Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Warhammer Online: What to Play?

So Warhammer Online launches tomorrow. I'll probably pick up the game and give it a whirl. Some of the mechanics being described sound pretty interesting.

The real question is what class to play. The Warrior Priest is probably the closest analog to the paladin. But even though it's a melee-character, it's still a healer, and I don't really want to get stuck in the whole healer cycle again.

Already, if you watch the Warhammer Online blogs, you'll see the subtle bias against the healers doing damage. I was reading a a description of scenario scoreboards at Book of Grudges, when I came across the line:
"Next down is a Zealot, and if he’d been healing more and nuking less Destruction would probably have won this match."
Back to blaming the healers. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

So I'm really wary about rolling a class that has any capability of healing whatsoever. I envy the freedom of the DPS classes to just have fun. Plus, Warhammer seems to be big on the whole pick-up group PvP thing, so rolling a DPS doesn't look as limiting as in WoW.

The thing about healing is that it is usually very powerful and scarce. And I don't *hate* playing a healer. So I could go healer, and my group or side would probably be more successful. Or I could go DPS, and my group or side would probably be less successful, but I would have more fun. But losing is not fun and winning is. So round and round in circles I go.

It's odd that this is coming up in a post about another game, but that's the way I look at healers (and tanks). The healers are the ones being responsible, letting the DPS have fun. When I'm DPS in a group, I feel bad that I'm making the healers work, while I'm having fun. Which is a bit odd, because I don't mind being the healer. It is fun and challenging, but it's a different sort of fun than what the DPS is experiencing. Maybe it's about creating or sustaining versus destroying.

Anyways, long story short, I have no idea what class to roll in Warhammer. Maybe I'll just try a Witch Elf. They don't seem to believe in clothing, and it's always amusing to see how low the gaming industry can sink. Though, kind of honestly, I think a male version of the Witch Elf (with the same disdain for clothing) would be hilarious. The reactions from the playerbase would be priceless.


  1. no male witch elves for you, they don't exist in the lore. Males that follow the same path and teachings (usually kidnapped at birth and raised by the witch elves) grow up to be assassins that barely have the skin around the eyes showing, not what you're going for I think.

    Personally, I think I'll be skipping this one and staying with wow, I already play the table-top that it's based off of

  2. Heh, I don't really want to play a male Witch Elf, I just think they would be funny.

  3. Yeah, the whole social dynamic around healers has me somewhat scared off of playing one for the time being. I may give it a try anyway to see what happens, but it just doesn't sound worth the hassle.

  4. Heya,

    I'd like to put the comment about the zealot into context. In that scoreboard, he was the only healer in the Destruction team. And if you are the only healer in the team, then you should heal.

    I did also note that the Order healers in that match should have been playing more aggressively (ie. more damage).

    It's a balance. You won't be pushed into being a healbot but if you need to throw a heal, that's what you will be expected to do. I think it's honestly something where the player base is still finding its feet at the moment. Right now, people are much more likely to ask for a res than a heal (you can res in combat).

    I'm really curious to see how it's going to go. So far the people who play healers really like them.

  5. Yeah, it wasn't just your post. Yours was just the most recent post I've seen. I've seen several other posts pushing the notion that healers need to heal in PvP.

    Also, it's just as much the DPS fault. If they want healing, they should have rolled a healer. They deliberately chose not to roll a healer, and in my view, have no standing to complain about the lack of healing.

  6. My understanding is that there are 3 healer types.

    Pure (zealot) - Can just spam heal if desired and heal big numbers unlike the others which can apparently struggle for healing throughput against heavy damage.

    Synergy (Shaman) - gains healing benefit by doing damage and vice versa. So ideally does some mix of both to maximise output.

    Melee (DoK) - Heal best by doing melee damage, lots of HoTs and AoE heal equals x% of damage done.

    The early verdict I hear is that all are fun to play, however some find the Shaman and DoK can't spam heal enough to keep someone alive against multiple enemies in PvP.

    There is also concern about how well the DoK will scale at end-game. The pure DPS classes will do much more damage, the DoK may have trouble doing enough damage against melee's with good defense and since they have to get up close survivability may be a problem (especially if they get focus fired).

    In general I love the idea of a hybrid class that does both damage and heals with great synergy, however in practice I think they are very hard to gear, spec and play, particularly later in the game as talent trees become more specialised and gear becomes stack with 1 or 2 optimum stats.

  7. Also, we at Book of Grudges all play healers, and as someone anon pointed out the Zealot is the pure healer, without a mechanic. Would be different if saying a WP, AM or DoK should have been healing - but the Zealot and RP are the pure healers.

    I know as a Rune Priest I don't output much damage! The WP needs to do damage in order to heal - their scenario stats do show very high healing, for the most part.

  8. The shaman/archmage (range support/heal) heals better if they do dps, and dps better if they heal. In fact, their attack cycles involves having two targets (WAR lets you have a defensive target and an offensive target), and alternating between heal and dps to get the best 'theory craft'

    The warrior priest/disciple of khain (melee support/heal) can not actually continue to heal when they do not dps - when they dps they build up an extra energy which they then use for heals. If they keep spamming heals they will run out of this energy and become unable to heal, if they keep dps and not use this energy, then it's like using half your class...

    The zealot/rune priest are the most 'pure' healer classes there are - lots of big fast heals (feels like a pally spamming flash heals). Their direct DPS is very weak and I doubt players who doesn't want to heal would stick to these classes.

    Anyway, I've found in Scenarios (battlegrounds) that there's plenty of healers that will heal you - they know they are pretty squishy and if the tank/melee up the front of the line falls, they will be in trouble. So they'll do their range dps and try their damnest to keep you up so they won't get ran over.

    The amount of renown you earn for participating is related to both damage and heals - so it's quite freqent to see hybrids come up near the top on both dps and heal chart and walk away with the most renown points.

    - just putting things in a bit of perspective

  9. And yet, as DPS, you have a responsibility with healers. If you don't go all out to protect them, why should they heal you? I don't care if you live or die, I want to live too. I'm not your sacrificial lamb for your fun.

    Some of my most frustrating PvP experiences have been when DPS go around badmouthing healers, but when the healers try to do our job, we get trained slow and hard. These times makes me just say foozitle, switch bars, and go crazy blasting others.

    And yet, some of my most fun experiences have been when I'm on the DPS side of things, and others come to my aid. Then I switch bars, and go healy all of the sudden. He he, I've even done the bait routine a couple of times, with a stealther watching me, while I'm "off" doing something else to lure the enemy stealther out.

  10. Not that it has a lot to do with his original post, but Shaman/Archmage healers are not required to damage to heal well. They will actually do more healing if they do no damage at all.

  11. The unique class mechanic for the Warrior Priest is essentially a power bar for healing only that starts out empty and fills as you do melee damage. In other words, it's impossible to heal without dealing damage. The Warrior Priest almost has more in common with Tanks actually.

    The Shaman/Archmage are a bit more damage oriented than the Zealot/Rune Priest, but I wouldn't classify any of them as "pure" healers. That being said, the damage output is not even in the same ballpark as a Sorcerer/Bright Wizard.

    The Zealot gets a bit of a bad wrap mainly because it's mechanic doesn't require it to deal damage to be a better healer. However, all 3 healer types are built in such a way that a good player constantly does a bit of both (damage and heals).

  12. A couple corrections to sid67's post:

    -Righteous Fury (a WP's healing fuel) starts full, and charges up very fast out of combat. If you're in combat it doesn't increase on its own at all. Note that you'll be flagged as "in combat" for a good 15-20s after the fights are actually over.

    -While the best way to get RF is through melee attacks, WPs can convert AP to RF with Supplication. It converts 30 AP to 30 RF every second for 5s with a 10s cooldown. (A full RF pool is 250, btw.) This skill is very important in ranged stand offs where it'd be suicide to close to melee prematurely.

    On a different note, one big adjustment that you have to make with a WP is they're aoe/hot healers. They don't have any super strong, recastable heals. It's a lot easier to keep someone alive who is still high on health than try to pull someone back from the brink when they're low.

  13. I'll be picking up Warhammer on my way home from work tonight since I already had it preordered a long time as well.

    I was looking forward to playing a Dark Elf quite a while back but that class never made it to the final cut. But I kinda like the the "Dicipline of Khaine" the dark priests of the Dark Elves and of all the class sound more like what I want to play and try out first. Not trying to play anything that's close to what I play in WoW really.

    Whatever I play for sure it will be on the side of Chaos.

  14. Actually it was the "Black Guard" for the Dark Elves that never made the final cut that I meant which I was looking forward to playing.

  15. I've been playing the head start since two days ago and I find myself asking this same question. I like playing a healer and since WAR is so fresh I'd imagine there would be a need for healers so I wanted to roll one. I wanted to play order and I wanted a "pure" healer.

    Turns out if I want a pure healer I'd need to be a dwarf, which I don't like. If I wanted to be a hybrid healer I'd have to be an Elf. Elfs look retarded. Warrior priest just doesn't look fun at all. Small hot's/aoe heals. No real save the day heal? No thanks.

    So I tried to roll a tank. Turns out if I want to roll a tank I need to either be a dwarf on an elf. WTF?! Well I can be a Choas Chosen. So that is what I did. Got level 6 and realized that destruction is so overpopulated that scenario queues take about 2 hours. Also no one EVER healed me, making me want to roll a healer again.

    I settled on a Bright Wizzard. Currently level 8. No one ever heals me and the public quests never have a tank. Perhaps because human's got jipped out of their tank class. The best we get is a warrior priest tanks, and no one heals him so everyone dies.

    This game seemed to have potential but the healing classes seem teh suck just the like the healing classes in AoC sucked. If I can find a server where order has a large population I might roll one of those funny looking goblin shamans.

  16. I love the internal contradictions of spinks post:

    "And if you are the only healer in the team, then you should heal."

    "You won't be pushed into being a healbot..."

    Can't you see how these two statements are at complete odds with one another? No, you obviously can't. This is exactly why Rohan is having an internal dilemma about rolling a healing class.... Somehow you completely missed the whole point of the post.

  17. I went from Alliance tankadin to Chaos Chosen and I feel right at home. If you are not feeling the need to heal it's a natural fit.

    If you would like some healing capability, I can recommend the Disciple of Khaine (DoKs as they're known). Their healing scales with their damage output. I have other guildies who play goblin shamans and enjoy the mix of ranged DPS and healing.

    @Cletus: PuGs everywhere are horrible. Just because WAR is "the next big thing" doesn't mean that everyone magically got better at PvP. No one seems to understand the golden rules of PvP in general: If it's wearing a dress, kill before the rest / If it's wearing plate, kill it late. The only cure is to join a guild and get organized.

    Also, in general you need to play your class to about level 8-10 before you start to get a real feel for it. Chosen, for example, are pretty worthless in RvR until level 10, at which point they get 2 signatures abilities, Hold the Line (spammable avoidance buff for you and people behind you) and Guard (which you get 50% of friendly target's damage and threat). Prior to level 10, the class is underwhelming. Other classes have similar issues and don't really start to get interesting until around 10 or so, which maybe takes you about 6 hours of game play if you go slowly and stop to smell the rotting corpses.

    Have fun, and I hope to slay you on Sylvania! :-)

  18. I play both MDPS (Marauder) and a melee healer (DoK). And I don't have issues with the whole heal-blaming thing.

    I just tell myself that they are poor players who will blame others for their own problems.

    Yes, healers should heal. If a scenario chart comes up with 0 healing done on a healer, something's gone awfully wrong.

    But generally people roll healers because they don't mind healing. So where's the problem? DPS who think that their glorious charge into 10 enemy players in light or medium armor can be offset by 1-2 people healing them. *snicker*

    I played a DoK long enough to know my two HoTs will not keep them alive, only prolong their death. If I have nothing better to do, I'll keep them up as best I can, but am getting ready to leg it once they drop.

    On the MDPS side, I use the healer's experience to play the most-loved/healed MDPS in the world. Defense, not offense. Sit in the middle of your own healers and wait for the enemy to overextend some hopeful DPS into your clothie ranks. Barge into their way and make yourself unignorable or just stab in the proffered back.

    Pretty soon, it'll be their DPS going apeshit on their own healers for "OMG where were my heals." Out of range, idiots. Play a healer some time to figure out just how hard it is to click some random meleer weaving in and out among 5 enemies. Say hi to respawn for us too. :)

    Sure, it's sometimes hard being a healer when your own team has forgotten you exist. Happens now and then, especially on PUGs. But they can only blame themselves when you get torn up by the opposition and everyone loses. Can't OMGZORsHEAL if you're dead, right?

    Shrug and move on. Death/loss penalty is light in WAR.

    And get into a guild that'll help you out and brighten your day when you get focused. Nothing feels nicer than when you miraculously survive a focused attack through other people's support, and the entire enemy group is dead because they just couldn't hack through you and left themselves as undefended targets for everyone else.

  19. The topic inspired me to write a post about it. Wall of text warning, but hopefully worth to read: