Tobold's Blog
Friday, September 12, 2008
My WAR open beta

Right now I'm waiting for the European open beta servers to come back up, GOA had a "technical issue" after patching to 4.1.1. one day late. As the open beta ends tomorrow, so Sunday the headstart period can begin, I guess that's the end of the open beta for me. So what did I do during this time? Not much, I have to say, due to a mix of various technical problems, and me being not that interested in a character that gets deleted a week later. So basically what I did is try out the Witch Elf class, by playing one to level 10.

First remark on the Witch Elf class is that there are no male witches, you need to play a female if you want to try that class. No problem, I'm not paranoid about playing female toons. But I must say it did bother me that in 10 levels I never ever found any item of clothing which would actually have covered her enough to not get arrested for indecent exposure in the real world. If you are the type who likes to look at nice ass all day, Witch Elf might be the class for you.

So I level my Witch Elf up doing a nice mix of PvE and PvP. The advantage of that is that I get up to renown rank 7, and get access to some very nice renown gear. But then I didn't do all that many public quests this time, which would have been the alternative for getting equipped. As Ryan Shwayder's Nerfbat says, public quests don't work all that well when too few people are online. Between the registration issues and the lower population caps for beta servers, there weren't always enough people around to really finish public quests. But I don't agree with Nerfbat that public quests are antisocial, when there were enough people around they usually helped each other instead of exploiting each other.

In PvE the Witch Elf is quite useful, especially with decent gear. In PvP the Witch Elf, well, what was the word, ah yes, SUCKS. Ranged classes are infinitely much better in PvP than melee classes, because enemy players you'd actually have a chance to kill usually just run away. After having played an Archmage, who with a mix of ranged dots and self-heals is very good in PvP, the Witch Elf was a huge disappointment. I actually once met an Archmage solo in a lonely corner of a scenario, and he had no problems killing me, although I was one level higher. I simply don't hit *that* fast that he can't heal himself. And at least in the levels I played him the Witch Elf doesn't have the stealth or stun abilities that make a melee dps Rogue viable in WoW PvP. I also duelled an Ironbreaker once, but this time he was a level higher than me, and melee dps don't look good against tanks anyway. I didn't do any keep combat (in the closed beta for keep combat I got boosted to level 18, in the open beta I didn't get any level boost when entering tier 2 RvR zones), but I didn't cherish the thought of defending a keep as Witch Elf either. Ranged classes can stand on the walls and rain down destruction. A Witch Elf has to run out to do anything, and bikinis don't do much for damage mitigation. For release I'll play a Shaman on European servers, and a Bright Wizard on US servers.

I also tested out talisman making as tradeskill. Thanks to some advice from a reader I finally found out how to make magical essence (it says you should salvage it, but in fact you should just click on it), and made one talisman that gave +2 toughness for 8 hours. Being relatively hard to make, needing a disenchanted magic item as well as other materials, I was a bit disappointed that the talisman has a time limit and doesn't work permanently like an enchantment. I guess for release I'll stick to apothecary, potions are more useful than that, at least while leveling.

After GOA finally let people who weren't in the closed beta register for the open beta, we founded our guild. One evening we got 9 people together, and decided to do some RvR together. First try we managed to get both groups into the same scenario, but lost badly against a hardcore PvP guild who had done the same thing. In the following attempts we always ended up with only one of the two groups in the scenario, until we gave up. Then we went and wanted to do some open world RvR, but most tier 1 zones were already fully under Destruction control. We found one corner with two Order-controlled battleground objectives, but taking that was rather easy. We met few Order players, and seeing a whole group of us, they all just ran away. Not very exciting, really. We should have done a public quest instead.

So, not the best open beta I ever had, but at least I learned more about the game, and know better what classes and tradeskills I don't want for release.
Interesting about the Witch Elf, as that's my gf's choice for live. I'm not too worried though, as I'm sure the buff/nerf stick will be making the rounds shortly after release. The whole 'cute but deadly' image of the class sold her day one.

They do need to enable warband queue for scenarios though, not sure the reason being it being group-only.

Any thoughts on the DE starting area itself? Better/worse than the other two destro areas?
Syncaine: All the start up areas are great IMO, good quests, PQs, and Scenarios all around. I wouldn't say any of them is really better than the others, though Empire and Dark Elves do suffer some from not having a tank archetype, which makes completing public quests rather hard till people start crossing over between the pairings (usually happens around level 5ish anyway, so not that big a deal).
To borrow a comment the open beta finished like it started- in a haze of disappointment and miscommunication. Still while the game was up I had fun trying all the starting zones and seeing early public quests- just missing dwarves and high elves which were tonights plan...

Planning on rolling a witch hunter for live- Im sure all balance issues will get sorted quite quickly by mythic in the first round of nerfs/buffs.
As far as witch elves are concerned, yes I was not pleased that they all looked like they had just escaped from a victoria secret underwear commercial. Having tried out a good deal of the classes I would say that they were one of the worst at pvp. That and the Dark Elf Sorceress who puts the "glass" back in glass cannon.

I am GLAD however that the witch elf is so bad at pvp. Oh please, oh please, oh please mythic, never, ever, ever fix that.

Why? You may ask? Well what I have against witch elves is that one of the most refreshing things about Mythic pvp is that there isn't a "rogue" class that rules the battlefield.

And by the way Tobold, I do agree with your comments about ranged classes. Half the time no one ever seems to look up in RvR or one of the scenarios; yes, thats my shadow warrior blasting you from the other side of the battlefield with an arrow.

Oddly enough, when it comes to scenarios, the most effective killer I found was my goblin shaman. The little git was not only tough to kill but had an easier time bringing down ironbreakers that my archer did bringing down orks.

Julie Whitefeather
Tried the High Elfs and was shocked at the way they ran, it looked like they had some kind of back pain...
And the starter area for them was so boring and grey I couldn't even muster the first quest.
There goes playing the Archmage...

I'm gonna roll Detruction for the simple reason of it being visually superior, and has some cool "lore" aspects like the orc speech and portals and chains n stuff.
Noticed most OB -servers were "full" on Destruction and "low" on Order...hmm, wonder why..
I’ve played 8 of the classes up to level 8 or higher now. The biggest difference maker appears to be survivability. In this regard, it’s very similar to how resilience is the PvP stat because it increases your chances of staying alive.

As a Sorcerer, if I hang back – play strategically by LOS’ing often – then I can just unload a ton of pain and knock people down to zero health. If anyone decides to target me out individually, I get crushed (very fast) even if being healed.

As the tanks/healers with higher survivability, I can’t bring someone down fast – but I can play a game of attrition and slowly bleed them to death.

This was particularly frustrating as the Witch Hunter (similar to the Witch Elf) because it’s melee DPS that can do tremendous damage but dies quickly. HOWEVER – as you reach the teens with the Witch Hunter, you gain more survivability. Including an AOE detaunt that causes everyone around you to do 50% less damage to you. You also gain the limited stealth that allows you to get in/out of the hot zones unseen.

I really believe that this increased survivability that the DPS classes gain later on is really important to the overall balance. Witch Hunters, in particular, were freaking tough at the higher levels I played. Also – a Sorcerer topped the damage chart in almost every Scenario I played which again speaks to a type of balance. So while I do think those classes will just have to get used to dying more often, I also think they’ll get quite a bit more of the glory kills.
Barnett's Witch Elf career video:

mentions "jiggle" as one of the class characteristics. That may help explain the class dress code.

Apparently he got that part in, even if "bears, bears, bears" didn't make it.
I'm doing a hard drive replacement so I don't know if I'll get to play tonight, but I have been having a blast in the OB.

I played mainly a Witch Hunter, and I think I'll stick with that class into release. I really loved the Engineer and Shadow Hunter also, though.

The High Elf running animation needs a lot of work, lol. It is that bad. But I enjoyed the starting area quite a bit. Especially the tier 1 rvr area - it was the one place I went that I didn't have stuttering problems (maybe that's because it was all but deserted).

I'm really looking forward to playing the "good" side this time around also - I'm a sucker for underdogs and have spent almost my entire 3+ years in WoW as a Horde. I hate to admit it, but I was sectretly pleased when I found out that the baddies were the favored faction of most people.

However, having the such a big imbalance has been somewhat of a pain in the rvr islands and even the scenarios. Sometimes Order just doesn't have the bodies on the ground to put up a decent fight. I wonder how that will play out after release?
In Open Beta you should stil get the bolstering buffs in tier 2 RvR zones that gets yours stats to level 18. Maybe you need to be level 12 minimum (tier2 is 12-21)

This is also part of the Core server ruleset in release.
As far as Empire and Dark Elves missing tank goes... that role is filled quite well (at least in PvE) by the Warrior Priest and Disciple of Khaine.

If they're being played properly, they make pretty decent PvE tanks... at least in the first two tiers. I haven't had the opportunity to test past level 16 yet.
It isn't often that Mrs. Tobold adds to the discussion on my blog, but after showing her Paul Barnett's video and seeing me play one, she is calling the class "Bitch Elf". :)
she is calling the class "Bitch Elf".
That name will stick.
Witch elves have been incredibly dangerous in my (open beta) experience. Once they get stealth, they'd often stealth past the front line, kill me before anyone noticed, and then take off. Even if I ran away they'd throw a dagger in my back to snare me and then kill me. You may be underestimating them as they definitely reward a somewhat devious playstyle.
It's a little disappointing that half the players have to choose the crappy, undeveloped, and boring side. But at least we'll not have queues.
Im happy they have dwarfs and paladins. Killing orcs goblins and dark knight looking baddies will be my pleasure.

As for the atmosphere, I would take a battlefield with too many pvp targest to choose from than one with a completely underwhelming fight. (think alterac valley when the competition afks at the start, YAY FUN? amrite).

Im happy they have dwarfs and paladins. Killing orcs goblins and dark knight looking baddies will be my pleasure.

As for the atmosphere, I would take a battlefield with too many pvp targest to choose from than one with a completely underwhelming fight. (think alterac valley when the competition afks at the start, YAY FUN? amrite).

" the levels I played him the Witch Elf..."

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