I’ve given a good amount of time in game, read all the other blogs, digested and let settle all the changes and issues risen from the most recent patch. I’ve resisted writing a review with an initial knee-jerk reaction, and feel now that the majority of reactions have been made by Mythic to cover the most game-breaking emergency patches. I see a lot more good in this patch than bad, and for the most part feel that they have accomplished their goals in releasing it. It ain’t perfect, but I can’t blame Mythic entirely for their failures in light of the vast amount of work stuffed into this patch. Overall, it’s been a good one, with some bad spots throughout.
Among many things, their major goals include Keep Upgrades, Siege Weapon changes, Combat Responsiveness, Guild UI overhaul, Character UI profiles, RvR PvE adjustments, Medallions and Crests, Ordinance, Guild Recruitment profile, the new Gates of Ekrund 6v6 Scenario, Capital City fixes, a large myriad of Class adjustments including : Pet buffs, AoE fixes, Choppa/Slayer spam adjustments, AM/Shammy dps buff, Stat caps, and persist-through-death-buffs. Not to mention the upcoming Live Event, which I wanted to wait and see how difficult it would be, but I kinda already have a sense of it. Everything they went out to touch, they did so quite well imo, but some things took a swift nutkick along the way. A bit of bitter aftertaste if you will, but, is it gamebreaking?
This is gonna be a massive wall of text, so bust out a bucket of popcorn and grab a soda. Maybe even bookmark the page and go for a walk during the intermission…
Of all the things they could have done to make RvR that much more challenging, this was probably the best move. I’ve had experience in every tier taking and claiming keeps, upgraded and not. Keep in mind, I play on an oRvR server, so level requirements are a bit more lax. Tier 2 keeps are the easiest to hold at this point when fully upgraded with Champion mobs all around. You don’t get the option for additional guards in T2, but the overall cost for maintenance is much lower, coming out to around 8g per hour. Upgrade times are fast, ranging from 5-10 minutes, but you have to be wary about getting rolled quickly if a large enough force shows up. One door before the Keep Lord makes for easy pickings if there’s more than a warband running around taking them. However, the max rank allowed in is 31, so you won’t get a hoard of R40’s sneaking in to steal the zone. It leaves the best chances to successfully repel invaders for appropriately leveled ranges
T3 is a slightly different story. Maintenance cost is up a bit more, and you still don’t get the option for extra guards, but there is more of them roaming around anyways. The inner sanctum is a bit more deadly because of this, especially when surrounded by champion mobs. To counter this, R40’s CAN get into these ones, which can make for a lackluster defense if you’re randomly defending the zone you’re currently leveling in. Also, at this point, you’ll find Lockpick/Bypass Defenses being used to ninja the Keep lord by groups as small as 5 R40’s. Between banner rez, and rez pots, they can get just barely enough healing to pull it off, and in some instances, they can sneak a healer inside. Same story since the hotfix after 1.2, so no real change there. Taking a fully ranked keep in T3 requires a full warband of ~R25 or, as we like to do it, a party of R40, and a party of ~R25. Running the guild across the zones, we closed our warband, stayed in vent, and managed to take every keep we came across. Two R40 MDPS managed to wipe whatever forces tried coming in the backdoor to defend, and the rest of us the doors, and stomped in the Lord.
I had a brief run-in with a couple keeps in T4, through roaming with our Alliance in a push to the DE Fortress. From what I hear, these are quite a bit more expensive when fully upgraded, and the difficulty isn’t really that different when it comes to scale. It’s all R40’s v R40’s on Pragg, and Destro really doesn’t have much in the way of tactics and organization. When the Alliance wants a fort, we flip all the zones until we get it. Usually takes about 3 hours. Champ mobs simply did not slow us down and were not a deterrent for Destro pug-bands either, so for the most part, T4 hasn’t changed except for being a bit more expensive.
Overall, I really enjoy the difficulty presented with a claimed keep. It takes coordination now, which means less pug-bands running around like a mindless zerg getting in our way. Also, the spam when a keep comes under attack has changed. You now get a notice of how many enemies are in the area, when they kill a guard, and where they are on the keep. If they attack the Outer Doors, Inner Sanctum, Keep Lord, it lets the whole guild know about it. The extra information allows defenders to respond appropriately, and bring a nice fight at most of the keeps. When running with a group of 12, we had enemies show up at every claimed keep with at least equal numbers. The only thing that still bugs me is the banner/pot rezzing Healers into the keeps. Reduce the range even further Mythic! Make it 10′ instead of 30. 🙂
If anything were to slow us down, it would be that we simply couldn’t zerg against the door to shred it to pieces anymore. Thank god! Door hitpoints have been doubled, and Ram dmg has been as well. Effectively, reducing normal attacks by 50% effectiveness. Also, the rams have added damage reduction against Oil, so eveyone isn’t getting insta-wiped when splashed down upon. The Epic Rams are crazy powerful too, those will reduce a door to splinters in half the time! I wish they would have added a bit more damage to the ST and AoE siege weapons though, plinking for ~500 with a ST siege weapon just doesn’t cut it when you’re looking at ~5000hp on a smart healer. Even with 6 of the things up and concentrating fire on healers, it’d take two full volleys to kill them IF they held still, did not cast, and were not healed. The AoE shots are fine at ~250-300 dmg, it just falls in line with the rest of their scheme to love all over AoE damage.
Notice the quotation marks. This is an area with mixed results. The idea was to reduce lag in large oRvR battles, and give casters back a respectable cast-bar. It seems to me this is something of a continual improvement instead of a one-fell-swoop sort of deal. I believe I’ve counted two hotfixes on top of the initial patch to reduce lag, crashing, and general badness in T4 forts/capital. On the upside, spells are being cast at appropriate times now when lag-free, and “Mythic” seconds appear to have been abolished, though the casting animation seems to be the same for the most part. I’ve noticed, insta-casts have become more instant now, and you can generally ignore the animation suggested by GCD. This could be bad, as it brings back the macroability of insta-death via stealthers. Also increases the insta-DoT spam from various classes once they figure out whats going on. I’ve tested it on my AM, with his instant no-cooldown DoT and I’m getting double the damage I used to by spamming a dozen people in the time it used to take me to ST DoT two.
Also, resurrection is broken 80% of the time. Whether intentional or not, a rez will bring the person back to life at 80-100% hp most of the time. No idea how they managed that, but it d
rives me crazy (unless I’m playing my healer). Battles are more chaotic now, since that choppa you just slaughtered is only going to be gone for 5 seconds. Good luck killing the rest of the mob that quickly. This so far is the worst part of the patch, but at least it happens on both sides equally.
UI Overhaul : Guild, Profiles, Recruiting
Excellent job by Mythic on this one. I think they not only hit the nail on the head, but managed to drive it through 3 feet of petrified wood in the process. The only gripe people have had on this is having to set up profiles for each toon. The Guild tab is amazing now. There’s so much information available, as a guild leader I salivate each time I hit G. Setting permissions is much smoother, and is done from one window, which makes it easy to compare all the different ranks. The Roster simple works now. You can promote/demote, assign/un standards or recruiters, see who is in a party or warband, locked or not, AND join them in the same spot. All the issues my officers have had with losing guild permissions are entirely gone. Our Alliance tab hasn’t changed a whole lot, except for being able to see all our allied guild Standards, and which keeps they hold, if any. Oh, wait. That’s a pretty significant change too! Being able to have different UI’s per character is nice, though I would lik, e to have a Master profile in case I like how a set of toons are worked out. Obviously I don’t need SquaredHealBot on anything but healers, but my DPS classes could all use the same UI elements. Of the tons of addons that I have, only Minmap broke, so that’s a big plus as well. Huge patches that don’t kill my list of addons are cool with me. Lastly, the recruiting profile, and Guild Links are pretty cool. There’s a LOT less spam out there from guilds, and when it is, all you see is [random guild] then nothing else. So much nicer than block-spam about how l337 these R7 guilds are. Try the search function out too, it actually works how you would imagine it should!
Medallions, Crests, and Ordnance
I really like how the system works now. Medals drop off players depending on their rank, and you get them ANYTIME you kill someone (10% drop rate). Some think the cost is far too high, but I disagree. It’s meant to add on to the existing system, people are still out taking Keeps and running PQ’s for Gold Bags. If they replaced the bag system for tokens, you wouldn’t have nearly the incentive to get out there and do it. In the past week, spread across 4 toons, I’ve collected at least a hundred medallions, and a handful of crests. I’ve also won three gold bags for set pieces that I need. Figure over the next week I’ll pick up three more bags, and be able to redeem (if all on the same toon at least) medallions for the final piece! Two weeks to collect enough to buy sounds about right to me. It will certainly take a bit longer if you’re afflicted with altoholism, but I don’t mind the system encouraging playing one toon. Personally, I think that’s also a step in the right direction. The more people focusing on one toon, the higher the average RR goes up, and the better a chance for Crests to drop in RvR, instead of psuedoRvR-PvE. Ordnance is something similar, also dropping from player kills, but only in RvR lakes from what I’ve noticed. They’re also scattered around each BO, Keep, and randomly throughout. You use em to buy the aforementioned Epic Ram, Epic Siege Weapons, Oil Immune Pots, and Rest/Heal pots. A small, but effective, additive to further push the propaganda of RvR.
I’d like to recommend you stop here, go have a smoke (if applicable), hit the bathroom, visit the concession stand for more popcorn, and/or molest your significant other. Don’t want anyone to go blind, ya see?
Gates of Ekrund
Moving right along we have the new 6v6 Scenario revisiting the Gates of Ekrund. Open for players from 19-26, this is ideal for premades and essentially a party vs party duel, at which I notice Order does VERY well. Perhaps its just the large ratio of Destro : Order on my server, so the chances of getting lesser skilled players is higher. Regardless, there’s some interesting little quirks to it. For one, there’s a quest at the spawn point to find a Book of Grudges. It’s sitting on a pile of rocks atop the gates, and can be difficult to track down if there’s some combat going on. Either way, grab it and turn it in when you spawn again for a nice 63,000 XP. Yes, 63k, tons. That is indeed correct. O wait! There’s another quest to do! Kill 15 players, and you get another 63k XP, and it’s repeatable! This is a very fast way to level up to R27, and helps the pace of the game move along pretty quickly. Unfortunately, you miss out on a lot of area, quests, potential storyline and RvR when you take this route. It is tons of fun though, highly recommended!
This one is pretty simple, essentially they’ve cut the renown/inf/XP from Keeps and BO’s by 33%. The changes come, I’d imagine, to keep people from carebear-flipping BO’s back and forth, and actually dominate the zone. What’s that go to do with it? Well, remember before when a zone flipped, and everyone in the region got a sweet chunk of renown for it? Well now, the game tracks all the renown/inf/XP you get from those BO’s and Keeps, and when the zone flips you receive all that tracked renown/inf/xp but DOUBLED, on top of the normal big fatty renown boost. Kinda makes things interesting eh? Now if only the other guilds in T2/T3 would take a Keep once in a while we could dominate these more often…
City Siege adjustments
Seen those Kings get captured lately? There was a lot of snares, roots, and snap-taunts flying around that simply shouldn’t have been there. Haven’t heard about any fix for the instant-rez-to-full-on-respawn issue, but I’d imagine it snuck in with one of the hotfixes or simple went unmentioned. Simply put, they fixed the King encounters. Woo. Now if I ever get a chance to get into one of those, I can uber-fail! This fix doesn’t really bother me much. No one on Praag has gotten close to a King fight, let alone past stage 3.
Now, the part that IS relevant, and supposedly fixed with the latest hotfix, is queueing for the first city instance. Your Warband leader will run at the portal, and automatically be assigned to an instance, at which point any other player will be able to run in and join them. Also, I believe if you add or replace players, they will automatically be added to your instance at whatever stage, giving opportunity to replace members that DC’d, logged, or whatever else. Which in turn will keep the warband full, and the rest of the city instances playable. Nothing sucks worse than getting to stage 3 after 3 hours of playing, just to have a handful of people need to log off for the night.
AoE for BW/Sorc/Engi/Magus/Slayer/Choppa have been adjusted to be less wtfpwn, and more reasonable in large scale combat. I.E. GTAoE does not stack on each other, and the melee spam AoE’s have been adjusted to a cone effect instead of 30′ radius.
Archmage/Shammy get a DPS buff to all abilities, making them just a bit more deadly. It’s noticeable, but not OP by any means. I doubt you’ll be seeing many more of them DPS specced. They’re great at k
illing champions though, typically can take one out 3 levels higher. They’re pretty viable as a 1v1 solo class too. Not a lot of classes can burn em down as fast as they can heal/dps.
Pets (squig or lion) recieve different stat bonuses based on your gear, and type of pet active. All pets have had their HP boosted significantly. Turrets/Demons get the extra wounds, but no stat buffs. Land Mine/Demonic Infestation is now based off CR, and damage off Tink/Daemon.
DoK caught a hefty debuff, Khaine’s Bounty/Imbuement tactics for direct heal/dmg crits no longer count HoT/DoT crits and CoV doesn’t heal if the damage was disrupted.
WP’s no longer Cleanse everyone in the world, just the targets party, and the Guilty Soul tactic is no longer capable of crits damage or heals.
WH/WE lose Accusations/Frenzy when switching targets.
Stats are capped, though it varies per class as to where. You can tell when your stat numbers turn gold. After that point, it costs 2 stat points to equal 1 normally. I’m a little confused about this one, as I’ve heard varying reports of stats capped at 750-1000, yet my Engi with over 1k Ballistics seems unaffected. Some say that tactics and pots do not count towards the cap, still investigating on that.
Lastly, potions and zone domination buffs will now persist through death. I can’t remember offhand if the BO buffs do so, but I think not. I know ability buffs do not persist.
The class changes overall don’t particularly break any of them, though the Shadow Warrior could definitely use some love, and has needed it for a long time. They’re simply no match whatsoever for the Squig Herder, and are more akin to the Marauder anyways, minus melee survivability. I’m surprised they keep ignoring the class, and brushing it off. Does anyone even bother to run from a SW? The only chance they have to survive is kiting like a madman, and hoping the opposing class doesn’t use anything resembling a snare/root/disable/disarm. Maybe it’s just a flavor thing, but I hardly see any SW’s in T4. I tried to play one for a while, and I couldn’t enjoy it due to their impotence, but I loved my SH. Ah well, they seem to have made the entire battlefield a bit more survivable at very least. Melee has a chance to do their thing now, and that’ll make em happy.
Still need to get rid of the rez-to-full glitch though. That’s the new gamebreaker.
Not a lot to say about the live event, except that I’m expecting another cake-walk with somewhat lame rewards. No unique world drop uber-item, just another trophy, title, and vanity gear. With any luck the goggles will be able to find GOOD loot later on. So far, it’s been more fun to head out into the RvR zones and find dozens of other players in the same area. We even had a chance to repel a larger group of Destro from our chunk of Thunder Mountain. Knights of the Feathered Hats has been doing some very nice guides about it.
Overall I’m rather satisfied with 1.2.1 post hotfixes. I haven’t been so lucky to experience a lot of the weirdness I’ve seen in the Bug Reports section of Warhammer Official Forums, which probably keeps me in a better mood than most. I’ve seen more RvR action, more open RvR, and a revival of players that I long ago thought quit the game. Those who are coming back, seem quite pleased. The few bugs that concern me the most at this pointis the spammability of insta-cast no-cooldown abilities, and the full-health-rez. The rest of it is good enough for me.