Tuesday, April 21, 2009

There is a door to nowhere

The Talking Heads song "Road to Nowhere" popped into my head when I was trying to think of a title for this post.

I came upon the most odd sight yesterday while playing WAR. I was excited about the new Live Event, and I had heard the initial quest giver was in Altdorf. So, I guild-scrolled out (yes, that is a word now, look it up) to Sigmar's Hammer, knowing the quest guy was in the war quarter. I arrive at the Hammer and begin running toward the exit door. As I turn the corner, I think to myself, "That's odd, the door is open, and I'm looking out at a big blue expanse with a lovely sunset." Well, so confused at what I saw, I forgot to stop running. As I stepped through the door and my feet hit nothing but air, I realized I should have stopped.

I was having a bit of a Time Bandits flashback. I quickly rotated the camera view and watched the landing of the entryway quickly fade into the distance as my body fell through this weird nothingness. After about 5 sec I contacted something immovable which killed me. I respawned (in the Chaos Wastes, mind you) and used another guild scroll, thinking to myself, "Surely, the door will be working now." Nope.

I arrived, but this time a little wiser. I stopped before passing through the door and took a few screenshots to remember the occasion.

While unexpected and a little bothersome, I rather enjoyed the little side adventure I took to the underworld of Altdorf. I wish I could have lived and explored a little bit, but Alas, poor Yorick, it was not meant to be.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ten Probing Questions

Alright, so I'm not popular enough to have anybody ask me to answer these questions, but I'll go ahead and do it anyways. I have played MMO's for a little while, and I like to think that I have interesting insight into the intricacies of playing them so here goes.

What is your current main character's name (or names, if you play multiple games)? Explain how you chose the name.
I am only playing Warhammer right now and my main is a female shadow warrior named Limadrial Hunithinea (the last name may be spelled wrong as I rarely see it on the screen). I started on the Avelorn server named Limadriel, but when I moved to Phoenix Throne, that name was taken so I made a subtle change. Limadrial was a randomly generated name for the Role play server. I thought it sounded like Galadrial from The Lord of the Rings. The last name comes from an elven name generating site. I found this site where someone had a list of various word parts written in elven (?) with English meanings. I don't remember exactly what it means, but I think it was something like Dark Shadow.

What was the name of your very first character in an MMO? Explain how you chose that name.
It's hard to decide on what classifies as an MMO. I played lots of games online with lots of people, which really is the definition of MMO. I played Starcraft, Diablo, The Sims online (possibly the worst MMO I ever played), The Matrix Online, D&D online, Halo, Mechwarrior, and others. By today's standards though, the first real MMO I played was Star Wars Galaxies. I began shortly after launch with a male Twi'lek named Pibo Ahoka-Te. Again, this was a randomly generated name, because I hate names like Pwnage or Yourworstenemy#1.

Have you kept a specific name through various games, or do you tend to change your naming habits based on the individual game?
I really like to make my name true to the feel of the game, so I will change based on that. The only exception would be things like Xbox live where my gamertag is always the same. If I were to play a game like City of Heroes, the name would fit the character more like Mr. Spandex or Big Guns Billy.

Do you ever reserve names, planning to use them for characters that you might play later? If so, what are they and why do you hold them?
I don't play like that. I usually only play one character in an MMO. I totally immerse myself into my character, and it would take too much of my time to make more than one. When I do make alts, I do try to stick with names that are still true to the game and easy to either say or type out. Names that have an easy beginning are good. When I use Ventrilo, my buddies call me Lim, and that works great.

Of the three common archetypes in MMOs -- tank, healer, DPS -- which is your current main character?
Limadrial is a shadow warrior for Warhammer, and this is a ranged dps class. It is nowhere near the firepower of a bright wizard or engineer, but I usually outdamage the witch hunters, and white lions, so it is effective is used correctly.

What archetype was your very first character in an MMO? Why did you choose it?
My Twi'lek, Pibo, was incredible in SWG. In that game there were about 26 classes to choose from, everything from entertainer, chef, animal handler, pilot, or jedi. When I stopped playing the game, I had mastered every single class, so I really did not choose any one to stick with. Of course, one of the hidden gems of that game was if you mastered certain professions, you would unlock a jedi profession, and my goal was to do that. Unfortunately, it took me all 26 professions to master before I unlocked it. Unlucky I guess. Why did I want to be a jedi? That seems pretty obvious. Although my first profession was as a ranged dps. I just like that archetype.

Are you usually attracted to one archetype over another, or do you play them equally? Why?
Well, based on my past history, it seems I like the ranged DPS. In D&D, the ranger is (was) my favorite class. When I played Oblivion, I started with a ranged class. I like being able to sit in the distance and hurt things before they can get close and damage me. I'm not one to get up in your face. I don't like things beating on me.

What is your favorite feature from an MMO you no longer play?
Well, since SWG was really the only MMO I played for awhile that I no longer play I'll talk about that. I really liked player housing and player cities. It was a way to make a place that you can customize in game and hang out with your friends. I guess it catered more to the social aspect of the game. The player cities were great too similar to guild ranks in Warhammer. A guild could show off all of it's accomplishments in its guild hall. You could create vendors, docs, and other things.

Is there an MMO you would play if it was free? Which and why?
I don't play MMOs based on price. I play based on player base, content, and fun level.

How do you measure the success of a character in an MMO? (total kills, titles accumulated, wealth, rare items collected, level reached, etc.)?
Personally, it comes back to how much content have I experienced. Developers do a good job of rewarding you for experiencing content. The more stuff you do in game, the more you are rewarded with titles, gear, level, etc. I like to experience everything a game offers. I am a completionist. If there is something in the game I want to see it. I have completed every Live event and filled up the influence bar for each. I want to get all the gear, all the Tome unlocks, every rank, everything. If I do that, then I know I was successful at the game. That's why I have a hard time playing Xbox anymore, because I want every achievement, and sometimes those are just too damn hard.

So who do I want to answer this? I don't know. GirlIRL already did it, so I guess I'd like to see Breakfast at War, Stunty Stomper, Way of the Chosen, Blame the Healer and Bow & Stab.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ostermark brings the pain!

Wow, talk about being bullied! I play on Phoenix Throne, which for a time was always touted as being Order heavy. Yes, we were able to get into the IC twice in the last couple months, but Destruction forces got into Altdorf once, so I can't really say that defines the server as Order heavy. Sure, maybe Order pushed a few more forts than Destruction did, but I don't think that sets a standard for domination on the server.

My point is, since the Ostermark transfers, Order has been in a constant state of defense. Pretty much the only time that Order has been in the middle zones pushing is after a successful fort defense and the zones set back to the middle or a successful single fort attack but not subsequent second fort attack and the zones set back.

I log on most nights around 10PM EST (6PM my time) and the first thing I do is try to figure out where we are defending. Destruction forces have been far more in number and far better strategically. I have been extremely impressed at their ability to take the zone without waiting for the 2 hour keep timers (which has made zone captures much more difficult imo). Their coordination on scens and PQs (maybe, I don't have confirmation on this) has made it so they rush and take BOs or keeps and they win on VPs

 I think one thing Order is lacking right now are strong leaders that are able to direct the multitude of secondary leaders. So many people have showed up in T4 lately that want to lead. This is a good thing in the long run, but for now, there are too many people issuing orders. Kiamar is usually pretty good about trying to coordinate things, but even he seems to have faded into the spam filled region chat. His voice doesn't seem to resonate as it used to.

I miss the days of taking Destruction keeps and fortresses. I want to see the Inevitable City again, Frodo. I want to see Order start planning more effectively. Let's take a page from Destruction's playbook if need be. The ultimate form of flattery is copying, and I think we need to flatter Destruction right now. I fear that if our morale drops too much, people will stop playing, and that is not fun for anyone, even for those Order guys that chose to go help Destruction by switching sides (I won't mention names) because Destruction was going to be so outnumbered after the Ostermark transfers and they didn't want Order to totally own this server.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Volcano wants to take away my WAR time, but I say, "NO!"

Mt. Redoubt has been ill lately, like someone with a bad case of the  stomach flu. The scientists have been taking its temperature for several months now, ever since it was getting a little rumbly in the tumbly, if you know what I mean. At work, we have to bag our computers before we leave in case there is some spewage while we are away.

Just over a week ago, the volcano finally prayed to the porcelain god that is our vicinity. The vomitous eruptions have been off and on for about 9 days now. There were periods of explosive activity, followed by that period where you say to yourself, "Wow, I feel good now," only to be rushing to the lavatory in another 20 minutes and screaming in technicolor.

What does this have to do with WAR? Well, my house has a forced air heating system, which means it draws air from outside, heats it up and blows the heated air throughout the house. You can see where I'm going with this can't you? If there is ash in the air, it gets sucked in also, heated up and blown throughout the house, right into my vacuum creating computer with its uber swirling fanage.

Anchorage has been lucky to not be in the path of the ash after the numerous blasts. On Saturday though, the wind was just right and sent a nice shower of ash headed toward our little ocean side community. I screamed toward Mt. Redoubt, "You can't stop me from playing WAR! I must make more talismans. I must go pew, pew, pew with my bow at scantily clad dark elves and orcs that aren't smart enough to switch to Geico." Realizing that I may need to do something, I opened up my furnace editing UI, and stacked two Filters of Ash Extrusion right at the entry point of airflow. I did notice a faster cooldown of my house, but I did not notice any ash getting through. Win! I put on my warm socks, pulled on another sweatshirt, and went back to pouncing around Eataine.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Petition to capitalize Don't

Taken from: http://breakfastatwar.wordpress.com/

Title of post:
Top 5 Bucket o’ Lawlz - 3.27.09
Number Three. Things you Don’t want to hear from your healer.

Best Quote. Random Zealot; Ok Maggots! I want at least two forms of guard on me. I dont get them, I go dps mode.

I love how Don’t is capitalized in the title. So from here on out, I’m capitalizing Don’t as well. All the cool kids are apparently doing it. I love threads like this where people share hilarious moments like this. Some of them are pretty generic, but there are definitely some that stick out and had me cracking up. And it’s long enough for me to go through that popcorn.

I'm all for it. I am a math teacher, and one of the things I like to impress upon students is that things in life change. Look for ways to challenge the status quo. Don't is a pretty important word. We use it for things like: Don't touch that! Don't you dare look at me like that? Don't you know who you're talking to? We always capitalize at the beginning of sentences, so why not capitalize it in the middle, like this?

What if I Don't come over there? I Don't care if you're 200 lbs heavier than me! We Don't need no education!

So here's to Don't; spread the word!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where is my seige tower?

Alright, so last night the Little Rascals, aka Brigata di Morte, was making a fortress raid on Fell Landing. Fort raids unfortunately, are not as common as I would like. The chance for everyone in the area to rush to the fort to attack or defend is an hour of extreme fun. While the whole experience is enjoyable, I have some ideas for improvements.

Sure some classes get to slip through the postern undetected to cause havoc on the enemy's side, but some of us outside can either attack the oil, attack the door, attack the guards, or try and attack the people on the wall. This is OK, but it isn't enough. In Medieval times, sieges often meant starving the inhabitants by cutting them off from the outside world, building giant siege towers to allow attackers onto the wall, or even digging tunnels under the wall.

When a fortress opens, have a PQ start in the zone. Within the hour, the attacking side must complete the PQ. If they complete it, then it grants a time bonus to the siege, maybe another half hour or hour. Then, during the second phase, the attackers can complete the PQ again. With a second success, the timer extends again, but opening up a PQ for the defenders outside the walls of the fort, but the Lord will start to lose health at a rate of 2% every minute or something. If the defenders are able to complete the PQ, then the lord is saved and the attackers must assault the lord like normal. This forces the defenders out of the fortress, but demonstrates an act of desperation to save their lord. If they push the enemy out of the zone, then the fortress raid is over, and the zones reset. If they are unsuccessful, the attackers can go in and attack the lord like normal.

The next idea I have is about wall siege weapons, mainly a tower and a tunnel. What if the tower was similar to a ram? You could buy them at the vendor. It could be usable at specific, but various, parts of the fortress outer wall. Once erected, it created a stair that wound up from the bottom to the wall, allowing attackers to run up and flood into the courtyard. This doesn't sound like it would be too difficult of code to create. After all, toons and banners have collision detection, and this could also. It could be attackable, just like other siege weapons. If destroyed, any toons on it would take falling damage, like normal.

The last idea I have right now is for a tunnel. This would be similar to the siege tower, but allows attackers to go under a wall. Again, there would be specific spots to put it, like other weapons, and it would be attackable like the other weapons. Once it is built, attackers could run under a wall into the courtyard. Defenders could attack it and destroy it to instantly kill anyone in it.

These are just some suggestions to make fortress raids more enjoyable, other than just run up to the door and start pelting it with arrows, like I normally do, sprinkled in with the occasional shot at the oil or a sorc that is standing too close to the edge for her own good.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Vent music bot

Do you like to listen to music while you play games? Most of us do. We all have favorites depending on the game we're playing. Most of us have often wished everyone we were playing with could experience the same song because it rocks or it gets your head bopping to the side a little.

Our guild recently added a ventrilo music bot to the server. Now, when we are hanging out, dueling, raiding forts, or just arguing over who can do more damage to the door, it's set to music. I would have to argue that it has made the game a more enjoyable experience. There are no more awkward silences when someone just burped or when you hear someone yell at their kids. We can now just sing along and enjoy the tunage.

If you don't know how to set it up, check online. I searched for 5 minutes and found many accurate descriptions and videos that walk you through it. You'll be singing "Hotel California" with your guildmates while beating down some witch elf in no time.