a warhammer online blog

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Icepick: Still in Troll Country


I'm still playing a maximum of 2 hours a day at the moment, which sounds like a lot, but isn't really - it's enough for a few scenarios, INF gathering, quests, crash to desktops and a trip to Altdorf to unload my bags in the bank/auction house. The above picture is from the first stage of Chapter 6's Public Quest The Blighted Farm.

Thanks to all the zombies you can pick up a lot of Apothecary water* while you're grinding out INF/doing the three or four quests available in this area. For people who have yet to get this far into the zone: if you've got a group of around 3/4 people, head south a little further, there's an easier PQ there. Why not just do this one? Because at the end, the Hero comes with a Champion and adds that are easily pulled along with him, and it's just a massive headache unless you have two tanks and a decent healer. The recommended number of players is nine, but I think you could do it with six.

[Oh, and while we're here, I need to give a massive shout out to Kyris, who orchestrated some of the finest healing in one of the PQs the other day - if you're on Monolith, watch out for him and feed him treats, his heals are worth more than gold can buy.]

I'm almost ready to move into Ostland, I have to scout around the oRVR area and finish off a quest, but I dinged level 14 so (as with Kipling) I am well on track for levelling. Scenarios don't pop often in the afternoon (which is morning on the East coast), but I was happy to see Pheonix Gate twice today. I think I might spend some time in there + filling my bags with loot to sell before I actively do some more questing. If you're not careful, you can level too fast in this game.

*One of my impossible aims at the moment is to force down the price of water/soil on the auction house, as it's ridiculously high. I don't think I'll be able to do it, but at least undercutting others by several pieces of silver/gold means that I'm guaranteed sales.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Holiday Week

The holiday week lends to extra casual playing because it's so quiet, so instead of trying to batter through the stagnant Tier 4 Elf zone, I've been playing Icepick, my Knight of the Blazing Sun.

Any game is fun when you're playing a class that just will not die (Knights can take on equal level Champions and win, no wonder Order have been battered in Scenarios from launch day) but I like the Empire storyline a lot - Tier 1 focuses on the Norse invasion, and now Tier 2 is about plague and sickness and um, trolls. I also caught sight of Yetis in the distance, but at level 21 I think I'll have a go at them a little later.

I've also come across a lot of unlocks, more so than in the Elf tier (although it could be that I wasn't familiar with the game enough/too squishy to look properly) - 2 coming from bestiary items, and one from walking into a spider cave.* When I ding 40 with Kipling, or finally lose my patience with Tier 4, I'm going to run her through all zones and have a solid day of exploring the world, and I value finding unlocks and items organically, rather than relying on Google.

Not much else to report: I've barely touched Tier 2 scenarios so my renown is falling by the wayside and that's on my to-do list in the near future. And scavenging is working out to be a nice little money spinner - it's sole purpose is to funnel resources to Kipling for cultivating/apothecary, but until the right level drops come along, I will stack that gold pile high.

*Sidenote: what is it with Warhammer and spider caves? They're everywhere!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Keg's End

Live events bring out the worst OCD traits in me. If there's something I want, I have to keep grinding away until I have it. Even if I pass out. Today, I achieved my Keg's End goal, and picked up the awesome awesome beer mug trophy. The best part is that the way it positions on my shoulders, it looks like it's hooked onto my bow:



In order to get to the second notch on the INF bar, you need to do every quest to completion except the "drink 100 Dwarf Beer Kegs" and "Massive Ogres Tyrants Slain" ones, and even then, you still need to do part of them - I have 63/100 kegs drank, and 3/20 Ogres killed. It's a maddening crawl, I was convinced at some points that I'd never get there.

Here's how I look at the moment, I'm running with the green/purple theme. Dying your gear purple is really big on Monolith right now, even though red dye seems the most scarce.


Look at that guy's beard. Fantastic.

While most of the Keg's End quests are quite grindy, it doesn't lessen the fun. The best part of this Live Event? All the explosions. World of Warcraft gave us fireworks, but compared to WAR, they are damp squibs. These suckers go up in the air, and are varied and creative - there's probably a set number of designs, but even the Common Fireworks vary in colours. And firework drops aside, the Explosive Snotlings are made of win - not only exploding when you're finished killing them, but spontaneously exploding when they... just get tired... or something. Anyway. Explosions. Yay!

It's hard to get a screenshot of the fireworks by the way. Still working on that.

So now I have to kill Ogre Tyrants if I want the final reward. Ho hum. Not sure whether I want it or not - it's not permanent, and it's a pain in the ass to corral other people into a group to go hunting around the RVR areas for mobs.



Also, Monolith's Destro has been running riot through the RVR zones, blitzing all the Objectives and locking out everything. Bless their hearts. We're expecting them to hit Altdorf in the next few weeks, and I hope Deathclaw obliterates their faces for taking away my scenarios. I can't really participate in defence because the lag inside keeps and in large groups renders the game unplayable, and I get killed almost instantly anyway. To Order's credit, we did get a bit of the old to-and-fro battle going on outside Dragonwake's warcamp last night which lasted an hour or so, so I do have some Tier 4 INF built up, but nowhere near even halfway to the first epic piece.

[PS - congratulations to Grirmind for being the lucky jammer that got the Tier 4 epic drop!]

Friday, 19 December 2008

Presage Vestament Loot


The Presage Vestaments for Rune Priests dropped in RVR on Thursday night. Unfortunately, I don't get to make mad gold from it on the AH, mostly because the AH economy is nowhere near reliably stable enough to rely on that, but also because my boyfriend plays a Rune Priest. I'll count that as a Christmas present thx.

Customer Service

Assholes. Up until last night they weren't part of Warhammer Online, and then I had the misfortune to want to do a few scenarios/try not to die taking part of oRVR in Dragonwake. And then an asshole (with a posse) who shall not be named, because trolls don't deserve fame, decided to spend the best part of two hours trolling the Tier 4 Elf region chat with the usual homophobia/misogyny that seems to come with social gaming. I waited him out, and sure enough he made a rape joke, and I filed an Appeal.

[This is the second time I've filed one, and thus the second time I've spoken to the CSR's of Warhammer Online. The first time was when a random Hero mob showed up in Altdorf and I rolled high enough for one of the top bags of loot... only no one could find the chest spawn. It sucked and there was nothing anyone could do, and the CSR was unable to restore the loot chest for us. Blah.]

But anyway, both times that I've had the opportunity to speak to their customer service reps, I've been pleasantly surprised. They use scripts, but are friendly and considerate and are actually allowed to be a bit silly. The first encounter I had, after detailing the problem in the hope of a future fix, we exchanged the \m/ emoticon and yelled WAAAGH! at each other. Last night one responded within 15 minutes of my filing the Appeal (wish I'd taken their name, it began with a V) while I was in a scenario, so I couldn't discuss what had happened in great detail (team > chat). They understood, and let me know they had enough information to do something about the issue, and let me go on my way pwning the faces of Destro. Similarly Ainilome of Obsessive Focus corrected them about the naming of an NPC critter, and they promptly changed the name.

So if any Customer Service supervisor happens across this post, please keep this kind of thing up. We live increasingly in an age of robots and scripts - actual people responding to our ingame problems and trying to keep the mood elevated will keep people playing.

And I hope the asshole in question gets a banhammer to the face.

That's Awfully Precise


So either I broke something (highly possible!) or WAR's maths for stats is really really precise and they need to fix how it appears on the character screen. I don't usually check my defensive stats, so I have no idea if it looks like this ingame.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Got Vent w/Music Bot

The other day Sideon of FHoTA was sending around guild recruitment messages in Eataine. One of the big lures they were including was the promise of a music bot on their Ventrilo server. I immediately assumed it had to be running Norwegian death metal, so I sent him a /tell to see if I was right:


Totally awesome. I'll be keeping an eye out for this guild in the future, they're definitely having a laugh. And if you're guildless on US-Monolith, I think they're still recruiting.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Procrastinating

I now have quests in the Isle of the Dead.

I'm scared to go back.

It's creepy.

Procrastination takes the form of hanging out in Dragonwake, where its safe and everyone knows your name. Like Cheers, but with more crossbows.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Altdorf Scenery

No bones about it: Tier 4 is frustrating for me at the moment, I can't find my groove. The level of difficulty has been ramped up, the ability to group for oRVR is lost on me at the moment (all the action was in Tier 2 last night), and doing scenarios all the time is not how to play Warhammer.

So! I went back to my Tier 1 Knight of the Blazing Sun and ran through all the quests in the city. This is my third time doing them and it's still not boring. Since I bought the game, the city has changed. NPCs are in different places, say different things, wear different clothes. New quests have been added. But I love the way the city is constructed, from the makeshift pen of rats watched over by the Ratcatcher's Wife to the detailing inside the Sigmar chapel. The Emporer's Palace is my ultimate tourist destination - you get to meet Karl Franz himself! And you get a fat chunk of XP for doing so too!

Take a look at the stained glass:


And if you take yourself through one of the doors on either side of Emperor Franz, you'll find his level 48 flying mount Deathclaw:


According to HammerWiki, he " joins the Emperor (reputedly by smashing through a stained-glass window) to fight against Destuction players should they reach the King fight in Altdorf." Which, to be honest, gives me goosebumps. I can't wait for the day Monolith's Destro launch an attack on Altdorf.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Isle of the Dead

I was about ready to go to bed tonight when I saw a portal in an area of Tier 4 where there were lots of level 40s. Encourages by guildies, I ran as fast/smart as I could and managed to get through - and discovered the Isle of the Dead. Creepiest place in the Warhammer world, beautiful landscape, a purple vortex thrust straight through the centrer, the bones of ruined buildings sticking up through sand like ribs, twisted mobs, tormented spirits, the ghosts of Shadow Warriors staring out to a desolate sea.

Unfortunately, none of my screenshots worked*.

:-/

*Screenshot keybinds were reset with patch 1.1a

Moment of the Day

Serpent's Passage: the salvage has just reset, and I'm mid-field. No Destro to be seen. "Hm, where is everyone?" I think, and head over to pick it up. I start running, completely alone...

...and straight into the ass end of a crowd of enemy players trying to push Order down-field. I veer left, using whirling pin in the desperate hope that they'll slow down and I'll clear some space, but no, my health bar is down to 30%. Aaaaaargh! I didn't think I'd make it, but dammit, I was going to try.

But then the heals came! Someone, anyone had seen me (hard to miss, what with the giant column of light beaming out of my head) and was desperately throwing everything they had at me to get me out of the mess alive. And very rapidly the red numbers were replace with green numbers and I was back to full health, sprinting down the sand towards the blue shimmery wall.

I made it to the cart, and I capped the salvage, and it was totally awesome.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

My Big Bow

Dinged level 31 earlier, and put on a great big bow. Actually called the Outlaw's Bow, which is the early Tier 4 green gear that drops. Reminds me of the ludicrously oversized swords you can get in Final Fantasy (as always, click for the full size version):




I almost edited the screenshots down, but look at that landscape. So beautiful, even on my crappy graphics card.

Patch 1.1

Patch 1.1 rolls out soon, and you can find the full patch notes here. There are many many things I am looking forward to, including:

  • Chat linking - not being able to was a major barrier in discussions about gear and where to find it. Some guildies and I stumbled on a level 35 set of accessories, and while we did have it in our tome, it was hindering discussion with the rest of the guild as to why we were so excited. Aside from that, they've added a right click menu to people's names, so it's easier to say "STFU /IGNORE" in scenarios as well as invite them to group.
  • We have added an additional item to the following armor sets: Redeye, Devastator, and Keeper. Not sure how fast I am going to level out of the Devastator gear, but I'm definitely going to have a look at that.
  • The drop rate for Gold Bags has been increased in almost every PQ in the game. Because I have yet to see one.
  • Open RVR influence Open RVR is the best part of the game hands down, nothing compared to the day they released the "Kill 15 enemy players in open RVR" Heavy Metal event live quest, and everyone charged to the battle fields. I am unspeakably excited at the prospect of being able to slaughter Destro every day outside of a 15 minute time limit.
  • Player Statues OMG OMG way to appeal to the RVR overachievers among us. I've been checking out the statues in the War Quarter (by the steam tank PQ) and I'm wondering if they're going to be upgraded in any way, and how that's going to work.
  • A Pale Eye Burglar that has been spotted skulking around the docks in Altdorf has been persuaded to move along. & Banker Lutz near the Mastiff’s End in Altdorf has found his courage and will no longer duck and hide behind the bank counter. just make me laugh. Banker Lutz was more than a little annoying, and we were all convinced he was sleeping on the job. Also: Peasants near the Bright Wizard College in Altdorf have given up trying to keep their clothes free from soot and ash. Their clothes now reflect the atmosphere and danger of living close to the Bright Wizard College. is a nice update that like the other two, tweaks the world to be more realistic. I hope NPC patterns/clothing changes a little in the future to make the city seem less stagnant.
  • The mysterious barrels found in the capital cities will now reward those who are adventurous enough to open them, but be careful! Some of the barrels are potentially dangerous! Being one of the foolish that explored Altdorf at level 10 and managed to find more than one mob that would one shot me, now I'm an appropriate level, I hope the rewards suit me!
  • Improved and diversified the appearance of many cloaks throughout the game. I'm one of those players that started dying her gear from the second I could afford the 20s for Warlock Purple dye. I have some lovely dyes saved up for level 40 thanks to Apothecary/Cultivation. Because most people get the same kind of gear, we all look the same. Looking the same when we have the option to not look the same is silly. Dye your armor!
  • While exploring Altdorf and the Inevitable City, players might discover new citizens who have some interesting lore to share. Woohoo, more unlocks! I love unlocks.
  • Fun new “chicken run” quests have been added to the Tier 3 Greenskin and High Elf warcamps. These quests send players back to Tier 1 open RvR areas for an update on the progress of the war. If you haven't gone into a lower level RvR area and become a chicken, running the whole zone clucking like a nutjob and hoping the other side doesn't find you... you're missing out. It's hilarious.
  • Added the functionality for chat tabs to blink when they receive new messages. Still tweaking my chat tab set up. Still not perfect. This will help.
No doubt a lot of people will also be happy with the fact that Keep Contribution has been fixed - having a large part of the game broken and loot distributed wrong never makes anyone happy. Having discussions with other people about Keep Sieging in general, I think Mythic have a fair bit of work ahead of them to make it completely fair (eg: people shouldn't be eligible to continually get gold bags if other people need the gear more), but that's fine. We're only on Patch 1.1 - we have lots of time.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Serpent's Passage Sample Stats

I was gobsmacked to see 3000+ renown at the end of my first Serpent's Passage today. We didn't even win! Click on the images to make them readable:



But it got better. The next one that popped resulted in the highest ever damage score I've managed to churn out. Again, I don't think we won this one:



And here's a shot of the board overall at the end of the last one I participated in where we did win:



It's obviously dwarfed by the kind of damage that Bright Wizards can do, but I think that's fair enough - they don't have the option of doubling their armour or disabling tanks. I'm really chuffed that I'm holding steady ground in Tier 4 already.

On Tier 4 RVR

On Friday night Kipling dinged level 30/renown level 25, which was the line in the sand for me to move onto Tier 4. No offence to the residents of Avelorn and Saphery, but things were just worn out. I know that going back to do Tier 3 scenarios is a possibility, but now it's a little too easy, I'm interested in new challenges, new landscapes and apparently also getting my face ground into unidentifiable meat by level 40 Destruction players. The only scenario I've seen at the moment is Serpent's Passage [video] and apparently that's the only one that pops at the moment, and while I wasn't watching myself die and die and die again or renegotiating with myself for one more round of Tor Anroc, I was admiring the landscape. Shipwrecks and sand and jagged rocks? Yes please! It's a shame there's no cutscene at the end with the winner sailing off leaving the other group to starve and die on the island.

The other thing I like about RVR, is that there are multiple scenario choices. People might not always play every single one (eg: Black Fire Basin was abandoned by everyone on the Order/Monolith side because Destruction would refuse to participate aside from sitting on their flag and waiting for us to attack, oh how I hate them), but when more people reach a tier, there's a greater chance of different scenarios popping. After the last patch, I rolled a Knight of the Blazing Sun, and got to see the other two Tier 1 scenarios for the first time, which was cool, although Khaine's Embrace is very creepy to say the least.

So, should I log on today, look for the dead green&purple Shadow Warrior in the sands of Serpent's Passage. I'm having fun, even when they're stabbing me in the face from 16 different angles, honest!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Cow Tipping Across the Universe


Came across this quest in the Empire Tier 4 zone just now. I won't ruin the ending, but it caused a severe LOL reaction...

When Landscapes Bork



I get this graphic/landscape bork every now and again, and while it's really cool looking, it's also freaky and bizarre. This was actually how I met my guild a few weeks ago, trying to explain to a scenario group what I was seeing. It's like I've fallen through the floor*, but the rest of the players appear at the same level as I do and I have to navigate this maze of hellish rocks in order to play. Which is not easy.

[This screenshot is from a Nordenwatch scenario on my Witch Hunter alt DuBois]

*I fall through the floor a lot. I don't know why.

On the Tech Side

Here are my laptop specs:

RAM: 2.37GB (bumped from 512MB)
Processor: 1.79 GHz
Graphics card: ATI Radeon Xpress 1150

Yes. I know. Warhammer Online is not supposed to run on a system like this. But it does. I made it work... somehow... and this is why I refer to this machine as the "Ghetto Laptop that Could". If you don't think your machine specs are high enough and you have a better rig than this, try installing it - borrow a friend to input their login details to patch you up and see what happens. All I had to do was bump my RAM up (I paid around £20 for 2GBs of RAM from play.com) and turn down all the graphic settings in order for it to be playable (and this doesn't bother me, I don't play games for the shiny graphics).

Let's also throw into the pot that I am not living in North America at the moment. I am playing from the southwest of England - because I am emigrating soon and I wanted to play the game with my boyfriend, he bought me a US copy and a time card. Unlike World of Warcraft, there are zero issues connecting to the servers which (I think) are located in Maryland. I can't comment on the EU servers, because I've obviously not used them, but if you want to play Warhammer Online with your American/Canadian friends and don't live there, it's do-able, especially thanks to internet shopping. It can't be that hard to buy the necessaries on eBay.

(side note in regards to server locations: I do wonder if they're bouncing me off a server located in the EU based on me getting GMT+1 when I type /time but I've not investigated this further)

In conclusion: yes, I do suffer lag, but so does everyone else. It's improving as they hotfix and patch the game - Altdorf used to be a nightmare until 1.0.6. Yes, I do get those annoying CrashToDesktop issues (which I really need to write a separate post about), but so does everyone else - talking to people that I know have infinitely superior systems to me, multiple core processors, they still suffer. I don't know what Mythic are doing about that, I hope they're taking that seriously. I applaud them for everything else, because the game does work for me and hope the CTD issue is resolved in the future.

Intro

So I've been playing Warhammer since September and it honestly wasn't meant to be this way! After playing World of Warcraft for around a year and a half, levelling two characters to 70 (amidst other abandoned alts), and now being unable to play further (I'm emigrating, Blizzard outright refuse to transfer characters between the international server clusters), I was planning to rest on my laurels and let Mythic settle all their bugs before I dived back in. Probably after Christmas.

But it wasn't to be.

It took me a maximum 2 weeks after launchdate to buckle before I tapped that pipe again. I even bought new RAM in order to play.

And I don't regret it! It is so much fun. SO. MUCH. FUN. There are three reasons I've started this blog. One is because the game is just SO. MUCH. FUN. Two is to counteract the naysayers - there are a lot of people publicly declaring that the game is Not Very Good, and defecting back to WoW whereas I see things a lot different. I can't and won't go back to Blizzard - I have so much love for what they have done in the world of gaming, and WoW is possibly one of the best games I've played in my life, but it's like a bad ex-boyfriend. Great sex, shame about everything else being stunted and frustrating. If I have to level through the Barrens one more time, I am going to slit my throat.

And finally, my third reason is that I've not played an MMO from the beginning. OK, I didn't participate in the Beta, but I'm watching this game of epic proportions grow around me, and I want to partake as vocally as possible. There are lots and lots of other blogs (see the list to the right) that are doing this too, all of which share information and inspire thoughts. I only wish I'd started this from day one, and documented the amount of times I managed to fall through the floor in Altdorf (clue: more than once).