Status Update

December 8, 2008

So, I have been back home for a week but haven’t managed to get a meaningful post together just yet so I thought I would do a quick status update with a few thoughts on life and WAR.

Firstly, real life is pretty much hampering my ability to spend time in game. I am finishing up my current job next week and then have to pack the house and move interstate. Between the preparation for the move and tidying up loose ends with my job, I have managed a total of about 3 decent gaming sessions since I have been back in town.

In my first session back I managed to knock over all the Heavy Metal event tasks and unlock access to the new tank classes. While I was happy to be able to participate in the event after being away for all bar two of the days, I was a bit disappointed by how easy it was to complete the tasks. In fact, the hardest thing about the tasks was getting a Reikland Factory scenario to pop. I think if they had split the tasks into two and you had access to one for the first half of the event and then access to the other for the rest, it would have put a bit more emphasis on participation over the duration of the event. Unlocking the access to the new classes feels a little hollow knowing I was only online for 1 night out of the whole period.

Another big event that occurred while I was away was the release of the WoW expansion Wrath of the Lich King. Most of my mates and fellow guildies are all pretty keen WoW players so when I came back the guild was empty and everyone was off playing in Northrend. Understanding that most of my mates wouldn’t be coming back, I have transferred GM of <The Basin> to one of my alts and moved Xibalba across to a new guild <NoFear>. This decision was a difficult one for me having been the impetus behind setting up the guild on Ironclaw, but I felt that without an active guild, my time in WAR would be pretty limited so I made the move hoping to keep my enthusiasm for the game going.

Patch 1.05 and 1.06 have come out and while they haven’t fixed all the issues I was hoping, I am happy with the progress Mythic are making towards improving the game. The changes have improved my DPS a little while my healing seems to be about the same. I now use my big heal more often due to the shorter cast time and reduced push back and I think that is a nice improvement, particularly as I am now running with an alchemy spec (more on that in another post). I still get a little bit of animation stutter on occasion, but it is much improved on the previous implementations. Now Mythic just need to bring in patch 1.1 and the ORvR changes!

Well, that is a quick wrap up of things. I am going to be in and out over the next few weeks so my blog updates will be a little patchy, particularly the couple of weeks around New Years when I will be between houses.


Out of Town for a couple of weeks

November 12, 2008

I have to go out of town for a couple weeks with work. I doubt I will get a chance to play WAR while I am away and therefore won’t have much to write about here. Hopefully I will be able to survive the time away and patch 1.0.5 will be live once I get back.


Zealots in 1.0.5

November 8, 2008

Patch notes are up for 1.0.5 and here are the current zealot specific changes:

  • Endless Gifts: This ability will no longer affect Winds of Insanity.
  • Boon of Tzeentch: The damage of this ability has increased.
  • Dark Medicine: The stat contribution for this ability has been fixed; it was previously receiving more stat benefits than intended.
  • Manipulation: This ability will no longer trigger if the target of the heal is already at full health.
  • Mark of Remaking: This ability will now be affected by the anti-resurrection aura.
  • Warp Reality: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been increased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Demon Spittle: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been decreased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Tzeentch’s Lash: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been slightly increased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Wind of Insanity: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been increased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Vortex: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been increased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Spell Destroyer: The amount that stats contribute to the damage of this ability has been increased to make it consistent with other damage over time abilities.
  • Mark of Daemonic Fury: This ability now also increases the target’s Ballistic Skill.
  • Tzeentch’s Cordial: The duration of this ability has been increased to 24 seconds, and the overall amount healed over this duration remains the same.

All DoT abilities got a slight item stat contribution buff except Demon Spittle. This will help out with soloing but isn’t a big issue as far as I am concerned.

Our main HoT Tzeentch’s Cordial has had its duration increased from 15 sec to 24 sec, reducing the healing for each tick. Dark Medicine has had its stat contribution reduced to bring it more into line with our other spells.

All other DoTs in the game are being rebalanced to provide a slight increase in damage due to stat contribution. This increase in damage combined with the reduction in healing from the HoTs will make life as a healer a little more difficult as already mentioned by Regis and Spinks.

Thankfully a few vocal healers have jumped on the IGN forums and highlighted their concerns and Mark Jacobs has responded with this comment:

Just so you know, in the last 24 hours I’ve had two major conversations about healers. The first one revolves around a change to the scenario scoring system to better reward healers for their contributions. The second was around the patch notes. The team knows how important healers are to the game’s success and as we prep for 1.0.5 and put it up on the PTS, healers will be focused on to ensure that when the patch goes LIVE, that they have what they need to succeed either as pure healers and/or hybrids.


This was followed by these changes expected to be implemented on the PTS prior to it opening:

d) For our healers, we are looking at making the following changes:

Ranged Healers

Long Cast Big heals go from 3s cast to 2.5s cast
Interrupt / setback value on long heals is reduced by 50%

Melee Healers
Divine Strike and Rend soul will now heal for 350% damage dealt instead of 250%

Like the IBs, this is just part of an ongoing process. As I said yesterday, the team will continue to look very carefully at the healers on the PTS and if more changes need to be made, we’ll make them.

While I am glad they will monitor how healers go on the PTS, I am not sure that the changes to the long cast time spells will make that much of a difference. I intend on trying out the changes when the PTS comes up so I will pass on my thoughts once I have played around with things a bit there. Mythic seem to be responding well to the feedback so far despite what intially seemed like a kick in the teeth for healers.


Witching Night and all that Jazz

November 5, 2008

I haven’t had much to say here because I have been out of town and my game time has been limited. I did manage to get around 3-4 hours play during the Witching Night event but as Syp mentioned pretty much everyone has already covered that in detail.

One thing I will mention however is that I was a little disappointed that the item rewards were a cloak and mask. I just don’t see the point in rewards that I am not going to use at all. I would prefer that Mythic did something with either the dye or trophy system or maybe provided a nice achievement I could put in my bragging rights to indicate I had participated in the event rather than a cloak and mask that I would only wear around IC if I remembered to actually equip them. I did see in their announcement for the Heavy Metal live event that they would provide a trophy as a reward for the first level of influence which I think is a good move, unfortunately I will be out of town again for all bar 3 days of that event.

On a happy note, the Witching Night influence grind wasn’t too bad and the elite reward mask was BoE so my bank alt has a nice new mask to wear around IC. I also noticed that the first level reward potion that gives you the title is not bound so I have mailed it around to my alts so they all have access to “The Spooky” title. It seems mailing the potion resets the use count as well.

Delicate Silver Mask


Zealot Dark Rites Mastery Review

October 29, 2008

It has been a bit over a week since I repecced to Dark Rites so I thought I would expand a bit on the comments I made earlier. I have played with the spec a fair bit in scenarios, Open RvR, PQs and solo and levelled a couple of times in the process. My current spec looks like this.

In scenarios I have found the spec to be pretty solid. It certainly works best if your team is close to hand but with liberal use of Leaping Alteration it isn’t too shabby in cross group healing. My combat log still has around 45% of my healing coming via Tzeentch’s Cordial (a core ability so not affected by spec), 32% from Leaping Alteration, Dust of Pandemonium and Ritual of Lunacy with the other 23% from various sources. I did notice I used Flash of Chaos a lot more with this spec than with my previous Witchcraft spec, however I am not sure if this is due to the spec or because Order in T3 are targeting me more than they had previously.

In Keep attack and defence Dark Rites really shines. The ability to heal team members that aren’t in LOS is invaluable when fighting up and down the Keep ramps and allows you to sit out of LOS of the Order DPS while keeping all group mates topped up. Spamming Dust of Pandemonium can drain your AP pretty quickly but with a battle standard around to help it isn’t too bad. I didn’t get a chance to try the Restorative Burst tactic (3 more levels to go) but the synergies with Dust of Pandemonium are hard to beat as you have a chance to crit on each party member in range.

Solo a Dark Rites spec is pretty average. I found I struggled to keep myself up if I tried to take advantage of the more powerful Demon Spittle and my AoE heals just weren’t efficient enough to warrant their use. In some situations while solo I couldn’t even use Demon Spittle for fear of pulling too many adds so kills tended to drag out a bit more than they did previously. With a Witchcraft spec I was able to solo -1 champions without too many issues (apart from the time it took of course) but I found myself out of AP and very shortly dead even against -4 champs with the Dark Rites spec.

In group questing and PQs the Dark Rites spec was better than my solo experience. I was able to AoE mobs while throwing the occasion heal on group mates and felt slightly more useful than I did when Witchcraft specced.

Overall, I would rate a Dark Rites spec as great for Open RvR, ok for scenarios depending on group/map and group PvE and I would rate it as poor for anything solo.


Won’t somebody please think of the tanks!

October 25, 2008

So, reading through the latest Grab Bag from Mythic and I come across this:

If you’re a healer and you want to make the most of earning Renown, heal those around you who seem to be doing the most damage. The system encourages grouping with others and/or keeping the top killers alive, so if you do so, your healing Renown will flow!

Edited to add: One word can make a difference in a statement. It’s important for healers to group, and to heal everyone in your group, not just the damage dealers. Of course we never intended to suggest ignoring everyone else!

Now that is a fair kick in the teeth for those few tanks out there that actually like playing the defensive role.

One of the things i really like about WAR is that it has a role for tanks in RvR. They can use their taunts and guard to limit the damage to others, their knock backs and knock downs to break up an enemy line and just generally make a nuisance of themselves. However, one thing they don’t do is a bucket load of damage.

Now I know the DPS are the ones who acheive most of the kills for the team, but without the tanks around reducing the incoming damage on both the DPS and healers, most of us wouldn’t survive long enough to actually get a kill. We all need the tanks just as much as we need the DPS and healers and I personally think they should be rewarded for the effort they do in defending us. I’m not quite sure if Mythic feel the same way though …


What are we fighting for?

October 24, 2008

I am a little concerned about how the zone control mechanism works. Whenever I am doing something in game I keep an eye on the zone control and try to ascertain how my efforts are affecting it, however I don’t seem to get consistent feedback. Some times I have completed the same PQ a couple of times in succession and noticed the bar progress towards Destruction control and other times I have done the same thing only to see it not budge at all. I put this down to the fact that Order were probably doing the same thing and therefore my efforts were counter by theirs, but to be honest I am no longer sure about that …

In a recent discussion on my guild forums, one of the guys who is running around T4 talked about how Destruction totally owned all objectives in the Praag zone for several hours over the weekend yet there didn’t seem to be any impact on zone control. So then they went off to complete a whole bunch of PQs to see if that had an impact but no, limited impact there as well. They were queued for the zone scenarios the whole time but scenarios weren’t popping, so what were Order doing to prevent Destruction from gaining control? Without scenarios popping and with Destruction controlling all the RvR objectives and keeps as well as completing PQs in the zone for 6-8 hours why didn’t zone control change? What needed to happen to get control of the zone? Could Order, just by not queuing for the scenarios prevent Destruction from gaining control?

XP and RP aside, one of the reasons to strive for wins in scenarios is to assist your Realm in gaining control of the associated zone. However, we see little emphasis on this as there is no measure at the end of the match as to how much impact that win had on zone control. This has lead to the feeling that scenarios are not tied in to the rest of the game.

What I think Mythic should look into is providing some more detailed feedback on what impact your activities have on zone control. I do like the bar indicator for a quick overview of the situation, but it would be nice to have a bit more detail on hover. Then, when you complete a quest, scenario or PQ, give some sort of indication as to the impact. If completing the scenario nets you say 50 points towards control but the bar only moves 10 you know that Order have done something to offset you other 40 points.

I think giving some information on the weighting of each activity towards zone control would help as well. Then, when some activities are ignored such as PQs, increase there weighting to encourage more people to participate in those activities. Give points over time for control of each of the objectives and keeps so that there is some incentive for people to come in and take back that objective or keep. You could even average out the points over the number of people of that side in the zone to counter any major population imbalance issues.

Back to Tier 4: I know that zone control in there shouldn’t change too quickly so it might not be noticeable over a 6 hour period if it is expected to take 24 hours to flip a zone, but with some more detailed information on how zone control is being affected by activities, players will be less likely to just give up trying because they can’t see the impact they are having. This will reduce frustration and encourage players to get together and focus on activities over a longer period so that they can take control of a zone and have a chance at a city siege. I know a lot of MMOs work on the random reward incentive but when you don’t even know if you are receiving that random reward, it will not be long before players stop trying …