Its hard to believe
Warhammer Online is just short of three years old. It
yesterday we were all running around Nordenwatch, the first tier of
blasting people to death with Bright Wizards and backstabbing with
Witch Elves. Of
course, like any launch MMO, it shipped
with its fair share of problems.
was fixed some, and some are still problematic. style=""> Were Mythic's measures enough to
make WAR a must-play MMO (past tier 3, that is), now that the game has reached maturity?
Lets take a look!
Servers - A
While Rift and
expand, WAR continues to merge server after server.
The game launched with dozens of servers and
now were in the single digits. While
its nice to see that the developers are looking out for the
population, a low
population means a low income, which means a low rate of development
patches and content.
There are two segments of the game that
have an active and
constant population Tier 1 and Tier 4.
those who forgot or dont know, Im talking levels 1-10 and 30-40
former is due to
Mythics relatively new Endless Tier 1 trial, where you are level
can experience more or less everything in the game up to that cap. style="">
that to help the population woes, everyone now starts in Empire vs.
Chaos. You can still access the other homelands, but this change
helps greatly with upsizing public quests.
PvE The Good, The Bad, and the Waargh
So with all of the action in the first and last 10
levels of the game, what is
there to do in the other 20 levels?
You can still do what we used to - queue for battlegrounds and occasionally get
a fight. Theres
still open PvP, on a
much smaller scale than the massive raids of Tier 1 and 4. style=""> That leaves
questing, which is, lamentably, still a drudgery.
Quests offer an easy mode that can be soloed, the rewards are paltry, with no real chance of seeing bigger and better rewards unless your bring your own guild. The long and short of it is that the
still comes from PvP renown ranks, which are of course obtained via PvP. style=""> So what are you to do when
you want to keep
your renown ranks up there with your levels so you quickly unlock
access to the
sweet, sweet PvP gear? Your
guess is as
good as mine!
Perhaps the most frustrating part of
WAR for a lot of us was
the silly imbalance. For examply, Witch
Elves had a
healing debuff in tier 1, witch hunters didnt get one until tier 3, and Dwarf Ironbreakers went around punting Chaos meleers into lava with insane knockback. Hilarious, yes, and good fodder for a Paul Barnett monologue, but it's no exactly eSports material. style="">
Fortunately, Mythic has
kept a few unique
properties for each sides version of the class, but the core
the classes between the factions now seems much more in-sync.
Add in matching equivalents of the
Chosen and Ironbreaker
for each side plus the addition of the Slayer and Chopper, and youve
got a lot
of new threats on the battlefield that you might not be used to. style=""> The server mergers have been a great boon to
PvP, as it keeps world PvP in the popular warzones relatively lively.
Most recently, the 1.4 patch brought a big shake up to open PvP in two major forms. You no longer have to have 30 minute slug fests to capture a zone. Zones are now captured via one big ugly keep raid (and who doesnt have fond memories of those?) which helps with the attrition and periods of passivity that arise during open PvP. Speaking of boredom, if you do get tired of doing the same old thing, you can now play as a Skaven class in world PvP areas. These are great at filling role gaps in your warband and great to just do something different every now and then.
Note that there is a USD 9.99 booster
pack that enables renown
ranks 81-100, and speeds up ranks 1 through 80 now.
This greatly alleviates the PvP grind if youre willing to drop
a bit of cash
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style="font-style: italic;">No matter how much changes in
WAR, we will always thank it for adding collision detection to PvP.
And big ass orcs.
Raiding in WAR?
For the progression-minded, I hate to
say this, but you
really still need to look elsewhere.
path to the top in WAR is via PvP, not PvE.
You can still get some quality gear from PvE, but the true
draw of the
game and perhaps more importantly, the players of the game, is in the
PvP. You might as
well forget the idea of a pick
up group for a raid in WAR. The
that the game is largely in the shadow of BioWare's behemoth, The Old Republic,
means that fans wont be seeing a whole lot of PvE content in the discernible future. Unless, that is, you count Wrath of Heroes as part of WAR's legacy.
All in all,WAR has come a long way, but you still come for the PvP, and you stay for the PvP. If you can
endure the comparative
deadzone that is (still) 11-30, Tier 4 is a surprisingly fun hint at Warhammer Online fully realized.
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