Warhammer Online Open Beta

Along side my time in the Wrath Beta, I’ve been playing around with Warhammer Online too.

Overall, I’m enjoying Warhammer. I’ll certainly keep an active account, at least for a while, and would recommend it to anyone looking for an MMO with lite PVP elements.

Is it better than WoW? No.

Using almost any measure WoW in it’s current state (even more so when WotLK launches) is the superior game, except for the important ‘Game that isn’t Warcraft’ Category.  When I’m looking for a break from Azeroth, Warhammer is where I plan to go.

I’ve played a few characters, with the highest being a Warrior Priest at level 13. The playstyle for this toon is very interesting; a healer that needs to be in melee range. Able to absorb, deal and heal a fair amount of damage, this is a very versatile class. I’ve enjoyed charging into the thick of combat, dropping back and healing up my team, and even acting as a tank in a few public quests. The Warrior Priest does suffer from the normal hybrid complex  – It is nice to be able to pitch in and fill several roles, but there comes a time where you need a “real tank”, a healer than doesn’t have to spend time in melee, or serious DPS. Still, the WP is a fun class to play, and will probably be my “solo-time” class of choice.

I’ll also roll a tank, which I’ll play with my wife’s planned Rune Priest, although I don’t expect us to have much joint playtime till we “finish” with the Wrath Beta.

As far as the gameplay goes, the PVE questing is acceptable, if lacking spirit. The Public Quests are quite nice, so long as you play at times when the server is busy – otherwise you face repeating the opening stages over and over, unable to make a dent in the later steps. For a PvP focused game, a pure PvE player will find things to like; not enough to make the game great, but good enough to deserve some serious playtime.

The RvR is certainly fun, something I enjoy in short bursts. I’m sure that many players will love this as the endgame, but I’m not quite sure for myself. It reminds me a lot of the PvM play in LotRO, much more so than anything in WoW. It is certainly well done for what it is, but it is a no/low impact form of PvP. There is no permanence. If you get caught outside of your zerg, then you die and can run back in within a few seconds.

Loosing an arena match in WoW actually has far more lasting impact than anything I’ve seen in WAR. That isn’t meant as a slam; the RvR play is lots of fun, but if you are looking for a hardcore “Loot your enemies” or “real consequences” style gameplay, than this isn’t it.

On the tech side, things look good.  The style fits the game quite well, it doesn’t seem to stress my machine too much, and it is reasonably stable.  I had a pair of “Crash to Desktop” incidents last night, but those were the only two I’ve seen this beta.

The Open Beta has a few more days to go, and I’ll probably play a bit more, but at this point I’ve answered my main questions about the game and am content to see the rest of it once things go live.

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