One hour and thirty eight minutes to Showtime! My friends and I, we sit and wait, yes wait... for hours staring at the computer screen (Silly I know, but hey we crave for something new). Waiting for this Open Beta stage to begin for "WAR".
I count the minutes, which seem to tick by slowly... It's like watching the water drip from the faucet in slow motion... "Thud! thud! thop..." As I wait with abated breath for the Gates of "WAR" to open... anticipating for what could be expected but still not getting my expectations high; as other recent MMORPGs has left me still with an empty void.
What will this new game have to offer? Hopefully I will be able to share with you my first experiences with this new MMORPG. On ward ... CHARGE!!!!! to the open beta!
War hammer Online is about factions as most, if not all MMORPGs aren't about. There are two realms which fight or war against each other to determine the fate of nations. These two realms are:
• The armies of Order (Dwarfs, High Elves, and Empire) and
• The armies of Destruction (Greenskins, Dark Elves, and Chaos)
By "unleashing your inner mutation" (as the game description proudly suggests that you do), you will be able to invade enemy lands, besiege imposing fortresses and sack sprawling capital cities... all for the glory of your Realm. Of course to do all this, you will be enabled with abilities and skills that will allow you wield devastating magic and deadly weapons .
Well enough about the advertisement let's talk more about the actual game... ...
Well it's been a little over the estimated opening time and still no access yet... hum... tick .. tock.. tick.. tock... Finally at 09/07/2008 @ 08:23:56 EST, it's time for WAAAGH!!!
WARHAMMER ONLINE - My First Impressions
I went into this game thinking that it's going to be a WOW clone. I had access to a beta key and after the failure of some recent MMORPGs (in my humble opinion), I said "What the hey! Let's try this, I've got nothing much else to do." So I signed up and rolled a Magus on the destruction side.
On entering the game and floating on my colourful saucer, I found it packed with players; it was a mad zone. Sorcerers running here, Magus' flying there; all kinds of deformations jumping up and down everywhere. "Wow!" I thought , "at least there wouldn't be a shortage of players to do group quests."
The graphics is similar to WOW and the layout of the UI looked similar, but then all games recently have this layout. No big deal. It took me sometime to figure out how to get quests and their locators, but once I had that part solved, I was quickly running around as well in all the mayhem getting it on. I came across a Rally Master; "so... who the heck is this?"
He introduced me to the world of Realm vs. Realm at the early stage of level 1. Oh yes at level 1 !
I couldn't believe that I could participate in this at such a low level, but I was quickly proved wrong. Even at level one you can contribute to the fate of this fictional world.
So here I was on an instanced battlefield, with other players ranking from level 1 to level 11, "Crap! Anyways let's go, go, GO!"
This battle was pretty much a kind of capture the base kind style. You zerg enemy players, turn the base by interacting with the flag. Once you get all the bases before the enemy does, there is this lock down that occurs that resets the bases. Warnings are sounded and "Boom!" I was dead. "Crap! what was that all about??!!" Apparently the game wipes all players close to the bases to reset the next round. Ok cool, I got to remember that the next time.
After about 10 minutes (I think) of this the instance ends with the scoreboards being displayed. Hey, I didn't do so bad for a level 1 going in (I later realised they adjusted my level cap to compete with those higher). I think I'll still level up a bit more before attempting that again, just so I won't be easy target for a level 11 and I'll have more skills. The good part about the battle was that I always got XP even when killing the enemy players.
On the outside again, I rejoined the mayhem. I quickly continued my quests getting interesting rewards including silly titles which you can give yourself. I quickly became Terrah "The Lint looter" for looting 100 corpses and Terrah "OW My Eye" for clicking on myself 100 times. "Ha, ha, ha, this is just funny."
I looted some trophies which I could attach to my armour. Trophies allow you to customise your look. They don't add stats like your armour but they allow you to dress it up so that, although you have a similar piece like other people; by adding trophies to different areas you can achieve a different look. For example, I can have horns sticking out of my shoulder armour, a knife dangling from my belt, a pig coming out of my butt... ha, ha, ha! you get the picture (of course I'm exaggerating with the pig thing, but the amount of trophies I saw, I wouldn't be surprised that you could do this). You can also buy trophies from vendors in the major cities, but some of them requires that you to achieve a goal first before you could use it.
While running about doing my quests, I came across this area on the map where I picked up a new quest automatically. "What's this? A public quest, hmmm.. . "
Public quests allow you to just join in, anyone can participate once they are in the area, it gives you XP, renown etc which can be used to get rewards from the Rally Master in that area. Aside from this, based on your contribution and your roll luck in the public quest you get a chance to vie for the end loot. I quickly joined in killing stuff, collecting tombstones etc, whatever was needed; and at the end killing a champion creature. "Woo hoo!" All stages complete now, I automatically roll. "ka ching!" I was the 3rd highest roller and contributor combined. I ran to chest and pulled out a green sack. On opening the sack, I was presented with a list rewards to choose from. I pulled out a bracer with some cool stats!
The public quest was resetting in 2 minutes, I could partake in it again! The good thing is that the reward system gives other people who didn't win priority next if they didn't get a good roll the first time, just so everyone gets an chance at getting something good. Also the stuff you win is bound to you, so you won't be able to exploit these quests and sell them at exorbitant prices to other players.
I also found out about open groups. You see, there is this little icon that is under your portrait that opens a window. In this window you see a list of groups in the area doing different things and their proximity to you. You can select a group and join it. No sending tells begging for an invite, no standing around waiting. "Cool, this just made grouping for these quests easier!" On the other hand if you want a private group, you can always make the group you formed closed, so you don't allow just any moron to join in your personal group. Good thinking!
After having my fill of public questing I began to roam about a bit, I came to some open RVR zones (actually I fell into one from off a cliff,) "Uh ooh! Good I'm not detected yet, let me get the hell out of here!"
Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a Dwarf, his name tag was all red, so I knew that this player was going to kill me. I ran for my Magus life! "Crap, he has a shotgun too!" I tried my best to slow him down so I could zip off on my saucer... no such luck, apparently he had more experience than me... so I suffered the humiliation of death. " That's it, I'm going to get him, yes I am."
After spawning in the graveyard, I hurried to remove the death penalty at a healer (a small cost), picked up some quests for the RVR area and joined the fray. "I'm going to get me some dwarf!"
I joined an open RVR group and that was it, I was hooked on the slaying, I completely forgot some of my quests that I took. "What the heck! I'm getting XP and renown anyway here!" I helped the group gain some bases, so the opposing side couldn't conquer it for at least for 15 minutes. I also set my summoned demon on aggressive mode and hunted me some dwarf. I few times I heard and saw some chickens in the zone, "ha, ha, what are they doing here?" Apparently there is a level requirement for certain battlegrounds and zones when flagged for RVR, to prevent players in a higher level range from attacking a low level player. Once they become flagged for RVR war, they get turned into a level one chicken which you can kill (how cool is that!)
On leveling , more attacks and tactics were opened up to me. I got some special skills that I could activate when my moral was high. I slotted a tactic that reduced the morale of those 20 m around an enemy elf when I killed it... heh, heh.
Wow, this game isn't so bad after all. I am actually glad that I decided to try it. I looked at the time; "Oh wow, it's 5 AM!" Time for me to get some rest! I left the group and logged off. I'll continue this later in the day, there is a lot more stuff to discover.
In the final analysis, this is a well developed, relatively bug free game at the time of my Open Beta testing. It is definitely NOT a clone but a well thought out and produced game. EA Mythic stated their objectives for the game and they have accomplished it; something which many game developers and publishers need to take note of and do. The game does not require you to build a new PC just to run the graphics and to take the processing load, any modern day PC is capable of running this game well. The introduction of public quests, open groups and other interesting game features are very promising. The character I played, also showed me that key mashing will not suffice in this game. Players will have to plan their attacks well, especially in the RVR zones and battlefields.
This game is truly about War, it is fun and interesting. So if you are looking for something new to try and you like PVP (RVR in this case), this just might be the online game for you. It may seem strange at first but give it an hour or two. Of course not everyone will like this game, we all have varying tastes and I expect to read negative reviews; but for me, this is a welcome change for the while... Until some other game catches my eye (wink).
Approximately 7.5 - 8 stars (out of 10)