Ah, TDAPD

Or: The Day After Patch Day

US Scheduled Maintenance – 09/24/2009 6:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time
This is a notification that All US EQ2 Worlds will be coming down at 6:00 AM PDT on 09/24/2009 for maintenance. The estimated downtime will be 2 hours.

– SOE Operations team

I think my world might implode if there ever was a major patch in any MMO that didn’t include emergency hotfixes and fix-the-things-the-patch-broke downtime.

(I arranged that because my mother’s visiting. If I can’t play, I’m damned if the rest of you will be able to!)

EDIT — oops, I had a heavy hand with comment moderation. If I deleted yours by accident and you’re not a Russian spam watch selling site, let me know… or try again. 😉

EQ2 “Shards of Destiny” Update Notes

snoopy_danceDowntime is scheduled from 6AM PDT to approximately 10AM (4 hours) — announcement here, and the patch notes are up here in the official forums. There’s an awful lot of notes there, so rather than copy and paste a ream of text (which I already did into Word so I could read the damn things more easily), I’m going to highlight the ones I find particularly interesting or exciting. So no, there won’t be much swooning over new raid content or stuff like that. Continue reading

CoX Mission Architect – the countdown commences

Sente over at A Ding World has the real skinny, I’m just passing it along.

We shall be Mission Architecting on Live from April 8th. D -4 and counting! Don’t expect to be playing on Wednesday, if a hundred major patches from a dozen other games are any indication.

I’ve tried the architect on CoX Test, as those of you who pay attention will already know, but I haven’t been back to it in the last week or so for several reasons. One, I have too many other things to do. Two, as release dates approach (and we knew it had to be getting close), doing things on test servers starts to seem more pointless (other than testing, obviously). And three, I was so awed by other people’s creations that my peasly little cat-themed arc started seeming rather paltry in comparison. But I wasn’t sulking! I was … resting. Pining for the Fjords. Mostly, I was just too busy with other stuff — it’s been one of those months where you spend a lot of time WANTING to play and much less time being able to indulge that desire.

That’s it. I’m off to work and wish I could play.

Mythic’s Announcement

The announcement, and thanks to Messenger for the link.

Here’s the text for those of you behind nasty walls.

* * * Announcement * * *

As announced in the newsletter, we are excited to bring you news of the latest additions to the Armies of WAR!


Choppa Slayer

For uncounted centuries, the Dwarfs and greenskins have been the most bitter of rivals. Now that the Slayer and the Choppa are set to join the armies of Order and Destruction, old grudges will be answered and ancient enmities will be given new breath. Though the outcome of the war still hangs in the balance, one thing is certain: the battle for the Warhammer world is about to become deadlier than ever!

Once the Bitter Rivals live event begins this March, take part in daily challenges to earn a head start in the two awesome new careers.

This exciting news and more is described in detail in this month’s Newsletter, but here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come:

Call to Arms: Live Expansion

Night of Murder Live Event

Bitter Rivals Live Event

Read this morning’s Press Release for even more info!

* * * Call to Arms * * *

Answer the Call to Arms!

Today we issued a Call to Arms to all players of WAR with the announcement of the first live expansion for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Call to Arms will introduce an incredible array of new content to the game, including two highly anticipated new careers – the head bashin’ Orc Choppa and the oath-sworn Dwarf Slayer – and a new dungeon zone called Land of the Dead, set in the desert realm of the Tomb Kings.

The Call to Arms live expansion, set to roll out for free over the next few months, will also include three in-game live events, a new RvR Scenario, added functionality to the Realm Wars section of the WAR website, the opening of the official WAR Forums, and a new free trial version of the game.

Call to Arms Live Expansion Schedule
  • Call to Arms: Bitter Rivals Live Event (March): Successful completion of the live event allows head start access to the new Orc Choppa and Dwarf Slayer careers. The event will also introduces a new Chaos-themed RvR Scenario, Twisting Tower. More information here >>
  • The Orc Choppa and Dwarf Slayer answer the Call to Arms and join WAR! (March) More information here >>
  • Call to Arms: Beyond the Sands Live Event (April): The promise of great riches and powerful weapons comes from the south.
  • Call to Arms: Rise of the Tomb Kings Live Event (May): The race between Order and Destruction begins to unlock the Land of the Dead for their Realm.
  • Land of the Dead Opens (June): The deserts of Nehekhara open to players with the addition of a new RvR-gated dungeon zone. To gain access to the Land of the Dead, opposing Realms must battle for control of the zone to access dozens of new Public Quests, instanced lairs, and a massive new Tomb Kings dungeon to plunder in search of the Casket of Souls.

More details on these and other new features soon to invade the Age of Reckoning will be revealed as the launch of Call to Arms grows near.

* * * Night of Murder * * *

WAR Live Event: Night of Murder
February 6 – February 15

As darkness falls on the Night of Murder, the worshippers of death bathe the land in blood, each intent on proving his or her devotion to the Elf god Kaela Mensha Khaine. It is a time that the forces of Destruction are all too willing to exploit. Assassins infiltrate the cities, while on the battlefield the differences between Good and Evil fade beneath the crimson haze of bloodlust. None are immune to the will of Khaine during this dark holiday.

During the Night of Murder, players will receive event influence by completing daily tome tasks and participating in the “Marked for Death” quest given out by Witch Elves and Witch Hunters located in every warcamp, scenario, and capital city. Keep an eye out for members of the enemy realm who have been “marked for death” and kill these players and NPC’s to reap the rewards of the Night of Murder! But beware… unbeknownst to you and your realm mates, you too may be chosen as sacrifice.

Rewards

Receive event influence by completing daily tome tasks as well as the “Marked for Death” quest given out by Witch Elves and Witch Hunters located in every warcamp, scenario, and capital city.

Basic – Shadowbane Potion that grants the title “The Murderous”
Advanced – Screaming Skull for Destruction and Murder Fang for Order
Elite – Talisman of Fell Whispers

World Drop – Khaine’s Regard (ring) and Burning Blood Potion

* * * Bitter Rivals * * *

Ancient enmities collide in the Age of Reckoning!

Grudges that have lasted thousands of years boil over as Dwarfs and greenskins clash in epic battles. Warriors on the sides of both Order and Destruction stir to the pounding of battle drums … or get ground under in the march to war. With both factions gnashing at each other’s throats, new champions arise: the frothing-mad Slayers of the Dwarfs, and the battle-crazed Choppas of the greenskins. Armed with sheer fury and a berserker will, these warriors charge to the fore, carrying the fight to the enemy, eager to bash in a few enemy skulls … or die a glorious death trying.

The pounding of the drums signals the advance, and a new offensive begins in the all-out warfare that is the Age of Reckoning.

New In-Game Live Event Introduces Two More New Careers to WAR!

The war is underway, and you have pledged yourself to the cause of Order, or of Destruction, to take up arms and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your realm-mates on the field of battle. You have banded together and faced mighty opponents, crushed enemy keeps, and raised your banner over battlefields littered with the dead.

Now, this February, we present you a new challenge in the form of WAR’s upcoming live event: Bitter Rivals!

The Age of Reckoning is about to get a lot more savage as the frenzied Slayers and the brutal Choppas enter the fray, to vie for domination of the Warhammer world.

Get a head start on the Choppa and Slayer!

Once the Bitter Rivals live event begins on February 24th, players who log into WAR will see a new tab in the Tome of Knowledge. Clicking on this tab will open the Live Events page, where each day we’ll place a special new daily task. Completing these daily tasks earns influence, just like you’d earn in a public quest. There are rewards for Basic, Advanced and Elite influence, culminating in the ultimate prize: the chance to play WAR’s new classes a full week before they’re released to the public! This last reward won’t be easy to earn, and players who want to get to the Elite level will need to log in each day and complete on the daily event.

Exclusive Scenario

Bitter Rivals players can also participate in a new RvR scenario–the Twisting Tower–which will only be available to players for the duration of this live event. This scenario takes players to a ruined Chaos temple hovering above a mighty vortex in the Tier 4 zone: The Chaos Wastes, where they battle for control of different levels of the temple-with a very special surprise to those players who succeed in capturing all three. This new scenario will be available for players of all levels, on all tiers, but will not contribute to the campaign. Participation in this scenario will give players an extra 10% bonus to their Renown point gain.

Rewards for Valor and Hatred Alike

Among the many spoils earned during this event are a special potion and a unique siege weapon for each realm, as well as premiere early access to the exciting new Slayer and Choppa careers.

Strap on your armor and take up your arms–and offer a heartfelt prayer to the gods. Bitter Rivals is almost upon you, and you do not want to be taken by surprise!

RewardsBasic – Bitter Brew: Unlocks exclusive event titles
Advanced – Exclusive Bitter Rivals siege weapons: Giants and Flame Cannons
Elite -Unlock the Slayer and the Choppa for Head Start Play!!!

World Drop – Broken Axe/Notched Choppa (grants event exclusive titles) and Grimnir’s Mercy/Redfang Grog (grants an attack speed buff!)

* * * Press Release (excerpt) * * *

Mythic Entertainment Issues a “Call to Arms” with the Announcement of the First Live Expansion for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
The Armies of WAR Prepare to Go Berserk Over Dwarf Slayer and Orc Choppa Careers, New ‘Land of the Dead’ Dungeon Zone, and Live Events

FAIRFAX, Va. – Jan. 29, 2009 – Mythic Entertainment, an Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) studio, today announced the new “Call to Arms” live expansion for its award-winning MMORPG, Warhammer® Online: Age of Reckoning® (WAR). Call to Arms will introduce an array of new content for WAR players, including two highly anticipated new careers – the Orc Choppa and the Dwarf Slayer – and a new dungeon zone called “Land of the Dead,” set in the desert realm of the Tomb Kings.

The Call to Arms live expansion, set to roll out for free in early March and running through the beginning of June, will also include three in-game live events, a new Realm vs. Realm™ (RvR) Scenario, added functionality to the Realm Wars section of the WAR website, the opening of the official WAR Forums, and a new free trial version of the game.

“The launch of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning was only the first step in our ongoing quest to make a great MMORPG that players will enjoy for years to come. Over the next few months, we are going to be treating our players to the first of our ‘live expansions’ planned for the game,” said Mark Jacobs, VP and general manager of Mythic Entertainment. “With the addition of new careers and a huge Tomb Kings dungeon that is the spiritual successor to the Dark Age of Camelot™ ™ dungeon, Darkness Falls, Call to Arms is an outstanding example of the massive amount of free content we are committed to delivering to WAR players now and in the future.”

Call to Arms Live Expansion Schedule

  • ‘Call to Arms: Bitter Rivals’ Live Event (March): Successful completion allows head start access to the new Orc Choppa and Dwarf Slayer careers. The event will also include the new Chaos-themed RvR Scenario, Twisting Tower.
  • Two New Careers Join WAR (March): The Orc Choppa and Dwarf Slayer answer the Call to Arms.
  • ‘Call to Arms: Beyond the Sands’ Live Event (April): Details to be revealed soon!
  • ‘Call to Arms: Rise of the Tomb Kings’ Live Event (May): The race between Order and Destruction players begins to unlock the Land of the Dead for their Realm.
  • ‘Land of the Dead’ Opens (June): The deserts of Nehekhara open to players with the addition of a new RvR-gated dungeon zone. To gain access to the Land of the Dead, opposing Realms must battle for control of the zone to access dozens of new Public Quests, instanced lairs, and a massive new Tomb Kings dungeon to plunder in search of the Casket of Souls.

More details on these and other new features soon to invade the Age of Reckoning will be revealed as the launch of Call to Arms grows near.

Bitter Rivals Answer the Call to Arms!

The Orc Choppa and Dwarf Slayer may be bitter enemies, but they have at least one thing in common: they live, eat, and breathe close-quarters melee combat. Choppas are ornery and savage, with a one track mind dead set on bashin’ heads! This savage dedication makes them ferocious fighters, wreaking havoc throughout enemy lines purely for the sake of satisfying their own self-indulgent bloodlust.

The Slayer is driven by a solemn oath to atone for past sins through an honorable death in combat. However, Dwarfs are a stubborn folk and dying quietly is simply not in their nature. Slayers therefore become ruthless and terrifying fighters, throwing themselves into battle with no regard for their own well-being.

“The Orc Choppa and Dwarf Slayer are two of the most iconic characters in the Warhammer universe, and I have no doubt WAR fans will go berserk for them,” said Jeff Hickman, executive producer of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. “Choppas represent the pure anarchy that the Greenskins embody, and the crazed, mohawk-sporting Slayers are their ideal archenemy. It won’t be long before you see both of them adding a new level of insanity to the Age of Reckoning!”

Based on the popular tabletop war game from Games Workshop, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning features revolutionary Realm vs. Realm conflict that will provide players with an engaging battleground for years to come. Available now for PC, WAR is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.

To answer the Call to Arms and learn more about the live expansion, as well as the new careers, read the January issue of the WAR monthly newsletter at www.warhammeronline.com.

Honey Pie

patchy-smallOkay, there’s no way to work “Patch 1.1b” into a White Album title, damn those inconsiderate Mythic patchy types. I just hope this title doesn’t get me too many spam porn links.

Anyway yes, 1.1b is in the process of patchinating (technical term) as I type. It’s not earth-shattering in terms of excitement, patch-wise, except for an interesting note on RvR renown point awards. Since I’m not quite sure how it worked before I can’t really tell you what the difference is, except that the awards seem higher than before. Presumably, now that we’re seeing more R40/RRxx folks coming up, Mythic are starting to get better info on the general RvR grind. I can’t comment much on it, since I haven’t done any significant RvR in about 6 weeks, for various previously documented reasons.

Either way, if it means that renown ranks will be a teeny bit easier to get once you pass 20 or so, that’s a good thing, right?

Notes are here, and for the access-challenged, here’s the text:

WAR 1.1b notes

Greetings!

1.1.0b is almost here, and while the notes may not be very long there are some great fixes that make a lot of significant improvements to the game. We’ve got some additional fixes in the wings so stay tuned for more as we continue to work on enhancing content and improving stability!

1.1.0b will be going live Tuesday, 12/16. All North American servers will be brought down at 7AM EST with Oceanic servers to follow at 9AM EST. We expect all servers to be back up and running by 1PM EST.

As always stay tuned to the Herald for the latest news and updates and continue reading for the 1.1.0b Patch Notes…WAAAGH!!!

  • We’ve added additional messaging to the Inventory Overflow system introduced in the 1.1a patch. This was done to aid players in understanding what the Inventory Overflow in fact does and how to utilize this new feature.
  • Fixed an issue that was causing the Nordenwatch scenario to crash intermittently.
  • Fixed an issue that would cause the wrong realm name to appear in the center-screen Keep or Battle Objective capture message.
  • Renown, experience, and Influence rewards have been added for attacking and defending Fortresses.
  • Renown gains: This patch includes a significant fix to the amount of Renown gained in both open Realm vs. Realm combat and Scenarios. The intent of this change is for players to gain Renown based on the differential between a player’s Rank and Renown Rank. The examples given below are based on solo Realm vs. Realm confrontations without any sort of bonuses and with both players being of the same Renown Rank (differences between RRs also affect RPs awarded):
    • If a Rank 40/Renown Rank 1 solo kills a Rank 31/Renown Rank 1, the Rank 40 will receive 206 Renown as a reward.
    • If a Rank 40/Renown Rank 1 solo kills a Rank 18/Renown Rank 1, the Rank 40 will receive 70 Renown as a reward.
Notice that this is a larger reward than the Rank 40 would receive with the   previous system (51 and 5 respectively).
  • To discourage exploitation of this system, if a player is killed repeatedly in a short amount of time they are worth less Renown each time due to the existing diminishing returns system.   Also, please keep in mind that the difference between players’ Renown Ranks will also affect the amount of RP rewarded.
  • Nordenwatch: Reenabled access to this Tier 1 Empire vs. Chaos Scenario. Fixed an issue with this Scenario that affected server stability.

Happiness is a warm sword

Update 1.1 is with us, crashes and bug-flinging spacechimps notwithstanding, and so far I’m loving it. Caveat: I’ve only been in game an hour or two, in quiet areas, and I’ve done no RvR of any kind, scenario, open or otherwise.

With that out of the way, I can say that so far the client update seems great. I was able to select ful-screen AND minimise the client to the desktop, which isn’t something I’d been able to do since beta, or at least not without a side order of crashy lockup; it did take the textures a little while to reload when I came back to the client, but that’s okay. I was also able to turn the lightmaps and the grass back on, which makes such a difference to how the game looks; I’d try turning all the frills back on, but I know what that would do — the game would look marvellous and I’d get about 0.34 frames per second. (I don’t actually measure my FPS in games much — my general measure is, does it seem smooth? If it doesn’t, doesn’t really matter if it’s running at 900 FPS.)

kaltlauf-1440-x-900

Here’s a shot of Kaltlauf in Black Fire Pass, just because it looked good in the moonlight. I have a 1900×1200 version of it too.

Cloaks have acquired — in some? all? cases — furry bits around the shoulders, which I’m not certain I like, but I *do* like that Ysh’s cloak went from solid darkish blue to patterned blue. ysh-1_1-cloak CoW is a third of the way to 20, so in a few days we should be able to display our guild heraldry, which I’m looking forward to. I’ve also turned off her helm… we’ll see what happens when I log her back in.

I killed a few orcs and gobbos here and there, as one does, and — after I got over my shock of seeing him saunter past — chased Alan Cartwright The Really Creepy Seed Guy all the way down a dungeon ramp (which is in fact a way from Black Fire Pass to the Badlands). Again, it’s not much to test by, but it certainly felt like Ysh was doing better than before. Damage felt good, and the amount of damage I was taking felt about right; meaning it was more than I would like to take, because I actually have nothing against being godlike versus my puny little foes, but still felt about right for a squishy class using her armour-boost stance. I was taking down 2 levels higher than me with ease, which isn’t something I’d have said before the career change… though since I also changed to Assault spec at about the same time, it’s hard to say what’s having the most influence there. I’ll get back to you when (if) I hit 40 and spec back to Scout.

As an aside regarding combat, the new cooldown animation is — still! — just a little TOO glitzy; I feel I should be able to notice it without having my eye drawn to it involuntarily, but it’s better.

The patch did reset a bunch of things, like chat text colours, separate chat windows, font sizes and other chatty stuff, but given the number of changes they made to the system that’s not too surprising. It wasn’t all that difficult to get set up again, and I’m glad they finally brought WAR-chat into this century.

Another thing it did, which presumably wasn’t intentional (hee!) is to make some mounts attackable. There were a bunch of apparently abandoned, apparently aggro attackable horses in Altdorf this morning — maybe they’re pissed off at being dumped in the middle of the street and not in some cozy stable.

Hrm, what else. Like I said, I wasn’t on for very long. I did tool around Black Fire Pass looking for the “easy” chapter 12 Dwarf PQ, but couldn’t find it (not that I looked too hard). I *did* notice that the PQs now have indicators on them — like “Normal” or “Hard” — when you enter the PQ area, and if you mouse over one of the PQ-chest icons on the map, it’ll give you that info as well. Downside is, not all PQs have such chests on the map — Grimbeard Station is certainly marked on the BFP map, but it doesn’t have a mouseable PQ-chest icon, and neither does the Moonfang PQ not too far down the road. EDIT — oops, RTFPatchnotes… EasyPQs are only implemented in Tier 1 at the moment. Ahem — I knew that!

Still, they’re trying, and even if it’s two steps forward and one step back, I at least appreciate the effort. I never used to be as arsy about games being perfect as I became in the last few years, and I’m trying to abandon that ‘tude. MMOs are evolving entities and as long as there’s at least a willingness to eventually get it right, I’ll put up with some backstepping (though promises will only take you so far even with me).

Hope springs eternal

Because I started my MMO career with Asheron’s Call, which had monthly content and fix patches, I’ve always been a sucker for a good patch. The recent 1.0.6 patch broke a few things it was supposed to fix, but since that’s always the case with patches I wasn’t too worried. The day I see a patch implemented with absolutely NO follow-up hotfixing and “server maintenance,” I’m heading down to my bunker to wait out Armageddon. It already makes me nervous enough that Mythic almost always comes in under their Server-Up ETA. (Tangent — it makes me wonder why nobody else, ever, seems to have figured out that giving a 4 hour ETA when you think your stuff will take 2 hours is only sensible. SOE could learn a thing or 12 from that.)

Hot on the heels of 1.0.6, Mythic have released details of the much-awaited 1.1 patch. They’re long, and I think I’m only allowed one RSS-reader exploding post per week, so I won’t quote them here, especially since they’re not actually live yet and things may change between now and the rollout to live.

Aside from silly little things like working better, trio-PQs, gold bag reviews, contribution reviews, and a general cornucopia of tasty improvements, here’s what jumped out at me:

Guild heraldry settings and choosing to hide your helm or cloak will now save upon zoning or re-logging.

And choirs of angels sang. Now, one thing I never say (I think) is “Why the fart haven’t they fixed this already, it should be eeeeasy!” because what seems easy to fix usually turns out to be a major bitch, and what seems really convoluted can be a matter of moments to sort out. Besides, I’m no code-monkey, I have no idea how easy something may or may not be, and I’m not dealing with millions of lines of code. Tell me something is easy if you could do it yourself and kave 100% accurate knowledge of what’s involved. Otherwise, stfu with the “it’s easy” crap. Uh, yeah, tangent off.

Anyway, the cloak/helm thing was apparently in the “it’s a bitch” category so, if this fix works, I will be very, very grateful. Like I said, it’s the little things, and that was one of the major little things — to the extent that I’d actually considered taking both helm and cloak off, but even I am not quite that distanced from my characters’ material, stat-enhancing possessions.

They’re putting in fixes for a number of other niggles I had, like time-stamping turning itself off every time I zoned or logged, bringing back guild notes (yeeha! let’s hope they don’t break the game this time around!), flashing chat tabs, and shorter game-exit times to desktop.

I’m so full of anticipatory patchy goodness I don’t think I’ll need to eat for a week.

Now, if I could figure out how to have a poll and text in one of these posts, I’d start a Patch Day Pool. My guess is December 18th, long enough to test it a little but short enough to bring out the new classes AND catch the Christmas playtime. What’s your guess? There may be a prize… or there may not.