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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Warmachine Tactics Beta

So the Warmachine Tactics Beta is out for those people who included it in their KS pledge. But just how is it?

Warning, this is just a beta build so some stuff might still change in between now and the actual release. 

First of all, let's start with the graphics requirement. They are pretty high. In fact, they may actually be higher than Diablo 3s, which is incredible since D3 is a large budget game and this is pretty much an indie game. 

If you look at the youtube video, you'll notice how polished everything seems. Then you actually start the game and long story short, I had to set everything down to the minimum video quality so that I could actually stop lagging during games. I mean, I'm not getting great FPS but at least it's not visibly shuddering anymore. 

The actual game play however is a bit weird. At times, it's very much like the tabletop game but at other times, it's also very different. Which creates a bit of dissonance in the players because there doesn't seem to be any rules or tutorials included with the beta. In fact, there isn't even a single player mode. It straight away jumps to multiplayer mode. Which means you get to learn while getting your ass kicked. Which is kind of like the actual table top Warmachine experience...

The game is pretty much like a simplified version of X-COM. You don't really have any units in the game but every single model is more like a solo. As of now, the beta only has 2 factions and it's always Cygnar vs Khador. The lists are as follows. 

Khador
pSorscha
-Juggernaut
-Destroyer

Several WGI

Cygnar
pStryker
-Lancer
-Charger
-Ironclad

Several Trenchers (less than WGI)

So far, the WGI really really kind of suck in the game. I would like them better if they didn't keep missing the damn trenchers. However, for some reason, WGI rockets can now cause KD and they have another attack option that reduces enemy speed without dealing damage. 

I've only played a few games and there are quite a few differences I've spotted. Even when the enemy is stationary or KD, you don't automatically hit them with range. Yes, I know rolling double 1s still misses, but it's a much higher chance to miss than just double 1s in the computer game since I've missed several shots in a row on a stationary/KDed enemy. Some spell effects are also different. Wind Rush now only provides +1 bonus DEF instead of +2. Warjacks no longer get crippled at all. A warjack at 1 hp is still as deadly as a warjack at full hp. I found this out to my dismay when I wrecked a warjack down to 3hp only to have it counter-wreck my full hp Juggernaut the next turn. Makes it feel like there's really not much point to charging. 

The UI is still fairly clunky. Above is the UI that was presented during the Tactics KS but we're still a fairly long way from that sort of smooth interface. 

Instead, we've got this.Which again, is a pretty ugly looking UI but since it's beta, it's really only a placeholder. 

Things I feel that they could improve upon? Well, first of all, there is a disturbing lack of information in the game. I can't even see my spell list unless it's my turn and I click on my warcaster. You'd think clicking on my warcaster would bring up an info bar much like it brings up one for the WGI shown above, but the info bar is missing the most critical pieces of information. Like spell list and feat effects. 

In fact, there is just too much guesswork going on. In warmachine, I have an idea of how much I need to roll or my % chance of hitting an enemy in any certain terrain feature/spot. In this, it's like uh...I can't tell what bonuses that piece of terrain give; if they're even the same as the TTG. I also have no idea how much damage my guns do on average or if they'll even damage a jack/infantry or not. I would really like there to be more information available in the game, maybe via pop-ups when you mouse-over or when you click on the unit. Seriously, give me some concrete info. 

Overall, for a beta game, this is ok but just barely. One can only hope the final game is a lot more polished than this. 

With that out of the way, who wants a game with me?