Saturday, January 31, 2009

More on Sieging

So I’ve been spending my time in tier 3 mostly doing Orvr and taking keeps lately. I’m trying to discover the best way to get my contribution higher as well as do my best to have fun and take the castles. I do like this style of game play a lot which is why warhammer appeals to me. However there are some new issues that are starting to show them selves to me through sieging often enough.

The first issue is that all the lord rooms are practically identical (if not for certain). Couldn’t they have at least moved the ramp to a different spot? It isn’t a major problem but its interesting that so much time went into these, and the outsides are generally somewhat different enough to keep it interesting, but once you are in the lords tower is pretty much one winding staircase and there you are. It kind of takes away the uniqueness of each keep and dumbs down the theme of each zone. Anyway I’d like to see more variety in how you get to the keep lord in different zones at least.

The second issue stemming somewhat from the first is there is a small area in which you can get to the lord room. Maybe its 3 characters wide. The first time I was with a small group of guys and defended a keep by forming a small wall at the top of the stairs I thought hey this is great. The enemy can’t get passed just a few guys holding that spot as you slaughter all who get too close. Line of site issues, lag, pathing, and collision detection make this a total pain to break. But then after being on the offensive side of that 3-4 times I started thinking well damn, that’s somewhat over powered. When I saw that 3 warbands of players couldn’t break what looked to about half of a warband defending I thought maybe something is wrong here.

Why not make two paths to get up to the keep lords in some keeps (or all of them)? That way if you can coordinate enough defense to guard both choke points sufficiently then congratulations you win, but at least it would provide the offense a means to try different tactics. Sending some force one way, then the rest the other or sending all down one path to try and break it. As it stands now I see this getting more and more used and its quite simple. Especially with the way keeps are now where one click and you get in the keep regardless of defenders attacking you. All it takes is a handful of guys with a few tanks and healers to hold of at least 3-4 times that of attackers.

Maybe all of that is by design, and they want to make defending that much stronger. But to me it seems a bit wrong. I want the defense to have a chance (they already do quite a bit before the enemy even gets that far with two walls, plenty of siege and terrain advantage), but I also want there to be a little more balance here and skill involved. Making one single choke point like that, on every single keep, is a bit much.

How bout at least half the keeps get a revamped set of ways to get up em so they aren’t like that? How bout some variety in the lord rooms to make them different? Would be nice to sometimes take the stairs, sometimes have a broad hallway run, sometimes have two sets of stairs, sometimes have a path that leads outside the lord room first. Well you get the drift, there are many more options than I can even think of here, why not explore some of them and make sieging more diverse and fun?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

When Will Starcraft 2 Come Out?

Answer: Not soon enough!

That’s about the only answer I could come up with. Seriously, I know all the reasons why it might not be a good idea to release a estimated day… But I don’t care about those I want to know! Here’s a few:

1. They want to be able to easily push the date back without backlash.

My answer to this would be how come games can almost never estimate the time it will take to produce these things? Especially in the later stages of development. My second point on this one would be can’t they just grossly over estimate it so that when they have it done early they are looking like champs?

2. They are strategically planning to make the most money.

Now this one I can’t argue with, but it still makes me wish I knew. Releasing a date would also let their competition in on information they wouldn’t otherwise have. But I don’t know, would that really be a problem for Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3, I highly doubt it.

3. Along the lines of the last point they are planning the release to make the most money.

And of course not take subscribers away from their other games (like WoW) prematurely. Now Blizzard is in a interesting situation here. How do they release what should be a extremely popular game without cannibalizing their own subscribers? Its tricky for sure and has a lot of elements to it. I’m not sure what an answer would be, but if they are planning a release around their other games I’d guess it won’t be until late this year we’ll see it out. Or after whatever period of time it takes for the last WoW expansion to get stale.

All that being said I’ll predict Fall this year for release. The game looks fantastic in videos and really looks pretty complete from what we’ve seen of Terrans and Protoss. But to make the most from it I think that is probably going to be their target. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see it in March or April, I just don’t think it will happen. Hell it could be Christmas or later till we see this though I really hope not. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Keep Improvments

Playing in Tier 3 with my Sword Master and starting to get into more and more sieges to go ahead and try and acquire the gear you can get through participating there made me start thinking more about the keep sieges and what can be done to make them better. Here are my thoughts:

Make incremental rewards for sieging –

Here is what I mean, instead of giving you x points for killing the keep lord, how about getting some points for breaking down the first door, breaking down the second door, taking out the oil, killing certain guards. There could be a much larger list here, the point is I’ve been on several sieges that are defended and fail, you get almost nothing for your efforts when this happens. That’s kind of silly. Even if the reward is small (like 50 inf) it still would be something for being there. In my opinion the rewards for these sieges should be higher as well, make it more worth it to do them. They are moving in the right direction on this IMO, but it still could be better. The RR gain is pretty decent, but the exp gain is pretty low.

Give some information on how contribution works (if it is working at all) –

I’ve tried several things with my Engineer and my Sword Master, I still have no idea what will get me better contribution (chance at the bags of gear). If I don’t know what gets me there then what is the point of having that reward system? I’ve tried full defense gear, taunting every mob, hitting everything and keeping all agro on me even the lord. I’ve tried jumping in the RAM to knock down the door, using siege cannons, do these things help contribution at all? I’ve tried guarding the back door, using healing tactics, using damage tactics. Anyway the point is clear, how am I supposed to be successfully contributing to the keep for that system without knowing what the heck it is counting on me to do? Otherwise as many others have said many other places, maybe the whole contribution and loot bag system should be changed, but if not how about letting us in on what we are supposed to be getting credit for doing so we can try to get some of those gear rewards.

Destructible walls, back doors, and ladder creation –

This has been mentioned also before but thought it was worth saying again. Would be great to have tactical points to guard besides one main door. I also thought it would be great to be able to destroy the back doors that the enemy floods into to defend the keeps. There are usually more than one of these, and you could make them super hard to destroy, but should at least make it possible. Along the same lines of destructible walls would be purchasable ladders that could be thrown up the side of keeps to get in, obviously these could take a long time to put up as well as maybe only allow one person up them at a time, but still would be a very cool option to have. There is a lot that can be done here to make these more dynamic and fun.

Make rewards better… again –

They already have added stuff to make the rewards better, but it needs a bit more. Some of the purps you get from tier 2 are pretty much equaled in 3-4 levels after you get them. That’s a lot of sieging for such a minor gain. The stats should be increased a bit I think, to make them last just a little bit longer. Purps should last you 5 levels plus I would think. Also give more XP and maybe RR. They did this once but its still a much slower gain than scens. They really aught to be closer to being equal. Maybe the scens should advance you a little faster since the keeps now have inf rewards to get, but still you get the drift here.

I’m sure there are a lot of other great suggestions out there. What do you think should be added to sieges to make them better?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Melee is more fun than Range in Warhammer

Or is it? Maybe its just my lack of enjoyment of tier 4 for the moment (see previous post), but for some reason it seems like melee is more fun to play right now than range or healers in Warhammer Online for me.

Now I have a Tier 4 Engineer and he is great. Amazing aoe damage, great single target, awesome cc and defense. Hell he can top damage charts and killing blows in tier 4 with the big boys (even at the bottom of the bracket), survives pretty damn well too. Really well designed class but here’s what happens. I go off bombing everything, napalming key spots, setting up turrets, basically blowing everything up (which is extremely fun mind you) but when the enemy comes after me its kite kite kite. Now, nothing wrong with this but let me give you an example of what happens with my melee class.

So then I log on my Tier 3 Sword Master. If I use my Defensive gear I can concentrate on disrupting the enemy and protecting my friends. A pretty fun role. If I put on my Offensive gear I can be the one cutting down fools directly. There is just something different about swinging a giant 2h weapon above your head and hitting a home run on your enemies back as they are trying to flee from you. Getting that feeling that they are in their heads (or at their keyboards) frantically trying to run away from you. Then you crash down on them with epic force with that swooshing melee sound. Now being on the front lines sure you have more chances to die as well, but being a tank makes up for that quite a bit since your survivability even with a 2her is not too shabby.

So I’m not sure, maybe its just me, but melee seems more fun in Warhammer right now. In most games I usually enjoy casters/range the best, but something about the design of tanks and how they work in Warhammer has me enjoying melee more. I guess we’ll see what happens when my Sword Master hits tier 4, will this finally be the class that makes me stick with it even there? What do you think, is range more fun for you, or healing, or does Warhammer maybe need to add a little something more fun for them (healers especially)?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tier 3... The place to be?

Is tier 3 the place to be in Warhammer?

I was thinking about this the other day, tier 3 seems so much more fun than tier 4 to me right now. Why is that? Let me break some of the points down:

1. Scenarios are better in tier 3. It has Tor Anroc, several paths to choose from, tactical fighting to avoid lava launches or create them yourself, hold the bauble that damages you. Doomfist also has several bridges and choke points as well as a hold the center point strategy, has items around the edges to increase your damage. And even Isha’s is pretty cool, line of sight walls and a few paths around the edges and outside to fight around. Tier 4 Serpents passage is basically an upside down V, not a whole lot of path choices, not much line of site or strategy, run a part back to your spot. Then there is that king of the hill game, also small map, hold one spot. Also interesting is that at tier 4 you run into level 40’s with the best gear and high RR levels, this doesn’t happen in any other tier because most high level tier 3 players aren’t trying to stock themselves in the best available gear since its not end game yet.

2. Character advancement. It seems the characters really get completed in tier 3 to me. Sure there are a couple of abilities you get in the late 30’s and at 40. But most of your game play has been figured out by the 30 or the end of tier 3. At that end you finally can have tried all of your talent trees abilities, and have received most of the good things you are going to get. So now you are supposed to venture into tier 4 and take longer to level up each level and get less in return, no special skills to motivate you and you’ve seen all your talent tree abilities. The only thing you are looking forward to is “getting” to 40 so you can wear better gear, but again you are always interested in getting better gear so that’s not anything special or different to be excited about.

3. I like the layout of the lands better. Tier 3 keep sieges are located in better spots close to flight masters. You can organize warbands, fly to different zones, and take down keeps with your time for the most part. Tier 4 is spread out further, seems like you have to do a lot of running to get to different places and fight. More fighting and less traveling seems better to me, I also haven’t yet seen anything too special about the tier 4 sieges versus tier 3, I’ve done a fortress siege even, looked basically the same.

What do you think, have I just not given tier 4 a fair shake yet? I have 3 high level charactors, only one is in tier 4 right now, the others moving though tier 3. Do I just need to play more tier 4 to enjoy it better, am I missing something?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pay it forward.... In MMORPG's

About a month ago something profound happened to me in Warhammer Online. Another player sent me a new pair of shoulders for my low level Sword Master in tier 1. At these levels getting shoulders early is really nice since they are somewhat rare. I met him in a scenario killing the enemy together. He sent me a tell in game and in role-playing chat told me in essence to use them well to guard against destruction. Of course I asked if he wanted compensation and he didn’t. This got me thinking about MMORPG’s and how “solo” they seem to be in some ways, this person didn’t benefit or have any reason to seek me out to give these to. Yet he did, so it got me wondering, what if I did the same for every rare blue drop I got?

Since then I’ve payed it forward to three other players, all very excited that someone would give them a nice blue for free. I’ve made alliances and formed bonds with complete strangers over such a simple act. The best thing about it is how simple it is, I have a conversation with them, ask them if they are in need of say a blade (or whatever the item is), then offer it up to them and tell them to use it well to defend against the evils of the world.

Now before I come off as looking like I’m some saint or something (I’m not) let me just say that in Warhammer this is sooooo easy to do. First off you don’t really need money, I have oodles of it for mounts/items. Maybe at end game and buying certain things you would feel like you need it, but I’m still not feeling it at the moment. Even so these items I freely gave away would have got me maybe 3-4g at best, nothing spectacular. Also I’m not looking for anything in return, if you are then maybe its not for you. I just want to help out another gamer somewhere, feel like they had someone in their massive multiplayer world looking out for them, and feel a little more immersed in the game. Not to mention get a nice blue upgrade they weren’t expecting.

I plan to take this concept into other games I may play in the future if they have the ability to. All because of one little gesture by some random guy in Warhammer. Imagine what might happen if someone I give an item to starts doing the same, could make our MMORPG communities better for everyone. Well that’s a pipe dream but still, in some small way I like the idea a lot. Do you have any stories like this? Does paying it forward seem like a good idea to you?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

History Of Gaming

I’m not certain I could come up with a perfectly accurate list here as I’ve been gaming since Atari and Intellavision, but I wanted to share a little history about myself and playing video games for most of my life to kick off this blog. Share some of the more memorable initial experiences and thoughts on games to bring me to the place I am today. I believe that gaming (in moderation) is actually something that can be stimulating and educational (of course recreational), and that it has shaped in some small way the person I am today which I am proud of. I’ll try to make each section brief so this doesn’t spiral out of control :-) So without much more ado and in no particular order here we go:

City of Villains/City of Heroes:

Why does this get first mention? Simple, this game was THE best character creation game I’ve ever played. I designed themes with friends, themes of my own, and there were so many combos that there were probably literally a million different ways to make you character look. The powers in this game looked very amazing as well. The other thing I absolutely loved about this game was the lackey/malefactor system. With it I could play with my friends no matter what our level system, for the most part this was easy to accomplish and just required some zone travel (easy with super powers for traveling). It also featured global friends (could find a friend no matter what server they were playing on at the time), how come that is gone away, it was awesome! Only draw back to this game was the missions eventually got stale, and the end levels took an eternity to gain, IMO, a great game. Looking forward to see what Champions Online will hold.

World of Warcraft:

Of course I played it, and for a long time, who didn’t? This is still one of the greatest games ever for the sheer numbers it has produced and fun as well. Its just a really well built game, with many improvements over the years. I don’t have to go into all the great things about this game as probably most people already know them but I’ll just say it kept me around for quite some time. In the end I feel like I finally “completed” WoW. I did not buy the latest expansion, but I believe its more of the same. I’m not motivated to jump back on for another 10 levels, to hit the cap and grind arena or bg’s for more gear. Not that this idea wasn’t fun when I did it the first time at 70, but its played the course for me. Will I try it someday? Who knows, but for now I am wow’d out and currently more interested in other games. Still, I rate this one of the best games of all times at the moment, nothing brought together a lot of my friends like this one (even friends who don’t normally play video games ended up joining for a while).


One of my first true loves in RTS games. I cannot wait to play SC2 if I could ever figure out when they will release it. This game had great balance, great fun in the amount of units, and a multi strategy concept that still lives on to this day. You could win the small battles, win the resource battle, take down bases, win in the open field. There were lots of great strategic points to this game that made me love it. I will be playing the second one when it comes out for sure (hopefully this year).

Warcraft 3 The Frozen Throne:

Also a great RTS game. I actually loved this one the most for the amazing custom games (Tower Defense and Defense of the Ancients). But I also truly enjoyed the regular ranked games as well. My favorite race is Orc, though I had a really fun strategy I would do sometimes with Human of harassing with the ArchMage and speed teching to steam tanks. Overall was like a smaller scale version of Starcraft, you had less units and therefore each was that much more important, and the hero’s were especially important. I’ll never forget a match I was playing with friends where my good friend in real life and teammate had commanded his units to attack my hero (on accident) but could find them or draw them off despite me spamming the team chat to do so. Ah well I got over it (or did I? lol). Last great mention about this game, REPLAYS! Man did I love that it had replays, I could watch a match that I lost, and figure out what I could have done better. Did he micro better? Did he have an expansion? Did I just play poorly? Also could watch the better players in the world and see what they did like build orders and what not, very awesome.

Warhammer Online:

The game I’m currently playing the most. So far I really enjoy this game a lot (enough to keep me from trying wow expansion). It allows you to level by doing pvp which is an amazing idea that I truly enjoy. It still has quests if you feel the need, or PQ’s if you want to work towards a gear reward you are guaranteed to get by putting in the time. I started out on a server that was more desolate but after transfers (and starting over on a RP server) my experience has gone way up. Thanks to Keen and Graev for peaking my interest in this game and letting me join up with them in their guild. This game is definitely a winner in my book and will most likely be the topic of a lot of my posts since I’m playing it the most.

Well this is getting a little long so let me just list some of the rest. Maybe I’ll get back to them another day:

Lord of the Rings Online, Sacred, Diablo2, Diablo, Everquest 2, Battlefield 1942, Age of Conan, Demigod (beta still) and probably a bunch of others I’m forgetting.

How about you? What games have shaped your gaming experience? Which games would you like to hear more about?

Friday, January 9, 2009

It Begins

This is my first post on my new blog. Nothing amazing to see here, but soon I hope to fill these pages with insight into the world of Rob Wild. Mainly I hope to share my thoughts, ideas and experiences in gaming. We shall see where this blog will go.