Keen’s Warhammer Online Beta Impressions Part 1

The NDA is down and it’s time to give you all my impressions of Warhammer Online. Over the course of the next few days I will be releasing, in parts, my thoughts on WAR. I’m going to share with you the positives AND the negatives as I have experienced them firsthand. The purpose of these beta impressions is to continue doing what Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog has been all about from the beginning: Sharing our thoughts on the games we play so that our readers can be truly informed.

It’s time to dive right into it! I’m going to begin by giving my general first impressions of the game then I will take certain features, mechanics, systems, and parts of the game one by one and give my quick thoughts. As the day unfolds and perhaps even into tomorrow and throughout this week I’ll continue expanding upon my thoughts, share videos, and provide you all with any information I can.

NOTE: I will be taking questions and answering them in a Q/A blog post today if necessary. Feel free to ask questions.

First Impressions

Warhammr Online: Age of Reckoning is exactly what I hoped it would be when I learned that Mythic was creating another MMORPG. The design direction and scope are true to what was promised. This is a game all about RvR and it illustrates that point almost every minute of gameplay. Many developers set out with the goal of creating a game with PvP and PvE but few succeed; most will have one or the other or have one be nothing more than an afterthought. WAR is designed to include both PvE and PvP from the beginning and does so in a way that the player can contribute to the realm war, and thus be considered as RvRing, by doing both. That’s one thing I find so great about WAR, no matter what you do it contributes to the realm war.

More specifically now, the game has a lot of polish. I feel like I have been playing a finished product. Aside from some problems, which I’ll go into later, there have been very few times that I say to myself “This game needs more time in beta”.

Look and Feel of the world – is it a real world? Does it look cool?

High Elf Lands - Beautiful
High Elf Lands - Beautiful

The artwork and the scope of details put into this game are amazing. I’m constantly stopping and admiring the landscapes and the architecture. From beautiful vistas to desolate battlefield wastelands to something as simple as a bell tower, this game has details layered upon details. It has the perfect ‘Warhammer’ feel that fans of the tabletop and pen/paper games will pick up on and be familiar with from the first minute.

The world is a true world, unlike recent games like AoC which instance and redundantly instance themselves. If you’ve been following the game you’ll know that there are tiers for each racial pairing (Example: Greenskins vs. Dwarves) and these tiers (1-4) are enormous zones/regions. They are not redundantly instances and you will spend 10+ levels in them without zoning even once. The ONLY time you zone is when you cross over into another tier whether it be running to it or taking a flight master and of course entering a Scenario. Open-world RvR areas are seamlessly connected and not only feel like, but ARE, a part of the actual world. HUGE kudos to the Mythic teams that put this together.

Combat – RvR and PvE

Combat in WAR is what I consider to be ‘traditional’ pacing. Generally speaking, it’s not much different from EQ, WoW, LOTRO, DAOC, etc. It feels like the time spent in combat however is a little more sometimes. Killing level 1 NPC’s on my Shaman can take several spell casts and melee hits whereas in a game like WoW most level 1 things are dead with a few attacks. Mythic has spent a lot of time increasing the time RvR fights take. They don’t want anyone to be 1 shot, 2 shot, or for combat to be so quick that players lose the tactical opportunities to think about what move they should use next (although really this time is not more than a few seconds, it came seem like a long time for someone who is a veteran mmo gamer).

I don’t want people to misunderstand what I’m saying and start spreading the word that “omg WAR combat is so slow and boring!” because it’s anything but boring and ‘slow’. Let me clarify further by saying combat is fast pace but the fights are drawn out longer.

Leveling up in general – is it fast or slow? Quests centric or what? what’s the REAL deal?

Leveling up in WAR is awesome. You have SO MANY choices. You can exclusively quest ala WoW or mix in some RvR ala DAOC or exclusively RvR. You can mix in Scenarios, Open-world RvR, PQ’s, dungeons, grinding, normal quests, and level well. The leveling in WAR feels standard to me. There are 40 levels in the game so I tend to think of each level as 1.5 the size of an oldschool WoW level. If it took you 30 minutes to get from level 3 to 4 in WoW it’ll take you 45 in WAR. Basically it feels 1.5x slower – hopefully that makes sense?

Leveling up renown ranks goes pretty quickly as well. If you mix in a healthy number of scenarios and participate in sieging objectives and keeps then you will gain ranks VERY quickly early on – so fast that you cap your renown rank for your level. It slows down a lot later on but never to the point where you feel like you’re not accomplishing something.

Public Quests

Altdorf Docks
Altdorf Docks

What a fantastic addition to mmorpgs. The way these public quests are implemented will absolutely be copied by developers for future mmorpgs; of that I have no doubt. Allowing players to come together in a location and work towards a PQ (they’re like mini-events) to earn experience, influence, items, tome unlocks, and more without it feeling like a grind is nothing short of innovative and dare I say revolutionary. Although the idea of a “quest that everyone works on together” isn’t necessarily ‘new’, the way Mythic has implemented these is unlike anything I’ve played before. When I first experienced a PQ I sat back and thought, “Now why didn’t anyone think of that before?”.

These Public Quests are EVERYWHERE. Seriously. There is one in every race’s chapter 1, then they start increasing in numbers to something like 3 PQ’s in chapter 2 and it only gets more involved from there. Every keep is a PQ to kill the Keep Lord. Dungeons are full of PQ’s. City Sieges are PQ’s. Mythic has taken this simple idea and applied it everywhere applicable – just short of overkill in my opinion.

One major thing that I like about these quests is how easy it is to just jump in and participate, earn loot, and leave without any of the usual hassle. There’s no LFG or worrying about loot drama. You have zero commitment to stick around or feel like you’re going to miss something because you have to leave.

There is one slight negative that I have experienced in the system and it has to do with how loot is distributed for contribution. In almost every PQ that I participate in I will rank in the top 5 – that’s not bad when there are 30-40 people there in some of these. But that doesn’t mean I get loot. That means I get a bonus to my dice roll that the game automatically generates. This dice roll creates an almost true sense of randomness in who receives loot. I could have earned a +300 to my dice roll but only roll a 100. The guy who came in 20th could roll a 999 and win loot. That would mean the guy who contributed almost the least was able to take loot from someone who contributes the most. Of course this system IS truly fair, and I have been both helped and hurt by the random nature of the dice, but it bothers me to see my consistent top contribution perhaps not valued enough.

Scenarios

Many people will know Scenarios as ‘Battlegrounds’. These are instanced PvP(RvR) encounters that you queue up for (from anywhere in the world with the click of the a button) and play in with even and balanced teams. Where these depart from the usual BG is their diversity. There aren’t just zone control and capture the flag maps here. There are sieges, blood bowl, a Team Fortress 2 style tug of WAR, king of the hill, and more. There are LOTS of these Scenarios (At least one per racial pairing tier) and they are all different. That’s key right there for me because I have always hated running the same 2 or 3 battlegrounds over and over and over ad nauseum. In WAR I can queue up for whichever one I feel like playing then go off and do whatever I want, when the queue pops up I can take it and play, then when the match is over be sent back to my EXACT place in the world.

Scenarios are also a great content ‘filler’. Graev and I would be questing out in the world and have our queue up. We would be getting a little tired of our particular quest or maybe even PQ when the scenario window would come up and let us know it’s time to play. We would hop in and be able to take a break from whatever else we were doing just long enough that we can go back fresh. Scenarios, since they give exp, are also a great way to level and round out a tier.

Open-World RvR

T2 Empire Keep Siege
T2 Empire Keep Siege

This is where the RvR truly shines. Starting in Tier 2+ (Tier 1 only has objectives) there are Keeps that you can siege out in the RvR areas (I call them Frontiers still – DAOC habit) and other objectives to take. Each of these RvR areas (a big area in each tier that gets bigger as the tiers go up) has a Warcamp that will offer RvR related quests. These quests + the objectives + the keeps + fighting players = amazing RvR fun. There is just so much action going on all the time! Last night we were on our level 14 Goblin Shaman/Squig Herder duo playing in the Dark Elf Tier 2 lands and Destruction had 2 Warbands (roughly equaling 35 people between them) defending one of our keeps that was under siege by Order. They had broken down the doors with rams and Hellblasters and for a few minutes I thought we were done for until we were able to somehow break their front line and get them on the run. Once they were running our army pushed into their territory and seized four of the batlefield objectives. We then made our way to their keep and began our siege.

It’s experiences like the one I shared above that keep me going in a game like this. It’s all about the open-world RvR and the real sense of territorial conflict going on. It gives me something else to play for besides leveling up or getting gear. I know that my goals are the same as everyone else on my realm because that’s the point of the game – dominate. I can’t wait to get off these Core servers and on to an open-rvr server where I don’t have to wait for my enemy to voluntarily flag or step into a RvR area – that will be REAL RvR.

Class Balance

Inevitable City
Inevitable City

Okay, this deserves its own section because this is my biggest gripe about Warhammer Online. There are still some serious balance issues in the game that need to be worked out before launch. Some classes are overpowered and some classes are underpowered. There are even some cases where classes severely under perform for half of the game and then magically get fixed as they level up. I find none of the above acceptable in a RvR game. I’m not usually one to cry foul or start whining about balance but these are some serious issues. I could write a novel on all the imbalances I’ve encountered in-game but for now I’m going to bullet point these things to present them clearly. Here are a few I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Runepriests heal too well early on (and possibly later) compared to other healers. Don’t misunderstand me, they’re primarily a healer and SHOULD heal the best, but they heal so well that they can have a full group beating on them for over a minute and survive (around level 14). I have experienced situations where Runepriests run in circles while they have 6-10 people hitting them and they don’t drop below half HP.
  • Shaman and Archmage are too squishy for most of the game. I die in a few hits on my Shaman to TANKS. I see Archmages dying just as quickly. This archetype does not deal enough damage nor heal well enough to justify the lack of survivability.
  • Warrior Priests are just plain overpowered. Simply put, they just don’t die. WP’s can get near 70% mitigation, 6000 hit points, approach 30% disrupt, 300 toughness, with very strong heals at level 31.. Their survivability is heinously lopsided.
  • Squig Herders need help. Their melee mastery tree is nearly worthless. Shadow Warriors I’m sure are in a similar situation. I don’t play either of these classes and I think they need an increase in damage and their masteries looked at again.
  • Sword Masters do too much damage for being a tank. Three shotting a Shaman and killing a Squig Herder in 9 seconds should not be acceptable.


The balance issues are many and if they’re not fixed they will be a problem at launch. Mythic knows this path is a slippery one and screwing up here can be the beginning of disaster. In the interview I had with Mark Jacobs at E3 he told me they have a much better way of detecting these imbalances than they did with DAOC. Let’s hope so.

How does the game run? Are there CTDs, crashes, lag etc?

The game runs like a dream right now. I’m not sure if the beta debug code is still in or not but I have no complaints. I get fantastic framerates with little stalling or hiccuping. I notice a tiny slowdown in capital cities for a few seconds but it’s almost not worth mentioning. In major RvR battles I will notice a stutter here and there but for the most part it’s smooth.
I get the occasional CTD – about once a day – but know people who got them constantly before yesterday’s mini-patch. A lot (I mean a ton) of people started experiencing CTDs after patch 3.3 so the problem DOES exist even if I’m not one of the unlucky ones. System ‘crashes’ and other nasty errors have been nonexistent for me (thank the good lord for that) and overall server stability have been good.

One of my biggest technical problems has been over the past week when a lot of people are in an area I begin experiencing server-side latency issues. Casting a spell and having it complete but not go off for a few seconds or swinging my weapon and not seeing numbers or damage appear is frustrating. It eventually all catches up but it throws off the flow of combat. This could be because the servers have been stress tested more than usual lately so I’m not worried. I know I’m not alone in this because general chat suddenly erupts with “Anyone else getting lag?”.

If I had to assign a number I would say that the game is running at 96% right now for me.

That’s the end of my Part 1 impressions. I will be posting A LOT more today and this week going into more detail on the specifics. Hopefully Part 1 has given you an overall sense of my thoughts on the game. I have movies, a Q/A (give me your questions!), screenshots (about 60), and of course more writeups on the way.

Topics I want to hit in more detail include but are not limited to: Questing, Capital Cities, RvR, Siege Weapons, Keep Sieges, and specific class writeups.

Update #1: Screenshots are up. For now you can visit the Photobucket page to see them. I’ll link to them here in Impressions Part 2. Movies and ChaosCast are uploading.

  • Errr I think some of the balance issues are a bit overstated. Swordmasters DPS slows very much in the late teens. As far as archmage, yes they are squishy compared to runepriest, but I didnt find them so squishy i felt it was out of line.

  • Clone Wars was pretty good. πŸ˜‰ I’m uploading 18 videos and about 70 screenshots right now for you guys as well as ChaosCast #5.

  • Not that I’m saying you’re wrong but it’s interesting to see that (basically) all the classes you say are overpowered are Order and the ones you say need buffed are Destruction. πŸ˜‰ just saying

  • So many impressions and reviews out today…

    And they’re all good! WAR seems to have lived up to all that hype, and I would be shocked if they don’t become the first game to scrape 1 Million subscribers since WoW released.

    I think the 80/20 is working, and will continue to work for MMOs.

    80% like WoW (for ease of transition)
    20% blow-you-away different (for pure awesome).

  • I would wager that Order classes are generally more powerful then ours.

    Warrior Priest and Rune Priest both…at level one…get heals that have 0 action point cost and 0 cooldown. Fair? Come on…

  • @Kleist: Hardly. Shaman/Archmage SquigHerder/Shadow Warrior are Destruction/Order. RP and WP are both Order sure, but that’s simply because I don’t have much experience with DoK or Zealot – they could be the same way. If they are, then they need fixing too.

  • *sigh* So both of the ranged skirmishers are underpowered, huh? I really hope that Mythic fixes this, because balance was essentially the number one reason I left behind my 70 Shaman (and OP 67 Rogue)in WoW.

  • I disagree a little with your class balance thoughts.

    Warrior Priests are pretty amazing for the first 20 levels, but at the level cap, they are a lot more reasonable in my experience. Their damage output doesn’t scale as well as others, so they may take a while to kill, but they’re not as big a threat to you. They could be brought back into line at the lower levels, but its a tricky balancing act.

    Swordmasters have the lowest survivability out of any of the tank classes, but they make up for it with their damage output.

    I’ve been in this beta for almost a year now, and I’ve never seen a Runepriest (or any class) stand up to a full group like you’re describing. Were they solo? Did a tank have Guard up on them?

  • I was critted by a Bright Sorc for ~500, him being lvl 10, me being lvl 8 with 1000 hp.

    Sure he maybe got lucky with his mechanic, but seriously.

  • Ah apologies, I saw shadow warrior mentioned but missed archmage. I can’t recall but was the swordmasters mirror taken out? I guess those two things would account for the rest of the imbalance I perceived.

    One quick question if you, or other testers, wouldn’t mind: I’ve read (over at betaleaks.com when it was still up) that Chaos Chosen are also overpowered, does this seem to be true in your opinion?

  • Nice review, a couple of things that worry me are based around the whole racial pairing thing.

    Certainly on the EU Eng server if you were in the Empire/Chaos pairing you could almost count the seconds for scenario action but the other pairings meant long waits. There where just so many more people in those pairings.

    PQ’s I love them, I really love them, there not quite my favourite thing that in actuall fact is something you didnt mention, Open Groups. Open Groups really are the bees knees. PQ’s though worry me a bit, after the initial rush through the levels, will the earlier ones just become something you pass by as you advance, due to there being to few people around to pass stage 1?

  • @Ian: Bartlebe and Graev can back me up. We all witnessed the Runepriest running around being unkillable at level 14 with an ENTIRE group+ beating on them. WP’s are also ridiculous at the beginning but also at 31+ when they stack themselves for survivability. Sure, they don’t heal as well or do the damage but becoming unkillable makes them incredibly versatile.

    *edit* And I want to clarify that this was not a one time thing. The past entire week we’ve seen 1 Runepriest turn the tide of an entire fight with his ability to keep people alive (including himself) under incredible odds. Whether or not that’s overpowered or everyone else is underpowered – it’s a balance issue that I can’t ignore.

  • Kleist, there isn’t any one class that to me stands out as “overpowered” to the point that they’re routinely dominating everyone else.

    And the Swordmaster’s mirror is the Black Orc.

  • @Keen,

    Was it a solo Runepriest? Did they have a tank with Guard on them? The runepriest/ironbreaker combo in particular is damn hard to kill.

  • I wouldn’t say the Chosen are overpowered. They can take some pounding but their damage output is nothing to get excited about. They make wonderful [read amazing] tanks because of all their abilities that help out their group mates. Not OP though. I lose in 1v1 all the time. In groups though, when I have a healer…I do great…but who doesn’t? πŸ˜€

  • @Ian: It was a SOLO Runepriest (Don’t get me started on Runepriest/Ironbreaker combos… ) that was running in circles with 6+ people beating on him and he never dropped below half. Runepriests were doing it all week long this past week in the 10-20 range.

  • I have a video of me and three other guys beating on a warrior priest. He runs around us, kills me and still escapes my buddies.

    Also, as previously mentioned, their heals have no AP cost and no cool down at early levels! I made one yesterday and at level one, I could cast my heal non-stop without running out of Righteous Fury. It recharged so quickly that I didn’t need to rest. There next big heal…at rank 3….cost even LESS Righteous Fury points!

    Now add nice damage on top of non-stop healing and a problem develops.

    Doesn’t it make sense for it to at least have a cool down or a longer cast time???? That isn’t unreasonable.

  • I think you need to play some Order, Keen, and that will change some of your views. πŸ™‚ Other than that, great writeup and one that is pretty much exactly how I feel about the game. Hubby is extremely pissed off, though, because he feels that his Shadow Warrior is completely gimped because a tank can do more damage than he can.

    The huge problem with the game that I assume you’ll address tomorrow is the server population issues. I’ve played on all of the CE servers, and every time that I was on, Destruction’s pop was at least 15% higher and dominated every tier except one or two. This will kill the game if Mythic cannnot come up with a solution.

  • My wife is playing a runepriest now, but she’s only 10.

    We’ll do more testing tonight and see if we can pull that sort of stuff off. At this point, she falls like a house of cards if a marauder or witch elf looks at her funny, but maybe something in the next 10 levels will change that.

  • @Cedia: oh I’ve played Order. πŸ˜€ I saw how lopsided some of the balance was and rerolled to make sure. Runepriests and Warrior priests are ridiculous.

    Tell your hubby i totally agree Shadow Warriors need a boost as well as Squig herders.

    @Ian: Tell her to literally mash the first heal she gets at low levels. I took a Runepriest into the first scenario (at level 2) and stood in the middle while 2 black orcs and a squig herder non stop attacked me. I didn’t die and my group killed them all.

  • Nice writeup keen! I really can’t wait to see the videos/screens and get more detailed information. I’m so glad the game turned out as good as it sounds – now the weeks till release will be loooong

  • Bartlebe,

    Righteous Fury recharges immediately when a warrior priest is not in combat. When they’re IN combat, it doesn’t recharge unless they use specific melee attacks that build Righteous Fury. πŸ™‚

  • There seems to be a bit of confusion in terms of class mirrors, so I’ll just clear everything up:

    Rune Priest = Zealot (Debuff/Flex Healer)
    Engineer = Magus (Think TF2)
    Warrior Priest = Desciple of Khaine (MDPS powers Heals)
    Bright Wizard = Sorceress (Self-destruct Mechanism)
    Witch Hunter = Witch Elf (Stealth/Combo Points)
    Swordmaster = Black Orc (3-phase Attack system)
    Archmage = Shaman (RDPS buffs Heals)

    Ironbreaker (Grudge Tank) no longer has a Destro equivalent.
    Chosen (Aura Tank) no longer has an Order equivalent.

    Shadow Warrior, Squig Herder, Marauder and White Lion are hybrid equivalents. Let me elaborate.

    In terms of DPS methods,
    Shadow Warrior = Squig Herder (Mobile RDPS)
    White Lion = Marauder (Melee DPS)

    However, in terms of class mechanics,
    Shadow Warrior = Marauder (Stances/Mutations)
    White Lion = Squig Herder (Pets)

    And that’s that.

  • When you have THAT many classes, balance will be a constant issue that will never be resolved completely.

    I applaud them for attempting it, but wow, when they add the 4 *cut* classes back in, they will have so much work on their hands.

  • UGH. Class imbalance discussion is outta’ whack with everything on the forums. For example, WP are overpowered? Not since 3.1 dude. I’ve been in beta for a long time and WP are nerfed to oblivion in the current 3.3 build.

    Same thing with SM. They are by far one of the least popular classes.

    Where are you getting this stuff from? Class imbalances exist and will in release as well, but it’s not what you’ve highlighted.

    WORST imbalance now is the Bright Wizard / Sorc careers. Those classes ARE two-shotting people and basically broken.

  • @Excel: Bright Wizard and Sorcs deal a lot of damage. This is true. But they also die justifiably quick.

    Me thinks someone here plays a Warrior Priest though. πŸ˜‰

  • Thanks Excel. Interesting to see how far the pendulum can swing after a patch or two. I remember people moaning about BW and sorc being gimp but apparently that was because the resist system they had recently implemented was broken.

    And thanks Bartlebe, good to know that Chosen aren’t really that OP like I had heard.

    Ah well it’ll work itself out in time I’m sure. I just hope Mythic doesn’t wait 6 months (or 18 months) to deal with a class that’s incredibly dominant like WoW Druids.

  • Just have to comment on a few things about the class balance. Complaining about Order being overpowered when you’re referring to careers that have Destruction equivalents is ridiculous. If Runepriest is overpowered, so is Zealot. If Warrior Priest is overpowered, so is Disciple of Khaine. Stop acting like Order has unfair advantages :p

    As to Swordmasters three shotting your shaman . . . I call shennanigans. You’re just making that up. My level 12 Swordmaster does 50-60 damage per hit, which means he couldn’t even 3-shot a level 1 Shaman, let alone an equal level one. That’s with a renown-gear 2-handed sword. Even a level 20 Swordmaster wouldn’t be able to 3-shot your Shaman.

  • Hey Keen,

    Nice review! Since you detailed how the game performs for you, I was curious about the system you’re running it on? Also, how do you think my laptop would be able to handle the big RvR situations? Anyone who has an idea, please let me know as I’m pretty concerned.

    Laptop specs:

    2.1Ghz Dual Core
    3GB DDR2 RAM
    8600GT Mobile Nvidia Graphics 512MB dedicated, up to 1280MB.

    Thanks all!

  • I’ve personally seen a black orc take out five order folks of different classes. All five were concentrating on him, he didn’t die. I’ve been playing a witch hunter. Some classes I see coming and think “easy kill” others I see coming and go the other way. πŸ™‚
    Are their class balance issues? Sure. Are they as slanted towards order? Can’t say I agree with that. I don’t think that even with the sheer overwhelming numbers that Dest has over Order (At 5am Dest still outnumbered order by 200 people) that Dest could totally dominate the zone RvR like they do if Order had such a class advantage like you describe.
    That’s probably my biggest dislike of the game. Dest has so many more people that the open world RvR just isn’t any fun. I went to all three tier 2 pairings keeps last night and they ALL were controlled by Dest. I may be wrong but that means that Order can’t buy any of their renown gear for that level range.
    I’ve tried open world RvR three to four times before I said forget it and it seems I’m not the only one. They were sheer Dest gankfests of Order.
    This doesn’t mean that I dislike the game as a whole! I love it and look forward to release more than ever. I totally agree with everything Keen has said, except for Order being overpowered. πŸ™‚

  • Drakorn,

    I’ve been playing Order since Destruction started having overwhelming numbers in the beta. I’ve had a lot of luck with a small warband, sneaking through enemy territory where we knew that Destruction wasn’t and making them come to us. So there is a huge Destruction zerg in the Empire/Chaos pairing, we’d go to Dwarf/Greenskin and cap back a couple undefended keeps and wait for them to come take it back. Usually it takes a while for the zerg to catch up and we’d have some great battles.

    Being the underdog is a lot of fun and really lets you pick your battles, where as Destruction just has to wait and react.

  • I’m not in the beta, so I have no way to check your facts, but your RvR experience doesn’t seem to match reports from other testers…or the videos they’re posting today.

    Just saying…good write-up at any rate!

  • One note– only the top ten scorers in a PQ have a chance at loot as far as I’ve seen. If you are 11th or under, you dont get any. There *is* a lot of randomness involved for the top 10 (I’ve come in at the very end of a PQ only a handful of people were doing, got in some shots at the final boss, and then won a 3rd place loot bag) but even if you don’t get a lootbag, you are earning influence. So it works out, imo.

  • I find it very interesting that in WoW, the horde were the low pop folks. I wonder why in this the Dest is? Hmmm.

    I would prefer to choose the underdog race, I just assumed it was going to be DEST.

  • Howdy Doody,

    My theory is that Orks and Chaos look pretty freakin’ amazing. People want to look cool, and they knocked it out of the park as far as art direction for those two races.

  • Horde was the overpopulated side during the WoW beta, also. Things will equalize (or go horribly the other way) when the casuals start playing.

  • @Graktar: No, that’s not true. Class mirrors are not literal mirrors. The classes receive different skills and changes during patches. Skill X for Runepriests does not equal SKill X for Zealots. There can exist imbalances in class mirrors – don’t be fooled by it.

    Don’t don’t read into what I’m saying here folks. I have not once ever said that Order is more powerful than Destruction. When you assume something you have absolutely zero foundation upon which to launch a debate with me. I’ve simply listed a few, out of several, imbalances that I have noticed at particular level ranges. Whether or not these imbalances exist beyond or before them or whether or not it’s other classes being too weak and not the other classes being too strong is also a possibility.

    Simply put, these balance issues exist. If you don’t believe them then that’s totally your prerogative.

  • Just as a point of reference from the other side here…

    Much like you guys have complaints about the warrior priests, the number one balance complaint in my order guild during beta has been about the Disciples of Khain.

    Pretty much all the same things you’ve seen a warrior priest do (like survive an entire group beating on them, etc), we’ve seen Disciple’s of Khain do as well.

    Also on swordmasters, remember they can choose a mastery path that allows them to forego some tankiness for more damage by using the greatswords.

    After hearing your point of view from the destruction side of the fence… I’ve gone from thinking you guys are OP, to thinking we’ve both just got some classes that are OP. That’s balanced in a wonky sort of way.

  • @Mourn: That’s totally a possibility. However I’m not too sure what a level 14 Runpriest or Warrior Priest bolstered up to 18 could have that would make them THAT overpowered against a group of level 14-16’s bolstered.

    @Gali: Absolutely. If the DoK is ANYTHING like the WP then I feel for anyone having to fight them. And no, that’s not really balanced though. πŸ˜› If Mythic balances purely based on mirrors then we’re all doomed. πŸ˜‰ Mirrors are not counters for each other.

  • And look, before people keep focusing on the Balance issues I’ve brought up I want you to realize that, in the scope of things, these aren’t game breaking right now. They are simply a bad precedent that I hope is squashed immediately before the POSSIBILITY arises for it to turn into a cancer throughout the game.

  • I finally got the beta downloaded last night as a CE preorder customer, and I’m happy and relieved to say that the game fulfills my expectations. It’s a beta, but it’s a polished beta. I was surprised at the level of quality. It has the charm, polish, and gameplay to appeal to the mainstream the way WoW did, all while avoiding many problems Blizzard has ignored for years.

    While Blizzard is busy removing downranked spells to make healing more boring while introducing yet another scheduled PvP objective in Wintergrasp, Warhammer is all about doing whatever you want to do when you want to do it. That’s the big impression I got. Level up through PvE quests, jump into a public quest, play a scenario, join an Open Party, explore the Tome of Knowledge and its achievements…there’s always something to do, and you can jump between different parts of the game freely starting at level 1. Other MMOs suddenly feel very limited.

    WoW-killer? Quality-wise, it is one.

  • A lot of folks on the DOK forums would probably fairly concede that they are >>> over WP at the moment πŸ™‚

    The worst part of all of this is that it is truly hard to figure out where the balance is. Gear has a HUGE impact on this game and a lot of people don’t realize that. For example; the R31 gear you start out with on the T4 templates is FUBAR. Doesn’t have anywhere NEAR the resists you need. Go to a T4 keep and pick up better equipment off the vendors, and it will reduce incoming magic damage 20% more. That’s a LOT!

    The R11 R6 gear you get from T2 .. while still technically T1 .. is the absolute worst example of this. In the nub scenarios you have people running around with practically DOUBLE the stats of anyone else in there, unless they are also R11 R6 with the T2 gear.

    The good news? The gear’s easy to get and people will pick up on this.

  • Excellent post as always. 2 question for you.

    – Do they have a solo kill count system like in daoc?

    – How has mythic been in addressing and attempting to fix the imbalance issues thus far? As in, have they just turned there heads and ignored feedback or have they been active in acknowledging the issues and attempting to fix them?

  • I agree with you there Excel. Gear does seem to play a big role in the game contrary to what most thought or were led to believe. However, the gear is easily obtained which takes a great deal of emphasis off of gear.

    @Jawneeboi: The Tome tracks that stuff as will the Herald, I’m sure. Mythic has been doing a good job with balancing. They’re not ignoring these things and they claim to have a much better way of tracking and finding the imbalances than they did with DAOC. Time will tell here though how well they keep up with it.

  • Nice job Keen and thanks for the write up. I look forward to seeing your vids. I also think you were dead on on how to go about dealing with Gamespy, Masssive, etc. Your opinions are worth much more.

  • Alright thank you for the answer :). All games have problems and imbalance issues, so its nice to know they’re at least attempting to get things as fair and balanced as possible.

    One more question I just thought of:

    How do you know how much you’ve “contributed” when doing a PQ. You say you were usually in the top 5, so is there so kind of running count or rank thats says your rank is 4/30 or do you not know until the end of the PQ?

  • My responses are based upon my experiences with my 12th level Chaos Chosen warrior called Malavar on the Tyrion server. BTW my favorite ability so far is Hold The Line which lets me protect people behind me with my shield for about 40 feet. Great in RVR (as long as I get heals). πŸ™‚

    Agree with your comments about fights being draw out (which is good) but also seemingly fast-paced (which is also good). Terrain has so much potential for tactics, yet didn’t see that many people utilizing it very well.

    Public Quests are everywhere, almost every section of the map has one staked out for it. Some people might think this is a waste because I’ve seen some PQ’s not even being used but once the servers get filled up, I’m sure you’ll see more people utilizing them all.

    As for the loot distribution, it goes both ways. I’ve been near the top and got the +300 bonus but didn’t get anything. Then later, I barely even helped during the PQ, coming in mid-point in the battle but was lucky enough to get a loot sack. So it all balances out in the end.

    Scenarios don’t really interest me much as yet, primarily because I want to wage war IN the world itself and when I have to wait for an instanced battlefield to come up, I just lose that sense of immersiveness (although I’m sure the scenarios are very enjoyable nonetheless).

    I really love the Open RVR as well. This is exactly what I was looking for from WAR. To be doing a regular quest and to walk over a ridge to see a huge RVR battle in progress is so fricken cool, especially when you see someone on the sidelines needing help, you just want to jump in and save the day for them.

    I also concur with your statement about some of the priests/healers. In an RVR, there was four or five of us and two enemy players, both healers who were healing each other and we couldn’t kill them. They’d drop 30% and within 2 seconds be back at full health. Sad. As for Sword Masters, haven’t played them but don’t they specialize similar to other tank classes, such as a Chosen? I mean I’m a Chosen specializing in Toughness for tanking, so my damage output is fairly low. But if I got a bunch of gear with Strength and focused on Strength in my renown points, I’m sure my damage output would be much greater.

    As for the game’s performance, I’ve got a P4 3.4Ghz, 3GB RAM, and a new ATI 4850 HD video card. My frame rates seem mediocre/sluggish (set to High Quality, with effects set to All), although not sure how to check them (is there an in-game command?). I think I’ve had 2 or 3 CTD in the last week or so. And yes, I’m getting some lag issues as well on occasion.

    Final Review: Like yourself, I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen of the game so far (especially RVR) but it still seems like the game needs a bit more polish on the details (so feels like it’s about 90% done to me).

    Oh, what’s up with Talisman crafting!? I’ve got all these fricken talisman objects accrued from Salvaging but can’t do anything with them yet. Someone said that Talisman crafting wasn’t in the game yet. That true? If so, why drop items for something that’s not in the game yet?

  • All I have to say is, beautiful way to kick off the downage of the NDA…I’m even more exicted because when I checked my e-mail today, I found an invite to the preview weekend πŸ™‚

  • @Keen: I’m not saying you haven’t experienced those things that make you feel that the classes are overpowered. Just that reading your statement makes it seem that you are saying that just the order classes need “balancing”. I’ve played order exclusively. I’ve created and played a character from each class to get a feel for them. This is a beta so I’ve made numerous reports on bugs, etc. Some classes I didn’t like, some I felt were so-so and a couple I really enjoy. My favorite is probably the Witch Hunter. I’ve done 99% of my PvP on him.
    I’d be the first to speak up if I felt (and that’s the key to all this without hard numbers, a feeling/opinion) a class was overpowered so they can fix it prior to release and spare us the endless cries of “we’ve been nerfed!”.
    As I mentioned above, I’ve seen a black orc running around slaughtering order folks. Does that mean the black orc class needs “balancing”? I’ll be honest and say I don’t know. It seemed that way to me but I’ll admit my perception tends to be a bit skewed when I’m getting the stuffing beat out of me.
    Class balance is a sticky subject and when people talk about it the last thing I think they should want to do is appear biased.

  • I meant to add before I finished, maybe the whole class balance issue is by design. Maybe it’s there to help order compete with the great number advantage that destruction has? Kind of like quality vs quantity? πŸ™‚

  • I agree with just about everything except for 2 points.

    1. Shadow Warrior melee DPS is amazing and very doable due to the 3 differnt on-demand Cc abilitys and the 1 high mastery skill called:

    Swift Strikes
    20 Action Points
    5 ft range
    Instant cast
    13s cooldown
    You unleash a punishing series of attacks on your enemy for up to 3 seconds, striking them twice per second and dealing 62 damage per hit. If the target is building up an ability, then your strikes will deal 125 damage instead. This ability will end if you break your concentration or run out of action points.

    Couple that skill with the superior CC and the following tactics:
    Bullseye
    Passive Tactic
    Whenever you critically hit an enemy, your chance to critically hit is increased by 20% for 5 seconds, but you also become 10% more vulnerable to being critically hit.

    Expert Skirmisher
    Passive Tactic
    You deal 25% more damage when you are within 45 feet of your target, but 20% less damage when you are further than 45 feet away from them.

    Replenishing Strikes
    Passive Tactic
    Any time you critically hit an enemy, you will regain 40 Action Points. Tactic can not trigger more than once every 3 seconds

    These 3 tactics and the on demand 5 sec stun will usully 1 shot most clothies in the game at leve1 31, or come damn close.

    The WP is hard to kill if specced that way but has crappy group heals and even worse DPS. I stil lthink the DoK is the superior melee healer.

    On the issue to the melee healers resource they are a detriment to the class and make it so they MUST melee to heal, if you seen a WP never run out of Rightoeus Fury then it was a bug casue let me tell you the 2 msot play tested classed I tested were both the DOO and WP and they are far from being that great, however they are a great 1v1 class.

  • @Drakorn: I’ve played both sides, played the classes which are overpowered to be sure, seen these problems countless times in the latest patch alone, and have discussed these issues with plenty of people who all agree. Bottom line here is that these problems exist on both sides – order AND destruction. My examples above were the first to come to mind. Why? Because the majority of my playtime has been Destruction. Forgive me for not including more examples of Destruction classes because they do exist.

    Warrior Priest/DoK for example are crazy good. Anyone who denies this is either lying to you or themselves or doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

    Squig Herders/ShadowWarriors need help and their mastery lines reevaluated.

    The examples go on.

    Am I singling out Runepriests? Heck yeah I am because i KNOW there is a problem there. Does that mean no problem exists for Zealots? Nope.

  • Agree, fellow tester here

    I mainly played Squig Herders because they needed so much help. Well the improved them, but they still are nothing. It feels like you are throwing arrows with your hand for all the damage you do compared to players you are attacking. And then when they finally see you, they ignore your worthless squig, run over to you, your abilities to get away are worthless, and then you die, over & over until you leave.

    Basically you will see an uproar from people playing SH when they encounter RVR. In PVE they are fun and I didn’t notice nothing too bad until i played others, just ridiculous. Hopefully they get em fixed but considering how long beta testers have been making suggestions, I don’t have too much confident.

  • I am still undecided.

    I’ve had beta access for months and all the pieces appear to be there but I could just not play if for more than 30 minutes because combat really WAS slow and dull – or at least disjointed and drawn out.
    Even when I created higher level characters I rapidly found I just did not care about the abilities and I just wanted the combat to end …. now.

    I am still hoping my perception was warped by latency (UK player, US Beta Servers) because I want this game to be great and work.

    Hopefully a few of my friends will have it up and running on release day here as I’ve been burned too many times to invest more of my time, money, even hopes in a new MMO without trying the Live Release first.

  • hey keen –

    looking forward to your next chapter of impressions. in particular.. character creation, customization.. and the fluidity of the avatars in action.

    right now this is my personal greatest concern, and am hoping there will be vast improvements at launch. I can’t even bear to create an archmage.. they are so ugly… the goblins may be the most polished looking right now.

    and the running…with stiff skirts and all the clothes skins are exactly the same.

    maybe AOC has spoiled me on this one?

  • 😐 Tonight was horrible in the level 12-21 scenarios. White Lions and engineers everywhere totally annihilating everything in sight. I’m beginning to rethink my decision to be a Shaman.

  • Keen you said, “If Mythic balances purely based on mirrors then we’re all doomed. πŸ˜‰ Mirrors are not counters for each other”. I think I get what you are saying but Could you explain exactly why you think this would be bad.

  • Keen, I notice that you haven’t mentioned Chosen in your balance comments. We (on Order) found them pretty overpowered, and that Destruction in general gets a lot more knockbacks. Did you notice that?

    What we tended to find is that Order did well when the numbers were even but this was mostly because they had more healers (maybe due to runepriests being tough, or because Destruction has a disproportionate number of tanks).

  • I don’t get it. On one video someone said that SW are massive Damage Dealer and now you say they are underpowered… Maybe their meele way you said.

    Anyway despite balance issue (yeah we could feel them coming) as long as my chosen won’t die like shaman (sorry I had to say that πŸ™‚ ) and game is fun I won’t be yapping. But I have some questions that I posted somewhere and I can’t get an answer so please keen be honest and make them into Q/A or anything you wish.

    1. Is “kill before quest” thing that was advertised by Mythic working. I mean this thing Paul Barnett said (about bears bears bears bears… πŸ™‚ )
    2. Is there an ability trainer or like Mythic once said no ability trainer at all? If there are some but not ability please tell me, it’s something important to me.
    3. I saw some colors on color pallette but there were really not much of them ( I mean armor dyes). Heard of plans for more colors ?
    4. Are capes any better or I can still see my characters leg through them ?
    5. Rent a mule option mentioned in E3 available?
    6. Do enginner/Shadow Warrior/Squig Herder must buy ammo or only weapon ?

    Really you are my hope for getting some answers really.

  • I agree and disagree with your balance issues. Both sides have OP issues.

    A lot of it depends on the level you are and the class you are playing. As a Rank 11 and below Engineer, I don’t think it is possible for me to solo anyone. Any healing class, including shaman, was pretty much untouchable.

  • I have the client and borrowed a buddy’s info to play for about an hour last night and really like it.

    PQs are certainly enjoyable now but I wonder how they will pan out a year from now when players become concentrated at the high end and you have to do a quest solo designed for 10 people.

    I tried to get on your server but it was all full. =X

  • On Class balance –

    Everything Im reading is about random/unknown level/gear people fighting each other. Is there any info about max level average gear RvR? I really dont care that much about who is overpowered at level 15.

  • @Killarogues: If you only balance mirrors then that class could potentially be extremely – to the point of being broken – unbalanced against all the other classes. If you only balance the mirrors then a mirror would have to be present in every fight focusing on it’s own mirror. Does that make sense? If you only balance swords to fight well against swords then what happens when someone brings a gun to the fight?

    @Spinks: I have heard that as well. I’m currently playing a Chosen to see how powerful they are. It’s very possible that they are just as broken as WP/RP.

    @Centuri: If it says it’s full just try a few more times and you’ll get in.

    @Hirokana: I’ll answer you questions when i get back from getting my hair cut – running late right now πŸ˜€

    @Andrew: I believe until the weekend.

    @Junior: My comments cover levels 1-33. I have no idea what gear my enemies had on but I know that I’ve had everything from mixed PvE to Renown and I keep my gear as current as possible.

  • Is there a way to que for other racial pairings scenarios from your UI or just your own or rather the zone that you are in? I was in the que for 30 mins to join the dark elf one with no luck.

  • @Centuri: I have not found a way. Part of me remember that you could a month ago but recently it’s only for the zone you’re in.

    @Hirokana:

    1. Is β€œkill before quest” thing that was advertised by Mythic working. I mean this thing Paul Barnett said (about bears bears bears bears… πŸ™‚ )

    To an extent. There are “Kill collectors” that will reward you for killing X amount of a specific mob. I felt a little mislead by the bears bears bears thing when I discovered that it’s not that way for “normal” quests.

    2. Is there an ability trainer or like Mythic once said no ability trainer at all? If there are some but not ability please tell me, it’s something important to me.

    An ability trainer? Like someone you go to to train skills? Skill trainers, or rather “Career trainers”, exist in each quest hub and city (not warcamps). These trainers are where you must go to learn your skills. These trainers also train your mastery skills (the 3 paths you can choose).

    3. I saw some colors on color pallette but there were really not much of them ( I mean armor dyes). Heard of plans for more colors ?

    There is supposed to be like 100+ colors. The color pallet I’ve seen in-game has been a lot smaller (probably what you saw). Part of me thinks perhaps there are dyes that can drop or be purchased elsewhere.

    4. Are capes any better or I can still see my characters leg through them ?

    I have not seen any clipping yet, or rather noticed any. The cloaks seem to bow out a bit to avoid it and weapons attach to your back on the outside of them. They look nice.

    5. Rent a mule option mentioned in E3 available?

    Have not found it, but I have not been looking for it.

    6. Do enginner/Shadow Warrior/Squig Herder must buy ammo or only weapon ?

    No ammo needed.

  • Hey Keen, coudl you describe the Tier4 Zone? does it mimic the starter zones(Large PvE areas with small RvR areas? or is it how I imagined, the Whole tier is the battle field, with objectives and the only “safe zones” are the small warcamps?

  • @Gompers: Imagine the T1 zone but almost reversed. The RvR areas are the biggest part and the PvE areas are smallter. I would say probably a 70% RvR 30% PvE area split in T4.

    However, Open RvR servers will be how you envision it with the whole tier being a battlefield (for the most part, there will be some pve areas that are very safe) with objectives (keeps/etc) where warcamps are the only real “safe zones”.

  • I haven’t played Beta, but i find it funny when people say that healers are OP’s because they weren’t able to kill them. They’re a healer, they couldn’t kill you either. That’s kind of the point. It’s just like the WoW Pally, they bordered on 1v1 unkillable, but they couldn’t kill you either. Just a general statement I wanted to add

  • Hi there Keen & Graev!

    Long time reader, first time writer.

    If you say that SW (Shadow Warrior) lack of Dps, then you havent took the time to learn the class.

    3k Crits with “Festering Arrow” (Path of the Scout), when rank 2 morale ability “Unshakable focus” are active. (without “Vengeance Of Nagarythe”. And this is only at rank 32.

    Edit: Use tactic “Enchanted Arrows” (Flame Arrow and Festering Arrow will now bypass all of your victims resistance”

    And when it comes to making some AOE, just use the “AOE spreading” skills “Glass Arrow” (Path of the Scout) 450+ per tick, and “Flame Arrow” with the right tactic this do 550+ per tick.

    Oh well this is just a litle about SW, hope that I have open your eyes a little about this class.

    (Sorry for misspells, English arent my “motherlanguage”

  • sorry, but the warrior priest is NOT overpowered. NOt when I’m grace specc’d at level 15 and have my full rank 2 armor on and a level 12 Chosen and I clash headon and he rips me to shreds. I KEEP my heals up on me, use my hit-heals costantly, and i run out of action points before I can get him below half life. No action points means no righteous power. no righteous power means no heals. no heals means I die. And I did. Two levels below me, mind you, and i’m pretty sure I don’t suck. So, either WP is UNDERpowered, or Chosen are just flat our OVERpowered. Im leaning towards the latter.

  • I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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