Waging WAR: Inside patch 1.4

The Verminous Horde game update aka patch 1.4 for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is pretty much old news by now. Despite that, Greg takes a look at some of the highlights from the patch as well as the RvR Packs in this week's Waging WAR.

Wow! What a patch! There are so many new little tidbits, toys and tweaks in this patch that it's really sort of hard to describe them all in the space of a single issue of Waging WAR. On top of all the free content in the patch itself, there are also the progression and personality packs available on the EAStore ($10ea/$15combo). In fact, there is so much new content in WAR right now, it's going to take quite a bit of time for us to exhaust it all and start complaining about stagnation again.

Follow along after the break as I talk about some of the highlights from the patch.

To start, we've got the Personality Pack. This pack really is for the more frivolous and vain players out there. The barber tokens allow players to change everything about their characters' basic appearances, just like being at the character creation screen again. Everything is adjustable. On the bright side, my Archmage was able to remove her blindfold. On the other side, I had to spend three tokens on my Magus before I was satisfied, and even then it didn't occur to me to simply log off and pretend to create a new character, just to choose the options I wanted and save myself a couple of tokens.

The personality pack mounts are all on display in the cities so that you can choose which one you want before you open the loot bag that contains the mount choices. There are three color choices in the bag, while there are six on display. The other three will probably be for sale at some point via RvR and/or scenario tokens, but I'm not entirely sure -- there's just so much to take in right now. The vanity pets are also on display in a similar fashion at sites around each of the cities, and there are some truly adorable choices available. For me though, none of them quite takes the cake like my Snotling Herald. The way he does his little pee-dance has had me giggling like a school-girl since the moment I got him. I don't think I'll ever tire of his bug-bashing antics.

There are a total of 12 new colors available on the dye master vendors, and the selection is great. However, the cost for these new colors is a bit too rich for my taste. From the old selection, the most expensive colors would run a bill of 7g for a full paint job. The new colors all carry the hefty price of 35g for the same paint job (i.e., both primary and secondary masks on all gear pieces). Of the new colors available, I think my two favorite are Ice Blue and Hormagaunt Purple.

The progression pack is worth the money too, although it's far more practical than its "quality of life" cousin. I'm really looking forward to the renown boost to RR80, especially now, given the way the renown abilities have been completely revamped and laid out. There's no more tree structure or effective rank requirement to access higher-tiered renown abilities. Not only that, but there are some really cool new abilities available that make the basic stat boosts kind of boring by comparison. For example, for my Witch Elf, I plan to get what old-old-old school World of Warcraft players might recognize as the release version of Will of the Forsaken. Only here it's called Resolute Defense. Tell me if this sounds familiar: 20 seconds of crowd-control immunity on a two minute cooldown. Blizzard nerfed WOTF into the ground and now Mythic is reviving it! The only real difference between the old WOTF and the new Resolute Defense is that Resolute Defense can't be used to break crowd control -- it has to be used with a little more situational savvy, foresight, or planning.

With the way all the old sets have been re-seeded, the faster progression means that I'll have a competitive new toon in good gear much faster than before. It will be nice to finally be at the top-end of the gear spectrum, since my only other experience was my grind to 76 on my Archmage, and that was brutal. Even for characters just hitting 40, getting into some semblance of viable gear has the edge taken off. The Annihilator set is available for in-game currency at the RvR gear vendors, and the follow-up post-40 set, Conqueror, now only requires officer's emblems – the conqueror crest requirement has been removed. Tier 4 gold keep bags have Invader and Warlord, and the Sovereign set now drops in all three stages of the city siege, instead of just the last.

And then there's all the free stuff in Patch 1.4. With the playable Skaven characters, the new RvR zone capture mechanics, the new RR65+ dungeon, the new sets available in the dungeon (Doomflayer and Warpforged), and the new weapons available from scenario tokens, there should be enough new content to keep players fighting all the way to RR100 and beyond. Even if players choose not to participate in the high-end stuff, they'll still have a much more pleasing go of things in the lower tiers, since they've all been revamped and restructured. The new tiers are T1: 1-15, T2: 12-26, T3: 22-39, and T4: 32+. The overlap allows for greater player choice in terms of which tier they want to compete in and should allow a greater amount of shift when it comes to actual RvR as well; players will be free to go to where the action is and hopefully won't feel constrained by artificial barriers any longer. Not only that, but the scenario brackets have been adjusted in a similar fashion. Now they are T1: 1-15, T2: 16-27, T3: 27-39, and T4: 32+. Possibly the best result of the tier re-adjustment is the obsolescence of twinks. Since Endless Trial users will still be capped at rank 10, new players coming into the game won't be put-off by twinks before they can even reach the second tier.

These are all just highlights to the Verminous Horde game update. There is so much more going on with career adjustments, bug fixes, and all sorts of other tweaks that the depth of the update is really hard to take in all at once.

Suggestions, comments and questions can be posted below and, as always, are welcome and encouraged.
Every Saturday afternoon, Waging WAR hits the cover of Massively with the latest and greatest in all things Warhammer Online. From patch news to career reviews, Greg Waller writes about it all. Email comments and questions to greg@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.