Warhammer Dwarf starting area, and the heat monster persists.

September 11, 2008

Aria and I finally got to play some Warhammer open beta last night, and overall had a good time. We created dwarves just for kicks (we will be playing DEs at launch). Ironbreaker for me, Engineer for her, and made it to level 6 before calling it a night.

For starters, the dwarf starting area is great. It’s very ‘dwarfy’, being in a mountain with cannons and booze all around. Said mountain is of course also under siege by Greenskins, and they are running all over the place, giving the starting area a very ‘happening right now’ feel. After a few initial quests, you make it outside, and we got that ‘ah fresh air’ feeling having started underground. Hard to really put it into words, but the pacing of the terrain is well done, and in a very short amount of time you get the sense of progress.

Aria is a huge fan of PQs, and almost immediately after character creation asked when do we get to do one. Having seen a bunch of starting areas, I knew one was generally close, and sure enough it was. What I did NOT expect was how hard the final Hero class mob turned out to be. Hero mobs just have a ton of HP, and our mini-group of 3 (a Runepriest joined us) stood no chance. Once the PQ reset, a few more dwarves joined up, and eventually with a full group we took the boss down, although even then it was not a cakewalk. The PQ itself was fairly basic (most are in the starting areas), one round of kill 20, a round of collect 10, and finally a hero boss mob with 3 adds. Yet while basic, it was still a lot of fun running around and smacking down greenskins.

Maxed out on influence, and with all quests completed, we moved on to Chapter 2, where we did a few quests, found the next PQ, and called it a night. Tonight will be round 2, and hopefully we can far enough to hit the RvR area and perhaps try a scenario.

During our time online, I don’t think we encountered a single ‘stuck’ mob that was invulnerable, something that was fairly common before the last patch. I did however experience my first two crashes, both instant CTD with no error report in Vista. Oddly enough, both happened when I hit release after being killed by the first PQ boss. In all fairness, my comp had been running for a long time, and once I reset it, I had no further issues. Aria’s comp did not crash.

Well actually it did crash, but not because of WAR, but rather that nagging heat issue. I downloaded SpeedFan, and ‘Temp 3′ was reporting stupidly high temperatures (200F+) as soon as a game was launched. The CPU, motherboard, and GPU all reported somewhat normal temps, and after a quick search I could not find what exactly ‘Temp 3′ refers to on an Asus M2N32 SLI Deluxe MB. While clearly SOMETHING is up with the comp, I’m going to try and give it some extra ventilation (it sits under a desk in a corner right now) to see if that helps. The overheating shut down happens after an hour or so of playing WAR, so if I could prevent the heating issue for an extra 30 minutes or an hour, it won’t be much of a problem. Otherwise if the problem persists (or gets worse), it will have to go back to the shop. Anyone deal with anything similar, and have any suggestions? The comp is dust free, has a new GPU (Nvidia 9600 GT), plenty of case fans, and the CPU just got new putty and it’s heatsink cleaned.

Mythic employee Tobold talks WAR

September 10, 2008

Tobold, Mr. I’m kind of a big deal official media source and Mythic shill blogger, has an opinion piece about WAR. He is wrong, of course, but what do we expect from a total sellout. (insert random Darkfall comment, followed by something about an upcoming game with a cute feature list it won’t deliver)

In all seriousness (because the above was a joke, in case anyone gets confused), it’s a solid writeup. I did like the little “I like the PvP, so you won’t” part, as it references back to the difference between ‘impact PvP’ and ‘afk grind PvP’. As far as I can tell, WAR falls somewhere between the two. It’s certainly not UO/SB/EVE ‘winner take all’ PvP, but it’s also far from the ‘afk to win’ PvP of WoW. In the long run, I think that will work out for WAR and it’s fans. While you won’t have the uber epic PvP moments that come from ‘impact PvP’, it will be something that keeps people logging in and playing, something that will keep us fighting at least in part just to fight, without the massive downtime that ‘impact PvP’ requires.

So while I’m generally all for games with ‘impact PvP’, I think I’ll enjoy the somewhat more casual pacing of WAR. I’m guessing that between RvR areas, scenarios, keep sieges, and ultimately the campaign ending capital city events , I’ll have plenty of solid PvP content.

Plus EVE is always around, in case the ‘impact PvP’ itch strikes me.

The real Warhammer Online comparision!

September 9, 2008

So full of win.

“Dude, that game is so 2004”, and other WAR comments.

September 8, 2008

Reading some of the early Open Beta feedback, one thing struck me as a bit curious, and I wanted to write about it here in the hopes that someone can explain it to me. Why is 2008 so different from 2004?

What I mean is, why are people saying that Warhammer Online would have been nice in 2004, but in 2008 it’s ‘not enough’? And I don’t mean the people who don’t like WAR for whatever cool-aid infused reasons, I’m talking about the people who played it, had fun, and will continue to play it, but will do so under the doom and gloom of ‘I won’t like it for long’.

It’s not about the graphics, because WAR is generally an upgrade over WoW, and about as much as you can expect in four years when your main goal is performance > looks. WoW had EQ2, WAR has AoC, and we all know how that story plays out. It runs well on ‘average’ machines, even during RvR battles, and that all along has been the mission statement. Same goes for sound, servers, stability, and all other ‘tech’ issues, I don’t think anyone is super underwhelmed with the tech behind WAR.

Many people are stating that generally accepted MMO design features (holy trinity, hotbars, global cooldown combat, having fun) are old and need to go. It’s time for really ‘next gen’ stuff like… um… no hotbars or classes, instant (but balanced and non-twitch) combat, deep PvP that attracts a mature (not AoC mature) and very un-PvP crowd, and we want all that wrapped in a niche setting with a multi-million dollar budged behind it. Oh and no established IP to lure investment dollars, we want totally new fiction that is new and awesome and ‘matters’.

Sarcasm aside (it’s Monday, deal), why is a game that was fun in 2004 no longer fun in 2008? Why did that game in 2004, that did nothing for the genre other than add polish (which was as huge a step forward as any) get a ‘no innovation’ pass, yet in 2008, when handed another game that hits it’s marks, brings polish and a twist (PvP > PvE focus), some scream bloody murder?

“Oh but its 2008, we have been playing MMOs for years”. True, just like in 2004, when some of us had been playing MMOs for years. Just like DAoC was the PvP EQ, WAR is the PvP WoW. Was there ‘no innovation’ being chanted during the DAoC beta? Did people cry out that Mythic was developing ‘yet another fantasy MMO’? Had Bartle already played DAoC, but it was called EQ Rallos Zek?

Warhammer Open Beta mini-report.

September 8, 2008

Preview weekend plus took place the last few days, and today is the first day of Open Beta for Warhammer Online. Unlike the first preview weekend, Mythic did not slip in a last minute gamebreaker like borked NPC pathing, and the game played closer to what is expected when WAR goes live. It was not perfect, as at times NPCs became ‘stuck’ and invulnerable, but this could be fixed by moving away and letting the NPC chase after you. Annoying, yes, but not gamebreaking. I’m also guessing this is something that will easily be fixed before WAR goes live.

I got a chance to play with Keen and Graev’s guild, Happy Fun Guyz, on the Chrace server, and also squared off against a few Casualties of War members in scenario play. I was playing a squig herder, mostly just to test the pet pathing, and I’m happy to report it worked without issue. I still got the feeling the squig herder was slightly underpowered in RvR, but I only got to Rank 9. In PvE the SH worked well, thanks to the squig pet being such a good tank, and the fact that the SH could run and gun if needed.

While having access to Open Beta is nice, I just want the week to hurry up and end, Sunday to arrive, and create my live characters. Only a week!

AoC in a Wall of Text nutshell.

September 5, 2008

If Yahtzee ever actually played a game for longer than 10 minutes, took a breath, stopped being a spoken word forum troll, and had to type, it might look something like this.

Pure win.

Mark Jacobs blog, Open Beta, and CPU issues.

September 5, 2008

Mark Jacobs not only started a blog, but has been a one man typing machine ever since. It’s almost scary really; the guy posts and replies more than Tobold. I doubt our blog overlord will take this lightly, and has already fired an indirect shot (well not really, but go with it here)

Jokes aside, the blog makes for some great reading, and gives some nice insight into not only Mythic, but Jacobs himself. The game must be more ready to go than we though, if Mark has time to blog like a madman, and Mythic starts the open beta a few days early (hear that, something in MMO land happened BEFORE it was planned. It’s a reverse Blizzard!)

I’m curious to see WAR without the graphics turn down, and to play with Aria when the NPCs don’t run away from you. I mean we had a great time during PW, and the game was seriously borked. Getting my 2nd computer back from the shop ‘soon’ (the repair shop and Blizzard have similar business models, quality work, not so good with the whole timeframe deal) will help too, as it was having a little bit of a CPU overheating issue, and being a high end machine, I was not super comfortable messing around with the CPU myself. I would rather pay $100 or so and be safe than do it myself and fry three grand of hardware. When the CPU was having issues, it would randomly shut itself down, which in turn oddly enough made WAR erase 5-10 minutes of game play, often resulting in Aria having to redo a quest or run to a town for a second time. When that happens every hour or so, it’s understandable that she was getting frustrated. On the other hand, the fact that she is still really looking forward to the game speaks volume.


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