It's The Little Things That Count - 6.25.2008

I'd like to bring up two "little" things that I believe are vital in an MMORPG. This is just my opinion of what's "vital" in an MMORPG because some people may not look at "exploration" as an important part of a game as much as I do. The two things are (1) holiday events and (2) weather effects.

Being totally honest, some of the most fun I have in World of Warcraft is during holiday events. For example, going on right now in the game is the Midsummer Fire Festival. The Festival begins on the summer solstice and runs for two weeks. The Festival is one of the very few WoW holidays that are not based off of real world holidays. Other holiday events such as Hallow's End, Love is in the Air, The Feast of Winter Veil, Noblegarden, etc. are all based off of holidays that we celebrate in the real world. So, when do I bring WAR into this? Right now. In order for there not to be war all the time in WAR and give the player's a break from all the fighting at some times, Mythic would be smart to introduce fun and INTERACTIVE holidays to the game. We know that they will have holidays in WAR because I'm told that it was listed as a major feature on their website ages ago, but will they be fun? I'm gunna go with yes - especially if it's listed as a MAJOR feature. What exactly is "fun" in a holiday event though? "Fun" is dropping stink bombs on the opposing faction's villiage like during Hallow's End in WoW. "Fun" is traveling to the snowy mountains of Alterac to retrieve stolen treats from the Greench like during The Feast of Winter Veil in WoW. You see what I'm getting at? It's the small, interactive, and FUN things like this that make me play a game.

Next, I'd like to discuss weather effects. It seems like weather effects in MMOs ALWAYS look good. It doesn't matter what game we're talking about, they just always seems to look good. In WoW, for example, the rain, snow, lightning, fog, etc. always looks very nice. The problem is that it doesn't happen enough. Very rarely do I ever encounter weather effects in WoW. They just must not occur that often, or something. To add to the rarity of weather effects, good luck finding a zone in WoW that actually has them. It's REALLY bad looking for weather effects in Outland. Zangarmarsh, where it sometimes rains, is the only zone introduced in the Burning Crusade expansion that had weather effects. Only one capital city in the game experiences weather effects: Thunder Bluff rarely has rain. And, only four instance in the game experience weather effects: Stratholme, Zul'Gurub, Scarlet Monastery, and Ahn'Qiraj. I just wish that I was able to experience the great effects that Blizzard has implemented a little more. Now, this is something that Mythic can take and improve upon - and I really hope that they do. Who doesn't wanna be running through a jungle in pouring rain or fighting an epic RvR battle during a bad lightning storm?! All that would do is add to the epicness of the game and Mythic would be stupid not to implement it. I found the following on the WAR website where Mythic addressed weather effects in a Q&A.

'Q: Will we see weather effects in Warhammer Online? And if so, will they have any impact on pvp, such as rain/snow/fog decreases morale, strength, ranged aim, etc.?

A: One more from Steve, and then we'll leave him alone: "If we have such effects, they will have no effect on gameplay, primarily because if we do have them, we will almost certainly have to allow them to be turned off for performance reasons. Invisible unknowable debuffs suck."'

The second part of the answer is understandable. Most games with weather effects do not allow it to affect gameplay and they also allow turn off/on options via sliders. However, what worries me is the first part of the answer. "IF" you have such effects? No, it's not "IF", it had better be "WE WILL" by release.

So, those are just two "small" things that I actually do look for in MMORPGs, and I hope to see them both in WAR.

-Matt Graham

X-Play Extended Interview - 6.24.2008

Three days ago, I posted the G4 X-Play WAR interview with Paul and Jeff. Today, I'm posting the seven and a half minute extended interview. Once again, there is really nothing new, but it is actually quite interesting/entertaining. Not that I wasn't already, but I'm officially convinced that Paul Barnett is the most exciting game designer - ever. Sorry Jeffy K, you're awesome, but Paul is awesome-er.

-Matt Graham

My Career Intentions - 6.23.2008

My main intention is to play a Squig Herder. I've always loved ranged classes in MMOs - the large damage output and the minimal damage input. Ranged classes are the "backseat leaders" in PvE and PvP. Now, why a Squig Herder? It's quite simple actually. I hate casters. I intend to play Destruction and the only non-caster ranged class is the Squig Herder. However, that's not the only reason. There's the humor factor too. I always thought that the idea of playing the "small guy" in an MMO while kicking ass is incredibly fun; my main character in WoW is a Gnome Rogue. That's not the only hilarious thing about Squig Herders. Who wouldn't wanna command packs of little red blobs with teeth?! I just love playing a character that isn't taken seriously and then suddenly pwns your ass! The Squig Herder is not the only class that intrigues me, however.

I love PvE in MMOs, but who doesn't? It's the basic foundation of most MMOs. The worry is that Squig Herders won't be viable and always needed in PvE. So, it's probably a good thing that I enjoy healing and support. My other main character in WoW is a Dwarf Paladin. This is where the Disciple of Khaine and the Goblin Shaman come in. Both classes interest me, but not as much as the Squig Herder.

If in beta, I see that the Squig Herder is in fact useful in PvE, I'll probably stick with that. Then, I don't see why I couldn't have a good DoK or Shaman alt.

-Matt Graham

I Caved... - 6.22.2008

I'm making this post at around 11:30 PM EST to get my one post for the day in. :p

I caved. I didn't wanna do it at first, but I did. I didn't wanna spend $86.98 on one single game, but I did.

Today, I pre-ordered the collector's edition for Warhammer Online. Why? Well, to be honest, it's mostly for the guaranteed open beta access and the head start in the live release. Although, the MANY other things in the CE aren't bad either: more "heads" to choose from, extra titles, special items, etc. Being totally honest here, it's probably one of the better collector's editions for a game that I've seen - and surprisingly one of the cheaper ones! In the end, I don't think I'll be disappointed. Of course, that's just optimism and hope there because there is no information out about the game that we weren't told about only by EA, but I have faith.

*crosses fingers*

-Matt Graham

"It's fantasy with all the crap bits taken out." - 6.21.2008

I'm not really a fan of G4 after all the major changes they made to the station a few years ago, but I made it a point to watch the WAR interview with Jeff and Paul on X-Play at 8:00 EST last night (Morgan Webb is a bonus) - and, of course, I forgot about it. However, thanks to Keen and Graev, I was able to see it. I knew it wouldn't be too long before it showed up on the net.

It's a very basic interview. There is nothing really new to see, but the gameplay footage in the video does look very nice. And as always, Paul makes some funny comments. The video is below. Enjoy!

-Matt Graham

New WAR Preview at IGN - 6.20.2008

A new hands-on preview for WAR was posted on IGN just a little while ago! The preview isn't amazing or terribly in-depth, rather, it's pretty basic, but it does help me to believe that this game will be great. I couldn't help but chuckle when I read the following from the article:

"If a developer's confidence equated directly to the excellence of a video game, then Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning would easily be one of the best MMOs ever made. There are very few developers as confident or as colorful as EA Mythic's Paul Barnett."

I think I'm officially a Paul Barnett fanboy.

Anyways, the preview would, of course, not be complete without videos to go along with it - FIVE videos that is. All five of the new videos are fresh and informative - I'll include one below on this post. Enjoy.

-Matt Graham

An [Epic] Beginning: Part Deux - 6.20.2008

Bloghammer Online. It is just one of my many ideas, but one of the few ideas of mine to become something. My most successful idea became World of Blogcraft, a WoW blog that's been running since October 13, 2006 - that's Friday the 13th by the way, ironic, isn't it? With Blogcraft, I promised to bring the WoW community news, opinions, and general awesome about the game, and I fulfilled that promise - still am. I intend to do the same with Bloghammer.

I announced Bloghammer on Blogcraft earlier, stating that WAR is my new obsession.

"Yes, my new obsession for WAR is true. It's kind of a weird situation though because the game isn't even out yet. I know that WoW won't be dying anytime soon, so I'll always have something to write about here on Blogcraft, but if Paul Barnett and the rest of EA Mythic end up screwing up, Bloghammer is out of commission. However, I'm gunna roll the dice on this one. I've never felt so good about a game before (besides WoW and it's expansions), so I really do think that this game will find its place in the always growing MMO world."
I also talked about my "predictions" for WAR.

"A perfect world (for players, definitely not developers) would be where WoW and WAR can coexist with 10 million subscribers each - at least for me anyways - but I think that's out of the question. There seems to be only room for one dominating MMO and I don't doubt that it'll be WoW for many years to come. My hope is that, well, WAR is a good game, but also that WAR can maintain a healthy population of committed players."

So anyways, stick around and see what I'm all about. I really hope you enjoy reading the blog as much as I enjoy producing it.

-Matt Graham