Archive for October, 2008

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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.

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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 …

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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 …

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Thoughts on Scenarios

October 22, 2008

The Warhammer Alliance forums have a nice thread going that is seeking feedback on how people feel about scenarios. I know there is a lot of opinion getting around the blogosphere about how scenarios can be improved (e.g. Chappo, Word of Shadow) so I encourage you to all pop over and voice your opinion there as well (if you haven’t already).

I was going to do a whole write up on my thoughts for each scenario but it was going to be way too long so here are some general comments and I will follow up later with my other thoughts on specific scenarios.

I think Mythic need to look at the points per time of all scenarios and balance them out. People favour Mourkain and Tor Anroc because someone will hit 500 around the 7 minute mark no matter how long they hold the thing. A lot of the other scenarios you will be lucky to hit 300 before the 15 minute timer is up. In some scenarios like Black Fire Basin you will be lucky to get to 100. I would like to see the situation where a balanced game has both sides in the 400-500 points range at the 15 minute mark.

I like the mechanic in Temple of Isha where you get something to increase your points gain for killing the enemy when they hold the flag. This helps balance out the match and means that you get some benefit from attacking instead of just giving up when the other side turtles. It also works like the catch up method mentioned over at Word of Shadow as it is only available to the side who doesn’t hold the flag. Doomfist Crater has a similar item in the Doomfist Ore, however it is available to both sides so if one side is totally dominating they can control both the flag and the ore which isn’t quite as balanced as the Temple of Isha mechanic.

I think Mythic need to look at how tanks get rewarded for their role in scenarios and either boost their XP/RP gains or just make them aware of how it works. I know a few tanks who feel quite cheated when they run scenarios because they see the healers and DPS getting way more XP/RP than they could ever hope for. Related to this, I think Mythic should prevent people from dropping group in order to get more XP/RP for themselves. Also, something needs to be done about the way XP/RP is split between the groups because I have seen some occasions where 3 healers and 3 tanks end up in one group and then all the DPS are in the other group and the tanks and healers get next to no XP/RP for the scenario because they are getting the kills, meanwhile the kills achieved by the DPS are only possible because of the tanks and healers.

I also don’t feel the link between scenarios and the war effort. I think Mythic need to give us better feedback on how our scenario performance is affecting zone control so there is more emphasis on its importance. Currently scenarios are a whole different world totally removed from the rest of the game aside from the fact they give you XP and RP. I think there are big issues with zone control across the board but I will leave that as a topic for another post.

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First Thoughts on Dark Rites tree

October 21, 2008

Previously I had specced fully into the Witchcraft Mastery tree as that suited my healing style of throwing around HoTs and shields while constantly moving. However, since entering T3 I have found that the LOS issues on some maps such as Temple of Isha have resulted in me using Dust of Pandemonium a lot more than I had previously and this prompted me to rethink my spec.

So, last night I respecced and put 8 points into Dark Rites and grabbed Ritual of Lunacy. I hadn’t been that impressed with the description of the ritual in the Witchcraft spec tree so I didn’t really bother with it but ritual of Lunacy seemed more useful so I thought I would give it a shot.

With the new spec I ran a couple of scenarios and the healing I was putting out was around the same mark as I had in the previous couple of scenarios prior to the spec change. I found that not having to worry so much about LOS was a benifit although I didn’t get into a Temple of Isha to really try it out.

I felt that the Ritual of Lunacy was worth using and I had one down on top of the flag in the Doomfist Crater match pretty much the whole time. It worked like another HoT on my group when we were all attacking the flag and I didn’t have to worry about targeting people. I didn’t notice whether LOS affected the Ritual but I am hoping it didn’t as a couple of times I threw it down on the top of a ramp to try and cover the area just beyond where I couldn’t get LOS.

I spent a bit of time spamming Dust of Pandemonium but I found I would run out of AP fairly quickly. It worked quite well when we were up against a group of BW doing AoE but it just didn’t keep up with the damage if someone was being focussed. The best thing about it was that it ignored LOS so in those maps with pillars and walls blocking LOS it does make life a little easier.

In short, I think the spec has a lot of potential and will stick with it for a while yet. I like Ritual of Lunacy and it certainly felt like it was worth the point. I will run a bunch more scenarios and have a look over my combat log data and report back on any further findings.

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Play to Your Strengths

October 19, 2008

Sometimes I just wonder if MMO players have never played competitive anything in their lives before. I see a lot of complaining both in game and out about Destruction being to melee centric, Order having the best ranged character types, order are too defensive, destruction are too offence orientated, blah, blah, blah … you know, the usual gamer complaints about how hard done by they are and how OP the opposition is …

What we should really be doing is looking at these differences from a perspective of strengths and weaknesses with a view to enhance our strengths while playing on our enemies weakness. All the differences give us the tactical advantage provided we understand them and use them to our advantage … if everything was perfectly the same winning would just come down to a roll of the dice.

One example is that Destruction have the advantage over Order when the fight gets into melee range, so it is important for Destruction to push forward and try and lock down Order in melee. There is no point in hanging back because the Order ranged DPS will just pick us off while we have little effect at all.

Destruction tanks have the responsibily for leading the charge and getting the rest of the melee into the action. By getting the tanks out the front they can distract and dirsupt the opposition and allow the softer melee the opportunity to slip in unoticed and cause some real damage. There is noting more annoy than sitting in the back waiting to throw some heals to see our tanks hanging back becaue they are worried they might dent their shiny new armour …

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Tracker and Stalker Sets

October 15, 2008

Yesterday a mate was asking whether there were sets in WAR and whether they were worth collecting and fortuitously Syp had just posted a quick guide to obtaining the Stalker set for Order so I thought I would do up something for Destruction.

The basic premise for the Tracker (T2) and Stalker (T3) sets is that you get a quest to kill a bunch of Order players (not NPCs) and then once you have handed that quest in you get a quest to kill a Hero. After killing a Hero you then get one of the pieces of the armour set. Once you have collected all pieces you also get a spiffy tome unlock and title. There is one quest series for each of the racial pairings.

So, without further delay, here is a summary of the quests and their objectives:

Tracker Gloves – Obtained from Erikwuf Wrathbound in Ostland:
Good Will – Kill 20 Witch Hunters
Good Will – Kill the Witch Hunter Wilhelm Von Kleinbach

Tracker Boots – Obtained from Drekka Goblobba in Marshes of Madness:
‘Ead ‘Unta – Kill 20 Ironbreakers
‘Ead ‘Unta – Kill the dwarf Surveyor Stonebreak

Tracker Chest – Obtained from Tarond Frostrage in Ellyrion:
Bladed Whispers– Kill 20 Swordmasters
Bladed Whispers– Kill the Swordmaster Drielis Windform

Stalker Boots – Obtained from Kruggog in Black Fire Pass
We’s Gettin’ Shot Up – Kill 20 Engineers
We’s Gettin’ Shot Up– Kill Flinty Copperlock

Stalker Gloves – Obtained from Asille Nightreach in Avelorn
A Servant’s Duel– Kill 20 Archmages
A Servant’s Duel– Kill Kasildir Morningbreeze

Stalker Sholders – Obtained from Hallbjorn Frent in Talabecland
Fighting Fire with Fire – Kill 20 Bright Wizards
Fighting Fire with Fire– Kill the Bright Wizard Felix Magnus

The Order version of the Stalker set has 4 pieces but only 3 pieces are showing up for the Destruction version on WARDB so I suspect that the 4th quest hasn’t been captured by the folks at WARDB yet. I will check back regularly and update this once more information is available. The Order quest for the Chest is available at 27 or 28 so I have a couple of levels before I can get the quest yet.

Some comments on WARDB indicate that you may need to have completed certain quests or be at a certain influence level before being able to get the initial kill quests but details are sketchy at this point. If I find something more definite on the quest requirements I will add the information into this post as well.

UPDATE:

It seems the quest from Kruggog currently has a level requirement of 27 which seems a little odd considering the boots are level 20 greens. I suspect as there doesn’t seem to be a quest for the 4th piece of the set that the boots reward was supposed to be the chest instead. The order version has a minimum level around 27 for the chest. At this point the fourth quest isn’t available in game so I would suggest putting in a bug report for it as Snafzg has done.