Tag Archives: PVP

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (November 25, 2014)

Guild Wars 2 Bookahneer's GeekwatchWelcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting gaming news.

There was no new update today in Guild Wars 2, but as is custom on the non-update Tuesdays, we got to see a short teaser for next week’s update. Be warned, though, before you click on anything: If you haven’t played through last week’s update, this video may contain spoilers! If you have played through the story already or if you don’t mind spoilers, then go ahead, click this link and enjoy the video. :)

Next week, we will not just get an update to the living story, we will also get quite a few changes for sPvP. Mostly on how matchmaking works (see the official blog post for more information) and changes to queueing, a system to vote on maps to play on and a bit more. Again, see this official blog post for more information. The best news: Since you need to stay in the Hearts of the Mist while queued, you will find services like the trading post there with the update!

Because of the upcoming changes, there will be an episode of Ready Up tomorrow at 12 pm PST (should be 9 pm Berlin/Paris time). “Ready Up” is their PvP-related Twitch livestream.

 And in case you are interested in Guild Wars 2, but haven’t bought it yet or know somebody who would like to get the game, it’s currently on sale again on the official website (you can only buy the digital versions there!).

But Trove has stuff on sale as well. Block Friday has the starter packs 50 % off! The official store currently does not list the sale, which is very weird. But when you add the starter pack to your cart, it shows the discounted item. Please also note that credits are not on sale.

The Primal Pack currently costs 8.99 €, the Hero Pack is 22.49 € and the Voxstar Pack is 44.99 €. According to the recent patch notes, this sale will last “this week only”. I would assume this means from Tuesday to next Monday, but I’m not certain. You can also buy those packs from within the client where it’s actually showing the correct prices! :)

Trove_Block Friday Sale

“This week only”

I’m sorry if this all sounds a bit like an advertisement for those two games. I guess it is, in a way. But as always: I would never tell anybody to go and buy a game. Only do so if you really want to buy it and if you do, well, then a sale is the best time to actually spend that money, right? :p

Now excuse me, my candy barbarian is calling for me as she wants to gain another level tonight. ;)

Edit: Ohohoh! I am so excited to see that they added an extra line to the terraformer items’ tooltips! You may remember me writing in my Second Impressions Review

Then we decided to expand the club world and added a few more biomes. What we did not know: Everything built within 40 to 50 blocks from the border of where the new biome will be placed will get destroyed. The tower got hit and disappeared and with it all the items we had placed there.

I had sent in feedback and just now, when I looked at the terraformers, I saw that they added a new line to the tooltip. It now says:

BE WARNED – this will destroy everything in that zone, as well as the borders of the adjacent zones.

I cannot tell you how happy I am that they added this! Too late for us, of course, but I hope it will keep other players from losing their buildings and losing precious hours of work.

Trove_Terraformer_BE WARNED

BE WARNED – this will destroy everything in that zone, as well as borders of adjacent zones.

Pondering about which profession to choose…

WoWScrnShot_041710_184501When I wrote about my favourite profession in Guild Wars 2, I was looking at the topic from a pure PvE point of view. This entry is about WvW now.

I used to play World of Warcraft on a PvP server and I always hated it. As soon as I got the chance to get away (because I founded a guild with friends on a PvE server and later transferred to join a guild that bookahnerk had been with back in Ultima Online who are also on a PvE server), I left and never looked back.

The ironic part is that I actually love open world PvP. However, and here’s the big caveat: There have to be “safe” zones and going to either (PvE or PvP) zone has to be optional. I want to decide when I want to PvP or PvE! I do not want some random player who passes by to make that decision for me. Especially since that usually meant players that were much higher in level or had much better gear and thus, much better chances than me.

Defending a tower.

Defending a tower.

I found out how much I enjoy PvP when I played Warhammer Online. For those who don’t know: The game has 4 tiers, which are basically four level ranges. Each tier had different zones that belonged to the different race pairings. For example, dwarves and greenskins. So there you were, a level 5 player in the dwarf/greenskin T1 area. You could either do your PvE – regular quests or public quests (events) – or hop into the RvR lake which was marked on the map with a brownish border. When you entered the area that was marked as RvR, you got a warning and had a few seconds time to run back in case you did not want to get flagged.

This is what I miss most in my current MMOs. The ease of joining RvR when you wanted to (PvE and PvP was on the same map in each zone) and do PvE if you wanted to do that. There were clear borders (on the map, at least, not in the world per se). Joining was as easy as setting a foot into the area.

Guild Wars 2 Mini Lion CubAll this long-winded history of my gaming habits is just here to explain what I love about “world PvP”. For some reason, Guild Wars 2’s WvW hasn’t sticked with me yet. I’ve been in there a couple of times (almost literally) and I enjoyed my time there, but it seems to be so distant from the rest of the game that I find it hard to get in there, but yesterday, ArenaNet talked about the upcoming WvW area Edge of the Mists, and it makes me want to get into WvW!

The problem here is: As much as I love melee and swords in PvE, I do not like playing melee in PvP. So, the warrior is basically out. I did think about taking my mesmer there, but I really dislike that she’s so slow… or I’d have to get builds that make use of the focus which is a reliable way of getting some swiftness. On the other hand: Maybe this weapon IS the perfect one to use in WvW?

All I know is that I want something tricky to play. The warrior is too straight-forward. I absolutely loved playing a frost mage in World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade. That mage was about controlling, freezing, slowing, the enemies. Making sure they can’t hit you. Something like that would be great. And this is why I’m rambling about this topic. Maybe some of our readers can help me here. Which profession would resemble such a playstyle in Guild Wars 2? Maybe the engineer? Anything tricky that isn’t melee… it’s okay if it’s not easy to play. I get used to it… I hope. ;)

Guild Wars 2: A FAQ for new players

You may already know the first version of this FAQ. I decided to rewrite it, update it and put newer screenshots in. So here is the new version. A very special thank you goes to Tasha Darke for reading through it all. I was hoping for a few bits of corrected grammar but she gave me very valuable feedback on top of that!

This FAQ is mostly for those who have just recently heard of Guild Wars 2 and now want to know more. If you have been following the game for years or even just months, if you have pre-purchased the game and if you have already played it, you are welcome to read it as well, but you will find a lot of information that you already know.

Since the game is still in development a lot of things are subject to change (yes, believe it or not, ArenaNet is handling the Beta Weekend Events like a real beta and is still changing things around). Also, new information comes out every now and then which might outdate what you can read here. If you notice any of that – or just errors that I’ve made – please comment (with sources if possible).

I am going to use the same categories that I have used for my “Rift vs. Lotro vs. WoW” posting already.

If you only want a very short overview, the following will hopefully be enough. There are lots of links leading you further down my posting if you want more information!

Before we start, we need to get two questions out of the way (as suggested by Pyzlnar on Reddit):
“Yes, you can jump!” – and no, this game is not an Asian-grinder and it is not made by an Asian company. It’s made by ArenaNet who is located in Seattle, Washington, USA (though they do belong to NCSoft but they only work as a publisher here while ArenaNet is the developer and thus, actually makes the game). Guild Wars 2 will also feature an open world and will not be heavily instanced like Guild Wars 1 is. Again, thank you, Pyzlnar, for these suggestions. You were right, they’re clearly missing and should be the first two points in any GW2 FAQ. ;)

OMG! When’s the beta? How do I get in?
If you have pre-purchased the game, you are automatically invited to all beta weekend events planned to take place roughly once a month until release. Do not confuse it with a preorder, though. Pre-purchasing means you pay the game in full! Beta keys are also available through giveaways and competitions from a variety of fan and gaming websites.
Wait, what?

How much does the game cost? Which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer?
You will have to buy the game itself but there will be no monthly fees. Without monthly fees, the follow-up costs are basically voluntary as there will be a real money shop (called “gem store”), but stuff you buy there will not give you more power and thus, won’t be required for the gameplay. Gems, the shop’s currency, can be bought in the game’s auction house (here called the Trading Post) for in game gold. Nothing is known yet about security like authenticators. There will very likely be system for account restorations in case you were hacked.
More on costs and security

What can I play and how do I play? – Races, professions and combat mechanics
You will be able to choose from 5 races: Norn, human, asura, charr and sylvari. Each race can be each of the 8 professions (often also called “classes”) in the game: Engineer, Thief, Guardian, Warrior, Elementalist, Necromancer, Ranger and Mesmer.

There is no holy trinity anymore! “Holy trinity” refers to characters that tank (the foes focus on the tank and leave the other players alone), characters that heal and characters that deal damage. In Guild Wars 2, every profession is self-sufficient up to a certain point and you will be able to play with any combination of professions without having to wait for “another healer” or “a tank”. Professions can interact with each other through their skills and support others.
More about races and professions

What does the game look like?
In short: Gorgeous, artsy, picturesque if you ask me. As with all games’ graphics, this is very subjective. Have a look at the various screenshots you can find online and decide for yourself if you like it.
Pictures and videos outsourced to below in order to keep the part up here short.

What’s there to fight against (PvE)?
First things first, there will be no regular raids in this game as you may know them from WoW or SWTOR! Instead, dynamic events in the open world that scale for up to 100 players. There will be several dungeons to play which will each have a story mode and the more difficult explorable mode. There will be no standard quests for playing either. The closest you will get to regular quests will be your personal storyline.
More about PvE

Who’s there to fight (PvP)?
There are 2 modes of PvP – Structured and World vs World.
Structured PvP, also known as Conquest, is somewhat similar to battlegrounds (WoW) or warzones (SWTOR) except everybody will be max level and have all weaponry and armor available to them straight out of character creation. So no gear advantages. 2 Teams (hot join or premade) fight it out on different maps for Glory, a currency which can be spent on better looking equipment and other (as yet unannounced) rewards.
World vs. world vs. world (frequently abbreviated to WvW) is the second mode. Three worlds (servers) will fight against each other for guild recognition and bonuses which affect the entire world. Players cannot fight players from the same server,as there are no factions, and while characters are buffed to have the basic stats as a level 80 character, gear and traits are not levelled (but you do earn experience in WvW which means that you can level your character in WvW). Servers will rotate every two weeks.
More about PvP

Grouping and socialization
In Guild Wars 2, you will be able to join more than one guild with one single character (I assume you will be able to create more than one character. So don’t misunderstand this sentence ^^). If you want to read our opinion about it, go here. If you don’t, well that’s just as well. ;)
Grouping will be in the game but it will not be forced on you like it is in other games. For example, you can attack a mob that another player is currently fighting. As you both contribute to the kill, you will both get the same amount of experience points and loot that you would have gotten if you had fought the mob on your own! In other words: Kill-stealing will not be possible!
More about Grouping and Socialization

I want to be on my own sometimes (- or: What can do I solo?)
The first thing that comes to my mind is the personal storyline. When creating your character, you get asked a few questions and can choose between different answers. That determines the starting point of your personal story. Other choices later on will further determine how your story evolves. You can bring a friend along to your storyline. But it will essentially be your story.

Guild Wars 2 will also have achievements. So that’s something you can do. You can also roam the world on your own or play a lone wolf in WvW – though I’m not sure how viable the latter is, apart from escorting the odd caravan. ;)
More about stuff to do solo

There are 8 crafting skills to choose from and you can have two at a time: Weaponsmith, Huntsman, Artificer, Armorsmith, Leatherworker, Tailor, Jeweler and Cook.
Every character can gather all resources provided you have the correct gathering tool equipped which can be bought from merchants for gold or karma. A resource node can be used by several players, so it is not possible to steal such a node from under another player’s nose.
More about crafting

There will be mini-pets just as in Guild Wars 1. Activities have also been announced but there haven’t been any recent details on them. “Bar brawl” was one of the activities mentioned, for example.

You will also have a home instance which is an entire district in the capital city of your character’s race. The home instance automatically changes with your personal story but you can’t change anything yourself (like putting furniture in).

Also, you will be able to change the way your armor looks. And there will be 400 different dyes in the game. Each piece of armor has 1 to 3 areas that can be dyed.
More about fluff

That was the short version. Its bigger brother will follow now, which also includes links for further reading. Most of the information can be found on ArenaNet’s blog or in the official wiki for Guild Wars 2.

Click here to see the full entry

Guild Wars 2: Stress Test Fun in WvW

On May 14, ArenaNet had a second stress test for Guild Wars 2. After being in the loading screen, stuck at 95%, for about 10 – 15 minutes, I got into the game and didn’t have any problems at all anymore. Weird. ;) But maybe Monday evening wasn’t the perfect time for a stress test because lots of people have to work and can’t devote time to that. Saturday could have been a better choice or even Friday. At least, if they wanted to test the login servers. Either that or they have managed to improve their systems greatly (I certainly wouldn’t mind that ^^). Nevertheless, I was really tired and didn’t stay long in the game.

The first thing I did was take a few screenshots that I was missing for a post that I still haven’t written. Oh well. It’s yet another draft that may never get published. I semi-regularly look at all my drafts and delete a few, so there are never too many around. ;) Then I went to Lion’s Arch to have a look at the fountain there. The first time I saw it, I immediately noticed the little figures in the water… ships and sea dragons. But the rhythm of the “water spits” being passed from fish to fish is also fascinating… and it does make almost relaxing sounds. I watched it for a few minutes. This time, I just took a video of the sequence. So, in case you haven’t gotten the chance to see it yet, here it is:

And then I got bored. What do I do now? I’ve seen all there is to see (well, not really, of course. But I’ve seen dynamic events, I’ve seen structured PvP, I’ve been sight-seeing in town,…). The only thing still missing was WvW. And even though I was very tired, I jumped into the action. And that’s what you get to see in the video: A casual player who’s tired from work trying to find some fast and fun action. And that, I did find! ^^ I’m definitely not playing well because – did I already say I was tired? ;) But I didn’t upload it to show the world how great of a PvP player I am. I uploaded it so people can get a feeling for what WvW may be like when you log on and jump into the action without first getting a team together, strategizing etc. In other words: Watch me shoot down a gate! ^^

I didn’t know my way around on the map, so I went to where bookahnerk said he had seen players from one of the two enemy realms. I’m fighting only with my gun because ranged seemed like the best option. As you can see, it takes quite a while to get a gate down. A ram can help a lot with that! Make sure to always carry a few supplies (I think 10 is max per player) with you in case somebody wants to build a siege weapon.

As you can see, I spent most of my time attacking the gate, looking around and just trying to scare the enemies away from the pinnacles, so they would stop attacking those of us who stood on the ground attacking the gate. ;) I also tried to figure out when an enemy was “obstructed” and where they had to stand on the walls, so I could successfully attack them in ranged combat. I know that I’ll definitely enjoy playing my warrior with a rifle!

What I took away from that short trip to WvW is that you can get some “fast action” in WvW as well. Of course, once the servers are up and we’ve been playing for a longer time on our “real home servers”, it may be different and we might need guilds and fellow group players to be successful out there. But for this short time (all in all, I was only in WvW for half an hour), it was lots of fun. It’s just too bad I didn’t get much direct combat with other players. But for that to happen, I guess we shouldn’t have a gate between us. ;)

My gameplay experience at the EUFanDay

It turns out, we’re actually allowed to write about our game experience now! Three cheers to ArenaNet for allowing us to share our experiences with you! And there’s no need for them to worry either because except for two tiny things, I enjoyed myself immensely in the game and all in all, I can’t wait to get my hands on the real game. So, in case you’re curious about my gameplay experience, I’m going to try to memorize what I did and thought about the game. ;) The short of it is: I played a norn through their starter area, I played structured PvP, I played through a dungeon and I experienced the downscaling in the open world. The classes I tried were mesmer and warrior.

Before we started playing, we told each other which race/class we want to play once the game releases. Nobody mentioned the poor norn (you can probably guess which race I am going to play first… ^^). Ironically, the first thing we did was play the norn starter area. ;) This race is too big for me. The characters and the starter area are well-done. The norn themselves just aren’t what I like playing myself. So, as soon as I had the chance, I switched to playing a female charr. Much better! I tried both the mesmer (melee-style!) and the warrior. I can say that I have no idea which of those two classes will be my “main character” in the end. But I guess that’s what “alts” are for. ;)

I played the norn mesmer with a sword and a pistol. It was nice being right at the mob in melee combat. I never had the feeling that I was squishy. All in all, the mesmer has some nice tricks up her sleeve. I had called an illusion (who looks exactly like my character) and then got kicked away from the mob. After calling this illusion, you have a few seconds to click on this same spell again and switch positions with the illusion. So, if your illusion is still close to the mob and you get kicked away, activate this skill and you switch positions with it and can continue meleeing the mob. Or, well, player if that happens in PvP. ;)

Anyway, as I said, I switched from norn as soon as I had the chance. So once we started playing structured PvP (no WvW because we were only 25 people and that would’ve been a bit boring), I played a female charr warrior. I did mention to Stéphane how the female charr’s breathing sounds reminded me of Darth Vader. Weird noises, really. But I guess I’ll either get used to it (and my headphones did have a strange sound to them… tinny, in a way) or maybe they’ll change it if more people think so. ^^ I liked everything else about the female kitteh. She’s cute, cuddly, furry,… ;) The warrior class was lots of fun as well. During the PvP, I ran around with a gun. I had a hard time remembering all skills, so I refrained from switching to my melee weapons. Of course, that meant I didn’t play as effectively as I could have. ;) Still, I had lots of fun, even though I always need lots of time until I can find my way around on the different maps. We played Battle of Kyhlo (for gameplay videos, you can have a look at our youtube-channel where we uploaded several videos from last year’s GamesCom about people playing on this map. We do not have any current videos because we weren’t allowed to film it) and Forest of Niflhel.

The next day, we played the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon. Once again, I missed something. I thought I couldn’t switch my weapon sets and only had one: Sword and shield for my warrior. For my traits, I had chosen some that gave me more defense and hitpoints. I wanted to make sure I don’t die immediately, so that it gave me more time to react. We played the story-mode and it was… easy. Again, fun. But easy! We hadn’t been in there for long when our 5th group member had to go (it was the second day, so I assume he had to go in order to catch his flight). We continued with just four players and still, it was easy! Of course, “easy” doesn’t mean we went through there without dying. We all died a few times (that is, we were in downed state several times and a few times, we also died). We also had a wipe at one of the bosses.

What I like is how you can play through the story-mode with a PuG (and we were kind of like a PuG, after all. With us sitting further away from each other, there wasn’t much discussing a tactic, etc.) and don’t need to worry about wiping countless times before giving up completely frustrated. As we were only four people, we didn’t even try the explorable mode. Stéphane said that if we did try this one out, we would endure pain. Lots and lots of pain. When glancing over to my right, I saw Tasha Darke and her group die countless times in the explorable version. They tried their best but eventually, gave up. So there is certainly a huge difference between playing the story-mode and the explorable mode. And that’s the way it should be, if you ask me. If you just want to go through the dungeon to experience the story and be able to say that you’ve done and seen it, then the story-mode is perfect for you. If you want and need the challenge, then continue with the explorable mode! And since you get downscaled to the appropriate level if you’re higher level, there is no way to go back to a low level dungeon and just run through it without paying attention. If you’re above level 30, you will get scaled down to 30 when you enter this dungeon.

Speaking of downscaling: I took my level 30 warrior to the charr starter area and was downscaled to level 13. I was alone for a while and did one of the events there. Then a group event started. I figured I should try it. Yes, I was downscaled to level 13 but surely, being a level 30 in reality should give me an advantage? And I had a shield and had taken a trait to not receive as much damage! Bravely, my kitteh jumped into the fight. When the mob was at around 50% (ok, probably closer to 60 or even 70 ^^), I died. While running back from the waypoint where I got resurrected, I saw that another player had arrived. Together, we killed the mob. I was pleased about that. The downscaling (at least from 30 to 13) worked very well! And if there is something like a stat-cap, then I highly doubt that being a level 80 downscaled to 13 would have given me any advantage. I then inspected the area further and saw a skill point challenge on the map. After arriving, I found myself surrounded by level 17 – 18 mobs. I looked at the lower left corner: Yep, still level 13 effectively. I looked back up at the mobs: Nope, not a chance. None at all. I died, again.

My kitteh licked her wounds and strolled over to the lake to test out the underwater combat instead. This one feels just like the normal combat. Except that you use different weapons and thus, have different skills on the left side of your skill bar (the right side wasn’t affected, I think). Sometimes, it’s a bit difficult to see where the mob is exactly that you’re attacking (you can move up and down which just makes it a bit harder to spot the mobs). But other than that, it was as much fun as the combat was outside of the water.

What I’ve seen seemed like a solid game whose gameplay was fun for me. Apart from the weird female charr breathing sounds, I found one other “not-so-great” thing: When playing with lots of other players, there was a lot going on on the screen. Lots and lots of graphic effects from spells/abilities from all around you. If they could tone this a bit down, I’d be very happy. Other than that, I didn’t have anything to complain about. There’s only one thing that’s even worse now than it was before: I don’t really feel like playing any other MMO at the moment. I’d much rather continue exploring the world of Guild Wars 2 right now (preferably with asura… *insert dramatic sigh*). Then again, I do still have single-player games left to play through. So there’s plenty to do while waiting!

If you have any questions about my gameplay experience, feel free to ask!

Guild Wars 2 and its lack of PvP servers

Some time ago, a friend asked us about “open world PvP”. When we told him that there won’t be any PvP servers like you have them in World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic, he was upset. He couldn’t imagine a PvP game without PvP servers. For him, PvP isn’t fun without world PvP.

The question is: Why doesn’t Guild Wars 2 have PvP servers and is this good or bad?

What we would gain from having open world PvP on every map would certainly be more excitement and a more dangerous atmosphere. It doesn’t really work in the existing game, however, because there are no two (or even three) factions battling each other. As those of you who have been following the game for a longer time already most likely know, the world of Guild Wars 2 is threatened by the Elder Dragons. In order to survive, the peoples of Tyria need to stand together and just can’t afford having a war with each other. Of course, there are rivalries and more. But all in all, having two factions fight against each other wouldn’t make much sense in this world.

From a gameplay perspective, it’s nice not to be divided because of that. How many people who play(ed) World of Warcraft would have loved to play (insert chosen race) just to have their friends tell them that this isn’t possible because they play the other faction (in this game’s case, Horde or Alliance)? This won’t be a problem here. All races fight on the same side. There will also not be dueling in the game. At least, not at its release… but that’s just as a side-note in case you were wondering. ;) Back to the actual topic: There will be no ganking or fighting people from your own server. This ultimately means that the players on your server aren’t part of “the other side”. They’re on your side. They’re not the enemy.

The whole game’s concept seems to revolve around this idea. If there’s a gathering node, don’t hurry. It will be there for you even if a zillion other players are running towards it at the same time. Everybody gets to gather from it. If there’s a mob, don’t worry if somebody else hits it and loots it. You will get the same XP no matter if somebody hit the mob or not. You will get the same loot that you would have gotten if you had not had somebody help you. Other players aren’t competition. They’re on your side. I know I’ve had it happen (in World of Warcraft), that I’d wanted to get to a mining node when a player from the other faction arrived and wanted the node as well. As we were on a PvP server, they attacked me. While we were fighting, another player from my own side came by, saw us fight and took their chance: They gathered from the node and disappeared. The node was gone, I was dead, and the player hadn’t even thought about helping me. They’re not required to do so, I know that. But the game actually rewarded him (with giving him the mining material from the gathering node) by not helping me. So when you can’t fight – over loot, mobs, gathering nodes – the game at least doesn’t encourage selfish gameplay.

The game does have open world PvP! So don’t get me wrong here. I like open world PvP occasionally. So something like this concept is perfect for me. Quite often, I just want to climb mountains, enjoy watching the game’s sunrises and sunsets, go gather stuff, hit a few mobs, do anything BUT turn around twitchily on every corner because an enemy player might be there ready to attack me. The good thing is that this kind of “attitude” is perfectly valid in Guild Wars 2. If you’re in the mood for “just PvE”, then stay in the usual world. If you are in the mood for PvP, go into the Mists (the open world PvP where your server’s players fight against two other servers’ players or go to structured PvP which is something like battlegrounds in WoW or warzones in SWTOR). PvE and PvP is neatly separated which means that if you meet a player from “the other side” (server in this case) on the PvP map, you know that they’re there because they want to PvP. They’re not there to pick up flowers and bring them back to their grandmother’s hut. If you’re in the PvP are, then you have the same goals and want to spend your time similarly: Fight other people.

I just hope that the maps are big enough and the subjectives encourage people to spread around the maps. In Warhammer Online, it happened quite often that we fought zerg vs. zerg and apart from the game not performing well when lots of players met, it was also boring. You just hit whatever was closest but there wasn’t that much strategy involved. I can’t wait to go roam through the maps in smaller groups and have interesting fights! I don’t think I’ll miss PvP servers. If you ask me, I will get the best of both worlds.

Warhammer Wrath of Heroes – Impressions

Cynical Brit’s YouTube video “WTF is Warhammer: Wrath of Heroes created some buzz apparently. At least, in the world of Google+ and on the Warhammer Online forums. Its NDA was dropped a while ago, so I can safely write about the game, I guess. In general, I do agree with quite a lot that Cynical Brit is complaining about.

Let’s recap first: What is Wrath of Heroes? It’s a MOBA-style game. Or, in other words, it’s Warhammer Online’s scenarios with an added third faction and all things like skill trees, armour, levels etc. removed. There are different heroes (e.g. a goblin shaman or a human bright wizard) and when a match starts, you choose one of them. Whenever you die in a match, you can choose to play as another hero. There are no restrictions as to which heroes can play together (so yes, skaven, greenskins, dwarves and humans can be in one team). This game’s going to be f2p and they seem to be targetting the casual crowd rather than the hardcore gamers.

I’ve been in the beta since the beginning (if I remember correctly). Bookahnerk also got his invitation when I did (though he never got further than logging into the game and looking at the lobby). Before Warhammer Online launched, we both ordered a Collector’s Edition and I was in the game for 7 or 8 months (paid for a full year but quit before the last 6 months sub ran out). So when I heard about Wrath of Heroes, I was carefully excited. I’ve played lots of matches in the game now and… well, I guess I can say that I like it. Performance-wise, this game’s great. I haven’t noticed any lags, hitching, stuttering etc. (like I did in Warhammer Online). I’ve also not gotten stuck in various landscape areas like I did in WAR. ;) So, I thought it’s important to mention it. The most interesting part of this game is that it has three factions. It’s not just you against the others. It’s about where to fight next, which side to ignore for the time being. Or maybe even to fight together with one of those sides in order to battle against the third side that’s about to win the game… only to then turn against your temporary allies and stomp them into the ground as well.

But now, on to my concerns: One thing that I can’t stop wondering about is whether the developers are serious about this game. It’s just the little things… the game is not under an NDA anymore but I didn’t see many people write about it (which is not the developers’ fault, I guess). But there are also not many news, interviews etc. about it. I haven’t seen much advertising. I really dislike that there are no official forums. Communication goes through their Facebook page. And that’s even sillier considering that Bioware does have its own forums. Wrath of Heroes is NOT a Facebook game. Bioware’s “Dragon Age Legends” is, though. However, Dragon Age Legends has its own subforums on the Bioware forums. While the game was still under NDA, you could only view and write in those forums when your account was registered as participating in the beta. So, while this Facebook game got its own forum on the Bioware forums, Wrath of Heroes, which isn’t a Facebook game, doesn’t get its own subforums. Warhammer Online’s there as well. They had their own independent forums taken away quite some time ago. ;) I just don’t see how they can really gather that much feedback this way. Yes, they have an email address that you can use for sending feedback. And they have their survey that you can fill out regularly. But that’s all one-sided communication. I also don’t really know who’s in their team. I assume it’s Paul Barnett, Carrie Gouskos and whoever that other woman was that we saw in the infamous panel (was it at ComicCon? I forgot). But maybe I’m reading too much into this and it’s perfectly normal for a game to not have advertising, a huge indepth website (in this case, it’s a subdomain and the website itself doesn’t have too much information… looks like a wordpress blog to me ^^) or forums.

Each hero only has 5 skills. I’ve seen this being criticised more often. It works in League of Legends but there, it’s not just 5 skills that each “do damage + X” (where X is something like a heal, debuff, buff etc.). You level up your skills and you decide in which order you learn those skills and/or level them up. You can buy items during gameplay to help your character etc. While I like playing and trying out the heroes, once I know which skill does what, there isn’t much of a challenge anymore. It’s not like I can do that much to win a fight against another hero on the open map. If you ask me, Wrath of Heroes isn’t too similar to LoL but rather to… well, of course, Warhammer Online. ;) Or other MMORPGs. So being restricted to only 5 skills with no further choices seems too shallow and easy to me. Even Guild Wars gives us 8 (and yes, I know that Guild Wars can’t be compared to WoH… I just thought I’d throw it in here because my first thought in Guild Wars had been that 8 skills aren’t enough at all. And in GW’s case, I changed my mind. They are more than enough! But in WoH, those five skills don’t work well enough, I think)! On the other hand, there’s still room and stuff to come. Like tactics. And the new thing that lets you roll at the end of a match which gives you gold (and maybe other stuff in the future?). I wonder what we’ll be able to buy from this gold.

So all in all, I think it’s a solid little game that is fun and great for people who are just looking for a short match or two after work, for example. A game where you just need a couple of friends but probably not hours upon hours of training to stay competitive. My biggest complaint at the moment is that it can become quite dull with only the five skills for each hero and no further customization (during a match) and, the biggest issue I have, my lack of faith in Bioware Mythic and their sincerity when it comes to their product.