Twelve hours later, I have had more time to ponder my first night of WAR. Since I am neurologically hard-wired to be cheerful, the technical irritations have faded while the more enjoyable parts have been reinforced. My brain chemistry rules! Let’s add some happier things.
I should note again that those were “first impressions,” not “a review.” The first levels are your wolf-slaying levels, where an early quest is “find a mailbox” (not literally, in this case). The first six levels of any MMO are probably pretty similar.
But they are not entirely similar. WAR takes a different approach, getting players involved in the war and with each other very early. Your early levels in Middle Earth or Hyborea are essentially (if not literally) a single-player experience: your dwarf enters the tutorial alone, learns what the buttons do, watches Gandalf kill a troll, then joins an instance of part of a zone where no quests require groups. Dark Age of Camelot, contrarily, has a low-level quest of “find a group.” Taken to greater extremes, I found two public quests by level 5 in WAR. You have a few little quests to learn the buttons, but those all take place in the “real world.” After that, you can jump into PQs and RvR, and many do by level 4. For my wife, that is terrifying: having a single-player option until level 20 sounds nice, because she does not want to be judged while learning or to get other people killed in the process. When my point is to play with other people, starting in an error-tolerant grouping-encouraged environment is great. Also note that we fight the enemy at the end of the public quest, rather than watching an NPC do it.
Another nice thing is a lack of pack space. Wait, what? WAR is already known for having fewer, longer fights. In later levels, this will serve to let you use all those cool abilities that take a while to build. As you start, it means that you are not being sent to kill ten rats. Kill three rats. Is that a difference? As an Explorer, yes: ten is a grind, but three is perfect (one is new, two is learning, three is making sure you have it down). Yes, three is less grindy, even if those three take as long to kill as ten or twenty other-game rats. You also get less but more valuable vendor trash, as opposed to boars that drop five different trash items. I don’t want more pack space, I want fewer space issues.
Two parting random notes. First, before encountering an enemy, I had 788 experience from Tome of Knowledge unlocks. My first one was for adding to my friends list. Level 2 was pretty much free from learning the buttons and talking to people. Second, how did those level 1 dwarfs make it past all the outer guards, all the way to the Greenskin newbie area? And how consistent are we on dwarfs versus dwarves?