For all of Blizzard’s current faults with its PR mismanagement as of late, you cannot deny the fact that their past hits are polished as all-heck. Even with Diablo 3’s rocky start online, the game itself was laid out well and eventually received a ton of improvements a year later, and it’s still going strong.
Even if their game is considered done, all Blizzard games go through rigorous 2-year testing and “breaking” so that it comes out ripe and dandy. It’s been years since I’ve visited Blizzard’s campus-slash-offices in Irving, California, but if the working environment is still like it was, its games will still be out close to perfect, current remastered title excluded.
Because if their action RPG crown jewel were to not go through such extensive testing & reworking, we might end up with Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem.
Some Good News Before The Fire…
Full disclaimer: I’m actually having a ball of a time with the new action RPG for the PC. Now out of Early Access after so many years, developers Wolcen Studios are filling in that action RPG void for people who need something else other than Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls and Path of Exile. With its online/offline mode, its graphics and meaty hack-and-slash combat, and its super-customizable skill tree, Wolcen sound promising.
I’m only in it for 10 hours using two different builds (D3 Barbarian and Gun Mage), and it’s definitely capturing that atmosphere and old-school action beats from Blizzard’s past game.
Alas, reality hits the devs like a semi-truck as its launch week is disastrous, to say the least. Of the 19,827 reviews the game received on Steam, 9,782 of them are negative.
Let’s break down why Wolcen is such a hot topic in all the wrong ways right now:
Online Going Offline
First off, you can’t transfer offline characters to online servers and vice versa. While this is done for possible balancing issues, it can be annoying for people who played online. During Wolcen’s launch weekend, the servers went offline for a then-undetermined amount of time. So unless you like starting over your progress, you can’t do much and just wait it out.
Even when the servers were restored on 16th February, players still had connectivity issues which made group play incredibly unreliable.
You Can Brick Your Endgame
This recent Reddit thread states that there’s a game-breaking bug in the RPG’s city-building endgame. Once you beat the story, players embark on a long journey to rebuild a city, acquiring gold and resources to upgrade new facilities that unlock tougher game modes and upgrade your characters even further.
Sound great on paper, but there’s a problem: if you upgrade items using The Forge or access the Dark Market, you can trigger a bug that stops Wolcen from properly launching the next time you play.
There’s An Infinite Gold Glitch
Since the game’s launch, players have discovered ways to earn infinite gold and infinite stacks of items. And apparently they’re easily repeatable.
This basically breaks Wolcen’s multiplayer economy since players can trade these dupes away.
While its developers will use the banhammer against exploiters and cheaters, they seem to have a lot on their plate with the bugs and glitches.
You Can Make Absurd Skill Tree Builds
We have a Wolcen guide on how to make the best builds to start killing it at the game. But who knew that one of the more basic ones, the D3 Barbarian, can be the most damaging?
Part of the fun of an action RPG is to make the best skill tree build possible to suit your playstyle. However, a lot of players are not having fun because of how unbalanced everything feels. It’s the kind of OP where you can use a melee weapon-only skill midway in your Level 60 mage build, and that actually deals more damage!
Some Of These Skills Don’t Even Work As Intended
Speaking of passive skills in an action RPG, there are reportedly 24 or more abilities and passive skills that either do not work or dish out different effects as intended. Here’s part of it:
Primordial Insights (Cabalist) – not working.
Academic Fieldwork (Exorcist) – not working.
Captured Velocity (Timeweaver) – not working.
Blessed Silver (Exorcist) – not working.
Sparking Dart (Alastor) – not working.
High Evasion (Arms master) – not working.
Mass evasion (Arms master) – not working.
Faith Leech (Warlock) – sets force shield to zero when leeching on full force shield.
Elevated Gain (Siegbreaker) – doesn’t work if the helm and chest would end up giving the same bonus.
Bane of Tyranny (Siegebreaker) – seems to be giving way more damage than it should, also doesn’t work if you block without a shield.
Toxic Emanations (Plaguebringer) – the aura disables itself when entering events, and will stay off until you restart the game/rotate wheel of fate back and forth.
Apocalypse Form – removes all force shield when transforming back to human form.
And Also These Other Grievances
Here are choice quotes regarding Wolcen’s many bugs and bricking potential:
“Played into act 2 and had to restart, where it sent me back to the beginning of the game at level 25. Lost all my waypoints and quests. Wait until they fix this up and lots of people say it’s stable.” – top Steam review
“Something is very wrong with the stats in this game and I have now lost all patience trying to tinker with stuff that doesn’t work properly.” – Wolcen Reddit thread
“The game is in SHAMBLES. Even if you completely ignore server stability issues (which we shouldn’t), the game is so riddled with game-breaking bugs, it makes Fallout 76 look like Breath of the Wild.” – Wolcen Reddit thread
Add the fact that Wolcen cannot be patched more than once a week due to a need to “coordinate” with their networking partners to prevent further issues, and you can clearly see that this is anything but good news.
I’m one of the lucky ones who hasn’t come across any of these game-breakers just yet, fingers crossed. Though in my last Facebook Live gaming playthrough, I had some problems shooting down bats due to a cursor-registering issue.
I can definitely sympathize with everyone here as one action RPG fan to another; losing your 40+ hours of progress on a launch game is no laughing matter. So buyers beware: maybe wait for a couple more weeks until the proverbial fire is put out.