August 25, 2008

I had a WAR Weekend , My Rabbit Had a Beauty Day

The Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR) Preview Weekend has come and gone. It was so grand that I spent Sunday giving our pet rabbit a beauty day instead of playing. No, it wasn’t because the game wasn’t playable. It was because WAR is fun, no matter how little or how much time you spend in game. Actually, I had a metric ton of fun, but that doesn’t mean the game was perfect. Far from it, but I learned a very valuable lesson: having fun in a game trumps many flaws.

My desktop machine specs:

Video card: MSI 9600 GT OC
CPU: Intel Q6600 @ 2.6 GHz (that’s a quad core btw)
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Operating system: Windows XP Pro x64

Pros and Cons

I am going to break this down into a Pros and Cons list, as that will be the easiest way to get my thoughts down.

Pros
  • The game performs absolutely flawlessly on my machine. No FPS or graphical issues at all during the weekend.
  • Lag was a non-factor. Lag that was encountered was minor and rarely persisted more than a minute.
  • Massive RvR battles were absolutely awesome, both in performance and fun. Even with 100+ players on screen, the game ran fine and was 100% playable.
  • Combat was slower paced, allowing for longer life expectancy. This goes a long way towards making the RvR a lot of fun, as players rarely die the second someone touches them.
  • Battle-ranking evens out the playing field in RvR and makes low-level RvR enjoyable.
  • The ability to queue for scenarios anywhere in the zone supports the RvR and PvE progression idea.
  • Also, being able to form cross-zone parties and queue for any scenario in any zone a party member is in helps alleviate pointless travel.
  • Open grouping ensures that players can easily find others to play with.
  • Public quest system takes questing to another level, provides some reasoning for the world, and offers great socialization opportunities.
  • Quest objectives are outlined on the map. At first I didn’t like it, but I now prefer it over using spoiler websites.
  • Easily accessible travel to other racial pairings, warcamps, and capital cities. Hopefully this stays intact for launch, but I can understand if Mythic restricts it a bit.
  • Tome of Knowledge is impossible to “preview” as it is immense. I was absolutely blown away by the few things I took time to browse through.
  • Easily customizable UI out of the box.
  • Guild tools are just fucking awesome. Guilds and what they can do will be the centerpiece of WAR.
  • Crafting is fast, fun, and easily funded. It focuses on consumable items which I used a lot. I made over a hundred potions and used every single one by the end of the weekend. I bought most of the basic supplies up front and scavenged the rest from dead enemies in RvR.
Cons
  • Crash to desktop problems for many people. Personally, I only crashed twice in about ten hours of play.
  • Combat responsiveness needs work. Hard to tell what skill is being used, if it can be used, and many other perceptual errors that make combat feel sluggish.
  • Better visual feedback needed for the player and the casting bar needs to be reworked.
  • Spell effects were hit or miss. Sometimes I saw them, sometimes I didn’t, for both team mates and enemies. I was hit a lot in RvR by stuff I never saw.
  • Scrolling combat text failed. It was off center, small, and often didn’t work.
  • Default chat window filter needs to be reworked. There was far too much spam that should be in the combat window by default that makes it hard to keep up with conversations.
  • There was a gear imbalance when higher tier gear is able to be used in the level tier below where it is acquired. For example: Tier 2 renown rank 6 gear with level 18 stats in Tier 1 (levels 1-11).
  • Healing felt very overpowering in the lower levels. Playing DPS classes, I felt it was impossible to kill any healer without the assistance of two, three, or more players.
  • Tanks were always the top damage dealers in RvR. Not because of DPS, but because they never died and therefore always were doing damage.
  • Class specific issue: Shadow Warrior hotbars often reset, making it impossible to use my current stance-specific abilities.
Conclusion

I have no conclusion. The game is absolutely fun, but needs work. I will be in at Open Beta and the Head Start. I am glad that I chose to play a tank at launch. This game isn’t going to be perfect, but it is going to be fun and that is exactly what I’ve been expecting.

Update: 5 Sept, 2008 - Preview Weekend + addressed many of these Cons.

17 comments:

Werit said...

"WAR is fun, no matter how little or how much time you spend in game"

You are right about that. I had fun even if I only have 15-30 min to play. I was able to go in, get a scenario, wander around the RvR area or due 1 or 2 PQ's. Always felt like time well spent.

Werit said...

"WAR is fun, no matter how little or how much time you spend in game"

You are right about that. I had fun even if I only have 15-30 min to play. I was able to go in, get a scenario, wander around the RvR area or due 1 or 2 PQ's. Always felt like time well spent.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed wow. The public quests were wonderful and the pvp scenarios were fantastic. My only qualm is the realm vs. realm. Unfortunately not everone can afford a quad-core with a 9600 video card. Us average Janes with a duo-core and 8400 processors ran slow frame rate per second wise when there were alot of players on the screen. My worry is that the realm vs. realm is the big seller as far as pvp is concerned. Not being able to deliver on it is one of the reasons I quit playing AoC.

That being said, the rest of the game outside realm vs. realm ran smoothly.

I feel it is absolutely essential that they concentrate on making realm vs. realm run smoothly with alot of people on screen when the game is run on an average machine. The majority of players will not have a quad core not a really high end video card and what is more the recommended specs don't list that as a requirement.

Julie Whitefeather
virginworlds.com

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed wow. The public quests were wonderful and the pvp scenarios were fantastic. My only qualm is the realm vs. realm. Unfortunately not everone can afford a quad-core with a 9600 video card. Us average Janes with a duo-core and 8400 processors ran slow frame rate per second wise when there were alot of players on the screen. My worry is that the realm vs. realm is the big seller as far as pvp is concerned. Not being able to deliver on it is one of the reasons I quit playing AoC.

That being said, the rest of the game outside realm vs. realm ran smoothly.

I feel it is absolutely essential that they concentrate on making realm vs. realm run smoothly with alot of people on screen when the game is run on an average machine. The majority of players will not have a quad core not a really high end video card and what is more the recommended specs don't list that as a requirement.

Julie Whitefeather
virginworlds.com

heartlessgamer said...

I'm sorry to hear that, but my desktop machine is not that high end. It actually falls in line with average, minus my quad core, which isn't even supported in WAR and gives no performance advantage. For half the cost of my quad core, someone could get a better dual core. I chose quad core for my multi-tasking needs.

I heard very little FPS complaints from people. Actually I heard none until now.

I would be interested in your exact specs, as the 8400 and duo-core don't exactly sound right.

Hudson said...

Dear Mythic: please fix the thrown weapons bows, and daggers bug. Sometimes I can see my thrown weapons other times I cannot.

Dr. Fink said...

I had some serious FPS stuttering, especially in open world RvR, but it really wasn't game breaking. I'm wondering what were the graphics' settings for the beta. I heard somewhere they were set to minimum? If that were the case, then i guess i'd need to upgrade my vid card to something more meaty...

This is my rig:

Video card: 8500 GT
CPU: Intel Q6600 @ 2.6 GHz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Operating system: Windows Vista

--Byron

heartlessgamer said...

8500 GT? Or 8800 GT?

The Nvidia 8800 GTs are fairly cheap ($100 - $150) right now and are probably the best bang for your buck cards.

If it is the 8500, then I would recommend an upgrade. Nvidia is pushing price cuts on their 8800 cards currently. My 9600 GT is about equivalent to an 8800 GT. I had to buy locally and the 9600 GT was about my only choice.

Oakstout said...

I have an, Intel Q6600 @ 2.6 GHz, 2 gig memory and 8800GT 512mb card and everything looked great. I had my rez set at 1680x1050 on my 22" monitor and didn't have problems with any video lag even during heavy PQ or RvR action.

@Hudson - I saw my arrow hovering in the air for over 3 minutes after I killed a mob with my Squid Herder. And I didn't see my axe throw much on my Chosen, so yea, they need to really fix that issue.

I think the problems you listed are most of the ones I saw. I only crashed 3 times. Two of them was while trying on Renown gear in the Keep. I'm very happy with what I saw and I'm glad I pre ordered.

This game ran better than AoC did at Launch and I had tons of fun, even with the bugs and other issues.

Theo said...

Shadow Warrior hotbars are working as intended. This confused me at first as well. You must drag abilities to hotbar #1 for each stance. Basically #1 hotbar has to be set four times - no stance and then for each of the three stances.

Theo said...

Shadow Warrior hotbars are working as intended. This confused me at first as well. You must drag abilities to hotbar #1 for each stance. Basically #1 hotbar has to be set four times - no stance and then for each of the three stances.

ardwulfslair said...

I'd been waiting to hear what you had to say about the preview. Looking good so far.

ardwulfslair said...

Also, if WAR runs as well as AoC did at launch (and I'm talking about performance here - it ran great for me) I will be delighted. Not surpised, but very pleased. Right now I'm seeing a lot of framerate and lag problems in the gameplay videos which I hope are not carried through the launch. Aside from that, the biggest issue appears to be pathing problems, and I think that stands a pretty good chance of getting fixed soon.

Dr. Fink said...

@Theo: that's true, i had to /macro something like that for my WoW hunter back in the day. It's a good thing that now it's built-in by default. But still, the stances would randomly reset without any warning.

@Heartless_: it's a 8500 GT, i'm seriously considering an 8800 GT upgrade, but a friend of mine with one of those told me she had the same stuttering problems in heavily crowded fights.

--Byron

heartlessgamer said...

@ardwulf

You have to be careful when watching stuttering in videos. Video capture software puts a fairly huge demand on a computer. I used to Fraps Battlefield 2, on a machine that could run it at max settings, and it would absolutely bog down the footage. Same with WoW when I first started making videos.

@theo

I figured out the issue with Shadow Warrior stances. There is a "default" stance that for some reason triggers when you accidentally try to change to the same stance you are already in. The "default" stance only exists at level 1 and after you resurrect You get Scout stance at level 2.

So, each stance has its own hotbar. The default stance issue (bug?) is really present after resurrection. Even though it doesn't show you in a stance upon spawning, if you select the stance you died with, it will cancel and go to the "default" stance. In the middle of combat, accidentally selecting the same stance you were in, resets you to the default stance and that point it is game over for 5 seconds.

@byron (aka Dr Fink)

Is this the same Byron I played with this weekend? If so, was the female friend Sophia? If all of the above is true, I don't remember her stating any issues.

I am curious though, as Mythic's update stated reports of issues on lower end machines.

I will definitely be throwing WAR on my laptop in Open Beta to get a more definitive answer for myself.

@All

I had no FPS issues and no one in Casualties of WAR voiced any when I was logged in. That is my experience so far.

Lack of a general chat channel may have also been a reason I heard little.

Spidubic said...

I have been back and forth on WAR for a while. Nothing has really grabbed me enough to make me jump. Well till yesterday when I decided I would end yup playing it anyway so why not at the start. Hoping to do more reading up on classes over the next few weeks.

Dr. Fink said...

Yes and yes. I asked Sophia about any FPS issues cuz i know she has an 8800 GT which is the one i'm thinking in upgrading to, and she told me she had had some, in very crowded open world RvR.