Choose My Adventure: A Warhammer Online Return of Reckoning reunion with a dash of WAAAGH


It’s criminal that there aren’t as many Warhammer games that use the Orks. They’re my favorite group in the game purely because they just like to fight. I assume there’s some deeper lore going on, but my limited knowledge is that they’re effectively non-stop, heavy metal, loud, boisterous marauders. So when the Choose My Adventure voters tasked me with revisiting the Return of Reckoning rogue server for Warhammer Online, I naturally gravitated towards the Greenskins, and for the most part my decision has been rewarding.

I will admit that it didn’t quite feel that way to begin with. I elected to go with the Black Orc class simply because I was curious about what tanking in WAR felt like, and for the first few levels, I was worried I had made a mistake.

Now I know that not every class really gets its identity ironed out from level one, but I was sort of hoping that the Black Orc would at least feel tanky, but for the first three or four levels, I felt more like I was a slower DPS character. Mechanically speaking, there wasn’t a whole lot of meat on the bones either, with a simple little rotation that was combo-heavy but also dependent on my having enough action points to do things, like a Warrior in WoW but somehow even less interesting.

This overall feeling wasn’t really helped by the somewhat confusing layout of the Greenskins’ starting area. The map didn’t offer too many obvious paths initially, and I had also completely forgotten how terrible the UI in this game is. Especially its map UI; both the minimap and the area map aren’t the greatest. Still, I wanted to push forward through this UI and try to see if the Black Orc bloomed a bit later. And for the most part, I think it did.

After a few more levels, I started to get at least a couple of different attack rotations that either focused on ramping up my personal defenses or increasing my overall attack. With some practice and a bit of hotbar futzing, I started to figure out what felt like the right rotation, and while I still felt like a slower DPS character, I at least also felt more like a tankier character, which started to feel pretty good. Besides, I like winning by attrition anyway.

Through some typical themepark MMORPG breadcrumb trail following and a little bit of public event activity, I got to a point of both numerical rank and general comfort to start up what always feels like the real meat and potatoes for WAR for me: its instanced PvP battlegrounds. Sure, there’s RvR stuff out there, but I also remember from the last time I tried this game out that those battlegrounds are pretty much barren at lower levels.

And the PvP instances are way more fun anyway.

At first I thought that this was a mistake once more because my very first PvP battleground was an absolute curb stomping of my team. Seriously, we never crested triple digits in score while the opposing Order team mopped the floor with us. It made me think that perhaps I was way too undergeared for this sort of thing, and so I decided to wait a little bit longer before trying again. The time away seemed to have paid off, as the next battleground I came back to was a much better fight; we won out by a pretty healthy margin, but it also felt like it was generally fair, and I think we won because we moved as a unit.

Honestly, even if I’m not top of the KDA leaderboard, the PvP in WAR stands out as one of the most enjoyable activities in the MMORPG itself. I think it’s horribly imbalanced – I could be wrong and am definitely not the arbiter of what balance is for this game – but then I also think that’s part of the fun. At least that was the case for the instances anyway, which always seem like they’re much lower stakes in general while still feeling pretty rewarding. In terms of XP, anyway.

Overall it is feeling very good to be back in this game. I haven’t played the Greenskins before, but I’ve generally fallen in love with the flavor that paints over the class I’ve chosen, the quests I’ve taken on have been suitably goofy – I was literally catapulted into a Dwarven fortress at one point – and as I said earlier, the Orks being widely shoved aside for the Empire or Imperium in the 40K universe is pretty damned criminal. In short, I’m enjoying some WAAAAAAAGH.

Now even though this game is primarily a themepark MMORPG for me right now, there are still a couple of avenues I can go here on this player-run rogue server. So that, naturally, means it’s time for a pair of polls.

First, as I mentioned earlier, PvP seems to be extremely rewarding for XP, but then there’s also something to be said for slowly growing in power (and getting gear) through following the tried-and-true breadcrumb trail. So while I’ll obviously be doing a mixture of both over the course of play, this first poll choice is about central focus.

Should I level up primarily through PvE or PvP?

  • PvE. Follow the quests and develop the skills. (33%, 76 Votes)
  • PvP. Queue up and smash some faces. Or try to. (67%, 156 Votes)

Total Voters: 232

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This second poll is mostly about a choice I’d possibly make later down the line. When I first played WAR, I went with a Dark Elf Disciple of Khaine, and now I’m back on the Destruction side with my new Black Orc. However, I do admit that I’m curious about what life is like on the Order side of things. So, somewhere down the line, do I indulge in that curiosity or not?

Should I make an Order toon sometime later?

  • Yes. Try out a new shiny class. (61%, 134 Votes)
  • No. Stick with the red team. (39%, 85 Votes)

Total Voters: 219

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As usual, polling will close up at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 7th. In the meanwhile, I’m pretty sure I’ll be strapping on my Orc’s boots a few times while the voting resolves. Something about this game makes me want to PvP more, and getting to yell like a hyper-murderous barbarian beast while doing it is intensely entertaining. At least it is for now.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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