Wednesday, August 20, 2008

WAR: First Impressions


Let me start by saying that I had a great time Beta Testing WAR. It was a blast and was, alongside WoW, the most polished Beta I have ever participated in. I experienced a CTD (Crash to Desktop) about once a day, and then one day it happened about every 3 minutes all day long (annoying!). Aside from these few crashes, I had no problems getting the game to run.


I'm not going to lie to you. PvE? For me, a means to an end. And that end is killing another player. That means I want PvE to be quick and painless. And for the most part, in WAR, it really is. The game is very intuitive as far as finding quests, people, and objects. Only one or two quests have had me scratching my head, as to their objectives, and usually a quick read of the full quest text, and/or a little deductive reasoning leads me to my target. Leveling is a little slower than WoW, but with only 40 ranks of PvE, it will probably even out in the end.

I did not get a chance to do any of the High Level Dungeons, so I can't comment on those. I did most of my leveling in the 1-30 levels (using templates after that) and can say it didn't drain me too much (unlike leveling in WoW, which I dreaded). But I would only want to do it a few more times, and I don't foresee a ton of alts (though I will probably go and visit the Destruction Zones in more detail.)

For more info on PQ's keep reading, they're in their own category below.



War really is everywhere. I swear to you, I completed maybe 3 quests on my first character (Swordmaster), before I got a quest to join an RvR scenario "Khaine's Embrace". Now that's what I'm talking about... RvR right out of the gate. I thought it was going to be pretty dumb, honestly, I mean I was like level 3, and had perhaps 4 moves to use, but Mythic promised me I could jump right in a scenario at level 1, and be able to influence the battle. And I'll tell you something: they don't lie.

As soon as I entered the scenario, I was auto-leveled (battle leveled) to level 8. My HP and Damage increased, though I didn't receive any new abilities. Much to my surprise I was right in there dealing damage (and I'm pretty sure I had my snare by that time, if not I did by the second game!).

The game lasted about 1o minutes, and it took me a while to get used to the Scenario itself (the flag areas explode at various intervals). But when I was done, I had gained a PvE level and TWO Renown Levels. I was sold the first time I saw EXP pop-up after killing a player. I immediately played the same scenario two more times, this time avoiding the inevitable flag explosions, and gaining a few more ranks in the process.

The wealth and diversity of the different scenarios is really amazing, and I foresee myself spending a lot of time there. There are some truly unique ideas for game types, so make sure and play them all!

Open World RvR/Keep Sieges:

Not only are the scenarios superb, the Open World RvR areas are amazing. Not only are there tons of objectives to fight over, there are a great deal of quests involving these areas too. Kill x amount of players, scout this area, secure this area, and the best part is that most are repeatable. It's great... just really great. You run in, get flagged, find a small group of friendly players to run around with, and get to capturing!

Now to Keeps... Keeps are awesome. Usually a few more players are involved than I might like, but it's alright, it just feels epic. Catapults are lined up, Oil is dropping on people's heads, you're getting pushed back into your keep to fight side by side with a Lord of the Realm... it's just sick. Last stands in the Lord's room/Top Floor are the stuff of legends. I can't count the number of times a few of us ran in and disrupted Destruction in the middle of their Keep Siege, taking out their healers so the Keep Lord could land the finishing blows on their tanks... epic.

High Level RvR:

High Level RvR proved to be even more engaging. With even more abilities at your disposal, and more experience with your character you can truly become a formidable force. At first, I have to admit, I was a little overwhelmed, I mean... it's a freaking battlefield out there. Spells are flying, the blood is pumping in your ears, you're not really sure what you're supposed to be doing... stuff like that. As you keep playing though, you begin to see all the opportunities to employ your (no doubt endless) skill and cunning. The game is, tactically, pretty deep, at least it will be once people figure out how to control their characters and observe the flow of battle.

The first thing I noticed is, most players don't have any sort of "target priority" yet. They'll be up there wailing on the shield-toting Black Orcs, when there's a perfectly squishy Shaman or Squig Hunter only a few feet behind. That will change.

RvR... it's just fun. Chaotic at times (more so than I would like), but definitely fun. I stay away from the zergs, once it gets bigger than about 15 players per side, I usually move on to greener pastures. Note: the game does start to slow a bit with lots of people on screen, barely noticeable with these numbers, but city sieges may get dicey if it gets worse.

Class balance is (and always will be) a work in progress. If I had to say right now, I'd say Order in general has it a little better off than Destruction. Tanks are... disgustingly good? Ranged DPS need a little help, and Melee DPS probably need the most. Healers are looking good for the most part (DoK's and WP's seem like freaking tanks), but Shamans/Archmages need a little "umph" added to their early game.

I will make a quick note, I've fallen in love with the Ironbreaker. His control via Guard, Taunt, Snares, Knockbacks, AoE Knockbacks, and Roots is amazing. His damage potential is also incredibly sick. This will probably be nerfed in the near future, but I still look forward to playing one upon release!

I can't wait to get our little group together and go around taking on all comers in RvR! It's going to be a blast.

Public Quests:

Public Quests are great. They're inventive, they're cool, and they're everywhere. Some of the best loot that I have (aside from RVR gear) comes from the Influence Rewards of PQ's. There are, however, a few problems.

1. If you don't have enough people, you can't get it done, if you have too many people, it takes forever to get the influence you need. Get just the right amount of people doing it, and it's a wonderful experience.

2. At higher levels, the PQ's are a grind. Early levels a few runs (1-3) will max you out, at higher levels... well let's just say it's a lot more. Please, I beg you, make 1-3 the max. Grinding is bad.

3. This one is probably a bit nitpicky, and biased, but here it is. Contribution is screwed up IMO. You can literally place 1st 3 or 4 times in a row and not receive a single piece of loot from the treasure chest at the end, the random rolls FAR outweigh contribution. Also, the loot from lower level PQ's is lackluster, often only a white or "normal" item. At least make it a green, make me feel like its an upgrade.

All in all, PQ's are pretty nice. They really bring people together, and make you feel apart of something bigger than yourself. Fix a few of these problems (the biggest being the grind part), and it'll be golden.

Pro Tip 1:

Step 1: Achieve Rank 10, RR 6. Save your cash, trust me.
Step 2: Go to Tier 2 Keep under your control.
Step 3: Buy the RR 6 RvR Gear.
Step 4: Realize that this gear is godlike.
Step 5: Queue for Scenario in Tier 1.
Step 6: Proceed to dominate anyone not in RR 6 gear.
Step 7: Tell your friends.

Pro Tip 2:

Realize that you must actually spend a Mastery Point (aka click the skill) on the Mastery Ability you want, you don't automatically get it as you go up the ladder. So, the tactic at the 3 slot on the Mastery Tree, actually requires 4 Mastery Points, 3 to get there, and 1 to purchase the skill.


WAR is a very solid game right now. With a little tweaking and balance, I have no doubt it will be incredible. I'm really excited about release, and I'll see you all there.

General PvE: 8.5/10
Low Level RvR: 8.5/10
High Level RvR: 9.5/10
Public Quests: 7.5/10

Total Score: 8.5/10

1 comment:

arbitrary said...

Great overview and I agree with it completely! We also learned the rank 10 rr6 trick on our 2nd chars ;p I think it'll be done a lot, or they might tweak stuff, but currently that's the way to go!