Last night Casualties took two keeps and four Battlefield Objectives in the Tier 2 High Elf/Dark Elf pairing, and flipping Shadowlands and Ellyrion to Order control. In the process (and I ran a few rounds of Mourkain Temple as well,) I gained about half a level and hit renown rank 17. It was lots of fun, more for the privilege of working with guildmates than for the accomplishment of overcoming any organized resistance, of which there truthfully wasn’t much, although we did take out the occasional straggler, and both keeps had a couple of lonely, doomed defenders.
Keep Lords are hard to take down. They are straightforward tank and spank if you take them on alone, but they come along with a retinue of Champion-level guards that need to be pulled individually away before you can take out the big boss. This would be considerably more challenging if they aggroed as a group, but they don’t – you can generally pull individual champions outside, take them down, and let the Keep Lord reset. This is an area that I think could be improved on, although admittedly the real challenge in taking keeps is, and should be, beating down the players defending them. The King quests to take keeps are repeatable but not really all that worthwhile in terms of XP – less than 2K. So get them if it’s convenient, but don’t fret much if you don’t have the chance.
While it’s my position that playing scenarios is worthwhile at any level, it really does make difference to be above the mean that the bolster buff puts everybody at. One frustration with Mourkain Temple in particular is that Destruction seems to always get the ball first. I’m not sure why, and once one side has the ball it’s very hard for the other to take it back, and very hard to outpace that side in points within the scenario.
Despite that, last night (at rank 20,) I did over 74K in damage in a round… a round that we lost, but in which I did not die even once, thanks to solid healer support. Go AoE damage! And I’m not even specced AoE (Conflagration) – I’m specced for Incineration, which is the direct damage Mastery Path. Looking over the different trees, this is something that I’ll be reconsidering soon – the Immolation (DoT) Path seems very, very sweet. But the great thing here, as I found last night, is that putting points into one path does not incapacitate you at the other things. As a DD specced character I was able to dish out a vast amount of damage using AoE effects without a single point in the AoE path.
Now, it occurs to me that speccing Conflagration doesn’t really make very much sense until around the middle of Tier 3. At level 20, I have only two AoE abilities, and one of those is an AoE DoT that might fall under Immolation (I’m not sure and should check this.) Between level 20 and 30 Bright Wizards get access to a whole bunch of cool stuff, including a massive ranged AoE (Rain of Fire) and a ranged knockback (Magic Dart) that I’m lusting to get my hands on. On the other hand, at 20 I only have two conventional DoTs as well, and one of them is on a 10-second timer. But I have a variety of direct damage spells of various sorts, and this is why it made sense to me to spec in that.
I’ve decided, by the way, to concentrate on Tier 2 scenarios and RvR for now, based on the thinking that I have many levels of Tier 3 activity ahead of me, and once I hit 22, I can’t go back to Tier 2. So I’ll be staying in Troll Country for the next few days, I think, running scenarios and keeping an eye open for any keep action taking place. If I hit renown rank equal to my level I will move on to Tier 3 PvE and PQs, but not before.
I continue to have trouble getting my G11 keys to work in-game. (The G11 is the same as the G15 except it doesn’t have the LED display.) Last night I downloaded the latest, allegedly Vista-ready, software from Logitech, and I’ll be testing that out tonight. This is not a problem limited to Warhammer – I couldn’t get them working with Vanguard either, but I think, with the huge variety of abilities available in Warhammer and the focus on fast-paced PvP in which player reaction time is most definitely a factor, that it’s a higher priority here.
Game Update 1.01, which is the closest we’ve seen so far to a major patch, is hitting live servers today. Among other things, it’s supposed to fix the pathing issues that have been making pets misbehave and causing some White Lion and Squig Herder players to get frustrated with their classes, fix problems with TAB target cycling (which I myself use and which has been a source of frustration,) fix the borked Ignore list, and eliminate the need to scroll down through the EULA before checking it and hitting accept. If all this works as well as it’s supposed to, it should go down as a solid patch and a big improvement in several areas that have been working less than optimally.
And the first city capture happened, on one of the EU servers. The capturing faction (Destruction, unsurprisingly,) took advantage of a middle-of-the-night lack of defenders, lax NPC defenses and, apparently, some bugs. While this happened sooner than Mythic was openly predicting, I myself am a little surprised that it’s taken this long to happen. Expect Mythic to be tweaking the city capture process over the next couple of patches.