Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Warhammer online: Review of End-Game and Beta's current state





Ok so here's how it's going to work. I'm going to give you both sides of the coin, and then give you my input. Remember that criticism is a good thing and it is not the end of the world... as long as its rational and based on facts.

You may know me as someone who is generally excited about this game and is very supportive of Mythic. I also have no problem pointing out the flaws of the game.

These two negative feedback quotes are from the EU forums provided to me by blubbblubb:

    the EU beta forum is currently full of heavily expressed concerns regarding a successful launch of WAR (the Europeans in general have a very different mentality concerning this compared to all-the-way positive and optimistic Americans). 1st guild beta players are already complaining about the boring and sluggish combat. the decision that the Europeans won't participate in the focus tests has lead to a lot of disappointment ("we are 2nd class beta testers, Mythic doesn't care about our feedback.").

    also now that territories w/o tanks (DE, IMP) are "test-live", many complain about the unplayability of esp. the DE / HE pairing. DEs are frustrated b/c they can't complete the PQs and switch over to Chaos and Greenskin territories. Elves territories are largely underpopulated. consequently, most High Elf players switch over to the Empire area since it's "the main pairing" due to the capital cities. current result are an overpopulated Empire area, a slightly underpopulated Greenskin - Dwarves area, and an almost deserted Elves area.


the EU beta forum is currently full of heavily expressed concerns regarding a successful launch of WAR (the Europeans in general have a very different mentality concerning this compared to all-the-way positive and optimistic Americans). 1st guild beta players are already complaining about the boring and sluggish combat. the decision that the Europeans won't participate in the focus tests has lead to a lot of disappointment ("we are 2nd class beta testers, Mythic doesn't care about our feedback.").

also now that territories w/o tanks (DE, IMP) are "test-live", many complain about the unplayability of esp. the DE / HE pairing. DEs are frustrated b/c they can't complete the PQs and switch over to Chaos and Greenskin territories. Elves territories are largely underpopulated. consequently, most High Elf players switch over to the Empire area since it's "the main pairing" due to the capital cities. current result are an overpopulated Empire area, a slightly underpopulated Greenskin - Dwarves area, and an almost deserted Elves area.

    I like a lot about WAR. The look of the classes, parts of the world, the quest texts, the tome of knowledge, the guild system, farming PQs with a nice group ... that's all nice and the athmosphere is also ok, but all this doesn't count, because:

    It is WARhammer and the WAR in the hammer is not fun!

    fighting in WAR is slow, boring and uncreative. everyone's minding his own business and that's it. you can't, don't have to and don't need to react on your opponents actions, you just continue to deal damage and / or heal.

    That is all what the WAR in WARhammer can do.

    NOBODY who played Guild Wars would believe that such a scheiƟ (shitty) (sorry must be) fighting system would even be considered.

    NOBODY who played DAoC outside the Zergs will believe that Mythic will release such a crap on the market. (Refers to the EU because the EUlers kept ramming the Americans mercilessly into the ground when they played DAoC overseas because they played DAoC like WAR plays now)

    NOBODY who plays WoW actively will seriously believe that WAR is or will be an alternative in the long term ...

    LotRO players may find the system interesting concerning the LotRO PvP which was silly.


    Is WAR ready? -- If the dungeons and the 2 cities are there you can think so I say. It is not everything what Mythic had hoped, but I think this is rather not the problem.

    If they still fix the annoying bugs, finally put a spellqueue in and polish everything (clipping errors etc.), then I think it will at least not be a "pay2play-beta" (like AoC).

    What I strongly doubt it is that Mythic will get balancing right until release. But even if they do so, that still doesn't fix the broken, boring and sluggish combat system.


Yes, there are some bugs. Yes, there is some clipping (lolmarauderlol). Yes, its not what Mythic had hoped for release. These points all seem obvious to me, and I would hope to many of you.

I, along with other beta testers I'm sure, disagree with just about everything else this person says, and I think some of the videos you see (i.e. mine >_> lolshameless-self-promotionlol) will show you that this game is pretty much the opposite of what this person is saying. I haven't talked to anyone who has found it to be slow or uncreative. I have a feeling that this might be a critique on the early stages, where *gasp* the first few levels you only have 3-5 abilities. I’m very tired of people complaining about how the first few levels aren’t mind-blowingly amazing. I’ve heard this complaint in just about every MMO I’ve played. It’s the nature of the beast. If the first 20 levels are designed better than the last 5 levels, then you’ve got a huge problem (AoC allusion ftw). I’ve said it before and you might think its harsh, but please… go level up past rank 5 and then give me a critique of the game play.

I never played LoTRO or DAoC, so I'll refrain from the comparison.

I don't think the combat system (i.e. pushing buttons) is unique, but then again some companies who did promise revolutionary combat wound up giving us the shit end of the stick. I do think, however, that the combat system of the particular classes are somewhat unique and offer very interesting game-play. Morale bars, melee healers, casters (dmg spells increase healing and vice versa), and PvP tanks are just a few counter examples. White Lion class being the first melee pet class I've played, and also working and enjoyable siege are also counter examples.

Considering most people who actively play WoW are into the end-game PvE shuffle, I think he's right. A majority of the players will not see WAR as an alternative, but once again I do not see this as breaking news. The people who are bored with the Arena grind will find WAR more interesting, and a good number of those folks will probably switch over come release or a bit afterwards.

The situation he must be talking about:
    everyone's minding his own business and that's it. you can't, don't have to and don't need to react on your opponents actions, you just continue to deal damage and / or heal.


is when you go into a bad PuG… you get this in just about every MMO. This isn't always the case, as I've been in a number of PuGs that organize well and fight the way you are supposed to. I'd like to emphasize soemthing before going on to my evaluation of Beta: this is not game x, y, or z. It is not going to be UO, Everquest, DAoC, GW, FFXI, WoW, AoC, etc. This is WAR and it is a different game, and while comparisons will always occur, this game is so much fun in its own right. To give you an example: my friend came over this weekend, and has been a huge skeptic about my rantings and ravings about the game. He played for a few hours, and is now asking me to help rebuild his computer so it plays WAR well. Hopefully my other WoW arena buddies will make the switch. Once you go WAR, you never go... uhm... back?

On to my review:

I will be focusing on the Elder testing of the end-game content, since that is what I’ve been focusing on lately. I’ll break it down into two parts: City Siege/Captured and Scenarios. I’ll keep it brief.

City Siege/Captured:
This is very well done. While I’m not all that happy about the instancing of the siege of the city and the city when it is captured, I think that it allows for a lot of good things. Instancing allows guilds to go into one instance themselves and to make a larger contribution to the WAR effort, and it also allows for non-guilded players to participate in the end-game content. It also allows for everyone to experience all of the city’s content at any point in the city’s capture. This allows people who were asleep or not online for other reasons to participate, instead of just being shit out of luck. Obviously it also improves performance, but I’m more concerned with the game play.

The instancing doesn’t take away from the feel of huge PvP/RvR as I initially thought it would. There are enough people in the instances (since they fixed the bug that reserved your spot even if you were booted… Leading to fewer people in instances) to make it feel like an actual siege. I didn’t like the idea of the NPCs at first, but the way that Mythic has put them in makes them less of a hassle and more fun and useful.

The City under siege is really full and has a ton of content, and that’s excluding the dungeons that we weren’t allowed to go into! The two cities feel very different to me: Order’s Altdorf has a lot of winding and narrow roads, much like those you’d expect to see in medieval Europe, while Destruction’s Inevitable City has more open spaces with sections of tight spaces and lots of content. Granted, I did spend a lot more time in Altdorf than I did in IC, but I like them equally and appreciate that they are distinct and not just copy and paste.

Scenarios:
This needs a bit more work. I’m glad that they gave this to us to test before release, otherwise people would have had a QQfest over the bugs. Luckily, due to the insane amount of testing over the course of two days, there was a noticeable difference between day 1 and day 2 of testing. Frame rate improved, I wasn’t booted from scenarios prematurely, I wasn’t warped to Tier 1 2 or 3, and I didn’t fall through the world.

I think if they roll this out for us for another 2 days of focused testing, we can get out most of the bugs, and leave the rest for the guild beta Guiney pigs. Luckily, there is a very strong base of mature beta testers, so the incredible amount of feedback that Mythic has gotten I think is the key to the improvement. That and the devs can swallow their pride and realize that they screwed up in certain places.

I’m very optimistic about the release, and I’m looking forward to doing my part in making this game the best it can be. See you on the battlefield

Warhammer online beta leaks

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1 kommentarer:

john on August 20, 2008 at 11:02 AM said...

I am one of those "second class EU beta guys"

just my 2cents: nice review but truth is not to be found here

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