WAR Correspondent: So You've Decided to Play a Goblin Shaman?
MMORPG.com Warhammer Online Correspondent David Beamer writes this introductory article for WAR players who choose to start life as a Goblin Shaman.
Creating your character in WAR is a very easy and straightforward process. There are no stats for you to tweak, just the look of your character to customize. So without further ado make your Gobbo as funny looking or serious as you like and enter the game on your chosen server.
You've chosen to make a Goblin Shaman, so before we go any further let me explain what you have taken on by doing so. You are a healing class and so people are going to expect you to heal, whether you want to or not, and if you choose to ignore healing you are missing out on a large part of your potential. In addition to aforementioned items you have to learn the basic class mechanic for the Shaman, how to harness the power of the WAAAAGHH!
At the bottom of your screen, you will see two Orc faces, one yellow and one red. The yellow one is Mork and the red one refers to Gork who are the Greenskin Gods. When you cast a damaging (DPS) spell the yellow face's mouth will open and the number one will appear. This indicates you have built up WAAAAGHH! for your healing spells, and if you were to now cast a healing spell it would gain a bonus to it. However, you can increase that bonus all the way up to 5, so if you cast 4 more damaging spells you would be able to cast a healing spell with a big bonus. The same applies vice versa too, so the more healing spells you cast in a row, the bigger bonus you will receive to your DPS spells, but once that spell is cast the bonus is spent and you must re-accrue the bonus.
An interesting mechanic and one that ensures as a Shaman you don't fail to neglect either path. To be the best healer out there, you are going to have to attack the enemy at some point to build up that bonus. Which leads me to one of WAR’s nice little features: offensive and defensive targeting? You are able to have two targets in the game, and as a shaman you will make extensive use of this feature. You are able to target an enemy and friend at the same time, ensuring that any damaging spells hit the enemy, and all buffs and heals hit your friend.
Top left of your screen is your character portrait, and based on your settings you will either see your health bar and AP (action points) bar or they will be turned off, as one of the setting enables bars to only show if that person is hurt. Action Points are something all classes have; there is no mana in this game. Melee abilities use AP and so do spells, so mana potions are replaced with AP potions instead.
So you'll start at Rank 1 and with three abilities already on your hot bar. Brain Bursta, Gork'll Fix It and Flee. Brain Bursta is your very first DPS spell and will be the bread and butter of your arsenal, dealing 53 Elemental damage to your offensive target. One thing I should also mention here is that abilities learned at this low level scale as you grow, so even Rank 1 abilities are useful to you as you grow. Gork'll Fix It heals your target for 43 and then for a further 114 over 9 seconds, so essentially a small burst heal with a nice HoT (Heal over Time). Now Flee, whilst it is described as a buff is really an ability, you can use it to run places faster or for its proper usage, escape from a battle if things go a bit pear shaped. However, there is a down side. By triggering this mechanic you will lose all AP, all WAAAGHH! and your Morale will start to decrease too. Morale is something that is built up gradually over time, but only whilst you are in combat, as Morale increases it will make certain abilities available to you but, since you aren't able to train the very first ability till Rank 8 we will explore this in more detail later.
So, now you're ready and armed with information to begin rising through the ranks as a Goblin Shaman. Top right of your screen will be your Minimap, and on that you should see a green circular icon, this indicates an NPC has a quest available for you. Run up to the NPC and right click on him, you will be presented with a brief description to read about the quest and the option to accept or decline. Whilst green indicates an available quest, a yellow indicates you have accepted a quest and it is in progress and an orange circle means you have a quest ready to turn in for completion.
Now would be a good time to introduce you to the groundbreaking and innovative feature that is the Tome of Knowledge (ToK). If anyone has ever played Lord of the Rings Online, you may have a slight feel for what this feature entails, but let me tell you now, it is so much more. The ToK acts as many things, an in-game Encyclopedia, quest log, titles earned, mob kill count etc. One of the best details is that the tome levels with you. It starts out blank and you fill all the information in, so many months down the line when you've hit Rank 40, it will show all you've accomplished during your epic journey.
At some point in this game you are going to fight in a Realm vs. Realm (RvR) environment. RvR is the same as PvP in other games; it just means far more here. Now, if you've chosen a Core server then RvR will only occur when you are in a designated RvR zone such as a scenario (which is similar to Battlegrounds of Warcraft); a contested zone (which are just open field RvR areas), or you flag RvR. If you're on a RvR server though, then you can be attacked whenever and wherever you are. RvR contributes directly to your Rank through giving you experience, and as a Shaman you will earn experience both from attacking enemy players and contributing to their deaths or by healing your allies. You also receive Renown Rank (RR) experience too, which simply put, is an RvR Rank. You are given a rank title too, and the first one you will receive as a Goblin is Little Git. Your RR will be important as you level, as it will unlock access to purchasing decent gear from vendors in conjunction with your Rank. Not only this but you gain one RR point per RR Rank, which you can spend at a Renown Vendor NPC to further specialise and personalise your class. You are going to be the glue that holds your party together in RvR, so don't be afraid to join open parties or create your own. A well organized side will make a Warband (Raid) and be effective in obliterating Order.
Grouping in WAR is extremely easy. By default all parties are Open, unless the party leader specifically changes an option in their settings. This means that you can join that party instantly, making easy work of the old LFG/LFM problems most MMOs have. The leader can always make the party private if they desire, or convert it to a Warband for Public Quests.
Public Quests (PQ) are another exciting invention for this game, and they work very well and very easily. To take part all you have to do is enter the area, and you will know you have done so as box will appear informing you of the current stage and progress. All you have to do here is take part; just do what your class does best. Once the PQ has finished everyone is rated on their contributions and receives a medal which will grant a point bonus. Once that has been done, everyone that took part receives a random roll from 0 - 1000, and then those that received a bonus get that added to their roll. If your score then comes in the top three (or six for some PQs), you will receive a loot bag and should collect it from the chest. There are varying colors of loot bags and various levels of each color which is determined randomly it seems. As a Shaman you will get a better contribution score if you DPS as well as heal, and don't forget to throw your buffs out too.
Once you have competed in some Scenarios, PQs and random questing, it won't take long for you to increase in Ranks, and your first milestone level comes at Rank 8. This is where you receive your first Morale ability. Morale slowly builds up during battle by healing or attacking. When you have built up enough morale, from now on, this spell called Divine Favor will be unlocked and you gain the ability to cast it. This is the biggest heal spell you have, and is on a 60 second cooldown, So if your Morale hasn't depleted due to any inactivity you can cast it again once the cooldown has passed. As you level, you will receive various Morale abilities, each are unlocked by the amount of morale you build up. Divine Favor is a Rank 1 ability; the higher ones go up to Rank 4.
Your next milestone Rank is 11. This is where you can specialise and choose a Mastery Path. The three paths available are Path of Gork (which is the DPS path), Path of Mork (healing path) and Path of Da Green (pseudo buffing path). Choose whichever you will enjoy playing, or maybe choose a mixture of all three. You would be well advised to use a character builder at this point to work out the direction you wish to head.
So that's really all the bases covered, you should now be fully prepared to go out and realise the potential this class possesses. My final tip comes from years of healing in MMOs and I'll simply say don't forget to heal yourself because in the end, a dead healer is the worst kind. So good luck and I'll see you on the battlefield! WAAAAAAGGGGH!