First Impressions – Archmage

August 26, 2008

So this is how much Mythic hates me, personally. They go ahead and yank out four careers from the game, yet none of them happen to be High Elves, which are – to me – fingernail-pulling painful of a concept. So whereas I had a lovely three classes to peruse through with the Dwarfs and Empire, I’m staring down four High Elf haughty faces in this next phase of testing.

Oh well, I’ll try not to whine too much. I began with the Archmage, keeping in mind that Archmagery will eviscerate me if I say anything negative about the class. You will, won’t you? Thus, Spleensearcher began her career and I felt a little part of me die. Although I did get my initial angst out on elves in carrying a long tradition of my newbie MMO experiences.

Let’s back up a bit. I have two personal traditions I always do when starting a new character. The first is that I almost always roll a female toon. That topic’s been beaten to death – shocker: guys play GIRL characters!?! – so we’ll just get past it. It’s what I do, I don’t care what you think, na na boo boo. My other tradition involves de-robing right out of the gate. Now, I’m not a streaker at heart, but I like just getting rid of the crap gear (except for the weapon, obviously) that MMO devs seem to bless us with at level 1. Get rid of it, I say! Cast it to the wind! Let’s really start with nothing and see where we can go!

So, Spleensearcher got nekked. Although I’m not one to be really into this sort of thing, if playing virtual Barbie doll with your MMO characters is “thrilling” to you, then WAR will probably satisfy. I think every character, guys included, look like they just popped out of a lingerie catalogue. Spleen had a teeny tiny bra and a pink thong (!). I think she just wanted full Kevlar body armor, but unfortunately the commissary was closed.

Archmage. Right. The Archmage is a mix between a traditional caster and a traditional healer, pretty much split down the line 50/50. Of course, when you have a class that can heal it almost doesn’t matter what else they can do – they’re a HEALER, shut up and heal me nub. You start out with one healing spell, Healing Energy, and one direct damage spell Radiant Lance. By the way, I’m renaming Radiant Lance to “Rainbow Static”, because it shoots out a Care Bear Shine and sounds like someone’s TV is on the fritz.

The mechanic of the class is a yin-yang ball in the center that’s divided between Focus and Tranquility. The more damage spells you cast, the higher the Tranquility number goes up (to 5), and vice versa. Once you get that number high, skills that use Tranquility (such as healing) have their icons light on fire. Then you can cast those skills cheaper or to more effect. It’s an okay mechanic, but nothing terribly special.

So I went about trying to bring down the High Elf society from within, which mostly meant running around in my skivvies and trying to jump off cliffs. I do have to admit that the newbie area is pretty neat, with the Dark Elves’ Black Arks assaulting the island – those things do look imposing.

I completed a few quests, found one quest in the middle of nowhere where a Dark Elf was being tortured by a ball of light (yet, hilariously, if I clicked on him he gave very calm voiceover comments like “I will eat your liver for dinner”). Like the Dwarfs, there is a quest that uses huge ballistas to shoot down harpies – fun, although I really, REALLY wish I could inverse the mouse movements on it.

I drifted through a few quest zones, la de da, nothing special. At levels 3 and 4, the Archmage gets a pair of nice DOTs, which are types of spells I’m pretty fond of from my WoW warlock days. I’m still impressed (and something a bit overwhelmed) with how much “war” is really going on. There’s not a lot of peace and quiet in the newbie zones – NPCs are running everywhere, fighting, and cannon blasts puncture the air from time to time.

I finished my time with Spleensearcher doing the first PQ in the area. It was similar to the newbie Empire one – stage one was to kill guards, stage two was to protect good guys (by making sure that no more than 19 of them are killed), and stage three was the boss – in this case a beastmaster and his pet hydra. We only had two people to fight the boss, and Mr. White Lion over there couldn’t hold his aggro. So heals aside, it was a quick trip to the “Quit Game” prompt.

Oh, and I did get a cool Tome unlock! It’s hardly a secret, but if you click on yourself 100 times, you get the “Ow My Eye” title, which is so worth feeling foolish for going clickclickclickclick for about five minutes.

Quick Notes:

  • High Elves do, in fact, put their noses in the air a lot in their idle animations.
  • It’s subtle, but I finally noticed that questgivers have a color scheme to their quests: a green ball by the quest name means you have yet to get it; a yellow ball means you’re still in the middle of the quest; and an orange ball means you’re ready to turn the quest in.
  • At this point in the beta, many of the emotes were nonfunctioning, and the /katadance sent my character in to an unstoppable jiggly dance thing, which continued even if I was in combat.


  1. I didn’t expect you to enjoy the high elf environ (since elves, you know, shower, unlike all other medieval races in these games), but did you at least enjoy the LASER EYEBALLS? C’mon. Eye-lasers. Srsly.

  2. I thought the Elf starting area was the least.. fun, but there were some decent PQs there and I enjoyed my tourist time. I also kind of enjoyed the Archmage, but not enough!

  3. “It’s subtle, but I finally noticed that quest givers have a color scheme to their quests: a green ball by the quest name means you have yet to get it; a yellow ball means you’re still in the middle of the quest; and an orange ball means you’re ready to turn the quest in.”

    From what I can recall from the PW, the little circles tell you what kind of quest it is, not the progress. Yellow is a travel quest, red is an RvR quest, and greet was a PvE quest I think. I could have that all mixed up, though.

  4. Unless they changed it recently, the circles over their head and by quest names surely identified what stage you were at.

  5. @DL: The circles were bugged over preview weekend; I’ll vouch for Syp’s synopsis. Green = quest available, yellow = quest in progress, orangy-red = quest complete (reward available here).

  6. Play some Destro classes!

  7. If I’m rolling order, I plan to have an Archmage, possibly as a main.
    This was great, thanks syp.

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