That is the time budget our regular instance group generally has to work with.
Three hours. 9pm to midnight Pacific time.
For the last two years, World of Warcraft has had us pretty much covered. There was a smooth progression and a series of instances to do, one by one, every Saturday night that we could all get together.
We diverted into Lord of the Rings Online a little while to see the splendor of Middle-earth. And there has been rash talk of just breaking out Age of Kings and making that the weekly event for a while.
But for the most part, WoW has been it. Together we have climbed the levels in WoW. Together we have defeated 28 of the five-person instances in Azeroth, leaving us 9 short, by my count, of finishing all of the five person, non-heroic instances.
Only now we are all level 70, a fact that has yanked the wind out of some of our sails.
We have mastered the experience bar, only to find that the experience bar is our master.
End game is no game for some of us. At least not for me. As much as my daughter wants be to go grind to get a netherwing drake mount, I just can’t bring myself to do it.
But just as we were hitting the level cap in WoW, a new title came rolling along.
Perhaps not the title to which one would expect our group to migrate.
There is certainly no promise of smooth PvE progression, no new dungeon to crawl every Saturday night, no guided tour of the lands. This is no slick amusement park experience. This is no Azeroth.
In fact, much of the PvE content is mind numbing in its “been there, done that” sameness, only a bit slower and a bit less rewarding on the whole. I hit a “kill 25 wolves” quest the other night and nearly cried out, “How many wolves must die to my hand?”
And Public Quests? Well, I’ve yet to find one that I would keep running once my influence bar for that chapter has capped out. Of course, I’m a tourist in many ways. Our instance group pictures usually have some version of the “Holstein’s Visit the Grand Canyon” shot. So it should be a surprise that I don’t really want to keep running the same quest over and over.
But, as EVE Online is not about running missions and hauling trash, Warhammer is not about killing 25 wolves, my own career not withstanding.
Warhammer is about finding your fellow humans and slaying them without mercy.
So, this weekend, the full instance group will step into Warhammer Online.
We’ve all bought a copy. We’ve all rolled some characters. We’ve all made it to the same server.
The six of us together will sail into harm’s way, counting not bosses defeated, but enemy slain, battles won, keeps conquered, titles gains, and renown earned.
None of us are new to PvP combat. We’ve all done our time in first person shooters. Blood and the unpredictability of a human opponant are not new. My own lineage in that genre started with Marathon and I spent many hours playing Tribes, Delta Force and its follow ons, and the Desert Combat mod for Battlefield 1942, along with some other titles to lesser degrees. (Lesser degree means not a couple hours a night, every night, for months at a stretch.)
So far, the preliminary trials into the PvP combat of WAR have gone well for the group. We have been on together in twos, threes, and once in a while, a foursome. We’ve been getting our bearings, finding the right classes, and enjoying some satisfying battles.
But this Saturday night will be the first real test.
Will Warhammer be a move towards the PvP world of which I wrote just over a year ago?
Will our group find Warhammer fulfilling not only initially, but over the longer term?
Will battles stay fresh?
Will the progression be worthwhile?
Will we stay enthusiastic?
Will the vagaries of PvP challenges fit within our time budget?
And will PvP make for good copy when it comes to the Thursday instance kill group summary post?
We shall see as the weeks progress.
And, if not… well, we will find something else to do with our time.
Lich King comes out in November. We’ll get our experience bars back and will be able to carry on as before.