Tobold's Blog
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.
Agreed. I actually did not expect to get in game yesterday, after the total disaster which was GOAs EUOB launch. But GOA seem (keyword here) to have learned their lesson by opening registration about 12 hours in advance of launch. That said, significantly lesser traffic (only CE preorders) may have helped them succeed. Lets see how todays SE headstart unfolds..

Server wise, my guild had decided on a server which was full after about 5 mins after launch. I was 200+ in queue with a waittime of over 1 hour...With these queues disconnecting/crashing to desktop while *finally* in game can, frustrating:D

When in game the server did seem very stable though. But this again may have been helped by low max pop limits (as i understand it GOA will up the max pop values in coming days). Sofar so good, i guess there were some sighs of relief at GOA HQ..
I was happy with the launch yesterday too.

My only concerns are the queues as I really don't want to have to wait 30mins to log in.

Also I crashed to my desktop (the game just quit, no errors, no warnings) which was frustrating as I had to wait in queue again.

Has anyone else had any crashes to desktop?
I had some peculiar choppy performance on my relatively new-ish computer, and i just couldnt figure out why.

After using the resource monitor to view active processes i found the cause: WOW's background downloader! In the game-launcher you can set it to: "download while not in game" or something like that.

And while you will not find a corresponding startup process in MSCONFIG/STARTUP, sure enough there was a WOW process active, basically ruining performance of WAR! hehe:D After altering the option in the launcher, the background downloader vanished and WAR performance was flawless.
Also I crashed to my desktop (the game just quit, no errors, no warnings) which was frustrating as I had to wait in queue again.

Has anyone else had any crashes to desktop?

I had them in on OB, mainly during scenarios. And once right after I was chased for a while by an invisible mob :). No more since Head Start though, and the mobs seem to be better too, though I still have the target is not in reach bug.
They changed the Rank 10 RR 6 gear in a patch quite some time ago. At least they did on the US servers. That was done before Open Beta even launched. I can't imagine that hasn't made its way across the pond yet.

Now all of that gear is spread out from rank 12-17.
The crash to desktops is a lot better now than it was. I still experienced two yesterday during HeadStart but I'm optimistic they'll work it. If you get CTDs, sometimes rebooting your PC helps to clear out any extra "stuff" running in the background.

Luckily, I didn't experience any login queues after my CTDs, but then I play Order. :) The scenarios were almost always insta-pops, especially Nordenwatch; my guess is there were more Chaos players than Dark Elves or Greenskins.

Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to more WAR insight from your corner of the world!
The queues are really bad at order side atm. I waited out a 30 min. got in, crashed. back in 40 min queue...

its easy enough to make a great launch if you dont let players into the damn servers!
gaah, not order sider - destro1
It was a great headstart for us here too. Everything ran pretty nicely.

For those with queue issues... Come play order, and log in whenever you like ^_^

For Sigmar!
There is a wonderful mechanic that seems to have gotten no fanfare whatsoever.
That or I missed when it came in and Im rehashing old news.
Yes Mythic have increased the bags that drop, but now there is also the participation bonus. If you get nothing, but stay in the same PQ (i.e dont leave the zone or enter another) you will get a bonus to your roll ontop of your contribution. This will keep building. So sooner or later, you're essentially (to my understanding) garunteed a win.
Release went well for me. I had a few lag spikes, which a little tweaking to the computer fixed. And then ended up with an even worse problem, so we tweaked it a little more. I have virtually no lag now, and no more random crashing to desktop.

Our guild leveled through several scenarios. We managed to get into all of them on first day. The fastest on queue up was Chaos/Empire scenario, it was a toss up between Greenskin/Dwarf and DE/HE scenarios as far as second fastest to queue.

We're also working on maxing out Influence in every area. That's some pretty good gear, really holds me over until I can get my Renown Gear!
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