December 23, 2008 8:20 AM   Subscribe

I am thinking of trying out Warhammer Online, can anyone give me any tips?

I am an ex-WoW player thinking of giving WAR a whirl, and I am hoping to get the thoughts and opinions of any MeFites that have played the game.

Do you find the game good/fun?
How is the community?
How resource intensive is the game?
Any tips for what classes to try first?

I've read a lot of online resources about the game, what I really want is first hand information from players. FYI: I've also asked this question in the online forums for the game.
posted by Vindaloo to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This was pretty helpful when I was considering WAR. I never actually made it over there, and I heard a lot of "wowkiller" comments before it came out. It has kind of faded into the background lately though, with WotLK out and all.
posted by knowles at 8:41 AM on December 23, 2008

I played Warhammer and wound up going back to Warcraft.

The early part of the game is pretty great; they did a good job crafting an entry-level game that gets you slowly familiarized with your class and abilities, while providing some of the cultural flavor. The art direction is gorgeous, and the various races have a lot of character to them. The Public Quest system provides a function similar to the instanced dungeon system in WoW, scripted encounters with a boss or two. The rewards from these tend to be pretty decent. Early renown gear -- rewards from PvP vendors for grinding the scenarios (the local equivalent of instanced battlegrounds) -- vary widely between decent an worthless. Mythic seems to have a certain idea of how each class should be geared as a result of PvP, and varying from that strategy in any way is difficult to do.

The UI is (or was at the time I ditched the game) pretty buggy. The graphics engine mostly worked fine, although a lot of people couldn't get decent performance out of it until they jimmied their drivers to force everything to max quality. I didn't have any resource problems, but at the time I played it

I've been a month out of the game, so I can't say much about the community. I kept most of my groups open and had people come and go; a majority of them were pretty nice. I brought a bunch of people from my PvE WoW guild over to try it out, and every single one of them enjoyed it. I liked the first couple of sections (they call them "Tiers") of the game, but toward the tail end of the second I started to lose interest; the only progression at that point is grinding battlegrounds, and there's only so much of that I was willing to do every night.

The only class I enjoyed entirely was the Ironbreaker. The Zealot was interesting to play but largely ineffectual after a certain point. It was impossible to get anything done as a Witch Elf, Bright Wizard, or Sorceress without a healer at hand. Some of the folks I played with said the Marauder was a lot of fun but I didn't get a chance to play one. The healing classes are all relatively interesting to play; healing is much less annoying than it is in WoW, and the overall slower pace of the game makes it less stressful, too.

The game's global cooldown is 1.5 seconds, just like WoW, but for some reason the entire game feels mushy and unresponsive, even at low latencies. Some of that stems from the fact that the game didn't always play the animation for what you were doing, some of that is just because everything happens so... much... slower. That glacial pace made PvP more palatable than it is in WoW which has one of the most awful PvP systems ever, but it really started to grate on me after a while.

I eventually lost interest in the game for three reasons: The molasses slow feel, the boring sameness of the PvE activities, and the boring grind of the battlegrounds. In each "tier" there are three different battlegrounds you can play; unfortunately queue times for most of them were awful and usually only one of them would come up. There were times when I didn't feel like playing, say, the king of the kill scenario, but after an hour or two of waiting around for something else, that's all there was to do. There's a "world PvP" system with keep capture, boss fights, and sieges, but there's no real reward for doing it, so nobody does it.
posted by majick at 8:49 AM on December 23, 2008

I also tried Warhammer for a month before going back to WoW. The quests were interesting, but I never really got any of the characters I played past level 10 though that was probably more to do with the fact I didn't love any of the classes then anything else. I had a REALLY hard time finding a class that I enjoyed.

I don't know, I guess it just couldn't hold my interest, especially as Wrath of the Lich King came out just after my free month was over. I have to agree with a lot of what majick says, it just seemed so slow for some reason, PvE and PvP, like there was some kind of delay between when I said to attack and the actual attack. It definitely made it frustrating sometimes. I also didn't really understand the professions at all. I tried getting into a few of those before giving up.

As far as community goes, I'm usually a loner in games, even WoW, so I can't really comment on that too much. I did a little PvPing in the game and I was part of a few groups and the overall social feel seemed pretty positive.

I definitely think it's one of those things where you don't really know how you're going to like it until you try it.
posted by trinkatot at 9:07 AM on December 23, 2008

I quit WoW many months ago back and picked up Warhammer when it came out. Now I'm back to WoW.

A few things to add to majick's excellent summary:

Public quests can be a lot of fun but at the third tier or so (levels 20-30 and beyond) it's hard to find the necessary people to group up and finish them. This could be due to either low server populations in general or just the fact that everyone is running PvP, which is the most effective use of your time for gaining XP.

They are making lots of improvements to the UI. I don't think there is a lot of add-on support yet but the slow responsiveness is only getting better. It's still not as clean as WoW but definitely better than launch. The developers have been very good about addressing and fixing problems.

You'll definitely be grinding out scenarios (battlegrounds) for experience at the end. It seemed to me that the experience gained from questing didn't scale well with the experience needed to progress, so you can do all the quests for an area and still be well behind the amount you need to move to the next zone. The only real way to do that is to queue up for another round of Tor Anroc (most overplayed scenario there is). Open RvR is a lot of fun and they are increasing rewards for that, but it is hit or miss because usually one side has way more people on than the other. It's very rare that the number of people on each side of the battlefield matched up to make it interesting. Your mileage may vary depending on server.

I raided in WoW as a holy pally for way too long so I was excited to try out some DPS. If you have a good healer or two on your team and you keep behind the front lines, playing as a Sorceress (or the equivalent Bright Wizard) is incredibly satisfying. Give the game a shot, it is a lot of fun for the first twenty levels, and if it turns out there's not enough for you to stay, there's always Northrend.
posted by Zaximus at 9:08 AM on December 23, 2008

Another former WoW raider who tried out WAR and quit after not too long. Others have said my feelings much better than I could, but basically, it felt like a hollow WoW clone to me and the game just didn't do it...I never get that feeling of immersion like in WoW.
The public quests concept is cool, but as has been mentioned, it can be hard to find a PUG to do one.

I also hated hated hated the professions. They felt like a cheesy after-thought.
posted by jmd82 at 9:15 AM on December 23, 2008

Population is everything in the game. Keep battles and other open world PvP only happen frequently on populated servers. Make sure whatever server you enter has high/high for both chaos and order. The game suffers if there isn't a population to fight against.
posted by zabuni at 10:00 AM on December 23, 2008

The thing that I dislike about Warhammer is the universe itself. I like the moral ambiguity of Alliance versus Horde rather than the Good versus Evil of Order versus Destruction. In a game that hinges so much on PVP, finding enough people to play Evil will always be a challenge.
posted by dobie at 10:06 AM on December 23, 2008

" I didn't have any resource problems, but at the time I played it ..."

"...but at the time I played it on a relatively new high-midrange machine." No idea what went wrong in my editing process, there. But in any case, I didn't find it terribly problematic, resource-wise. The biggest technical issue I had is that about two out of every three times the game would crash or hang if you tried to return to it after "tabbing out."
posted by majick at 10:20 AM on December 23, 2008

"I also hated hated hated the professions. They felt like a cheesy after-thought."

I didn't mention the professions at all because they're a cheesy afterthought. They were (at least at launch time) a huge timesink for essentially zero reward or utility. The gardening minigame is sort of neat the first time or two you try it, but there's no way it's worth doing hundreds of times for no reward at all. The potion making interface is nifty, but the actual potions you can make are a waste of the inventory space it takes to carry them. The salvaging idea is kind of unique, but results in pretty much nothing worth having except petty cash. The talisman / jewelcrafting thing is stupid as it only made gems that persist for a few hours, leaving you to scramble around for ingredients all the time just to keep your socketed equipment useful.

Overall: The PvE is okay but wears thin early on. The PvP is a big improvement over WoW's criminally stupid arena scam and lame-o battlegrounds, but then so is just sitting and staring at a wall ten times a week. The game is pretty to look at. But at the end of it all looms an endgame that consists of absolutely no options except "queue for battleground, play battleground, repeat." I couldn't justify paying a fee for that.

As one of my guildies put it: "I had more 'holy crap that's awesome!' moments in the first week [of WAR] than I've had my entire Warcraft career." I don't know that I totally agree with that statement, but there's certainly an element of truth to it. It's an innovative game with some great ideas behind it, but the execution doesn't meet the quality standards that Blizzard has set as the industry leader.
posted by majick at 10:34 AM on December 23, 2008

I think some of the posters are giving a rather inaccurate view of the game, and I'd be willing to bet no one who has posted so far has made it too far into t4 (the last tier).

A few things that are patently untrue so far: "Nobody does world PvP because there are no rewards." The best rewards come from world PvP, and plenty of it happens in T4 once you get there. There were a couple of nights when I took part in upwards of 10 keep sieges a night.

"Zealots are ineffectual after a certain point and Witch Elves, Bright Wizards, and Sorceresses need healers." This is ridiculous, Zealots are powerful the entire way through the game, as most healers are. And Witch Elves, Bright Wizards and Sorceresses are bar none the top damage classes in the game, and what they sacrifice for that is survivability. Some people compensate for that by having a healer follow them around, some people compensate by playing intelligently.

As for the original questions:

1. The game is excellent and fun, IF you play MMO's primarily for PvP. As some of the posters have hinted, they are primarily PvE gamers and they didn't enjoy it. If you prefer PvE (raiding instances and questing) then WoW is probably more up your alley.

2. The community isn't a strong suit, people talk to each other a lot less than in WoW in general I find. However, there is a large and active community in the higher levels, and in general the age and maturity level is higher than in WoW.

3. Not very. If you have a half decent gaming rig from the past year or two, you will be able to run it fine. Half-Life 2 would be a decent comparison, I'd say. It does require a better system than WoW however.

4. As for classes, the rule is, as always, play what you enjoy. If you're like me though, you won't want to roll a class that there is already an over-abundance of and won't be needed. In which case you want to stay away from tanks if you are rolling destruction, and bright wizards if you are rolling order. If you can handle the mechanics, Warrior Priest and Disciple of Khaine would be good choices.

Overall the good parts of the game are as follows:

-Takes a lot less time than WoW, both to level up to max, and to be competitive endgame (you don't need the best gear, there is no epic mount money sinks). You can also level up in a variety of ways, whereas in WoW you basically quested from 1-80. I personally levelled my first character from 1-40 purely through PvP, which is actually the fastest way.

-Excellent PvP. The "slow and unresponsive" remark was a common one about a month to two months ago. I never really saw it as a big deal, but many people did, and the game has been tightened up in that regard since majick played.

-Updated graphics, guild system (guilds can level, and get perks as they do such as banners that grant customizable bonuses, etc), public quests, class balancing.

-The game is in its infancy, and many of the problems with the game that exist are simply a result of that. People forget that all MMO's struggle to a certain extent in the beginning, and as far as launches go, Warhammer was better than most, and has seen far more, and more measured changes than most. There is a great development team behind this game and that can't be stressed enough.

The Bad:

-The PvE, innovativeness of Public Quests aside, is far inferior to WoW. So is the crafting and the economy. So if those elements are important to you, Warhammer isn't a good choice.

-The character customization, aside from the expanded class selection, leaves something to be desired.

-The game is in its infancy, and still has problems that need to be worked out. Not the least of which is the motivation to play once you hit 40, there is lots of keep sieging and open world PvP to be found, but it is all quite repetitive and as a previous poster mentioned, most often a numbers game.

Disclosure: I stopped playing recently, but more because of what MMO's are about in general, than any specific flaw with Warhammer. I found the game more fun and less grindy than pretty much any MMO to date, up to max level, at which point I lost my desire to play. This can be a good thing, as unlike WoW it doesn't keep you reaching for a carrot just out of reach in the form of gear from raid instances (the best of which will always be inaccessible to 95% of the population). On the other hand, that constant striving for something just out of reach is what keeps a game addictive.

In the end, if you are into PvP and MMO's, Warhammer is definitely worth a shot. Especially for the more casual player.

If you decide to play and want any more specific advice, send me a memail.
posted by paradoxflow at 10:38 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

The thing that I dislike about Warhammer is the universe itself. I like the moral ambiguity of Alliance versus Horde rather than the Good versus Evil of Order versus Destruction. In a game that hinges so much on PVP, finding enough people to play Evil will always be a challenge.

I'm not a Warhammer fanboy by any means, and I've never played the tabletop, but suggesting that Warcraft's universe is more sophisticated or nuanced than Warhammer's is ridiculous. For starters, Warcraft lore is a cartoonish rip-off of Warhammer lore. Secondly, while Destruction is far more "evil" than the Horde, Order is by no means "good."

Finally, far more people play the "evil" faction, than the "good" faction.
posted by paradoxflow at 10:49 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm also an ex-WoW player who tried WAR and quit it to take up WoW again. I think the biggest shortcoming of the game is just a lack of polish and a general feeling of "wow this is so generic." I think the problem any MMO has is that it doesnt have 4 years of solid development and mountains of cash behind it from day one which WoW does have. Its basically impossible for anything to compete unless its near perfect from day 1.
posted by zennoshinjou at 11:01 AM on December 23, 2008

I just started playing an Ironbreaker about 2 weeks ago. I really enjoy the zone density and the specific class mechanics.

You can run around a zone and not encounter any real dead space. Every little nook is occupied in WAR, which I really like. I also like the environment a lot, it makes you feel like you're apart of the war from the beginning. You'll start PVPing immediately. You don't have to be in town to PVP. You don't have to hunt for your class trainer every ding. Item drops in PVE are actually useful in the early part of the game. I like the 3 different XP bars, it gives me some variety as to what I want to be doing rather than sucked into one thing or the other.

The quest system is fully integrated into your map, no more alt-tabbing to web pages or using the "Quest Helper" UI addon.

Each class has a specific mechanic that makes them very unique. For example, the bright wizard. Everytime he uses a spell, he build combustion which increases his chance to get spell crits, but also increases the chance that he "Explodes" taking that critical damage. So you better be careful :)

I haven't missed all. I do miss the EPIC world that is WoW. But I'm only on tier 2 of 4.

I do like the tier system a lot. It sorta pulls you along a set track for each race, giving you good items along the way. I feel a lot less lost in WAR than I ever did in WOW, which is what turned me off to WOW.

I still haven't scratched the surface yet, but overall this has been a good experience for me. I was never very big into WoW but I was big into DAOC, so I like the way Mythic does things, which certainly biases me.
posted by teabag at 11:08 AM on December 23, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all for the great answers!

I think I am going to give it a whirl, probably as a greenskin of some sort. The reason I quit WoW was because of the crazy time sink it becomes; between crafting, arena, battlegrounds, raiding, and faction grinds I found myself with too much to do and too little time.
posted by Vindaloo at 11:33 AM on December 23, 2008

If you're looking for a WoW/EQ style PvE based game, I'd recommend you stay away from WAR. The PvE content for levelling up is ok, but nothing special. End-game PvE instances are few; and only the final one, Lost Vale, offers anything close to a challenge for anyone with raiding experience in other games, and it's a 6 man instance at that.

On the other hand, if you want massive PvP battles, WAR is the only game in the running. Open field Realm vs Realm is pretty much constant at peak times, thanks largely due to last week's addition of 'influence rewards' for RvR. End game is all about advancing zone control in order to get a shot at sacking the enemy faction's capital city. On my server (Burlok), the action in Tier 4 is non-stop - weekends and evenings see at least 50 vs 50 zone battles with various smaller skirmishes around the world. These numbers are constantly on the rise as people level up.

Client performance and stability was initially horrible - however there have been big improvements since launch, and more are intended.

On the downside, fortress sieges (the penultimate step before the capital) have been unplayable. The latest patch is supposed to have addressed this, but I haven't hit a fortress since then so I can't comment. Fingers crossed we'll see Altdorf burning in the new year.

The community is without a doubt more mature than in WoW (I know, low bar). However, where in WoW you could stick with your raid guild/alliance and ignore the rest of the server, in WAR you rely on your whole realm (Order or Destruction) to pull in the same direction to achieve RvR goals. At times this can be massively frustrating, at others rewarding, but it's always a challenge in cat-herding.

As for classes: Warrior Priest and Disciple of Khaine are PvE solo gods; the Black Orc is slower going, but damn near indestructible. My main is a Marauder, but melee dps classes are less than ideal in the keep sieges and standoffs that dominate RvR. The heavy caster ranged DPS (Sorceress and Bright Wizard), the ranged healers (Shaman, Zealot, Rune Priest, Archmage) and the tanks are most in demand. However, you're never going to get turned down for a warband place on your class choice. I'd recommend giving any class that grabs your interest a run through Tier 1 (up to level 11) to get a feel for it, in PvE, scenarios and ORvR.

tl;dr version: play for PvP, not for PvE. Feel free to memail me for more info.
posted by Bodd at 11:55 AM on December 23, 2008

Good choice of Greenskin for the time being: pvp seems to be balanced in their favor.
posted by teabag at 12:09 PM on December 23, 2008

"I'd be willing to bet no one who has posted so far has made it too far into t4 (the last tier)."

I'm going to fess up that I did not. I made it into the early 20s and got bored out of my head with the limited things there were to do because of the population balance problems, only getting into one type of scenario, UI bugs, and the eventually aggravating mushiness of control. Up to that point I had a good time, but one of the fundamental points I'm trying to get across is that "losing interest before all that supposedly awesome T4 PvP content" is a realistic possibility unless a player is a total battleground fiend or has an existing group of players willing to get them through the PQs. I don't think it's a distorted view of the game to say it's possible for it to bore the player before reaching endgame, especially with PvE rewards and experience (outside of PQs) being generally inferior to hours upon hours of grinding the one PvP instance willing to pop.

Having said that, it's definitely worth trying the game, and even as someone who gave up on it I don't have a particularly negative view of the thing. It's just a less entertaining use of my time than exploring Northrend and getting my guild ready to try WoW's new casual raiding. There have been plenty of times since returning to Warcraft where I've said aloud that Warhammer did something better.

Oh yeah, and Zealot comparative DPS absolutely does hit the floor in T2, while the survivability of the healing fails to match what the pure damage classes are capable of. A big reason I threw in the towel on my Z is because the class goes from being able to kite three Ironbreakers all around Gates in T1 to being one-shot by T2 Brights whenever you get into healing range. There's a dip in Zealot class effectiveness that just so happened to coincide with my losing interest in other repetitive bits of the game. Maybe it gets better into T3, but for me it wasn't worth climbing that hill to find out, especially when playing an IB was so much more fun.

"I think I am going to give it a whirl, probably as a greenskin of some sort."

Practically speaking, keep in mind that Destruction tends to be overpopulated on most servers. You may get find battleground queues to be longer than you'd like. Having said that, you're going to love the greenskin T1 starting area. The geography is a little confusing, but the writing and artwork is really entertaining and there are lots of little details worth appreciating. Of the Destruction areas to start in, the greenskin is most certainly the best, and even when I rolled other classes (which I did several times during beta and after a few server moves to find population balance) I tended to move them over there as early as possible. Take a ride on that lobba' for me.
posted by majick at 12:29 PM on December 23, 2008

Background: I played WOW a lot as a shadow priest primarily. 2500 arena teams and a good PvE guild, blah blah blah. I quit before 3.0 when I got a new job and couldn't hit raid times, since all I would do was log on and do battlegrounds.

I got war a month ago and really like it actually. The biggest thing, coming from playing a priest, is NO MANA. Every class uses action points, very similar to the WOW rogue's, and it works extremely well. After playing a priest and having to make every decision based on mana, and frequently having to choose doing nothing over something that cost mana, it is incredibly liberating to have a quickly regenerating in-combat resource. Small scale combat, around 6v6- 10v10, is very fun. The bigger battles, although in theory sounds cool are actually not that much fun for me so far.

I have experience playing the following classes:

(oh yeah RvR = PvP)

Sorceress - Fun in RvR. Good ranged damage and extremely strong AOE, especially at R21 and 25. Very weak in solo PvE and group PvE, kills fast but dies a lot before R25. Weak in 1v1, you just have to accept some classes will kill you if you don't have help. The class mechanic is sorta fun, it makes your abilities crit for huge amounts but damages you everytime you cast. Very useful during keep sieges.

Shaman - Great healer. Terribad damage for soloing. Just really awful. If you solo a lot this class is not for you. Kind of like a resto druid. The class mechanic is useless and I rarely use it during RvR

Black Orc - Very strong in PVE if played right. Has a very powerful self-heal chance on melee and a fairly reliable snare and knockback for RvR. Decently fun in RvR but not particularly powerful alone, although in an organized team makes other classes much more effective (Guard, wot armor, knockbacks) PvE tanking aggro is kind of a mystery to me still, but you have 2 different taunts on low cooldowns, and all the healers can in-combat rez, so whatever.

Witch Elf - Extremely high damage but dies a lot. If you have a fairly aggressive playstyle this is a pretty good class and is a lot of fun to play, but against a good team it is very frustrating. (Against a good team any class is a little frustrating but it's VERY frustrating as melee dps) I see a lot of really terrible witch elves though, so if you're not a twitch gamer it won't be as fun. Very useless during keep sieges.

Disciple - My favorite class. They're overpowered right now with the Chalice changes, and they're massively overpowered in PVE just in general, but the playstyle really appeals to me. Probably the most difficult class to play well in terms of number of button presses, you need to very frequently switch both offensive and defensive targets, while moving, and both healing and damaging to get the most out of the class. Very satisfying though.

I have a pretty good system (core duo, 4gb ram, Geforce 8800 GTS) and rarely experience FPS issues, although during keep sieges its sometimes a little slow.

I get crashes to desktop pretty often actually, maybe once or twice per day. It's very annoying but the game is pretty new.

The PvE game is pretty bad compared to WoW, and the gear upgrades make very little difference. I like this a lot actually.
posted by spatula at 3:15 PM on December 23, 2008

If you're into complicated, long and IMO tedious PVE, you won't find it in Warhammer like you do in WoW.

The game isn't without buggy-ness, but it is a new game and I think it deserves a little bit of a "pass" on this. Personally, the bugs have not seriously compromised my enjoyment of the game.

I like the game because it doesn't require a ridiculous grind to compete with other players in PvP. In previous MMORPGS, I couldn't compete with other players who had much more time than me to grind gear, levels, etc. However, in this game I'm one of the more feared opponents on my server despite limited time to play.

Another thing that makes this game different than WoW is the classes aren't balanced against each other. It is a "rock scissors paper" mechanic and some classes totally cream the class to be countered. The dueling/arena mentality player from WoW may find this absolutely disgusting. However, if you have played DAOC before, you will understand this and appreciate the mass oRvR nature of the game.

I have more fun playing this game than I ever had playing WoW. However, I also had more fun playing DAOC than WoW.
posted by Modus Pwnens at 5:47 PM on December 26, 2008

« Older end the attachment cycle   |   I have a bottleneck in my home network, and I... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.