Monday, September 15, 2008
Thoughts on first headstart day
So, as I mentioned, last night I was playing WAR in two windows on servers in two continents, and the game ran smoothly. Didn't experience any server problems either. But due to my router kicking me out twice, I spent a good while in the waiting queue for Destruction on my European server, while logging onto the US server Order side went much faster. We'll see if population balances out over time, especially if the more casual players come online on September 18th, hopefully preferring pretty Order elves and humans to ugly mutants and monsters. So I had opportunity to play two characters, and these are my thoughts on my first day.
Tobold the Bright Wizard on the US Averheim server had a great start. There was a war master, giving out the repeatable quest for the local scenario very close to the human starting point, so I took the quest, pressed the join scenario button, and got into a scenario before I could even kill my first mob. My first kill on that server was another player, not a mob, I'm in danger of losing all my anti-PvP credentials. I kept doing that scenario over and over, with little PvE questing in between, until I noticed that my renown rank was limited, and can't get past my PvE rank (level) before level 40. At that point I was level 4 in both PvE and PvP, and stopped doing scenarios for a while, to first bolster my PvE rank. You *do* get PvE xp when doing scenarios, but if you don't get the renown points as well, it feels like a waste. So I did some regular quests, and participated in a public quest for a while. The public quest was packed, with sometimes over 20 players. Mythic modified the public quest loot recently, so that with more players there are more loot bags handed out. But I only got one white (lowest sort) loot bag in three attempts, because with 20 players there are still over half going empty. On the positive side with 20 players the three stages of a PQ are done very quickly. I learned how to use my faster spells in those situations, because my main fireball spell has a casting time longer than the average lifetime of a mob in a crowded PQ. I like the Bright Wizard class, both for PvE and PvP. Great damage, and staying at maximum range works very well in PvP.
The Shaman was a bit harder to play. I already noticed that when I tried the Archmage in the beta, which plays the same: You need to get to about level 10 before the class really kicks off. Before you don't have enough damage spells, as every second spell you get is a healing spell. The other problem was that the same scenario tactic that worked so well with the Bright Wizard didn't work quite as well for the Shaman. The war master wasn't in the starting area, but a village further down the road, so it took me some time to find him. And then with more Destruction players online than Order the waiting queues for Destruction are necessarily longer. But I love the fact that you can join the scenario from anywhere, and be teleported right back to where you were afterwards, it allowed me to do PvE quests while queueing for PvP. Me coming into the European headstart 3 hours late also meant I was constantly facing level 10 players in renown 6 gear in the scenarios, which are tough if you are level 3 with a boost to level 8, but no gear. Again, good that I already tested the Archmage, I know Shaman will rock in PvP after gaining a few levels, it's just the newbie levels where it is a bit harder. I already enjoyed very much the Shaman PvP playstyle of mixing healing with damage spells for maximum efficiency. And even if I lost more scenarios than I won, I still got plenty of renown and experience points. I was luckier with the Shaman in public quests, there weren't quite as many people in the first greenskin PQ, and with a lucky roll I got the better green loot bag, and thus my first green item. Public quests of later chapters have blue, or even purple loot, but the first ones are limited to green.
I only played 4 hours combined on the two characters, and thus didn't get very far. But so far I'm enjoying both characters. And I was impressed how smoothly the game ran on the first day. The following days will need careful management of server populations, with more and more players coming online. But if Mythic and GOA can get past that, this looks like a very successful launch.