October 31, 2008

The Witching Night

It's the time of the year when zombies and ghosts roam the night... the Witching Night! The first WAR live event... could have used a little bit more decoration, at least inside the capitol city. There are a few large bats every here and there and at the outer rim are some Nightgoblins, but that's about it. I expected at least some large candle lit skull inside the Apex. ;) Your Tome of Knowledge got an extra section at the bottom (new tab) with info about the event. There is a seperate influence bar with rewards (the Herald for those is near the flight master in IC). The potion will make your char a bit more transparent and you get a 10m Ghostly Essence buff applied, first use will yield you the title "The Spooky". The potion shows 5 charges but is currently bugged, every zoning will refill it back to 5 charges. I wonder if there are more crazy titles attached while you have that buff and do stuff.

For the advanced reward you can choose between four cloaks (two red and two black). The stats are not great (at least for me) it's more the unique look. I chose the red one as our guild cloak is black. The elite reward is a Delicate Silver Mask, which looks very stupid on a Black Orc - could use it as an eyepatch with that size. You can gain influence for the Witching Night by either participating at the special PQs in the RvR lakes (need to kill 100 enemy players inside a very small PQ area, then a witching lord will spawn) or by killing the Restless Spirit & Withered Crone that roam the world all over the place. The spirits are tricky to catch as they only show up for 3-4secs and then are gone agan. They can drop Leather Mask of the Gobbo, which looks quite cool. Using any ability on them, even taunt, will keep them from despawning.

The Withered Crones are suposed to be cultists doing dark rites around cauldrons all over the world. There are three of them at each cauldron. When you interact with the cauldron, you'll destroy it and set free around 10 of the Restless Spirits. The cauldrons respawn after approx. 5min. I maxed out my Witching Night influence by killing spirits, found a spot where i could see six spawn points and it felt faster then waiting for a cauldron repop. The PQ does not yield a lot of influence for you, so the best bet is to fly solo on this one. The T4 PQ takes place in Caledor, its a zerg fest. From the golden PQ loot bags there you can gain a Mask of the Bloodletter. The fourth mask, Gaping Skull Mask, you can win as a random drop from RvR like in scenarios.

The tome also shows a task to kill a certain number of the witching night mobs, no idea what will happen once you finished it as i did not kill 10 PQ lords yet. I assume a title might be the reward. Overall it's a fun event and the masks are cool - despite the worst looking one being the elite reward, which is a bit of a letdown. I also like the idea of PQs inside RvR lakes, as this will ensure some carnage going on there. The PQ area is a bit small maybe, which results in a huge zerg fest.

Edit: I just participated in the Witching Night PQ and was lucky enough to win the purple bag. No mask, but you can choose between a major amulet or a major relic - for me thats Major Amulet of the Dread Guard or Major Relic of the Dread Guard.

Stunty Stomper give-away: The first five players from Karak-Azgal doing a trick'n'treat in the comments of this post will find a Leather Mask of the Gobbo in their mailbox. Don't forget to mention your character name.

October 28, 2008

Rippa of the Patient One

Due to some group PQ farming and further questing Thulf is rank 34 meanwhile. So finally I'm getting close to being able to play around with all those different tome jewelry sets and their boni, which i can use at 35. If you want to max. out greenskin chapter 18 influence and you're solo, here is a tip for you: Go to Cinderfall and do the Da Drakk Cult PQ. When you kill the Drakk cultists there, they drop keys to the cages. When you open a cage it will yield 300 influence. This speeds up solo grinding quite much... as the drop rate is rather high. If you're alone stage one will yield you around 17k inf quickly.

We manage to run Bastion Stair groups every other day with our guild, so chances are high to get some pieces of the Bloodlord set. I won a blue loot bag from the juggernaut PQ in there and it had a nice tanking shield in it: Gore Flecked Blocka. Unfortunately the bag was bugged and i could not retrieve it, but got coin instead. I know this happened to others getting either nothing or coin while definately selecting the item they want. Annoying. First time something like this happened to me tho. From the influence rewards inside Bastion Stair i gained Rippa of the Patient One, which looks awesome - like a huge butcher blade. The elite influence rewards are, while epic, utterly crap: Willpower & Initiative? Please... I also won my first Defender's Signs from a PQ in wing 3, so now only we need a purpose again for them. Maybe some new good looking trophies? Trophies for my mount! Talking about dungeons, some guildies went to Bloodwrought Enclave recently and one of the tanks got the Sentinel Eadplate, looks cool.

I also managed to obtain the Man Tactic II (Manly Strategy) from the tome tactics. I'd go for the next one, but i hear it's bugged and does not work. And I'm still of the opinion the 50% closer part is bugged as well. Part of this was to get an unlock from an order PQ, which was really funny as i could not see the stage/goal of the PQ, but was able to advance it myself by figuring out what one could do with gunpowder. This was really funny to be in the dark and try to find out what had to be done. ;)
Skill development after rank 33 feels still ok, you have one or another rank when you don't gain anything useful but there is still progress and the mastery tree enables some nice skills as well. My rank 4 morale ability Cant' Touch Us is great for longer boss fights or PQs as it will nearly refill the AP for your group and absorb damage as well. We did put it to good use when we gathered four 32-34 guys and went to do a chapter 20 PQ with mobs around 38 - the last stage was rather hard, but we made it. Challenging fights like that are good fun.

October 25, 2008

High Rank Armor Sets - Tokens are gone

The latest Grab Bag is online and provides some interesting info on high rank endgame armor sets. Check out the US Grab Bag as GOA just did a bad copy & paste job and lacks pictures, etc. (GOA wth?!?). To give you a better overview i created a table (pic to the left) with all the different sets, wards and where they are obtained. First thing i noticed while reading through this infos: Token obtained armor sets are gone, they were removed from the game. This explains why the ambassadors inside the Eternal Citadel don't sell them anymore. It's a bit sad, as we recently found out that you can (still) obtain Defender's Signs through PQs in Bastion Stair.

How does the ward system works? NPCs inside the endgame encounters (be it dungeons or city PQs) hit harder then normal. You will need to wear pieces from the appropriate armor sets to gain wards (small ghost skull buffs you can see on people) and each one will yield approx. a 10% damage reduction. It's not exactly 10% from what a guildie of mine tested, but close to. From what i hear you don't need the full set to survive but around 2-3 pieces of the set are required to have a better chance to make it through - at least this is true for the City Dungeons (Bloodwrought Enclave & Bilerot Burrow). No one knows yet if more pieces are required later for city assaults. It seems from the sets that have more then five pieces, not all will yield wards. Only chest, boots, gloves, helmet and shoulders will give wards - so the greatest possible cumulative reduction is around 50%. Looking at the pictures from the Herald, some sets look nice while others look really bad. I hope they'll pimp them a bit concerning uniqueness a bit. The ward system sure is a piece of a tiered armor set progression block. Especially for tanks it will be mandatory to obtain pieces to survive. As long as you don't need the full set but can get away with 2-3 pieces with wards i think it's ok. Although the "problem" would remain that you need high enough Renown Rank to be able to wear armor that protects you better in King Fights. I still hope nontheless Mythic will fix dungeon drops... why not use the repairable tokens also in the high level dungeons? They already have the system in place and it can prevent the frustration ob having two Magus drops while none is present in the group.

October 24, 2008

Sneak a Peek from Bastion Stair

I still want to go back to Mount Gunbad and do wing 3 once more. I'm still thinking about if i should create a map from Mount Gunbad as people tend to get lost in there or have no clue which wing they have to go to finish certain tasks. But then again you move on so quickly, is it worth the time invested? Our guild started to run the Bastion Stair dungeon some time ago. Since Thulf is rank 31 now, i was able to tag along...

Like MG the Bastion Stair is a three wing dungeon and mobs rank from 33-40 in there. The dungeon got an influence bar with rewards as well - all suck for my Black Orc tank btw. The whole dungeon got a Khorne/Beast theme and while i think the atmosphere inside Mount Gunbad is more fun - i think Bastion Stair looks "to clean", the devs should have used more different floor/wall tiles - Bastion Stair is good fun nontheless. Some really evil and fun boss fights. The dungeon is the first PvE one that yields item sets with wards on them. I've been inside Bastion Stair two times so far (in wing one and two) and will post more in detail about the dungeon and its rewards etc. when i find the time during the next days.

On a sidenote, Stunty Stomper has been mentioned in the latest LagWAR #13 podcast. I don't listen to podcasts that much, but like to do it every now and then while doing some boring grinding stuff to spice it up. LagWAR is a fun podcast hosted by Brilen (c'mon say pip again!) & Ziss (thanks for the kind words about the blog), check them out at their lagwar.com website.

Tip of the Day: Did you know you do not need to stand right next to a PQ loot chest to grab the bag you won? As long as you can see and interact with the chest you can be far away and use it.

A quick list of 10 things

...that annoy me in WAR right now:
  • When i EXIT the game i want to get out, right now, and not wait 20secs to logout and then several more for the game to close.
  • Missing item-linking feature
  • Buying stacks (shift+left-click) does not work with all items and sometimes does not work at all.
  • No copy & paste from text out of the chat window, especially annoying if someone posts you an URL.
  • Why can't i destroy items from my bag while in combat? I like to clean up my bags while fighting. Multitasking ftw!
  • Need more chat filters to be able to split away and color things like eg. friend logins, player rolls, etc. Missing sound for chat events like tells (i use a mod for that).
  • Itemization sucks at higher levels. I can choose three different DPS items that are all nearly the same, but none is for tanking. Many items have just useless stats for classes.
  • The 1001 different potions that do exactly the same but have different names and therefore do not stack.
  • Inconsistent PvE mobs in dungeons concerning difficulty and mob level. Good example was (got fixed) Hydra boss from Sacellum. There are bosses & champions in higher dungeons that have the same problem. I've no problem with difficult dungeons (on the contrary) but a dungeon should be in line with the level of the mobs.
  • Crafted Dyes not being special but more like vendor ones.

Edit: Ok, here is one more... WHY does the War Story influence bars get out of sync with the server all the time and screw up your tome. Sometimes you even have to relog to be able to access a Rally Master... else it takes forever to update from the server after you zone or login.

October 22, 2008

Guild Heraldry Emblem on Cloak

Our guild Thirst reached guild rank 20 yesterday. Yay! Finally the heraldry emblem shows on the cloak. The system Mythic developed for the guild heraldry is a bit strange in my eyes. You reserve the pattern with guild rank 10, then with guild rank 15 the colors and pattern will show on the cloak (together with the ugly default emblem) and at guild rank 20 the complete guild cloak will be displayed. Beside the ugly default emblem (why show it at all?) the system is a bit weird as many guilds will reserve their heraldry with rank 10 but you can't see what the others chose. So with rank 20 there will be some surprises to which guilds have similar heraldry. I can't stress enough the fact that the shape will be the same for standard and cloak. So if you choose a triangle shape, your cloaks witll have it as well.

We had a very long discussion about which colors, pattern and emblem we wanted to use. Rather quickly we decided on a dark cloak as it will fit to all different dyed armor parts. The next letdown is that the patterns a) look like some C64 pixelart (look at the border) depending on the different colors you use and b) the pattern color "bleeds" into the background color as a kind of layer - very ugly. My initial suggestion (see the pic) was to use a dark color together with a dark red pattern, but the color bleed made the cloak become dirty grey and the pattern did look very pixelish. In the end we decided for the combination you can see in the upper picture on me as we thought the hand is somewhat unique between the different emblems and has no color variations, therefore reducing the amount of guilds running around with it, and a pattern we can cope with should it take Mythic a longer time to fix them. Funny thing is that we discovered Eva Vix got a sense for style as well and chose a similar design then we did - imagine we would have used my initial suggestion, that would have been nearly the same. So whoever decided on the guild heraldry at Eva Vix... kudos, you got taste. ;)

October 21, 2008

You can't hit me! ...or the Action Point Spree

Yesterday i got some time to test my new skill Can't Hit Me! and it's damn powerful. But let me tell you more in detail about how i grind mobs: Before i got this, i was able to solo tank and take down approx. 5 mobs up to +4 levels of my own (ofc the lower the more), without any real danger to me. Everyone telling you Da'Toughest specced tanks can't solo mobs and are useless are wrong. The question is how you do it. If you take on one or two mobs after the other you'll take a longer time then some DPS specced player, as your DPS output is of course lower. You need to use your strengths, which is survivability! For me as a tank (with mainly toughness & wounds tank gear), it's no difference if its one or a few mobs banging my chest. So you need to calibrate your mob grinding in a way that you pick up just enough mobs you won't be in danger to die and that you're downtime is not increased. What i would do is, to gather up to five mobs... maybe use Challenge initially to gather them up nicely. Then i would use whatever skill rotation (for higher damage until now i used 'Ave Another One tactic) i see fit on a single mob of them while using Big Slash and Raze whenever available. The mobs would die one after the other but because i have a few on me (gather them nicely so they all get hit by cone attacks) i can make more use out of the multiple mob abilities. If you stack up on thorn potion like Brief Thorn Ointment this will speed up grinding multiple mobs even more. These potions are rather cheap and not hard to come by. Even for solo play i was able to keep up a very good pace and did not have the feeling others were plowing through the mobs while i was stuck banging on one.

Talking to some other classes, taking on five mobs higher level is already more then some can handle. Let's check on how Can't Hit Me! improves this... Using the above skills/potion i vary it a bit now: Gather all the mobs and maybe use some self-buff skills then switching to Can't Hit Me! when nearly at full Action Points (AP). While you channel the skill and your APs slowly drain all mobs hitting you will take damage. Depending on mitigation they will at least take 70-80 dmg if not more. Add the damage from the thorn potion to it and you have a nice and steady flow of damage on ALL mobs going. As soon as Raze is available, use it (because the cooldown needs some time to refresh). Then maybe use a few skills depending on the situation and go back to Can't Hit Me!. Rinse and repeat. You'll drain quite a lot of AP so you should use Get 'Em whenever it fits the rotation - this skill is best used when you're around 40%-50% AP as it will make sure you can get going. Using it when depleted of AP is not that good IMO. You can also use it before going into the channeling. With the above skill rotation I'm able to take down around 10 mobs at the same time with a good pace to it. Comparing that with other classes that's pretty good if you ask me. It should be noted that i use a shield with +block and also make use of the Good Wif Shield tactic. This gives me close to 100% block chance while channeling.

This will work best on melee mobs tho. If you face ranged/magic mobs it becomes a bit tricky to gather them. Should there only be a few just gather the melees on top of the ranged and you're good - of course the block damage will also affect ranged attackers standing away but with the current AI the mobs tend to run away when they're to low on health and if they run to far, they can reset and end up back to full health again. These scared mobs starting to flee are a bit borked if you ask me. Depending on the situation you might need to break of the channeling and kill the ones running away, should they not come back by themselves. Just use any other skill or the hotkey again to break off channeling.
As you realize, the above drains a lot of action points, a lot. I suggest you stock up on the +AP jewelry that you can get at rank 29. Each gives +3 AP regen and in addition i use the Grim Changehide that yields an additional +4 AP regen, so in total that gives me +16 AP regen and you can really feel the effect. Together with Get 'Em this keeps me going for a long time. Due to the AP regen I'm even able to solo hero mobs around three levels below me.

I did not really had the chance to test this in RvR yet, but while more situational i can see great potential when being focus fired and such. To close off this excursion, here is a bit about my experience while teaming up with others: I grouped with two guildies of mine (Zealot & Sorcerer) and we were doing PQs. I would run around and gather approx. 30 mobs and we would take them down *very quick*. We were owning the place and respawn could not be fast enough. I used the Menace tactic, run around and gather the mobs and we would just AoE them down. Important of course to let your group know you don't really generate any aggro while running around and gathering mobs, so they have to wait until you're stationary and had 2-3 secs to generate aggro to be safe. We went into Mount Gunbad yesterday night and i used a similar tactic to tank multiple mobs. The times when the Chosen would own you on multiple mob tanking are over. This really works like a breeze. Maybe I'll post more in detail about each wing of Mount Gunbad once we went back and cleared wing 3 again.

Addon Tip: Check out Mini World Map if you haven't yet. It will give you a small world map, which is very useful to find directions and also in those capture the flag scenarios to see where the flags are.

October 18, 2008

Orc Motorbike Gang

Today i got the idea to launch an Orc motorbike gang... after killing some frost Yhetee i got a tome unlock for the cloak you can see. Doesn't that look like a motorcycle jeans jacket emblem? ;) As you might also realize - due to the four skulls on the shoulders - Thulf just dinged rank 30. In the meantime i saw most of the trophies i was missing when i posted about them, but none really awoke my interest beside the skulls. Aside from the fourth trophy slot and bigger bags i also got the skill Where You Going?, which seems very useful. In addition i got enough mastery points to respecc and grab Can't Hit Me! - a skill i was really looking forward to get and will test properly to see if it might also change the way i solo grind multiple mobs. I'll post about it once i had the time to test it...

The Inevitable City ranked five today - finally we catched up to Altdorf, which reached that rank a few days earlier. Overall i have to say the feeling inside the city while ranking up did not change much. Beside a few quests (one of them is still bugged for me, quest guy only respawns after server restart), which were not very exciting so far, the view inside the city did not change. You'd expect more banners, more merchants and such. When we ranked 5 today the guards inside the city changed to a better armor and got some wicked looking shields now.

We also got access to The Elysium today with city rank 5. While it surely does not look like what i expected, it's still an interesting location and might also be a cool place for a guild meeting or some party. The last time i was inside the Eternal Citadel it seemed like the vendors for the epic gear were disabled. I wonder if Mythic changed it that you can only access them when you can actually buy from them or if they were disabled due to some fix. At least i found out what those tokens are you need to buy gear from them. You gain them through raids on the enemy capitol and gain them from quests and as drops during a city raid. They're named Defender's Sign & Defender's Mark.

In the meantime i found some of the "bugged" items as well. There are a few items that you can equip, that use models from other classes. Some combinations look really strange, like a witch elf with chosen shoulders. We got a thread in our server forum at WHA with a bunch of screenshots about those.

October 16, 2008

Toe-to-Toe: Warhammer Color & Dye System

One of the coolest things concerning the Warhammer Online item system is it's color & dying part. The WAR dye system will let you dye most (but not all) items in a color you want. Nearly every merchant has the ability to dye items. You can choose in the dyeing UI if you just want to dye a single item (just choose that one) or use the checkbox to apply the same color scheme to all your armor. All armor has a primary and a secondary color. You can left and right click on the color dots to dye primary or secondary colors. There are 14 colors offered by default from the vendors. There are rumours about other colors being available at higher renown ranks, but so far I've heard of none being confirmed.

Beside merchant bought dyes there are more possibilities to get different looking colors... Some quests offer dye containers as a reward. Don't be afraid to try them out, as you'll always get a confirmation window after the preview if you really want to use that color. So it's safe to check them out on your armor. Many color names found inside WAR suggest that Mythic uses the Games Workshop Citadel Colours from the original game, but some people on the forums complain the colors are not 100% original in tone, maybe due to some armor layer clipping. The large color table suggests that later on Mythic will possibly add more colors as different rewards. There are also some rare colors (like Enchanted Blue Dye (looks like a smurf) or Blood Red Dye) you can get as drops. I found them in Mount Gunbad and RvR so far, so i guess they're just random world drops of dye.

The most interesting & rare colors many thought were supposed to come from crafting. Well, let me tell you I'm a 200 Apothecary and 200 Cultivator and it's not really true until now. Of course I'm not rank 40 yet and maybe there are some mysterious ingredients that eluded me yet, but so far the possibilities to craft dyes are very limited. I don't want to turn this into a crafting explanation, but there is only so much with the available ingredients and containers for dye you can do and try out. If you managed to create dyes other then the obvious ones, share with us. The worst thing is that the crafted colors look nearly the same then merchant ones or drops. How does crafting dyes work? Well, Cultivators can get special moments (better then a critical success) and gain pigment extracts from growing plants. An Apothecary can take Mortar and Pestle (vendor item) and fixer plus a pigment extract to craft dye. Basic fixer lvl 1 can be bought from a vendor but Cultivators can get higher level fixers from special moments as well. The highest fixer i got until today is lvl 125, don't know anyoneone who got a better one. Colored pigments i found so far include yellow (Golden Yellow Dye), brown (Scorched Brown Dye), green (Goblin Green Dye), blue (Seaguard Blue Dye) and red (Red Gore Dye).

Some people claim they crafted violet or black dye, but i did not see any proof yet. Screenshots & explanations or it did not happen. The dye system is one of the greatest item features and I'm positive we'll see more dyes soon as special rewards.

Tip of the Day: If you try to brew potions with Apothecary and the potion fails, use water as a stabilizer. You can use up to three water for the same potion to stabilize it. After the vendor bought water is not good enough anymore you'll need better water or zoic from other scavengers & butchers.

October 14, 2008

To pick a bone with GOA

Alright, after i just got off the phone with my credit card company i have to rant a bit about GOA. The call was about an incoming debit (just a reservation so far) from some French telecommunication company for "Local & Long Distance Calls" - turns out its exactly the same amount then the WAR subscription. Ergo GOA mislabels debit on credit-card. Their automatic renewal system does not take changes the first time either, you have to change it again later. In addition the system does not show when they'll debit you the next time for subscription. Overall not very impressive - i really hope they'll update their system soon. Until then their transactions will be under close observation for me.

What about the server status pages like the US? Promised since weeks, where are they? Seriously, how hard can that be if we already have playermade server status for EU? What about the Realm War pages? Those were recently promised as well. If none of those show up by next week, i would not give that much about promises made on the forums by the community reps. Like Arbitrary i aswell check the US website for patch information, Magnus said we'll get a similar one as well... soon™.

What about annoying ingame "features"? Here i got some for you:
- Tome of Knowledge messes up War Story entries completely sometimes. You need to relog to be able to access other chapters.
- Rally Masters sometimes take forever to update your influence progress (probably related to the above).
- The "fix" to the guild/helmet disable feature is not working. The system is still bogus and especially when you hear that the changes only show for YOU. Others still see your ugly white cloak, even if you hide it. Great. Is the dye system only on my monitor as well? I should make sure to ask someone next time...
- The AH still does show some items as bugged with weird stats, etc. Those items are not really bugged but only show like this. Seems the AH search function is not working 100% correct.
- Talking about the AH search, some drop-down menus really need to get a use to make it easier to search for certain items (especially crafting).
- Why can't i see if a BO is controlled by my faction on the world map even when I'm not in the area? I can see keeps as well. If i eg. want to use that crafting buff, i have to ask around if we control a certain area or fly around and try to find one.

October 13, 2008

Altdorf burns... again! (Averheim server US)

After the first raid on Altdorf, where players supposedly used some bugs to get the deed done, yesterday happened the first large scale raid that managed to control Altdorf (1, 2). Apparently around 300 members of the alliance Retribution (guilds: PRX - The Professionals, Cadre Quietus, Xen on Onslaught, Dusk Till Dawn, Isolated, Sinners and Misery) started at 7am EST to take keeps and around 12am they were fighting in Altdorf. Most of the alliance were organized very well with voice communication from the looks of it and the whole raid was setup a week in advance. During the five hours of preparation to raid the capitol, they did not meet much resistance. While on the one hand it was early hours and less people online, there are also voices from Order players that complain - again - that not enough people care about what's going on in open RvR. When it comes to the "important" fortress raids, every player gets an onscreen message once the battle moves over to a fortress and also gets notice of one is captured. At least then people should start to move towards the battle zone quickly.

On a sidenote: On Karak-Azgal the Maw was under attack by Order yesterday night. It was a battle 50:20 in the beginning and from those 20 defending Destruction around 50% was from Thirst. When i noticed what was going on i headed over as well (and I'm only rank 28), but the battle had moved on already. It was nice to see that a few more Destruction showed up at the Maw to help to defend it. When one of the fortresses is under attack, do care! Shout inside the capitol for more people to come and defend. If the capitol is under direct attack there is a bottleneck and it's harder to help defend the city then to help defend the fortress before.

From what the participating Destruction players said, it was no cake walk as the upgraded NPC defenses can't just be zerged but also require some tactics. Most participating players were around rank 30-34, they took the T3 keeps and also guarded the altdorf gates later on as only approx. 40 players from each side could enter the city instance per scenario. They took down the head priest of the sigmar temple, but the master wizard (Lord, rank 48, 4 skulls) in the BW college did provide some serious pain. Quote: "He oneshot me (a chosen with 600+ toughness, 700+ elemental resist, 8500+ hp) with a crit for 8721 damage (1962 mitigated!)."

The Destruction players never made it to the Altdorf king tho. The PvE content inside the city seems to be rather challenging, at least players should be rank 40 to have a better shot. Looks like Mark Jacobs announced some tweaks to the zone capture system, that will make early morning raids much harder to pull off, when he commented on the first siege (on KEP) earlier, but MJ said he'll look into all the data from the raid and will announce his finding about system working vs. needs more tweaks later on.

When the players are done plundering the city i hope we get more info and pictures - the warband was in Altdorf for about three hours, should have gotten plenty. Check Dusk Till Dawn for some more pictures. In addition i found a video from the raid on the last T4 Dwarf keep. I also found a photstream by Isphet on flickr with pics. The most interesting part of info from this so far was a sidenote from Mark that how well your raid is doing with the PvE stuff inside the city determines the length of the city capture. So there is no such thing as to capture the city and leave it alone for 24h. Just saw that Andy clarified the capture process here:
# You must capture two fortresses in tier 4 within 12 hours of each other.
# To capture those fortresses, you must seize and hold the neutral tier 4 and your opponent’s zone in two of the three racial pairings (after which you only have 60 minutes to capture said racial fortress).
# After all of this you fight in a contested, not captured, Altdorf/Inevitable City for control of the city, much in the same manner as a regular zone would be. In the case of Altdorf, after you have secured the city and the defending force is ejected from the city you have one hour to complete the Bright Wizard College and Sigmar’s Temple public quests. In the case of The Inevitable City,The Monolith and The Sacellum. Should you fail to beat these two Encounters within the hour, the city will be reopened to the defenders and they will be allowed to wipe out any attackers left in their City.
# If you complete the two Encounters as an attacker however, you lock the city down for 20 -24 hours and get access to the King Instance..
# Contribution points towards the capture of a city are scaled based on the population of both sides, not just one lump sum. This ensures that a defending force with smaller numbers has a fighting chance to hold off the invaders. However, you can overcome the scaling with a sufficiently large force.

Trophies & Bestial Tokens

When i first started to check on WAR before release, i saw this video (from some internal presentation - hillarious!) about the trophy system. Great idea to customize your character even more. In reality the system is... so lala. The idea is still great but the trophies lack a bit. Some players complain that their items are bugged and don't have any trophy slots to show them. In addition it's not very intuitive, i guess that's why so many people run around without any trophies equipped at all. One thing to note for trophy placement: You can left-click the equipped trophy and get arrows you can use to rotate the trophy to all free/valid trophy slots to find the place you think looks best. Some NPCs have great trophies attached (see pics) but you can't get them yet afaik. You can gain trophies by three ways:
# Quests
# Tome Unlocks
# Bestial Tokens (also from the ToK)

In the starter area (i assume in each, never checked that only did greenskin) is a quest you can choose between two trophies. For greenksin that's Dragonseye Pendant and Orc Trophy. Maybe there are other quests later on you can gain trophies from, I've not heard about any (beside the CE ones) so far. Biggest letdown was the Test of the Arena quest, where i thought "YES, a Stunty Trophy Beard!". But it's only a junk item so far... i kept mine, you never know what happens later. One can still hope, heh.

Next way are direct tome unlocks. Many know the medals you gain from killing 1000 of this and that race. They look ok, but not that special and don't look that different. Then there are others you gain by using your tradeskills enough (anyone else thinks apothecary and cultivating are bugged?). Also from gaining 777 tome unlocks you get a book for your belt. I got mine at 936 unlocks, so i guess not all unlocks count towards it.

Bestial Tokens are a kind of currency you can can use to "buy" any trophy - your class/race can use - you want. They are gained through tome unlocks; don't let anyone tell you they drop from mobs - they don't. Some named NPCs have a token unlock attached to them, when you kill them. You can always only do it once. Beside named monsters there are also some kill 1000 mobs unlocks. As you know i don't like the way many websites hand out all those tome unlocks and things - so please refrain from posting any tips on how to obtain them, etc. To get you started I'll tell you the easiest Bestial Token you can gain as Destruction: Go to Saphery, to the chapter 14 village and talk to Maedlaine Bloodwine, *padabing* one bestial token. Too easy? Yes, i think so too.

Some of the looks for the trophies you can "guess" by looking at the concept art for trophies. Some icons don't fit the actual trophy at all. So it can really suck to spend your hard earned tokens on something that looks like shit. I made screenshots of many trophies i saw on other players and created a summary for you. Maybe that helps your trophy shopping. You can also check the trophy section at WarDB, some have screenshots posted. Should you know other websites with screenshots from trophies please let me know. I'm still searching for the looks on Emergency Rat-tions, Birdskull, Vile Vial, Shiny Neckbit, Mork (or Gork) Effigy, Dangly Fing, Wolf's Skull and Raven's Skull. WHY are there no cool Stunty trophies?!? The ones connected to Dwarfs look really bad. IMO Chaos got way better trophies then greeskins, bummer.

October 12, 2008

Warhammer Online Postcards

So yesterday i went into a store to buy a new monitor (Samsung T220) and to my surprise on the counter they had Warhammer Online postcards as giveaways. Good quality, rather large postcards with the below pictures. I scanned them for you in HQ, should you want to use them for whatever. I got two postcards of each, if you read my blog, live in the EU and want one send me a PM on WHA or poke me ingame with your adress. I got two of each, make sure you specify the picture if you prefer one fitting your char. First come, first served.

October 11, 2008

Toe-to-Toe: Warhammer Addons

Maybe you're one of those players that don't have any addons installed yet? Well, then we should get you started as addons can really improve your gaming experience. I know some are reluctant to install them, but i always used a ton of addons and as long as you keep track of new versions, it's not a problem at all. Should you not have seen them yet, i keep a list of the addons i have installed in the nav-bar to the right. All of them have screenshots posted at the download location, so i won't bother to post screenshots of those addons but rather entertain you with some random panoramic screenshots.

Before i talk about the addons i use, let me talk you through the process of installing them. If not there already, you need to create a path like C:\Games\Warhammer Online\Interface\Addons\ (depending on where you installed WAR) don't mix it up with the interface folder in your user area, that's not the right one. A really good addon FAQ is at WHA, go read it first. I grab all my addons from curse, so far there are no other addon websites worth mentioning. Warhammer Online stores the settings for addons on an addon version basis, which means you do not have to update them after every patch. Of course when Mythic changed something you'll have to grab the latest version to fix stuff. In general i would advice to check for updates to the addons you use regularly to get bug fixes and improvements. Should you install a new addon version, all settings are gone and you have to set it up again. Usually no big deal, but keep it in mind for addons that work in the background. You can modify lastLoadedVersion (check the FAQ at WHA how to do so) to keep the setting, but only use it if you know it will work. By default Warhammer stores addon settings global for all your chars, if you need to operate with different setups, you can change that by editing ..\user\UserSettings.xml -> save_settings_per_character="false" needs to be changed to true.

What can those addons do for me? Well, I'm glad you asked... Some addons are real timesavers. The one addon I'd say saved me a ton of time is zMailMod, it's a mass mailing addon that will show you the amount of time until all the mails/attachments are send and sends mail after mail by itself. Finally you should be arsed to send those crafting things you vendored before to some guildie. Go and install that one now! The QuickMailTool does help you to empty your mailbox and delete mails, while not working perfect yet (eg. does not take money) it's useful if you watch closely what you're doing. Another good addon is Last Listed which is the only auction house addon i have installed. It will populate the search automaticly depending on the item you want to sell and also remember the price you put it up for. Especially if you're a crafter and try (lets not talk about how the last patch destroyed apothecary income from cores) to sell things this is useful, but also for just selling stuff you found.

The next addons are to customize your UI... Vertigo will enable you to arrange and size your hotbars as you like. You want a three slot mini bar somewhere? no problem. ActionBarColor will color your action buttons red if target is out of range. InfluenceText adds numbers to your influence bar to show how far away from the rewards you are. Does help to keep you sane while grinding influence and you can also click it to go directly to the warstory entry to check the rewards again, dangling in front of your nose.

Talking about items there are two addons i use, first - as there is no item linking yet - the Mostly Harmless Item Linker, generates text with item info so you don't have to type stats if you intend to give away some item to guildies. If you keep different suits of gear ClosetGoblin is for you. This addon will let you manage equipment sets with ease and got a nice UI to do so.

Three more useful addons i use: PlantMe if you're a Cultivator, use this one! Improves the cultivating profession a ton. The addon will provide you with a small window you can use to cultivate seeds & spores and use an included dropdown menu to quickly use additives for the process. You just ckick the tiny squares for each seed slot. Then i also use Chat Alert! to be notified about certain events and chat channels, especially if someone whispers me. The default settings are annoying, but you can turn off all the channels you don't want to hear a sound for messages. Join Selected Scenarios is the new version from Scenario Join All Button, as Mythic implemented a join all button now. But this addon is exactly how Mythic should have implemented it: A small list with available scenarios to check those you want to queue for, sometimes I'm just not up for Tor Anroc but want to queue for all the others.

On a sidenote: I hear good things about Squared (like grid) to use if you're a healer. I don't use it but check it out should you need to heal people.

In addition there are a bunch of tiny helpers that will just change the default view of some window, etc. like GuildDefaultTab (change the default view & sorting from guild window) and NearestOpenGroup (sort open groups after distance, from nearest to farthest). I also want to mention IdentityTheft, a small helper to create "clean" screenshots - it will hide all player/NPC names etc. Great little addon to create good looking screenshots while in combat.

As you can see i did not mention all, but think this should at least give you an idea about what kind of useful addons are out there. Depending on your class there are many more and I'm also watching some very promising beta version, I'm sure I'll add soon to my collection of useful stuff. Don't forget to install LibSlash as its a library for registering slash commands most addons use. If you want to delete an addon, just delete the folder inside the addon path and its gone.

Tip of the Day: You can update or change addons while running WAR, you just have to do a /reloadui afterwards to update your UI.

October 10, 2008

punkdudez rip-off

A reader of my blog pointed me towards some guy named barbarianrage (at WHA) who apparently runs the warhammer blog from the punkdudez.com website. To my surprise, he ripped-off my Inevitable City Map 1:1 - even copying the notes in brackets - everything is *exactly* like on my map. He just used another background and put some icons on it. Even the color for the PQs is the same. Should be noted that you write "craf(t)ing vendor" with a "t" tho. ;) The info below the map is also basicly a copy/paste job, adding one or two words and some links, sorting is exactly the same. Following the website i saw that a large chunk of the text for their entry of the open party system is just copy/paste from my blog as well.

Seriously, nothing i write about in warhammer is secret information and most of it is accessible to anyone. But just doing a copy/paste job is a bit lame... don't be so lazy! Either put some more work in it and rephrase it and add your own research or better give credit to where you got your stuff. Just add a line like "inspired by Stunty Stomper" or whatever. I don't mind anyone using info from this blog for their own websites as long as they give credit or put their own research in it to create even better information. Make sure to point me towards it then, so i can learn from it as well.

For such kind of borrowing as this, if it be not bettered by the borrower, among good authors is accounted plagiary.
~John Milton

Update: Meanwhile there is a link to my original map on his website, at least something. I also removed the link as he got loads of ads between his gaming stuff (mortgage, car loans and what not) and i really don't want to share my traffic with him. *shows tongue*

October 8, 2008

Orc, Orc, Orc!

The absolute best emote for my Black Orc so far is the /cheer - when the orc goes Yeehaw.. Oi, Oi, Oi! and raises his arms in the air. It's funny, i like it. Another good one (i wish i had as a real emote) is when you use the Deflect Oil ability, as you'll bang your shield for a short while. Have 3-4 Black Orcs standing in one line next to each other and use it, looks impressive. I realized i did not take much time to write about my Black Orc and what I'm doing with him, or how i play him. There is just so much stuff to talk about in WAR... always something looks more important or I'm asked some questions I feel others wants to know the answer to as well. Once i write it in my blog, i can just refer people to it when they ask me the same stuff already in here... hehehe. Talking ablout the blog i have to say the response from other players has been great so far. Beside the comments (always appreciated if you discuss with me here) i had many players on my server Karak-Azgal that talked to me in game, or you enter a scenario and in the time before it starts someone cheers for you and makes a compliment about the blog. The amount of hits this blogs generated in the short amount i started it is incredible as well, i daily expect some pictures to go down because of the traffic. ;) And people have been responsible as well when it came to asking me stuff ingame. So far i only had very polite and friendly questions, which i very much appreciate... as talking to people and explaining stuff of course takes away from your game time and sometimes you're in the middle of things and don't have time. So a cheers out there to all readers and especially those playing on Karak-Azgal.

While i see many Orcs running around with a big 2H weapon, Thulf has been through all of his 27 ranks a defensive specced Black Orc. Of course i keep a strength/weapon skill/2H set as well to quickly grind lower level trash mobs, but usually i go with my wounds/toughness/sword'n'board set-up. I'm becoming a bit upset with quest reward choices for tanks tho. Often you have the choice between eg. 2-3 different items, but all are DPS ones that differ only very little. You really have to search for great tank upgrades meanwhile. I invested all points into the Da’ Toughest tree so far and while i took Less Stabbin' Me and Ya Missed Me, now I'm working my way up to Can't Hit Me!, which will be the next skill i take in this tree (taking lower ones later) - as i think this will be a great one to have. Quick sidenote on Ya Missed Me: It's a reactive skill (after a block), which i don't find troublesome to use, that works great... the damage can't be defended and it lowers the damage of that target by 20% for 10 seconds. The tooltip of the debuff is wrong tho and says the damage is periodically, which my combat log says is not true. Also worth to mention, after the block you can use this skill on any target you want - does not have to be the one you blocked.

When i play in my tank set, i usually have zero downtime needed for healing and can easily play at the edge of chapters i can't use the rewards yet. If i stay longer in an area i might switch some items from the tank set to get more str and such. For solo play and RvR alike, my tactic set up atm is I'm Da Biggest! and 'Ave Another One. The latter really increases my damage done nicely (57+250 atm). I did use Wot armor? for these cases at first, but RvR tends to be so fast paced the effect from direct damage in a skirmish feels better. In scenarios i often do as much damage as some "DPS classes" which is rather astonishing given the fact i don't even go for DPS, but for annoying the heck out of people. In my tanking gear i can take quite a beating. Of course focused fire takes me down hard as well, but eg. in a Black Fire Basin scenario recently i had 5 tank/melee banging on me for ages while a team mate sneaked in and stole the flag in the back, hillarious. I see my task in RvR in protecting the healers (and maybe other squishies) and else i try to be as annoying and disturbing as i can. Sometimes charging around the mob of enemies and trying to take out a healer in the back and cause confusion. Sometimes it works and your group can open up the enemy front line to multiply the distraction between the enemies, sometimes it doesn't. Of course if you pull a stunt like that without backup chances are very high you die if enough enemies notice you and focus fire. Often enough I'm one of the top three renown points (RP) in scenarios, works well enough for me. If we go in with a team of guild mates, usually we come out on the top as a team. I've to say it's great how Mythic implemented a real tank being useful in RvR, i really enjoy it.

In RvR my usual skill rotation (with above tactics) is Follow 'me Lead as a starter. Then it depends on the situation. If the target could run away and is taking good damage, it's Trip 'Em Up (snare & good damage over time). Should my target hit someone else it's Right in Da Jibblies, should it be me it's either RidJ or Tuffer 'n Nails. If i (or others) need space or the enemy is standing on top of a wall or something (lets not talk about TA) i use Big Slash for the knockback. While KBs are fun, i hate how many players use them wrong and knock back a target that's nearly dead - therefore working against the team. The finisher skill is Savin' Me Hide ofc then, as it does more damage then Skull Thumper for my tree. You should watch your skills closely once you invest points into the mastery trees, as quickly some abilities tied to your tree become better then others due to invested points.

While fighting multiple enemies (RvR or PvE) use Challenge, and use it a lot. Some Orcs seem to forget this skill in RvR and use Taunt instead. You can still use Taunt, but use Challenge for the sake of your team as well please. Raze and Distracting Bellow are the fun morales to use for RvR so far. If you time them right, they got quite an impact. Raze is awesome for enemies standing close together or crowded into a doorway. Let me finish with mentioning two other skills: Save Da Runts - use this always on some squishy. It also helps to switch targets during battle if you see someone taking a beating and maybe you can prolong his life enough for a healer to get there. Hold The Line! is great to retreat yourself or to protect people standing close to you when the enemy is moving onwards our group. In addition: Bind your Lob Choppa to a key you can press while running, it does insane damage to a wounded foe running away from you. Shatter Enchantment can be of situational use as well and is often forgotten, but requires you to know the possible enchantments to look for.

Of course i know my approach will change with rank 40 and more skills to my disposal, but so far I'm doing very well with the ones i have/use right now. My next goal is to get my hands on some Action Point regeneration gear, I'm always at the limit and could really use more. Get 'Em is good to use when my AP are at 50%, but its cooldown is very long. I did not mention tanking much, as so far PvE tanking has not been a problem or very challenging at all. The first few levels as a tank in WAR suck for PvE as Squigs basicly are the better tanks/taunters, but after you gain access to taunt yourself it changes. When you gained challenge and at rank 25 the Menace tactic you're set anyway. If someone pulls aggro from you often, either let them die or use your guard on them to share threat. PvE tanking has not really posed a challenge yet, it's more about tricky crowd control and people using focus fire then about threat generation. I could go on and on, but the cards will be shuffled again at 40 and this post is much longer than i intended it to be anyway. If you got questions, leave a comment, else I'll talk about skills once a really good new one became available to me.