As I mentioned in Part One, at some point in the very early levels you’ll get a quest that tells you to play an RvR Scenario. RvR stands for Realm vs. Realm, the WAR equivalent of Player vs Player, in which the two Realms (Destruction and Order) will fight head-to-head. The Scenarios are akin to WoW Battlegrounds; instanced and nominally balanced PvP battles taking place on set maps, and will almost certainly be your first taste of RvR. In Tier one, there are three different Scenarios, all of which have their own feel.
Nordenwatch is the Empire vs. Chaos Scenario, and is a control point battle. There’s a point fairly close to your spawn point, one close to the other side, and one in the middle. It’s mostly open ground, and all outdoors, so it’s hard to form walls of tanks that the enemy can’t get around.
The Gates of Ekrund is the Dwarf vs. Greenskin. It’s also a straight control point battle, but it’s fought in a fortress, and while there are open areas, there are also some corridors, and everything is much more compact than it Nordenwatch – the middle point is only a few seconds of unimpeded running from either end. It’s also very easy, and very common, for the enemy to run at the far point instead of the closer one, so don’t take for granted that your side can control the closer point. Gates of Ekrund is, in my opinion, the strongest of the Tier 1 Scenarios, the fastest-paced and the most fun.
Khaine’s Embrace is the Dark Elf vs. High Elf Scenario. It’s different from the others in that while there are two control points, one Realm controlling both will set off a nuke-like effect which kills everybody in the area of either point. You can run from this blast, and there are places where you’ll be sheltered from it (like the tunnel connecting the control points,) but if it catches you in the open, you’re dead. It does kill players on the other side as well, though. Once the blast goes off, both flags reset to uncontrolled, and you do it again. In my experience Khaine’s Embrace is the slowest of the Tier 1 scenarios; it’s the only one I’ve seen actually run out the timer. I also think it’s the least fun, but it’s worth trying – there are people who like it best.
You win a scenario by getting your side to 500 points, by controlling banners or killing other players. There’s a time limit as well, and the side with more points when the clock runs out is the winner, but I’ve rarely seen this happen. Some Scenario matches will be utter blowouts, but it’s usually more evenly-matched than that, sometimes very evenly matched. If your side is lagging behind in points, don’t despair – I’ve seen one side come back from what appears to be an unassailable deficit to win the match, and been on both sides of that, so don’t take victory for granted if your side is sitting on 450 points. The Scenario quests don’t require you to win – just to complete the battle. But you also get a lot more renown and XP from actively participating than you do from standing around, so halfwits AFKing at their own spawn point is something you may occasionally see, but not very often – those players are screwing themselves by doing that, not just their side of the battle. An active participant in a well-fought battle can get a lot of both XP and renown in a single Tier 1 Scenario.
There’s an icon attached to the minimap which will allow you to queue for any scenario in your Tier and zone pairing. You can queue either by yourself or for your whole group, but only your subgroup within a Warband will be queued. You may get in right away or have to wait a bit, but you can do it from anywhere in the zone – you don’t have to be at a specific location or talk to a particular NPC, and when the scenario is over, you’ll be dropped right back where you were when you started. (Be careful if that was in an area filled with hostile mobs.) You can queue for any scenario in your Tier, not just the one for your race, but you need to be in the appropriate zone – or have a groupmate in that zone queue for you – to do so.
‘Level’ is called rank in WAR, by the way – and the current cap is 40. Renown rank (which I’ll talk about shortly,) is capped at 80. If you’re of a low rank when you enter a Scenario, you get a bolster buff that temporarily increases your rank – to 8, in the case of the Tier 1 Scenarios. Your hits, stats and gear all scale up to the higher rank, but better gear is still important (gear that doesn’t grant a stat bonus still doesn’t grant anything if you’re buffed,) and you don’t get access to the higher-rank abilities, but you can compete in Scenarios, and contribute, even if your real rank is very low.
This doesn’t mean that I necessarily recommend that you jump right into Scenarios at rank 1 – having only two or three abilities available limits you quite a lot – but you can, and if you do you won’t be rank 1 for very long, especially if you grab the Scenario quest as well. My feeling is that you should get to rank 3 or 4 first, to get a couple of extra useful abilities and feel out the class if you haven’t played it before. At that point there’s nothing stopping you from being a useful contributor to your Scenario group.
Expect to see players crossing over to play other scenarios outside their native pairings. There are all kinds of reasons to do this, but the most obvious one is to provide races that lack an archetype that capability; a White Lion, for example, crossing over to take up the Melee DPS slack in Gates of Ekrund, or a Swordmaster helping out the Tankless Empire in Nordenwatch.
You should be aware that the pace of combat in WAR is a bit slower than it is in WoW, and the damaging abilities do less damage relative to player health – so one-shot kills are nonexistent, and you generally have time to react if an opposing player jumps on your head. If you think you’ve been one-shot, check your combat log – you’ll probably have been hit by several attacks simultaneously, or you had some DoTs wearing your health down, or your health wasn’t full like you thought it was in the first place. About the only thing in your Tier that can one-shot you is a siege weapon – those will take you down in one hit, but they’re slow and hard to aim.
Most of the commonly-used character abilities work on the global cooldown, and all of your abilities scale in rank with you. As you go up in rank, you’ll get more bread-and-butter abilities – healing, burst or DPS damage, resistances, armor buffs or whatever, but you’ll also get more and more utility abilities as you advance that do things like manipulate your Action Points. At no point will that ability you got at rank 1 become useless – you’ll continue to use it all the way up the leveling curve.
Doing RvR gives you renown, which is a sort of PvP experience that you get from contributing to player kills and capturing RvR objectives. As you get these points, you’ll increase in renown rank. Higher renown ranks unlock better gear from special renown gear vendors you’ll find in the Warcamp that following the quest progression will eventually lead you to, and also gives you points that you can spec your character with. These are akin to WoW’s talents, but WAR also has Mastery trees specific to each class that you can spec in based off your regular rank, so you actually have two different ways to spec your character: via normal leveling (which you can do via either PvE or RvR) and renown leveling (which you mostly get only in RvR.)
The renown rank gear is the best gear in Tier 1; you can start getting around rank 6/renown rank 6, and by the time you hit 9 in both, you can get it all and enjoy having the top gear for a couple of ranks. Unlike Influence gear that you get from Public Quests, renown gear does cost money as well.
Tiers, by the way, are rank ranges – 1 to 11, 12 to 22 and so on – which correspond to the zone pairings. A single persistent area (with no load screen between them) exists for each racial pairing, and the higher-end quests in the Tier will end up leading you into the other race’s areas – hostile territory. Some of these quests will be PvP quests, which require you to scout or collect objects in PvP areas, but there are PvE quests as well that don’t require you to flag for RvR.
As you start moving past Chapter 2 and into Chapter 3, your quest hub is or is adjacent to a Warcamp, an RvR hub where you can get RvR quests, renown gear, and find renown trainers where you can spend your renown points. It’ll also be adjacent to an Open RvR area… which will be the subject of Part Three of this walkthrough.