I'm "transiting" from WoW to WAR and from a strictly PvE to PvP.
When WotLK came out I was in WoW heaven. Blizzard did a brilliant job. Graphics, game play and especially story telling where superb. I was playing a ret pally on a Oceanic PvE server and having a ball.
Being in a good guild made it even more enjoyable - so why the change? It all started because of WoW battlegrounds.
After years of level grinding and chasing gear, rep and levels I decided I needed something different. I tried the PvP elements of WoW for the first time only six months ago. Arena wasn't for me as it seems all about gear. Battlegrounds I loved. So much more rewarding and enjoyable then the PvE element. I mean, after years "kill ten rats" and "collect ten foozles" has to get boring right? Dungeons/raids where about scripted fights, but I found BGs more free flowing, anarchic and fun. Winning a 15 minute BG was so much more satisfying than 2 hours in a dungeon.
I'd read the blogs and sites about WAR and it's emphasis on PvP (and oRvR) and thought I'd enjoy that as much as WoW BGs. I was also starting to ask myself "what is there after 80?" Raiding? Arena? Epic Gear. Role a new toon? To my surprise I enjoyed WAR more! Sure the game has had it's issues, however the MMO is less than six months old. I think many commentators have forgotten what large, complex beasts MMO's are. And Mythic has been very, very responsive to players.
What I like about WAR?
- Levelling and gear is not so much a concern. Many players have commented on "I don't watch my level" or "I'm surprised when I ding!". It's becuase in WoW levelling becomes an obsession, as it all about getting the gear to do heroics to get gear to raid. Right from lvl 1 you can fight other players. Actually I'm sad when I level past a tier becuase I miss the scenario's and oRvR lakes. You gain XP from PvP, scenario's and RvR. Overall I don't feel like I'm grinding as much as WoW. Gear is not so much an issue as in WoW. Sure you want better gear, and will frequently upgrade - but really, it's how you play that matters. I got my first blue at level 8 through PQ's
- PvP is its core and works well. oRvR has been fixed and the scenario's are fast, fun and furious. I've been part of some epic battles already. You can join PvP scenario's from anywhere, you don't need to fly to a hub (just click the "Join Scenario" option in HUD)
- Darker fantasy world. The bad guys are bad. There are no motorbikes in WAR and elves don't dance (type /dance to see what I mean). It does not have the cartoon feel of WoW. This is a serious place, the game's narrative is built around a massive invasion by the forces of Chaos. I'm going slower thought this game than WoW, reading the story and exploring the world at a slow pace. Why? Becuase I don't need to level so fast, I can get into PvP anytime I want. I remember fighting RvR as Order and watching a bunch of player Orc's come running at us and being scared!
- Vanilla WAR can be played without MODs. Seems like a strange thing to say, but imagining playing WoW without the MODs? How much more harder is WoW out the box without the community providing half the functionality of the game? Take away your auction, quest helper and class mods and how much harder is to play WoW? I think this is Blizzards dirty secret - it's the MOD developers who make the game functional, meaning many of forget just how many features WoW does not have. Many of this are absorbed Borg like in patches and expansions.
- Tome of Knowledge. Believe the hype on this. A brilliant addition to MMO games, and something you can spend hours flicking through learning about the world and it's creatures. Tome Unlocks are achievements that also give you XP.
- Public Quests and open groups. Work very well. You can join any group without an invite. This is starting to come together well, once you learn how to create and search for groups. I'm noting more and more people grouping and using this to advantage
- Mature player base (on my servers at least). I'm finding the players older and more mature than WoW. No Allakhazam jokes, nothing is "gay" and the world is over run by players calling each other "noob". I'm also finding players are getting to know their class better, and fights are evolving from chaotic free-for-alls to more co-coordinated efforts. Players are learning how to play/fight in this world and both sides are getting better... thus making it more competitive and fun!
- Classes are fun and have specific roles. I've played Shadow Warrior (O), Disciple of Khaine (C), Shadow Warrior (O) and Witch Finder so far and enjoyed all (and dabbled with more). After playing a proc/holy pally for so long it was great to play offensive melee/dps classes (the WoW population seems to be converging towards 50% druids and 50% DKs. Rogues as a class are dying, tanks are rare and healers even rarer). It takes time to learn their strengths and weaknesses, but now I'm finding I'm increasingly hitting the top of the damage/kill tables at the end of scenario's. The thing about WAR is that you have to move fast... stand still too long and you will die in a fight. You can't solo a mass of other players (unlike typical PvE MOBs) and learning team work and how your class fights into the group will make all the difference. Thus, all those people claiming Witch Elves (WE) where "overpowered", especially compared to the Empire's Witch Hunter (WH) didn't understand the subtle differences in play between the two. (WH's can be deadly if you know how to dart in and out of the fight, hitting fast and getting out faster). Play style is more important than gear, unlike WoW BG's where twinked premades ruled.
Where WAR still needs work
- Crafting is servicale, but not the basis of a player economy. I've got apothecary and talisman making on my two Order toons in order to support each other, but don't see much use for the others. I understand Mythic will be building trade skills over time
- Capital cities need to be turned into hubs for socialising, trading and recruiting much more. 99% of actions takes place outside the cities, hampering online interactions somewhat
- Bugs, glitches etc. They're almost there, and WAR's much more stable these days. Have not got to tier 4 yet, so can't comment on capital city sieges.
- If you love PvE this is not for you. It's workable thanks to PQs, however PvE simply helps build XP. Treat PvE as a change to learn about the world. Reading the quest givers texts gives you an insight into the characters and factions of the world. Yes, you have to kill ten rats again and again, but at least you have 100% drop rates (Remember the pain Stranglethorn Vale quests and their drop rates if you think Blizzards PvE is so superior).
Summary - WAR is in it's infancy, and they made some mistakes, but it is constantly evolving and getting better. Give it even more time and will be even better.
Edited, Jan 14th 2009 11:18pm by Ozmike