Der be Chaos up ahead!

Der' be Chaos up ahead!

This morning, I got my hands on Warhammer for the first time. Going in, I was excited. I mean, this was the game I’d been following for the past year and finally, I was going to be playing it. Servers went up at 8:30am Eastern and I went in with an agenda. You see, even though Preview Weekend is set to last a little over three days (it’s going down Monday morning, so I’m not really counting it as a playable day), I’m only going to have a few hours to try things out. Hence, before servers went up, I knew I wanted to do the following:

– Get a feel for each race’s starting zone

– Get a feel for as many classes as I could

– Try as many scenarios as possible

– Participate in a PQ

– Participate in open-world RVR

– Explore the Tome of Knowledge

So far, I’ve gotten three of those done.

Before I got to do any testing though, I checked out the options. The UI is fully customizable, though I didn’t play with it much. I really only checked it out to try to find out how to view my FPS. Perhaps I should have checked the user manual for some of the slash commands but I was too eager to dive right in. The graphics were limited to low to medium settings with only one changeable option. I set it on “Highest Quality” and it ran smoothly on my laptop. For those interested, my laptop is a 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 3GB DDR2 RAM, nVidia 8600GTM GPU, and is running Windows Vista 64-bit edition. The options also allow you to change your keybindings (of course), audio settings, and much more. By release, there should be a whole lot more we can play with.

Below, I’ll detail my first impressions. I was planning on commenting on some of the classes but I think that I’ll refrain. The amount I was able to play each class I tried definitely isn’t enough to make any judgments on how the classed functioned.

Get a feel for each race’s starting zone:

Okay, so for this one I get a 5/6 for. I was short on time, so I didn’t really play around with my high elf too much. For each of the others, time only allowed me to rank up a maximum of two times… so far. To clarify, that’s about the first few quests and maybe a scenario (to gain a single rank, that is). Admittedly, my impressions are self-limited, but here’s what I thought anyways:

Dark Elf:

First off, let me say that Dark Elves must have been the race of the hour when I first logged in. There were so many people that it was difficult to find quest mobs to kill. You were kind of forced into kill stealing. Such is to be expected though.

Anyways, I really liked their starting zone. You start off bloody with a quest to slaughter some High Elves that have parked their ships too close to your own faction’s. For this part, you run down to a beach and pretty much spam your damage dealing spells (you’ll only have one or two) at anything with the word Ulthuan in it. After you’re done there, your quest giver tells you that even more need to die and in an even more brutal fashion than what you just delivered: giant mechanical crossbows! Somehow, this reminded me of World War II. You have the High Elves running of the beach and you’re gunning them down… one shot at a time, 30000 damage a piece. This was probably my favorite part. After that, you’re sent away from the beach to wreak some more havoc up on top of a hill and then in a forest.

The Dark Elves have definitely evil vibe. They’re into slavery, bondage, and torture. Fun stuff? You bet.

Chaos:

The Chaos starting area was pretty neat as well. It has a definite horror vibe to it. You start off by going into a grave yard to kill the risen dead. When you’re done there, you are sent to kill wraiths in an underground crypt.

The whole area is filled with eerie music and screams. The sky is black and there’s an odd colorful whirlpool of essence swirling up above.

After you’re done slaying the dead, you move on to Beastmen! I was really happy that they were included in the game. I just got done reading a great Warhammer novel in which they played a big role. Definitely cool.

Somehow though, the zone didn’t really “speak” to me. In all honesty, I think it was the graveyard and underground crypt thing. I spent far too much time in Darkshire while playing WoW, so I think I had a predisposition to not being a big fan of those first few quests. You may love them though, so give it a shot. On another note, I was unfortunate enough to roll a chosen just as someone made a comment about how WAR is just LotRO re-skinned and without monster play. Wrong. Thing. To. Say.

Dramas.

I hope you have a better experience.

Greenskin:

We’re finally to my favorite Destruction race! This zone was colorful and humorous. I rolled a Squig Herder to start and was immediately ordered around and insulted by a giant orc! The first thing you’re ordered to do is to kill some stunties. After that, you’re sent to steal the weaponry of wounded, but not dead, orc warriors. You see, orcs are a caring race…. but they only care about violence and if you can’t contribute to the WAAAGH! then they’ll shove you aside if not kill you where you stand. The quest text was genuinely humorous and really made for a good time.

What I experienced of this zone had me running through mud, near lumbering pine trees of bright green under smoky skies, and through caves to collect mushrooms from under the noses of snotlings and squigs. I think I found the race for my main!

Dwarf:

To follow up on my favorite Destruction race, I bring you my favorite Order race! This was another really fun starting zone. I rolled an Engineer to start. You begin by getting sent into a wide chamber of bronze and stone to kill squigs. There are several non-controllable turrets set up to blast them to bits lest you get to them first. I enjoyed myself here as the squigs were everywhere in this room, so there wasn’t much of a problem finding enough to complete the quest. Plus, on top of the actual quest, there’s a kill collect mob on the level above that will reward you for killing those very same squigs!

It also seemed that the quest givers were relatively close together in comparison to some of the other races starting zones. Obviously, Mythic gets a big “way to go!” for designing it that way.

Human:

The human starting zone was neat. You begin in the outdoors under a smoky sky. You’re just outside of a town under siege by a mass of Chaos Marauders! You’ll start with a quest to dispatch several of these but on you’re way to the town, you’ll find another quest giver who’ll ask you to rescue some townsfolk in the process. When you get to the town, you’ll find it in flames. Nearly all of the house are burning and the owners have been trapped inside. It’s you’re job to open the door and let them out. When you open it, you’ll find them standing right there waiting. I had to wonder, why didn’t they just open the door themselves? That’s why you’re the hero folks. If these people tried to go to war, we’d all be red apple cider in the soil.

Like I said, this zone was neat but it wasn’t the most fun I’d had up to that point. Maybe it was because they were the second to last race I played. I’m not sure but I’m not counting humans out yet. I only ranked up once, so there could’ve been great things to follow that I just didn’t see.

Tome of Knowledge:

As pretty much every other reviewer has said, the Tome is pretty spankin’ wonderful. It tracks nearly everything you do. More than that though, it’s your guide into the world of Warhammer. On my Dark Elf, I was surprised to see that within the first ten minutes of playing, I was rewarded with a story unlock even before I’d begun the first chapter. I was even more surprised to see that the unlock was a quality chunk of story about three pages long! Wow! I can see now that by rank 40, you’ll have done a lot of reading (if you’re interested in the lore) and could find yourself thoroughly involved and enthralled in the Warhammer world.

The only gripe I have with the Tome is that it doesn’t tell you how you’ve earned all of your titles. There were several instances where I was given a title with no corresponding achievement and had no idea how I’d gotten it. Of course, the internet can help there. It’d just be convenient to have it in-game so I wouldn’t have to dodge spoilers trying to find out how I became “the hexed.”

General Thoughts:

Right now, based on my few hours of play (yes, I know it’s not enough to judge), I see Warhammer as being in a very playable and enjoyable state. My opinion could change as I experience more, but I don’t think it will going upon what I’ve read from other testers.

I also really enjoyed the quest text. It’s fitting and gives purpose to what you’re sent to do. It’ll also help you understand your race better. Do yourself a favor and make sure to read some. You’ll be happy you did.

There are bugs, of course. One of the main ones I encountered was with how mobs path once they’ve aggro’d you. It seemed like about 80% of the time the mobs would run past you, or away from you, and then turn around and come back. Another thing I noticed is that there are some minor graphical issues. For example, when I died, it seemed like part of my legs and my feet were underground. I also noticed in one instance that I could see through part of my Gobbo’s chin at the character select screen. All, however, are probably easy fixes that will be in before release and, in all honesty, the only one I care about it the mob pathing. The graphics issues are so small that they’re negligible.

I must mention though, during a Human v. Chaos scenario, I experienced a CTD (Crash to Desktop). It was the only one I’d experienced and I had recently alt-tabbed out of the game while in full screen mode.

And that’s about it.

Going forward from here, I’ll be playing a single character so that I can report to you on some of the other aspects of the game I haven’t been able to get to yet. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to detail some new information I haven’t even thought of! Stay tuned, WARheads!

EDIT: I didn’t get the chance to upload my screenshots tonight. I’ll take care of that tomorrow after my test if all goes well.

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