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BioWare Mythic
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 09/18/08)  | Pub:Electronic Arts
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Warhammer: Patch 1.2 Notes, Info and Commentary

Mythic Entertainment has released a super-sized batch of patch notes for the upcoming 1.2 update. MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood takes a look at some of the changes and offers some opinions.

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Last night, Mythic revealed their full patch notes for the upcoming 1.2 update to Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, and boy are they extensive

As usual, we’ll start by taking a look at their general announcement and then we’ll talk a little bit about some of the stuff going in. The announcement itself is a severely truncated version of the full 55 pages of patch notes. In this article, I’m going to take a look at some of what I consider to be the highlights of the patch and what they mean to the game. You shouldn’t consider it a full overview, but rather a taste of information and commentary.

So, if you’re one of those people who would just rather pur through notes upon notes than hear my opinion, here’s the link and enjoy

Hopefully a few of you are still out there reading, so I’ll start by taking a look at the announcement from Executive producer Jeff Hickman:

Well here it is; The Public Test Patch Notes for Game Update 1.2. Many hours of blood, sweat and tears went into these notes, and it shows. From the sheer size (over 55 pages ) to the numerous improvements being implemented, it's all been a labor of love (or was that WAAAGH ). In the notes below you'll see over 500 bug fixes, 10 plus pages of career balancing, numerous RvR improvements, UI improvements, continued building on our success with improving performance and server stability and a considerable review of our dungeon loot itemization. While these notes are still technically a work in progress they represent the majority of the changes that will be implemented with Game Update 1.2. Please keep in mind, these notes are for the public test server and can change periodically throughout the Public Testing Process.

As always, thank you to our Players for their continued support.

Jeff Hickman
Executive Producer
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.

Highlights

  • New Careers Unleash the savage fury of the relentless Orc Choppa, or take up the doom-laden oath of the unstoppable Dwarf Slayer. These two new melee-focused careers relish the thrill of fighting on the front lines and laying waste to all foes that come within reach of their mighty blades.
  • Bitter Rivals join the battle Introducing the newest live event for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Bitter Rivals focuses on the ancient hatred that burns between the Dwarf and greenskin races. Millennia of conflict in the Worlds Edge Mountains have honed the enmity that exists between the Orcs and Goblins and the stout Dwarfs to a razor-sharp edge, and when these nemeses meet in battle, it is war without mercy.
  • Fight for control of the warped Twisting Tower The battle rages in this new Tier 4 Scenario found deep in the heart of the maddening Chaos Wastes. Here, the warping power of Chaos is at its peak, transforming the very fabric of reality in defiance of all reason. Warriors of Order and Destruction must grapple for control of this ancient citadel, for if the secrets of the Twisting Tower should fall into enemy hands, the tide of battle will surely turn. Like the Reikland Factory, the Twisting Tower will be available for all players for a limited time as a preview to accompany the Bitter Rivals event. Be sure to stake your claim to the Twisting Tower while you can
  • Answer the Call to Arms with new Realm vs. Realm gameplay enhancements Introducing the new Open RvR Rallying Cry system that summons you to key battles for Tiers 1 and 2. The new Zone Control Domination System for Tiers 2 through 4 rewards a realm that truly conquers the battlefield. Also, many improvements to siege weapons ensure that the mighty engines of war are now more lethally effective than ever. See below for additional details.
  • New treasures await Across-the-board itemization improvements have been made to the Fortresses, world dungeons, and city dungeons of WAR, including better world drops, quest rewards, Influence rewards, and more
  • Crafting System Improvements We've made many improvements to the game's crafting system, including pairing-off specific gathering skills with specific production skills in order to make crafters more self-sufficient. Also, the leveling curve of trade skills has been improved and fewer components are required to create items. Last, but certainly not least, is the addition of new craftable items
  • Easy Public Quests make their debut in Tiers 2, 3, and 4. Scaled for courageous bands of 1 to 3 adventurers, these Public Quests offer a rewarding PvE experience without a large commitment of forces. You'll find one Easy Public Quest in each Chapter, so gather a few friends, or venture out alone... if you dare
  • Multiple mail attachments Now you can send several attached items with a single mail message.
  • Two new secret lairs await Finding the new hidden lairs is only half the battle. Figuring out how to open the door - and surviving the dangers inside - is another matter, entirely

Warhammer Online Screenshot

I have to say that a lot of this is encouraging. Aside from the things that we already knew about (new event, new careers, new scenario, etc.) there are some pleasant surprises in there as well. The crafting system has needed an overhaul for a while, according to some players, while the “Easy” Public Quests that have been so popular with players since their implementation in Tier 1 have been spread out across the teirs, allowing small groups and even solo players the opportunity to complete some Pqs, and on a personal note, it’s nice to see the mail system getting a little bit of love. I know the whole multiple attachments thing put me off of the system early on. It’s nice to know I can go back and get my business done without wasting my time.

Now, commentary on the highlights alone wouldn’t do these patch notes full justice, as I mentioned before, and Jeff Hikcman mentioned in his message, there are 55 pages of notes and there are some that, as a WAR player, I just can’t help but comment on a little bit.

Mounts

They’re finally adding in some new mounts. This is one of those complaints that I heard a surprising amount given that they play such a small role in the mechanics of the game (mount make toon go fast... wheeee). Still, as soon as you’ve spent a little bit of time with a few 20+ level high elves, you really get tired of looking at the same old horse over and over.

In 1.2 Mythic plans to introduce two new mount variants for each race (no idea what qualifies as a variant). They’re also bringing in new guild-only mount variants that should make for a more diverse level 20+ visual landscape.

Quests and Public Quests

The travel directions given for many quests were revised to be more accurate and clear.

Now, there are some who would say that this is a small change, but this is another complaint that I’ve heard a lot of, especially from my non-MMO playing friends who have tried the game. While the giant red blobs of navigation get the job done, some of the quest text has been murky and confusing. Glad to see this being looked at.

General

The list of “General Changes and Bug Fixes” made me very happy, and I think that everyone should check them out in full, but I wanted to concentrate a little bit on just a few of the changes that should do the game some real good:

Sometimes when players died, they would appear to others to be sliding around on the ground after respawning. This issue has been fixed.

This has been one of the sticking points for me in the game. Nothing breaks immersion quite like watching what appeared to be a puddle of your friend sliding across the ground into combat with you. Would have been kinda a cool special for one of the Chaos careers though.

When instructed to attack a target on the other side of a closed door, pets will no longer run through the door.

This was the first bug that had me almost ready to quit the game. Annoyane is annoyance, but the number of people who have been exploiting this, especially in keep sieges and similar activities was bordering on absurd. Let’s hope this also means that pets can’t be placed in walls to shoot through, which is also an obnoxious exploit.

/ignore will persist properly between logins.

Whoo Hoo Smell ya later IbuyYourGold. Smell ya later, forever

When using flight masters, the flight cinematic will now be less wobbly for Destruction characters.

Nothing made you feel like a badass engine of destruction quite like the air-sickness inducing turbulence of trying to get from one Destro location to another... a welcome fix.

Monsters which flee from combat due to being at low hit points will now immediately begin moving at a slower speed.

Please oh please tell me that this applies to bosses in battlefield Objectives. There is little more annoying than the old retreat and self heal trick. If I’ve seen the last of this, I’ll be a happy warrior.

Balance

It looks like mythic intends to use patch 1.2 to make some pretty heavy balance tweaks. Now, before everyone runs off screaming nerf because something in their favorite class got tweaked, it might be a good idea to take a look at the whole spectrum of changes, Starting here:

Warhammer Online Screenshot

It would take far too long to comment on every single career’s balance points, but I did want to take a quick second to point out that there isn’t a single career that was untouched by some kind of balancing tweak. A lot of the tweaks seemed to have to do with the damage type of various attacks and careers that have been experiencing a lot of “thery’re way too powerful” complaints as of late, like the Witch Elf, for example, have a heck of a lot of the word “reduced” in their lists.

One thing that I would like to point out about Warhammer, and I do so only because this is a pet peeve of mine, is that there seems to be a thought that says balance should mean that any class should be able to go toe to toe against an equivalently leveled member of any other career. While this may be an ideal design for a standard PvP game, where the focus is on individual play, this isn’t the intent of the balance in WAR. WAR, being an RvR game, concerns itself more with the overall balance of its two factions than with one on one combat ability. Turns out RvR actually IS different from PvP... who knew?

Also, check out the same area for specific bug fixes and such for each career.

User Interface

The Open Party button has finally severed its ties to the player portrait and moved to the Menu Bar. This new Parties and Warbands window now has all information about Open Parties and Party Management, as well as the new Looking for Group system. The window is divided into 3 tabs:

The Nearby Tab:

This is the current Open Parties window with the added functionality of displaying players' relationships to you. Icons denote if a player is a Guildmate, an Alliance Member, on your friend list, or on your ignore list.

The World Tab:

This is the new Looking for Group / Looking for More system. This tab allows parties and warbands to specifically set the activities they are interested in doing. Players or parties can use those same interests to search for other players or parties interested in doing the same things. Interests are selectable and sortable by Tiers, Zones, PQs, Dungeons, Scenarios, and PvE. Players can be as specific or general as they like when selecting their interests. Want to do anything in Tier 4? Then just select Tier 4. Want to do any one of four specific dungeons? Then select those dungeons, and let the party finding commence /lfg and /lfm will also bring up this tab.

The Manage tab:

All information and settings relating to parties and warbands now live in this one handy tab. Set all the looting permissions, form a warband, set a master looter, move your warband members around, and more. No more hunting in context menus; just open the Parties and Warbands window. Right-clicking on a player portrait and choosing party options will also bring up this tab.

These changes only get the “make Jon happy” seal of approval if you can use it while grouped. Currently, when my friend and I are grouped up, I acn’t find out if there’s a warband in RvR we might want to hook up with. It’s annoying and easily fixed. I hope this migration to the Menu Bar provides me with that little gem of functionality.

General

Renown gained from capturing zones, Keeps, and Battlefield Objectives will now state where the Renown came from.

Anything that makes this sytem more transparent is aces in my book.

UI elements are now set up to load on demand, decreasing RAM usage.

Horray I use Vista, so anything that saves on RAM is a plus

  • * Chapter Hubs will now always be displayed on the map even if the Tome of Knowledge Unlock for the Chapter hasn't been unlocked yet.
  • Warcamps will now always be displayed on the map even if the Tome of Knowledge Unlock for the warcamp hasn't been unlocked yet
  • Public Quests will now always be displayed on the map even if the Tome of Knowledge Unlock for the Public Quest hasn't been unlocked yet.

This is another of those small, but much-needed additions to the game, especially the warcamp display. One of the most frequent messages that I see appear in chat is “Where is the flight master”, or some variant. This should help to keep the game moving for players who want to play a Dwarf without spending too much time in the Dwarf zone.

Fixed circumstances in which players were able to join Channel 0 and see enemy realm chat.

While hilarious, this particular bug was nothing but trouble.

Wrap-up

Well, that just about does it for my input into this crazy book-sized documents Mythic likes to call patch notes. As I said before, the changes and fixes that I have mentioned here only scratch the surface and I am certain that, as hard as it is to believe, some people will be interested in different things than I am, so I highly recommend checking out the whole document (or pieces you care about) here.

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