Warhammer Online Games Day: The Future of Combat and Careers
Are you tired of playing a melee class in Warhammer and getting killed
by casters? At Baltimore Games Day we had a chance to sit down with
Nate Levy to talk about careers, RvR, and class balance, which is a
very touchy subject in Warhammer Online. Players have been crying
“foul!” on Bright Wizard and Sorcerer area of
effect attacks and the lack of survivability for tanks and DPS classes
in the game.
Nate was quick to tell us that the Careers Team is taking a close look
at crowd control groups right now. “We have to be careful
with the changes we make to crowd control, one or two little changes
can have big impacts in the game. That is why we tend to do smaller
changes to crowd control as we assess the scope,” Nate said.
Melee classes may get some help against casters.
The largest issues right now players seem to be facing are the Bright
Wizard and Sorcerer AOE groups in RvR. They are made up of a tank for
protection, healers, and a Bright Wizard/Sorcerer who is spamming
damage all around. Nate explained that these groups are a bit too
effective and some changes are in the works. The Bright Wizard is the
only career really doing anything active in the fight. Nate had this to
say on the topic:
“Right now Bright Wizard and Sorcerer PBAOE bomb groups.
People realize that these characters can do a lot of area damage, so
they stack a group of a tank to guard, three healers, and a Bright
Wizard and they do nothing but concentrate all these five
people’s output through one person and they do very well at
it,” he said. “Especially against uncoordinated
groups who don’t realize you just take out the healers and
the Bright Wizard is toast.”
“So that is the kind of thing you see right now, but next
month it might be a different strategy that someone comes up with to
work around that,” he continued. “We’re
waiting to see players form an all ranged all knock back group to
scatter the pack into six directions and focus their fire on killing
them one at a time. That really is the answer to the PBAOE
Nate was laughing about giving away some group tips, but did say that
players should really look into their teammates and coordinate groups
effectively. Each class has its own tool set and its job; however using
them in a group is the most effective way to fight. Dark Age of Camelot
ran the same way.
Are Bright Wizards W.A.R.'s most hated class?
I asked about the fighting/healing hybrid classes in the game and Nate
said that they really want to see them push towards more of a frontline
combat situation for them. Right now these pseudo-healers are standing
back and acting more like regular healers. This takes away from their
role on the front lines. He hopes that certain changes will give them
more of a front line presence on the field.
In regards to ranged classes, Nate felt they could use some help:
“Most of them are pretty much hitting target as to where we
want them to be, the Shadow Warriors do need some love, which is
something we are closely looking at. Range does not seem to be the big
issue right now; it is the range up close. Bright Wizard PBAOE bombing
is a balanced strategy, but there are some points where it is just too
overwhelming, too effective.”
I compared the PBAOE make up to Dark Age of Camelot and asked about the
trend of bomb groups to assist trains, where tanks and DPS became the
focus and would charge in on one target to kill it right away. A group
is in trouble without its healer, then without its back up healer, etc.
This trend led to some nasty groups in DAOC, I asked Nate if he expects
this in Warhammer at some point?
“We have not seen a lot of assist trains in WAR at this point
because AOE is a little too good. With AOE why assist on one person
when you can just wipe out everybody?” he asked.
“So that is one thing we’re really looking at, and
that will help the melee classes once the AOE is handled better. The
melee classes won’t fear as much getting up into the middle
of the fireball, because you know you’re not going to get
We asked about some help for tanks in RvR, and Nate gave us some
tactics that players could use right now.
“Keep in mind that taunt does do something in RvR. The Taunt
and the Challenge do work in RvR. If you taunt somebody you do more
damage against them until they hit you three times,” he
said.” Otherwise if they don’t turn around
you’re going to punish them. Also with Challenge, which is
the cone area taunt, everybody you challenge does less damage in the
game to everybody but you.”
“So if they turn and hit you, they will be at full
effectiveness, if they continue to attack your team mates they will be
doing less damage. Taunts and Challenge absolutely work in
RvR,” he continued. “If you are playing a great
weapon tank, and you see a great weapon tank coming after you and
taunting you, they are about to wreck you, unless you turn around and
hit them, which is exactly what they want. The other thing to keep in
mind is collision detection. If you set up a wall up front, odds are
they are not getting through. You really cannot do that with anyone
other than tanks.”
With all this great strategy coming from Nate, I asked him to continue.
How can tanks and melee classes better compete against their ranged
Black Guards might have more tools than you think.
“A lot of it, especially for the close in guys, really comes
down to teamwork. Because the guys in back can get much more breathing
room, where as the guys up in the middle of it that are in hand to
hand on the front lines really need that support. If you look
at a healer and melee class, that team is better than a healer and
caster team,” he said. “Because if you have a
healer and a Bright Wizard fighting against a healer and a Black Guard,
the healer and the Black Guard are probably going to win. Because there
is no way the damage is going to take down the Black Guard. The close
combat guys really start to shine with support.”
We asked Nate about the DPS classes and he said to look closely at the
mastery trees. There are some really nasty options in there that
players have not started to fully use. There is a lot for the Choppa
and Slayer on the lists and many players have yet to go there with
their character builds. Overall he hopes players will explore every
option with their classes to get the best ones for their play style.
In closing we talked about play style and Nate said that they are
looking at many ways to give the tanks, melee DPS, caster DPS, and
healer classes all new and strong identities. Each race has these
classes in their make up and many players were asking what the
differences are? Nate explained that the team continues to look for
ways to set the Marauder apart from the Choppa and the Runepriest from
the Arch Mage. They want the players to have a definite personality to
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