WHA Podcast #18 follow-up (Uh, a week late??)

Warhammer Alliance Podcast Episode 18: Recording WAR Grudges

Well there it is, only took a couple weeks to get everything worked out, but things went well enough. I feel like I said so much more! Frank and co. were great to chat with. Shouts of “Glee!” and the desperation of satisfying ice cream were abundant. Amber, the unheard producer, kept us in line for the most part, but there were a few tangents we managed to derail everything with. Things were very casual, something that takes guests by surprise from what I hear. Whoever did the editing gets a gold star from me for sure! All in all it’s a 40m podcast pulled from about an hour and a half of banter slightly resembling a round-table discussion on the topics we covered. One thing I would like to mention is my room was about 45 degrees F when we did this. I had my window open and didn’t really realize how cold I was, then, after closing it, I didn’t realize my heat wasn’t on yet, so I just stayed cold. If it sounded like I was shivering, I probably was.

First off, the book series I was talking about. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._A._Salvatore

Pretty much everything under the Forgotten Realms section is what I was referring to. Excellent series, easier to read that many other fantasy books I’ve been through. Plenty of action as well.

Next we started talking about different roles that healers should be playing. Interesting to note, I have a half finished post about a full healer overhaul focusing more on their unique designations dated from Aug. 29th. I still have yet to get around to finishing it however, maybe soon. Instead I went with managing a new CC bar, something that would fill when you’re hit with different kinds of CC, so a healer could manage that as well as health and prevent you from getting CC’d at the same time. It was something I had picked up off Kristen and her love of bars going up and down, obviously to fix the healers chore of watching green bars go up and down, you need to add another bar. Then, you need to make the green bar change to yellow at 60% health, red at 25% health, and the blue bar to change to purple at 60% and pink at 25%. This way, you can ensure the quick spiral into the depths of insanity and epilepsy. Gotta love the little things =D

Seriously though, I enjoy how the healers work. They all have potential to do some decent damage. I’ve seen a few absolutely nasty Archmages and Runepriests at max level. No one plays them like this mostly because of the taunting I’d imagine. I think the Runepriest has the easiest time with it since their DPS is spread across the trees and the AoE tree is widely used. For them it’s just stacking from Will to Int. It’s been done, it can be done well, it’s just that players are so used to healers standing in the back healing and healing and healing, that they’re really just doomed to a self-fulfilling prophecy of, well, healing.

I don’t think I commented on mirror-ing up the classes, but I wanted to. I wanted to comment on everything really, 5 minutes at a time if I could =D. I guess that’s one of the great reasons that I blog anyway. So I can ramble on about anything I feel like. Like right now! Random rambling, woo! Mirrors! Yes, so, I think having the 24 unique classes is going to be a really tough thing to mirror up. Some things are close, but not quite perfect. Some of the Core abilities for each class are the same, with the closer abilities taking a turn one way or another. Overall, Order seems to be a bit more defensive in the scope of their abilities, where Destruction is a bit more offensive. Really, as long as the two turns are equally balanced, I don’t see any real issue. It’s not mirroring that needs to happen, just looking at the abilities that are almost mirrored, and making sure the counterpart to that ability is equal in power albeit in a different way. Taking each class and making sure their counterpart is just as effective. I think this has been done for the most part, although some classes are underpowered compared as a whole. Like the BW and Sorc, mostly balanced still very OP. Take a look at the Mara and SW, again mostly balanced but rather underpowered. Raising up the pair to the level that other classes are at should be the focus, as opposed to making the classes identical. For the quad of DPS classes that mix-n-match mechanics, it’s really not possible to mirror them.

Next up was a comment about what developers were thinking releasing known bugs into the game. Constantly attempting to follow up on player concerns and without being able to get a few steps ahead on C&C. This was something of a blip, I had more to say but I left it hanging and Frank picked it up. Back in the early days Mythic had tons and tons of subscribers, this in turn meant they had tons and tons of developers. They also had made promises that they would buff under-performing careers to boost them up to the level of the OP careers (durr, Bright Wizards?). Patch after patch come and go and it seemed like the only real balancing they were doing was fixing bugs across all the careers along while releasing new content here and there. There’s lots of developers that eventually got dropped from the game when the subs fell off their peak, and in turn one could imagine that a lot of work went unfinished. The timeline over last spring for WAR was probably one hell of a rough spot. There was a point where Mark Jacobs went silent and disappeared on vacation, never to be seen or heard from again. Constantly though, all we saw patch after patch were bugfixes, no career tweaking to speak of. Finally, the Archmage and Shaman got reworked, AoE took a blanket nerf twice, and then recently we can start to see implementations that are getting Marauders and Magi up to spec. Shadow Warriors are still suspect, at least in perception. So it takes about a year for all the bugs to finally be caught up on to a manageable state. 

 I blame this mostly on their loss of staff, and whatever said staff were working on. However, this also frees up complications of many changes to the game each patch, and the re-introduction of issues over and over again. Now that they are apparently past all of the bug-fixing affecting careers, and they can apparently patch the server without re-introducing bugs long-since-dead, we might be seeing better content in our patches. Just takes some time. It’s been something that I’ve heard over and over, something that I embrace as a concept too, you can’t balance broken classes. First things first, you have to fix them. Should it have taken this long to get them fixed? Probably not, but then again, we have no idea what all those developers were working on when they had to pack up and hit the road. A lot of these things could have been at 90% completion when they disappeared. That’s my theory anyway.

1.3.2 Patch Notes, ah well, we know what happened with these. City Sieges took over the server. This is one of the PTS’s that I didn’t take part in because I didn’t want to deal with reporting bugs and finding them go live afterwards anyway. However, I did keep an eye on the bug forums, and there were surprisingly few, this has earned a bit of trust from me. The new user journey was a simple bit to talk about. Didn’t have much feeling for it either way. Should have been there since launch, but I hope eventually they flesh this out for each pairing. Then, they could have a starter guild for each race, and eventually turn this game into a 6-way WAR! Maybe. Hehe… I dunno, the guys covered this pretty well I think. Not much else to say about it. Grats to Mythic for making something cool and intuitive with the New User Journey. When they do stuff right, they do it very well.

Lucky for me, the Apprentice system didn’t actually get to work backwards, only upwards. We know this now, and man am I happy about it. This allows pretty much anyone to come and play with the big boys. Granted, you have less abilities than someone else, but you’ll get a feel for the endgame without leveling up over the next 3 weeks to find out. I had a chance to use this not too long ago and it works pretty well in a pinch. When you need that extra healer or tank or something for RvR, anyone that’s been playing the game for a while probably has a level 20-something alt that they never finished leveling. Granted, a tried and true R40 toon decked out in sweet gear would be better, but like I said, it works in a pinch.

Sov and Warlord get released to buy the whole set? Yay! Now as soon as I collect another 50 Warlord crests I might be able to wear it… ah. Right, how many crests do those cost? Even on buying the set, now you’re able to go and do what exactly? Until they release an instance that requires Superior or Excelsior besides IC, you have the highest armor sets in the game going mostly unused because, as Kristen mentioned, most of the Warlord and Sov set bonuses are crap. Actually, there’s a handful of set bonuses across the lot of em that are just crap. The issue is, there’s no other gear that even comes close to it in power. At least when you compare the Annihilator set, you could point to not only Bloodlord and Ruin sets, you could also do pretty well getting loot from Lair Bosses (not the LotD ones either). There’s no blue or purple non-set gear that comes anywhere near Conqueror or Sentinel, let alone Invader/DP/Tyrant/Warlord/Sov. That’s an itemization issue I wouldn’t mind seeing fixed. Put renown requirements on the new stuff that is supposed to stack up to the warded stuff. Having nothing on the high end, means we’re constantly wearing warded gear, even if we don’t need to wards 99% of the time. There’s at least 4 tiers of non-set armor that has yet to exist in the game. Before they go “fixing” the highest end sets, I really wouldn’t mind these other pieces being put in the game.

As a side note, since these city sieges went live, I’ve been having a much better time picking up these crazy crests. Over the past week I’ve collected 3 Royals, 6 Warlord, and at least a dozen Invader (probably closer to 20). Perhaps purchasing Warlord is in my future after all… only 11 renown levels to wear the full set now…

Finally, changes to WAR simply hasn’t played out to the vision that the developers had a year ago. Their ideas of having three cities on each side, turned into one city and three forts, and now we don’t even have forts anymore. While the devs imagined multiple cities getting attacked every day, currently we have a single city getting sieged a couple times a day. Issue being, performance was really what held this game back in my opinion. Servers couldn’t handle tons of people in one place, but they may have fared better if a fort take was more spread out. Work with me here. What if, instead of pounding on doors, you had to take and hold multiple positions across the area of the fortress to open the central door? Sure, the outer walls would still have the multiple doors, but for the main inner door, you would need to spread out around the fort and capture other key locations. Think about 6 other capture points that you would need to hold, and then instead of bashing down the main door it would slowly open, and slowly close if one of the points were re-captured by the defenders. This would keep the majority of the forces spread out around the Fort, and groups of defenders (remember they’re limited on the low end) could rush out and recapture a point to force the gates back down. A tunnel network similar to Reikland Factory with one-way exits would make a great addition in that situation I think.

City sieges are similar to this now, except it’s still too condensed using only three points. Sure, the servers can handle this for the most point. If they added a point to the Library, the Guild Vault, and another location in the area, battles would be spread thinner, zerging would lose too many points, and smaller battles could take place over objectives with a whole lot less lag. Not to mention, they could ease up on the VP requirements as it would be harder for attackers to take all these points simultaneously and quickly raise their PQ points. The game is huge, Mythic has been too near-sighted in design. More objectives means less people at each objective, means less performance issues, and zerging no longer works to get the job done. Hopefully they start to make use of their huge tracts of land (which always reminds me of breasts), and push objectives off to the sides to make room for more.

I think we just about wrapped things up here as I had people starting to walk through my front door looking for me. I had a great time doing the podcast, everyone was well informed, intelligent, yet very casual and comfortable. I actually had a chance just to chat with Frank for about 20 minutes while Kristen and Martin were getting ready. I’d be happy to take another stab at this whole podcasting thing with them any time. Thanks a lot guys!


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