Monday, March 30, 2009

Sticky Keyboard Award

Rivs, that most devoted Chosen of Tzeench over at Way of the Chosen, seems to have tagged me through one of his auras for the Sticky Keyboard Award. Those silly Chosen, always forgetting to turn off auras as we are trying to bypass trash mobs. 

Rivs and I share a common misfortune in WAR and that is bad gear drops. I thought I was perhaps the only one with such bad luck until I read about his troubles. Until this post, at least. I guess I'm the only one running around in welfare gear now. Glad to see your luck has turned around, mate, especially with the Darkpromise gear you've been netting.

I appreciate the call to props, Rivs. Keep up the good work, bud.

The Sticky Keyboard Award comes with stipulations….

When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.

Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

So pass it on I shall…..

1. Obsessive Focus - First off, I have to give props to a fellow Phoenix Throne player. Ainilome, or Menkara/Sevren, has posted on such things as failed city sieges and guild dissolution. She writes well thought out articles and never posts something just to post something.

2. The Homunculus - There's nothing like a site that offers a good laugh. This guy is the best. A little tongue-in-cheek at times, he makes me laugh on a regular basis. Besides that, there is actually valid points behind his satire. Gotta appreciate a writer who can do just that.

3. Echoes of Nonsense - Now that's what I call a blogroll. Wow. Creative posts like Dude... Where's My Deity? make this site win.

4. Tooth Skinner - All hail Nosmo King and his green blog. I enjoy the straight-to-the-point atmosphere that Nosmo brings to the Interwebz. Articles such as this keep me coming back for more.

5. A Wall of Text - Br3ntbr0 brought me all of the good closed beta footage that my heart yearned for, and while he may have wavered from WAR to WoW, I still have to give him credit for the excellent videos he provided in WAR's early days.

6. Hardcore Casual - This is the first mmo blog I ever read. There's nothing like watching as Syncaine and Tobold lash out at each other. I appreciate Syncaine's direct attitude for all things mmo. A selfless crusader against the dark forces of WoW, Syncaine isn't afraid to tell you what's on his mind. There have been more than one occasion when I have finished reading one of his articles and thought, "Holy shit, I hope I don't make this guy mad."

7. Blame the Healer - I thoroughly enjoy Dont's articles, as well as the title considering I play a Disciple of Khaine. His articles are always filled with valuable information and insights into his class and others. Plus, who could forget the sweet Valentine's Day e-Cards?

The 10 things you may or may not know about me.

1. I am a newspaper editor for a small town publication, the Newburgh-Chandler Register (I can't wait until we get our site revamp).

2. I am sometimes known as Youngblood (Young is my last name).

3. I designed and wrote a more than 200 word pencil & paper roleplaying game, titled Angelus: The War of the Will. It took me years to write and I am still trying to finish up the distribution process. Also, the Web site isn't quite ready. /points finger at Bunkai.

4. Shadowfire, my first EQ2 guild, was what really was got me interested in the social aspect of mmos. Without these great people, I would probably still be playing WoW due to its ultra solo nature.

5. I married my high school sweetheart.

6. I originally started Ball State University as a music education major. I had played the trumpet since the sixth grade. Eventually, I switched to journalism after I found an interest in writing.

7. I am a second degree black belt in kenjutsu. While technically, there are no belt ranks in Japanese swordwork, the class I participated in — and eventually taught at as an assistant instructor — had a ranking system to abide by. I learned Tenshin-ryu and Yoshin-ryu.

8. I am an avid video game player, dating all the way back to the early days of Atari. My favorite console is the SNES.

9. I played and enjoyed WoW. There, I said it. Now I think I may need to go cut myself.

10. I think I'm funnier than I really am. * see above statement*

Well, I think that about does it. Thanks Rivs for giving me something to do this Monday morning.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Once Upon A Time in Ulthuan

(don't forget to click on the HQ button for higher quality)

What do you get when you mix WAR with Desperado? In this case, you get a video dedicated to everyone at Twilight Alliance.

I've been posting quite a few videos lately of in-game footage. It has been one way that I am trying to distinguish this site from others.

Also — much like writing — creating videos aids in my enjoyment of the game. I have created many videos of mmos over the years. Perhaps I will post some of my older ones here for your enjoyment.

A high rez download of the video will be up on FileFront as soon as I can upload it. The site is currently down. Check back to this post later for an update.

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"Where everybody knows your name..."

While working on my most recent video, I came to a deeper realization as to why I keep staring at my computer screen each and every night for at least two hours.

I've commented before on how the social aspect of mmos has appealed to me now more than ever. That idea has been firmly cemented in my mind.

If it wasn't for the good people that I've met in Ira Deorum and Trained Again, I would have quit playing WAR months ago. WAR is like every other mmo. It has its good points and its bad points. Patches come and patches go.

I've openly criticized and praised Mythic for the choices they've made in the game's direction. But there's one thing that no patch, no update can interfere with: the social aspect.

It doesn't matter that Bright Wizards are AoEing everything into obliteration (no pun intended for the Phoenix Throne folk). It doesn't matter that Knights of the Blazing Sun can allegedly exploit keep doors. And it doesn't matter that I am on a server that seems primarily dominated by tier 4 Order.

Because when it comes down to it, I can take almost anything in WAR as long as I've got a few good friends by my side. 

The social aspect of my gaming has grown so much that I now emphasize the multiplayer aspect of the genre to anyone who will hear me ramble on about it. 

I believe that it is the people who fully envelope themselves in the multiplayer aspect of mmos that get the most out of them. 

Finally, I believe I am becoming one of those people.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Dangerous Territory

(make sure to click on the HQ button)

If Magellan's journey around the world would have taken place in the Old World, his trip — while stunning and beautiful — would have ended rather abruptly.

I made this video as a few of my Ira Deorum guildies were hunting for a bestial token in southeast Eataine. We found a "dangerous territory" waiting for us.

I am amazed at the amount of landscaping that was done.

A high res download of the video can be found at FileFront.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

A little "Chattersax" to go with your Saturday morning coffee?

For those who have done this, you will understand why I Frapsed this.

Last night, some mates of mine from Ira Deorum and Trained Again decided to scope out a lair in Norsca that contains a lvl. 40 hero. In order to reach the mob, however, each player must make precise jumps.

Of course, hilarity ensued as the minutes flew by as players kept missing jumps over and over and over again.

Our Vent channel became very lively.
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

I have a "niche" to scratch

What do long lists of playable servers mean to the overall success of a game? Absolutely dick.

Lord of the Rings Online has 11 US servers and 11 European servers. Eve Online runs three servers.  City of Heroes/Villains has 12 servers. Final Fantasy XI has 32 servers. WoW has more than 200 servers, and that's only counting the US servers.

With the obvious exception of WoW, the other games listed above are also extremely successful in the mmo sphere. They don't get the hype, the Mt. Dew promotional sodas or the celebrity endorsements, but ask anyone who pays them regularly and they will tell you that the games are doing great, proving that an mmo doesn't need 10 million plus players to be good.

Now, let's look at WAR.

Earlier this month, Mythic shut down and/or merged 43 North American and 20 European servers, leaving only 40 servers between US and European markets. Despite the doom and gloom that those currently not playing the game are prophesying, active players couldn't be happier with the decision.

Tobold said that closing down 60 percent of any game's servers is, "not indicative of great success." Tobold must play only PvE games where server population is nigh irrelevant.

At launch, Mythic was flooded with approximately 1 million players wanting to try the new flavor of the month. As a result, long server queues and frequent disconnects happened to many people. In response — and rather quickly might I add — Mythic opened up several new servers to compensate for the crowded venues.

However, as the herd thinned out, many servers were left as veritable ghost towns, making RvR scarce. 

Mythic is now working to remedy this by their most recent action. However, this isn't the first time Mythic has merged or closed servers.

Tobold says that this is not indicative of the game's success. So let's play with some more numbers, albeit with the use of some admitted fuzzy math.

WAR has 40 servers with approximately 300,000 active subscribers, according to the latest census. That means that, on an average, each server has 7,500 characters. Each server is broken up into four tiers, meaning that on average each tier has approximately 1,875 characters. 

Of course, every one's computer would burn up if there were this many players in one area, which is why this is a character sample, not a player sample. That's also why statistics are often fuzzy math. But even if only half of the 1,875 characters are running around in an area, the game's success is still telling.

With that being said, I'd like to address Tobold's questions as to, "why (WAR) isn't successful."

Is it more a technical problem, of large scale battles not being fun due to lag? Tobold definitely sparks a good question here. The game is certainly laggy due to the abundance of players in a given area and that has forced many players to voice their frustration. However, despite the lag, weekly — and sometimes daily — city sieges are occurring across many servers. Obviously, the approximate 1,875 tier four characters on each server are working around the lag.

•Is it a problem of incentives, with scenarios being too rewarding compared with the open world, leading to depopulation and lack of open world PvE and PvP? This just isn't the case anymore. Scenarios are great experience in tier one, good experience in tier two and so-so experience in tier three. The people that just stand around in a warcamp and queue up for scenarios is a thing of the past since Mythic has implemented increased experience changes throughout the higher tiers. Further more, the increased incentives for doing open world RvR — influence and quests — has made each tier's RvR lakes an exciting place to travel in.

Is is related to leveling up PvE and PvP being much slower than in competitor games? This question really holds no ground for debate. Leveling is no more slower in WAR than in LotRO, City of X and Final Fantasy XI. If those games are succeeding due to the leveling speed, than WAR should be no different.

Or is there a fundamental lesson somewhere that MMORPGs with just PvP as endgame are limited to a small niche market? Tobold may be correct with his assumption here. Although, it takes me back to my numbers argument. When it comes to approximately 1,875 characters in each tier, when does "niche market" cease to matter to a game's success?

With this many potential characters running around battling it out for supremacy, is the idea of WAR being a niche game even relevant?

In essence, all mmos are niche. It's not like WoW players are on a server with 10-11 million other players. 

Mmos are really no different than any other genre. According to a Washington Post article in 2006, approximately 40 percent of Americans play video games of some kind. That means that there are 121 million gamers in the US alone.

Even as superior as WoW is in the mmo genre, most analysts will agree that there are only 2-3 million US gamers who adventure in Azeroth.

So, when looking at the fact that there are still 118 million gamers in the US alone, doesn't that make the point that all mmos are niche? In fact, isn't every genre a niche?

With that being said, and the numbers there to support the number of players in each of WAR's four tiered gameplay, is it even fathomable to suggest that closing/merging 60 percent of the game's servers isn't a good thing?

In an RvR game, player population per server is everything to a game's success, not how many servers the game has available to players. Overall, the number of servers is in no way indicative of a game's success.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Everquest turns 10 years old

(video is from the 9 year mark)

Nostalgia started setting in after reading Ferrel's latest post over at Epic Slant.

Like many, Everquest was my first foray into the mmorpg genre. Now, the beautiful game that welcomed us into Norrath, proclaiming that we were in their world now, is celebrating its 10 year anniversary.

Admittedly, I didn't even know EQ was an online game initially. However, the concept and the world still seemed intriguing, so I decided to give it a shot.

My first memory was creating a dark elf necromancer, Talieris, a name that I still use to this day for all of my casters. There I was, green as ever, and dropped smack dab in the middle of Neriak. I had no idea what to do or where to go.

Eventually, I figured out how to chat and asked someone for general directions. They let me out of the city gates and into Nektulos Forest, with nothing but a, "Good luck and don't wander too far."

Boy, was he right.

For the uninitiated, Nek Forest is arguably the most difficult starting zone. Sure, I guess the Erudites have a good rebuttal to that statement, but Nek is still hard, no doubt.

It took me quite a while to figure the massive game out. Eventually, I met a few friends. DarknessX and the Legion of Truth, as well as the Circle of Magik, come to mind. I have many memories of running around Qeynos hills with "X," shouting obscenities every time Holly Windstalker would two-shot us.

EQ was hard. Every npc had a reputation associated with them and you were Killed on Sight if your character differed. It made the game very challenging.

The thing about reputation that sticks out the most for me is when I was playing a human necromancer in Qeynos. I went out to Karana and started killing bandits. Killing bandits would allow me to loot bandannas, which allowed for experience points when I turned them into a Qeynos guard.

But here's the rub.

It turns out that my necromancer guild (trainer) didn't appreciate this. I wasn't aware of this until I tried to learn more spells and he refused to sell them to me. Panic quickly set in. It wasn't until someone told me to camp this certain npc to help out my necro rep until I realized how truly difficult EQ really was.

Imagine someone playing World of Warcraft nowadays and all of a sudden their class trainer refuses to them new abilities. The player would flip out!

From hiding in the Qeynos sewers with my monk because I was too scared to go outside the city walls, to running from gnoll trains in Blackburrow, EQ holds many fond memories as my gateway into this immersive genre.

I feel pity for those players who didn't get to experience the genre prior to WoW. Having done so fills me with a sense of old-timer nostalgia. I get the same feeling when someone says that Final Fantasy VII was their first title in the franchise. Just a difference in perspective, I guess.

Happy Birthday, Everquest. I still miss you.

You know what, the hell with anyone who can't look past Azeroth. EQ was/is where it's at.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

World War WoW

Tooth Skinner posted sheer brilliance on his site today. Check it out and give him some props.
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Tulane's "State of the Game"

Warhammer Online has been moving in a positive direction since it's launch last September. And since the game is approaching its six-month anniversary, I thought I would examine where the game was, is and will be in the upcoming months.

1. Communication

Communication was a big headache at launch. Each zone was split up into fractions, making communication in region chat impossible. However, Mythic was quick to respond and streamlined region chat to cover the entire zone. It has worked very well in a game where armies need to mobilize fast to be effective. 

For the sake of further improvements, I don't think an in-game voice chat system would necessarily be a bad thing, but often times it is a feature that is never used in mmos, since most guilds and groups use Team Speak or Ventrillo.

2. PvE

a.) Leveling

Leveling in WAR is no longer as tedious as it was at launch. Tier 3 was absolutely a nightmare to grind through initially, however Mythic has made significant increases to quest experience, making leveling less of a chore. I believe Mythic still needs to increase the experience in tier 3 and tier 4. If anything, the experience needs to be consistent. Quest experience in tier 4 Greenskin is much more profitable than the other two racial pairings. 

While scenarios are still the fastest way of leveling, players at least no longer feel like questing is a total waste of time.

b.) Public Quests

It was hard to find a solid group for PQs even at launch. 
I chalk it up to the fact that there are so many PQs. PvE influence rewards have always been decent and the loot drops from successfully completing a PQ were equally — if not better — than influence rewards, so the incentive was already in place. To combat the difficulty of finishing a PQ, Mythic implemented easy PQs in each area. Now, players can complete a PQ with only one or two more people (and even solo depending on the class). 

c.) Dungeons

A token system needs to be implemented to minimize the gear grind. I wouldn't have near a problem with the gear grind if all of the city dungeon runs that I have done would at least grant me tokens to purchase to armor that didn't drop for me. This is an RvR game and the most dynamic play doesn't happen in dungeons, it happens on the battlefield. Therefor, constant running of dungeons as a means to get gear is not only tedious, but self-defeating to the purpose of the game.

3. RvR

Numerous changes have been made to make RvR more appealing. Sure, we all remember at launch how everyone ran to the tier 1 RvR lake to battle for supremacy against the other faction. This notion of realm pride and the attitude to "play because it is fun" quickly dissolved as players focused on incentives as it relates to time investment. Therefor, RvR lakes became scarce with players.

In response, Mythic implemented RvR influence rewards, much like PvE influence rewards. Some of these rewards are significantly superior to other PvE rewards, giving players an incentive to do the one thing the game was designed to do, RvR. The "Nemesis" system that
Mythic is implementing will make RvR more personal and exciting. I look forward to gaining increased rewards for killing those players who have killed me the most.

a.) Keeps

Keeps still need a lot of work. 

Keep sieges in tier 2 are no different than keep sieges in tier 4. This is a fundamental design flaw. Keeps should become more dynamic in the higher tiers. Larger courtyards doesn't equal more dynamic. I understand that keeps were a late addition to the game, however Mythic needs to address them as soon as possible. Mark Jacobs said the design team is implementing an additional ramp to keep lords in each keep, but this is not a viable solution.

Keeps need to be dynamic. When an army attacks one, it should look like it has been attacked. Walls should be destructible, siege towers should be used to climb the walls, etc. I should be able to place diseased animal carcases on a catapault as a means to cause a disease debuff to all players that come into contact with the attack. Also, siege weapon animation needs to be there. When I fire a repeater, the opposing army should be fighting in the shade.

b.) Fortresses

Fortresses are just glorified keeps. They were also a magnet for server crashes. As a matter of fact, they still are. The population caps that Mythic implemented improved on crashes, but it greatly limits the scope of battle, minimizing any epic feeling that may be felt. Nothing less than continued server and client performance issues can remedy this problem.

c.) Battle Objectives

BOs need to serve a purpose, both offensively and defensively. They should be treated as supply lines to the nearest keep. If Order has control over a keep and the two nearby BOs, then they should receive a bonus when they are defending their keep. However, if Destruction takes the BOs — thus cutting off the enemy's supply lines — the defenders should take some sort of debuff when defending the keep. And if a debuff will discourage players from defending, then capturing the enemy's BOs could just nullify the keep defender's bonus.

4. Character

Character animations have greatly improved since launch, however there is still a long way to go. Casting lag and animations need to be remedied if Mythic wants to pull in potential players. On my DoK, as well as my Magus, if a spell's tooltip says that it is a two second cast, it will undoubtedly be three seconds. All of my abilities either contain misinformation in the tooltip or the casting lag is off by one second. An immediate fix is needed, especially in an RvR-centered game.

Balancing issues are still prevalent, but that is the life of an mmo. 

5. Overall

WAR continues to improve and the changes that Mythic has implemented have all been for the better. The developer, as well as the players, are committed to making the game succeed.

Back in October, when my friends were leaving the game, I can remember telling them to wait and see where the game is in six months. Well, the six month mark is here and I am happy to say that WAR is a much better game now than it was. This is something that doesn't always happen in mmos (i.e. LU #13 in EQ2, NGE for Star Wars Galaxies, Arenas in WoW).

With the final two classes going live, there really has never been a better time to give WAR a second glance. WAR has more potential than any other mmo that is currently live, and even with all of its flaws, it continues to crawl closer and closer to reach said potential.

Now is the time to join the war. If you need further encouragement, check out my propaganda video.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More on Destruction Propaganda

I have uploaded a high quality version of my destruction propaganda video (Order sieges Inevitable City) for any who are interested.

You can find it here.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Video: Order sieges Inevitable City

War is at hand.

This is a short video I made as Order was sieging the Inevitable City for the first time. Clips of Twisting Tower were used as a frame of reference for the time of the nefarious incident.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm afraid it's only a matter of time...

We are creatures of incentives — not through instinct — but rather through environmental conditioning that has shaped us since birth. Therefore, it is easy to see why this ideology has been mirrored in the player habits of those who indulge themselves in mmos.

That first paragraph could have easily been explained with two words: min-maxing. 

According to Wikipedia, "Min-maxing is the practice of playing a role-playing game, wargame or video game with the intent of creating the "best" character by means of minimizing undesired or unimportant traits and maximizing desired ones."

With Phoenix Throne finally getting into the swing of endgame city sieges, the topic of min-maxing entered my mind.

I, personally, am not a min-max type of player. I am more of an idealistic player. In terms of WAR, this means that I am bent on realm pride, not itemization. I focus on intangibles. Hell, I will wear outdated armor as long as I look cool doing it.

However, a vast number of mmo players enjoy min-maxing as a means to get the most out of their character.

And this concerns me — an idealistic player.

My server witnessed the fact that an army can't proceed through the second stage of a city siege without the proper gear, i.e. Darkpromise or Invader. Darkpromise drops in Lost Vale, while Invader drops during city sieges. These gear sets are needed because of the damage/dps wards that they grant.

Having this knowledge, will defending fortresses become a thing of the past? Allow me to explain that question a bit before you answer it.

The idea of defending a fortress is to halt the enemy's advancement to your capital city. However, it is in the capital city where the Invader gear resides. It is important to note at this time that Invader gear can drop for city defenders, as well as city sackers.

In essence, city sieges can be a win-win for both sides.

While we explore my question a little further, let me try to visualize it with a scenario.

Order has captured the fortress in Fell Landing and is on their way to capture Butcher's Pass. What is stopping the min-maxing ideology of players to make them decide not to defend the second fortress? What purpose is there to defend a fortress when the losing side has the chance for Invader gear during a city siege?

Should the losing side in the battle for fortresses forfeit, thus allowing their faction a chance for Invader gear?

Realm pride may interfere with the mentality, but to the min-maxer, why defend a fortress when Invader gear awaits within the flaming walls of their capital city? Why hope that Conqueror gear drops from a fortress take, when it doesn't grant the necessary ward needed to compete in a city siege?

This is the ideology of our global society — reward based off incentive. Who's to say that it won't be fully realized in WAR's endgame?

There is nothing more damaging to realm pride than constantly updated monetary/materialistic rewards.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

An "Inevitable" turn of events

Tzeentch welcomed the fires of change last night as Order on Phoenix Throne successfully captured two fortresses — Fell Landing and Butcher's Pass — and assaulted the Inevitable City.

Despite what you may read on the many forums that are blazing today, this was no alarm clock raid.

Order began their war plan at approximately 9 p.m. EST. 

When I logged in 1 1/2 hours later, Order had just captured Fell Landing. Being in a slightly introverted mood, I decided that laggy PvP wasn't for me, so instead of racing to defend Black Crag, I decided to bust out some PQs in order for one more piece of Ruin gear (completed 8 PQs and got 0 gold bags). Did you really think I would get a loot drop?

Black Crag seemed under Destruction's control for some time, allowing some of us in the Twilight Alliance to recommend a city dungeon run. I agreed, since PQs weren't netting me anything, so we headed to IC and entered Bloodwrought Enclave.

Throughout the entire dungeon, Destruction continued to defend Black Crag, making me feel even better for not joining in the lag fest.

After Bloodwrought, we decided to take down Bilerot Burrow. As we were working our way through the dungeon, Order was able to finally succeed at capturing Black Crag and locking the zone down. If memory serves me correctly, this was after midnight for us folks in the midwest.

Knowing that we wouldn't be able to get into the fortress at Butcher's Pass, my group decided to continue through Bilerot in order to finish it as soon as possible. Then, the plan was to assault the fortress at Butcher's Pass and aid our fellow brothers of change.

There we were, sitting in front of the Bile Lord himself. Buffs were distributed. Guard was placed. The time to take down the giant beast of Nurgle was upon us.

And then it happened. The "inevitable."

A pop-up screen telling us that order has succeeded and is assaulting IC flashed on my screen. Much like a scenario pop, we had three options:

1. We could join the fight and instantly be transported into the IC.

2. We could request more time before joining the fight, or

3. We could decline the offer.

We joined the fight at approximately 2:30 a.m. EST.

This was the first assault on a city for Phoenix Throne. While the logical part of my brain told me to just go to bed, I couldn't resist the opportunity to see WAR's end game.

My group jumped in the IC instance and was greeted with the first public quest; kill 150 invaders, douse 50 fires, secure the Temple and secure the Monolith.

At first, there were no order players. The only invaders we were killing were non-champion NPCs. We secured the two areas with no resistance and began dousing what fires we could find. Not the end game that I had imagined. I didn't start playing WAR so that I could RvR to PvE.

Eventually, though — like a sea of murder — Order came pouring through the entrance.

Instantly, the PQ became an all out zerg, just south of the Apex. Finally, some RvR in the end game. I welcomed the invaders. I yearned for their bloodlust. This was war.

However, Destruction had already had an advantage by being in the PQ before Order, so we were able to easily win the first stage.

The second stage was a different story, as we were instructed to fend off a hero and his bodyguards.

The problem here was that the encounter was bugged. The only way for Destruction to kill the hero was if he was in a certain area. If you tried to engage him anywhere else, then it was a failed attempt. Not to mention that if you didn't have plenty of Darkpromise gear, you wouldn't be able to mitigate damage or properly dps the hero. (Please note that it took until the third attempt at completing the PQ until we figured this out.)

Anyways, needless to say, the PQ failed and restarted, this time with both factions having a proper starting balance.

This time it was more exciting as Order and Destruction painted the ground of IC crimson. The contested PQ was close, but Destruction was able to win again.

Sadly, though, we failed to progress the PQ.

I eventually logged due to a pact that I once made with my body that I would at least give it three hours of sleep before I head off to work each day. A pact that I am sorely feeling as I write this incoherent dribble.

Overall, the experience was lackluster. It didn't feel like IC was under attack. If anything, it felt like another scenario, much like Battle for Praag. I knew these instanced city PQs were happening in droves across the server, taking away any sense of real accomplishment on my part.

I understand that to have something of this scale available to the server's open world — instead of an instance — would be terrible considering the lag. 

However, much like my opinion on fortress population caps, I would almost rather welcome the lag if it meant that the world was seamless, not a group of scenarios.

I'm not for sure what the overall "inevitable" turn of events is; Order finally overcoming Destruction or my disappointment in the end game.

Either way, it was a sad turn of events.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Finally, let our colors fly

This weekend was a landmark occasion for Ira Deorum.

Created on Sept. 18, ID has always maintained a relatively small roster, filled extensively with alts. The guild was actually formed nine months prior to launch, a merger of real life friends and friends that we made in other mmos.

And all of this came to fruition at 3:37 a.m. Sunday, March 1 as ID dinged guild rank 20.

While I wasn't online for the actual ding, I couldn't wait to log in on Sunday morning to see the news (hey, fighting sinus congestion got the best of me about two hours before the ding).

Logging in the following morning, I was immediately struck with the vision of our guild heraldry staring back at me.
It was the culmination of five and half months of dedication on the part of the guild's members.

It was a day that I have been looking forward to since guild rank 10, where we were able to reserve our own "unique" heraldry. I use "unique" because War Seekers also uses the same emblem, just with a different color pattern.

Here's what separates guilds in WAR from other games.

In EQ2, guilds had ranks and — originally — patron members who were the only ones who could contribute to the guild's leveling. EQ2 had some guild rewards, like extra mounts, but that was about it for the most part.

WoW had guild tabards, which sounded great at first, until I saw the shoddy clipart that made up guild emblems in that game. Besides that, there wasn't any real accomplishment to getting a guild emblem or tabard. As long as you had the pocket change, you could buy a tabard and register the guild emblem as soon as the guild was formed. Also, the emblem meant nothing, since it could be changed at any time. There was no identity to it.

WAR, however, was different.

Guild colors and heraldry were reserved at guild rank 10, meaning no other guild could create the same heraldry color and pattern. Given the fact that Phoenix Throne is one of the top three most populated servers, and that I have only seen War Seekers with comparable heraldry, proves as a shining example of the amount of heraldry options available to guilds in WAR. 

Also, it took us five and a half months to finally reveal our heraldry to the world. That is something that carries weight with the accomplishment. It makes the attainment even more sweet.

Congratulations, ID, on finally receiving your heraldry.

Everyone — even those not with us anymore — had their part in this step in the guild's history.

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