Etaew returns to Warhammer Online (Again)

In this article I cover my experience of Warhammer Online, when I’ve played, what I enjoyed, why I stopped and why I returned.

First Experience of WAR

To set the scene at this time I had just started university, I was running on a shared internet connection. I was also playing World of Warcraft daily with a friend.

I had experience with Mythic‘s games in the past, I had played Dark Age of Camelot as my first MMO for a few years, I loved the Warhammer Universe and looked forward to the prospects of a huge rvr campaign and end-game.

I bought WAR at release and had some difficulties connecting from the university, I couldn’t get past the login screen. For the first few weeks I had to connect via a proxy which was a pain in the ass.

When I got into the game it was pretty popular, tons of servers and players. I really liked the graphics style of the characters and the empire buildings, I also loved the public quests and the open groups. However I nervously avoided PvP.

The game did feel unfinished, npc movement was a bit buggy, the engine felt strange, jumping over objects was very risky, half the time the jump would fail, the other half you would get stuck in an object.

At the end of the first month I stopped playing, the game wasn’t necessarily bad but I was playing World of Warcraft which did feel more polished, I had an attachment there with a guild and a play buddy and the new expansion had just landed and none of my other friends were playing Warhammer.

WAR Round 2

Around 5 months ago I found myself leaving World of Warcraft, things just felt samey and I wasn’t a raider for end-game, and the large scale PvP I found lacking. I wanted to give Warhammer another go, and to see any changes.

The game felt very different, the starting area was consolidated, and whilst this was good to see people packed together in a zone and the quest flow improved, I didn’t like the idea of the other zones being wasted.

I am an altoholic, I enjoy the PvE content, I created characters to level in the PvE areas. Other players seemed to look down on me for this, the norm it seems is to grind your way through PvP to get the max Renown Rank that you can.

This was a product of the change in rules which allowed players to earn twice their level in renown rank in order for them to be better equipped once they arrived in T4 and were fighting high Renown Rank players, this however killed PvE and elongated the leveling process, personally keeping the renown rank at your career rank felt just like the right pace.

My main character was a Warrior Priest, I ran him as a melee character. This was fantastic in PvE but when I landed in PvP players just complained about not being healed, so eventually in Tier 3 I respecced to a full time healer. And whilst I enjoy being a healer, I miss being able to kill things.

I found in Tier 2 and 3 that it became very repetitive, take a keep, move to the next zone, take another keep. Often the Order side was outnumbered and could only put up a token defence of a zone.

I started to understand why Dark Age of Camelot worked so well, and why the two faction system of all the other games failed miserably. With a two sided fight, you will always get one winner and one loser, and this eventually meant that you would push the loser back to his warcamp, and stay there. Which became no fun for the attacker and no fun for the defender.

In scenarios this meant that the loser would be locked into his spawn area, and sat there for the entire battle, it just isnt an enjoyable experience. In DAoC this couldn’t happen, with the third realm the winner could always be attacked from behind, or teamed up against.

Once I hit tier 4 I had no direction, apart from armor progression which high Renown Rank, it became dull and there was a requirement for other players to do anything in the game, it was pointless to log in early in the day, I had to wait until evening.

My solution for this was that I created alts, however they also had the same problem requiring other players in the other tiers, the only real exemption of that was Tier 1, because of the endless trial this was always packed.

I played for three months with a number of alts but lost the desire to keep logging in again, even the company of a great guild didn’t help solve this. So when I started this final year of university I didn’t re-subscribe.

WAR Round 3

Last week I re-subscribed again, I had a craving for large scale PvP that I couldn’t fulfill anywhere else, it was also in part to missing my guild, especially after watching through the series of The Guild.

Returning this time I’ve tried to understand more fully what my character should be doing once he hits 40, and it seems that there is a requirement for tons of scenarios. I have to purchase a weapon with scenario currency in order to collect the next scenario currency for the weapon upgrade, and so on.

Scenarios are okay sometimes, but often there is one side which dominates which I can’t stand as it’s not enjoyable. BioWare Mythics latest game in development Wrath of Heroes does have a much better way of doing this, since there are three teams one side can’t really dominate and it’s a much more enjoyable experience.

Will I remain subscribed to Warhammer? Probably not. There hasn’t really been any content additions and the end-game, although there are nice fights to be had, is rare and entirely dependent on others. Star Wars: The Old Republic is on it’s way, and with that lots of story and nice PvE, sadly with the two faction system the game is going to suffer the same way Warhammer and World of Warcraft does in PvP.

Although I like to experience a games content, if it’s no longer under active development there isn’t much motivation to stay beyond that.