Warhammer Online Bottom Line

A few things I wanted to bring up.  Combined, they make up the core of the Warhammer Online experience.  I learned these through extensively playing not only my Archmage but also my Swordmaster alt.

1. A quick and fun method to leveling up in Warhammer Online

2. A final word on class niches.

Straddling Cross-Realm Scenarios: A Quick and Fun Method to Leveling in Warhammer Online

Here’s the thing: You can now queue yourself for all PvP scenario queues.  For each realm, there will be at least two repeatable quests for these scenarios: one for PvP kills at your tier, and another for having participated in a specific scenario.

It’s pretty obvious how take good advantage of that: Pick up all the quests, then queue yourself for all scenarios.  Very conveniently, a flight agent is in the same war camps you’ll find a copy of each scenario.

After completing each scenario, queue yourself for the remaining ones.  Once you’ve completed all the scenario quests appropriate to your tier, refresh the quests, and continue.

Repeatable scenario quest completion is not just a rapid method to rack up a lot of experience, gold, and realm-points, it’s also a lot of fun because of the heavily diversified gameplay.

Your PvE Duties

While waiting for your scenarios to queue, you’ll still have a little bit of time to flit about completing your PvE quests.   Doing one thing all the time is boring, and so mixing and matching scenario with PvE play is where that fun diversification comes in.

Questing the old-fashioned way is fine, but if you pay attention to your Journal you’ll notice that you have some rather lucrative chapter rewards you can only earn through gaining “achivement points” which are tied to the Public Quests.

This becomes your main PvE focus.  Gain those Public Quest rewards, even if it means monotonously killing the wandering mobs around the Public Quest areas.  If your notice the achievement points are starting to dip, switch to another Public Quest area.  Repeat until the achievement bar for that chapter is full, then finish up via normal quests.

Remember, you do PvE in addition to PvP, not purely PvE or PvP.  Granted, this will vary to tastes – if you really hate PvP or PvE, then don’t bother.  In fact, it’s okay to skip chapters: even though the “elite” rewards for completing chapters is quite lucrative, ultimately you’re going to outlevel them.

Knowing My Role: A Final Word On Class Niche And General Gameplay

Your class role in WO:AR is relatively pretty simple to figure out: Tanks have the best mitigation and so try to take the damage, healers are the only people who restore hitpoints and so should be doing that, and finally DPS members have the greatest damage output so are responsible for the majority of the kills.

It’s the actual execution that is tricky.  I’ve discussed before about how your main role is not the only thing you should be doing, and the difference comes down to determining situational advantage.

Tanking Classes

Main role: Pre-emptively Guard The Important Members Of Your Group.

I cannot stress this enough: your “guard” ability is the most important ability you have.   Find an important member of the group who is doing a good job, assign your “guard” to them, and try to stay within 30 feet of them (so guard keeps working).

Guarding damage is split between you, more than doubling the durability of your target, and doubling your healers’ capability to heal you both.  Think about this a moment: more than double durability is major, it’s the single most influential ability on the battlefield, and you (the Tank) got it.

Important Note: “Guard” is trickier to assign than I previously thought.

It seems to work only when you or the one you are guarding are not engaged in combat… or something like that.  There’s no tooltip that explains why it won’t work sometimes, so I don’t know why it doesn’t, it might even be bugged.  For most reliable use, I’ve found you need to preemptively assign it before a fight.  During fights, sometimes it won’t work and you’ll probably just lose the guard on whoever you had it assigned to.

Secondary Role: Control & Melee Damage

While guarding may be your most influential ability, a Tank’s prowess exceeds merely being a meat shield.  If you check your abilities and tactics, you will notice there is a good number of control affects: roots, snares, and the like.  These are major influencers and you should use them whenever appropriate.

Tanks can actually do some pretty respectable damage up close. The tricky bit is that your melee dependence makes it so you’re rarely in a good situation to apply damage.

If you leave the side of those needing protection, your Guard fails, and you’re being a less efficient tank.  Think of it this way: Keeping a DPS class alive who can do damage will ultimately do more damage than letting said DPS class die while you go melee.

So what the Tank is best off doing is watching the flow of combat and diving into closed ranged engagements to inflict melee damage, snaring or rooting those who have exposed themselves thinking they are going to get away after a feint, and above all preventing the front line from being broken.

You wanted to be an unstoppable barrier on the battlefield?  This is your challenge.  (Speaking of which, don’t forget collision detection: you can physically block players.  I don’t mention this often because it’s often tricky to pull off with the geography and such.)

Healing Classes

Primary Role: Watch for health bars and heal reflexively

There’s nothing more annoying than watching an injured party member trying to get the attention of a healer who does nothing about their condition.   As an Archmage, here’s what I do, and it makes the job a lot easier:

1. Configure the interface to only display health bars if your party members are injured.

2. Make sure you’re displaying all the health bars of all the parties in the scenario (they can be moved around by dragging the boxy bit).

3. If any of those health bars are visible, spam heals on it.   Spam heals on all of them, including those you suspect are about to be damaged.  If they’re out of line of sight and you don’t know where they are, don’t worry about it, just move to the next.  (Function keys work for quickly selecting your current party, while clicking the health bar display is usually easier than clicking the party member themselves.)

Only after step 3 has been attended to should you worry about anything else.

Secondary Role: Support

Healers in WO:AR do more than healing, true.  However, you rolled a healer, and if you’re not healing you’re a whole lot less useful.  An Archmage has only about a quarter to a half of the burst damage potential as a ranged DPS class, and a Warrior Priest cannot guard or challenge as a Tank does.  Your greatest potency ability, about four times greater than anything else you can do in sheer numerical influence in a given span of time, is to heal.

That said, you do more than healing, and if your healing role is filled adequately by all means switch to nuking or debuffing or whatever else it is you can do.  Just be sure to watch those health bars and be ready to switch back at a moment’s notice.  A healer who rarely or never heals is worthy of all the scorn they earn.

Special Note: Tanker/Healer Synergy

A Healer and a Tank combined is incredible.  With a Tank guarding the Healer with the Healer healing them both, you can often hold out against 3 to 1 odds or greater.   There’s 2 of you, so that’s 6 of the enemy being held off: not bad!

However, a tricky thing about the Healer/Tank symbiosis is that you have to make clear who is leading.  If the healer runs off one way and the Tank runs off the other, the guard and healing line of sight are broken, and both participants are defeated pretty quickly.   I can almost hear the silent movie slapstick comedy music behind such a blunder.

“Damage Per Second” Classes

Primary Role: Hurt what needs hurting.

The instruction seems simplest of all the classes, but it’s actually the hardest to pull off.  A tanker need only worry about guarding who is going to be hurt.  A healer need only worry about spamming heals on visible health bars.  However, a DPS class needs to try to understand where the enemy is weakest, and that can be very hard to do.

Meanwhile, you have to deal with being the most vulnerable class on the field: a tanker needs somebody to a heal them, a healer needs somebody to guard them, but you need both.

By default, your attack priority is healer, then dps, then tank. However, a crafty enemy will change your priorities, and you need to be ready for it. You need to consider this both offensively and defensively: not only do you want to be that crafty enemy, your own enemy may prove their craftiness by suddenly switching their target to you when you expose youself.

Special Note: When In Doubt…

If there’s no clear target, don’t just sit there: make everyone pay.  Throw those damage-over-time and/or area-of-effect abilities on as many enemies as you can, and watch their healers scramble to counteract the damage.  Be ready to pounce when the situation changes and a vulnerability is exposed.

One thing I discovered after playing a Shadow Warrior for a bit the other day is that being a crafty distraction does not accomplish as much as supporting your party.

For example, if I run over to the other side of the map and try to take an enemy objective while they are distracted, sometimes I will succeed.  Other times, I will distract two to four members of the enemy.  Meanwhile, the rest of my party dies, and it’s partly because I wasn’t there to tip the scales for them in the main battle.

Apparently, it’s more important I’m tipping those scales in the main battle than it is I distract a few enemies from the fight.   (I’m not sure why that is… perhaps the rest of my team was absolutely incompetent at the time.)

All Classes: Play Intelligently.

Before, I said something like, “if you’re only doing one thing, you’re not playing your class well” and I would have to say that these other things are covered by this label “play intelligently”.  Learn all the abilities of your class and practice using them in useful situations.

Healers and Tanks can and should contribute to friendly damage output in most situations, but they need to avoid neglecting their primary function, and they won’t know they are if they’re not playing intelligently.  DPS classes are significantly more useful when using their snares and other affects to impede the enemy in addition to damage, but not very useful if they’re not focusing their firepower where it’s needed.  Nobody’s useful if they’re dead: work together!

DPS classes are in a unique position in that their crowd controls are the most accessible: a greater reach than a tank’s while having greater potency than a healer.  However, everybody has some, and they should use them as often as possible.  That enemy who grabbed the flag is going to have a hard time getting it home if they’re snared or rooted.

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