This patch has not by any means been perfect; there are things it introduced that are (or were) a problem. Some of these problems have been relatively quick to fix and others are a bit more of a headache. However the bad has, in my humble opinion, been FAR outweighed by the good, including one new addition in particular that is the best thing to happen to WAR since launch. And it’s such a good change that I want to be sure this post ends on a high, so I’ll get the bad out of the way first.
Performance and graphics bugs
The game performance has got worse, not consistently as everything can be fine for big chunks of time, but then sometimes (with varying regularity) you’ll start getting those performance hits and freezes that fit the vague term gamers use of “server lag”. On a few occasions it has become barely playable and at one point it did lead to most of my guild (myself included) logging off to play something else. However, Mythic have been doing server maintenance almost every other day and performance has dramatically improved since the patch went live. As such it shouldn’t be too long before this becomes a non-issue. Actually, the last couple of days I haven’t had any performance problems at all.
Graphics bugs… there was this strange thing happening occasionally where the game’s textures flashed grey for a couple of seconds, but thankfully Mythic hotfixed it earlier this week and it’s now resolved.
This is both good and bad. Good for people that are renown rank 80 and can equip as much sovereign as they wish, but bad for everyone else. Prior to this patch the gear gulf between the 80s and everyone else was something I always thought was rather over-hyped, unfortunately that’s no longer the case. It’s more noticeable with some careers than others, but for those in the “more noticeable” category it’s more than a little bit over the top. Certainly there are some recognised bad RR80 players that have suddenly become a lot more dangerous or hard to kill purely based on the numbers and abilities associated to their armour, combined with the armour’s new synergy to their career. It’s a pretty harsh world out there for a new level 40 right now.
I think the problem here is not so much that the Sovereign armour was changed, but more that the other armour wasn’t. Sovereign armour was improved and made more sensible in the way it worked, but that still leaves everyone else mixing and matching armour sets that often have bonuses / stats that simply do not work or make sense anywhere near as well as the new Sovereign armour does. I would really like to see Mythic roll out changes for the other armour sets akin to the new Sovereign. I do think there should be a noticeable reward for reaching RR80 and I do really like the way Sovereign has been changed, it’s just that this change has moved RR80s quite far forward while leaving everyone else standing.
The watered down auction house is not great, it’s very basic and some things are too hard to search for if you don’t know the name. Not that this is much different to how it was before, as it’s never been particularly good. WAR’s auction house and mail system are rather limited and clunky, there’s definitely room for improvement here. I would highly recommend Mythic have a long hard look at EVE to see how it should be done.
And now the good stuff…
The new appearance system is bloody marvellous; I love the fact that people actually look different now. I’ve seen some really inventive use of the “bugged” armour pieces and it’s been great hearing this whole new topic of discussion as people try and find unusual armour from quests, drops, etc. By the way Mythic, it would be nice if there were a way for us to get influence rewards again somehow, just for the graphics really. There’s some really nice influence reward armour and weapon graphics that many of us can’t get because we sold the armour to a vendor in 2008!
Most Career changes
I could do a break down of all the good things that have happened for careers, but it would takes ages, so I’ll just pick a couple of paired examples...
Stealth was fixed for Witch Elves and Witch Hunters, which is absolutely bloody brilliant and about time too! Previously it would break at stupid ranges and for all sorts of silly reasons, like being buffed, guard being applied, etc, etc. I was already enjoying playing my Witch Elf and this has made it even more satisfying to play.
Shadow Warriors got the buffs they’ve needed since launch. I’m really pleased about this even though I don’t play Order, because prior to this almost all Shadow Warriors were free renown. Sure there were a few exceptional individuals that made it a little bit more effort, but even against them I always had an edge purely because they were playing with the deadweight of a gimped career. That’s just not fair on them and not particularly satisfying for me when killing them. Now however it’s an entirely different kettle of fish and those good players are as utterly lethal as they should have been before! As a knock on effect Squig herders received similar changes and for the first time ever I have more than 2 combinations of tactics to consider as viable options.
Oh I should also mention Zealots and Rune Priests..
Since the patch went live Mythic have made further changes to the revised Harbinger of Doom/Healing mechanic. All told I think the changes for Zealots and Runies will need some time to bed in before we really know how good or bad it was. I’ve heard very mixed views on this and I haven’t had enough time on my Zealot to be able to tell. I do know that it has boosted my stats considerably and when playing pure healer it has been buff, but I’m not so sure about DPS zealots. At a glance it looks like they loose a lot of survivability, but perhaps they will play more like WoW’s Shadow Priests?
There’s been a lot of career changes and in general “is niiiccce” as Borat would say.
Oi! Leechers! In your face you slaaaaaags!
No more leeching in the warcamp, no more guarding the mailbox, now you have to be in the RvR lakes to get any renown. Yes some people have been finding places to hide in the RvR lakes to leech their zone locks, but that in turn has just supplied us with a new and amusing game of hunt the leechers. I’ve found some AFK toerags hidden in some quite cunning places, which on occasion required a bit of effort to get to, but in each case so far I have managed to exchange their AFK leeching wankerdom for a smack in the face and have then taken delivery of their renown to myself. I thank you.
There was an amusing moment the other day when I noticed a chain of combat log death spam as a well know Witch Hunter killed 13 AFK Destruction hiding in the Wilhelm’s Fist keep… made me chuckle.
Here’s a tip for you folks, if you are doing solo or small scale roaming and you go to a new zone that has the Against All Odds bonus in your favour, but for some reason you can’t find any enemies in the zone, just go hunting. It will quite likely be a group or two of AFKers hiding somewhere and it would be terribly rude of you to not butcher the lot of them and earn their oh so sweet AAO buffed renown points. That said, this seems to be happening less because of AAO itself, which leads me to…
Against All Odds
Oh Mythic, Mythic, Mythic! You pulled off a bloody marvel with this one! I love AAO. This was the bit I referred to at the start of this post as “the best thing to happen to WAR since launch”. Just in case you don’t know what it does: AAO is a buff that kicks in if you in a RvR lake and are outnumbered by a certain (unknown) amount of enemies. The buff increases how much renown you earn and caps at a 400% increase, yes 400%! What this has done is encourage people to spread out around the different zones and not just zerg all the time. That doesn’t mean it has eliminated zerging or blobbing. Since there are times when a zerg is required, there are some guilds/alliances and players that like to zerg and there are also some people that at times just want an easy life. I’m sure we’ve all surfed the zerg when online but not paying full attention due to a distraction from real life.
What AAO has done though is give a reward and incentive for people to fight away from their own faction’s zerg. And the reward is considerable… If I recall correctly the most I’ve had so far for a single kill was 7.8k renown, but I’ve heard of people getting a quite a lot more. With the big renown boost it means charging a small, organised group into zergs can actually pay off quite well if you get just a few kills and if you start capturing objectives too, it can really punch your renown upwards.
After this patch I find myself really looking forward to 1.4 and the RvR Packs. The combination of the upcoming revised campaign system and Against All Odds has potential for awesomeness. AAO is a huge step in the right direction.