Posted tagged ‘WotLK’

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.


A Look at Utgarde Keep

August 5, 2008

Last night I had a bit of time to play around on my Priest in the WotLK beta. Planning on hitting a few quests, I’d turned on the LFG flag for Utgarde Keep – adding a note that I was spec’d Shadow. I’m enjoying soloing as Shadow, even though it isn’t radically different than pre-Wrath. Dispersion is a nice talent, however most of the SPriest changes seem to be stacked into the new abilities between 70 and 80.

When the “Want to join for UK? We are past the first boss” whisper came in, “Looking for dps? healing?” was my reply. Knowing that there were a dozen other DPS on LFG – at least 4 or 5 of whom weren’t Death Knights – the “Ahh. we need healing” reply didn’t shock me.

Having not run UK yet, I decided I’d rather respec than to try to and talk another tank/healer into running. I got a portal to IF to dump my shadow talents, and then picked out a holy/disc spec while I followed the group through the first part of the instance.

We did the 2nd and 3rd bosses in about 30 minutes, with a single wipe on the 2nd boss. That wipe was largely due to my playing an alt-spec on an alt-toon.. damage was being spread around more than I’d expected, and I had trouble finding the spells I needed. Plus, the slightly agrro-happy bosses focus-fired my ass down.

After the run back, we cleared through the rest of the instance with no problems. Most of the trash barely required me to do anything, and were I not a still working at learning my beta keybindings I would have had plenty of time to pump out some sweet-sweet holy dps. The final boss,however, does push out some serious damage. I nearly lost the tank after letting him drop to 70%, and then having a G-Heal interrupted with a several seconds long silence. Once I managed to recover, I simply overhealed the rest of the way through. Not elegant, but the fight was quick enough that I had no mana worries.

My Priest’s healing gear is mostly Kara level, with a few Arena pieces thrown in for survivability. The tank was Kara + Badge geared. We did run with some CC, but I get the feeling that most Kara level groups should tear through UK without too many problems. I’m planning on actually tanking the run in the next few days, so I’ll have a better idea of the difficulty then.