Warhammer still confused, DF>GW, and Ed.

While it’s been some time since I’ve played the game, I still keep an eye on Warhammer Online to see what is being done with it, yet the more I look, the less hopeful I continue to be. Take this for example. Not only is this not ADDING anything to the game, but Mythic can’t even come up with a way to REMOVE things in a way that makes sense to the players. When your player base reacting to some patch notes sends you back to the drawing boards about something as relatively simple as scenarios (how long have those been around in MMOs now, and how critical are they in the overall end-game mess that is WAR?), how much faith can anyone have that you stand a chance in fixing the more major issues?

The Guild Wars fiancé trial run did not happen this weekend due to the usual suspect; DarkFall. The plan was to play at some point on Saturday, but well, PvP happened and the day was over before I knew it. I’m sure the clan member (Sorry Grim) I lead into a flamethrower cannon-induced gibbing wished I had logged off, but what can you do.

Finally, thanks to pingback technology, this post from “Don’t Fear the Mutant” came to my attention (btw: there is no such thing as a cheap shot at EG, and even more so when talking about ForumWarrior Ed). I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here; game reviews are easy. Just state up-front how long you played or how far you got (in the case of something linear like Dragon Age) before writing the review. That’s it, that’s all you need.

If you only played an hour, but still feel the need to put ‘review’ in your title, go for it. Just let everyone know up front that your review is based on an hour, and the reader can determine how much weight to put behind what you wrote. The same applies the other way as well; when I do a year-after review of DarkFall, obviously what I notice now about the game is going to be quite different than what some totally new player sees. But again, I leave it up to the reader to determine what he/she gets out of the review.

Don’t load up on factual mistakes (and then try to defend said mistake in any way), baseline up front how much you played, and fire away.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in beta, Darkfall Online, Guild Wars, Inquisition Clan, MMO design, Patch Notes, PvP. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Warhammer still confused, DF>GW, and Ed.

  1. pitrelli says:

    You think WAR will die off this year Syncaine? I know you were a big fan at launch and felt let down as it wore on but can you really see a way back for them?

    Bar them adding another Faction (aint gonna happen) I just cant see how they can turn it around.

    • SynCaine says:

      If they don’t release an expansion this year, one that adds a third (or more) faction, I don’t see why EA would keep the game alive. IP costs, EA being quick to pull the trigger, and nothing on the horizon to save it (WAR would be a fairly crappy F2P game IMO); it’s not looking too good for WAR. Funny that AoC is likely to end up as the more successful of the two MMOs.

      • pitrelli says:

        ye who would have thought that? Its a real shame however they seem to creep from one problem to the next without finding long term fixes or solutions.

  2. pitrelli says:

    I’ll add I take any MMO review with a pinch of salt as in the end it all comes down to individual preferences and indeed personal experiences in game, add to that the sheer depth of MMO’s and content available and it would be impossible to do a full ‘review’.

    I prefer to view these reviews as ‘informed thoughts’ rather than an out and out review although EGs original review probably wasnt fair the follow up was pretty balanced and I agreed with alot of it.

  3. Werit says:

    I’m not really sure how Mythic ended up at the decision to cut so many scenarios. My guess is that they heard players saying how much they don’t like a bunch of scenarios, because they don’t get enough action (xp/renown) due to the layout/rules.

    The problem was that there wasn’t a reward good enough to encourage winning over just farming kills. With the new scenario weapons, might players actually like these scenarios that require some tactics?

    It was only when they told us that they may cut some that players stood up and said they liked them. Prior, you’ld be hard pressed to find any praise about them.

    That’s my theory anyway.

    • Maladorn says:

      Also doesn’t help that they took away Forts, promised replacement, and haven’t done so yet. I have this sense that they just aren’t following through and seeing a change path to the end. When you’re taking hits for not having a full deck, it doesn’t help to remove more cards.

      • Werit says:

        I’m still glad forts are gone. Sure the city sieges are not ideal, but forts were very boring. Even with the improved performance it wouldn’t be fun.

        They need to redo the forts to be an entire zone and discourage zerg behavior. Not a trivial task.

        In the case of scenarios, they were removing cards they thought most players didn’t like. I think players don’t like the reward potential rather than the scenario itself .

  4. mbp says:

    Syncaine it really is time to get over the Ed Zitron thing. It happened. It was unfortunate. I am not convinced anybody came out of the affair smelling of roses. Eurogamer endures and it remains one of the best gaming review sites on the planet. Kieron Gillen who did the re-review for example is a terrific writer. If you haven’t read the Rock Paper Shotgun piece about Solium Infernum do it now. It is easily the best bit of games writing I have read in a long long time.

    • SynCaine says:

      EG has had a few more ‘Ed’ moments since the DF review, but as I don’t read them unless someone points to something, I don’t really know/care what they offer overall. Once you stand behind and fully support something like the Zitron thing, well, why would I bother going forward.

    • willee says:

      The only review i’ve ever read on EG is Zitron’s Darkfall review. The fact that they actually stood behind that review tells me all i need to know.

      Call them one of the best gaming review sites on the net if you want. To me that is a horrible indictment of gaming review sites everywhere.

  5. mbp says:

    I guess I don’t understand your position but fair enough you are entitled to your own opinion. That said – the Solium Infernum piece is a rare treat.

    • SynCaine says:

      I just find the whole thing shady and unprofesional.

      First EG publishes the Ed piece, which anyone could have seen as a slam piece with an ax to grind even if you had no clue what DF was about. I’m not saying don’t publish bad reviews, but when you give something a 2/10, maybe take a second to actually consider that? Mistake one.

      Then, when anyone who has played DF, and AV themselves, clearly show that not only did Ed not play the game like he said he did, but his review is factually inaccurate, EG still stands behind Ed and won’t retract the review (b.c it was generating them huge traffic, and traffic = money). Mistake two.

      Finally, while the re-review was better written and factually correct, Kieron saying “I never read the original review” is bs. The biggest piece of ‘news’ to happen in your industry that year and you somehow never read the original review? Suuure. Top it off with a final score that in no way matches what was written, and its just another example of EG trying to save face rather than man up and admit the made several mistakes.

      Ed is a peon, and while his name might make for a good pun whenever reviews are brought up, he is a non-factor at the end of the day. EG on the other hand are the ones left with a lasting mark on their record, one that to me is big enough to ignore them going forward. In an industry that is as dime-a-dozen as videogame sites/reviews, it takes just one mistake to make people question you, and when you make several blatant ones, writing you off becomes very easy.

  6. Ravious says:

    I honestly think that the only WAR will survive the year is if they add a third faction or go DDO-style F2P… I wish them all well though, and I have fond memories of the game, but still… $ talks more than my opinion fo sho.

  7. Bhagpuss says:

    I thought when WAR made tier one F2P it would become my weekend-evening fourth-glass-of wine-in PvP knockabout game of choice. That lasted about three weeks.

    Oddly, the thing that most puts me off playing is the same thing that first put me off DAOC – the fonts used, the icon design and the textures. I always thought DAOC looked grubby, somehow, and WAR is the same. Maybe they were going for “gritty”, but everything just looks like it needs a good scrub with a damp cloth to me.

    The colors are too muted and muddy. The landscapes look worn out and tired, not because of the war but becasue the textures are irritable and scratchy.The font is difficult to read, too small at the default setting and has a nasty, angular feel to it.

    I really like the T1 gameplay and I would play WAR more if it just looked a bit (well a lot) cleaner and sharper.

  8. sid67 says:

    The crazy thing to me about WAR is that they got quite a few things right. They got the Tanking/Healing/DPS trinity to actually work in a PvP game.

    I’ve become convinced that the ‘problem’ with a lot of games is the so-called leveling game. And by leveling, I’m also talking about skill-based games like DF and EvE.

    IMO, with the exception of a brief orientation period, I think you should reach ‘max’ level/skills right away and the focus of character progression from that point on should be oriented on equipment and inventory.

    Net result being that the ‘leveling game’ is replaced with getting ‘stuff’, replacing ‘stuff’, making ‘stuff’, trading ‘stuff’, stealing ‘stuff’ and even worrying about your ‘stuff’ breaking or being lost when you die.

    • SynCaine says:

      Problem is, from my experience, once a player has a character maxed and ‘stuff’ is the only thing left to collect, they leave shortly after. Part of what keeps MMO players going is character progression, and once that carrot is out, you notice the rather hollow gameplay behind it all. That’s true even in a game like DF, where the average PvE encounter is more interesting/challenging/varied than the typical themepark.

      If you make stuff easy to get, any decent player will have a ton of it in a trivial amount of time. If you make it hard to get, the average player will never be able to get it and hence be gimped in PvP. If you make it hard AND not powerful, no one will bother.

      There is a reason GW has no monthly fee, and it’s not because NCSoft is being nice.

      • sid67 says:

        I agree on the ‘max’ thing but only in so far as a ‘max’ player has achieved the difficult task of getting capped and now says — “now what?”

        But what if there was no cap? What if he ‘hit cap’ within hours of that first login?

        Now, that’s not to say you couldn’t have progression. What if in order to equip X, you needed to have a specific thing installed in your house (like an anvil)?

        And, of course, if you want to be fair and make it so that some new player couldn’t walk in and have everything gifted to him — make certain critical pieces (anvil?) things the player can only get themselves (bound to account).

        The player still has motivation to become more powerful — but the focus is on the acquisition of ‘things’ and specific actions related to ‘things’.

        A big part of the motivation to get to ‘maxx cap’ is for the player to ‘be the best’. Redefine what ‘being the best’ means and I think you’ll find them stil clawing to hold onto as much as they possibly can.

        As for the whole overpowered and gimped thing — well, that’s part of playing an MMO. People who play more will always be more powerful than those who don’t.

        • willee says:

          To me that just sounds like an overly complicated way of doing character/power progression. You’re just acquiring things as opposed to stats. But in stat-based progression games you get to acquire “things” AND stats…which to me is just more appealing than just acquiring things.

          I don’t understand why people are opposed to developing their characters..will never get it. That to me is a main draw in mmorpgs. And i’m not exactly a power gamer…pretty much the exact polar opposite.

        • sid67 says:

          It’s about limits and our expectations about those limits.

          Many people see leveling as an obstacle that you need to grind out. It becomes ‘THE’ game and when it ends — game over.

          By redefining how your character progresses, you set the expectation that how you PLAY the game and the ‘things’ you acquire IS the game. And if that’s the game, the upper limit to what players can achieve can be almost limitless.

          And yes, it IS a more complicated way of doing character progression. That’s the point.

          Added complexity isn’t always bad — it can add significant depth to a game. Depth that is really helpful in holding a player’s attention for YEARS.

          Also, none of this is to say that specializations (talent trees or whatever) don’t exist. Or even classes for that matter. I’m just talking about removing the stat based leveling system as a method of progression.

        • Bhagpuss says:

          The levelling up part is what I play for, though.

          Once the character is at his or her maximum level, they tend to retire from combat duties until the level cap is raised again. They live in the world, decorating the house, helping friends, developing other skills like crafting or collecting, or just wander about taking screenshots. That’s their life.

          As a player, I move my attention to the next character that I want to level. The idea of playing at the level cap just to get better and better gear is unattractive in the extreme.

          Taking Guild Wars as an example, I played it at launch for 6 weeks. For four weeks I ranted about how it was the best game ever invented. Two weeks after that I logged out and never logged in again. In contrast, I bought EQ1 in 1999 and I last played it yesterday, putting two levels on one of my Shamans. Level 40 now she is, and about 8 real years old. Ten years of levelling and I still get a thrill from every Ding.

          That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for character-based, gear-centred games where gameplay

        • sid67 says:

          I was planning on writing a blog entry about this anyway, this just prompted me to do it a bit quicker:

          In which I throw Leveling and Skills under the bus…” -Sid67

  9. Bhagpuss says:

    Ooops! Ignore last unfinished sentence – I thought I’d deleted that part.

  10. Sean says:

    The reviews of games are not reducible to a single metric like time invested. Think of how absurd it would be in another medium, such as film or book reviews, to judge the significance of an editorial primarily on how much the reviewer interacted with the piece in question. Joe “I can haz mor blogs” Schmoe’s movie review is meaningless relative to an outlet like the New Yorker even if the former watched the movie multiple times.

    I’m not trying to defend what Ed Zitron ostensibly did. Rather, I think that the value of a review, games or otherwise, is the author’s contextualization of his or her experience with the game. How is this game a part of a lineage of similar games? In what respects is it unique? Is it in “conversation” with other contemporary games? How does the play experience change throughout the game? More time with a game helps in several of these respects, but a review is not a function simply of time but also past experience.

    Btw I really enjoyed the Darkfall review. I want to see more longitudinal coverage of games and pieces like your year retrospective are great examples.

  11. n0th says:

    I wont even start on how retarded 1.3.4 reads. You know the game failed when the most fun PvP you can do as rr70+ is a 6vs6 event in a non-contested zone, organized by players.

    Instead a quick DF question: as far as i see it “endgame” is about territory control and and guild/alliance warfare. Are there any mechanics in place to prevent ppl you declared war to from just capturing your city when most of your guild members are not online?
    Lets say an enemy alliance does a raid at 3 a.m…

    I ask this because in WAR this is also beyond borked.
    Getting end-game lewt is about PvE-raiding saturday night/morning to get sovereign…

    • SynCaine says:

      The siege system in DF is a bit more complex than the one in WAR, where you just bang down a door and then an NPC boss, but to answer your question, whenever you drop a siege on a city/hamlet, there is a 22 hour ‘build up’ time before the city/hamlet goes vulnerable, so you can’t do a 3am ninja-siege.

      Since the addition of the 22 hour window, I don’t think we have seen any sieges in truly off hours.

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