Posted tagged ‘Beta’

Warhammer Online Open Beta

September 11, 2008

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.

A Tale of Two Betas: Wrath vs WAR

August 25, 2008

This past weekend I was able to play in both the Warhammer Preview Weekend Beta, and, of course, the Wrath of the Lich King Beta.   Since I’ve been in the WotLK Beta for quite some time, Friday afternoon & evening were devoted to Warhammer.

**Note:  Both of these games are still BETA.  This simply reflects my feelings at this point, pre-launch.**

Some initial thoughts:

  • WAR has style.  The visuals are very interesting, and give the game a unique feel.
  • RvR is amazing.  The RvR skirmishes (battlegrounds) are a lot of fun.  You can queue from anywhere, and you get XP (and other rewards) for the time spent.  Leveling trough RvR goes surprisingly quickly, and the auto-balancing within the level brackets is a great move.   Also, the low levels of CC and “teleports” (charge/blink/vanish) really make positioning much more important.
  • Collision Detection is awesome.  The Collision Detection in PVP is amazing.  Being able to physically shield my wife’s healer toon with my tank is great.  Once we perfected the “moving screen” her (and by extension, my) life expectancy went way up.  It is jarring going back to the PVE world where there is no Collision Detection.
  • Public Quests.  Like a mini-instance without any of the hassle.  Show up, solo or grouped, and start playing.  You get Influence (rep) no matter what, and a chance at loot.  The single element I’d most like to see moved to all other MMOs.
  • The tanks all feel similar.  Order has two tanks, and while they have different “combat point” mechanics, their game play ends up feeling not all that different.
  • Slow combat.  Not sure about this.  The slower pace of combat (longer global cooldowns) gives more time to think about your actions in RvR, but PvE feels slow and sluggish.  There also seems to be a bit of button lag for abilities, I didn’t feel like I had an immediate reaction to a button press.  Nothing major, just a bit squishy – reminded me a lot of LotRO in that regard.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the playtime over the weekend.  I do plan on playing the Open Beta in a week or so, and then playing at launch, but this is not “The One True Game.”

Things that Wrath needs to steal from WAR:

  • Collision Detection – Great in WAR RvR, wish they would implement it everywhere, and that WoW would copy it.  I know there are issues with crowds, and access to quest givers… but I don’t care.  It is awesome enough that those issues should be worked out.
  • Queue for RvR from anywhere.  Being able to join the Skirmish/Battleground queue while questing, and then teleporting back once you finish is great and would greatly increase my Battleground time.
  • Public Quests.  Period.
  • Some PvE Advancement through PvP/RvR – while leveling there are real motivations to engage in WAR RvR.  Would be great if this was the case in WoW.

Things that WAR needs to borrow from WoW:

  • PvE Questing.  The PvE game in WAR feels more than a little hollow.  None of the early quests particularly interested me.  The quest text seemed to be there mainly to be ignored.  Not a major issue for most WAR players, but coming from Wrath (Dragonblight in particular) where the ongoing story is amazing compelling, this bugged me a bit.  One of my toons skipped questing altogether due to this.
  • Class differentiation.  One of the selling points in the game is the number of classes, and although they do play somewhat differently, in combat they feel like Tank/Healer/Melee DPS/Range DPS.   The actual abilities of the classes past that description don’t really seem to matter so much.
  • Polish.  Warhammer is beta, and hasn’t had the years of “Live Time” – but that hard to describe “feel” of doneness just isn’t there.  Lots of tiny things that should “just work”, are just a little off.   This should work itself out over time, but I’d love it if WAR had another 4 to 6 weeks of beta time prior to launch.
  • Mob pathing.  Not so much something to be stolen from WoW, as any functional MMO.  PvE mob pathing is either broken, or amazingly poorly implemented.  I presume that this is a bug, and will be fixed, so I won’t go on too much here.  However, if it does Live like this, it may be a deal breaker.

So which am I playing once they launch?  I expect that Wrath will be my “Main” game, while I’ll play some WAR on the side.  I enjoy the RvR elements of Warhammer, by I don’t think that it will end up being deep enough to be my full-time game.  I’m a PvE player, and that just the focus for WAR.  Even this weekend, I logged as much time in the WotLK beta as in WAR.  Warhammer is a great game, and the RvR is amazing, but it will likely fill my “I have 45 minutes before bed” time slots, where I don’t have time to hop into WoW and setup an instance run.