Sterny’s Completely Useless Guide to Being Overpowered In Warhammer Online.
Seriously – play Destruction. That’s it.
Oh, you want more details. Play a Witch Elf.
Ok, Ok, you want MORE information.
Perhaps a bit of history is in order (you knew I was going to drag THAT in, right?) I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a “leet” player. I am probably never going to be the top killer in any game I play or have the most impressive gear. I aspire to competence, that is to say knowing how to press the buttons to achieve more or less what I want. I am, however, easily distracted and am multitasking-impaired, which means I tend to gravitate towards characters which have a minimum of complicated bits. Take, for example, any class which requires “twisting” – my measures of success with that class would be, to be blunt, minimal. Healing would require me to pay attention to everything, and tanking the ability to spin around like a top smacking different monsters to keep aggro - nope, not going to happen.
Thus I play DPS classes. These are conceptually simple; hurt something until it whimpers and then hurt it until it lies down and squeaks. The tools don’t really matter – poky knives, bludgeons, Violet Shrike Butterfly Marshmallow Squeeze Atomic Weasel Projection – as long as it boils down to “click button, give other thing boo-boo” I’m all over it. Again, I tend to keep things simple (as I prefer PvP over mashing AI creatures) and load up three or four attacks or reliable combos which I can mash over and over again. Since I don’t mind getting brutally killed once and a while, the relative fragility of DPS classes is not an issue for me. It’s a fast-paced life, run up and nuke/stab/wedgie the enemy until he falls down or I do.
So the latest game I’m playing is Warhammer Online. I can sum up the experience as “such promise, such potential, such irritation.” There’s two sides – Order and Destruction – with distinctive looks, classes, and races. In Mythic’s Search To Reflect The Source Material and Need For Both Sides To Be Nifty they stuck fairly closely to the canon. Warhammer is a brutal tabletop game, the sort you see being played at GenericDragon/And/Or/UnicornNamedConvention (GDAOUNCon) with a thousand lovingly painted miniatures ranging over green felt tables. It takes sixty years to do one turn and people are always fussing about with rulers and dice and tables – actuarial accounting is fun! – before one person finally sighs and knocks over one of his five hundred Orcish Interior Decorator Rampagers (complete with Murderous Color Swatches!)
So the general outlines of the sides and classes were fairly well-established before Mythic tackled the game. Still, the requirements of tabletop gaming and MMORPGs are different…that elusive quality known as “class balance.” Mythic has…chosen poorly (cue scene of guy in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where he drinks from the wrong cup and dissolves into gray paste) in its attempts to balance the factions. The Order side (the “good” guys, if there are any in the Warhammer world) is seriously underpowered.
No, really. I know “Dude! Side X is SO OVERPOWERED!” is the standard-issue whine for any failure on the player’s part not to be “uber” at Nuclear Underwater Basket Molesting or whatever. But…playing on the Order side you get the sinking feeling deep in your chitlins – akin to that after eating the chicken-fried steak at the local diner which is coated with the oddest pea-green-colored gravy (true story) that something very, very bad is about to happen. Destruction (our friendly Orcs, playful Chaos Mutants, and the cuddly Dark Elves), quite frankly, stomps Order flat in the battlegrounds and in open-field RvR. “Well,” you think, “perhaps it’s because of population.” True, Destruction has a lot of people. Part of it is the attraction of Being Bad, because if you’re evil it’s not a problem that your day-to-day life consists of murderous rampages and ecological devastation against forest creatures and Honest Peasants (tm, patent pending.) I think, however, that a lot of it has to do with the fact that the cuddly Dark Elves are more like the Swedish Goth-Chick Emo Bikini Team than a True Force of Evil. Oh, the male characters are elegant and refined but fully-dressed; on the other hand, the female characters wear outfits which would be banned on most public beaches (oh, and their armor upgrades consist of hats and gloves – the thong underwear, masking-taped-up bikini cups, and sexy ripped-mesh hose carry through to level 40.) Not only that, the female characters pout – a full Angelina Jolie moue of full lips and slightly cross-but-cute little frowny eyes thing – in combat instead of snarling out their rage at all that lives.
On top of that the Dark Elves have a female-only class, the Witch Elf. Now I understand that the previously mentioned abbreviated dress code for female Dark Elves is actually even more sketchy in the miniature game, but think about it – a class which “forces” you to play a girl toon, a SEXY girl toon with naughty-naughty-spank-me outfits is temptation enough for the legions of loners amongst the gaming public; but the cream filling, as it were, of this class is the fact that Witch Elves are tremendously deadly.
So here you are, a class which is a ) a sexy sexy nasty-girl toon and b ) murderous beyond measure. Naturally, when I wanted to try out Destruction I made up a Witch Elf.
I wouldn’t pass any judgments, by the way, since for all I know you regularly have your significant other slather him/herself with olive oil and peanut butter before he/she slaps the bare soles of your feet with slightly al dente spaghetti. You can just check your giggles at the door.
The Witch Elf is a rogue-type. She runs around with two daggers and does the whole stabbity-stabbity thing (as opposed to Order’s rogue, a hybrid between a Pilgrim and a Musketeer equipped with a rapier and a pistol to do the shooty-stabbity thing.) I did a few quests, got a few abilities, and then thought “time for PvP!” I signed up for a scenario.
Dear GOD this character is overpowered. Now, as I mentioned before, I’m not the most skilled player around. Given even odds (level, opportunity, and gear) I’d average pretty much a 50-50 chance of victory in any encounter. Furthermore, I’m playing a brand new class at around level 7, not exactly a veteran at pressing all of the little buttons for abilities like “Kiss of the Deadly Vixen” or “Teasing Stab of the Vampirella Wannabe.” But still…one-on-one, against a Ironbreaker (a Dwarf warrior class who wears steel armor and carries a BFA – Big F***ing Axe) one level higher I won. With at least 30% health left.
Eurgh. Yep, not overpowered. Not a bit.
But then…I participated in another battleground (the Khaine one, a rather nifty scenario where one captures two flags which triggers a Nuclear Apocalypse which ravages the entire battleground except for a couple of safe areas) and I run down a tunnel and confront three Order characters of approximately the same level (give or take one level.) There’s an Engineer – Dwarvish DPS with muskets and gadgets; a Rune Priest – a Dwarvish healer; and a Bright Wizard - a fire mage and my chosen Order class. Given that I was outnumbered three-to-one, and the three had their own healer and two fairly nice damage classes, I thought I’d be lucky to kill one before I was shot/burned into a sexy dead corpse.
No. Within a minute I’d killed them all and walked away with enough health to stagger to the enemy flag and tap it. Something’s SERIOUSLY wrong there. Scenario ends and I’m at the top of the list for killing blows and far up there in total damage (even though I’m 3 levels below the highest-level character in the scenario.)
Well, there you have it – proof that Destruction/Dark Elves/Witch Elves are seriously overpowered. If a mid-talent player like me can leave a path of Destruction (pun intended) like that with a Witchy Elfy then there’s something Rotten in the State of Reikland. Mind you, I’m going to still visit the Dark Side once and a while so I can enjoy the unaccustomed sensation of undeserved victory until Mythic eventually Gets Its Bleep Together and strikes down the Witch Elf with a Nerf Tsunami.
Meanwhile, remember to stock up on peanut butter and olive oil.