Heals? I’d rather heal yo momma!

I always like a good rant, especially when they’re not my own, and Regis’ over at Wizards and Wenches is rather fun… and has a picture of Hugh Lawrie, which is instant-win for me. Add in Sean Connery and I’d have been drooling too much to read.

Rant aside, one thing stuck with me from the end of Regis’ post. It’s something most of us already know but don’t practice nearly enough, partly because MMO culture is a smart-ass, smart-aleck, sarcasm > kindness culture. The truth, however, remains: you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

General, randomly-generated negative comments like “Y duz order alws suk?” and “healplz. heal me. HEAL ME!!!!! I’m right here!!!” and “Healers/tanks/dps suck!” go in one ear and out the other. I’m barely tempted to respond to them anymore, when a couple of years ago I’d probably have read them a lecture, which would help not one bit since most complainers are also terminally monosyllabic.

“Great healing, RandomHealer!” and “GG everyone!” on the other hand — those do stick in my mind. I may not remember exactly who said them (I am heavily name-challenged, even in RL), but I do remember that they were said. Happy shiny comments > rapier like sarcasm, especially when what you think is a rapier is actually a bordering-on-the-mouldy cucumber (bring your own innuendo). I’ve sent people tells during or after scenarios, telling them they did great or thanking them for the healing or whatever it was they did that made them stand out, and in every single case people have responded — usually with surprise, but after that with pleasure. Will R Lee Ermey-style abuse make them better next time? I doubt it. Positive reinforcement, however, is well known to work rather well. I wonder what I can use as a clicker in WAR?

Quick tangent: in one of the Nordenwatch scenarios I played with my WL yesterday, one R1 witch hunter (hi Bluejay of Averheim!) piped up at the beginning to say he was likely to be very confused and dead a lot. Several people told him he’d be okay and that confusion in scenarios (especially at level 1!) is only to be expected. As it turned out, Bluejay was R2 by the end of it and didn’t do half badly.

Couple praise with Orlock’s short but to the point article on aggression in scenarios, and I think we have a winning recipe. Orlock’s post is actually one of those AHA! type reads — something I’d noticed for myself but never really articulated, except to say “Fortune favours the brave” which is all very nice and literary (yay degree!) but far less inspiring than “CHAAAAAAAAAARGE!” Destruction always charge — actually, the rare occasions when they don’t are the ones that almost inevitably end in Order victories… and vice versa.

Regardless of who’s doing the charging, it’s something I’ve observed a lot in WAR: the meek don’t inherit scenarios. The pace of scenarios is too frenetic to allow for much watching from the sidelines, certainly when everyone on a given team does it. Caution and positioning are one thing, but when nobody is willing to charge unto that breach, caution turns to rout.

So — try to say something nice! And then CHARGE!

Practice makes perfect(er)

Scenarios in Warhammer Online are a new thing to me. People keep comparing them to WoW’s battlegrounds but I thought those last longer? Anyway.

I have hated every scenario I’ve done in WAR, which is… five to date. Three Tier1 scenarios and a couple of the T4 scenarios back in the beta template days. The reason I’ve hated them is because I sucked at them; it’s amazing how understanding something and being more familiar with it can improve your opinion of said thing.

I had to do Khaine’s Embrace probably 15 times before I ever saw my side (Order OR Destruction) win. Yeah, I felt like a jinx. Fact that I kept trying it on level 2-5 chars didn’t help, either, though I wasn’t aware of that to begin with.

I spent most of those “failed” scenarios tearing my hair out and castigating myself for being a crap player and, therefore, a crap person. The player thing is no doubt true — in WAR as with many other games, knowing the ins and outs of the class you’re playing is pretty important, and I’m a slow learner. The person thing is just my wounded pride. Several times I said “Screw you guys! I’m going home! No more scenarios for me! I will ONLY do the PvE stuff in WAR! So there!”

And then, shockingly enough, I *did* start learning. I also died a little more slowly as my million alts levelled up, which gave me a bit more time to look around, see the sights, figure out tactics, and see how other folks needed to play their classes to be most effective, and how I could help. Khaine’s Embrace became a lot more fun when I learned to RUN!! and then even more fun when I learned to hold our flag. Rule #1 of T1 Scenarios: don’t give up your flag. Now I do scenarios for a bit of light relief from hot’n’heavy PQs. No, really.

Oh yes, chase and cutting to. I went from hating to loving Khaine’s Embrace (or Khaine’s Kablooie), and Nordenwatch was never particularly hateful apart from all that slogging through damp sand. Gates of Ekrund, however, the dwarven T1 scenario, I swore I would never like, nor even remotely tolerate.

That’s because the first 6 times I did it, I died horribly, along with everyone else on the Order side. I’d have been among those bleating that Destro owns all, those bastards with their OP DoKs and Chosen and waaaah! (or WAAAGH!) — except that I’ve played Destro lowbies and I’ve seen all that whining in reverse. Just use Bright Wizard and Warrior Priest instead.

Yesterday, Mortigui and Amariel ventured into Gates of Ekrund for the first time since we started playing “for real,” because we’re being completist (on which subject, remind me to tell you about Engine Number Nine one of these days). We wanted to do all three T1 scenarios before leveling out of their reach.

And it went well! We ran it three times in the end. Won two, lost one. All went to 500 for the winning side, but the losing side had 200+ so it wasn’t a wipeout. As usual, getting to know a scenario helps — for which, not dying 50′ from the respawn point and being able to take a few hits also helps. Once you know the lay of the land, you can start working out tactics around flags. Once you have that down, you can start thinking about stealing the other side’s flags.

Practice really does help. So if you’re dying and dying and having a horrible time in scenarios, here’s some free advice, so it’s worth what you paid for it.

1) If it’s really that horrid, wait a few levels. Don’t rush into scenarios at Rank2 — nothing says you have to go in before rank5, or 8, or 10 or whatever is comfortable for you. 12, however, is too high.

2) Don’t think you’ll perform perfectly the first time you do a given scenario. The guys who designed these did a pretty clever job. Terrain irritations are intentional. You really DO get better the more times you do these. If you’re perfect already, bugger off. We don’t like your inhuman kind here.

3) Ya win some, ya lose some. If I, hater of all things PvP and hater-even-more of all things corpse related, am learning to take death with a laugh, so can you.

Good luck!