Sunday, 29 November 2009

Fight long fight hard all the way from level 1

Thought I would make my own Warhammer Online video showing game footage from level 1 to level 40. It is not to advertise any kind of uber skill but to try and advertise the game. They say player word of mouth can do more for a game than expensive marketing, I was able to capture the game play after the improvements Mythic added in patch 1.3.2. Please watch and add some kind comments and ratings.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Third faction and a single vision.

Over at ‘Warcry’ there is an interesting article about ‘World of Warcraft’s’ 5th year anniversary. The interview comes across as quite honest and open. Something I’d expect from ‘Mythic’ rather than top of the heap ‘Blizzard’ (remember when Jeff Hickman talked about War’s mistakes).

It was interesting how ‘Warcraft’s’ vision has changed since development in its launch and even up through its 5 year life. This seems to be shifted due to time constraints, player demand and the market.

Even in War’s short life span we can see this in a magnified way, from the loss of cities due to release schedule. Too the inclusion of RvR influence system and players dropping tokens in an effort to entice more players into RvR while they level.

What I think we are yet to see is ‘War’ changing due to other MMO releases. I am not sure how many times it has happened in ‘Warcraft’s’ life cycle. The only contributing effects I think have been the release of ‘War’, (please feel free to point out others) with inclusion of PvP experience and battleground queuing from anywhere.

This might be the fact that when the likes of ‘Darkfall’ and ‘Aion’ were released 'War' was too young and had only just been launched. Or as with the release of ‘Aion’, ‘War’ seemed almost glad not to be in the spot light so they could concentrate on none sexy improvements.

The article also mentions the decision to take ‘Warcraft’ in the e-sports direction and the problems they faced. I wonder if ‘Mythic’ ever wished they had stayed with the three faction model like ‘Dark Age of Camelot’.

What I also took out from it that an MMO’s vision and direction can be quite fluid. I remember the sales pitch ‘Warcraft’ had with inclusion of world PvP. Could ‘Warcraft’ been a better product if they had just stuck to PvE content. Maybe the constant balance issues and efforts taken up by PvP might have been used in improving its world and PvE offering. I imagine we might have seen more classes and even more hero classes.

If I was ‘Mythic’ I would take these lessons and pick a vision and stick to it. Forget PvE and focus on RvR and add variety. Even with the inclusion of a third faction, would this improve RvR as this later stage in ‘War’s’ life? Could effort wasted in creating a new faction and new zones associated with this go into creating a more varied experience. Does ‘War’ need siege weapons and realm balancing? Would it be better to hone the city sieges and make fortresses a key part of the campaign rather than a third faction with new classes?

I know the third faction seems important at the moment. But as an existing player, do I want another side to reroll as, or just more to do with my level 40 characters. Even if we got the third faction what would all those returning players once they hit 40 in the new faction find? I guess the same game but with more sides. ‘Mythic’ has shown us in the past they can think out of the box, maybe it is time they show us a new shining light which is not the third faction.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Denial, Waaagh and Revenge

So this is my third try at writing this post since the news about the redundancies at Mythic. I have gone through the classic symptoms of denial, Waaagh and revenge. The letter from Jeff Hickman did little to alleviate my concerns as it made no mention of that ‘still getting funding’, ‘hope for the future’ word… expansion.

My heart goes out to the staff that had to leave Mythic. But at least they can say (though I imagine it gives little too no comfort) they contributed in making War such a great product. Not many games released of late can say they contributed to the original ideas pool for MMO games.

I am not a maintenance mode player but for the moment I am staying on the roller coaster ride of War as the game is still a lot of fun for me. Saying that I actually think War has spoilt me with regards to my expectation of an MMO. I am no longer willing to accept playing through all the levels to reach an end game which is a totally different experience. War has shown you can have a game which is fun and accessible and does not necessarily need to change at level cap.

In resent months I have looked to see what has changed in the other games I used to play. I gave ‘Age of Conan’ and ‘World of Warcraft’ a month each, the later to play with my friends in instances, but I always just wanted to login back to War.

Like I said War has spoilt me, in those other games my choice of what to do is limited. I can quest, do their versions of scenarios (which are both limited) or wait around looking for a group in an instance. War for me at least offers so much more variation, and it is immediate! I can login for 20 minutes and feel like I have accomplished something. Whether it is getting my influence for a public quest or just 20 minutes of killing, the whole experience is friendly to the casual player.

So as I look across the MMO landscape I don’t seen much hope for other games which can offer the same accessible, fun experience like War. Aion looks nice, but I don’t fancy having to PvE through lots of levels to get the chance to PvP (before War I might have give it a go…).

I have tried Lord of the Rings but again I think I am tired of this generation’s type of PvE where quests are just a hub of exclamation marks. I only actually use quests in War while no RvR or scenarios are popping or I just plonk myself in a public quest. Even Eve Online which I consider to be the greatest MMO out there requires significant play time to be involved in PvP.

I hope EA know the gem of a game they have and continue to fund its expansion. With ‘Star Wars, The Old Republic’ for PvE and ‘Warhammer Online’ for PvP they could have two very cool offerings in their MMO portfolio.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

City Siege Action

If you look at the War blogs and forum’s there is a lot of negativity around the changes to the removal of fortresses. A lot of servers are experiencing multiple city sieges a day. This was not really intended for the game so Mythic are introducing some more changes to try and alleviate the problems. It is a shame the removal of fortresses coincided with the performance changes as the performance fixes brought a lot of positive aspects to War, so much so I have actually been able to successfully Fraps a lot of the action in game.

My play time is limited at the moment therefore I missed out on city sieges in the past and the change has actually allowed me to participate with my guild to attack and defend the cities.

Monday night in particular was an excellent session, we had fought in Dragonwake managed to crash the server and on at least two occasions battle objectives bugged out and took a second count down to flip but destruction managed to lock the zone so as an alliance war band of 2 and a bit groups we all joined the same instance in Altdorf. We were out numbered in the instance so we accepted the fact we would loose and just played to have fun. Moving quickly to flip flags and hide in buildings to pick off smaller straggling groups from the main order masses. Sure we got caught a few times and order started to notice a pattern in our movement which just meant more skirmishes and death. It was one of my favourite nights in War from epic zone battles to mini instance skirmishers.