The Straw

As in: The Last Straw

For the most part I have enjoyed my time in the Warhammer. I am happy to accept that in MMOs there is never perfection and the quest for balance is an ongoing process, rather than one big event that takes care of everything. My subscription runs out in a day or so and I won’t be renewing.

The part that has made it hardest for me to decide to continue  is the community. We’ve got a cracking good community and I’m proud of all the people in our alliance and partly because of one rarely mentioned thing: In all our time n the lead-up to WAR launch and in the time since then we have not once had a squabble that has led to a guild leaving the alliance. As player numbers have dropped, guilds have merged within the alliance into other guilds within the alliance. Placeholder toons have been put into the closing guilds and then removed from the alliance to make space for other players. Especially in our alliance we enjoy a lot of cultural and ethnic diversity in the people we play alongside which is an absolute treasure, especially some nights on voice comms.

So what was the last straw?

The Last Straw

An undocumented nerf to Dissolving Mist. Specifically: previously it was a 30 sec spell that you cast on the ground and just kept ticking. It did the territory denial job reasonably well. If the other side got 10 people clicking on the flag, they still got it due to the maximum target limit. If you died, it just kept on ticking until the 30 seconds were up. Once in a while you’d get a heroic last gasp defense on a battlefield objective as you were swarmed by hordes of Orderand if they were lax getting people to the flag. Now though, when you die, it just disappears immediately. There are no more last gasp heroic defenses for the Magus. This straw broke the camel’s back.

The Magus Bits

This nerf highlighted the overall frustration with Mythic’s process of revising class balance and brought into sharp relief what is driving me (and many others) completely crackers when we try to play our Magus characters. For the most part, we’ve had our toons eroded. Bug fixes aside, arguably now the Magus class is in a worse state than it was at the launch of Warhammer.  One year on the class is going backwards in terms of playability and reward factor, the reward factor being the good feelings you get from feeling useful and being able to achieve things for your team. A character class in an MMO should bring something useful to the group or raid and be able to slot into its role on par with any other class that fulfills that role. That would not be the Magus then since its utility role gone and its DPS is very sub par on every spec line. Squiggy or Sorc will do single target better, sorc blows it away in the AoE department and Daemonology has become the sad kid that nobody wants to pick for their football team (useful for those that like duelling as it takes longer to kill but not much cop otherwise).

I don’t want to spend another year gearing up and getting renown ranks on another toon. I just want this one to work. And it doesn’t. No amount of blandishments or marginalising the class issues by Mythic will make it go away. The common term for classes such as this is ‘broken’ which I try to stay away from and yet it is wholly appropriate in this case.

I played the Magus in beta along with most other classes. I decided I liked the playstyle more than the others. My personal preference has always been caster/pet classes such as the Spiritmaster back in DAoC and the Warlock in WoW. Although disappointed with what passed for a pet I decided to stick with it. The Magus looked cool and had some interesting tricks. Thats the lure of lower DPS toons. You expect to have a big bag of dirty tricks, going for utility and sneakiness over raw damage output. Most of the dirty tricks are useless now. Some, such as Perils of the Warp weren’t even that strong to begin with but were good for catching out the occasional unwary enemy.

I’ll keep an eye on WAR to see if Mythic get around to delivering long standing promises. If the main issues of the endgame and class balance are put into some semblence of decency I may resub to check it out. For now, I am no longer going to pay to test this product on my very precious recreational time.

The Mythic Bits

There are many good things in WAR. Mythic have repeatedly put imagination and clever touches into it which are often forgotten and not given enough credit. Unfortunately they always seem to not quite get it right, wether its just in terms of polish (bugs and such) or if they make a balance error that means a chunk of the community ends up suffering for several months until they address it. Every patch is followed by days of frantic hotfixing. So, often it is Mythic themselves that undo their own attempts at greatness. This is a shame because it must be as frustrating for them as it is for us for them to constantly nearly get it right.

It is often said that we, the players, just don’t understand how terribly terribly difficult it is to make an MMO. Well… why should we have to? We’re paying the MMO Provider to do it. Get on with it. If its too difficult, stop bleating and find another job. There’s plenty of companies out there vying for monthly subs. This is where my empathy for the hard working designers, programmers and testers stops. There is no try: either do or do not.

The GOA Bits

Nothing to report. Sorry GOA-Haters. Nothing here for you today. GOA have mostly provided a decent service and I blame the underlying code for most of the problems even though I am at times suspicious about how they tackle load balancing on their server clusters. I should once again apologise to the CSRs as I’m hellish for not responding when they get in touch.

And Its Goodnight From Him

I wish everyone that continues to play all the best and specifically to the players on both sides on Karak-Norn I leave with a lot of fond memories and will miss you all. I cannot thank enough all the people in the Evil League of Evil. All our outings are completely a team effort. At times I might stand at the front but its the input from everyone and the team support that make it fun and successful.

This might be a break, it might be permanent but regardless I will benefit from stepping back from the increasing frustration that is entirely under the aegis of Mythic to solve if they are able.


9 Responses to “The Straw”

  1. August 10, 2009 at 16:56

    You’ll most definately be missed mate, but as a player with a Magus myself, I can understand your annoyance growing to this point. It’s quite shocking how terrible Magus are compared with pretty much every other class. And such an iconic part of warhammer… tragic.

  2. August 10, 2009 at 20:11

    Totally understand your reasons and I can’t argue with any of it.

    You’ll be missed – here’s hoping Mythic fix things enough to bring you back. Till then, adieu!
    (or rather see you on messenger but hey, that’s much less dramatic ;))

  3. 3 Calaen
    August 11, 2009 at 08:16

    Gutted Roo 😦

  4. 4 dacovale
    August 11, 2009 at 10:04

    Stay in touch bud.

    I’m out as well. At least you didn’t role a marauder BEFORE rolling a magus :p

    I agree with everything you said. I hoping to see a triumphant patch that lures me back but right now I’m incredibly skeptical.


  5. August 12, 2009 at 16:32

    Good luck Roo. Didn’t you have any other characters or did you invest all your time in the Magus ?

  6. 6 shadowwar
    August 12, 2009 at 21:00

    Best of luck wherever you end up!

  7. 7 Rer
    August 13, 2009 at 05:55

    Hey Roo, this is Firstto Fall, sorry to hear you’re finished with WAR. (I pretty much am also =\)

    You thinking of perhaps giving any other MMOs a try? I’ve started up an Aion blog, you take a look at that or Champions Online at all?

  8. 8 Roo Stercogburn
    August 13, 2009 at 12:39

    I’ve made half-hearted attempts on other toons. I’ve focused pretty much on one toon and I think for someone that doesn’t play 24/7 this is pretty much the way you have to play if you want to eventually reach a high renown rank.

    As I’ve said, I’ll keep an eye on WAR for the next few months and see if there’s a danger of Mythic delivering long-promised fixes. I wonder if they’ve taken note that the tone on the various Magus forums has changed from people threatening to quit to people posting that they have quit or are not renewing. There isn’t a lot of nerdrage any more, just a kind of resigned “Ah well, we waited, nothing improved, we left” atmosphere.

    I haven’t got any big plans for the near future. Dabbling a little in WoW but it won’t hold my attention. Watching out for Jumpgate Evolution but a guildmate will be guild-leader there as my presence there will be very casual and I am not sure how long I will play for. Aion doesn’t really excite me from what I have seen so far. I think I’ll wait until post-launch and the hype dissapates before making a decision on that one but I can’t see it lighting me up. As I posted elsewhere, bug-eyed women with centre-of-gravity issues don’t really do it for me and I’ve noticed that aside from that particular piece of graphics that most of the other screenies and movies show a very generic game-world. The PvPvE thing is interesting but I’d rather wait for feedback than be in there at the start, if ever.

    Rer, I’ll PM you on WHA so we can chat. Got visitors next few days so not on da intarwebs much. There’s sunshine, beer and people to impress with my cooking 😀

  9. August 13, 2009 at 15:35

    Have a good time 🙂

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