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Mon, Sep. 22nd, 2008, 12:58 am
Mr Wombat Reviews



Given that the average "review" these days focuses on roughly the first hour or two of any given game and that while the majority of legitimate, magazine writing games reviewers are actually decent people doing a good job (and curiously, as envious of my job as I am of theirs) a lot of them, especially the internet ones are hacks and need to be banned from communicating so in the interests of fairness, I figured I'd come back and say some more about the game as time goes on.

Warhammer Online is divided into three major areas, broken down by racial combination and these major areas are each divided into three Tiers - so you have four Tiers in the Dwarf/Greenskin area, four in the High/Dark elf areas and four in the Empire/Chaos lands. In theory this means that you can play the game three times without ever repeating the content you see.
Recently I hit level 10 and after several highly enjoyable hours in the first Empire/Chaos tier and getting the guild running along with a few other soldiers in the fight against all that is generically evil it was time to move on, not least because of the neat PVP balancing mechanic that saw me turning into a chicken whenever I attempted to enter one of the open PVP zones and I could't join the PVP scenarios any more (which is perfectly fine but since they can scale player stats up I would have thought it would be easy enough to scale the players and stats down too)

Anyway, I'd run out of things to do in Tier one, I'd done the Empire PVP scenario about forty times and tried out the Elf and Dwarf ones once or twice, I'd explored the majority of the two Tier one zones, gotten repeatedly assaulted by Chaos as I tried exploring that end of the land and completed all the content there was to do. I'd deliberately left the Dwarf and Elf lands alone because I plan on levelling a character there one day and I want it to be new.

So it was off to Tier two and the Troll Lands which, compared to the wide, flat and heavily invaded Tier one zone was far more peaceful and, as the name might suggest, filled with Trolls, so technically not THAT peaceful but they seemed content enough to leave me alone so needless to say I started killing them. Also there were a lot of mountains. Where Tier one gently introduced you to the core concepts of the game, Tier Two introduces you to the last major part of the world PVP experience - keeps and capturing them. Where previously players were involved in simply capturing flags to get a bonus for everyone in the zone, the keeps do something similar with the added bonus that they also contain the renown merchants and renown skill trainers, so they're kind of important. As with all world PVP, once you get stuck in your level is scaled up to that of the average for the players already in the zone, which is more important than before since now you're going to have to kill the lord of the keep before capturing it, of course before you do THAT ... well.
Arrayed around and outside the keep are platforms that you can use to place siege engines you bought from your warcamp earlier. Cannons can be placed on the keep walls, battering rams just outside the door and boiling oil above said battering rams. It is a protracted and bloody affair that only ends when you've battered down the doors and killed the keep lord and all the defenders and even when you lose, it doesn't matter because you got to shoot someone in the face with a cannon.

The Empire PVP scenario for Tier two is a bit different and I haven't tried the Dwarf of Elf one yet so I can't say if this is a general thing or specific to the Empire but I don't really like it that much, its a bit more complex than the Tier one scenario but not quite as engaging. However, since I had castles to storm it didn't matter quite so much. One thing that bothered me somewhat is that I seemed to run out of quests around the level 14-16 area and this will be solved around level 17 but right now I'm struggling for things to do - which would be solved instantly if I went to the dwarf of elf areas and did quests there but I'm convinced that I don't need to do that, so I won't, I'm not sure if its an experiment or just blind stubbornness but by god I'm going to get from 1-40 without having to help those pointy-eared freaks, even after several quests sent me to their respective areas to help out.

The story itself is still quite compelling and rather than a disjointed series of quests with fuck all relation to one another, each thread weaves into the others to form a tale that is greater than the sum of its parts. Granted it helps to know a bit about who you are and why you're doing what you're doing before you start doing it but increasingly the quests make you feel like you're a contributing part of the war machine - not some mythical "chosen one", very much a cog in the machine but an individual cog who is at least on a first name basis with his superiors. Sure, there are the occasional forays into dead end requests about culling certain types of beasties but even those contribute to the Tome of Knowledge, so thats okay.

Coming soon: Tobias' adventures in the various PVP scenarios and the Tome of Knowledge.