Warhammer Online Survival Guide

About to play a bit of Warhammer Online and want to know how to get good and established in this game?  Here’s the master plan of somebody who sampled it a bit in open beta.

1. Classes in Warhammer Online

Choosing your class

I’m a notorious Alt-A-Holic myself – somebody who has a difficult time settling on one class – but I’ve found the classes in Warhammer Online remarkably easy to deal with.

Whether you chose Order or Destruction, you’ll find the classes sorted between the following categories: Tank, Healer, Melee DPS (Damage per Second), or Ranged DPS.  These labels are basically the role you’ll play in the group, but not the entire capability of the class.

Once you’ve chosen a role, it’s a matter of flavor.  Most races will have a class that matches that role, and you should be able to arrive at a choice by considering one or both of two things: the unique mechanic and the feel.

Each class has a unique mechanic.  For example, the Archmage will gain Tranquility from nuking and Force from healing that converts to more potency whenever he switches from nuking to healing or the other way around.  Feel out the different mechanics within your choice of role (e.g. Melee DPS) to determine which you prefer the most.

Each class also has a unique feel and backdrop to them.  If you can’t decide on a class whose role and unique mechanic you like, try to instead go for the feel of the class that appeals to you the most.   You will probably find it easier to enjoy playing that class if it’s compatible with your mindset than trying to find one that plays perfectly.

For more details on the individual classes, there are very detailed writeups on them on the official Warhammer Online website, here: http://www.warhammeronline.com/armiesofWAR/index.php

Your core abilities are not there from the start

A tank without a means to taunt, a healer without effective emergency heals, and damage-focused class with relatively average damage capacity.

What do these all have in common?  Answer: They’re the default state of classes in Warhammer Online.

What this means to you is that you should not let your early experiences with a class cause you to believe them ineffectual.  You probably won’t have a really good idea of your strengths until at least rank 7, and maybe as late as rank 15.

Choosing your server and side

Note that if you join a popular faction (Order or Destruction) on a popular server, you may be confronted with a login queue.  The overall cap of players allowed to log into that server is restricted by faction, so (for example) even if Destruction players must wait in the queue you will still be able to log on as a member of Order so long as Order has not reached the cap for that server.  The best tactic to avoid being stuck in a queue is to play the less popular faction on a less busy server.

2. Gaining Levels Ranks and Equipment

If you’ve played other MMORPGs, chances are you’ve learned to earn experience points from two different sources: Killing monsters and performing quests.  Warhammer Online introduces additional methods of mechanics that allow you to both reduce the tedium of grinding through diversification and ease yourself into new methods of play.

The old-fashioned mechanics: Quests and Killing

There are indeed quest NPCs that, stereotypically, will have icons floating above their heads that reflect your stage of quest.  Go ahead, pick up those quests and perform them: This is not only good from a lore-accruing perspective, but also the bonus experience and gold is superior to just going out and killing everything.

If you get confused about how to perform quests, there are a few handy tools available:

First, you can open up your map (M key by default) and you will see shaded red areas that reflect areas of your map in which your current quests take place.  These areas will be approximations – the challenge of finding exactly where the quest goal is located is up to you.  Temporarily hiding quests or moving your mouse pointer over those areas may help to understand which area is associated with which quest.

Second, you will find additional tips about how to perform your quest in your journal – just double click your quest in the quest tracker on the right side of your screen to pull up the pertinent journal entry.  Alternatively, you can just thumb to the quest section of your journal and find the quest there.

Generally speaking, your earliest adventures will involve quests like these, and you will find following those quests to lead to a linear advancement through the map.  Love or hate linearity, it makes it hard to get lost.

Public Quests

A new innovation of Warhammer Online are “public quests,” which are areas of the map in which all players can cooperate to advance to later stages of the public quest.  If you are in an area with a public quest, you will see in the upper right a public quest tracker with the current goal.

In addition to the typical experience and drops related to kills, participating in Public Quests grants two rewards:

First, there are influence points – these are accrued for participating in Public Quests and can be traded in for bonus equipment at NPCs you will find along your linear advancement path.

Second, there are loot bags. Once the last (usually the third) stage of a public quest is complete, a random roll is performed in which the top participants of that public quest are rolled against (along with a bonus for level of contribution).  If you score high enough, you can take a loot bag out of the special chest for that Public Quest.

This chest has a large, glittering aura and is hard to miss.  It will typically be near where the boss mob spawned, and it may also be visible as a chest icon on the map.   Once acquired from the chest, right click on these loot bags to take out a powerful item of your choice.

Player versus Player Advancement

In stark contrast to most games, you can actually advance your character’s experience points and loot by participating in Player versus Player combat in Warhammer Online.  In fact, the rewards can be quite lucrative.

Scenario PvP can be participated in by using the scenario button on the upper left of your mini-map.  Click on that button to place yourself into a scenario queue.  When the scenario is ready, you will be asked if you wish to join it, and agreeing will temporarily teleport you to an organized PvP match.

Participating in organized PvP matches reward you experience and “renown” points which advance your “renown” ranks.   With adequate renown ranks, you can purchase prestige gear off of the prestige gear merchants.  This is greatly superior to standard PvE gear.

It’s a good idea to pick up the supporting quests for the PvP matches.  You should be able to find NPCs which reward for participating in these scenarios, and those quests are repeatable for more coin and experience.  Further, you may be able to find an NPC who rewards you for defeating a number of players – players killed in scenarios count, and these quests too are repeatable.   Doing these supporting quests in conjunction with scenario PvP is a great way to bolster your experience gain.

Realm versus Realm PvP is significantly trickier, but carries greater rewards.  You will notice that parts of the map are designated Realm versus Realm areas and have keeps that can be captured.   Like in the scenarios, defeating players in realm versus realm rewards renown.  Further, capturing a keep may result in getting a formidable loot bag not unlike those found in Public Quest areas.

If you look in the upper right, you may notice a gauge that shows the current standings of Order versus Destruction based off comparative victory points earned through the RvR activities of the factions.  Having the gauge in your favor rewards many benefits which can be viewed by holding the mouse over the gauge.  If enough keeps are held by a single side, even capital cities may come under siege.

In these ways and others, it’s advisable to contribute to the war effort when you feel ready.  The end game heavily revolves around Realm versus Realm combat, so it’s a good idea to get used to that as soon as possible.  Besides, the quickest way to advance is when using powerful renown gear, and that can only be gained if you are willing to engage in PvP.

Whether it’s scenario PvP or realm versus realm, succeeding in PvP is often a matter of cooperating with your fellow players, using your own strengths to compensate for their weaknesses as they do the same for you.  Being a loose cannon is unlikely to produce good results (unless perhaps you’re very good).

Diversify the grind

It’s a good idea to diversify between all means of gaining experience in Warhammer Online.  It may be your quest areas are currently over hunted, so try the more populated Public Quest areas.  It may be that PvE is simply not very lucrative due to over hunting or some other reason, so put yourself in the queue for scenario PvP to boost your gains.  At the very least, diversifying your activities is bound to make the grind feel less like one.

3. Trade Skills

By about the point you reach your level 3-5 quests, you will begin to encounter trainers who will offer to train you in trade skills.  At the time of this writing, I’m aware of only a few trade skills and gathering skills.  You are allowed to take one trade and one gathering skill.

Once you have purchase a trade skill (and certain gathering skills) you may need to take it from your abilities screen (see the trade/gathering skills tab) and drag it to your hotbar to use it.

The two main Trade Skills I’m aware of are Apothecary and Talisman creation.

Apothecary is a trade skill in which potions are produced.  The same NPC who trains you will also have a shop that sells apothecary components, and you will also come across quite a few in your travels (especially with a gathering skill).   Considering the potency of gathered resources, the auction house is probably the best place to check for the highest quality resources to use.

To create a potion, first bring up the apothecary screen.  Then, drag the appropriate type of potion bottle (purchased) to the container slot (white).  Now, drag the main ingredient to the slot below it – the main ingredient determines the type of potion it will be, e.g. Restorative or Energy.  By default, your potion will fail, but if you put some water in the slot below, you will be able to boost your odds to be successful.  Other components improve variety of effects and duration of effects.

Other types of potions can be created besides effect potions, and these will require different types of containers.  Experiment to find the appropriate kind of resource to create those potions and see if you find them useful.

You can repeat potion creation by using stacks of components instead of just a single one of each.  Though it will only appear as a single item in the potion creation window, you will be presented with a repeat button after potion creation.  Note that if your formula fails the first time, it will continue to fail, at least until your skill or component used improve.  In other words, it is not random at all.

Talisman creation uses the same principles but a different interface.  Put the appropriate parts on the appropriate parts of the GUI, and attempt to assemble a talisman.  Unlike potions, not all parts can be purchased off the merchants, but may be found through gathering or from other players.

Where potions are imbibed for a temporary benefit, talismans are slotted in worn gear for added potency.  Nearly every piece of gear in Warhammer Online has at least one slot for a talisman, and talismans cannot be removed once slotted (though I’ve read they can be swapped).  Because so many players are running about with empty talisman slots, this trade could potentially be quite profitable if you can overcome the rarity in materials.

4. Gathering Skills

Gathering skills are used to produce additional items that can be used in trade skills and can be sold.  At the time of this writing, complete gathering skills include Cultivation, Magical Salvaging, Scavenging, and Butchering.

Cultivation is the most interactive of the gathering skills.  You will find many seeds throughout your travels.  By bringing up the cultivation screen (by clicking on its icon you have dragged to your hot bar from the abilities screen) you are able to eventually raise up to four seeds at a time into plants.  Typically, these plants are used for apothecary purposes.

Cultivation is fairly simple, but demands patience and a memory for when the right time to treat your plant is.  After you have planted the seed (upper left slot on the cultivation window) you will have a certain amount of time to add the soil.  Then, you may add the water.  In the final stage, you may add some additional fertilizer (usually gore).  Finally, the plant is ready to harvest, and you can begin anew again.

Adding soil, water, or fertilizer to your plant is not always necessary.  Doing so is primarily good for accelerating the growth process, but probably also improves the probability of success.  My experience has been that “critical failures” (resulting in a low value weed) and “critical successes” (resulting in bonus reagents) are relatively rare regardless of if you use additives or not.

Though cultivation is not too profitable (especially if you are adding nutrients) it can be used to generate some additional income because some plants (such as parsley) often produce their own replacement seeds.  Thus, if you remember to continue planting, you’ll constantly build up piles of plants that can be sold for a little extra coin.

Magical Salvaging involves breaking down magical gear into components.  Magical gear has a name that is a different color than the usual white or gray – e.g. green, blue, purple.  There is a random chance to recover magical essences this way.  (Note that some magical essences can also be found for sale on merchants.)

Scavenging is, in my opinion, the most profitable of the gathering skills mentioned here.  If you have the scavenging skill, you will notice that looted corpses of sentient (pocket-possessing) creatures will have flies buzzing around them and putting your mouse over them will create a forceps pointer.    At that point, you may click to find additional things on that body.

What you find through scavenging may be useful for trade skills or simply gross, but it will always have one thing in common: it can be sold to merchants for additional coin.  There’s currently no controls over who scavenges what.  If you want the scavenge off your foes’ corpses, be sure to not loot them until you are ready, because any player can scavenge from that corpse once looted.

Butchering works identically to scavenging, but it applies to non-sentient creatures.  Because Warhammer Online takes place in an age of perpetual war, you will more typically find yourself up against sentient foes.  Nonetheless, it may be worth it to some to take butchering for the unique materials it produces.


That’s pretty much all you need to know to get started in Warhammer Online.  If you get lost, use the question mark icon near the top right of your screen to pull up the in-game help.  You can also spam your fellow players by typing /1 along with your message to chat up every player in your current zone, but go easy on that or else you might annoy others.

For more detailed information, a good community resource is the Warhammer Online Wikia page at http://warhammeronline.wikia.com/wiki/HammerWiki as well as the official references at http://www.warhammeronline.com

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the write-up. I’m torn in dumping another ~$50 on a MMO right now. I couldn’t even get myself to level 2 in the beta. Just sooo sick of the routine. Ugh!

  2. Very nice write up. Well done!

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