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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.

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Stats for Zealots

October 14, 2008

In a similar vein to what Regis over at Wizards & Wenches has done for the DoK, I am going to run over the stats and comment on their importance for the Zealot. My focus as a Zealot is healing in RvR so my comments are biased to that role, however I will make comment on solo viability and DPS stats.

Willpower: Increases your chance to Disrupt attacks and increases healing dealt to allies.

Zealots are healers, this stat is the only one that increases you healing, therefore it is the most important stat IMO.

Now there has been a bit of discussion over the relative merits of willpower versus wounds. The discussion postulates that wounds is of more benefit than willpower as +1 willpower only increases you healing by 0.2 hps where as +1 wounds provides an additional 10 health. When it comes to soloing and any situation where you take the bulk of the damage this is quite true, however any time you are partied up and someone else is taking the damage, additional wounds on your part aren’t going to keep them alive where as additional willpower will.

Willpower has the added advantage of increasing your chance to disrupt spells so those Bright Wizards become less of an issue as you increase you willpower.

Wounds: Increases the amount of health you have.

Wounds is you buffer against burst DPS. It gives you more time to switch to yourself to heal and reduces the likelihood of you being insta gibbed by the assist train. Regis has a good analysis of Toughness versus Wounds here, but in general I prioritise Wounds slightly higher than Toughness as it is more difficult to find on gear and I tend to die more often from burst damage than sustained damage. However, as Regis mentions, a balance of Wounds and Toughness is probably best.

For solo questing I would recommend stacking a bit of Wounds so that you can survive getting ganked by a respawn or an unexpected add.

Toughness: Reduces damage dealt to you by opponents.

This will lower the amount of damage taken from each hit. As above, having a bit of toughness is important, however I feel that with our HoT giving Zealots a proxy toughness, surviving burst DPS is more important so therefore wounds is rated higher.

If you were min/maxing PvE it might be worth looking into the amount of toughness you would need for your HoT to counter the incoming damage but so far I have found the base amount of toughness to be more than enough for solo questing against single mobs.

Intelligence: Increases Magic Damage and reduces your opponents chance to block or disrupt attacks.

This is the key stat for solo/DPS Zealots. It increases your spell damage and reduces the chance your spells will be disrupted. I have a separate gear set for solo PvE which is stacked with intelligence but I don’t generally have it in my RvR/Healing set as my damage is usually less than 10% of my healing and therefore the benefit in RvR is marginal.

Initiative: Increases your chance to evade attacks, detect stealthed enemies, and lowers your chance to be critically hit.

Reduced crit chance, increase evade and increased stealth detection all sound nice but really you would still be better off going for more wounds or toughness. Maybe of situational use if you are getting hit from stealth by Witch hunters all the time.

Weapon Skill: Increases your chance to Parry attacks and penetrate an opponents armour.

The increase to parry is a marginal benefit but really there is no point in getting additional weapon skill for a Zealot. Once again you would be better off looking for Toughness or Wounds.

Strength: Increases Melee Damage and reduces your opponents chance to block or parry attacks.

I am not sure how much our melee hits for but if you are relying on your melee attack for damage then something is wrong. I don’t see any point in this stat for a Zealot.

Ballistic Skill: Increases Ranged Damage and reduces your opponents chance to block or evade attacks.

As the Zealot doesn’t have any ranged attacks this stat is worthless.

Ok, so there you have my thoughts on stats for the Zealot. Willpower is the king of healing with Wounds and Toughness as required for survivability. I intend on having a bit more of a closer look at how much is enough as far as survivability goes but so far I haven’t had too many issues with survivability.

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Favourite quest so far

October 13, 2008

This post is inspired by a survey I just filled out over at Nick Yee’s The Daedalus Project. I would highly recommend everyone go and have a look over The Daedalus Project and participate in the surveys there. I find a lot of the information there to be of great interest and I think having a better understanding of  players’ motivations helps me with my online interactions both as a player and as a Guild Leader.

So, back to quests – the survey asked what my favourite quest of all time was and thinking back over all the games I have played and all the quests I have done, I have to say the Dark Elf quest line Legend and Infamy was the one that stood out as the best of all time. I have been thinking about why this is so and I think the thing that grabbed me about the Legend and Infamy quest line was that it specifically involved me. The bulk of the story line was my quest to restore my reputation by tracking down and killing Haydion Whitewrath. Not only did it involve me, it also work in really well with the Dark Elf lore and their hatred of the High Elves.

Unfortunately the other areas don’t tend to do the epic quest lines quite as well as the Dark Elf Tier 1 (although I am holding out hope there may be something later on in T3 or T4). While most quests (not just the epic ones) do have some back story and a solid reason for doing the quests that tied nicely in with the story line, they just didn’t feel quite the same as Legend and Infamy. Now I know that writing a whole bunch of quests with the aim of getting everyone engrossed in the quest line is difficult and I don’t expect every quest to be like that, but I would like to see at least 1 Epic chain that does draw me in and runs through all the chapters in the tier. As it stands, there is little incentive to follow a quest chain through if you have out levelled the area or moved on to another pairing.

One thing that did disappoint me with Legend and Infamy was that as soon as I got into Tier 2 it was like I hadn’t participated in the quest chain at all. The NPCs there obviously hadn’t heard of my deeds and treated me like scum and once again I had to prove my worth. Why can’t at least some of the quests we do have an ongoing impact on our characters such as influencing the way NPCs interact with us? Why couldn’t word have spread to other lands of the amazing feat I carried out in order to kill Haydion Whitewrath and the local inhabitants treat me differently to those who didn’t complete the quest series? Maybe give me a couple more quests to choose from or a different reputation item or even just show a little more respect in their dialogue with me. Surely it wouldn’t be that hard to have a flag in game that toggled between 2 choices depending on whether someone had completed a particular quest chain or not?

So, what are your favourite quests thus far? What would you like to see changed/improved about quests in WAR?

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Witch Hunters – oh how I detest thee

October 10, 2008

To be honest, until last night, Witch Hunters had never really been much of an issue. Sure, they tend to pop up when you don’t expect them to, but usually I would just strafe away, pop a few heals and find the nearest friendly. In T2 I have been mainly running Mourkain’s Temple and in there they don’t really even sneak up on you due to the confined nature of the map.

So, last night, me and a few guild mates went looking for some Keeps to take. We found one in Marshes of Madness which we took back with very little resistance so we moved on to Ostland to try and take back the keep there. This one turned out to be a little more difficult. By the time we got the doors down, we had amassed nearly 18 people in the raid and we were pushing up against a group of 10-12 Order who were holed up on the 2nd floor. We pushing up onto the 2nd floor with a strong force, but due to lack of coordination, our healers ended up with most of the NPCs on them and we wiped badly.

By the time we rezzed and regrouped, the Order ranks had been reinforced to the point where we now had two groups of 24+ people going toe-to-toe out the front of the keep. We weren’t able to make too much progress and they were able to defend quite effectively. It was around this time, with our forces out in the open that I began to experience the pain of the higher level Witch Hunters. Order had a couple of them and they were pretty well coordinated. I died several times to Sudden Accusation while trying to escape their grasp and being a little slow, I just didn’t pick up on the fact that moving was what was killing me.

Thankfully, Ulfryk over at The Raven Calls has some handy tips for dealing with Witch Hunters. As a counter point, Cathbadh has written a nice little article providing advice to Witch Hunters on hunting healers which I also recommend. Getting into the head of an enemy will help you better combat their attacks.

So as the night wore on and our large group of attackers slowly dwindled as people looked for more effective means to level, I continued to run into these troublesome Witch Hunters. I learnt that to survive, I needed to stick close to the freindly DPS and keep moving so as to thwart a sneak attack. I had to stay still if they did manage to jump me, use both Chaotic Blur and Embrace the Warp to limit the incoming damage and switched to healing myself sooner. They still managed to kill me a couple more times, but I also spotted them on approach a few times and deflected the brunt of their attacks.