Archive for the ‘WAR’ Category

[WAR] De-Evolution of ORvR

Posted: August 16, 2011 in WAR

It’s been a while since I’ve had a WAR-related post, so here goes nothin’

I’m not going to beat around the bush on this one.  I’m not even tempted to try out Wrath of Heroes.  In fact, I’m overly disappointed with the way that BioWare (I’m not going to even apply the Mythic tag anymore, as I would affectionately do from time to time) went with this.

If you don’t want to hear about ORvR, then click the back button.  Don’t leave a bitchy comment; I’ll roast you like a chestnut at Christmas.

As one who played WAR for nearly two years (which is pretty long, considering the average WAR player’s tenure in the game), I appreciate how the game started with a fully open RvR feeling.  There were keeps being sieged all over the place.  The zerg would run here to there, try to get in to kill the Lord, and then get that random chance (and I snicker as I type that) to get gold bag.  Sure, scenarios were  popping up here and there, but it was a rarity to have someone drop out of a good keep siege, or a huge open-world skimish to hop into an instance and fight for a flag.  After all, there were 80 faces to melt out here, and 12 in there.  The math said that there was more fun to be had out here.  Plus, nothing compares to ass-jamming a zerg with a group of about a dozen late comers and ending the battle in mayhem.

Then things changed.  Fortresses turned into lag-fests.  Servers started crashing.  People started raging.  The balance issues in the game wore people down.  Rain.  Of. Fire.  People started leaving.  So what’s a company to do?  Well, it made sense to strike fortresses from the game for the time being.  Campaign streamlined.  I fault them in not testing it better, but not the decision to put the fortresses out of their misery.  It happens.  We moved on.

Then came the new City Siege.  It was arguably better-organized than before.  It was now a giant scenario.  Ok, anything was better than having to figure out the complicated City Siege which was originally in place.  Also, putting out fires sucked.  While I liked the new objective-based City, it pained me that ORvR would eventually lead to a scenario.  I didn’t play non-instanced-PvP to get thrown into instanced-PvP.  This hurt me.

Now let’s talk about Scenario Currency.  The progression of your character stopped at Rank 80.  Ta-Da, you won the game.  Time to melt more faces, and do what you want to do.  *SCREECHING TIRES* Just kidding.  Now you need to play Scenarios (and a crapton of them) to keep up with others due to this nice and fancy token system.  Not the open-RvR medallion system.  These tokens could be turned in for great weapons and other “niceties” to help you compete against your enemies.  Where’s the draw to go ORvR now?  Hrm, seems to be fading.

And the final nail in the coffin comes in the form of the new Keep Siege.  There is NOTHING Open about this system, aside from the fact it actually occurs in a RvR lake.  The mechanics are scripted, the upgrades are scripted, the entire system has moved from a choice-based system (in regards to when and where to fight) to a play-here-now-k-thx-bai system.

What’s the point of an ORvR game if it isn’t really open?

You’re right, there is no point.  You might as well just take out Keeps and Lakes, take out the PvE, take out the quests (the gear sucked, compared to SC/Renown gear). Hell, might as well take out leveling, since that was so trivial compared to the grind to 100.

Why don’t you just change this game into a persistent FPS?  Maybe call it… Wrath of Heroes.

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[WARdrobe] New Home… Sorta

Posted: April 12, 2011 in WARdrobe

So, someone has answered the Call to Arms so to speak.  Werit, as you all know, as his own fancy-pants database of items (much more current than the WARdrobe, to boot).  He’s graciously volunteered to host the Career Builder and Renown Builder.  That’s awesome news.

Here’s what you can expect effective immediately:

  • All Links to the Career and Renown Builder will automatically redirect to http://builder.arsenalofwar.com It will keep the same loading logic, so you won’t have to worry about having to redo all your specs.  Yay! 😀
  • All Item links will link to the search page on Arsenal of WAR.  There’s a few items that are in the WARdrobe that aren’t there, but most are.
  • The Armor Builder is offline.  Werit has a snappy tool called the Item Depot though, which does basically the same thing.  Check it out!
  • Happiness and sunshine all around you.  It’s ok.

These redirects will be available for about 30 days.  After that, old links will not work.  Please update your bookmarks accordingly!

If you notice anything funky, please let me know!

-Rancid

[WARdrobe] Next Steps

Posted: March 8, 2011 in WARdrobe

I’ve gotten all the source together and created a set of zip files with everything one needs to get the site up and running.

Here’s the file list:

db.zip (7.7 mB) – Complete Database of Items and Abilities for the WARdrobe.  It is in a .bak format. You’ll need to create a new DB and do a DB restore in order to get this up and running.  Yes, the DB’s name is “chores” as I hijacked one of my old DBs to prototype this on, and never migrated off.  There is a User table in here, but all personal information (such as email address and registration IP) has been removed.  I figured this was courteous.

production.zip (494 kB) – Contains a published version of the WARdrobe.  If you stick this zip out on the production server, you should be able to run WARdrobe right out of the box.

source.zip (1.4 mB) – Contains the project file and all source files for WARdrobe. Format is Microsoft Visual Web Developer Express 2010 edition.  The web.config file has no DB credentials, just like the production version.

icons.zip (40.4 mB) – contains a list of all the icons necessary to run the WARdrobe.  I had to extract these from the myp and go through a rather elaborate process to find the right hash for the right icon..but here they are (probably 99% of them anyway)  It should be extracted to the /images/Icons folder.

There you have it! Wrapped up with a nice little bow.

Disclaimer:  Software is provided “as is” with no warranty of any type. If your server explodes and catches fire… get a fire extinguisher.  Not my problem. 🙂

Disclaimer 2:  A good portion of the site was coded under the influence of… some potent beverages.   Code may or may not make sense.  It runs, which is sufficient.  If you have questions, leave comments below, or hit me up on my MSN account.  Sibrwulf at hotmail dot com

 

Edit: I neglected to mention just what is required for this site to run.

.NET Framework v3.5

MSSQL Server 2005

IIS 6.5+

That should do it.

[WARdrobe] The Future (hint: you)

Posted: March 7, 2011 in WARdrobe

“Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold — but so does a hard-boiled egg.” – Anonymous

So, I guess I get an E for Effort, but an F for Execution.  When I quit playing WAR back in December (likely long before that), I had every thought and intention of keeping the WARdrobe up to date, getting those last few changes put into place to make the thing sing…

Unfortunately, the reality didn’t match the intention.  I didn’t get much else done other than what you see.  The project has atrophied a bit since I last picked up the code, but it still runs.

Now, what sets me apart from Curse (as I see it anyway) is that I’m not going to let this thing die.  Coupled with a new fiscal responsibility, I unfortunately can’t provide the hosting for the WARdrobe anymore.  That’s the bad news.

The good news is that I’ll be making the WARdrobe 100% open source.  Yeah, that’s scary.  The alternative is allowing it to fall off the radar like WARdb did.  Yeah, not gonna happen.

I had to get this out there now, since it’ll hold my foot to the flame to ensure it gets done.  I’ve been meaning to get this announcement out for about three weeks now, but I’ve just not gotten around to it.

At any rate, keep your eyes here for info.  Especially if you like C#, Javascript, MSSQL 2005 and AJAX (hardcore).

[WAR] Nothing Good to Say

Posted: January 28, 2011 in WAR

My mom always told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”  My mom wasn’t a blogger.

If you still wear your rosy glasses when looking at WAR, that’s cool.  I respect that. It may not seem that way, but I do.  Anywho, I wanted to take a little bit of time to dissect the Producer’s Lettter.  I’ve done this in the past, so this ain’t my first time to the rodeo.

Our first patch for the year (1.4.1) will be a smaller version dedicated to bug fixes and a few new features. Amongst those features will be a new way to claim account entitlements (such as the Snotling Herald Pets). This new interface will replace the current method of delivering account entitlements via the in game mail system. We did this for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that in-game mail expires by necessity. The new claim interface will allow you to claim the items anytime. The second reason is that we wanted to give you an easier method to recover lost items that you may have misplaced over time. For items that don’t have charges or function as a ‘currency’ item, such as War Tract scrolls, players will be able to reset those account entitlements at their leisure without having to contact customer service. This new feature will cover all item based deliveries from account entitlements whether they are paid items like you can purchase on the EA Store or marketing rewards from events or the collector’s edition.

Really?  This is a high-priority item?  I’ve been reading the forums rather religiously over the past couple months, you know, with the WARdrobe and all.  I don’t think I’ve ever read that someone was missing this.  It boggles my mind that resources are being put into things that don’t directly contribute to player retention.  I’ve not seen an “I quit, I lost my snotling!” post.  Really, I’ve looked.

Another feature of the patch is a re-structuring of our Scenario line-up. We’ve monitored feedback and statistics over the last year and decided to shake up what scenarios are available all the time for each Tier. The current structure of the Scenarios will remain unchanged, but the Scenarios themselves will be different. Some scenarios stayed where they are, some changed what tiers they are available at, and some are gone and replaced by other classic scenarios. For example; The Maw of Madness will be making its return to the Tier 4 scenario Queue. We’re going to be closely monitoring the scenarios when 1.4.1 goes live and will make further adjustments in later patches as go through the year based on your feedback.

I remember the lashing out the last time they tweaked Scenarios.  And then they put in the Weekend Warfront.  Is anyone else out there tired of getting rehashes (if that) of existing content and calling it “new” ?  People want NEW scenarios.  Just one would pacify the masses for quite some time.  It shouldn’t be a shocker that this part is going to piss people off, almost as much as the first.

We have plans for major features for each of our numbered patches this year. The plans include expanding existing areas and features as well as new concepts to the Warhammer Online experience. With each subsequent producer letter I plan to share more of these plans.

This is more of the same “We have a promise that we’re going to do something, and eventually we’re going to tell you about it.  Maybe.  Unless we decide not to do it.  Yeah, then we’ll just move on to rotating scenarios again.”  I’ll put this in Bold in Italics:  You are not doing your customers a service by dragging them along in the dark like this.  You are hurting yourself.  When you start to realize this, and do something about it, you will see an immediate change in your customers’ attitudes.  Until then, you can expect to see the same type of apathy, anger and lack of trust in you, the provider of our paid services that you see today.

We’ve been down this path of rhetoric before.  Nobody buys it.  If you’re telling us that you have nothing of significance that is in a format that is concrete enough to talk about, then you have bigger issues than just your communication.

Shifting gears a bit, I’d like to tell you about our plans for Live Events. We have eight Live Events planned for this year. Some of these are returning favorites (like the recently completed Keg End) and the forthcoming Night of Murder in February. Others are new ones we have planned to fill in some of the calendar gaps. Along with the Live Events, we’ll continue to support Weekend Warfronts with plans to introduce some scenarios that haven’t made their debut in the Warfront format. We also have some very special plans for Grovod Caverns.

I’m actually somewhat enticed by this one.  I like Live Events.  They’re pretty fun. Recycled ones…are not fun. How many times have you completed Keg’s End?  The new ones better be sweet, and better encourage PvP. And the WW is going to likely bring back the current SCs we play, which are retiring in 1.4.1

Along with the patches and live events, we also have plans to expand our services and Account Entitlement offerings this year. This includes introducing paid name changes, more pets, and more ways to personalize your character.

Lump this into the whole “Stuff that should be developed when the game is in a polished state.” You’ve made it no secret that developer resources are INSANELY hard to come by.  Like… don’t bother asking for em.  Yet, they’re spending time doing more pets?  Name changes?  When you have to dedicate an entire patch cycle to fixing bugs…don’t you think you should put all those developer on them?  Just a thought.

Finally, I’d like to address a topic that I’m sure is close to everyone’s hearts; server population. We’ve been monitoring the situations on each of our servers in every market. Our current situation on most of the servers shows us numbers that fall within traditionally acceptable parameters, notably our peak population values. Peak population is where we see the most activity on the server; during what is considered prime-time for the server or ‘peak’ hours. However, we understand that population is a key component to enjoying the game. As part of an effort to ensure off-peak hours are as enjoyable as peak hours can be, we are actively discussing our plans for lower population servers. If you haven’t heard anything to this effect by the time this letter sees print, you should see something very soon. We are committed to ensuring that we do what is needed to make sure players enjoy their experience in WAR.

This one is a real punch in the gut for quite a few players.  For a fee, you can make sure this issue isn’t close to heart.  Unless you can’t afford to pay MORE to play the same game as everyone else.  It may not be Mythic that is directly causing the population issues.  Players leaving lower population servers just to play the game is a HUGE factor.  The fact that Mythic takes too long to react to a sinking ship (Here’s looking at you, Vortex) is another factor.  If you don’t see some server consolidation coming soon, I think you’re going to start losing servers at a time.

My personal take on this whole thing is… I feel sorry for James.  This is your first time out in the public eye like this, and your superiors didn’t give you jack crap to talk about.  Look at the image rape that Carrie has gone through.  I wish you didn’t have to go through the same thing, but it’s looking like you will.  It would have been nice if you could have come out of the door swinging, rather than limping. 😦

[WAR] And it has Come to this…

Posted: January 25, 2011 in WAR

After the Great Blackout of 2011, Andy is back.  He was welcomed back into open arms of a patient community that had been waiting with baited breath.

Not so much.

On one hand, I feel bad for Andy.  It appears that the higher ups really don’t give a rat’s ass about community.  I mean, I think they did at one time.  These days…not so much.  There used to be an actual community team.  They’d gather feedback, respond to posts, spread a passionate vibe all around.  They’d frequent various boards including WHA and VN.  It felt like a community.

Those days seem to be gone, though.  The last time Andy posted on WAR’s VN was August of last year.   Since July of last year, he’s only posted on WHA twice.  Not everyone reads the OF, especially after the transition to the Bioware forums.  The original OF were bad.  These are abysmal.  This isn’t a post about forums though.  It’s a post about community.  Forums are merely a subset.

On the other hand, I think the lashing out is deserved.   Not at Andy personally, though.  I don’t fault him for what he’s doing.  He’s doing what he’s told.  He works a shit-ton of extra hours.  I’ve talked to him at 11pm quite a few times (which is midnight there) while he’s editing up patch notes, and various other stuff.  I think the lashing out speaks more to Mythic’s ineptness at dealing with the community, not Andy’s.  He only tells us what he can. For all you nimrods out there calling for his job, read this:  If Andy is fired, he will be replaced by someone who is tasked with the same job description, the same handcuffs on what they can say, and the same lack of information to share.  Calling for his job is pointless.

The biggest question is:  Why is Mythic coming off so inept when it comes to community management?  In a day and age where projecting your community image is key to retaining subscribers, how did they manage to drop the ball?  You can blame it on the Shaman Mechanic Fiasco, you can blame it on lagging subscriptions.  The source of it is mostly irrelevant, though.  The effect is this:  Your patient community, who has stuck with you through thick and thin is getting tired of waiting.  They’re tired of getting lead around in the dark, not knowing where they’re going.  They’re tired of promises to reveal info “when things are more set in stone” or “when they are ready.”  There’s two methodologies in this game.  Full Disclosure, and No Disclosure.  The first didn’t work.  You got bit.  Naturally you picked the second.  That isn’t working either.  Patience is running out, people are moving to other games, and the players that are left are hopping off lower population servers to higher ones, just to keep playing the game.  That screws other players who may not be willing to pay to make the leap, especially considering there’s no concrete future for this game.  Paying an additional $20 to keep playing a game that has a future of “bug fixes and class balance” is a tough pill to swallow.

It would make sense to find a middle ground between No Disclosure and Full Disclosure.  Right now….it isn’t working.

[WAR] Goodnew and Badnews

Posted: December 27, 2010 in WAR, WARdrobe

Well, which do you want first.  Oh you can’t answer.

How about the bad news:  I’ve unsubbed from WAR.  This really isn’t as big a deal as you might think it is.  Truth be told, I’ve not played much at all since I started working on the WARdrobe.  It is a pretty intense project.  I’ll have my free trial account, but I’ll no longer be a part of Core.  That’s not a big deal though, really.  Anything I knew about in there, I couldn’t share, nor would it influence the WARdrobe.  Besides, being part of Core really didn’t elevate the status of WARdrobe and get me any sorts of insider information to help me develop for it.  That was good ol’ digging on my part to pull in all the pieces of their API.

The good news is that fortunately for me, I don’t need to be subbed to WAR to work on it.  With the endless free-trial, I have access to everything I need to continue to maintain the addon and the site alike.  I remain committed to developing for this game, even if I don’t play it. I like the community (even Testpig), and feel an obligation to help them out wherever I can.  I hope to have the uploading issues worked out over the next week or two.  Things have been…arduous.  (First time development is easy, as you can start over if you want.  I need to triple-check things to ensure I don’t fubar existing data now).

So there you go.  That’s the big news.  Hope everyone had a good holiday, and I hope you don’t hate me for jumping off the WAR wagon.  I was pretty burned out on the existing experience, and tacking 20 more levels to the end and a randomly playable Skaven wasn’t enough to entice me to keep on truckin’ to 100.  Sorry Mythic.  I kept on keepin’ on longer than I should have.  Maybe that was wishful thinking.  Maybe it was a feeling of dedication from all the fun I had in DAoC.  Who knows.  Anyway, I’ll raise a glass to hoping you pull the nose up before you hit the water.

See everyone after the new year. 🙂