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r1ft Gaming Blog

A mirror of my gaming blog at r1ft.com. The jaded game designer turned corporate lackey. Feedback is always welcome.

Author: Daedren

The Good, The Bad, The Emo: Warhammer First Impressions

Posted by Daedren Friday September 19 2008 at 10:44AM
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I had a reader of mine once tell me I should review games for a living. My response to that was "No one reads the positive reviews - just look at Zero Punctuation." Today, however, I'm going to start out on a positive note and say Warhammer Online looks like a splendid game and overall well done game. I'm all about the PVP, and I'm all about the RVR, and my last MMO was Age of Conan - meaning Mythic provided a more meaningful PVP experience in the first 15 minutes of playing Warhammer than Conan did for 2 months. Kidding aside, I'm going to highlight, quickly, some of the ups and downs (from my point of view) of Warhammer over the last couple days.

Choosing a Faction and Server -- Pain in the ass.

Unfortunately, the Faction and Server choice in Warhammer seems to be tearing apart friendships and guilds a bit. It's no secret that Destruction is more populated, and this is causing a lot of players (like me) with some sort of "Underdog Complex" to stay the hell away from this side. However, I must admit that the Destruction side feels a bit more complete, a bit more fun, and a bit more, well, interesting. Perhaps players are just a bit burnt out on yet another Elf / Dwarf / Human sort of faction, and are happy to play something kinda new with Chaos and Dark Elves, not to mention a superbly done Greenskin faction (missing Choppa aside!). Hell, squig hunters get to go inside their Battle Squig, Chaos Magus get to zoom around on a unique disc, and Dark Elves get to run around in a g-string. (Must... resist... rolling... Destruction...) All the while us poor Order saps get to run around with yet another Dwarf Warrior and yay, look, Legolas. I can see why people want to play Destruction. I can't see why Order didn't get more love.

On a similar note, rumor is that Destruction scenario queues are quite lengthy due to the population imbalances. Unfortunately for the bad guys, I don't think there is a way to fix this, save getting more people to play Order.

Server choice seems to be muddled due to an odd "Open RVR" ruleset that has players wondering if they can even revisit Tiers 1 & 2 at high level due to the beloved Chicken Mechanic. Also a concern is Open RVR servers actually diluting the RVR action because the fights will be more spread out. While it might be too early to tell for that, it's still causing long time PVP veterans to question their server choice. Core servers are also being called "Corebear" or likened to WoW PVE servers, and while incorrect, it's still causing some indecision or separation in playerbases.

Performance and Stability -- Not bad.

I experienced some horrific performance issues when first playing Warhammer - much worse than the Closed or Open Beta - which surprised me. I found out that this was actually caused by using the Beta Client patched to retail. A full file check kicked my FPS up dramatically. So, if you've upgraded from the Beta client, best to do a full file check or reinstall from the DVDs to be safe. Performance is still a bit iffy in some spots but these seem to be isolated locales. The game feels a bit clunky, but it might just take some time to get used to.

Stability hasn't been bad. The Alt + Tab blackscreen bug hasn't appeared yet, which is great. I haven't had a CTD or lost connection once.

Advancing via RVR and PVP -- Thank God, it's finally possible.

Warhammer Online can go down in the MMO history books as being the game that finally made this possible. Players have been asking for it since... well, forever. I always found it comical that you can "advance" your character in a game by mindlessly killing no-challenge NPC's all day long, yet come an unpredictable and challenging fight with an actual human, you gain nothing in terms of character advancement.

Playing Order, it's definitely possible to just do RvR and scenarios all the time for advancement. Empire/Chaos seems to be the most populated with players, so even in off-peak times you can wait max 5 minutes for a Scenario to pop up.

The only downside is it seems that open world RVR is much less beneficial than these scenarios. Mythic stated multiple times, in various podcasts and blogs, that this wouldn't be the case, so let's hope it's just temporary. I've found it hard to find RvR battles sometimes in Tier 1... and sadly, due to population imbalance, it seems that most battles are quickly ended by the Albion... er, I mean Destruction zerg.

Player Interaction and Community -- Well... no one's perfect.

A couple things to harp on in terms of player interaction and community for Warhammer Online:

No official forums sucks donkey testicles. I know they're a pain in the ass to maintain, but no one knows where to go to talk to other people on their server.

People don't need to talk to each other. I'm fairly certain you can do nearly everything in this game never saying a word. You can wander into RvR and just /join a group, you can go do Public Quests and just /join a group, you don't have to ask where anything is because it's all on the map... That, and with NPC's talking at about 700 words per minute, anything an actual person says is quickly lost in the sea of inane NPC chatter. The positive side to this is that there are no public channels for Dirge spam.

I've leveled 3 characters to level 10ish on the Order side (I suck at choosing a class, bah!) - and I've seen a total of 4 people talk. I'm on a roleplaying server -- (EU Burlok for those that want to stalk me - stay away Erling!) -- and the only people to talk have been shouting insults at Orks in the Public Quests. I do it all the time, so I guess it spurned some others to RP a bit. Other than that, though, Warhammer seems like it's a ghost town.

Fo-shame, Mythic. A strong game and server community is vital for the long term success of the game. Let's hope that the chat system is improved and players are forced to communicate more at higher levels.

That's all I got for now. Overall, the game is new, the game is fun, and I'm just happy to be RvRing again. Of course, I said the same thing for Age of Conan (short of the RvR part) - so take that all with a shaker of salt.

Daedren out.

Original article is here.

Digg it here.

triste writes:

Cute turtle.

I agree. I play on a high pop French Core server, and haven't seen anyone talking outside of my guild. Also havent seen any zone / regional chat.

Sounds strange but I kinda miss the zone / region chat.

Fri Sep 19 2008 10:55AM Report
Azmaria writes:

I think it varies from server to server.  I play on Ungrim (NA Core) and would play on Wurtbad (NA Open RvR) if I could ever get past the cue.  I see some Order players communicating in scenarios and open RvR areas...but most of the time it's pretty barren.  The most talking I see happening is people complaining about not getting heals, or destruction is zerging the lighthouse.  I actually kind of miss the wide area chat just because it seems so lonely right now.

Fri Sep 19 2008 10:59AM Report
banthis writes:

Tier 1 Open PvP is just to get people familiar with the process...in Tier 2 it becomes important.  If you want to train Renown or by Renown Gear your side must own a Keep.  Level your Tier 1 chars at lvl 10 to lvl 12 and go try out some Tier 2 with a guild. 

Mythic built the game to get more indepth over time so your sort of building up & learning for some this stuff is old hat so its a tad of a hassle to slowly get the more indepth stuff but for the many noobs coming to RvR its the best way to get them introduced and familiar. 

You can't force people to talk and you can't force them to participate on forum boards (only the biggest whiners and people at work show up there anyway) ..I enjoy the rather quiet general chat channels but talk alot in group & guild chat I do answer people's questions how ever.

You can filter out the insane amounts of NPC chatter try using the chat box filters

... If you have issues with server choices thats strickly personal & shouldn't reflect in a true unbiased review...either way tho fairly nice beginners write up for the early part of the game.

Fri Sep 19 2008 12:22PM Report
Soultice writes:

IGN Vaultr is where the Mythic Dev's hang out. 

But your right not alot of chatter in teir one.  Teir two is a different story.

Fri Sep 19 2008 1:29PM Report
Wakygreek writes:

I play order on a core server, and i dont have a problem joining a scenario (BG). I click join and in under 30 seconds usually its ready for me to play. I understand the population imbalances..but just like Alliance and Horde for WoW it will eventually even out.  There isnt alot of talking currently because so many people are enjoying themselves.

I have not seen 1 negative comment in game as of yet. The RVR is alot of fun...and im really enjoying leveling via PVP rather then just forced to quest.

Fri Sep 19 2008 2:30PM Report
cosimusta writes:

Sounds like they made a more complete MMO, that's a nice trend.

 

I doubt WAR will ever live up to the praise that DAoC gets though, sad to see a company like Mythic create such a modest game.

 

Fri Sep 19 2008 3:17PM Report
NotArkard writes:

I'm disappointed in the lack of order, as well. I play Destruction because of the Marauder, not because I want to be evil, cool, or fly around on a disk. Regardless, it sucks that most everyone else is also playing destruction and making queues insanely long. My server is med/med for order/destruction at its highest and it takes me anywhere between 10-30 minutes to get into a scenario as destruction.

 

Other than that, the game is excellent. I pretty much agree with everything on the review.

Fri Sep 19 2008 4:56PM Report
Afterlife writes:

I was in closed beta for months and I think after that time I now find retail incredibly boring. My clan chose to roll order on an open-rvr/RP server, which I think amplified the bordem factor though. Over the couple days of head start access though I found myself having more fun reading forums than logging into WAR, so I cancelled my preorder and won't be picking it up. The best thing that came out of this game after all I think was the dark elf in the cinematic. Ohhh, so hot :D

Fri Sep 19 2008 6:21PM Report
Scyris writes:

I myself was pretty let down by Warhammer, I was expecting a far polished game than this, not a World of Warcraft rehash with extremly simmlar gameplay (besides the RvR) Sadly I got my game from D2D so I was not able to cancel my pre-order. But believe me if I could have cancelled I would have, this game is a waste of money. (I also cancelled my AoC preorder once i relized how crappy it was) I hated WoW gameplay and due to warhammer feeling like it (minus good looking female chars) I've stayed away. The game for the most part just feels extremly dated to me.

Sat Sep 20 2008 2:02AM Report
Lobotomist writes:

Agreed. I myself play on Burlok server. And apsolutely nobody is talking

Missing OOC chat. And clearly defined world/region chat is pretty lame idea.

Hopefully mythic will change that soon

 

Sat Sep 20 2008 2:29AM Report
UncertaintyP writes:

In UO you could gain skill by fighting other players

Sat Sep 20 2008 3:31PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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