Posted tagged ‘WoW’

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.

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First Trip in to SSC

May 16, 2008

Having now downed both Mag and Gruul, many folks have been asking which zone is next. I want to focus on farming the T4 zones some, but am also excited about even more new content – so I put a SSC Trash run on the calendar for this past weekend.

The plan, as I described it, was to go in and get beat down by the trash. Shockingly, people signed up for this.

In reality, my goal was to learn the trash pulls to Hydross, to sneak past him, and to then clear up to the Lurker. I expected a few rough patches, but hoped in end the evening with a peak at the Lurker fight.

From the start, the trash was not as bad as I had expected. We had a few mistakes, but were generally able to recover well. When we got to Hydross I explained a bit about that fight, and that we would soon be crafting the required Resist sets for our tanks. Sneaking around his adds didn’t go terribly well, and I’m not sure why. Thankfully the adds don’t pull Hydross himself, and they die amazingly easily.

The clear around the Lurker’s platforms was more of the same. After the first few pulls we had found a strategy that seemed to work well for us, and by the last few it was going fairly quickly.

Everyone had heard a lot about how easy the Lurker is, so I devoted a fair amount of energy to building him up. He IS the first Tier 5 boss we have faced. He IS much harder than either Gruul or Mag. The fight DOES require EVERYONE to be on their toes.

For learning attempts – that no one had prepared for – things went well. I simply wanted everyone to see each phase of the fight, so that we would be ready going in next time, and we did accomplish that.

Tanking the Lurker himself is pretty simple. He doesn’t hit that hard, and the ranged doesn’t even have to watch Omen. The adds seem more than doable – a few tweaks there and we should be fine. The spout managed to take folks out every time, but I think that seeing the fight a few more times will be enough for everyone to get the timing down.

All in all, I feel good about our chances against the Lurker. Our raid schedule doesn’t give us much time in the 25-mans, but I think we are setup well to make some progress.