December 31, 2008

Chaos Black Dye

Since all the rare dyes can drop inside the city dungeons as well meanwhile, i kept wondering what the Chaos Black Dye would look like. I know the Skull White Dye is white and the Ulgu Grey Dye is a kind of silver metallic. But with all the strangely washed out colors in Warhammer, how dark is black? I thought my readers would like to know as well, so i bought a flask of chaos black from the AH for 90g to check it out. I tried it on a few items (see pic) and have to tell you it's more of a dark anthracite then black. Check out the pics, maybe it will avert frustration about a color you spend a lot of gold on.

My best wishes to all my readers for 2009! I'm off for some serious partying now... ;)

December 30, 2008

Thulf the Sentinel

I went back into Bilerot Burrow yesterday, still hoping for my last Sentinel piece that eluded me for quite some time now. Lo and behold, finally the Sentinel Bodyplate piece droped for me! Yay! Now we have two tanks with 5/5 wards in our guild and have a third only lacking the chest as well. To celebrate the ward (and since we were able to recruit some healers recently) we started off with running two groups into Lost Vale. I took the tourist & sightseeing group (none of the guys had been deeper into LV) and we did very well. Killed all bosses up to the Butcher without much problems... we'll go back and should be fine. It's great to see we got the people now to run two groups into Lost Vale, which is (beside the annoying running) by far the most fun instance in WAR.

Since i have six Sentinel pieces now, i did some tests with the six piece set bonus: Preservation - On Being Hit: 10% chance to increase Wounds by 80 for 20 seconds. While the tooltip of the proc is wrong (says it reduces wounds) and it does not show in your combat log, the proc itself is not as good as i thought it would be. The "on being hit" does not trigger if you block or parry. The increase in wounds does not stack with the Da Toughest! and the proc also does not heal you, but only increases the max. amount of hitpoints you have. Being a tank i block & parry a lot, making the proc even less useful for me. After some testing IMO that set bonus is a joke and you're better off using another belt. Maybe if i get another Darkpromise piece I'll use the belt from that set, but as most Darkpromise pieces are rather weak compared to the Sentinel - as the single item bonuses are better for tanking - you're better off using Enervating Gutstrap (Gutstrap of Maiming) or the Black Orc Ransacker's Gird (with wounds talismans) depending on the situation. It's a pitty that a green belt is better then any blue/epic you can find. The Black Orc belts and also the Darkpromise set really should be looked at again.

December 28, 2008

Karak-Azgal: Altdorf Ablaze - 1st City Siege

Friday night Destruction managed to lock down the Shining Way fortress, tho i heard some rumours about a door being missing. I was not online during that time, so no idea if its true. Afterwards we tried to lock down another fortress, but the server did not hold and the connected fortress T4 zones crashed repeatedly reseting the campaign back to the last zone before the assault. Our alliance decided to withdraw and try again after midnight, hoping that less people (and I'm not talking about defenders tbh) would be around and we can take the fortress before the zone crashes. When we attacked Reikwald fortress we moved rather straight on to the fortress lord. There still was a shitload of people around and when his health was going down, we were counting his last 15% health loud out on vent while expecting the zone to crash any second... surprisingly it didn't and we locked down the 2nd fortress. Altorf was open for an assult, the first capitol raid on Karak-Azgal! Once you take the 2nd fortress a timer starts and Altdorf will be contested for 6 hours (the timer does not show minutes and jumps immediately from 6 to 5). If you manage to accumulate enough victory points doing the PQ & scenario (doing quests seems not to yield any VPs) you'll lock down the city and the defenders can't enter anymore. If the defenders win the whole T4 campaign will reset.

One sad thing at the fortress raid was that we could see a few players doing nothing else then spamming standards and trying to lag/crash the zone on purpose.

The server stability during fortress fights is definately something Mythic/GOA needs to work on more. While large scale RvR performance indeed got better for many with the last patches its still not enough. Crashing zones while doing a fortress assault is not acceptable, the promised large scale RvR part of the game needs to work flawlessly for WAR to have a long term attraction to the players. It already does work much better then eg. in Age of Conan, but nontheless its not enough yet. I can't compare atm if its the network code from Mythic or the GOA servers that are causing the problems on the EU servers but maybe some folks from the US can enlighten us if they still got crashing zones during fortress raids. During the large scale RvR around the forts the performance seems to be okayish for most, its just that at some point the zone simply crashes and it might take more then one try to log back in. The question if Mythic/GOA can iron out those last technical problems will make or break the game as many more people approach T4. In a worst case scenario they need to close a zone if too many people are in there, preventing more to enter. This would cause balancing issues again, therefore i hope they can fix the existing system or use better servers.

Many warbands made their way towards Altdorf on Karak-Azgal that night. I don't know exactly how many people were there, as we were all too excited to be able to raid Altdorf. Once you reach the maingates of Altdorf you knock down the door and there is a large portal you can enter. I just assume the backdoor will have a portal as well. Best let your warband leader go in first and then the rest of the raid will zone into the same instance. If it applies to you, there is an instance selection screen to choose from - this screenshot is from 6:30am or such, therefore the few people. It looks like the city instances can take two warbands on each side, so the max amount is 48:48 per instance. Some people had the problem to be in a queue for a very long time. This seems to be a bug and one guild mate just relogged after being queued up for one hour or something and got in immediately. So it might be worth a try should that happen to you. From what i read on the forums it seems the siege inside the capitol is limited to six instances. Ergo only 576 players, 288 each side, can enter the capitol and the rest has to queue or try to fight in front of the gates preventing people to reach the portal. I've no idea if the game will open more instances under certain circumstances, but so far i never heard of more then six and read about people standing in front of the doors and being queued.

Edit - Clarification: Should your warband enter an Altdorf instance that's already full when you try to enter, you'll be placed in queue. Seems the queue system for city sieges is bugged and does not work properly - thats why you get stuck in queue for a long time. What you have to do is, leave the warband and approach the portal solo. Now you'll get the selection screen and you'll be able to see if the instance (your warband is in) is full still or if you can enter manually. If its still full (48 destro), either wait and retry every now and then or join another instance.

Once you enter Altdorf you'll zone into the Destruction "starting area". There is a healer and a bunch of NPCs that will hand out some quests to you. The quests are nothing special, you have to kill players or certain NPCs and also use a few orbs in specific places to solve them. One quest was on a timer of 1 hour. Some of the quests will yield Defender's Sign & Defender's Mark tokens. If people are interested i can write more in detail about the quests and what to do, just leave a comment. Should you die inside the city siege instance you'll respawn at the starter area. There is one large PQ going on inside the whole city. The advice: Destroy Altdorf. Take no prisoners. The first stage of the PQ Altdorf - Slaughter in the Streets! involves to take two battle objective type POIs (Temple of Sigmar & The Docks) inside the city, kill 150 Defenders and start 50 Fires. The fires are started by using tents, crates, barrels, bookpiles and everything else you can touch to burn. The 2nd part is on a 10m timer and involves killing four Ogre Bodyguards and General Leighton. The overall PQ is rather easy, were it not for the fact that Order has a mirror PQ and will try to kill attackers as well as trying to extinguish fires. I think their 2nd part involves killing some Destruction Corruptor with four Firewyrms. The contribution for those PQs is not fixed yet from the looks of it btw. I heared many people complain its still bugged and the same people getting the golden bag every time. This really need to be adressed. The loot bags yield some wierd rank 30+ loot (most of it was crap for a rank 40), but more importantly the gold bags yield Invader set pieces. I've only seen (did not win a gold bag myself) chest pieces from this PQ, no idea if you can get other pieces as well from the initial one.

Edit - Clarification: The initial quests you can take inside Altdorf, won't be repeatable even after another capture. So you really can only do them once.

The whole contested capitol content seems to have a few major flaws in my opinion: One major problem is instance balance. You can join an instance with zero attackers/defenders in it and kill spawning NPCs for the 150 attacker/defender part. My estimate (from what i hear about respawn times) is you could do around 4-5 PQs in one hour if you have enough people with you inside the instance. This is a double-edged sword, on the one hand you want all the people to stick around to enable the city siege content to as many people as possible, on the other hand it should not be possible to farm the PQs too easily. In my opinion this system needs to become smarter and more dynamic. Of course you need to enable people to do stuff on their own without any attackers/defenders in it. If the instances would just close down and collapse with too few people in them players will eventually leave the capitol as there is nothing to do for them... if 10min later another warband from the opposing side shows up, the other warband just left. To keep as many attackers/defenders interested there needs to be stuff they can do. The spawning NPCs should a) be stronger and b) use a dynamic system that "fills" empty instances with strong mercenary NPCs (an AI improvement could not hurt as well) that don't count for the PQ. If a full 48:0 instance can do 2-3 PQs in one hour that should be enough to keep people interested, but make it more difficult to farm (which defenders can do as well) the city siege without resistance. The initial PQ works but its to static, the General always spawns at the same place, add some more random factor to that. Like needed with normal RvR BOs i propose to make POIs more meaningful by giving them some purpose. The defenders are able to hold the Temple of Sigmar? Awesome, why not reward them with a group of Warrior Priests spawning every 15min to aid the fight? The attackers hold the Docks? Strategic advantage! Let some reinforcements arrive. The whole PQ & PvE content inside the capitol needs to support a more exciting RvR experience, that's what people want.

Another thing are those quests in there: I hear that the defenders can't do any quests beside the ongoing PQ... is that true? If so, that sucks and needs to be changed. Quests add more to the feeling you contribute something inside there. Let the defenders bandage some people, transport supplies, whatever. During the siege its very hectic/chaotic with all the fighting inside the streets so of course those quests can't be too complex and should move people around the city. The quests are not repeatable, but right now the work vs reward is pointless, why bother? The quests we could do inside Altdorf were rather boring. Kicking in doors is fun but two similar quests to use an object all over the city? *yawns* If Mythic wants to give the impression you pillage & plunder the enemy city, why don't the quests reflect that more? There are several small houses i can enter, why not let me steal valuables for a quest? Why not hand me some dynamite and let me blow up the safe inside the Altdorf bank? Create some supply/reinforcement quests that have a mirror part on the other side to support more places with constant RvR inside the city. When we were inside Altdorf the three major places to fight at where the two BOs and the market place. Create some more strategic points inside the city worth taking/holding and make those POIs actually do/trigger something. And talking about quests & rewards from there: Get someone on the quest rewards. Some quests were yielding nothing beside some XP and silver (and very low amounts) others gave the Defender's Sign (can get four from the quests) & Defender's Mark (can get two from the quests) tokens... Mythic, those are *worthless* at the moment. You took out the token system to buy armor but left those in the game. Let me buy something with them! I don't really care what it is as long as its unique and somewhat useful. I'll be very pissed if they just delete the stuff... you got the system, give it a purpose again. Right now it feels like a bad joke to get a "reward" thats of no use for you... big let down for the epic "endgame" feeling. Same goes for the armor models from the loot you get in there... same old crappy models all over again. This is supposed to be part of the endgame, make the stuff look different.

The fluff could be more again as well: While a full instance is fun and a lot of cool street skirmishes are happening there needs to be more stuff that makes it feel like a city under siege. Add some exploding barrels & windows to the streets. Create some more ambient NPCs that flee the streets in panic from time to time. When i plunder the enemy city i want souvenirs! Why not let me take some unique grey trash items? Make some of the "official working NPCs" like bankers, barkeepers, etc. drop unique looking (order models maybe?) clothes. Those can be total crap stat wise, just make them look cool. Also enemy Defenders could drop special loot inside the capitol fights.

Don't get me wrong, the city siege was a lot of fun... BUT parts of it were just too static so when we go back for the next city siege I'm afraid it could become boring to "grind" the city. One thing that added a nice flavour to exploring the city: You could unlock some of the history/lore tome unlocks inside the city. I had no time to really search for them, but there were some i found while running around. One or two achievment unlocks i found as well, like the grave of Konrad Hirtzel. In one cellar there was a "bookcase hidden door" with a small portal behind it, but we could not use it. Anyone knows where this leads? Or what is the deal with Jerue Zeinbach standing around in the burning city? Inside the bright wizard college there are a bunch of Aqshy cubes you can destroy, but it didn't look like this does anything at that stage. Maybe the college will only become active once you captured the city. Two PQs and the PvE dungeons (will those drop different loot then the own city dungeons for the other side?) will open up after a successful siege with a city capture. Once the two PQs are defeated the king encounter unlocks.

One more fun thing we discovered during the siege was the Screaming Cat tavern near the Docks. Inside the tavern were the two infamous heroes Gotrek Gurnisson and Felix Jaeger. They did put up a good bar fight, but were no match for us. Felix did drop special belts with three empty talisman slots. I don't want to spoil the fight by telling to much about it, but we found it had a nice wrinkle to it. By far the best item i won during the city siege is my new shield, the Insurrectionist Blocka, followed by the three talisman slot belt. I gathered some screenshots from loot we found here. On a sidenote, all the Insurrectionist jewelry is broken and lacks stats, making them absolutely useless epic trash items.

We did not manage to lock down and capture Altdorf, after the timer ran out the whole war campaign did reset. Was it the epic fight Mythic praised city sieges would be? Hmm... not yet. It was really exciting to siege the enemy capitol and we had a lot of fun, else we would not have stayed up until 7am and try to burn down Altdorf. Being part of the endgame i feel tho the city sieges need to be pimped more to provide fun even after you did siege the city a few times. More fluff that immerses you further into the pillage & plunder and the PQ plus the quests need to focus more on supporting the RvR inside the city with contrary goals and also add some strategy to the city fights. The flaw that BOs don't really have a meaningful/tactical purpose is a general one in WAR and will hopefully be adressed also for the city sieges.

Everything was very chaotic in the beginning of the Altdorf siege as not many had a clue what to do and where. So maybe this summary will help others when the time has come. Waaagh!

EDIT: Just got some more infos. Apparently after you manage to gather enough victory points to "lock" the first stage of the city siege, the 2nd stage unlocks. In Altdorf its two additional PQs (Bright Wizard College & Sigmar's Temple) which you have to beat while a timer of one hour runs. Only after you beat both PQs, the city instances and also the king encounter unlock, while the city becomes captured. Without any Invader/Darkpromise gear the PQ lords hit a tank in full Sentinel gear for about 20k damage. After the six hour timer runs out there starts a two hours city rebuild timer, which seems bugged atm. IMO its supposed to work like that no attackers can zone into the city anymore and when you die inside the city instance you would not respawn inside the city. After the two hours all attackers get teleported out of the city. But yday night apparently it was bugged and did not work like this, a CSR had to reset the zone to kick invaders out.

December 20, 2008


Did you ever wondered what would happen if you kill the chaos giant Friderax inside the Sacellum arena during the PQ? Me too.. when it started i went in for the kill and fought the big boy. While he hits like a schoolgirl, nothing special happens. The PQ "fails" and you don't get any shiny loot from him. I was only able to claim his smelly pants for me - maybe I'll sell them on the auction house, some people like used panties. If you look at my UI screenshot and wonder what the new unit frames are i use, the addon is called Pure. The addon is still in alpha stage, so don't use it if you're not willing to deal with bugs. The configuration is very cumbersome atm as well. But for me it serves well more or less out of the box. The unit frames are similar looking to agUF if you recall those. If you use the addon, help wikki (author) with bugs and such. Looking forward to the release version, this is the best looking unit frames addon so far.

If you want to see how the epic Keg End backpack looks on an Orc, check here. The tier 1 version looks rather powerful for a rank 5 cloak. Meanwhile i got the Bottomless Stein trophy, it looks better then the trophy from the last event. You can have the mug at shoulders or belt.

I still wonder what the deal with the UpToWar (DevTracker) WHA newscrawler is. Apparently the WHA team did not work together with them yet to solve that problem. As i like to have one devtracker, i hope this gets resolved soon.

I recently stumbled over the CotCast Podcast. A bunch of folks from the guild Circle of Trust (Ostermark server) have their own round table podcast. If you like alcoholic beverages, Justin Timberlake, playing the flute and are not afraid of explicit language, this one is for you. ;) They mainly talk about WAR related topics of course. While they did not directly feature Stunty Stomper they refer to my news. So as apparently they read my website, a friendly waaagh! to the CotCast team, cool show... reminds me a bit about our own vent server at times.

On a sidenote we went back into Lost Vale yesterday night, so i might post some screenshots from there once i looked through them.

PS: Because i was asked about my "texture fix"... the manual edit of the settings only solved the blurry texture issue for me. I still see the green surfaces every now and there.

Tip of the day: Enable "monster emotes" in your chat filter for your main chat window, else you'll not only miss important infos during boss fights, but also info from gadgets around the world when you use/click them.

December 18, 2008

Brew that puts hair on yer chest

I'm still working on two longer posts to write, one about exploration in WAR and the other about my personal view about the state of the game. For the exploration one I'm still deciding about how much in depth i want to go, as i don't really want to post my secret traveling routes across zones but on the other hand want to give my readers at least one or two smaller things to explore themselves. I have tons of screenshots for that one tho. The state of the game writeup is getting longer and longer. Right now I'm tending towards just taking parts out of it and write about certain aspects/features from time to time, as i think a complete writeup will result in a wall of text no one will read.

The patch 1.1c notes state there have been some improvements for the blurry textures issue. Hmm... for many the issue just recently surfaced, what is so hard to check the code before and after to find out what got messed up? The patch fixed the ground texture flipping in IC for me, but not the NPC/Player textures or from the doodads. Luckily i found this thread and the advice seems to fix it for me. Basicly you change the \Warhammer Online\user\UserSettings.xml by yourself (change it to texture_Cache="1.00") via text editor and then make the file read-only so WAR can't mess it up again. This works for me, maybe it helps some of you as well. Don't forget that you can't change/save any options as long as the file is read-only. Apparently the "messy" patch can't decide properly about the RAM for some gfx-cards and that causes the problem. Seriously Mythic, you must be kidding me... i still hope one day we'll get proper advanced video/graphic settings for WAR.

The Keg End event started today. Again a lot of tasks & things to do. All over the land are camps with Brew-Thirsty Ogres & Drunken Gnoblars and beer kegs. After the intial bonus a full camp will yield 90inf (10 per mob and 5 per keg). Be careful not to use AoE skills while fighting close to the barrels. While you can't target them initially, you can still destroy them very easily with AoE damage. Once you killed all the mobs you can drink the kegs. There are also camps of Explosive Snotlings around the world. Once you tagged the Snotlings it does not matter if they explode, you still gain the 10inf and can loot them. Inside the RvR lakes (close to the keep entrances) you'll find lvl 38 heros: Massive Ogre Butcher & Massive Ogre Irongut (those take away morale, nasty). They yield solo 600inf and drop 3-6 of the event items. They have a massive amount of HP tho, takes me around 10min to solo one. The Keg End mobs drop Dwarf Beer Keg (need 100 for event task and each yields 5inf), Common Firework (screenshot, random color), Impressive Firework (screenshot) and Magnificent Firework (screenshot). IMO the event is a bit too much Stunty focused, but heh.. what better reason to stomp an extra stunty along the way. If you want to check out more possible events according to the warhammer lore, check here.

Basic reward is the title "The Drunkard", if you complete all tasks you'll gain the title "Keg Slayer". There is a rare world drop as well: Battle Brew Backpack. While i don't have one (yet), i found the above screenshot of the stats from the T4 version (there are again 4 different cloaks, pending on tier dropped) and it looks pretty decent. Again, if you want to check out the event go to the US website, as GOA didn't even manage to link all screenshots right. They really should start to pay some proper people to update their website... and while they're at it fix the Realmwar Pages. Did i mention the player statues inside the capitol cities are not working for EU either? GOA still adds one fail to the next, if it was GOA developing the game i would have canceled my subscription already.

Some of the new loot from the city dungeons and bastion stair looks really good. Especially some jewelry from the city dungeons looks appealing to me. We found a few pices during our latest dungeon crawls... it will be interesting what more there is to discover. Trash mobs inside the dungeons have a small chance to drop those as well from what we discovered.

City Dungeons
of the Warden
of the Watcher

Bastion Stair
of the Bloodborne
of the Bloodcry

As a last note: We had server transfers towards Karak-Azgal from three different servers. The influx of new players is very welcome. Finally the Inevitable City feels alive again and as the "new players" with their guilds & alliances are out to try making a name for themselves, open RvR activity has greatly increased. A warm welcome to all those who recently joined our server! Oh and btw, Thirst is still recruiting, should you search for a new home. ;)

December 13, 2008

Bloodwrought Enclave Info & Map

We did a quick Bloodwrought Enclave run yesterday and as we checked the mini-bosses for new loot i was able to create a complete map from Enclave, maybe it helps the orientation for starters. The dungeon is for six rank 40 characters and is located in the far SE of the Inevitable City. It's pretty straight forward as well and when you have a good group and know the dungeon you can just completely ignore the right wing, speeding up the dungeon a lot. It's the easier of the two city dungeons and you can get away with less wards on gear.

There are two (main) bosses inside the dungeon:
Korthuk the Raging (Sentinel boots & belt)
Barakus the Godslayer (Sentinel helmet & belt)

Since Patch 1.1a all mini bosses inside the city dungeons can drop the belt (now BoE) as well.

Bloodwrought Enclave MAP v1.0

December 12, 2008

Patch 1.1a quick Aftermath

Well, the new patch hit today. Like i posted earlier, the annoying muddy texture messup ofc made it from PTS to live servers. Textures, especially in the Inevitable City, look awful! :( In addition the settings don't seem to remember the texture memory cache setting, every time i login i have to adjust it. If i remember right when the textures were messed up before i could reset the setting by going from far to near and back. Does not work anymore. Textures are messed up and look like crap. Fortunately its not as much outside the capitol. I use a Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS with 640MB Ram, never had that much bad visuals before in WAR. In addition some textures are "green" now. Some trees (we call them disco trees as for some guildies they change colors all the time) are green and also some walls, etc. Overall i wonder how such a mess can bypass QA. Yes i know hardware is always complicated to take into account, but to mess it up for a bunch of people while it was fine before... sheesh.

The next major annoyance (at least for me, i know others love it) are the new actionbar animations. The "radial" global cooldown animation and the upgoing flash.. brought me close to an epileptic seizure. Luckily i was pointed to NAMBLA and once you edited the NAMBLA.lua its gone. If you want to get rid of the stuff: Install the addon, then edit the above lua file in a text editor, search for "piewipe", then change the SetAlpha to 0.0 and you're rid of all the flashy new stuff. The lua code is actually very well documented and its easy to find the rest of the things you can adjust - for my taste the text was too bold and i changed both lines back to default. I can't understand why Mythic did not make the "new" actionbar anims optional, so you can turn them off if you want. If you experience weird behaviour of buffs i suggest you go through your interface folder and clean it up, several buff related addons can be deleted or have to be updated.

As a last quick note, we visited the two new lairs with guildies today (i might post some screenshots on our guild website later) and that was fun. The lairs are not as easy to get into as most of the caves you just stumble into. They required some more searching/thinking, which was cool. Respawn on the trash mobs in the Saphery one is insta-bugged, but well. IMO lair bosses could have some more unique/difficult abilities, but i guess its for casual players as well. So far for the quick note on 1.1a - there is much more to come but i was asked to post about the actionbar fix by some, so here you go.

December 10, 2008

EU: Free ingame Item from MMOZine Magazine

I just stumbled over this thread: The MMOZine Magazine hands out a free ingame item to those that send an email in. The item is similar to the rings you got with pre-ordering the game, they just changed the name: Vanquisher's Emerald Band. The ring will be registered with every char and will show up in the mailbox once you login. While it's not interesting for high level characters, when you start a new char every bit helps to speed up the progress. To grab a code for that item click on the ad (see pic) on the frontpage from that PDF and you'll be taken to the page with the form (Acrobat will try to access the internet via the flash form). Just enter your details (with the checkboxes to the right you sign up for newsletters, maybe disable those) and you'll get a code in your mail you can register in your account profile. I just tried it and got the code/register without any trouble. This is EU only afaik. Enjoy.

European Test Server

So more or less silently with not much flourish the EU Test Server Shifting Isles went online. Cool! i thought, let's check out the latest changes. You can copy existing characters (rank 10+) over to the test server. Log into your account management and scroll down to the very bottom, there you choose Character Server Copy and NOT Character Transfer. So far so good... bummer tho that GOA messed up the character copy for chars that exist on servers that were cloned a while ago. The only character i could initially copy over was my rank 20 Blorc from Zhufbar. I had to delete that char to be able to copy over my rank 40 main from Karak-Azgal. I'd say thats a F- for database management by GOA on this one. I did not play my clone char, so i just deleted him and was able to copy Thulf over. Of course before i used the copy function i robbed the guild bank to copy over as much coin as possible, you never know what you need it for. ;) Chill guys, i gave it all back. *grin* Your character will copy over with your full inventory and bank, mailbox won't.

The good news on using the PTS: You don't need two separate installs of the game. If you want to access the test server, just start testpatch.exe if you want to play the "normal game" you start warpatch.exe. The patcher will adjust pending on the version you want to access. First: Be excited, all the UI changes will make it necessary to adjust your complete UI once again. Not fun, but if the changes deliver what they promise its well worth it. Test Servers are also very good for addon developers, as some UI changes of patch 1.1 will make it necessary to adjust. The first thing i noticed on PTS is that apparently Mythics attempts to adjust performance screwed up the texture caching for my machine. Inevitable City looked *horrible*, low/muddy textures everywhere. This problem was there for some time right after launch, but was fixed. As things on the test server are subject to change, etc. i really hope this won't go live. The chat filters for more separated system message filtering looks promising. The item linking did not work on PTS (at least not in /say when i tried). In addition all stats on the gear are missing, paper doll says it works but they don't show. I slapped together a compilation of the changed Black Orc set bonuses for your convenience.

EDIT: The set bonuses changed on the PTS since yesterday. HERE is the latest version.

Since we had some open RvR planned from our alliance i did not spend that much time on PTS, but traveled to the open RvR area quickly to check out some of the RvR inf goodies. For each inf step there are two different items in blue (req rr31) quality and two in epic (req rr38) quality. As stats did not show i can only guess, but the epic ones look very good. The weapons (see pic) all have procs, which already made players complain on the forums that those weapons are better then the loot you can get from Lost Vale and Mythic should at least give those items procs as well. Looking at the procs i have to agree and this should be adjusted. I'll go back and try to test some more, should anyone want to give the city dungeons on test server a go, poke me.

PS: Should you have experienced a performance drop/change since the latest patch/hotfixes check your gfx settings. I realized mine were reset/changed and that's why i experienced stuttering in the live game recently.

December 9, 2008

Ragbag & Death by Pie

Hillarious. You can't get another impression as the guys at Mythic really are having fun working together. After the last video message when Paul scolded Colin about the lunatic code™, some people apparently got the wrong impression. I seriously wonder why as IMO it was obvious they were not that serious. Anyway, the latest video blog entry from Paul Barnett clears the air in... unexpected ways. I think Colin should buy Paul a T-Shirt with his very own "Death by Pie" title, he earned it for being a good sport. ;)

The patch 1.1 is running on the PTS (looks like we'll get one for EU as well now) already and slowly infos start to trickle in. If you want to see some screenshots of the UI changes and set items, check the Garrison of War (1,2). In addition Mythic seems to try to introduce more money sinks into the game, i read that flight travel prices doubled and that dyes at the vendor are increased by a lot (someone said 40s vs 10g for whole gear), tho atm its just the same old crapppy colors. Why not introduce some new (read: better looking) colors and put a hefty fee on them? Also, should you work on your talisman skills still, better hurry as the patch won't let you salvage any vendor gear anymore. In addition it looks like the next live event is just around the corner and this time, it's about beer: Keg End event.
Edit: Forgot to mention that PTS reports say the Wall is finally fixed, tho the appearance changed into a normal shield.

My latest trip into Bilerot Burrow rewarded me with gloves: Sentinel Andsplate, which leaves me with 4/5 Sentinel wards. Slowly getting there... as patch 1.1 will have a 50% belt drop rate, i should obtain that one hopefully rather quickly as well.

Should you use zMailMod i urge you to install the latest version as there are many improvements, especially in taking out mail/items/coin. Truely love this mod. I left the suggestion for z00g (author) that he exports the auto-complete for names from zMailMod into a seperate mod (that takes into account party, warband, friendlist and guild names) which you can use in chat to quickly tab through names as some people just use weird and painful to type names.

Referring to my ingame xmas wishlist, i just found a book i might get myself for the holidays: ORCS by Stan Nicholls. Did any of you read it? If so, is it any good? Supposed to be a trilogy about a warband of Orcs... do i hear them shouting Orc, Orc, Orc! in the distance?

December 8, 2008

My ingame Xmas Wishlist

Thinking about Xmas and WAR i realized the single most wanted feature from WoW for WAR is wrapping paper! What a cool idea was it to implement wrapping paper containers in WoW and how much fun did we had with sending stuff. But then again WAR does not have enough "fluff" items yet you could give to other players. Tome unlocked items are bind to you and beside dyes (which mostly look like vendor dyes anyway - fix crafted dyes damnit!) there is not much to present to others, beside maybe gear. But as you need the wards for endgame, even the 39 blues (which drop fairly rarely) are usually not interesting. Then again, half my bank is full with BoP grey items i got from hidden quests and whatnot... still intending to load up on them one day and ride the land up and down to find a purpose.

We all want the "core game" to be fixed before Mythic implements more "fluff" for fun, but not eveyone in the team will work on the main problems. What minor/fun things can you think of for the game? The humor and feel of some areas is great, but others are rather dull. And meanwhile there are no new funny trashitems (ever send Da Last Boss to your guild leader?) to find and send out.

Here is my ingame Xmas wishlist:
  1. The title "Stunty Stomper", which sounds cooler then "Master Slayer of Dwarves" (no, don't have that one yet)
  2. A Blocka o' da Doombull shield, which fits my blog header.
  3. A Kossar's Helm and more items like that
  4. Rename Sigmar's Hammer in Altdorf into Pretzelbar
  5. More animated emotes to sit & stand (AoC was awesome in this regard)
What do you wish for?

December 6, 2008

Weird Server Glitches

Since a few days (last patch?) I got some weird server glitches (sometimes) when i try to log into the game. I choose my character just like normal, try to login and from the loading screen "crash" back to the character screen, only its black, just the buttons etc. show. When I try to log back into that char, it works... BUT: No mailbox, no mount and no interactive NPCs like vendors, flight master, auctioneers, etc. are there. After like 5min or so the mailbox/mount starts to respond, but the NPCs are still MIA. I can run around inside the city just fine - only doors like the citadel are closed and not responding (damn! No sitting in Tchar'zanek's throne). What to do when the NPCs go missing? I smell business opportunity! On the pictures you can see me posing as the Flight Master and handing out library cards inside the Lyceum. Maybe the Draenei are to blaim for this phenomenon, who knows? *shrugs*

Since quite a while now players suspected the keep contribution to be borked... even chickens could win gold bags. Many tried to prove it and all came to the same conclusion: it is broken. Relogging/zoning would fix a low contribution score. Finally we got official word from Mythic, when Paul and Colin talk about the "lunatic code" and indeed confirm it's working for PQs but not for RvR Keeps. They say it will be fixed soon™.

December 5, 2008

Paul loves my blog... No, really!

If you followed the recent posts and comments you know "some guy" was posting as Paul Barnett. Looks like i was a bit too suspicious and it in fact was Paul, leaving a comment on my blog and not an imposter. I've to confess i had to laugh when i saw his youtube message, proving him is him... in a humorous way via video message. So the devs indeed read fanpages and look beyond their own nose & office, you see. If you ever wondered what the crazy colored wall behind Paul in his video clips is, watch The MMO Report with Paul Barnett... it's a fun trip around the office with Paul.

On a sidenote: Yesterday the PTS patch notes for 1.1 were posted and it looks like some good stuff and long awaited fixes are coming soon. As all the stuff is still subject to change, just check it out for yourself.

The Brasse published a comic strip some might be able to identify themselves with, should you try out the new classes: Begun, the Clone Wars Have.

The missing Horns for a Matching Set

Frequent readers of my blog know that i like to explore the WAR world. I think i spend more time running, climbing and riding around then in scenarios so far. I'm still amazed about all the stuff you can find a bit off the known paths. During my way to rank 40 i found many Tome unlocks by myself, some before they have been posted anywhere. If you move through the world and look around most corner with open eyes you can find a lot of weird things. Yesterday I was exploring another area i did not had a closer look at yet. To my surprise i found a "broken" Tome unlock: A Matching Set. On a champion mob not related to the Bray Shaman race and in a completely different location then the Tome says i found the Bray Shaman Horns needed for that unlock. Too bad the gained title "Sentinel" is nearly the same as "The Sentinel" - you get when you complete the Sentinel set... no one will really see the difference. I bugged the broken unlock, not sure if it can be completed in Saphery as well, but i won't count on it or spend too much time searching for it. And yes i know what you're saying.. why couldn't you find The Ascendant Verses? Next time, promise... ;)

December 4, 2008

Paul loves my blog...

Haha... because some funny bunny posted a comment imposing Paul in the latest blog entry: this reminded me i wanted to share some screenshots i found on the internet. Showcases some photoshoped/hacked screenshots (1,2,3) from a Paul Barnett shaman model in WAR. Regardless if that model really exists, i think its funny... looks good, down to the red sport shoes. ;)


Since i posted some statistics about how my blog is doing i got a few offers to work together with some website, blog elsewhere, write articles, etc. I was quite surprised about that to be honest. None of the offers were even slightly interesting, so no worries everything will stay like it is right now. Talking about moving blogs: Syp moved his waaagh! blog to gameriot/Chaos Moon and is still getting settled over there. But man, that site makes my eyes bleed. I like clear and easy to read blog pages... Syp, hope you'll be able to adjust the blog layout some more - makes me go waaagh! right now, if you know what i mean. Like your blog, so hopefully that can be resolved. His RSS feed changed as well fyi.

I recently listened to the latest lagwar podcast #8 and discovered Stunty Stomper has been featured again. So a friendly "Orc, Orc, Orc!" to Brilen & Ziss - check out their podcast, its fun for the casual gamer.

Sidenote: I updated the Bilerot Burrow Map and will keep updating the Bastion Stair Maps as well. I still have to finish the wing 3 map, which is about 60% done i would say.

Since machinimas became so popular with MMOs (think about all the cool ones there were for WoW) I'm really enjoying them. It's a lot of work involved in creating a cool movie with a story using a MMO engine. The latest good work i saw for WAR is The Raid II by Beam. While the story is not developing *that* much, its very well done nontheless.

If you don't use it yet, you should check out UpToWar DevTracker. It's hard enough to keep track of Mythic/GOA posts without official forums, UpToWar covers them all. Good Stuff!

Talking about GOA I'm still very disappointed with them. They're doing a crappy job. They did not fix any of the Realm War bugs yet - that thing is still in beta. And if you check out the US version, they meanwhile got a ton of cool new features (you can follow the war campaign out of the game). When GOA posted the latest patch notes, they did (again) some half-arsed copy&paste job and that's why the initial patch notes posted talked eg. about DPS ward system change again. Seriously, for the money we pay them they should do a better job. I won't buy any GOA stocks soon. Personally I'd like to see Mythic put a bit more pressure on GOA, but i guess as long as the servers are running and people can play, that won't happen.

December 2, 2008

The Maw Fortress under attack on Karak-Azgal!

Yesterday evening came down a well planned attack from the Order forces who took two zones in a short time span and then moved over to the Maw. The good news is, zone locking works - we have been trading zones back and forth for some time now on Karak-Azgal. The way it works:
a) Take control over Battle Objectives & Keeps, b) Grind the PQs in that area, c) Have people win scenarios connected to that zone, d) Kill people in open RvR inside that zone

The zone control system is not working very well atm tho. Why do you have to grind PQs? I can cope with the scenarios as they offer a balanced environment, but PQs? c'mon... its also a problem right now if a) no enemies show up (no idea how long the victory points over time mechanism will take) or b) if you have some unorganized idiots from your realm feeding the attacking realm "free" kills. If the fight is very balanced it's a problem as well, you have a full evening of nice RvR, but nothing is happening in the end and you don't have the feeling of accomplishment. Should there be maybe a very small attacker advantage of some kind? At least there should be something happening... and be it some kind of big ass Commander spawning when you fight the zone for several hours - does not need to be too powerful but at least give you a show, if you know what i mean. RvR is fun, but after hours and hours of it and nothing happening... you will get bored.

The bad news: Right now the servers can't handle large scale RvR. That simple. My guess is we had around 250 players fighting in the same area yesterday and it resulted in a very instable server. The lag at times was immense, you could not use your mount or any skills as the delay was around 20secs. There was a bunch of players standing in front of the Fortress door, as the lag prevented us to use it. One time i was alone and de-synced from the server... could run around wherever i want but not interact anymore. Frequent crashes were there and when you tried to log back into the battle zone the game kicked you back to the character selection screen - not once, but like 10 times in a row. Also the campaign was acting a bit crazy, resetting zones back and forth and also resetting the defense timer. Mark Jacobs announced Mythic will try to implement some fixes that should help with the Fortress fights and large scale RvR. Well, they better deliver and not just talk about it. If Mythic won't be able to fix these issue during the upcoming month, IMO many more will quit WAR. It's a crucial part of the game - worst case scenario, if they can't fix their server/software to handle it, they'll need to instance those fights. But let's hope their technicians were able to find some solution... a few people from beta say it was running better back then. So maybe its not due to limitations of the game and can be adjusted.

Especially for tanks/melees a lag zerg fest is not much fun at all. Beside all the "ghost" players (they are not there anymore but the server still renders them at their old position) you try to attack, if you charge the enemy often the enemy player rendering kicks in again and what you thought were just a few Order standing there ends up being a full warband - with you right in the middle of it. It's a trap! Overall i have to say Order did very well on the attack and without all the server problems they might have posed a real threat. As we had the shorter way into the battle zone and got organized quickly we could utilize that due to crashes and such their warbands got split up. We made a large excursion when we saw our chance and it worked, we annihilated their attacking forces in the end. But kudos for that attack, very well done!

Our alliance had a bunch of warbands going and beside some minor communication flaws defense worked very well. Once the Maw went under attack and the call to arms went out people did abandon *everything* they were doing and came to help - even the lower level ones to eg. pour some oil and such. It was quite cool to see the guild chat/system messages... once the situation went serious everyone jumped on their mains and were riding into battle. The atmosphere really felt like something big is going down and everyone was eager to participate. That's the feeling Mythic need to capture for those large scale events. Thirst created a warband together with our friends from Rigor Mortis and we had a lot of fun during the evening. We laughed a lot on vent and in the end, when the fight cooled down we started some tactical training to run in an arrow formation and charge the Order warcamp, like you can see on the picture. We also tried to write Order some messages, but did not have enough people to write in a way that could be seen. ;)

December 1, 2008

Thirst Recruiting & Stunty Stomper Celebration

Recently we opened recruitment in my guild again. We're especially looking for two rank 40 healers (Disciple of Khaine or Zealot would be best), but will take other classes as well. Check out the application forum on our website. Thirst is a guild with almost five years history in other games (WoW, AoC, LotRO, DAoC). We came to Warhammer Online at launch and have been steadily growing since. We have about 45 members and are a very active guild. Despite being one of the smaller guilds, we're guild rank 24 and one of the top three guild ranked destruction guilds on Karak-Azgal. We're part of the alliance Inevitable Destruction. So should you play on Karak-Azgal (EU) and think you got what it takes, then join us. You can always poke me ingame for more info if you like.

My Stunty Stomper blog started back in September and after being active for three month now, i thought it's time to check how I'm doing. Since the blog start Stunty Stomper had more then 51.500 hits from 100 countries all over the world - the most visitors come from USA/Canada with a very close follow up from the EU countries. Around 45% of the visitors find me through search engines like google. At the moment i have constantly between 600-800 visitors per day on average. My WAR screenshot folder is more then 1GB and i still have tons of stuff i want to post, so pending the spare time i have you don't have to worry I'll run out of things to talk about. ;) One of the next "looong" posts i intend to work on during the week is about exploration in WAR and posting some weird screenshots from strange places. I'm happy so many players like my blog and that especially those readers playing on Karak-Azgal have been really nice and polite when it came to bugging me with questions.

November 29, 2008

Bilerot Burrow Info & Map

During our last run through Bilerot Burrow i created a map from this place as well. The whole dungeon is very straight forward, but maybe a map can help with the initial orientation. Bilerot Burrow is located inside the Inevitable City (near Monolith) and is the harder one of the two capitol dungeons. If your group doesn't have enough wards you'll be better off going to Bloodwrought Enclave. Some of the trash mobs are harder then the bosses, but you'll find out very quickly if your group should be inside Bilerot or not, it's a gear check right at the beginning.

There are three bosses inside the dungeon:
Ssrydian Morbidae (Sentinel shoulders & belt)
Bartholomeus the Sickly (Sentinel gloves & belt)
The Bile Lord (Sentinel chest & belt)

Bilerot Burrow MAP v1.1

Update 04/12: added the location/name of the missing hero.

November 27, 2008

Rotten Places

After i finished my assassin training in Reikland Factory i joined the guildies for a quick run through Bloodwrought Enclave & Bilerot Burrow. It was well worth it i snuggled with Lady Luck in some dark alley before, as during the evening i got two Sentinel pieces: Sentinel Eadplate and Sentinel Sholdaplate. That leaves me with three greater Wards, which will be valuable in Lost Vale. Overall we've been very lucky with loot drops yesterday, as I've never been to a dungeon run when we could use more then last night. Some silver lining after all those Magus & Marauder drops going to waste. The downside: You can't dye helmet or shoulders and will look like very other Orc. And on top of that, trophies don't show at all - not even with the gear switching trick. crap.

While I've been in Enclave several times, i had never been to Bilerot before. I think Enklave is really boring beside the last boss fight, Bilerot finally was fun again. The dungeon consists of very narrow and intricate paths so you have to adjust the camera view constantly. In the beginning this is *very* annoying, but you get used to it. It results in being careful to go around a corner as you can't see what's next. The boss fights are ok, with the last one being loads of fun! I really enjoyed The Bile Lord fight... without spoiling it to much for you: Everyone has to move constantly and pay attention while killing the boss. In the end he'll swallow you and you have to fight inside his stomach. The Orc flat on the floor in front of the Bile Lord on that pic is me, would you've been there.. it had some comedy value. ;) We killed him on the second go without much trouble tho. Fun!

November 26, 2008

Pie fights!

The final tasks for the Heavy Metal event were made accessable all at once today. Most of them take place inside the Reikland Factory scenario, which - when it pops - is fun carnage. It's clear by now that you only need 12/14 tasks to flag your account for the final reward. To be honest i stoped bothering after i got my cloak, i have no interest in testing the new classes as i won't play them. The cloak reward is great! It looks unique and the "use" ability has only a cooldown of 2min. A guildie confirmed you can take the rank 35 cloak even if you're lower level - so it might be worth getting that one, saving it for later. The paperdoll UI did not reflect the -3% being critted chance from the cloak. Either that stat is broken or it's just another UI flaw. I bugged it, we'll see what gives...

One of the fun parts is that you can pick up pies (Gravybombs) all over the RF scenario and throw them at other players. While i think they could have added a cooler animation when hit and a sound, its funny nontheless. And who knows... if you try hard enough, you might get "marked" by pie, if you know what i mean... some stains you never can get rid off. ;) I'll definately go back later and throw some more... to complete my assassination training.

In addition, i added two more little helper addons to my list: AllianceRosterFix fixes the display issue in the alliance roster UI (why are there so many flawed UI elements that are bugged? Can't Mythic put some trainee on the job to fix them? Sheesh.). Show Health Percent adds a percentage to enemy/friendly targets - useful to coordinate fights when eg. bosses spawn adds or similar at certain HP levels.

November 24, 2008

Bastion Stair General Info & Maps

The Bastion Stair (public) dungeon is one of the high level dungeons, you'll probably spend some time in. The Bloodlord set, which can be obtained from the bosses, has (like the Annihilator set) lesser wards, that will help inside the city dungeons and in Fortress fights. You best reach the dungeon through the very NE corner in Praag, there is a portal which will take you towards Bastion Stair. The structure is actually located in the Chaos Wastes (far SE corner) where there is a portal as well, but access through Praag is faster from flight point.

The Bastion Stair has an entrace hall where you'll find a bunch of quest givers, a healer and the rally master that will grant rewards from Bastion Stair influence (you gain from doing PQs inside the dungeon). Like in Mount Gunbad you'll need enough influence to enter the private boss instances at the end of each wing - first inf bar for first boss, etc. The lockout (after you kill one of the final wing bosses) for Bastion is 1440 minutes. You can use /lockout to check how much time is left on the instances you got an active lockout. The whole dungeon got a Khorne/Beast/Demon theme.

The Bastion Stair consists of three wings:

# Trail of Carnage

(left portal - mobs 33+)
There are three Public Quests in this wing:
1. Rise of Carnage
2. Bloodherd Labryinth (nice typo Mythic)
3. Trail of Carnage (Arena Challenges)

The final boss in wing 1 is Thar'lgnan (drops Bloodlord boots).
Trail of Carnage MAP v1.0
(with connections and boss spawns)

# Path of Fury

(right portal - mobs 35+)
There are three Public Quests in this wing:
1. Fury's Ascent
2. Halls of Rage
3. Path of Fury

The final boss in wing 2 is Lord Slaurith (drops Bloodlord shoulders).
Path of Fury MAP v1.1
(with connections and boss spawns)

# Steps of Ruin

(stairs straight ahead up - mobs 37+)
There are three Public Quests in this wing:
1. Step of Anger
2. Step of Hatred
3. The Brass Legion

The final boss in wing 3 is Kaarn the Vanquisher (drops Bloodlord helmet).
Steps of Ruin MAP coming soon.

As of patch 1.1a the Bloodlord gloves drop from golden PQ bags inside the dungeon.

There is also a fourth area, called the Rift of Rage, located at the end of the third wing, where the last and fourth boss, Skull Lord Var'Ithrok (drops chest & gloves), can be found. To gain access to the portal to enter the last private instance, you'll need to finish a few quests inside Bastion. The ones you need to finish for attunement are
wing 1: Blood on the Steps (3 part quest), leads to Leashing the Bull (kill wing 1 boss).
wing 3: Infinite Patience (4 part quest), leads to Vanquishing the Skull Lord.

In each wing you can find skulls laying around on the floor, they are named after the wing you picked them up (Skull of Carnage, Skull of Fury and Skull of Ruin). Those skulls can either be placed on pikes found throughout the dungeon - then they might yield a short buff or a curse - or can be placed at the respective skull piles near the entrance hall to spawn another boss called The Collector. Apparently you need around 100 skulls from each wing or something along those lines to spawn him.

NOTE: This post is work in progress and will be completed/updated with maps of the other wings as well as more info. You won't find any spoilers how to kill bosses here tho. It's just to provide some orientation inside the dungeon. If you find any errors (some things i just wrote from memory) please let me know. If you can remember the exact names from the non PQ related boss spawns, leave a note as well.

Update 24/11: Added the rest of the PQs and the map for wing 2.
Update 29/11: Updated the non PQ hero name for wing 2.
Update 13/12: Updated the patch 1.1a info about gloves.