Looking Back at 2009

I think 2009 was a good year for games, even MMOs. Sure WoW is still on top, Warhammer continues to struggle, there’s not been any revolutionizing innovation in the MMO genre, but I don’t really care about any of that. All of the games I started the year playing (EVE and LoTRO) I still enjoy, and I found a new game (Champions) that I like an expect to be playing through the whole of 2010. (more…)

Warhammer Expanding

Lot’s of news and commentary on Mythic’s announcements today.  Keen is excited, while Darren is concerned.  I’m neither.

They’re rolling out a new class, a cut class from the beta, new areas, and new events.  It’s a free expansion spread out over the next few months.  I’m glad to see Mythic aggressively marketing and developing their game, and I hope they succeed, but for me it’s a game of wait and see.  My subscription is up on February 17th and I doubt I’ll re-sub before then regardless of what Mythic does with the game.  Warhammer just can’t compete for my free time compared  to the Moria expansion for LoTRO, finishing Fallout 3, and a expectation for Dawn of War 2 coming shortly.

I’ll continue to follow the developments with more than a little interest, but I can’t see getting my Engineer out of mothballs until June or July at the earliest.

No More War for Me

So I’ve cancelled my Warhammer subscription.  It doesn’t go inactive until mid February, but if the past two months are any indication I won’t be playing any more.  I played a Dwarf Engineer into Tier 2 before I ran out of steam, so I can’t comment on the PvP or endgame much.  For someone who is primarily PvE player the game is good, but not great, and good doesn’t cut it when Moria’s caverns are calling me so strongly.

Warhammer Crafting

Given the polish in the quests, combat, and PvP, the crafting system really sticks out as a tacked on system.

Initially I picked salvaging and talismans for crafting skills.  Salvaging was especially frustrating.  I often got a message saying an item was not salvageable or that I wasn’t skilled enough to salvage an item.  But I never found information in an item’s description to indicate if it was salvageable or what the minimum skill level requirement is to salvage it.

So around level 18, I switched to cultivation and alchemy.  Not great, but better.  Cultivation is especially interesting since I can plant a seed and close the window.

Warhammer Impressions 2

In case you missed it, in Warhammer Impressions 1 I talked about the launch and the high-level zone/quest design for the first two tiers

My initial class was an Elven Shadow Hunter.  My primary in LoTRO is a Man Hunter, and in WoW was a Night Elf Hunter.  I have a thing for archery classes.  So I tried out the Shadow Hunter first.  Unfortunately, I absolutely hate the shooting animation.   No bowstring.  No arrow.  The character aims for the sky like he’s firing an English longbow, which would be okay except the 90% of the time he’s shooting at something much closer.   Sometimes you see an arrow fly out and hit the target and sometimes you don’t.  I may be spoiled by LoTRO’s animation, but after about five kills the Shadow Hunter got deleted.  I didn’t even complete the first quest to kill sprites.

My second class was a Dwarf Engineer.  The animations were much more enjoyable, and I really liked the feels of the Dwarf areas better than the Elf starting zone.

Combat overall is good.  A little slow, but not too bad.  I always feel like I have something to do.  PvP has been great fun in the couple of scenarios I’ve tried.

Crafting.  Mmmmm, no.  Crafting seems really last minute to me.  I tried a little bit of both alchemy and talismans and didn’t like either.  Also, there’s no quest introduction.  So far I think both LoTRO and WoW handled crafting better.


Accept the EULA every time.  Really?

I have to scroll to the bottom, check a box, and click accept.  Everytime I want to play.  Every time.  Really?  Why.  Who that that was a good idea?  I have enough minor but necessary irritations in my work life, why should I accept a minor but unnecessary irritation in my gaming life?

WoW only requires you to do it after a patch.   Presumably because something changed in the agreement.  I wouldn’t know, I never read it.

That may be why Mythic is handling the Warhammer EULA this way.  But I don’t read this one either.  Why bother?  It’s not like I’m going to disagree with a section and decide not to play the game.  I’ve already opened the box and registered the key.  It’s too late to return it.  It’s also not going to make the EULA any more enforceable in court.

All it does is irritate me whenever I want to login a play a bit.  Which I do too relax.   Always nice to have a relaxation activity that is begins by smaking you in the back of the head.

Warhammer Impressions

I’ve been playing Warhammer for a few days now.  I have about 19 hours put in on a Dwarf Engineer.

The launch has been pretty smooth.  Some queues, but nothing horrible.  Some crashes, but better than the first week of WoW (I played at launch), although I do feel like LoTRO had a smoother launch.

I really enjoy the lore and the atmosphere of the game.  Mythic did an excellent job of making each zone feel like an actual war is going on.  Going from one encampment to another, I can watch NPC skirmishes happening with orcs and goblins charging dwarven lines.  Really makes the environment feel more dynamic than I was expecting.

The quest progression in the first tier is well designed and did a good job of moving me from the starting area out to my first public quest and then on to the next area with multiple PQ’s and more varied quests.

The quest design broke down a little when I got to the second tier, the Marshes. Yuck.  So far I’m not liking the Marshes.  After I finished all of the tier 1 quests, I moved to the Marshes to complete my last two quests.  This seems a bit early.  In tier one I only died a few times and that was almost always my own fault.  In tier two I died a lot more.  A lot.  As in it got annoying.

The difficulty levels of the quests in the Marshes seem uneven.   Some are solo-able and some are not.  There’s no indication of which are which.   Some of the quests I got at the first dwarf encampment were okay for my rank (which was 11-ish) and some I needed to be higher, but there’s no indicator on the quest of what the target level is.  It’s pretty annoying to trek out into the swamps toward a quest area only to find that the mobs I need to hunt are too high for my current rank.

As I moved out from the first to the second dwarf camp in the Marshes this became more of an issue.   Several times I had to skirt areas and hunt around a little bit for the one quest I could actually complete.   A couple of times, I was only able to complete a quest because a higher level had just come through and cleared out the mobs and I was able to run in and pickup whatever glowing item I was supposed to click on.

I may be spoiled by LoTRO, but I think adding a rank indicator to quests would go a long way.  Especially for some of the quests that send you to a new area or zone which you may or may not be level appropriate for.

I’ve got some more to say, see part two in a couple of days.