Time, the only real currency


Time – the only frontier


I’ve made this argument before and it remains true through all new systems Turbine creates – time is the only currency that matters.

Most counter arguments to ‘better ways’ discussions usually devolves into the lazy fallacy of ‘you just want free stuff, the game is easy enough’. This gets particularly silly when the item discussed by nature is easier the way it’s launched and improvements would make it less easy.

This is true with the new tiered system for collectibles. This new system is probably just an adjustment of the old way of how things more or less worked, but at least an improvement that is systematic through the entire game.

At the heart of it is to add collectibles back to all quests (with some allowances for stuff specific for Eveningstar and Eberron) and across the board. That’s not true now. The current system is really ad hoc.

The problem with the changes as it’s argued is that this forces high level players to grind low level content for mats, since all of the mats are divided into 6 tiers, with each tier covering 5 levels. This correlates somewhat to the mat needed for crafting recipes according to difficulty level.

In one way this makes sense; some recipes will be low crafting levels and therefor require easier to find mat. Higher level crafting require more of and harder to get mats. This is the fundamental of most systems – but just as it makes ‘sense’ in a way that correlates to understanding of how hard it is to achieve, it makes less sense when you look at what we are now. Plus think about it like this; if you have one set of quests in heroic and one set of quests in Epic, why would the same environments produce 2 very different set of materials? Such as Red Fen. Level 9 quests will in this system produce tier 2 materials and the level 23 will produce tier 5. Generally a mushroom that thrives in a similar environment would produce the same material, but here you have a silly notion of tiers. Screw biology and the natural environment these beetles and mushrooms live in – it all depends on what level you run things in.

To me this is sorta silly. As the logic is entirely based on the level of the item you craft and not the environment you would normally find this type of material.

Reversely; if you have a low end character wanting to craft high end gear, you are more or less dependent on the market to provide you with materials you can’t run.

The problem with this tiered system is that it denies either spectrum of a chance unless they can grind it. It’s easy enough for high end chars; they can simply do low level stuff with ease. It’s impossible for say a level 11 char that is a designated crafter to do the opposite; high end stuff for mats since they can’t even get into those quests – or for that matter survive. Unless you also have multiple chars. Not all do. We don’t all play DDO the same way.

This system not only rewards high level chars over low level chars in a absurd way but also punished dedicated crafters because they’re more reliant on market, the gold store or simply to grind levels and content they’re not interested in or can grind.

To grind or not to grind, that is not the question


Some compare this to how things are right now; you want something you have to grind for it. But that’s not entirely true. If I am on a ER train and run content I will always pick up collectibles. Always. But there are times when I don’t. Partly because of time constraint but also when in groups. But more accurately; it’s the least of things I run content for. I run content for gear and XP – collectibles is a afterthought in most cases.

To run content exclusively for collectibles, not benefiting from anything else is backwards and silly. And certainly not organic to anything I do when I play.

I don’t get benefit from XP (being high end in low end stuff). I don’t get gear I care for nor will use. And I spend the only currency worth anything – time – to do a menial task only worth the few mats I get out of it. As a working adult I value my time that I divide between interests – running level 1-15 quests for mats is not one of them.

To me a system like this should be ‘in addition’ to, not instead of. Crafting to me always worked hand in hand with all the other things I did. I picked up item leveling (and mats) and when there was a crafting bonus weekend I took all essences I crunched and the material and crafted a few levels. Then when I actually needed an item I spent whatever little time I needed to craft it, gear it and go on with my regular gaming.

I seldom had to run anything specific for materials. If I didn’t have one I might check the market and if the prices were silly (as it usually was with things you really needed for rare material) I skipped it.

But for most part I had all the basic materials since I picked up everything when I ran content.

This new system ‘forces’ players to be exclusive to their material run.

A better system x.0


Better systems would be some already mentioned in the discussion. Either a system where you exchange one material for another. This one probably require some form of exchange rate. I’d say the difference in tiers maybe? Because it’s clear that it’s easier and quicker to grind low end material (usually shorter quests and certainly without anything that can hurt higher end chars).

So if you’re level 26 (tier 6 level) and want a tier 4 material, you would be the difference of 2 tiers and an exchange rate of 3 to 1. Want tier 5 material? 2 for 1. Want tier 6 material? Tough, run some more content.

The point is simple; you spent time running content. In fact the content you ran as level 26 probably took longer and was harder than say a level 11 quest. In other words you spent more time doing it.

And if you think it’s inherently unfair to treat a tier 1 run and material the same as tier 6 you could add a increase. For any up conversion it cost double the difference. Or 1.5. Whatever is ‘fair’. But the key here is to make a system that is organic to what people play, not force them into doing something they don’t want and for something like collectibles.

Another system and perhaps better is to divide all materials into 3 tiers instead. For each 10 levels. And then provide a smaller chance for a higher tier to drop. Something like a 60/30/10 or a 70/20/10.

Meaning if you run tier 1 quests (1-10) there’s a 60 percent chance to get tier 1 mats, 30 percent tier 2 and 10 percent tier 3.

If you run tier 2 content there’s a 60 percent to pull tier 2, 30 to pull tier 1 and 10 to pull tier 3.

Both these optional systems still allows you to run lower end content for a quicker reward but it also allows low end crafters a chance for high tier mats. And none of these system takes away the option for anything to be more rewarded running a tier that correspond to that material for a quicker farm.

For me that means I don’t have to bother with the levels I don’t care to run and over time I will keep on picking up all type of stuff. And when I feel like it or need too, I will go on a crafting binge using the stuff I have.

The more dedicated will naturally farm mats and craft stuff more often, just as it should be.

And that is consistent with all arguments I’ve made over the years to fix systems that is not entirely functional. Some will accuse you of wanting free stuff (a lazy trope). But ultimately I’ve never suggested something that will make things ‘easier’ just more appropriate to the gaming style for most players. And that is what I mean by organic. It’s only when you notice the hamster wheel that you get exhausted and start disliking something. If you create organic system that hide the layers of grind you don’t turn off parts of the community to it.



Trinkets in Crafting 3.0, Jack of all trades.

Without flexible shards, Turbine removed some of the uniqueness of the crafting system, but I doubt that was actually the goal. If anything flexible shards were a stop gap measure for a system that seemed useless over level 12-15, breathing some more life into it.

And the more updates we got, the less functional and useful crafting became. It wasn’t really the new random loot system that killed it; once MOTU came along and epic levels but also that time frames loot system, killed the utility of most crafted options.

There are a few exceptions. Exceptions that are still ‘stronger’ than anything you can craft under 3.o. Such as most abilities up till 6. You can today craft items with +6 in any ability at level 9. Per usual the new system do incremental increases through level 1 to 30.

Another good example are fortification items; the new loot system (and I do believe this actually started on a smaller scale under Shadowfell) is incremental. Unlike prior fortification items that divided it into light (25%), moderate (75%) and heavy (100%), the new is gradual between level 1 and overlevel 34. Much like most permutations under the new system.

And that means that the scale from 1 to 100 now stretches the lower 20, instead of capping at level 7 (level 9 for most part but Crystal Cove allowed you to add heavy fort at 7). The heavy fort augment can be equipped at 8.

This is also true with absorb; the exception is that you can now create absorb items for any type including negative. The old system can only do fire and electric. But you can add those at lower levels and at 33%. The new system is gradual and start at 11 and cap at 38 (overlevel 34).

If you then disregard these few examples of the old system being ‘better’ there are other ways to get the most out of old and new.

Take for example fortification. Assuming you still want to use the old heavy fort but get the most out of the new system it’s possible to craft an item with augment slots. Since the heavy fort augment can be equipped at level 8, all you need is a helmet with green or blue slot and combine that with the sort of permutations that makes most sense.

In the prefix we can add something like sheltering. A good way to negate some incoming damage. In the Suffix slot we can add something like parrying. Or perhaps accuracy?  And finally for extra slot, insightful fortification.

Now it is rare that any critter (at least at this stage) will break 100 percent fortification, but if you come across the newer rogue enemies you will come across critters that can break fort fairly well.

Combine this with a heavy fort augment and you have a solid melee based helmet.

But something you will notice fairly quickly is that the trinket slot is now a catch all for any transmutation except the obvious weapon based ones.

Almost all recipes will include the trinket slot in some capacity. Many of the effects come in a prefix and suffix version and most of them can be added to trinkets.

That makes trinket the master of all and perhaps the hardest item to slot. This will also of course compete with named trinkets, which at least below 20 are few and far between.

Like this interesting trinket for rangers – prefix doubleshot, suffix Armor-piercing, extra insightful dexterity and a green augment with heavy fort.

Or Doublestrike of Melee alacrity with insightful deadly.

Or Charisma of constitution with insightful constitution.

Or how about Spell pen of Spell Focus Mastery with insightful spell pen?

And this is just a small example of the choices for trinkets. You can do some of these options on other items but probably not with the same flexibility.


What’s in a good quest.

Why did Haunted hall end up being so good and Temple of Elemental Evil not?

It’s the same reason that Diablo II was so loved and the many clones created after that weren’t.


It’s like the curse of all sequels. First; it’s the familiarity. Doing the same thing again but more. Much more. Bigger explosions, bigger stunts but essentially the same tired story. At times it works. Familiarity breeds an emotional connection. But if we’re there to see a surprise like the 6th sense, then doing the same but in a different circles won’t work.

Some tricks only work once.

But in the case of HH and ToEE, it was bigger, better but ultimately more empty. The problem with bigger is having time for everything else. More is only good if more also provides the meat. But if you provide nothing but meat then more and meat just becomes a long arduous slog through one encounter after another.

Which brings us back to HH. Haunted halls is long. But you can finish it fairly quickly by finding that golden path. You could arguably do so with ToEE too, but that means slogging (still) through what feels like one room after another of trash mobs.

Second, HH had villains. But the villains had soul. They were all different. They had lots of HP, true, but they all felt different. All of them offered a slight variant on how to defeat them. A tactic if you like. Some were obnoxious, but given the right class and make up, not trivial, but at least manageable. And even if there were trash mobs, they felt strategic.

In ToEE it was random, most villains were bloated bags of HP and it was more a slayer area than an exploration. There was no soul.

It was pretty mind you. The different elemental nodes. The music. But it was cluttered with endless encounters. It was like filling a big huge space with annoying mouse traps you had to step on.

I love HH. I don’t play it enough since I have all the items I need. But it was the perfect classic adventure and everything ToEE promised to be but never lived up too. There’s nothing wrong with ToEE per say. But ToEE has no soul. It’s a HP meat grinder. Red names are bloated HP bags without any other type of tactic than pure dps. The end battle is different true; but it’s boring – confined to an extremely small space without good use of tactical options.

I don’t know how slavers will be. I did play it for a little bit but never finished the first part. But it’s long. Have some side quests and tons of traps. I don’t mind traps to be honest. I just want the tools to deal with them. Turbine have still not added a higher end hirelings to help people who solo. I don’t expect hirelings for LE or EE quests, but something that work on LH and EH.

I know; why don’t you group up? The problem with grouping is time. Slavers is a long quest. I’m sure some groups will minimize it to the essential run, but even when it was done with ToEE, it was still relatively long. And that puts the strain on any PUG. That’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact.


Regarding 3.0

If nothing else, your article just demonstrated that there is no longer need to search for level 15 random loot. Level 15 is the first point in random loot you can get +8

This is a comment in last blog post that I felt required some additional discussion and it’s not entirely wrong – but there is a point to be made.

First, level 15 random loot and in many cases pre Shadowfell named items were made pointless by the second expansion pack.

With it both chains granted (on heroic) items with +8 attributes, by no less than completing the quests and in the end reward lists. So no grind needed at all. This was also past onto random loot 3.0 and further developed and expanded in random loot 4.0 (current system). So Shadowfell wasn’t just the great ghost bane’ing or for that matter the many incarnations of deadly of accuracy – it was also a big step away from the generally accepted attribute convention that existed all the way up until Epic GH. With one single release all prior +6 attributes were overshadowed by the named sage, skirmish and the like items.

And it’s not entirely true that +8 is for level 15 only and not on random/named items. You can find ‘better’ stuff on random at that level if you get that extremely lucky roll – so people should definitely not give up on opening those loot chests.

However crafting 3.0 simply promises a base standard.

Such as this one.

ML 15 con

As you notice I have since my last post managed to add a few better extra slots. In this case insightful constitution. This would be an Arti’s/Warlock’s dream. Adding both a bucketful of constitution and Impulse.

ML 20 con

And at level 20 you can make this. Notice that as con goes it’s only +1 more to both the regular and the insightful attribute. That’s not bad. But you can still find other items with similar and better values and lower ML (altho this is an old random loot item with 2 augment slots – try finding that now). Like the item my Arti is wearing now – a ML 19 with insightful con +4. True, the prefix and suffix are not that good, but then rings are those great and easy to gear slots (now).

And at ML 25 the con goes to +11 – certainly not unique at that level and at 30 +13 (see below).

ML 30 con 13

I’ve personally found items with +16 (most likely level 35+ on the loot table).

ML 34 con 15

And speaking of level 34. Crafting allows you to do so called power levels. This is considered the max according to crafting; level 34, ML 30. As you can see this is easily found on high level loot today. However the argument is as always to make items with good combinations like the above. And in this case using an old saved loot items when they dropped with 2 augments. Would this fetch a good penny if you can make it as unbound? I’m sure. This particular ring would fetch a premium since it would require a lot of resources to make. And with a limited supply of saved 2 augment slotted items from the old system; I can guarantee that you won’t find a big supply of them.

So in short. Crafting allows for good solid ML 15 items (perfect for iconic items) but I feel it’ll only ‘push’ out some basic Shadowfell sage, guarding etc items. Save some; the necklace for example provide +4 Evocation and the best you can craft is a +3. On the other hand you can add insightful +2, so here’s the chance to combine things and make for better standard.

If anything; instead of limiting things to specific core items, named or otherwise, crafting expands the choices in an excellent way.

Thank you for leaving a comment and allowing me to discuss this further.





Cannith Crafting 3.0


If you’re like me, you have been looking forward to changes to crafting because of the continued increase of levels and the fact that crafting while flexible have been stuck in a curiosity mode; not really useful above level 15 (and arguably even less) and only as a very limited stop gap item – in particular because of the new random items system and also after the release of shadowfell.

After all – why bother making a +6 item (say constitution) when you can probably find a similar or better random item?

There are some caveats and major changes to the new system. First and foremost flexible shards are gone. This was introduced in 2.0. It was a way to extend the utility of the crafting system without extending the level cap. It was still stuck on 20 and not really useful above a certain level, but the flexible shard system allowed attributes and features to be crafted onto items that generally didn’t have them. Such as onto headgear where you normally would only find that feature on bracers.

Turbines argument is that the new random loot system and in extension crafting, will have a natural flexibility compared to the old system in that you’ll find more attributes and features across more items. Such as spell power on all type of items when it the past it was confined to a very narrow gear selection and some even only on specific named items.

And it is true; it’s hard to find a real limitation when the most important pieces of the puzzle exist on not just some really nice named items now a days, but can also be found on easily geared slots such as rings and necklaces.

However I’d really like to see flexible shards to add another layer of ‘special’ to crafting. Just as it did with 2.0.

Another argument against adding flexible shards is that there are specific features that exist on crafted items only. That is true with random as well. The idea is that if you want a very specific feature it might just exist on crafted items, but the truth is that there are few of those that really stand out as awesome and ‘must have’.

Another essential change is that there is only one type of essence (and you can trade in your old ones for it). That also require some of the old collectible items including purified Eberron shards, but also new collectible materials – many of them specific to either Eveningstar or Stormreach.  This includes 2 new purchases in the store; the regular one of essences (no different than how it was before) and a crate with 3 random collectible items (10 each). No idea what the cost is since the store on Lamm have it for 1 gold.

Finally, the wicked witch of BTC seems to be dead. You can re-disjunct old items to the new format and in doing so it won’t change how it’s bound, but once you add a shard of ML it’ll determine the bound status with a major exception. BTC items will become BTA no matter if you make a bound or unbound shard. So you can take formally BTC crafted or such (as you will see below) and make them BTA. And all new unbound items that are created as bound will become BTA. Again, the status on the disjuncted item do not determine the final bound status; adding a shard does.

What that means is that you can take any formerly BTC items (such as those with guild slots) and add bound shards and turn them into BTA. I hope that is as intended, because this would make crafted items useful, even beyond basic stop gap measures.

How it works.

It is a much simplified process; gone is the different shards of increased power of an item – such as con 1, 2, 3 etc. Gone is also shards of potential. This was convoluted system where if you wanted say impulse 54 and something else, it required you to put a specific shard of potential on the item. And the power of these features determined the ML of the item.

This more or less required an external crafting app or else you would have very little idea as to what the ML would be in the end.

The new system works like this; you create a shard of minimum level. That will automatically determine the appropriate level of power of the effect you’re adding. So for attributes like constitution it’s +8 for level 15. So no ambivalence there. It is fully possible to create items without external apps. Altho I’m sure it’s still useful since the old system of prefix and suffix still exist; what that means you cannot have 2 suffix features on an item. You can have one suffix, prefix and extra slot.

Extra slot is usually of an insightful type but that can also be found as suffix type stuff (I think).

There’s right now a bug where you can add more than one extra slot.You do this by adding an extra slot, add a extra slot shard, then add an extra slot, then add an extra slot shard etc. As you’ll see below it’s fully possible now but it will be fixed.

Another thing is that augment slots no longer add a minimum level to an item. So if you have old crafted blanks that still might show up at first as ML 5, once you add an ML level shard on it, it’ll automatically become what ever the ML is for that shard.

And it works.


The results


necklace guild

(I even slotted it to make sure it worked)

As you can see by this example it has the prefix and suffix and 2 extra slots. Now, note that 1 extra slot is how it should work. I simply added an additional one to see if the bug would prevent the item from working. As far as I can tell it does.

Again – that will most likely be fixed. Assume 1 extra slot as the norm. This was also a previously BTC guild slot item. So as you can see it is now BTA – useful for any of your characters. And that is fantastic. Of course guild slot items are really only super useful on the low end, where those extra HP and maybe SP makes a big difference and not really on the higher end where a piddly 15 HP isn’t going to make much difference. In those cases maybe an item with augment slots would make more sense.

Is this better than random?

Not really. Random can still get that little extra. But random is also random. While you can get a higher charisma in random (lucky, lucky roll) it’s unlikely that you also get the combo you like. At least with crafting you can get average good items, the way you want them.

The Downside

Assuming they fix bugs there is one issue that I noticed myself.

Leveling in crafting works similar in the new system as it did in the old. You craft shards that are above your regular level – the difference gives you a difficulty chance to complete a shard. Too high and you get zero chance, just a little above it can be everything from below 50% up to close to 100. The lower the chance, the higher the experience for completing it.

Normally you don’t get anything for stuff at or below your crafting level and the more of the same shard you make, the less XP you get for each shard.

Traditionally you would use crafting tools that give you an increased chance ontop of the chance to create the shard. Say 15% (I think the max you can buy from the store is 35%.) That’ll add 15% to whatever chance there is to make one. If you fail the roll you waste some mats, if not you get the experience and a shard.

Simple enough. In the old system this was less of an issue since you has a lot more recipes both from unbound and bound using lots of different types from arcane to good to evil etc. It was a convoluted system for sure, but you always had  something with 60-70 percent chance to make lots of experience on.

There are a lot fewer recipes in this system and a lot more levels. Granted, you lever somewhat quicker, but the diminishing return on shards still exist.

In the old system the same feature, say impulse spell power had several shards dependent on power and assumed ML. So you could find say 30, 54 and 60 something. In this system there’s only one. It’s the ML shard that determine the power.

While there are more effects to pick from, there are only one shard for that effect. The crafting level determine what new effects you unlock, not what new ML you can add for that effect (old system).

That means that when I tried to level from 223 that I started at, and finally got to 227, I had very few other choices to level with.

I did level ML shards, requiring only essences (altho Turbine is saying that they might add something else to it and I think that is a big mistake; that was never true in the old system. Power of potential was an increasing amount of essence only). You can do both unbound and bound ML shards, but unbound are about twice as much. Again you can, but even doing that will end up with you hitting a arbitrary wall of poor return.

The basic gist of it is that you HAVE to use tools and xp boosting potions. Or else you won’t make enough XP to level up until you hit a shard level where you once more level another recipe with a reasonable return. This is particularly important when you have only 23% to complete in the next dozen or so levels above where you are and it takes increasingly rare materials to make. You don’t want to fail then.

I hope this gets rectified. Either slowing down the diminishing return effect or making failure less painful. One way or another you shouldn’t want a system that banks on people using consumables. That should always be a choice.


I am looking forward to Crafting

When people didn’t find crafting useful anymore; I did. Always making something to create a stop gap item. I’ve posted about it before.

The new system, echoing the new random system (minus a few options unique to random items) allows even greater flexibility than before. Well, other than flexible shards.

This section explains the new system. The fundamental of the new system is that you create a shard for the ML you want and then it’ll automatically adjust the value of that option to the ML used. This is similar to the random system where you pull an item at say ML 15 and the values are set according to what an ML 15 item should have. However the major difference is that a random item can get a bonus to the value, unlike Cannith crafted items.

That means that Cannith crafted items are always going to be reliably X and that among random items you can find items that have an edge compared to crafted ones.

Another major change is that the augment slot, colored or not, adds nothing to the overall ML of an item. In other words; whether or not you have 1 or 2 augment slots, the value of the item will be the same regardless.

I’m glad I saved a few items with augment slots, because that makes those items super interesting, unless of course there is something about those items that won’t function the same as augmented items today.

The new crafting system will support both bound and unbound items, but no word if the BTA type items you can find in some lower end quest chains function the same as now; where you can use bound shards and the item remains BTA.

I hope it does; because we also know that BTA items generally (as far as I’ve seen anyways) do not drop with augment slots. Making BTA useful of course, but only in the context of not being the absolute best solution for everything.

Another change is also that we’re now talking about ONE school and ONE ingredient. Instead of having major and lesser of all types, there’s only ONE type plus collectibles as before. That cuts down on the need to have all type of mats in your bag, or level up all kind of schools. It’s a simplified system that keeps the complexity of crafting options intact. Minus the fact that there are no flexible shards.

And that is really the only bad thing about this system. Flexible shards represented the option to take one effect that would normally not fit on say a trinket and use it there. Which made all gear options more diverse.

Turbine states that with the new more flexible crafting options which includes not only prefix and suffix but also bonus and insightful, each item still offers a lot of flexibility over the more rigid prefix and suffix from before. And it’s true; the new system allows more stuff to be crammed onto an item; but it still imposes a rigid system of what can go on say a trinket as suppose to a ring.

Only time will tell of course how inflexible (or flexible) that might be.

I am however looking forward to being able to create ‘straight’ items. Particularly for spellpower/lore stuff. This is particularly useful in earlier levels, such as doing an iconic reincarnation where you sometimes have to rely on specific named items for some effects (like the rock boots for acid) or several to provide something like impulse damage and kinetic lore.

I crafted a trinket a long time ago that provides both lore and spell power for that, but it’s weak since it was post the new more generous system.

It will now be possible to create rings with both lore and spell power of the same type and create consolidate early level runs to fewer items, that works well with the many BTA items you can now get from many different quests in the 12-15 level bracket. And even if you can find random items that have both the same lore and spell power, they are very rare. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of items today that provide those synergies – true.

What that really means is that Cannith crafting still remain a stop gap item solution and not really one to compete with both named and better random pulls. But it allows you to standardize equipment options and especially for toons you run a lot less and that might not have all the standard item options out there. And that has always been the real strength behind crafting anyways.


I’m still here

I’ve been playing a lot of other games. But now and then I jump into DDO, finish off a level or 2 and move on.

My recent obsessions is Total War Warhammer. but to lesser extent Galactic Civilization III.  I also played a lot of World of Tanks, but I’m over that now. In fact I had at least 2 weeks left of premium time and just gave up. It is even more broken than it was when I took a year long break and even fewer in the community cares.

The standard response is to get lost. People think that shrinking the community is better than to expand it. We tend to get this ‘it’s the only way’ just because a Developer did or said something. I know; it’s ‘their’ game. But many times developers are blinded by the few super users who blows smoke up their asses. The reality isn’t that regular folks know better; but it is a business and when a large part of the community don’t like something – there might just be a problem.

In this case like in so many other player vs player games it boils down to balance. That’s not as important in DDO – a game without a real PvP game, but balance is still important. Ergo the many discussions about difficulty, elitism and ‘how easy it is’.  But it’s still a business.

And the long term viability for a game should always be in the best interest of Developers.

World of Tanks isn’t the only game that ‘simulates’ tank combat. War Thunder is another one; but there just as in reality seeing and hitting first is more important than as in World of Tanks where everything has hit points.

The problem then boils down to DPS. Just as it does in DDO. Now imagine if you’re a slow hitting tank that is basically without protection and where less armored targets are better off. That sounds like DDO and tanking prior to the first armor up. Once MOTU dropped the heavy hitter scene died out completely. Other than the vexing few fighter types, both barbarians and tanking died.

That is less of an issue in a game where you can reincarnate and where you don’t play other players – but in WOT it’s detrimental to the whole idea of classes and rock paper scissors. When only paper and scissors work, the entire game is completely skewed when people want to play rocks.

However as soon as Total War Warhammer dropped I could effortless leave WOT behind and get my gaming need by playing an excellent adaptation of the Age of Strife in one of the richest lore in a fantasy world that dates back to the first pure war table top games of the good old 80’s and 90’s.

There has been several adaptations of the universe, but few have been as successful at capturing the grit of the Warhammer battlefield.

TWW is a game that borrows from the feature rich engine of the Total War games – constantly improved to provide a better and more ‘natural’ feeling, and the lore and beastiary of Warhammer.

If you haven’t delved into the universe is one where Man is surrounded by Greenskins, Undead and Chaos and aided lightly by Elves and Dwarves.

Normally Total War is about periods of war and expansions through history. It started with Medieval Japan during the shogun Era, continued with Rome and Medieval Europe and ended with Empire building in Europe during the 1700’s. And all of the eras have been treated with a second version using an updated graphic Engine and great improvements in the GUI and unit behavior and effects.

This have all put in good use in TWW. There are differences. While the other games had some different factions with unit types unique to a country or faction or a slight edge in some statistics dependent on what faction you picked – Warhammer offer a little more than cosmetics and statistical difference.

Not only do factions play differently, but they also have different attitude towards war and tactics. The game comes with 5 factions to start out and another factions (chaos beastmen) will be added in the end of July.

Currently you can play Empire (humans), Dwarves, Greenskins, undead and Chaos.

Humans and Dwarves are the most defensive. However humans at least have strong cavalry troops as well as artillery and ranged. Dwarves are all infantry with a few specialist troops like gyrocopters.

Greenskins are mostly melee but with both ranged and a few artillery units. Chaos have exactly one artillery unit and very few ranged. In contrast Undead have no ranged units but several good flying units instead.

Again – all of them play differently, have different goals and fundamentally are niched towards a typical playstyle.

Dwarves are entirely defensive with a strong but slow counter offensive. They have many type of ranged units as well as artillery. I covered Humans, but range and artillery wise they are almost as diverse as Dwarves. Main difference is that Dwarves are almost all well armored where as Humans are average.

Greenskins are very motivated to war and melee. Their strength is in a diverse melee and cavalry mix with some ranged (mostly for harassment) and artillery. They’re also further motivated by ‘fightiness’. It’s an additional motivation to go out a beat someone over the head. When Greenskins are inactive the flightiness meter goes down and there’s more unrest among troops and there’s a risk for defections. When it’s up and max, it can lead to a whaag. Whaag is when Greenskins goes into a complete frenzy and can spawn a full army of greenskins that the player can point in one direction, but not control.

It’s one way of creating a wave of Greenskin armies that trounces anyone in their path. Undead on the other hand need to corrupt lands before they can control them. Otherwise they take additional damage outside their own territory. Another fly in the ointment is that if the controlling general (lord) dies, the rest of the army dies with it. Moral therefor works differently; undead don’t flee like living troops. Undead takes additional damage as the lord lose control. So one way of winning against undead is to target all their leadership and watch them crumble completely.

Chaos cannot conquer territory. They instead destroy and enslave. Their entire goal is to kill, maim and subvert in the name of their chaos gods. They’re also the hardest to play since their entire economy comes from destroying and raiding areas, as suppose to conquer and control like with the other races.

The developers have promised to release many different unique unit types, campaigns and entire factions. The next one off the block is Chaos Beastment, but we’ve yet to see lizardmen, dark elves, high and wood elves, as well as Chaos dwarves and other undead types – since only a fraction of the game world is covered.