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1  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: The Wanderers & Warhammer Online on: September 14, 2008, 11:45:04 AM
After a bit of waffling we have decided to roll on the OSTERMARK RP server.
2  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: The Wanderers & Warhammer Online on: September 12, 2008, 10:26:14 AM
Wanted to bump this once to say that with head start beginning Sunday at 7 AM EDT (Collector's Ed) and Tuesday at 7 AM EDT (Standard Ed), and rollout on Thursday, that the Wanderers are going to have a good number of people playing. But there's always room for one more!

Our server has not yet been determined, but it will be posted on the front page at http://www.the-wanderers-guild.com when we pick. Probably won't know until Sunday when we see what servers are initially available.

And we're still rolling out as Order/Core.
3  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: September 10, 2008, 11:24:34 AM
The Beta limit for guilds is 100, and we hit the cap. So if you couldn't get an invite to the Wanderers please try again. I just went in and booted some alts.

That limit will be upped to 500 come launch.
4  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: September 10, 2008, 01:22:57 AM

Quote from: StriderGG on September 09, 2008, 08:11:50 PM

3. Sheer number of scenarios available. We have 3 different SCs in T1. If I understand it correctly, every tier after that, every pairing (e.g. Dwarfes vs Greenskins) have 3 scenarios, 9 scenarios per tier, so the total is 30 scenarios. Maybe I am wrong about this 3 scenarios per pairing thing though, seems too much, but in any case, even if it continues to be 3 per tier, it's 12 different scenarios (as opposed to 4 in WoW, with only 2 (?) available vefore lvl 60).
.
There's actually:

3 scenarios in T1
3 scenarios in T2
6 scenarios in T3
11 that I know for sure in T4, but I think there HAS to be one more, making 12
2 scenarios for "contested cities" (one for each city, so you'll see one when you're trying to attack the enemy's capital and the other when you're trying to defend your capital).
5  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: September 09, 2008, 12:03:42 PM

Quote from: Chaz on September 09, 2008, 02:56:51 AM

Started up a high elf tank, and found some nits to pick:

1) They have to fix this pathing bug that prevents enemies from being attacked.  It's incredibly annoying, and on one PQ run, led to the boss mob going into retreat mode and healing all HP three times during the battle.

2) Some races have no healing class.  Like the high elves.  Playing as a tank and actually tanking, particularly before you have decent armor, is way harder with no heals coming your way.  Which leads me to...

3) The death penalty.  You die and release, you get a -10% hit to your HP for 15 minutes.  You die while that's still up, it's now 20% for 15 minutes, and can keep stacking.  If you talk to a healer, you can pay to remove it.  However, not all graveyards have a healer (like the second high elf area).  Combine a big, hard-hitting boss with no healing classes, and no healer at the graveyard, and my character now has a -50% HP modifier for 12 more minutes, and the only thing I can do is sit around and wait (hence why I'm posting here).  Wouldn't be so bad except that all I have to do at the moment is grind out influence by running the one public quest so I can get my swanky shield prize.  However, I'm so likely do die on the quest in my current state that I'm just sitting around.

Of course, 2 and 3 are basically specific to certain races and classes.  Still, if they're going to segregate races, it would have been nice if they'd at least made sure that each race has some kind of healer (and I think they all do except the high elves), and it would be nice to have a healer NPC wherever there's a graveyard.

1. "Target is not attackable" bug is definitely a pain in the ass, and needs to be fixed, to be sure. For a while in Beta, most mobs would run when low on health, and they'd run with super speed. So you'd get a mob 99% dead, it would zoom off in the opposite direction, leash, retreat, and go to its spawn loc at 100% health. That was fun. So you see they've been trying to get this right for a while...

2. High Elves have Archmages which are great healers. Unfortunately the low level heal isn't that great at... low levels. You need to form a party so you get some Archmage who cares about your health.

3. When you die and resurrect, you get a debuff, true. But there is a NPC "Healer" right next to where you respawn. If you pay a small amount of coin, he will remove the debuff.
6  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: September 02, 2008, 10:52:42 AM

Quote from: Blackadar on September 01, 2008, 10:40:49 PM

Is it too easy to level up in WAR?  If you manage to play 2-3 hours each night, how long will it be before you're max level?

Leveling definitely slows down as you get higher. It actually starts feeling more like DAoC than WoW, if you're familiar with those games.

If you're not familiar with those games then what I mean is "it slows down as you get higher" biggrin

At R31/RR25 I played one evening almost 100% in scenarios and participated in all stages of one PQ. I think at the end of 3.5 hours I was at R31.5 and RR25.65 or something very close to that. If I had quested for maybe 90 minutes more I probably could have leveled.

But leveling speed is somewhat irrelevant to me, because I think the strength of WAR is that you can do any of the fun things: PVE, PQs, RVR, scenarios - at any rank. You don't have to max your rank to go do open world RVR or participate in a keep siege. So to a guy like me, who likes to smell the flowers, the game design works great.
7  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 31, 2008, 09:54:33 PM

Quote from: BrianE on August 31, 2008, 04:21:01 PM

Anyone playing this on a system similar to mine?

Pentium 4 3ghz
2gig ram
Radeon x1950pro (256mb)
winxp pro

I've been living in PS3 land for awhile and haven't upgraded my computer in like, forever...I'd be interested in getting back into the MMORPG thing if my system can handle it.

If I pre-order from Direct2Drive, can I start playing the Beta right away?
Thanks!

Not sure if your system can handle it, so I'll leave that to someone else to determine.

As for ordering now and playing, the beta isn't open for ANYONE until 9/7, so nobody is playing now. But I believe you should get a code to play in the open beta and in the headstart, but I'm not 100% sure, so ask them first. Again, there's no rush on getting it today, you'll have a week to download it.
8  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Great trailer for Warhammer on: August 30, 2008, 01:19:42 PM
Trailer from Warhammeralliance guys. DEFINITELY worth the download.

http://www.mmohell.com/videos/WHATrailer-1280x800.wmv
9  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 29, 2008, 11:24:19 PM

Quote from: Toe on August 29, 2008, 06:24:04 PM

Are not the raids on cities and stuff suppose to take large blocks of time and require a significant amount of organization? Like killing the king or something like that? I assumed that was something like castle takeovers and relic raids in DaoC. Sure, anyone around can help out and "tag along" but the uber guild is the one that is paying for all the prep and spending hours and hours working toward the goal and ultimately reaps the greatest rewards.

DaoC had a similar system and I can tell you straight up that it was not "easy" and you eventually (as a casual player) reached a point where the amount of casual PvP required to reach the next rank was so far out of reach that it was for all intensive purposes not attainable by continued casual PvPing.


Open world RVR is very flexible. While it's true that a keep siege might take a couple hours, there's no reason you'd have to be there the whole time. biggrin I have also read that once you begin assaulting a Fortress (remember you need to capture 2 of the 3 fortresses to open your opponent's capital to assault) you have ONE HOUR to capture it or it'll reset. So that's a definite upper timelimit.

Secondly, the city raids are really 48v48 instanced battles within the city. The goal of these battles is to flip the city from Contested to Captured (or I guess Peaceful, if you're a defender). Just as with open world RVR, the way to do this is to control the zone, through running a citywide PQ, capturing and controlling BOs, killing opposing players, and winning scenarios. As with other RVR, this is a pretty open-ended experience, so you certainly could drop in and out as you wished.

Once a city has fallen, the "rewards" that open up are 2 PQs, which might take an hour or 90 minutes to run, and the king encounter, which I would guess is 2 hours max. Now there's NOTHING that says you have to do all this in one evening, and from what I understand, once a city falls, it stays in that state a short while to give people from the winning realm a chance to reap the rewards.

The King encounters are tough, sure, so if you go in there with crummy gear, I bet you would die. But that's such a small part of the game (and it won't happen very often).

There's also the endgame-ish dungeons, Bastion Stair, Temple of Sigmar Crypts (in Altdorf, and something corresponding in The Inevitable City), and the Lost Vale (which I don't think has been seen in-game yet). Crypts is similar to a WOW instance in the time required.

So I guess I'm saying there's still lots of endgame type stuff that is a bit more flexible than WoW's raids. Though there do seem to be some activities that probably would go better if you could commit a block of time to them.

As for feeling stymied in RVR and not advancing, My feeling when playing WAR has been that it's fun, so the advancement is sort of a bonus. Granted, I've usually been playing on an even field, so maybe it's a different feeling if you're RR10 and everyone else is RR40, but really, who knows that?
10  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 28, 2008, 10:21:32 AM

Quote from: EngineNo9 on August 28, 2008, 03:30:39 AM

So...just coming into this thread and not really wanting to read 4 pages of looong posts, can anyone quickly confirm that the solo PVE content continues in a decent volume for many levels?

There is without a doubt, tons of PVE content. PVE content is organized by "Chapters" which are essentially quest hubs. In addition to the regular 'ol quests, there are 1-3 Public Quests in the chapter. You'll have maybe 10 quests at each chapter camp (typically 3 quests take you into the PQ areas, 1 or 2 are travel to the next area, and 3-5 quest chains, often with a reward at the end of the chain). Of course this number varies but you get the idea.

Anyway, there are ... I think... 26 Chapters per racial pairing. And 3 racial pairings.

If you do ZERO RVR, you will probably have to travel between pairings to rank up (I tested this once and for instance, when going to T2 felt just a wee bit low for the zone I was going to). But in the normal course of playing the game, you'll probably have no problems outleveling the PVE you're in, and then it usually comes down to figuring out which quests to drop.

I have played characters at R31 and R40 and so I've seen all of this stuff with my own eyes, fyi.
11  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 28, 2008, 01:24:45 AM
The three healer types are different, yet all are very capable, and having tested all of them at R40 I can say they're each great in their own way.

Engineer is near the bottom of the power curve, but they are getting some adjustments to make them a bit better.
12  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer: Best fleshed out class, worst fleshed out class? on: August 27, 2008, 12:07:48 PM
Getting back to classes, I'd say most of them are in pretty good shape, especially tanks, healers, and Bright Wizard/Sorcereress.

Mythic is tweaking Engineer/Magus and Witch Hunter (not sure about Witch Elf) in the next patch to improve some of the mastery trees and for WH they're adding a 100% snare shot (I think it used to be there but they removed it so perhaps they're just adding it back in).

Classes on the "still need help" list would be Squig Herder and.... urm.... that's pretty much it. I'd say that if they can fix pet pathing, White Lion will be in pretty good shape (though there's are some class design decisions which might make the class unattractive - for instance, the only snare attack they get is on their pet).

One thing that people need to keep in mind is that not all classes have the same power curve. That's to say, that in Tier 1 scenarios, you'll see Bright Wizards and Warrior Priests destroying stuff and everyone will flock to whatever messageboards to say "waah waah, nerf BW, waah, nerf WP." Or they'll say "My Shaman gets zerged whenever I step into a scenario, buff Shaman!"

Some classes start VERY strong (and conversely, some start a bit weak) and it's not until a bit later in the game that other classes have the tools to deal with them (plus, at low ranks everyone is pretty squishy so BWs don't stand out. But at higher ranks they stay squishy, while other classes get a lot harder to kill).
13  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 27, 2008, 11:54:23 AM

Quote from: Arclight on August 27, 2008, 09:49:01 AM

Anyone hear what the final word on respeccing is? I would love to have the ability to switch to a PvP build then back to a PvE one.

Probably asking too much..

Right now it's still free, though I don't think that will continue to be the case.

That said, I don't know why you'd want separate builds, since:

a) many of your skills are good in PVE *and* PVP, and
b) you're often mixing PVE and PVP from one minute to the next - doing a Public Quest, popping into a Scenario, going off to quest, running into the RVR zone.

On my Archmage about the only things I'd change would be my tactics, and you can have up to 6 tactic "sets" that you can swap around with the click of a mouse (for instance I had a set of "soloing" tactics, like the one that makes my damage spells do 25% more damage but makes my heals 20% worse, versus the "healing" tactics which for example had the tactic that whenever I got a critical heal on someone I gained 40 or so APs).

I can see that maybe you'd want to swap some Morale abilities around, but that's easy enough, you just have 4 of them (and typically it's more like 4 R1s, 3 R2s, 2 R3s and one R4) so all you need to do is be out of combat for 10 seconds and you can plop the one or two different ones you want into the Morale bar.

14  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 21, 2008, 12:20:23 PM
How many zones are there? Urm... a lot!

Here's reduced versions of the pairing maps (click for larger versions). Each circle is a zone. Each zone has PVE and RVR areas in it, and the RVR areas get a little larger and more complex as you move into higher level content.

The Tier 4 is sort of hard to figure out (even for me!) and this leads into a general discussion of the RVR endgame.

In general all T4 pairings look like this (use the High Elf vs Dark Elf zone map as a guide):

Destruction city -- D Fortress -- D Zone -- Neutral Zone -- O Zone -- O Fortress - O City

Any circles "hanging off" of the neutral zone are additional PVE zones, and don't factor into the discussion below.

The RVR fight starts in the Neutral zone. Once a faction "controls" that zone, the zone locks and the unlocked zone moves toward the losing side's capital city. If a side locks down all 3 center zones, it makes their enemy's fortress vulnerable. If they then defeat the fortress, that pairing is considered "locked down."

If a faction locks down 2 of the 3 racial pairings by capturing 2 of the 3 fortresses, then the other side's Capital city enters a "Contested" state. Both sides fight in the city (note: there IS going to be a non-RVR enabled "refugee camp" portion of the city so that people can still use vendors and the like without being forced to RVR). Special quests, PQs, scenarios, and Battlefield Objectives spawn in the city in this state (and the city is instanced, so there's no "let's zerg it down" ability). This is a full RVR area. If the attackers lock down the city, it enters a "Captured" mode. Defending players are kicked out of the city and it's open for looting by the winning side for a limited time. Special PQs are enabled at this point, including the so called "King encounter" where you take on the leader of the city. These PQs supposedly have some of the best loot in the game.

I believe the little rectangular things on the maps near the city zones represent the 2 PQs you have to defeat to unlock the King encounter (the King encounter is the one marked with TWO locks. meaning you have to defeat each of the "captured city" PQs to unlock access to the King Encounter).


15  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 21, 2008, 09:13:01 AM
Regarding classes and their design...

Mythic has said they had a couple of goals in designing each class:
- a particular class and its counterpart will be roughly 80% similar to each other
- a particular archtype will be able to fulfill its' role regardless as to how it specs masteries

Take the second point first: what they're saying is that no matter what TYPE of healer you play, you should be able to heal. Now the type of healer you are influences what type of healing you're better at, but all 3 healer types should be able to keep their party up. And all 3 types have different and good buffs. For specialization, there's no path a healer can follow that makes all their heals better - so there's no "healing spec" Runepriest vs. a "damage spec" one. All the speclines improve different heals - one specline might improve the group heal, one might improve the big heal, one might improve the Heal over Time. It's a matter of specializing in the way you want.

As for the first point, class similarities and differences. It's easy to say "ah, Runepriest is just Zealot with different spell names" but there's more than that:

Runepriest vs. Zealot: base healer archtype: both have the same assortment of heals, with different names. Both have a "buff" system where the player granted the buff can click on it to cause an effect. Both can cast ground-based "things" that have an effect (cause healing, action point regen, etc). Both have a variety of damage spells. Both have a damage shield. So where's the difference? Runepriests have an insane armor buff, lots of AE damage, Zealots have the Harbinger spell which greatly helps them in soloing (ack, there are more differences but I don't recall them now).

Shaman vs. Archmage: nuker/healer archtype: both have the same assortment of heals. Both use the "damage/healing points" mechanic. But the Shaman has spells with a cast time to steal Action Points, Intelligence, Strength. They have a movement barb damage spell. They have a high rank spell that they cast on a player which, after the player has been hit 10 times or when it expires, heals the whole group for 100 x the number of hits that player took. Archmages have a number of damage over time spells that debuff their targets - lower their crit rate, take their strength, reduce their AP and damage them. Archmages can spec into a spell which does damage to their target and makes incoming heals on that target only 50% as effective.

Marauder vs. White Lion: melee DPS archtype: They both hit you. Both have a spell to grab someone and bring them to the player. Marauder has different "forms" and separate attacks for each form. Different forms work differently with respect to damage over time or direct damage. White Lion uses the pet as an additional source of damage, and has a high number of positional attacks which can do a lot of damage. White Lions' pets can taunt in PVE and can snare players and mobs.



So if you were playing a Shaman, could you pick up an Archmage and be pretty effective? Sure! I think that's the point. Do they play differently? They play differently enough to be interesting if you haven't tried one before. And when you add in the different spells, morales, and tactics, you can purchase in the speclines, the classes get more different as you get more powerful.

16  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 21, 2008, 08:52:43 AM

Quote from: Destructor on August 21, 2008, 01:05:33 AM

So, here's a question - I know nothing about the Warhammer world, short of bits and pieces of it from the Warhammer 40K RTS games (if that even counts). But I love a good MMO (my history includes just about every single MMO ever released), and RvR sounds like a lot of fun. But some days, I'd like to just turn off PvP, and go wander the world and do things, too, without having to watch my back.

Would I enjoy WO?

You *could* play that way and be fairly successful, if you were on a Core server. That's the basic ruleset used by the servers in beta. On a Core server, there are PVE areas and RVR areas. When you enter a RVR area, you get flagged for PVP and can be killed by the opposing side. In a PVE area you're safe UNLESS your flag is turned on (and to be honest, this does happen now and then - for instance, if you join a random group as a healer and cast a buff, and someone in your group is flagged, then you get flagged).

PVE in WAR is mostly segregated, with Order sticking to their side, and Destruction sticking to their side of the zone. So when participating in PVE you only rarely come across someone from the other faction - it does happen pretty frequently in the DvG pairing, but in the other ones it's pretty uncommon. I'd say in the High Elf zones, I have seen someone from the opposite faction less than 10 times (that's Tier1 through 3).

As you get higher in rank, you DO start getting quests that take you into RVR zones to kill PVE monsters. But you don't have to do those. And in the Tier 4 zones, the RVR area is pretty large - but again, there is always PLENTY to do in a PVE area if you don't feel like RVRing. I believe there are something like 22 or 24 "chapters" in each racial pairing - each chapter being a PVE quest hub. And each chapter has something like 10 quests (many of these are quest chains). Plus there's quests in the capital cities, quests hidden in the world, Public Quests (3 per chapter!), Dungeons...

so yeah, if you don't feel like RVRing, you wouldn't have to.
17  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 21, 2008, 12:06:58 AM
Regarding the environment:

When I began the beta I really thought WAR suffered from the "Dark Age of Camelot" palette problem - a palette that used 3 shades of brown, 2 shades of black, and 1 shade of reddish brown. However, the environments are really quite varied in color and design.

Here's some random shots of different zones - I love getting good environment shots.

These shots are reduced to 25% of their original size. To view the full sized shots, click on them.

T1 HEvDE zone, The Blighted Isle:

T2 HEvDE zone, Ellyrion:

T3 HEvDE zone, Avelorn:

T3 HEvDE zone, Saphery:

T4 HEvDE zone, Eataine:

Another Eataine:

T4 HEvDE zone, Isle of the Dead:


T2 DvG zone, Marshes of Madness:

T2 DvG zone, Barak Varr:

T3 DvG zone, Black Fire Pass:

T4 DvG zone, Thunder Mountain:


T1 EvC zone, Nordland:

T1 EvC zone, Norsca:

T2 EvC zone, Troll Country:

T3 EvC zone, High Pass:

T4 EvC zone, Reikwald:

Another Reikwald shot:


Order Capital, Altdorf:

Another shot of Altdorf, the Bright Wizard College:

Destruction Capital, The Inevitable City:

Another shot of the Inevitable City:


T2 DvG Dungeon, Gunbad:

Another Gunbad:
 
A third Gunbad:
18  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 20, 2008, 10:08:57 AM
[Note this is comparing Order healers but you can substitute Destruction healers and the comparison will be pretty much the same - there WILL be slight differences but in general the comparison will be valid. For Runepriest substitute Zealot; for Warrior Priest substitute Disciple of Khaine; and for Archmage substitute Shaman].

I have played a lot of healers. They all heal well but there are slight differences between them.

This post compares the three Order healer archtypes to show the similarities and differences between their healing spells ONLY. To run the comparison, I compared a R31 healer of each type and took notes. The healers were all specced with 5 points in each mastery line. That means that their spells were either R31 (baseline spells) or R25 (specline spells).

This is by no means a full comparison. Each class has additional buffs which vary in utility, not to mention debuffs and offensive abilities. And in addition they all have high powered healing spells in their speclines that aren't considered. So all we're looking at here is spells that they have more or less in common that heal so you can get a feel for how they differ.

Tactics and Morale abilities also differ between the classes and can affect them greatly. So again, this is not the comparison to end all comparisons, just a quick side by side.


First, a quick summary of each class:

The Runepriest is the most traditional healer of the three. There's no fancy mechanic here, it's just plain old healing, and lots of it. Runepriests get additional baseline healing spells that the other two classes don't.  Runepriests can specialize in "master runes" which are ground-based buffs that convey additional healing, lower buildup times for abilities, or grant increased AP regen.

The Archmage is considered the "nuker/healer." Archmages specialize in debuffing in addition to dealing moderate damage and of course, healing. Archmages can specialize for additional debuffs, some of which are very valuable. The Archmage mechanic is called "High Magic." Casting damage spells generates "Tranquility HM" and casting healing spells generate "Force HM." If the Archmage has tranquility points when a heal is cast, the heal is augmented, and the tranquility points are spent. Likewise, if the Archmage has force points and casts a damage spell, the spell is augmented and the points are spent. The maximum number of points of either type is 5.

The Warrior Priest is a front line melee-oriented healer. His heals are powered by "Righteous Fury," which is generated by his melee attacks. Therefore if a Warrior Priest isn't attacking, he can't heal that much (there are alternative ways to generate RF but attacking is the best way). Warrior Priests have a fixed maximum of 250 Righteous Fury (it does build up over time but pretty slowly). Warrior Priests wield one or two-handed hammers and wear the heaviest armor of the three healer classes.

All healers have four basic heal spells: a heal over time (HoT), a heal + heal over time (Heal+HoT), a large single-target heal, and a group heal. In addition, all healers have a damage shield spell (though the Warrior Priest shield is a spec line spell; they must specialize in the appropriate Mastery line and purchase it).

There's much more than the healing spells to each class, so don't decide anything based just on this.

I know this is goofy, to take data from a spreadsheet and put it in Paint, but honestly I couldn't figure out a better way to present it



the fullisized chart is at:

http://www.storyroot.com/charl/war/images/Healer%20Spells.jpg
19  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 20, 2008, 04:04:20 AM
YK:

I can't speak too freely, but I have tested content from R1-22 or so, at 31-33 and at 40, and I will say there is content throughout the entire range. There are 26 or so chapters (i.e., quest hubs) for each race, and at least 3 scenarios per tier. I have participate in open world RVR in all four tiers and it's there. I have tested endgame PVE and RVR content and it's there.

It is 100% perfect and debugged? No. Mythic still has work to do there. But it's there and it's mostly working and it's being actively worked on now. The systems are in place and not vaporware. While I can't guarantee that anyone will have fun going from R1 to R40, I CAN guarantee that you won't run out of stuff to do and/or find entire game subsystems that don't work.
20  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 20, 2008, 03:59:39 AM

Character Development

One of the neat things about your character in Warhammer is that you always have something to look forward to when leveling. Every time you gain a rank, you get something - it might be a new spell, it might be a tactic, it might be a morale ability, but it's always SOMETHING. And that leads to character customization.

Each character is defined by five facets:

- Spells
- Renown points
- Tactics
- Morale Abilities
- Masteries


Spells are the easiest to explain. As you level, you gain access to spells which you purchase from your trainer. Every character of a particular class will gain all of these spells, as there's no real reason NOT to purchase a spell. The spells you purchase are split between "Core" spells and "Mastery Path" spells. More on that in a bit. We've all seen spells, not much else to say here.


Renown is gained as you kill enemies on RVR action. Your character has a Realm Rank which is tracked separately from his regular Rank. As you kill players, you receive Realm Points, which contribute toward Realm Rank. Receive enough RPs and you gain a new RR. Each RR you gain give you one Realm Point. These points are spent at a Renown Trainer. Your renown trainer allows you to spend points on boosting individual statistics and on purchasing special RVR related tactics. Boosting individual staticstics becomes more and more expensive the higher you raise them (for instance, boosting Intelligence by 3 costs 1 RP, while boosting it by 9 requires 3 RPs). There are also RVR related tactics that can be purchased, such as 5% more XP in RVR action, or 5% more cash from RVR kills.

Renown abilities
fall into three general groups: the first group may be purchased by spending the necessary number of points. The second group may only be purchased after you've spent at least 20 RPs in the first group. The third group may only be purchased after you've spend 40 points in the first two groups. As expected, the abilities in the third group are fairly powerful - for example, healers can boost their chance to get a critical result on a heal.


Tactics are passive character abilities. Your character gains a tactic slot every 10 ranks starting at R10, so by rank 40 you have 4 slots. You can gain two additional tactic slots, one through a Tome unlock, and one through, uh, realm rank? So the most slots a character will have is 6. Tactics themselves you gain in at least three ways: by purchasing them from your trainer, by training them at a Renown trainer, and by unlocking them through in-game actions. When you unlock a tactic through an event, you still have to purchase the tactic from the Tome Trainer in your capital city.

Tactics vary widely. For instance, there's a racial tactic High Elves get that gives their attacks a chance to add an additional Damage over Time spell to their target (and it stacks up to four times!). Shaman and Archmages get a tactic that modifies their resurrection spell such that it's an instant cast spell (instead of taking up to 10 seconds!) but stuns the caster for 3 seconds afterwards. Healers get a tactic that makes their damage spells do 25% more damage, but makes their heals 20% weaker. And so forth. You equip a tactic by dragging the tactic from your spellbook window to the tactic display. Each character may have up to 6 tactic "sets" predefined, and you can switch between sets when you're out of combat. So, for instance, Healers can set up a "soloing" tactic set, and then a "healing" one. A R40 character will have perhaps 15 or so tactics from which to choose, including tactics that allow you to buff Willpower (for healers - increases healing amounts) to various Resistances (limit incoming damage from different damage sources).


Morale Abilities: Morale abilities are powerful abilities that can turn the tide of battle. Their use is limited in two ways. First, they're on a 30 to 60 second timer. Second, you can only use a Morale ability when your "morale meter" builds up. As you're in combat, your morale meter builds up. The longer you're in combat, the more it grows. When you exit combat, your meter drains. So these abilities are only typically usable when you've been fighting a bit. Once the meter has built up and you use an ability, the meter drains.

Morale abilities come in four "ranks" - one through four - with fours typically being the most powerful. For healers, typical Morale abilites would be 1: A strong heal that heals your target for 1000 (probably 35 to 50% of a character's health pool); 2: Deals 500 damage in an area around your character and heals your entire group for half as much damage as it causes; 3: Surrounds your entire group in a strong shield that absorbs 700 damage; 4: Resurrects all groupmates in a radius. All resurrected characters will return to life with 50% of
their health and action points.

Additional morale abilities may be acquired through mastery training, described below.


Masteries: Before talking about masteries, it's necessary to detour a second into spell levels. All spells have a "spell level" associated with them. The level of the spell indicates its power, so if you have two equal spells, a level 25 version of that spell will be more effective than a level 20 version.

As a character ranks up from 1 to 10, their spells rank up at the same rate. But once the character hits R10, some differentiation occurs: "core" spells continue ranking up with the character. These spells will be "level 40" when the character is rank 40. But mastery path spells begin ranking up half as fast. These spells will be "level 25" when the character reaches rank 40. To increase the level of mastery spells, it's necessary to train in the various mastery paths.

At R11 and continuing to R40, characters begin receiving mastery points (one mastery point at R11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, and one point per rank afterwards. Characters also receive 1 point at RR40, 50, 60, and 70). These points may be spent training in mastery paths. Each class has a choice of three mastery paths, a concept which should be familiar to anyone who's played WoW. Mastery paths in WAR aren't quite as cut and dried as in WoW, however. For instance, when considering healers, each mastery path includes *some* healing spells, so boosting a particular mastery path won't make a character a sub-par healer; it just changes the *type* of healing they're best at.

When spending mastery points in a particular path, you first add points to a thermometer-type display. Each point spent increases the thermometer, and adds to the level of spells from that mastery path. So for instance, at R15 a character has 3 mastery points to spend. Say they spend 2 points in Path "A," one point in path "B" and no points in path "C." Here's the levels of their various spells:

Character at R15
-----------------
Core spells: R15
"A" spells:   R14
"B" spells:   R13
"C" spells:   R12

Note that at R15, unaugmented mastery spells will be R12 (remember, mastery spells only increase every OTHER rank beginning at R11). In addition to spending points boosting mastery levels, you can purchase mastery-related spells, tactics, and morale abilities. To do this, you must first spend enough points in the mastery path (i.e., boost the "thermometer") so that the new item can be purchased (the icon turns green when this occurs). Then (and this key point is often overlooked!) you must select the new item you wish to purchase and spend an ADDITIONAL mastery point on it. You NEVER receive mastery related spells and abilities without explicitly purchasing them.

These "specline" spells, abilities, and morales can be quite powerful, and help to shape your character. For instance, Archmages can spend 4 mastery points in a specline and then one more point to purchase a debuff which does a small amount of damage but has the additional effect of making heals on the target only 50% as effective for 10 seconds. Warrior Priests can specialize in the path of Grace by spending 4 points in it and then for an additional point can purchase a tactic that modifies the behavior of one of their main attacks so that instead of just stealing Strength, it steals Strength and Toughness.
21  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 19, 2008, 11:00:32 PM
A little rambling about classes:

----------------------------------

Classes I've played:

Dwarf Runepriest R1-19, R40
Dwarf Hammerer R1-13
Dwarf Engineer R1-14

Empire Warrior Priest R1-10, R21-23, R31, R40
Empire Bright Wizard R1-13
Empire Witch Hunter R1-8

High Elf Archmage R1-21, R31-32, R40
High Elf White Lion R1-14
High Elf Shadow Warrior R1-8

Greenskin Shaman R1-16, R21-23.5, R40
Greenskin Squig Herder R1-10

Chaos Zealot R21-24
Chaos Magus R1-3 (original), R1-5, R40
Chaos Chosen R1-9
Chaos Marauder R1-6

Dark Elf Disciple of Khaine R1-16, R40
Dark Elf Sorcerer R1-5



Note that these are overviews rather than in-depth descriptions of tactics and strategies. I've played many classes over the course of beta and most of them have a lot from the beginning to the end. So while I've left in my impressions, I've added a section at the end of each with thoughts on the class as of the 3.3 patch, which is one of the final class modifying patches.

In addition, when I talk about one class (for example, the Archmage) I frequently compare and contrast to the mirror class on the other faction (the Shaman). So if you're interested in a particular class, be sure to read about his counterpart, because there might be some information there too.

When I speak of "templated" classes that means we were given the ability to create a pre-leveled character at a specific rank. Past templates have included R11, R21, R31 and R40 characters. They all start with very good gear, which certainly affects my opinion of their skills.

Order Classes
--------------------

* White Lion (R1-15): The White Lion is a fairly straightforward pet class. The WL uses 2 handed axes and is all about melee.

White Lions have three spec paths: one to make themselves tougher (path of the Axeman), one to make them equal in power with the pet (path of the Hunter), and one to make the pet stronger (path of the Guardian), so you can tweak the class to your liking. The class features a number of positional attacks - hitting from the side or rear - which do additional damage. In this regard they feel a lot like the Valewalker from DAoC. In addition, In addition, WLs have a number of attacks that coordinate with their pet - you get an attack early that has both of you hitting the same target simultaneously. Another attack has each of them attack their target twice. So if you each target the same mob, you're hitting it four times. If you each have separate targets, you're each hitting your target twice. So it seems like melee will consist of more than "stand here and hit the guy. I've found a pretty good PVE attack sequence which consists of me sending in my pet, me moving to the side/back, hitting an attack which gives the target an "Ailment," hitting my attack which deals damage to an Ailing target, then hitting the simultaneous attack. This typically kills mobs that are -1 to 0 (the "Ailing target" attack - Lion's Bite - does way more damage than the tooltip says; not sure if this is a bug or not). There's a single target detaunt that can cause less threat for your defensive target, so if you get behind your target and he's facing you, you can usually get him to turn around by detaunting him once. At R11 I'm able to take on R12 through R14 mobs one at a time and pretty much chain kill them. Two at once is possible. There's a 30 second resummon delay if your pet is killed in combat.

At R12 I get an "Ail" attack which is not positional, which makes me think killing mobs will get a lot easier, since it removes the positional aspect of my battles now (further testing reveals the positional attack in this chain does around 30 dmg + 130 dmg with a Dot, whereas the non-positional one does 40 damage but debuffs the target's attack speed 20% for a short while. Therefore when soloing the positional one is still much preferred).

WLs get a number of pet buffs too - you choose a pet buff which adds a specific set of stat buffs and buff-specific atacks. One buff adds to the attack power of the pet and gives it some attack abilities (similar to Hunter pet attacks in WoW). Another buff gives your pet extra toughness and increases YOUR chance to critically hit if you're standing to the side or behind. Your first morale ability also does 300+ damage when to the side or behind (normal abilities do 50 to 80 damage!). At R10 you get a short term speed buff, the ability to wreck siege engines, and a PBAOE detaunt for yourself (like all detaunts, it ends if you attack a detaunted target, but I think the effect persists on other mobs, so you can detaunt a whole group of mobs and attack the one you're interested in). There's also a pet heal spell. Unfortunately, the White Lion pet pathing is similar to the pathing of other pets in WAR (which is to say, they run like they're dipped in molasses first). So after a first glance, WLs seem like a very fun and solid pet class in PVE, and I don't doubt it'll be quite popular. (I do not have any PVP experience with the WL).

White Lions get a tactic that increases pet speed, which most WLs feel is a rip off, since the pet should be fast anyway, and that forces you to use a tactic to get it. The WL remains a very good PVE class and a decent RVR class. The main complaint about WLs is that pat pathing and AI still remains a problem, and they have no snare exept as a pet attack. Other than that, most WLs appear pretty content. Until they compare themselves to Marauders, which is the Destruction mirror class (Marauder feels much more powerful to most). The WL "grab" attack, Fetch, has been reported as a bit buggy, at least in 3.2. Not sure if it's better or not. In any case, while having your pet "fetch" someone is cool, it's definitely not as cool as a Marauder sprouting a tentacle and grabbing someone!

* Warrior Priest (R1-10, R21-22; R31, R40): The Warrior Priest is Order's analogue of the Disciple of Khaine, and in most ways they function identically (in fact, these two classes seem almost like identical counterparts). One big difference between them is that one of their bread and butter melee attack differs. WPs get an attack that does damage and debuffs initiative. DoKs reduce toughness. It might seem that the effect is more or less the same, and maybe it's just psychological, but the WP ability "feels" so much better (toughness affects the amount of melee damage you mitigate, while initiative reduces critical hits against you). WPs get the standard small HoT, the Heal + HoT, and the group heal, but their "big" heal is a channeled heal that does melee damage, hits four times, and heals THREE times the amount of damage it causes. While this sounds awesome, it's a channeled spell, That means when you get hit, the channeling timer goes down. Nevertheless, it works fine; in solo play you can easily get one or two heals out of it (so at R21, when I have about 2600HP basically, I can channel a heal for 450 if I'm lucky). There is a medium-short reuse timer on this skill (around 8 seconds). In group settings the channeled heal is quite valuable. WPs (and DoKs) do NOT get the damage shield that other healers get, and the lack of the "big" heal means they don't quite have the burst healing capability that the other healer archtypes have. WPs have prayers which affect the entire group - one gives a chance to deal addtional damage, one adds to armor, one gives a chance to proc a small heal.

The Warrior Priest can solo like nobody's business. As with all healers, he receives a tactic that makes him deal 25% more damage while reducing his heals by 20%. Equipping this and using the +damage prayer, he can pretty much chain kill 0 to +3 mobs all day. The biggest challenge will be keeping the mobs coming so you don't lose the +XP bonus you'll get from killing mobs above your level.

As mentioned above, Warrior Priests do not get a damage shield spell as a matter of course. However, they can spec into a Mastery path to get it though, at 5 points into the Sigmar line. The shield spell shields each person in the group at once, as compared to the single groupmate shield of the Archmage and the any friendly target shield of the Runepriest. The shield is on a 60 second resuse timer.

Recent tweaks to WPs, have changed nothing in the big picture. WPs continue to dish out big healing and damage numbers in scenarios. This class remains a monster in PVE and a challenge in RVR. In a keep fight, WPs need a very good group in a siege, because if you're in a typical PUG, you'll be standing around doing nothing as the ranged attackers jockey for supremacy. I keep feeling that a group that knows what it's doing could perform some very effective hit and run tactics with a couple of WPs and tanks and some nukers. But that would require a degree of coordination that's not really present in the testing environment.

There's been some recent discussion about DoKs being "better" than WPs, due to two factors: first, the DoK covenants are better than the WP's prayers, and secondly the fact that the DoK is dual-wielding versus the WP's (typical) two-handed hammer attack. The difference in melee is not a matter of *doing* damage, but rather a matter of *creating* healing juice. Since the DoK is hitting more often, he's generating more Soul Essence for his heals. The WP, on the other hand, hits harder, but less frequently, therefore he generates less Righteous Fury. I can only say as someone who's recently played a WP that when I fight a DoK they seem very hard to bring down, and I don't notice that my survivability is equal.

My experience with WPs is that they are great at healing themselves, are pretty good at healing a tank, but beyond that their healing abilities fall off sharply. That's because in the thick of battle you are constantly trying to find offensive targets to hit (to generate Righteous Fury) while at the same time finding defensive targets to heal, trying to mash the buttons for melee attacks, deciding when to cast a heal, worrying about attack cooldowns, chasing after people... there's a lot of mucking around with the class! In-game discussions about the different healer types have led to the joking description of WPs as the "selfish healer" and there's a grain of truth to that.

When looking at the "scoreboard" at the end of a scenario, Warrior Priests frequently have a lot of healing. I would venture that 75% of that is healing themselves.

I had a chance to play a healing-specced WP and he did well (6 man group content). I specced for Divine Light (the group shield) and a high level healing spell called Martyr's Blessing, in which you channel for 3 seconds. Every second you channel your group gains health, so it's sort of like a group based version of Divine Strike, except that you don't hit anyone while you're doing it. I was the secondary healer to a Runepriest, and I felt I did a pretty good job spot healing and keeping the tank up. I think I also performed 90% of the resurrections since our RP died a number of times!

* Witch Hunter (R1-8): I found this class frustrating, especially in PvP. I'm always running around chasing people, and I feel pretty wimpy. PvE solo it felt ok. PvE grouped (Public Quests mostly) it was frustrating because I'm running around trying to hit mobs and Bright Wizards are nuking the crap out of them before I get there. Did not like the class very much. The mechanic used here is that your melee abilities (the right hand sword) build up "accusations" which are then used up by your pistol. The pistol does more damage according to the number of accusations you have built up. [Further patches have really beefed up WHs and WEs (WHs more though) and now they are monsters in PVE. They now can put debuffs on people that harm them if they cast spells or move or (something else). That means they can always pick an attack that hurts the other guy.].

Witch Hunters will be getting a 100% snare shot and some rework to a few attacks. This should make them the fearsome attackers they were a few patches ago.

* Bright Wizard (R1-13): Bright Wizard is the textbook definition of the glass cannon: a character that does a lot of damage but dies quickly. The BW has been on a rollercoaster and gone through a number of iterations but now seem to be pretty finalized.

Bright Wizards, simply put, shoot fire to kill stuff. They have a buff here or there, and a root spell (very short), but most of the time they're focusing on killing stuff. It's a race between the BW and his target to see who dies first. Bright Wizard spells build up what's called "combusion" - the higher the combustion, the greater the chance you'll score a critical hit with a spell. But by the same token, the higher your combusion, the more likely it is you'll take damage when casting a spell. So playing a Bright Wizard is all about managing your combusion and keeping it at a reasonable level.

Pretty much every damage spell add to combustion. To prevent combustion remaining at a a high level, Mythic has added a "dump" spell that uses all your combustion and does damage based on how much combustion you're dumping. It's a very good addition to the class, and the key to being a BW is now managing your combustion - dump it too early and you do less damage. Dump it too late and you probably are gonna kill yourself.

If you have a healer keeping an eye on you, you can keep your combustion at a high level and put out some impressive damage numbers.

BW spells range from direct damage to damage over time spells. DoTting a target might produce some good damage numbers at the end of the day, but with healers being so common, DoTs frequently don't kill anyone, as all healers can heal through a couple of DoTs.Since damage has been upped for BWs they are now on top of the damage meters.

BWs deal their damage through direct damage and DoTs, as opposed to Sorcerers, who deal damage through Direct Damage and Curses, which "detonate" after a set amount of time.

One last thing to keep in mind, when you're looking at the "scoreboard" at the end of a scenario: the damage a Bright Wizard (and Sorceress) does to themselves is counted as "damage dealt." So when you see a BW who has done 2x the amount of damage as the next person, don't forget about 1/3 of that damge was self-inflicted.

* Runepriest (R1-19, R40): I have very little recent experience with Runepriests, except as a templated one at R40 in attacking/defending cities, and some lower level play. From the end-game experience, I have no doubt that Runepriests can be superb end-game healers. Runepriests have always been the best overall healers for Order and that fact remains as true today as it was when the game launched. Runepriest damage is fairly low, though they can certainly solo decently. But they have very high survivability; they can buff their armor to high levels, they have good heals, and they can spec some very interesting spells. The Runepriest mechanic allows them to grant players in their group "runes" which are static buffs which can be activated by that player to cause instant damage or some other effect. Runepriest offensive abilities are more limited than those of Archmages or Warrior Priests, with most of them having a cooldown of some sort, and a number of their abilities being AE.

The Runepriest damage shield can be cast on any friendly target. It's an instant spell that has a short cooldown.

The Runepriest mechanism is to buff groupmates with "Runes," which are buffs. They have a number of different types, but a player may only have 1 rune on them at any time (no matter how many Runepriests are in the group). Runes may be 'activated' by the player who has a buff to perform some ability - typically to cause some sort of damage. So the rune is a buff, and maybe a teeny bit of extra DPS when you really really need it.

Runepriests can spec into "Master Runes" which are gigamundo symbols inscribed on the ground. One periodically heals groupmates, one reduces buildup times on abilities, and one grants a chance at AP recovery.

* Hammerer (R1-13): Still covered under the NDA.

* Archmage (R11-21; R31-32; R40): similar to the Shaman: You deal damage with DoTs, a DD, and a channeled damage spell to build up "dark magic" (I think) which make your heals faster/more effective. You build up "high magic" with heals to make your damage spells more effective. In addition to all the DoTs, AMs get the standard healer HoT, the Heal+HoT, the large heal, the damage shield, and the group heal.

The AM "low/high" magic mechanism works well solo but it really shines in groups and in PVP.

Archmage gets an instant groupmate-only damage shield that has a medium (20 second) cooldown.

At 21 Archmages have a wide variety of DoT spells, 3 or 4, plus the channeled damage spell, plus their normal DD spell. Kill time is a bit on the long side, as you're mostly dealing damage with the DoTs. While it might take a little longer to kill mobs, you're never really in any danger of dying though, so it's a pretty non-stressful fight. But... one of their DoT spells (Radiant Gaze?) emits laser beams from their eyes! Never discount the appeal of laser beams from the eyes.

The Archmage has moved more toward a debuffer type of nuker. Their DoTs often have a secondary effect - one will heal your defensive target, one reduces the target's chance to critically hit, etc. One spec spell reduces healing effects on the target by 50%, and this spell is crucial in RVR. Fortuantely it's fairly low in the spec tree, so you can get it without spending many points in that line (which is good, as the damage it does, even fully specced, is pretty low, and you certainly don't take it for the damage component). Compared to Shaman, Archmages have more instant cast spells, more DoTs, and lower damage pretty much across the board. Shaman have a very good Rank 1 Morale ability, and can spec into some interesting debuffs not available to the Archmage.

In the mid 20s (25 I believe) Archmages get a knockback spell which is a frontal cone blast that's on a long cooldown (60 sec). It's effective but very finicky, and you can easily miss the guy you're trying to knock back. However, when it works, it's great fun.

If you spec for healing, you're a very good healer, and in a scenario you can keep yourself up while a tank is beating on you. At R31 I once kept myself alive for about 45 seconds, popping my shield, HoT, popping the Rank 1 Morale instant heal, detaunting the tank, popping the uninterruptable buff then casting a big heal on myself three times or so... you can certainly keep yourself alive long enough for help to come (because while you're doing all that you're certainly NOT doing any damage!). This is useful in scenarios where you're trying to keep a flag point under control (captured points in a scenario won't flip if someone from the occupying side is in range of it).

At 31/32/40 I feel the Archmage is a very capable healer, and a decent damage dealer. I have no problem soloing, and can come in the top 3 in healing in a scenario while still dealing a moderate amount of damage.

* Engineer (R1-14): Shooting type DPS who makes static gun turrets. Shooting differs from spellcasting in that there's a minimum range for guns (5 feet). So unlike your magical ranged DPS, if someone's in your face, you can't shoot em. To compensate for this fact, Engineers get grenades. This class is probably good for people who like to tinker around. I don't think you get the most out of it if you're just gonna focus on shooting (if so, you should probably roll a Shadow Warrior). The Engineer's turret is a good addition to his DPS, but it's more like an extra DoT that you can't control a whole lot. When you're playing him in a Public Quest or where you know exactly where a mob will spawn, the turret adds a lot. On the flip side, if you're in a mobile battle, you'll be plopping down your turret over and over and over. Gun damage is decent (toned down a bit from before). Grenades have a couple of effects - one of them is a DoT, one reduces Armor. You also get a couple of instant shot abilities (a fire DoT and another one I can't recall). They get a PBAOE root called "Barbed Wire" at R7 which is nice to stop those pesky melee who run up to you. Engineer melee is fairly weak - they do have a 2-step snare (hit with your wrench, then a second attack - snares the target but it's not really enough to get breathing room). Turrets will also do well in keep defense. Not sure I like the fixed-location concept for them though, and the Engineer feels a bit more fiddly than even the Squig Herder (mostly because you're constantly thinking about what fixed location you should plop your turret down at). Past 20 they get a Land Mine they can lay down.

Two of the three spec classes are very solid. The Path of the Rifleman gives you longer range and is a good single-target DPS specline. The Path of the Grenadier gets kudos for extending the range of your grenade throwing. The third path, of the Tinker, seems lackluster to many. Overall I'd put Engineers in the low end of "finished." As with the Magus, Engineer pets still need some improvement.

I have heard that the Path of the Tinkerer is getting some interesting-sounding upgrades which make him look to be the master of tricks. One spell is a "magnetic mine" that draws people to it. So he can set up some mines or a turret or maybe get some pals here, and then throw down the mine and pull people into the killing field. Sounds cool!

* Shadow Warrior (R1-8): Wow, this guy starts out like a beast! He's good with the ranged stuff, and when you get into melee range, unlike the Squig Herder or Engineer, he can actually lay down a beating. I've got a very low level one, but so far he feels like a lot of fun. Their big deal is stances - similar to warrior stances in WoW - where different attacks are only available in different stances. Right now I don't have a lot of stance specific stuff, but I understand you get more as you level up. He has a frenzy type ability for extra damage which is a lot of fun too. biggrin EA Mythic has said they're getting stance specific toolbars soon, so the one problem with the class - having to figure out which buttons to hit in which stance - will go away. I am quite interested in seeing how this guy develops as I level him up. SW Mastery paths are long range shooting, shooting on the run at short range, and melee. I'm going to try melee to see how well it works (and I've read it works very well). Played this guy up to R8 RR6, and it was a lot of fun. Did a bunch of scenarios and he deals quite a bit of damage,and can hold his own in melee (well, except when you're facing a bunch of 11s when you're 7!). Looks like stance management is the big deal with this guy.

One recent change to Shadow Warriors is the addition of "stance specific" quickbars. When you select a stance, your main quickbar (the one bound to 1..2..3...and so forth) swaps to a new one. This is so you can place your stance-specific attacks on this quickbar, and you're not wasting cooldowns trying to use abilities that you can't activate in your current build.

Most Shadow Warriors feel they are in pretty good shape. The main issue with Shadow Warriors continues to be the fact that they all look like Legolas!

Destruction Classes
----------------------------
*Magus (R1-6; R40): The Destruction analogue of the Engineer in many ways. Magus summons demons which stand around in the world and shoot stuff! Maguses look cool because they are always on a disc. The disc is a bound demon of some sort according to the lore, but it's pretty well behaved. Magus has some basic DD attacks in the early levels and a tentacle whip in which the disc takes its tail (which is usually hidden) and swings it 360 degrees around itself. So theoretically you could do some AOE with it (the attack doesn't hit for a ton however). He can summon one pet at a time: a Pink Horror, which specializes in ranged attacks (think WoW Warlock imp), a Flamer, which specializes in short range ranged AOE attacks, and a Blue Horror, which specializes in PB AOE attacks. The pets are immobile (see the comparison to the Engineer turret?). Magus also gets a pet heal spell, but it's really short ranged, so you practically have to be on top of the pet. As with all casters, they're pretty squishy. I haven't been too impressed with the Magus, but I have read reports from other people who rave about it, so I'll have to try it a bit more.

This was my initial comments about Magus; I have not played one recently.

A common complaint is that the pet is too weak, takes too long to cast, and frequently bugs out.

* Chosen (R1-10): One of Destruction's two tank classes (the other being the Black Orc). This guy is a brick house. So far, at low levels, he has decent killing power. Howerver, he survives stuff that would lay anyone else flat on their back (no surprise, eh?). Chosen use auras, which are short term PBAOE shouts more or less. They put off a pretty cool animation. One debuffs the target, a second damages them and potentially hurts any caster who casts a spell for the next 30 seconds. He's got an assortment of melee attacks, a taunt (taunted targets do 30% less damage to everyone ELSE until they hit the tank 3 times), and a snare. He also has an axe throw that has a chance to do massive damage to targets that are running away. So never run from a tank! With this guy I don't fear tackling anything, because I know even if I've miscalculated, I have time to recover and run away at least, because I'm gonna survive a long time.

Chosen auras are in pretty good shape, and most Chosen are reasonably happy. There are reports they feel a little underpowered, which probably means they are in-line with where Mythic wants them to be. Personally, though, when I see a couple of Chosen running up to me, I know that I'm in for a world of hurt.

*Squig Herder (R1-10): Fun class. The squig, though slow as molasses, and prone to running off after someone never to be seen again... seems like a relatively useful pet (certainly better than the AoC pets!). At higher levels you get different squigs for different purposes - there's a melee one, a ranged one, and AOE one, and a tanking one. Plus who wouldn't like a class where you can make your pet explode with the ability "Farty Squig!"

In spite of the fun feel of the class, SHs don't do a whole ton of damage. They feel like there's no real way for them to deal damage to anyone else, that the squigs are just an annoyance, and that they are RP fodder for other classes. They are getting some love soon, but they need a lot more.

* Disciple of Khaine (R1-16; R40): In a word: awesome. I love the class. DoKs, like WPs, use the mechanism where you melee to generate power that is used to fuel your healing. So if you're not meleeing, you can't heal. As with all other healers, they get a Hot, a Heal+HoT, a larger heal, and a group heal. DoKs are overpowered in PvE, just like the Warrior Priest. In PvE I don't think I died more than once or twice. In RvR it's tough, because if you run up to melee (to charge up your heals) you're blasted into smithereens. But if you hang back a bit you can serve as a fairly good secondary meele'r and a decent healer. It's a fun class. Healers get extra realm points from healing, so being a healer is one way to get a really nice Realm Rank. This guy is decked out in RR5 gear and PQ rewards and he's a badass. biggrin He can easily handle 3 equal rank mobs, or 2 that are +1/+2. [Further patches have changed the 3 second heal for the DoK/WP to a channeled heal they cast when they're meleeing or some such. It has a chance to hit 4x, and each hit heals your defensive target for 2.5x the amount of damage it does.

* Sorcerer (R1-5): Still early, but the class seems decent. It's a caster with a mechanic that doesn't seem to make a big deal of difference (some spells build up "dark magic" - as it goes up, chance of crit increases but so does chance of the spell backfiring. Problem is, the backfire is never enough to worry about so you basically ignore it). Seems like he's our typical squishy who nukes from afar. One difference between the Sorc and the BW is that the Sorc spells typically lay a DoT on the target and do a lot of damage when the DoT expires, versus the BW who just lays down a gigantic explosion. So if you let a Sorc DoT you up, it's possible you will explode in about 10 seconds.It's quite insidious.

Sorcerers have two main types of spells: direct damage  (boom!) and curses. Curses do a small amount of damage over time, like a DoT, but at the end of the curse, they do a large amount of damage. By casting their curses so they all expire at around the same time, Sorcerers can do a massive burst of damage that's impossible to heal through.

Sorcerors do quite a bit of damage, and their mechanic works such that EVERY spell they cast adds to their dark magic. They got a spell which allows them to dump their dark magic buildup into a damage spell, which is a great addition to the class. Damage seems very high and survivability is fairly low, so it seems the ranged magic users are just about where Mythic wants them.

* Shaman (R1-23, R40): similar to the Archmage! Shaman doesn't have quite as many DoTs as the Archmage, and sadly cannot shoot laser beams out of his eyes (Archmages can...) but he gets a few things like a buff to elemental damage for your next attack, and a group resistance buff (nice vs. all those Bright Wizards). He uses the "build up points" mechanic, though with the shammy they're called Gork and Mork. You get two little faces above your quickbar, a red one and a green one (stylized wooden looking faces, not actual faces...). Hurtin' magic uses the red counter, and then builds up with the yellow face, and Helpin' magic uses the yellow counter and then builds up the red counter. So it's funny, even though the heals are pretty much identical, the Shaman feels like he's more offensive than the Archmage. I think it's a matter of perspective though. At lower levels, he's hard to distinguish from the AM, and hopefully as he grows the differences will become clearer. Their big damage spell is "Bunch o' Waaagh" which is a 3 second channeled spell that does a fixed amount of damage per second. Unfortunately, in RVR it's like a green string leading to the Shaman. Shaman post 20 gains some interesting spells: a short DoT that drains strength and returns health to your defensive target, an INT drain, and a AP transfer spell that takes a certain amount of AP over 9 seconds and transfers it to you (possibly to the defensive target). This AP transfer skill allows the Shaman to solo single mobs all day. My typical cast at 21 and up was Bunch o' Waaagh, AP transfer, instant DoT, instant DoT, 2 second strength drain/heal, regular DD spell, spec big damage spell, Bunch o' Waaagh, renew dots if needed. In RVR Shaman seem pretty squishy, and are often prime (first) targets for the other side.

Update on Shaman RVR: I participated in the Gates of Ekrund scenario this AM at R9 and was pleasantly surprised at how survivable my guy was. Only 1 death and that was about 10 seconds before the scenario ended. Using line of sight, instant heals, morale heals, and the AP drain made him a very tough target to take down. That said, if he's ganged up on, he'll go down fast (but then again, so will most anyone else). At higher levels, most Shaman feel they are nothing but RR food, and they can't really kill anyone in a one-on-one setting. It doesn't help that most Shaman are the first target of the assist train.

Even though Shaman complain that they're pretty squishy, they're still excellent healers. It's just that at lower levels they don't have any escape tools or the healing power to overcome a couple of people beating on them. That will change, my friend.

Comparing them to Archmages, their spells all do more damage than the equivalent Archmage spells, plus they have a few very useful spells they can spec into. They get a movement barb morale ability named Gork Sez Stop! HOLY COW! This does damage to enemies unless they stop for 2 seconds. It is very easy to miss this spell in the chaos of RVR and if you don't freaking stop it can deal something like 6k damage to you. Playing a Shaman after playing an Archmage I find I'm using the 2 second cast DD spell a lot more with the Shaman, because he seems to have a bunch of specialty damage spells which have longer cooldowns, as opposed to the Archmage, who uses mostly instant-cast DoTs.

Bottom line for Shaman is still that they don't have an escape mechanism until they get an AE knockback at 25(?). Prior to that, when someone sees them, they think "ooh, RPs!" I can testify that as a low level WP I was able to outlast and kill a couple of Shaman, one after another, with very few difficulties.

Shaman (and Archmages) have a great tactic they can equip that modifies the resurrection spell. This spell normally takes 10 seconds to cast. Equipping the tactic makes resurrections instant cast but stuns the Shaman for 3 seconds afterwards.This is an awesome tactic and for difficult encounters and RVR seems to be a must.

I have played Shaman in endgame situations, and they are excellent healers. In all cases the Shaman performed with aplomb.

If the worst thing people can complain about is that the Rank 1 Morale ability seems overpowered, then the Shaman is in pretty good shape.

* Zealot (R21-24): This is Destructions's mirror of the Runepriest. At first glance Zealots don't seem to have any "special tricks" up their sleeves and that first glance is true. They don't have a mechanic like the DoK and WP where they need to build up special "healing power;" they don't have any funky mechanism that affects their spells like Archmages and Shammies. EA Mythic has said that Zealots / Runepriests are the most traditional healers, that if someone comes to WAR as a novice, and wants to play a healer, this is the class they would probably choose because it's the most straightforward. You push the button, you heal the target. Zealots get the same assortment of heal spells as all other classes: the HoT, the Heal+HoT, and the big heal. The downside to the Zealot is that there's no way to reduce that 3 second cast of the big heal, so in RVR you will only use it sparingly.

At R21 (we rolled templated characters) the Zealot has those aforementioned heals plus a heal spell called "Leaping Alteration" that is a heal over time that leaps to your groupmates, and a group heal. Oh there's a teeny heal too but it really does so little that I'm not sure why it's there. They have a small assortment of damage spells: a DoT, a direct damage spell, an instant DD spell, and a cool spell where they spew purple fluff out of their mouths (this is a frontal AE damage spell). There's also a PB AOE spell that looks cool but doesn't do a whole lot of damage. Zealots' class defining spell is called the Harbinger of Doom. It puts a swirly purple cloud on the target with a raven on top of it. Pretty cool looking. What it does is make the target do 50% less damage to the Zealot for the next minute. So when sololing, this is a must. Zealots healing power is better than their damaging ability, so killing stuff takes a little while.

Zealots also get a number of buffs they can cast on groupmates - these buffs (just like Runemaster's runes) can be clicked off by the player they're cast on to deal damage to their target. I found a neat spell pretty early in one of the mastery lines: Ritual of Innervation. It puts a symbol on the ground. If you're close to that symbol, you have a x% chance to regen 50 AP every so often. The ritual lasts for a minute and has a recharge time of a minute. The bottom line is: this ritual is awesome. Putting it down means you never ever run out of AP (by contrast, when soloing, you might run out of AP if you continue to spam attacks. With the ritual down, I don't think it'd be possible to run out no matter what you cast). Some people are calling for Rituals to be part of the base class, and that makes sense to me. In RVR Zealots get cremated. I have not RVR'd with one, but my understanding is that they die really fast and can't really kill anyone 1 on 1.

Zealots, like Runepriests, get the 2 second cast Damage Shield that has a 5 second reuse timer. Contrast this to the AM/Shaman damage shield that's instant but has a longer reuse timer (20 seconds). So when picking a healer you have to weigh an instant shield against quick reuse.

As a main healer in some dungeon groups, the Zealot was awesome. He could handle healing a group and keeping everyone up easily.

22  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 19, 2008, 10:08:51 PM
(Posted at OO also)

I'm sure you'll find no shortage of info about Warhammer Online on the net, now that the NDA has dropped. I wrote this up a little bit ago as a general overview of the game and thought I'd share it with you guys, and the fellas over at GT. It's not the most eloquent, but it's a view from the trenches by someone who is unashamedly a fan of the game. It's not a perfect game by any means - and it suffers from some of the same problems MMOS suffer from - but I enjoy it quite a bit.

I have a little writeup on the classes I've played that I need to massage a bit and I'll post that here soon. Until then, enjoy this.

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Warhammer Online features a mix of PVE and RVR content. The game is designed to allow you to pursue the aspect you enjoy the most: if you like PVE you have traditional quests, public quests, open groups and dungeons. If you enjoy RVR you have RVR quests, scenarios, and open-world RVR. While EA Mythic's goal is to encourage players to pick and choose PVE and RVR as they level, there's nothing forcing you to partake in a part of the game you don't like. So whether you're interested in PVE or whether fighting other realms gets your blood pumping, there's something for everyone in WAR.

Terminology
WAR has some specialized terminology. Instead of levels, they talk about ranks. So instead of being Level 2 you'd be Rank 2 (or R2). In addition, the world is split up into zones by "tier" - lower tier zones contain low level content, and high tier zones contain high level content. There are 4 tiers to the WAR world, Tier 1 through Tier 4. Characters from R1 through R11 are considered Tier 1, R12 through R21 are Tier 2, R22 through R31 are Tier 3, and R32 through R40 are Tier 4. The appropriate zones for these characters are also labed tiers - for instance, a "Tier 1 zone" is a zone that contains content for R1 through R11 characters.

There are three racial pairings in the game too: Greenskin vs Dwarf, Empire vs Chaos, and High Elf vs Dark Elf. These are often abbreviated GvD, EvC, and HEvDE. Each pairing has a set of T1 through T4 zones, quests, flight masters, NPCs, and the like. The only thing that doesn't exist in all three pairings are the capital cities: Altdorf and The Inevitable City, which are in the Empire vs Chaos pairing.

The WAR PVE Experience: Questing, Public Quests and Open Groups

The central experience in WAR is the telling of a story - your story! This story is told through the Tome of Knowledge, which is an important part of the WAR experience. At its most basic level, the ToK is your quest log. But it's much more than that: it keeps track of monsters you've killed, titles you've earned, places you've explored, lore items you've found, important people you've met - most everything you do in the game is in here!

So you start playing WAR. After creating your newbie character and entering the world of WAR, your story begins! It begins as all stories do, with Chapter 1 (at the newbie camp). Progressing through the PVE world of WAR is very simple: Each chapter camp is a "mini-PVE" experience. You'll have a number of quest chains and Public Quest(s) that are associated with the Chapter (more on Public Quests in a bit). Eventually you'll get a quest to report to an NPC a little distance away. When you hit this NPC's town, you'll see on-screen that you've unlocked the next chapter (in this case, Chapter 2). So in a nutshell the PVE experience is: go to a chapter camp, take lots of quests. Complete them. Participate in Public Quests. Report to the next chapter camp and repeat the process.

Warcamps (which are the launching point for world RVR encounters, and where you respawn when you die in RVR) also unlock entries in the ToK. Warcamps have NPC questgivers, but the quests are often (but not always!) RVR oriented. Warcamps are where you find Flight Masters, the NPCs who transport you to other warcamps and to your capital city. Flight masters are the mechanism for getting around from one racial pairing to another. There are also special vendors in the Warcamps who sell RVR gear. But that's another story.

The ToK entries for each Chapter tell a short story, and list some points of interest in the area. This entry also shows your public quest influence and the influence rewards you can receive from the Influence NPC.

If you hit the Chapter camp at the appropriate level, you'll see lots of quests to take, and you should have very little trouble completing these quests. If you explore and end up at some Chapter camp that's far from your home, you'll notice very few quests offered - or none at all. This indicates the mobs in this area will probably wipe the floor with you.

Open Groups

You can play much of Warhammer solo, but one innovation Mythic has added to WAR is Open Groups. An open group is simply a group that anyone can join. To browse open groups close to you, you click the "group" icon that's right below your character icon in the upper left of the screen. Clicking this icon opens a window that lists all Open Groups near you, shows how many people are in the group, what they're doing (PVE, Public Quest, RVR) and approximately how long it will take you to reach the group. There's also a "Join Group" button on the right of the window. Clicking this button adds you to the group. So you don't have to wander around looking for groups, nor do you have to run up to people and ask "is there room? got a group?" If there's an open group near you with room, you'll be able to find it at the click of a button!

Groups in WAR consist of 6 members. Larger assemblies are called warbands (often called WBs) and consist of four groups of six, for 24 members total. Group leaders can convert their group to a warband easily. You can complete quests in warbands.

In the Open Groups window, warbands show up in green text, and the number of members in the WB is shown out of a max of 24 as opposed to the max of 6 for groups.

Questing - PVE

If you love to quest, there are tons of quests of the traditional type: Go kill 10 snarfblats, Recover 5 wolf pelts, etc. You've seen this in most MMOs, and here it's the same experience. Questgivers are marked with a circle above their heads that is colored green. The center of the circle shows a document (they're also marked on the minimap, and on the world map if you're in the vicinity). To take a quest, right click on the NPC, and if it's a single quest you'll see the quest text presented. You see the storyline, the quest objectives and the reward(s). Hitting Accept takes the quest, and Decline refuses it. If the NPC has multiple quests, you see a listing of all the quests and you must choose to accept or refuse them individually.

Accepting a quest automatically adds it to your on-screen quest tracker on the right side of the screen. Clicking on the quest name in the tracker, opens up your Tome of Knowledge to the quest description. The quest also shows up on the map display, on the right side. Quests are also listed on the right side of the map display.

There are "hidden" quests in the world. You might stumble across a questgiver when you're out traveling. Or you might notice an item that you can interact with (i.e., you mouse over it and your cursor turns into a hand). These are called "xmas" quests by Mythic. There aren't a lot of them, and they are typically pretty simple quests, but they're fun to run across.

Some quests have little dots to the right of their names. Different colored dots mean different things:

Green dot: a "travel" quest that sends you to go to another camp, warcamp, or Public Quest area.
Yellow dot: a quest that requires you to get flagged for RVR (typically involves you going to one of the battlefield objectives in your local RVR area).
Red dot: PVP quest (participate in a RVR scenario or kill 10 enemies)
Blue dot: Group quest.
Pink dot: An Epic quest

Quests don't have any kind of "con" color - that is, there's no indication that a particular quest will be very easy or very hard for you to complete. In general, if you can take a quest, you can complete the quest. The only time this becomes an issue is if you have quests you've forgotten about or neglected to complete when you were in the area. My rule of thumb is, if I have to run back to a prior zone to complete a quest, it's probably not worth it.

All quests, unless marked as "party quest," should be soloable.

WAR has implemented a number of features to make questing as fun as possible:

- quest inventory is separate from loot inventory, so you're not clogging up the two types of loot.

- quest areas are circled on the map and minimap. Hovering over the circled area pops up a tooltip showing you which quest it's for, and your current status. The circled area tells you a where you should look to kill the specified mobs or interact with the specified item. While you certainly get credit for killing the right type of mob outside of the circled area, you're going to find many more inside the region on the map. When you advance the quest, the indicated area on the map also updates (so for instance, when you have to turn in a quest to the questgiver, the circled area will indicate the camp where you received the quest).

- NPCs that give or end quests are marked on the map and the minimap. As mentioned, questgivers have a green circle with a document inside it in the world, and are marked with a green dot on the minimap/world map. Completed quests show a mustard colored circle in the world, and are yellow on the minimap/map. The minimap/map marks only show up if you're fairly close (so for instance, if you have to go to an area and talk to someone to advance the quest, the general area will be marked on your map. When you get close to the quest objective NPC, you'll see his quest marker on the minimap).

- quest drops don't have to be looted, they automatically end up in your bag when you kill the mob. You get a big on-screen announcement as you pick up quest objectives, and a nice "Questname/Done!" as you complete quests.

- items you can interact with in the world "pulse" to let you know they're interactible. Note: when you're required to interact with an item to advance a quest, you ALMOST ALWAYS get a quest window popup at the end of the interaction. So don't move away! You'll need to accept the next stage of the quest before you leave the item.

- multi-stage quests sometimes don't involve going back to the questgiver to advance them. For instance, a quest might say "kill 10 wolves and then consult the list of executions to see what you should do next." You kill 10 wolves. Then you open your inventory and see "executions list" in the quest tab (it was given to you when you accepted the quest, but you never had a reason to wonder about it until this point). Right clicking on this list will end the current step and bring up the quest dialog for you to accept the next step.

Tips: There are a few pitfalls that can stump you when questing:

1. If you think you've completed a quest but no new area opens up on the minimap, and the quest objectives haven't updated (or it doesn't say "report to Bob Jones when you're done" then check the quest description carefully. Usually the quest hasn't advanced because you need to interact with something in your quest inventory.

2. Sometimes you're told to go report to or talk to a specific person and no marker shows up on the map, You run around the circled area on the map and you can swear with 100% surety that person is not in the area. When this happens, he's probably a corpse. Check all the dead bodies lying around.

4. If a quest says "Kill 10x, 5y, and get the list/book/report/journal" usually the last item is something in the world.

5. However, once in a blue moon you'll get a quest to kill 10 XYZ and retrieve item Q. Oftentimes you kill the first XYZ and receive the item. Other times you kill the 10th XYZ and receive the item. But once in a while you kill all 10 XYZ and have no item. Look around and don't see any static items in the world. Kill the 11th - you'll get your item.

6. If a quest says "Kill 10x, 5y, and get the list/book/report/journal" you can't interact with the world item before doing all the killing. So kill the x and y's first.

7. Sometimes a quest will circle multiple areas on the map. When this happens, you might need to visit all of the camps to complete the quest (for example, one type of mob might only be found at one of the multiple camps; hanging out at the other areas waiting for the proper mob type to spawn usually is just a waste of time).

Quest Rewards

Quests reward XP or items. Usually item rewards offer a choice of two different items - say a shoulderpad or a pair of boots. You'll always be offered items you CAN use, though whether or not you WANT to use it is an entirely different story! My experience is that quest rewards usually are decent, and while at the low levels you certainly use the rewards, as you get to the higher levels, quest rewards are usually among the least desirable items you'll end up with.

Items and Item Rarity

As with "that other MMO" loot desirabilty is indicated by color. White names = nothing special. Green = uncommon. Blue = rare, Purple = phat loot. Items may have "enhancement slots" in which you can install stat modifiers (at the low levels, these are temporary and last for a specified amount of time - for instance "+3 to strength for 60 minutes.").

Loot

As with all MMOs, loot drops from the bodies of dead mobs. One particularly interesting feature of loot in WAR is that you'll sometimes come across "broken" items - these are loot drops that can be taken back to town and repaired at an NPC. When repaired, the item oftentimes is something you can use. When you hover over a broken item, the tooltip shows the name of the item ("Seriously Ruptured Shoulders") and will tell you what it can be repaired to (and will show the item's stats) if you can use it. In fact, this is a common way magical items drop in the world. If your class cannot use the repaired item, the tooltip indicates this. I'd say that probably 80% of the green items that drop can be repaired into a useable item. So you won't have the joy of getting a green drop with your cloth wearer and then seeing that it's a piece of plate armor!

Mobs and Mob Levels

When you target a mob, you see the mob's level, inside a colored circle that indicates how difficult the mob will be to kill. The color ranges from gray (trivial to kill) to green, blue, white (equal), yellow, orange, red, and purple. It's typically not possible for most classes to kill a red or purple mob solo. In addition, there are mobs that are extremely tough: Champion and Hero mobs. The difficult ranges from Normal (no indication) - Champion - Hero. The Champion/Hero indications are written as text in the mob's health bar, so they're easy to see. Champion and Hero mobs hit extremely hard, and most classes cannot kill Champion mobs unless they are green (notable exceptions to this are Warrior Priests and Disciple of Khaines).

Public Quests

Public quests are a special type of quest. These are group-oriented quests that occur in a fixed location. When you enter an area where a public quest is occurring, the PQ quest tracker appears automatically on-screen. You have complete freedom to participate in the quest or not, as you desire. Public Quests typically consist of a series of stages. For instance, Stage 1 of a PQ might say "Kill 50 mongbats    5/50" on the tracker. The tracker shows the current requirement and how far along you are. Whenever ANYONE in the PQ area kills a Mongbat, the count will advance, and when 50 have been killed in this example, the quest will progress to Stage 2. Successfully completing each stage advances the PQ, until eventually the objective consists of killing a number of Hero or Champion mobs. When the last stage is successfully completed, the PQ ends.

Public Quests reward you loot in two ways:
 - influence rewards
 - PQ loot bags

Influence Rewards:
Fulfilling PQ objectives (i.e., killing a mongbat) rewards you influence in addition to XP. Think of influence as a sort of "faction" that just pertains to the Chapter in which you're questing. As you kill mobs for the Public Quest, you receive influence. Transitioning a PQ from one stage to another rewards you with "bonus influence." Successfully completing a PQ awards you more bonus influence. As mentioned, each Chapter has its own influence meter, and when you are in a Chapter, you'll see your influence bar to the right of the minimap. As you gain influence, the bar will grow, like a thermometer, and as you gain influence, your influence bar will grow higher and higher.

So what is influence for? Well, in each Chapter camp is a NPC called the "Rally Master." This NPC allows you to bind at the Chapter, but he also rewards you for certain levels of influence. When your influence bar hits the 1/3 mark, you have a choice between a number of potions or perhaps some armor enhancements. When you hit the 2/3 mark you will have a choice between two decent pieces of armor. When you max out your influence you typically have the choice between two pretty good pieces of armor or weapons. Note that you'll only be offered items you can use.

PQ loot bags:
Successfully completing the last stage of the PQ brings up the "loot phase" of the quest, where rewards are determined. In this phase, every person's contribution to the PQ effort is rated, and people who contributed more are awarded "bonus points." Then WAR rolls a random number between 1 and 1000, adds your contribution bonus to the roll, and ranks the rolls in numeric order. The top X people receive "loot bags." The number and rarity of bags awarded is determined by a mysterious formula, but the color of the bag indicates the rarity of the loot inside. Bag colors include (from best to worst): gold, purple, blue, green, and white. A green bag, for instance, includes a green item, a white item, a couple of tradeskill items, and some cash. A blue bag includes the contents of a green bag plus a blue item. Purple includes a purple item plus the blue bag contents. A gold bag is the jackpot: it's called a "massive loot bag" and includes the contents of a purple bag plus a green set item. These set items are some of the best items in the game for your level, and typically grant very good bonuses and have excellent set bonuses. When you win a bag, you can pick one and only one item from the bag. So if worst comes to worst and you win a bag a couple of times in a row, you can always take the cash!

So you see how PQs work: people flock to them to get influence for their influence rewards, and as a byproduct, if you complete the PQ, you have a chance to get a loot bag. Public Quests are "drop in/drop out" - you can enter one at any point in the quest's progress, stay as long as you like, and leave when you want (although people typically try to see a PQ through to give themselves a better chance at a loot bag). You don't need to be grouped to participate in a PQ, though if you are, you share and split influence gains with your groupmates.

Group Quests & Dungeons

There are very few "group quests" in WAR, outside of those that involve dungeons. As with all areas, you will begin getting breadcrumb quests to lead you to the dungeons when you're the appropriate level. The main dungeons in WAR are Gunbad, which is a 20-30 dungeon, The Bastion Stair, which is 30ish, and The Lost Vale, which is an endgame dungeon. Each capital city has four of five dungeons in it (Altdorf has 2 or 3 sewers dungeons, Bilerot Burrow and maybe one other; The Inevitable City has three Sacellum dungeons, Bloodrought Enclave and maybe one other).

Gunbad is a "realm instanced" dungeon. That means Destruction has one instance and Order has a second one. So once you enter the dungeon, you will only see players from your faction. When you zone into Gunbad, you're greeted by a number of NPCs and three paths, each leading to a separate "wing." Each wing contains three Public Quests that you work on as you advance down the caverns. As with outside PQs, killing mobs and completing stages in the PQ gives you influence: each wing has a separate influence bar. At the end of each wing is a "boss instance" - and you can only enter the instance if you have sufficient influence. So in the wing, you're cooperating with your realm mates, killing mobs and getting loot from PQs. At the end of the wing, you split off into a 6 man group to tackle the boss of the wing. In addition, there is a "endboss" of Gundbad, the mutant squig 'Ard Ta Eat.

Each wing also contains some "mini-bosses" who are randomly wandering mobs that drop loot when they're killed.

The difference between Gunbad and the outside world is that almost all of the mobs in Gunbad are Champion mobs, and most pulls are multi-pulls. So it's pretty much impossible to make any headway in Gunbad by yourself. There are a number of quests that take you to Gunbad, but in addition, there are many quests for the dungeon itself - collecting items, killing specific mobs - the same types of quests you complete outside.  And of course, since you gain influence in Gunbad, there is a Rally Master in Gunbad who will award influence rewards to you when you have the required influence.

PvP and RVR

Warhammer Online features Player vs Player combat, but a large part of this is fighting for your realm - so oftentimes, people speak of "Realm vs Realm" combat, or RVR. Killing players from the other faction and completing RVR quests award you Realm Points in addition to XP. Realm Points contribute to your Realm Rank, which is independent of your Rank. Your XP is shown by the gold bar that grows left to right across the top of your screen. Your Realm Points are shown by the purple bar just below the XP bar. As you advance in Realm Rank (abbreviated RR) you qualify to purchase RVR oriented gear and items. In addition, each RR awards you 1 Realm Point. These points can be spent at a Realm Trainer (located in T1 warcamps and Keeps controlled by your faction) to upgrade your statistics and purchase RVR oriented tactics.

Bolstering

To prevent the lop sided battle where a high level character beats up on a lower level character, RVR is segregated by tiers. There are 4 tiers: R1-11, R12-21, R22-31, and R32-40. When you fight players, you will only fight players within your current tier. In addition, when getting flagged for RVR within a tier, players below a certain level receive a buff called "Bolster." This buff temporarily raises your level by increasing your hitpoints and armor. You do not receive any additional spells, but this gives you a chance. In Tier 1, players below R8 are bolstered to R8. For Tier 2, players below R18 are bolstered to R18. For tier 3, players below R28 are bolstered to R28, and in Tier 4, players below R36 are bolstered to R36. This occurs in open world RVR and in scenarios. So a R1 player fresh off the boat can participate in RVR, bolstered to R8 - he won't have but one or two skills, but he will have a chance to compete.

RVR segregation

WAR contains a mechanism to prevent high level players from going to low level RVR areas. This is called "chickenizing." As described above, Tier 1 is defined as R1 through R11. Once a player hits R12, they cannot RVR in T1 zones any more. Therefore, if a R12 or higher player enters a T1 RVR area (i.e, if he's flagged) he turns into a chicken. The chicken can use no abilities, and his only attack is a peck that does 1 point of damage. Once chickenized, you remain so until you log out or die (and resurrect unflagged).

Scenarios

At any point when you're playing WAR, you can queue up to play in a scenario. To do this, you click the round button at the 11 O'clock position on your minimap. This brings up a window that allows you to join the queue for the local scenario (the scenario you join is determined by the area in which you're adventuring. For instance, in Dwarf vs Greenskin Tier 1 areas, the scenario is Gates of Ekrund. For Empire vs Chaos Tier 1, the scenario is Nordenwatch. For High Elfs vs Dark Elfs, the scenario is Khaine's Embrace). You can queue up individually or as a group. You can choose to queue up for all scenarios through a preference.

When you enter a Scenario, you're presented with the group window - you are automatically grouped when entering a scenario. In addition, scenarios add special chat channels. To speak to your scenario party you type /sp <text>. To talk to all your realmmates in the scenario, you type /sc <text>.

Each scenario has its own rules for winning - some are capture the flag, others are king of the hill, others are a mix - be sure to read the scenario loading screen to clarify what the rules are.

Resurrections in scenarios automatically occur every 30 seconds. So when you die and release, you won't be resurrected until the next time the resurrection is scheduled (of course you can be resurrected by a realm mate).

Killing players from the opposite faction gives you XP and Realm Points. In addition, at the end of the scenario, RPs are awarded on the basis of conribution, with the winners receiving more than the losers.

Since you can queue up for a scenario from anywhere, when you leave the scenario, you're returned to the exact same spot you were. So make sure you're in a safe spot before you enter.

Once you leave the scenario, you are removed from all scenario queues.

Almost every scenario has a PVE quest in the world that basically is "participate in the XYZ scenario." These award regular quest experience and are repeatable. So try to never enter a scenario without having the appropriate quest.

Open World RVR

Each zone in each tier contains both PVE and RVR zones. The RVR zones are colored with a reddish-orange border. Entering a RVR zone displays a warning on the screen and a countdown begins. If you're in the zone when the countdown finishes, you're flagged for RVR.

RVR zones contain Battleground Objectives (BOs) and Keeps. These items can be controlled by either side or in the case of BOs, can be neutral. Controlling a BO consists of defeating any NPC defenders (if any) and clicking on the BO to convert it to your faction. Once converted, the BO must be defended for three minutes. At the end of this time, the BO is invulnerable for fifteen minutes. T1 BOs are simply towers in the world, and can be easily turned solo. For T2 and higher, BOs contain defending NPCs, who must be defeated before taking control of the BO. T2, for example, contains one Champion mob and four regular mobs (these can all be pulled individually). Capturing a BO awards Realm Points, and being in the area when the BO becomes invulnerable awards more Realm Points. In addition, NPCs at the local Warcamp often give out quests to go "investigage" a BO - and these quests can be completed whether or not you actually capture the BO - just by visiting the area. These quests are repeatable, and award XP and sometimes Realm Points.

Keeps are owned by either one faction or the other. NPCs spawn at various points around the keep - patrols outside, guards in the lower levels, and on the second level, a keep lord and his guardians. To take possession of a keep, the attacking realm must break down the door, storm the keep, and defeat the lord. Indidentally, once you defeat a keep lord, you see a scoreboard just as you do with Public Quests - and the top contributors to the Keep assaut receive loot bags, just as top contributors to a PQ receive loot bags.

Higher Tier keeps contain more guards, higher level guards and keep walls.

There are various spots outside the keep where the assaulting realm can assemble weapons: ballistas, hellfire cannons, and the like. In addition, right in front of the door is a ram pad, where the attackers can place a ram to help break down the door quickly. Defenders have defending pads where they can place defense weapons, and above the door is a cauldron into which they can place hot oil for pouring on the attacker's heads. These pads can be destroyed (and when destroyed, do not respawn for a little while) so defenders can be proactive and destroy the attacker's pads before the attackers arrive, if they wish.

When players are killed in RVR zone, little indications appear on the map as crossed swords. The crossed sword icon grows as the number of players killed in the area grows, and it becomes starts out bright and fades to red over time. So you can always look at the map and see where the action is.

When you die in the RVR zone, you resurrect at the local Warcamp and are unflagged.

The RVR Campaign

The endgoal of RVR is to capture your enemy's capital city.

How is that accomplished? Through zone control. You control zones by capturing and holding BOs and Keeps and by winning scenarios. When a faction has exerted enough influence over a zone they "control" it and control is "locked" for a while (control is shown above the minimap by competing red and blue bars. When one side has a zone locked, you'll see the control bar all one color and a lock icon over it). Lower level control contributes to higher level control, so you can't ignore the lower level areas. In T4, it works a bit differently. Each T4 pairing consists of 5 zones: Destruction fortress, Destruction locked zone, neutral zone, Order locked zone, and Order fortress. Battles are fought in the neutral zone for control. If one faction controls the zone, it's locked, and the zone closer to their opponent's fortress is unlocked. For example, in HEvDE the center zone is Dragonwake. Caledor is locked by Destruction and Eataine is locked by Order. Suppose Order takes control of Dragonwake. This locks Dragonwake and unlocks Caledor for battle. If Order takes Caledor then it locks under Order control and the Fist of Malekith fortress is unlocked. Should Order take this fortress (think of fortresses as a super keep), then this pairing is locked for Order.

At any point if the other faction takes control of the zone, the zone will lock under their control and the fight will move back in the opposite direction. This is the ebb and flow of battle.

However, should a faction successfully capture two of their enemy's fortresses, the opponent's capital city becomes "contested" - meaning enemy players can enter and and fight over control of the city itself.

Visually, the city enters a distressed state - fires are everywhere, people are in a panic. Special quests spawn for both attackers and defenders. Attackers typically try to start fires and destroy items, and defenders typically try to put out fires and save citizens. But that's not all: inside the contested city, you will find PQs and BOs. Oh yeah, lots of enemy players too. These are 48 vs 48 instanced battles. Completing PQs and holding BOs swings the city to your side. Should the attackers take control of the city, it changes from Contested to "Captured." This kicks out the enemy players and opens up the city for some lucrative endgame PQs. This is where some of the best loot in the game drops. And these are very hard PQs.
23  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 18, 2008, 09:36:17 PM
I've been in the beta for WAR for quite a while. When the NDA drops there will be a flood of information about the game, and I'm sure you'll be able to read tons of facts about the game, presented better than I could.

However, if after reading all that, you still have questions or want to ask about things that aren't addressed, feel free to post your questions here and I'll try to answer them. I might also be able to dig up a few pics here and there.
24  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: The Wanderers & Warhammer Online on: August 13, 2008, 11:46:01 AM

Quote from: DArtagnan on August 12, 2008, 07:30:01 AM

There are rumours that the "Elder" testers just got a patch which, essentially, fixed the clunky combat I've been bitching about in the videos. If not entirely then almost, and more work is being done on that very issue.

Can't break the NDA on this, however....

 icon_biggrin icon_biggrin thumbsup thumbsup

Mark Jacobs said last week (over at warhammeralliance I believe) that there were 3 things he wanted to see done before he was comfortable dropping the NDA. I believe two of them have happened, and it's possible the third is today. So I think the NDA is going to drop pretty soon, and when it does, there will be a flood of information available.


In addition: I updated my initial post to reflect that we're also creating a Destruction / Open RVR guild on a separate server, so if you lean in that direction, you now have an additional Wanderers guild from which to choose.
25  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / The Wanderers & Warhammer Online on: August 07, 2008, 01:12:01 AM
(Posted over at OO too, fyi, so it's not deja vu, you really ARE reading it twice)

It's that time again! New MMO time that is.

It doesn't take a genius to guess that The Wanderers are going to be playing Warhammer Online. If you haven't dropped by the guild website since the big "we couldn't get our domain registration from the evil man" event, you might not realize our new URL is http://www.the-wanderers-guild.com - but if you go there, you'll see we have a big, shiny, new front page portal. It's like a real website or something!

In addition to the portal, the second thing we're psyched about right now is the impending launch of Warhammer Online. We just today announced we're playing the Order faction on a Core server (this server type is basically the way the game was designed, and you can think of it as being on a PVE as opposed to a PVP server in WoW). We have a number of people in the closed beta right now, gathering all sorts of info and getting some experience playing different classes, so when the NDA breaks you'll have some good sources of info on the game.

The Wanderers were formed originally in Dark Age of Camelot, Mythic's last MMO, and we have a lot of pleasant memories of playing there. In many ways this feels like a reunion of the gang. And the game should be a lot of fun, especially when you've got a bunch of pals with which to play.

But let me finally get to the point: we'd like to cordially extend an invitation to any GTers who are interested in WAR to play with us. If you've already registered at the site prior to this, you're all set (and it'll be good to see some old familiar faces again!). If you haven't, you will need to create an account and post in the Recruitment forum. Please mention that you're from GT and we will validate your account ASAP (and it'll be nice to meet some new faces!).

There's plenty of discussion going on in the Warhammer Online forum, so feel free to come on by and pipe in. And of course, should you get into the closed beta, look for The Wanderers, as we'll be there (right now we're playing a Destruction guild but starting with the next wipe we'll be creating Order guilds only).

As they say... WAR is coming! (yeah, it's cheezy but I had to!)

Edit to add: Due to popular demand, The Wanderers have decided to add a second guild playing Destruction on an Open RVR server. This guild will be led by Morgabri, who's a long time WOW player and a really good guy. So if you thought Order / Core was too wussified for your tastes, you now have a second choice.
26  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / WoW expansion pack playable at Blizzcon on: October 18, 2005, 04:54:56 PM
What I saw said Blood Elves for Horde and ??? for Alliance (in fact, it said the Alliance race wasn't unlocked for testing yet). I saw a leaked picture of a Blood Elf town that looked like it might have been in Azshara. People who know a lot more of the WC lore than I say this doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but hey, I just get in-game and push the buttons!

As to how the level cap increase would work, maybe the last 10 levels are essentially "Hero Levels" or some such, where you get additonal abilities or some such. But I suppose lots of details will be released in a few weeks at BlizzCon, so we can only speculate until then. After BlizzCon we'll just have to wait it out, because I'm still hearing the expansion is a ways off (surprising to me, since I thought all these MMORPG guys aimed for an expansion after a year but it's Blizzard, and at this point they are certainly in the driver's seat with respect to whatever they wanna do with WoW).
27  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Oblivion Billboards up in LA! on: October 17, 2005, 06:41:08 PM
Quote from: "mytocles"
So who in LA is going to take a picture of it for us?  I don't want to be excited for naught, either - I at least want to see a photo of the thing!  Tongue


... agreed! TTIWWOP
28  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / What Should I Upgrade? on: October 17, 2005, 06:40:17 PM
Well, easiest two are:

1. RAM - to 2 GB
2. Video Card. One of those new-fangled 7800s or some such

I suspect those two upgrades would tide you a bit...
29  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / LF: Lumines, other PSP games on: October 16, 2005, 12:48:00 PM
PM sent.
30  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Play City of Villains NOW! go download it!! on: October 16, 2005, 12:44:16 PM
Quote from: "happydog"
I got it downloaded and installed, but it does the 2.5GB check then says downloading manifest 0KB/0KB and nothing else. Anyone else have that problem?


I finally got mine to install (only to get a CTD related to my Catalyst driver version!). I had to connect and wait an insanely long time for updates to download. So I'd just leave it for a while.

I'm not willing to roll back my drivers for the weekend, so I'll just say that I enjoyed the 10 minutes I played, and I loved my robot Mastermind that I created.
31  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Play City of Villains NOW! go download it!! on: October 15, 2005, 07:34:27 PM
Quote from: "Daehawk"
Quote from: "Charlatan"
Well downloaded it last night and this morning it's corrupt. So much for that idea. frown


Ive heard that it says corrupt if you try to open it with anything other than winzip.


Thanks, I believe that was the problem - unzipping now with WinZip and it appears to be working.
32  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Play City of Villains NOW! go download it!! on: October 15, 2005, 01:40:20 PM
Well downloaded it last night and this morning it's corrupt. So much for that idea. frown
33  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / WoW expansion pack playable at Blizzcon on: October 14, 2005, 03:20:24 PM
I was talking to someone in-game last night and said it'd be funny if Ogres were indeed added for Horde. That way Female Ogre would be the new candidate to replace Female Tauren as the least played Sex/Race combination.

Male ogres, though, they're cool. Even tiny ones!
34  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / WoW expansion pack playable at Blizzcon on: October 11, 2005, 08:40:54 PM
Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
No new classes?  Hero classes better as hell be in, then, or the WoW forums will very likely implode from the backlash.


Yeah, and a bunch of people will quit and they'll only have.... like 3 million people playing. smile
35  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / MASSIVE CoH nerfs on: October 11, 2005, 12:03:11 PM
Ya, part of the underlying problem is that while there are a number of different enhancements you can use, most of them aren't very useful. I guess that's what LE is saying. smile Seems like this is rooted in the initial design of the game and enhancement system.

I'm sure that the timing of this is to prepare for PvP also, as it's important to make this change before the new CoV people join up (and therefore they have no concept that they've been 'nerfed').

I'm on the sidelines here but watching with interest.
36  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / First game you ever played on the PC? on: October 10, 2005, 06:57:31 PM
I bought an Atari 800 for Christmas one year to play Star Raiders.

I was really clever about it: purchased it as a present "for my wife." This was 1980 I believe, and the 800s were in short supply. Or I couldn't get one locally, or there was some problem getting one. Therefore, I purchased it mail order, but due to some sort of mixup, it didn't come in until AFTER Christmas - like the 27th. In fact, I got a call from a Freight carrier at Dulles Airport saying it was in, and could they get directions to my house. I asked them when it would be delivered, and they said it would take two to three days. "Not good enough!" I said. "If I drive out there, can I pick it up?" "Sure thing".

So I hopped in my car at around 6 in the evening and drove to Dulles Airport - a trip of about 25 miles from where I lived in Springfield, VA. I found the freight terminal, got the package and made it back home around 8 or 8:30. I unpacked it, and carefully put everything together. I then opened the Star Raiders box, plugged in the cart, turned on the power... and there it was in all its' glory on the TV. Score!

I then went upstairs to my wife, who was in bed at this point (it was probably 10 or 10:30 PM by this time). "Honey, your Christmas present is here, and I put it together.. do you want to see it?" "Unghhhhh... no, I'll just look at it tomorrow."

If only I could share with you the look on her face when she saw her "big present." Well, maybe that's for the best... suffice to say, she was not what you call "overwhelmed" by getting a computer and video game for her big Christmas present (note to self: girls like jewelry and clothes!)

The next year, on my birthday in May, I came home from work to my "big present": an antique high chair that converts to a stroller. As I looked at it, she leaned towards me and said "we're even now for that computer you gave me last Christmas"



P.S., The Atari 800 is long gone, but we still have the stroller, sitting in our dining room.
37  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / A Ton of New Oblivion Pics! on: October 07, 2005, 10:58:34 AM
Quote from: "Turtle"
Right now it looks like a fantasy version of a soap opera camera.


And your problem is? smile
38  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [Movie] Domino? on: October 06, 2005, 05:31:51 PM
All I can say is, after I saw the trailer (about two months ago) I wanted to claw my eyes out.

So unless it really surprises me: OUT!
39  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / XBOX 360 official launch list on: October 04, 2005, 07:24:00 PM
If you read the press release the only "launch titles" they list are: Kameo, PD0, and PGR3. The others are part of the "great games announced or shown," or the "franchise titles that will make their debut on XBox 360."

So IMHO most of those are still up in the air as regards launch tday availability.
40  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / Dungeon Siege II for sale or trade {GONE} on: October 01, 2005, 04:51:02 PM
Quote from: "stimpy"
Well thats great for you.
I bought it new for $49.99
And your reason for posting is?


He was being rude, and I'm certainly not coming to LE's defense,  but I'll venture to say his point is that the price you put seemed a bit high.

Regarding what you wrote above, one thing people who resell stuff need to understand is that it doesn't matter what you paid for something, the price you'll get is what someone else is willing to pay for it. So I'll say it too: your price seems a bit on the high side. Nevertheless, good luck.
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