A Last Look at Weapons (Age of War Ch1 Beta)

AoW drops tomorrow. I wanted to make one last post looking at the late-game weapons and give feedback on a few spots I feel are a problem.

1. Telith's weapons

The first one is closest to my heart. My oldest, longstanding favorite weapon Telith’s Sorrow, and its companion Telith’s Lament, have been seemingly left behind in the update. While the other “rare metal/ore weapons” received a variety of bonuses and special effects for their reduced damage (such as Sunder, reduced stamina, cheap materials, Poisoned, non-stacking Bleed, etc.), the Telith’s weapons seemingly have no benefit at all for their reduced damage.

In comparison,

  • Star Metal Great Sword: 51 dam, 20% AP, 1200 dura
  • Acheronian Two-Handed Sword: 54 dam, 21% AP, 1200 dura
  • Telith’s Sorrow: 48 dam, 20% AP, 1200 dura

To craft Telith’s Sorrow, you have to reach lvl 60 and learn Two-Handed Weapons Epic to craft a Weapon Handle. That same feat unlocks Star Metal Great Sword, which is already superior. You can then spend knowledge to learn Acheronian Two-Handed Sword, which is even better. Telith’s Sorrow requires completing a dungeon to learn (whose boss was giga-buffed this patch), a boss material you can only farm one at a time (Kinscourge Heart), even more Hardened Steel Bars… and the result is 6 less damage than the cheaper, easier Acheronian. Most other late weapons have a bonus in exchange for that damage loss, but I can’t find Telith’s bonus.

Telith’s Lament has the same lamentation.

  • Star Metal Sword: 41, 8%, 900
  • Acheronian Longsword: 43, 8%, 900
  • Lemurian Sword: 46, 8%, 1350
  • Telith’s Lament: 41, 8%, 900

More expensive to craft, requires farming a dungeon boss each blade and a dungeon recipe, yet less damage than the freely given knowledge recipe - which isn’t a problem with Acheronian itself. That needs to be superior to Star Metal to be worth investing extra knowledge points. It’s a problem with Telith’s. Even worse, the Lemurian Sword, another dungeon recipe, is earned from the vastly lower level, vastly easier Palace of the Witch Queen, and that sword does higher damage than Telith’s and doesn’t require a dungeon material like the Heart (but does admittedly require more Hardened Steel than Telith’s/Acheronian).

Telith’s weapons don’t need to be godlike like the Blackheart, but they should have some - any - value to the challenge it takes to learn and craft them. Even just matching Lemurian and Ancient Lemurian is enough, although still not ideal.

2. Black Ice weapons

The problem here is simple: No blacksmith thrall.

Like the other “rare metal weapons,” Black Ice received some love in reduced damage yet the bonus of low stamina costs to swing and the Frostbite effect. However, unlike ALL the other crafted weapons of this tier, Black Ice weapons cannot receive blacksmith thrall benefits, because they must be crafted at the frost forge. This results in sorely lacking stats compared to their counter parts.

In comparison, Black Ice fits well with the no-thrall versions:

  • Star Metal Great Sword: 51 dam, 20% AP, 1200 dura
  • Acheronian Two-Handed Sword: 54 dam, 21% AP, 1200 dura
  • Obsidian Great Sword: 45 dam, 21% AP, 900 dura, BLEED (non-stacking)
  • Dragonbone Two-Handed Sword: 42 dam, 16% AP, 1500 dura, 29/42 stam, +SUNDER
  • Venom-Infused Two-Handed Sword: 42 dam, 16% AP, 900 dura, 23/38, POISONED
  • Black Ice Great Sword: 42 dam, 18% AP, 900 dura, 21/34 stam, FROSTBITE

But with a T4 Bladesmith,

  • Star Metal Great Sword: 63 dam, 21% AP, 1566 dura
  • Acheronian Two-Handed Sword: 66 dam, 22% AP, 1566 dura
  • Obsidian Great Sword: 55 dam, 22% AP, 1175 dura, BLEED (non-stacking)
  • Dragonbone Two-Handed Sword: 52 dam, 17% AP, 1958 dura, 29/42 stam, +SUNDER
  • Venom-Infused Two-Handed Sword: 52 dam, 17% AP, 1175 dura, 23/38, POISONED
  • Black Ice Great Sword: 42 dam, 18% AP, 900 dura, 21/34 stam, FROSTBITE

…left behind.

3. Perfected (Hardened) Steel Weapons

I’m not sure if I’m missing something, but Perfected Hardened Steel weapons may have been nerfed too hard in the “Hotfix 1.” They are no longer an upgrade tier above Perfected Steel weapons - in one case, even a strict downgrade.

Compare,

  • Perfected Steel Longsword: 35, 9%, 900, 19/29 stam
  • Perfected Hardened Steel Sword: 35, 7%, 1170, 20/30 stam

Steel does the same damage yet has higher AP and (slightly) cheaper stamina to swing, all for a lower tier material and a lower tier Journey to complete. Unless there’s something I can’t see, like stagger or swing speed, Hardened is just strictly worse in every way but durability. That doesn’t sound right for a tier upgrade at all.

Perfected Steel having higher AP than Perfected Hardened Steel is true across all weapons. It seems to be a design decision. However, after the nerf, most Perfected Hardened Steel doesn’t have the raw damage to incentivize a tradeoff. And it’s inconsistent.

Compare,

  • Perf. Steel Greatsword: 35, 22%, 1200, 25/40
  • Perf. Hardened Steel Greatsword: 46, 19%, 1560, 26/42
  • Perf. Steel Warhammer: 40, 45%, 1600, 31/43
  • Perf. Hardened Steel Hammer: 43, 39%, 2080, 33/45
  • Perf. Steel Poniards: 27, 18%, 600, 17/26
  • Perf. Hardened Steel Daggers: 28, 15%, 780, 18/27

The Greatswords have a huge difference in damage, in Hardened Steel’s favor. The Hammers have a huge difference in AP, in Steel’s favor, with a small damage difference. Daggers have a smaller damage difference. And the 1H sword, again, no difference at all in damage, just Steel’s superior AP and cheaper stamina cost. Maybe there’s something innately better to Hardened Steel that I’m missing, but as far as I see, this Journey reward seems to have lost its reward in many cases.

4. Religion weapons

Religion weapons seem even more lost than poor Telith’s. As a reminder, the requirement to farm massive amounts of humans has always made these weapons unpleasant to pursue. Once Snake Arrows required Zeal to craft, they became frustratingly unsustainable - it required more Snake Arrows to kill a human than you got back from harvesting him. But in my testing for this patch, I want to talk about the three 1H swords:

  • Phoenix-engraved Sword: 36, 8%, 720, Hallowed, 20/30 stam
  • Serpent-stamped Khopesh: 33, 8%, 720, Hallowed, 20/30 stam
  • Lusttaker: 30, 16%, 600, 18/27 stam

I’m going to ignore how the same-tier Phoenix sword has better stats than the Khopesh despite requiring only 20 god resource instead of 50. That’s pure flavor, because Set loves his sacrifice. The issue is with Lusttaker. The first two swords are the lvl 50, T3 unlocks which require Iron to craft. Lusttaker is the lvl 60, T4 “Blessing” unlock which requires Star Metal to craft as well as 50 zeal. It is such a steep cost for a lvl 60 weapon, in knowledge points, farming, and materials, but it is disproportionately worse than the others in the same tier. Compare to

  • Black Ice Longsword: 42, 14%, 675, Frostbite, 13/22 stam

Way more damage (+40%!), way cheaper stamina, only a tiny bit less AP. Lusttaker’s stats are already arguably in competition with the iron-based lvl 50 Phoenix-engraved Sword, but compared to the other lvl 60 weapons, it is way behind, just like Telith’s. It really needs some love. Derketo frowns upon it. The other religion weapons may also have similar issues; I only looked at these three because I was looking at every 1H Sword altogether. This is a call to attention.

The only other religion weapon I looked at besides the above was Claws of Jhebbal Sag. This item is important because it is the only craftable Star Metal-tier claws in the vanilla game (the second battle pass added a limited-time DLC Star Metal claws: Talons of Karmanthes (Epic)). Claws of Jhebbal Sag was always weird. It has a timer instead of durability (10 minutes), but it could be repaired for free at any time. Then if the timer ran out, in singleplayer it just broke but could be repaired for free, while in online multiplayer, the item disappeared upon breaking and needed to be recrafted. It was always weird.

In AoW, Claws of Jhebbal Sag are still a 10m timer, but now they cost resources to repair (Star Metal Bars). This is a huge bummer, because in my experience the timer gives it way less lifespan than durability items. Maybe the free repairs were a bug, or maybe the new cost is accidental. I just hope it gets reverted, because these now eat up Star Metal like crazy but there’s no alternative in the base game - not just no Star Metal claws but no Obsidian, no Dragonbone, no Venom-Infused, no Khari, no Black Ice, no Acheronian, no Ancient Lemurian, etc. claws in this tier. This item is the only one in the vanilla game.

5. Obsidian weapon Bleed

I already left a post about this, but I feel even stronger about it after playing around more since then. The damage from non-stacking Bleed is too low. Even if not to the full 20 stacks of daggers, then 10 stacks is enough to be a side-grade to Venom-Infused. Otherwise, consider buffing the base damage of Obsidian weapons, because the Bleed is just a novelty as-is. At 2 damage per second, how long does it take to bleed out a 5,000 hp boss? Compared to Acheronian 2H sword that does 11 more damage than Obsidian 2H sword each swing, how many seconds do you have to sit to make up for one full combo (and how many more combos would be made in that time)? Obsidian ore is very plentiful, but the process to craft Composite Obsidian is very painful for this end result result. Venom-Infused blows it out the water.

Conclusion

Contrary to the many naysayers, playing the beta for Age of War for me has been a blast. I quickly fell in love with the new flow of stamina and the “reduced hp, increased damage” change to the enemies. It just feels better. Fights are quicker and more dangerous, which is the tone set up in the intro cinematic and what I think the game should aspire to. There are a few edges to polish of course, but I think Funcom successfully accomplished what they set out to do with these changes.

For the weapon changes, I am incredibly fond of each of the lvl 60 weapons have their little perks that players can pick from to suit their play style. My first year playing this game, I had always loved Serpent-Man weapons because of how cheap they were to make and repair (only iron!), and now you’ve committed to it as an option. Sunder daggers and sunder 1H axe have been incredible thrall weapons alongside me. I feel Khari is a little confused right now, whose only bonus seems to be stamina reduction but not so reduced as Black Ice, but the overall change has been positive. Legendary weapons for the most part do their job now (Legendary Armors, not so much yet).

I’m looking forward to a successful Age of War launch and the future updates built upon this foundation.

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