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This post is intended to be an unbiased review of Warhammer Online (WAR) based upon my personal experiences with the game from release date to about March, 2009. I've just recently canceled my subscription after coming to the ultimate realization that I no longer wish to play this game based on multiple factors which I will detail below. I'm not affiliated with Mythic, EA or any other entity involved with the production, planning, implementation etc. of WAR. I'm not here to recruit people for any other game. Just a disclaimer for the flamers.
I started paying Warhammer Online at release because, having quit WoW and having trialed LOTRO , I was looking for a new quality MMORPG that could occupy some of my free time. The server I played on was Magnus and my primary character's name was Sik, a Zealot on the Destruction side.
Initially, I was attracted to the Zealot class based upon the descriptions provided to me by the game manual and the main website, www. warhammeronline.com. The Zealot class was described as a hybrid damage dealer/healing class with a unique Ritual and buffing mechanic that were supposedly designed to work in unison with one another. Marks (which are what the Zealot buffs are called) were said to be capable of being combined with Rituals (area-of-effect ground-based buffing spells) to produce powerful effects to both aid your allies and attack your enemies. Special "Harbingers of Doom" were supposed to be available to debuff your enemies against specific Zealot spell effects, thereby increasing the potency of Zealot attack spells. It sounded pretty awesome. Unfortunately, as time went on, I found myself becoming increasingly dissatisfied when the true reality of the gameplay became apparant.
In WAR, each "faction", Destruction and Order, are supposed to have an equal balance of classes on either side both in class types (melee vs. spellcaster for instance) and class abilities (spell damage vs. healing damage). Initially, WAR launched with I believe 8 classes per side, with 2 new classes per side being added at later times through patch updates (Blackguard/Knight of the Blaxing Sun first and more recently Choppa/Slayer). Initially, some classes came out of the gates imbalanced. Over time, some classes remained imbalanced up until I left. One of them was my own.
WAR was released with the promise of Massive Open World PvP, yet with PvE content available for those who wanted it. There was to be no real advantage or drawback for someone who deciced to focus on one versus the other. In this respect, I believe WAR fully met my initial expectations with the options that were available. Its only over time that I found myself discovering a rift that would ultimately cause me frustration.
These impressions are based upon WAR updated to patch 2.2.0. Certain features have been added since release and I'm not going to overview those. Please review patch notes if you do not understand some of the things I am talking about. Otherwise, you may find yourself saying "That's not in the game!!" when, yea, it is!
Leveling in WAR is pretty straightforward, as with most other MMOs. Most quests involve fetching&returning, kill X number or, occassionally, escort. A few interesting quests are thrown in here or there that involve using some of WAR's trademark seige weapons to kill NPCs. Many repeatable quests exist involving killing enemy players in every Tier (level bracket) that usually give exp/money/reputation rewards. Overall, you could expect to reach level cap (lvl 40) in about 2 months of casual play. I would say its similar to the pace of World of Warcraft from 1-40. What is unique about WAR is the ability to gain EXP and Reputation with the 3 major Race orgnizations by PvPing in different Scenarios or in different Open PvP areas. You can easily level up to 10 (into the next Tier) by simply repeatedly doing Scenarios (granted they are available and "pop" frequently enough for you). In this aspect, I highly enjoy WAR. Players are rewarded for PvPing by gaining a fair amount of experience, Reputation that will enable them to unlock Reputation-based rewards in the form of extremely viable gear and they don't have to resort to "grindfesting" NPCs as much. Unfortunately, the experience gained in Open PvP is nowhere near the same as that gained in Scenarios, so players will still be forced into questing to make up the majority of their EXP needs especially the higher level they get as PvP experience begins to diminish.
GUILD, PARTY AND CHAT SYSTEM
The guild and party systems in WAR are, in my opinion, some of the most robust you will ever find and truly allow players to socialize in dynamic ways. Progessively, Mythic has added more and more features to the party and guild systems since release and I can honestly say this is one the best improved systems in the game. The guild tab is incredibly robust with a full roster listing of online/offline members, guild-created ranking systems with distinct privleges, access to a guild-wide gear/cash vault, the ability to form Alliances with other guilds to encourage cross-guild cooperation rather than competition, the ability to level up your guild to gain new benefits and perks (teleportation scrolls, war banners, improved mounts, improved crafting ingredients, etc.) and the list goes on.The party system is also fairly robust and on-par with most MMOs, allowing you to designate leaders, assistants, main assists, form raid parties with up to 24 people, guild-only or alliance-only restrictions and LFG (looking for group) functionalities with the ability to join/leave any available groups in the area on the fly. The chat system is pretty standard to all MMOS. You can join multiple channel types, filter channels (profanity filter on/off), ignore people, etc. And there's a friends list with sign on/off notification. This system is overall very satisfying.
Scenarios are pretty straightforward. If you've ever played WoW, they are the same as a Battleground. A scenario is an instanced PVP map that players battle over under a variety of victory conditions. Most common types of conditions are Capture the Flag, King of the Hill (control a single point for longer than the enemy), Hot Potato/Murderball? (player-control an "inventory" object longer than the enemy) or Tug of War (battle for control over a series of revolving points). There truly a host of different scenario maps that are, for the most part, farirly balanced equally. The problem with scenarios is population. On certain servers, such as my server Magnus, scenarios are almost nonexistant compared to open RvR.
Most of open PVP involves going into designated PVP "lakes", essentially the huge area in the middle of every map, to engage in open PVP. In general, open PVP revolves around seiging and capturing keeps or Battlefield Objectives, which are flags guarded by enemy NPCs that must be captured and held for a couple minutes. The whole point of open PVP is to eventually dominate every map on the way to the opposing side's main City until you reach the fortress guarding their city. You then have to control two of the fortresses out of the three racial pairings in the game (Dwarf vs. Greenskin, Dark Elf vs. High Elf and Order vs. Chaos). Once you capture and dominate two fortresses, the opponent's City is open for capture and you must then enter the City instance to battle over control of the enemy city.
The keep system is quite enjoyable when you first encounter it, especially if you are riding along with a full raid party or more (24+ people.) Open PVP is quite often the most popular because of its potential rewards (detailed below), however it gets stale very quickly. Recent updates to the keep system have been received less than desirable, simply because the updates have caused the whole process to become more long and drawn out and, in many ways, favors the dominant faction populaiton-wose.
The idea behind seiging a keep is to beat down two sets of doors, an outer and an inner (basically just attacking doors with massive HP) until you get into the interior of the keep to kill the Keep Lord, which is essentially a fairly weak elite mob. Afterwards, the keep is then controlled by the attacker and invulnerable to a revenge attack for a certain period of time (15 mins I believe). The problem is that recent updates have allowed player guilds to add "improvements" to the keeps at an expense, in gold, to their guild vaults. Hence, only the most wealthy of guilds can upgrade their controlled keeps and maintain the upgrade expenses. Most of the upgrades are designed to simply slow down the opposing side's progess in attacking a keep by adding more HP to the keep's door and upgrading the keeps to have NPC guards. The result is that most people simply get bored of attacking the same old keep doors for 20 minutes and decide to go after softer targets.
City seiges, on the other hand, are a completely different animal and are plagued by their own sets of problems. There are huge advantages and disadvantages to city seiges, but ultimately they are the end-game of the PVP world right now. The advantage of a city seige is the gear. Some of the best gear in the game can ONLY be obtained through victories in the city seiges. You can gain unique rewards that are only available through doing quests within the opposition's city and are unavailable elsewhere.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.
Firstly, the city siege system has been bugged as all hell since release. Some people get into the city instance, some people don't. You may end up in a queue for 5 mintutes or 2 hours. The server may crash right in the middle of the city seige, boot everyone out of the instance and when everyone logs back in all progess inside the city is lost. Plus half the people can't even get back into the instance in the first place. There are a couple "stages" of the city seige that occur within the city, but due to gear requirements you are almost destined to depend on PVE end-game in order to acheive the gear necessary to advance to the later stages of the city siege... which reward the same tier gear that you've already aquired, just more pvp-centric. This is particularly true if you are on a server with infrequent city seiges and, since the new keep upgrades, its become even more difficult to successfully engage a city seige in the first place unless you're on a highly unbalance server (which is unfortunately common).
If you're unlucky enough to be on an imbalanced population server, you may find yourself on the receiving end of daily city seiges against your capital. Every time a city seige is engaged, all players within the city limits are ejected from the city and placed in a shoddy little camp outside. There is no access to the city for a good 2-4 hours. Two of the main end-game PVE dungeons reside within the cities on both Destruction and Order, so if your city is under attack you can forget doing those instances you planned.
In addition, the capital cities (Altdorf for Order and The Inevitable City for Destruction) have their own "level" based on a 1-5 star rating system. A fully upgraded city has a 5-star rating and a fully "demonlished" city has a 1 star rating. The star raiting of your capital city determines what privleges are available to your faction, including whether or not those 2 beforementioned end-game instances are available to your faction or not. The only way to raise your city's "level" is for players to do repeatable reputation grinding quests. Why does any of this matter? Well, when your city gets seiged, you may lose your capital's rating altogether. Your city could end up as a 1-Star city when it may have been a 5-Star city before, which prohibits you from doing 2 of the major end-game instances along with the loss of your Guild Tavern (the place that allows you teleportation back to the city and access to your guild rewards) and other privleges until your city is "leveled" up again.
The PVP system is only 1/4 the reason why I quit. Sadly, I was on the winning side majority of the time. At one point, my guild was raiding Altdorf 2-3 times every week. Most people would be happy about that, but because of my class balance I had no reason or inclination to reap any rewards from doing those seiges. More details to follow.
PVE AND DUNGEONS
In terms of dungeons, WAR has a few to offer, but not many. Unlike other MMOs where massive raid-party experiences are available, all of the dungeon content caters to 6-person (standard) grouping. I havn't played the new Land of the Dead content, so I can't speak about that, but the bulk or "meat-and-potatoes" content is small group. There are a couple minor low-level dungeons available for players in the level 15-35 range, but you can mostly skip over them because they are essentially non important and don't provide a very immersive or awe-inspiring experience. You tend to out-level any gear you aquire in the minor dungeons very quickly because the itemization doesn't have much holding power. You will spend the bulk of your time in 3 dungeons: the 2 faction-specific ones located in your respective city and Lost Vale. As a Destruction player, I've never played through the Order version of the city dungeons, so I can't speak about the experience there. However, I can tell you about the Bilerot Burrow, the Bloodwrought Enclave (the 2 dungeons) and Lost Vale (available to both factions).
NOTE: All end-game dungeons I've done have ALWAYS had a crapload of bugs, which has detracted greatly from my "fun factor" in playing them. Some examples: bosses having a wider area-of-effect damage that the graphic shows, some bosses randomly becoming "unbeatable" after a patch due to some damage bug associated with the encounter, finding it necessary to use exploits to beat certain bosses because they've become broken through patching, bosses falling through terrain and becoming unlootable, etc. etc.
Bloodwrought Enclave is the least interesting of them all. There's 3 bosses to worry about, none of them are a major trouble and require very minimal tactical consideration to beat. You can clear this dungeon in about 45mins or less if you know what you're doing. Probably closer to 30 mins if you casually run through it with your guildies. The dungeon has a 3 day lockout timer, which I feel is idiotic based on how easily it can be cleared.
Bilerot Burrow is the more "challenging" of the two city dungeons and also the cooler-looking one aesthetically. It has 5 bosses and can be cleared in about 2 hours or less with an experienced group. Again, 3 day lockout timer. Stupid IMO.
Lost Vale is by far the best PVE dungeon WAR has to offer (Land of the Dead may be cooler, I don't know). The instance has a whopping... 14-15? bosses. Too lazy to count them. At any rate, its a beautifully designed instance with unique bosses and the best loot you can get outside of a city seige. The gear you aquire here is considered equivalent to the 2nd stage city seige gear, though statistically tailored more towards PVE. It has a 5 day lockout timer, which I feel is necessary for beginners, but could be shortened to 3 days considering it can take an experienced group up to 10 hours max to clear. This instance also suffers from the most amount of bugs and more often than not the successful parties/guilds have made use of exploits out of necessity to clear it.
All the bugs in WAR are 1/4 the reason why I quit.
And finally, 1/2 of why I quit and the single biggest reason, CLASS BALANCE. When I started playing WAR, I had an idea in my mind about how the Zealot class would play out and it excited me. As I mentioned before, the actual gameplay turned out to be completely the opposite.
Zealots turned out to be nothing but sub-par healbots. Their strength eventually became toted as being the "best" single-target healer. Unfortunately, they were mediocre at best. While other healing classes on the same faction (shaman and disciple of khaine) received buffs to their spellpower and healing power, Zealots for the most part remained unchanged. A huge rift began forming between Zealots/Runepriests (the order mirror version of the class) and the rest of the healers. Soon, Archmages/Shaman were out-dpsing and out-healing Zealots meanwhile Disciples of Khaine/Warrior Prriests out-healed Zealots from the get-go, due to their ability to have essentially un-ending action point pools.
Where as all classes had a distinct "mechanic" that made them unique, Zealot Marks were nothing but basic buffing spells and Rituals became inevitably useless due to their talent tree investment requirements and their low utility value. The "Harbingers of Doom" were simply... one harbinger of doom spell that debuffed an opponent with a minor decrease to corporeal resistance that was dispellable, only worked to debuff the 3 or 4 Zealot spells that were attack spells in TOTAL, and eventually became obsolete following a global resistance nerf across the board. The Zealot talent trees were all mixed up, combining some healing spell point benefits with attack spell benefits, meanwhile Zealot itemization favored healing statistics and the pathetic overall spell damage of the Zealot was left mostly unmodified. Most Zealots considered their class mechanic a joke and the select few who attempted to use it found targeting bugs and line of sight issues that went unresolved for months and may STILL be unresolved.
It was dissatisfaction with my class that killed my desire to play. I had no need for end-game gear other than what was available in Lost Vale, hence my jadedness in participating in city seiges. There was no use for me to aquire any DPS gear because, well, Zealots had no DPS spells! Zealot survivabilty was also quite possibly the worst of any class besides the unfortunate melee DPS classes, due to cloth armor restrictions and itemization that did not allow defensive statistics such as stamina or toughness.
WAR is a game worth playing, if even just for a little while, because it can have its fun moments. However, if you're looking to make a serious time investment and are wanting to find a new "home", don't stray for too long. I believe that Mythic has failed to handle the game properly and has squandered their opportunities to make amends to their player base. Complaints about my class have been brought up by a lot more people than I and I would suggest to any prospective player to take a quick glance at all the unsatisfied reports from players on the official www.warhammeronline.com forums, not just my class but several others. Even Paul Barnett has made mocking comments on YouTube about how feels players simply think, "This player beat me, they must be cheating! Or this must be unbalanced!" If your playerbase is complaining on a constant basis in the official forums and a multitude of player generation suggestions have come to the table that have been routinely ignored by the development team, its not a case of "omg haxorz!!" its a case of DISSATISFACTION.
Honestly this game is a lot of fun... In tier1.
I played this game at release for a while. Had a shammy level 36 when I quit. I can really say that Tier1 (levels 1-11) will be the most fun you have in this game. After that the game gets bland and class imbalances show up.
Leveling is really easy, but VERY boring. Yes you can level while you pvp but most of the time in the early levels your renown will be maxed out while you wait to ding to the next level. Open PvP and sieges are bland as well if you ask me.
I would say atleast try the game if not only for the first 11 levels its worth it.
ive just got the 10 days revisit, i itend to use it while i wait for aion but id like to thank the op for a nice read ty
Future: wishing for SWG 2, World of Warcraft Classic
Played: Most current and extinct MMO's - 18 Years in....
Interesting Fact - I own 27 Tarantula's
Agreed. Just quit myself. Game is a lot of fun for lvls 1-11, then it starts to become a grind. And PvP really stinks with the out of control CC abilities and immunity imbalances.
agree 100%... at tier 1, and maybe, sometimes at tier 2, WAR is really good RvR MMO.
I left WAR in tier 4...
I left for the same reasons as mentioned above ... class imbalance.
But I also left because of level imbalance in the instances. Maybe that's changed, maybe a patch has improved the situation, but when I left, it seemed like all sorts of levels inside the tier were combined to fight it out. Nothing worse than at lvl21 looking through the opponents as you rush to meet each other for the first time and see 25, 27, ... 29! ....
I agree I loved teir 1.. but then quit when it became the same old same old only less interesting. The blend of PvE and PvP as well as the PQ were its strong points in my opinion.
Yeah, I think Tier 1 was the only tier that you could actually play all of the scenarios. Once I got to tier 2 and tier 3 there only seemed to be one scenario running. Out of 6 scenarios that's pretty bad. If you tried queueing up for any of the others, you basically didn't get to play. The queue system in general is a horrible, archaic interface and needs to be done away with for good in all games.
Vault-Tec analysts have concluded that the odds of worldwide nuclear armaggeddon this decade are 17,143,762... to 1.
I agree that Warhammer has a good mix of PVP and PVE. I especially enjoy the scenarios. I have just now entered teir 2 and have read what you say before about how it gets repetitive. I hope not to tire of it as its a game im happy with but i have noticed the PQ's are not as busy as in teir 1.
yep, i cancelled my account today...after lotd it has been zerg overrun by order and hardly any destro playing (on my server)
Dark Crag is where i am and it has a healthy population on both sides. I do a lot of scenarios and its a short wait for them to Q up.
Tl;dr besides there is no such thing as unbiased
i found the senarios fun to play the open rvr was hit and miss and the pve was dull . i m trying the 10 day welcome back at the moment . im still enjoying the same aspects of the game i did at the start . but its not worth the sub . i get bored with it in about 2 weeks . nice to return to now and again . hopefully it ll be be f2p sometime.
What's sad is that I rejoined a few weeks ago for the RvR but am getting sick of the same grind- same scenarios, and the same bland orvr system. Not quite ready to give up again, but I haven't logged on for a few days.
A witty saying proves nothing.
Yes i know what you mean. I dont play as much as i have other mmo's which is strange because i have more time right now to play. I like Warhammer but dont feel the "need" to log on that i have in the past playing LOTRO or WOW. Im doing the Aion beta but im not sure if im going to buy it. Not much out there i havnt tried. Looking forward to the star wars and star trek mmo's but ive learned not to get my hopes up. Might give DDO another try, who knows?
I hear ya on the Zealot.
Fundementally, I left after coming to terms with the fact that my zealot did not, and never would, play anything like the fraudulent promises of the official website. I kept on thinking - surely, surely, they will try to make the zealot what they said it woudl be.
But the game was so broken, they dumped the class in the garbage.
Very sad. One of the most entertaining class concepts in a long time; turns out to be an utter sham.
Making "mirror" classes on each side doubled the efforts necessary to balance classes. It may be nice on paper to have 20 classes to choose from, but it is a balancing nightmare. Especially when each class has a mirror opposite, they should have just made them identical after learning their lesson in DAOC with class balance. I guess they didn't.
It is very strange how much I identify with everyone who has said how much fun T1 is and then the game goes downhill. There is some hidden truth there that I just can't put my finger on. Maybe it is the scenarios get overwhelmed with crowd control abilities that change the feel of combat to much, the amount of boring pve quests that are required to level, the lack of interest in orvr or something else. I don't know what it is, but they could essentially cut T2/T3 out of the game and it would be better imho.
i pretty much agree with everthing that has been said with the added rider : The end-game for me, I pretty much hate, it's boring and repetitive. In my opinion, a much classier system was DAoC's 3-way keep siege.
How enjoyable to be attacking an Albion keep only to suddenly have to turn and fight off Hibbies ~ or waiting for both sides to be weakened before running over a hill and smashing them both to claim a prized relic.
Ahhh the processional march back to your keep holding the relic aloft, the cheering, the singing, the constant harrassment as you do so by both sides trying to nick it back.
This end game stuff, multi-faceted and dangerous, not the present boring hikes from the obelisk to the library and back or the standing at the bottom of zone-in stairs to gank defenders coming in.
i am not advocating the exact same system as in DAoC but surely something similar would be better than the current system in WAR.
LOL, class balance? So is this your first Mythic game?
I agree, this game is great T1/T2, soon as you hit rank 22: game over... WAR does have the highest re-playablitiy I've ever seen though... kept me rolling alts for months, but you can only do that for so long...
The same as I've been doing actually... Guess it's a trend =/
Though I've been pretty uncertain what side to stay on. I came to the decision that Destruction classes are more fun to play then Order classes are though.
The people and the friends that we have lost, and the dreams that have faded, never forget them~
An absolutely brilliant review.
I played WAR from the start and played a good solid 3/4 months and was doing bilerot over and over (and was a zealot too)
But ultimately, like yourself, I got bored with the PVE bugs, the PVP Fortress crashes and the crapness of my class.
It was wierd that one day a boss would go down simply and easy, and the next day the boss was unbeatable with players all in Lost Vale gear....
Ultimately it was the massive lag I would get (due to my ISP blocking some of the ports the game used) which stopped me playing and going back to wow for pve (was going to stay on WAR for pvp only but couldn't cope with putting daying in setting up a fortress seige only for it to come crashing just as we were taking the fortress Lord down...and Order being able to take ours down in seconds when they weren't even in the fortress room...
Oh well. Hopefully it will get better
BTW I quite liked the crafting system, needed more experimentation ability though :P
They need to add an Exp Lock so you can remain in T1 if you choose. Seriously, it really is the most fun part of the game, imho.
Stopi it. You're going to make me cry. I miss DAoC so much.
Why couldn't they just go and make a DAoC II? It is such a freakin' awesome game. If only it weren't aging.
I read your entire review, and i have to say I agree with almost everything you said.
I was basically the first witch hunter on Eltharion (EU server) to hit 40... and I played up until the beginning of '09, when I finally decided to quit.
For me, the two main factors for my quitting were:
1) PvP was poooor. The first couple of tiers were fun, but after that, it became repetitive and completely diluted the PvP experience I was hoping for. Furthermore, being a 'witch hunter', I was expecting to be a great DPS class... which really wasn't the case. Taking down shamans was doable, but really not up to par with what a melee DPS class should be. I ended up feeling more a 'debuffing' class. In RvR, pvp was no fun either - I would almost always die at the start of a battle, as stealth is limited (no vanish) and as soon as you pop behind a healer at the back of a zerg, you were dead within 10 seconds, everyone turning around to kill you. Keep taking also became insanely boring and I felt as though we were doing this for nothing.
2) Unfinished game... no duelling... customization of armour really wasn't as diverse as they made it out to be... and most of all, I didn't get that 'community' feel!