A tale of two Paladins Part Four: starter zones Tuesday, Oct 20 2009 

Welcome! Now, go kill things.

Welcome! Now, go kill things.

The Warcraft (WoW) and Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) starter zones throw you into two very different games. While they may share many standard features of MMOs, right way you can see a difference:  WoW and DDO are built on different principles, and the starter zones in each clearly demonstrate this.

Starter zones: making an impression

Starter zones can make or break the game as far as players are concerned. It’s in these areas that we decide whether or not to invest the next couple of months, if not years, of our life with a particular game. So developers need to strike a balance – making it accessible, but also interesting. So how do the starter zones compare?

Let’s have a look.

WoW: solo friendly

My Blood Elf (BE) Paladin starts her journey on Sunstrider Isle, a tiny island North of the Eastern Kingdoms. The art work is very good, I’ve always enjoyed the aesthetics of BE architecture, armour and weapons. It combines a distinctive blend of Medieval Japan and Vikings with a vivid palate of reds, golds and greens. The Isle itself is “shrouded” with a mystical glow.

The starter zone acts as a very gentle introduction to WoW that will teach you the very basics of the game: collect your quests from a NPC with the famous yellow !, kill requisite number of rats, hand in for XP. Oh, and level. Level as fast as you can.

Some of the exciting tasks the quest masters will give you include:

  • Killing feral cats
  • Killing feral floating eel thingies
  • Killing feral trees that look like Druid tree forms

Fortunately the Isle is a well designed and small quest hub, so you can power your way through these quests within an hour. You should zoom past your fith level and collect a few additional spells by the time you’ve completed the quests on Sunstrider Isle.

However the experience is kinda forgettable – nothing really stands out as a fun or unique experience. It’s pretty, and BE’s are the best looking avatars in the game, but really the idea is to put you on the levelling path.  To me, the levelling process is like going on auto pilot – enjoyable, meditative but not particularly challenging.

After the Isle, you’ll move into Eversong Woods and reach the BE Capital of Silvermoon City. The quality of the quests do pick up, and the artwork is simply gorgeous. It’s here you’ll also have a chance to pick up your professions.

The most important thing you will learn is just how easy it is to solo the game. The message is clear: take your avatar all the way to level 80 by questing. Grouping really is an option and for those who like the social aspects of MMOs, or want to see the content. But really, a solid month of playing WoW will allow you to easily level form level 1-80 without breaking a sweat. WoW really is built for the casual player. You can jump in for ten minutes or spend all day grinding quests. Go as fast, or as slow as you want.

Still overall, it’s a good introduction to WoW. If you enjoy yourself here, it’s very likely you’ll love the rest of the game.

Overall ratings

  • Artwork: 4/5
  • Quality of quests: 3/5
  • Enjoyment: 3/5

DDO: instanced group experience

DDO dumps you on the shorelines of Eberron. You stand dressed in rags, confused and somewhat dazed. Wreckage litters the beach, and a small halfing waves you over for a chat. Soon he escorts you to a small camp where you meet one of the Warforged, a humanoid robot thing.

One thing you’ll notice is how much text there is to read. DDO is a very literate experience. Like a true RPG game, you can select different questions to aks the NPC. Reading all the text options gives you the back story. For WoW players this will seem very slow and annoying. “You mean I have to read the text! Just tell me which 10 foozles to kill/collect!”.

From there you’re directed to your first instanced dungeon experience. The starter dungeon teams you up with other NPCs who conduct you through a of walk through of the dungeon. The purpose it to get you acquainted with grouping mechanics and the nature of dungeons in the game. Overall, it’s a fun and satisfying experience. It’s not challenging, as it is effectively a tutorial.

One of DDOs interesting features is the Dungeon Master voice over. As you enter a dungeon, and proceed throughout you will hear a voice tell you “You notice a lever…” or “There is a strange shuffling noise ahead of you…” This is a classic nod to DM’s of yesteryear and adds to the overall atmosphere of the game.

During this first dungeon you’ll learn about combat, healing stones (waypoints where you regain health), basic group mechanics and traps, locks and puzzles. All in all a terrific introduction to the what DDO is about.

Following this you’ll enter Stormreach, the local town and quest hub. I started just after the F2P launch, so the place was packed with hundreds of players. From there you can gather some quests and jump straight into even more dungeons.

Right at the start you can select the level of difficulty of dungeons: from simple to expert. The simple “setting” is ideal for those attempting to solo. Expert content is great for those in groups. My advice: find a group, and the rewards will be better and the experience will be a lot more fun. DDO shines as a group experience. You can also run the same dungeon again, and again.

The quality of DDO’s dungeons, even in the very early stages is very high. Indeed, some of WoW’s later end game dungeons cannot compare with the variety and ingenuity of an average dungeon in DDO. You’ll be asked to solve puzzles, disarm traps and find secret doors. Because the combat mechanics are very different, each time you run a dungeon the experience will be very different.

There is a profound difference between DDO and WoW. DDO is a much slower experience – it’s less about levelling, and more about exploring dungeons.

However, I missed the feeling of being in open world with forests, skies, rivers and mountains in the background. Because most of the action takes place in instanced dungeons, DDO can feel a bit more claustrophobic than WoW. Like it’s pen and paper parent, DDO is all about dungeon crawling with less emphasis on the wider world. In WoW, you feel your travelling across a large and varied world.

Still, I’m impressed with my first foray into DDO.

Overall ratings

  • Artwork: 4/5
  • Quality of quests: 3/5
  • Enjoyment: 4/5

The point of difference: accessibility versus “challenge”

If I had to summarize the difference between the two is WoW’s accessibility versus DDO’s more traditional RPG focus. DDO is about building your character to compliment its group role. WoW allows you to create an avatar that can easily solo the entire game.

You can take your WoW Paladin into instanced dungeons or group to complete some of the quests, but that’s not really necessary. In DDO, you must group to get the best out of the game. The combat mechanics, emphasis on puzzle solving and grouping make DDO more challenging.

But DDO has a steeper learning curve than WoW, and it’s hard to beat Blizzards knack for making things accessible.

Other articles in series

Let slip the dogs of war: Warcraft PvP Monday, Oct 19 2009 

A traditional form of dispure resolution.

A traditional form of dispute resolution.

Five tips for budding Battleground players in Warcraft

As indicated in my previous post, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what to do with my level eighty Paladin in Warcraft. The truth is, I don’t have enough time to level all my alts. I’m cutting back on other games so I can concentrate on one at a time.

Not because I don’t enjoy them, but I’d actually like to do some other things with my spare time (next year I’m contemplating going back to do some post-graduate studies in history).  So, after much thought I’ve decided to focus on PvP and to a lesser extent end-game raiding in WoW. 
 
PvP is far more friendly to my time, as I can jump in anytime for as little as 15 minutes or for a night of player-versus-player fun. It’s gaming on my terms and in my time.
 
The open field of battle

I enjoy the PvP Battlegrounds best – everything from Warsong, Wintergrasp and Isle of Conquest. I not particularly found of Arenas. They’re far too gear focussed and “claustrophobic”. I prefer open fields of battle, with larger numbers of players fighting it out.

It feels more like a medieval battle – ramshackle, chaotic affairs with just enough strategy and luck thrown in. But it pays to do some research. So for those contemplating a career in BGs, here’s five tips for a better BG experience.

Tip one: PvP starter set, make the investment

Do not step into a BG in PvE gear. All those lovely tiered sets and epic purples you’ve collecting in your Naxx or Ulduar runs are no good for PvP. Two key attributes of PvP gear make all the difference: resilience and stamina.

Stamina gives you extra health – obviously you’ll need it in a PvP fight. Resilience will reduce the chance you’ll take a critical hit – thus reducing the damage you’ll receive. Sets will also boost your chance to “crit” (critical hit) the enemy player. In other words, you’ll hit harder more often.

As a paladin I invested in a complete set of “Savage Saraonite” gear – the best starter set for a DPS plate wearer. If you’ve got the blacksmithing skill (425 skill), you have the option to craft the complete set. If not, go the Auction Hose: good news is that individual pieces are cheap – you should no more than a couple hundred gold on a complete set.

WoW.com has a great little overview for paladins (Holy and Ret) here.

Tip two: choose a role to play in the BG

Before stepping into a Battleground, ask yourself what “role” you’ll be playing. Battlegrounds are essentially PuGs. Random strangers thrown together who are expected to somehow co-ordinate and work towards shared goals. They can also be an abusive environment, as players hurl insults at each other for not “playing” well. Avoid the abuse – and increase your fun – by deciding your role. Your choices include:

  • Flag runner (FR) or Capture  – your role is to capture enemy flags or points
  • Healing – focus on healing your team mates –
  • Damage (DPS) – Yes, I’m talking facemelting Warlocks
  • Tank – take damage on behalf the group, as long as there is a healer of course
  • Escort/interception – escort flag runners, stop enemy players with your flag
  • Gaurd – hold strategic points from the enemy.

More often than not your class will dictate the role you will play. In  Warsong Gulch, Druids and Rogues make the best FRs. They can sneak into flag rooms, pinch the flag and have speed advantages. Paladins excel as escorts for FRs, healing/debuffing them as well as stunning and interrupting enemy players trying to stop the flag capture.

Victory in Arathi Basin goes to the side that maintains control of strategic points. The best teams have players standing guard (or close by). It may seem less exciting than running around the map, but you are guaranteed to have plenty of fights on your hand if you stay at the Lumber Mill or Black Smith. You can tell the worst players in Arathi. They’re the ones constantly respawning after death and trying to capture the Farm again and again, and again…..

My advice, pick *one* role and try and do that well.

Tip three: know thy enemy

Generals from Alexander the Great onwards have sought to understand their enemy so as to defeat them. The same is true in BGs. Learn something about the other classes you’ll come up against so you know how to mitigate their strengths and exploit their weaknesses. Lets take Rogues as but one example (the bastards!).

They are particularly troubling for many players – their ability to stealth, stun and deliver a burst of DPS can be devastating. As a Paladin I know my “Everyman for themself” can get me out of a stun while my “Judgement of Righteousness” can stun them in turn.

In a pure DPS fight, the rogue has the advantage. But if I can stun them for a moment, heal myself and negate their stuns I have a better chance of surviving. Those few seconds allow other players to come to my aid burn down the rogue.  Everyone hates Rogues in BGs, seeing one in trouble is a temptation too good to miss.

The same for each other class: know their tricks, and learn to counter them.

Tip four: travel in a pack

BGs are not a place for heroes or the lone wolf (unless you’re a Rogue of course…). Attempting to solo BG objectives will result in death. No exceptions.

Look for your team mates and hook up with them. Use the map to  see where they are concentrated, and pay attention the chat so you know what’s going on. Play the part of healer, escort or DPS. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or direction. There are enough experienced players in BGs to give friendly pointers. Yes, people can play nice in a BG.

Groups of five or more are the most viable: groups smaller than that will get rolled.

Tip five: survey the battlefield

Do a bit of research before stepping into a BG. Survey the maps available online and read some of the basic strategies. Everyone appreciates the player who makes the effort and knows what to do. BGs are dependent on random strangers working together, and a BG battle flows better and is far more enjoyable if you know what goals you are working towards.

You’ll learn more about the BG from actually fighting in there, but don’t go in blind. It will be a frustrating experience for yourself and other players.

How did I go then?

Did I take my own advice? Of course! And it went well. Firstly, I achieved my “1000 honourable kills” achievement over the weekend.

Even though I went in with far lower level gear than many other players, I ranked in the top third in all the “post-match” tables: less deaths, respectable DPS and quite a few honourable kills. I also got quite a lot of honour points to start upgrading my gear.

I set objectives for myself, and achived most of them. Being less geared than most players, I think I did pretty well by concentrating on being a valuable member of the BG team.

Chasing the purple: is raiding “fun”? Friday, Oct 16 2009 

I stepped away from raiding in WoW for two weeks – due to some real life issues – and to be honest a break from “chasing the purple” was much needed.

I went back to a “casual play style” and it was a lot of fun. Running dailies, maxing up long neglected trade skills and doing some of the heroic dungeons felt like a much needed “holiday”. I finished off exploring some zones I’d not fully seen and even started fishing! Fishing! For five years I swore I’d never pick up that skill, but there I am standing on shoreline of Northrend fishing.

However, my best WoW experience in the last month had to be purchasing the Wyrmrest Accord drake mount. Normally my funds are reserved for epic gems, enchants and flasks/elixirs (all for raiding of course).

But having build up a few thousand gold, I decided what the heck. I’ve always wanted a dragon for a pet. So off Augustine the Paladin went to visit the Wrymrest vendor. I’m glad I did.

The moment I summoned the mount and launched myself from the tower I felt the thrill of enjoyment. I spent a good ten minutes simply flying around Dragonblight – wheeling, diving and swooping. Simply enjoying the feeling of “flight” for my avatar on a cool looking dragon mount.

Did it make me a more l337 player? No. Did I enjoy flying around on my little pet dragon? Yes.

So, my experience of the last couple of weeks has made me think: is raiding fun?

Upon reflection I have to say yes and no.

It’s fun when a you run with a good group and you get to see the endgame content. Blizzard has created some incredible dungeons and intricate boss fights. They’re enjoyable, cinematic and fun. Each raid dungeon advances the Lich King storyline – I’m looking forward to running Ulduar, Ony’s Liar and Icecrown.

I wanted to be there when my usual group first hit Ulduar, but couldn’t be there. So I feel I’ve missed the shared experience.

Still, what is less fun is building your entire game around raiding.

Recently I ran some Naxx 25 man raids. Obviously the rewards for 25 man gear are better – and from a strict gear progression POV necessary for Ulduar – but the experience was less fun. It’s far more impersonal. It’s more about 25 people concentrating *really hard* to get it right, and there is little banter or sense even a sense enjoyment. More a grim determination to “finish this boss” and “get that gear upgrade”.

Raiding requires a commitment akin to  a job. Yes, every commentator has made that analogy – but it’s true. When you spent your entire week focussed on researching boss fights, looking for the next gear upgrade and farming gold for materials it gets, well, repetitive.

It can also suck the enjoyment out of the game if you continually worried about how good your gear is.

Will I give up raiding?

Not yet. I do want to finish Ulduar and the Icecrown fight in patch 3.3.

But after that, I’m not wedded to chasing the purple. I’m looking forward to the Cataclysm expansion resetting the old world. It will allow players to enjoy the levelling experience again, explore and enjoy the shared experience of seeing new content.

World of Franchise: the great movie/MMORPG tie-in Friday, Oct 9 2009 

WoW now generates over $1bn revenue for Activision-Blizzard. That’s the equivalent of a summer blockbuster movie and then some. Warcraft is a brand with global recognition, and while not as pervasive as Star Trek or Star Wars, it’s a significant piece of pop culture. Brands like this don’t want to remain stuck in a niche corner of the gaming market. They want to expand by taking their IP into different mediums. And for Warcraft, its cinema.

We’ve seen videogames made into movies (Resident Evil), and franchised video games based on movie IP (Golden Eye). And as most WoW players know, Sam Riami of Spiderman and Evil Dead fame is making a Warcraft movie. Now, as a player I’m excited. Very excited. But I bet the shareholders of Activision-Blizzard are even more excited.

There’s a very strong possibility that Warcraft the movie will be a blockbuster film generating hundreds of millions of dollars. It will spark even greater interest in the Warcraft franchise.

Think collectibles, figurines, boxed sets of the Warcraft games, novels, trading cards, merchandising deals with fast food companies… we’re talking freak’n monster huge.

Goodbye MMORPG niche

Lets say “Warcraft: the movie” (WTM) is a hit. If you think the game has already been taken over by the hordes of great unwashed, wait until the additional millions of customers flock to the Warcraft MMORPG after seeing Riami’s film. These players will be excited, desperate to experience the content and immerse themselves in all things Warcraft.

But as it stands, WoW has several barriers to their enjoyment. The levelling process is notably smoother now, but it’s still an enormous shock to many players when they reached the fabled “endgame” when WoW switches from casual-friendly to raiding game.

WoW’s success – and the potential growth in even more customers after WTM – posses a challenge to the traditional levelling-raiding model that most MMORPGs have followed. WoW owes it’s heritage to the MMORPG world, but it’s already transcended it.

After “Warcraft the Movie” WoW will be an extension of the film experience. But that can only happen if you make the game accessible to the broadest possible audience.

So goodbye uber-l337 raiding game, and hello “Your World of Warcraft Experience (TM)”.

“You’ve seen the film, now enter the World of Warcraft!”

Imagine WoW with 20 or 30 million players. Absurd? Maybe. But after a huge movie, not inconceivable.

If Blizzards numbers grow beyond the current 11 million – on the back of a successful film – it’s hard to see how the traditional levelling-raiding endgame paradigm will work. It’s unlikely they’ll want to spend six months levelling a character if they can only play a few hours a week. They don’t want to spend week after week patiently collecting Tier 10 gear, endlessly tweaking their talent tree and spending hours researching boss fights on WoWWiki. Players will want to act out parts of the movie.

They’ll see Stormwind or Orgimar in the film, log into the game and expect to walk the streets of Stormwind. And they will want the magic swords, flashy armour and drake mounts too. Sure, there will always be content for dedicated “raiders”, but the game no longer revolves around them.

Whildwhine, a blogger I admire, notes that Blizzard is herding everyone into the endgame for the Arthas fight:

“Blizzard want everyone to run Icecrown Citadel when it comes out. They want everyone to kill Arthas – the big bad guy of the expansions like Illidan was for TBC – and they don’t care if they have to push them kicking and screaming into the instance to get them there…”

He/she is right. Blizzards want’s everyone there. Blizzard is giving away gear. The endgame is not as *hard* as it used to be. But the game has transcended the old levelling-raiding model.

WoW is but one piece of the Warcraft franchise that includes strategy games, an MMORPG, comics, trading cards and very shortly a film.

As a consequence WoW is being smoothed out, rebuilt, tweaked and made accessible in order to cope with it’s future growth as a piece of franchised property. So this means faster levelling and reducing the barriers to endgame content. It means rebuilding the old world – via the Cataclysm expansion – to support the demands of casual players.

WoW is ever so slowly, but surely, morphing into a “Warcraft experience”.

We interupt these services… Monday, Oct 5 2009 

I’ve been pretty happy with the growth of this blog. As vanity projects go, it’s been fun. And while we’re not talking thousands of visitors each day, I’m proud of the growth this blog has experienced.

While I make no claim to being anything but an “enthusiastic amateur”, I hope some of my thoughts have been interesting to those concerned with all things MMO.

I’ll be taking a AFK break for the next week with Real Life projects. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

Cheers,
Augustine

Aion Goldfarmers: the sequel Saturday, Oct 3 2009 

Credit where credit is due.

Aion’s GM Silverfang replies and lets me know the bot/gold farmer account has been banned. Fast response… OK, my nerd rage could have been tempered somewhat. Still, a simple tool like the one Blizzard implemented would make it easier for players to help the developers police gold farmers.

A timely response.... nice work NC Soft!

A timely response.... nice work NC Soft!

Having said that, full marks for Aion’s community management team!

Aion Goldfarmers: let us police them NC Soft Saturday, Oct 3 2009 

My ticket on left, bloody gold farmer on right... take that!

My ticket on left, bloody gold farmer on right... take that!

So far my time in Aion has been terrific. I’m really enjoying the starter zones for both the Elyos and Asmodians. But there is a little black cloud hovering over Atreia’s horizon… gold farmers have descended on Aion like a plague of spamming/whispering locusts.

The chat channels have been rendered useless thanks to the gold farmers. I’ve also received numerous “whispers” from farmers.

Gahhhhhh! Bloody gold farmers!

Sure, I blocked their names and even reported one by using the in-game ticketing system. But letting gold farmers sit in a trade channel and nuke it with spam FOR HOURS is f**kin ridiculous. Come on NC Soft, there are plenty of ways to restrict their actitivities!

Take a leaf from Blizzard’s book: they understand how a players experience can be ruined by gold farmes.

Blizzard gives their WoW players a simple tool to help police these buggers. While in-game, I can select on a gold farmers toon, right click and select a “Report Spam” option. The moment a little gold farmer pops up in General or Trade Chat, I’m right clicking.

Allowing players to police gold farmers behaviour is a simple and powerful way to keep them under control.

Sure, gold farmers are a fact of life in MMOs… however at present they’re casting a dark cloud over the enjoyment of players such as myself.

Phew, there’s today’s quota of nerd rage.

The legacy of WAR: a former player’s eulogy Thursday, Oct 1 2009 

After the battle, when all is said and done...

After the battle, when all is said and done...

 “But here I am to speak what I do know…” ~ Marc Antony, Julius Caesar

I cancelled my subscription to Warhammer: Age of Reckoning last week.

It saddened me to do so, as it’s not a bad game. Aspects of it approach true greatness: Open Realm versus Realm (ORvR) combat where parties of Order and Destruction slugged it out was always thrilling. Sure, keep fights where repetitive and the PvE game was open to charges of being monotonous and boring.

However, I found the range of WAR’s classes interesting and enjoyed the games art work and aesthetics. I’d rather not slate the game, I think WAR has been subject to enough trash talk on the interwebz.

When people talk about failed MMOs they mention WAR and Age of Conan in the same breath. The less charitable compare it to such notable failures as Vanguard and Tabla Rosa. But I’m not here to do that. After all, I invested a lot of time and energy in the game. I don’t see that as wasted effort.

I had a lot of fun in WAR, and have some great memories of the game. If I’m going to make one, final dedicated post to Warhammer: Age of Reckoning I’d rather do it out of respect. Respect for the hard work of developers. No doubt they sacrificed years of their lives. Also, respect for what is still a solid, though flawed, MMO.

Did the game fail? Yes, even EA/Mythic employees are talking about it’s major shortcomings and referring to it as a “magnificent failure”.

Still, let us speak fondly of a game that was once held to be a challenger to “The MMO that shall not be named”.

I come to praise WAR, not bury it.

I would rather pay tribute to WAR then condemn it. This, my eulogy, will praise the legacy of WAR…

Public Quests

A notable innovation, the public quest (PQ) allowed players to easily group and take on elite level MOBs and gain higher level gear and rewards. Players could simply open the “looking for group” window and join a group anywhere in a zone. Starting a PG group was just easy, and removed the need to constantly spam the open chat channels for party members.

This mechanic easily encouraged grouping, and as the groups numbers grew you would often convert the group into a “Warband”. Then the fun really started, as you and your little army went off to hunt enemy and capture strategic points in the ORvR areas. No doubt PQs will become a standard in many MMOs over the coming years, and can be rightly stated as true innovation.

Introducing PvP to a broader audience

Many gamers have become accustomed to the PvE tread mill: click NPC, get quest to kill ten rats, kill ten rats, come back and get rewards. Repeat for several years. Players were ripe for a change, and they looked to WAR for a different experience. After all WAR advertised itself as “the player versus player” experience: no doubt many flocked to WAR’s banner because of this very promise.

Fighting a MOB with scripted moves is one thing. PvP players know taking on another player is a thrilling challenge. WoW’s PvP is rather dull in comparison, restricted to Battle Grounds and a few open areas (Wintergrasp). I’ve never felt the same sense of danger or anticipation in WoW’s PvP than I did in WAR. No doubt the interest Aion has a lot to do with it’s PvP aspects. Thanks to WAR, many formally PvE centric players have had a taste of PvP and are keen to experience it in greater doses.

How to manage pre-launch expectations

It’s fair to say that pre-release, WAR was subject to enormous hype. Viz, Mark Jacobs very public statements, the bold claims made for it’s success and how WAR was going to take on WoW. In the months leading up to WARs release, I like many other players where *pumped*.

However, the games infamous post-launch issues dashed the hopes and dreams of many gamers. It was if there was a great disturbance in the MMOsphere and hundreds of thousands of gamers cried out in frustration all at once.

In contrast, witness NC Soft’s low-balling of expectationshas with the Aion launch. They’ve tried hard to walk the tight rope of building awareness and anticipation for Aion while not setting themselves up for massive failure. Mythic as taught the industry a valuable lesson: be careful what you say pre-launch.

Oh, and Blizzard will face stomp you if you dare try to take a shot at their crown.

Community engagement

Despite the often acrimonious relationship between Mythic and it’s player base, one could never fault the companies commitment to engaging and communicating with the WAR community. Even as a casual player, I had a good sense of the direction of the game and how issues where being resolved thanks to the frequent communication from Mythic. It sets a benchmark for other companies, and Mythic should be applauded for setting new standards of engagement with it’s player base.

Focus on polish

WAR was not polished enough at launch. The rough, unfinished Tier 4 and endgame experience dissapointed most players who got there. Bugs riddled the game, leading to almost daily hot fixes by Mythic during the first few months. The client would often crash, and server performance was subject to the ire of many players. In contrast, Aion has offered a relatively smooth launch experience. Despite the long server queues that some have experienced (at worst I’ve had a ten minute wait) there has almost no QQ about client/server performance. The game is relatively bug-free and runs smoothly.

Hopefully, developers will learn from WARs post-launch blues and ship a quality, polished product and not hope players will “stick it out” for a few months unit they get it right.

They first few months are when players such as myself are evaluating the game and deciding whether or not we’re going to maintain our subscriptions. Treat us well at the beggining, and we might just stick around.