Keen’s Warhammer Online Beta Impressions Part 2

Okay it’s time for Part 2 of my Beta impressions. If you missed any of my previous WAR coverage here are some links:

Beta Impressions Part 1
Movies and Screenshots
ChaosCast #5

Altdorf Slums
Altdorf Slums

I’m going to start off these impressions by hitting a few key topics then I’ll move on to some bigger stuff. I’ll be doing a few entries today as well as happily answering any questions you have in comments or emails.

Realm Balance – Overall I would say that the two realms are fairly balanced on the whole. I definitely don’t get the sense that one realm is naturally more powerful than the other. Population-wise it has been lopsided the entire time I have been in beta in favor of Destruction. On average Destruction will have 1300 people and Order will have about 800-900. *These numbers are examples. In terms of class balance there are still several issues that I will go into at a later date.

Zergs – The power of the Zerg manifests itself strongly in Warhammer Online. A group of 6 will not be able to take more than 2x their numbers even if they are incredibly skilled. Open-world RvR has proven, so far in my experience, to attract zergs. This is nothing new for those who have played DAOC. People tend to gravitate towards one another for safety. With the open-group system this is much easier. Is this a bad thing? Yeah, if you’re one who likes to solo or move in small groups all the time. The plus side to the zerginess is that it brings about a LOT of epic battles… I’m talking 50 on 50 clashes. INCREDIBLE fun.

Crowd Control – In DAOC terms it’s almost nonexistent. There are short stuns, knockbacks/downs and snares but nothing like mez. There will never be a time where you stand around waiting to do something. In some ways I miss mez… don’t ask me why.

Stealth – Most of you know about this. It’s in the game for the Witch Hunter and Witch Elf but it’s not your normal stealth. When active it drains AP and lasts a short duration with a cooldown. It’s enough to maybe sneak away or into a fight without being seen but it’s definitely not the backbone of these classes in any way shape or form.

Bears Bears Bears – This is one of the things I feel let down about. When Paul Barnett discussed the “bears bears bears” stuff I thought this applied to ‘normal quests’ and not just “Kill Collectors”. I thought that if I was out killing bears then I found a quest that needed me to kill bears then I could get credit for that quest. Unless I have TOTALLY missed something (and I doubt it) this theory of getting credit for things you’ve already done applies only to kill collectors who want you to kill a very specific type of mob and will reward you some experience for doing it. Color me disappointed on that one.

Siege Weapons – They are nothing short of awesome. I love using rams of doors and having multiple people participate in them. I love how they are so easy to take control of and use with a little interface that comes up giving the option to aim then, repair them, or release them. When aiming it’s almost a mini-game in itself because you have to aim the thing – sometimes ground target sometimes reticule – and adjust for wind. Hellblasters and Catapults are downright nasty and oil that can pour down on people attacking doors makes me laugh hysterically EVERY time it kills people.

Questing – For the most part it’s standard mmo questing. This is where the annoying “zomg it’s just like WoW” crowd can actually speak without me wanting to force choke them through the internet. It’s EXACTLY like WoW in this regard. So what? Are you going to try and justify that this is a BAD thing? It’s a fantastic thing. WoW’s questing-to-level was mostly polished. But wait! There’s more! WAR takes it a step beyond WoW and introduces more types of quests, a much better tracking system including map waypoints that will tell you where to go (they can be turned off), and rewards you can actually use. But wait! There’s EVEN MORE! You don’t have to do them if you don’t want to! Unlike WoW where the only alternative to questing is grinding… you can RvR in WAR or grind or quest!

Inevitable City
Inevitable City

Capital Cities – Inevitable City and Altdorf

Both cities are nothing short of amazing. When Mark Jacobs told me to my face that he feels they have the best cities in any game he was not just boasting their accomplishments; he was stating a fact. Their capital cities ARE the best I have ever seen. There are people walking the streets, details on every building, and a sense of atmosphere that takes them that extra mile. “Living Cities” is exactly how I would describe them.

Of the two cities I would have to say Altdorf is my favorite. While Inevitable has a great atmosphere and really gives that “chaos” feeling, the level of detail put into Altdorf makes my jaw drop. They’ve captured something special in Altdorf; maybe it’s the Empire lore. The city is divided into districts (seamless) like the slums and docks. In the marketplace you feel like you could actually stand around hawking your wears. On the docks you feel like you could actually take a ship to some distant land because it has that … gosh what’s the feeling I’m looking for? It feels like a real dock or an airport where you know people are coming and going from all over – although no one really is which is sort of a bummer. 😛 I wish I could take a boat to another continent or something just for the sake of being able to do it.

The cities have everything you could want. Quests (tons), shops (tons), banks (more than one), Auction Houses, DUNGEONS, Tome unlocks, legendary locations from Warhammer Lore like the Blowhole and Bright Wizard College tower thingy, and more.

While I’m a Destruction guy at heart, I have to give Order a small victory by saying their city rocks.


Quest Hub
Quest Hub

I have done some limited testing of the crafting system and have mixed feelings. Right now Talisman making is not in the game so the only real crafting is Apothecary. Mark Jacobs’ vision of crafting is that everything you do contributes to the realm war in some way. Thus crafting is not a way to get rich quick, it’s not a means of decking yourself out in gear, and it’s not an aspect of the game that you can devote your entire playtime to like in some games where you can truly just be a crafter (EQ2 or SWG come to mind). It’s not that crafting is an afterthought, although sometimes I truly think it may have been, it’s just not an integral part of the game. You can make potions for RvR and they DO help… but they’re potions. Talismans can be attached to armor and provide bonuses – how much of a bonus right now I’m unsure – and will definitely give an obvious edge against those who don’t have Talismans on their armor.

The part of the crafting system that I really like are the gathering professions. You can scavenge, butcher, and that sort of thing. In beta this has been a really nice source of income, tome unlocks, and has been effortless. Everything I kill seems to be useful and everything I need comes from what I kill. There’s no roaming around to find nodes or any of that nonsense that always turned me off of gathering. This information has been available to people for some time but I feel the need to confirm it for you becasue of how sketchy some of the past details have been.

More to come…

I will be editing and uploading a few more videos including a detailed tour of Altdorf and some more RvR. I also have more writeups coming today and the rest of the week. My next impressions will be of specific classes.

If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment here and I will get back to you. I will be compiling a Q/A blog entry as well that will make all the questions easily available for everyone to see.

  • From your first post, the hilariousness OPness of warrior priests reminds me of Friar’s from DAoC… its the same thing!

  • Hey keen, do you think that the people who gravitate to solo, duo’s and 6 man groups will gravitate to the open servers more so than the core ones because of the fact that the area for RvR is more spread out, thus making them much more unlikely to run into the zerg, or do you think they’ll just roll on a core sever and run round with the zerg? Also, if you think they will gravitate to an open server, how much of an affect do you think it will have toward other people looking to roll a new character on an open server, but not wanting to because of the increased chance on getting ran over/ganked by these guys?

  • Hey, Keen when you upload your videos would it be possible to have them be downloadable so I could watch them via WMP or DIVIX.

    Watching them on youtube makes me squint and really just teases me because I want to be able to see the intricate details!

    By the way great job, I like you website 😀

  • @Jawkneeboi: Good question. I believe that open servers will definitely cater more to smaller groups because of it being spread out. Keep in mind though that the objectives and keeps are all in the RvR area though and in those locations the zergs will be dominant. The effect of gank groups on Open servers will be minimal.

    I’ve said it many times (mostly on my forums) that this game is designed in such a way that going to the enemy pve areas is possible on open rvr servers but not something people will do on a regular basis. Getting past guards that 1 shot you and working your way into the enemy lands will get you swarmed by people. Sure, you may gank one or two people but as soon as you do there will appear an icon on everyone’s map showing that rvr action has taken place there. When that happens prepare to die.

    @Intypol: I hate youtube quality too. 🙁 I’m going to upload a few elsewhere and see how it turns out.

  • hey keen i have kinda of i dunno mabye a dumb question. for the 22-25 weekend preview it said in ur account mang it will say “Closed Beta or Preview Weekend” was just wondering if WAR preview is also part of this i would love to get in on an not have it pass me bye for me being dumb. any help would be lovly

  • My account says “Closed beta”. I know some people see “WAR Preview” in their accounts – it’s safe to assume that means you’re in the preview weekend. All closed beta testers get into the preview weekend as well.

  • Another great write up Keen,

    I agree with mostly everything you said – Though I still wish they’d announce what they plan to do about balancing the numbers between Order and Destruction –

    Didn’t DAOC have a percentage reward for the faction with the lowest population or something? I didn’t play DAOC very long :S

  • The videos I’ve seen of the zergs make me laugh. I can’t wait to march into a zergfest keep battles with my guild, 24 to 48 of us all on ventrilo and organized with assist macros and assigned healers, just TEARING THE CRAP out of them.

  • As far as ‘Bears Bears Bears’ go, you totally missed it. In the videos and what have you, they have repeatedly mentioned ‘some guy’ or ‘one guy’ out in the woods who maybe mentions something about ‘really hating bears’, etc., etc. Can see how it might have gotten confused or overlooked though.

  • I could have totally misunderstood it – wouldn’t be the first time. I thought all the “kill” type quests would be “oh you already killed that? Here you go!”. Kill collectors are nothing new and are definitely not what I had envisioned when Paul described the bears bears bears.

    I had this vision in my head of all the tedious things about questing resolved. Unfortunately only some things about questing have been improved. Over time I’m sure game by game we’ll see the questing system refined to near-perfection.

  • I’m with you on the Bears Bears Bears thing, Keen. I thought the same thing from watching the videos, and expected the same thing in the game. That it’s just kill collectors was quite a letdown. I just killed 273 squigs. The kill collector even says so and he’s standing RIGHT THERE. But you want me to go kill 8 more for your stupid quest. Fine, whatever. Color me disillusioned (with this one aspect of the game).

  • Keen:

    Ive been reading various forums and several beta testers have been claiming that the games plays somewhat choppy and its difficult to play a fast paced “react to your surroundings” style of game play. Can you express your opinion on the matter?

    Another question: What are the “e-peen” qualities of the game? In wow you have the armory to list your ranking to the whole world, and gladiator titles. In addition you have the l33t epix lewtz, (har har). But seriously what can we expect in warhammer for e-peen’ness.

    Will you be able to create a character with a certain reputation, so that he/she is famous server wide?

  • I’m curious, Keen; is the trophy system currently in the game and if so, have you had a chance to play with it yet? How does it work?

  • I have been trying to figure out this marauder class keen,
    I have seen no one say they are OP and no one say they are UP, but they look so cool, I have not heared enough from anyone about this class , can you mabey give a breif idea of what they do?”

    btw great chaoscast im happy it has finally come out

  • @Intypol: The combat is more drawn out that some mmorpgs but plays just as fast — Of course not at AoC speed but not every game can play like hungry hungry hippos. There is ‘something’ that I can’t put my finger on with combat that makes it feel ever so slightly out of sync but for the most part I disagree that it feels choppy.

    WAR has The Herald which is like the armory. WAR has renown ranks that let you get better sets of gear. WAR also has various sets of gear in every keep, every dungeon, etc that are all boast worthy.

    @IB: The trophy system is definitely in the game. I’ve received trophies from PvE quests and been able to attach them to my belt. I’m excited to see how the system turns out later in levels when some of the trophies look cooler.

    @Bludkraze: Marauders are incredibly fun. They feel like my Fury Warrior from WoW. Lots of damage, lots of attack abilities, some utility. They’re not as squishy as the Witch Elves/Hunters and they’re not as beefy as a tank but they cruise along somewhere in the middle. They have a lot of different playstyles built into them with their different arm mutations. Each mutation unlocks different abilities to use and they each have their place. I remember playing my Marauder and thinking “Wow, that would be a cool mutation to use in big fights” and “That would be great in PvE when off-tanking”.

  • wow so i was at 9 GB for the pre load DL an my power went out an startd back to 0 after a day anhalf of dl i want to throw my computer so bad

  • @Intypol, the Realm War page is similar to WoW’s armory. You can look up people’s characters and see their stats/stuff. There is gear that’s a reward for high renown rank, so if you see someone wearing that stuff you KNOW they’ve RvRed a ton.

    @bludkraze, most people I’ve talked to consider the Marauder the strongest of the melee dps classes. They can do a lot of damage and are pretty tough. They’re not getting too many cries of OP though due to the fact that they are vulnerable to ranged attacks.

  • @Sauer: Were you using a download manager? Fileplanet’s should pick up right where you left off as will the Mythic Patcher.

  • i was using the manager an not the first time this has happend to me when i was DL the AOC pre thing aswell same thing happend =/

  • Perhaps it’s starting at 0% but only counting what you have left. Like if you have 9gb downloaded you’re at 0% of the 1gb you have left. That type of thing. Sucks if you have to download it all over again. 🙁 It’s worth it though!

  • that would indeed be very nice lol an no doubt this shall be DL even if i have to leave my comp on untill sept 7 lol

  • I just listened to your podcast and wonder about the city siege part. A requirement to be able to start the end siege is to control a majority of the lower tier fortresses.

    If a higher level raid group attempts to take all of the lower level stuff they will get ‘chicken-ized’ upon entering the area.

    Do you think this will require large guilds with many players at all levels and/or alts left at the various ranks to participate in each tiers assault, etc? This may force continuous character leveling to be able to assault cities down the road.

  • @Silo: To make a city vulnerable for siege all that is required of the attackers is that they own 2/3 of the FORTRESSES. Keep in mind that FORTRESSES are not KEEPS. Fortresses only exist in the level 40 area.

  • Thanks for clearing that up. I was having this terrible flashback to ‘twinks’ left at the various levels in order to do city sieges at the end game 🙂

  • Thanks for the follow up review, a few questions if I may:

    1. Do you think my rig will run it? I hate lag. I have done the system labs test and it’s past the middle. So far the only game that gives me lag is AoC….WoW, VG, etc. on high settings.
    HP Pavilion XP
    2.5 gigs of DDR RAM
    7950 GTX OC
    AMD Athlon 4000+

    2. Speaking of AoC is WAR in any way, shape or form like AoC? Besides the fact it’s a mmo. I do not want a ton of instances and zones. I was very pleased to see that it is a seamless transition to the RvR areas!

    3. What are your thougths on the BW? I can’t decide between BW or WP.

    4. I was going to go Open but now thinking Core. Do you not feel like Open will be less focused on the battlefield? Also you still have the chicken issue in Open.

    Thanks and great job!

  • @Russel Gusto: 1. Your system should be just fine. My previous system was actually worse than that and it ran WAR with zero trouble.

    1. WAR is -nothing- like AoC.

    3. Bright Wizards are amazing. They deal a ton of damage to single targets and AoE. The downside is they die fast. Warrior Priests are unkillable. I hate fighting them so much and I hate when I encounter a group with one in them.

    4. Ask yourself what you want. Do you want potentially more RvR in more places or just the RvR that occurs in the RvR regions? Open RvR servers will have more RvR focus – it’s just natural. The chicken issue is unresolved and I have no idea how Mythic, in the end, will implement it.

    @Sauer: There is no player mounted combat in the game.

  • oh ok thanks, yeah i was thinking they reminded me of a fury warrior and even a druid with all there mutations, kind of anyways. I think for my main destruction i will have to choose marauder. Although I remember my time playing fury war in wow and hating geting struck down by all the ranged classes, I hope for that situation marauder will have a snareing ability as well as a charge like ability. Time will tell for me.

  • Awesome feedback Keen! One thing I’ve noticed that really makes me excited to enter into WAR is that your weapon as a caster is a part of the spell animation. That bothered me so much in WoW that my cool staff is an ornament on my back and all the twinklies do jack shit.

  • “Zergs – The power of the Zerg manifests itself strongly in Warhammer Online. A group of 6 will not be able to take more than 2x their numbers even if they are incredibly skilled.”

    This isnt true, just last night we were outnumbered at least 2-1 and we ROLLED destro. I have also seen destro so the same.

    Thats not just in Open but in scenarios as well.

    Anyway, love the article!

  • @Lumio: How much more than 2-1? Notice that I DID say you CAN take 2-1? If you took much more than 2-1 I’m betting you had a lot of WP’s and RP’s. Am I right?

    If you come back and tell me you didn’t have a ton of overpowered healers then I’ll have to call BS on that one and ask for a video to prove it.

  • Not to completely discredit anyone but has anyone here played in the Praag area’s or beyond with the level 31 templates. The lag is near unbearable for myself and everyone on vent, playing a melee in it is almost like playing a slideshow with all the spell animations. I’m sure its due to unoptomization considering this area hasnt been tested as much but I think all the claims of this game running like a dream should be taken with a grain of salt. Sure the Low Level areas run great, but the 30+ rvr zones leave alot to be desired in terms of stability. Comp specs are 8800 GTS, 6600 Quad, 4 gig Gskill XP 64 bit if anyone is curious instead of claiming that I need to upgrade my computer.

    But everything else Keen has said about the game is great, there are just a ton of stability issues in the 31+ zones.

  • @Dawth: Praag / 31+ areas didn’t lag at all for me. I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t doubt you though. Some people with the same specs crash while others don’t and some lag while others don’t. I think PC’s are just like snowflakes – no two are exactly the same.

  • Hey! Wouldn’t it be cool to break those Keep Siege ranged standoffs… with a real Orcapult?

    Why cant you just fire other players at the walls, and if you aim well enough, they might land next to some of those pesky bright wizards! Chuck a warrior-priest or two in there, that will do the trick!

  • @nollind Whachell: Yep, they have a month left.

    @Sphexish: I REALLY want to see orcapults launch people in rvr! They have one in the T1 area of the greenskins that lets you launch up to a keep (but it’s scripted and PvE). I bet they could do it for RvR.

  • Keen got a dumb question. Can dwarfs talk with greenskins? Bright Wizzars with Chosens?

    Reason I’m asking is my friend is wanting to play Chaos side and I’m going Empire. There is nothing more a would rather do then behead his king, screenshot it, frame it and give it to him for a present. However I would like to be able to talk with him in game.


  • F*** F*** F*** on top of that F****** people (anyone got newsletter with podcast making? I’m only copying Josh 🙂 )

    Anyway whole “Bears bears bears” thing is REALLY something that is letting me down. It’s something that I was REALLY excited about and slashing questing like something non-WoWish and then it is like “oh sorry there are only 5 NPC that act that way the rest is normal quest. But you like normal quest??” -.- Big letdown as Keen said.

    Also skill/ability/whatever trainers is something that also piss me off. I mean I am leveling in peace killing bears for bears blood and bears ears (I will not stop until idea of bears will be fully implemented Mythic 😛 ) and there is a fanfare “Congratulation You’ve got a level”. And I’m like Hooray, I’m powerful now. But no, kiss your ass player you must reach your stupid town seek a trainer and THEN you are powerful -.- . I hate this idea from WoW and any other trainer-based. I mean it IS like real RPG but I have a WFRP book and I can play it in home. This trainer actually forces me to make another way for freaking one skill that in the end appears to be completely useless -.-

    I’m not happy because of that guys, but I’m waiting to the release for judging and If I ever got into BETA before I will make a huge post on BETA forum about that pointing that bears and bear’s sons and bear’s grandfathers MUST be there!

    Alright I’m joking a little (little) but it still worries me.

  • woot back to less than a gig of dl left for the 2nd time lol getting really pumpd for this game been watching vids the past few dayz an was wondering is the magus the one who is on the disk an if so wut are they like trying to pick between sorc an that class (magus)

  • “@Lumio: How much more than 2-1? Notice that I DID say you CAN take 2-1? If you took much more than 2-1 I’m betting you had a lot of WP’s and RP’s. Am I right?

    If you come back and tell me you didn’t have a ton of overpowered healers then I’ll have to call BS on that one and ask for a video to prove it.”

    No you said we could NOT take 2x. Also it wasnt much.

    We did not have a lot of healers, I think 1 per group. What we had was vent and great organization and strategy.

  • Reread my post Lumio. I said: “A group of 6 will not be able to take more than 2x their numbers even if they are incredibly skilled.”.

    If a group can’t take MORE than 2x their numbers that doesn’t mean they can’t take 2x.

  • As far as lag goes in big RvR battles, I’ve read that there is an option in the video settings that allows you to turn off all the insane spell effects for everyone but yourself, or everyone but your group, etc. and that doing that in large scale battles dramatically improves your framerate if your getting FPS lag due to not playing on a Liquid Nitrogen cooled supercomputer 😛

    I’ve confirmed that the setting is there in the beta client I downloaded for the preview weekend(can’t say first hand how well it works though…yet!), and I’m really glad they implemented this feature. Not having this feature in WoW is something that frustrated me to no end in back when I used to play it on an aging laptop that ran the game fine 90% of the time.