Author Archive for

29
Oct
08

hammer time

Insider tips to master the Warhammer: Age of Reckoning MMO

 

 

This Week: Rank Milestones

 

An elite influence reward is a good thing in WAR, a piece of legendary armor, even better. We’re all looking to gear up our toons to godlike level so that the next time we run into some innocent joe scratching his head out in the middle of the RvR zone he’ll look like a heap of paste even a squig wouldn’t touch. There’s certainly a lot to look forward to in WAR, but what about those milestones everyone gets just by ranking up? Here are our faves…

 

EXPERIENCE RANK 10: New Bag

How many times have you gone out questing, only to have to return prematurely because your dang bag is full up again? You can’t carry much as a rookie…just 32 slots. There is hope, though. At Rank 10, you get a new 16-slot bag, vastly improving your carrying capacity, and you get others every 10 ranks. It’s worth leveling up just to gain the luggage and the peace of mind knowing you won’t be leaving sparkling corpses out on the battlefield anymore.

 

EXPERIENCE RANK 20: Mounts

Once you hit Rank 20, your life gets much easier, as you can now buy a mount! With a mount you can’t use any spells or abilities, but you travel 50 percent faster, which makes getting around much easier. You buy them in the capital cities, right across from the flight master in the Inevitable City, and to the very south by the guild registrar in Altdorf.

 

EXPERIENCE RANK 30: Tactics Slot

Actually, you get Tactics slots every 10 ranks, but by Rank 30 you’ve got a kickin’ array that will allow you to customize abilities for many different situations. You can also unlock a Tome Tactics slot and a Guild Tactics slot along the way.

 

EXPERIENCE RANK 40: Your Ultimate Morale Ability

You should be celebrating that you’ve attained the top rank in WAR! Still, you’ll probably have a lot of prime abilities when you hit 40, and the best may just be your Rank 4 Morale ability. In those long battles where you can build up a ton of Morale, this ability will dramatically turn the tides. It’s rare that it will go off, but when it does, look out!

 

14
Oct
08

hammer time

Insider tips to master the Warhammer: Age of Reckoning MMO

 

 

This Week: 5 Time-Savers Beginners Need to Know

 

In WAR, there are battles to win and a world to conquer, but first you have to know how to tie your boots and strap on a sword. With so many choices, what kind of sword should you use, or would a mace be so much better? Take the following 5 tips to heart when starting up your first few characters and you’ll shave hours off your learning curve.

 

1. IT’S ALL IN THE DPS

Sword, mace, dagger–it really doesn’t matter so long as you consider two points. One, can your career use that weapon? If you can’t use something, the requirements will display in red, so no need agonizing over that weapon type. Two, what is the weapon’s DPS (damage per second)? DPS is a great little stat that helps you figure out how powerful a weapon is at a glance. Generally, the higher the DPS, the more likely you’ll want to use it. Of course, you’ll want to consider other bonuses on a weapon, especially if you aren’t a melee class, though all things equal, higher DPS wins.

 

2. CAREER DECISION

In your starting town, career trainers are the ones that grant you your new core abilities. Don’t leave home without them! It’s tempting to keep going out in the wilderness, completing quest after quest; however, after you rank up, you should always return back to home base, seek out the career trainer and learn your new abilities. Each ability increases your power significantly, especially at early ranks, so you’re just handicapping yourself if you skip them. In a close skirmish where your foe narrowly defeats you, that new ability could have saved the day.

 

3. WE NEED A CRASH CART IN HERE, STAT!

Your stats are your lifeblood. Learn them well to beef up your character and avoid dying repeatedly. Remember, not all stats are created equal for your career. A Bright Wizard, for example, will want to increase Intelligence at all costs to maximize spell efficiency, while a Black Orc would never bother with that rubbish. Study your stats before you start heavily adventuring because, with each piece of magical equipment that drops, you’ll need to make a decision on whether it’s an upgrade or not to your current gear based primarily on the stat bonuses.

 

4. MAP HAPPY

I’m sure you know you need maps to navigate around the world, but did you know in WAR they’re an integral part of questing? From the first quest that you accept, your main map (the “M” shortcut on your keyboard) circles your quest areas in red. If the quest lies outside the zone, you’ll see a big red arrow pointing you in the correct direction (it’s then circled in the new zone for you). Gather as many quests as you can and then click open your zone map. Most likely they’ll be at least an area or two with more than one circle indicating overlapping quest areas, or if you scroll your mouse pointer into a circle, you may see multiple quests in the same circled area. Now while you’re out and about you can complete several quests in the same area and save time on running back and forth. As an added neat little effect, your mini-map (top right of your screen) also displays the red quest circles so you don’t have to even go to the main map if you don’t want to bother.

 

5. FLY, BE FREE

Walking is slow going. Running, only a bit better. Once you get through your first few ranks, make your way out to your local warcamp. These areas are controlled by your faction on the outskirts of the zone’s RvR (realm vs. realm) area, where the action against enemy players takes place. Besides things like renown trainers and siege weapons, each warcamp holds a flightmaster. For a nominal fee, a flightmaster will fly you to a new, friendly zone. Travel time turns from hours into seconds, and you don’t have to worry about hoofing it through dangerous foreign territory. Always check the flightmaster for travel options to see if one of your upcoming destinations is a gyrocopter away.

01
Oct
08

Hammer Time

Insider tips to master the Warhammer: Age of Reckoning MMO

This Week: Public Quests
Public quests are one of those brilliant ideas that make you wonder how it’s possible that they weren’t part of the first decade of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs). But have no fear, PQs are now part of the everyday landscape of WAR, and we’re all reaping the enjoyment.

If you haven’t played Warhammer Online yet, PQs are ever-present quests in particular locations of the world that open up to you as soon as you enter the area. Think of them as “community quests,” where you participate with everyone else around you without having to track down the storyline from a quest giver. You gain special influence just from taking part in PQs, and that influence gets traded in for some of the better gear in the game.

Each race chapter you play through contains public quests local to that area, usually just a creepy forest or burning windmill away. Everyone has preferences for their characters–you might want to focus on scenarios for renown rep or build up experience for your guild–but you usually want to target the PQs in your area first. Grind them till you have enough influence to max out your rewards, then head out for more quests or a little RvR action. Not only does this help supplement your questing experience gain, but it gives you access to a critical piece of armor or weaponry much earlier than you would receive it with a normal experience progression.

Don’t forget that you can grind public quests even without others in the area. Of course, you gain the most exp (and fun!) from grouping with others to complete the PQs; however, in those off-peak times when you just have to pile on some influence, head out to your local PQ anyway. Public quests are generally divided into three stages: 1) Soloable content, such as slaying 50 critters; 2) Party content, where you usually have to fight off champion-level bad guys; 3) Raid content, or a big boss who’ll stomp all over single characters and smaller groups. If you’re the only one in the PQ, you can clean up on the first phase and complete all the requirements for big influence. You can even attempt the second phase, so long as you dodge the tougher opponents and complete some of the other objectives (possibly destroying objects or rescuing NPCs). Forget the third phase–you have no prayer. Exit the PQ during the third stage and go do something else for 10 minutes. All PQs reset after a certain amount of time, and you can repeat your influence-farming ways until you master that chapter.

02
Jul
08

loreology: wights

If you’ve got a memory like an elephant, the old saying goes, then your noggin’s in good shape. Mine, when challenged under the gun, tends to shoot blanks. I’m a research kind of guy, not a living, breathing almanac…. Each week “Loreology” will unravel the mysteries behind something in gaming that I may have known once and completely forgot, or something that I should probably know and cram up into my nearly full brain cavity.

 

 

This Week: The Wight Stuff

 

I never knew if these guys sported a rib cage like some skeletal graveyard reject, wavered insubstantial like the spirits of the past or looked like something else strange and unearthly. What were wights? I remembered that barrow-wights from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” were corpses with corrupt souls that bound them to the world to continue with their evil deeds, and wights in the D&D Monster Manual had this vicious power to drain the life essence out of their victims and turn them into fellow wights.

 

Turns out the word wight comes from Middle English and means “living being” or “creature.” Perfectly generic to confuse us even further. A wight can also label a being from one of the Nine Worlds in Norse mythology, especially a nature spirit or ancestor. The English Channel’s famous Isle of Wight, by the way, has nothing to do with our creature wights, though that would be a crazily disturbing sight if it did, like something straight out of 28 Days Later.

 

Wights are a fascinating part of fantasy history that aren’t as fleshed out (no pun intended) than some of their famous elven and faerie brethren. Dwarves, goblins, dragons have become canon in fantasy literature; not the wight. They’ve only shown up as bit players on the fantasy stage. And that’s probably the way they like it, left to their own horrible devices in secret lairs beneath the earth. It’s enough to make a Balrog envious.

18
Jun
08

loreology: the hydra

If you’ve got a memory like an elephant, the old saying goes, then your noggin’s in good shape. Mine, when challenged under the gun, tends to shoot blanks. I’m a research kind of guy, not a living, breathing almanac…. Each week “Loreology” will unravel the mysteries behind something in gaming that I may have known once and completely forgot, or something that I should probably know and cram up into my nearly full brain cavity.

 

 

This Week: Hercules’ Headache

 

Today I found myself playing two MMOs with similar names and the same, dangerous creature: the hydra. World of Warcraft, the current reigning champ in the online gaming arena, and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, an upcoming dynamic challenger, pit the multi-headed monster against you, though the hydra stamped me into the muck in WoW‘s Outlands mires and roared through elven mountains in Warhammer.

 

Most of us know the Greek myths of the hydra. The poison-breathing, multi-head-chomping beast guarded the entrance to the Underworld in some stories and fought Hercules as one of the Twelve Labors in others. It’s the offspring of Gaia, and the sibling to other impressive beasts like the Chimera and Cerberus. I didn’t know that the hydra is also a stellar constellation, a record label, a Transformer and one of the most sinister criminal syndicates in the Marvel Universe (okay, I did know that last one, comic geek that I am).

 

In some tales, if you cut the head off a hydra, it grows back–or even worse, it grows two to replace the one. Call it super regeneration, or, to tap into my comic geekness again, a super healing factor that only Wolverine can dream he had. Neither of the hydras I faced had a whiff of regeneration, and it’s a good thing or I’d still be hacking my way to salvation.

11
Jun
08

loreology: androids

If you’ve got a memory like an elephant, the old saying goes, then your noggin’s in good shape. Mine, when challenged under the gun, tends to shoot blanks. I’m a research kind of guy, not a living, breathing almanac…. Each week “Loreology” will unravel the mysteries behind something in gaming that I may have known once and completely forgot, or something that I should probably know and cram up into my nearly full brain cavity.

 

 

This Week: Metal Heads

 

You could be fooled, or just plain confused, by an android. Unlike robots, which are more mechanical in nature, androids are machines designed to look like humans. Remember the replicants from Blade Runner? They were never called “androids” in the movie, but the movie was based on the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Cyborgs are even further removed from androids; they actually wear a little flesh, as they’re part living tissue and part metal.

 

Now, on the off chance that you were down at the local police station and had to pick out the android amidst a motley mechanized crew, I think I’d ask for a metal detector. Forget what your eyes see. Cyborgs beep half the time, androids probably fall in the middle and robots set off that annoying, constant whine that makes the sound of an unattended boiling kettle seem as blissful as crashing waves.

 

The term android comes from the Greek “andr,” or “man/male,” and the suffix “eides,” or “of the species.” Back in 1270, Albertus Magnus, a Middle Ages priest famous for critical thought, first used the word. It also appears in 1863 U.S. patents to describe “miniature humanlike toy automatons.”

 

Star Wars droids are the most famous modern-day examples. The shortened android term makes sense to me–chrome domes like C-3PO come up short in the human likeness department. Ironically, androids show up in Isaac Asimov’s classic I, Robot, and they’ve been the stars of video games, such as Data in any “Next Gen” Trek game or various characters in the Phantasy Star series.

 

In the 21st century, several Japanese companies have built “real” androids–you know, ones with plastic, computer chips, metal gears, or whatever makes it tick, not just imagination. They say one of the newer androids can fool the unsuspecting, so we’re certainly getting closer to BSG Cylons.

 

04
Jun
08

loreology: dark elves

If you’ve got a memory like an elephant, the old saying goes, then your noggin’s in good shape. Mine, when challenged under the gun, tends to shoot blanks. I’m a research kind of guy, not a living, breathing almanac…. Each week “Loreology” will unravel the mysteries behind something in gaming that I may have known once and completely forgot, or something that I should probably know and cram up into my nearly full brain cavity.

This Week: In the Dark

Every time I mention Drizzt Do’Urden I have to look up how to spell his name. Of course I know who he is–most famous character in R.A. Salvatore’s “Dark Elf” books, butt-kicking Dungeons & Dragons character–but there are too many Zs and vowels in there for me to remember. As the most popular dark elf character in recent memory, you might have thought Drizzt single-handedly spawned an entire fantasy race of underground elves in all the books and games that came after. Not so, grasshopper.

Dark elves date back to Norse mythology. The Svartalfar, loosely translated as “black elves,” were subterranean creatures that worked the forges, and blacksmithing soot may have been the cause of their “black” skin color. The forges lined the lowest level of Yggdrasil, the World Tree. That’s pretty deep, and about as far removed from the popular concept of elves ruling above-ground forests. Actually, the original dark elves had more in common with dwarves.

When I think dark elves now, I tend to think vicious, cunning criminals. But maybe that’s just me and the fact that I’ve been skewered one too many times by drow in spider-infested dungeon corridors. Or maybe not. For those who are looking to explore the new Warhammer: Age of Reckoning online game (now in Beta and due out this fall), one of the game’s six major races, the dark elves, are master betrayers and slyer than corrupt politicians. They know how to manipulate magic and argue with a sword too.

About the only thing they don’t know how to do is spell “Do’Urden”…nor do they care.




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