Land of the Dead First Impressions

Land of the Dead is available on Mythic’s Public Test Server now and players are being allowed to enter for the first time.  I had the opportunity to play yesterday and enter these new and foreign lands for the first time.  I want to share with you my first impressions of the zone and then go into a little depth as I analyze a few specifics.  But before I do all of that, I want to share a quick teaser of Lands of the Dead taken yesterday on my Shaman.

This zone is absolutely beautiful.  From the landscape, to the environment, to the monsters, to the new effects, to the architecture, it’s all well beyond what I could have wanted from the Mythic team.  When I zoned in for the first time after being flown in by airship, I really felt that that sense of mystery, intrigue, and excitement that builds up inside when you enter a foreign and new area in a game for the first time that you just know has significance in the game.  My eyes were immediately drawn to the distance where I saw environmental effects, pyramids, tombs, and Egyptian-like skeletal monsters.

Exploring just beyond the gate I noticed that the monsters quickly jumped in levels, but there were PQs and groups of mobs for players of levels ~30-35 to level on.  I didn’t see any level 25 monsters, but they may have been deeper down one of the side paths.  The PQs for level 40’s start within a minute’s run of the spawn area.  I’m very critical of PQs because I’ve never felt that their over abundance was justified.  Well, in LotD they are justified.  Completing each PQ unlocks a glyph which grants you access to lairs and dungeons.  When you complete the lair/dungeon then your glyphs are wiped and you have to complete the public quests again.  From what I saw, the PQ’s were quick and fun encounters were scripted events similar to what you would see in a WoW raid. If the PQ’s are this great, then I can’t imagine what Mythic has in store for those daring enough to adventure into the depths of the dungeons.

Loot in Land of the Dead is really efficient and friendly to the player.  Silver Scarabs were dropping consistently and PQ bags, as well as some players I think, dropped Gold Scarabs.  There were also special LotD talismans that were dropping from mobs semi-regularly in the hour or so that I PvE’d and their stats were impressive.  On average they were +30’ish to a stat and lasted about 8 hours.  These were dropping off the easiest and most farmable level 40 mobs in the PQ’s, so I’m sure even better talismans are available inside of the lairs and dungeon. These types of talismans can be purchased from the NPCs in your realm’s outpost too.

Speaking of vendors, there are several positioned right at the outpost who offer armor, trinkets, and all sorts of goodies if you have the scarabs to buy them. I was only able to see gloves and a few other items (even when sorting to see unusable) so perhaps Mythic is keeping them a secret or I just failed to find them. The stuff looks like it’s going to be on par with stat-wise with the Invader and Warlord stuff in terms of stats. The set bonuses on my Shaman gear were godlike.  [Here are some pictures of stats.]  All the loot that I saw looked the part of LotD with Egyptian influence.

The Purge was alive and well in LotD.  The Purge is essentially what happens when one side loses control and the enemy enters.  A huge battle always ensues and 99% of the time the side entering sweeps through, in time, and wipes out the previous occupants (because they can’t respawn in the zone anymore).  This process can result in huge zergs battling it out on both sides or swift surgical strikes into the hidden recesses of the zone.   In the purge that I participated in the Order forces were already waiting for us right outside our landing area.  They had killed the guards (who are not one shotters) and prepared for us to exit.  We fought hard and for a while it appeared as though we were never going to get out, but we eventually pushed them back and chased them through the zone back to their outpost.

The difference between Darkness Falls and LotD is that each side has an actual outpost with a gate.  In many ways it’s similar to a Keep since it has a door and cliffsides to defend from.  The attackers have to (they don’t have to, but they always will) break down the gate and push into the outpost.  Once inside there are named NPCs and players to slaughter which are all part of a PQ.  This PQ requires the named leader to be killed and the airship destroyed.  Once done, players are rewarded with bags, lots of scarabs from the guards, and a good deal of fun.

I want nothing more than to log back onto the PTS and keep playing in the Land of the Dead, but I have to hold back and savor these first impressions so that when it actually launches I will still have 90% of the place to explore and enjoy.   From these first impressions it looks like LotD is well on its way to being what I had hoped for – different than I expected – but what I had hoped for nonetheless.

  • I have faith in Mythic’s ability to deliver interesting environments and tweak their RvR and public quests to make them more fun and meaningful. My issues with Warhammer are the interface and its slow health bar updates, delayed buff/debuff display, slow cast animations (e.g., many instant cast spells have a wind-up animation, and there’s a delay before the sound effect occurs), and the fact I constantly get stuck on protruding pieces of terrain. I really hope these issues are addressed.

  • Im excited to hear it’s awesome. I play tomb kings In Warhammer: Fantasy Battles, and I posted a suggestion to do something like this while WAR was still in development.

    (will find link later)


  • Hmm. So no safe landign zone in LOTD? That scares me. On our server, lots of destro quit. We were a well-balanced 50:50 server. However, Order now outnumbers us by at least 2:1. Order now enters our city every 1-3 days while destro can’t muster the numbers to defend a fort and stop them. That creates an atmosphere that encourages more destro to move to another server or quit…. nice slippery slope there. The worse the imbalance gets, the faster it becomes even worse. So even if we do manage to claim LOTD, we’ll be spawn-camped by superior Order numbers.

    Mythic *needs* to address server balance, or it will kill this game.


  • @keen: How did you get such smooth recording? What resolution was that at? Fraps tends to get hitchy when I record at 1600 x 1050.

  • @mm: Landing zone is safe unless you’re the ones being pushed out during the purge. The landing area is protected by a gate and terrain.

    @Werit: It’s not too smooth. I get really hitchy during big battles. When it’s smooth it’s because few people are actually in the area. I don’t do anything special though.

  • The impression I’m getting, and please correct me if I’m wrong, is that the dominant faction will be able to gear up faster using Land of the Dead then the weaker faction. The dominant faction will be able to collect Invader level gear while the weaker faction is stuck collecting Annihilator and possibly Conqueror in the old world. I guess PvE is an option for the weaker faction but I don’t like WAR PvE at all.

  • Yes, the dominant faction will continue to dominate. My advice? If your realm is being completely destroyed it’s time to switch servers.

    However, and I plan to write more on this later, the mechanic that allows realms to gain control is fairly well done. You’ll get access to LotD daily, even as a weak realm, but for how long… well, all I can say is it won’t be long at all.

  • Looks great. This has to save the game for me, and if it turns out as good as you have said then it just might.

  • So I have to still grind myself up to 30 through the boring part of WAR. Meh… Could they have done something to improve that too.

  • sounds like fun – especially the purge battles at the gate. Hopefully your beta impressions will hold true for release.

    “If the PQ’s are this great, then I can’t imagine what Mythic has in store for those daring enough to adventure into the depths of the dungeons.”

    dude…do you really talk like that?

  • @Vort- Many would say 1-30 is the fun part of WAR.

    Looks pretty good overall I think. Gonna wait till maybe a week or two after 1.3 then think about resubbing.

  • Luckily you can get done 3 or 4 PQ’s in 30 minutes with a reasonable sized group. At the very least you get a silver scarab for each PQ. If you get a bag, you’ll walk away with gear or Golden Scarabs.

  • So how long between LOTD flips on the PTS?

    Im on a med/med server and am wondering if the flips are being balanced for the crazy high pops of US servers only.

  • James Nichols (Mythic Community guy) was boosting Destruction’s points on the PTS when I played, I wasn’t able to get a feel for it, but I do know that controlling zones and killing players gives decent points. If you sweep through all the tiers without much resistance it shouldn’t take too long (especially since you keep points left over if you’re not the first to open it).

    I think the only people who really need to worry are the ones who are vastly outnumbered and constantly roflstomped by the other realm.

  • Its not a question of whether Mythic can make this great content, its why the flying fuck it wasn’t there to begin with.

  • Looks really good, but I’m curious about two things:

    -What tactics do you run your shaman with? I’ve been experimenting with different sets but haven’t found a playstyle I really enjoy yet.

    -which “Scrolling Combat Text” mod is that? the fonts look somewhat nicer than any I’ve currently seen.

  • It’s WSCT (Warhammer Scrolling Combat Text). I run with Discipline, Dat Makes me Dizzy, extra special mushrooms, and i swap my last tactic out – right now it’s Pass it on while I try it out.

  • Meh… nice write up, but you’re gushing love over LoTD a little too much. So much so that I dont believe a word you’re saying. There is no way LoTD is going to work and be THAT AWESOME. This is Mythic, they never get things right the first 10 tries.

  • The difference is that I am actually playing and enjoying. You’re just being a cynic basing your comments off of past experiences – in fact do you actually play WAR?

  • Nice write up Keen. My experience has been similar to yours on the PST and I can’t wait till this goes live.

    One question though, what mod are you using that causes the green flame around your Action Bar Buttons? Is it SNT Buttons?

    Thanks in advance!

  • That’s the Shaman mechanic. When I use healing spells my damage ones will glow, and vice versa. It’s built right into the game for us Shamans.

  • See…it’s little things like that that should have been a part of every class. My Sorc would have loved something similar.

    Mythic did so many things right with WAR and then turned around and just did as many things wrong. They were so intent on not making DAoC Warhammer that they threw out the baby with the bathwater and didn’t use all the good they had learned in the fear of not being innovative enough.

    Ah well, LotD proves there’s still some hope left.

  • You tried squared Keen? really nice to make the raid window smaller & thus easier to heal & look at