Expectations

Quick warning, this may be my first wall of text for a while and it’s very much based on my own personal journey…

I got very down about Tier 4 when I was new to it, my class kind of sucked at soloing from 31-33 (more than normal), and that was a big shock to the system. Plus, I don’t want to have to choose a levelling specline or have to choose gear for various purposes – I’m stubborn like that. And open RvR was quiet, Serpent’s Passage hurts my eyes after the 3rd consecutive run, etc etc. And I read around the place that others were having similar ‘fun’ problems. And then I had an enforced 5-day break. And I thought about it quite a lot, especially when chatting to my sisters and to a WoW gamer I spent some time with.

I got out of my funk. I love the game, I really do. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish open RvR was a bit more perky – but honestly, on our server there is open action in Tier 4 every day. It may not be at the perfect time for me, and some of it might mean taking empty keeps and waiting for defence and then scooting around to try and nudge control in various zones while many want a big fight… but it’s there. And that comforts me.

Then, at 33, my Rune Priest (not specced for Rune of Burning!) got better at soloing. Not great, but good enough for a primary healer. Which satisfies me there. In fact, my biggest concern is finding people to group up with to quest and do PQs (PQs are a bit pointless for influence rewards, but I see them as socialising with some free xp attached!). Even that is changing, I’m changing, I’m asking for help more. And trying to make myself more sociable and willing to help also. It’s a process, neither slow nor fast, but one that depends on mood.

So what really struck me about Warhammer Online while I was away? It’s a very different game to those I’m used to playing (DAoC, WoW, LotRO). And I asked myself the following:

  • How did I play my last MMO? (ie. level fast, solo/grouped, etc)
  • How many hours per day did I grind traits/influence/reputation/gear?
  • How many hours did I raid per week?
  • How many hours did I PvP?

WAR is a totally different kettle of fish for me, and for everyone. There’s a certain levelling ‘grind’ but I say it in inverted commas, cos it’s nothing like the grind I had in other games (I played WoW before they upped the lower level xp, I left before Burning Crusade). I have been known to play 12h straight in Dark Age of Camelot, whether in Caer Sidi or tree groups! All day is and has been pretty common for LotRO. And yet, when I try it in WAR I get a bit edgy and miserable.

Why, then? Well, the best I can do at describing it is that I’m finding WAR a completely different kettle of fish as an MMO. It’s the kind I like to dip in and out of, which is something I’ve never done before. And one of the reasons I’ve never had two MMOs at the same time before now. To me, MMO has always been a bit like a part-time job, occupying all hours to get all the things I want and need for my character while grouping up with friends to complete some fairly hefty challenges, or to just hang out and have some fun. Now we have WAR, where in a few hours I can take two or three keeps, or jump into scenarios while questing. For me, anyway, it’s not a game I want to spend 12h straight – and that’s the big difference.

Since coming back, and recognising this, I’ve been a much happier bunny. I log off when I’m tired or when I want to go watch TV or hang out with the cats or my husband. I play less, but I enjoy it more. I’ve reached rank 35 and renown rank 32 (well, I’m 95% there, and will be by the time this is published). I have titles for taking keeps and for restoring keeps. I am beginning to help people with their quests more and have recently seen Bastion Stair for the first time. All of this has been more fun than a couple of weeks ago, when I hit the Tier 4 doldrums.

I think the game still needs tweaks at the high levels, the influence rewards for PQs are lousy after ch16 and this has led to a desertion – one that makes questing where there are PQs quite tricky. Going back to help lower level characters has giving me a sense that my character is powerful and also, it’s more relaxing than trying to solo stuff. When these guys catch me up, we’ll all group and do ch18+ together. So I’m kind of fixing it myself, and the levelling curve is flattening all-round.

No solution to Serpent’s Passage Syndrome yet but I have faith Mythic will work something out. They’ve been very responsive and let’s face it, they know they have a problem with Tier 4 at the moment, you can’t fail to notice the threads and blog posts about it. But it’s not all down to the game company, we do have our own responsibility to do what’s fun for us.

For me, it’s to dip in and out of PvE, RvR, scenarios and dungeons and not to try and play WAR as if it’s LotRO/DAoC/WoW.

[And, as Syp said in a comment recently ‘great minds think alike’ – it would be remiss of me to leave out a link to Stylish Corpse whose words on the same topic I greatly enjoyed and who I totally agree with!]

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12 Responses

  1. I think you are absolutely right there. I couldn’t play this game like I did WoW with all the hours and hours every day. Or like EQ1 where I spent 100 odd hours camping for one mob (Who never showed!) Some of it is because I’m now the wrong side of 30 and have other things to do, but some is definitely how the Warhammer game works.

    I can see me playing 2 games, perhaps twinning with LoTRO or the upcoming Aion to get a slower paced gaming experience along with my RvR jollies.

  2. I think you’re spot on with this. I was thinking recently that much as I like WAR, it’s not a game I’d go to when I wanted to chill out or mooch around solo at 6am if I can’t sleep (unless there are people around).

  3. Before release you could hear that WAR has options for casual players. So this fast in/out everywhere is intended ..

    Mark said, that he thinks that people can play two MMOs parallel. No one believed him as previous MMOs just eat up all your time.. Well I believe Mark is right at least from the WAR point of view.

    This game isn’t intended to be a full-time job (“hobby” as paul said it)..and that’s the problem. People aren’t used to that philosophy.. and that causes some confusion when expectations and experience “collide”.
    But that is also the problem because this fast in/out pace lessens the amount of immersion and how you experience the Warhammer world. It’s a game.. not a world… but still an enjoyable game.

  4. Good post. Pretty much sums up my feelings about War at the moment.

    WoW saw me grinding to enjoy the fun content and quickly felt like I was grinding more than having fun. With War, I find I’m having fun every time I’m logged in, minus the grind.

    I might be levelling a tad slow by not repeatedly q’ing for Tor Anroc but I just dont care right now.

    I can enjoy the same RvR content at level 16, 26, 36.. just the same as level 40 only with less things on my action bars and in a different area. Why risk burnout rushing to level cap when end game content is there from level 1.

    Just enjoy it instead of rushing I say…

  5. Good post. I don’t feel as ‘dragged in’ to the game as I have in previous MMOG’s, but that could partly be because I am older and also because I am a little burned out on the genre.

    I’m at that awkward level 30 ‘hump’ now too, but I am just getting a little bit of xp done every day and will creep forward.

    Just wish it didn’t feel like playing a single player game. In Reikland for two hours questing last night I didn’t see a single other player.

  6. I think Mythic may have missed the boat on a lifetime subscription deal, which would have been perfect for a casual MMO such as WAR.

    As it is, many people are going to let their subscriptions lapse over the next month or two and get distracted by WotLK, Moria, or all the quality single player games released in the run up to Christmas.

    Will those players resubscribe further down the line? MMO players are used to paying subs for games that give them plenty of value for money, and I can see many players shying away from subs for games that they can only see themselves playing once or twice a week.

    As it stands, I really can’t see WAR growing much now at all. It seems that most MMO players that were interested have already tried it, had some fun, and either moved on or cooled on it. I don’t think there is an untapped mass market out there that WoW hasn’t already mined deeply, and I don’t think the PvE in WAR is anywhere near good enough to draw players away from superior PvE games.

    Perhaps Mythic should ‘relaunch’ the game in a few months with a lifetime sub offer. I’d personally be much more inclined to keep going back if I didn’t have to worry about a sub each time.

  7. I would have jumped at a lifetime sub for a game like this, yeah.

  8. I’m quite happy playing 12 hours a pop on War at the moment.

    Questing
    Scenarios
    Open RvR
    Instances
    Guild Chat ; )

    I only realised when I was towards the end of my WoW lifetime that I was grinding monsters for no other reason than it was something to do between organised instances.
    The PvP in arenas wasn’t the most thrilling and I had no interest in leveling up Alts because my druid could do pretty much everything.

    I can see myself cutting down my playing time and I hope that it does (from 44hours a week to something like 24), but I’ll still be playing most nights and definately resubbing until the next new big thing comes out 🙂

  9. Hmmm i’m not exactly a mmo vetran but I do treat all my mmporgs as hobbies, having only done Discworld Mud and WoW though its not as if I have oodles of experience, but I treat WAR like a hobby and its fun!
    At the moment i’m playing WAR with my brother, constantly, it makes questing a lot more forgiving, I’ve tried soloing quests and it gets down right annoying at times, especially with the “hidden” champions just randomly dotted through the maps. The support of a healer (combined with a character who can take a beating) really changes the ability to accidentally pull more mobs and you can kill champions with ease, making questing a lot quicker.
    I dinged 40 the other night (after nearly 10 days playing time) and it hasn’t seemed a grind to me at all, I’ve mainly quested, grinded pq influence and done some scenarios and now i’ll be looking at finishing the high level quest content before wandering around chasing tome unlocks, inbetween taking keeps and assaulting the various PvE content of course.

    So yeah i really advise grouping with people, not really helped by the apparently low server population.

  10. This is exactly the reason I quit playing WAR, but I interpreted it in a different way. I could pick WAR up and put it down at my leisure not because it was a very casual game or a very different kettle of fish. It was because I was bored with the game. It’s didn’t grab me and pull me in like WoW and EQ1. I don’t understand why either since it played and felt just like these games for the most part, but I’ve seen this same feeling of being underwhelmed by the game described by just about everyone who was played it.

    Also, if WAR were designed to be a casual game that can be picked up and put down at your leisure leveling in T4 would be very, very different.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Mythic is forced to perform quite a few server merges to compensate for low populations once WotLK hits. This really sucks. I love the Warhammer brand, but it seems to be cursed when it comes to video games.

  11. Happiness…

    There’s a great post here by arbitrary about expectations in WAR….

  12. Vale/Fhel you’re pretty lucky to always have someone to group with, willing to do whatever content you’re up to and/or keep pace. Grouping is definitely the way to go, but even grouped I find myself losing focus.

    I’d love a lifetime sub and would definitely pursue it. But not sure they’ll go that route.

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