Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The Dungeons of WAR

Last night my guild did their first dungeon crawl in Warhammer Online. We visited the Sacellum, the arena in the Inevitable City, which has three short dungeon wings. The first has mobs level 13 to 16, the second from level 15 to 18, and the last from level 17 to 20. We cleared out the first, did the last except for the final boss, but didn't get all that far in the middle one, where curiously the mobs hit a lot harder than their higher level brethren. We might have beaten them too if we hadn't had one other player and me crash to desktop, resulting in half an hour queue to get back into the game.

The three dungeons are supposed to be holding cells for the arena, and they look the part. Of course that makes them look rather drab, compared to the often very colorful WoW dungeons. But apart from the look, the dungeons were fun enough. The trash mobs are of "champion" strength, and there aren't too many of them. Each wing seems to have 3 boss mobs, which are "hero" strength, and tough to beat. While the first dungeon only had beastmen, the last dungeon held exotic monsters, so we fought a wyvern, a manticore, and a hydra, all very nicely animated and impressive.

Gameplay in the dungeons was classic WoW style: We made a group with a Black Orc main tank, me as Shaman healer, two Chosen off-tank/melee dps, and two Squig Herder ranged dps. Levels ranging from 14 to 20, with the main tank being the level 20, which was helpful. Went in, beat up the trash mobs, and then faced the boss mobs, who took longer fights to beat. The bosses all just dropped green loot, but we got a blue drop from a trash mob.

We had one quest from Barak Varr to find a goblin in the deepest dungeon, and there is another quest for the lowest level dungeon in the middle of the arena. Unfortunately the arena is populated by level 35 aggressive mobs, and getting to the quest giver alive isn't easy. I only managed it by using the fleeing ability, dying directly after accepting the quest. Really bad placement, and the quest rewards aren't special either.

So all in all the WAR dungeons felt like the devs ticking off a check box: Dungeons, yes we got those! Needing a holy trinity of tank/healer/dps, they are less easy to set up, and give less rewards, than public quests, so I don't see me doing them all that often. I did like the boss mobs in the final Sacellum dungeon, but for the rest the WAR dungeons don't come close to WoW dungeons. But of course PvE dungeons is the main strength of WoW, so that doesn't come unexpected.

As far as I read, Altdorf has a similar set of three dungeons in the sewers, fighting Skaven. So if you are level 14 to 20, and have some likeminded friends, whatever realm you are on, there is a set of dungeons for you to check out. Interesting to see once, but otherwise just a minor distraction from the much better public quests and RvR of WAR.
I don't know about you, but I thought they did an incredible job aesthetically with the Sacellum, and with the Inevitable City as a whole. It is many times larger than any WoW city and has a great chaotic feel to it.
I'm currently approching level 20 on my bright wizard and I have yet to hear anyone even mention a dungeon run. PQ's and scenario's are getting kind of boring.

I spent much of my leveling time in WoW running dungeons. Running dungeons forces you to be social and communicate with other players. As much as WAR was toted to be a MORE social MMO due to open groups and public quests I think the opposite has occured. Everything in WAR just seems like running a battleground where no one needs to talk to each other.

With that said I'm gonna keep grinding my way till 40, but I can't wait for WoW patch 3.0.
When you say the dungeons of WAR don't beat the dungeons of WoW, I hope you aren't unfairly comparing Sacellum, a single rank 16-20 dungeon to some of the top-tier dungeons of WoW, such as any you'll find in TBC...
Oddly enough, the Sacellum sounds like Stormwind's Stockades. A drab, dreary, prison where the Bosses drop nothing worthwhile except for Quest Items, and the Quest Rewards usually aren't that good either.

Off topic:- did anyone else read Tobold's first paragraph, specifically the sentence, "We might have beaten it too..." and automatically finish it with "...if it hadn't been for those meddling kids!" No? Just me. Okay, then :P
Yeah, I noticed the same thing and made a comment on my blog about the fact that public quests/open groups seeming to make people more anti-social. WAR is really fun, no doubt about it, but NO ONE talks at all. It's very quiet (except for my guild's banter, but I don't get to hear that on my alts.)

With Open Groups and PQs, groups are like revolving doors where people SILENTLY join, grab their loot bag or whatever, and then just as SILENTLY drop out and go only to replaced with someone else equally uncommunicative.

I haven't tried a dungeon yet, but will have to make an effort to do so. Maybe those won't have the same issue, since you can't exactly drop-in-and-drop-out randomly when the party isn't staying put.
When you say the dungeons of WAR don't beat the dungeons of WoW, I hope you aren't unfairly comparing Sacellum, a single rank 16-20 dungeon to some of the top-tier dungeons of WoW, such as any you'll find in TBC.

No, I was comparing it to a single level 16-20 dungeon in WoW that has been in that game since day 1: The Deadmines. Although as some other commenter remarked, the Sacellum has more similarity with the Stockades.
In re: The Communication of WAR -

I think it's largely because of CoW, but I really hadn't noticed. Could it be that guilds in general keep themselves to Vent and Guild chat?

There's also not a "general" channel as there was in WoW and most games, at least not one that's easily accessed.

I kind of hope that doesn't get added in either. It's already hard enough keep track of my chat log, as it resets every time I log out.
@Tobold - Cool, I just wanted a little context. The WAR to WoW dungeon comparison sounded a bit general in the OP.
IMO, Deadmines blows every other low level WoW Instance out of the water, and not just because it has pirates and a full-sized pirate ship. Compare Deadmines to RFC, WC, and even Stockades, and they all pale by comparison.

RFC = a series of lava filled caves occupied by Troggs, random critters, and Cultists. Nothing overly memorable about it. Nice Loot, but the rate at which you level means you'll outgrow it real quick.

WC = a series of caves filled with Druids and random critters. Lots of Bosses (inc. a dinosaur) and nice loot for several classes, but it meanders all over the place, can get very confusing ("Didn't we go down here already?"), and has nothing particularly memorable about it (except for the dinosaur Boss).

Stockades = a 2-wing prison with a nasty respawn rate. Multi-pull encounters, and a couple of Bosses that drop nothing worth mentioning.

Deadmines = a Mine, being actively Mined, with patrols of Overseers wandering around. Then you run into a Goblin piloting a giant robot. Then you encounter a giant Smelter occupying a room so big you have to take a spiraling ramp down to the bottom. Then you use a Cannon, yes, a Cannon to blow open a door to reveal...A PIRATE SHIP!!! Then you storm the Pirate Ship! OMFG!

Ok, maybe it's not quite that good ;) but is it just me, or does it seem the designers put so much effort into building Deadmines that they ran out of time for the other lowbie Instances?

Oh, I forgot BFD. I like its design but hardly anyone goes there. It's bad enough trying to get a group for an Instance in a highly populated area like Westfall, let alone LFGing for an Instance in the middle of nowhere.

"Ashenvale? Where's that again?"
It's bad enough trying to get a group for an Instance in a highly populated area

After patch 2.3, levelling happens so fast that many people don't bother with normal instances now. Why go through all that work to get blue items when they will be obsolete in a week? Sad.
Dungeons don't give less rewards than PQs. In WAR a blue item isn't necessarily better than a green, and the greens that drop from dungeon bosses are set item greens, those are way better than blues of the same level, and the only other place I've seen them is in PQ gold bags, which are quite rare.
Be careful applying the WoW item system directly to WAR, because it's not quite the same.
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