in City of Heroes. Previously "Mature Roleplayer" basically meant put on your robe and wizard hat. Of course now there's been a shift. That lot are either ERP or "All-RP" tagged players.
People have claimed the mature roleplayer tag back to indicate edgy or dark or generally grown up storylines. The difference between Adam West's Batman and the Dark Knight really.

All of these things require that people must act in a certain way and show particular traits or a supposed level of maturity.

Frankly I think such things are killing our games.

Don't get me wrong, I am not calling for everyone to start acting like five year olds. But when the atmosphere in which you are playing does not permit you to be just a little loony when the mood strikes, why are you there?

Inevitably everyone in an MMO, even in the most laidback of guilds/fleets/warbands/supergroups will have to deal with group drama. No amount of "18+ players only" or "Mature Guild" in the world will stop there from being people who don't get along.

If you find that such restricted groups or enforced manners work for you, then good for you. However, I would sooner be in a group who will run through the newbie zone in underpants than one demands I play a certain way or would have me spend hours on a fruitless task.

Disclaimer, I currently have a problem with a wisdom tooth and haven't really slept. I know I had a point, but Im not entirely sure I made it. Sorry folks!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How long can you go?

18 Hours

The above link to Escapist came to me via Tobolds blog. He asks a fair question of when is a boss fight too long.

Also some of the commenters make good points, both on the state of FFXI and the idea of an unbeatable boss as a brick wall between players and closure. A means to keep them always around in case they really could pull it off.

I however want to have a quick word about a quote from the article.

"People were passing out and getting physically ill. We decided to end it before
we risked turning into a horrible new story about how video games ruin people's
lives," said Beyond the Limitation member Sylphet. The fight caused vomiting and
fainting among Beyond the Limitation's ranks.

So... they ended it because some of their members couldn't go on. Instead of a news article of a FFXI player horking up a lung after the battle, they consider an article on the fact they went at it for 18 hours better.
To me it certainly implies that if the members involved hadn't been suffering physically at 18 hours they'd have continued smashing their heads against the wall until someone did.

What could you have possibly learned about the boss encounter after the majority of a day that you didn't know after three or four hours?


Before loading the game, Square Enix displays a health warning: "During your
time here, you will be able to talk, join and adventure with many other
individuals in an experience that is unique to online games.That being said, we
have no desire to see your real life suffer as a consequence. Don't forget your
family, your friends, your school, or your work."

Weeeelllll...I've heard from some FFXI players. They don't forget about those things Squenix, but to get past your challenges, they sometimes have to ignore them. That's one of the major reasons I've never set foot in Vana'diel

Friday, August 15, 2008

Open ze gates

The EA Account management site is up and running!

By all means, descend upon it before the SE preorder folks are forced to fight to the death for the limited Preview Weekend spots.

As an aside. Am I the only Collectors Edition guy I know who hasn't gotten into closed beta?
Mythic if you're watching, bahrae at yahoo dot com. I'll have my invite thanks.

Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls

Waaagh! had a piece on "gender bending" in MMO's.

Herein is the blog whereby Ardy elaborates.

Syp makes a handful of good points. The actual avatar you play is not a commentary on you as a person. Sure if you roleplay or imagine the life of your character, you will invest portions of your self into the character.
I have often argued that I am not a particularly good roleplayer, my basis of the arguement being that I more often than not tend to create characters that are for all intents and purposes "me". Sure they are different and may in fact represent different aspects of my personality, but I never play very far outside my own experience. Hearing people say "I felt really bad for X but my character is a bastard so he laughed instead" has always confused me.

Does your digital dolly imply that you're anything other than the person in the chair? Not at all. That doesn't mean you cannot try out other options and play.
In the end, my good friend Seph from CoX said it best.

Feh. We're playing a game in which every character does something we
can't. Last I checked, I don't shoot fire from my hands, nor am I
unkillable, nor can I fly. Why people get so hung up on different gender
when there's all of these other differences in chars is beyond me.

People shouldn't be hung up on the fact that there are only girl Witch Elves or male Orcs or that their friends may catch them playing a Dwarven laaaady.
Don't you think the soul of the player by your side is more important than digital skin?

Secret Lives of Mobs

A while ago the very entertaining comic site The Secret Lives of Mobs was hacked.

To the Hacker, long walk, short pier, do the math.

To Rory/Father Jack over at SLoM, everyone on Blog Warhammer wishes you the best and hopes all's going well for you.
Here's to your eventual triumphant return.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

News according to Ardy

Lo folks. I know I've been a bit quiet as of late.

First a little not MMO news, my girlfriend Shannon is flying home tomorrow for the last time. Come January she's here to stay. So the quietness has been me spending quality time.
Also for those interested, yes, a long distance relationship between Sacramento, California and Dublin, Ireland for five years. Insanity, I has it.

So onto the WARworld (Sorry DC).

Characters and the people that love them.

Over on Werit's blog there's the wee piece on why he can't play female characters. Folks have chimed in with the reasons behind online gender bending (myself included). I hereby encourage everyone to not only try the sex restricted classes/races in WAR, I suggest that everyone have at least one alt of the opposite sex to their own. If nothing else it will be a lovely social experiment. Stropp pointed out that on a male character in WoW he's never recieved random gifts of money.
So folks, go on, play the opposite gender as well as the opposite faction. Use it as a barometer for the maturity of your chosen server.
Oh and as I write this I'm also catching up with the various blogs I normally sta... read often. So Waaagh! has a piece on it as well.

The where and the why of it all.

Obligatory link pimpage. I'm on board with the Casualties of WAR. One day I shall rise to supremacy and eliminate an officer so I may burrow into their fleshy husk and ... right. I need to read the Evil Overlord List more.

Aaaanyway. The question has come up both in the guild and in the blogosphere at large. Where to play? Where oh where indeed?
For myself, there's not really an option. I'm going to play everywhere. You see I, like many of my friends in CoX, suffer from chronic Altitis. It is an incurable disease that causes you to run off and roll yet another version of oneself for whatever reason. More often than not for me, because it made me laugh, or will when someone sees it.

Where would I prefer to go? RP
That's where my City Of friends will be. We all come from Virtue which as some may know is the RP server (unofficially) over there and thus well.. we're going to keep up with it. It's fun.

Where will I end up? More than likely Main #2 will be with CoW and my money is on them ending up on a Core server.

What will I do then? Late October, after I've gotten my feet wet I've another friend joining the game. Seph and I are likely going to still play on RP servers, but Im considering examining an Open RvR or Open RP RvR server for the purposes of a small team of stealthy shankers, for when you just want to blow off steam (or someones head in the case of Witch Hunters).

As with the sex locked races and the typed servers and the two factions and on and on and on, I most certainly am going to try see as much of the game as I can.
Sure I may end up always retreating to a certain server much as I do in CoX. I rarely am off Virtue, but that said, it never hurts to see how the other guys live. Even if in the case of Open RvR the answer is "briefly".


Regis, our blogging Lord and Commander, has put something up at Wizards & Wenches showing the numbers on the Warhammer Alliance forums for various careers.

My main will be a Runepriest. Guess who is bottom of the list?
My beta main will be an Engineer. Guess who took second last?

Honestly I welcome this. I want to be outnumbered. I want to be rare. I want to be a virtual unknown wild card to most of the opposite realm. Waaaay back in the day when I first started City of Heroes and before I contracted altitis, my main Ortus Sapienta was getting into the 40's.
This is before the Global Defense Nerf and ED. This is before xp changes, mission bonuses or hell before Kheldians (my favourite AT). I played a Forcefield Defender.
The number 1 thing I heard more than anything when getting on teams (after yes the inevitable R U Heelor) was "wow... a bubbler. I haven't seen one in 10 levels. You guys get this high?".

Boatarious said it best about when losing is fun. I am looking forward to being a probably rare and misunderstood class. Not because I want glory and recognition for myself, though that'll be nice. Rather I want to have to make a fight of it, and I want to show people what I or my chosen class/race/other can do before it becomes Flavour of The Month.

There'll be more Chosen than you can shake a stick at. Good thing my stick has runes and will really mess up their day.

The Book got a sequel.

The Book of Grudges recently got a new author. Join me in welcoming Hawley/badjawa on board.
Hey Arb, if ever you need a WAR Correspondant in America, let me know :P

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ode to WAAAGH!!!

I have crawled out of bed this morning. Stupid cant turn you off alarm.

Still no email. Nor shall there be. With regards Closed Beta Mythic has this to say.

James Nichols General News 08/11/2008 @ 04:03:38 EST
While you might be
getting sick of my terrible headlines I hope you still got a fevah for more Beta
Invites!The last batch of CE Beta invites have just been sent out to all
eligible CE Open Beta card holders.We'd love to let everyone in but we still
have a few more roofs to thatch before we're ready to have you move in. Look
forward to the announcements on the preview weekend...they'll be coming to a
Herald near you!

So that's that for now.

There's still the preview and open beta to go. But no CB for Ardy. Sadface.
I'm going back to bed...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Closed beta

Why must you tease me so?

Werit has his code as do a few other Casualties of WAR now.

Don't make me go over there.

Also... I'll uhhh... get back to that blogging thing soon. Like Arb mentioned on the Book of Grudges, after so much good news, the brain is somewhat in neutral.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Warhammer Online Newsletter - you saw nothing.

Errr.... It seems I can forward the news letter to display in living colour here.

However it swamped everything else and I'm sure you've all had a copy. So... nothing to see here. Certainly no blunder caused by tooling around with email publishing. Nope.

Rune Priests

The blog wherein Ardy stops giggling like a loon and actually discusses his desired class, Rune Priests.

At the risk of reiterating anything I may have stated before here or elsewhere, I have always found when starting a new MMO I gravitate to whatever represents the support classes. I was a Jenquai Explorer in Earth & Beyond, a good corp miner in EVE, my first City of Heroes character was a Forcefield defender (before the global defense nerf and ED, I was epic). In any other games I go the same way.

So having read the original career choices when I was pointed back at Warhammer Online, I found myself drawn to Dwarves, and the Rune Priest in particular. Finally though, with a release date set and beta drawing ever closer for me, the newsletter has released the Masteries details.

Rune Priest Career Masteries

Path Of Grungni
A master of this path focuses on powerful and direct effects, learning to both restore his allies and smite his enemies with equal skill. The path of Grungni is for those who prefer to focus on a single target at a time, be they friend or foe, and unleash powerful effects upon them.

Follow Grungni, learn to heal the crap out of your friend. Blow up the other guy. This does sound like an interesting path, and I am sure for duo play or in particular situations it will shine through. Main tank getting a little ragged? Bam! Healed up to the gills.
Add to this the little thing we got from the Gamespy Beta preview, you can target an enemy and an ally at the same time, and the various powers will only affect the appropriate targets. You become a frontliners best friend, debuffing and healing/buffing the same one on one combat.
Not for me though, though I am sure there are fantastic options in it.

Path Of Valaya
An arguably more subtle mastery, the path of Valaya is focused on effects which continue to linger after they've been invoked. A master of this path prefers to stick to tested, tried, and true slow-and-steady abilities, whether he's building up his allies' strength until they become unstoppable, or whether he's grinding his enemies down with inevitable and unescapable doom.

Valaya the Healer. Valaya the DoT path. Valaya the Siege preferred mastery. When time isn't an issue, endurance is. Again, probably not for me. There are those who like subtle effects and gradually changing the course of things. I though, I am called lemming in City of Heroes. No, my path seems to be...

Path Of Grimnir
This path is concerned with runes which affect large, sweeping areas as they unleash their innate power. A specialist in this path is an expert at changing the ebb and tide of combat by either bolstering his allies' entire front line, or by sending vast swaths of crushing power across the enemy masses.

If this works how this reads, I've found my path. I'm going to get stuck right in there and help change how things are going. I think it was Boatarious who blogged about how it can be just as much, if not more so, fun to lose the battle. To have to fight for every step, even though the fight is doomed. This is where I'm going to try and be. The last desperate defenses, the first mad rushes, the front line of the battle. Doesn't matter if we're winning or losing, I'm getting stuck in and having fun.

And who knows? I may even be able to change the tide of the battle once in a while.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Woo and a hoo

Mark Jacobs I love you.

People who doubted the Collectors edition? Ha!

From the VN Boards

  • CE Preorder Preview Weekend. Without the closed beta testers.

  • Extended headstart period.

  • I quote "Regarding the pre-order, Collector’s Edition and the Standard Edition, we are pleased to announce that we will also be inviting our pre-order CE buyers into our Closed Beta test starting next week. "

  • NDA lift hopefully in a week.

And lo the Ardy became a happier bunny than he already was. Thanks to Werit for linking this over on Blog Warhammer.

To do : Preorder site

To register for Open Beta:

  1. After August 15, 2008 visit the Mythic Entertainment Account Management website.
  2. Create a new Warhammer Online game account.
  3. When prompted, enter your Open Beta code.

To register for the Head Start and claim your in-game bonus items:

  1. After August 15, 2008 visit the Mythic Entertainment Account Management website.
  2. Create a new Warhammer Online game account or open your existing game account.
  3. When prompted, enter your Head Start and Bonus Items code.

Everyone and their dog will have read the site for that. This is as much for the one guy who forgets (me) as it is for the rest of you.

Friday the 15th.

So bets on NDA drop people?

The time is nigh!

Spinks over at the Book of Grudges (link in title) gives the best news I've had all day.

We have a release date!


Edit : Slight Ego stroke here. I did say it'd be after Games Day! So... Sunday kiss Mythic. Take Monday off for headstart.

Forums abound

Two new links on the left today.

Firstly I'm now on the Blog Warhammer forum, see the post below for all the details on that. Come by, have a chat, it'll be fun.

Secondly, Jo Bildo has posted the link to the Casualties of War guild which unless I'm completely wrong is the Bloggers/Blogfriends starting guild. Hop on by those forums and have a gander.

Blog Warhammer

Regis from Wizards and Wenches has set up a new forum. Link in the title or on the left. I'll let the man himself explain (in other words copy/paste ftw)

Introducing: Blog Warhammer by Regis on Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I wrote in the last post that I was working on something, and I'm proud to announce what it is now!A while ago I posed an idea I had: to create a community specifically for Warhammer bloggers. Since I only got positive responses I was hoping to make it reality. Before this weekend I was writing a new post where I was looking for someone to host it. I got halfway in the post, and then I wondered "why can't you do, you lazy bastard?". So I did. And I spent the last days in setting up a forum (setting it up is easy, finding a style that looks good is the hard part), and I just finished.

What is it? Blog Warhammer is a community for people who blog about Warhammer. It's that simple; if you got a blog and it's about Warhammer, then
you are welcome to join!

What is it good for? Some people have been blogging for a long time, some have just started, and some are thinking about starting - hopefully the site will satisfy every type. Join into a tighter and friendlier Warhammer blogging community. Share your experience or advice with the community, and hopefully learn something in return. Announce your blog to people who can spread the word.

Only bloggers? Bloggers are not the only ones who can take advantage of Blog Warhammer. If you like to read blogs and Warhammer, then this is the place to find them.

Sounds good? Go there and take part in the community, and help spread the word to other bloggers. I'm also looking for active members that want to serve as moderators, so PM me or something with interest.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

With thanks to VG Cats

As Arbitrary pointed out in comments. The Preorder page has changed again. To the 6th.

Thanks to VG Cats for expressing what I feel.

Momentary Rant

Dear Warhammer Preorder Page it is the 5th.

You previously told us the 4th, then changed. It's now 9.15am Californian time. Do not make me go over there and hurt you.


Consider for a moment the type of people you play with. Apart from Casual gamers who go all over the place, alot of people have a preferred genre. MMO, RTS, FPS and so on.

Then consider the draw to certain IPs. There are Star Wars RPGs, FPS', an MMO and quite probably an RTS that I cannot bring to mind.

Warhammer Online poses a question for me.
The offline fans, the tabletop fans, they are more akin to an RTS player than an MMO. Warhammer on the model level is about massed units, different abilities and knowing which unit to send against which. What move to make to deal with a live opponent and as always, how to live with the whims of the dice.

MMO fans are a varied bunch. Sure we all play different things, but even the most team centric guild and group minded person doesn't operate on the same scale as an RTS battle.

Given that RvR is all about constant on going warfare, up to and including the point of sacking the enemy home city. Given than the open grouping mechanic is (I think) intended to make groups form organically and easily.
Given that we're all going to have a stand up brawl someday in a world RvR zone.
Who will come out on top?

The player used to dealing with small groups of certain classes who can win a battle? Or the player used to dealing with massed groups of various strengths who can win a war?

I guess the question is this. As much as it will be and as much as I will enjoy it, will the game be an unruly mob fight or are we going to see guilds arrange themselves in such a way that we become the regiments we take our characters from on the table top?

I for one would adore to see an army on the march, seeking victory, over the still inspiring sight of half my realm zerging the nearest warm body.

Playing Chicken

Pride goeth before a fall.

Right now I am currently playing chicken with Amazon (yes yes, I can hear some of you sniggering).

The details.
  • I bought/pre-ordered my CE at the end of March.
  • The Warhammer Herald is telling people to look out for an email from Amazon.
  • I've had no such email, does that mean I am safe?
  • My Amazon page says I get my stuff shipped October 6th.
  • The Amazon page for the CE says it ships September 16th.
  • To top it off, I have bought two, one for Fluxie in Canada, one for me in Ireland. They are now permitting shipping outside of the US whereas previously they were not.

So the problem is this. Is there a problem?

On the one hand, it's likely that there isn't anything the matter with my order. But I don't know when it will ship. To make matters worse, I'm relying on not one, but two shippings. The item to California and then to me in Ireland. Mythic have said they will have a reasonable grace period between the end of the HeadStart and when people must enter their DVD key.

Should I fork over another $40ish to get it directly to Ireland? I don't know. At any rate, things won't have to be changed on or charged to any credit cards till at least after payday. Gives me the time to either nerve up and see what happens, or chicken out and pay extra for direct shipping in the hopes that nothing is wrong and that I get the game sooner rather than later.

In other WAR news, I forgot to mention it, but the Secret Lives of Mobs comic was hacked a while back. Why people do that, I don't know. All I can do is wish the creators my best and hope that they get everything back that they lost and hopefully aren't too put out by the experience. Frankly it was the best Warhammer/Fantasy MMO comic I'd seen in ages. Good luck lads.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Choose your battles

I return!

Recently (read : all weekend, and I had taken days off too) I came down with a massive headcold and couldn't really take part in all that went on with WAR lately.

To recap

  • People got butthurt because Standard Edition (SE) pre-orders are getting Warhammer Open beta as well as the Collectors Edition (CE) folks.
  • There's been bugger all news otherwise.
  • Still no newsletter.

So! Where do I stand on all of this?

You know, I don't much care. I bought the collectors edition not for the leg up on other players, I bought it for the loot. The swag. The gubbins inside. I justify my $80 (€51.32) quite a few ways. Primarily, I'd end up paying almost as much for a standard edition in Ireland as I will for a CE in America, where I play. Then, €50 is well worth it for a limited edition miniature, art book, graphic novel, in game quests, xp boosting spell, character heads, portable camp and the enjoyment I will get from same.
The pre-order? Well that just is icing on the cake. I get a special power (Guardians Sapphire band iirc), open beta and live game headstart.
Sure there will be standard edition pre-order guys there, but they dont have my toys.

That and honestly now, it's not much of a stress test if there are only 60,000 people plus current beta population. Of course the Standard guys should get in. They're likely paying a pre-order cost anyway.

The other recent news.

First, the Road to War site.
Maybe it's because it is Monday (and there are supposed to be things coming today) but the site is currently rather slow. At any rate I have declared my allegiance. Dwarf and Order. I have also nabbed their little vote thing and bunged it in a post below, which is now also linked on the left. I can has gold please? On that note, if you want to claim I "recruited" you, the email to use is
Also for interest, I have put my little marker thingy in California. Yes I know I am from/in Dublin but that is where my game is shipping to, so why not?

Boathammer has passed the mantle/ball & chain of the Warhammer bloggers guild to Jo Bildo. I'm the token European and I shall be there!

Road to War Daily Vote