Sunday, May 30, 2010

Low level SM guide to RvR

I had some requests on the official forums for a low level guide, since all my current stuff is endgame related. So I put this together really quickly. The audio quality isn't the greatest, and it's a little out of sync by the end, but it gets the information out there.

I didn't realize I could go for 20 minutes straight talking about the SM. It's a small file, only about 12 MB.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

Low Level SM guide

Monday, May 24, 2010

Comments and blogroll issue

I went ahead and bought the domain for the blog, so it'll be transitioning to that soon. It seems to have nuked all the comments and my blogroll. Hopefully that is temporary. will still work though to get here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Team Play - Communication - Need to Know Basis - Part 4

I'm going to go ahead and finish the communication series now in light of my playtime last night. My last 2 rules are the following: Keep communication on a need-to-know basis unless it's virtually impossible for you to lose, and save feedback on performance until after a battle is over.

I said I hate hearing silence more than anything on vent in a previous post. In second place is pointless crap that has nothing to do with what is happening. I was in a ToVL run last night, we kept wiping to boss 5 because we kept trivializing what we were doing. We didn't focus on what we were doing for awhile. Until we shut up and kept communication to what we were doing, we kept losing. This was a group of mostly veterans too. There was only one person who only had 2 or 3 runs under his belt. Pride always comes before a fall.

Save feedback on performance until after a battle is over. This means wait until after a wipe and while regrouping, or after the event is over. This is actually the most important form of communication in my opinion. This is what gets you better at the game. If you are going to get offended when someone points out something you did wrong or something you can get better at, then you best not play with me. Constructive criticism is the ONLY way you improve after a loss. If you're going to lose, at least learn something from it.

I can tell you, with my guild at least, that we aren't giving you that feedback because we hate you. If we hated you, we wouldn't care about your screw ups. (Oh god, I'm sounding like my parents.) We give feedback because we want you to improve. Likewise, you can give feedback about my play. I would like to improve my play all the time. I'll experiment with what you tell me. If it works, I use it. If not, I ignore it. School is never out for the pro.

I've got a low level SM guide I've almost finished. I'm still debating a few of the smaller points, but I have it mostly done. It goes through Tiers 1-3 and early Tier 4. I think Mykiel is coming out with a new video in his How to Survive WAR series later today. So definitely check it out.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Superior Mindset or How to Defeat the Flank

Kudos to Super Effective. Rather than allowing herself to be spawn camped by a "superior" force, she decided to take matters into her own hands and turn around a Nordenwatch that was going badly. She did not give up.

Today I felt like I mattered. Faced with yet another Nordenwatch spawn point farm I went around and joined 2 other players in capping Lighthouse and Fortress. When we get to Barracks I start reading complaints about how people "haven't had a single heal since the beggining of teh SC QQ". Since we were done capping anyways, I bravely rode my steed headfirst into the red multitude and kicked them with my new morale 4 goodness and started healing away. Sure enough, we drove them back and ended up winning it. It's not like I was the only healer because I wasn't, and I wasn't near the top of the healing chart. But my efforts made a difference. We capped the flags for time enough to swing the points in our favor and eventually kept enough people up for us to drive them back.
It sounds like you picked up reinforcements when you ran into them with the morale 4. I'm not sure if they came in from another direction but for the purposes of this exercise, I will assume they came in from behind the enemy from the Fortress and the enemy noticed the flank in time to react to it. (A flank really only works if you can get it off without being noticed, against a poorly organized group, or with some clever strategy.)

What the enemy force should do in this case is push all their forces into the weak side of the flank (side that's easier to kill, not necessarily the side with fewer players), even if that means temporarily giving up the objective to prevent the wipe. Once the weak side is taken out, they would turn around and push the strong side. In order to stop the flank from working, they must eliminate the weak side before the flanks collapse on them.

I do flanks all the time. My guild calls one the Hammer and Anvil strategy. We used it mainly in the city prior to version 1.3.5. Since that content is no longer in game, it won't hurt to share that strategy now. :) We would park 1 group at 2 different objectives consisting of 2 tanks, 2 dps, 2 healers OR 3 tanks, 1 dps, 2 healers. These are the Anvil groups. The other two groups would be parked in between the two objectives and consist of usually 1 tank, 3 dps, 2 healers. These are the Hammer groups. Once an enemy force commits to hitting an objective assigned to an Anvil group (the perceived "weak" group, but actually harder to kill, so it's the strong group), we'd take our Hammer groups and smash them from behind where all their healers just happen to be sitting most of the time.

Basically, it's convincing the enemy to beat on our tank groups while our DPS groups burn them down. The only way to beat that strategy to engage the Hammer before it reaches the Anvil. It also gets into the enemies' heads making them think that they can't even beat our "weak" group. (In actuality, what they perceive as the "weak" group is actually the strong group.) Once you break them psychologically like that, it's easy to turn the fight around and win, as Sara noticed in her Nordenwatch.

Nice work Sara.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Team Play - Communication - Basic Commands and Responses - Part 3

In part 2, I mentioned that vent can get pretty cluttered fast with everyone talking at the same time giving information. To reduce this possibility, you need to communication quickly and efficiently. I wanted to share my basic commands and responses that I use.

Basic commands for the Caller:

[enemy name] (enemy class) Everyone attack this target with intent to kill.

[player name] [enemy name] (enemy class) Specified player (and assigned guard/teammates) attack this player with intent to kill.

[player name] harass [enemy name] (enemy class) Specified player (team) attack this target, load him up with dots/debuffs/CC but do not attempt to kill. (It's fine if you do kill him, just don't blow all your AP to do so.)

Rally [location] Head to specific location once battle is over.

Move [location] Drop whatever you are doing and get to specific location ASAP.

Clean [player name] If the player name is a teammate, get the enemy away from that player by any means possible. If the player name is an enemy, separate that player from his teammates, especially his guard. Basically it means isolate that player from the enemy.

[player name] [command] Everybody (else) [command] Specified player complete this action while everyone else does this. Once player's task is complete rejoin the group. Specified player should acknowledge the command prior to completing his task if the task will separate him from the group. (For example to go capture an objective away from the group.)

Return / Come back. All players given a specific task stop all assigned tasks and return to the group's location immediately.

Wipe. Stop healing, die, and release ASAP.

Basic responses / information to give to caller.

Yes, sir / ma'am. Done. Back. "Yes, sir / ma'am" is used by a player to acknowledge a command when he / she is going to be separated from the group to complete the task. This lets the caller know to not worry about that player until the task is complete. The player will say "done" when the task is complete. If not given any new command, the player will locate the group and return ASAP. Once the player returns to the group, say "back" to inform the caller that you are back with the group.

Getting focused / spiked. Say this when you have enough players with enough DPS to kill you attacking you.

Getting worked. You have a couple players attacking you, but not enough to kill you unless they get more help.

Getting shutdown. You aren't going to die, but you are being snared, disoriented, AP drained, etc making it impossible for you to do anything. Usually only a healer would say this.

[number] (realm) [direction] This means you see this many players in a specific direction. It is presumed to enemy unless otherwise stated.

[number] (realm) from [direction/location] You see this many players charging at us from a specific direction or location. Again, presume enemy unless otherwise stated.

[number] (realm) towards [direction/location] You see this many players going this direction or you are reasonably sure they are going to a specific location. Again, presume enemy unless stated.

Staggered, punted, pulled, silenced, knocked down, snared, disoriented, AP drained, heal debuffed. You've just been hit by a specific type of CC. AP drained means you had a full or almost full bar and it's gone.

Staggering, punting, pulling, silencing, knocking down, snaring, disorienting, AP draining, heal debuffing [who you CC'ed]. You've just performed said CC against this target/group of targets. AP draining means a melee dps hit Force of Will to completely empty a certain enemy's AP bar. Don't call out snaring unless it's a morale (which cannot be broken).

I still expect players to make good judgment calls while I am calling. For example, if in going after the called target you expose yourself to focus fire, back off and say something. Or if you see a low target you can kill in 2 hits, kill him and then go to the called target. Or if you notice someone healing the called target, it's ok to jump on him and mess him up a little bit to make the kill easier.

More to come next time, which is whenever I get around it. Most of you know this by now though.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Team Play - Communication - Part 2

In part 2 of Team Play - Communication series, I want to go over the first of 4 rules my groups use in communication.

One person calls the shots. This person is referred to as the Caller. Everyone else follows. That doesn't mean everyone else is quiet though.

Simply put, the caller is the boss. The caller in my groups is usually a melee dps or tank. His primary job is to prioritize targets to be killed while making sure his own group stays alive. The caller is in the thick of the battle and cannot always see everything going on. This is where the rest of the group comes in. The rest of the group needs to keep the caller informed of important events that he likely cannot see.

If you're a healer, and you have someone on you shutting you down so you can't heal worth a crap, the caller needs to know that before pushing forward. The caller may well decide he can push forward without your healing or he may decide to send someone or everyone to clear you of enemies. Or if you are casting a rez, say something so that another healer doesn't try to rez also. If you have enemies chasing you, call it out so we can get a guard on you if possible. (A tank kiting with a healer he's guarding is quite a sight to behold if I say so myself.)

If you're a melee dps and the caller tells you to hit a target by yourself while everyone else hits a second target, but you are coming under focus fire for doing so, speak up. If you are aren't guarded, the group can try to give you a guard, but they have know you're in trouble.

If you have some kind of hard CC placed on you, call it out.

The one thing I hate to hear on vent is silence, especially if I am calling. So speak up. I would rather you communicate and tell you that I didn't need to know than hear nothing and push up and wonder why I have no heals. I needed to know you were staggered right when it happened. The caller needs all relevant information in order to have a chance at making the correct decision.

However, it's very easy for vent to get cluttered. So in the next part, I'll give you my solution for that.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Team Play - Communication - Part 1

With the changes to the city coming in 1.3.5, team play will be more important than ever. You'll become locked out of loot rolls if you lose, so it's more important than ever to do whatever you can to make sure you have the best chance of winning. One of the best ways to make sure you have a better chance of winning is to put yourself into a Pre-Organized Group.

Everyone already knows that though. So if you run into the city solo, take anything more than your 1 crest per stage as a bonus.

So you're in your POG. How do you make your group better? That's what I want to talk about for a little while.

One of the distinct advantages you have over a Pick-Up Group is you have the capacity to communicate much more easily, especially with a voice chat client like Ventrilo or Teamspeak. However, the voice chat can get cluttered extremely fast with everyone trying to talk over each other. Simple, efficient communication is one thing that sets a excellent POG above your average POG.

Here's a list of best practices I have in groups.
  1. One person calls the shots. Everyone else follows. That doesn't mean everyone else is quiet though. This person is referred to as the Caller.
  2. Convey your message in as few words as possible. 3 words is about all you want for any given message.
  3. Keep communication on a need-to-know basis unless it's virtually impossible for you to lose.
  4. Save feedback on performance until after a battle is over.
I go into more details on each of those later. It's Mother's Day, so I probably need to be doing something else at the moment.

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Tarelther's Take on the City Siege 1.3.5. part 2

    I really like the city changes for test 3 for stage 2. Stage 2 is much more epic now that it's not just zerg down the warlords. You are required to escort a warlord to the gates in order to win the stage. Stage will end in a draw if all the warlords are downed. We had some epic fighting in front of the Library in Altdorf. Big fun there. Stage 2 has been upgraded from lame to cool with that simple change.

    It's going to be a tough fight, for both sides. If you want to play in the endgame, you better bring your A game. If you go in and lose, you're going to get a lockout. Yeah, you'll get crests, and you'll get the stuff eventually, but it'll take a LONG time if you don't learn to play as a team. If you go in with lockouts, you get 1 crest per stage, win or lose. I think it will still encourage defense since win or lose, you still get something.

    I've found that I know how to play well with my guild/alliance, but not so well with others. There are multiple strategies that are viable, but they really need to be discussed beforehand. I am more used to single target spiking, but I ended up with a more AoE focused group. Tanks have 1 morale ability most of the time in my world which is Distracting Bellow. Using Raze normally ends up getting you shot with my alliance.

    Another example, shields are anathema with my alliance. I know other alliance/guilds have tanks use shields. Our reasoning is that Challenge, Guard and Bellow are enough to get you to the front, so increasing our dps is more valuable than Hold the Line. (And in the great majority of cases, it is more than enough.)

    I've rambled on enough. It's late, and I gotta work tomorrow. I haven't had much sleep lately. Floods in TN kept me away from my apartment this weekend, so I tried to sleep on a too small couch crashing with family up on the Cumberland Ridge. Yeah, that didn't work so well. 1.3.5. It's awesome. Go play it on PTS when the public events are happening. It's a little buggy, but it's big fun.

    Saturday, May 1, 2010

    Testing and You - Tarelther's Take

    There were some comments that took place over the last 2 city tests that bothered me to hear from other people testing. I'd like to take a moment to address some of these issues brought up.

    Of course it's broken. It's a test. If it wasn't broken, we wouldn't need to test it and it would be live already. If Destruction got champions and Order didn't, it's not an undocumented feature. The patch notes state both sides should have 4 champions. Anything that occurs that is contrary to the design is a bug. It's not Mythic loves Destro and hates Order or vice versa. It's something that's not supposed to be happening. It's better for it to happen here than on Live. In a testing environment, it doesn't matter if it doesn't work because it doesn't affect the Live environment.

    If you're getting rolled hard in every instance as an invader and the design states the invader should have the advantage, that's an imbalance. It's not a bug, but rather the original design not accomplishing it's goals. It's not Mythic loves Destro and hates Order. Also, the other side is not cheating. Or at least, it would be very stupid of them to be cheating with developers in their groups while they do it. If you are facing a group that completely outclasses you, don't complain about it. Watch what they are doing and learn from it. It's ok to bring up concerns if you think something may not be working as intended, but don't jump to that conclusion.

    Try to keep your emotions in check. In designing this content, the developers are attempting to evoke certain feelings within the players playing through the content. You definitely want to let them know how you felt during the process. Sensationalizing bugs doesn't help anyone. It's ok to tell the developers that the experience is frustrating so they can adjust it, but it doesn't help if you blow up on them.

    Testing is not always going to be fun. It can feel very rewarding to know that you played a part in making the game awesome though. To that end, I believe it is worth the frustration.