Monday, December 6, 2010

Most excellent Ted...most excellent Bill!

Another great night in T3 under a T3 siege night runs by The Gaiscioch Family.  I started late on Saturday and quickly got into one of the two warbands we were hosting.  I was in a Dwarf then Elf zone lock.  Not much to say about those as most of Destro was in the other lands locking those down. 

Finally, we managed to get together in Empire.  Order arrived with Destro having Stoneclaw at four stars and our keep, Passwatch, at zero stars and the inner door under attack.  Foghlahda ran his warband to Passwatch, hitting Destro from behind and saved the keep with the inner door at 13%.  My warband stayed outside to start hitting BOs and gathering resourses.  We took the Tavern and Hallenfurt's Manor and held them the rest of the time.  We and Destro continued to pass Feiten's and Veretane's Tower back and forth. 

While we were doing this Destro continued to push Passwatch and the defenders there were unable to leave.  Order had the numbers so the resource carriers would NOT repair our doors like they would if we had AAO.  What generated was a rolling fight centered around the area between the Destro Warcamp, Tavern, Feiten's and Passwatch.  For over an hour the battle seesawed back and forth, with Destro unable to break the keep defense and our keep slowly ranking up.

When Passwatch hit Rank 4, my warband moved in to get a Ram and siege guns.  As I've said before, the need for siege guns is crucial.  We had a hard time getting there as Destro had a VERY effective two groups that camped on the hill in between their Warcamp and Tavern.   This is the flight path for Order's griffons and many of us were shot down as we flew or run down as we tried to run around them.  Finally, we got what we needed and took down the outer door.  We did this with only one warband as Destro was still pressing Passwatch and with the inner door at 13% we couldn't afford to let them get a ram down at all. 

We started pressing the inner door and Destro mounted a VERY tight defense.   In particular they had a a large group of Ranged DPS that came around the left side of Stoneclaw, it had six or several Squig Herders and almost that many Sorc with healing backup.  We were able to hold them off, but only because they were unable to push back without melee help.  Destro managed to kill the first ram and we had to wait almost ten minutes to get a ram through the Destro roving patrols.  Foghladha had brought over a fully vented group from his warband on keep defense to get the siege equipment through, the only reason we were able to proceed at all, afterward he would die and then get sent back to Passwatch.

We finally took the door down and quickly took the keep as there were few melee or tanks in the keep at all and in the keep itself the ranged DPS were unable to hold us back.  Overall, the hour plus we spent in Empire showed off the best in 1.4.  There were fights over the BOs and open fields, at the same time a viable keep assault was going on.  We won for two reasons, 1) we managed to have enough people to cover the keep and take BOs.  If we had fewer peoples we would have been bottled up in the keep and would have eventually been overrun.  2) Better coordination between Warbands.  Can't speak to this point enough.

Eventually, we won with the approximately 60/40 points split, but with a much higher amount than we received for flipping zones uncontested.  All in all, another great night for RvR

Friday, December 3, 2010

T2 fun and excitement

Finished another guild night, the T2 Seige Night run by the Gaiscioch Family.  We are all still figuring out the best way to hold and complete in 1.4, and last night was no different.  Personally, I feel that 1.4 has hurt the ability of a smaller force to hold out against the odds.  The inability of smaller warbands and groups to adequately defend keeps has led to the "round robin" effect in zones.  Order will push Empire, while Destro closes Dwarf.  They meet briefly in Elf until one side realizes they can't roll the other side...they then move onto the now unlocked zones in Empire and Dwarf.  I realize that this dynamic is most obvious in T2 and T3 due to the fact there are fewer places for Warbands to move to, as well as, the small delay from a fully locked down pairing to an unlocked pairing.

Right now the strategy is to ignore the enemy as much as possible while getting resources to your keep quickly.  Sounds obvious, but this does force a warband to split its forces which does provide the opportunity for a smaller defensive force to move in and grab BOs.  There is one dynamic that I believe needs fixed, however.  Right now if Order holds a BO (Kinshels), and we leave for a minute to cover the resource carrier and a Witch Elf comes in a grabs the flag.  We have three minutes to get back, kill the WE and recapture the BO, which now LOCKS the BO for a full five minutes.  What should happen is we get the BO back and its moved directly to the generating stage but the BO is still recapturable.  The only time a lockout timer should be engaged is when the other side takes is and HOLDS it for the required five minutes.

Now last night the Destro in Empire did show the validity of small group tactics that may hold some promise.  We had one full WB and a second with just over a group spread between three BOs (Kinshel's, Crypt and Morr).  We continued to hold the BOs, but what looked like a full WB of Destro floated in the middle taking out the Resource carriers and looting the remains.  For the twenty minutes they did this they were able to keep up with us in increasing their Keep's rank...even though they only held one BO.  Eventually, we got Mandred's Hold to four stars and pushed to the Destro keep.

The key to T2 and T3 keeps right now is twofold.  One, you MUST have the single shot siege equipment setup to kill the oil and siege guns that spawn on the keep.  The increased damage of siege will kill people in one to two shots and therefore must be eliminated.  Second, careful coordination of the griffins to ensure people with the siege engine buff can rapidly reach the keep and set their equipment up before the their timers run out.  I wish that the timers were moved from three minutes to five minutes as it takes a large amount of time to move to the keep in certain pairing.

In our case the warband leader called out the targets and we quickly removed the siege cannons on the wall and broke down the door.  After that it was a easy issue to kill the two groups of Destro in the keep.  Although there was a bug that kept the lvl 55 Champions on the third floor at the top of the ramp protecting a shaman, they Champions are supposed to despawn when the door goes down, but they weren't until the FLAG was pulled.  This leads to my last point, that the removal of keep lords have removed the ability of smaller groups to hold keeps in the face of  a larger numbers of attackers.  Now, if there are equal numbers of defenders and attackers then not having a keep lord is a good thing and the keep changes hand because of the actions of equal amount of players.  However, a small group that forgoes the easy way of leaving the zone and fights for defense is getting screwed.  Perhaps if the AAO of an area is 150% or 175% then the keep lord spawns might be a viable solution.

All in all...a great night of fun.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Enemy Addon

After years of manually loading curse addons, I finally broke down and installed their curse client.  The process was painless and made picking and choosing addons to try relatively painless.

The one addon I found to try and use as a Warrior Priest was the Enemy addon.  It has several different capabilities...most of which still confuse me as I work my way through them.  It counts the number of kills per side per BO and Keep in an area...which is nice to see a historical view of where the fighting has been the heaviest.

Enemy also has a unit frames section that can be used to replace the Squared addon if desired.  So far I like their version a provides a huge amount of customizable information in a small space.  I've added a screen shot of the unit frames in a warband.

The block also "grays" out some if the character reaches extreme ranges.  The only problem this has, it does not remove the default WB interface place holders...and I haven't figured out a way to remove them.  It also supports the location of the person on mouse over, just like the default Warband unit frame does.  I found this very helpful for my WP see if my group was within group heal range before firing off my heal.

The most exciting thing this addon does for me is add class icons over the head of everyone in your warband.  Also, the icons over your group's heads are larger than the icons over the rest of the warband.  This tool GREATLY eased my burden of finding my group and keeping them in range.  It was also helpful when running multiple warbands together.  Finding and keeping my warband in sight made my job a whole lot easier.  Below is a picture of the icon.

I know some may already have their UI modified beyond all recognition, but if you don't...and you’re a support class, this might be an addon for you to look at using.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Back in the saddle

It certainly has been awhile since my last post, but frankly a nice vacation in Cancun, Mexico far outweighs anything WAR has to offer.  Sun, margaritas, old ruins, margaritas, family, margaritas, swimming, get the picture.

Played a little bit now that 1.4 is out and I'm not sure I like it at the T2 and T3 stages.  I do like the new bracket levels for T2 and T3.  I just could never strike a good balance between leveling my actual level to gain new abilities and leveling my renown and Warcamp influence.  Now I've more time to level my RR and influence and I might actually get that last item from RvR T3.

1.4 seems....oddly implemented.  By that I mean, the focus was to remove the zerg (or at least reduce it), promote small group skirmishes and remove the situation where one side or the other could dominate all three zones which effectively hindered the other side gaining any momentum to outst them.  What I've seen lately swings TOO far in the other direction.  (Remember, this is not T4.  I haven't tried that with the new bracket changes)  It Gaiscioch's T3 seige night we spent most of the time running from one empty zone to another, standing around at BOs until the keep was at four stars then quickly purchasing rams to knock the doors down.   Even the keeps are merely standing around with the demise of NPC door guards and keep lords.  Of all the changes I miss, keep lords are at the top of that list.  They were NO impediment to a large 2+ Warband assault, but they did provide the difference defending against a single warband attempt to take a castle.  A small warband of one or two groups could hold off twice their number...sometimes...with the Keep lords help.  As it stands now, there is NO chance for that to happen.  The smaller group of defenders cannot keep an attack off the walls, especially now that most classes can "picklocks" or "airdrop" in from bombers.  I think the simple replacement of the keep lords would be a perfect balance of difficult versus achievement.

On a side note, I've been playing my Warrior Priest more.  I've come to realize that I NEED to get at least one toon to level 40 as soon as possible.  I haven't purchased the RvR pack, and I don't plan to for a while at least.  So to assist me, I spent the night in LoTD and gained almost an entire level doing the PQ where you put out burning books and such.  Of course my group of 2 KoTBS, 1 Witch Hunter, 2 Warrior Priests and a Runepriest were completely and quickly killed on the third stage of that PQ by a lvl 41 Champion.  Even the lvl 39 Knight couldn't tank the damage...unless all the other healers were asleep, but I doubt that.

So, in an effort to "build a better WP", I've added a link to Realm War for my Warrior Priest, JONZAC
Jonzac the Warrior Priest
Given that Realm War doesn't show my 1h hammer alternative, I've added the Pale Cudgel of Neferata link from Arsenal of War.

I've several questions, and I hope that someone...anyone will comment on them.

1.  Should I focus on leveling to lvl 40 and ignore my RR?  Or should I delay getting to lvl 40 until I can get there at lvl 40R40?
2.  What kind of gear should I be getting?  Annilator is merely 1 to 6 Realm Ranks away...but it healing focused?
3.  I am speced in Grace and have the Wounds buff...with enough in to Salv right now to get the group cleanse that appropriate, or should I move back into all Salvation?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What is a Witch Hunter's Target?

I have been playing my Witch Hunter on Badlands on Tier 2, and as always, I have success as part of a well led WarBand (Thanks Dainain), but I struggle in scenarios.  At level 19 and 20 I was still unable to kill shammans, zealots, or DoKs out of stealth.  Some of that is gear, I have a less than optimal rapier (Renown purchase at 25 DPS) instead of the higher T2 or scenario reward weapons at 29 DPS.  I'm hoping that ANYONE reads this and can help with some advice.

My rotation and such is as follows:
Out of stealth, Sudden Accusations...followed by three Torments then run accusation of Burn Armor for the large DoT.  I am using bullets of purety to half their outgoing heals.  I then hit Silence the Heretic, followed by more Torments and then accusation (normally Absolution)...I rarely have them down to half health at this time and then their healing and HoTs kick in and I can't outdamage their healing.

I'm positive its the player and not the any tips and suggestions?

On a side note, I was playing on Black Fire Basin and I got to do what Witch Hunters do best...kill people along.  I would hide behind a tree near the route back to their base where they would plant the flag...Order was getting farmed short of the flag...I managed four solo kills on flag runners...all Melee DPS types.   Isn't it sad I can kill a high damage output character...but lose miserably to healers?  Managed all the kills with only one health potion as well.  Felt like a good use of my skills as I delayed them winning by almost five minutes...more of a personal victory although I did pull pretty good experience and renown out of that scenario.  Too bad I only managed one emblem for my scenario reward.

Fortunately, I leveled him out of Tier 2 in time for the Battle of the Badlands, Tier 3 hopefully I can follow more competent Warband leaders than myself and have Order be successful.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Batte for the Badlands Nov 2nd

Wonderful night in T2 on Badlands!  Signed in with my lvl 19 Witch Hunter, Martain, and attempted to get from Ellyrion to Cascades of Thunder (or CoT).  Took a long time to find a way over the mountains and, of course, as soon as I reached the summit the warband had taken the castle and then died to the estimated 100+ Destruction horde that had arrived.  We then moved to Stonetroll, had the door down but was prevented from capturing the keep by the same large Destro horde.

Our leader, who's name I forgot and can't spell, then split up the three warbands that were participating send each of us to different zones.  My warband went back to Ellyrion where we went up and over the mountains and quickly captured the keep from the group that had managed to get past our lines.  As a Destro warband arrived we bugged out and quickly moved to the Marshes of Madness and joined another warband to take the keep.  We then held as a large two warband group moved into position to siege the keep.  They were VERY intent on recapture and a battle that lasted at least an hour quickly developed.

Destro was able to bring the oil down with Ranged DPS and two cannons, which allowed them to bring a ram to the door and bring it down.  At that point, an epic fight lasting an hour started at the door.  The warband leader from the Gaiscioch guild then ordered a "door" of tanks to "open" allowing about a group of Destro through.  After they came through they closed the door and those of us Melee and Ranged DPS burned them down where they were out of rez range.  This continued for more times than I can count, although Destro did push through several times with a heavy tank and melee DPS, it was never followed by the ranged DPS or healers and was able to be pushed back. 

Our boss also unleashed the "Alter of the Fallen" on them several times.  Apparently, the alter confers a large damage against all enemy, or weakens them...I'm not sure which.  He opened the door and allowed almost a full warband into the first floor and activated the alter.  The second time we did this we pushed out the door and quickly took the remaining attackers down or scattered them to the winds.  At this point I had hit lvl 20, and I'm at 95% completed of RR18...all in all a great night.

Now let's look at the tactics in play last night.  First of all the decision to break our force into three seperate groups was risky and does fly in the face of traditional, real world, military where concentration is often the watch word...although Clauswitz states that the offense must be strong at the point of conflict...not necessary strong all over.  Breaking up our forces forced Destro to mirror that as Order performed an operational flanking maneuver taking strategic ground, i.e. keeps, away from the main Destro defensive line.  It the real world it would have allowed the Defense to kill one group after another, but in WAR this is a valid and reasonable tactic as there is no real impact as the keep is not destroyed and your warriors are not permanently lost as a fighting force.

The tactical actions of our defense was superb, by allowing misinformation to the enemy we lured him into a position of weakness where he was destroyed.  There was risk and I can think of several ways to counter that tactic.  First, prepare three or four tanks.  They follow each other in a train with a one second delay, the first tank hits the shield wall and uses an area knockback to create an initial hole.  The second tank moves in and widens the hole if required...if not he moves left to continue to knock back the immediate defense.  The third tank comes in and knocks back the defenders who are moving in to plug the hold and the fourth tank moves right to clear that side.  The melee DPS needs to be in a group directly on the fourth tanks heels.  Its their job to exploit the hole and start moving deeper inside to kill healers first, then melee DPS.  Quickly following the melee DPS should be the ranged DPS who should hit the door and just inside start to AOE...using point blank AOE at first to ensure the hole is not plugged.  Healers will need to be streaming in as soon as the melee DPS gets inside.   In essence, I am borrowing a tactic from bomb wearing terrorists that uses sequential explosions to open a fortified checkpoint or gate...quickly followed up by the other groups to exploit the now open hole and move the fight away from a prepared defensive ground and into an area where the attacker has more and better options.  In our fight the healers and ranged DPS NEVER followed the openings that were made by the tanks and melee DPS, allowing Order to take them down piecemeal.  Sometimes ranged folks need to understand that closer...especially at a chokepoint that is being breached is better.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why do I and others roll alts?

As I start yet another order character...without having a lvl 40 to my name, I have to ask the question...why?  Why are alts so insidious and so prevalent?  I suppose a quick review is in order...I have a lvl 32 RR 29 Warrior Priest, fully Salvation specced for healing.  I have a lvl 19 WH, lvl 17 IB, lvl 13 you see the trend.  Lately, the last few days I've been playing a Shadow Warrior in PvE and Scenarios.

I figured a look at my "Main" a pro's and con's list might be in order.
  • I can at least get into T4, as I've blogged earlier I even got into a successful city defense...which was a lot of fun.
  • I'm just now hitting new content and new areas, learning the backstories and exploring the "oRvR Lakes"
  • I like healing and keeping a group alive
  • I'm in a new guild that is very active
  • I'm in T4 as the lowest possible level, making me rather ineffective although I'm much more effective at helping than a lvl 32 melee toon is going to be.
  • oRvR is confusing as all get out, and I only stay alive in the middle of the zerg, which makes oRvR a little less enjoyable as fights can be over before I even arrive...the exception are keep takes where I stand around spamming HOTs and the occasional group heal...which only heals two folks as the others are all out of range.
  • I'm a secondary healer and incapable of keeping my group alive if I was the only healer
Neither the Pros or the Cons heavily outweigh the why can't I focus on one character?  T3 and T2 are often the same as T4 where the only way to survive is join and follow the zerg.  Maybe if I understood the map lockdown mechanics it would make more sense.  Maybe its the fact that T3 and T2 are easier to accomplish anything with less than four warbands. 

I think that it boils down to three things.  First, alts are guilt free.  Most are not in guilds so the pressure to show up and stay late is much lower providing that "I'm here for fun" factor that can be missing when you’re pushing into a city.  Second, T3 and T2 maybe more balanced and more importantly there are fewer areas to fight in making it easier to find an opponent.  Last, there are fewer people in the zerg.  The Battle of the Badlands as the sole exception, its easier for smaller warbands and groups to make a difference.

Combining all these together gives us a glimpse into why folks continue to spend copious amounts of time on two, three or even six other alts....of course; I could just hate my Warrior Priest as well.