Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Blip & POW

My lust for WAR is suffering from a blip at the moment. I've posted more in the last 2 weeks than I've played and I haven't posted much. I have been logging on from time to time but the game has been unable to keep my attention. I've actually found myelf doing a T4 Epic Weapon quest and chasing some ToK accessory pieces rather than getting stuck into RvR. I have also picked up on a waning in enthusiam amongst the community. There are plenty of previously active blogs on my blog roll that have been quiet now for a good 5 or 6 weeks. I think 1.3.5 and the pre-patch hype was quite a big deal and took up a lot of energy, both for the community and at Mythic, plus the start of summer must have an affect. I think this is only natural after the high of the City patch, a producer's letter must be immenent though... .

HOWEVER, this week's "break" on the EU servers has piqued my interest and the absence of XP/RR that comes with the server move has posed an interesting question - would you still play WAR without the progression?

I would. Certainly. The PvP is great fun and I love the Warhammer World so of course I'd still play. In many ways I'd prefer no progression, or at least prefer less of a huge rank grind.

My motivation to get to RR80 is not to finish the game, but to start it. At RR80 I will feel my character is complete, my "training" over, and it's time therefore to put some serious skullage on the skull throne, or whatever the Asuryan equivalent is. I don't even feel it necessary to get to RR80 either, perhaps 60 something will do.

A lot of people seem to quit at 80, or once they've got all their PvE loot on, but that's not the case for me. I haven't even been to Lost Vale or ToVL yet, and don't intend to ever go, even if this leaves me with a bitter taste about the much-coveted Glyphs and Tyrant.

It's all about the thrill and challenge of player versus player comabt to me so logging on during this downtime will be very interesting. A lot of people won't bother playing at all. The people who do though will hopefully be up a mighty scrap. No freenowning, no selfish behaviour around BOs or Keeps, and hopefully just players out there for the fun of the fight. No Zergs too I'd imagine and it might slow the campaign down to the pace it had in the early days. It could turn out to be a very interesting week.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Swordmaster Scenario Weapons

Here are the scenario weapons for the Swordmaster from Rank 40 onwards. I've found it good to know what I'm aiming for :) Click to see larger images. I owe a debt to Gaar.

The Titan Blades are the offensive choice, Sentry defensive. I'm currently gunning for the Invader Defensive 2H. Weapon DPS contributes a lot to some key SM abilities (like Ether Dance) and Strength less so.

What weapon are you using to drive the foul taint of Chaos from the shores of Ulthuan?


Shokk Sez Waaagh!!

The Blurring Shock team has expanded!! A delightful Orc with a big choppa from the greenskin clan Da Blurz Boyz has joined the blog to give an informed and rounded perspective on weekly happenings surrounding Warhammer Online. Give a warm welcome to Shokk...

Shokk on Warhammer 40K: Dark Millenium
Wot da fook is dis all aboot den? Dark mil'len...mil'el...Da Fu'tah Waaagh! We not giv a snotling aboot dis, is moons away init?! Even da runts will be Big 'Uns by den. Dem massiv blastas luk gud for blastin' tho.
VERDICT: Waaaghh!!

Shokk on Josh Drescher leaving Mythic
Who da fook is dis then? Sum humie by da sound of it. Heard da name but dunno wot he dun. Musta dun summink gud as Shokk enjoy da big Waaagh! Wud say gud luk to him but e's a stinkin' humie, in'ee?
VERDICT: Waaagh!!

Shokk on RunePriest changes
Wot, dat stunty fella gettin' new stik to bash me wiv? Shokk still gonna bash 'im 'arder dan he bash Shokk, an' wen da stunty bash Shokk da boyz go an' bash uv'er stunties even 'arder.
VERDICT: Waaagh!!

Shokk will be back next week with another cosmopolitan take on a week in Waaaagh!!! :)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

AoE Anonymous

I haven't played WAR in a few days, I've been too hungover. There's a hole in my head where Saturday used to be. England played USA in the World Cup and I spent the weekend drinking in the pub. Gotrek would've been proud of me.

I could have logged in, I had the time, but I don't like to PvP unless I'm 100% fighting fit. I don't like to let my side down, whether this means my guild or even some random Order PuGs. If I'm going to play alongside other people who may be counting on my performance then I need to feel that I'm playing at my best. If not then I won't play.

Levelling was different. If I was tired I could just go and farm XP or PQ influence for a few hours, and it was progress and without responsibility, and I miss that hassle free bit of grindiness if I'm honest. Not enough to level up another character that way though. It's PvP or nothing nowadays.

And talking of PvP, Brazil play in the World Cup today. Brazil are traditionally seen as the flair side of international football, a star-laden team committed to the art of the beautiful game. On the radio this morning Brazil have come under fire for taking a more pragmatic approach to the World Cup this year, abandoning their attacking traditions in favour of a "Play to Win" mentality. Their fans though would rather they played beautiful football and lost than win ugly. Scrubs?

Back to WAR, this has chimed with me a little because some issues with the Swordmaster, which probably apply to other classes too. The Swordmaster does excellent Single Target damage and gets a lot of joy out of small-scale PvP, but in large scale RvR single target damage doesn't cut the mustard. AoE rulez 4EVA..

During class discussions SM supporters have espoused the skill it takes to play the class, the satisfaction gained from combining multiple abilities effectively, and the finesse of single target damage in PvP compared to AoE. I'd want to totally agree with that on face value but a counter-argument from a well-respected player has made me think a little. If single-target damage was changed to be more effective than AoE then the battlefield would be won by superior numbers. It would be difficult for outnumbered but well-organised players to combat larger groups and they would get overwhelmed by Zergs. I'm going to quote this guy, Sidrath of Crimson on Karak-Norn..

"I love the bombing environment for RvR, and I love the single-target precision of scenarios/6v6. They are fundamentally different playstyles, both worth mastering. Bombing is not a travesty, it is a sensible mechanic to ensure servers don't become dominated by numbers-play: it allows a coordinated well-positioned 24-man to melt things just fast enough to avoid drowning under a sea of red. By all means, allow other DPS classes to contribute viable AoE - but don't campaign for RvR without stacked AoE otherwise any realm facing a massive numbers imbalance will have no 'hardcore' means of fighting back in the lakes, and would thus be condemned to die and get merged."

I've quoted this in full as it's a side of the argument I've not heard before or contemplated myself. I'm not 100% sure I agree with it, surely an organised single-target warband could still defeat a single-target zerg and, when bomb meets bomb, surely greater numbers will win out? But still, it's food for thought.

Anyway, a well-organised warband with tight AoE is not a simple thing to achieve. It requires team-work and discipline, just like beating Brazil does. Brazil boast fantastically talented players and it's not just any old team who can beat them, but for all their attacking flamboyance the World Champions are often the team who are the most well-organised. It's often the team with the best defence and organisation that wins, sprinkled with the odd over-powered player or two. Look at Italy's victory 4 years ago or Inter Milan's triumph in this season's Champion's League.

Football purists criticise the efficient approach of some teams but can't argue with it's effectiveness. I'm sure Brazil fans who bemoan their team's pragmatic approach will be delighted if they win the Cup. I've criticised the dominance of AoEand bombing warbands in the past but I will have yet to try it out myself. I'm sure if the Swordmaster happened to be the de facto class in Order's warband I wouldn't be complaining so much.

I'm going to respec my Swordmaster to an AoE orientated build and see how it goes. For a long time I didn't think the class had a viable AoE spec but picking up Phoenix Wing (PW), Protection of Hoeth (PoH) and Whispering Wind (WW), and rotating PoH, PW and Gusting Wind with the cooldown reduction from WW will give me some decent AoE damage. I will pick try and gear-up with some debuff procs on items to take advantage of the large number of hits I'll be getting.

I've no idea how this post ended up about AoE and with me respeccing, it certainly didn't start out that way!! Mind, I do have a pretty serious hangover ;)

Friday, 11 June 2010

RvR Ideas: The Campaign

I had too much to dream last night, too much to dream.

I've tried to think of a different campaign system for WAR's RvR. It borrows a lot from Bootae's posts about DAoC and WAR and I've also incorporated features from the new City Siege. I've found it a bit tricky to convey exactly what I wanted but will post anyway :p.

The campaign would involve two phases, first a fight for control of the keeps, then assault and defence of the Forts.

Phase 1: WAR for Territory

Summary: All zones and all keeps are open for capture and Order and Destro fight to claim as many keeps as they can until all are controlled. When claimed, keeps can be used as port locations for guilds and alliances. Keep control will offer a strategic advantage in Phase 2.

All 18 keeps in T4 are contested and open for capture at the start of the phase. There are no Keep Lords or Keep Doors.

To gain control of a keep 6 players need to interact with an objective inside the keep. Controlling a keep will NOT lock it down, i.e. they are immediatley recapturable.

Controlling a keep will spawn a very low HP door, this door is only designed to a allow some response time if it's attacked.

Rally Flags: Once a Keep is under a faction's control guilds can place a Rally Flag within the keep that will allow guild members to port inside using a Keep Scroll. Guilds can only have one Rally Flag active at any time but multiple guilds can have a Rally Flag in the same keep. Alliance Rally Flags are also available. These allow all players from an alliance to port there.

Guild and Alliance Flags are bought just like standards. Keep Scrolls have a 10 minute reuse timer on them. The whole point of generous use of scrolling is to avoid a situation where players have to stand guard at keeps for a long time as that is boring. Alliance scrolls give well organised alliances an edge.

Taking an already controlled keep will place it in a neutral state for the next 10 minutes. After this it becomes open to capture again by either side. The reason for this 10 minutes of neutrality is to keep Phase 1 from ending too quickly.

When every keep is controlled by one side or another (i.e. there are no uncontrolled keeps left) a 1 hour timer starts after which Phase 1 ends. This extra time is to give some final furious fighting over the keeps in key locations (see Phase 2). In the final hour keeps don't go into a neutral state when captured but pass straight into the control of whichever side captured them.


Phase 2: Push to the City

Summary: Order and Destro now battle for the Forts. Capture all 3 enemy Forts to win the phase and open up the City. Keeps control from Phase 1 provides strategic advantage as keeps are now permanently locked and are available to port to and from for the entire faction who control them.

Every keep you controlled in Phase 1 will be locked and uncapturable during Phase 2. They act as permanent port locations for all players from the faction who control it, not just the guild or alliances that placed Rally Flags there. Keep Scrolls are still on a 10 minute reuse timer.

Keeps can then be used to stage attacks on an enemy Fortress or to rally to and defend your own. The value of controlling the keeps closet to Forts should result in some serious conflict over these in Phase 1.

Capturing a Fort
Capturing a fort involves killing a Fortress Lord. These don't do damage, they just require a lot of killing. Fortress Lord's HP doesn't reset or regenerate so any damage done to them is permanent and once they are dead the Fort is captured until the campaign resets. They will take a tonne of killing so it will take numerous attempts to take them down.

Attackers cannot rez inside a Fort but Defender's can. Several waves of attack will be needed therefore, each one aiming to chip away at the Lord's health as much as possible.


Controlling the Middle Zone
The top and bottom zones are strategically important to assault or defend nearby Forts so the middle zone needs a reason to be important too (i.e. Praag, Dragonwake and Thunder Mountain). In Phase 1 BOs weren't involved but in Phase 2 the four objectives in the middle zone in each pairing come into play. Control of 3 out 4 BOs spawns a Monster who makes it's way to the enemy Fort and gives the Lord there a wallop. Doesn't kill it, just makes a nice dent in it's HP. Monster's can be killed and healed. I'm not totally sold on this monster idea but control of the middle zone's needs to offer something of value.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

1.3.5 gave me Altitis

I had never played on an alt before patch 1.3.5 came out but I hate the new City siege mechanic so much that I can't play my Rank 40 anymore....

...just kidding. Ho-ho. You can stop laughing........Now.

No, I just found myself always logging in just the City was entering safe mode and I thought what the hell, let's dick about in T1 for a bit.

I always wondered what healing would be like so I rolled an Archmage first. And I really, really enjoyed it. I've also tried a Shadow Warrior, Witch Hunter, White Lion, Knight and Rune Priest. Oh, and a Slayer. I gotta say, I'm having a lot of fun with each one.

Tier 1 is really active and one thing I know is a big draw for me is the rapid progression with new abilities and gear flowing like a river in spring.

It reminds of when I first started playing really. Everything's new and I'm learning.

But I am also enjoying a different play style having played a Tank exclusively for 12+ months. One thing that has made me laugh is that I find myself instinctively trying to play like a tank. On my SW I would try and intercept Witch Elves that were making a run for our back line. This didn't turn out too well.

Here are my alts:
Partridge L9 - Archmage
Cahill L7 Shadow - Warrior
Steinson L6 - Slayer
Stockport L6 - Witch Hunter
Tractor L6 - Knight
Groggi L6 - Rune Priest
Cincinnatti L6 - White Lion

As you can see L6 is a bit of sticking point. I think that's as far as I get in one evening without getting too drunk and falling asleep.

The Archmage is the one I think I'm going to keep going with. I like healing and it has been immensely satisfying to be top of the charts for once. I know scenario scores can be misleading but outhealing L11 toons when I was just L6 was great.

Monday, 7 June 2010

WAR World Cup: Order F.C.

The Football (soccer) World Cup kicks off in just a few days and here is my team for Order :)




GOALKEEPER: Iron Breaker
Not your traditional goalkeeper but nothing get's past this guy. Sworn an oath to protect the onion bag at all costs and stakes his family name on it. A superb shot-blocker.


CENTRE DEFENCE: Archmage
A cultured and elegant defender confident on and off the ball. Can be relied upon to get team-mates out of trouble with a last ditch tackle. Can play the ball forward well and turn defense into attack.

CENTRE DEFENCE: Runepriest
Provides the team with mobility at the back and his displays inspire confidence to those around him.


LEFT BACK: Swordmaster
The archetypal modern attacking full-back. The SM is able to defend and attack in equal measure. Has the pace to get up and down the line and offers great support and cover for the winger. Pops up with the odd goal.

RIGHT BACK: Engineer
A toolkit full of tricks on the field. A master of the zonal marking system he is able lock down an area when in defence and has the ammunition needed to get forward to set-up attacks when required. Great delivery from set-pieces and takes the team's free-kicks and corners.


RIGHT WING: Bright Wizard
The flamboyant primadonna of the team courts publicity and controversy where ever he goes. Possessing devastating attacking skills is often his side's match-winner but his self-destructive nature can leaves his side exposed on the counter-attack.


LEFT WING: Shadow Warrior
The unsung hero of the team brings natural width to the side. A great crosser of the ball can provide pin-point service to strikers or cut inside himself to unleash a trademark long-range finish.


CENTRE MIDFIELD: Knight
The midfield general and team captain. Dictates the tempo in the centre of the park pushing his team to press the attack or defend as required. Offers little goal threat himself but his aura of confidence on the pitch inspires his team-mates on to greater feats.


CENTRE MIDFIELD: Warrior Priest
A box-to-box midfielder offering support to the whole team whether in attack or defence. Equally adapt at anchoring the midfield, protecting the back four or making late runs in to the box to support the attack. A model pro.


STRIKER: Slayer
Relishes the physical side of the game . His aggressive, no nonsense approach and raw power is enough to unsettle a defence on his own. His barn-storming style often leads to him tiring during the game and an explosive temper can get him in trouble with the ref.


STRIKER: Witch Hunter
A fox-in-the-box and the perfect foil to the Slayer's physical game, the Witch Hunter employs clever movement and positioning to evade his marker. His job on the pitch is to score goals and clinical finishing means he does just that. Has been accused of going missing on occasion and has the tendency to get caught offside.

MANAGER: White Lion
Dressed in a stereotypical manager's Lionskin coat the he roars instructions from the touchline with the emphasis on teamwork and hunting for the ball as a pack. If the ball ends up in the crowd will call upon his assistant to fetch it back quickly and keep the game going.

Friday, 4 June 2010

May's Letter - Wot no RvR?

I was dissappointed when I read the latest letter. Half of it was about something they aren't going to do. A lot of the rest of it was about something they were going to do months ago. So nothing of the RvR changes that has been eluded to in articles like the Massively interview with Carrie.

I did like the talk of changes to the RP & Zealot. This means they still have time to spend on class mechanics so everyone's gripes about their own class (and mine about the SM ;)) could well be on the agenda one day.

Back to the RvR though, I think Carrie is being deliberately protective of anything they've got going on with RvR, and I think any changes might still be so much in their infancy that they wouldn't dare mention anything about them right now.

In fact, I think they're totally in the concept stage for RvR changes. If you read the Massively interview Carrie repeatedly says that all ideas are on the table and that no idea is being ruled out.

"There's nothing off the table"
"Anything's on the table"

Carrie Gouskos, May 12th

If they haven't yet decided which RvR changes they want to make then it's no suprise that there's no mention of this in the letter.

I am confident that RvR changes are incoming and there may well be some hints in the June or July Producer's Letter if they can get some of their ideas/concepts fleshed out a bit and feel confident enough about meeting a release date.

"we do have some really awesome stuff coming -- and 1.4 is a patch that I'm very excited about."
Carrie Gouskos, May 12th

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

RvR Ideas: Player-Monsters!

I'm going to get myself all in a lather over the next few weeks with ideas for improving the RvR in WAR. I'm also going to try and scour other WAR blogs and forums for great ideas and collect them together, with proper kudos attributed of course.

My first idea is just a small thing and won't affect the overall campaign but it'll be a lot of fun and bring some epic moments.

It's giving the players the option to play as Warhammer Monsters! One of the great things about fantasy is the monsters. Ogres, Trolls, Giants, all that jazz. Take a look at these bad boys.
























The introduction of Player-Champions to the new City Siege has been a big hit and Player-Monsters is really building on that. I actually had this idea in March - shoulda posted that shit.

The nitty gritty details don't matter here but basically a player would collect some kind of currency, be that Invader Crests or new Monster Tokens, and then trade these in at a merchant to receive an item that would turn them into a montser of their choice.

The Monster-Buff would last about an hour I'd guess and have a lockout timer on it, perhaps a day. The monsters wouldn't be super-powerful, just a bit different, maybe have twice the Wounds as normal, nothing extravagent, it's really just for variety and fun.

I would try to implement 3 monsters choices for each of Order and Destruction. All monsters would be hybrid classes - they would each have ranged ability, melee, and some heals. Basic stuff, think T1 :)

To make it more interesting I would also tie a mini-progression system to the Monster-Buffs, so that whilst you are playing a Monster you earn influence or something that levels your Monster up earning you new tricks. Nothing major of course, just a few different abilities, some specialisation, or access to bigger and better weapons.


Order Monsters - not so easy to find monsters for the good guys - any ideas??
Ogre Butcher : Ths guy is big and fat and carries two giant cleavers!
Ogre LeadBelly: Carries a small hand-cannon so short-ranged RDPS is it's thing
Treeman: Treeman. Nuff said.

Destro Monsters
Troll: Vomits Acid for fun. Swings Big Clubs.
Minatour: Giant Bull prone to feeding frenzies. Perhaps have a Charge for it's ranged attack?
Giant: Be that big, bald guy from Nordland!

I think this would be a great addition to the game, not too hard to implement and would provide some epic massed monster battles!

WAR Stats: Debuffing Initiative

Thanks to a comment in my last WAR Stats post from the venerable TzuDevil I'm going to discuss Initiative debuffs and their effect on your chance to be crit.

TzuDevil's comment was that debuffing Initiative is HUGE. He's right. Here's an example:

I am aloofly striding into battle with my Swordmaster and start attacking the insidious Evillyn. Using Nature's Blade enchantment that is core to all Swordmaters and with points in the right tree I have a chance on any attack to steal 120 pts from a random stat, including initiative.




A reminder that the formula before bonuses from items for Chance to be Crit is 35/Initiative



Evillyn has an initiative of around 200 and one -3% Crit item on her Armour Set giving her a base chance to be crit of about 15%. I would say this is typical for most people.

I hit Evillyn a few times, get lucky and steal 120 points from her initiative reducing it from 200 to 80. Her chance to be crit has now increased from 15% to 45%! If she gets focused by DPS, even just a little, she'll probably cark it.




The good news for Evillyn is the SM initiative debuff is a bit random. The bad news is that a Witch Hunter can debuff Initiative too. Blessed Bullets of Purity debuffs Initiative by 80. The Archmage has a 80pt debuff called Mistress Of The Marshes.

By the same yardstick, buffing your own or group's Initiative is very advantageous. It's all to do with the steepness of the curve at the low end. You don't want to be sitting on the steep bit, it's treacherous. Unless you stack Initiative up to around 300 a debuff is really going to hurt, so protect yourself and your allies by buffing it if you can.

Conclusions
If you hold true to the maxim that Bursts Kills and Crit FTW! then do what you can to debuff your opponent's initiative - it'll make a difference.

About Swordmasters
For a Swordmaster looking to assist the DPS classes the potential for Nature's Blade to debuff Initiative by 120 points makes it very hard to overlook in my eyes, and it's actually a stat steal so also buffs your entire group by the amount it steals. Very useful. The Black Orc has the mirror for Destro. It doesn't just steal iniative either, it can steal any stat.

People will argue that a Knight can do the same job of increasing crit chance much more reliably than a Swordmaster, and they may well be right. For example, the KotBS has a tactic called Dirty Tricks that increases their group's Crit chanceby 10% for 10s every time they block. This is more reliable when compared to Nature's Blade, which is more random but has a higher reward. The odds are hard to calculate but in a warband with 3 or 4 SMs all running Nature's Blade I would think that there would be enough initiative getting debuffed it would leave your enemy very vulnerable to crits, not to mention stealing and buffing your group with all the other stats.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Pink for Tink

Here's my SM in pink in support of Tinkerhell and Pink for Tink. A very good friend of mine had lymphatic cancer just a few years ago and although better now he is still living with it. I was amazed at how he dealt with it, as I am for anybody who copes with such an illness. I can't comprehend the strength and character that this must take for all those involved, friends and family included, and my best wishes go out to them.


Saturday, 29 May 2010

But You Didn't Know I'd Gone

This post was going to be called "I'm back!" but you didn't know I'd gone. I've been camping for the last 5 days in a big forest in Yorkshire (that's in the UK).

It took a while, probably 3 days, for my mind to become unriddled of Warhammer. On the 2nd day I was showing my son some tadpoles and frogspawn in a pond and I couldn't help think of spawn camping. WAR's tendrils sink deep into my brain. I'm often like this, I see hidden references to WAR all the time, in car registration plates, road signs, food labels. Sometimes if I'm arranging a meeting in work I find myself wanting to set up a "balanced group" instead of a meeting, it's bonkers. I once had this idea that introducing experience points to businesses would be a good idea. Every time you did something useful in work you'd level up a bit, and when you reached a new rank so would your salary. Managers could think up tasks that they want doing for XP and people could come up and do what they wanted. Would be especially nice if the work you did involved swinging a massive siege hammer about.

I'm healthy in most other regards, honest.

5 days was enough to purge my brain of WAR, and that was nice, but I was glad to be able resoak it in the 75 unread blog posts awaiting in my reader when I got back. That's a lot of WAR posts for 5 days!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

City Tastes Good

I got my first taste of the City over the weekend. When I logged in on Friday I was disappointed to find I'd just missed an invasion of Inevitable City and the rest of the guild were in there and just downing the King. But on Saturday I logged in with Destro about 20 minutes off getting to Altdorf.

We got a about 3/4 Guild WB up and went in. It was a pretty epic feeling to be honest.

The experience was great, I can see a lot of potential for strategy and great fights. We lost this one though, got pretty much whitewashed, losing all 6 BOs. I met Bootae in there which was good for me as it's the first time I've met a fellow blogger in-game. I managed to insult him a little, called him a Gobbo, didn't seem to put him off much :p

We didn't really know what we were doing, didn't start using the rally flags until it was too late for instance, didn't really have a strategy. Gaarawaar's latest guide, RvR Drive City Sieges - The Guide will hopefully help with that. This guide is quite simply awesome, and as english gentleman you'll appreciate I don't use that word lightly. With a bit more experience of the Cities some truly amazing fights are in store for the future.

In other news, I accidentally bought 6 of the new RvR items Bewildering Relic of Vitality. They are unique-equip and have a decay timer of them of 14 days! I bought them accidentally because I had just scrolled in to the Guild Hall and my sound still hadn't come back up so I was clicking on the item from the merchant to buy it and expecting to hear the little "ching" noise to indicate the purchase. But there was no "ching" so I kept clicking until I had 6. D'oh! But thankfully I put a CSR appeal in to explain my mistake and next day all my Invader crests had been refunded. I was surprised by this, and grateful of course. Thanks for that Mythic, and thanks for the new City.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Be More (Super) Effective

On her blog Super Effective Warhammer's favourite Portuguese Sara gives a great example of how you can be effective in a scenario without having to put out massive amounts of damage and by just doing something smart, something effective.

In her example Destro were being spawn camped by Order but instead of offering herself up as free renown she joined a couple of other players in escaping the farm and capping the BOs and, once capped, coming back at Order from behind and throwing a spanner into the works, kicking up a fuss and providing the initiative for the rest of Destro to push on and eventually win the scenario.

I did something similar last night. I entered Serpent's Passage a few minutes in to the scenario to find my Order compatriots scattered and fleeing back from the wreckage to our spawn point. We all got farmed for a few minutes until I decided to try and find a way out. I mentioned in /sc that I was going to make a run to the east and if Destro followed me everyone else should push out. I mounted up and ran east from Order's spawn point. Sure enough 5 Destro chased after me. When they caught up with me I used my Morale 2 AoE snare to slow them down and kept them chasing me under the rock bridge thingy in the middle of the two sides. They caught me in the end, and killed me of course, but as I died I could see Order pushing out from our spawn point. By the time I had respawn we had wiped them. What. A. Hero.

The morale of the story is not everything boils down to a DPS race and just a few well-placed moves and abilites can make all the difference.

For more tactical shannigans go and read Thrangis the Red's excellent post about the Nordenwatch scenario.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

WAR Stats: This is Critical

In previous posts I have looked at damage totals from combat logs but this ignores something very important - the heat of the moment, what can happen in just a few seconds of combat. There is one thing I dread to see flash up on my screen and that's a string of big crits hitting me in quick succession.

Looks like this...

-1050
-1637
-1320

When I see just one big number like this I think "oh shit", nevermind three at once. That's over 4000 damage in the blink of an eye. Numbers like this are enough to kill you dead if you are already at low health. When people see you with low HP they go for the kill and you get focused. A string of big crits will either kill you straight off or leave you vunerable and put pressure on healers. Things tend to go awry.

DPS classes are crit-crazy. Go ask one. I believe BWs and Sorcs can get there crit chance up to 75%, other DPS classes to around 50%. They love the stuff.

On top of what your opponent is stacking you also have a base chance to be crit, based primarily on your initiative that has nothing to do with you opponent.

At Level 40 the formula for 'Chance to be Crit' = 35 / Initiative
E.G.
Initiative @ 100 (35/100) = 35% chance to be crit
Initiative @ 200 (35/200) = 17.5% chance to be crit
Initiative @ 300 (35/300) = 11.6% chance to be crit
Initiative @ 400 (35/400) = 8.75% chance to be crit
Initiative @ 500 (35/500) = 7.0% chance to be crit

Most people's initiative is around 200 so a 17.5% chance to be crit. This means that a Sorc with their own +75% chance to crit will actually have a chance to crit you of 92.5%!! This is scary.

Reducing your base chance to be crit to 0% is not too difficult but what's the point if a Sorc still has a 75% chance to crit you?

It's the chance to not be Crit multiple times in a row that's important. You can survive one big crit. Surviving three is a different story.

Imagine a situation where the DoTs have added up and you have 4000 HP left. A Sorc or two focuses on you with +75% Crit. Added on top of your 17.5% base chance to be crit you will be crit 92.5% of the time.

The probability you will be crit twice in a row is 92.5% x 92.5% = 86%
Thrice in a row = 92.5% x 92.5% x 92.5% = 79%. You will survive 2 out of 10 times.

With a base chance to be crit of 0% you will get crit 75% of the time. The probability you will be crit twice in a row is 75% x 75% = 56%
Thrice in a row 75% 75% x 75% = 42%. You will survive 6 out of 10 times.

By reducing your base chance to be crit from 15% to 0% you are 3 times more likely to survive focus fire. Not only are this but there are lots of nasty procs and debuffs linked to critical hits that you will avoid.

-Crit also obviously gives you a direct overall damage reduction. For most classes a crit is 50% more damage than a non-crit. If a normal attack hits for 400, a crit will hit for 600. Therefore, a 10% reduction in Crit chance = 5% reduction in damage. Sorcs/BW however do 150% damage per crit, so a 400 attack will hit for 1000 when it crits. A 10% reduction in Crit is therefore equivalent to a 15% reduction in damage versus a BW or Sorc. As I have shown in a previous post, playing a SM and being in the front line Sorcs do me a lot of damage.

Getting to 0%
If you look again at the formula and examples above of initiative and base crit chance you'll notice a diminishing return on the stat. Going from 100 initiative to 200 reduces your Crit chance by 17.5% but going from 300 to 400 only reduces it by 3%. I would advise getting to around 250-300 initative and get the rest from -Crit% on items. Most armour sets have a piece that gives -3% Crit so mix and max from different sets you want to use to get the best -Crit.

Conclusions
Recommended.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Pitch Day

It's patch day. You've already read about it on other blogs. I hope it lands on time in Europe tomorrow! There's no volcanic ash cloud in cyberspace is there?

I have just caught up with a post by adorable Gobbo Squibblegut Loveorder in which he pitches an idea to fellow bloggers and readers (see what I did there, did ya?) to put together some suggestions for the RvR campaign.

I think we should do this. Thrash out some ideas and put them to Mythic. Maybe now isn't the right time with this patch about to land so I'll get to back to the idea after the excitement of 1.3.5 has died down.

Talking of excitement, what am I looking forward to...?
  • Contested RvR: as Wasdtomp asked, what will the rush to play the City do for RvR? Will it be hotly contested? Or a massive Zergfest? Looking forward to finding out.
  • New items: more stat tweaking and min-maxing for me!
  • Nerfs! Yes, as a Swordmaster I welcome the nerf to both auto-attack haste and bombing. This will make me more relevant. High Elf assist train anyone?
  • The City itself of course. It'll be great that individual players/warbands/guilds can feel relevant to the end-game encounter. That will make the difference to me.
To be honest I don't think this patch is the future of WAR. It's a massively brilliant patch but not a game-changer. What I am particularly impressed about is the sheer amount of stuff included. Mythic could've gotten away with this just being about the City, but all the extras feautures... they have been very productive. I'm looking forward to the next producer's letter and hints of 1.3.6 and beyond.

Friday, 14 May 2010

New WAR Blogs

So many new blogs I am having trouble keeping up! Thanks to Werit and Grimnir in particular for highlighting these guys and to all other bloggers for giving me something to do whilst at work!! If I've missed anyone do let me know.

Krosuss Says Burn

Rune Twisitng

Vauleen of Volkmar


Thrangis the Red

Test Pig v Warhammer

War 4 Scrubs

Thehealeroftru

Suffer Not The Heretic

Journal and Compendium of Squibblegut the Squig Herder


Champion of Chaos

Rudepox at WAR

Deathblows speak louder than words

In clearly a direct response to my last post Mythic have nerfed the potential for BWs and Sorcs to bomb. What should I QQ about next?

Another reason for the change and a rumour I have heard is that a guild called VII from Karak Norn took an elite team of bombers onto the EU PTS and burnt some visiting Devs arses to a crisp. Can't be sure if this is true or just boasting ofc.

From Mythic:
After evaluating the feedback, it became clear to us that there was much concern about the potential of PBAE-focused groups to diminish the fun of the City Siege, especially those built and focused around a Bright Wizard or Sorcerer. In response to this feedback, we made the decision to accelerate a few of our balance changes which were originally planned for version 1.3.6. Therefore, in tonight's public City Siege tests, you will notice the following adjustments:


Bright Wizard: Scorched Earth now costs 20 Combustion instead of Action Points. Additionally, this ability no longer builds Combustion when used.


Sorcerer: Surging Pain now costs 20 Dark Magic instead of Action Points. Additionally, this ability no longer builds Dark Magic when used.







Wednesday, 12 May 2010

BOMBSQUAD

I've been semi-involved in a discussion on WHA about bombing in WAR. It started out with me asking how much value to a group my Swordmaster brings - the answer was a resounding "Not much". And this is why...

On my server there are Bomb Squads on both sides and they dominate. A Bomb Squad warband is made up typically of Sorcs/BWs who are heavily protected and run into a crowd dealing out devastating AoE damage to everyone around them. Slayers and Choppa add quite nicely to the damage and the Auras of Knights and Chosen provide a tailored boost to the carnage.

This isn't about mindlessly spamming one button. The top guilds have perfected this over time, putting a lot of thought into class spec and ability choices, gear setup, Morales and, of course, timing and execution through voice comms. It's pro-stuff.

This has led to optimisation of warband composition where the classes I mentioned above are the preferred and greatly desired option and this leads to the marginalisation of the other classes. Two thirds of classes can't compete or don't bring anything to the table in a bombing environment.

In response to bombing Mythic have said that it's is fine, a legitimate tactic, within the rules of the game, and on the face of it I have to agree with that. The tools to do this are available to both Order and Destro.

Interestingly, I'm hearing that the bombing is more prevalent on European servers and in particular my server Karak Norn. Is this true?? This has been suggested as one reason why Mythic aren't fully aware of the problem (or think it's not a problem at all).

I am all for an arms race in WAR. Both sides constantly evolving and developing new strategies and counter-strategies to out do each other. What I don't want to see is the arms race to reach a point where it's all-out nuclear war and it's either bomb or be bombed. There has to exist multiple strategies and the game not just boil down to a place where one strategy rules all.

Has the combat in WAR reached this point yet or are we just at a particularly melty point in it's evolution? Is it up to players to figure out the next step or should Mythic play God and make changes themselves?

Do you even consider bombing as a problem on your server or am I just a disgruntled Elf struggling to find my place in the big ol' world??

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Volunteers wanted for WAR Stats

When I posted my first Damage Pie a lot of people replid saying they would try to make their own. A few posts later in a comment I said I was trying to make a Do-it-Yerself Spreadsheet for people to download. Well, I did make the spreadsheet but the combat log parser I have been using is no longer available to download :(

So I will do this for people. I w
ill parse your combat log and make you a spreadsheet which shows you how much damage you take from the different types of attack (physical, spirit, etc) and which classes are doing the damage to you. You'll get a chart like this...



Alas, I can only do this for ORD
ER characters at the moment because they are my team and I'm biased! Not really, it's because I have had to create a list of every Destro ability and look up the damage type and class from WarDB. It took time. If people want a Destro Pie then contact me and we'll have to make the list together.

I am doing this because I am interested in seeing how the results for other people differ from my own. I'm a tank so am in the front line taking a lot of damage from the RDPS. What about back-line healers??

PRIORITY in doing this goes to people as follows:

  • Folks who commented on my earlier posts.
  • First come, first served
Remember I can only do this for ORDER.

For me to do this I need you to send me your combat log.

Step 1 - Make sure you are looking at the correct Combat Log
There are 2 combat logs in your Warhammer folder. And one of them is always empty.

Warhammer Online - Age of Reckoning/logs/combat.txt
-
this one is EMPTY. DON'T USE


Warhammer Online - Age of Reckoning/logs/communication/your server/your charcter/combat.txt
- this is the one to use, replace your server and your character.

Step 2 - Make sure the correct Combat log isn't empty too!
By default logging combat to disk is turned off. To turn it back on do this...

"How to enable logging to disk"

* In your Warhammer directory, edit the file user/UserSettings.xml
* find this tag:
Logging logAllToDisk="false"
* change it to this: Logging logAllToDisk="true"

Step 3 - Fight!
For consistency it would be best if you didn't change builds and gear around too much but obviously do whatever you want. I reckon about 2 hours worth of furious fighting is needed to generate enough combat data.

Step 4 - Extras
If you want me to look at anything else in particular then ask and I will try. I am particular interested in avoidance at the moment so if you have very high Block and/or Parry and want to know how much you actually avoid then send me your log and I will take a look. Let me know what your base Block/Parry is plus what buffs you will have active.

Step 5 - Send your combat.txt file to blurringshock@hotmail.co.uk

Hail to the Chief

I take my hat off to Warband leaders everywhere. They double the fun in this game for me.

My favourite moments in WAR are when the RvR gets epic and I'm with my guild, on vent, following the orders of my warband leader. There doesn't even have to be a lot of combat (there needs to be some) but just strategically maneuvering around the lakes and coordinating with other warbands. It's great when a rally call comes up from an objective under siege and our warband responds to make a flanking attack on Destro, just managing to re-claim back the BO.

And for all this I thank warband leaders for being there to organise and take responsibility. I won't be overly mushy in my thanks as I reckon the guys and gals that step up must take their own enjoyment from it but I still say grats, and my cap is doffed in particular to the warband leaders who I have served with recently - Shadowfist, Wonan and Gripnir.

I have been enjoying the developments in RvR tactics and strategies too. On my server (Karak Norn) there have been significant improvements in tactics and co-operation in the last 12 months.

I have a unique(ish) perception having stopped playing WAR in June 2009 and only coming back to it a few months ago. Before my break there was still a battle for leadership on Order between individuals, and a battle for supremacy between guilds - it was very unproductive. Now a hierarchy has established, with guilds and warbands working together quite readily and without conflict.

There are a couple of new terms and tactics too. First there's The Blob, when a warband group up very tightly on one spot so they look like a blob on the map. This was not the case when I last played. It's about focusing all the AoE on one spot.

And then there's the Funnel. I was used to the Tank Wall before but this is Tank Wall Mark II. The Tanks line up in two groups opposite from each other to form a funnel into which enemy players are, err.. funnelled. They then get AoE'd to death, all clustered up a tight space.

The RvR campaign in WAR needs to become more strategic to improve and I hope this is what Mythic are considering when they think about RvR changes. I am well into Bootae's ideas snagged from Dark Age of Camelot. Anything to increase the amount of options for cunning strategy and dispersing combat over larger areas.

If I have one major complaint about RvR (even at it's best) it's that it's dominated by numbers and AoE. Look at my two examples above of the Blob and the Funnel - both AoE. If Mythic could find a way to make both small and large scale combat relevant to the campaign then I would be like one of those endangered Chinese bears on it's birthday.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Make your own Emotes and insult your Foes!

You've all no doubt targeted an enemy player (let's call him Bob) and typed /taunt to emote and see in chat...

Aeoluw taunts Bob. What's he going to do?

There's an addon you can use to make these emotes much more personal and interesting.

It's called Chatmacros and you can get it here.

Once downloaded you can a create a macro (from main menu, ESC key) and make up your own emotes.

The %t in the macro means "your hostile target", so the player you are targeting.

I use this after landing a killing blow...
/script chatmacro("/em wipes %t's foul blood from his blade")
Aeoluw wipes Bob's fou
l blood from his blade

and I try to use this when I'm fighting a Choppa or Black Orc...
/script chatmacro("/em reckons %t fights like a Gobbo")
Aeoluw reckons Bob fights like a Gobbo




You should try
some of these out for yourself!

Or let me know your ideas for some good "lorey" insults an arrogant High Elf can dish out on the battelfield. I am trying to think of a nice way to insult my fallen kin, the Dark Elves.



Thursday, 6 May 2010

WAR Stats: Getting Disruptive

In my last WAR stats I had done some testing of Disrupt and Parry, the chance to Disrupt a Caster attack and the chance to Parry a melee attack.


I chose Disrupt specifically because as far as I know the chance to Disrupt does not depend on your positioning, unlike Parry and Block which only defend from the front. You can Disrupt an attack whether it hits you in the front or back so it makes a very good test case for working out how much your enemy's offensive stats will reduce your defensive stats.

Last time I tested a build that had 18% Parry and 18 % Disrupt (0% Block) and my conclusions were mixed. My Disrupt rate was reduced by 12% from 18% to just 6%.
I have now tested some different amounts of Disrupt and Parry.

The value on the left is what was shown on my character screen, on the right the amount actually avoided from looking at my combat log over 1000s of hits.

The results for 18% and 25% Disrupt show that a 12-13% reduction can more or less be considered as the typical reduction to your defense, so whatever your character screen says take 12% off that. Some opponents will reduce that more, some less. I know I have access to two tactics as a Swordmaster that can reduce my opponent's chance to defend by 10% each. I'm not familiar with Caster tactics but I have seen high level set bonuses and glyphs each with 4% chance to disrupt on them so I would not be surprised to see people reducing my defense as much as 20%. Then there are the "Undefendable" proc items.

The testing of 10% Disrupt and 10% Parry also shows that there seems to be a minimum amount to which your defense can be reduced. I think this might be based on your actual stat and disregard the modifiers.

There's are some equations out there for working this stuff out...

(defenders willpower or weapon skill / attackers intelligence or strength) * 15 + defenders '+ defense' bonuses - attackers 'reduced chance to be defended' = Disrupt % or % Parry

My willpower is 150 so assuming an attack from a 1000 Int. Caster with no modifiers taken into account on either side my Disrupt % would be 2 to 3%, and similarly my Weapon Skill is 350 vs 1000Str = 5%.

So I'm guessing that your chance to disrupt or parry can't fall below the first bit of the equation: (defenders willpower / attackers intelligence) * 15


A Closer Look at Parry
Parry isn't as straight forward as Disrupt due to the positional considerations and that both high and low Str people will be hitting me so I don't want to over analyse it. But (But!) looking closer at the attacks parried against certain classes when I had a 18% base chance, I parried around 10% attacks from Black Orcs compared to only 2% from Witch Elves.

It's also important to note that an attack will actually give your enemy a Parry bonus if they have higher Weapon Skill than your Strength. So a Black Guard with 500 STR attacking a Slayer with 700 WS will actually give the Slayer a 21% chance to Parry before any modifiers.

Conclusions

I had really wanted to find that avoidance and Disrupt in particular were worthwhile investments. There is a lot of guff on forums about avoidance being "completely useless" and if I'm honest wanted to do some testing and prove this wrong. I believe people often latch on to a popular idea and it becomes accepted as the "truth" without the facts actually being looked at.

But from these latest results I now think avoidance isn't something you can count on as a reliable defense UNLESS you can get you're actual in-game avoid chance something like 50%.

The positional requirements of Parry and Block also make me question the merit of these. In a 6v6 I can imagine positioning would be easy to keep up but when you start getting 12v12 (e.g. scenarios) you often get mobbed and attacked from all sides and Block/Parry won't make much difference. Them Witch Elves just love to get behind you! And I notice that I'm getting AoE attacks from Choppas from all directions!

I still think Disrupt has some hidden value due to the potential to avoid large spike damage from Sorcs, especially for the ever popular 2H Tank . If I could stack up my base Disrupt chance towards 40-50% I would. At the moment I sacrifice too much to get there but Warlord has a +5% Disrupt set bonus that I'll be interested in when I reach that level.

The Swordmaster does have access to a few abilities to increase Disrupt. Aerythic Armour is +5% and Calming Winds tactic gives +10% in Improved Balance and +20% in Perfect Balance. Plus Hold the Line or Wall of Darting Steel are channelled abilities granting +45%/+50% Disrupt. With these I can get my Disrupt to +95%/100% and I notice this is very, very effective. It Disrupts a lot!!

I am still interested in doing more testing of avoidance. I will try out some of the Swordmaster's Disrupt tactics mentioned above and I will try a maximum avoidance build too (e.g. shield + tactics).

But I am also soon to be taking a look at initative and reducing your chance to be crit. I think this may be the answer I'm looking for. Stay with me ;)



Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Props to Thrangis

Grimnir posted the other day highlighting this...

Thrangis The Red

It's great, I'm really enjoying it. It's Thangris' journal of a journey through WAR.

I had to give it a shout. Well done that Dwarf.

Friday, 30 April 2010

There's no place like home

Backseatdev is great with the breaking news and has just brought news from the Producer's Letter that in patch 1.3.6 you'll be allowed to roll Order and Destro on the same server.

Wow. This is a bombshell. At first I thought WTF but now I think it coud be Kewl.

After a long time on Order I've always wanted to play Destro but couldn't leave my "home server" Karak Norn. I tried a Black Orc on Azgal once but it felt way too weird. Didn't last more than a few hours. It felt like I was a stranger in a foreign land and nothing was the same. They didn't even have Rich Tea biscuits.

My intial WTF reaction was wondering what it would do for realm balance and realm pride with everyone hopping over to the other side all the time. But giving players options is a good thing, and what's good for the player is good for the game. I'm sure Mythic will implement it with thought and care - they've already mentioned "significant lockout timers".

I can't help think what else is up Mythic's sleeve. In her Producer's letter Carrie mentions oRvR is on the radar. Great.

Average Renown Rank & Me

I hear different things about where the average renown rank of players is right now. I read that most people are already RR80 or that most people will be RR80 very soon, and even that most people will never reach RR80. So I had to find out for myself.

The Realm WAR page for Europe was recently restored to a place where it works so I could look up Destro that appeared in my combat logs.

Below is the RR distribution of 100 random Destro I have fought on Karak Norn. There will be some error from only taking 100 ppl, and some will be alts, but it gives a good indication of where it's at.

On Karak Norn most people are already RR60+, most people will soon be RR70+ and it looks like most people will get to RR80 one day (me included!)


Thursday, 29 April 2010

What would happen if Keep Defense earnt better Rewards?

Zizlak had an intersting post t'other day amidst all the new patch hype. The gist is that the new city siege mechanic isn't going to do anything for the general RvR campaign and as City invasions will still happen all too often they will soon run out of The Epic. The new city siege could end being a daily super-scenario.

The problem I've found with the RvR campaign in the last month since I came back to the game is that there's just so little actual fighting. The opposition have no incentive to defend in any force so it's just one side getting a little organised or waiting to become the underdog, then claiming a few unopposed keeps and waiting patiently for the lock. So much standing around and doing nothing.

This could actually get worse with the new City mechanic with both sides probably quite willing for their City to fall to get experience of the new City and the rewards that come with it. In my last post a couple of days ago I was happy with rewards for participation but having said what I've just said I do hope the rewards for a successful invasion far outweigh those for the losers.

Back in May 2009, before my break, the RvR was still hugely contested on Karak Norn. City invasions were just starting to happen. It provided plenty of action but if I'm honest it was very frustrating too because Order (my team) were outnumbered and/or outclassed. We could put a lot of effort into defense and get nothing out of it.

I want what Zizlak wants. The RvR campaign to be THE enjoyable part of the game with a City invasion being a special rare treat at the end.

It got me wondering what would happen if they made Keep Defense a very worthwhile experinence for the players, like very, very rewarding.

How about if players defending a keep were rewarded with a 5 times drop rate on crests and other loot drop. New seed drops maybe. Perhaps introduce scenario insignias into RvR but only for keep defense kills. Whatever, but worthwhile stuff.

The point would be to make defending a keep so worthwhile that players/guilds would want to turn up to defend. But to get the rewards for defending you would have to attack and take a keep in the first place, so it would encourage attacking as well.

It's a counter-intuituve idea but I think that changing the emphais from attack to defense in RvR might mix things up a bit.

I'd love to hear other's opinions on this idea and any other thoughts on how to give general RvR a boost in the arm.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Participation & Reward

I don't know whether I'm Hardcore or Casual and I wish I didn't have to think about it, or even that the distinction had to exist, but it does. I don't know why I even feel the need to preface what I am saying here with this but, again, there you go.

If I had to pigeonhole myself I would say I was Casual. I have a full-time job, a mortgage and a 2 year old son so there's a lot of responsibility right there, and little time for games. I do try and play as much as I can but that might only amount to 5 hours a week sometimes, and rarely (never!) am I able to commit to scheduled events or late night schtick. But if I was a purely casual player I wouldn't pour over combat logs nor would I be spending time on a blog.

There are people like me who can't easily be pigeon-holed, who might have limited playing time but want to make the most of it. That's why I like the reward system in Warhammer. It definitely keeps me playing.

Scenarios reward insignia despite losing and the new City system will also reward the losing side. Participation brings rewards but don't forget winning gives better rewards.

Rewarding particiption has rubbed some people up the wrong way but it shouldn't. Participation is required for a healthy and competitive game. Earning them shinines keeps people playing. If I felt I wasn't getting anything out of my precious 2 hour game slot then I'm sure I'd find myself drifting away, as well as many other players similar to me, and that would not be good, would it?

Friday, 23 April 2010

Rampant Indulgence about Wood Elves

Mykiel has made an astute observation on PODCAST about the meaning of the Red Plague content in the latest patch notes and the possible introduction of Skaven as a new race so I am going to partake in a bit of rampant indulgance about new races and classes.

The fan's favourites at the moment seem to be Skaven and Lizardmen. Skaven are okay but I just can't get my head around Lizardmen, with their big googley eyes and lollopping tongues.

Chaos: "Heed my command mortal, and bow down before the might of Chaos!"
or
Lizardman: "I am Uk-Tuq of the Frog People. Croak Croak."

I would prefer to see Wood Elves, who also get a mention in the Red Plague lore . Wood Elves in Warhammer aren't anything like the current High Elves in-game, all ooty-snooty in posh shiny armour, and they certainly aren't like Legolas in Lord of the Rings. They are a dark and dangerous race and embody the malignent spirit of the forest, like a wild animal prowling it's territorry and woe be tide anyone who ventures across their border. They aren't a "Good" race like Empire or Dwarfs and would definitely add some cool to Order.

Wardancers (MDPS)
These would be the most exciting new class if Wood Elves were introduced to WAR. They are acrobatic and savage fighters, duel-weilding, and preferring warpaint to armour. They would be a whirling dervish in combat and the obvious MDPS class. I can envisage special acrobatic moves, such as an attack that causes the Wardancer to leap over the top of a player spinning around to make an attack to the rear, or perhaps defensive moves like somersaulting away from an attack. They could have a combat resource called Wardance that builds up with subsequent attacks. Once filled they get access to high powered attacks, both offensive or defensive.

Dryads (Tank)
These are ancient forest creatures and can really be summed up as being like small Treemen. They would be the perfect Tank for Wood Elves. In Warhammer lore Dryads lure unsuspecting passer-by into their clutches before tearing them to pieces on sharp branches and thorns. To represent this I would give the Dryad player an ability which lowers it's defense but also generates 'Ancient Power' each time the Dryad is hit which can then be used to unleash strong attacks.

HighBorn (Healer)
The Highborn are the leaders of the Wood Elf army. Wood Elves are a very close-comabt heavy race so the Highborn would be a melee healer similar to the DoK. I would devise a mechanic that allows the Highborn to boost his healing power depending on what's happening to the party he is in (or just to him when solo). One option could be to build healing power everytime a group member successfully defends against an attack. Or he could switch to build power whenever a group member scores a critcal hit. The player would be able to switch between differnt options depending on the group and the situation.

SpellSinger (RDPS)
The Wood Elf army calls upon the power of the forest for it's magic so the SpellSinger would be a Caster who could summon this power a bit like a pet. The focus would be a little more on utility than a BW or Sorc so more like a Magus or Eng. She could call upon a host of creatures which would could be "launched" at an enemy, like a stampede of horses, or cause players to be snared in thorns and brambles. I would probably give her some healing too.

I would definitely get excited about Wood Elves in Warhammer!!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

WAR Stats: Avoidance and Onions

I've been having a good 'ol think about combat and avoidance for some time now and have done some testing in-game. It's been a bit like an onion really. There are many layers to peel and it makes my eyes cry so I'll be breaking it down into a few parts.

In this part I'll be looking at some basics and testing a balanced Parry & Disrupt build. In part 2 I'll go all out and stack more avoidance and throw a big shield into the mix and see how that fares. I want to look at how avoidance works with Guard damage too. Once I'm done with testing I hope to offer some insights to the worth of avoidance vs. mitigation as there is much more to avoidance than just reducing overall damage, such as avoiding CC and damage spikes.

Basic Mechanic
Stats and Items give a character a percentage chance to avoid attacks.
Rok did an awesome job of posting the theory of combat in his post 'From Mace to Face'. Check it out for a more in-depth look at combat. I thank him for the loan of the equations :)

Weapon Skill gives a % chance to parry a melee attack. My modest 350 Weapon Skill gives me a base chance to parry of 7.4% on the character screen.

Similarily, Willpower offers a % chance to disrupt an attack from a Caster and Initative gives a % chance to Dodge ranged attacks.

Block gives a % chance to avoid any type of attack. A decent T4 purple shield with a block rating of 370 translates as a %Block value of 21.1% on my character screen.

However an attacker's offensive stat (Str, Int or BS) reduces the defender's chance to defend. A melee attack made with 1000 Strength will reduce my base chance to block from to 21.1% to 14.8% and my chance to parry will drop from 7.4% to 5.3%.

There are other bonuses in-game (Tactics, Items, Buffs) that influence the chance to attack and defend, e.g. +5% to Block or 5% reduced chance to be Evaded. 2-Handed weapons reduce chance to defend by 10%.

And very importantly Block and Parry are only useful when the attack is made to your front, a 180 degree arc I think.

Please TheoryHammer! Don't Hurt Us!
As you can see there is a lot going on with avoidance and a base chance to avoid on the character screen of 10% may or may not translate to that in combat. So on to some testing...

Through a combination of gear, tactics and renown points I got both my Parry and Disrupt to 18%. I ran with a 2-hander so my Block chance was 0%. I didn't use any abilities which provided a buff to these stats.

I specifically chose Parry and Disrupt to test as Parry is only effective against Melee attacks and Disrupt is only effective against Casters. The two can be kept seperate. Also, as Parry is positional and only defends against attacks from the front and Disrupt defends from all directions I can get an idea how much Parry I lose out on by getting attacked from behind. I must add that the current situtation in-game will dictate my positioning rather than trying to keep my attackers in front of me all the time. If I need to move to defend an ally in some way then I usually will even if that means exposing my back (not to a witch Elf though!!).

Results with 18% Parry and 18% Disrupt
  • I was attacked 1260 times by Casters and Disrupted 85 times. 6.7% Disrupt Rate.
  • I was attacked 1478 times by Melee and Parried 81 times. 5.5% Parry Rate.
Furthermore from Initative I had about an 8% chance to Dodge. I was hit by a Squig Herder 123 times and didn't Dodge any of them!! 0% Dodge Rate.

This is really pretty depressing at first glance. It appears that approx. 10-12% of your avoidance is wiped off your base stat straight away by your atatcker's offensive stats and gear.

I have had a go at working out the amount of potential damage I avoided. I would appreciate some comments on this comparison as it's not an easy one.

Looking just at the Sorcerer for starters, those bastards hit me 407 times and I disrupted 26 hits (6.4% avoidance). I can see which individual abilities I avoided so can make a good estimate of the damage those 26 Disrupts saved me from. Sorcs did 154,352 damage to me overall and I estimate that I avoided an extra 13,826. That's an overall damage reduction of 8% or 34 dmg per hit. If I've got this right I would need ~170 extra Toughness (34*5)to get the same overall reduction in damage, which is quite a bit actually. 34 renown points buys you 102 Toughness. A tactic slot all Tanks get called Rugged gives 160 toughness.

With the Sorc being a high DPS class I also took a look at the damage I avoided from wimpy Tanks. I was hit by Tanks 675 times and parried 38 hits (5.6%) avoiding an estimated 4067 damage, a reduction in damage of 5% or 6 Dmg per Hit. This is equivalent to the overall damage reduction I would gain from an extra 30 Toughness.

Conclusions
A common perception in Warhammer is that avoidance is worthless in PvP as your chance to avoid an attack gets reduced far too much by your attacker's setup. I've demonstrated this is true to an extent with my both my Parry and Disrupt rates getting reduced from 18% to ~6%. But by comparing the potential damage avoided against a Sorc and against Tanks it suggests the benefit of avoiding an attack get proportionally better the higher the damage of the attack. This is a bit like in PvE when Tuten McBosspants is hitting you for 8000 per hit - it's better to avoid that hit entirely than just mitigate it down to 7500 or something.

I'm starting to think now that avoidance might be the best path for me. In my other WAR Stats posts I've shown that it's the high damage attacks from the likes of Sorcs and Witch Elves that do me the most harm, and I know from experience it's getting big hits in quick succession that gets me killed in a hurry. Having a chance to avoid these big hits rather just soak them up sound good to me. Plus there's the intangilble benefit of avoiding some CC or a nasty armour debuff.

Quite a bit to chew on. I hope this has not made your eyes water and makes some sense. Next up I'm going to try and stack even more Disrupt and see if the extra X% that I stack on top of the 18% I've tested here translates to an extra as X% in-game.

~Aeo

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Dinging along nicely

It's been just over a month since I came back to the game and I am pleased to say things are going well.

I've gone from RR41 to RR50 (dinged last night!). That's pretty good going as far as I'm concerned. I've also accrued 4 Invader pieces and have plenty of crests for me to get the 5th or 6th if I want to and when I'm ready.

I've also got some other nice gear, some rings and cloaks and stuff, oh, and a Weapon of WAR! So yeah, loot.

I've been spending a lot of time look at "my role" as a Swordmaster and what stats and abilities are important to me. I've spent a lot of time thinking and tinkering but it's been worth it. I feel more effective in PvP now than I did 10 months ago, even though I'm pretty much in the same gear I was then, which is relatively poor by today's standards (Anni/Conq). I'm looking forward to equipping some of the Invader!!

I've still not done any serious PvE. I have not been to Lost Vale or ToVL yet and really don't know if I ever will. I haven't got the time for long raids and things. I just don't get the buzz from PvE that I get versus human opponents. It feels more like a chore, like it's just for the loot. I do feel a gentle tugging on me in that direction though, so who knows.

In other news, I've been doing some testing of avoidance in-game and will have a new WAR Stats post up in a few days.

Happy Bashing
~Aeo