WAR: First Impressions

My entire household spent Sunday afternoon and evening playing WAR. Together with some other friends, we have a guild together, and I can see us diving headlong into the game. GOA may have messed up the Open Beta (and the PR around it) in a spectacular manner, but to be fair, the Head Start was very, very smooth, and I was impressed.

My very first impression was that the game is already very polished. Some of this is familiarity with the genre, certainly - I didn't need a manual to know that I could move with WASD or the arrow keys, use space to jump, or the like.

But it was also true that the shard was handling smoothly with dozens of people in the starting area, that the starting quests were well-written, that having quest areas marked on the map is genius, and that having an arrow on the ground indicator on your character pointing at your target is incredibly helpful. I'm still not used to having my character turn by himself to keep facing an opponent while he casts a spell, but I really like it. There are a lot of small features like these that really make playing enjoyable - here are a few more.

  • You can join a queue for a "scenario" (instanced RvR area) from anywhere in the game; no need to go to a particular NPC or location.
  • Your starting bag has plenty of space
  • Your hotbar populates itself in a sensible manner as you level
  • At least for the initial levels, you get one new power with each.
  • RvR is easy to enter, not frustrating when you lose, and rewarding.

Public Quests are something I really like. I participated in a few, and came in on the loot table in one. The loot wasn't earth-shattering, but still an upgrade for an item I had, and even if it wasn't, there's a cash option. And they're fun, in the same way that battleground zergs in Dark Age of Camelot were fun, and the Omen event in the Chinese New Year celebrations in WoW is fun.

Levelling happens at a speed that seems to be just right. By the time I logged off on Sunday, I had hit level 6, and renown level 5. Just as I had got to the stage where I knew what to do with the power I got at the last level, and was looking for something else - the new level and new power came in.

I can't praise the RvR highly enough. I really enjoyed charging straight in with my Bright Wizard (Weyland) and shooting off Scorched Earth repeatedly - an area of effect spell that ripples a ring of fire out from you, damaging all opponents in a given radius. The fact that there's collision detection is also interesting; it means that in some cases, a tank class can actually tank in PvP - by just plain standing in the way and not letting the opponent get by. Not that Weyland is anything like a tank, mind - as a Bright Wizard, he's high DPS, and very low durability.

I'm only just getting started on the crafting, and I haven't even looked at the auction system yet - but they'll get a look this evening - assuming I can resist the lure of the scenarios.

Posted by Drew Shiel at September 16, 2008 8:41 AM

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