I must admit that after three weeks of playing hard on Warhammer, I have begun to see some chinks in the armor that I thought was once impenetrable. I think there is enough blame to go around, both to the designers, the testers, and the players on some growing faults in the game.
The first real problem that I see, and one that could also be taken as a positive aspect of MMOs is how truly easy it is to play. The kernel of Warhammer is the PvP and ORvR combat, but the PVE aspect is so mind numbingly simple that it it becomes boring very quickly. I found I could solo equal to 2 level higher mobs with ease, grinding and questing 25% of a level per hour — at my play rate I was going up 1 level every other night or 2 levels easily on a weekend.
Trade skills falls in the same boat, with little to offer than get the ingredients and click to make items — boring!
I am also very disillusioned by the lack of creative art aspects in the game concerning player characters. Line up 10 War Priest or 10 Witch Hunters and they will inevitably look exactly the same, barring a few off color choices. Where is the unique aspects of my character? When I play a character, I want it to look different than others. To me the aesthetic differences are very palatable and something I look forward to in a MMO. In their defense, perhaps they made everyone look like everyone else, to save on video memory when fighting in hordes of a hundred or more characters in PvP/RVR.
In the same vein of the lack of unique armor sets in the game, is also the hard lined approach they have towards class equipment. I have never seen a game that is so anal about if you are class X, you will only use weapon X — the same for armor. Worse, their convoluted Auction system makes looking for gear usable only by specific classes, useless. If I am playing a Witch Hunter, can’t I please use something other than a gun in one hand and a sword in another? Is it possible to have a helmet that does not look like every other helmet in the game?
Finally, and the deal breaker for the game, is the designers and players have gone off in two opposite directions when it comes to healing. The designers have made the healer rather ineffectual and what tends to happen is the healer only heals himself; the players finding that the game plays like an arcade, would rather spend the 40 seconds to run back to battle than to protect and care for the healer. It is a vicious circle that ends with every man for himself and the feeling that I should have a stack of quarters next to my computer to feed the arcade game I am playing.
First characters do not have enough hit points, or the damage is too severe to allow any sort of tactics in the game — you die constantly in the game. There is no significant death penalty so players really don’t care if they die over and over and over again. Why heal or why worry about wounds when I can just die and come back full strength — Ressurection by a healer brings you back at 20 percent health only to be quickly killed again. Why not reverse that, so you are ressurected at 100 percent health but if you revive you come back at 20 percent: healers would become significant again. As it stands, non-healers complain that healers do nothing, and healers tend to rather heal themselves because their is no advantage to healing another character. Make it so that a healer cannot heal himself, and that would change the dynamics of the game considerably.
Could it be possible to give healers experience for healing rather than for killing — If they got experience only for damage healed on another character, would it not push players to actively heal other characters? I would think it would steamroll the whole idea of what healers were meant to be in the game.
So many of these odd game elements should have been easily seen in the beta and corrected over the last several months, but instead of fixing the obvious flaw in the healing system the designers introduced two new out of control dps classes, further complicating and embroiling the lack of healing going on.
My suggestion is make the healers more usable, but have them only be able to heal others and not themselves. Let them have better resurrection spells and larger spot heals — but dissuade them from using the spells on themselves (take a look at who is doing the most kills in a scenario — it isn’t the dps classes but the Rune Priests and other high end healers).
Just my thoughts — I would very much like to hear comments.