A Farewell to Warhammer Online

Now it’s time for a farewell to Warhammer Online. My purpose was to give it a try while I waited for my World of Warcraft disks. For a while I played both at the same time, but in the end I knew I’d have to pick one of the two because I wasn’t going to pay for both. My final decision was to go with World of Warcraft, for several reasons.

I’m going to cancel my Warhammer Online account and see if I can get a refund of my unused time (not holding my breath on that), and will just move over to playing WoW full time. Warhammer Online had some good things going for it, but in the end it was the things I didn’t like that killed it for me.

The Good

1. PVP – (also called RVR in WHOL). One big team vs. another in a huge area fighting for control of objectives and keeps. Very nice game play. I liked that if you wanted PvP, you entered those areas. If you didn’t, you stayed out. However, almost the whole point of the game was to enter these RVR areas and duke it out with opposing faction players. I always had fun, except at the first tier (level 1-10) where so called twinks ruled. These were players on the endless free trial who had gear that was way out of line with their level. That was annoying because when they entered the field, you could just hang it up and go home.

2. Public Quests – These were quests on a timer that anyone could join in. Everyone who participated was scored on their level of participation and success with a random number tacked on. The ones who scored highest at the end of the quest (if successful) got better loot. I liked public quests very much.

3. Elves – unlike WoW, elves in WHOL have normal elf ears, not the donkey handlebar ears you find in WoW. A minor point but it still annoys me about WoW.

4. The world, background and history. Incredible, naturally. Warhammer has a long history and this rich background was brought over to the online game and really shows.

The Bad

1. Class Specialization – each race has access to a specific class which is not available to other races. Each class has special abilities and they are unique to that class and race. Now, it’s true that each mechanic used by the class has an equivalent in the other class. For example, the Bright Wizard mechanic of building up fire energy is mirrored in the Dark Elf Blackguard who builds up Hate. But Bright Wizard is a ranged DPS class while Blackguard is a tank class. One of the main complaints I heard over and over was that the classes were unbalanced.

My preference is for a generic class (warrior, for example) playable by any race and let each races innate abilities color how it’s played. This was a problem for me.

2. Server selection – Let’s face it. Warhammer didn’t make it big like everyone hoped it would. Currently the game is limited to four servers and has no signs of getting more. There were undoubtedly plans for expansions and additions, which probably had to be shelved when it didn’t succeed. I didn’t want to hitch my wagon to a falling star and have to leave it as things go worse and worse.

3. Graphics – The graphics load on my computer was worse than WoW. It tried to be much more realistic than WoW, and that was nice, but slowed things down for me unless I turned most of the cool graphics down. In huge fights, it was just terrible. Framerates were low, and lag was really bad.

4. Focus – with a focus on RVR (aka PVP), it’s my opinion that gear should not be what makes a character better than another, but rather the abilities one takes vs. abilities your opponent takes. Sure, gear can make a difference, but I found it was a huge difference.

In the end, WoW has more good things going for it than bad, and like I said, I’m only going to spend my money on one of these games. I chose WoW.

I Am Iron Man! An RVR Tactic

I think it was because we were trying to flip all keeps and battle objectives over as quickly as possible. We tried a tactic where we took one BO, then move on to take the other immediately. Once we took that one, we move back to the first one to wait for the defense tick (that’s where you have to defend an objective for x minutes and get renown when the time is up and it hasn’t been taken away from you). We then ran quickly to the second BO and got the defense tick on that one. Normally you take a BO and wait for the defense tick, around two or three minutes, then you go to the other BO, take it and wait for that defense tick. Doing both at the same time basically cut the time almost in half. Apparently, this tactic is called Iron Man (from the athletic event).

Well, I had resolved by then to make my SW, Sywyn, my main character , so I left Grimsieg in a warcamp an now I’m playing Sywyn full time. Nice thing about Sywyn is his Renown Rank is nearly the same as his Regular Rank. This means his gear is probably as good as can be, right now. I need to continue to earn medallions in RVR, so I can buy the best gear if I don’t happen to earn it in the chests.

Fixing on the Main Character

This weekend I decided that my main character for WHOL is going to be Sywyn the shadow warrior. I resolved to spend all of my effforts getting him leveled up to 40 before I spend any time on other characters. I need more practice at the kind of fighting SWs are supposed to do, i.e. hit and run. He’s getting picked off by Destro characters he should be able to take out. I put this down to lack of skill on my part, but remember that he is a ranged DPS character and isn’t intended to fight in close.

One nice thing he does have is all the available RVR gear you can get in Tier 2. My Bright Wizard Grimsieg wasn’t as fortunate. I’m talking about the special equipment you can get from the quartermaster or in drops when you successfully attack a keep. You have to get all your influence in the RVR lakes, which means you basically need to spend all your time in RVR.

My plan is to put Sywyn straight into RVR at each tier until he has filled up the influence for each t ier, and has the required renown, then hhave him run through the public quests and fill them up for each chapter in the Empire at least, maybe into other areas depending on whether he’s leveled enough in regular rank. Hopefully this plan works out.

My Bow Goes Pew Pew! I Love Rapid Fire

My shadow warrior, Sywyn, finally got rapid fire and it is my favorite ability right now. Shooting off ten or more shots in rapid succession is pretty awesome. I can tell I’m causing some damage too, because the opposing faction is always targeting Sywyn as soon as he starts using it on people. I can imagine the frantic cries for help from people who’s health is getting hammered and them telling people to target that damned elf, he’s killing me! Soon after than around four or five people are shooting at Sywyn and he usually has to duck under cover. But… that’s five people shooting at me instead of everyone else on my team, like spellcasters or especially healers.

The real kicker is that Sywyn has an ability that can kick in after he’s been shooting a while that will double his damage for X seconds. When I use that and my Rapid Fire, spellcasters take dirt naps. I look for spellcasters or healers mostly, and ignore tanks unless they’re the only target I have. Actually, the first thing I look for are squig herders. I hate them with a hate that cannot be described. Anyway, my choice of targets seems to have made me a priority target for Destro, which means I’m probably doing something right.

Last night I logged on for a bit and was very happy to get several greetings and an immediate invitation to a warband. People seem to know Sywyn and want him in their warband, which is very gratifying. That evening we spent at Barak Var defending the keep from a very determined attack. I went up and started working the oil, which I’d never done before. It was a blast! There’s a lot of fun to be had dropping boiling oil on hapless besiegers and getting a combat message that you’ve finished off one or two players each time you drop the oil. I did this for hours as the siege went on and on, and got two renown ranks out of it in the end going from 16 to 18. It gave him some interesting new abilities and now I’m running out of room on my number keypad for them.

Finally, Sywyn was promoted in his Guild (The Booty Brigade) from Hiney to Pioneer, so he’s no longer a noob member.

Trying Out Dark Side Characters

For a while now, I’ve been playing characters in the Order faction. I have my elf, Sywyn, my Bright Wizard, Grimsieg, etc. Recently I decided to try out some Destruction faction characters and see how they play. I like to have a few different characters around, in case I get bored with one. Having a few backups from a very different background can keep things from getting stale and tedious.

The same player can’t have characters from Order and Destruction on the same server in WHOL. I think it may have something to do with preventing spying or other nefarious activities, since the main activity of the server is fighting battles between factions and there is a real possibility that a betrayal could seriously hamper one or the other sides. I chose the Badlands server for my Destro Horde. I had a character on Badlands from a long time ago, a marauder I deleted because he annoyed me.

Now I have about five new characters in total and have played them all up to a few Ranks each, to get a feel for them. Now I can switch between Order and Destruction and keep things relatively fresh.

I have a couple of dark elves, a sorcerer and blackguard, a couple of humans, magus and chosen, and an orc choppa. No healers because honestly I don’t like playing them. I don’t think I’m very good at them.

I chose a dark elf because I wanted one of those cool looking T-Rex mounts.

Finally, I need to pick a main character for each server. For order I think I’ll be going with Sywyn the Shadow Warrior. He was the first character I’ve created, even though my BW Grimsieg is now higher level. He’s advancing evenly in Renown and Rank, which I like.

On Badlands, I don’t know which one I’ll pick as my main character. Maybe Zakzak the Chosen. Probably the sorcerer because I want the dino-mount.

The “Oh Shit!” Moment in Warhammer Online

My “OH SHIT!!!” Moment

Yesterday I had my first real OH SHIT! moment in Warhammer Online. My SW (Shadow Warrior), Sywyn was in Ostland looking for the Order warband. My Party window showed nothing in the area, but it looked like there was just a battle at the Crypt of Weapons, so off I headed. Looked empty, but everyone might have been inside, so in I went. Got all the way in to the BO (Battlefield Objective, a flag) and no one was here, so I started to come out.

On my way out, I ran in to a pack of Destro (Destruction players) who were just coming in to take the objective. We met right at one of the openings and I saw them as I came around the corner.

I stopped.

They stopped.

We looked at each other.

I thought (and said out loud), “Oh Shit.”

They realized I was alone and this wasn’t a trap and piled through the opening.

I ran.

They chased.

I got some licks in.

They wasted me in about 4 seconds.

I chuckled all night at us standing staring at each other in confusion through the doorway.

The More I Play, The More I Learn. Getting Better at Warhammer Online

My SM (Swordmaster), Eldorion, made it to Rank 16 and RR (Renown Rank) 13 this weekend. My BW (Bright Wizard), Grimsieg (sorry Marty) made it to Rank 19 and RR 13. This tells me, and probably the more experienced WHOL (Warhammer Online) players that I’m neglecting RVR. I realized this too, and its just one more thing I’m learning. I think it’s going to be too late to get his RR anywhere near his regular rank before I’m forced to go to the next Tier, but now I know.

From what I’ve seen, the free gear you get from treasure chests in the RVR lakes is much better than what you get for completing the PQs (Public Quests). Heck, even the stuff you can buy based on your Renown Rank is better. Again, I’m learning this. Now I know. Next time I’ll run the PQs after I get my RR gear for the tier. I’ve seen 40th level people in Tier 2 PQs, so I figure that’s what everyone else is doing.

The more I play, the more I learn. I should really take a look for some sort of guide to RVR and just playing WHOL in general.

Learn the Lingo! How to Speak Warhammer Online

I’ve noticed there is a lot of lingo and abbreviations used on WHOL.

Capping the BO, for example, means right clicking on a battlefield objective to take ownership of it.

I’ve heard all kinds of other sentences uttered, almost entirely using abbreviations and have no clue what was being said. I’m going to have to take a look online for some kind of glossary of terms so I’ll know what the hell people are saying.

Right now I just follow the crowd in the RVR Lakes until we find some people to fight.

Ordinance

Yesterday I found out about Ordinance and what they’re used for. I’ve been picking these things up and keeping them in my inventory since I started, but had no idea what they were for. One of my characters actually threw away a large batch of them, which I now kick myself for doing. Anyway, it turns out they are used to purchase the siege equipment I’m so fond of playing with.

My character (also called toons by some) is now in what’s known as Tier 2, Rank 11-21 roughly, and is gaming in Troll Country and Ostland at this time. Now, what I know about RVR is just about nothing. As I’ve said, I follow everyone else in the warband and start slinging spells at destro (Destruction) outside keeps and anywhere else. Inside a keep, I always go up the stairway to the right and wait for the enemy NPC champions to get pulled out one by one. Right now I pretty much have no idea what I’m doing.

I don’t know why we go to certain keeps or battlefield objectives at certain times, or why Destro does the same. There is some kind of timing and you can earn victory points for the zone you’re in based on a number of things I have no clue about.

Next item of business, figure out how all that works. I wonder if there’s some kind of guide to playing WHOL that I need to find and get. The answer is probably yes and yes.

Warhammer Online

I’ve been playing Warhmmer Online for abit, about to weeks now. I started because of the free trial. Mythic Entertainment had a good idea, IMHO, making a free trial that never exprires, though it has created some problem players, (more on that later). The reason I started was actually because I ordered WOW from Best Buy and it was on backorder, so I started playing Warhammer Online while I waited (I’m still waiting, incidentally).

On the Volkmar server, I started with an elven archer named Sywyn, named after one of my characters on NWN/FRC. I got him up to 10th level (the limit in the free trial), and managed to start three other characters, two elves (Archmage and Swordmaster) and a human Bright Wizard.

I’ve tried both WoW and Everquest II (the free trials), so I have a fair bit of beginners experience in MMORPGs. Regarding gameplay, user interface and mechanics, they seem pretty similar. I think people expect things to work a certain way in any of this type of game and Warhammer delivers on the basics. Of the three, I prefer WoW and Warhammer Online because they are native to Mac. Unfortunately, whenever I wanted to play Everquest, I had to boot to Windows on my Mac. The game played just fine, but if I have to choose, I’m going with one that’s Mac compatible. I understand Warhammer Online only recently made a Mac client, but since I only just started that really doesn’t affect me.

They all have quests, leveling happens in a timely manner, no too fast or too slow. In WHOL I like the storyline, that you start in the middle of a war and are put to work in the war effort. I started a destruction character as well on Badlands server, and you are similarly thrust into the invasion effort.

So far, Order is my favorite side. They seem to be outnumbered and outgunned by Destruction players at my level. It seems (from what I’m hearing) that there are free trial players who have been playing the same character for months and months, and who have incredible equipment which makes them much more powerful than the typical Order character of the same rank (10). I have to say I’ve experienced this, being on the receiving end of incredible amounts of damage from a Squig Herder and only being able to reply with about a third as much damage myself.

Still, that one thing aside, I’m having fun.

What I like –

1. Backstory – Warhammer is a very old franchise and has a rich history with incredible detail. I bought the Warhammer RPG after being aware of the miniatures game from Games Workship, and liking what I’d seen of the background story (this was way back in the late 80s and early 90s, he says, dating himself incredibly). The Warhammer RPG was full of interesting information and backstory, including characters. It was the first game with prestige classes (as far as I know, could be wrong). Your character’s career branched in and out of different classes, such as Witch Hunter, Templar Knight, etc. I was never able to play Warhammer RPG, but I still have the original book.

2. RVR – I like that player vs player fighting is team based. Everything about it encourages you to form Warbands (extended parties) and go take objectives and keeps from the enemy rather than just pointless arena fighting. I’m a little frustrated at the so called “twinks” who seem to be everywhere on the opposing side, but we probably have the same twinks on other servers. I like sieges, the rams and other siege equipment you can operate, dropping oil on the players as they try to batter down your keep door, and all of that. It’s a lot of fun, even though I have no idea what the hell I’m doing at this point. I’m sure I’ll know later.