Tuesday, September 9, 2008

WAR Open Beta - My thoughts

Straight up: I got badly caught up in the hype for this game and have thus been slapped with the bitter hand of disappointment. WAR is a good game, but I expected more. It has a lot of good elements (Public Quests, RvR, Tome of Knowledge etc), but the game is struggling to get the basics right. I’m not sure if it’s just the beta, but the game is riddled with bugs and glitches. There were issues all over the place with clipping, pathing, animations and collision detection. Being a software engineer, I took it as my duty to submit a bug every time I found one. I stopped after about 30, because I thought it was about time I shut up and played the game. I get the eerie feeling that WAR is not ready for launch. It needs to go back into the testing oven to bake for 3 months. If Mythic release WAR in the state it is now, reviews will suffer heavily and the game will launch poorly. Keen seems to think that the team at Mythic will have the bugs ironed out before release... I just hope he's right.

All throughout playing the Open Beta, I was hit with the constant feeling of deja-vu. Didn't I complete this quest in WoW back in 2005? The character screen looks the same as WoW and they even have num lock as auto-run. I won't dwell on this issue too much as other bloggers have already covered it off (Bartle Is Right). I was really hoping I wouldn't have to click the 'need, greed, pass' options again on loot drops, as there is always some idiot that messes it up, but guess what... it's in there :( /sigh

My other big negatives about the game were (which are nothing new):
  • Lack of character customizations. It's only really the face that can be customized, which means everyone of the same class looks the same if they're wearing a helmet.
  • No last names for characters. I really wanted to call my char 'Crimson Starfire', but you can only use one word for a name and you have to keep it to 14 chars or less. I don't understand why they do this; It's 2008 people - we have the technology for spaces in names!! This shouldn't be an issue!
  • Combat animations didn't seem to connect at all. There were so many clipping issues with character models and their animations that it really wasn't funny.
  • Combat was slow. I'm still used to the extreme timings and skill required to play Guild Wars PvP. Unfortunately I only PvP'd at level 7 and under in WAR, but there really didn't seem to be much skill involved (just mash the attack button and heal button). Hopefully this is not an issue at higher levels.
I must admit that the RvR didn't grab me. I remember playing Ascalon Arena (low level PvP) in Guild Wars when it first came out, and it was so much fun that I didn't want to leave. After 3 games of RvR, I really didn't feel like going back in for a forth. This is my biggest concern, as I'm a huge PvP fan.

It might be that I'm getting tired of the same old MMORPG style game (like someone else I know). I can't shake the deja-vu factor. Haven't I already completed this game five times already?

Although my initial impressions of WAR weren't great, I must say I still enjoyed playing. If they can fix the bugs, I'll be a lot happier.


Melf_Himself said...

I pre-ordered WAR today, slapped down the $10 deposit.... I'm glad I didn't pay in full now!

My excited-to-play this game factor went from a 10 to about a 3 after reading this, lol.

Was it the preview weekend that you're a part of, or the open beta? If so, keep playing so you can tell us whether the combat/pvp sucks at higher levels also (maybe healing is just overpowered at low levels?)

Or maybe I'm just clutching at straws. Everyone's been scarred by AoC, you think we'd be a bit more careful before learning to love again but instead we dived right in with WAR... :p

Elementalistly said...

And the horrible part? I went back to AoC, and I am having more fun there.

Guild Wars is a permanent in our collection now, it has proven itself, but AoC still has a ways to go, and may never recover.

WAR on the other hand will do well. The WoW players who are looking for something a little different will find it here. They will like this.
But, after logging in last night, and taking 5 minutes to fight a level 3 wolf, and dying anyways.
I was done.

WAR is about a year too late. I bet it would have ROCKED the genre a year ago.

For myself, I cannot play this type of game anymore it seems.
I will resort to my Xbox and GW and AoC for now I guess, and wait until Chronicles of Spellborn, Aion or hopefully some word of GW2.

Thallian said...

I see a lot of good in WAR but I have to agree with Crimson as far as bugginess goes. If they don't do some major overhaul they wont be ready for launch. (publicity-wise) I can probably stand one more YAFMMO in my experiences. This will probably be the last one I put up with though. Fortunately it is pretty fun, though I don't have AoC to compare it to since I never tried that game :P

Crimson Starfire said...

Yeah I did enjoy some aspects of the game, it was mostly the bugs and the deja-vu factor that ruined it for me. That and the fact that RvR combat was stupidly easy and thus boring.

I wasn't planning on buying AoC until they fixed the PvP in it. Might be waiting a few months before that happens. I'm still hanging for KOTORO, SG Worlds, Aion, GW2 and Diablo 3. Hopefully these games will come out systematically so that I can give them a fair share of Crimson love ;)

I agree with you on the fact that WAR is a year too late. The problem is that it takes 3 years plus to build a game like WAR, so an idea that was good 3 years ago, may not be the best now. Game designers really need to think 5 years into the future if they want a successful game.

Dude... you and I had the biggest hopes for WAR. I felt like a broken man after the first night of playing open beta... I was so upset. It will still make for a good LAN weekend though. The game isn't all bad, and if they fix the bugs it will be quiet enjoyable. I'm really worried about the PvP though... might hold the jury out until I get to higher levels.