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...


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
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.


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


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


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

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.


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.