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 ok...so 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 Amazon.com. 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 ye....here 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 http://www.rpvisions.com/ 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.