Archive for January, 2009

There Can Be Only One

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 30, 2009 by koljarn

I’m a surly, rude, foul mouthed, and angry man.  Yet, even I have more etiquette than what I’ve been seeing in warbands lately.

OK, let’s put this plainly: if join join someone’s warband, you are not the leader of said warband unless you are promoted to warband leader, or the leader of the warband asks you to command the warband.  I don’t care if you’re the next Norman Schwarzkopf.  If you can’t follow the guidelines that the warband leader is giving you, then leave the warband and form your own.

I’m not trying to imply that warband leaders can do no wrong.  I’ve seen many flawed plans from different warband leaders.  That’s OK.  Sometimes just following and acting as a group is enough, despite poor tactical decisions.  Also, I’m not saying that you need to shut up and follow orders.  Feel free to offer advice, so long as you aren’t spamming the warband chat channel.  Extra input and information is always useful to everyone.  Just keep it in check, so you don’t distract people.

So, why else shouldn’t you take the reins of a warband if you’re a better leader, or maybe you just don’t like doing what thewarband leader is asking?  Because you’ll end up splitting the efforts of the warband.  Some of the people will follow you, and some will do what the warband leader is already asking them to do.  Which means that everyone fails. 

I know it’s just an online game, but a little respect goes a long way.

Pyramid Power

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 29, 2009 by koljarn

I think I nearly wet my pants after reading this:

Not only is the Slayer class being released, but there’s a Tomb Kings epic dungeon in the works. TOMB KINGS. It’s going to be like “The Mummy,” except instead of Brendan Fraser, I get to be a short, angry man laden with explosives, incendiary devices, and sundry firearms.

Holy hell, I actually cracked a smile.  Someone stop me before I grin or something!

At the Mercy of the Night Shift Gods

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 29, 2009 by koljarn

Part of why I despise working second shift hours is that it absolutely kills prime time gaming.  There are real life scheduling issues that occur, also, but I’m going to focus on WAR time.

WAR is a game where you have to play at the same time that other people are playing.  It’s not optional – there is no realm versus realm without another realm.  Frankly, by the time I get home and log in, not only is there no opposing realm, my realm is blissfully sleeping as well.  It makes for frustrating game sessions.

Last night, we scraped enough people together to take a few Battlefield Objectives, but that’s the most we could handle – there was not a single tank online among the total of 9 (yes, nine) level 40 Order characters on the server.  Seven of the characters joined us, meaning that we had almost all of the level 40 population that Ostermark’s Order faction had to offer – more than enough to take out a BO hero, but medium armored “tanks” will fold against a keep lord without insane amounts of healing.

Dark Age of Camelot featured courier quests – basically, an escort/fed-ex type quest to make sure that a courier reached a particular keep safely.  Maybe WAR needs something like this so the people who play at off-peak times have something to do that actually impacts on the war effort.  It doesn’t sound half bad, in retrospect – I think I’ll send feedback to Mythic when I get home and log in.

Complaints Department, Take a Number and Go Away

Posted in Background Noise, Offline gaming, Tabletop RP, Tabletop Wargaming with tags on January 28, 2009 by koljarn

Some people who read this blog, or play alongside me on Ostermark may have noticed that Koljarn is dour, grumpy, irritable, and morose.  Well, I suppose it’s time to come clean: it’s not Koljarn, it’s Koljarn’s player.

I’m a grognard, in multiple senses of the word.  I’ve been playing tabletop RPGs and wargames for decades.  I remember when White Dwarf was just a gaming magazine from Great Britain, and when it had some awesome D&D articles and adventures.  I remember when Car Wars was new and popular.  Tabletop games these days are a lot more slick than they once were, with pricey art and even pre-painted miniatures.  Kids these day don’t know how good they have it!  <shakes his cane menacingly>

I also need to vent my spleen from time to time.  OK, rather often.  I gripe, grumble, and rant unapologetically all the time.  Any moment of foolishness of anyone’s part (even myself) has the potential to launch me into a tirade of legendary proportions.  If I seem rough around the edges at times, it’s probably because I am.

So, if you hear me mutter a five minute sting of obscenities on Ventrilo (I always mutter, I’m not one for yelling), or if you read this blog and think I’ve gone completely bitter on the game and life in general, you just have to keep it in perspective.  I don’t just play a dwarf in WAR, I have a lot of the dwarf attitude in real life.

Gank Squads Redux

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 28, 2009 by koljarn

(For those of you who never played Dark Age of Camelot, a Gank Squad is a pre-made RvR group engineered for maximum mobility and damage output.)

The “big argument” on Ostermark as a whole right now, on both Order and Destruction sides, is whether pre-organized 6 on6 and 12 on 12 fights are in the spirit of the game or not  I will admit that I’m ambivalent about the whole thing.

I agree that something should be in place for these people who have a desire for an “arena” style of fighting.  I have no interest in it, personally, but who am I to tell someone that their desired method of beating/hacking/blasting another toon into mush is the “wrong way to play the game?”  I enjoy a good keep defense, guerrilla tactics, and hit and run in the open field (low cunning).  Many others do not.  To each their own.  I think that a “join as a warband” option for scenarios would go a long way to sating the bloodlust of the gank squad crowd.  Running a gank squad in an oRvR lake is just not feasible for these people — the RvR lakes are just too claustrophobic, and it’s not a question of if they will get overrun by a zerg, it’s a question of whenit will happen.  I suppose they could manually flag for RvR and then take their fights somewhere outside of the RvR lakes, but that’s for them to decide.

So, what’s the downside of gank squads?  First is elitism.  When I played DAoC, if you weren’t a member of a regular gank squad, then you had no worth to your realm.  It may be “just a game,” but elitism sucks, especially if it ends up being the deciding factor of whether or not you deserve to see some of the in-game content.  If we ever lay siege to the Inevitable City, I want to go have a look, dammit.  And I don’t want to get turned away because I’m not a member of an elite gank squad.  The other reason that gank squads were problematic is that they were the only feasible way to grind out Realm Points in DAoC (the DAoC version of Renown).  I think that WAR is presently set up nicely to avoid that, with nice renown awards for taking real estate.  However, there has already been some rumbling among the gank squads that they believe the only way you should get renown is from killing other characters.  I can tell you from experience that forcing players to grind out Renown solely by killing other characters will not bring people to the RvR lakes.  In DAoC, the only people visiting the frontiers were people on quests, and other gank squads.  Sorry, but the “real estate bonuses” have got to stay.

So, what we have here are two separate playstyles.  Each side likes the way they play, and i so passionate about it that they believe it is the only way to play.  They’re both wrong – Mythic built scenarios, PvE, and oRvR into the game for a reason.  Everyone has the ir own taste in gaming.  The only real solution that I can see is to implement the “join as warband” scenario button, which I mentioned earlier.  It’s a compromise that will completely satisfy no one, but it’s the best option that I can see.

Dashing through the Snow

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 28, 2009 by koljarn

It’s been a relatively quiet two days.  We had a moderate snowfall in Virginia, so I took a day off.  I’m not afraid of driving in the snow — I’m afraid off all the Virginia drivers out there driving in the snow.

Anyway, let’s see….  I did a few more scenarios (which I loathe, but it seems to be the only way to ensure that there are a few Order around at the same time), and there was an attack on the Shining Way fortress last night (which I missed).  I always get a little nervous when people talk about Shining Way fortress, because it sounds a little too similar to “Shining Path” for my tastes.

In any case, the fighting has moved out of Eataine and back to Dragonwake.  Since Eataine is so wide open and encourages the use of a massive zerg, I can’t say that I’m saddened to a return to Dragonwake.  Actually, I rather like Dragonwake the most out of the three Elf zones.  The bridges and narrow paths make it more interesting.  The scenario hounds hate it because the Serpent’s Passage scenario seems to still be the only one which starts up, and they are sick of it.  I’ll admit that I don’t mind Serpent’s Passage, but that’s because I don’t play scenarios because I enjoy them — I play scenarios to farm renown.

RANT: There was a little inter-guild politicking last night which I overheard on my guild’s Ventrilo server.  I have to say that I don’t approve of any of it at all.  I have no desire to be anyone’s cannon fodder, of course, but neither do I have any use for a dose of righteous indignation.  I have plenty of that left over from my work day and commute.  If you really think that someone has a big ego that is getting out of control, there’s no reason to fuss with other people over it – roll your eyes and move on.  What I feel amusing is that I am notorious for poor “people skills” (thus why I work in Information Technology rather than another field), but even I have more diplomacy than what others have been exhibiting of late.  There, rant over.  I feel better.

Leadership and Communication

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 26, 2009 by koljarn

I’ve risked my life by reading the Ostermark forums on WHA.  Reading the forums will give ya brain cancer.  I read it on the Internet, so it must be true.

What made me take notice, however, was a few posts on organization and strife between alliances.  Some people just want to vent, but others really seemed to have an interest in improving organization and leadership.  That got me to thinking, which is usually a dangerous activity.

Order on Ostermark is a collection of alliances and guilds that have their own individual ideas on what the goal of the endgame must be.  When others do not pursue the same endgame goals, people get their hackles up and go on the attack.  MMOs breed this sort of behavior, because people are so invested into the game, time-wise.  So, what does Order/Ostermark really need to get things together?

Personally, I think that all we need is communication.  Everyone can agree that the endgame revolves around attacking the opposing capitol.  If people knew that they were contributing towards that goal, they’d be willing to follow just about any reasonable instructions given to them.  Giving orders to a group of strangers and expecting them to follow them because you said so will yield poor results.  It only takes a moment to tell people why they have to go to a valley and wait for the signal to move out, or if they are being asked to delay a superior force as a viable distraction.  Everything needs to fit into the larger picture, or players will feel like they are wasting their time.

Does this mean that leaders will need to actually talk to their warbands?  Yes, but it’s not like they have to be cheering them on.  Just tell them why something is important, and people will try to achieve the objective presented to them.

Scenarios are contests of raw PvP skill and group organization.  Full oRvR is a contest of strategy, movement, and co-ordination.  That means that you have to decide what your goals are, and work towards them together.  And that’s the difference between PvP and RvR.

Personality Archetypes

Posted in Background Noise with tags , , on January 26, 2009 by koljarn

They exist in just about every guild I’ve been in.


The Big Mouth: The person who keeps shooting their mouth off, even after everyone has told them to shut up.

The Asshat: The person who goes out of their way to spoil something in-game for someone else, just because they can.

The Administrator: This person is excellent at organizing and keeping track of things, yet lacks any leadership ability. Which is unfortunate, because they are usually an officer.

The Cheerleader: There’s almost always some person who, regardless of their abilities, can lift everyone’s spirits a little.


If you’re really lucky, you’ll end up with one or both of these:

The Tactician: This person seems to sleep with a copy of The Art of War under their pillow, and is always looking at the terrain for defensible ground.

The Leader: This person inspires people to follow them, regardless of the outcome. Maybe they are just outgoing. Maybe they inspire people. Maybe they just get results.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 25, 2009 by koljarn

Took several runs, but I have 4/6 Sentinel armor.  I still use Annihilator gloves and shoulders at present.

This stuff makes me look like a handsome devil, if I do say so myself:


I also managed to pound my way to renown rank 50, Grudge Guard.  Nifty title, but I really want to make it to Longbeard.  Still, lots of progress, even if I had to endure hours of frustrating PUGs in scenarios this weekend.

The Order situation on Ostermark continues to confuse and baffle me.  Certain guilds and alliances refuse to work with each other, then they blame each other when they fail to achieve something in-game.  The fact of the matter is that you don’t have to like anybody, though it helps.  You do have to be willing to work (or play) with other people, though.  And if people can’t be civil in their conversations, the best policy is to just shut it and say nothing, even if someone is blathering about you.  Simply saying “I have nothing to say about that” is more than enough to let anyone know that there is more to the story than what is being heard, and still does on exacerbate the situation.

Enough grumbling.  Good progress this weekend, after a long period of stagnation.

Tales from the Computer Game Crypt

Posted in Offline gaming with tags on January 23, 2009 by koljarn

I read an interesting article on Ars Technica.  It looks like some long-dead classic PC games are being re-engineered, re-released, and re-animated by the company mentioned in the article.  They even have games from Accolade!

Of course, some of the titles are stinkers.  I’m not sure why, but someone always chooses a few titles that have little to no appeal to me.  For the most part I like what I see, and the price is right.

I know what I’ll be checking out this weekend.