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4.1 – Da Gud and Da Bud

September 5, 2008

(“Bud” because… I did cultivating for the first time!)

(Okay, that was just plain bad.)

(Sorry.)

So I got to waste enjoy a few hours in Warhammer Online this afternoon, tasting the fruits of the Preview Weekend+ (anyone else think of New Game+ when they see that?) and patch 4.1. I’m going to play Syp the Black Orc over the next week, who got up to Rank 5 RR 4 during the afternoon, along with a set of really nasty-looking gear. Someone in Keen’s guild was nice enough to lend me a pair of cheese grater shoulders, and I finally felt a little bit like a rough-and-tough tank with them on. (Also, I’ve been observing that opponents in RvR seem to be intimidated by the mass of the Black Orc, and run more often than fight.)

I have a list here of observations and things that tickled me, well, not pink, because I’m Italian, but at least a lighter shade of tan.

  • Server list is now handled on the same screen as the character selection. When I logged in there was a message saying that Order on a certain realm needed some extra help, but I laughed at their misery and made a character on a full pop server anyway.
  • The new tutorial system is in place, handled by a feisty parade of question marks (?) that pop up over your action bar when you encounter a new feature of the game. You can turn them off, of course, but I left mine on to see how far they’d go. They did a good job running the gambit from newbie zone stuff to crafting to RvR to Tome unlocks. Not quite the instanced tutorial that I still think some wet-behind-the-ears MMO newbies need (I really wish MMO devs would acknowledge that these games are very intimidating and complicated to the newcomer), but a great step in that direction anyway.
  • The Tome of Knowledge has, of course, been overhauled and reskinned, and it looks fantastic. There’s nine tabs on the left side: Intro, Quests, Chapters, Achievements, Rewards, History & Lore, Noteworthy Persons, Bestiary and Armory. Now, when you click on the Tome icon, it automatically opens it to the Intro page, which doubles as the New Entries page — a very slick way to handle that. All in all, Tome 2.0 does a lot to rebut the criticisms that some bloggers (*cof*) leveled against it during the last Preview Weekend.
  • The Abilities window has been updated. You can now click on General abilities to see what types of weapons, armor and shields your class can use (yay).
  • Despite what the 4.1 patch notes say, the Book of Binding is still an item in the backpack, and a guildie informed me that it now has a lengthy (~45 min?) cooldown. Considering that people were delighted with the zero cooldown use on the old BoB, this seems like a step in the wrong direction.
  • Your backpack begins with 32 slots for items, minus the one for the Book of Binding.
  • I just love how the action bar has Greenskinny graphics to it — it helps a lot with the theme.
  • I spent a little bit of time messing around with the Customize UI window, in which you can access the Layout Editor and move every single on-screen element to where you want it to be. Nice!
  • The influence bar for each chapter has been moved. There’s now a race:chapter title (Greenskins: Chapter One) in the upper right-hand part of the screen, with a teeny tiny influence bar (and its three sections) above it.
  • Still getting surveys. I really, really hope we don’t see any of these pop up after launch.
  • There are new graphics for Tome unlocks, and they look really cool.
  • I couldn’t find the icon for the social window (hotkey: O). The social menu on the lower-left of the screen gives you some drop-sideways menu options for friending, ignoring and so on, but it isn’t the whole shebang.
  • The new graphic options are in, and I cranked that baby up to FULL! All I can say is… holy moley. This is one beautiful, detailed game. The lighting is spot-on perfect, and there’s a lot more to these graphics than the “WAR is WoW” dismissers give it credit for. Armor and weapons and items have a real 3D presence to them, instead of bare minimum polygons and reskinned textures. I ran around on High settings for the afternoon, and it was relatively smooth. Some lag, either server or graphical (probably the latter), came up from time to time, but it wasn’t consistent. Spell effects looked tremendous! And don’t get me started about my first trip to the Inevitable City, which felt like a crazy fun/haunted house and looked like a painting. Other than the occasional lag, I did experience a bit of texture popup (where you see the plain non-textured version of an object, then it’s skinned a few seconds later), especially when alt-tabbing in and out of the game.
  • There’s a new set of Tome quests at the beginning designed to get you used to the book.
  • Talisman slots are now on armor as early as level 1, but I didn’t find a Talisman trainer yet.
  • Did I mention this game is pretty? I did? Well, how about the sound? Awesome.
  • Although AI pathing is fixed, now I’m seeing (and others too) a bug where you’re in the middle of attacking a mob and then suddenly you get messages saying you can’t attack it — while it’s still attacking and killing you. The mob freezes in place, then sometimes pops back out and works again. It’s not a huge, every-mob issue, but it is there.
  • Buff and debuff icons now have color-coded borders to them for quick perusal.
  • Have you checked out the Help menu yet? It’s got an insane amount of information in it!
  • There’s a new “You Have Died” graphic that pops up, with the message of who killed you (in RvR). Looks quite spiffy.
  • I got slain by “Bambii”. Sigh.
  • Two times WAR made me laugh: I heard a goblin moan about “my tummy wummy!”, and then I got to see the fixed version of the Black Orc /special. Poor snotling!
  • UI responsiveness seems to be up. There’s a number countdown timer in each window, letting you know how long (to the tenth of a second) you have until you can use that skill again. I’m a bit concerned about the Black Orc/Swordmaster in this regard, because you’re kind of forced to keep glancing down to the bar to see where you are on your skill chain — which is very much a Bad Thing in PvP. I need more of a head’s up option to appear in the middle of the screen, or as a graphic around or on top of my character.
  • As I said, I dove into cultivating and apothocary for the first time. Pretty intuitive, although the cultivating… er, minigame? I guess minigame, although it’s not really a game, just a series of item inputs. The cultivating process demands your attention for minutes at a time to the exclusion of gameplay, and although I liked how it works, it didn’t let me set up a plant to grow without needing my constant input. I don’t know how much time I have to sit around and do that sort of thing. Apothocary is a lot easier, although I had problems trying to get my first potion stable.

I’m sure there’s a lot more, but I wanted to get you a preliminary report, especially to the folks who can’t log in this weekend — or perhaps next week.

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5 comments

  1. you don’t have to put in everything for cultivation. you can drop in the seed/spore and close the window and go on about your business. it will grow on it’s own. from what i’ve found, adding in soil and such just gives it a chance of producing a plant as well as a seed, so you can make a lot of one plant just from on initial seed. i generally have too many anyways so i would just drop seeds in, let em grow as i did quests or whatever, and when I remembered I would harvest the plant and drop in another seed. painless.


  2. Ugh, you’re making me jealous! I want to play a Blorc.


  3. Has Talisman making been implemented yet? I’m also looking for a trainer…


  4. Wow. Awesome rundown of all the improvements since the last open beta. Thanks, Syp. I tried downloading the latest patch last night, but I couldn’t connect. Finally got it this morning, and I’ve been downloading for the last five hours. 139MB in five hours … not sure what the deal is with that. But I’m 93% done, and I’m looking forward to checking this thing called WAR out for myself soon.


  5. I’ve seen the Talisman trainer on both realms, they are in the game. But no clue how the system works. Looks confusing.
    Entire crafting system needs a lot of work, it’s the games weakest part.

    The mob bug, where they attack you and you can’t hit them, very annoying. I’d say it happens at least once every twenty-five mobs. Very annoying. Just run away, and it somehow fixes once the mob tries to move.

    Another bug that is annoying is dying in a Scenario and you just remain there on the ground, even after you respawn timer is done. Very annoying. Had this bug on both realms with various characters.

    Here’s something really annoying. I did the first High Elf PQ, and in my second time through, came in first. One major problem, the big enemy died right where the chest spawns and couldn’t loot the chest to get the reward. Very annoying, pissed me off big time. They need to make it so you can get your PQ reward by clicking the new chest icon that pops on your screen, because if the chest on the ground is covered, you can’t get your reward. And trust me, I tried everything, including zooming in and seeing it from inside the dragon’s belly. Damn stupid corpse.

    I was very happy though when I logged in and saw all the changes compared to last month’s Preview Weekend. The game looks so much better, a lot of the small things look better (quest, Tome, death notificiation, etc). The game is getting a bit of polish to it.

    Still some bugs to work out, but if Mythic keeps on working as hard as they have, and making as many major leaps come post-launch, this will be an amazing game.



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