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Well before I get off on a rant – I suppose I’ll start with the basics. I’ve played just about every US-released MMO since EQ1, beta testing most, heavily PVPing (successfully I might add) where applicable. I unfortunately did not get to participate in Closed Beta for WAR, but played about 30 hours over the weekend (I was excited, what can I say.) This will be a long, detailed, and hopefully informative post regarding WAR. I’ll try my best to label it so those not interested in some parts can skip around easily.
My Rig is a Boot-camped IMAC, Windows XP, 2.4 Dual Core Processor. ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO Card – I run dual displays, however WAR was kept to one window, 1680x1050 resolution, full screen. 2Gigs of Ram. Aside from the standard equipment coming with the computer – I’d like to add that ideally, this computer is the furthest thing from what the developers were probably considering when they developed the game and its compatibility.
That being said, I experienced ONE Crash to Desktop (CTD) all weekend. Ironically, it was the first time I loaded the game. I laughed, reloaded the game, and not once in over 30 hours of playtime did it happen again. I realize – as Mythic has acknowledged – that CTDing is a common problem – I’d just like to state its not everyone experiencing it, clearly, and its not a compatibility issue, as my rig spec.’s would indicate. Also, I’d like to note that not once in grouping, RVRing, or anywhere else did I notice, or hear a complaint that someone CTD’d. I grouped extensively for PQ’s, and obviously RVR scenario’s which I’ll touch on later down the line.
The game ran smooth, save during extended sessions of more than 2 hours. After which, the game starts to bog down, and FPS slowly creeps lower to the point where you almost can’t play the game as it gets so choppy. Closing the game, and reopening it fixes this, I’m going to assume it’s a memory leak or some other issue of that caliber, and not discuss it further as it’s a simple, yet annoying remedy, and will most likely be fixed in short order.
Regardless of what was on screen, I never noticed a drop in FPS (Frames per second) in any scenario, open RVR battlefield, or the like. The game ran fluidly 100% of the time, except during longer sessions, when a reboot of the software was necessary to continue playing after 3 hours or so.
In game, there are a few issues to be worked out. First of all pathing for the entire weekend was completely destroyed. Pets wouldn’t make it to their targets (or would take forever to get there), enemy NPC’s would stop running, run away then toward, or just flat out stand there while you smashed them. This really isn’t an issue, as I understand pathing has worked in the past and Mythic’s already provided us with an explanation as to why the pathing is so screwed up. However this weekend, I couldn’t test any of the pet classes accurately (save for engineers who have stationary pets), simply because if the pet doesn’t have a ranged attack, it’ll almost never make it to the target before you kill it yourself. Disappointing at best. Mythic took responsibility and hats off to them for doing so.
Next to speak of is the cooldown issue with skills. I should state that I am 100% for a global cooldown on every skill. It keeps combat at a slower pace, and actually involves strategy instead of chaining keys together every half second to effectively kill your target. If the GCD (Global cooldown) was lifted, the game’s combat would speed up, and greatly hamper the balance and playability of RVR scenarios.
Now that I’ve touched on the GCD, there’s something to be said about the accuracy of the cooldown displays. The most frustrating thing this weekend for me, by FAR, was the inaccuracy of the cooldown animations – resulting in wasted abilities that never went off, and yet somehow were cooling down again. This is tough to explain in words, so I’ll give a scenario. I trigger ability #1, a long range attack. The cooldown of 3 seconds starts. I then run up to another target, and trigger ability #2, a melee attack, as soon as the cooldown animation says my abilities are available for use. Ability not available is the message displayed on the screen; I guess I acted too soon! The global cooldown will trigger AGAIN even though the ability wasn’t used (it wasn’t ready) and god forbid the ability had a longer than 3 second cooldown, as you would need to wait the ability’s full cooldown time, even though it wasn’t ready to use in the first place. Frustrating, gets you killed often if you rely on heals, and really reduces your effectiveness.
This needs to be fixed, immediately, even though the remedy is for the player to just slow their button mashing down a bit. Long story short, I’m OK with an ability not being ready. If it’s not ready, the cooldown should CONTINUE, NOT START OVER AGAIN. Seems simple enough, right? I thought so, apparently Mythic didn’t. Owell.
The interface is very accommodating to players, allowing you to customize it in a variety of ways, or simply move things around to you liking. It’s easy to use as well, and aside from the cooldown animation problems stated above, it runs fluidly without problems or causes for concern.
Probably what everyone wants to hear about the most, I played most classes I tested to between level 10 and 13. I probably NPC’d 1/3 of the time, and RVR’d the rest. RVR is a VERY lucrative way to level and make money in the game, as player kills give you decent experience and far more money-per-kill then a NPC will. Truth be told, I had almost a gold saved up after buying all my equipment and abilities on each character by the time I moved onto the next one.
This will, of course, vastly be affected by your skill in pvp. If you die a lot, don’t do much damage, don’t heal, and don’t complete objectives, you won’t get your share of the loot, simple as that. RVR is VERY well thought out in terms of rewards, achievements don’t go too fast, and by no means do they accumulate too slowly – however, I do think the amount dropped in RVR needs to be lowered 5-10%. There’s just no reason I should have that much money at level 10. Perhaps this is attributed to my playing ability of the classes I chose, often being on top of the damage/healing meters at the end of the game, with few deaths. Again, this experience varies greatly based on your ability to play your chosen class.
It’s a really nice way to say things; “Ability to play your chosen class.” I’ll just come out and say it, either you suck, or you don’t. There’s not much of a middle line to walk in WAR. Players who take the time to understand their class and its capability, as well as their opponents potential and likely actions will excel in this game, and it will be noticed. Players who just want to run around and kill people, not pay attention to their surroundings, not learn the classes . . . if you suck at PVP and have no desire to get better by learning, you won’t have fun in this game. You’ll die, often, and people will laugh at you. I honestly think this is the result of many posts on these forums. Bad PVPers who are frustrated and need to take it out somewhere. No one class is overpowered, no one class has a mega advantage, and no side is more powerful than the other.
Regardless of what classes are fielded, what scenario you are in, or what you’re trying to capture/kill, the side with the players who better understand their classes and its capabilities will always, always win in WAR – UNLESS – they are severely outnumbered, or run across some bad luck (IE: the opposition rolls 60 critical hits in a row, etc).
Let me break down a few of the classes I tried this weekend:
Warrior Priest – Listed as a Healer in WAR – this class uses its melee capability to build points used to heal, either itself or its allies. That being said, this class really isn’t about healing and keeping people alive. It’s a class that requires a lot of attention to play correctly and to its fullest potential. Melee a bit, toss a heal, keep fighting, repeat. A well skilled warrior priest can keep himself and a handful of allies alive in the thick of battle.
Because your healing abilities take points (divine power) to use, therefore, if you want to heal, you also have to melee. This isn’t always true – because there is an ability they can use to transfer their action points into prayer points, however that takes 5 seconds of which they must be stationary and concentrating, and costs them the action points they need to activate any skill, its also noted that in the middle of a battle, if you take a knee, you’re going to get swarmed and beat down. It’s nice to be able to refill your prayer points before you start a fight, that’s what this ability is for. Never use it mid battle if there’s anything close to you. They’ll know you’re running low on prayer points AND action points (Since it takes some to use the ability), and come running for you.
I’ll use a scale of 1-10 to elaborate ability (1 lowest)
Advantage: Ability to heal (6) and deal melee damage (6), along with the ability to take damage (5), makes this character VERY difficult to kill when in the right hands, his melee DPS also makes him a threat to whatever is around him and not managing to kill him.
Disadvantage: Ranged Damage ability (2), need to melee to keep up points to heal – which really isn’t a problem, as long as you’re meleeing.
Bright Wizard / Sorceress – Ranged DPS – DPS is really not the term to use here, as these characters, essentially mirrors of each other aside from some minor differences, are really burst damage dealers. You’ll see what I mean when one builds up enough power to critically hit you for half your wounds from afar. If you’re lucky, and good at keeping pace with your abilities and their side-effects on yourself, this is the class to play.
Did I just mention lucky in the same article as I did skill? I did. That’s because these classes get stronger with each spell cast. Stronger as their crit chance, and crit damage DRASTICALLY IMPROVE with each spell cast. Drawback? If they push it too far, and let their respective improvements build up too much, their chances of a backfire increase (to as much as 50% at its peak) which will cause a decent chunk of damage to the caster, usually around 30-40% of their total wounds each backfire (at max build up).
The good news is, if you manage to survive long enough to get close to one of them, these classes go down faster then a drunk virgin on prom night. The bad news? There’s no way most classes will survive 3-4 critical hits at max buildup from these classes – however it’s fairly likely the caster won’t survive it either.
Advantage: Ranged DPS (10 – easily the best in the game), good utility of DOT, AOE, and DD spell types to pick from. Mind your buildup, and you’ll be fine.
Disadvantage: Blowing yourself up (hilarious, I might add, 6), and what I like to call the Compton gangbang effect (Defensive capability, 3). A wizard not paying attention to where he is, and how easily his enemies can get to him, will get swarmed and dropped before he gets a spell off. It’s not brain surgery for anyone fighting you a second time to figure out leaving you alive is a bad thing, keep yourself safe and stay behind as many people/objects as you can.
Squig Herder – Ranged DPS, Pet Class – If you’re looking for a versatile character that has a literal menagerie of goons (squigs) at his disposal, look no further. By releasing his pets, squig’s, he can supplement his ranged damage with other effects like an AOE pet, a Melee pet, and some other nifty combinations. I didn’t have time to really test the effectiveness of the pets, as pathing is so broken they don’t even keep up with you, or really make it to your target(s).
Knowing your abilities, which pet to use, and whats around you really makes this class a threat to be taken with considerable caution. They use a bow and have a multitude of shots to use against ranged targets (including snare shots, and shots that cannot be blocked), as well as some mediocre melee ability to deal with anything up close. It should be noted that the ranged ability of this class far surpasses its melee capability, and by far, I mean don’t bother meleeing unless you are pinned into a corner and have to.
Advantages: Versatility (9), Ranged DPS (7.5)
Disadvantages: Little to no Damage Mitigation (3.5), Lower Wounds (4) Non-existent melee defenses (2)
Ironbreaker – Tank – Note the word tank. Replace it with Monster. Not only because of your ability to soak up damage from your high wound count (easily 25-40 % higher then other classes of comparable level) but your ability to mitigate damage with your shield, armor level, and toughness statistic (which directly reduces damage taken by a decent %). Bump up toughness, grab some armor, and you can walk around doing almost anything you want. NPC’s really can’t touch you due to their abysmally low DPS, and even PC’s will have a problem damaging you, with a decent healer around, you will find it hard to die, even if you wanted to.
Don’t be surprised by its ability to take damage, when engaging it in closes quarters, the Ironbreaker has a decent list of melee abilities to buff itself, and its Oath Friend as well (if its within 40 feet). Whats an Oath Friend? An Ironbreaker can pick one person (in their current group only) to take an oath friend position. This accomplishes two things: First, some of the ironbreakers abilities will bolster his oath friend as well. Second, when an oath Friend takes damage, the Ironbreaker gains grudges (up to a max of 100). Every time the Ironbreaker gets hit, he gains 5 grudges, if the oath friend gets hit, he gains 10. Grudges (G’s) are only used by certain abilities.
For instance, one of the first abilities you’ll get uses 10 G’s and gives you +your Oath Friend a toughness boost (even more damage reduction) for 15 seconds, also dealing some damage to the target. However, G’s aren’t used by ALL your abilities; some abilities just become better if you have them. For instance, at levels 4 and 5, you get your bread and butter melee skills. The first is a snare that does pathetic damage with 0 G’s. At 100G’s, it does considerable damage over time, snares the target to 40% run speed, and stays on them for 15 seconds. The second ability does laughable damage at 0G’s, and continues to do almost no damage for 3 seconds – at 100G’s, the ability hits considerably hard, and does almost twice its initial damage again, over the remaining 3 seconds.
If you enjoy running around, smashing things, and generally laughing at things that try to kill you, this is your class. However keep in mind that your melee damage is sub par to most other classes, and that you have no way to close the gap between yourself and another class quickly. Remember the Bright Wizard and Sorceress listed above? They’ll be a problem if they spot you and know you can’t get to them quickly. You can bolster your resistances with accessories and buffs, but ranged damage really puts the hurt on you after awhile, even with all that damage mitigation. Also, because you live forever, you’ll find yourself with about 30 debuff’s on you when you actually do get taken down. Meaning that for your last moments, you’ll pretty much be standing there unable to do anything because of how disabled you’ve become from enemy debuff spells and skills.
Advantages: High Wounds Count (9), Damage Mitigation (9), Ability to bolster other group mates as well as yourself (7) Great for locking down other tanks with their snare ability, and dealing some melee dps (5).
Disadvantages: Unable to quickly engage ranged DPS, Unable to self heal, limited range on abilities.
ArchMage – Ranged Healer/DPS – In terms of aggravating, the ArchMage has redefined the term several times over.
I put ranged in the description of the class up there for a reason. If you try and melee, or sit in melee range as an ArchMage, you’ll find yourself going down almost as fast as the Bright Wizard and/or Sorceress. Even though you can heal, your healing abilities are PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE. What does this mean? If you’re an Archmage and you haven’t thrown a heal at yourself yet, and see that you’re at half wounds – congratulations, you’re dead. Don’t heal with this character thinking you’ll keep people alive waiting for them to take damage. If you see someone’s charging you, or that your group mate is about to get jumped, throw your heal(s) overtime (HOT) early and keep in mind when they are wearing off (they have decent enough durations where healing with this class isn’t a job as it is a hobby.) Managed correctly, if you can bolster your wounds enough to supplement even part of the damage coming from an enemy combatant, you’ll have more than enough time to kill them.
ArchMages use a system of dark and light magic to manage their spell use. Cast a heal, get a dark point, cast a damaging spell, get a light point (They aren’t actually called dark and light, I’m just using it for ease of understanding). One school enhances the other. Enhancements can be in the form of casting speed, effectiveness, or both – as well as a few spells that have extra effects depending on what points you have when they are cast.
Points cap at 5 for either dark or light, and you can never have points for both. If you’ve got 3 light points, and cast a heal, it uses all 3 points. Your next healing spell would give you a dark point. Or your next damage spell would give you a total of one light point.
An example of a scenario involving a ArchMage, and an opponent. I see that I’m about to get engaged by a melee class. I’ve got some time, so I’m going to stack my damage-over-time DOT spells on him as he runs towards me. Three spells, all instant cast, stacked on the target as he runs towards me. I’ve built up 3 light points now, from the 3 damage spells I’ve cast. He’s almost on top of me now, I’m going to cast my heal over time spell, which is enhanced from the 3 light points I’ve accumulated. I’ll then cast another healing spell on myself, giving me 1 dark point. I’ll refresh a DOT on the target, because I’ve got the dark point to spend. I’ll then use a Direct Damage (DD) spell on him, since my DOT spells are still cooling down. I’ll refresh the DOTS as they cool down. I’ve now got 4 light points. I re-stack my HOT on me, spending the light points. I’m still at full health, my target it dead. Weaving between damage and healing effectively negated the incoming damage, while enhancing my outgoing damage. And hey, I didn’t have to hurt myself just to get my damage up either (like a sorceress/wizard would take the chance doing).
What’s the downside to this character as long as you stay at range, you may ask. In truth, aside from other ranged damage dealers, and the possibility of a sorceress’s critical hit with a bigger spell, there isn’t one. However, its noted that other ranged damage dealers will out damage you easily – and that you have a slightly lower wound total. Other Ranged Damage doesn’t out damage you because you don’t have the capability to deal damage, but because your damage is done over time, most other classes deal their damage directly and over time, or just directly. Since your heals aren’t very direct at all (one direct heal can’t even be case if you’re getting hit), it’s hard to keep up.
Keeping at range, and knowing when to withdraw is key with this character. As is knowing what you can, and cannot kill without a prolonged fight. The longer you fight, the stronger most other classes get, and the better the chances of one of their friends coming along for some tag-team action on you. Also to be noted, this is the ONLY character I’ve played that has actually run out of action points in a fight. Most of your spells are instantly casted, that coupled with your need to weave between two types of spells for better effects = a lot of casting, sometimes you’ll find yourself unable to cast anything for a second or two, waiting for your action points to build back up. If that’s the case, start running and toss a HOT on yourself when you can. It only takes about 2 seconds to charge back up and be back in the fight. Spend it wisely, running like a little girl.
Every class in this game has a very unique playstyle, and finding one that’s accustomed to your preferences is key. I highly suggest you play every class, until AT LEAST LEVEL 10, before you make a decision on what you do and don’t like. Take a few minutes to check out a trainer and view your skills, see what’s in store for you throughout your career.
I say level 10 because automatically, when you RVR, your level will be raised to 8 if you’re subordinate to that. You’ll get a skill and stat increase (Unlike AOC which said you did – but you didn’t.) and from there you can test out your RVRability. However, even if your level was raised from 2 to 8, you’ll still be missing skills from levels 3-8, which will completely change your character and the way it plays.
Aside from your main career and its levels, you also get RP’s for PVPing (Indicated by a purple bar under your XP bar at the top of the screen. RP’s allow you access to gear, and a subset of abilities which can improve your character in various ways. Once you achieve a rank (or 4) from RVRing, you can make your way to your closest warcamp, and train your RP abilities, as well as acquire some of the best gear for your level for a meager amount of money – the money you make from RVR scenario’s will easily pay for your level 4 RVR gear by the time you can use it, pending you don’t suck at PVP and die constantly.
Your warcamp is located in any starting area. Hit the M key, open your map. There should be an area you’re currently in, revealed on the map, of course – and an area with some crossed swords and obvious other PVP markings. Close to that, probably on a road – is your warcamp. Make your way there, train your RP, and buy your RVR equipment – its better then 90% of the PQ – public quest – rewards for the area, and affordable by the time you can actually wear it (RP rank 4). PVP ranks and Character ranks (levels) are completely independent. This is the easiest and best way to equip your low-level character. It will make an ENORMOUS difference in your statistics and damage. Do this.
PQ’s are something I talked about, and now that I’m 8 pages into this and tired, I’ll touch on them briefly – Public Quests take place in areas designated in every zone, which reward players dealing tons of damage with sub-par equipment (I’ve never seen something better then the RVR gear drop, someone showed me a piece he said he got from a PQ that was ONE stat point better than my RVR hammer. I don’t believe he got it from a PQ, but anyway.)
PQ’s also give you nifty little group opportunities to experience the NPC battles (which can admittedly be EXTREMELY EASY, but very cool). They’re easy because NPC’s currently can’t get to you to hit you, and/or they do laughable damage. Even at = levels, NPC’s really can’t kill you without some help or luck. By luck I mean you being afk, or asleep. If you have a level or two on the NPC you’re trying to kill, you’ll annihilate it easily, no questions asked. However like I said, the rewards vary and can be useful, but generally aren’t nearly as good as the RVR equipment available at the warcamps.
I’d like to add that RVR Rank 4 probably takes 3 scenario’s to achieve, pending again that you aren’t an awful PVPer. Scenario’s are RVR minigames taking place in closed off zones, that are level appropriate for their participants. They are very innovative and cool, and I won’t spoil them for anyone who’s managed this endurance test of a post thus far.
Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment/correct/question/scream at me for writing something this long.
More to come on the classes when I’ve got time to play a few more of them.
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