• MMO/Gaming

    Heal Me

    I was a lazy bint last night. I had a lot of plans for all the work that I was going to do once I got home. I was going to be productive, I was going to get a lot accomplished on some of the new projects that I’ve been planning.

    Instead, I drank a lot of wine and played Warhammer.

    I’m learning to heal, and I’d found that it was damned impossible without some type of addon since I couldn’t reliably get the default Warhammer UI to show health bars on everyone in the group, and fade the ones out of range. Clicking on people to heal them is useless, as you’re always too late, or you overheal people who don’t need it.

    So I downloaded an addon called Squared, which I assume is much like Grid. And yes, healing like that (although much more efficient) is very much like playing whack-a-mole. I need to group with someone in a non-pvp setting so that I can try to configure it so that half my screen isn’t taken up by giant coloured boxes – it makes it tough on my personal survivability when I can’t see what was going on around me.

    But you know what?  It was fun. I’ve only played ranged dps classes (hunter and warlock being the main classes I raided with in Warcraft) and I’ve never tanked or healed. It was a lot more fun when people watched out for me and kept me from getting pounded on while I was trying to heal.

    Run up the path, making sure to stay behind all the musclebound types, and park my small green ass in the bushes or behind a rock. Watch the green bars go up and down and try to keep most of them “up”. Try not to yell “AAIIIIEEEEE!” too loud when I get discovered, because it makes the neighbours nervous. Rinse and repeat.

    It’s a lot more fun than it sounds.  :)  Although the main thing I remember from last night (aside from green squares) is lions coming at me. Is that the first thing a White Lion does?  1. Find the healer. 2. Have pet attack healer. 3. Attack as normal.

    Tonight I’ll get a lot of work done, I swear…

  • MMO/Gaming

    The game I really, really wanted to like

    Aside from being all mopey with the flu (I’m the worst patient ever, I admit!) I spent a lot of time having an inordinate amount of fun in a game that I’d given up on: Warhammer.

    A friend had decided to try the free trial, so I re-subbed for a month. We ran around the starting areas together, he complained about me not keeping him alive in battlegrounds (I’m a shaman, not a miracle worker, Jim) and generally had a great time.

    Warhammer is one of those games that I care enough about to actually get angry…at it’s best, it can be so much damned fun. Given the wrong balance of people however, or not enough players, it falls apart and that is a shame.

    There are reportedly class balance issues, although I haven’t gone deep enough into the game to experience that myself.  Last night I did hear a Magus player lamenting the brokeness of the class, and presenting a long and fairly well thought out opinion on why the class was virtually unplayable. The only response, of course, was “Can I have your stuff?”  :D

    Whatever that indefinable quality is in MMO that means “fun”, Warhammer has it…at times. When there are enough people for PQs, if you have friends or a good guild. I spent ages just doing PVP scenarios, running around like a loon, making comments in a squeaky voice for my shaman, Wiillow, and laughing. Just silly buggers, really – but it was a very enjoyable way to spend the day.

    Is it worth a subscription once friends finish their free trials and stop playing?  No. And that is a damned shame.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Returning to War


    I had a lot of fun this weekend on Warhammer. I have to say, this is one of the most fun MMOs that I have ever played…as long as there are enough people playing. Just after launch, awesome – always people doing PQs and having fun. Afterwards, not so much. Right now, during the free week for ex-subscribers, tons of people. After this week is up…not so much.

    I logged in to find that my two main characters were somehow still in the guild, and logged out. (I’m so anti-social, it’s pathetic.) My Order characters on the roleplay server were missing…as was the server. As a matter of fact, there weren’t any RP servers listed, which was very strange. Perhaps deliberately excluded from the free week? I couldn’t find anything on the net about it.

    I started two characters that I had never tried before: Skizzer, a Squigherder, and Lyrikal, a Knight of the Blazing Sun. Skizzer was fun, very much like a hunter. The tanky Lyrikal was fun as well – like any tank class, she didn’t kill things very fast, but she was hard to kill.

    Mainly, I just did a lot of pvp – I love pvp in Warhammer, much moreso than in Warcraft (perhaps because there doesn’t seem to be a class with a stunlock, a very good thing in my book).

    Would I resubscribe? I probably would if I could be guaranteed a busy server. If it went back to the levels it was when I un-subscribed, then no. It’s no fun doing PQs on your own, and everything was dead. It’s a shame…because this game is actually tons of fun.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Pvp in Warhammer

    I play Warhammer quite differently than I do Warcraft. For one thing, I group with people easily. Remember, I’m so antisocial that I will say “sorry, logging soon” if invited to a spur of the moment group in Wow, and will actually log out. I know that’s very sad. In Warhammer, it’s easy, casual, and fun.

    I still do quests and grinding, but usually I do it while waiting for one of the scenarios to pop. I love pvp in Warhammer. There were times when I enjoyed it in Wow, as well, but that was usually dependent on how badly we were being steamrollered by Horde (usually pretty badly), or how often I was getting stunlocked by rogues. My hunter can be lethal in pvp, but she’s no good at close-combat melee. In Warhammer, although I may die quite a lot depending on how badly someone wants to cut through squishies, it’s still a blast and I love it.

    I honestly couldn’t tell you why pvp is so much better (for me, anyway) in Warhammer. All I know is that even if we lose I don’t have that “to hell with this, its too painful” feeling. I have fun. I’m really, really looking forward to trying RvR, which I haven’t had a chance to yet – it was one of my reasons for joining a guild.

    I’ve been playing my sorceress, which I basically started because I had some good blue gear for one.  :)  I’m a bit stuck on my DoK since I have five million completed quests that for the life of me I can’t figure out where to turn them in. Gief a Thotbott for Warhammer!

  • MMO/Gaming

    Customer Relationships and Support for Online Games and MMOs

    I read a very interesting post (and found a great new blog, check it out if you’re interested in MMOs, gaming and Web 2.0): Customer Relationships and Support for Online Games and MMOs, which introduces the concept of Customer Relationship Management to gaming, and compares thinking of your game as a service, or a product. These two viewpoints are very, very different. If you see your game as a product, you are interested in selling boxes, and your relationship with the customer often ends there (although you hope they will be pleased enough to continue to purchase new titles from you on an ongoing basis). If you see your game as a service, you see it as more of an ongoing relationship, and the actual purchase of the box is related to something almost incidental to the ongoing relationship.

    The two perfect examples of this are Warcraft and Warhammer Online (EU version only, since it’s a very different beastie from the US experience). Since I recently re-subbed to Warhammer, this has become very apparent to me.

    Warcraft is the golden cash cow, everyone knows this and lives in hopes of somehow creating their own version. The Warcraft experience is very much a service-oriented one, in that buying the game itself is somewhat incidental to your value as a customer. Over the three years or so that I’ve been playing, I’ve spent so much more than the box price on the game:

    • I buy collectors editions rather than regular editions, since it’s part of the “experience” for me
    • Until just recently, I kept two accounts. In this house we had four accounts for two adults.
    • I couldn’t even begin to calculate how much I’ve spent on transferring characters back and forth from different servers, to different accounts, doing name changes, and so on. If I wasn’t currently unemployed, I would have already taken advantage of the paid character customisation (I admit that part of the reason I don’t play my warlock, Ravven, is that I hate her stupid Malibu Barbie googly-eyed face).

    The customer experience in Warcraft has been a very good one, overall. The GMs that I’ve had contact with in-game are unfailingly polite, and they do try to be helpful. The official forums are quite good, and the community managers do try to keep order amongst the asshats. Everything has that famous Blizzard “polish”, and I’ve never been nervous about my credit card or account information on the site.

    Warhammer, on the other hand, suffers in Europe from one of the worst management companies that I have ever seen, GOA. I wrote about it here and here and here. I absolutely hated re-subbing to Warhammer using my credit card, since I had to do it on one of the buggiest, Flash-based, presumably insecured sites that I have ever seen. I went ahead and did it anyway, and once I managed to get through the painfully slow site to the account management pages, and put my details in…it sent me to something purporting to be from my bank, but with different branding, domain, etc., where I was directed to re-input my credit card information to confirm my identity for my bank. What the hell?  It clearly looked like a poor phishing attempt, but that didn’t make any sense. I contacted customer support (which you can’t do via phone, you have to do it via a buggy Flash form). Two days later, I got this response:

    Dear Customer,

    Thank you for contacting us in relation to your query.
    Upon review of your account, we can confirm that neither payment attempt was completed and neither will be taken from your card.
    At present, the help form and in game support are our methods of contact as phone support is not a service available.
    If this does become so, it will be announced in the “Latest News” section of our website.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or queries.


    Warhammer Online European Billing Support

    Well, gosh, that was helpful. You didn’t answer either of my questions, although I am happy to know that you didn’t charge my card, although the other site that I got shunted to may have. I’ll watch the Latest News section of the site for further developments.

    To me, Warhammer is clearly all about shifting boxes, not building a customer relationship. There are no official forums, and people are forced to use fan sites to try to fix technical issues and so on. Ridiculous. Given how unfriendly and unhelpful their company customer support is, I would never attempt to contact a GM ingame…I don’t even know if they do have GMs ingame, they may not.

    I have fun in Warhammer, I really want to like it. It amazes me that a company like GOA is so clueless as to push me away and slam a virtual door in my face. Customers are valuable. I am valuable, and I’d like to be treated with courtesy and care. You don’t have to kiss my butt, but I would at least like to be listened to. Give me a place to talk to you.

    And Warcraft? Until I stop gaming entirely, I’ll probably always be a customer. Blizzard has earned it. And that is the difference between selling boxes and buying customers. They’ve earned my trust, and we’ve built a relationship.

  • MMO/Gaming

    New Friends in Warhammer

    I joined a guild of friendly, mature folk this weekend in Warhammer. They are a band of friends who span games from War to Wow to LotRO, and everyone seems very nice. My baby characters are way behind everyone, but no one seems to care.

    I’ve been having fun, although I’m a bit frustrated with my Disciple of Khaine. She has tons of completed quests from when I was playing her before, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out where to turn them in. There are a few databases springing up, but very few quests at this point still have helpful comments telling you where to find the NPCs. I’ve moved on from whever I originally took the quests, so it’s no longer shown on any of the maps that I can see, and for the life of me I can’t remember where I took them. Very frustrating.

    So I’ve been playing my sorceror instead.  :)  She’s fun, although she’s the stereotypical glass cannon – lethal from a distance, but she sucks ass at melee.  lol…

    Overall?  I’m really enjoying myself, and I’ve found a guild who are ok with casual play. I made it clear in my app that I was burned out with raiding, and didn’t want to start that grind in a new game, and they’re ok with it. It’s nice to have a place to call home again.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Lyrissa Goes Exploring

    Posing in Altdorf

    Someone Important (Probably Dead)

    Cool Statue

    The Best Pub Ever

    Lyrissa Decides to Explore

    And lands in the middle of a bar fight

    Altdorf Architecture


    Lyrissa meets the Emperor

    As you can see, I’m having an enormously good time with her. When she gets hit, she says “Oh, bugger!” in her English accent and it never fails to amuse me. She’s not the most effective character for scenarios and public quests, but she is fun, and questing is effective on her. I do miss the ability to heal, though – Ravven (DoK) can deal a LOT of damage and heal herself at the same time. But Lyrissa is still enjoyable, and she’s felt like a “person” from the beginning.

  • MMO/Gaming

    Witch Hunter

    I just found another class that I really, really like: the Witch Hunter. Mainly, I think, because I can hang back and pop away at things, even at her no-gear level, and still have some oomph at close quarters. She’s fun.

    Damn, Warhammer is refusing to let me go.  :)

  • MMO/Gaming

    Essence of Ultimate Weavil

    I was quite excited to get a customer feedback request from EA regarding my recent customer service issues. Hurrah! I never fill those things in normally, but I was practically slavering to give them my honest, heartfelt opinion of their company, their site, and their customer service.

    And of course, the page for the customer survey wouldn’t come up. In either Firefox or IE. Why am I not surprised?  It’s another weavil plan to mess with their customers’ heads.


    Oops, wait – the page finally came up. First page: “Which type of game did you contact us about?” and the games listed do NOT include Warhammer. Definitely messing with me. Ok, let’s choose “EA Games”.

    Several freakin minutes later, the next page loads.  Ok, maybe I lied – I wrote that in anticipation of it finally loading, and it still hasn’t loaded. I’m reading Barry Beelzebub while I wait.

    Several of his very long posts later, I still don’t have the second page.

    “I’m not at all keen on that Foxy Bingo fellow on those incessant TV adverts. There’s something not right there, something sinister. He’s like a cross between Chucky and Basil Bush. A Pied Piper of the Lambrini-addled obese.”

    I love Barry.  But the second page still hasn’t loaded, and as much as I would like to vent some very petulant spleen on EA, there’s only so much time that I will devote to doing so.

    I can hear them laughing from here.

  • MMO/Gaming

    On Being A Guy

    I’ve been sidetracked from my Disciple of Khaine recently by a Chosen tank called Xanax. Yeah, I know, but I only created him to check out the starting area, and that name just came off the top of my head – I didn’t expect to continue playing him.

    I’ve always had issues with playing male characters – I generally only have female avatars. Since I tend to indentify with my characters and invest them with personality, they are almost exclusively female. The fact that most of the games I’ve played tend to have grotesquely musclebound male models doesn’t help.

    But this guy? We get along. He’s older, with grey hair and a heavily scarred face. He’s ugly and tough, but I think there’s a soft side lurking in there somewhere.  :)

    I absolutely love the starting area. It feels more natural, less bland than some of the others. The town is very nicely done, and has sort of a Fable feel to it. The initial spawn point has an awesome moving gate, and their version of the starting quests seem to work quite well.

    Some screenshots: