Kick the tires, and light the fires

Playing SC2. I’m not Korean, but don’t be surprised if my posts drift substantially away from WAR. I’ve been playing Blizzard RTSs since they came out, and have loved every one. Okay, well, Warcraft 3 did nothing good other than bring us DotA, but I love it for that. Initial impression: it’s damn good. It’s the original Stacraft, only better. If you were expecting something more, you will be disappointed. Personally, I wanted exactly what I got, and couldn’t be happier (well, other than all three races campaign released simultaneously, greedy Blizzard ass-hats).

Oh, also, WARs forums officially folded into BioWare Social Network. People are not happy (all on the first page of the “General Discussion” forum, most in the top 10). I’m not particularly keen on the new forums yet. Specifically, I miss two things. Character representation (who’s post is this that I’m reading), and secondly, the “new post” link on each thread. I lived by that link. One think I expressly dislike about this forum: it’s part of a “social network”, which means every Tom, Dick and Harry who buys a BioWare game can come in and post. By opening up the community, it lost its unique flavor and appeal. If I want a social network, that what I have Facebook for.

I’ll give these forums a fair shake, and I’ll of course still use them. But I hope that there are some serious changes coming to how Warhammer is specifically handled as part of this “Network”.

A bit more to chew on

In my previous post, I talked about the big career balance changes coming down the pipe, and a bit of my take on each of the changes and what my thoughts are on them. That beast of a post can be a lot to digest, so take your time, don’t rush it. When feeling overwhelmed, this post is here for you to add some diversity. Not a lot of diversity, as I’m still talking about the patch, but there will be more pictures, and it’s not all “ZOMG CLASS BALANCE!!1!!one!”. The big highlights are Against All Odds, Armor Appearance, Split Sovereign Sets. A side of “no more mods using /assist” and more scenario weapon art also served to wet our appetites. There was also the reveal of the unification of Warhammer into the BioWare social community, so you know, there’s that too.

What a week to have off

Welcome back boys and girls, to the show… that stops temporarily at times. Maybe next time I decide to take a break, I’ll figure it out ahead of time and try to get some guest bloggers or something (that’s the hip, cool thing to do right?).

I picked a hell of a week to go on blogger-vacation as it pertains to Warhammer. We saw a slew of information thrown at all of us between patch notes, community announcements, and information in general. For the sake of posterity, and on the off chance that I’m the only WAR blogger you read, you can check out the patch notes here, and the incorporation of the official forums into BioWare’s community here.

It can go without saying, but there’s a ton of information in this patch, and as you can surmise from taking a quick look over, the focus is on two things.  Open RvR and class balance, two things which are intrinsically entwined in this game, and have been on top of players hit-lists for a while now. I’m happy to say, that as a whole, these steps are in the right direction. Even better, has been the fact that a lot of these concepts were made known to the playerbase ahead of time in the various in-development posts. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but Mythic continually impresses me with just how much information they give out, and how communicative they are with the players. I never recall seeing SOE, Blizzard, or any other company put out ideas and get feedback from the general population that actually affects decisions like I’ve seen from Mythic. It’s an incredibly heartening activity that is an extra personal touch from the development studio. Say what you will about response time, or implementation, they show routinely that they listen. As a blogger, and a player, that’s a soothing lozenge to my proverbial sore-throat.

Well, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the stuff you all actually want to talk about: Class changes. Always a hot-button topic of epic proportions, a conversation and process that is sure to make Career leads pull out hair, and spend a little extra time fondling that bottle of cognac, as they await the slings and arrows of their constituency. This is going to cover a lot of ground, so put on your hiking shoes.

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Week Off

I’m going to take the rest of this week off. This has been a crazy week (and it’s only Tuesday!) personally and professionally, so I’m going to chill, and refresh my juices until sometime next week. Until then, go to any of the excellent websites on my blogroll, both Warhammer and non-Warhammer related. I’m sure you’ll find something that matches your taste.

Tales of Hate, Entry 10

Today is July 1, and I will be posting this on July 16, 2010, and will be the final post of the series for now.

Gorfang destro has seen a massive shift the last couple of weeks. Whereas before destro was always the underdog, fighting and scrapping for every win, of late, they have been the zerg. The force that runs over all opposition. They have been steaming down order, and breaking through the doors of Altdorf on a consistent basis. So frequent is this overwhelming assault, that the other day, order had three underdog points. Three! Obviously, my fun factor has dipped dramatically. I really enjoy being the underdog, and every time I log on Kaah to see a zerg, my desire to play vaporizes faster than an illegal alien outside an immigration office.

The class is still fun and interesting, and I think with more rank, gear, and maybe even a team to play with, he could be ridiculously nasty. A three-man assist train led by a Blackguard should bring the fear of God into the hearts of any target it falls upon. The kicker is that the career is getting some changes they have asked for. I like them sort of, but they are giving up a lot for it. They are getting a mirror of the Iron Breaker armor debuff, and the strength/willpower buff, but losing their disorient AND their morale stopper. Those are two biggies to say goodbye to, and it makes me sad. However, in the spirit of greater realm parity and similarity, it’s the right move.

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Tales of hate, entry 9

Today is June 21, and I will be posting this on July 15, 2010.

It was an interesting weekend for my Blackguard. I got to play a bit here or there, and even do a city siege. As I said from the get-go, I’ve been keeping mostly on the down-low about my character, but not being overtly sneaky about him. If people found out who I was, so be it. I wouldn’t lie, and outside of my forum signature on the Alliance forums, I don’t advertise my identity on him. That said, if you’ll reach back in your memory banks, you’ll remember a post (a couple of weeks ago for you) where I talked about some awesome drama and an ex-guildie. Luck would have it, that I ended up in a city siege with him. Within minutes of his guilds arrival, I got chatter asking if it was me.

I confirmed.

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Changes are a’commin’

Nate Levy posted the general changes to ranged DPS classes yesterday. There’s a lot that has changed, and a lot more for the Shadow Warrior and Squig Herder communities to be very happy about. Things that have been asked for, and yearned after for the longest time are seeing fruition. I can’t adequately put to pen how happy some of these changes make me. His post and my analysis after the jump.

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Tales of hate, entry 8

Today is June 14, I will be posting this on July 14, 2010.

After a couple of weeks of debate, I did decide to reactivate my Blackguard’s account and keep it active quasi-permanently. Meaning it may go forever, it may go till these posts start going live in July, or it may go until 1.3.6. Reasoning totally dependent on my mood, the tides, and whether my daughter laughs at my silly noises in the morning. Completely arbitrary. Still, I played a bit this weekend, and had a good time at it again. Kaah is firmly into RR41, and quickly making way to RR42. As usual, I was enjoying almost insta-pops the entire time I was playing him, but sadly, none of my guildies decided to commit in any serious fashion to their destros since everything in house has returned a happy equilibrium.

A new (or so old, I forgot it) and interesting experience was pushing zones to the city starting early in the AM. I wouldn’t call it fun per-se, but it was interesting. What intrigued me the most, was the behavior of the people I was zerging with. As I said before, I’m doing this whole thing completely unguilded, so I am going with the full experience of a friendless, unsupported, unknown nub. I make full use of all the systems in place to bridge the gap as much as possible. I make liberal use of open warbands to mooch as much healing as possible. I’ll frequently run into a lake, hit “L” and join the biggest warband I can. If they look like they’re doing something semi-productive, I’ll run over to them, and fight in their general direction/area.

Of course, I’ll be in queue for a SC.

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Let me put on my cleats

Well, Ebert made an addendum. I’m sad I missed this when it first dropped, it must have fallen between the cracks somewhere. Most likely, because it lacked the sensational punch that so many people crave on the interwebs, and that they can the talk about it themselves. Mostly, I’m sad I didn’t get to see it earlier. In large part because of what my initial, visceral reaction is to his follow-up post.

Frustration, followed by anger and incredulity.

What he pens to his readers here, is an apology. Except not really. It’s an apology for saying what he said, but it’s in no way an admission that what he said was actually wrong. He’s pulling back and saying that the act of articulating his beliefs is where he made foul, not his actual beliefs.  He perfectly encapsulates his sentiment when he writes:

“Yet I declared as an axiom that video games can never be Art. I still believe this, but I should never have said so.

His post goes on to explain in more detail his reasoning behind his problems, and the interactions he had with the internet community after his original post. It seemed from his recounting that he desperately wanted to prove his rightness. In large part, he had to struggle with his own admitted inability to create a strong definition of what art is. Colleagues and friends tried to get him to experience different games, and failed. They ran up against his unflinching, and self-admitted stubbornness to try and become informed. In his own words, he knew he would never accept the offer for the following reasons:

“(1) I had no desire to spend 20 to 40 hours (or less) playing a video game, (2) Whether I admired it or not, I was in a lose-lose position, and (3) I was too damned bull-headed.”

In the end, the quasi-apology rambled down into what came off as a grudging acceptance that no matter how hard he tried, no definition he could create would exclude video games from being an art form, without expressly excluding it as an art form. So, he self deprecates and calls himself a fool for expressing his belief, but never realizes the folly in having a belief that cannot be reinforced.

Tales of Hate, entry 7

Today is May 27, I will be posting this on July 13, 2010.

I canceled my account with my Blackguard on it a week ago. I had been vacillating on this decision for a while. In large part it was because of the new city changes and me wanting to do them with my guild and a strong group to hit it for all it’s worth while the fresh coat of paint was still on and the shiny had yet to wear off. So, I bit the bullet, and let the subscription expire at the end of it’s month. It was a good idea. Now all I can think about of late is playing my blackguard.

It probably doesn’t help that we had a MAJOR drama explosion in the guild the other day, which is highly uncommon for us. Internally, we’re usually drama free. A few of us post on the various forums and poke at the enemy, or stir the pot a bit, but that’s all outside the guild. Well, without going into details, our guild leader dropped a  drama-bomb on us, and two of our older members had an argument and one deguilded temporarily. On the upside, I don’t think the guild leader really meant to cause all this, and he really just needs to vent and take a little time off, and the (for the moment) ex-guildie is most likely just making a point to punctuate his side of the argument. Needless to say, the whole thing has been a freaking drama-fiasco, and not one that I wanted to have to be involved in. I like the internal workings of the guilds I belong to as relaxed as possible. Can’t complain too much, as this is the first real big fiasco of my membership.

Getting back to the subject though, all this is making me think a brief stint on my Blackguard might be a good idea again. I just got my warlord scenario weapon on my Knight, and he’s very nearly has the full sovereign set waiting for him (80-some royal crests, only chest and the cloak needed), and I’m more than half way through RR74. There are very few tick marks on his list of things to accomplish. Tyrant gear is not in my interest other than a bored-out-of-my-mind-and-I-have-nothing-else-to-do-for-three-hours. So yeah, my Blackguard might be getting resurrected this weekend and I’ll be playing with some other guildies who have been frolicking in the land of destruction. We’ve got a fair number of players that left old accounts on our server to come play order with us, so we could actually field a fair contingent of level 40s on the opposite side. I’ll see how it goes, and report back when I have more concrete answers and experience on the whole thing.