Adventures of Snotbagel the Squig Herder

Couldn’t resist posting after Ben Zeigler reviewed WAR starting with the exact words I’d used to start my review. :)

I now have a level 12 Goblin Squig Herder in Warhammer Online.

What I’ve liked this far:

  • I love the sense of humor. And there’s lots of it in WAR, more than in other MMOs I’ve played
  • The achievements and related mechanisms like earning titles is very cool
  • Public Quests as means to gather influence that gives better loot is _so_ much nicer than having to do raids
  • Tome of Knowledge is awesome
  • The speed of progression has been pretty good, I’ve felt very little of the things I’ve been doing have been grinding
  • The Warhammer world seems to have achieved something I though was next to impossible – almost every player I’ve met has (accidentally?) chosen a name that somehow fits his in-game race/career, indicating they’ve all considered their “role” in the game to some extent, even if they’re not roleplayers at all. Dwarf names sound dwarven, and orcish dudes have generally appropriate names as well. I think this is very impressive.
  • The psychological effect of calling PvP RvR is awesome. I hate PvP, but love War’s RvR, and the game telling me I’ve been flagged for RvR doesn’t raise the PvP alert.

What doesn’t work:

  • As Ben is pointing out, I have real difficulty understanding the results of my actions in combat. Judging by how I’m scoring in the Public Quests, I’m pretty effective in combat compared to many other players, but I’m having issues understanding exactly why. I think I know what I’m doing right, but there’s too little indication of what the underlying game rules are that guide what happens based on my actions. This is resulting in myself finding it hard to form combat tactics, but also I don’t actually understand what equipment I should use, as I don’t really understand what the different bonuses do.
  • The game has issues with client/server synchronization. Two issues in particular I’m seeing are that my squig suddenly turns into a mode where it’s still following me, but I lose control of it completely (the UI disappears). Second one is when I run to hit an opponent at melee range, and the client tells me I’m not close enough to hit, even though my Goblin is drawn right next to the opponent. The latter happens surprisingly often, and is very irritating.
  • I’ve tried to create talismans, but getting the resources and just plain understanding how the crafting works is just too much. This means my inventory is cluttered by a ton of materials for making talismans that I can’t really use, but don’t want to destroy for fear of needing them. Also the talisman making balancing seems to be wrong right now, since getting access to items with better bonuses than ones from talismans seems to be much, much easier, than trying to use the crafting. In WoW, I could actually use leatherworking to get good stuff for my Hunter, but now the crafting seems to be pretty much useless.
  • I’m not sure what to think on the subject of the world feeling empty, or full. I’ve formed a lot more spontaneous parties in Warhammer than I’ve ever done in WoW, and generally it’s very easy to get a team formed for the public quests. However, most of the RvR areas are just empty, and something is causing the RvR scenario queue wait times to be so long that I’m effectively not able to participate in those at all.
  • Last but not least, GOA is improving but they still aren’t doing a good job. Their RSS feed for news has the same content for each headline. The website uses craptastic custom-made DHTML widgets in every place where possible, making the site hard to use. There’s no forums. There’s no decent manual, and no explanation of anything on the website. And interestingly half of the account management is still offline, so I can’t yet give them my billing information! I would have assumed the credit card charging processes would’ve been done prior to launch, and not after.

So – my current sentiment is, I love the game and will continue playing for at least some time to see some of the content closer to the end-game. I hope the bugs and balancing issues are worked out soon, and that my server gets a better balanced amount of players to both Order and Destruction sides soon.

(Ben’s comment on having the game run slow are odd. My MacBook Pro can run the game very well under XP, and that’s using a graphics card Mythic says might not work.)

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