Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Warhammer Online: Preview Weekend Thoughts

Played some over this weekend, though I tried out a lot of different classes using my newly patented Smash 'Em leveling technique (queue for scenarios constantly as soon as you log in, doing quests while waiting in line. I hit level 5 and renown rank 5 in under an hour using this technique).

Here are some random thoughts and comments in no particular order.

I noticed that a lot more low-level items come with slots these days. I assume this is to give the as-yet-unreleased Talisman Making profession a use from the start. I just wish they would patch it in so we can see how it works.

It seemed to be very popular to level up to 11 (the max for the Tier one scenarios) and queue for scenarios. That way players could feel powerful by tearing through the lower-ranked opponents. But, since PvP gives experience gains (and pretty significant ones at that), at least these putzes will eventually level out of that Tier, which is a godsend in my opinion. None of that perma-twink BS that is the bane of low-level WoW battlegrounds.

I took some time to stop in one place and just look around, taking in the action that was going on. Even though WAR is a themepark MMO, they do an excellent job of making it feel alive, with NPCs fighting it out, reinforcements running around the camps, explosions and artillery combat happening at a steady pace. It would add some flavor to the game if these bombardments actually caused some damage (not a lot, just something to keep you on your toes).

Every class plays differently. I haven't played them all, but I've spent at least a few levels with Shaman, Squig Herders, Ironbreakers, Engineers, Bright Wizards, Marauders, and of course, lots of time with the Black Orcs, and they all have different mechanics or styles of play. Add this on top of the ability to PvP right out of the starting gate, and replayability becomes a huge draw for WAR (at least in the early levels. The grind might get more tedious as you get to Tiers 3 and 4).

Scavenging is a very useful money-maker. Butchering not so much, since animals are less common than humanoids.

Still no functioning banks, guild or otherwise. Same with the auction house.

The polish is definitely in progress. A lot of people seem to be complaining about the clunky feel of combat, but for those who have been in beta previously, the new system is much improved (though it can still use more improvement). The low-level game just seems a lot slicker and tighter than it did a month ago.

I haven't played all of the starting areas, but the Greenskin area seems to be a lot more compact. I felt like I was running around a lot more in the Dwarf, Empire and Chaos starting areas.

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