Saturday 14 March 2009


The Inevitable City is something of a disappointment, as tourist destinations go. Proving myself as hopeless at punditry as usual, after last week’s alarm clock siege Order have popped in for tea, biscuits and mass pillaging twice more; Destruction don’t seem to be putting up so much resistance in fortresses, whether they’re not so interested with zone flips being more frequent, or whether it’s because there’s an awful lot of Choppas rampaging through tiers 1 and 2 I’m not sure. Their cause isn’t particularly helped by the Chaos fortress lord frequently mtaking it upon himself to go for a bit of a wander, rather than staying in his well defended room, which was how we found ourselves taking The Maw surprisingly easily at prime time on a Friday night, and carrying on to the Inevitable City courtesy of a previously locked Elf fortress.

Same drill as last time: several instances of the City, up to 48 players per side in each. A couple had heavy Destruction presence, a couple had almost none, and initially I ended up in one of the latter. Two stage public quest: firstly kill 150 defenders (NPCs, if no players around), hold two objectives, set fire to 50 things (mostly by clicking glowing crates and tables). Secondly, a Lord spawns accompanied by four Heroes, and you have eight minutes to kill them all.

With no player opposition the first stage of the PQ is trivially easy but tedious, it’s tempting to slack off and let everyone else do laps killing random mobs, but of course then it just takes longer. The second stage requires a touch of co-ordination. It’s imperative not to drag the Lord or any Hero too far, or they reset. A debuff from the Lord prevents healers resurrecting other players, so you need to respawn and make the fairly short run if you die, rather than spamming chat channels begging for a rez. Finally, everyone on our server is under strict instructions not to use taunt or detaunt powers, it’s suggested they cause the Lord to employ a particularly nasty AoE attack. I don’t know for sure if that’s the case or if it’s one of those MMOmyths that spring up, but still. With a co-ordinated warband it’s probably also fairly trivial, each mob is tanked, dps focus fire on a mob at a time, and Bob’s your chaotically mutated uncle. With a PUG, with members covering a range of levels and varying levels of gear, it’s a bit more challenging, especially when it takes a good few minutes of sustained DPS just to bring the Lord down, so almost any reset after the first couple of minutes won’t leave you enough time. Still, after two fairly close attempts, getting down to just the Lord on around 25% health as the final seconds agonisingly ticked away resetting everything back to the mob farming drudgery of stage one, everyone just about had the hang of not running away, and our instance took the Lord down, hurray! Our reward (after distributing the bags)? To do stage one all over again, hurray! Wait, no, not hurray…

Now bear in mind this is with almost no player opposition at all. If you happen to get an instance with heavy defence, stage one of the PQ is much more interesting as the two sides have the same objectives. Blood flows in the streets, objectives change hands in bitter assaults, it’s a little like a 48-a-side scenario on a grand scale. That’s good. Stage two of the PQ, though, is a bit tough. If two pick-up warbands were *just* able to defeat the final boss within the time limit at the third attempt, imagine how much harder that would have been with a balanced party of Destruction joining in the fun, let alone anything approaching parity in numbers.

If you can “lock” the first part of the Inevitable City, I believe you progress to another public quest, with even tougher mobs at the end. To lock the city, though, it seems you have to complete that first public quest again, and again, and again, and… well, you could also do the Inevitable City scenario. If it popped. Which it didn’t while I was there.

So in the excitement stakes, it’s somewhat lacking. Never mind, though, MMOG players will do any old crap for hours on end so long as you dangle something shiny in front of them, and that’s the point of pillaging isn’t it? Four successful fortress assaults and another four hours in the Inevitable City, I’d hired a wagons to haul all the lovely loot away, and cleared plenty of space in the bank vault to store it. Net loot result from all that?
– One level 36 green axe (dropped from a player, won via a Greed roll)
– One level 40 green cloak, from a green bag for completing the IC public quest

And… that’s it. Luckily the wagoneers took the axe in payment, or I would’ve been down on the whole deal.

OK, I exaggerate a touch. While running between walls during a fortress attack, a Conqueror Keysash happened to drop from some random mob and I won a Need roll for it, but still; nothing from the Inevitable City itself. It’s a subject considerably covered around the blag-u-spore (f’rexample at The Greenskin), but worth reiterating, in terms of loot the WAR endgame can be most frustrating. You’re either competing with anything from 20-100 people on the roll for a few decent bags, or going down the WoW route of running instances and hoping bosses drop something for your class. Tokens have been mentioned for loot in the upcoming Land of the Dead zone which sounds a bit more hopeful, as with the Inevitable City not offering much in the way of fun or loot I’m going to need a new holiday destination.

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