World of Warcraft Stress Test

Out of curiosity, who participated? I know me and Drak did, did anyone else get keys and stuff?

I played for a day (the last day), built up a level 10 Night Elf Rogue… and I really didn’t like the game much. Some pretty irritating design decisions, but it’s not even a finished game, so meh.

Oh oh oh! raises hand I played!

Server- Ysera

Agrias 13 Human Rogue
Cammy 11 Human Paladin
Murlose 8 Undead Warrior
Una 5 Nightelf Druid

I played several things trying to get different feels for the game. I liked the design of everything, but then again, I liked Warcraft III, so it all felt yummy to me. I’m curious though, TD, are you talking about the visual design like the buildings and whatnot? Or are you reffering to the layout of the menus? Or possibly the design of the gameplay itself?

All 3, actually :stuck_out_tongue: The visual design was nice, though there were some bugs in there, but that’s to be expected in this early state (try spamming throwing weapons, you walk around as a limp monkey until you zone). The menus were okay, if a bit lacking… I’m used to totally awesome interfaces from Blizzard, this one just felt a bit irritating to work with. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

I had some real problems with the gameplay and just the general design, though (keep in mind that I only played until level 10, as one race, so I didn’t see TONS of things). The battle system starts out pretty cool, gathering combo points as a rogue to unleash a finishing move. You get a small bit of variety at level 6, but not tons. I browsed through the future abilities list, and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of difference in later combos and finishing moves, just, for the most part, stronger versions of what you already have.

Example: You have Sinister Strike, which costs a moderate amount of energy and does decent damage, also gives you a combo point. If you have a combo point (you can store up to 5 combo points per enemy–which I’ll talk about more in a bit) you can unleash a finishing move, or get MORE combo points to make the finishing move more effective. Now, you’ve got a damaging finishing move, Evisceration (the animation isn’t nearly as cool as you made it sound :P), which really isn’t very effective until you’ve got about 3 combo points. So, how do you get combo points? By spamming Sinister Strike. Unfortunately, your energy level is pretty low as a Rogue (might be my race, but I can’t find a list of racial differences ANYWHERE…) so you can only let out one SS before you have to wait a bit to regain energy to unleash another SS and thus get another combo point. The problem here is the enemy hp, by the time you’ve got 2 combo points it’s already almost dead, making the finishing move kinda useless. Well, not really, I found myself using it with enemies that heal their hp a lot. Still, it’s too bad that you can’t really use it effectively normally.

Now, you get a few other combo moves at level 6. Namely Gouge, which stuns the enemy for 4 seconds, does shit damage and costs low to moderate energy, and also gives you a combo point. This allows you to quickly run behind an enemy and unleash a backstab, which does damage about on par with a Sinister Strike and gives a combo point. BUT WAIT. After the Gouge, at my level, you don’t have enough energy to toss out a Backstab immediately. So you need to store up all energy, Gouge, run behind an enemy and hope you regain some energy in the 2 second window you have left to Backstab. All this trouble done for 2 combo points and the damage of 1.5 Sinister Strikes, and for a higher mp cost. Sure, it’s a nice change of pace, but it really isn’t energy/damage effective. So you’re basically reduced to spamming Sinister Strike and unleashing the occasional Finishing Move. Another thing about that is that the combo points you accumulate are only for THAT SPECIFIC ENEMY. Meaning that you can’t get combo points from one enemy and do a finishing move on another. However, you often get attacked by multiple enemies while on quests or dungeons, and because of the energy drain the first enemy gave you, you’ll have a hard time with the other monsters, due to your low energy, low(er) hp, and your lack of combo points, which you spent that energy on. Thus effectively making your ass screwed while soloing some stuff. There are some other Finishing Moves you can get, but really, they’re not worth the energy cost. The next one I got increased my attacking speed by a small amount for a max of 30 seconds, if I ever got 5 combo points. Oh yeah, that’s really useful, considering most of your damage doesn’t even come from regular melee attacks. It’s only useful in a situation I described above, namely, when you’d lose your combo points anyway and need to take on another enemy immediately after that.

Now, I browsed the future skills, and it really was mostly filled with upgrades to the skills you already had, give or take a few. Also, TONS of skills are conditional. Like backstab, you need to be, well, behind the enemy. There’s also a lot of skills that require you to be in stealth mode and near the enemy, which doesn’t really happen a lot since they can still detect you quite easily. I assume a party kinda fixes this, but again, energy/damage efficiency screws you out of toying with that stuff (not to mention that, for instance, Gouge is cancelled with a melee attack, so your party members will probably mess that up for you :P).

There are some equipment balancing issues too. For instance, a lot of the Rogue skills require a dagger (of course). But you can unlock maces, swords etc, and use them at the same skill of your dagger (if you’ve leveled it). Now, after getting 30 skill points (which I seemed to get at random) I picked up Swords. Fun, I go buy a Sword and use it from level 9-10, I got better damage on it and never really used Backstab much. At level 10 I got dual wielding, so I put my dagger into my offhand weapon. Wait… now I STILL can’t use dagger specific skills. So I took a look at my sword, and what do you know. It can only be used in the main weapon slot, not sub. I’m sure there are some exceptions to this sword rule, but the weapon I just paid 4 silvers for sure didn’t. Fuck. So I ended up selling off my sword and picking up another dagger, pretty much losing 5 silvers in the process. This could be attributed to me needing to read item descriptions a bit better, but it was also never stated in-game that offhand weapons don’t unlock weapon-reliant skills. This also has the added effect of making those other weapons all but useless if you wish to play the Rogue class, since it has many dagger-reliant skills. Oh wait, I forgot. Half of them are useless, might as well get better damage with a sword.

So yeah, basically: except in rare situations, there was no reason for me to use anything else but Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Eviscerfucktheenemyisdeadalready. It’s too bad, because with some balancing this might be a very fun way to play. Right now it just isn’t viable to toy around with your skills though, which kinda detracts from the reason why I picked Rogue in the first place.

Then just the design in general. FUCK, that’s a lot of purple :stuck_out_tongue: Though I guess that was to be expected. Either way, the game is very quest based. You walk around, do a quest, bam, instant exp and the occasional item/moolah (despite what you said, getting exp for discovering isn’t exactly a good way for leveling, seeing as how you get more exp from killing one enemy :P). This makes it a bit more solo focused, because most quests CAN be soloed (well, all that I tried. which is pretty much every quest I was given. I couldn’t find the druid’s dead body though… shitty dungeon design.) and odds are that your party members have already completed said quest. Thus, why would they do it again, forking over their exp? Unless you both haven’t done it yet in which case this point fails. Either way, the game pretty much makes you do a lot of quests, seeing as how you can get the same exp from a quest as 10+ enemies, with more money to boot. This does, however, mean that the exp you’ll get in the game by doing what the game urges you to do is finite. There’s a lot of it, but it still ends eventually. The quests aren’t always the most interesting of things either. Go here, kill these monsters pretty much sums up most of them. Then again, most MMOs have quests like that (if at all), so I don’t really hold it against WoW. What I do hold against WoW is the incredibly shitty way of presenting quests. Maybe I’m just spoiled by the full cinematics FFXI gives for most quests, but basically, there’s a slab of text detailing your quest. That’s it. Occasionally the NPC that gives you the quest shakes your hand or something, but yeah. That’s it. Now if the writing was good and entertaining, I can live with that. However, I found the writing to be pretty bland, and way too reliant on knowledge of the Warcraft universe. It sure was possible to complete a quest in order to prevent the Burning Legion from raping your village chief, but who IS the Burning Legion (I kinda know who they are, but I never played Warcraft 3 so I don’t know the specifics besides them owning a footman and a grunt in close combat :P)? Then completing the quest doesn’t inform you of anything. So basically, the only way to get anything out of the story is if you had previous knowledge of the universe, making it way too reliant on it’s already existing fanbase. To again use FFXI as an example, it hardly ever uses any trivia in quests. There’s the occasional reference, but nothing VITAL that you’ll miss if you haven’t played previous games.

I need to use more paragraphs.

Now, one last thing I’ll mention is the complete lack of world interactivity. You CANNOT talk to NPCs unless they give you quests. NPCs are quite vital if you wish to build the idea of a “world” for your MMO, seeing as how you mostly lack traditional storytelling elements of videogames like cutscenes. The above descriped bland writing and reliance on previous knowledge doesn’t help matters any, because this does not build the world for the player. It merely urges him to remember things of the world he already knew, unless in my case, you DON’T know, thus failing at getting me involved with the world.

Ok, I kinda ranted. And I suck at ranting, AND my brainmeats hurt, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

That was a very good read TD ::dekar!::

It was a very good read, however I dont remember seeing anything possitive at all, which leads me to believe that you may have went looking for faults instead of enjoying the game. Maybe not, I dunno.

I found that the lack of interaction with NPCs was made up very well by the amount of RP going on between players. My server always had people in the taverns talking and dancing, or telling stories and so fourth.

As far as Rogue combat goes, yeah, all that about sums it up, except that using Slice and Dice (the killing blow that makes you hit faster) IS a great thing to use against multiple enemies, it seemed more like you were disapointed with it. And I found it to be the best skill when I got it.

Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Slice and Dice!
Kills enemy 1, turns to attack enemy 2
(hitting A FUCK TON faster) *kills enemy 2 with no effort

With the 30 seconds, it also leaves enough time to effortlessly take out a 3rd mob if one is close.

As for the story elements: Your right, there isnt much, but this is the beta and Blizzard has already announced that there will be “Prepping” cutscenes for each race to get you into the feel of your character and give them a better sense of purpose. I personally dont feel sorry for the characters who dont know about the world or havent researched it on thier own. The entire story of the world is on the blizzard website:

I believe there is a library in Stormwind where you can research the information IN GAME, which makes back story perfectly fine.

Lets say “Billy” grew up in America. Now, Billy doesnt know much about the trouble in Afganistan, but other people do. Billy is young and hasnt really got out much so is it terribly bad when someone mentions “The Taliban” to Billy and he doesnt know who they are? Course not, cause Billy may be too young to know about that sort of stuff.

People who dont research backstory are like billy. I’m more tired of people expecting that ALL the plot of a game be hand fed to them as they play through it. Why the heck cant we have a whole mess of trouble going on that we have to WILLINGLY look for information on?

In the real world do you go up to a store and get somthing like this?

Hello <player name>! Sorry that I can’t sell you any fruit today, but the Taliban have been attacking my cargo trucks. Ever since the terrorists have invaded America and started causing ruckus things have been shot to hell. If you’d like to help me out by taking care of some of the local Taliban gang members, I’d be happy to give you some of my fruit for free!

Fuck no, but that is common in RPGs, cause people want it handed to them. In a real fleshed out world, if you don’t know about an earth changing event then its your fault, especially when there are plenty of sources for you to research them.

and btw, there are plaques all over the Stormwind and IronForge (dunno about the other cities) that tell you bits and pieces about what has been going on, even if you didnt go to the library.

I quite enjoyed it for the first few minutes, but the novelty of a purple screen wore off fast :stuck_out_tongue:

There was absolutely 0 RP on my server. I guess we must’ve been on different ones. Even if, it still relies on it’s already existing fanbase to give info that’s kinda crucial to understand the plot.

I SAID that :stuck_out_tongue: But that’s really only useful if you’re getting attacked by other enemies, and even if, it’s pretty easy to not get enough combo points saved up to make Slice and Dice last any good amount of time. Plus the fact that the biggest part of your damage doesn’t come from your melee attacks, but your assasination skills.

But see, this isn’t the real world :stuck_out_tongue: I don’t request to be spoonfed information about a game (hell, I love researching game info outside of MMOs–), but videogames should NOT rely on outside sources in order to make sense of things. The library sounds like a step in the right direction, but if you do not know about said library (like I didn’t), until you actually discover it, which may be NEVER if for some reason you don’t go to that town, there still isn’t much reason to do all the shit you’re doing. I again state that NPCs that actually say stuff would be a pretty good way to remedy this, or at the very least make the writing not so godawfully boring to read.

Also, I was in the night elf city (no clue about the name), and there were 0 plaques. Trust me, I explored the place a good deal :stuck_out_tongue: On that note, jumping out of 50000000000000 foot trees is fun.

I understand your point about the library, perhaps making it more well known would have been a better step in the right direction. But I still dont like the traditional thought of all NPCs having to state things. Point is, some people WOULDNT know who the Burning Leigion are, if you had nothing to do with the military and lived out in the middle of the woods up untill now then why WOULD you?

A “conversation” system would be really cool, like in Arcanum:

NPC: Hello ((insert name here)) the burning legion are doing bad bad naughty things!

Your choices:

  • Who are the Burning Leigion???
  • How did you know my name? Is it because its floating above my head?
  • I dont care about story! I want my LEVALS! UBAR L33T gamur I am!

See? If they could give you choices like this, rather questions that you can ask pertaining to the things they say, it’d help…

I made a nightelf just to try that out.

Of course not every NPC should have vital information. I’d be happy with the generic “times are tough” NPC, since it builds atmosphere. And of course the NPCs will know something about the burning legion, for one, the entire reason why the night elves are alone in their tree until WC3 was the burning legion. Two, don’t you think there will be at least SOME speculation amongst the peasantry as to why their husbands and fathers get sent away to get chopped up?

Then there’s the fact that half of the NPCs I encountered WERE affiliated with the military, and I have to go to class now, will talk later :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah… I bet there’s ONE big thing that will help all of this though:

There will be individual cutscenes for each race to get you into the feel of that character’s role in the world. Or rather, the reason they are there.

Which helps, IMO