reviews { Warhammer: Age of Reckoning - RvR, guilds, feelings of the new

My warrior priest of Sigmar is now almost rank 10, which in WoW terms means almost level 15, as there are only 40 ranks at this time in WAR. He's pretty decently geared, I've quested in each area doing PQs until I could afford the elite Influence gear and I am at max Renown for the good RvR gear (which is equally good in PvE). I spent the weekend mostly grouped with people and I must say WAR makes it easy to group. Default group size is 6 and you can have a private party, or an open party. Open parties are kinda a nice idea. When you enter a zone, a small pop-up appears listing all the open groups (either parties or warbands) that you can join. Its a nicely streamlined LFG system.

Destruction on our server, like on most, had been dominating the RvR objectives in almost any zone. Each zone has 1 or more RvR objectives. These are like towns, keeps, gun emplacements, bridges, etc. that are capture and hold points. Once you control enough of them, and your side has done a lot of quests as well as won the majority of the RvR instanced objectives (the Nordland one is like a smaller version of Arathi Basin) your side gets boons and buffs. And they are nice ones, like +15% renown, influence, XP, or +5% sell value of items/-5% cost of vendor items, +healing, etc. Like I've said before RvR feels like a natural part of the game, and they do a pretty good attempt to try and give you a shot at it. If you are under rank 8 for example in Nordland and you enter an RvR area, it bolsters you to an effective rank of 8. It still won't help you if you don't know how to play, or you go more than 1v1, and the bolstered rank, while giving you a stats boost, doesn't give you the spells or abilities you would have at that rank. So you're still at a disadvantage.

The imbalance of Order vs Destruction on most servers is similar to the WoW imbalance of Alliance vs Horde. Order is often outnumbered, by a lot. Much like on most WoW servers, Horde is outnumbers, by a lot. But all that really means is that more greenskins for us to kill. Order can be a force to reckon with if they come together.

This leads to another observation I had, this is specifically in regards to the Empire vs Chaos starting area. Each realm (dwarves, empire, elves, chaos, dark elves, greenskins) have their own unique classes. Empire starts with Witch-hunters (melee dps), Warrior Priests of Sigmar ("healer"), and Bright Wizard (ranged dps). Chaos starts with Chosen (tank), Zealot (healer), Magus (ranged dps). This has made RvR difficult as tanks can absorb a lot of damage, and deal a pretty decent amount. The Empire has relied on Warrior Priests to kind of fulfill the role of tanks, and they can sort of pull it off, but they wear medium robes, whereas Chosen wear plate. I sort of understand why EA did this, as it encourages cross-realm interaction as the Dwarves and Elves(?!?) have the tank classes (Ironbreakers and Swordmasters). But finding a dwarf or elf when you need one can be hard.

On Saturday I joined into a massive 20 person warband. We started in the Nordland warcamp and retook all three RvR objectives, then pushed north into Norsica and took the RvR objective there. Then we switched to the dwarven lands to Ekrund and Bloodmountain and took the objectivees there. We had really good fights against the greenskins, each side not shying from a fight and the greenskins massing to counter us. Each side setup ambushes, feints, and denied objectives like the cave shortcut between the Dwarven emplacement and the Ork war camp. It was brutal. We only had one ironbreaker, but we had a good mix of healers and ranged dps. Dwarven engineers can setup turrets, and they can make holding an objective a lot easier.

I maxed out my Renown in about 2 hours of moderate to hardcore RvR, and now I need to level more before I can get more ranks.

A group of us in the RvR warband decided to form a guild, the 'Fists of Order' and I was made an officer (dodging being guild leader by a narrow margin, I didn't want to be a GL if I'm not 100% sure I'm sticking with WAR). but this gave me insight to the guild management of WAR and I must say it puts WoW to shame. Rank management is streamlined and the interface easy to use. Guilds are like other players, they each get their own rank and renown and influence, which is gained via the actions of the members. At Guild Rank 2, you get a built in calendar as well as access to the Guild Tavern, where you can display war trophies, your battle standard, and hang out. You can also have multiple co-Leaders and, perhaps the best part, they have a tab where you can create and view inter-guild alliances, something you can't do in WoW.

Other in game items and tools I played around with were the Bank and the Auction House. The bank is pretty straight forward, its a bank, static bag space. The Auction House is pretty much what you'd expect, only that it has the equivalent of the 'Auctioneer' WoW mod built-in. People were selling marginal items for insane amounts of gold (i.e. 20g, remember we're all starting out, I'm 'rich' at 1.5g right now). There are also gold sellers, which you can report and they get put in a 'Book of Grudges' and dealt with by the CSR group.

The capitol city of Altdorf is big and amazing, parts of it are only open once you achieve certain city and faction ranks (like the instanced scenarios). It is dirty and crowded like a medieval city, it has slums and noble quarters, there is plague and sometimes danger down alleys. It hide dark secrets. In short its not necessarily a 'safe' place, even though you get flagged at such. At rank 40, each side can assault the other capitol cities and lay siege to them, breaking through the earthworks and outer defensive provinces to lay waste to the cities. I look forward to this.

Since I'm rank 9 now, I'm moving on to Norsica. I've picked up the breadcrumb quests leading me out of Nordland. I've unlocked almost all of the WAR story for Nordland via PQs and normal quests. There are still a few that remain (like finding all those damn suspicious characters for Tristian Lott).

My closing thought is that I'm finding WAR refreshing, despite its flaws (it has many and still needs some more polish), because of the newness. There is no Thottbott, WoWwiki or similar resource (though people are working quickly to establish them). Almost everyone is on the same playing field, helping each other try to figure out game mechanics, quests, and how to defeat scenarios. There's a lot of room to explore and discover things.

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