Down But Not Out

This blog will now be solely dedicated to mediocre fiction I write about Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.

More interesting things about both WAR and other games and... other flights of fancy: all of this and a less offensive blog design might be found here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Smile, Though Your Heart Is Aching

I might have left things in a bit of a dreary note. Let's change that.

Shortly after the patch first kicked in I got my faith in the game restored. And it only took one man.

We went in a city siege, even though I'm always reluctant. I dunno, it seems they either leave or we do. And if we don't we're all about the fail. But I had nothing better to do so in I went, guns blazing and heals aplenty.

As luck would have it, we were being led by one who has been aptly referred to as Caligula. General but-kissing aside, I always liked Caligula's leadership style. There's no second-guessing, there's no questions asked, there's no sentences that sound like questions but really aren't. There's no pussy-footing or beaver-tickling or things of that nature generally. There's just stfu and do as you're told. You know, like war should be.

We arrived a bit late, first stage was already well under way. We were up against God knows who (well, maybe someone remembers but I sure as hell don't) and, I must say, I was impressed. With our flanking tactics we absolutely murdered them time and time again but they knew what they were doing. In the middle flag, they took out the cannons, wipe after wipe. Then they fought over the bomb, stopping us from defusing it. Then they split us up to take Lyceum and the Outcrop. And we murdered them again and again and again but never did they faulter.

If I remember correctly we eventually won on the second stage, us being able to save Engra when he was down to 10%ish and the third stage, simply because there is no great mechanic there. You just kill.

This turned out to be not just one of the best city sieges I've ever been in (just because it was challenging for both parts) but an opportunity for me to rediscover why I like the game at all. It's not something that can be put into words, or at least not any words I know of. It just felt right. We all came out of that instance completely fulfilled. We couldn't have asked for anything much better than that.

Also, one good thing about the patch was that I got to leech almost an entire renown rank during the weekend (in a VERY casual gaming schedule) simply just by idling in The Maw while waiting for Eternal Citadel pops. Yes, you know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The orc is leaving the ship

Fear not, as the zealot is still staying :)

Anyway, this started off as a 3 person blog that rapidly turned into a 2 person blog when our esteemed Nirvaesh stopped playing.

Now it's going to turn into a one person blog as I'm off in search of a diferent land, leaving Sara as the only member of this blog.

By no means i intend on stop playing. Far from it. Actualy, I intend on playign evenmore than I have lately, I'm just gonna move my rantings to a diferent place.

From now on, besides checking Super Effective, take a peek at Tea Forks as well as that's gonna be my rambling spot from now on.

I'll be sure to deliver a fair ammount of Choppa related stuff, alongside some

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Patches, Laundry and Other, Less Exciting, Endeavours

I've been quiet about this patch. I've always said that I'd rather wait and see before I comment.

I've waited. I saw. I am not terribly impressed. Let me split this up in Pros and Cons (Pros as in "damn! he such a 1337 playa"; Con as in "convicted for the crime of sucking").

- I have a better mount now. No longer have I to consider making a few bogus accounts only to not be left behind during ORvR nights. Well, at least on my main, but I'll leave that part for the cons.

- My renown is boosted! Only, I haven't had many chances to up it...

- I got to change my hair! No longer will I be punishedwith clipping errors for a foolish choice made years ago when I didn't even know what helmets I would come across!


I can't think of anything else...

- I got a new mount on my alts! Only, none of them is rr65. Good thing I didn't sell my old mounts before I noticed that little catch.

- I haven't really tried ORvR yet because, according to reports, it's terribad. Seems there's no time to do anything because Zerging still works. Maybe it even works better than before.

- Scenarios are... meh. I can't judge them because, in order for me to be able to participate, several conditions have to be met. If we're not in a city siege... and we needn't go any further because we're always in a city siege. Everytime. Even when no one's playing, there's a city siege going on because locking zones is ridiculously easy when there's no one in them. And they'll often be empty because zerging still works.
Or so I heard.

- I've also heard reports that, on certain players, critical hits will hit less than a regular hits or, at least, with a marginal dmg difference from a regular hit. Seems certain renown abilities could use a little revising.

- Speaking of renown training... I like it, for the most part. Some new skills are terribly interesting although most of them seemed (to me) to be tank or survivability related. One thing though: what in God's green Earth have they done to the interface? Why on Earth do you have to buy just one of them at a time from the longest list ever? This is particularly frustrating when you have over 70 points to spend. Looks like they did to that interface what they did to the AH.

- And what of the AH? No changes, I think. Don't think I actually checked but I at least read nothing about any changes. Which is a shame, really. Seems you can search for less things than before, most searched stats aren't searchable, (powers and crits) and you still can't searh for repairables. Plus, I have the distinct feeling I've been purchasing stuff from people I don't much care about.

I have to say, all of this reminds me of Ragnarok.
Not the end of the world or the spaceship. The korean MMO.

Let me explain:

It was my first ever MMO, possibly to your dismay and disbelief. I never played in the official servers, though, we played on a private free server. Drop rates and XP gain were faster there and, for a while, we were happy. But soon the "doner" factor started taking it's toll. You see, like any F2P game, people who chose to donate were quite OP and strut about like they were all that, discarding the best gear on the floor around us, like the french kings of old. We felt left out of the rain and, eventually, we became doners ourselves.

To a lesser extent, I wonder if this is what is to become of those that, unlike the most of us, won't buy the packs. I hope not. But people running around IC with useless two-headed gos between their legs reminds me of those colourful wings RO players could buy to look purty and be imba.

Fret not. I don't see myself dropping the game anytime soon.
No sir.
But I'd love to see some changes, for the feeling of disappointment to go away.
African-descendant person born equal under God and/or possibly other deities of the same religious nature now and for all time, PLEASE!

the way of the 1.4 choppa

1.4 brought many changes to the way people play their classes.

In the last few days I saw master bomber sorcs trying out single target specs, and full on damage marauders dabbling with defensive sets.

I am not an exception to this change, as obvious as I may sound.

With Epikk I was running a high damage crit spec (but then again, who wasn't?). Tons of melee power, capped str, high crit value, and some added damage tactics + crit triggered ones.

After 1.4 went live, my damage plummeted. Thanks to that forsaken "reduce damage from crit attacks" renown training, 2 out of 3 of my hits were being massively nerfed damage-wise.

It was a tough couple of days if I do say so myself. Must have spent around 50 gold and some 5 hours trying different things to see what now worked for me in this completely new world of post 1.4

for a while there I even considered a full defensive build, which would actually be something very very different from my usual suicidal builds.

But alas I crossed paths with an old friend called weapon skill. To be honest it's a pretty obvious choice, but one that didn't cross my mind at first.

So now, I ditched crit completely. Ok so I have some on parts of my gear, but to be honest I couldn't care less for it.

My current renown training is completely devoted to strength, weaponskill and parry. nothing else.

Thanks to this, I gained two new tactic slots (since there's no crit.. there's no need for crit-triggered tactics) and with my newly acquired high parry, I'm actually trying out Riposte for the first time. That and some healing coming from my exhaustive blows (25% chance) are making me survive a little bit more at least in scenarios (still running an exhaustive blows spec btw)

Best part of all of this? I'm still pro at dying, but now I can actually deal some damage to 2h tanks, and every order that trained reduced chance to be critted and reduced damage from crits actually just has a huge amount of useless renown points when it comes to fighting this choppa :P

let's see how this goes from now on. I suspect that with more people training reduced crit and reduced crit damage, more people will stray from crit builds. and with that happening, I can see people dropping the reduced crit training (or at least not going as far as 50% reduction)

Time will tell.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Paying Customers

I recently reached rk40 with yet another alt, bringing the total of my rk40 characters to 5: a Zealot, a DoK, a Shaman, a Magus and now a Squiggy (not to be confused with Squiggzy, that guy's an ass.)

His renown rank is shameful, sitting now at 30. But I have high hopes for it. Squig Herders have been treated with a bit of indiference among the RDPS classes (not so much as Magus but hey, they're no Sorcs). This is why I leveled one, the same reason I have a 40/52 Magus. I wanted to see for myself what was so wrong about it.

Yesterday evening I went into a scenario and, lo and behold, a Sovereign piece for SH dropped. I stared at the loot roll for three seconds before I pressed the "Need" button. There was just one more Squig Herder in the scenario (compared to the whooping 5 squigsters we had in a previous one, among a total of 12 Destros) and he was probably, read "most likely", a higher renown SH than me. I won the loot roll.

This must've made him mad and I totally sympathise with his plight. But the thing is, although I'm a few months away from being able to wear that, why should I be less entitled to have it in my bank waiting for me? We're both paying customers, aren't we?

Some people believe only people that can wear certain gear or are relatively close should be able to roll on it. So far, Mythic have disagreed and I salute them for it. I got my first Royal crest on my main when I was rr35 and I still can't use any Sov but, by golly, now I'm within earshot of finally spending it. Who's to say that in the near or far future I won't be able to say the same thing about my squiggy? Me and any squigster who is close to 80 are paying the same monthly fee and have, for the same price, acquired the same rights.

The thing is, the time we've spent on a specific character does not entitle us the acquisition of loot, it only determines if we can or cannot wear it. The acquisition of such loot is determined by wether you've paid a monthly fee, and can thus play the game, and dumb luck on drop rates and loot rolls. It's not an optimal system but I think it's fair.

Same goes for the new sets and renown ranks. If you're willing to pay extra for those ranks, you're willing to spend extra time to get them too. If you're not, you're not. It's like almost any other game out there that provides its player-base with new content, only this one seems to be much cheaper. Am I making much sense? I dunno anymore, but I think I got my point across. I ninjaed a Sov piece and I'm sticking my middle finger up. As for the new packs...

Pay, don't pay.
I for one, will.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shadow Warriors Are Skeptical of Changes in Their Stances

Lilirys was bored. She was bored out of her perfectly sculpted skull.

This wasn't going anywhere, she was smart enough to have realised that when she first crossed the outter gateway. The lack of organisation in their files was appaling and she rued the day, so many years ago, when she had turned her back on her so-called "accursed kin". In her heart, she knew she had made the right choice but boing on the losing side never went down well and she wondered how the Dark Elves had made the greenskins more compliant and effective than the dwarfs she now saw before her, some trembling, some drunk, others enamored with the feminine attributes of taller beings.

She took advantage of her perfect marksmanship to pluck a few targets from the keep wall as she stood proudly atop a warn-out grave, its occupant now surely long-forgotten.

Suddenly, she felt a dark presence creeping up behind her and she turned to see  a dark Chosen doing his clumsy best to sneak up the hill. She moved to hide behind a tree, all the while keeping both her eyes on the Chaos God's knight. She watched him as he removed his helmet and redied his blade while foul dark flames erupted from his feet and swirled crazily to envelop him.

Without as much as a hint of hesitation she began showering him with arrows, confident she could take down this threat before it reached their frail backline. Her fierce salve was gruelling and she could see the warrior starting to faulter. She grinned and took satisfaction from the knowledge that she had helped protect this failed endeavour.

Her smile quickly faded, however, when she saw the Chosen take hold of a Bright Wizard's leg and bite a chunk off his ankle. She launched one final arrow at his back but not before the Wizard tumbled lifeless beside him. She had known him and knew all too well how reckless he was with his well-being.

"Oh, Fredek," she sighed as she recoiled from the ghastly sight, "You idiot..."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Runepriests Are Kindly But They're Dumb

Grumpi waved his staff around in irregular circles as he marked as much bodies as he could with his mending runes.

They were fighting a losing battle, of that he was now sure. The hordes of his opponents had flooded in through the postern and trampled what little opposition they had encountered. It had gotten to the point where they were carelessly rushing in through the front door, counting on the assistance of their health dealers perched on the inner walls. He looked up dismally as gigantic orcs in ragtag armour taunted them from on high, defiantly taking all they had to throw at them with apparent ease.

He picked up a brave elf from the oil-flooded gate who was up no sooner than he was rushing back to the fray, only to fall victim to a pit of purple shades.

Grudgingly, more so than any other, he picked him up again and took a deep breath while surveying theh backlline. All around him more staves twirled and stomped and hammers were fiercely elevated towards the heavens.

He paused for a second to marvel at Callypous, his friend and fellow healer who had stood beside him and covered his back on many battles. She thrust her hammer up obscenely and Grumpi took a moment to appreciate the movement of her chest as she did.

She caught him staring and, instead of reprimanding him as usual, returned him a sad smile, allowing him to take what little solace he could in the bounciness of her breasts while amidst all that death and hopelesness.

"Door is almost down," came a voice from the gate that fell a bit short of enthusiastic. The words broke the spell that kept Grumpi fascinated with his friend's attributes and he prepared to give it his all and, at least take a few of the foul things that crowded the keep down with him.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Healing 102 - HoTs: maybe not so Hot?

No, I jest. HoTs are the bomb, at least for me and my OP class. And I shall tell you why.

For a DoK, HoTs are commonly overlooked and I can understand that. They only have two of them and they're not very good (or so I hear; feel free to prove me otherwise). Instead, they rely on their nearly spammable, short cast-time group heal to be extremely effective in a dire pinch. This is their strength as a healer. They're fast about it.

Zealots, on the other hand, are not as quick and their most powerful heals will take twice as long than a DoK's group heal. Thing is, we have more of them.

I have stressed this before but I shall stress it again for good measure: Leaping Alteration is our primary renown leeching tool. I'll give you mine as an example: Without critting I can periodically heal people within and without my party for around 350; if it crits it can go as high as 500. This is not to be ignored. At all.
Tzeentch's Cordial is also quite a powerful tool: not only have I seen it crit for 1k, you can now also equip that tactic that makes each tick capable of procing a 1k armor buff and a 10% less armor penetration shield. This can dramatically increase the survivability of a targeted DPS or healer.

Imagine this scenario. A tank has valiantly pushed onwards to disrupt the enemy's backlines. Immediately he is focused by whatever defenses they left there but a small force continues to beat down your own backline. Chances are that your tank is out of groupheal range. But it's very difficult for him to be out of single-target range as it is one of the longest (150 ft) in the game. So, if you just HoT him up with both LA and TC, he will be getting ticks of about 500 from each, a bit more if you're lucky. While you spam a bit of DoP to keep yourself and fellow healers up you need only the occasional Flash or Elixir to keep said tank productive, bearing in mind that tanks in backlines are very often ignored until it's too late. Even if he goes down you have earned extra renown and have kept enemy healers disrupted by proxy.

Also, in a PvE situation, HoTs can surely make a difference.
Take ToVL for example. The... 3rd boss? (the one that bombs and teleports and does the scarabs with the bridges and the river...) will deal pretty heavy damage to every party member over a short period of time. If you have not cast a pre-emptive LA over your party this damage is much harder to heal and can sometimes result in a MDPS casualty. Seeing as all these bosses are a DPS race, that can be an issue. Also, in dmg heavy bosses like the last one, having HoTs tick while your AP restores can make the difference between a phat new Tyrant chest and... not.

But lets not be extremists about this.
I came across a Zealot in T3 the other day that, while being the only healer in a 2 party warband, had resorted to only casting HoTs. So I asked him why. And he merely replied "is that wrong?"
I'll tell you now my friends. Yes. Yes, it is very wrong.
If you're in a situation where everyone and everything is taking damage, Group Healing is your Friend. Group Healing is so my friend I'm even specced all the way up Dark Rites because of it.

But HoTs help. And they can help a lot. And if you're leeching for renown, HoTs are more than your friend, they're your lover, your better half, your soulmate.


Keeping yourself alive: A few tips

Lets brush up on our survival skills.
First of all, learn to detaunt. Detaunt causes your targets to deal 50% less damage to you so, if u see a Slayer coming at you or a WL getting ready to pounce, detaunt before hand. Most of them like taking a great big bash at you right at first so you panic. What you can do is cut that damage in half and get a bit more protection on you, more specifically,
Embrace The Warp: like detaunt, reduces incoming damage by 50% but it is time based, not anything else. Plus, it stacks with detaunt (unless I'm terribly, terribly mistaken) and it makes you unsetbackable - and I know that isn't a word - meaning you can cast Elixirs on yourself and they won't be set back.
Be aware of your surroundings. Hide behind a tree or a wall, keeping in group heal range of the rest of your party.
If a tank suddenly breaks for your healer cluster, move to the side or towards and past him: there's a stagger inc.
Keep in mind that healers will die. Sometime's there's no way around it. People will die in WAR and healers will, ideally, go down first.
Err... I've said most of these things already. You might find more useful stuff here, here or generally here.


Bright Wizards Are Insincere

"I'll be more careful next time, hun." lied Fredek, winking to the ample breasted Warrior Priest who had just fished him out of the growing pile of corpses that littered the ground in front of the keep.

He immediately resumed his attempts of exploding the gigantic bowl of steaming oil that poured its foul contents at regular intervals and, slowly but surely, was syphoning the health of the door's assaulters. He soon realised he was hitting nothing but the bowl itself and what little of it he could chink away was being quickly restored by unseen defenders.

He grunted as he received reports that the small resistance at the postern door had been overrun. He turned his fire to the main door, mindlessly hurling the countless bouts of the same spell at it, taking almost as much from his own life as from the sturdy wooden gate.

Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain on his ankle and, as he fell on his face, he noticed the Chosen laying on the ground with his teeth clenched to his leg, blood quickly soaking the surrounding robes, its red suddenly enriched by his own vital fluids.

As he lay dying, Parsley said something he didn't understand.