Hype Night

The Greenskin asked “Where did the hype go?” about WAR. It’s a good question. I’ve been dead quiet here since WAR launched, and it’s mostly because I’m having an absolute blast. This is the most fun I’ve had in an MMO since…shoot, I don’t know? The glory days of SWG? Dark Age? It’s right up there with my favorite MMO moments.

I read plenty of blogs stating that WAR isn’t capturing their attention. I can understand why. I’ve seen this movie before.

When Everquest was king, and Dark Age of Camelot was launched, I heard the same things about Dark Age that I’m hearing about WAR now. The PvE isn’t great, you have to get to the end game to see what Mythic’s really done, EQ has better this, better that, bla bla bla. That’s cool. It was pretty clear to me that they were two vastly different games, offering very different experiences, even though they both belonged to the same MMO space. It’s ok to prefer one over the other. To me, MMO’s are like music. You might really like Pearl Jam. Or Toto. Or the Bay City Rollers. It’s not up to me to judge. Well, I can judge, but I can’t dictate your tastes ๐Ÿ™‚ As my wife likes to say, “Everyone is entitled to their own wrong opinion.” Three guesses who she’s usually talking about. First two don’t count.

Yeah, WAR has some challenges. Wilhelm was disappointed with the early dungeon content. (Wilhelm, for what it’s worth, CoWs were checking out Gunbad last night, it sounds a lot bigger, multiple wings, I think you have to be 17 to get quests for it? Just have your tank grind scenarios for 7 levels and…wait, come back! Was it something I said??). Another challenge is leveling. Mythic’s balancing is off between scenarios and open RvR. I don’t think they thought through the replay-ability of zones without a critical mass of players available…or they at least made it difficult to be social and just talk to people in your zone to see if you could get a group together for PQ’s or PvE. I love the Open Group tool, that’s how I find most of my PvE/PQ groups…but dudes, you made it super-easy to group through a tool, but people can’t chat in the region to get together? Huh?

Personally, I’m not a chatter in General chat. I prefer the lack of bla bla bla in an Open Group model, but your game really should support chat to group and the Open Group tool. Yeah, Mytic is fixing it, but in hindsight, it should have been in there all along. Maybe Mythic was thinking regional chat was an obstacle to being immersed in the game?

Challenges or not, though, WAR is the game for me (at least until someone makes a game with the crafting/market economy and player housing/city building of SWG, the RvR of a Mythic game, the PvE of WoW, the territory claiming and offline training of Eve (no more levels!), and maybe hookers and beer).

I honestly haven’t been frustrated in WAR. When I don’t feel like doing Scenarios, I enjoy PQ’s. When I’ve had enough PQ’s, I’ll knock out some quests. I keep my ears open for good RvR, and jump out in the lakes when I hear something good is going on. The crafting is simple, but it’s a good diversion when none of the other options leap out at me.

I think maybe I’m more flexible than some gamers? Or more forgiving? I don’t go into the game and say “I’m going to do PQ’s tonight NO MATTER WHAT.” If I stumble on a group of people in a PQ doing a quest, I’ll ask if they want to do a couple more. If I don’t stumble on enough people for a PQ, I’ll do PvE with them. If we have fun, sometimes we’ll queue for a Scenario, or head out to RvR together if the call to attack or defend arises. If I can’t find absolutely anything going on, I’m usually perfects happy soloing. Hell, it’s what I’d be doing in WoW or LoTRO or EQ anyway!

It’d be easy to say that I have all these options because I’m part of a large guild, but honestly, I’m a quiet person. I don’t invite myself into guild groups all that much. I find that I encounter partners for PvE and PQ’s while I’m out in the world. I don’t know, maybe after leveling in like a dozen MMO’s since EQ in ’99, I’ve become a more patient person. I don’t feel like WAR is grindy at all. I’m playing very casually, and I’m level 25 on my main with a handful of alts between 8 and 10. If you choose to ONLY run Scenarios because that’s the fastest way to 40…well, I can understand where you’d feel bored. I’m having no trouble progressing without being Scenario-obsessed, though.

I think it’s like music. I enjoy this band. It’s got a good beat, I can dance to it. I give it an 8, Dick.

No, I’m not calling you a dick. There’s a capital D there. If you’re too old for American Bandstand and Soul Train, don’t take the Dick thing personally.

When I was growing up, I liked art rock. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. King Crimson. Fripp and Eno. Rush. Yes. Early Genesis, before Peter Gabriel left and the whole thing became Phil Collins singing about love. The man’s been married like 3 times now…stick to the drums, Petey, let Peter G. write the songs, k?

My point is, it’s a pretty specific music genre, and my friends who liked Black Flag or the Circle Jerks or The Allman Brothers or Cheap Trick thought my music sucked. Ya know, it doesn’t suck, you just might not enjoy it the same way I do.

I’ve been in absolutely epic RvR, both in Scenarios and Open RvR. Total nailbiters, last-minute victories AND defeats, heroic moments, saving group mates with heals a nick from death, being saved by team mates, heart-pounding, adrenaline surging MMO goodness. I can’t think of another game that’s given me this sort of fun, at least not since DAoC, and it’s exactly what I wanted to experience in WAR. I’ll hype WAR, but it’s going to fall on deaf ears if people don’t enjoy that kind of gameplay, or if they think that kind of gameplay falls off a tree each time you run into an RvR lake or a Scenario. I’ve had bad RvR runs too, but damn, I’ll take a few clunkers over leveling Yet Another Alt in Azeroth, or doing another 10 levels on my WoW main, just to be faced with the same cookie-cutter PvE raiding. Yeah, WoW dungeons are awesome, but seriously, compared to playing against real people, it bores me to tears. I’d rather play Bejeweled than run WoW raid dungeons.

I just don’t enjoy that band. It’s ok if you do. We can still get along. I’ll go to my concerts, you go to your concerts, and we can still talk to each other. I’ll still be your friend. And I’m not going to insist my music is better. It’s not. It’s just what I like. And I like it a lot! WAR friggin’ rocks. For me.

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16 Responses

  1. Did you forget a title for this post, or is WordPress acting up?

    Yeah, Syncaine was telling me about some wonderful stuff to do at level 22. Hey, if I was level 22, I’d be happy doing open RvR. Getting to level 22 though.

  2. Ha, thanks Wilhelm. I had a browser crash while I was writing the post, and when Firefox restarted, I was happy to see the post had survived. Apparently the title did not survive ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think I’m at a good point for WAR. I wanted an Eve break, WoW bored me, I’m not all that curious about any other games out right now, so I don’t feel pulled away from WAR. I can hang out and have fun, and getting to level 20 seems pretty simple.

    It’s interesting to me that I find WAR about the easiest MMO ever for leveling, but other people find it difficult.

    I think part of that is the Scenario issue. If Scenario leveling wasn’t so profitable, if it was comparable to PvE and Open RvR, I wonder if people would find the pace of PvE leveling to be just fine?

  3. Well, I have to say that Varsoon has been level 14 through three weeks of Saturday night events. I know that WAR only goes up to 40, so the curve has to be steeper than some other games, but that much play time says to me that something is wrong somewhere. That is a Day 1 EverQuest level curve.

    Of course, I haven’t been running scenarios with him much.

  4. I just don’t think its an MMORPG w/o a dungeon every Tier. DAOC had a nice progression of Keltoi, Mithra, Catacombs, Barrows – they weren’t fancy just harder mobs the deeper you got with a rare spawn or 2, a rare weapon drop, an armor set, and a named at the bottom. No instance needed.

    PVE is important in an MMO no matter how much you love RvR.

  5. The way it seems to me, is that the PQs were intended to be the game’s main PvE for groups. Problem is, finding groups outside of one’s guild isn’t always easy to do unless you want to do scenarios.

    At least in T2 it’s not. T3 I keep hearing is where the bulk of folks are at… 4 more levels! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Everyone has a different experience to be sure, but I wish I had more like you, Rick. The last few times I’ve played I’ve been trying to get some influence and I’ll go to various PQs and find absolutely no one in them. I can kill 100 Foozles to do the first stage without seeing another soul. I know I can ask CoWs for help but I dunno… I hate inconveniencing others and I figure if I ask for help and get no response, some CoW is going to come over and help me because s/he feels bad for me.

    I have alted myself into a position way behind the curve though — still Tier 2.

    I enjoy the OpenRvR a lot, but I do want some challenging PvE to go with it. I miss the “puzzle” aspect of challenging PvE (ie dungeons or what not). When a group of people have to work together to defeat an encounter, and probably will fail a couple times until they figure out the right way to do it…but the encounter doesn’t change, so the group can eventually figure out a winning strategy vi trial and error and knowing their class an the game systems.

    OpenRvR is a different but equally enjoyable buzz.

    Scenarios I hate. To me they’re just a competitive mini-game, and I don’t like the side of people that this kind of direct and confined competition brings out in these games. The trash talking on the winning side, the blame assignment on the losing side. I think the latter is worse. “When will I ever get into an Order group that doesn’t have a bunch of retards playing?!” That kind of thing. Hate it. *spits*

    Um, OK, deep breaths… LOL

    But since I refuse to do scenarios, and PvE is a ghost town in Tier 2, my leveling has slowed to a crawl, and I find myself not bothering to log in at all. I probably need to stop being so anal that I force myself to cap influence in a chapter before heading to the next one, eh? Heh.

  7. I don’t hear any trash talking on the winning side, Pete? I think my favorite part about Mythic PvP is that you can’t communicate with the other players. And yeah, someone can emote something, but that’s few and far between, and I figure if someone’s taking the time to taunt me, that’s another teammate of mine they’re not killing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Maybe I don’t mind the PvE “ghost town” effect, or the lack of dungeons (although I heard CoWs really enjoying Gunbad), because I like a big game world. I enjoy feeling like I’m the only one around, sometimes, or only running into a few people, helping each other out, and moving on. I feel like I’m making better friendships with new people in WAR than I’ve ever felt in other PvE-focused MMO’s.

    It’s not like the Fellowship of the Ring had half the townsfolk of Bree helping out on Weathertop ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoy the need to be self-sufficient, maybe? I’m just trying to figure out why I haven’t felt the sense of loneliness or frustration.

    I do understand coppertopper’s statements about the dungeon progression. I do remember that in DAoC, and it was a good way to find a quorum of people to adventure with. I think, though, that with the tools Mythic has given me, I don’t have any trouble finding people to do things with. Maybe I’m just at the right place in the level curve, on the right server, with a good group of guildmates that I was fortunate enough to join up with. My opinion is certainly subjective, I’m not trying to argue with anyone. It piques my curiosity, though.

  8. By far the most interesting thing about WAR so far is how vastly different people’s experience seems to be.

    I’m in the same boat as you Rick, I never get that ‘ghost town’ feeling, I don’t feel leveling is slow, and I’ve never really felt like I can’t get PQs done due to a lack of people (this is not to say every PQ I find has a full group waiting, but so far I’ve managed to complete all the DE PQs, most with PUGs)

    Part of it is server choice, low pop servers are definitely less fun. That said, Thorgrim is med/low pop, and I’ve not really had a ton of trouble.

    I think another major factor is just a general MMO mindset, and more specifically, the WoW mindset. I’ve found that people going directly from WoW are having the most trouble in WAR, both in leveling and in PvE. WoW spoils people with a new shiny around every corner (no matter how worthless that shiny may be), and hides anything that might be limiting (no focus on open world PvP, raids are tucked away and instances, etc)

  9. So it’s get lost WoW players time again Syncaine? Thanks.

  10. Hey Rick!

    I certainly wasn’t arguing either. Just being a bit envious of your experience and sharing mine.

    “I donโ€™t hear any trash talking on the winning side, Pete? I think my favorite part about Mythic PvP is that you canโ€™t communicate with the other players.”

    I’m talking about being on the winning side, and hearing people (as the clock winds down) talking about what idiots the other side was, or whatever. Honestly the sore-losers are a lot worse than the trash-talking winners, though.

    “Itโ€™s not like the Fellowship of the Ring had half the townsfolk of Bree helping out on Weathertop ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoy the need to be self-sufficient, maybe?”

    The fellowship had 9 members! Frodo didn’t solo any PQs on his way across middle earth. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. The real question – would you recommend WAR to your friends right now? For me, not so much outside of the great PvP within the RvR. Blame it on WoW for being spoiled by such an outstanding PvE game, but I miss it in WAR.

  12. …and yet would never resub to WoW since PvE w/o RvR is lame.

  13. “Blame it on WoW for being spoiled by such an outstanding PvE game…”

    I played WoW for 4 years, and I don’t get that statement. To me, WAR pve = WoW pve when leveling. When I leveled up my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th alt, I ran quests, was powered through a few instances, and that’s about it. WAR leveling in pve (pve…not counting scenarios) is…surprise! Run quests, run PQ events. The quest quality is the same – skip text, click accept, kill 10 foozles, get rewards. I just don’t see how WoW > WAR pve. Or are you only counting endgame? That’s not valid since people are talking about pve leveling. I think the heart of the problem is just general MMO leveling burnout. People would be happy to go from level 1 to cap and get on with end game.

  14. I specifically didn’t count leveling up my first character since that was 4 years ago and WoW came on to the scene with unparalleled polish. Memories tend to be looked at through rose-colored glasses. For example, people complain about WAR bugs on release and compare it to WoW. WoW had tons of bugs and server issues at release, but people just seem to forget that.

  15. @mm – “I think the heart of the problem is just general MMO leveling burnout.”

    Agreed. I was saying on our guild board that because the Scenario XP is so damn good, it makes PvE feel grindy, even though I think WAR leveling is some of the easiest I’ve ever done in an MMO. If Scenarios gave a little less xp, and PvE gave a little more, I don’t know if people would have the same “leveling problem” perception.

    Wilhelm, you and Syncaine continuing something from another post somewhere? I feel like I’m missing something there.

  16. […] Rick does an excellent job of summing up everything he loves about Warhammer Online, and I have to agree with […]

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