So I posted about how I was thinking of upgrading my graphics card for Grand Theft Auto IV, but decided against it as everything else was running fine. Well it’s funny how things never turn out quite the way you had them planned… Turned on the PC the other day to be greeted by strange graphical corruption, as it seems my 8800GTS has given up the ghost. Maybe it was the strain of running two screens; my old monitor had started blinking intermittently, not quite enough to warrant immediate replacement, but deeply annoying in the middle of games, and I finally got round to picking up a shiny new one in the January sales. I was wondering what to do with the old one when, plugging the new one in, I noticed the second DVI output on the card… so I was running a 3360 x 1050 desktop for a while, with Twitter, chat windows n’ stuff on the second monitor. Either way up, as I’d been looking at graphics cards anyway, seemed like A Sign to me, so I will be picking up a new card after all. I’ve gone for a Radeon 4850, not much of an upgrade, but it should tide me over, and it’ll be interesting to see if GTAIV runs any better…
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THIS is Mythic News. With your host… Melmoth Melmothson.
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Well, the news is out, and opinions are swarming their way across the MMO blaguspore like a zerg in an RvR Objective factory. The announcement outlines some very interesting new features coming soon to a Warhammer Online near you. There are some major disappointments though, and I’m sure many of our readers will have been deeply shocked by one in particular.
Indeed it is my sad duty to inform you all that horse trousers have been cut from Mythic’s current patch plan for Warhammer Online for the foreseeable future.
Zoso is understandably inconsolable, and believe me we’ve tried to get him to play on his Wii. As I write this now, he’s sitting in the corner of the room cuddling his My Little Horse Trousers doll and weeping tears of pure vanilla extract. Or at least I imagine him to be, because we live seventy five miles away from one another, so I have no idea really.
So here’s a little song to cheer everyone up in this sad time. Enjoy!
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For those of you who are not monitoring our podcast RSS feed or stalking us on the Twitterverse, brace your main hats and hang on to your sails, because we’re pleased to announce that it’s time for Kiasacast episode 2: The revenge of Kiasacast!
This episode of the podcast includes:
- Listener’s mail
- This Month In KiaSA, including:
– Grand Theft Auto IV on the XBox360 and PC
- Search term of the month, which we’re not daft enough to repeat here on the blog.
- Book Corner, including:
– Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale
– The Steel Remains
– Who’s Afraid of Beowulf?
- MUSIC BLAAAAST FROM THE GAMING PAAAAAST!
– Can you identify the music from this episode’s show? Answers on a postcard, and then email that postcard to us.
– Last episodes’s tune: Galaforce for the BBC B. Remix by Heartcore
It’s a good time for plastic instrument aficionados. Firstly for anyone with Guitar Hero: World Tour, there are two free Bruce Springsteen songs up for grabs, the classic Born to Run and My Lucky Day from his new album. They’re only free until February 4th, though, so download ‘em while they’re hot.
If Bruce isn’t your bag, baby, Metallica have announced the track list for the forthcoming Guitar Hero: Metallica, and it’s a cracker, as Oscar Wilde once said (or Frank Carson, one of the two). Really looking forward to Sanitarium, Master of Puppets, Creeping Death and the rest, I even have a soft spot for Frantic from the not-entirely-universally-loved St. Anger. Nice selection of other artists too, let there be mosh!
Over in the Rock Band world, still no sign of Rock Band 2 for the Wii or PS3 here in the UK. Well, I say “no sign”, play.com have it up for pre-order with an expected release data of January 30th; I’ve popped an order in on the off chance it might be correct, but it seems somewhat unlikely as no other retailers are even acknowledging its existence. I mean, Amazon don’t seem to have it for pre-order, and they’re listing Duke Nukem For-bleedin’-ever! Still, if it turns up Friday I’ll be most chuffed, and if not I’ve still got plenty of World Touring to do; Love Spreads on bass is amazing!
MMO players, don’t waste money on monthly subscriptions to your favourite game, simply simulate the experience for free in your own home by pretending that your partner has an exclamation mark over their head and asking them if there’s anything you can do for them. Once you have been given a chore, work at it non stop for hours until complete, and then pretend that you have gained a tiny increase in reputation with your partner’s faction. If you don’t have a partner, find an MMO playing friend who does and then form an adventuring party with them!
Mrs M Emmowidow, Somerset.
Cyberpunk 2020. A marvelous pen and paper role-playing game that I spent far too many of my cyberpunk fanboy years playing with friends.
Elevenish years from now is 2020.
It seems to me that the real world won’t look anything like the one portrayed in the RPG, Gibson’s Neuromancer or Stephenson’s Snow Crash in the archetypal year of all things cyber and punk.
Will our MMOs look vastly different from what they do today? Will they play differently? Will MMOs even exist in eleven years time?
We’ve had five years since World of Warcraft was released, think about what has changed in that time, how things have developed, adapted, evolved.
Eleven years is not that far away. I have a feeling that the Metaverse won’t be waiting for us when we get there.
I believe I have proved conclusively that we’re going to be seeing trousers for horses in the very near future in WAR, but let’s be honest, that alone wouldn’t be a very impressive patch would it? Warhammer, Age of Clothed Mounts. What else might be coming in this big announcement from January 29th? Well Snafzg has also received a mysterious package: a Predator DVD, and a direction to “go to 1:16:06″. At this point of the film, The Governator makes the suggestion “get to the chopper!”; using some extremely abstract reasoning, you could somehow connect this to the missing Greenskin melee class of WAR, the Choppa, but I think that’s a bit of a stretch. No, we have to take these clues much more literally. “Get to the chopper” obviously means, as in the film, go to a helicopter. But why? Well, the note says “go to 1:16:06″. Minutes and seconds may be used in some esoteric areas like “time”, but more naturally they’re a measurement of latitude and longitude. With only a single reference, this has to be both the lat. and long., and plugging those values into our favourite online mapping application reveals… it’s a point in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Ghana. I think we can see why the helicopter is needed now.
What might you find in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ghana? Well that’s an easy one, the wreck of HMS Majestic (official records won’t show this, there was a cover-up to hide the fact that she got lost on the way back from the Battle of the Nile), a 74-gun ship of the line. Another term for ship of the line is “man of war”, and I hardly need remind anyone of Games Workshop’s naval war game in the Warhammer world, Man O’ War. So there we have it. The January 29th announcement is going to be massive naval battles in Warhammer Online (after all, there are plenty of ships already dotted around the various coasts of the game, and we all know how easy it is to take a static model of a ship and produce an entire massively complex element of gameplay around it). And horse trousers.
Arbitrary’s post on the need for more ‘hat quests’ in WAR for the Knight of the Blazing Sun triggered a comment from myself on the prospect of a Slayer mohawk ‘hair quest’. As ludicrous as it sounds, it did make me ponder on the nature of gear and customisation for the Slayer class. Slayers are traditionally not very well endowed in the clothing department, eschewing most armour for a more effective fighting style, a more honourable death and possibly to give a chance to the poor blighters that are facing them in combat. So how will gear work for Slayers in WAR?
Let’s take as read that Slayers will at least be allowed trousers, which although perhaps not flush with armour points, will give suitable bonuses to stats, and avoid the need for players to stare at dwarven buttock-beards for considerable lengths of time; my guess would be that Slayers will rely heavily on avoidance stats, such that they avoid or parry many blows but will take a bit of a pummeling when they do get hit. Let’s also allow Slayers to wear a chest piece, be it no more than a leather vest or a light chainmail shirt. This still leaves us with, at a minimum, feet, shoulders, head and hand slots that are free of armour and ideally need to be filled in some way.
My thought for this: tattoos.
There would be a special ‘armour’ item in the game based on tattoos. The tattoos would be for specific slots, just as their armour counterparts are, and could have stats attached to them much as gear does. Being that my idea of a Slayer is based on avoidance stats, you could have token amounts of armour attached to the tattoo without it totally breaking immersion: it would be slightly harder to accept that by forcing a pint of ink under one’s skin one would gain plate armour levels of damage resistance. However, the higher level tattoos could be magical in nature, Runic Tattoos say, and therefore justify higher levels of armour and other non-Slayer-like stats. I think this fits in quite nicely with the Slayer theme: if you see a heavily tattooed dwarf running at you, you know that he’s going to give you a good kicking; if, on the other hand he only has a heart with the word ‘Mother’ tattooed on one arm, you can probably take it as read that he’s fairly new to the school of slaying.
Thinking on customisation itself, there are lots of nice touches that can be added to the trophy slots on a Slayer: eye patches, nose-to-ear rings, even scars! Fighting a battle with a tough boss that rewards a trophy will award the Slayer a lovely-looking deep crusty scar to have run down one arm, or across your character’s back. Due to the fact that Mythic’s game is already a dark and dangerous place, they have the potential to make veteran Slayers look a real mess, but in the best possible way. Slayers, although stylised and eulogised among Warhammer fans, are generally nothing more than wandering wrecks, they’re the sentient living equivalent of ghost ships: terrifying to look upon, falling apart, haunted and dead to the world, while still refusing to actually die.
As for actual game-play, I’ll be interested to see what mechanic Mythic devises. The easy route would be to go with something like the standard rage mechanic as seen on WoW Warriors or City of Villain Brutes, where the longer the Slayer fights for, and the more enemies they defeat, the greater the damage they deal out as the blood lust takes a hold of them. It’s not a particularly exciting mechanic, but it is effective and proven to work. The interesting part will be how Mythic devise and structure the various Mastery paths (talent trees, to those WoW players out there) for the Slayer. At the moment I’m stuck on a Melee DPS Damage Path, a Melee DPS Damage Path, and… uh, a Melee DPS Damage path. Slayers are “dwarfs what kill stuff”, to use the Barnett parlance, and so it seems hard to see a Mastery path for a Slayer that doesn’t involve “killing stuff betterer”. Mastery paths could, for example, be based on weapon types, with axes doing pure burst damage, hammers having less damage but crowd control effects such as stuns, and daggers doing more damage than axes but through DoT bleed effects and the like, such that the damage is spread out over time. My other thought is that the Mastery paths could be based around weapon styles, so Two Handed, Dual Wield and… uh, hmmm a one handed weapon and shield is just not very Slayerish, and a one handed weapon on its own would be a bit pointless. I would, therefore, offer up a new item: the Battle Horn. The Battle Horn is something that the Slayer can blow in combat to strike fear into their foes and raise the morale of their fellows. This would allow the Slayer to be more than just a melee DPS class, to bring a little utility to the field of battle by providing some de/buffs. The standard Slayer would be able to use the Battle Horn and provide these de/buffs, but the Slayer who specialises in the Battle Horn Mastery path has additional benefits added to the standard versions of these abilities, as well as the core de/buffs being improved by putting points in to Battle Horn Mastery, as it is with the Masteries of other classes already.
Anyway, these are just a few thoughts from someone who is desperately trying not to get too excited about the chance to play one of their favourite RPG classes – trying not to be a total Slayerette – they aren’t meant as predictions for what we will actually see from Mythic, they’re just ideas that I needed to write down because they were flailing around in my head like a Slayer in an encampment of chaos henchmen.
A month ago I said “Installing [GTAIV] was pointlessly tedious, there’s time to make a cup of tea as it starts up, performance hovers just the right side of “acceptable”, but, and it’s a great big rocket-propelled strontium-edged “but” on skis, damn, it’s a good game.” Since then I’ve continued to enjoy it, but, and it’s a medium sized pulse-jet powered tin-plated “but”, the performance issues have rather spoiled it for me, enough to make me start looking at upgrades. I’m terrible on upgrades, I have something of a propensity for overanalysis, which obviously the internet really helps with; I started out looking at some GTA forums, in case there were any helpful hints about tweaking performance (not really; for every possibly helpful post, there were at least five telling anybody with less than seven top-end graphics cards working in parallel to “upgraed FFS yuor system su>< LOL"). Then I started looking at a new graphics card, and had almost decided to pick up a Radeon 4850, but couldn't quite find that perfect combination of card manufacturer, cooling system, price, vendor (with stock) and phase of the moon. Anyway, even if I upgraded the graphics card, the processor would probably be a bottleneck, it's been a few years, probably time for a whole system upgrade, right? So I spent a while touring around PC vendors, weighing up the pros and cons of an extra 4Gb of memory vs a slightly faster processor vs a slightly better graphics card (then deciding to go for all of them, seeing the total system price and deciding against it after all), and doing a quick Google search for customer opinions on likely looking companies only to find that every single PC vendor takes forever to build PCs, puts the wrong components in that don't work when they arrive, and need a court judgement to get a refund
It’s only GTAIV that my system really struggles with so far, though, and good as it may be, is it worth shelling out a grand or so on a new system just to be able to play properly? I finally took the shrinkwrap off Fallout 3 and installed it to see how my poor aged system coped with the post-apocalyptic wasteland; automatically configuring the graphics options, it suggested high detail at 1680×1050. “That sounds splendid” I said, and chucked GTAIV back on the shelf. I can only presume there are good technical reasons for it being so resource hungry compared to other cross-platform games like Mass Effect, Far Cry 2 and the perfectly-happy-at-1680×1050 Fallout 3, or maybe Rockstar are actually alien developers from the future and mis-calibrated their time machine when sending back the PC version of GTAIV, using the “2014” setting when the 64Gb nVidATI GTXL4850000XLGT Turbo Ninja Pirate Robot is the standard PC graphics card. Either way, I’ll come back to Theft some Grand Autos once I do upgrade my PC, maybe in six months to a year. In the meantime, Fallout 3!
I’ve only just started Fallout (then re-started it to tweak my characters appearance, got out of the vault, then re-started one more time to get a different haircut and try a different way of getting out of the vault) and it’s looking most promising, more adventures in the wasteland to follow soon I’m sure!