Archive for October, 2008

The Solo Dungeon

Posted in Adventure Log, Design Thoughts, Observations on October 23, 2008 by dahras

I recently did the quest Bitter Blood (yes T2, i know, I’m REALLY behind), where you scale a vampire tower, in the throes of a battle, so you can destroy the vampire’s phylactery. I love the way the quest develops the story and builds to the climax of climbing the tower, which amounts to a single player dungeon. The only part of the quest that I didn’t like was the single player dungeon. This dislike made me really analyze what makes dungeons fun.

When people are asked what makes dungeons fun, they often respond that interesting boss fights, unique settings, and carefully tuned challenge make dungeons enjoyable, and they do. Unfortunately, though, these answers completely miss the underlying question: what makes dungeons fun, that is not specific to any one dungeon.

It is my opinion that it is the experience of being in a team, and completing a task as a coordinated team that makes dungeons fun. Think about it, when people quit raiding, whats their usual complaint? Its that the drama was too much for them. The people were too vicious to allow a fun time. This is why I think that solo or 2 man dungeons would not be fun at all, the team aspect just isn’t there.

When I was climbing the vampire tower, I realized this. Even though I was getting a normal dungeon experience (tricky trash mobs, slightly more tough mini-bosses, and a multi-stage end boss), the fact that it was all me stopped me from having as much fun as i could have. The quest was well designed, and written, but the solo aspect let me down.


Music in Games

Posted in Design Thoughts, Observations on October 21, 2008 by dahras

Its kind of funny, but I always turn off the music off in MMO’s. In fact, Its usually the first thing I do when I enter the game. Its not funny because most people keep their music on (because they don’t), but because I turn my music off. You see I’m a huge music listener, I listen to most genres, and even play an instrument (bass). I also understand that some of the background music of MMO’s is pretty good. Why don’t I listen to it? Well, I think its because I get distracted. Some of the reason I love music is because when I listen to it, I get absorbed by it, so having music (especially good music) in the background stops me from concentrating in MMO’s. Its actually kind of sad because I am probably missing out on some decent music, and some of the information communicated about locations by the it. Oh well, it could be worse! Oh yeah, and because I just talked about music, I have to put album covers from some of my favorite albums.

Lessons Learned

Posted in PvP Pwnage on October 19, 2008 by dahras

Ahhhh PvP. How i loathed you. In every game I played you were a small, insignificant, and incredibly annoying aspect of the game. That was why I was worried when I heard that WAR was going to be an RvR game. You see i heard that RvR was a way of hiding the ugly PvP underbelly. I played anyways, mostly because I was a Warhammer nut. Now, though, I have had a change of heart. PvP can be fun, it just needs to be introduced right.

You see, I always hated WoW PvP because I was really, really (REALLY!!) bad at it. I mean terrible. Just awful. That was probably because I PvP’ed for the first time once I was 70. Yep, that didn’t turn out well. I hadn’t learned my class’s PvP capabilities, or even the basic laws of PvP, for that matter. In short, I was a Noob. After that I avoided PvP like the plague.

What WAR has taught me is that there are a few immutable laws in PvP.

1. Moving is good, very good.

2. Stopping the enemies ability to move is very good, very very good.

3. Being able to act quickly is good.

4. Being able to stop the enemy from acting is very good.

5. Being able to stop the enemy from moving AND acting is epic.

Having learned these laws, I have started learning the rules for my class and really feel that I have started to get a hang of this new-fangled PvP thing-a-ma-bob. Without WAR introducing me to PvP at a low level where most people are also learning, I think I would still be in the dark ages, joyously burning the pro-PvP heratics alive.

Landmines and the Power of Image

Posted in Adventure Log, Design Thoughts on October 19, 2008 by dahras

I just got my landmine and I love it. I know a lot of people have said this but landmine is awesome. I just love how cool the ability looks, how intuitive the effect is, and the fear that it inspires in the enemy. The interesting thing that I have noticed noticed about the landmine, though, is that it is much more feared and thus effective than demonic infestation it is. I bet you are wondering what demonic infestation is now, so I’ll tell you. Its the Magus landmine. Yep, I know its a shock, it shocked me too, I didn’t know what those stupid nurglings were for 15 levels, and I’m an engineer!

You see, this is why art matters. Landmine works because people see the bomb and think, “Oh no! Its a bomb! When I get near it will stun me!”. They proceed to try to work around the mine while getting shot by the engineer. You see, fear is half the effect of landmine; people just don’t walk into landmines. On the other hand, most people run into demonic infestation with no idea of its effect.

I’m not sure people would respect the infestation as much as they respect landmine, even if they knew its effect. There just isn’t the same visceral reaction to a cute, chubby nurgling as there is too a bomb. If they made the demonic infestation as intimidating as the landmine is, I bet it would be much more effective than it is. Maybe it could be a mini monolith! I know that would scare me, especially if it had glowing demonic faces on its sides.

Theme and WAR

Posted in Design Thoughts, Uncategorized on October 16, 2008 by dahras

The first real blog post I am going to write is about an oft overlooked part of MMO’s: theme, some times referred to “feel”. For example, WAR aims to get you the “feel” like you are in a WAR, or to “feel” angry at Destruction for burning your town. Note, this is less immersion, but more the emotion that is conveyed by the game. Now I don’t want to get too artsy, but this element is something that just makes games for me, because it gets me into the game more than realism of mechanics or interactions.

There are three main elements that give theme to MMO’s. The first element is set design. This is how the area looks, and thus how it feels. The second is monster design, which is how the monsters look and act. The final element is the writing, which is probably the most important of all.

These three elements come across in all of the T1 areas very strongly. They all convey different types of war: siege warfare in the mountains, sea invasions, and a huge horde attacking from the land. This direct theme really didn’t hit home for me though, because I was already expecting that theme. Where the theme of WAR really hit me was the Marshes of Madness for dwarfs and Ostland/Troll Country for Chaos. Both have very striking themes. The Marshes of Madness, which have thick, sight-blocking scenery and heavy concentrations of mobs, screamed guerrilla warfare from the first chapter, and the writing kept the theme going.

The story of the dwarfs, who hate the jungle, having to fight against an opponent who seems to be unstoppable by nature of their knowledge of the area and their vast numbers brought mental images of Vietnam to my mind. At first, I was frustrated by the Marshes, but eventually I realized the zones genius; I felt just like the dwarfs! I was tired of the Marshes and the endless ambushes by the mobs spawning around every corner, just like the dwarfs must have been.

This element of theme has really let me enjoy the game much more, and really appreciate some of the zones that I have loathed before. I’m not sure a lot of people will get the emotion that WAR conveys, because so many people don’t read their quest log, but I love that they put this much effort in for us that do!

A Small Boom

Posted in Administration, Uncategorized on October 13, 2008 by dahras

And the reverberations caused by the starting of Clockwork Landmine are felt… well, they probably aren’t felt at all.

Yep, I’ve decided to start (another) WAR blog. No one really should know about my last blog as it only had like one post. My issue was that not only was I blogging about the wrong class, I was blogging about the wrong side as well. Well, I’ve learned the error of my ways and am now back and blogging about Dwarf Engineers. I have played a few MMO’s including WoW, and I am used to being a healer, but enough about me, you want to know about my blog.

This blog will be all the stuff relating to WAR that I’m interested in, focusing on Engineers. Hopefully I’ll provide a guide or two when I feel like writing one. Ususally I’ll blog at least one time a day but some days or even weeks, I won’t blog at all, so don’t freak out. Some of my posts will be long (like this one), some will be short. Some will be well thought out, some will be rants. Basically, I’m not setting any rules concerning this blog at all, and thats it, but I do want to share my experiences and hopefully provide well though out and interesting posts to you, the reader.