What a difference a CoW makes…

Last night I was back in WoW. After the buyer’s remorse-fest of Sunday, I’m not even sure why I logged in. Stubbornness perhaps, or maybe as a show of solidarity with the guild.

This time, I started a Drenai Shaman. Good move on my part, at least the Drenai aspect. I have started literally 20+ human characters, but only a very few Drenai. So their “crash site” starter area is still at least somewhat new. I swear I could close my eyes and run the human abbey quests at this point. 🙂

So I was already more pleased with my return to WoW, but then I contacted the Genda (I think?? Most of us are using WoW names and I’m not always sure who is who at this point) and got a guild invite, and from there on in the night was nothing but fun. I was still playing solo, but enjoying the companionship of the guild made everything feel more fun.

We’re recruiting, by the way. If you’re playing, or are interested in playing, Warhammer Online or World of Warcraft, and you’re looking for a guild, give us a look. I don’t even know how to describe us anymore, but I’ll just say we’re a generally mature and easy-going guild. We get that games are games and real life is real life and that the latter is more important. Lots of us have kids and/or spouses that deserve attention, and we get that you probably can’t be (or don’t want to be) in-game every single night.

We’re still a fairly young guild, too. Just a few months old. But the plans are for eventual expansion into other MMOs, and “unofficially” some of us are gaming together on the XBox or in non-MMO games like Left 4 Dead.

Look, I’m a bitter, angry, cynical old man, and I get around the CoWs and just grin and have a good time. If *I’m* not finding anything to bitch about, you can bet this is a great bunch of people. So give us a try! Start by registering at the forums. Tell ’em Pete sent you; they probably won’t hold that against you.

Keep Cap Exp, huzzah!

Today Mythic added some experience rewards for capturing a Keep, so the Casualties of War decided to go see what that was all about. We had Tier 3 and Tier 2 groups roving the RvR Lakes; I was with the T2 groups.

Great fun. For the record my Rank 15 Witch Hunter got 2300 exp for taking a keep (and 700 renown). My understanding is that at 15 he’s pretty much getting the max, and honestly given the organizational time, cost (for siege machines), and difficulty, it should be more, but this is a step in the right direction at least.

In all the excitement I only took a couple of screenshots, and none of them at the Keeps, but here is our merry band standing around “defending” a Battlefield Objective. (No Destruction types were silly enough to try to take it back.) We had 1 full warband of maybe 75% CoW members, and a second Warband that I’m thinking was about 2 groups. Keep battles were still a challenge since some of us were in Vent, some not, and there were 2 warbands so /shout was the best way to communicate (we probably should’ve created a channel…an idea that only just now occurred to me). Plus the design of the keeps can make it hard to bring all troops to bear at once…

Anyway, click for a much larger version:

Getting to know you…

My Warhammer guild has turned out to be an interesting social experiment. Usually when I join a guild in an MMO, it’s because I’ve run into the same people a few times, grouped with them, and have some idea of what I’m getting into. Not so with CoW. I learned about it through reading the blogs of some of the founders, but once the guild was formed (and it grew very rapidly) I was in this group of total strangers who nevertheless shared a common interest: blogging. And, well, Warhammer Online. 🙂

Things are going pretty well and so far the guild drama quotient is pretty darned low. A lot of people assumed a guild made up of a group of (by nature) opinionated bloggers was doomed to fail. But I can tell you that so far at least, there’s no sign of pending collapse. Quite the contrary.

In any group of people this big, you’re going to meet folks who have values that don’t coincide with yours. I’m working through that issue right now, in fact, and I keep expecting this to turn into major drama (given that the person in question is an officer) but again, thus far its been very much a “You do your thing and I’ll do my thing and we’ll both respect the other’s personal choice.” kind of situation. No harm, no foul, everybody having fun.

Granted there are people I don’t actively like: the constant complainer, the “I know more than anyone” dude, etc. Any reasonably large group has these characters. I still get along with them, but I don’t seek out their company, if you know what I mean.

But mostly I’ve been having surprisingly enjoyable experiences. For instance, y’know I’m a voice chat hater. But I’ve been running Ventrillo when doing RvR in CoW groups just because I can’t deny that it is easier and more efficient. Generally I just listen even though I have a mike set up. And I have vent coming through the speakers (I run it on a 2nd pc).

Saturday night I was in a CoW group, getting our arses handed to us in a Tier 2 scenario (we were pretty badly out-leveled), and one of my guild mates had his Vent on ‘handsfree.’ He was being pretty chatty, which should have driven me bonkers, but instead he was doing a grand job of keeping us entertained and keeping the ‘sting’ of losing at bay. Not only was I in stiches, but so was Angela, who was next to me playing EQ2.

To make things even better, someone in another group shouted “Why do all Shadow Warriors suck in RvR?”. I was the lone Shadow Warrior in the scenario. I just ignored the idiot because I didn’t feel I was doing particularly badly, given the circumstances. I’m usually the first one to come down on myself if I’m screwing up; I hate letting down my group mates.

But I digress. As I said, I just ignored the comment, but my guildies came to my defense, which felt pretty damned good. It wasn’t a big deal and the shouter never said anything else, but its the thought that counts, y’know?

So yeah, being in CoW has been a very rewarding experience so far. Would it be going over-the-top to say its even been restoring my faith in people, to some extent? I always expect the worst out of any group situation, and my expectations are generally met. I expected CoW to be an awkward experience; I’m not very extroverted and tend to hold myself apart from groups. But so far, its been a joy to get to know this group of strangers bound together by a love of gaming and a love of writing about gaming.

Warhammer Day 1 a day late

So after my ennui of yesterday morning, I did log into the Headstart shortly after noon yesterday. First things first, I have to eat my words; the servers came up at noon, an hour before previously scheduled, and as far as I know they stayed up all day.

I rolled a Shadow Warrior and was puttering around doing quests when I saw Esri run past with a CoW tag, so I shot a /tell to JoBildo and bam, I was in the guild. I never did get around to starting Vent though, so my session in the early afternoon was pretty quiet. I think most folks were focused on tweaking their UI and learning their skills and stuff; I know I was. I did max out my Influence in the Chap 1 Public Quest and won 1st place once and 3rd place twice. I did the RvR scenario early on and we got trounced; I decided then I needed better armor and more skills before I tried any more RvR (melee characters were 2 shotting me in my ‘born-in’ armor).

After lunch, there was football to be watched. I made it to half-time in the living room then had to get back to War. I rolled a second character — a Witch Hunter — on an RP server. I was half-playing, half-watching the game, so figured it was a good time to solo. The vibe on the RP server was a lot nicer than on the ‘Core’ server that CoW is on (setting aside guild chat, I mean) and I played a lot more slowly, reading through all the Tome unlocks and really drinking in the atmosphere and the lore. On the CoW server I’d felt a need (totally self-imposed) to level as fast as I could, but on the RP server it was just the opposite.

After dinner I went back to CoW, taking my new “relaxed” play style with me. Did a bunch more PvE quests. CoW was doing RvR and asked for volunteers, and I offered my services, but it never panned out. My comment was probably just missed, and I didn’t repeat it since it was pretty late already. Honestly its a little embarrassing how clueless I am about some parts of the game considering I was in the beta as long as I was. But most of my beta time we were plunked down in an area and told “Fight this battle”. So I had no idea how to get to the RvR area!! *blush*

First day recap. Game ran pretty well. One CTD. Some pathing issues with the mobs still. But lots of fun. The Shadow Warrior isn’t as interesting as the Witch Hunter at early levels and solo. My SW has only 1 melee skill that isn’t positional, so fights are a couple of arrow shots then spam my melee skill until the dude is dead. The Witch Hunter is lower level and already has 3 Stances with a variety of skills and techniques. But I’m not judging either class yet, since I’m something like level 6 and level 5. And, in theory at least, I’ll be rolling with CoW most of the time with the SW and those backstabby skills will be a lot more useful. 🙂

I have to say the ennui has been swept aside, though. I’m looking forward to playing some more tonight. I hope the servers are as stable this weekend (I’m taking a 4-day weekend). Waaagghhh!