So I spent pretty much all of my gametime this weekend in Warhammer. So far, I really like it a lot. It’s got a lot going for it, and I definitely find it more fun now than any of the other MMO’s out there. I was also somewhat amazed (again) at how cool the design is in keeping Destruction and Order on the same maps, yet segregated for realm related questing. You don’t get a lot of toadies from the other realm distracting/messing with you while you’re out doing hum-drum questing – even though there are no hard barriers keeping folks from doing this.
Friday and Saturday I spent most of my time playing my early 20’s Squig Hearder out in “Tier 3” oRvR (open realm vs. realm) areas. This was my first time out in these areas, and it was nice that there were fairly large groups of both Order and Destruction out roaming around – fun was had by all! I also logged in my Magus, who did not fair nearly as well in the same setting. A magus just takes too much time to get set-up and ready for a fight, and then he’s dead in one or two hits – so he wasn’t nearly as fun as my squiggy who can shoot his bow-n-arrows “on-the-run” and can take enough hits from the enemy to make it safely into the castle doors.
I spent most of the day Sunday leveling up a Bright Wizard on the Order side. I almost never play on my Order server, but I thought I’d at least try to get one of those characters up to level 20 or so. I think my Wiz was already level 5 and I was able to get him up to 13 or so. Not knowing where all the quests/objectives are slowed me down a bit, which was fine, since it let me take in the Order side of the house. Once I got to “Troll Country,” I was immediately “ganked” by a Champion Level Troll who was part of a public quest, right next to town. I dunno if having a PQ right in town is such a great idea. The troll was standing right next to a quest giver and he smacked me as soon as I tried to approach and get the new quest. Which brings me to my next subject…
I hate it when games cheat by design. What I mean by this is that there are some areas (several?) in Warhammer that the game “cheats” against the player, and usually this is through some kind of poor design. The aforementioned “troll incident,” is a case in point. And there are a few quests that are “designed to cheat” on the part of the game. Usually the game cheats using two consistent models – usually one or the other, but I’ve seen cases where both exploits are used:
- MOB overrun – there are so many mobs and/or the respawn rate is so fast, there’s very little chance for progress unless you are severely “over-level” for the quest, or you beg people to group with you.
- Champion Blocker – a “Champion” (mini-Boss) blocks the way, or in some other way hinders your progress. In very rare cases a “Hero” (Boss) is also wandering around and may interfere with your questing, but usually it’s not directly blocking progress. I have seen Champions directly block progress. Again the solution is to be severely over-level for the quest, or go begging for a group.
In the case of Warhammer, the banal MOB overrun is used on a distractingly frequent scale. I’ve only run into the tiresome Blockers occasionally, but enough times to notice. Both mechanics are really distracting because it forces you “out of the flow” of the game and you either drop the quest out of frustration, or come back to it much later when you can just brute-force your way through it due to being several levels above the intended quest level.
If Warhammer would stop cheating, it would be an almost perfect MMO. As it stands, it’s still one of the best on the market, and I’ve played just about everything out there. Currently I subscribe to WAR, LOTRO, EVE, and CoH. And I used to play (measured in years of play, each) DAoC, WoW, AO, Guild Wars, and AC2 (from open to close), and a few others for at least a few months each: DDO, EQ2, AoC, Neocron, so I do have quite a bit of context to base my opinion upon as a casual PvP style player. If I were to rank my top MMO games(ever) in order:
- Warhammer: Age of Reckoning (WAR)
- EVE Online (EVE)
- Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC)
- Anarchy Online (AO)
- Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO)
- Asheron’s Call 2
- City of Heroes (CoH)
- Guild Wars
- World of Warcraft (WoW)
- Everquest 2 (EQ2)