Last night, despite a raging backache that I had to medicate with Scotch, I tried the Engineer for a little while. He seems fun, and it’s a class I will explore once the live game starts, but I’m still undecided on a main Order career. The Ironbreaker is tremendously enjoyable, though – if I wasn’t already committed to playing a tank on the other side of this pairing, he might well be my Order main. As it is right now I’m torn between the Bright Wizard and Engineer; the only reason I’m hesitant on the former is because I think there will be too many of them in play at launch, but we’ll see.
I did get quite a bit more play in on the Ironbreaker last night, reaching rank 9 and renown 8 through a couple of scenario runs and an RvR Public Quest. I forget the name of it, but basically, phase one is to kill a hundred NPC guys, and on one side of this little fortress you have orcs, and dwarves on the other. Participants from the two sides compete to see who can reach the kill total the fastest; the side that does unlocks a boss encounter. You don’t need to be RvR flagged to participate in the PQ, though – and that’s important.
When I first got in on this Destruction had a bunch of unflagged guys killing the PQ mobs and a handful of flagged people engaging with some Order folks. I’m happy to say we beat them all the way back to their quest hub, but in the meantime their orange-name guys were down in the PQ area killing the mobs, compared to maybe one or two on our side. So they kept beating us in the PQ even though we were thrashing them in the RvR which was happening all over the same area. This happened for three or four cycles of the quest.
So I started an open group, pushed it to a warband, invited everybody I could, and told people to focus on the quest mobs. At one point Order was at 99/100 and Destro was at 97/100. It could scarcely be any closer, but we got it. I died three times to the bosses, but healed and ran back down each time (inviting more people along the way,) and when all was said and done we’d beaten the three bosses and I was first in the contribution ranks (due probably to having taken the most damage – I was tanking the bosses as much as I could, hoping for heals,) and got the top loot bag. The piece I got wasn’t all that great, but the whole affair was extremely enjoyable. As soon as the quest had ended, of course, I flagged for RvR and went and kicked in the heads of some dirty Greenskins.
All this took an hour or two and gave me large chunks of XP and renown. So I went and found the Dwarf Warcamp, which is actually in Ekrund and not where I’d thought it was in Mount Bloodhorn – I’d been wondering why I didn’t see a flight master there. The actual Warcamp is also a quest hub and has a renown abilities trainer from whom you can learn Tactics – I got my first of those last night, selecting one that gives me +5% XP in RvR. Adjacent to the Warcamp is an open RvR area with objectives, all of which were Order-controlled at the time. But the area was pretty deserted, so I didn’t spend much time there.
The renown rank 8 gear is a big step up from the older gear out of Chapter 1-2. A big step up. Those Black Orcs you fight at the end of the bridge leading out of the Chapter 3 hub? They were giving me trouble in groups at levels 7 and 8 – at level 9 with the improved gear, I was chewing them up like gumdrops. And the gear made a difference in RvR as well – it took no less than four equal-level players to take me down in the aforementioned PQ area, which I revisited after getting the gear.
One of the very nice things about gear in WAR is that it mostly matches right out of the box, plus you can dye it either with dye drops or at most merchants – the interface for this makes it very easy. I enjoy having a cool-looking character, and found what I call the Rodeo Clown school of gear design in WoW to be off-putting. In WAR, even though you start the game in what looks like a nightshirt in a lot of cases, by about level 3 or 4, you’ll have a set of gear that looks good.
I’m going to be approaching the live game in a similar way to what I’m doing in Beta – trying to keep my renown about equal to my rank by participating in a lot of RvR activities. Tonight I plan to play some more on the Ironbreaker, and maybe try out the Witch Hunter or Archmage.
Tomorrow, expect a day five report and an overall review of the game.