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Exploding Chickens

Posted by Chris Jones
On October 8th, 2008 at 13:55

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I tried playing Warhammer Online yesterday (during WoW’s downtime, while I was at home with a cold). A couple weeks ago, I’d moved Foulfoot the Goblin Shaman from the Greenskin campaign to the Dark Elf campaign to made up missing levels. Post-beta, experience point rewards were changed such that characters leveled much more slowly: in closed Beta, players generally leveled at a rate that they would reach each PvE chapter at an appropriate level. In live, Becky played a lot of PvP on her Sorceress, won a lot of scenarios, and still was two levels behind where she needed to be by following the Dark Elf campaign exclusively (and she was even farther behind levels on her Goblin Squig Herder in the Greenskin campaign).

Returning to Ekrund as a level 12 Shaman, I figured I’d be the right level to basically be leaving the zone, based on my experiences in Beta. I could whip through the quests and be on the beach sipping seawater from salamander skulls in no time. Unfortunately, on my first encounter with a level 9 Dwarf Skeleton, I was turned into a Chicken, lost nearly 1000 hit points, and then was blown up by feedback (!) on a DOT. I found myself resurrecting at the nearby town, paying to get the health debuff removed, and figuring I just came across an odd bug. This seemed to be borne out until I grouped with a level 8 Squig Herder who was a little over his head in the same Dwarf tomb, then was (again) turned into a chicken and blown up by one of my DOTs–from his perspective, I was insta-killed–when I attacked the named ghost mob.

This makes WAR basically unplayable. It was bad enough that I would chicken when moving to a lower Tier, but I didn’t have to worry about that until after level 20. Now, I’m being chickened on mobs just a couple levels below me, well within my current Tier, and as the next stage in the storyline.

I reported the bug, but I can pretty much say that I don’t think EA/Mythic is going to be receiving any subscription money from me or my wife. They fixed a lot of warts in the game in the past couple weeks, or last couple patches, but this is game breaking and a real sign of code and design quality. It’s just too bad and it shatters some of my hopes, but I’m afraid WAR isn’t going to be my casual MMO gamer destination in the end.

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