Where is your faith on this dark day? Chaos rides against you – will you let these beasts destroy your hearths and homes, or will you trust in Sigmar and fight? Forward, men, and drive back this Chaos rabble! For the Empire! For Sigmar!
- Damaslaus Vannemut, High Chaplain of Sigmar
So, I spent a considerable amount of time this weekend playing Warhammer Online. I meant to do some hardcore levelling, but I ended up getting constantly distracted by Tier 1 RvR (that’s Realm vs Realm; Order vs Destruction, Player vs Player, whatever you want to call it). After a whole weekend, I’m only up to Rank 10, so I still haven’t started getting mastery points… But whatever.
I’m mainly working on my Warrior Priest, though I have a Chaos Chosen up to Rank 5 on a separate server just to see what Destruction was like. I had a Priest for quite some time back when I used to play World of Warcraft, but the Warrior Priest has a few differences.
For a start, there is no such thing as mana (which has the side effect of reducing boring downtime between fights). Your heals are powered by ‘Righteous Fury’, which you build through dealing melee damage. In a pinch, you can unleash Supplication, but this leaves you vulnerable if you are counterattacked soon after use. Ideally, you want to balance standing back and healing with charging in and doing damage. In solo play, you can almost act like a tank; I’ve taken on 4 or 5 same level mobs simultaneously thanks to the Warrior Priest’s healing abilities and, in 1 on 1 PvP, they are hard to kill without a very high damage output. You always need to watch out for ranged DPS, though; if you can’t hit them, you can’t build Righteous Fury, and if you can’t build Righteous Fury, you can’t heal!
Unfortunately, the Empire tanks, Knights of the Blazing Sun, don’t seem to be able to hold aggro very well; either that, or the players I’ve grouped with just haven’t been very good tanks. Consequently, as you can be pumping out a fair whack of healing, you can often attract the unwanted attention of several mobs and end up comprehensively owned, especially during the end stages of Public Quests, where Champion and Hero level mobs are inevitably involved.
You see, there's this thing called ‘Aggro.’ It's a very complicated, very technical roleplaying expression. Loosely translated, it means "The priest dies.
- Flintlocke’s Guide to Azeroth
Realm vs Realm is fantastic fun; we can be talking 20 or 30 players a side on a busy day, throwing waves of attackers at each other trying to take hold of objectives; very few people seem to play Warrior Priests as healers, so I get lots of thanks from Bright Wizards (of whom there are thousands) who aren’t used to being healed in the middle of fights… The odd resurrect doesn’t hurt, either, if only people would stop hitting the respawn button as soon as they die.
Once I’ve got a few more Prayers (abilities which affect everyone in your group) I think I can make even more impact; I just have to decide which mastery tree I want to go for. Wrath increases your offensive abilities, and the cost of healing, and Salvation gives you a bunch of pure healing abilities and not much else. Unlike WoW, hybrid builds seem to be permissible in WAR, so I might go for that.
In more general terms, I’m pretty happy with the game; its flavour is most definitely more ‘nu-Warhammer’ than classic warts-n-all, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Warhammer, meaning less grittiness, death and dirt. I don’t think that would translate well to the type of game WAR is, though, so it’s not a huge complaint. Anyway, they’ve managed to retain some of that classic Warhammer feel; hearing your character exclaim ‘Bollocks!’ when they fluff an attack always make me smile.
If anyone is up for a free trial, let me know; I get a referral bonus and can get you an invite to a busy server (i.e., the one I’m on); we can run some Public Quests or hit up some RvR stuff. Especially if you want to play a Dwarf; I have another Slayer character ready to level…