First Impressions – Witch ElfSeptember 8, 2008
Let’s bring you up to speed: it’s Friday night, August 22, and we are deep into the heart of the three-day Preview Weekend before the beta servers are shut off for a good couple weeks. I’m feeling the pressure of finishing up the final three careers I’ve yet to do for the first impressions series, when Snafzg (he of The Greenskin) logs on to Skype and tells me to get my butt over to a certain server and make a Dark Elf.
“But, I’m still playing my Magus…” I begin.
“NOW, human meat bag!” he thunders.
Fine. Sigh. Pushy friends. I don’t feel bad laughing at him later on when a stray cat his wife picked up off the side of the road suddenly leaps onto his desk in the middle of heated combat and knocks half the crap from his desk.
We both assess our manliness – quite fine, indeed – and decide to create a pair of Witch Elves. Up to this point in beta, I’d not heard great things about the career, particularly when compared to its mirror, the Witch Hunter. That, coupled with my distaste for elves in general and the rogue-ish approach of the class (knives, limited stealth), made for a very suicidal character. I couldn’t care less if she lived or died.
Upon logging in with Gurgle the Witch Elf (Snafzg’s was named Vampirella), I observe two things. Thing number one: the WE’s dual knives look and function like a nasty blender of death. If you’re the type who loves dual-wielding daggers in any RPG, you’re going to want to check her out (no male Witch Elves available). Thing number two: Witch Elves are allergic to clothing. She starts out with two conveniently-placed strips of purple cloth, which are later upgraded to small bandaids and coconuts (more on that later). As Snafzg said, “We look pretty hot!” Hot was not the term I’d use for it; arrestable for indecent exposure in 48 states is more like it. Even a certain Mythic dev shied away from the career with the comment that they were “too slutty for me.”
In other words: butt cheek central. I got the feeling that Gurgle truly wished to be out slaughtering the masses in a pair of comfy jeans and a snug sweatshirt, but there she is, getting hypothermia as well-insulated Chosen strutted by in their 500 pounds of armor.
We spent a good few hours zipping here, there and everywhere, with Snafzg being the madcap tour guide to the Dark Elf newbie zone. “Here’s a guy,” he’d say. “Let’s kill it,” he’d command. And kill we did. Stuff like that.
We ran through the local PQ, with Puff the Bullied Dragon being uber-ganked before it could even land to attack. Do a few of those, ding new rank, ding new influence gear.
From there, we queued up for the Elf v. Elf scenario – which is my favorite out of the three starter scenarios. I think it’s the massive bomb that you can outrun, but few ever think to do so. At one point I had a Swordmaster hacking away at me to almost 25% health, but the bombs went off and I ran. He chased me, but I’d already hit my Flee button, and looking back I got the joy of seeing the blast wave overcome him for an insta-kill. Yay!
It was here that Gurgle and Vampirella developed a fun strategy we started using in many RvR situations. Whenever we’d get in combat with one guy, we’d slice at him while he’d just focus on one of us. Whoever that would be, as soon as we got to about 25% health, that person would hit their afterburners and run away, leaving the enemy with a decision: stay and fight the other guy, who’s at full health and likely to win, or chase the hurt guy who now has a commanding lead? It’s pretty much lose-lose for the bad guy, and we bagged quite a few people that way.
Back in the open world, we did another PQ, but I was more fascinated by the unicorns that galloped around the perimeter. Hey! Nobody told me there’d be unicorns in WAR! Seriously, I get to kill unicorns? I GET TO KILL UNICORNS? It’s like… Christmas and Easter and my birthday and my wedding day all rolled up into one joyful experience! Aside from Elves, unicorns are my top-most hated fantasy creatures of all time, the bane of every Trapper Keeper folder, the symbol of girlie aggression into the genre. You know how, in the first Harry Potter book, Voldemort kills a unicorn to drink its blood and that’s supposed to be bad? Right then, I swore allegiance to the dark lord for that one act. Any guy against unicorns is a friend of mine.
Okay, enough unicorn slaughter. There’d better be an awesome Tome unlock for that, is all I’m saying.
We took a dragon flight over to the Empire/Chaos tier one contested zone and got into some rough-and-heavy RvR fights. It was just swarming with zergs and side objectives and us trying to avoid the big fights while tackling any stragglers we saw. I think we eliminated the same Engineer twice (Snafzg once won with about 5 hit points left on his bar). It was here that we got an invite from Keen’s Happy Fun Guys guild, which we joined and then I promptly tried to get banned. Lots of Keen worshippers there, for sure, and for some reason they don’t like it when I compare him to Rainbow Brite. I don’t know why.
So. RvR. We geared up at a local armor vendor – RvR quests had netted us a ton of silver – and I ended up with the aforementioned coconut bra and bandaid outfit. Good enough. We joined a scenario with Keen and some other HFG’s, to dominate Order at Nordenwatch. My kill priority as a Destruction character is always Bright Wizards (#1) and then Runepriests (#2). Witch Elves might not be held in high esteem right now, but when you suddenly have two of them trying to cut you open for the delicious treasure inside, I guess it’s unnerving. Keen played a Zealot, so I screamed “MEDIC!” as often as I could.
RvR wasn’t all fun and roses – I kept experiencing moments of considerable lag and rubberbanding, and both Snafzg and I observed glitches in the Matrix… er… graphic snags. Yet even so, it was simply a blast to be paired up, especially when it came to PvP combat. As Snaffy said, this game is really built to be as group-friendly as possible, and if you’re the type of player who tries to solo no matter what, you’re going to miss out on some of the best parts.
- Credit to Snafzg for this observation: if you turn the camera to face your female Dark Elf and then jump, she makes the most bizarre face you’ll ever see. It’s like a very surprised vampire being wedgied in mid-jump.
- When you target someone you’re grouping with, the ring around your feet will display a bright white arrow to help guide you to wherever they are. That’s quite helpful.