Archmagery VS the NDA, Round 1.

I rolled my Archmage as soon as I got home from work last Wednesday and, fitting to the theme of the week, I rolled a girl-elf with a necessarily stunning array of golden hair. Stunning. This game looks really good. The elf-lands were precisely what I expected, with sweet architecture and foliage. And of course, there is war, which really is everywhere. Virtually anywhere you run there are skirmishes going down, NPC vs NPC…and you feel like a veritable story-book hero, rushing in and making the clear difference between who wins and who loses in those contests. When they are not fighting, NPCs are lounging, eating, reading, chatting (conversations which you can listen in on), doing all sorts of things except of course the standard MMO NPC hobby, which is “Standing about, waiting to die.” No NPCs seem to do that. And my STAFF. My STAFF speaks for itself. It is everything I wanted, so much so that I am no longer excited by it…but sated. So far the only Archmage special effect that did not dazzle me is Walk Between Worlds, but I think that’s because I was blown away by all those that came before. Beams, sparkles, flashes, auras, you name it…if its awesome, it bursts and drools out from your STAFF.

NPCs in this game make me happy. My favorite NPC so far is the one that tried to mug me in Altdorf. He was a “thief” or a “robber” or something; sorry, the specific name escapes me. But I pwned him. I then broke open a “suspicious-looking barrel” and was severely whupped by the lv20 Skaven hiding within. The slums of Altdorf are not polite. Let me make this clear though. Altdorf makes Ogrimmar, Ironforge, and Shattrath combined look like so dull. Altdorf feels massive and looks massive. Speaking of starting areas: the dwarven starting area is amazing. I got a first-hand tour when I finally figured out how to travel between regions (flight masters in war camps). My buddy kept me up three hours past my bedtime once he found me – a lone elf – wandering around amongst his dwarven kin.

Combat in this game feels much faster paced than WoW (and people were worried it’d be slower). Kill some things. Yay. Very early on I met a quest giver that told me how I can join a Scenario (the “Battleground” as they work in WAR) which was hella easy. Click a button and queue yourself up; no finding a special NPC to do it. You can queue yourself whenever you like as you quest and continue questing as you wait to get in. Anyway, let’s get to business, shall we?


The Tome of Knowledge is awesome; it’s your one-stop place to see what you’ve done and what you’re doing, and I admit that sometimes I will sit and read it while I wait for my cultivation plots to be harvestable and my alchemical concoctions to come to something. Awesome, awesome add on. When you die you get back up quickly (no more than a 30 second wait, usually much less)…and my one wish is that I could read through the tome during the respawn timer. (Currently you can pop the Tome open but you can’t interact with it while that timer is in your face; disappointing. I filed a ticket!)

The speed of play in this game is remarkable. Remember in WoW where as a caster you’d pull, kill, drink (10-15 seconds of action, 30+ seconds of downtime, repeat)? Well, in WAR, you pull, kill, pull, kill, pull, kill, hey why haven’t I stopped? pull kill pull kill…Out of Action Points. Nine seconds = full action points. Pull kill pull kill….

Public Quests

These things are everywhere. As I was questing or exploring I kept running into them. And so I’d farm them…that is, do each of them several times. They move pretty quick and are amazing fun. (My favorite so far is the “Operation: Beachhead” style one in Chrace…you’ll see what I mean.) Just run in there, join the Open Group…urge others to join said open group so you can see their life bars…and dps/heal/dps/heal…

It was easy to get rolling in one over the weekend, but last night (a Monday) it wasn’t so easy finding PQs with people doing them in the areas where I am appropriate to level. So I went and RvRed instead.

My role in RvR:

I’ve only got just over 20hrs of Archmage in so far (I tried out a few other classes too to round myself out…you know, “Know thy enemy” etc), so any and all of what I say should not be held as absolute, especially since this is still technically beta and any of it could change.

We are often outnumbered (we = Order, suckas = Destro, remember?), but it can balance out because Destro’s cute little noobs favor melee dps Witch Elves, and our cute little noobs favor Bright Wizards…and Bright Wizards are *ridiculous*. AoE fireballs…you better believe I go to GREAT LENGTHS to keep those maniacs alive. They are worth every action point in my bar.

When you join an Open Warband, your UI changes to be a bit like CTRaid: you see everyone’s name plates, and their names get lifebars if ever their life isn’t 100%. (As a healer this was very useful.) The archmage at lv11 has four heals (not counting the life transfer, which I do use, but more as a DoT with a nice side effect):

Healing Energy, a fast 1s cast, tiny burst heal with a HoT chaser (Tranquility reduces the cast time.) As a WoW-throwback, I have a habit of casting this before the instant-cast as mana regen in WoW didn’t stop until the spell actually resolved (so while I’m casting, I’m still regenerating mana). I’m not sure what the deal is here with Action Points, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same thing. Frankly it may not matter, because Action Points regenerate very quickly.

Lambent Aura, instant cast HoT. When in doubt, I hit random heads with this bad boy, giving them preemptive healing and giving me High Magic.

Boon of Hysh, a 3s big heal. Force shortens the cast-time on this by quite a bit; nearly instant at 5 points…in fact it may be instant at 5 points. If you get hit while casting this, you lose a significant portion of cast-time.

Divine Favor, this is a huge heal and a morale ability…so it costs you morale (not AP) but you only get to cast it when you have a bar of morale to burn. In groups your morale builds quick though (3x faster than when solo I believe) so honestly the only reason I don’t use this more often is a 60 second cooldown. Right now this has a frustrating bug where my UI says its ready but when I try to trigger it the server says its “Not yet ready” and resets the cooldown on it. I don’t have to wait the entire cool down again most times, but when this thing would save my life I’d like for it to trigger (or tell me up front it’s not really ready). I filed a ticket!

I’m still feeling the mechanic out, but the basics flowed precisely as we’d imagined. As I run into the fight, I quickly click on targets and drop Lambent Aura on them to build myself to 5 Tranquility, which I then use to burn a sucka with Radiant Gaze (trans. LASERS FROM MY EYEBALLS). I split my time between DPS and healing, with a focus on healing when things get bad. Since Radiant Gaze only has a 2s cooldown on it, I will sometimes throw out at most five heals, burn someone to use the Tranquility up, then do it again. By far however my favorite thing to do is either sew DoTs through the crowd or kill somebody (yes, I am a healer that can kill another player AND heal), so I keep a consistently high level of Force up. Force points decrease the casting time on heals with casting times AND our rez spell (which is a battle rez that takes typically 6 seconds). I can rez someone mid-combat VERY quickly…and now that I have the key combo for it memorized I can often scoop people up as soon as they go down (since often I was targeting them for a heal anyway). The run back to combat can take a while in some cases (30 seconds to two minutes in my experience) an at-most six second downtime is great. Heal them off as their AP regenerate over several seconds and back into the action they go…in an ideal world. Since you can release so fast in this game (at least as fast as I can rez you without Force), people often end up popping themselves and running back, I think because they haven’t figured it out yet. So I’m trying to speed-rez as many as possible so people get used to being brought back. Perhaps healers will hate me for this later (“CAN I HAZ REZ LOL?”) but it gets them back into the fight so fast its almost like they never went down.

AP regen in this game is great, as it begets constant action. Take a second to catch your breath then start casting again. And try not to get surrounded. ;) Scenarios have tallies and so far I’ve managed to come in top three for healing almost every time, AND top five for DPS. The catch? I *have* to do both. If I just stand there and DPS, I will not come out that high. That doesn’t make me OP though. My damage all comes from DoTs (of which I have four) which I throw all over the place trying to build up Force to buff my heal-game. We have no source of burst damage (which Bright Wizards seem to be loaded with).

I leveled to 12 in the Tier 1 RVR zone which is a no-no, and I was reduced to a Chicken. Srsly. So, I did what any other self-respecting, battle-hardened MMO player would do: I started jumping around through the battle like an idiot, each jump punctuated with a “Bwaak-Bekawk!!!” People actually paused to stare (unsure of how to handle the reality of my transformation) but it was cut short when players at long range AoE killed all of us (Destruction and Order alike) with a series of fiery explosions. I was vaporized. It was awesome.

~ by thade on August 19, 2008.

11 Responses to “Archmagery VS the NDA, Round 1.”

  1. AP does not regenerate while casting or during the GCD :)

  2. Thank you! =D

  3. So how’s the whole chicken thing workin for you?

  4. You know? I enjoyed being a chicken. I want to go back someday, but the charm of that first moment will be hard to beat. The battle in my immediate area literally froze dead as they observed this new stimulus (a.k.a. chicken BUCK BEKAWK!) in their environment. AoE from distanct interlopers put an end to that moment of “whoa, trippy”.

  5. Great stuff, gave me a few things to think about… I was wondering if the rez was a battle rez, too, so thanks. Here’s a PQ tip for ya (it may go away away once mobs stop being complete retards): our DoTs and HoTs make mobs hate us quite a bit. Yesterday I KITED a PQ boss for a good 5-10 minutes while 2 lower level Shadow Warriors helped with DPS. I was 1st place contributor. My reward? A *purple staff* with +37 intelligence. Not bad for level 10.

  6. Whoooooaaaaaaaaaaatttt?!?! What PQ was that, please? And where? =D

  7. I got my Archmage to rank 10 and had a blast! What a great class. As you said, animations are awesome, you go all Gandalf the White, twirling your staff, then going BAM! You are healed! I love that I must do both healing and damage in order to be truly effective. My favourite trick in RvR so far is to dot a few enemies and then instantly heal some swordmaster to full. :P
    If my friends and I decide to go Order at release, I am definitely rolling an Archmage again.

  8. Thade> The PQ with the +37 purple robe is “Ruins of E(-something)”. You have to kill Sorceress type mobs. Later, tougher ones called Hags. And then the boss is another Sorceress type. It’s close to the beginning of the 2nd High Elf map section (as seen on your map). Sorry if I forget all of the names, but all of the servers are down and that’s the best I can do from memory. Keep up the good work, I’m learning lots from your blog.

  9. *edit: ^ sorry, that WAS a staff, not a robe.

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