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Paragus Rants

Rants, reviews, and interviews from an MMO veteran and guild leader.

Author: Paragus1

Warhammer: Top 5 Issues

Posted by Paragus1 Monday October 13 2008 at 8:07AM
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Warhammer: Top 5 Issues

Well here we are about a month after the release of Warhammer Online, and I wanted to take some time to talk about some of the top issues in the game at the present time. I have previously written about two of the early issues already which no longer seem to be glaring problems to me, Server Queues and Goldspammers. I want to preface this article by saying that I do enjoy the game so far, but for the purposes of this I will be zeroing in on what I see as the top issues that I feel have the potential to derail the success of the game. If you read my early review of the game, which has been published on a variety of sites, then you should know that my goal is to be as objective as possible. Let's start the constructive criticism.

1) Overworld Rewards

This is issue one for me and a lot of the community at the moment. The entire premise of Warhammer Online is the war in the overworld. I don't think anyone bought this game to do instanced battlegrounds, but at the present time they seem to be the most rewarding option in regards of using RvR to advance your character.

Scenarios are by far way too beneficial and the overworld is far less rewarding at the present time. Scenarios require no effort to get into, you simply sign up and wait for it to let you know when to zone you in. The longest any given scenario can run is 15 minutes, and can yield large amounts of experience and renown. Overworld RvR requires you to physically travel to the front in hopes of serious combat going on. Overworld doesn't lay a finger on scenarios in terms of experience points, and unless you are in a major bloodbath you won't be coming close to the same amount of renown, especially when compared to what can be earned in a 15 minute scenario.

The good news is that Mythic seems to have been reading the feedback. They recently announced a 50% increase in leveling experience in the overworld RvR areas, and they are promising to announce some changes in the next week about renown. This issue is critical because most people will opt to take the fastest route to advancement, and if the overworld becomes empty this game will fail.

2) Class Balance

Since release we have seen a variety of bug fixes go in, but we have seen little in regards to class balance. Now I understand where they are coming from in this regard, but there are some balancing problems that need to be addressed or people will get turned off from RvR. If people are finding themselves saddled into a class that is extremely weak, it may lead them to cancel out of frustration with their class if they don't have the strength to tough it out or reroll. These are my observations as someone who plays Order in Tier 4, so take it with a grain of salt as I will try to be fair.

Shadow Warriors and Squid Herders are in desperate need of a boost. Both of these classes are one of the rarest played from my experiences, and for good reason. These ranged DPS classes as they are marketed need a bit more DPS or a bit more range. I play a Shadow Warrior in Tier 4, and it is a hard life compared to some of the other classes that are capable of far more damage and have much better survivability. A Shadow Warrior wears the same level of armor as a Bright Wizard and does far less damage. If I am at my maximum range and shoot at someone running towards me, they will be in melee range by the time the move is finished executing. Kiting is not even close to being a viable option in RvR. My root barely works and is a melee attack, so by the time someone is close enough that I need it, I'm dead anyways.

Magus and Engineers need to be looked at as well. These are also uncommon classes because they suffer from similar problems. Both of these classes have an ability that is going to ruin this game if it is not fixed. Electromagnet on the Engineer and the Magus version is an ability that sucks in all plays from 65 feet away, has no casting time, only has a 20 second cooldown, has no line of sight check (can pull people through keep doors in sieges), and snares!  I wasn't surprised when I found out that the addition of this spell was something that happened right near the end of beta, so probably has not undergone the proper testing. The sad thing is that this is one of the few good tools these classes have at end game, so they need to be brought up a little while this ability gets fixed.

Witch Elves strike me as a bit out of control. I often find myself unable to fight back almost every single time they attack me, even with all of my counter-measures up. They can kill me in about 4 seconds flat while incapacitating me. Now as someone who wears light armor I guess that might be feasible, but Ironbreaker guildmates of mine have been destroyed almost as fast.  The ability that damages you for moving has no limit to how much it can do, and when factored with how easy they can kill when you aren't moving there is little anyone can do in most cases.  There is nothing fun about not being able to fight back, something DAOC was notorious for.

3) Performance

This is another major issue that needs to be worked on as soon as possible. The end game envisioned by Mythic and its customers is large scale overworld fights. If your computer crashes you to desktop, or reduces you to watching a slide show, then people will eventually quit. My computer is an absolute beast, and even I have found it being brought to its knees in some of the battles we are seeing in Tier 4 at this point. These battles will only get worse as more people level up, so they need to continue to tweak the code. Nothing sucks worse then crashing to desktop during a city raid, then logging back in 1 zone back and unable to rejoin because all of the guards have respawned blocking your way.

I have heard rumors that the game is sending too much data as a reason for some of the performance issues. Some have said that buff refresh data is being updated too frequently, or that chat being logged too often could be possible causes. There are some mods out there trying to experiment with these issues, but I have yet to try any to see if they work. The good news is that the game is running noticeably better after the last patch when I am in large scale battles, so I look forward to seeing if there are more changes coming that will help streamline with before everyone else gets to Tier 4.

4) Itemization

This is a minor annoyance at the present time, but could be a big problem as we move on into the coming months. If you go to the merchants in your capital city who sell the high end RvR gear you can take a look at some of the rewards and stats on the gear we get to look forward to earning.

The problem is a lot of those high end armors have stats that don't make a lot of sense. Many of my guildmates report to me that they are seeing the epic RvR gear with very odd stats such as willpower and intelligence on melee class armors and weapon skill for casters. Some of the items are not only lacking in the primary areas for their respective classes, but they have stats on them that are of little value to their class. If these items are deemed as junk by the player base, it will diminish the reward from RvR, and make people less motivated to try to earn them. Now I understand that a lot of these items are sets and have set bonuses, but a lot of these just flat out suck without the rest of them. Maybe they rushed them because the game was close to release and they knew nobody would get them for a long time, but they definitely need to be gone over again.

5) Bugs

These most likely won't make people quit, but they will test the nerves of the players. The guild interface is absolutely amazing, but it has bugs that need fixing. Some players in my guild have to be manually promoted by typing out the command because the interface hates them. The alliance tab has some glitches making it hard to read at times. The guild heraldry shows to other players, but on my screen I don't see it unless I toggle it off and on every time I zone. Altdorf still causes me crash almost every time I go there for no real reason.  I still can't join a scenario from some zones randomly. I could go on but you get the drift.

By far one of the most annoying things is the current state of the mail system. It literally took me 5 minutes to open 3 mails and remove the items attached to them. As someone who is in a guild where people are always sending each other stuff, this can make going to the mailbox a dreadful experience. Every time you buy an item at the auction house you have to go get it from the mailbox, so if you buy some material for crafting or a set of new armor, you might as well go to the bathroom and drop a duece while you wait for your mail to get sorted out.

Conclusion

Overall the game remains solid for what it is. The overworld RvR is enjoyable when it happens, and the gameplay is overall good. When you compare this game in its present state after 1 month to games like WoW and Age of Conan, it definitely has a lot going for it. These issues however summarize what I believe are the top concerns of the community, as you can find on most forums and in game whining.

The good news is Mythic is definitely listening to the player feedback. Recently they made a change in a patch that has reduced the number of gold spammers noticeably. People were upset about the leveling curve in certain tiers of the game and Mythic reacted by increasing the quest experience in these areas of the game. They are keeping a sharp eye on the community and reacting to their needs. If they continue to maintain this level of communication and honesty with the players, this game will be around for a long time.

Paragus

Co-Leader of Inquisition

www.inqguild.com

Meltdown writes:

Yea Mythic is seeminly very interested in fixing issues and quickly, which hopefully will be their savior. All in all the game is good, but I agree with most of what you said. Especially since I enjoy playing the Magus, but I feel like playing a Magus is like bringing a knife to a gun fight.  Although the mail issue is a server lag issue I believe, if you try to access your mail at odd times during the day (less players) then it is fine.

Mon Oct 13 2008 8:18AM Report
Daedren writes:

Well said, my friend. I'd add Crafting in as #6, but it's a bit of a different category I guess. Collecting seeds from bandits made the game feel a bit less epic. ;) 

Oh, and in regards to the performance problems, I tried a few of the plugins and they did improve performance. My system bottlenecks at the CPU which can cause horrific performance problems.

Mon Oct 13 2008 8:20AM Report
Ogrelin writes:

What's vrong with that purp item? don't you see the resists and stats?

Mon Oct 13 2008 9:13AM Report
Manchine writes:

Since #1 has been taken care of there is no issue with that.  Teir 1 and 2 didn't have any issues with it before.  So that takes care of that. 

Issue 2 every character has an opposite character.  There is no balance question its all about what people play.

Issue 3 I got a great machine and only occassionally do I have lag issues.

Issue 4 Ok yep thats an issue.

Issue 5 bugs, the few they have which none of them you listed I have seen.  I have heard  cities lagging and mail taking 5 minutes to load due to computers not being that good.  Which is #3. 

 

Other then #4 my list would be COMPLETELY different.  I would have Crafting, Chat, and Joining Scenrios that are doomed to loose.  I joined one the other day score was 497 to 91 with 7 minutes left.  I think they should have a breakoff point if to much time has past or the score gets past 300.

Mon Oct 13 2008 9:15AM Report
Deewe writes:

Nice blog even I don't think I agree on the classification.

  • Server queues: not an issue there are plenty of medium/low servers
  • Gold spammers: Mythic is doing a good job and there are UI mods that just prevent the spam
  • Overworld rewards : balance will come it takes time
  • Class balance: read above
  • Performance:  agreed not perfect but even still very enjoyable on low settings in very populated areas/ PVP.
  • Itemization: yes but once again balance will come
  • bugs: as any game out there, better on some parts worse on others.

Here the list I would write down:

  1. Grouping: long time sink to rejoin mates.
  2. Questing: @#$! too short quest list
  3. Communication: absent either in world or scenarios
  4. Wolrd: too big, mostly empty
  5. Maps: useless

Details:

1) So much for grouping with friends when both of you are a long way from a flight master.
Road travel is a pain in WAR, plus most of the time you have mobs on your back slowing you from going to point A to B. Unless you play everyday you won't remember where are the flight paths as there is no indication on the maps.

2) I spend my time deleting 10-20 entries in my journal each time I zone to group with friends. On top of that the UI is very annoying click on quests abandon, confirm, back.... I just wish I unlocked the TOK: quester, you have now 150 quest entries.

3) There is no communication at all in this game. So much that the scenarios are a pain 70% of the time. The run-hit-die gameplay is fun the 1000 first time then well...

4) The world is too big for the server capacity. Most of the zones are empty, even on full servers. PQ are  masochism than anything else.

5) Maps... where to start? They are mostly Useless. First you can't show all data you discovered unless you are 2 feet away. Then welcome color blind people: green yellow and orange dots :( Most of the time I'm clueless if I'm mouse overing a completed quest or a destination or a quest giver or a zone name.

6) Regroup the lads! Can I have one very spot with all trainers and merchants? Really the bad map + the sink travel time + the dispersion of the NPCs = Grrrr!

Oh and please let me move in a corner or even hide the huge respawn timer! I wish there was an option for a chase camera like in FPS when you are dead so you can still enjoy the action while waiting for respawn.

Mon Oct 13 2008 9:40AM Report
sanicek writes:

I would say technical issues are by far the biggest issue at the moment. Crash to desktop being probably the leading among those. I don't know a person that does not experience it at least sometimes. An example of how serious it was is that our queue went from ~200 to ~700 after the patch that allowed crashed players to skip queue. So that means previously the crashing people were moving the queue forward. But anyway, there are numerous technical issues, some wery pressing and sometimes not even acknowledged by Mythic. Just have a look to user to user forum on WA.

Its a real shame for example that Mythic was unable to catch and address the issue of interface updates degrading performance in a grand manner and that the community had to come up with addons that solve this. Its just one issue out of many.

Mon Oct 13 2008 11:04AM Report
banthis writes:

I completely agree with most of the OP's assessments except itemization.  While yes some of the items appear to royally suck on the stats all of the Stats are important to all classes.  Perhaps you should read what Willpower and Intelligence does for non casters.  Willpower increases your chance to distrupt hostile spells this is extremely important for all classes specially DPS / Tank Classes that get royally burned by Casters often and then bitch about BW is OP'd etc etc.  Well up your Stats against casting!

Intelligence makes it harder for enemies to disrupt or block your attacks.   Any magical like ability that any class has falls under this.

As for Deewe if you can't remember where the flight master is there must be something wrong with you not the game.  There's a flight master in every Tier at the warcamp..and once you get a mount or your guild hits lvl 17 its far easier to travel. 

2.  How can you complain about how to abandon quests? This is pretty normal for all games...you can't just click on the UI and it magically know you want to delete the entry or read the entry how it is supposed to know? Read your mind?  The UI is rather intitutive to bitch about it means you've not even attempted and you simply want the game to run on auto pilot.

3.  There's plenty of communication the problem is people give up trying tocommunicate in pugs because most people dont' listen and just do whatever the hell they want.  I'm in a rather large guild alliance and we listen to each other and talk often.   Its refreshing to be around alot of people who aren't evein my own guild and work well with them.

4.  The world isn't to big people just choose to go where the magical loot is which is the Empire lands.   People bitch the lands aren't big enough and others its too big..to be honest there is no magical perfect size so get over it.

5.  I agree on the map thing for color blind people...thats the Beauty of the UI Mod...download it and Change it.

6.  No you can't ...if they grouped everything together their would be NO reason to travel, explore, and defend keeps or cities.  If you want instant gratification you've come ot the wrong game.  They want you to explore, see the world and move around.  Thats the whole point to MMOs. 

7.  You can easily move your camera around to watch the action while Dead I do it all the time.

8.  For those bitching about Sheathing weapons on every forum board possible.  Try Pressing X its the magical sheath button.

Mon Oct 13 2008 11:06AM Report
t0nyd writes:

Class Balance

  As far as class balancing issues go, i only see a couple problems.

1. Healers
     For the most part, trying to solo an even level healer with even level gear is not going to go well for you. This is especially true of Melee/Healers. Melee/healers have a decent combination of armor and resists combined with endless healing. A disciple/priest can heal endlessly with the current mechanics. For the most part, most healing classes put out a large amount of damage while still maintaining a large amount of healing.

2. Spammable Ranged Snares

    Snares are pretty rough for most classes to deal with. Spammable ranged snare should not be on one if not the highest dps class in the game. This is one of the most frustrating mechanics in the game. This ability guarantees your death.

3. Shadow Warriors, Engineers, Magus

      I dont see much of a problem with these classes. They do have a strange mix of melee and ranged with low defense. If they were in medium armor it might work a bit better. I play both a magus and engineer and I enjoy both. I can easily score in the top 5 on dps with either. The main problem is that the damage is spread out so far that you dont see the effects immediatly.

      My roomate plays a shadow warrior. He is aoe based and I often see him throw up huge numbers per shot, but just like my magus/engi its spread out over a group.

Mon Oct 13 2008 1:00PM Report
Deewe writes:

Thanks for you comments Banthis, my answers below:

2. I'm complaining as in most others MMO I don't have to delete 10+ quests each time I zone to group with friends.  I ever I could multiple select quests for deleting and accepting them.

3. I disagree. Maybe comparing to WoW but nothing like LotRo, SWG and even AoC!

4. The issue is the server capacity versus the world size plus the PQ. Killing 100+ mobs alone or with maybe 1 or 2 player isn't really fun.

5. Could you point me at a mod changing the icons colors I didn't see any so far.

6. You are right when you consider MMO = time sink. Still bad map + travel time + NPC dispersion = pain.

7. Yes with a huge square in the middle of your screen...

8. he he yes :)

Mon Oct 13 2008 1:44PM Report
Cyrann writes:

Just to point some things out, i play an Engineer and have tried all three specs (with some different variations as well) and coming from both the Engi and Magus forums, we do need a change. Yes i can top the damage charts and beat bad bright wizards but my damage is inconsequintal and the only really thing i'm usefull for is CC and Electromagnet, and the Bright Wizard has close to as much CC as I do with only slightly less survivability and more lethal damag( pay attention to killing blows). I would say Electromagnet/ Chaotic Rift needs nerfed and the rest all four ranged dps classes( excluding the BW / Sorc) Need to be seriously looked at in terms of usefullness and survivability. Anyway, I pretty much agree with everything else. Anyway yeah.

Mon Oct 13 2008 3:46PM Report
mackdawg19 writes:

I play a Engineer and don't think they are a bad class. I am always top in damage, if not in the top three for damage when playing a full scenario. Alot of how you do damage is how ou play your character. I can melee fine and do stand a chance when in melee range. My root works well and my AoE grens and knockbacks help when ive been hoarded. The only problems I have with the game are item balance and quest experiance. Quest XP by far is the biggest thing lacking in this game. I personally believe if quest were worth something after level 20, you would see more people in the outerworld doing them. And this would spawn more skirmishes.

Mon Oct 13 2008 3:52PM Report
zulco writes:

Very nice bloq. Agree on every topic. And these issues might be the reasons for me not to sub.

I bought the game for the RvR - but it can be hard to find.

Guess a major content patch will be announce later theis month when people have to decide to sub or not - I hope :)

Mon Oct 13 2008 11:47PM Report
commi3 writes:

On the class balance I agree with you with all but one thing: The view point of Witch Elf/Witch Hunter. Playing from a ranged DPS I can see how you hate the fact that both classes get an ability that removes the effects of snares instantly. But you also have to note that these classes are designed around the premise of getting behind the enemy and taking out weakened opponents or ranged DPS. These classes would become useless at killing ranged opponents if their snares held them down everytime (which is why they get this ability at around the same time as the ranged classes get their snares). PVP in this game is designed around the team as such the melee DPS has the natural advantage over the ranged DPS. At the same time the only way I can really go head to head with a tank, is to get behind them and certainly when I do I can deliever a good amount of damage, but then if a tank charges me, Im hitting my flee button immediately. Once again both classes are designed to fight weakened opponents (like tanks that are fighting other tanks). Also smart melee DPS players usually build up their accusations/bloodlust or go stealth before causing havoc in the backfield. If I go charging into the backfield without thinking, Im going to get messed up.

Like I said, I will agree that the Shadow Warrior and Squig Herder both need a serious boost, they are without a doubt the weakest classes in the game. Engineers and Mangus are actually pretty good classes and I often have a lot more trouble dealing with them over the other ranged DPS classes, but they also need a lot of work.

Obviously Im skewed, but then so are you. The point is people see what they see from the class they are playing. IMHO the Witch Hunter and Witch Elf are right where they need to be. Their job is to be a nusiance to you and the other ranged DPS, that way your not firing on the tanks and healers.

Tue Oct 14 2008 12:32AM Report
smut writes:

Hey Ogrelin, the item on the left is the purple, the right item is the blue. The purple should be better then the blue but look at the stats, it has a little of bit of every stat, some that are worthless and skimps on the 2 stats they like the most. Its a higher level item, requires alot of reknown, it should be better in every way but it is clearly not.

 

This is my first time reading your blog and I enjoyed it. The writing was professional and easy to follow. Keep it up, I will check back.

Sat Oct 18 2008 12:10AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Thanks for the feedback smut.  This article has appeared on several sites now and the picture of the 2 items seemed to be a point of contention.  There are countless other and probably better examples of poor itemization out there, such as Bright Wizard armor with weapon skills.   One thing about this picture is I don't think epople understand how much time it would take to reach renown 65 to be able to wear that.

Mark Jacobs recently put out his first "State of the Game" and it seems to have addressed everything written about in this article, even down to the mail system.  Hopefully, that big patch will go a long ways to addressing these issues.

Sat Oct 18 2008 10:00AM Report
Kyle1322 writes:

I disagree with some of you class balancing issues. First off I've seen level 40 Squig Herder's Pull off some major damage. Infact, I've seen a Squig Herder give my very good BW friend a run for top damage. Also, they have squigs which don't produce damage, but they can be very annoying if used properly. As for the Shadow Warrior's I think you want to do as much damage as a Bright Wizard but you don't want to take the negitives the Bright Wizard's have. Your a second rate damage class at best. But your role in Group RvR is to support the Bright Wizard. You do ok damage and you don't take any damage because you can stand so far back. Your supposed to be the guarenteed stable damage. Whereas a Bright Wizard requires alot of attention from healers and doesn't tons of damage.

Every Class plays a role in this game and no disrespect but you need to learn yours.

Thu Oct 23 2008 6:44PM Report
Djarud writes:

Sadly things are not really getting much better.  The population cap for Forts is easily skewed because it counts Total players in the area, not seperate numbers for Attackers and Defenders.

 

 The new patch going in this morning, 1.2 will be itroducing the highest damage classes to the game to date, Choppa and Slayer.  While the addition is good, it is also bad.  These two classes have 30 second re-use skills that do as much damage as Rank 4 Morales for the rest of the older classes.  "Git to da Choppa" is one of the main ones players are ranting about, the skill does chain damage to an area for 900+ per hit for three seconds at 1-2 hits per second.  Yes the area is small but the Choppa can move while doing it, the skill also is not subject to any immunities nor can it be defended against, also it pulls you to them, itcan be chained in the manner that two or more Choppas can use it in a crowd and the damage from each one is received.

 

 As for Shadow Warriors:  The class is outclased in every way compared to similarly capable classes and is being blatantly left in the dust.  Even the once weak Squig Herders are superior in most ways now.

Tue Mar 03 2009 9:33AM Report

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