Actual Imbalance

What happens when that silly post is true? Keen and Graev and their commenters tell me that the classes I was considering really are some of the weakest in the game. Unless your developers are philosopher kings who have overcome the Hayekian knowledge problem and defied the dark lords of the Matrix, someone will be on the bottom of the pile, and this problem will probably be worst at launch.

First impressions matter. What if playing a Squig Herder that weekend was my first experience with the game? I would post about how lousy everything was, with RvR being a bloodbath in which all the Dwarf classes are stronger than their Greenskin counterparts, horrible imbalance with only one decent Destruction class on that entire battlefront, just keep cutting classes until you get some decent ones Mythic, rant rant rant. Hey, I segue that into rant rant rant about the state of Conan four months into it and how nothing is ever fixed or done right ran rant rant. Good times.

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Useful Warhammer Site

Warhammer Career Planner

I am far from the point of thinking about a career plan, but listing all the abilities, morales (is that really the term they are using?), tactics, and ability training options is far more helpful to me than something saying, “White Lions are a melee DPS class that gets a trainable lion.” Granted, I have no context from which to judge if 150 Toughness or 125 damage is a lot, but I at least have something concrete to look at when shopping for a class.

: Zubon

Data Geek

I have yet to see the Tome of Knowledge, but I am excited about it. For years, I have been asking for a game to track every kill and craft, and make that information available to the player. Tossing in titles appeals to my badge whore nature; tossing in lore makes it a Civilopedia. Grabbing my favorite info features from Fallout and Civilization is a good thing. If you can make your game’s data or economic system closer to EVE’s, you probably should.

The Tome is imperfect, I am told. Fair. As noted, this is the kind of thing you want to get right at the start, because you cannot go back and retroactively collect data. Some games have logs they could mine like that, at great effort and expense, but it usually starts counting when they know why they would want to count that. As a small example, the last Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ added deeds to existing areas, to mixed joy and irritation from players who knew those areas well from running them dozens of times. I hope you like BG the first dozen times, because you’ll need a dozen more to get all the deeds done!

What do we want recorded in Warhammer or any MMO? You can work out display and interface issues later, but you must decide what gets kept now. Track every kill and craft, ideally noting if the kills were solo or in a team. Have some detail on the kills, so the game can distinguish between a soloable monster and a public quest-ending monster of the same species. It apparently tracks times that you target yourself, what has killed you, and so on. Stellar. If it can also track things like how many arrows I have fired or how many times I have been set on fire, great. TF2 accomplishments could be a fun place to look for some ideas.

What sounds like it is missing, that might be interesting to have, is robust information on leveling (and, to a lesser extent, quest completion). You only level 39 times, so jot down some information. You leveled on Tuesday, October 14 at 3:27pm, from defeating an Ironbound Juggernaut; you were in a team with Bob the Engineer, xXxShadowAssassinxXx the Witch Hunter, and Elithwyn Graceleaf the White Lion. Please, toss in what details of the moment you would like recorded just then. Stats and items? Tobold talks about recording your personal story, and leveling seems like a relevant time for a journal entry. You could do the same with quest completion, noting that you completed public quest A at date/time X in a group with Y along with Z other players taking part.

: Zubon

Grouping as the Better Option

Some games require grouping. We hate that, especially when certain classes are required, because you can easily spend half your in-game time looking for group members. Some games encourage soloing. We often like that, but single-player games deliver a much better solo experience. Some games discourage grouping, often as an accident of game mechanics, which is just poor. Some games encourage and reward grouping without requiring it, which is the best of all possible worlds.

I have a very long version with many examples after the break, but that is the core of my message today: encourage grouping, do not require it, and make sure the game mechanics really do encourage it.

You encourage grouping by increasing rewards for groups and adding abilities that require groups to take full advantage of them. You require grouping by giving enemies ridiculous numbers of hit points, failing to scale encounters for different numbers, or making encounters that demand (or all but demand) several specific abilities that are spread across the classes. You discourage grouping by making quests difficult to do together and failing to scale encounters for different numbers. Yes, a lack of scaling can both require and discourage grouping.

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Imbalance

I said before that I am interested in the Greenskin classes. I like ranged damage, support abilities, and pets. Looking around, I really like what I hear about the turret pets of the Dwarf Engineer and Chaos Magus. I never got to play that Lugian Tactician in Asheron’s Call 2. I am even looking at the tanks and melee DPS classes.

All this is preface to my real message: whatever class I end up playing, I would like the devs to know that it is underpowered and desperately in need of buffs, both in PvE and PvP. In PvE, it takes my class far longer to level than other classes, both my allies and my equivalent on the other side of the war. The gear available is also underwhelming. In PvP, I find myself at a large disadvantage with an inadequate trade-off between damage and survivability. Others can defeat me much faster than I can defeat them, and this holds true in solo or group settings. I have combat logs to prove it. Yes, I will admit that there are some situations in which I have a small advantage; those situations are rare, unimportant, and/or easily negated by my foes. If this situation does not improve, I am cancelling my account and taking my entire guild with me.

Thank you.

: Zubon

Where I Am In-Game

Kind of burnt out.

I have a level-capped character with many hours logged past that cap. There are two instances I have yet to do, a few I have yet to complete (including the raids), and one part of a zone to visit. Other than that, I have done everything except grind deeds and PvP rank. I want to finish my Annuminas armor set, but I am below average on my rolls there: in 12-15 runs, I have won the piece at the end once. I repeated enough epic book instances to earn another piece (a wildcard barter piece), so I need to win any two rolls to finish the set. That could happen in 2 runs, it could happen in 30.

I have been leveling an alt, but my problem has been playing two of them. I got some levels on my Burglar while the “collect 70,000 lore” quest was up, because he was at the level minimum for it, so I finished a bunch of quests while doing that. My main non-crafting interest has been leveling my Minstrel, who has almost caught up to that Burglar. This means that I have already done almost all the content in his level range in the past few weeks.

I realized that what I am missing is what I am looking forward to in Warhammer: comity. I want to play with people I know. The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ gample is, essentially, WoW, a good implementation of DikuMUD with graphics, but again strongly supportive of quest-based mostly solo leveling to the cap, then forced grouping for the endgame. I want to play differently (hey, a link to someone other than us). I don’t care if it is mostly solo content: I want to share it with a friend and laugh on voice chat while we get our dozen warg paws.

Together.

: Zubon

Update: The funny thing is, within an hour of having written this, I went in-game, got a group on my Minstrel, did a chain of group quests that my Burglar has not done, then switched to my Hunter to join a group with someone I vaguely know to grind a deed, in which we fought 36 elite masters. I also found the door to one of those two instances that I have never done.

WAR Beta Impressions

I’m not interested in writing a bunch of stuff that will likely be covered by several other sites so instead I’m just going to write a little about the impressions I got from playing in the Warhammer Online beta.

First off, the game was not nearly as polished as I had hoped. It had plenty of weird bugs and glitches including the “crash to desktop”. It was not unusual to attack something and watch it run around trying to find a path to you. Messages appeared on the screen telling you that you are out of range of something even though it is standing in front of you. Many of the classes really did nothing for me at first glance. I almost felt like I had to choose the class that was the least boring. The level of graphics was restricted to a level that made it hard to enjoy at times. So all in all, it was not the perfect game ready to take the world by storm.

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