Warhammer CoWs moving house

Real quick because I’m running late for work.

Mythic is shoving folks off of the Averheim server, where CoW was located. The new server for Casualties of War is Badlands.

Important detail: Even if your account is inactive, you can transfer characters!

I transferred my brood this morning, so when I get back to War I’ll be able to rejoin the herd.

Account management page is here.

Sony’s Blunders

Is anyone else wondering what the heck is going on at Sony’s Entertainment Division? The past few weeks have seen one mistake after another:

  • SOCOM: Confrontation (an online only game) launched with the servers not working at all well. This is secondhand info but I read enough reports about the problems that I’m confident that they were real and widespred. People spoke of spending more time staring at menus waiting than actually playing the game.
  • LittleBigPlanet got delayed because of the Qur’an lyrics in one of the music selections for the game. How did this only become an issue in the eleventh hour? Wouldn’t you think you’d get a translation of any song lyrics that were going to be in your game, well before launch? The delay took a lot of the ‘bang’ out of the launch; instead of a single launch day when everyone was getting the game, we got a launch window of about 4 days. Which might have been a blessing in disguise because….
  • LittleBigPlanet servers were also borked on launch. Not only did this mean you couldn’t play online, it also impacted the single player game (if you were logged into PSN, which must of us are if our PS3s are internet-connected). I talked about this here; the long and sluggish load times I experienced were indeed caused by the game trying to talk to the servers and not being able to. Not the way to make a good first impression.
  • Last and admittedly least, the Mirror’s Edge demo is hitting PSN and XBox Live Arcade this week. There’s a lot of buzz and anticipation built up around this game, and for once, a demo was coming out first on PSN, and not on XBLA until the following day. Except the Playstation Store didn’t get updated until late evening ET. I’m thinking it was somewhere around 10 pm? I started to download the demo, but (Playstation Store servers being the slow beasts they are) had to go to bed before the download was complete. Advantage squandered.

I love my PS3 and during the prior console generation I appreciated the broader range of games offered on the Sony platform than you can generally find elsewhere. But now the JRPG’s are moving to the 360, and the ‘quirky’ games tend to show up as downloadable titles so you can get them anywhere. The only advantage Sony seems to still have is hardware reliability and even that may be fading as Microsoft finally starts getting the 360 hardware right.

Sony has been struggling and this holiday season is its change to turn that around some, and maybe it can. But it needs to stop making these highly visible blunders if its going to gain (and retain) the confidence of gamers. Fable 2 is only on XBox. Fallout 3 looks better on XBox. And Microsoft’s game servers tend to be pretty reliable. Let’s hope that the Resistance 2 servers are rock solid when that game launches.

Warhammer 101: Choosing a Server

So the news is good for Mythic & EA. Half a million accounts created in about a week. Friends of mine who’ve shown no interest in Warhammer are suddenly contacting me and asking me what server they should roll on, so I guess the word is spreading.

Picking a server is pretty much the first decision you have to make in an MMO, and with Warhammer it turns out to be a fairly significant one. So let’s think about this together.

You’ve got two “axis” to work with. Core vs OpenRvR and Core vs RP. The latter is more a thematic decision. I generally prefer RP servers just because of the naming conventions. Stupid names bug me. But that’s just me and its a personal opinion; you need to make your own choice there. Just don’t roll on an RP server, name your character ChuckNorris and then bitch about “naming nazis” when someone complains about it.

The Core vs OpenRVR decision is huge, and I’m going to urge you to choose Core for your first character. There’s still plenty of RvR on Core servers. Now I’m going to be honest and admit I haven’t played on OpenRvR servers in Warhammer, but I just don’t see a reason to. If you’re in the mood to fight other characters in a Core server, you head to easily accessible RvR areas or enter a scenario. If you’re not in the mood to fight, you stay out of those areas. To me, Core = more choices, which is always good. Saylah has a lot more to say about this choice and I urge you to read her thoughts before rolling OpenRvR.

So assuming you know what *type* of server you want to play on, how do you determine which specific server to pick? And the answer there is, look at the population during the times you’ll normally be playing (which means you should probably first play War during your ‘regular gaming time’). Your instinct (OK, *my* instinct) may be to look for a server with a low or moderate population. No one wants to have to camp spawns on a crowded server, right? But that would be The Wrong Choice for Warhammer. You want to join a server with a High population for your intended side. But of course you don’t want to wait around in login queues, so avoid Full servers with large waiting lists (the number in parens after a server name indicates how many people are waiting to get in). Also look at the other side. You want the two sides to have relative parity. I honestly haven’t seen a server where the sides are terribly out of whack (high/low or whatever) but if you find one of those, avoid it!

Remember, you need another team to fight against. If your side has a higher population you’re going to be waiting a long time for scenarios to begin. If your side has a low population then you’re going to get rolled pretty frequently in open world RvR, and control of zones is going to be problematic. Everyone likes to win, sure, but the most fun comes from good competition on both sides. And if a server is low population on both sides, then both sides are going to be waiting a long time to enter scenarios and open world RvR is going to be sparse at best.

So to recap, pick RP or non-RP. Avoid OpenRvR unless you’re really sure of what you’re doing. And look for servers with High/High population counts during the times you’re going to play. One of those is your server, and your best chance of having an enjoyable, well-rounded Warhammer Online experience. Granted this isn’t an exact science; pure population numbers don’t indicate player levels or RvR affinity. But you have to work with what you’ve got, and hopefully this post can help you stack the odds in your favor a bit.

Warhammer server distribution puzzler

I’m glad I’m not responsible for the Warhammer servers, because there are forces in play that defy explanation, at least to me.

This morning SE Headstart began. I logged in just to look at the server list. Virtually all the NA Core servers are at Low/Low population this morning…except one (Badlands, iirc…should’ve written this down) which was Full/Full, and one other that was High/High.

What draws so many people to a particular server? Mythic has RP servers and Oceanic servers and other ‘flavors’ of server (I say this because in other games one server will be, for instance, the “Unofficial Roleplay” server and that’ll make it stand out and attract more players). The only thing I can guess is that Badlands is an “Unofficial North American European Server” for players in Europe who don’t want to play on GOA’s (?) servers?

Anyway, my greatest fear is that I’ll come home tonight to find the server my guild is on has become super-populated with long queue times. I have an even greater fear of that happening on the 18th. Nothing to do but wait and see, I guess.