Ever thrown a birthday party and had no one attend? I haven't, but I experienced a similar sensation on Saturday, probably due more or less to my own poor planning. But it wasn't just events that didn't go according to plan this past week. Virtually nothing did, mostly due to real life intruding into my play time in frequently unpleasant fashion (not to mention a nicely bizarre computer problem that took several weeks of research and effort to finally identify and fix). So, awesome all around!

So this week featured distinctly less choppin' than usual. But there are still interesting anecdotes to relate, even if I've got a bit less material about Warhammer Online than usual. Click on past the break for this week's exploits, the latest round of polls (a bit different than the predecessors), and the usual randomly assembled letters that form words which hopefully entertain the audience.

Due to some combination of miscommunication, lack of clarity in the poll, and the fact that I clearly didn't put together an obvious flow of events, Saturday's event wound up being me logging in and chatting with a fan for the better part of an hour. Bloodruin (his alt's name; I didn't ask about his main) and I had a really nice conversation about the state of the game and of the open PvP in Tier 2, essentially confirming my second theory about Order having more or less abandoned the field.

To be honest, I can sort of see why, even more so in the context of the rest of the game. Most anyone who is starting the game now is starting with friends who already play, and if you're playing Order on Gorfang (and possibly Badlands) you'll probably be told to just avoid T2's open areas and just focus on quests and scenarios. A perceived sense of unwinnable fights mean that the few players who do take part find the place swarming with Destruction and virtually devoid of other Order players, meaning that the fight has become unwinnnable, which feeds back into the idea that you shouldn't bother with T2, and so on down the line.

It's also a shame, because it means that Tier 2 is essentially an entirely different game than the other tiers. Tier 1 is active, and you get the sense that the battle is raging and -- more importantly -- victory is neither assured nor even necessarily likely. Sitting around and staring at objectives instead of actively attacking or defending will cause your faction to lose control of the region. But when you get into Tier 2, suddenly the whole thing is almost on autopilot. There's more going on in theory, but in practice nothing is happening.

(Not always, though. But I'm getting to that.)

Still, it was a nice conversation, and Bloodruin was kind enough to donate Klurgind a hat and a spot of gold for a mount, so I can't say that Saturday was a total wash by any means. It does mean, however, that if I decide to run another event here I'm going to take pains to be much clearer about times and lines of communication.

During the spots of Warhammer Online I managed to sneak in, though, there was something that stood out as a shining example of what the game could be under the right circumstances, even in Tier 2. I've pulled off a couple of impressive wins (well, all right -- I've participated in them, not single-handedly brought them into being), but those were pretty much all in spots with one or two Order players running amok with no Destruction on the scene. Once the warband showed up, those matches were over pretty quickly.

This time, though, Order was there in force too. And they were not giving up one inch of territory if they didn't have to do so.

It was kind of funny, actually, because the mentality that Destruction always wins had clearly seeped its way into our side as well. We lost the Monastery because our healer had been AFK -- a dumb move, sure, but in a game where you don't expect any combat at the node, what would it matter? Everyone scurried about having expected nothing and wound up in a real drag-out fight over the fate of both keeps.

I deployed a Chaos Hellcannon and started laying siege to static defenses. Not just for the heck of it, but because we actually needed someone to blow that oil up. This was actually a relevant and worthwhile course of action in this battle.

Stuff like that makes me excited for Tier 3, although increasingly my prospects of reaching Tier 3 seem a bit more distant. Tier 1 flew by pretty quick, and I was expecting much of the same, but the relative calm of Tier 2 coupled with the lack of any effective way to handle scenario queues means that I've been leveling much more slowly this time around.

So this week, I'm just flinging one poll out there. It's getting back to a core question, and it centers around what I should do next as my experience in WAR starts moving toward its conclusion.

CMA: Should I do something else to hurtle toward Tier 3?
Go grind some champ rats. (NOTE: Someone please explain what they mean by this, as all it implies to me is that there is a Champion with a large number of rodents.)39 (16.7%)
Queue for scenarios and quest. (NOTE: I have not actually quested at all outside of the various RvR quests, which I pick up diligently on the occasions that I remember they exist.)118 (50.6%)
Keep doing ORvR and like it. (NOTE: This is implying that you think I am nothing more than a puppet dancing for your amusement, which under the circumstances is fairly accurate. But not nice.)59 (25.3%)
Buy powerleveling! (NOTE: No. Stop spamming Advice.)17 (7.3%)

Tune in next week for a much better episode! For now, I'm going to make with the chop and possibly get some more packing done. I've got two months to pack, but I'd like to be done closer to the two-week mark than the two-hour mark.

What happens next in Eliot Lefebvre's adventure? It all depends on the choices you make on Choose My Adventure! What path will he choose? Only you can determine that! And the best part is that you can keep reading every Wednesday until you've made not one but several different choices for him!

This article was originally published on Massively.