What to Play…

So a quick little post as I slog through work, itching to get home and try my hand at WAR’s preview weekend.

After watching videos and plundering the WAR Database  (www.wardb.com) I think I may do either something I have not done in a long time, or something I have never done.

First off, I haven’t been a tank in ages.  My main alt in EQOA was an Erudite Shadowknight, and I loved playing it so much I’m surprised I haven’t played another since then.  I was pretty good with it too, at least according to the groups I was with.  There is something exhilirating about pulling off miraculous saves and delivering knockout blows.

Well, I guess I did play a Paladin for a long time in WoW, but truth is, my group consisted of a Warrior, my Pally, and a Mage.  So basically I was the healer.  (-:  But I don’t have a whole lot of experience as a healer.  I’ve never had one as a main anyway.  I did spend all of my time in Vanguard as a Druid, so I did do some spot healing there as well, but mostly that’s unknown to me.

But in WAR, I find myself being drawn to the tanking and healing classes.  Tanking in particular has some nice innovations in it.  I love that all the tanks have a medium ranged pulling attack that fluffs as a thrown weapon, and I have always been a sucker for thrown weapons.  Even better, if the enemy is fleeing, that thrown weapon skill suddently becomes a finished move that does ridiculous damage.

But we’ll probably play order in the end (one of my playing group has a thing about not playing the bad guys) and my brother has already expressed an interest in the Swordmaster.

Which means I might go the healing route.  This is tough though, because all the healers look positively awesome.  So more than likely I’ll spend the preview weekend trying out the Shaman, Zealot, and Disciple of Khaine to decide how I’ll be healing come game time. 

Okay, I scratched the itch.   Back to work.  (-:

Class Pairings

Here’s a handy guide of the classes in WAR that have mirrored mechanics between Order and Chaos as best I can tell.  I started looking at this because of advice to play in Beta and the Preview weekend (oh yeah, did I mention I was one of the first 50k…woot!) that you should play the opposite of what you would do at launch, to keep the content fresh.  Since alot of WAR’s classes have mirrored mechanics for RvR/PvP balance considerations, that’s not hard to do and still get a little taste of the class you want to play.

Let me know if this needs corrections or you can offer more info, about the mechanics/pairings:


  • Swordmaster – Chosen (2h tanks)
  • Ironbreaker – Black Orc (s&b tanks)


  • Archmage – Shaman (yin/yang)
  • Warrior Priest – Disciple of Khaine (melee to heal)
  • Rune Priest – Zealot (buff/debuff heal)


  • Witch Hunter – Witch Elf (combo points)
  • Bright Mage – Sorcerer (backlash)
  • Engineer – Magus (mid range)
  • White Lion – Squig Herder (pet class)
  • Shadow Warrior – ?
  • Marauder – ?

Great Posts II

If you want to see some festive goodness, head over to Wall of Text, where br3ntbr0 has uploaded fantastically informative video walkthroughs of some of the classes.

Also, I think I solved the great mystery.  AoC was 16/3 in terms of days right?  Well with the preview weekend, WAR ends up being 9/4/2.  Yes that’s 4 days less total, but it also devotes 4 days to rewarding loyal customers through the Preview weekend for the Collector’s Edition people, and the first 50k people excited enough to type in their pre order codes.  And I think they get a pass on 4 less days since it looks like they won’t need them to have the game in good shape for launch.

I wondered why Mythic had not gone one better as they have been, and it turns out they had.  They had just done one better in a way I hadn’t thought about – taking care of the people who take care of you.

The Great Mystery

What does it mean? 

Age of Conan gave 16 days of Open Beta that was generally considered to be no up to snuff.  WAR beta testers generally seem to consider WAR to be up to snuf, yet EA will only be givine 9 days of Open Beta. 

Age of Conan gave head start people 3 days of early access.  WAR head start people will receive only two at the most.

Up to this point EA has tried to do everything better than the other guy.  More beta testers, more polish, move promotion, more information, more stable client.  This is the first time that they have had the opportunity to do one better than the other guy, and chosen not to.

What does it mean?

WAR hasn’t started and I’m already a casualty…

Casualty of WAR that is, just to clarify.

That’s kinda the last nail on the coffin eh?  See how quickly I came down off the fence on this?  That’s rare for me.  So I’m hoping thats a good sign and not a comment on a current delusional state.  (-:

To step away from WAR a second though.  I was doing some looking in on the RvR concept and took a second look at DAOC today.  And I was floored.  For some reason, I’ve always that that DAOC was a completely PvP oriented game with like 3 classes.  Instead its everything I loved about Shadowbane, but with better management it seems.  I may have to do the 2 week trial while I wait for the WAR Beta to open up, just to try it out.  I wish I had seen it years ago!

I did this in EQ2 though.  I skimmed the classes and picked something, and ignored the rogues (seriously people, that word is *not* that hard to spell, can we pick up the slack on that…hmmm?) because I like playing “magical” classes.  But when I came back after the first demo, and looked over everything again, and tried one out, I flipped my lid.  I never would have thought of myself as a swashbuckler/brigand kind of guy, but I was!!!  Troll Brigand as it turns out.  (-:

So I’m seriously kicking myself for the unfortunate series of events that started with my stint in WoW.  I probably should have been playing DAOC instead.  My only knock on it so far is that the PR purports there to be a number of hybrid classes.  I see a few heavy and light tanks that can heal, and some light tanks that can cast spells, but I don’t see any sign of a true hybrid class there.  Something cross-genre, like Shadowbanes Channelers, who start life either as Healers…or Mages.  Anyway, if any of you have DAOC insight, I’d love to hear about it.

How I Would Have Waged WAR…

I have to say that we all think we could do things better than they’ve been done – at least when it comes to games, or at least when it comes to a game’s vision.  So don’t take this as a criticism of WAR, a game I’ve spent a grand total of 10 minutes playing, and that 18 months ago.


I look at the classes and lore or WAR and I’m puzzled as to why they have taken the approach they have.  I mean I understand some of the design choices.  It seems like everything they have done has hinged on making WAR revolve around the RvR and PvP mechanic.  So, with that as your lynchpin, you do need to balance the classes on each side (which WAR has done by duplicating ten different mechanics across the two armies), as well as races and territories.

But as a tabletop Warhammer player, I would have loved to see the lore of the world explored and utilized more.  Let’s take the high elves for example, since I play them in tabletop.  In WAR, your elf has four choices for gameplay – a tank, a ranged dps, a healer, and a pet class.  Now I don’t have beef with the way they have executed the lore – there is alot to suggest that HE mages know healing as well as anything else.  But in game terms, you have lords, heroes, core troops, special troops, and rare troops.  In WAR those four classes represent a lord and three different special troop choices!  And quite frankly, leaves out the choices that lore wise would make for the best tanks (Phoenix Guard, Dragon Princes) and the best ranged dps (Archers, Ellyrian Reavers, Dragon Mages).  Not to mention that in a game that features “four tiers” so prominently, the lore of the game already is leading you towards this advancement pattern:

(core > special > rare > lord/hero)!

So if you want to limit the roles, you could still do that and better incorporate the lore of the world.  And I don’t know how to show you that other than to show you what I would have done.

Every elf starts out as a recruit, even high born ones.  And they serve in one of three branches – the Spearmen, the Archers, or the Sea Guard (hybrid spear/bow marines). Then they move on to more specialized army choices if they are professionals, and eventually advance to leadership.  Leadership becomes a key word especially in RvR battles, where players should be taking part in the action as heroes and leaders, and not as slogging foot grunts.

Since WAR also seems to want to keep the spec trees that WOW introduced (I prefer the 7 way splits in EQ2 or alternate 3 ways from EQOA myself), that should be a part of the advancement as well.  Another thing is the tendency to let casters ebb and flow from dps to heal.  That has been taken into account also.

So you have Recruit > Veteran > Specialist > Hero.  Or for a specific flow, how about this:

I. Archer (dps)

II. Hawkeye

IIIa. Reaver (ranged spec)

IVa. Harbinger

IIIb. Shadow Warrior (melee spec)

IVb. Shadow-Walker

I. Spearman (tank)

II. Sentinel

IIIa. Phoenix Guard (shield spec)

IV. Keeper of the Flame

IIIb. Swordmaster of Hoeth (2h weapon spec)

IV. Bladelord

I. Novice (caster)

II. Mage

IIIa. Warden of Caledor (damage spec)

IV. Dragon Mage

IIIb. Loremaster of Hoeth (healing spec)

IV. Archmage

The idea here is that you choose the archetype, and learn its basic mechanis for Tier I.  At Tier II, you open up the remainder of the archetypes powers/abilities.  At Tier III, you choose a direction to tailor the archetype more closely to your playstyle, and at Tier IV, you unlock the full potential of the spec you have chosen. 

It keeps the lore more closely tied to what it should be – in particular, Shadow Warriors, who, while they have bows – are not a ranged combat unit.  They are scouts and skirmishers, used to screen the main battle line until the heavy hitters can arrive.  In fact, in tabletop use, their function is most closely associated with what in an MMO would be a tank!  Not to mention the White Lions, who do not at any time train lions for their personal use.  On the rare occasion that they are domesticated, they are put to use pullin the rare white lion chariot, not as a personal pet.

Why in the world you would include a pet central class in a PvP/RvR game is beyond me anyway.  WOW, and now AOC, have struggled to balance out pet classes because of the inherent weakness they bring to PvP.

One more day to open beta downloads.  Good luck to Mythic’s servers withstanding that tide, eh?

Ask and ye shall receive.

So I was whining about no MMO demos.  Publically.  Which means of course that I would have to be put to shame in some public form.

So I’m going over the two questions with my brother last night and he says “Well, maybe we should do the open Beta.  Its only 99 cents at Target.”

Who knew?  So today I picked up my copy of open beta for WAR.  Now I saw a very bitter post about paying to play beta some time ago in the gaming world, but I’m pretty sure it was aimed at Vanguard, and lets be honest, they didn’t exactly warn you ahead of time that you were paying for a (second) open beta that essentially occured post launch.   Frankly, I don’t mind paying for beta with an MMO, if it means a smoother and better launch for the company, and if it means I get a feel for the game in advance.

I did do beta for EQOA: Frontiers, and it was a mixed experience for me.  On the one hand, I was diligant, logging bugs and making suggestions, and playing the new stuff and enjoying every minute of it.  On the other hand, it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.  Everyone knew that the new armor graphics were crappy.  Nobody wanted their dark elf to be wearing fragging jedi robes.  Especialy when they had spent hours farming a rare mob for that rare black or orange or whatever robe, only to discover that the new graphics also included changing the colors of the robes.  My Elf Magician went from wearing an awesome embroidered blue robe that I had worked hard to get my grubby hands on, to wearing a brown POS padawan outfit.   So you knew the bad was coming, and there was nothing you could do to stop it.  Well, except leave.  Which I did.

Anyway, so my brother reiterated all that I did about the pros and cons of jumping on the WAR bandwagon.  He also pointed out two new things.

One: The Two Questions are interelated.  Because I can’t afford a Station Pass AND a WAR subscription.

Two:  The economy is another really good reason to get in on the ground floor of a game.   In EQ2 we struggled to make ends meet and keep decent armor and weapons equipped because the prices were so inflated.  This is not helped by the insanely crappy quest rewards in EQ2.  To get any sort of decent quest reward you *have* to be farming one of the group areas.  Not smart, IMHO.

To start WAR from the beginning means a chance to stay ahead of that curve, and that’s attractive.

Two Questions

I’m sure you’re all dying to know some background, but lets get this thing jumpstarted eh?

Two questions linger on my mind right now as a gamer.

The first is whether or not to continue my Sony Station Pass.  I bit the bullet and tried it out this month, and I have enjoyed being able to play all the games at one time.  But…its just plain expensive!  And part of the draw was being able to game hop with my brother, but he hasn’t gotten alot of playing time in lately.

The second is what to do about WAR.  I’m a John Doe gamer.  I don’t buy games at launch just to check them out, and I sure as hell do not drop $40 without seeing or hearing some high quality and quantity of testimony, usually in the form of my own – as in, give me a freakin’ demo already.  But we all know that demos are rare as hen’s teeth in the early life of an MMO, and probably for alot of good reasons (but none that I as a consumer/gamer care about or think are legitimate).

There is a solid part of me that says “pass” and wants to wait until I can try a demo or get some feedback from somewhere.  The past year of updates on WAR have been wholely unpositive in nature.  Every announcement that comes out it seems has to do with another delay or an apology for dropping another promised feature.  Nothing good or extra has been announced!  That is not a good sign for starting an MMO.

Prominent among this is class cuts – which is what nailed the coffin lid down on AoC for me.  No Lich?  No cash from me, sorry.  I do understand that there was probably a bizarre need for symmetry (4 class each for 3 races per 2 sides) that some desk jockey came up with and the design team finally scrapped, but…its still not kosher in my book.  Back the game up another six months and deliver on what you have promised.

Same goes for capital cities.  Have these people played an MMO before?  Are they insane?  Do they seriously think they can fit half of the population of any given server into one city and not have technical issues?

And then there’s the system requirements.  I’m sorry, but if you want to be a contender for most popular MMO, you can’t have high end system requirements, and that, my friends, is exactly what WAR has announced.  Specifically, you cannot put your game in every teenager in America/Europe/Asia’s home if your game comes with a 128MB video card requirement!  The kid who has the money to have a gaming rig will go – “hey you should come play war with me” and the other kid goes “cool, what do I need” and the first kid says “a couple of hundred dollars of upgrades to your PC” and the other kid goes “LOLWUT”  Get the picture?

Beyond that there’s just something twitchy about putting such a high charisma guy in as your creative director.  It sounds good on stage, but it also has a salesman’s patter behind it.

Moreover, I’ve discovered over the years in the MMO’s I’ve played that I enjoy swiss army knife/jack of all trades utility characters.  And those characters do not exist in WAR (or in AoC either to back up a step).  In fact there seems to be very little utility skills present in the game from what I’ve read in the WAR FAQ.


I’m also intrigued.  As a table top Warhammer and 40k player, its almost too much to resist.  And I do like some of the innovations that have been promised (there’s that key word again).  But perhaps more than anything is the draw of community.

See the video requirements are a two edged sword, and the good news is less AOL kiddy speak on servers when you need some techno-savvy to play the game.  Not to mention the insane rush of game blogger support that will be present at server launch.  I’ve never been in on the frontside of an MMO, and I’m wondering if now would be a good time to have that experience.  At least I’ll get a good bit of support and come in from day one in an active and thriving guild.  And that’s got to be worth something ($40?) right?