Monday’s expert: what is there to like about WAR? Sunday, Aug 9 2009 

Despite it’s flaws, WAR is still a pretty solid MMO (end game being one of the most serious issues needing to be resolved). My previous post discussing the failings of WAR may have left the impression the game is a total failure. I wouldn’t say it is: there is still much to commend about WAR. It’s innovative features are impressive, and will no doubt find their way into many future MMOs.

If I had to sum up my opinion it would be this: WAR tried to be too innovative. It wanted to be both PvE and PvP king. The developers should have concentrated their efforts in making it either the best theme park MMO or the best PvP MMO.

I suspect commentators will look back and see WAR for what it is: a good MMO that just fell short of true greatness.

Very close in fact.

Top notch art work

However I still continue to play WAR. I’ll list my reasons for in further posts, however one of the reaons I still enjoy WAR is the art work:

Very, very cool.

Very, very cool.

One of my Destruction alts in that factions starter zone. Great atmosphere, great visuals. These guys are evil. And it sure as hell looks like it. The whole feel of WAR is that of a world in conflict:

Can you say "atmospheric"?

Can you say "atmospheric"?

Here’s Augusteena patrolling Troll Country. Bodies litter the ground everywhere, war camps are stuffed with men and supplies as if about to head off to battle. Mythic’s artists certainly nailed the look of Warhammer. The world looks as one think it should.

One of the reasons I toyed with cancelling WoW was it’s cartoonish, pastel themed art work. I understand it’s graphics engine is over four years old, and there is only so far you can push the graphics. Still, WoW’s art direction is brilliant.

But WAR’s art has the grittiness that WoW lacks, which is befetting a MMO that once claimed “War is everywhere”.

Postcards: the arts and crafts of Troll Country Wednesday, Aug 5 2009 

Hi guys!

Augusteena here again! Some of you might not know it, but I took Visual Arts Theory as a minor during my time training to be a Warrior Priest. While more than a few people thought is was a waste of time (yes, I’m looking at you mum!), I’ve found my knowledge of the arts has really informed my travels. Especially in Troll Country, where the locals seem to have a real flair for using “found objects” in their art. Take this example….

A really expressive piece of work!

A really expressive piece of work!

… a charming and very expressive piece. Clearly the artist (now dead, his corpse was lying near by) was exploring his fear and dread of death, mocking both it’s finality and universality. The rough hewn wood compliments the dull metal of the chest piece. The piece speaks to the viewer;  “Oh, I’m deeeeeath! Here I come!”.

And while I just loved, loved, loved that piece, Ive found some of the local artists have taken the use of found objects to a whole new level…

Powerful commentary on the war between Man and Nature...

Powerful commentary on the war between Man and Nature...

…like this powerful piece commenting on the conflict between the locals and the trolls of the region. It has such pathos and raw emotion. Clearly the artist shows sympathy for the slain trolls, prompting the viewer to question the  dismembering, slaying, chopping, stabbing, shooting, burning, hanging and gutting of these powerful and majestic animals. The conflcit between Man and Nature summoned up in this one work!

Brilliant! How the tears welled up in my eyes when I saw this piece! And not just from the smell either!!!!

Well, hope to write again soon. I’m sure this is much more of the local arts to see here in Troll Country!

XOXO

Postcards: How hard is it to find a good book guys? Monday, Jul 20 2009 

Hi all, Augusteena here!

When I go on holidays I need something light to read. Normally I carry the “Life of Sigmar” with me everywhere as it helps me heal. But, really, who doesn’t want something lighter to read! Luckily books are can be found lying around Nordland, thanks the locals either being dead or having run off. Problem is it’s not exactly holiday reading. I mean, “War and Priest: my life as a Warrior Priest” and “Demon Summing for Dummies” ain’t exactly light reading. Oh well, shall keep looking!

Hugs!

XOXO

So many choices! All sooooooo dull!

So many choices! All sooooooo dull!

Meet the August crew Sunday, Jul 5 2009 

Time to meet my on-line personas; the paladins, warrior priests and death knights that I choose to play (and why).

Augustine: WoW Paladin

 

Fighting the good fight, by doing daily quests...

Fighting the good fight, by doing daily quests...

 

“The paladin is a “Warrior of the Holy Light”. They uphold all that is good and true in the world and revile all that is evil and sinister — especially undead and the Burning Legion. They offer succor to the beleaguered and smite their enemies with holy fervor. They are particularly potent against undead, as these creatures threaten the goodly races and the Holy Light burns them terribly. The presence of any evil is reprehensible to the paladin, but he focuses his efforts on destroying undead and demons…”

Source: WoWWiki

Augustine was not my first WoW toon,  but after several months play became my main. Initially I started playing a warrior, as I thought that would be the easiest class to master. The mage, priest and warlock classes didn’t attract me. The paladin was a class I knew nothing about, nor could I understand how they could differ from warriors: both wore plate, both “looked” ostensibly the same. However after several months of getting my warrior up to level 38 I became frustrated: I’d never really run any instances until then and found it hard to get into groups. This was pre-Burning Crusade, back in Vanilla/Classic WoW days and I found soloing tedious as a warrior. Especially the lack of healing ability. I could handle 3-4 individual mobs easily, but anymore than that or fights against elite mobs normally resulted in (in game) death. Again, and again I’d die and face the long walk back from the Spirit Healer to resurrect.

/sigh
 
I’d also mention I was pretty casual in my play style then. I was playing a lot of other PC games at that point; Doom 3, the Total War series and a few others. I’d been in out of a few guilds, but never really found a home in any of them. Guild chat was a feature of the UI I ignored. I kept hearing about “instances” and not really knowing what they where. In the end I decided I really wasn’t enjoying the class I was playing and decided to switch.
 
“This is supposed to be an MMO…” I thought to myself “…why don’t I try the more social aspects of the game?”
 
Augustine actually begun his life as a Priest. I thought that would be class most in demand, and it was. WoW continues to suffer from a chronic shortage of healers, and I thought it was a niche I could slot into. I tried to think of an historical “priest” or theologian I could name by toon after. I considered a few, and and settled on Augustine (the fourth century theologian). And thus my fate was sealed. The problem was I enjoyed playing a squishy class even less than the warrior. I levelled the priest to about level 10 and thought “Meh, that’s it. I’m going to try one more class before I quit.”
 
Surprisingly, I didn’t choice the beginners (aka “Noobs”) favourite class/race combination of “Night Elf Hunter”.
 
So I decided to research all the classes. The more I looked at the Paladin class, the more I liked it. As a utility class, you could don armour like the warrior and throw out healing spells like a priest “Ah ha!” Paladins could do both, obviously not as well as the more specialised classes but at least I could solo, and slot myself into groups more effectively by offering to heal.
 
The idea of a “holy warrior” or “knight in shining armour” really appealed to me as well. Hence, Augustine the Priest was deleted and reborn Augustine the Paladin.
 
The rest, as they say, is history.

 

Augusteena: Warhammer Warrior Priest
 

Have book, will travel

Have book, will travel

It’s with a lot of sadness that I play Warhammer these days. What is a good game, that could have been a great game, seems to have a mature or gently declining player base. The early levels of the game are deserted. The “realm versus realm” combat that attracted me to the game – that is to say groups of players fighting it out over strategic points – is pretty much deserted except for those still playing at level cap and in the “end game”.

What’s left is your fairly average PvE experience for those leveling their characters. Indeed, I’ve been advised again and again by players in game to simply “grind to level cap” where “every one is”.

I played throughout late 2008 and early 2009, stepping away from WoW to try something new. Initially I was excited; the new classes looked interesting. The art work that was more gritty than WoW’s pastel coloured cartoon aesthetic, while the chance to play more involved PvP held promise.
 
At first I loved it and thought it would be my “new game”. I played both a Witch Hunter (human) and Shadow Warrior (elf). Both where lightly armoured DPS (damage per second) classes that relied on skill and speed rather than defence. I got them both to level 20, but stopped.
 
I went back to WoW.
 
When I started playing on my Oceanic server it was humming – lots of groups, PvP action aplenty while numerous guilds were active in recruiting. Now.. nothing but the crickets and tumble weeds in the lower levels. Poor, poor Mythic (the developers). So much effort went into this MMO, only to have it misfire.
 
Balance issues (class and server population), server stability and lack lustre PvE lead to my waning interest in WAR. The player base itself has vanished – the initial 800,000 registered players collapsed to 300,000 and continues to shrink. The fanbase got rabid, and turned on the game and developers. For an MMO dependent on players fighting each other as it’s primary selling point, this is not good.
 
Eventually I stopped playing in early 2009. I’d put the game away, but recently I went back to simply experience the content and play a class I love: the Warrior Priest (WP). WPs are the near equivelent of Paladins in WoW. A plate wearing class that can specialise in healing or damage.
 
The WP is fun, and allows easy soloing. I like the underlying mechanics and hitting things with either a little or big hammer is lots of fun. /grin
 
I’ll continue to play her all the way to level cap, but as a “metaverse tourist”. As far as MMOs go, I’m an explorer and socialiser: I like seeing new content and grouping/chatting to other players. I’ll take her to level 40 (the present level cap) and see how we go from there.
 
Oh yes, the dreaded WoW Tourist. Don’t like it? Too bad. I’m paying for my subs, not you.
 
So, expect lots of “Postcards” from Augusteena as she tours this virtual world. 😉