A Return to WAR

I was planning on taking advantage of WAR’s 14 free days for a while now and the live event starting was a perfect opportunity to do so. I was looking forward to returning so much that the six odd hours of installing the game, downloading the 10Gb of patches and patching went by like a breeze. It was finally time.

Was the overwhelming feeling of my first day back a “Welcome home!” or “What are you doing back already?”

Being a part of /t2 chat at RR82.

Oh come on now, I don't suck THAT bad.

Despite making a fresh install, the game had the old smell of something familiar rather than that septic plastic smell of everything new, since I saved all my settings folders and was able to copy them over. Jumping in was as easy as patching the game up after a minor patch, just reactivating addons and dismissing a few notifications. All my characters on Karak Norn were waiting for me just as I left them.

I first logged in on my White Lion to check on an old guild I was babysitting. Unsurprisingly the leadership has been automatically passed down when I was inactive, but since it was a trustworthy guy I wasn’t fussed about it. I was planning on logging on other more important characters after checking the guild, but seeing the lion I felt like I should bring the character up to speed and jump into a scenario or two. I then spent almost 20 minutes trying to work out what is the best combination of armor set pieces I can afford and wear (I’m a bit of a min/maxer), but at my disappointment I didn’t have enough tokens to afford a big upgrade. Only later have I found out about the vendor that sells all of the sets for gold.

I was nearly done with what upgrades I managed to grab when I realised I was missing a Kamen-Ra as the final talisman in my setup, but had none in the vault and they were 10 gold a piece at the auction house (talisman makers used to give them out for free because they were worthless). I remembered I had a stack of them on my other characters so I relogged. The first target was my Swordmaster.

I kept up with most of the changes WAR “suffered” and knew my much desired SM revamp (yes, the post is more than a year old, but most of those problems persist) wasn’t among them, so I wasn’t interested in playing the character past seeing what goodies I could pull from my vault and equip them. Which were a few Warlord parts, but not having enough tokens for a complete overhaul or any Kamen-Ra talismans I hopped on my Slayer.

This is where I was starting to feel a nagging feeling in the back of my head. Running around Altdorf it seemed devoid of players and I didn’t recognise anyone of the few people I saw. Hovering over to the vault I remembered I put all my purple LotD talismans in the guild bank — the guild disbanded. Oh well, I’ll just have to buy one off the auction house. By this point I’ve already forgotten all about my WL and was looking to tidy up my Slayer and go kill some orcs.

I finally found the guy selling Worn Sovereign and other sets for gold and facepalmed for a minute. I then spent further 15 minutes trying to decide how to fit the new set into my current setup, finally decided on something and upon trying to buy the third piece I needed realised I only had 30 gold on the Slayer, which wasn’t enough. I was about to relog and send myself some gold when Altdorf got invaded. Doh!

Because I didn’t feel like doing Altdorf on my group play specced Slayer without a group, I opted to participate on my Warrior Priest, but before that I got some food and a beer. Just in case. Logging on my WP I went through the same motions of speccing the now reset masteries and renown training, which resulted in a cookie cutter spec (salvation/grace, now up to M4, although I’m now considering dropping it and going salvation/wrath for the detaunt).

Looking around Reikwald I felt a bit depressed again, everyone I saw was a stranger. Lots of French and Germans, with only a handful of vaguely familiar faces. The amount of players I saw seemed to be about half the usual population as well. I entered an Altdorf siege with order having 3 full groups in the scenario and spawn camping destruction.

This is why we defend Altdorf. So filthy old beggars like him can sleep safely on the streets of the city.

Of course, as soon as I made it in destro pushed out and killed me (others fled, they were French apparently). We won the first stage, but got throughly obliterated in other two stages by the destro group. Nothing out of the ordinary. Having time for another instance I tried entering a full one, but all I managed to enter was an instance where I was alone against the same destro group that owned order in the previous siege. Bleh. I ported out and queued for the two live event scenarios. Naturally, they refused to pop.

When the siege ended I was finally able to enter an Ekrund’s Gate which was being dominated by destro and went on for only two more minutes (but I did managed to meet two friends who complained about how they miss the old times). I then managed to get into the new live event scenario, where I was too busy remembering how to play and getting my ass handed to me by destro to really admire the surroundings (well, I explored enough of the Bright Wizard College to know what it looks like). Oh, the lava pool thingy is overpowered, nerf.

I felt quite a bit down at that point, so I didn’t feel like queueing for any more scenarios and just afked a bit in the deserted Altdorf. There were several contributing factors to my disappointment. For one, nothing in the game had changed much. I wasn’t expecting any new gameplay, but experiencing the same thing I’ve been playing for more than two years previously brought back that bad taste in my mouth. I’ve also realised how rusty I am. I always considered the WP (who are now even more overpowered than before) as one of the easiest careers to play. If that’s true, then I must really suck. Where I previously knew exactly what to do at any point in time, I was now blanking out at crucial moments. I was playing aggressively like I can when I know what to do, but failing every time. And while a difficult opponent is a welcome challenge when you’re bored, facing one can be disheartening when you’re trying to get back into the swing of things.

Also, for some reason the game seems to run slower than it used to, no matter what settings I use (I’m quite familiar with them). Which is funny because it’s a fresh install on a PC that is in a better condition than it was before. Maybe some of the addons are outdated or maybe my graphic drivers are conflicting with the game, but it was just another thing that bothered me and I will need to sort out. It felt like the game looked a bit uglier as well, which might have been just me remembering it better than it was.

A combination of all of those things contributed to me feeling quite depressed, so I logged off and tried to log in to LoL to get my first win of the day bonus. Maybe not enough time has passed or maybe I wasn’t in the right mood or perhaps I was expecting too much, but the first two hours of my return to WAR were disappointing. Of course I’ll play some more over the course of the free subscription and I’m planning on giving all of my alts a whirl and posting my thoughts. But the impressions so far? Not good, not good at all.

And yeah, I know Mythic have already used that title, but I thought of it first. There.

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8 thoughts on “A Return to WAR

  1. Well..returning shortly after a patch is tricky.. Things don’t go smooth..especially in WAR. I just shortly checked the new event on patch day (bad idea btw ;) )..

    since then I prefered to alt on Badlands…
    Oh..and the performance thing. I feel the same (though I didn’t pause the game) ..since 1.4.2’s performance-increase, I have more performance problems with the game (lag as well as fps-drops). 1.4.3 also brought a lot of ctd’s to many around..mostly healers, which is quiet interesting.

    For a relaxing tour through WAR you should try the lower tiers..the power gap isn’t as bad as in T4. It’s quiet fun not to compete always against RR90+ groups (when you are sub-RR90)

    • Well, the patch doesn’t seem to have many problems associated with it, at least I haven’t had any. My problems were stemming from the fact that the game seemed a bit abandoned (for a new patch at least, with a new scenario and brand new live event) and that I am now quite rubbish at PvP.

      Together with the performance decrease you mentioned, being guildless and the fact that not much has changed gameplay-wise didn’t make for a warm welcome.

      I used to love playing alts in lower tiers but since the bracket changes they never pulled me back again. I either got bored with alting or the changes messed with things that I liked the way they were. Either way, I think I’ll stick with my T4 chars for now, especially seeing that I’ve got two RR80ies and a bunch of RR50-60 ones.

  2. It’s good to know I’m not the only one getting random CTDs more often than not, after the patch. In fact, every time the game slows down a little I brace myself for a crash and it seldom disappoints.

    Going back to WAR is… yeah, it can be hard. I only went back because I had to, because there was no real mmo alternative for me. And the first few losses were completely disheartening too, especially so for a Zealot whose shine gets easily obfuscated by the OPness of a DoK. But I had people to join premades with, people to rely on while I got my bearings and became awesome again.

    This said, I understand and relate to how shocking it is coming back and realizing that everything’s the same. In fact, I consider myself to be incredibly strong-willed and that I have outstanding intestinal fortitude for I have stuck by this dead-end game through thick and thin, refusing to expect any more from it than what is already there.

    • Well, I don’t think the problem was as much everything being the same, as me expecting too much. After not playing for a while your memory gets hazy on the downsides of playing and only the good things shine through, which is why I got incredibly excited to reactivate the account. A rookie mistake which I should have avoided, lowering my expectations to a realistic level is something I should be able to do by now. I have to say though, the game looking like a ghost town didn’t help at all.

      And yeah, trying to relearn the ropes of a career that you’ve practically mastered can be a bit daunting when you’re facing serious opposition and healing random players. Diving right in was maybe a mistake, but I’m not sure there’s any other way to go about remembering things. The game stuttering and lagging didn’t help me at all though. I’m going to run a FPS counter, update my addons and try to eliminate the issues today. Really can’t play like that.

      I haven’t had any CTDs, but I’ve only played 2 scenarios and a city siege.

  3. That’s a real shame that your return was underwhelming :(

    Just to reassure you that it’s not all doom and gloom, I’ve had a really great week on WAR. We’ve merged with our sister guild (Forged in War) and joined a very active alliance. There is a real feel-good factor around atm. I guess this just illustrates how important the community are to enjoying this game.

    If there aren’t many people online, you are getting constantly wiped by premades in scenarios, zerged in the lake and dessie have control of LoTD, it can seem a lonely boring place. I’ve been there! :D

    Stick with it. Hopefully things will pick up. Feel free to send me a tell when in-game, there’s usually something going on with us these days (and I’m on most evenings).

  4. I don’t know if you have a quad-core, but I have found that setting WAR to use only two cores (via Set Affinity for WAR32.exe in the taskmanager in admin mode) really helps with perfomance. In my case, at least, it did. Hope this helps a bit.

    • No, I’m using a dual-core, which I thought might be the problem since it’s getting kinda outdated. But seeing how you’re forcing WAR to run on two cores so it runs better, maybe not. Maybe it’s just the game that’s horribly optimised. :P

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