Goodbye WAR

So today was the last chance to drop in and say goodbye to Warhammer Online. And seeing as how it really kicked this blog off a little over 5 years ago, it seemed fitting to let bygones be bygones and pay my respects on the last day.

I didn’t have much time, but I logged into my main, a Shadow Warrior, and dinked around for half an hour while I grabbed some lunch. I did some combat, completed a quest, visited the capital, used some leftover dye’s, made a couple of potions, and, true to my real life patron, planted some seeds and grew a plant or two.

war crafting

I had forgotten how fun crafting was in WAR. I guess you could call it a minigame of sorts, but it was never onerous. I loved planting and harvesting and then turning the ingredients into plenty of potions that then got handed out to my brother or friends or just used for myself. Most of my backpack space was dedicated to seeds I was saving or wanting to use once I got leveled up enough.

In fact, most of my time was spent uncovering all the little things that I enjoyed so much about WAR. I hate that the game got derailed in the way it did, and to be honest, I hate that I gave up on it so soon. I think that was my main lesson learned today. And I know nobody wants to hear me go on and on about the awesome dye system, or how the poses of the characters were straight from the tabletop game, or the neat buffs that granted abilities and so on. So instead I took a few minutes to put together a collage. So here you go, a few of my favorite things:

war favorite things

Looking back, I regret not giving the Gobbo Shaman and the Elf Swordmaster a whirl. Those were both classes that seemed fun. Eh, I’m getting all misty.

I guess its easy to look back with rose colored glasses when the game is getting its plug pulled isn’t it? Someone might even be in such an emotionally delicate state as to make outrageous claims about how good the game was…or is.

war best game

Truth be told, the game is still rough. The graphics are pretty bleh, not having held up well over time – which is sad given the minimum requirements of the game back at launch – one of the many things that can be filed under “poor design decision.” The PvP over PvE imbalance was a nightmare – though it seems they might have fixed that, given the insane XP I was getting per kill for creatures a level or two lower than me on the quest I did.

Overall, I think we will look back at WAR as being a bit of a pioneer. Public Quests, Open World PvP, Slottable Passive Abilities…just a few of the things that we have come to integrate fully, iterate on, and to some extent, feel are absolutely necessary in MMO’s today. WAR was ugly at times, but it was brimming with new ideas and exciting possibilities. If it fell short of expectations, at least we can afford it some respect for shooting for the moon, and doing so with an IP that was rich and fun (remember the Gobbo/Orc starting area? Getting shot out of the catapult? And the dwarves in the barrels? lol…).

Thanks for the memories WAR, and the impetous to do this blog. Like you, its had its ups and downs, but it was a worthwhile endeavor. Until we meet again…

war goodbye

Even In Death, WAR can’t be bothered to PvE

Remember how Mythic/Bioware/EA promised power ups for characters to enjoy the last month that they were giving away free?

From the forums:

I have seen players asking about that NPC in /advice so I will just post some info here.

First of all – its NOT power up NPC that offer anything unique or give u some high renown character with gear, gold, mounts etc. Also nothing is for free – war crests is what u need in this case.

War crests are new currency (instead of medailons, insignias and emblems). U get it for rvr activities – killing players, locking zones, doing scenarios and as reward in keep loot bag.

NPC is located in t1 warcamps (Nordland).

It was the beginning of their death within the first two months of the game’s existence, and it continues to be a disappointment right up until the last day. I wonder if WAR might have been successful if they had spent a little more time delivering the MMORPG they promised, and a little less time delivering a glorified MOBA nobody wanted.

WAR is Over

Whether you want it or not.

News is probably old to most of you by now (being..what, 48 hours out now?) that Games Workshop is not renewing the license for EA/Mythic to continue running Warhammer Online. Is it just me, or does that sound like a blame game? “Well, we would love to keep it going, but…” I can’t see where the title really benefits GW as a company (outside of cash coming in I guess), but I can’t see that its really hurting them either. Surely they were not the ones pulling the plug.

In any case, this comes with a bit of sadness. My brother and I talked as we were wrapping up LotRO whether or not WAR might be a place to duck into for awhile. But neither of us really saw this coming. I just figured that they would eventually cave into the pressure and go F2P like everyone else.

So I am a bit saddened by the news. As Wilhelm points out, many of us started blogging with WAR and even banded together to form a guild.

So like other shutdowns I’ve endured (Shadowbane, EQOA, CoX), this one has a bit of personal bite to it as well. But unlike those others, I’m determined to do something different this time. I’m going to go back. Yep. I’m going to soil the nostalgia. I’m going to kill it with all the flaws I can find.

I’m going to play so that I can recall vividly how they abandoned the PvE game within 3 months, and how poorly tuned the leveling curves were, and how frustrating it was that even though in the tabletop my elf hero could wield whatever the hell he wanted to, in the MMO I could use only what they told me.

And I may not be doing it alone. If you want in – just say the words.

Either way, when December gets here, the plan is that I won’t feel so bad when the power goes out. I might come to feel vindicated and hope that it never sees the light of day again. I’ll remember why I quit playing and be happy to put this thing to bed.

I wonder…what will the world look like on the day Azeroth or (the real) Norrath goes dark forever? Or even the Three Realms of Camelot, which surely can’t be that far behind. And I wonder, when those days finally come – what will it feel like to know that a realm that not just 300k people – but 12m+ people have played (lived?) in will go dark forever.

Day Two – I Started A Blog Because…

I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to say in the comment box.  Seriously.


I started out reading Genda’s Grouchy Gamer and Wilhelm’s Ancient Gaming Noob, along with Ysharros’ Stylish Corpse and West Karana.   And they had such awesome posts and neat things to say, I often wanted to give my own perspective.   I probably would have been a content reader, but for the perfect storm of Warhammer Online:  Age of Reckoning.


You see the summer before I started this blog my dad and brother and I had attended a Games Workshop Gameday and had a blast.  And we also won a closed beta account in a drawing that day.  I had done EQOA, passed on Vanguard, and settled into WoW.   I had flirted around with Everquest II and City of Heroes, but nothing serious.   Mostly I was looking for a game that I could convince our little gaming group to go for after I had dropped my WoW sub and refused to go back (not the most sporting of things).   WAR looked like it might be the way to go – my brother and I played tabletop and our third party member was a big Blood Bowl aficionado.


My very first posted image and screenshot!


The problem was that we never got the beta account (and the contact info GW gave us ended up being bogus), so I had to go looking for a beta key.  And I had never done a game at launch.  One of the reasons I did not dive into EQ2 despite how much I loved it was I felt so far behind.   So armed with a beta key and the opportunity to get into what looked to be the next big MMO at launch was the perfect setup and gave me the perfect reason to start a blog.


And I wasn’t the only one.   Lots of us started blogs around that time as I recall  (how many of you started around August of 2008?).  Enough that the Casualties of War guild got off the ground with a band and a ton of members.


Turns out I was right, I did have a lot to say.  Here I am nearly five years later and I’m still blabbing on.

The PvE Sandbox; or how PvP is ruining my MMO’s one by one.

Does it exist?  And if so where can I find it?  That mythical game with no PvP.


I am reading over at The Ancient Gaming Noob about how Rift is now traveling invariably down the same path that crashed Warhammer and Fallen Earth.  That is, turning your MMORPG into an a  competitive 3rd person whack-a-skill-watch-the-dps-meter-and-create-some-macros paradise.  Granted, Rift is not there yet, because they haven’t, say…changed their entire damage and armor mechanic because it wasn’t good for PvP, or scaled their XP progression primarily around how many matches it would take to cap level.  But its the beginnings of those paths.


I’m beginning to wonder if its a foregone conclusion for any MMO that decides to saddle itself with the burden of PvP.  Its like a cancer that eats away at the heart of the game.  I wonder how many developer hours are wasted on balancing and fine tuning classes/skills/macros/3rd party support that could instead be used to generate new content.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-PvP, or World of Tanks would not loom large in my life.  Nor would I have spent as long as I did in EVE.  But the games I play for PvE content always seemed to be subjugated for some bizarre PvP dominance, as it that were the lifeblood of the games players.   And perhaps it is, which leads me, for yet another reason, to ask the question about the PvE sandbox.  Even TOR does not seem immune to its effects, as the earliest indications of patch 1.1.2 indicate.


Just for once, I’d like to see some PvP players crying a developer said “no” to their desired changes on the reasoning that it would disrupt the rest of the game world who are playing (::gasp::) an MMO.

How Not To Do an MMO Newsletter


So I get the new WAR newsletter in my inbox.  I no longer subscribe, but I always check to see what’s going on with maybe the hopes that the developers will one day remember that they have PvE content in the game (no such luck, btw).  So I open the email and here is the lead story on the newsletter – sent to all current players to inform them and former players to intice them back:

Awesome - links to the store and official forums! What more could I ask for!

Gee, thanks.  That’s about the most boring, technical, non-exciting newsletter one could possibly get.  I wonder how many former players you will win back with that?  New players?  How many existing players are excited by this?  From the looks of things and from reading the article, I can only conclude that anyone who cares hangs out in the official forums, which begs the question – why is this in a newsletter format?

I would think you would use this time and energy on a newsletter for other things, or find a new purpose for the newsletter.  Is it possible that marketing was one of the weak points of WAR and I am only just now recognizing it?  Not the campaign itself, because certainly it was everywhere, but matching what was on the poster to what was under the hood.  More than one Hollywood big budget title has fallen like a slain giant because somebody couldn’t be bothered to put together an accurate (or coherent in some cases) trailer for the movie.

Huh.  Makes me wonder. I also wonder if I spelled “intice” wrong at the beginning of this post.  But I’m too tired to look it up.

Well What Do You Know

I never (ever) thougth that WAR would be the first ones to pick up on something that I, at least, have been kicking and screaming about for at least the last two years publically.   Kudos to you Mythic for being the first to have the light bulb come on.

Our solution is to introduce a new system that will let you set your armor and weapon appearance independently of your armor stats, so that you can look how you want to look and yet keep the statistics that you personally prefer. The goal is to give players the added benefit of having the new armor sets available to them, but the ability to change their appearance if they don’t like the way they look. We also think this will introduce a level of customization that players want to have for their characters.

Having said that – seriously why did it take this long for said bulb to go off?  Pull the camera back a bit folks, sheesh.

The next step – finally convince someone, somewhere (preferably that’s working on a game) that this can go far beyond this.  Tank, DPS, Heal, Control – they are not classes, they are playstyles.   But we force players that wish to play a given playstyle into certain classes.  In other words – character creation and customization is a joke from the word “go.”

Why not let players choose a class – and then determine how they will play that class?  Is there any reason why I can’t play a Mage who Tanks, while my buddy plays a Mage who Heals?  No, there isn’t.  It’s a big wide MMO world out there.  Somebody kick down these doors and lets get the party started, thanks.

Destruction, or How I Met A Twisted Sister. Part I.

The last post was a little long so I’m going to break this one up a bit.  So basically there are two things in this post:

1) Me telling the joys and perks of starting as Chaos.

2) Me fawning over the Zealot.  Again.



First off, a little confession:  I’d seen the Chaos starting area before.  And it wasn’t through an NDA leak.  I attended Games Workshop’s GamesDay in Atlanta last year, and they had a booth set up with a half dozen machines running the beta.  The crowd was sparse (probably why they didn’t come back this year, though I would have readily gone again), and so I got a solid 15 minutes of Chaos Magus playtime in the opening area.

Of course there were some things that were different.  The Magus did not have his nifty flying disc at the time (that would come later), and if I remember right, I was able to purchase abilities from my character panel rather than from a merchant.  In any case, I did enjoy the class and the atmosphere at the time.

But I do have a severe knock against them though.  At the end of the day, they did a drawing for closed beta, and wonder of wonders, my brother got one of the slots!  We were terribly excited, and I pestered him constantly about if he had gotten the email they had said would come with the download links, etc.  That was April of ’07.  Fast forward almost 17 months, and they still haven’t sent that email.    That’s wrong on many, many levels. 

Anyway, the starting area for Chaos is suitably creepy and lore based, though I was wishing there was a bit more to firing the Hellcannon.  Again it strikes me that this area felt more complete at least in part because of the full deck of classes playing – tank, dps, and healer.

The choice to focus the Chaos forces as the hordes of Tzeentch seemed odd at first, but I think it was a good choice.  It allows more detailed lore than just “chaos undivided” and makes more sense than the significantly less stable factions of Khorne (no quests, just kill?), Nurgle (everyone keeps dying!), or Slaanesh (make love, not war!).

Kudos also for including the beatmen of Chaos early on, and for the introduction of the other races in the first quest hub.  If I had any knock for the Chaos starting area, it would again be the quest bottlenecks.  The chests took too long to spawn, buildings too long to spawn fire bundles for burning, etc.

This was also the only place I came in first in a PQ, using the Zealot in an insane frenzy of healing and damage.  And I got some hand armor, that was uber…and looked exactly like my un-uber hand armor.  Gee, thanks.

I tried out, beyond the zealot, a level or two of marauder and chosen.  I wish I had had more time with both, as I think they would have been fun.  The Marauder in particular has a certain flair that makes up for the lack of innovation in the stance mechanic.


The Zealot

As I mentioned, my favorite class by far.  First of all, the fluff: its hard to argue with the blue-eyed skull you wave around in your off hand.  It starts off almost as a mocking item – something that demonstrates how unhinged you are and the fragile mental state the Norsicans exist in.  But as the game goes on and you see yourself channeling energy and power through the skull – as well as interact with it through the idle emotes, its becomes a symbol of your wisdom and power.  Zealots have a locust and wild honey, desert prophet feeling to them that is a nice touch. 

Ability wise, its a nice mix.  A solid DD and DoT mixed with an instand heal and a more powerful HOT.  And your first “Mark” or ability granting buff.  This one buffs your intelligence and strength and gives you a nice direct damage ability that has a 60s cooldown timer on it.  Still, its a nice dps burst, especially when you place the mark on yourself.

Mostly though, I love it because it was an idea that I’ve been enamored with since my first days in EQOA.  The Magician class there had the ability to create items – armor, a mage-only shield(!), weapons, all of which most people rolled their eyes at – because they were inferior to normal items, and for good reason – to prevent imbalance.  But it could also create something that most everyone in my groups learned to love – damage stones.  These bad boys were non-equip items that had three charges that cast the second most recent damage spell for the Magician class.  For example, say you got a damage ability at 16 and again at 20 (there was a 4 level leap between abilities in the old days – remember?  ::shudders::).  The stone you could summon at 20 emulated the 16 spell and could be handed out to anyone.  Tanks in particular relished the extra DPS that allowed them to hold even more aggro, and casters enjoyed having a fall back contribution when they needed to recharge their power.

Still it was annoying to have to hand out another round after each monster or two, and generally speaking, they didn’t get as much use as their coolness factor should have given them, because of the limitations in the design.

The Zealot/Rune Priest usable buff mechanic fixes that.  Replace the charges with a cooldown timer, and the awkward mechanics are no longer a stumbling block.

Maybe its just me, and you don’t care much about this idea, and think its odd that I’m so excited about it.  But for me, there is something extra exciting about being able to actively give support to group mates in a way other than healing!  In a way that is customized and tailor-made for each player/class, given that the classes have access to a number of different types of these buffs – including some AOE ones!

In a game that does not seem to have speed buffs, has no SoW, I can easily see the Zealot/Rune Priest becoming the new class that gets bugged at the high traffic areas – “dd mark plz!”  Because they are able to provide something that every class would like to have.  If you are one of those junkies who grumbled mightily about how many times a session you had to cast SoW, but secretly loved being able to help out the players around you with it, then this may be the class for you.

BTW, she was a twisted sister indeed – not just hunched over (twisted), but but also fully sister as well – I played a female.  Hormonal teens may prefer the Witch Elf in all her SI Swimsuit Issue glory, but the Zealot ain’t half bad herself.  And lets face it, she has way more personality.

Watch out for that skull charm though – hopefully he’s not the jealous type…Bwahaha!

Order in all its Glory.

Well, I did have a couple of videos to show you, including a nice clip of a bunch of elves against a hydra in one of the early public quests, but I’ve had problems the last two days getting them uploaded.  But I didn’t want to hold up this train anymore.  So, some insight into the starting areas and classes of Order:

The High Elves

Takin it to the Sprites...
Takin' it to the Sprites...


Going into preview weekend, the plan was for my little gaming trio to go High Elves.  My brother enjoys tanking more than anything, and the Swordmaster was his first choice.  The White Lion’s motiff drew our friend, and I, having a propensity for playing elves and fighting at a distance, figured I’d either land on a Shadow Warrior or an Archmage.  Add to that the fact that I play High Elves in tabletop, and it seemed like a shoe in for first choice.

I saved them for last and intended only to try the Shadow Warrior briefly to see if it was cool enough to outweigh the need/desire to operate a healer with the Archmage.  My brother picked up a Swordmaster, not having the hesitation I do about overplaying my main class at launch.  And I have to tell you, the High Elf starting area was by far the most disappointing of all the opening areas.  The opening quest was nonsensical to the storyline – “Hey these sprites are annoying our mourners.  Could you kill a few of them before your go help the Prince.  Yeah, I know, he’s getting his butt kicked and the city is overrun and he needs reinforcements to hold..blah blah blah…seriously though, these sprites are super annoying.”

Strike two was the bizarre bottleneck just down the hill leading to the main quest series for the area.  Its the tutorial for seige weapons, as every area has, but for some odd reason – there is only one seige weapon.  Yeah, so you have to wait your turn while someone shoots down six harpies, and waits 5s or so between each shot as the bolt thrower reloads.  That’s a griefer’s dream.  They can stand around spamming the thrower and lock down the quest and annoy the heck out of alot of people.

This winning combo of loreplay disconnects and area design flaws continue throughout the first set of levels.

I played a Shadow Warrior and a White Lion up through level 5, and both were the most buggy classes in the game.  Every stance in the SW has its own set of toolbars, meaning you have to reset the toolbar for each stance with the abilities you want in the order you want.  Honestly, the option wasn’t worth it, as I see the SW as a class that will be stance dancing for most conflicts, and thus will need a standardized set on the toolbar to cut down on player hesitation and mistakes. 

The White Lion has received much press for the broken pet mechanics, but I’ve been scratching my head a bit on this.  Even with my broken pet wandering around killing nothing during the first public quest, I placed fifth out of a dozen people.  So…either the pet is not going to account for as much of the classes DPS as I was anticipating, or this is a very high DPS class once its done and polished.  Add into that the ranking points you would get for the hate aggro that the pet can put out…wow.

Overall there’s just alot not right with this area yet.  This makes some sense to me, as the Elf classes were the last to be announced, and really have been developed only in the last year.  On a side note, I hope there is more dye options for the robes – again, it’s boring to have the same white robe on for 40 levels, even if your mantle does change colors.


The Empire

Glowing Eyes
Bright Wizard Character Option #1138: "Glowing Eyes"


I didn’t intend to spend as much time in this area as I did.  It was a little too reminiscent of WoW’s opening human stages, but that’s probably one of the few knocks you could level at it.  Outside of that, its pretty good.  There’s a good variety of quests, some interesting lore bits, the semi-hidden named mobs for good measure, and what has to be one of the best opening public quests in the game trying to defend the local priest against marauders, champions, and then finally a giant!  The lore here is great and really draws you in quickly and the progression from one area to the next is logical and flows well.

Also, this starting area had, by my count, more options to upgrade your gear than any other.  By the end of the first segment, you will have gotten at least two weapons upgrades.  Other starting areas it feels lucky if you get one!

I played a Bright Wizard and a Witch Hunter both to around level 7, which was again, more time than I had intended with either.  I was not going to do anything in Empire but the Warrior Priest, and I still regret not having seen it in action yet (10 days to Open Beta!).  But my brother suggested the Witch Hunter when I had fun trying the Witch Elf, and I played the Bright Wizard for our friend, who was not in on the weekend, to give him some feedback.

Both were good classes, and I enjoyed them both, but I don’t think either will be my main.  The Witch Hunter, while sold, just kinda feels blah – like you’ve been there and done that before.  Plus for being a DPS class, it clearly plays second fiddle to the Bright Wizard who seems to put out damage several orders of magnitude higher than the WH does.  Also I found it a bit humorous that your pistol has a DPS stat attached to it – since that has nothing to do with your ability damage (a good move given the RvR/PvP nature of the game) and you don’t seem to attack with it in hand to hand.

The Bright Wizard really capture my attention as I didn’t expect it too though.  The class mechanic makes for some great edge of your seat decisions about when to clear out your built up Combustion.  Still, our guild has attested to their squishiness in RvR as there was a thread going on everyones BW kill count over the weekend, with some numbers that were frighteningly high.  As someone new to RvR and with not a whole lot of PvP experience, I’m going to steer away from a class that seems to need some definite expertise and finesse to play well.

The public quest, while awesome, highlights how much that tank is missed in this area.  The waves of enemies usualy die quickly to the front line of squishy WH and BW, with WP healing in the mix, but there tends to be a lot of death as well because there is no one to pull an enemy off of you, and sometimes you are one spell resist away from visiting the graveyard and losing out on PQ loot!


The Dwarfs

I spend very little time here, playing with what I thought would be a favorite class coming into the weekend, the Engineer.  Again the starting area was very blah, and laid out in a much more confusing manner than other starting areas.  There was no real flow to the quests, which would send you sprinting in a number of different directions as opposed to walking you down a starting path.  I have no problem with quests doing that, but its something that should be saved for higher levels and not for new players still trying to learn the areas.

The Engineer was very disappointing.  The Ancient Gaming Noob said it best:  “How to describe him… If you crossed Rip Taylor, Herve Villechaize, and a warthog then had him run around in my grandmother’s night gown carrying a bronze pipe wrench… that is about what I ended up with.”  The class is just plain ugly.  And I thought it would be fun to play with, but…

The static nature of his pets (gun turrets) are nice for defensive RvR play, but they are a nightmare in PvE quests that that require alot of movement – a double knock in this starting area with its “put out fires in every direction” mentality to quest location.  So you end up with a class thats ugly and not fun to play.  That’s a double whammy.

The Rune Priest is the mirror of the Zealot, which I’ll talk *alot* about in the next update, so I didn’t spend any time with it, thinking that if we do go order, that’s probably the class I’ll play (that or an Archmage, if the elf-lands improve).

The Ironbreaker may get significant play time in Open Beta, as my plan there is to pick one class and level the heck out of it while playing alot of RvR/PvP to get a feel for that side of the game, which I essentially ignored this time around.


Order Overall

If I seem down on Order, its not because things were terrible here, its just that it never seemed to quite shine the way the Destruction starting areas did.  My brother noticed that as well, and its created something of a delimma for us that we will have to resolve in Open Beta.  Of the two sides, Order definitely needs the most development/polish time.  But…that may mean that come launch, Order is in better shape than Destruction.  We’ll see I guess.

Next up, Destruction in all its twistedness.

I’m WARn out…

It was a great weekend.  Alot going on.  I managed to try and get a decent feel for five of the Order and six of the Destruction classes.  Over the next couple of posts, I’ll break down each of the two sides and what I thought of the starting areas and classes.

It was neat to finally get a peek at the things everyone raved about.  Public Quests are one of those “duh, why didn’t we think of that” items that should have come along alot sooner.  More often that not, I finished a PQ and wound up with a group to go quest hunting with.  Same with the open party system.  Parties tended to be more flexible, and oddly enough, more effective, than I’m used to.  You group up for one quest or a series in an area, and then disband at the end, only to float into another new group a few minutes later.  The end result, for me, was a sense of connectedness with the other people I was playing with.

Perhaps even more impressive, was knowing that I could log on even for a half hour, and not feel like it was a waste of time.

All was not roses and glory though.  The first day of the preview, I either got lagged out or crashed out of every starting area in the game!  And that was on the Casualties Guild approved server, which had, according to the population counter, a measly 2100 people on it!  Most of the areas I was in had a lot of people, but I can’t imagine it was any less than you would see in a big RvR battle.  And I’m not running a slouch compy either (see the About section).  And I did have one CTD each on Sunday and Monday morning.

Still, it was never a big deal.  Why?  Because the development team and Mark Jacobs have been open in their communication and diligent in their fixes.  With Vanguard, the CTDs I got were frustrating, because I knew they wouldn’t be fixed anytime soon, if ever.  Mythic though, has already demonstrating that they are serious about fixing issues.  That goes along way towards improving my attitude when I hit a bug, which, lets face it, are inevitable.

So to round out tonight (told ya I’m tired!) a few random awards.  A loot drop, as it were, from a Public Quest:

Top Winners:

Gold Medal:  The Zealot.  It was just another healer class for me to try as I prepped for launch (my brother usually tanks, and as I mentioned below, I thought this would be a good time to open up my experience to include being a healer.  But the class totally rocked my world.  One of the neat things about playing Mages in EQ is the ability to give things to other classes – weapons, items, armor, etc. – through your spells.  It was always a neat idea, but hard to implement.  But I think the Zealot/Runepriest mechanic was a great way to take that idea, and make it truly useful and balanced.  Some of their buffs also give you an ability.  Its that simple.  And that cool.  I ask the tank – what do you want?  PBAoE?  DD?  What’ll it be?  Repeat that question for every other group member.  I felt like I was useful in a way that went beyond healing. 

Silver Medal:  Public Quests.  Boy are these things addictive.  I knew the characters were throw aways, and yet I kept going back one more time, trying to place higher, max out influence, enjoy the experience of knocking down big time baddies and *being a hero.*  There I said it.  This was a bullsye way to make the players the heroes of the world in an active and engaging way.  Already I think the potential for those who like RP servers is staggering.

Bronze Medal: The Greenskin Starting Area.  Getting lobbed onto the castle walls was something else.  My brother and I wondered aloud where all the drunken disoriented dwarves in barrels were coming from, and the answer was so perfect, and so dead on target lore wise, that it was a joy to behold.  We’re seriously considering going this route.  Shaman was nice as well.

Top Losers:

Treacherous Ring:  The Missing Classes.  It was awkward to be playing the Public Quests, and look around, and realize you had no tanks.  Gameplay wise, it was fine – you could still finish the quest.  But it just *felt* weird.  It breaks the lore in a way that is so strong it actually interferes with the game play.  I don’t know yet of an MMO that has added classes back in that it chopped before release, but I hope that that’s in the works for WAR.  They are badly needed.  This was seriously a deal breaker for me.  I cannot play Empire or Dark Elves because of this.  I don’t know many othe people as ramped up as I am about this, but this was the glaring achilles heel of the weekend and of the game, and I hope the smoothness (tech-wise) of the weekend and Beta does not mask this issue.  It needs to be fixed pronto.  Given that the Chosen and Ironbreaker have different mechanics that could easily be mirrored on the opposing side to fill out the tank slots, its also extremely puzzling.  Keep an eye on this, I have a feeling its going to become a bigger issue than people are aware of right now.

Broken Hairbrush:  Lack of Equipment.  That’s right.  There’s no goodies.  You can’t go to the store and pick out your new weapon.  You will only get new equipment through quest rewards or PvP.  Sometimes items do drop, but its extremely rare, and the drop table, unlike the quest rewards, does not take your class into account.  I got 4 items drops over the 4 days I played, and only one of them was useful to my class.  It gives me an uncomfortable itch to know that I’m stuck using essentially the same weapon for 40 levels.  Especially considering there is nothing lore wise that limits weapon types!  What a great time to enact the long overdue idea of item stats not having to match item graphics.  Chaos mages in lore wield axes, Elven mages wield swords.  Every character, no matter what, can handle a hand weapon of any make – mace, axe, sword, hammer – you name it, your tabletop character can wield it!  Why is that not true here?  Why as a Rune Priest am I forced to use a wooden staff for 40 levels?  Whose insane idea was that?  Ditto, by the way, on armor.  Armor that has different names and backgrounds, but for 10 solid levels, will look exactly the same, *no matter what the stats are or how rare it is.*  Also, tell me that’s not the final dye list.  And tell the joker who made “Shadow Grey” into green that its a blue grey instead.  Srsly.

Canteen Water: Travel.  I’m sure most of the Beta peeps know everything they need to know, but…I didn’t have a clue what zone connected to what zone, how to get there, how to find buddies in other races, or where these mythical, so big they can’t program more than 2 in 3 year’s time cities are.  This was offset somewhat by the Book of Binding not having a cooldown timer though.  While I’m thinking that may just be a Beta perk, it was insanely nice.  And it got me to wondering exactly why it is there is usually a one hour limit on recalling to base.  Why do that exactly?  *Time sink?*  Please tell me we’re still not drinking that particular flavor of McQuaid Kool Aid.

Enjoy your two weeks of rest people, you are going to need it.

Next up:  The Side of Order.  And some screen shots and maybe even a video!