Graev’s take on Warhammer Online Part 1 of… 1

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I suppose I should also toss my experiences into the mixed-bag of Warhammer Online Beta Impressions, at the very least to differentiate myself from my brother, so people can stop making comments that infer we both jump in fanboy rage at the same time. Graev can form his own opinions? Shocking, I know.

I don’t think it’s a very big secret that I’m not the biggest MMORPG fan anymore. I’m sure my brother could recount to your every time I’ve lost interest in a new MMO. Let’s just say it’s more than two but less than five.

Posing after a kill

I didn’t really build myself up so much about the game to be let down by anything, so I think I have a pretty decent viewpoint on the game. Well, to be honest I was kind of bummed when the first Warhammer mmo being designed was shut down. Some of the original concepts of the game sounded really interesting. I can still remember the day I went to the website and found out Mythic had acquired the rights to it. I even remember linking Keen to the page. Kind of interesting how things have progressed from there.

I don’t have a whole lot of experience with the game so far. I have only played a squig herder to level 15, but I have experienced several interesting areas ranging from greenskin tier 1 to Chaos and Dark elf tier 2. My pvp experiences have been in both open world and scenario encounters and I’ve killed and been killed a good number of times. So whether or not you want to give any weight to my comments is completely up to you.

Let’s start with the PvE…

For the most part I found PvE to be a good diversion from the RvR game, but I will admit to getting pretty bored at times. The quest variety is pretty good and I don’t think we encountered many of those annoying “Click on the item and wait five minutes until it respawns and your friend can click it” quests which really bug me. However I did find it got a little stale after a while but when it did we could easily go off and find some interesting PVP encounters or hit up a Public Quest.

I think I really like Public Quests, despite getting screwed out of loot several times. They’re pretty fun and interesting additions to the game and come in a quite a variety. The only real downside to them that I can see is the amount of people participating. With too many people everything dies way too fast and your chances for loot are minuscule. Whereas with too few people you can find yourself on the last step of the quest and unable to go forward because you just can’t cut it against some of the tougher objectives. I encountered more of the latter than the former, but still not frequently enough to turn me off participating in future PQ’s.

As for the PvP (RVR, whatever) side of the game I’d have to say I’m having a hard time deciding on my impressions of it. I suppose it really depends on my mood and how my experience is at the time. When I’m defending/sieging or actually killing people I find it to be quite fun, but when I’m in BG’s getting rolled every time or spending 10 minutes on a catapult trying to kill one guy I find it to be a little… tiresome. I suppose there are elements of the PVP game that I both love and hate.

I’m not really sure on how balanced things are, to be honest. All I can really say is what I’ve seen and experienced. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed while PVPing.

– I die very fast

– Other people take forever to kill

– Order’s Healers are incredibly difficult to kill, even solo, and make their groups feel unkillable

– Shaman heals seem to suck – at least the ones coming from Keen’s level 15 Shaman.

– I die very fast

– Siege weapons seem to do crappy damage

– I die very fast

So interpret that in any way you want. Maybe Squig Herders aren’t that great right now, or maybe other classes are just a little too good. Or maybe I just suck, which wouldn’t surprise me nor really bother me that much.

Now that I brought up Squig Herders, I must say I’m slightly bummed at how they turned out. There’s not so much Squig about them as you’d think. They have three spec trees that basically boil down to shooting fast, shooting hard, and poking things with a worthless stick. I would have only assumed there would have been some sort of squig specialization, but I guess not. Perhaps I got the wrong idea about the class, but from what I had gathered over time, which I admit isn’t much, is that they were mostly about their pet squigs. Maybe I’m crazy, but I swear I remember hearing or reading somewhere that squigs were supposed to be pretty tough and that people would want to focus on killing them as they would even continue to fight on even after you died. Does ANYBODY remember reading this, or am I just making this crap up?

I may have a lot of negatives to say about the class, but it’s still fun and fits my playstyle fairly well. I can only hope that they get better in time. I plan to continue playing the class in beta and will update you guys if things change.

This seems to be getting kind of long… Probably longer than most of the stuff I’ve written. Let me try and translate all of my ramblings: I DO like the game. Most of the time. It has its awesome moments and it’s crappy moments, but thankfully the great stuff outnumbers the cruddy stuff. Even with all the bad, there has been a lot of good. PvE has its moments, PQ’s are a blast when things work out, PvP is full of great and horrible moments, and the Squig Herder needs more squiginess and less arrow…ness…

Oh, and I die very fast.

  • It’s true… My heals do suck compared to other healers at level 15. πŸ™ I hope they get better.

    I gave his Squig Herder a try and while he was REALLY fun he did lack the damage he should be doing. I also agree fully, as do MANY if not ALL Squig Herder beta testers, that the Squig Herder needs to be rethought when it comes to their mastery lines. The stab or poking or whatever mastery is worthless and the Squigs need love… poor little guys.

    FUN class though.

  • well that was fun to read, i guess squig herders die very fast =o anyway, nice writeup – and nice pic, the goblins face-expression looks like how i would imagine graev’s somehow (in a good way, if that makes sense xD)

    I hope the balancing issues get fixed though.

  • In fairness to you guys, it was the squig herder class that made things a bit rough for your duo. Usually, every class has one of three things: high sustained dps/healing, high burst, high survivability. The squig herder has none of those. It’s a really fun class and works great in groups larger than 4 but you will get out-dps by tanks and healers.

  • @Ruur: We did really well in PvE and most times in RvR we were in a scenario with even teams or with a zerg. And when neither of the above we true we were with a Chosen (Bartlebe) finding small fights.

    But yeah, you’re right about that. The Squig Herder needs help. He was amazing pre-3.3 (or whatever patch they nerfed him in?) but now he just seems broken. I have faith they’ll fix him.

    And while they’re at look into my Shaman at low levels. So squishy. 😐

  • “I remember hearing or reading somewhere that squigs were supposed to be pretty tough and that people would want to focus on killing them as they would even continue to fight on even after you died.”

    I remember reading that somewhere too. You’re not crazy….at least not in this sense.

  • Good to hear you again. I was starting to wonder who this ‘Graev’ character was that seemed to be somehow connected to this blog.

    From all the impressions I’ve heard since the NDA drop, I think everyone has been satisfied with the public quests. Probably the most simple, obvious and fun thing they could have brought to PvE.

    Sorry to hear about the squigs though. I always imagined them having the DPS of a WoW Hunter class.

  • I remember hearing that they were supposed to be all about their squigs too. It makes me sad that they’re not. Oh well. Hunters are…fun? πŸ™

  • i gotta comment on you dying fast, from what I have seen every one goes for the sguig herder for some reason. I dont know what it is. Every person I talk to (im on order btw) says they like to go after the them first haha.

    Also focus firing.

    Also as a runepriest I can not kill any one solo. but I dont expect to really. Maybe against 1 glass cannon or even less lilky a melee.

    Also in every game healer vs healer never works.

  • I wanted to play a squig herder, but after playing one in beta I changed my mind, it is waaay to squishy, and when anyone gets close I die really fast, and I do mean anyone

  • I thought it was a good review. Its nice to see a different viewpoint. Can’t wait for preview weekend.

  • Yeah, I’ve also noticed that the squig herder is a bit off right now. I love the game, but class balance is an issue.

    On the other hand, I guess it’s not a surprise that a month before release several classes still need some lovin’. Every MMO seems to have some balance issues on release day. Does anyone remember the early days of Warcraft when Seal of the Crusader was an I-Win button, and Warriors were completely incapable of doing any damage what so ever?

  • Here’s the quote from the Warhammer Online site on the Goblin Squig Herder Career page.

    “His minions will even fight on after his death, wandering off only when the battle is done.”

    From what I gather reading the career page on them (as I haven’t played them at all), it’s sounds like Squigs are deadly in “packs”. They keep emphasizing that. So if you just have one Squig now at your lower level, it might seem quite a let down.

    Also check out the following statements relating to Squig tactics.

    “As a Squig Herder you lead from the rear, turning your Squigs loose on the enemy and supporting them with commands, arrows and bait while safely out of harm’s way.”

    “You must also be alert however, as Squigs can bypass your own line with their fast leaping movements and strike at your back field.”

    My interpretation of the above is that your strength is not hitting the front lines but instead causing chaos from the sides or back where you can surprise the enemy quickly with the Squig speed, do some damage (or even just confusion to help the front line) and then get your Squigs out as quick as they got in. In effect, it’s sounds like guerrilla warfare (i.e. Chaos Maker) is your preferred attack method. Again this final statement below seems to solidify this (i.e. “avoid his counter-attacks”).

    “Tactically speaking, your job is to kill the enemy while avoiding his counter-attacks – both you and your Squigs are deadly but fragile beasts.”

    Finally, not sure what both of your experiences have been but as I said in a previous comment, I’m not seeing as many people taking advantage of terrain as much as they could. When people do take advantage of it, I find it can quickly change the course of a battle quickly. I mean even a herd of Squigs harassing some healers in the back will reduce their heal output on their front lines, possibly changing the battle in a few moments.

    I mean as a tank, I can take a huge beating with my toughness specialization, taking four or five spell hits at once and still surviving but ONLY if I’m consistently healed. As soon as the heals falter, even if just for a moment, I’m dead and the line is crushed.

  • Bahahaha! I know exactly how you feel about dying, seeing that I have chosen the Archmage to play as my main. However, just to be snarky, I’ll point out that the Shaman’s basic nuke does about 66% more damage than ours does, and we get a crappy “mana burn” spell while your counterpart steals AP. Per this guy who has done the number chrunching:

    Is it really obvious that I have no sympathy for Destruction whatsoever? I do have pity for y’all, though, as you’ll be swamped with “Alliance” players who just want to look cool and goth and evil and have no clue how to play. Chosen #3249587045973507 reporting for duty, sir! :p

  • The damage that seige weapons do depend upon how many people are manning it. Up to 4 people can man a seige weapon.

  • Oh and every Shaman needs Gork Sez Stop for morale 1…it’s almost an “I win” button.

  • It seems to me that the other side always see the opposing side as overpower/more finished. Only playing for a short time I think that a) people don’t understand and utilize stats properly as of yet and b) don’t play optimally as I have since I get distracted ooh look elf…kill, kill, kill!

  • Bummer about the Squig Herder; I wouldn’t be surprised to find that that has been coloring your experience of the game. I’ve been collecting impressions on the balancing of the classes right now, along with some population snapshots from various people in beta, and the consensus positions seem to be as follows:

    3 least played classes

    – Squig Herders need a pretty major buff.

    – The Magus needs a modest buff. Magi and Engineers need bug fixes on their stationary pets.

    – White Lions need either more control over their pet or some of their pet’s CC skills.

    – Marauders might need a small buff.

    Most played classes:

    – Bright Wizards/Sorcerers need a slight damage nerf, particularly to an ability that’s +40% crit, +100% dmg on crit.

    – Tank and Healer DPS or survivability may need a small nerf, particularly relative to melee DPS. But that might just be a matter of players learning their roles.

    Other notes:

    – Shadow Warriors have the most broken animations.

    It’s silly to speculate on launch-day balancing, but it will be interesting to see whether Mythic tunes in response to these concerns.

  • Graev – A few things about Squig Herders.

    They are currently one of the most underpowered classes in the game. Mythic even says so themselves and they say they are going to be getting some buffs soon.

    The pet system is TERRIBLE in this game. pet pathing and general pet control is bad.

  • I’ll concur with all. I too was SH focused and it ruined the beta for me. The class is just plain awful and no matter how many suggestions beta testers gave, they only received moderate improvements. People who only want to play a SH will either quickly quit WAR or jump on the OP classes they run into the most.

    I hate the animations & looks of the order, not interesting at all.

    Shaman is pretty fun & cool. Chaos & Dark Elves look just as bad as Humans and other Elves.

    Therefore with only one race I enjoy, but the class of SH being broke & no DPS melee, I’ll just skip WAR or give it 6 months and see if it improves.

  • What can you guys say about Shaman levelling? Does he level OK? I’m curious about Black Orc and Shaman, because these are the classes that I wanna play (well, one of them – but it’s a hard choice). Can Shaman do OK in 1v1 pvp? How about Black Orc (if you know any…)?

  • As long as Mythic is aware of Sguig Herder/Runepriest/Warrior Priest problems they still have some time for nerfing and buffing. As for shamans heals I don’t know maybe they get better or just also need buffing.

    We must all wait and see. And let us hope that all these problems are not a problems on the realease day

    And I heard something about a new patch with crafting and improvements maybe this is our hope ?

  • It’s definitely refreshing to see Graev speaking up again. Definitely a good read. While I’m not a big fan of Warhammer, I certainly identify with Graev when it comes to his feelings about MMOs.

    Overall, the Warhammer coverage you guys have done has been excellent. Far more comprehensive and detailed than most main-stream sites. And, because of that, a little fanboyism from Keen doesn’t negate it nearly as much. πŸ˜‰

  • I am sort of glad I did not play a Squig herder in the CE. But then I have found the “pet” classes tend to be under powered early on in release. Also I don’t think I have yet to see a game every make a good pet pathing AI.

    As for PQs, I think they are great. Even just playing for the chapter influence rewards are pretty decent. Getting the occasional loot bag was nice, but really you only need one or two per chapter to get the “good” stuff. I found near the end, that I would just take the extra cash.

    In tier one the longest PQ was maybe a half hour from start to finish. So running though them a few times in an evening is quite doable and rewarding.

  • BTW pathing in general within the game seems totally hit or miss. I mean I’ve thrown an axe at a mob to attack it and it runs directly away from me for a considerable bit, stands there for a while, then runs back. Kind of annoying, especially if you’re within an RVR area and trying to take it out without too much attention.

  • yeah the SH are totally sucking right now. they have been that way for at least 9 months. big disappointment for me.

    i’m going to play a Discple of Kain and see how that works out. they were alot of fun in PVE, maybe not some much in RvR.

  • Great writeup Graev. To the point and direct. It’s nice to see things from a different perspective.

    Your comments regarding Public Quests are especially an eye-opener, I really hope they don’t end up overcrowded or worse, competitive. I like my competition for the enemy, not with my supposed allies.

    Pathing is one of the hardest things to get right in a game where latency prediction code is high. Even moreso when you add the client-trust issue: That’s where Pathing deeply affects pet classes in particular and I’ve no doubt that entered into all of their decisions for pets.

    This is one reason I’m strongly critical of the current trend for MMOs to go cheap with one centralized bank of servers / datacenter, plus overcrowd individual servers. It’s all strongly related. More local servers would be best, but nobody seems willing to deal with the infrastructure complexities anymore.

  • BTW had the chance to try out a Squig Herder. I see what you mean now Graev. The perception I got from the class is a somewhat hollow one (i.e. “This is LIGHT BEER?!”). I found my Squig really didn’t contribute that much damage in combat, being more a distraction to keep my enemies busy while I attacked them. Yet if this is the case, why did the class summary say that Squigs were “deadly”. Again possible if you had like four of them all hitting at once maybe. I’d rather it be reversed though. My Squigs hit harder than me and thus my control from a distance is critical (as I’m the weak link).

    Another weird thing I noticed. I compared my melee attacks as a Squig Herder with my spear against the dwarves near the start and I could swear I actually killed them as fast or slightly faster than a Black Orc tank. It was weird because I tried the Black Orc immediately after the Squig Herder and I was like “What’s up with this? This guy has this huge sword and size, yet these dwarves seem to be dropping even slower.” Nevertheless I still like the “feel” of the Black Orc, as it was comparable to a Chosen.