How do you like dem apples.

August 30, 2008

Oh, and there’s still no such thing as a miracle patch so don’t expect one here. Just a ton of fixes, additions and adjustments. We have another major patch coming as well before launch. We don’t believe in miracle patches (miracle whip is a whole other subject) here at Mythic but simply hard work and a talented team.

Much respect to my team that is really doing one heck of a job getting things ready for launch.

Mark

Hard to miss the ‘miracle patch’ dig towards Funcom and AoC.

Just to keep the quote short, I cut all the changes Mythic has made to WAR since PW, cheif among them fixing pathing for NPCs and pets. Check out the rest of the update here

Open beta please…


Entertaining new podcast.

August 29, 2008

Just wanted to make a quick post linking the latest No Prisoners, No Mercy podcast.

While I was shaking my head at times due to some of the errors or misunderstanding of game mechanics, I could not help but enjoy listening to Julie and Fran talk about Warhammer Online. It reminded me that we don’t all need to know the design docs inside and out, or the entire history of all MMOs, to talk with passion about a game. The factual errors are easily overlooked due to the charm and style of the podcast. Great job you two!


Doom and Gloom for PQs and Scenarios.

August 29, 2008

In a topic that would only come up on blogs and forums, many people are worried about Public Quests and Scenarios in Warhammer Online when the ‘initial rush’ of players leaves the starting areas. Yes, in a game that has not gone live, and one that most people have played for a total of 3 days or less, we are talking doom and gloom for the starting areas. Yay blogs and forums, this one included.

The most commonly sited examples are the 1-60 instances in WoW, and how no one ever runs them anymore. Second on the list are the countless zones in EQ/EQ2 that are deserted. Oddly remote regions in EVE are not used as examples (inside EVE joke). So are all non-40 PQs and Scenarios shortly going to be unused, dead content?

No.

They won’t be swarmed by 50 players playing ‘tag the spawn’, but they won’t be the WAR equivalent of Uldaman. The first thing WAR has going over WoW/EQ is that it supports groups far better, both in design and through the Open Group system. Five players in Westfall are not likely to get together and run the Deadmines in WoW, yet if you have just three-four players within a few minutes of a PQ, odds are they will hop over to help out. It won’t take much time, it might earn you a quick reward, and the mindset (not all solo) will likely (time will tell) be different. You won’t feel the need to ‘skip all the 1-70 crap’ to get to the good stuff.

The next key factor is class balance and the requirements to complete a PQ. You don’t need a perfect group, or even anything close to one in order to complete a PQ. Sure everything goes smoother if you have a tank/healer/dps setup, but you can also power your way through with all DPS, or just slowly grind it out with all healers, and tanks have decent enough dps that they will be successful as well, given enough time. PQs are not tuned for a perfect group, as they are intended to be quick, fun event as you travel, not the massive undertakings that most instances require.

As for Scenarios, I can’t image a server being so low pop that they will go unused as some predict. The fact that they allow a wide range of levels, can be accessed at any time, require a relatively low amount of participants, and allow players to PvP in a game designed for good PvP are enough factors to ensure they will be used. Perhaps queue times won’t be instant, and maybe you will only have 1-2 Scenarios going at a time, but it’s hard to image they will go as dead as instances and zones in WoW/EQ.


Mark from Mythic predicts WAR sales, sorta…

August 28, 2008

From the Warhammer Alliance forum:

I wish a Developer would get on and post their guess

Wish granted.

More than Everquest (at peak) and less than WoW.

Mark

So between 550,000 and 11 million. It’s a short statement, but still rather interesting if over-analyzed (and that’s what fans do!)

First up is that they are very confident they will have over half a million users. Perhaps not a stretch when AoC sells 700k copies, but still not something a dev would say without feeling very, very confident about it. Perhaps pre-orders have topped 500k?

The second, that they won’t top WoW is another no-brainer at first glance. No one expects WAR to hit 11 million users. However this assumes Mark meant the total WoW numbers, not just the US/EU numbers, which is closer to 4 million. Or did he mean he does not expect WAR to go over 4 million? While I personally think 4 million would be a stretch, I don’t think it’s completely out of reach. It’s not like we predicted WoW to hit 11 million when it went live in 2004 right? We had all that ‘the market can only support so many users’ talk, with everyone throwing numbers in the hundreds of thousands range, since no one would be silly to suggest a million users for one MMO…

Time will soon tell, but it’s nice to see a top figurehead play along with the community on a topic most companies would not touch with a ten foot pole.


Not WoW burnout, MMO burnout.

August 26, 2008

Darren has released Shut Up. We’re Talking #32, and the podcast focuses on Warhammer Online and the recent back and forth debate about the game and its place in MMO land. It’s a great show and well worth a listen.

One thing I got out of the show was a better understanding of Darren’s (and perhaps Brent’s) reasoning behind their stance on Warhammer. It further made me believe that Darren and others are not burned out on WoW or whatever current MMO they are playing, but rather MMO gaming in general. Darren made a statement along the lines of ‘WAR won’t fix WoW burnout’, and for him, it won’t. Darren is hoping FreeRealms or other upcoming MMOs do something very different, because for him the traditional MMO game is no longer of interest.

That is of course a very valid stance, and certainly a void could be filled by an MMO-like game that changes up things enough to make it totally different. But I don’t think MMO burnout represents many people, and in turn won’t have much impact on WAR. I believe most of the people burned out on WoW are still very much into MMO gaming, and hence will see WAR is a cure for WoW burnout, rather than ‘more of the same’. They don’t view hotbars, going up levels, class systems, itemization, etc as old features that need to be replaced, they view those as key components to the games they like.

To use an example, take Grand Theft Auto 3 and GTA 4. GTA3 was release in 2001, yet GTA4 is very similar to GTA3 despite being released in 2008. Fans of the game will point out the numerous improvements of GTA4 over 3, but if we break the two down, like we do WoW and WAR, we can easily call GTA4 ‘more of the same’. You could even argue GTA4 is far closer to GTA3 than WAR is to WoW, and yet GTA4 is one of the most successful games of all time, both critically and financially.

My point is that if you are just burned out on a genre, like Darren is with MMOs, no matter how great a game within that genre is, it still won’t do it for you. Instead of seeing the step forward made with RvR or PQs, Darren can’t get over the fact that WAR still has tank/healer/dps. It’s the equivalent of playing GTA4 and not being able to get over the fact that you still have to steal cars and shoot guns. Where is a GTA that does away with guns and cars and brings in new gameplay? To fans of GTA, that question sounds as crazy as asking to do away with the hotbar in an MMO. Or asking how such a talented studio like Rockstar Games (makers of GTA) could spend all that time and money and ONLY come up with GTA4 instead of a ‘next gen’ game. Fans of MMOs were not looking for Mythic to reinvent the wheel, we were looking for DAoC2, and we got it and more.


New Job

August 25, 2008

First day at a new job for me, working in IT for Brandeis University. Very happy to have the whole ‘involuntary vacation’ period over with.

I should be able to keep up with posts here, either after work or during lunch, but if the rate of posts drops a bit, you know why. I fully expect to keep busy with the blog though, with WAR looking as good as it does (not perfect, but close enough to be damn fun), my old WoW buddies joining Aria and I, and playing alongside the Destruction side of Casualties of War. Good times ahead!


End-game explained.

August 24, 2008

Not sure if this is new, but I found it interesting and figured I would pass it along. This is from James of Mythic talking about the endgame. Enjoy!

You lock down 2 pairings by capturing the fortress at the end of each. At this time the city becomes contested and enemy players may storm the gates and begin a city wide public quest build on ransacking, pillaging, and killing their enemies. We have tested capturing 2 pairings and watched the city flip to contested. In addition to the public quests you also have a scenario of epic proportions. It encompasses multiple rulesets and requires a large amount of coordination in order to win.

Cities are broken up into instances of 48 on 48, which in the concentrated, urban environment is quite intense. Players must play a tug of war in the city wide public quest to attempt to beat the other side (one side is trying to put out the fires that the other is lighting) in addition to controlling battlefield objectives at key strategic areas. This PQ plus winning scenarios contributes victory points, and much like normal zone capture this is displayed in the victory points bar above the minimap.

At this point the defender will either win and oust the attacker or the attacker will capture the city. No defenders can enter the city at this time and the rest will be booted once they’re dead (but they’re still able to put up a fight!) If the defenders win the campaign resets and control goes back to the neutral tier 4 zones.

Once the city is captured 2 public quests unlock and players are able to explore the PvE dungeons within the city. (expanding the amount of PvE content available to the server.)

Once these two PQ’s are defeated the king encounter unlocks for all city instances and warbands can now assault the palace and challenge the king.
You lock down 2 pairings by capturing the fortress at the end of each. At this time the city becomes contested and enemy players may storm the gates and begin a city wide public quest build on ransacking, pillaging, and killing their enemies. We have tested capturing 2 pairings and watched the city flip to contested. In addition to the public quests you also have a scenario of epic proportions. It encompasses multiple rulesets and requires a large amount of coordination in order to win.

Cities are broken up into instances of 48 on 48, which in the concentrated, urban environment is quite intense. Players must play a tug of war in the city wide public quest to attempt to beat the other side (one side is trying to put out the fires that the other is lighting) in addition to controlling battlefield objectives at key strategic areas. This PQ plus winning scenarios contributes victory points, and much like normal zone capture this is displayed in the victory points bar above the minimap.

At this point the defender will either win and oust the attacker or the attacker will capture the city. No defenders can enter the city at this time and the rest will be booted once they’re dead (but they’re still able to put up a fight!) If the defenders win the campaign resets and control goes back to the neutral tier 4 zones.

Once the city is captured 2 public quests unlock and players are able to explore the PvE dungeons within the city. (expanding the amount of PvE content available to the server.)

Once these two PQ’s are defeated the king encounter unlocks for all city instances and warbands can now assault the palace and challenge the king.

Quote taken from the Warhammer Alliance forums here.


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