First Impressions: EngineerAugust 20, 2008
My very first WAR character – a historical first, which should go into schoolkids’ own Tomes of Knowledge – was an Engineer. Because, really, how could I not? I’m so about Kaylee from Firefly, so I roughly tried to get the cute little girl-next-door look coupled with grease and a big honkin’ wrench. The character creation screen was pretty nice, slowly moving you through the race/career/customization options, and I was in the game within a minute.
Lollygagger looked okay, although reportedly the customization choices were limited for this stage of the beta. Nothing to write home with when it came to equipment either, just a body piece that had zero armor, a spanner and an old-fashioned musket. I did appreciate how you got to see both your spanner and your musket on your character (spanner at the side, musket slung over the back) – WoW’s hunters would just have magically-appearing guns.
Right away I was a little jarred by the facts that the dwarf starting area is (a) underground, which I wasn’t expecting, and (b) under attack by Greenskins from across a chasm. I took a few minutes to acquaint myself with the interface, although I was far too tired to really give it a thorough going-over. With any new MMO, there’s little quirks to adjust to, such as the experience bar on the top of the screen, the beefed-up map interface, the Mac OSX-ish icons at the top, but it’s more or less like most recent MMOs I’ve played.
Happily, it only took me about 30 seconds to get into the groove and get Lollygagger moving. It’s very intuitive to handle the character – WASD keys plus mouse being the standard – and she moved and animated just right for a character of that size. I had to keep reminding myself to right-click NPCs to bring up quest dialogues and other options (I kept left-clicking them).
I quickly snagged two quests and found icons on the map leading me to them. Nice, but I do have some qualms with just how cluttered the map feels. It’s almost not simple enough to make icons stand out, but instead is more detailed to where you have to hunt carefully to what you’re looking for. Even so, I’m sure it’s something I’ll get used to.
Lollygagger had to put down four squigs, so I opened with a gun blast and then thwacked them with a spanner for the rest of the fight (the only other skill I had was a “flee” sprinting option). The squigs came on too fast to get a second shot off, or the gun was just too slow, so mostly it was trading blows. Great animation on the squigs, and combat definitely felt more visceral and heated (if a bit slow) than WoW.
What took me a bit to get used to, and this will require more testing, was how the skills activated. I’d click for my spanner attack and I guess it would do that, but the animation is pretty identical to the auto attack and there weren’t any noticeable cues that it was going off. Because the global cooldown (GCD) is remarkably fast, it’d be ready almost right away, so I just kept jamming 1-1-1-1-1-1 until the squig was dead. The action points bar drained but refilled quickly; health less so. I did die a few times as a level one, which is surprising. I wasn’t being too careful, and the mobs are much more active and moving than other newbie zones I’m familiar with. Plus, I wasn’t sure which mobs would aggro me for just being near them, or which ones required me to attack first. Good respawn time on the mobs tho, which was appreciated in a zone with dozens of other characters running around like crazy killing everything.
I finished two quests (the second had me triggering a small cavein with a detonator) got blessed by an NPC runepriest standing nearby, leveled up to 2, stripped my clothes off to run naked (I’m juvenile at times, and was wondering if that would trigger a Tome unlock), got a third quest and promptly fell through a bugged part of the world.
- I can’t wait to get an Engineer turret, as they seem an essential part of the class
- The mastery trees seem pretty cool and intuitive
- I kept forgetting to loot
- I liked some of the idle animations, like the dwarf scratching her foot.
- Things I didn’t do: really go into the UI customization, explore the Tome (I’m pretty much going to ignore the Tome until launch and try to experience it naturally), do any scenarios or fiddle with much. It was just a test-drive for both the game and the class.