Archive for March, 2009

I’m Always the Last to Know

Posted in Background Noise with tags on March 31, 2009 by koljarn

Why didn’t anyone tell me the the United States was building our very own Death Star?

Rambling on about Guilds… Again

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 31, 2009 by koljarn

So, new server!  Well, mostly new.  I have been there for a little while, but I haven’t set foot out of tier 2.  Anyway, I am looking around at the different guilds, and I came up with a few thoughts on the topic of guilds in general.

Guilds in WAR are very different from guilds in WoW, CoH, and most other MMORPGs.  I’ll give you a moment to sift through those abbreviations… got it?  Good.  Guilds in WAR, much like DAoC, are much more of a political entity.  Your guild is  going to interact with other guilds, the question is: how?

Small guilds have a nice, cozy feel, especially if you form one with a circle of friends.  As they are a small  guild, they really have to form an alliance with other guilds in order to enjoy the PvE content of the game, or take part in large-scale organized RvR.  Being a small guild, they don’t carry a lot of clout.  Any alliance that they join is likely to drag a small guild along with them whether they like it or not.

Large independent guilds give you a feeling of autonomy.  They get as large as possible in order to have a player base so diverse and numerous that they can do things in a game without the assistance of anyone else.  It sounds good, but there is a downside: large guilds like this alienate all the other guilds on the server.  The large guild generally feels apathetic to the other guilds out there, and that apathy is returned.  Also, other guilds are very sensitive to comments made by large guilds, and it is very easy for an offhand comment to escalate into a full-blown feud between guilds.  (yeah, I know – childish behavior for a video game, but it happens)

Finally, we have to medium to large guild that joins, but does not necessarily lead, an alliance.  This is the sort of guild that I like in WAR.  It may not have the manpower to tackle everything like the uber-guild we just talked about, but you’re not ostracized, either.  As a matter of fact, other people from other guilds and alliances are probably happy to hang out with you, whether it’s doing RvR or PvE.  You may not have all the characters you need to run an instance or form a balanced warband on the spot, but you probably have most of them online when you want to start something.  This means that more of the game’s content is readily available to you.

Although I prefer the last type of guild, personal preferences do vary between players.  You’re going to have to decide for yourself what you prefer, but my point in this post is just that you have to be aware of the inter-guild politicking that is going to go on between your chosen guild and other guilds.  Determine what you’re comfortable with and stick to it.

Do They Serve Nuts on this Transfer Flight?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 31, 2009 by koljarn

They do, now.

I happened to get out of bed less than two minutes after Mythic made their post on the Herald about the availability of transfers.  Sometimes being lazy pays off, as I had decided to get an extra hour of sleep.  Stop looking at me that way, I’m on second shift until Friday!

Anyway, I snuck in and managed to transfer two characters off of Ostermark before the system became so slow that it stopped responding.  I guess the server is being bombarded by transfer requests.  However, Koljarn made it out!  As I write this, he is standing in the Praag warcamp on Vortex.  So, the first step of the transfer is complete – getting there.

Since the guild I had joined did not transfer to Vortex (indeed, most of Ostermark seems to have chosen to transfer to Phoenix Throne), I have to go through the whole process of finding a guild again.  Belus, of course, is in a guild on this server, but I am going to play it cautious.  I rather like the guild that Belus joined, but they apparently have a poor reputation among some people.  It’s time to get serious and determine  what the real story is behind the comments and rumors – a grain of truth or just sour grapes.

Postcard from Vortex

Postcard from Vortex

Get Your Tinfoil Hats Ready

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

It appears that Mythic is “postponing” transfers off of Ostermark “for one day.”

Admittedly, there has been a huge outcry on both Phoenix Throne and on Vortex about the transfers.  Both servers are afraid that it will turn things into an Order-dominated-zergfest.  I have news for them – having played on Vortex, things are already a zergfest, and the only thing that determines which side is dominating is the time of day.

So, Mythic has begun bombarding us with “you will not transfer” subliminal messages from their secret network of satellites.  It’s not working – I still want off of Ostermark!

In all seriousness, I don’t know why they are delaying the transfers.  I highly doubt that they are concerned about Phoenix Throne or Vortex.  They’ve never given a damn about the destination servers in the past.  I can only assume that there is a problem with the transfer mechanism on Mythic’s systems.

Update: it appears that the reason for the delay was to open transfers from Phoenix Throne to Vortex in addition to allowing Ostermark to transfer to either Vortex or Phoenix Throne.  The idea being that people who had their Destro toons on one RP server and their Order toons on the other can keep their characters intact by moving their PT characters.  All of which means that Vortex is going to get a lot more people.  Though queues are bad, I maintain that a high population is good, at least in WAR.

Transferring Between Servers Ain’t Like Dustin’ Crops, Boy!

Posted in Background Noise with tags , , , on March 30, 2009 by koljarn

Well, that was a fairly enjoyable, if gaming-free, weekend.  With the first nice weather in weeks, the museums were mobbed, but we got to see some cool stuff in the Smithsonian and the Newseum.  However, Washington DC continues to live up to its reputation as a city with southern efficiency and northern charm.

My congratulations to the DC Metro (subway) for their innovative maintenance schedule.  It takes true creativity to schedule maintenance in the midst of the DC Cherry Blossom Festival (people come from miles around to look at trees – I’m not making this stuff up).  It could have been worse, I suppose – finding a parking space in DC is like trying to find a winning lottery ticket.

Supposedly, today brings the possibility of transferring off of Ostermark to us poor plebs that infest this misbegotten server.  Ostermark is “the other RP server,” the one with lower population – some would claim a “better” population, but I’ve found people to be pretty much agreeable on other servers as well.  There are two possible destinations for transferring off of Ostermark: Vortex (core) and Phoenix Throne (RP).  So, which to choose?

Historically, I have gravitated towards RP servers because of name enforcement and the general belief that the populations of RP servers are more mature.  I can’t say that I really believe this any longer.  There has been a great deal of drama on Ostermark in the last six months.  Far too much for a simple video game.  If you’ve ever been in a situation where you wanted to reach through your monitor, grab someone by their shoulders, and shake them while yelling “Shut up and play!” then you know what I mean.  I don’t care who likes who, who is a poor player, or who is power-hungry.  When I get home from the office, I want to smite  something.  The time for discussion is over.  If I’m not having fun, then I’ll move on and do something else, which is why I haven’t played on Ostermark for more than a month.  I’ve checked Phoenix Throne, and it seems to have more of the same sort of drama issues that Ostermark has.  In addition, many of the people from Ostermark are going to transfer to PT just because it is a RP server.  If I was moronic enough to walk into that trap again, I’d be qualified to run for a political office.

So, what about Vortex?  It’s a core server, not a RP server.  Having played there for a month, I can confirm that you do run into names like “Slapnutz.”  The funny thing is that “Slapnutz” is probably as good a player as you could get on a RP server, but he or she doesn’t put on airs about how they should be in command, and everything would be fine if people listened to them.  In other words, the egos which spoil RP servers seem to be kept in check.  On the other hand, people don’t lend a halping hand to each other as often.  This isn’t a deal breaker to me, as I prefer self-sufficiency, but it could be a problem for people who are social butterflies.  The attitude on Vortex is more of the “fight now, talk later” type.  Without hesitation, I can say that I’d prefer to transfer to Vortex.

So, where will this leave Ostermark?  It will probably be closed in a few months.  It will be sad for those who insist on staying, but it is very necessary.  The population is just too low to remain viable in the wake of transfers.

The Great Escape?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 27, 2009 by koljarn

I’m stuck at work, still, but I’ve seen a few rumors floating around via the Google Reader feeds from various message boards.  Among these rumors is one which promises free character transfers from Ostermark to Phoenix Throne and Vortex.  While I’d love to believe that this is true, there are two problems that I see.

First, I have not seen this in the feed from the Warhammer Herald as of yet.  Not a big deal, but it makes me suspicious.  Second is the fact that the feeds that I have read place the availability of this transfer service on March 30.  The proximity to April 1 cannot be ignored.  Yeah, I do feel that this whole thing could be an “April Fools” prank.

Addendum: There appear to be official posts on the “official” WAR boards confirming this, so I’m hopeful.  I still won’t believe it for certain until Koljarn is on another server – most likely Vortex.

“I’ve Taken a Keep with Five Guys!”

Posted in Offline gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , , , on March 27, 2009 by koljarn

Good for you.  These aren’t the same five guys.  Or did you mean the hamburger joint?

Seriously, the whole “let’s attack the nearest keep because it’s there” thing is starting to wear on me.  People still don’t have a grasp on the capabilities of their characters, and it’s six months after launch.  I did my one-hour painting ritual this morning (Brother Bethor’s robes finally match the more recently painted stuff), and logged in for an hour of WAR before work.

I appreciate enthusiasm, but you have got to temper it with a little bit of experience.  The warband I joined consisted of one group and one extra person (no healer), and we got wiped out by the NPCs at the Crypt of Weapons.  A Warrior Priest then joined us, and we managed to take the two BOs in Ostland.  So, you’d think that we would go take the remaining BOs?  Of course not, it was time to attack Mandred’s Hold!  Three wipes later, I left to go get a shower before heading to the office.

The only reason that I stuck around in violation of my one rule of oRvR is that it was mid-morning on a weekday.  This warband was the only game in town.  At least I got a trickle of renown and influence from taking two BOs, so it wasn’t a total waste.

I have family coming to town over the weekend, so I probably won’t get a lot of game time in.  However, I think I might hit RR18 on Belus.  My lion is keeping his toes crossed.

Murphy Was an Optimist

Posted in Background Noise, Offline gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , , , , on March 26, 2009 by koljarn

More on-call shift fun.  I got an hour of painting time in this morning, but no gaming.

In other blog news, this post on The Greenskin adequately sums up how I feel about Koljarn and Ostermark.  The server is dead, let me out.  As much as I enjoy tinkering around on my White Lion or my Archmage on Vortex, I miss playing the Engineer.  Additionally, I sunk a lot of time into the character before people started to leave the server for greener pastures.  Geared up, ranked up, and nowhere to go, that adequately describes Koljarn.

40K-wise, I finished drybrushing the robes on the veteran sergeants this morning.  They’re not Golden Demon quality, but they’re tabletop quality, which is enough for me.  I have an old Brother Bethor mini that I’m going to use as the company standard bearer, and I have to go over his robes to make sure that he matches the rest of the Company Master’s retinue.

Sometimes, All It Takes Is a Little Push

Posted in Background Noise, Offline gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , , , , , on March 25, 2009 by koljarn

I got dragged in to work overnight on Monday, less than two hour after I had gotten home.  That was a real treat.  Anyway, after I slept like the dead, I decided to try a little PvE in WAR.

My White Lion was disappointing me for the last week.  It seemed like every time I turned around, I got rooted and nuked to death at range.  Being rank 16, I didn’t have Feline Grace quite yet.  So, I mustered up my courage, and hit the various PQs in Ostland (because I am most familiar with them).  Playing a White Lion in PvE is a very different experience than playing an Engineer.  While you have a pet, you really can’t rely on them to tank.  The lion’s health is too low for that sort of shenanigans.  The one thing that the lion’s taunt does allow you to do is set up a few rear positional attacks.  Other than that, it’s a slug-fest, and a White Lion doesn’t do well when three mobs jump him, though he probably will survive with a sliver of health.  Anyway, I pounded out two ranks and got the associated influence rewards, which were nice upgrades.

After that, I had enough time to do a little more RvR.  I’m not sure if the difference was the new gear or the two ranks, but there was a measurable difference in the performance of the toon.  Of course, now that I have Feline Grace, no one is rooting me any more.  :p

Belus is now closing in on RR18, which is the magic threshold where you can use the oRvR influence rewards, so I’m looking forward to that.  However, I have noticed another strange trend on Vortex – people ridicule others for taking Battlefield Objectives.  I don’t mean that players who dash off and go after the nearest BO instead of an undefended keep are in the right.  I mean that we’d take both keeps in a zone, then we’d leave all of the BOs intact.  If anyone suggested going after any of the BOs, they’d get yelled at.  Bizarre.  Even in the lower tiers, I enjoy the zone control aspect of the game, so I just can’t quite fathom the thought processes that justify ignoring BOs in favor of abandoning a zone that you are getting near locking down and attacking keeps in yet another zone.

In the world of 40K and painting, I’ve just about gotten the robes base coated to the consistency that I want for my veteran sergeants.  Bleached Bone used to be a color of paint that would cover anything.  The new formula that GW uses isn’t as opaque as it used to be, and it has required three coats of paint to cover up black primer.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s painting the same parts of the same model over and over again.  Keeping the goal in my sights helps, though.  I have been managing to dedicate an hour each day to painting.  It’s slow, but progress gets made, and I can’t ask for more than that.

Glutton for Punishment

Posted in Offline gaming, Tabletop RP, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , , , on March 23, 2009 by koljarn

Sometimes, I really don’t understand myself.  As stated in my last post, players in tier 2 seem to have little to no grasp on whatever situation that they find themselves in.  If numbers are equal on both sides, you should always assume that your opponents are of at least equal skill to yourself, and the only things that can tip a conflict in your favor are luck, positioning, and terrain.  When you are attacking a defended keep or an objective, then you immediately surrender any possible advantage you might have had due to terrain – you might still surprise your opponents by coming from an unexpected direction, but that’s all.

So, I have been observing people repeatedly ramming themselves into keeps, getting boiled alive in the oil and getting totally wiped out.  I observe the rule in my previous post – if we get wiped out, don’t go back.  And the complaints are amusing to read.  People whining that they weren’t healed while they stood in the oil, getting french-fried.  Other people (usually a DPS player) complaining that there aren’t enough tanks and healers on the server.  Still others want to sit in the open field near a keep and fight in the open – an interesting tactic, but utterly worthless when you opponent wisely sits in a keep and waves to you instead of marching out to their potential death.

I’ve been asking myself why I don’t just grind my way out of tier 2 with PvE, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t even know the answer myself.  Though some people insist otherwise, I don’t remember tier 3 being much better than what I’ve encountered in tier 2 on Vortex.  To the best of my recollection, people didn’t start to use their gray matter until tier 4.  Even then, it took them a while to get out of the mindless frothing berserker mindset and adopt a goal-oriented RvR strategy more akin to low cunning.   Maybe I just like to sit on the sidelines and laugh at people.

I don’t know.

I got some D&D in on Saturday, and we had a little fun with that.  I also base-coated four more Dark Angel sergeants.  It’s going to take a few more coats of bleached bone to get the robe to the right color, but I don’t mind – I’m on nights again for two weeks, and this gives me something to do for an hour in the morning.